Volume 2 August 20, 1887
Objections To The Land Tax
Nearly all the objections which, are usually made to the concentration of taxes upon the value of land alone, are founded upon an entire misunderstanding of what is really proposed. But this is not true of all the objections made. There are practical difficulties in the way of the new system which will require care and skill to avoid, What system of taxation, nay, what human plans of any kind, can ever be free from difficulties? Very possibly some of these difficulties cannot be entirely removed, and it may be that the new system cannot be put in operation without inflicting hardship and injustice in a few cases. It would be a miracle if any system of taxation could be devised which would not have this effect. The present methods of taxation inflict continual injustice upon the vast majority of people. The land tax will probably inflict some hardship upon a small minority of the people at the outset, and may possibly never be quite free from injustice to a very few. But the amount of injustice will continually decrease as property owners become used to the system and are able to calculate upon its effects: whereas, under any of the methods of taxation now in use, the inequality of the burden never grows less, and the longer they continue in operation the easier it is for the rich, the shrewd, and the dishonest to shift their share of taxation upon the shoulders of others.
There are, however, many objections raised, in good faith, which are, nevertheless, easily answered; and it may be useful to mention and answer some of these together.
Objection 1—If the whole rent of land as to be taken by the state, and no other form of taxation is to be allowed, how can the wants of the federal government, as well as of the local government, be provided for? Will there not be a conflict of jurisdiction?
Answer—The federal government has the supreme right to take all which it needs; and, on the other hand, it has no power, under the constitution, to take any more. It cannot absorb all the rent of land, under the pretext that it belongs to the public if that is done at all, it must be done by the state. The United States, therefore, would tax land to the extent of its animal needs; and it would be for each state to say how much of the remainder should be taken under the taxing power. There would be no conflict and no difficulty. The probable method of taxation would be for the United States to assess the share of taxes to be paid by each state; and, upon that sum being paid, the United States would not interfere with the machinery of local taxation. If, however, any state failed to pay its share, the United States would proceed to assess the land within that state and collect that amount from the land owners.
Objection 2—How could the value of land be ascertained under a system of taxation intended to absorb all the rent of the land? What basis would exist for estimating the tax?
Answer—The basis-of valuation would not be the selling value, but the rent—that is, the actual or possible income derived from the land. The assessor would not ask for the price at which the land could be sold, but would ascertain the rent which tenants would be willing to give for it to a landlord who paid all the taxes. The rate of taxation would be estimated, not as now, at a percentage of its selling value, but at a percentage of the annual rent, like a n income tax.
Objection 3—If improvements of land are not to be taxed, how can the rental value of farms be ascertained after they have been drained and fertilized, the forest and underbrush cleared off, and similar improvements made not visible as buildings are?
Answer—By comparison with the rental value of such parts of the same farm as remain in a wild state.
Objection 4—But how shall this estimate be made if every part of the farm and of adjoining farms has been thus improved?
Answer—By comparison with the value for farming purposes of the nearest highway. Or it may be deemed just, in view of the fact that no such farms can exist, except on land which has been cultivated and settled for a century or more, to make no allowance for improvements of such long standing, as to which all the neighboring land owners would stand upon an equal footing. That is a matter of detail, important to he settled when the time comes, but not necessary to be settled now. Its solution is not one-tenth part as difficult as that of a hundred problems which arise under all existing methods of taxation.
Objection 5—Is it not unjust to a poor man, who has built a little home upon a piece of land, with no speculative intentions, to raise the taxes upon it to such a rate as will compel him to sell out and remove, merely because land has risen in value around him?
Answer—It can scarcely ever happen that such a man will not be able to sell his house and improvements, for as much as would enable him to build again in another place. In the vast majority of cases, therefore, the only hardship which such persons would buffer would be that of a removal to less valuable ground. That hardship more than nine-tenths of the American people residing in cities undergo at least once in five years. In a few cases such land owners might not be able to sell their improvements for their full value, and their property might thus be taxed out of existence. But that occasional injustice happens under any system. It happens at least twice as often under the methods of taxation now in use as it possibly could under a tax on land values alone.
It often happens that some one has built a little cottage or has improved a little farm on land under which is an oil well sufficient to supply a thousand families with light and heat, or a gas well sufficient to run a factory giving employment to a thousand men, or a coal or iron mine. Does justice require that he shall be allowed to keep his cottage in that precise place forever, neither using these great natural advantages himself nor permitting any one else to do so? No one pretends that it does. All agree that the state may and should compel him to remove to some other place, where his cottage will not hinder the world from having the benefit of these grand advantages. The only question is how much should be paid for this removal. We say, enough to enable him to build just as good a cottage upon land just as good for his purpose as that which he had before. Our opponents say, enough to enable him to make a fortune and live in idleness forever. Whatever is paid must be paid almost entirely by men just as poor as he is. Which plan bears most hardly upon the poor man?
A poor man who has built upon land which finally becomes a city lot, worth city prices, stands in the same shoes with one who has built over a gold mine or an oil well. He monopolizes natural advantages in either case. If he is too poor to use them for the general good of the community, he ought to give place to others who can do so. They will pay him the value of his improvements for the sake of getting early possession of the land, so that he will lose nothing. They will pay to the community at large the value of the natural advantages to which his cottage was an obstruction; and so the community will be benefited, and the poor cottage owner will get his fair share of this benefit. He ought not to get anything more,
Objection 6—But in such a case will not the very fact that the tax has been raised to such a point that the poor man is forced to sell, enable men who are rich enough to build upon or otherwise improve the land to combine against him, and thus compel him to accept much less than the real value of his little improvements, since no one would bid for them, who could not afford to take the land also?
Answer—If, on full consideration, it seems probable that injustice might be done in such cases it can be entirely avoided by inserting in the law regulating tax sales a provision that the purchaser shall be required to pay to the occupant of land sold for taxes the appraised valuation of the improvements, less the taxes overdue, and allowing such purchaser to deduct the amount thus paid from his bid and from his future tax bills. This is the course always pursued when ferry privileges, etc., are sold by the state or city; it is practically the method now in use where land is let on long terms for building purposes, and it may very well be adopted into the new tax system. If adopted it would make the new system the only one in the world which would do absolutely no injustice to any tax payer. The knowledge that such a provision existed in the law would prevent any combination such as is supposed, and would make those who desired to use the land for building purposes and who were willing to pay the higher taxes which they foresaw were coming ready to pay to the occupant a little more than the fair value of his improvements, since, by offering him this premium to remove, they would save the time which would otherwise be consumed in the tax sale, at the end of which they would be obliged to pay him the full value of those improvements. Thus the whole affair would be settled quietly, with no expense or trouble to the state, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.
Objection 7—Does not the provision of the federal constitution, requiring direct taxes to be assessed upon the several states in proportion to their population, stand in the way of an exclusive tax on land values? Would not such a tax be very unequally assessed under this provision?
Answer—This is a temporary difficulty. The masses of the people would be so enormously benefited by the change that the disadvantage suffered by any state in this way would be really trilling, compared with the benefit which it would derive from the new system. It is probable, however, that a narrow-minded feeling might interfere with the universal adoption of direct taxation, so long as this provision remains in the constitution. But it could be easily abolished in less than two years from the time when the people conclude to adopt direct taxation. It is a clause inserted only on account of the existence of slavery; and it ought to have been abolished with slavery. The west and south would unanimously vote for its repeal, because it is grossly unjust to them. the east would not oppose the repeal, because it has no desire to take advantage of the clause itself, and could not if it would. A delay of two years in the complete adoption of the land tax is a trifle not worth consideration. When it has been adopted by a few states, and has been found to work well, there will not be the slightest difficulty in amending the federal constitution, although such an amendment is not really necessary.
Objection 8—Is it not unjust to land owners to make so great a change in the method of taxation as to concentrate all taxes upon land without making compensation to them?
Answer—1. A vast majority of occupying land owners, probably nine out of ten, occupy land upon which the improvements are worth more than the bare land is. Take the houses, barns, fences, plows, tools, furniture, growing crops, etc., off a farm, then deduct the increased value given by drainage, preparing the land for cultivation, etc., and estimate its value by the value of the wild land within its limits, or by the value for farming purposes, of the highway running through it, and how much is left? Not forty per cent of the whole value of the farm and personal property on it. Under the land tax, the average taxes on farmers, as a class, would be less than half what they are now. So they would need no compensation. Owners of town and village lots, if built upon, have almost invariably more than twice the value of their lots in houses and furniture, all of which would be exempt from taxation. Their taxes would therefore be less than half what they would be if all their improvements and personal property were really taxed, as it is pretended that they are now. So they are entitled to no compensation.
2. There remain only those persons who hold land which they have not fully improved. These consist of two classes, namely, landlords leasing to tenants who improve the land at their own expense, and speculators for a rise in land values. The speculators probably outnumber the non-improving landlords by ten to one, unless mortgagees—whose security depends upon the value of the mere land— should be counted among the non-improving landlords, as many of them practically are.
3. The classes which, as it can thus be seen, would alone suffer by the proposed change, are precisely such as can be depended upon to take care of themselves, and to take early warning of the approach of such a change, getting out of their investments in such manner as to divide their loss with the rest of the community. Any loss which they might sustain would be gradual, spread over several years, during which the course of legislation indicated the approach cf a complete reform, and it would be impossible to say how much real loss they suffered. If compensation should be offered, it would simply open the door to endless frauds, and go to persons who were not justly entitled to it.
4. No compensation has ever been paid, offered, asked or dreamed of, upon any change in methods of taxation in the United States, or in any one of the states. This is not because radical changes have not been made, nor because no injuries have been inflicted by such chances. On the contrary, enormous injuries have been inflicted in this manner. The foreign shipping trade of America has been blotted out by taxation. A large section of our best merchants was extinguished by taxation. It is universally admitted that native American importing merchants have been driven out of business by taxation. Many important branches of manufactures have been destroyed by tax laws, then revived through fresh tax laws, and again extinguish. ed by others. Hundreds of small match manufacturers were destroyed by the internal revenue laws of 1863. Thousands of small distillers were put out of existence, and hundreds of thorn put in jail, under tax laws. Between 1863 and 1867 an immense proportion of our domestic manufactures was destroyed by tax laws. Not a penny of compensation was ever given or asked in any of these cases. In many instances congress actually intended to destroy great branches of business by tax laws; it did not want the revenue which those laws pretended to raise, and took care that little or no revenue should be raised by them. It simply intended to starve some scores of thousands of American citizens out of certain honest employments, and to force them to accept such wages as a few favored capitalists chose to give. This purpose was openly avowed and is still avowed. And yet the very politicians who then did this thing, and still persist in it, and who would have laughed at the idea of compensation for it, are horror stricken at the idea of any change in the tax laws which would relieve the masses and hurt land speculators, unless these speculators are to receive full compensation!
Thomas G. Shearman.
The New York Of The Future
Rev. Mr. Pentecost’s Dream as He Related it Before the Anti-Poverty Excursions at Oriental Grove
“I have been out of the harness for four or five weeks. My tongue is all rusty. I have been down to Watch Hill. (Laughter.) It seems to be the general impression that Hill needs watching. I got so lazy there I did not want to make a speech here. But I went down on the beach one afternoon, as I was in the habit of doing, and trudged out; in the sand and in the sunshine, and got thinking over what I was going to say when I got here. What was being evolved from my own brain could not have been very interesting, because, somehow or other, the lave of the waves as they beat upon the sand, or the sunshine, or something stupid got into me, and the first thing I knew I was asleep.
“I went to sleep hearing this roar in my ears; and when I was asleep I had a dream, and that dream made such an impression on me that I said I would come here and tell it to you. Well, this lave of the waves in my ear, this gentle, soporific roaring, seemed to give place to another kind of a roar that was not the same. It seemed to be a little sharper and busier and a little more wide awake, and I gradually came to myself, and I found, instead of being stretched on the sand by the sea, I was standing at the corner of two streets in an immense city. I rubbed my eyes and looked, and I said to myself: ‘I have seen this place before or one that locks very much like it,’ but I could not quite make myself understand where it was. I saw a man in uniform—not exactly the uniform that is worn by ‘one of the finest,’ but something like it enough to suggest that it was a policeman. I did not have the courage to speak to him. If there is anything I am afraid of, it is a policeman. I remember speaking to a policeman in New York about a building that burnt up there, and I said, ‘How did this building become afire?’ ‘I don’t know!’ ‘Any lives lost?” ‘I don’t know!’ ‘What was the damage from the fire? ‘I don’t know!’ I made up my mind it would be a long time before I would again ask a policeman a question. Finally, however, I went up to this policeman timidly and said, ‘Officer, will you tell me what town this is I am in?’ Well, he looked at me a minute, and he said, ‘It is New York.’ Then I expected him to club me for asking a stale question; but he did not; he was polite to me, and said, ‘It is New York—yes, it is New York.’ Well, I seemed to be kind of confused. There was a little resemblance to the corner of Fulton street and Broadway. It recurred to me to ask him this question: ‘What year is it?’ He looked at me and seemed to think it was kind of strange; he said, ‘This is the year 1937.’ ‘Oh, I have got a hundred years ahead, then,’ I said; ‘will you tell me what month this is?’ ‘It is August,’ ‘What is the day of the month, please;’ ‘It is the 10th of August.’ ‘What day of the week is it?’ ‘Saturday.’ Then I pulled out my watch and looked at it and saw it was a quarter to nine. I knew it was morning, for the sun had not changed its way of doing business. I looked up and down the street and I saw the people looked like porters and clerks. Occasionally there would be a woman well dressed. All seemed to be going to work. They looked cheerful, walked with a springy step and seemed to be the same working sort of people that: Dr. McGlynn thinks ought to inhabit the earth. I looked around at the stores. They were just beginning to open, but several were not often yet. I looked out in the street, and I saw that this rumble that I heard that took the place of the rumble made by the waves was caused by a lot of trucks and vehicles of different kinds. They seemed to be going to their business. I looked for Jacob Sharp’s horse cars; and there they were. They were different and there were not horses attached to them; they were running very rapidly, one after another; there was a man on each one; all he did was to touch a button, and he treated all the passengers courteously; and I saw that no one had paid his fare. I said to this policeman: ‘How is that—nobody seems to pay his fare? ‘Well,’he said, ‘it don’t cost anything to ride on those roads.’ ‘Is that not Jacob Sharp’s railroad;’ ‘That railroad belongs to us, and we run it free; (laughter and applause); and you see we have the modern improvements.’ I looked down Fulton street to see the elevated railroad; it was not there; I thought I ought to be able to see it. Have you no longer the elevated railroads? ‘Not much,’ he says, ‘we use these ears all over town for short distances; if you want to see the roads for long distances go to such and such a place,’ and I went there and found most magnificent tunnels, with three or four tracks and trains running up and down by electricity—no smoke or smell. There they were, running twenty and thirty miles in the country. It was a beautiful sight to see; nobody paid fare. (Laughter.)
“Then I took a look at St. Paul’s church. I thought if this was the corner of Fulton street and Broadway, St. Paul’s ought to be there. There was a building that might have been built on St. Paul’s church; it was not a church any more. It was a great library where were books upon different businesses and science and mechanics and chemistry; and a very few law books were there. (Laughter.) They told me there were very few lawyers in the whole community. And there was a big reading room in there, and after four o’clock in the afternoon and through the day men would run in and out and use this library; and the graves that are at St. Paul’s where they Lave erected monuments to the men who used to rule this world had disappeared, and the place was turned into a beautiful park.
“And I looked up Broadway, and began to walk up that street, and I noticed that the business houses were varied in their architecture, all about the same in excellence. There were not any of those little old buildings—any spot such as you see at the junction of Twenty-third street and Fifth avenue. All the public buildings were perfectly magnificent, and the private residences were very comfortable. There were none that could fairly be called splendid palaces. I wanted to see what had become of Vanderbilt’s twin on Fifth avenue, and I found that they had been changed into a public art gallery, where the people could go and enjoy the treasures of art; there was not anybody in that whole town that was rich enough to live in those twin houses. And I went over on the east side hunting for tenements, and could not find one. (Laughter.) I found some houses there that were very comfortable, much after the fashion of our Hats, but there was not a tenement house in the whole city of New York. I went out in the streets to see if I could find ragged children and tired women seated on the door steps, and I could not find one; I went down around the markets to sec if I could find people digging into barrels of rotten fruit to get out something to eat, or scurrying around the gutters to see if they could find fuel, and there was not a person occupied that way I wanted to see if there were anybody tipping up old beer kegs, filling tomato cans with stale beer, but there was not one; but, dear friends, anybody could have eaten his dinner off the streets, they were so clean. New York city with every street in it perfectly dean and perfectly well paved! (Cheers.) “I asked the officer, ‘Will you be kind enough to explain how about the disposition of those private palaces that rich people lived in and those tenement houses!’ ‘Why, man, said he, ‘there were a great many rich people in this town, but there is nobody now rich enough to live in a palace, and there are some people—a great many people—comparatively poor, but there is nobody so poor but that he can be comfortably housed, decently clothed, and have enough to eat and drink.’ I said, ‘Is that so?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Why it seems to me, then, that poverty has been abolished! In the year 1887 there was lots of poverty.’ He said: ‘I have read about it. We look back at that time now as being a, time when this country was only in a half civilized condition (applause), almost barbarous, and wonder how they could have lived so long and endured the fearful curse of poverty in their homes. We have even read that there were preachers in 1887 who actually said that it would be a great misfortune if we ever got rid of poverty.’ (Laughter.)
“Well, I went down to the river. There was not a ferry boat to be seen. I was getting my eyes open, and looked up and down the river, spanned with magnificent bridges every where, and tunnels entering every where, so that New York, Brooklyn, Long Island City, Jersey City, Hoboken (laughter), yes, Hoboken (laughter), Weehawken—these towns had all been merged into one great town, under one mayor, and his name was not Hewitt. (Laughter.) Magnificent! Ten millions of population and not a particle of poverty in it any where. At four o’clock business stopped and the shops shut up and the people quit work. At nine o’clock in the morning they went to work, and they knocked off an hour in the middle of the day. (Laughter.)
“I went up and down the streets in the evening and I found that concerts in magnificent halls, lectures in the same kind of halls, entertainments that are healthful and right, were going on everywhere, and I could wall in everywhere and not pay a cent. (Laughter.) I began to look for the saloons. Now, I did not want to go in—that was not it. I just wanted to look to see if they were there, and there were not any there. It seems to me there was not what we call a rum shop in the whole city of New York; there was not a place with a bar in it where a man would take a drink with somebody else who didn’t pay and then take another drink to get his money back. I found splendid halls and magnificent gardens, rapturous music, and where the surroundings were pure and innocent and there were men and women and children, families sitting together spending their evening:;. I do not know what they were drinking, but they seemed to be drinking whatever they wanted to drink. (Laughter.) But there was not a ruin shop in all New York city.
“Now, I went out in the suburbs and saw everywhere lovely little houses with little patches of ground around them, with green, grass and blooming flowers and wide paths—enough to make each person comfortable and happy and to give them a little breathing space in these little homes where working people lived; only I did not hear anything about working people at all, because when things had gotten so that nobody could get a living unless he worked, people stopped talking about working people. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘why are these people living out here, twenty, thirty, forty miles away from business? When do these mechanics get to the shops in town?’ ‘Don’t you remember that railroad that run? trains with great speed and with great frequency and carries people back and forth for nothing? They don’t have to get there until nine o’clock in the morning and they can get back early at night.’
“I went back in town, and I said to people (I would buttonhole them in the street), ‘Will you be kind enough to explain to me this remarkable state of affairs? I left New York in 1887; this is l987, and there seems to be a great change; please tell me how it all came about.’ One of them laughed. ‘It came about in the simplest way in the world. People used to be taxed to death on everything they made for themselves. We got rid of that- order by the simplest process in the world; we took all the taxes off the products of industry and clapped them on to the land, and then “raised them until they took the whole rental value of the land; and you cannot find a man who will touch any more land than he can pay for, and everybody can hold some.’ ‘Is that all that was done?’ ‘That was the thing that started the ball rolling which. Brought this prosperity.’ ‘How did you get rid of the saloons? Did the prohibition party win a great victory?’ ‘Why, no; not but what the prohibition party ought to have won a great victory if they wanted it; only it happened it was not necessary.’ ‘Please explain it to me.’ ‘This was the way it was: can’t you see, when we took all the taxes off the products of industry it went off liquor and wines and every thing; it made thorn dirt cheap; everyone could get all he could swallow, and as they were so cheap the consequence was nobody wanted any.’ One who was pretty well read in the history of the thing said the change was gradual; that people seemed to lose a hankering for the stuff as it became more and more plenty, and there being no restraint on it, the thing became so cheap it was like water. Beer was half a cent a glass; liquor of all kinds a few cents a bottle; nobody had to deprive himself, and the thing simply died. The saloons could not live under it.’ But I noticed, as I say, that people in their own homes and in these places that I described were having whatever they wanted to drink, and it seemed to me that was a remarkable state of affairs and a remarkable cure for the ruin trouble.”
Mr. Pentecost concluded by saying that monuments had been raised to the men chiefly instrumental in bringing about the great social change; that Dr. McGlynn had been welcomed back into the church, and that Michael Corrigan’s name was unknown to the people of 1987.
From West New Brighton
West New Brighton, Aug. 9.—I am very glad of the position you have taken about the Australian system of voting, and I agree with you that it is the first step to be taken by the new party, and the necessary preliminary to any and all progress. In the Episcopal church where I go, our clergyman said in his sermon a week or two ago, speaking of some proposition: “That would be contrary to the principles of the Anti-poverty society, which you. and I believe in, you know.”
I think the “church” is much truer to Christ’s teaching than it ever was before, and that every body is growing and learning with wonderful rapidity.
J. S. L.
A Mighty Audience Burning With Enthusiasm
A Wonderful Address by Dr. McGlynn—The Religion of the Anti-Poverty Movement—A Mighty Instrument in the Hands of God—Charles F. Wingate Discusses Palliative Measures—A Few Words from Henry George
Charles F. Wingate, the well known sanitary engineer, presided last Sunday evening at the Academy of Music at the sixteenth public meet in? of the Anti-poverty society. After Miss Agatha Munier’s chorus had sung “The Cross of the New Crusade,” Mr. Wingate spoke briefly. He said that it had been repeatedly charged that the speeches delivered at the meetings of the society were too theoretical—that they were lacking in the element of the practical. He would, in his few remarks, attempt to be strictly practical, eschewing theory, talking bold, “Gradgrind” facts— facts interesting to everybody. He was quite satisfied that the right to the use of the land should belong to all people, but it should not be forgotten that that right included and carried with it the right to the use of air, of water, of light. To come to the point. his practical subject for the evening was the right to life—in other words, the sanitary problem.
Mr. Wingate then asked the audience to remember the prominence that was given last fall, in the campaign, to the tenement house question. Promises had been held forth by Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Roosevelt that that subject would be taken up. Death had been waging his fearful warfare this summer in the tenement district, and pestilence had been threatening the city, and he asked why the pledges made hist fall had not been fulfilled, and why the massacre of the innocents had not been stayed. Somebody would have to answer these questions in the next political canvass. New York was described as a treeless city, glaring with the sun in summer and reeking with mud or dust in the winter, a city with hardly a clean street, and with no homes strictly deserving of the name—palaces at one end, hovels at the other, but homes being missing. Looking with the eye of an expert on this condition of things, one must feel a contempt and score to think that a million and a half of people would be satisfied with it. Cities abroad, such as Paris, Berlin, London and Manchester, were unproving through sanitary regulation. In the face of this fact, why should New York show a steady increase in the death rate? Why should children die by the thousands! Why should cellars be full of water, and why should so many find death in unsanitary conditions? There are in New York twenty-five thousand tenement houses. In ten thousand of them the death rate is not above the average; but in four thousand the death rate is enormous. In these the landlord is the factor. Besides poor, perhaps debased and ignorant occupants, there was an unscrupulous landlord, who cared not if the people died. A committee, backed by the united labor party, went to Albany last spring to do something practical. It went to Albany and got an important bill passed to improve the condition of the tenement houses, and giving greatly increased powers to the board of health. It also got another bill passed appropriating $1,000,000 to tear down those houses and build little parks in their places. What has been done? Nothing. The bills had been “hung up.” He asked if the women of the city who had hearts and the men of brains and resolution proposed to sit still and allow such things to go on. The people next fall would demand of the authorities that the laws be enforced.
Mr. Wingate’s speech produced an evident impression, and was greeted with frequent applause.
Miss Munier’s choir then sang the “Marching Song for Voters” to the air of “Boulanger’s march,” after which Mr. Wingate. with a few happy remarks, introduced Dr. McGlynn as the orator of the evening.
Dr. McGlynn said:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: I am intensely conscious that everything that is, is but the gift of God. All things that are, are good; and in proportion as they are good they are but types and symbols of the infinite goodness, which is God himself. It were therefore unphilosophical for any of God’s creatures to be proud of anything that he may seem to possess. He may have much to be thankful for, but nothing to be proud of. (Applause.) The proud man is simply the fool; and therefore he who is not altogether a fool, if he have not the virtue of modesty and humility. should at least have the wisdom to assume it. (Applause.)
For a man to be intoxicated by the applause of his brethren were to repeat the very unworthy part of the ass in the pagan fable who was honored one day by being made the bearer of what were called the mysteries of the goddess Cybele, the mother of the gods. As he was led through the streets of the city and the roads of the country the devotees of the goddess Cybele all doffed their caps and bent their knees and paid homage to the shrine of the goddess. Whereupon that most asinine of asses (laughter) flattered himself that all these obeisances and all these compliments and even all this strange worship were paid to him. (Laughter.) And beginning to think that he was something of a god, at least a small god, he thought it was entirely unworthy of him to continue to be a beast of burden; so he kicked up his heels and did his best to shake off his load. (Laughter.) And the result was that he speedily discovered that he was not a god but simply the same old ass as before (laughter), and his driver very speedily restored him to the consciousness of his asininity and reduced him to his proper place by a sound dubbing. (Laughter.)
I think that I see the supreme folly of permitting myself to be very much elated by your too generous plaudits. (A voice: “It is your principles we admire.” Great applause.) And the more you applaud the more shall I hug to my heart of hearts the little store of humility that I have been able by very great effort to lay up in the last fifty years of my life, and which I treasure all the more, knowing how hard it is to gather such a store, how easily it is dissipated, and how hard it is to repair the loss. (Applause.)
And again, I am intensely conscious that anyone who may do anything good and great for the glory of God and for the welfare of his brethren must first become intensely conscious that all things are from God, and that we are but very imperfect instruments; and that our merit will never be so much in doing anything ourselves as in doing what little we can to better fit ourselves to the Master’s hand, to remove from ourselves, from our minds and our hearts, the obstacles and impediments in the way of doing the work of the Master. (Applause.) And when we have, not so much given anything to God, but simply done what we can to remove the obstacles in the way of the doing of His holy will, then we may so forth with a calm and divine assurance that if He should honor us so unspeakably as to make us his instruments, He can, even with the weakest of instruments, do a wondrous work. For it should be our faith that He is so admirable a workman that He can do His work wonderfully well even with the most indifferent of instruments. (Applause.)
But I am glad to believe, as was suggested by one of our friends here, that you do look upon me as in some sense an instrument, although unworthy, in the preaching of a great truth, in the helping on of a great cause; and therefore I shall not find it in my heart entirely to forbid your plaudits.
I have been told this evening that I possessed some gift of oratory. (A voice: “Yes.” Applause.) Now, I am going to take you into my confidence. I am going to tell you a great secret. I perceive there are nearly enough here to keep even a very great secret. (Laughter.) Of course you know that the greater the secret, the greater the number of people it takes to keep it. (Laughter.) The secret is this— that I have very little of the natural gift of oratory. Some twenty-six years ago, being of a somewhat inquiring turn of mind, I went into the old Barnum’s museum, which stood where now stands the Herald building, to see the curiosities; and I confess that I went into the amphitheater f o see the “strictly moral exhibition,” which was so advertised to induce our country cousin to attend. In one compartment was a phrenologist who, for a dollar or so, told a man more than he could ever know about himself. (Laughter.) Among other things this phrenologist said about me was, “With care, with study, with practice, with observation, you would make a very fair speaker.” (Laughter and applause.) Whereupon I said, “Well, some of my friends have been good enough to flatter me by saying they thought I had some little gift that way. Said he, “Oh, I haven’t the slightest doubt that when you do speak you are impressed by spirits more eloquent than your own.” (Applause.) That saying of the phrenologist I thought contained a very great truth.
I have always felt that surely it was not for nothing that lowly church instruments, those who in obedience to her command go out and speak to multitudes hungering for the word of God, a message from God—(applause)—first kneel before the lowly altar and prostrate themselves in the sense of their nothingness, and say, in spirit, if not literally, with the prophet of old, that they are but stuttering, stammering little children, and that if they would speak acceptably God’s message to men He must do most of the speaking: that these men, in spite of their unfitness, do, in the minds and hearts of His children, His own perfect work. It is not for nothing that before addressing multitudes of men, we first humbly invoke the spirit of God. (Applause.) And one o f the first invocations of the Holy Spirit is to give speech to men.
This society of ours—we have often said before, and we should be careful to make it very clear —is surely not a new church. There is no effort or desire on our part to add to the multitudinous jarring sects of men who are as the old song has it, “’Fighting like devils for conciliation, and hating each other, all for the love of God.” (Applause.) We have, therefore, no desire to establish a new sect or a new church; but at the same time we are—I am, and I am delighted to know that those who are foremost in this movement are one with me in this—we are intensely conscious that no great cause can appeal to the deepest depths of the hearts of men, can sweep with master hands all the chords and the whole diapason of human feelings, that does not take men from their baser selves and teach them to live for their higher selves; that does not tell them to come up from the cellar and the kitchen of their being and go up in the upper stones and open the skylight and drink in the glory of the stars. (Great applause.) The very men who deny the existence of a God, at the very moment that they are denying Him are paying tribute to His existence. (Applause.)
It was something more than a bull, a blunder, or a joke when a dispatch or a message having come to a convention of atheists that another convention had adopted a resolution that there was no God, the president in his great delight said: “Thank God for the good news.” But it is still true that men who deny the existence of God are angry at the idea of the existence of a false god, of a bad god, of a cruel god, of an unwise god, of an unloving god, of an unjust god. (Applause.) And small blame to them (applause) for not finding it in their minds to believe in, or in their hearts to love, a god who is not the God of love, the God of mercy, and, above all, the God of equal justice to all His children, (Applause.)
Now, then, we believe that we are engaged in one of the greatest causes that can enlist the enthusiasm of human beings. We are waging what, as far as we can control it, shall be a peaceful warfare—if you will permit the bull—a peaceful struggle for justice, for the emancipation of the masses, for the abolition of industrial slavery. But the one thing that quickens our hearts, that fires our minds and gives us the potency to appeal to the minds and hearts of others, is the magnificent justice that underlies our cause. (Applause.) And this justice is something that is not to be seen with the eye or to be felt with the hand. It is something impalpable. It is something more than physical. It is purely spiritual. It is necessarily uncreated. It is above the things of time and sense. It is before and above and after the things of time. It must necessarily, if it be at all, be larger than the universe. It must have begun before time had its beginning. It must continue when time shall have had its end. It must be the same in every atom of matter. It must be the same in every star and every planet. Wherever there are rational beings, whether animals or pure spirits, in whatsoever sphere, in whatsoever part of the almost infinite spaces of the universe, there justice must be the law, else that were no part of the kingdom of God. (Applause.)
And so it were illogical for us to appeal to a moral law; to appeal to a sense of fraternity; to appeal to a sense of justice, if we did not acknowledge the existence of God; if we were not conscious that this moral law can only exist among rational beings so different in gifts, in strength, in stature, in acquirements, by virtue of a common brotherhood that can have no reason of being except because of one common fatherhood. (Applause.)
They, therefore, are illogical, who, while talking of emancipating the masses, striving for justice, restoring fraternity among men, deny the existence of that supreme Father, without the idea of whom it is worse than a mockery to talk of a brotherhood. Is it not so clearly a deduction of logic that the smallest child here can see it instantly, that there can be no brotherhood if there is no fatherhood? (Applause.) That if there be hot something above the things of time and sense that is neither physical nor spiritual, that is uncreated, omnipotent and omniscient, able to scan the inmost thoughts, to penetrate the inmost feelings of the minds and hearts of men, the ever present judge, the supreme sanctioner of every moral law, then there can be no moral law at all! (Applause.) This very idea of the moral law among rational beings comes from this one idea of an equal brotherhood in spite of the countless inequalities that exist among men. The strangest is bound by a law that he dares not resist, except at the peril of offended majesty to respect the equal right of the weakest, the wisest to respect the equal right of the most ignorant. The swift foot is not permitted by that moral law to outstep in matters of justice the slowest and weakest.
If there be any enlisted in this great work for the elevation of humanity, for the bringing about of perfect justice among men, who think that they are atheists, who flatter themselves that this world were better without the idea of God, I would entreat them to pause, to reflect, to begin to see, as surely they must see if they but reflect aright, how dangerous, how cruel a blow they are inflicting on the cause that is dear to them. I would say to them that this love of humanity, and love of justice, and equality, and brotherhood, is a testimony that is crying out from the very depths of their hearts and minds, proclaiming the brotherhood of men and therefore the fatherhood of God. (Applause.)
I think I have intellect and logic enough to see that if there be no God there can be no moral law, and conscience is no more than a mere matter of taste, of delicacy, of good breeding and decorum. If there be no God, it is strictly true that might makes right; it is strictly true that there is no moral law; it is strictly true that this human society is not a brotherhood in which the whole human family can sit at one bountifully stored table, but a brutal competition, the one rule of which is that the strong and fleet and cunning shall win the prizes at the expense of the great masses of men. (Applause.) There is no logical escape from this alternative. Either there is a Supreme Sovereign of the universe, infinite in all His attributes, infinitely wise and good and merciful and powerful, and the love of brotherhood is better than treasures of gold and silver; the cleanliness of heart, and hunger and thirst for justice and the desire that the will of the Father shall be done among men, will bring more happiness than the possession of all the things that the carnal world most covets;—either this, or else it is strictly true that the whole of this life is but a horrid jest; that we are but the victims of cruel mocking friends; that it were better that we had never been born, and better that we should shuffle off this mortal coil and have done once for all with the torment (Great applause.)
I confess I have no patience with those who disbelieve in the existence of a supreme and eternal moral and spiritual order, yet still continue to prate of love, of justice, of charity, and of brotherhood. For if those skeptics and doubters are right, then might makes right, and in justice is an eminently proper thing. If, then, we can only appeal to justice when we recognize the supreme arbiter of justice, then, men and brethren, talk no longer of atheism. If your own unfortunate, bitter experience has driven you into hating God, learn that it was not a true god that you have been hating. It was a false god (deafening applause). A neglected education, bad or unjust laws, the constant violation of the bountiful and wise regulations of the Father’s house, which are the natural law—these were what drove you from your Father’s household, made you turn your back on the temples, and feel guilty of a strange hypocrisy if you continued to keep your seats in the synagogues and churches. (Applause.’) But the god whom in your maturer yearsyou felt compelled to turn your backs upon, was not the Father. It was a cruel stepfather. (Great applause.)
And now, while it is not our business to establish a new church, and still less to establish a new religion, with the help of God we are trying to do what we can to tear down the false god from his pedestal (a voice: “That is it,” and a prolonged applause). And I shall not be guilty of the strange irreverence of saying we shall put the true God in his place. The true God needs not the help of these puny hands. He needs not the help of these voices of ours, except so far as He in His unspeakable condescension may choose to instruments—not of putting Him in His proper place, but of tearing away the which men have shrouded the face of the Father from their brother men. Great applause).
Mr. Wingate is a professional, and better still, a practiced, sanitary engineer (applause); and being not only professional, but practical, it is quite characteristic of his practical turn of mind that he should have administered that gentle professional rebuke to us who have been endeavoring, shall I say, to entertain, or to instruct you, from this platform for some months past. He is a practical sanitary engineer; and I have already confessed more than once that, while I am, in some sense, supposed to belong to the labor party (applause), yet when asked at what trade I labor, I have to make what may seem the humiliating confession that I am only what some laboring men have called in contempt, “a jawsmith.” And yet did you not notice that this very practical engineer had to do a considerable job of work in the way of a jawsmith himself (laughter); that somehow or other when he came he did not bring his prolong to begin to dig and excavate and drain, but he simply wagged his tongue like any other ordinary “jawsmith?” (Laughter.)
I quite agree with my friend that we must be practical, and I commend him and love him all the bitter that he is so practical and wise and sensible a man. But still I comfort myself—I must say a good word for my own shop—(laughter)—I comfort myself with the reflection that, as well as I can see, there are only two great ways in which you can get people to do anything. One is by actually driving them with a lash or club, and the other is by persuading them by word of mouth. I think that of the two plans it is better to persuade them by word of mouth. What was more practical in the intent of the Master Himself than the Christian religion, of which one of the apostles, James, who was really one of the brethren of the Lord, and who taught what he had learned from the very lips of the Master, said it is true religion before God to visit the widows and fatherless in their affliction, and to keep ourselves unspotted from this world. You observe the two things—the duty that we owe to ourselves, to our moral being, to the majesty of children of the King, that we shall be clean of heart, that we shall keep ourselves unspotted from the world, that we shall use the things of this world as means, and never permit them to attain the mastery over us, and that we shall at the same time do our equal duty to our brethren and show our respect, our reverence, our veneration, and our love for the common humanity by running to the rescue when the alarm signal is sounded, wherever humanity is weakest—to the outcast, the blind, the lame, the halt. Christ has given us the most wonderful system of practical philosophy in teaching us the universal equality of men, and He puts our reverence and love to the test by requiring us to act very diligently, to minister very lovingly wherever this precious, sacred humanity is suffering most where it is weakest, where it needs most the succor of the brethren. Nothing could be more practical than this.
But in order to teach men to do so it is necessary to appeal to their hearts by the persuasive gift of speech. So it was He sent His loved ones out into the world, and told them to go and preach and proclaim, at the top of their voices, in the highways and byways, in the wilderness, by the seaside, wherever they could gather an audience, the glad tidings, the good news, that there is one supreme Father, and that all are brethren, that God is perfect love for man. (Applause.)
And so there is not the slightest clash between Brother Wingate and me, between the jawsmith and the practical sanitary engineer. (Laughter.) It is a part of the duty which I am only too glad to fulfill tonight to persuade your minds to do what you can by pledge and act, and above all our votes, when the time comes (great applause), to compel the doing of the thing that Mr. Wingate has so admirably pointed out to us. (Applause.) It is true that it is our duty, even before we shall have been able to accomplish the great supreme radical reform that underlies this movement, to do many minor things. We should tomorrow, if we could, improve the sanitary condition of the tenement houses. We should, as far as we can, our influence and voice, compel the fulfillment of that law of which Mr. Wingate told us tonight, of which the majority of us never heard, or which we have entirely forgotten—that law which authorizes the expenditure of a million dollars a year in buying up noxious tenement houses and destroying them, and putting more useful buildings or parks in their places. (Applause:)
Let us do what we can, by vote and voice, to consummate all these reforms. But we should never lose sight of the fact that it is the wisest statesmanship, the truest philosophically, the best Christian charity, to help people at the earliest possible moment to help themselves. (Applause.) While I have, therefore, much sympathy for such palliatives as the laws which forbid child labor in factories and as would forbid the competition of convict with free labor, and such laws as Mr. Wingate has told us of, I want, as soon as I can, to bring about such a condition of things that no man or family shall be compelled to live for a day in a house that is not up to the strictest sanitary condition, but shall be able to command such accommodations as human beings have a right to expect. (Applause.)
In that blessed order of things it would require no law to compel the building of proper tenement houses, because no tenement house owner could get people to be foolish enough to live in them if they were not properly constructed. In that blessed order of things there would be no need of eight-hour laws, because nobody would need to work more than eighth hours. (Applause.) When labor shall be free, as we see clearly it can be made free, by restoring to the masses of men the God-given inheritance of which they have been so shamefully robbed, their common joint ownership in the common bounties of nature, then men will not have to bog for employment, for they will employ themselves. (Applause.) Then men will not have to labor for a single penny less than their labor is worth, because labor will be in such demand that anybody who wants their labor will be only too glad to pay them every penny it is worth (applause), and they will not be such fools as to take less. In such an order of things men will either compel the building of proper houses or build them themselves. We don’t expect to accomplish these things tomorrow. We have often said Ave do not intend anything revolutionary. It would be almost revolutionary to march into the tenement districts and begin to demolish things. (Laughter.) We do not intend to accomplish that at least until after the next election. (Laughter and applause.) And then you must be a little patient; you must not think that we will accomplish it the day after. The new legislature will not sit until the first of January, and so you must not expect air, thing until at least the second or third of January (laughter), or may be you will have to wait a little longer still. But we must not despair. We must not believe, or permit ourselves to believe, that the remedy can be very long postponed.
It is a good thing to have been born and to live in the latter half of the nineteenth Century. (Applause.) There was much wisdom in what the European poet said when he sung “Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay”—better fifty years of Europe than ten thousand years of the sleepiest nation in Asia. If that be true, it is specially true of this favored land of ours. Things move fast in this nineteenth century, and it is well known that they do not move as fast anywhere else as in these United States of America. (Applause.) And there are a great many signs that give us reason to believe that the Father in heaven is taking pity on his children. There are many signs to show that great events are imminent. There is a thrill in the atmosphere. Men are on the tiptoe of expectation of the wondrous things to come. The sighs and groans and agonies of centuries seem to port end speedily the mighty birth of a glorious age. And it is a glorious thing that we have been permitted to live in a time when we can catch a glimpse of the dawning of the day of the glorious sun of justice. (Applause.)
It is an unspeakable comfort in the midst of the trials, the cares, the doubts, the anxieties of life. to be permitted to believe that we can contribute something to the furtherance of this holy cause: that most of us, by voice, or word, or act, by some self-sacrifice, may help to hold up the glorious ensign of this holy war; that we may swell the ranks of this goodly army; that we may help the march on to the victory that seems no longer distant, the victory which the vanquished will enjoy full as much as the conqueror (applause), for it shall be true of the-conquests of this crusade for justice, what is told us of the Son of Man concerning the great work that He sent His Christian church to do, “If the Son of Man shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
And it is the mission of this society, of the party to which it is akin, of this great movement in which we are engaged, to make man free, to free the toiling masses from the injustice by which they are oppressed. And next to that the best thing we hope to do is to save the privileged classes from themselves. (Applause.) We would knock off the manacles from the hands cf the toilers. We would knock off the fetters from the feet of the enslaver. It may seem a jest, but I say it in all seriousness, that it should be the object of all the members of this society and of those who have the distinguished honor of addressing the members of this society, to seek to have such perfect charity, such universal love in their hearts, as to have no bitterness for any man. We may at times be stung by malicious criticism. The Adam in us will rise up and feel like resenting the cruel calumny. In spite of that, those who are our enemies today shall be our brethren tomorrow. (Applause.) They are our brethren today. They are our brethren if they are erring. They are our brethren even if their stone us to death. And we were unwise philosophers, we were unworthy soldiers of this holy war if we should not endeavor, even in our weakness, to attain somewhat toward the attitude of the Christ, and of that first martyr of Christ who was stoned to death. As his young life rushed out of the gaping wound, he looked up to heaven, saying: “Father, lay not this sin to their door.”
And so we, like that youthful martyr, Stephen (applause), must endeavor to pluck the bitterness out of our hearts. And we say in all seriousness that next to our pity for the poor poor people, is our pity for the poor rich people. (Applause.) They are very much to be pitied. I say it with all sincerity, I pity them exceedingly. I cannot find it in my heart to envy them. I would not exchange places tonight with any one of them. (Applause.)
I might for a moment be tempted by the insidious voice which tempted of old the very Son of God. The voice of the tempter might says: “What a wondrous work of good you could do with these vast millions; what hospitals, what schools, what asylums, what churches you could build, what a wondrous work you could do in propagating the principles of this great movement.” Begone, Satan! Get thee behind me! (Applause.) If the Father in heaven needed these Things for this work, could he not raise up from the very stones by the wayside all the treasures needed? These are but the basest things of this earth. But the Father craves, with a yearning so intense that He would seem almost unhappy without it, the willing allegiance of the minds and hearts of His children. (Applause.) They are dearer to God than all else besides.
And so what God wants, and what we all want, is not money. It is men. What God wants is not money. It is men and women. What God wants is human heads and human hearts, and He can get along without the treasures of the world. (Applause.) The unbought voice of the speaker, the unbought loving ministration of tender hands, the diligence of the feet, unpaid, are running the errands of. the Paraclete. These are the things that gladden even the heart of God in heaven. Do you remember how, when the unwise apostle desired to draw his sword to save the Savior of the world, He rebuked him and bade him to put his sword back in his scabbard, and said: “If I needed this could not my Father in heaven send me twelve legions of angels?” If through the mercy of God, through the grace of our Father, we are permitted to believe that our hearts are clean, that our minds are clean, if we can look up to heaven and fear not that He shall have for us a reproving frown, then we shall have something that all the treasures of the earth can never buy. (Applause.)
And, humbly trusting in the grace and mercy of my Father, do I say, I would not change places tonight with any of the millionaires. (Applause.) I do believe that it is characteristic of this movement to make men and women better men and women, including those who have the distinguished honor of preaching to you the truths of this great movement. (Applause.) He would be a poor specimen of a man who could stand here as I stand and see your upturned faces, see your immortal souls peering at me through the windows of your eyes, eager to hear the words of truth and justice—he were a very poor specimen of a man who could stand thus here and not feel himself impelled to strive and pray to be more worthy of the cause. (Applause.) He were a poor and an unfit messenger of God’s blessed message of peace and justice to men—he were like that ass in the fable carrying the mysteries—if he did not profit in mind and heart by the message of which he is made the medium to men; if he did not preach to himself while preaching to others: if he did not feel the magnificent enthusiasm of humanity which he is awakening in the minds and hearts of his brethren. (Applause.)
It is an unspeakable consolation for us to feel that we are primarily talking of justice; and, while charged with being politicians, are really but bringing men back to God. I will tell you a most consoling anecdote, and I do not think you will find it any the worse for being somewhat amusing. I stood here on this very platform on the evening of the 20th of March, to give for the first time what was called a lecture on the cross of the new crusade. About two weeks ago or less I attended a picnic of the Eighteenth assembly district organization of the united labor party in a suburban park; and it was there that I heard the consoling and amusing incident that I am going to tell you. A very interesting young gentleman—not very young, a married man with a child twelve years old—told me that he had been brought up in early childhood in the immediate neighborhood of St. Stephen’s church. He told me the precise spot, and I remembered it very well. He told me also—“Unfortunately, father, I neglected my religion for some nineteen years, until I happened to go and hear your lecture in the Academy of Music on the cross of a new crusade. I was struck, I was touched; I could resist the grace of God no longer, and I felt that I must be reconciled to God, that I must come back to Him and must make my peace with Him. So I went to confession to prepare to receive the holy sacrament.” To whom do y o u think he went to confession? It was to one of the councilors of the archbishop (hisses and groans), and one of the most influential and distinguished of them. A certain delicacy prevents me from mentioning his name. (Cries of “Donnelly.”) And the good father was touched, no doubt at the return of his prodigal son, and had a curiosity to know more about the case. He said: “How is it that after staying away for more than nineteen years you have come back at last?” “Well” he said, “I was converted and could resist no longer when I heard that sermon of Father McGlynn on the cross of a now crusade.” (Uproarious applause, cheers and laughter.) It is not for me to say, although perhaps I am wicked enough to imagine, what must have been the mixed feelings of that distinguished clergyman at hearing that very extraordinary confession.
And now I will tell you another similar anecdote. I stood here on this very self same platform in June five years ago, and I preached substantially the same old sermon under another name. On that occasion it was a greeting to Mr. Michael Davitt. (Applause.) And I have said since then that my chief reason for appearing at that time was the feeling that it was high time for some such man as me, a priest, to go upon that platform and speak a bold word in favor of the robbed masses and against the robbing classes (applause), in order to gladden the hearts of the poor people and let them see that the clergy were with them; that the priest was still the father; that he had it in his heart to sympathize with the sufferings of the poor—and you know that speech brought me some little trouble. (Laughter.)
I heard very shortly after the delivery of the speech, and long before the trouble began, that after I had finished, a poor laboring man went out on the sidewalk and reverently took off his hat and looked up at the stars and said, “Where does that priest say mass?” They told him. “I will go there next Sunday to hear that priest. I confess, the Lord forgive me. I have been a bad man, I have neglected God’s law, but, so help me God, I will never again neglect it since I have heard that man preach, speaking for God’s poor.” (Great applause.)
If I know myself, my dear friends, I do not tell that anecdote to glorify myself, bat I think it teaches a very salutary lesson quite apposite to the times.
If I have been a little long this evening, that is not anything unusual. But I have a special excuse. I am much given to make my confession in public. (Laughter.) I confess I was filled with pride last Sunday evening at having done something that for me was but little short of a miracle. I made a short speech. And it was something exceedingly new, and exceedingly gratifying for me to have people tell me I did not speak long enough, and to have several men tell me here before appearing on the platform this evening to be careful and give them good measure and make up for the deficiency of last Sunday. (Laughter.) But I think I have pretty much emptied my mind of what I intended to say tonight (cries of “No! No!”); but it is a very funny thing with me when I get up to speak—when I have a good point in my mind, fixed and adjusted to the facts—a. point of which I have sometimes fixed the phraseology—I often sit down afterward and exclaim: “There! I forgot that splendid point I was going to make.” (Laughter.)
But now I remember what I was going to say before I sit down. I remember that one point was to talk to you about the excursion yesterday—(great applause)—and I came very near sitting down without saying a word about it. I am very happy to be able to say that yesterday was one of God’s days. (Applause.) It was, as I have learned to say in the beautiful Tuscan tongue of Italy—it was a day of paradise. The sunlight, and the water, and the cooling airs, and the grove and everything seemed to me to be actually the very smile of God. And I felt how good it was for us to come together in unity and to make merry and be glad, to leave the burdens and cares and anxieties of the hot city behind, and there in the beautiful grove and under the leafy trees and in sight of the laughing waters where everything seemed to tell of the handiwork of God, to play like little children, forgetting cares and sorrows and sins in the presence of their Father. I said it was good to make merry and for the young to engage in the innocent dance and for the old to exchange their tales. It was a beautiful day, and it seemed as if good spirits were with us, as if no evil thing could hurt. There was no unpleasant sound, no angry word. That excursion seemed to be a beautiful omen of the days to be when the whole world shall be one happy family recycling in the sunshine of the countenance of God. (Great applause.)
At the close of Father McGlynn’s address, Chairman Wingate said: “I am afraid that the excursion has affected some of the gentlemen, who seem to have retired within themselves. I notice that Henry George is not visible on the platform, but is invisible in one of the boxes.”
Vociferous shouts of “George! George! Speech! speech!” resounded from all over the house, and Mr. George stepped on the platform. He was received with cheers, and said:
I thoroughly enjoyed that excursion of yesterday, and I have most thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the background to-night and hearing the sermon to which we have listening. Did I not speak the truth when, on this platform. before the stroke fell, I said that if they suspended him as a priest. God would make him an apostle. (Deafening cheers and applause.)
I first heard of Edward McGlynn in Ireland. (Applause.) It was in what seemed to me the darkest days of the movement. That speech of his, to which he has alluded tonight, rang over the sea, with its burning words, “Spare your apologies, Michael Davitt; go back to Ireland and preach the gospel of the land for the people.” (Great applause.) I welcomed that voice more deeply and more intensely than I can well tell you, and I now rejoice with exceeding great; joy that this man, this priest, is free to preach the gospel of glad tidings for himself and for his Master, here and everywhere—(applause)—for the words that are spoken to this audience stop not here.
The movement that we are carrying forward so rapidly is not merely a movement for this state or for this nation, but for the wide world (applause), for men of every country, every creed, every color. And its destiny and triumph will be to bring on earth that realization of the brotherhood of man that makes us feel indeed the fatherhood of God. (Applause.) It will bring to pass that kingdom of justice and love of which the seers have prophesied so long, and for which the martyrs have suffered and died.
Aye, it is well for us that we should be living in the latter half of the nineteenth century when this great work is going on. It is something worth living for to have had part in it. It is something worth dying for if need be. (Applause.)
The singing of “Land and Labor” by the choir followed the close of Henry George’s brief address, and the meeting closed.
Every Public Improvement Serves to Enrich the Landlord
The St. Louis Evening Chronicle says that “everybody” is anxious to get a “lot” of East St. Louis “dirt.” The reason is that capitalists are pouring money into East St. Louis and building manufactories with it. The Sligo iron works of Pittsburgh and the Rogers and Baldwin locomotive works are reported to be among those looking for locations in East St. Louis. As a consequence, the demand for “real estate”—in other words, vacant lots—is “encouragingly on the increase from week to week.” The actual sales for July exceeded anything ever experienced in the history of the place. The explanation of the fact is that the real estate gamblers were playing a lively game and making frequent bets on the amount of the unearned increment. The establishing of water works and reform in the city government are also given as causes for the boom. All of which goes to illustrate the truth that every public improvement serves to enrich the landlord.
It Will Send the Two Old Parties Flying Into Each Others’ Arms
Norfolk, Va.—Both of the old political parties, as represented by the present management, have flung sneers and false criticisms at labor organizations for the last two years. The laws enacted by those parties in the states and in congress have been to benefit a particular class who have always lived and flourished on the labor of the toiling masses. These laws interfere with the natural opportunities of men and destroy the natural operation of supply and demand. They foster and develop the monopoly that enslaves the people who support and defend the country. There is no real issue between the two nominal parties of today. The last national campaign was conducted on the lowest plane of vulgar personal abuse. A new party pledged to industrial reform will send the democratic and republican parties flying into each others’ arms next year, and in 1892 the new party will sweep the country.
W. H. Gunn.
The Movement in Boston
Boston, Aug. 11.— At its meeting last night the land and labor club enrolled many new names, transacted important business and instructed a large crowd of visitors in its principles. The committee on public meetings reported its series of successes. D. H. Biggs was, by vote, recommended to the central committee at New York as organizer of new clubs in Boston and vicinity. An appropriation was made for land reform, tracts. A preliminary organization for an anti-poverty society was arranged for it being announced that Sunday meetings would soon be held, and that Dr. McGlynn, Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, Rev. Heber Newton and other speakers would be invited to address them. J. R. Roche was elected chairman and E. White secretary of the temporary organization. An executive committee of five was elected. Preparations were made for the formation of three new land and labor clubs.
The Socialists And The Party
Events of the Week—Instructions to Delegates—A Busy Week in the Socialistic Labor Party
Host of the assembly districts have instructed their delegates to the convention as to how they shall vote on the more important points, especially in regard to the platform. Both socialists and their opponents have expressed themselves in favor of the old Clarendon hall platform. Many of the socialists have asserted a belief that the so-called “George” men have changed their views since the last election and are afraid of the old platform. This false impression of the socialists doubtless accounts for much of their wrath.
The Tenth assembly district met on Thursday of last week. Mr. Mayer, the chairman of the district, had refused to give credentials to the socialistic delegates. Mr. Goldsmith, who presided, said that the delegates would go without credentials. The delegates were instructed to vote for the demands set forth in the Clarendon hall platform of last year, to oppose any plank in reference to the tariff, and to work for peace and harmony.
The Fourteenth met the same day and elected Dr. Quirk, Wm. McCabe and Franz Shaider delegates in place of those elected previously, whore election had been declared illegal. The delegates were instructed to vote against any extension of the floor to the committee from the union labor party, to adhere to the Clarendon hall platform, to vote for such a constitution as would allow socialists to become members, and to vote for the name “Labor.”
The German branch of the Sixteenth met the same evening. A resolution was adopted condemning the county general committee’s anti-socialistic decision, mid another protesting against the election of delegates, inasmuch as the Germans had been ignored.
The Seventeenth adopted a resolution condemning the famous decision, and the delegates were instructed to vote for a constitution which would admit all friends of labor.
At the Eighteenth a resolution condemning the action of tire county general committee in excluding socialists was laid on the table by a large majority.
The Twenty-fourth instructed its delegates to uphold the old Clarendon hall platform.
At the Fifth there was a long discussion about the editorial policy of the Leader. .After an exciting debate the following resolutions were adopted:
Whereas, The Lauder was started during the Henry George campaign by the workingmen of this city to be the organ and exponent cf the principles enunciated in the platform of the united labor party; and
Whereas, The county general committee at a recent meeting indorsed the then policy of the Leader as being somewhat in accord with the doctrines of the united labor party: and
Whereas, The present course of the Leader is not to any extent in accord with the principles of the party as proclaimed in its platform; be it
Resolved, That we, the members of the Fifth assembly district, disapprove of the course now being pursued in the editorial columns of the Leader. and place ourselves on record as opposed to the Leader becoming the organ of any disgruntled man or set of men.
Resolved, That it is the sense of this assembly district that Mr. Shevitch should be withdrawn from the editorial management; of the Leader, and that copies of these resolutions be forwarded to the Leader and The Standard for publication.
The delegates were instructed to vote for the land tax clause of the platform, and to oppose the admission of the socialists.
The executive committee of the Eighth met on Friday, the 12th, and found a number of the other members at the place of meeting, who had been called to a special meeting by the secretary. Mr. Lavener. Mr. Lavener and the members who sided with him declared that the chairman of the association and others were no longer members of the party by reason of their being socialists. There was a stormy scene, which ended in the Lavener party(anti-socialists) holding a separate meeting and electing new officers.
The Twelfth instructed its delegates to vote for a clause demanding that “all means of production shall be common property;” or if this is decided against them, to support the Clarendon hall platform of January of this year, and further, to protest against the exclusion of the socialists by the county committee.
The Fourth, which met on Saturday, approved of the county general committees action regarding the socialists.
At the Central Labor union on Sunday the socialists tried to get that body to ratify a resolution of the food producers’ section condemning the county committee for its action in excluding socialists from the labor party. The motion was decided out of order, and on appeal the chair was sustained by a vote of 67 to 51. Later on the socialists tried to prolong the sitting and were again beaten, this time by a tie vote.
On Monday the Volks-zeitung, the organ of the German socialists, had an editorial in which the following passage occurred: “It is well known that the socialists distinctly declared that they supported George not on account but in spite of his land theory.”
In the evening two double meetings were held. In the Tenth the socialists met down stairs and the regular members up stairs, at 197 East Fourth street. The regulars ‘ instructed delegates to vote for the old Clarendon hall platform, against any recognition of other parties, and to quash any attempted discussion of the tariff question.
The regular members of the Eighth met at 236 Broome street and elected as delegates John N. Bogert, W. H. Auteurieth and John F. Clancy. The socialists of this district met at 153 Forsythe street and instructed their delegates.
By Way Of Suggestion
Far be it from me to advise any one to simulate a feeling that he has not; and hence, if come Protestant preachers can see nothing in the noble battle Dr. McGlynn has made for the emancipation of American Catholics from foreign political Control but an opportunity to feed fat their grudge against the Roman Catholic church, I suppose it is better that they should let their mouths speak out of the fullness of their hearts. Let them be honest, even if they do thereby show that they are narrow.
But I do say in all seriousness to such people that they fail utterly to grasp the full significance of the present situation, and that their course is not one that promises to make the most of the present marked tendency among many who have long since rejected all religion to turn back with joy toward the idea of a deity indicated by Dr. McGlynn from the reproach of injustice and unfatherly partiality which were apparently implied by the teachings and practices of the churches. To such people the forms of religion are of little moment, and doctrinal disputes but weary them. But now they have with their eyes seen the vision of a new heaven and a new earth, and their hearts have begun to acknowledge that the great first cause, lack of all forms, is at least a wise and beneficent one.
Next after the monstrous libel on God that has made him appear the author of the misery caused by criminally unwise human laws there is nothing that has done more to alienate such men from the churches than the sectarian hatreds these have displayed. In the awakening of a new interest in the life and teachings of Christ among such people they naturally apply the old tests and recognize as his gospel that which the common people hear gladly, and account as his disciples those who love one another. The discordant cry of hate and the triumphant note of sectarian exultation repel such men instead of attracting them.
The question now at issue is not one of Catholicism or Protestantism. Those opposed to the Catholic church may readily find in the shameful treatment of Dr. McGlynn much to justify their opposition to the idea of a single human head to the Christian church; but if they look at this matter from the standpoint of love for their fellow men they will be ashamed to lay so much as the weight of a feather by way of burden on the thousands of Catholics who do believe in their church system, but who are now impelled by a sense of duty to defy the men into whose hands the administration of their church has fallen. The feet not merely of sturdy men, but of weak womenand even children, are treading the path of a by no means painless martyrdom m New York in these days, and the Christianity that could mock them is not that taught by Calvary.
I rejoice to see that some ministers have begun to break through the barriers with which the Mammon worshipers have surrounded the Protestant pulpit, and in spite of the secular press, to give expression to the natural and patriotic resentment with which every honest American must vie w the treatment of Dr. McGlynn by Archbishop Corrigan and the pope. W*hat must every American think of the call of Corrigan to the foreign power of which he is a willing instrument to thrust its hand into American polities to assist him in carrying out the monstrous and sacrilegious bargain to lend the aid of the pulpit and confessional of the Catholic church to Tammany hall in crushing a political movement in behalf of the toiling masses to whom both Tammany and the church owe all that either of them ever had? But other Protestant ministers have for some time been engaged in supporting the cause of American freedom as something consistent with, and even a part of, Christianity. Father Huntington of the Episcopal church and Mr. Pentecost, a Congregationalist, have treated this question with great boldness and vigor, and yet with such Christian courtesy and tenderness that they are today received with every token of affection and esteem, and listened to with delight by audiences composed largely of devout Catholics. Is their example not well worth considering?
He must be a dull man indeed who can see in this new contest nothing but a renewal of the old fight between the various Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic church. The preacher of the new crusade, despite excommunication, is an orthodox Catholic and holds fast to his faith in the dogmas and sacraments of that church. So far from attacking Catholicism he insists that within the fold of that church is opportunity for rational liberty and exalted patriotism. He insists that those who have sought to use the church to stifle scientific or economic thoughts, to crush out the love of country or to dictate political action are lawless abusers of the sacred trust confided to their hands, and he calls on them to desist from their folly and asks Catholics to compel them to desist.
This is Dr. McGlynn’s position. He does not seek to overthrow the Catholic church—he would deplore such a result as an enormous calamity. The church will remain, and many millions of Americans will still belong to it. What then should be the attitude of patriotic non-Catholics? Should they, to gratify sectarian hate, rejoice to see this great power confirmed in its disposition to interfere in our polities, or should they give their favor and support to these Catholics, still loyal to their faith, who insist that the church shall confine itself to things spiritual, and cease to attempt to dictate opinions to men concerning science and polities? No generous and patriotic mind can hesitate as to the proper answer to this question.
Let our Protestant friends then see in the present crisis rather a call to support American liberty than an opportunity to gratify theological hate.
Wm. T. Croasdale.
“O, Ye Of Little Faith”
A Religious Paper Which Thinks Poverty Cannot Be Abolished—Father Huntington’s Scathing Rebuke
Temperance, the organ of the “Church temperance society,” of which Bishop Potter of New York is chairman, remarking on Father Huntington’s recent article on “Tenement House Morality,” in the Forum, says;
The remedy contemplated would have to include more room. more privacy, etc., but if it would begin at the beginning it would have to devise measures to close up a large number of these rum shops. This is what is aimed at in a high restrictive license law. . . . Mr. Huntington says the way to be rid or partially rid of the rum shops in the tenement houses is to get rid of the tenements. He also intimates that the way to dispose of the latter is to begin by getting rid of poverty. Most people, however, have as little expectation of seeing poverty done away with in this city as the doing away of the rivers by which the city is surrounded.
Father Huntington sends us a copy of the paper containing the passage emoted above, with this pungent comment:
Then, which has more faith in the first article of the creed, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty,” the Anti-poverty society or this Christian newspaper. Why not have brothels legalized by the state, and women compelled to enter them, on the ground that men will always be unchaste, or gambling hells because they will always be dishonest.
No Such Thing as Stifling
Indianapolis, Ind.—I am a thorough believer in the righteousness of the cause you represent, and an eager and enthusiastic reader of your paper. I get it from a newsdealer each Sunday, and if I am not down town on other business, I make the trip especially for this delightful periodical. I am a workingman with a family, and it requires about all I earn to keep me afloat, but I am determined to contribute something to spread the light just as soon as I can manage to spare anything from my earnings, which I hope will be in the near future.
I find many who admit the doctrine you teach is right, but believe it is inexpedient to take it up at this time, thinking it better to go ahead and get power first and then take up the new doctrine. But I am well satisfied that without a definite issue to go upon there will be little good accomplished. I believe that ere the national convention meets there will be no such thing as stilling it. I hope so, anyway.
L. P. Custer.
Anti-Poverty Gaining Ground in Toronto
Bruce, Ont., Herald.
An association that promises to abolish poverty deserves to be popular. It is not surprising, therefore, to notice in the daily papers that the Toronto anti-poverty society is gaining ground and attracting attention.
Queries And Answers
Cause of Land Values
Mapleton, Iowa.—Allow me to ask your indulgence for information on the following points which I have heard discussed somewhat:
(1) You say taxes should be collected from land according to rental value, and that improvements should not be taxed. Now, does not the amount of improvements to a large extent affect the rental value? And in that case would not a man be fined for making improvements under your plan? For instance, clearing the grubs or rocks from a piece of land, fertilizing it, putting fences on it, making roads on it, planting desirable shade trees or orchards, or building a house, etc., it would seem, would increase the desirability, and hence increase the rental value.
(2) Again, you say improvements and personal property should not be taxed. Now, a part of the taxes collected is used for the protection of property, personal effects and buildings, as well as real estate. Should not the man who owns an immense stock of jewelry, requiring the use of comparatively little real estate, or any other property for that matter, join in raising the fund that is used for his benefit, as well as the man who owns a farm?
(1) Improvements do not tend to increase rental values except as they induce more people to settle on neighboring land. Unless the work of clearing, fertilizing, fencing, making roads, planting trees and building a house adds value to neighboring land of equal natural advantages, it does not add value to the land on which it is done.
(2) No more than a man with five children should pay more than a man with one child for protecting the lives and health of his family; provided the two men in this case. and the jeweler and the farmer in the case you suppose appropriate the same value of common property. The community owes protection to the life, health and products of all its members, and rent supplies an adequate common fund out of which to pay the expense. So long as that fund is sufficient, why should any one’s labor be taxed?
Sully Co., D. T.—(1) In some counties in Dakota land has no rental value. How are we to carry on our county government under your system?
(2) Under your system capital is to be made free. How are we, farmers, to be freed from the burden of thirty-six per cent interest, which is the common rate here?
(1) So long as land having no rental value was held out of use by speculators they would have to pay your taxes, which would be based on the selling value of the land. When they abandoned it, and it had neither selling nor rental value, your public expenses would be paid by the territory at large. So far as government was concerned, the expenses of such a county under such circumstances would be very light.
(2) By making your own capital. If your free land was so unproductive that you could not live in comfort upon it, by coming within the borders of civilization where you would find free land on which you could live comfortably.
Trenton, N. S., July 3.—(1) Is gold necessary as a standard by which to measure values?
(2) Since the value of gold depends on the amount of labor necessary to procure it, is not labor the real measure of value, though obscured by the use of gold as a basis for currency?
(3) If a government were to issue a national currency which should be based on the wealth of the nation as security, would it be necessary for such government to have in their possession an amount of gold equal to such issue?
(4) Is it not one of the functions of government to provide the people with a stable currency at the least possible expense?
(5) When, as is the case in some states or provinces, the mode of taxation fur municipal purposes remains in the hands of town or county officials, would it, in your opinion, be a wise move for a town or county to adopt the tax on land values for municipal purposes irrespective of what surrounding towns or counties might do?
(1) No; not more than oak is necessity as a standard by which to measure distances. Values in general may be measured by anything. having value, just as distances may be measured by anything having length.
(2) No; for the reason given above.
(5) Yes. It would not be so beneficial to the municipality as if the tax were generally adopted, but despite that disadvantage, it would make the municipality exceptionally prosperous.
Another View of the Tax Shifting Question
Orient, L. I.—In replying to such questions as that of Mr. Nagle in your last issue, I think you should concede that, considered as a final measure, the proposal to take only such part cf rent as would be required for public expenses under present methods, would be inefficient as a remedy for the evils of land monopoly. This you seem unwilling to do. You say that a tax on land values will not increase the value of land, and in the next sentence or so admit that an increase of demand will have that effect. Now, will not the raising of public revenues from land increase the general prosperity; and if so, will not such increase exhibit itself as now in an increased demand for land? Is it not-, then, evident that a tax on land values will increase the value, or at least the price, of land? And if the increase of prosperity is proportionate to the increase of tax on land, will not the landlord be able to “shift the tax on to the consumer?” And it steins to me that this will apply equally to land held for speculation, for if only part of the rent is taken in taxation, will not the greater value of land which will follow be anticipated as now? This, of course, will only be in case the method of taking only one-fourth of rent for revenue is considered as a finality. As I understand it, the proposal is to ultimately so increase the public expenditures by paying off the debt, managing railroads, etc, that the whole rental value of land will be required for revenue.
Your understanding is correct. It is intended to increase the land value tax for public purposes so as to absorb, practically, all ground rent. We have never favored the mere shifting of taxes to land values as a finality. On the contrary we have always urged it as the easiest first stop in the right direction.
In saying that a tax on land values will not increase the value of land we do not say that the value of land will not be increased by other causes. At first it would afford incalculable relief to industry, but it is true, as you say, that this will enhance general prosperity, which will in turn increase demand for land, causing a rise in values. And the time will come, if the tax be not increased, when the landlord will get as much from his land as he gets now. But he will never get back the tax. If land be now worth $4 and the tax $1, the landlord can retain but $3; when land rises to $5, however, he will be able to retain $4. But this would not be a shifting of the tax back to the user. It would be a higher rent which would result from increased demand for land irrespective of the tax.
This greater value of land would of course be anticipated by speculators, but not to the same extent or with equal ill effects as now. This you can assure yourself of by supposing all present taxes shifted from land values to products; would not that increase speculation and make it more oppressive even than it is? This is hardly worth discussion, however, for our aim is to so increase the land value tax when the principle is once recognized as to absorb all the unearned value that attaches or may attach to land.
The Cow and Her Milk
New York, Aug. 1.—Given the Control of improvements could not taxes be shifted and rents fixed, high or low, as a syndicate might see lit?
They could not unless the syndicate included every man with brain and brawn enough to turn the raw materials of nature into improvements.
New York.—I am a student of your philosophy, profoundly impressed with the originality, logic, humanity and pathos of your immortal work on political economy, and having become somewhat perplexed upon a certain point I naturally come to you for light.
If government should take in the form of taxes all which is now taken by landlords in the shape of rent the proportions which would go for wages and interest would remain the same as heretofore. These proportions are generally much less than that which is given to land, and the difference seems to be in consequence of an economic law created by indolence on the one hand and competition on the other, whereby when the margin of cultivation falls rent rises while wages and interest fall. Now this unequal distribution is obviously unjust, and the government would have no more right to take an undue share and thus defraud labor and capital than the landlord.
Is there no way in which this difficulty could be obviated? Could no standard be adopted as a basis of taxation apart from the market value? Or if, as is conceded, the rent of land throughout the country far exceeds the necessities of government, would it not be advisable to levy a full tax upon all unoccupied land in order to prevent speculation and monopoly, and only such further tax on land in use as would be necessary for the public service, with the distinct proviso that in any case where a tenant should be required to pay more than the amount of the tax the government should demand the complete rental value or have the right of immediate confiscation?
Henry A. Hartt.
The proportions of wealth going to wages and interest would not remain the same as before. The tax would set free all land that had no real value, and wages and interest generally would rise to the point of profit that could be realized from the use of the most productive free land. This law operates now; but now, in consequence of land speculation engendered by absolute private ownership of land, the most productive free land (land free or nearly free) is so low in its productive qualities that wages and interest generally are low. Under the land value tax the best free land would be highly productive. In other words, a high land value tax raises the margin of production, while a small land value lax lowers it; and as the margin of production rises or falls wages and interest rise or fall. When a popular government takes land rents it is the people themselves who take the rents, and as they by their presence and demand for land create the rents, no one is defrauded. It is when rents go into private pockets that the landless are defrauded.
It is impracticable to levy a tax on unoccupied land alone. It would be impossible to distinguish between what is and what is not occupied. Moreover, to tax all unoccupied land would create land monopoly. The tax should rest only on that which has a market value. And further still, if only unoccupied land were taxed the owners of valuable occupied land would draw unearned incomes from it. If the owner could be prevented from doing that the advantage would be enjoyed by the occupier. A general land value tax equalizes natural and social opportunities, by making valueless land free to any one who chooses to occupy it, and by making the occupants of valuable land pay to the community the value of their special privilege. Thus the private advantage to every one is measured by the opportunity for production afforded by the best free land, and the common advantage by the ground rents paid for better lands.
Gould and Vanderbilt
Minneapolis, Minn.—The objection I met with most on the proposition to tax only land values is that it would not-be just to let such men as Jay Gould, Vanderbilt, etc, whose wealth is not in land, go untaxed.
E. C. Bissell.
If this objection were well founded, do you not think that motives of self-interest would prompt such intelligent men as Gould and Vanderbilt to favor the land value tax? And did you ever hear of these men fading to respond to the promptings of self-interest? Even if their neglect to favor the tax were accounted for, how do you account for the opposition of all men of their class? Surely you can meet this objection without any aid from us.
Borcodel, Wis.—(1) I am well aware that the accumulation of great wealth into the hands of the few is going on as rapidly in this country as in Europe, and that even under our much boasted freedom the masses in time will be as badly off here as they are in monarchical countries, and perhaps worse. In fact I admit all you say in your “Progress and Poverty” as far as the condition of the people is concerned. I cannot, however, yet see clearly that your remedy will accomplish what you claim for it; I sincerely wish I could. If private ownership of land was at the bottom of the poverty in the world, then it seems to me that the United States, at least so far, ought to be comparatively free from the curse. In this section of “Wisconsin land is very cheap, and some very productive land, too. Crawford county, for instance, is a rough, heavy-timbered county, but very productive. One-half of the land is held under tax titles. Still it has a good many actual paupers and a very large amount of very poor people. I do not think—and I have lived here twenty years—that over one farm in live would sell for more than the improvements cost, counting such cost very moderately, too. The city of Boscobel (population about 1,600) is about thirty years old. About twelve years ago there were built on the main streets some very good stone stores and there are some fair dwelling houses. In not one instance where a party wanted to sell could the owner get even cost of building for stone or residence, say nothing about getting pay for the ground. Some time ago a wealthy merchant here (now dead) built a brick residence costing about $10,000; it is situated on two blocks of ground; none more beautiful in any village or city; $6,000 will buy ground and building now. Now, Boscobel raises an animal school tax alone of $3,500. According to your theory, the land of Boscobel would be without value. How could we raise the necessary taxes?
(2) Is not the poverty of, say, Crawford county, and the very low price of property and general “hard times” in such villages as Boscobel, and Boscobel is not an isolated case (what is true of our village is equally true of all small country towns) due, to first, the tax we are compelled to pay railroads more than we ought to pay; second, the tax we pay on account of our protective tariff; third, the abnormal growth of cities and the abnormal consolidation of wealth in the hands of individuals.
(3) It seems to me that a graduated income tax arranged in such a way as to make it impossible for any one person to accumulate over a certain sum would give back to the people as a whole what had been taken out of their just earnings by the superior wisdom (if you will) or cunning or thievery of the individual. Make that sum, if you will, large enough to satisfy all reasonable human ambition, and do not commence on an income of less than, say, $5,000. And I do not think it would be a very hard tax to collect or very unpopular either.
(4) Under your theory we will say that two men start a boot and shoe factory on two pieces of ground equal in value. They, of course, would both pay the same taxes. One by the aid of large capital already in his possession builds a factory with ten times the capacity of the other. The net profits on the goods produced are presumably the same. The net income of the one would therefore be ten times that of the other the first year, and, of course, if put back into the business the difference in the incomes would increase each year. If so disposed, how long would it take the richer of the two to own the other body and soul, and crush him?
(1) The United States would be comparatively free from the curse of poverty if it were not for land speculation. If the rapid increase of population and improvements in production were permanently checked so that the country was at a standstill, poverty would greatly diminish, and probably disappear, for if there were such a check there would be no expectation of future demand for land, and land not required for use would be valueless. No one would in vest in vacant land, and no one would care to hold it. But despite the vastness of the country and the comparatively small population, we are crowded for room, because the expectation of an early future demand for more land for use generates land speculation, and land is held at higher prices than production can pay.
When you mention land in Crawford county as very productive. you mean naturally productive. It cannot be very productive commercially. You must observe that there is a marked difference between the natural and commercial productiveness of land. For example: Suppose a piece of land t h a t will produce 100 bushels of corn, but which is so situated with relation to the market that it costs fifty bushels to bring it to the consumer, and another piece of equal area that will produce but seventy-five bushels, but which is so situated with relation to the market that it costs but twenty-five bushels to bring it to the consumer; then the first piece is naturally more productive than the second, but commercially their productiveness is equal. Your Crawford county land, though naturally very productive, is commercially such poor land that it offers no inducement to industry, and is held under tax titles, awaiting the advance of general industry. You think it strange that there should be poverty where there is rich land; but you forget that, in the first place. it offers no inducements to the general industry of the country, and, in the second, that it is fenced in with tax titles so that, considering its commercial productiveness, no one can get access to it on any better terms than he can get access to any other land.
If real estate in your community sells for the cost of the improvements, it proves one of two things: Either, first, that the improvements have cost more than it would now to produce them; or, second, that the community is retrograding. The first alternative you will be able to consider without further explanation; but with reference to the second, it may be well to remind you that land values increase with the advance, and diminish with the retrogression of a community. To illustrate with exact figures the effect of this: Suppose that in an advancing community a lot of land is worth $3,000, and you erect upon it a store costing $20,000. So long as such an expensive building is adapted to the wants of the community and there is no change in the cost of buildings, the store and lot will sell for $35,000. and this value will be readily recognized by anyone as consisting of five parts land value and twenty parts house value.. But now suppose that subtle social changes occurred in the community, in consequence of which the entire property will sell for only $20,000; would you infer that the lot had lost all value, or that the business of the community had undergone a change which made such a building too expensive? And if you were in doubt, would you not make some such inquiries as these: Has similar land similarity situated no value at all? Can inexpensive buildings be bought for the cost of land and building? And if you learned that vacant land commanded a price, or that a building costing $2,000 placed on land costing $500 would bring $2,500 or $2,200, would you not justly conclude that the difficulty with the expensive store property was that the inadaptability of such a store to the diminished business of the place had reduced the value of the building? Suppose you should erect upon a village lot worth $500 a store like A. T. Stewarts, would you expect to sell it for its cost? Of course not. If you sold, the price would not only make the land worth nothing, according to the reasoning you have adopted, but would make it worth many thousand dollars less than nothing, and yet you would find that an adjoining vacant lot would still sell for $500. In that case there would he no change in land values; the transaction would only measure the folly of the builder.
The case of your wealthy merchant who built a brick residence costing $10,000 which will not sell for more now, land and building, than $6,000, does not show that the land has no value. It shows that the building is too expensive for your house market. If he had bought a magnificent diamond with his $10,000 the result of a sale would be the same or worse if it were a condition of the sale that the buyer should take up his residence in Boscobel.
If you will take the trouble to ascertain the value of vacant land in Boscobel, and to compare the value of such buildings as are adapted to the necessities of the community with the value of the whole property—land and buildings—we are inclined to think that you will find that there are sufficient land values in Boscobel to pay all your taxes; and we are sure that if you try to buy a vacant lot in Boscobel for nothing you will be willing to withdraw your statement that under the land value tax the land of Boscobel would be without value.
(2) We do not believe that the private tax paid to railroads causes poverty; but it is a tax that should be abolished by making all highways public, and as near as possible free.
The protective tariff tax does tend to impoverish the people, and the land value tax would abolish it.
The “abnormal growth” of cities does not cause poverty, but the unnatural and unnecessary crowding in cities does. Under the land value tax cities would spread out, and there would be no crowding. Consolidation of wealth in .the hands of individuals does not make poverty; but these large fortunes side by side with abject dependence for the opportunity of making a living do. The land value tax would make every one independent on the one hand, and the accumulation of large fortunes on the other impossible.
(3) A graduated income tax, if honestly paid, would bear upon the producer as well as the non- producer. In respect to the minimum income it would exempt that which was unearned as well as that which was earned. It would not open up monopolized opportunities to labor, as the land value tax would. It would license monopoly merely on condition that part of the plunder should be paid back to the community. It would be a burden upon industry and enterprise. It is tite de vice of men who, recognizing injustice, yet lacking the inclination or intelligence to trace it to its cause, strive to remedy it by assailing its beneficiaries. It is a tax that cannot be honestly collected. Honorable men will pay it; dishonorable men will lie out of it,
(4) The richer man could never own the other body and soul, nor crush him. There would be no land, no public debts, no monopolies of any kind, in which the richer man could invest. His whole capital, therefore, would have to be invested in production, thus helping to increase the wealth of the community and benefiting the poorer shoe manufacturer as well as every one else. If he undertook to crush his rival, his only way would be by diminishing the price of shoes. This he could do only by cutting down the profits. He could not do it at the expense of wages. It would be to the advantage of wages as long as it lasted. In cutting down his own profits, you may say, he would compel the poorer manufacturer to cut down, his. Very good. But still the poorer manufacturer would get as high or higher wages than before. He would not be crushed. And suppose the process of cutting down the prices of shoes was continued until there was no interest left in the capital; then the poorer man would get no interest on his capital, but he would still get wages for his work. And if the richer man begun to cut into his capital, his business being so much larger than his rivals, his capital would melt as fast as his rivals. It would be a race in which the men would be neck and neck to the end; and that is not a race which a rich, ambitious and grasping shoe manufacturer would enter.
New York.—There is scarcely any work on economics which I have read with more pleasure than your “Progress and Poverty,” not only on account of the great public interest taken in the work, but also because of the high purpose of the author. There is one thing, however, which I confess I fail to understand, namely, how the possession of the “unearned increment of land” by the state will abolish poverty. Rent is at present absorbed by individuals, who either spend it in unproductive consumption or devote it to the increase of capital. In the latter case they benefit the laboring population, because they increase the “wages fund.” Suppose the state appropriated rent, would any larger portion of that rent go to the support of productive laborers? You yourself say (book ix, p. 410), “We could establish public baths, museums, libraries,” etc. I grant these things are good; but wherein would they increase the capital of the country? In short. unless a large part of the rent, which is now spent in buildings, baths and museums for the rich and idle landlords, is not transferred, under the regime you propose, to capital, I am entirely unable to understand how you will abolish poverty. I believe this to be a stumbling block to many readers of your book. If you can clear this block away there will no longer be any doubt about the expediency cf your tax.
L. D. W.
Read Book 9 of “Progress and Poverty” carefully, and then study chapter 6 of Book 3.
A Pertinent Question
Boston, August 4.—I once read a speech of a clergyman of this city upon the subject of free trade, in which he asked this question: “What is it that makes a man our enemy on the other side of the water and our friend the moment he touches our shores.”
E. P. F.
A Needed Electoral Reform
The Tribune publishes a long and interesting interview with Allen Thorndike Rice, editor of the North American Review, upon the subject of electoral reform. Mr. Rice was in the last election the republican nominee for congress in the Sixteenth district, and received such a large labor vote that he would undoubtedly have been elected had not the republican ward manager deliberately sold him out to his democratic competitor. At the expense of a great deal of lime and trouble, Mr. Rice has succeeded in having Captain Cregan, the republican boss of the Sixteenth, expelled from the republican organization, but the insight that he has gained into practical politics as carried on in New York has convinced him that thorough reforms are needed to break up the system which makes a gang of professional politicians, who though nominally belonging to opposite parties all work together when “there is money in it,” the arbiters of nominations and frequently the dictators of elections.
Mr. Rice says:
The power of organized knavery in our city politics comes chiefly from two sources—first, our present methods of nomination; and, second, our present method of balloting and the attendant personal expenses of a canvass.
Nominations by primaries are admirably adapted for rural communities where the town meeting still exists—where everybody knows his neighbor—but, as applied to a great city, it too often proves a scheme to grant a monopoly of nominations to the unscrupulous, lawless and criminal classes. It is, therefore—as these facts are well known—useless to appeal to citizens to attend the primaries; they refuse to go, as a rule, after one visit to these pandemoniums of the roughs, where neither parliamentary law nor any presence of order is observed. Now, ail reform of our city politics must begin here; for, no matter bow much politics might be purified else where (even if bribery any false returns were rendered impossible), just so long as the power of nominating unworthy candidates is left in the bands of the controller of the primaries, just so long will no progress—or no effective progress—have been made.
If you want an illustration of the trickery by which primaries are controlled, read the testimony before the committee appointed to investigate the last primary election in the Sixteenth assembly district. Enough dead men were proven—not to have voted, of course, but to have been voted for—on that occasion to elect the minority ticket! The expenses of a congressional election in a metropolitan district are now so great that it is impossible for any person but a man of means to be a candidate unless supplied with funds from outside sources. Honest poor men are now in our cities virtually made ineligible as representatives of the people. Unnecessarily large sums are expended in this city at every election. It is not the working people who “advance” or who can advance these sums; Although. When corrupt men are thus elected, it is they in the end who foot all the bills in the form of increased taxation, direct or indirect.
As to the manner in which votes are bought in this city, Mr. Rice says: I can give you no better instance of this than the advice tendered me by a New York city politician who glories in the fact that he is a “practical politician,” as to ho w I could overcome a majority of different politics in my district. I was assured again and again, and with much earnestness, that it could easily be done—at a cost of $5 a vote. “We hire democrats by the day.” he said, “as workers for us—men who can be influenced. We pay chem $5 a day for their work in advance. The first thing we do with them is to see that they go up to the box and vote for our man; after that we seldom look after them any more; they usually turn up in the police station next morning!”
Like all others who have studied the subject, Mr. Rice has come to the conclusion that the evils of which he speaks could be largely, if not entirely, cured by the adoption of the Australian system of voting. The power of the rings and halls—the value of a regular nomination—comes from the necessity of elaborate and costly machinery for the distribution of tickets; while bribery and intimidation are both made possible by the want of secrecy in our present mode of voting. If the ballots are printed at public expense and are given to the voter in such a way that he is compelled to make a choice between all the candidates, and this choice is made in secret, the nominee of the regular organization will have from that fact no advantage over the independent candidate; the printing of tickets, the providing of booths and the hiring of ticket peddlers will no longer furnish an excuse for assessing candidates and a convenient cloak for corruption, while the want of knowledge as to what ticket the voter casts will foil the attempt to bribe or intimidate.
Mr. Rice has not been contented with merely advocating the Australian system, but with the characteristic energy and practicability so well shown by his prosecution of Cregan before the republican committee, he has gone to work and made the following draft of a bill:
An act to promote open nominations to office, and provide greater security for the secrecy of the ballot:
The people of the state of New York, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. In all places where the registration of Citizens entitled to vote at an election is authorized by law, the registration shall take place on the second and third Tuesdays of October next preceding the election.
Sec. 2. The registering officers shall receive and print at least live days before the day of registration the names of all the eligible persons who, after the first day of September, and before the first Tuesday of October in each year, may be recommended as fitted for the offices to be filled at the ensuing election. The recommendation is to be signed by at least voters of the district who voted at the last election.
Sec. 3. At the time of the registration each citizen registered shall be requested to designate such of the persons so recommended as he may wish to put in nomination for the offices to be filled.
Sec. 4. If any person shall be thus designated by one-tenth of the persons registered at the last election, his name shall be placed upon the list of candidates whose expenses for election are to be borne by the county, as hereinafter mentioned.
Sec. 5. In the event of death after nomination any candidate receiving one-tenth of the endorsement given to the deceased candidate shall, if practically within the power of the registering officers, be placed upon the list of regular candidates.
Sec. 6. The registering officers shall prepare suitable ballots, in the form now required by law, containing the names of the persons thus nominated, and shall furnish these ballots in sufficient numbers to serve all the voters of the district at the election.
Sec. 7. The expense of printing these ballots and of providing polling places for their distribution, and persons to distribute them, shall be home by the county as other expenses of election are now borne.
Sec 8. The ballots shall be upon white pa per, without any impression or mark to distinguish one from another, except as herein expressly authorized.
2. Every ballot shall have a caption, but such caption shall be printed in one straight line in black ink with plain type of the size generally known as “great primer roman condensed capitals.” There shall be as many ballots as there are offices to be ti lied, and the names of all candidates for the same office shall be upon one ballot. Each ballot must be attached to a stub or counterfoil, and the face of the ballot must be in the following form, viz.:
Stub or counterfoil.
1. A.B. of The counterfoil is to have a number to correspond with that on the back of the ballot.
1. A. B. of
St. or ave.
1. C. D. of
St. or ave.
1. E. F. of
St. or ave.
1. G. H. of
St. or ave.
The form on the back of the ballot must be la the following
3. It shall be the duty of the officer who furnishes the registry lists as provided by law to furnish also the chairman of the board of inspectors at each polling place, on the morning of the election, a book or books of ballots of the form and character above described, and also to furnish to the same person the stamp hereinafter directed to be used.
4. After the canvass of the votes the stubs or counterfoils of the ballot books, together with all defaces or mutilated ballots and all unused ballots and the stamp, shall be filed in the same manner and at the same time us the poll list or registry list is required to be filed.
Sec. 9—1. Each polling place must be furnished with such number of compartments in which electors can mark their votes, screened from observation, as the chairman of the board of inspectors thinks necessary, so that at least one compartment is provided for every 200 voters. Each compartment must be kept provided with suitable materials for voters to mark their ballots with.
2. Before a ballot is delivered to an elector the number, name and description of the elector, as stated in the registry list, must be called out and a mark or marks must be placed in the registry list to denote that he has received a ballot or ballots, and the ballot or ballots must there be stamped by the chairman of the board of inspectors with the official stamp herein before mentioned. And such official stamp must be changed each year and kept secret by the officers furnishing it, as hereinbefore provided, until the morning of the election, when it must be delivered to the respective chairmen of the boards of inspection, and to no one else.
3. The elector upon receiving his ballot or ballots must forthwith proceed into one of the compartments of the polling place and there mark his ballot or ballots by marking a line or lines through the names of the candidates for whom he does not wish to vote. He must then fold each ballot so as to conceal the contents and deliver it so folded to one of the inspectors in the presence of the board, and the same must thereupon be deposited in the ballot box in the manner now required by law.
4. If the elector inadvertently spoils a ballot he can return it to the chairman of the board of inspectors, who must, if satisfied of of such inadvertence, give him another.
5. If an elector is incapacitated by blindness or other cause from voting in the manner herein prescribed, he may inform the chairman of the board of inspectors of the fact, and thereupon the chairman must go with the elector into the compartment and cross out the names as directed by the elector.
6. No voter shall take a ballot list of the polling place nor deposit in the ballot box any other paper than the one given him by the board of inspectors.
Sec. 10. Every officer, clerk or agent in attendance at a polling station must maintain or aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting In such station, and must not communicate, except for some purpose authorized by law, before the poll is closed, any information as to the name or number on the register of votes or the registry list of any elector who has not applied for a ballot paper, or voted at that station, or as to the official stamp; and no officer, clerk, agent or other person whatsoever shall interfere with or attempt to interfere with a voter when marking his vote, or otherwise attempt to obtain at the polling station information as to the candidate for whom any voter in such station is about to vote or has voted, or as to the number on the back of the ballot given to any voter at such station. Every officer, clerk or person in attendance at the counting of the votes must maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting, and must not attempt to ascertain at such counting the number on the back of any ballot paper, or communicate any information obtained as to such counting or as to the candidate for whom any vote is given in any particular ballot paper. No person shall directly or indirectly induce any other to display his ballot after he shall have marked the same, so as to make known to any person the name of the candidate for or against whom he may have voted. No person shall be required, in any legal proceeding relating to the election or return, to state for whom he has voted.
Sec. 11. Any officer, clerk or agent in attendance at the .polling station convicted of violating the provisions of this act shall be guilty of misdemeanor.
Sec. 12. All acts and parts of acts heretofore passed, so far as the same are inconsistent with the provisions of this act, are hereby repealed.
In one respect Mr. Rice has made an improvement, both upon the plan adopted in Australia and those modeled upon it, which have been since adopted in Great Britain and in some other British colonies. In Australia, as we understand it, to secure the printing of his name upon tickets, the candidate must deposit a certain sum, which is returned to him in case he receives a certain number of votes, and forfeited if he does not. In Great Britain there is no return, but the money is used to defray election expenses. The object of these provisions is to prevent the filling up of the ballots with the names of those who have no reasonable chance of election; but by the device of allowing the voter to nominate when he registers, Mr. Rice has suggested a plan by which nominations can be made directly by the people. In order to provide for cases of death or other unforeseen occurrences between the time of registration and election, it might be well to add a provision by which, on payment of a certain sum, the name of a candidate might be placed upon the tickets even after the closing of registration, the money to be returned if the candidate received a certain number of votes. But this is a mere detail. The bill as a whole bears evidence of very careful preparation, and Mr. Rice has done a great public service in putting the proposition in concrete form.
The adoption of a measure of this kind would unquestionably be the largest single reform which could be made in our political system. It would end the power of rings and halls, do away with the trade of the “practical” ward politicians, make it possible for poor men to run for office, and end the bribery which is so shamelessly practiced in this city, and even more shamelessly practiced in some of the interior counties, and also end the intimidation, direct or indirect, by which many citizens are now coerced in their voting. It would, in fact, give to the individual citizen something like the power which he is theoretically supposed to have under our system, but which has in reality become little more than a mockery.
In his Tribune interview Mr. Rice says:
“Until you take money out of politics—as is already done in other countries—the power of “halls” and “combines” will remain unshaken, because—note this fact—the existing law provides no legal means for carrying out its own provisions. It tacitly assumes the existence of independent organizations for that purpose and thereby prolongs their existence. The fact that the old hulls have been held together from year to year by the cohesive power of public plunder gives them decided advantage over any new organization, which must necessarily be chiefly or largely composed of volunteers—inexperienced even when honest—and rarely able to compete with old veterans who know every man in their districts and every trick of political knavery, and are untrammeled by scruples of honesty. But, to create any new organization is a most expensive undertaking; and yet no election can be held without such a body of workers and watchers. In the interest of the purity of elections, therefore, the legitimate expenses of a canvass should be defrayed from the public treasury; m no other way will the verdict of the public ever be accurately and honestly recorded.
This method insures genuine secrecy of voting, and it takes away the temptation for bribing voters, because no man and no machine will bribe voters when they have no guarantee that the purchased vote will be delivered. I am told that in Nevada is a law intended solely to avoid “personal difficulties” near the ballot box, providing that no one not actually intending at the moment to east a vote shall be permitted to approach nearer than fifty feet from the ballot box. One result of this law was most unexpected. The authors of the bill discovered—I trust not to their disgust—that they had practically abolished bribery by this single proviso! It was found that no politician would spend a dollar in bribing voters after that law went into operation, because he was unable to have ocular demonstration of the good faith of the person whom he might otherwise have been willing to bribe. Now, genuine secrecy—such as this bill provides for—would be a death blow to corruption on the part of local political managers. They would not buy goods that they could not see delivered. Secrecy of balloting is essential to purity of election, for it alone effectually prevent frauds, bribery and terrorism.
The extra cost of this system to the public in the city of New York, Mr. Rice estimates roughly at $150,000 for a general election. But this is nothing as compared with what would be saved, for the present enormous expenses of elections, legitimate and illegitimate, are in the long run paid by the tax payers with very heavy additions. There can be no truer economy than that of spending whatever is necessary to secure the purity of elections and the utmost freedom in the expression of the popular will. Indeed, the principle that election expenses should be borne by the public purse ought to be carried even further than Mr. Rice proposes, and public halls ought to be provided, which should be open for political meetings at no greater cost than that of the lighting and a janitor’s fee.
But the adoption of a bill like this will be a great step in the right direction. All the professional politicians will be against it; but if there is an energetic demand for it on the part of the honest men of all parties, there will be no difficulty at the next election in pledging candidates for the legislature on all the tickets to its support.
The united labor party has more to gain by such a measure than either of the other parties, and had the Australian system of voting been in force at the last election it would undoubtedly have swept the city. The Clarendon hall platform declared for a measure of this kind, and we have no doubt that the party in the coming election will make an even more decided demand. A prominent democrat—the city chamberlain, Mr. Ivins—has, since the last election, urged the measure in a very able pamphlet, and now comes Mr. Rice, who represents the best element of the republican party, to put it in definite shape. If the efforts of these gentlemen are seconded by the daily press, it will be a comparatively easy matter to arouse such public interest as will carry the bill through in spite of the efforts of the professional politicians, and once adopted in this state, other states will undoubtedly follow the example of New York.
The Decay Of Pay Schools
A Rutland paper thinks that it is “one of the saddest facts in Vermont history” that the old academies are giving way before the high schools supported by public expense. Precisely why it is a matter for regret in any American community that opportunity for education is free to all able to embrace it, we fail to see. The matter for regret is that so small a number are able to take full advantage of the educational facilities theoretically accorded to all. The remedy for this is not to curtail existing facilities, but to bring about such an improvement in the general welfare—such an equitable division of the enormous production of wealth by modern industry that every citizen shall be able to give to all his children the highest education that they are capable of receiving. The common objection to this on the part of persons opposed to public high schools is that if all were so well educated nobody could be found willing to do the necessary manual labor.
This is a foolish suggestion, and not in accord with known facts. It is based on the assumption that schools are the only educators, whereas the fact is that the labor movement of the past few years has educated a vast number of men still engaged in mechanical labor to an extent never reached by our schools, as ordinarily conducted.
Some months ago the writer sat beside a college professor at a dinner given by a political organization composed exclusively of a single craft. Among the regular speakers was a printer, who, in the course of his speech, touched on the question of socialism, and with great clearness defined the difference between the doctrines of the united labor party and those of the state socialists. The speaker declared his personal antipathy to any system that would crush out individualism. The professor asked in a whisper where the man had been educated, and was told that beyond what education he had received in the common schools and at the printer’s case, he had acquired his education by voluntary reading, and had gained his parliamentary training in the typographical union. Alter the regular toasts were over a young man present was called on to say something for the car drivers’ association. He made an off-hand after-dinner speech, abounding in good sense and humor. “Does that man actually?”—completing the sentence with a significant movement of his hands, asked the professor. On being answered in the affirmative, he added: “I begin to question the value of my own life work when I find that men like these can be turned out without the aid of colleges.”
On another occasion the writer, conversing with a newspaper proprietor, complained of his inability to find a competent business manager for a newspaper he then controlled. Be your own business manager was the advice given in return, and, added the proprietor, “have college chaps to do your editorial writing—they’re the cheapest things on earth.”
The reason that the higher education appears to unfit men for manual labor and to overcrowd the professions and all avocations into which such men enter is that we have utterly lost sight of the true object of education, and come to look on it as merely one of the means for equipping those receiving it for that struggle for subsistence in which all men are engaged. When the curse of poverty is removed from our land, and opportunities are freely opened to all to work, in order that by the proceeds of their labor their may gratify their wants, education will be looked on as a means for gratifying, and uplifting all men, for ministering to their mental hunger and broadening them spiritually, and not simply as an investment for gaining food and clothing for their bodies. Then to be learned will be to be honored, and ignorance will be justly accounted disgraceful. Then will such scientists as those who recently met in this city talk to popular audiences composed of mechanics, merchants and laborers, and the newspapers will compete in making good reports of their proceedings and give them a large portion of the space now devoted to scandal and inane gossip about the doings of the small minority of the people who are now able without work to spend their summers in idleness by the seashore and in the mountains and their winters in enervating luxury in town.
The man who marches beneath the banner of the new crusade, and whose eyes have seen the promise of the restoration of the reign of justice, has no fear that there can be too much free instruction. When labor shall enjoy its full reward, when the great boon of the fear of want shall have perished, when leisure shall come to all for the cultivation of mind and soul and the gratification of that thirst for knowledge which is as natural to unstunted man as is the hunger for bodily food, we cannot easily have too many free schools.
If there is one thing respecting the land question that the united labor party has made clearer than another, it is that the party is opposed to all ownership of land; and yet the Times, in criticizing the attitude of the party toward the socialists, assumes that the party advocates state ownership. The criticism would be ill-founded if it were so, for there is a clear distinction between public ownership of land and public ownership of the products of individual labor. But it is not so. The united labor party is opposed to state ownership as well as to individual ownership of land. Its principle is that individuals should be free to occupy land on equal terms, paying to the community the rental value of valuable land and paying nothing to anybody for the occupation of land that has no rental value. Inasmuch as it is impossible for any one to understand what he wishes not to understand, it cannot be expected of the Times to understand the well defined and consistently observed principles of the united labor party.
One of the speakers connected with the anti-poverty movement will shortly visit Shamokin, Sunbury, Levisburg and Williamsport, Pa., and will be happy to speak for land and labor clubs in those places. Particulars can be had, and dates arranged by correspondence with The Standard.
Henry George is around the country, now in West Virginia, making speeches concerning the abolition of poverty. Many men have carried that idea into effect who have hardly earned in a quarter what he receives for a single speech, and so far it does not appear that his panacea has helped an individual case.—[Boston Advertiser.]
His “panacea” does not pro fess to help individual cases. He does not teach how any one may escape poverty, but how the social conditions of all may be so improved that no one need suffer poverty.
The pro-poverty press leaves no room to doubt the wisdom of the policy of the united labor party in regard to the socialistic labor party. If that press had editorially approved the action of the former party, it might well have caused alarm; but since it attacks it, we may infer that it is the enemy that has occasion for alarm. The sentiment of an enemy is often a valuable guide. When it points north we are fairly safe in going south.
A Letter from Thomas G. Shearman
Thomas G. Shearman sends us from Ramsau, Bavaria, the article on “Objections to the Land Tax” which appears in The Standard of this week. Mr. Shearman writes:
The Standard reaches me regularly, and maintains its excellence. Not only are its editorial pages good, but it seems to draw out a set of unusually intelligent correspondents. Even the critics of your theory are not so stupid in your paper as they generally are in the others. . . .
Are you not a little too sharp in your criticisms of Lyman Abbott, President Dwight of Yale, etc.? I think that Abbott’s report was a fair subject of humorous criticisms, and you could have made any amount of fun about it; but you are in error if you class Abbott with the supporters of the present system of society. On the contrary, I think that he is much more socialistic in his views than you are, and certainly much more than I am. The reason why he does not take sides with you entirely is mainly because he cannot believe that so simple a remedy can produce such large effects as you claim. He is very much in sympathy with the working class, and is a believer in the ultra co-operative theory, in which I have not much faith.
Your cause is doing wonderfully well. More than ever, you can now afford to maintain a cheerful temper and to look ob the sunny side of men and things.
Gladstone’s policy is certain to win, whether he lives or dies; and after the Irish question is disposed of the land question is sure to come up in England. It would be a good thing for the aristocracy if they had sense enough to compromise on the land tax. But they are sure not to do this, and they are likely to go fart her and fare a great deal worse. Yours very sincerely,
Thos. G. Shearman.
A Religion to Live and Die By
Stapleton, S. I.—I have seen fifty-six years of varied prosperity and poverty; have lived at points thousands of miles apart and engaged in a variety of pursuits, from gold hunting in California to platting city lots in Ohio, and through it all I have been seeking a religion to live and die by. I have found it at last in your moral, social and political doctrine of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
D. W. C.
Uptown Real Estate in New York
Among the sales of real estate in the upper part of the city mentioned by the Uptown Visitor of last week are those of live lots with two-story frame dwellings on the north side of 138th street, 125 feet east of Tenth avenue, for $11,500, and four lots on the south side of Sixty-third street, l00 feet east of Eleventh avenue, at $3,000 each. The advance in the price of the property first mentioned was $2,000 in two months, and of the other more than $4,000 in less than six months.
A Miners’ Meeting at Wilkesbarre
A meeting was held at Wilkesbarre, Pa., on Tuesday, to demand the enforcement of the two weeks’ pay bill. Two thousand live hundred people were present, most of them miners from the adjacent districts. Dr. John J. Smythe of Sugar Notch was chosen chairman, and among the speakers were Senator Morgan B. Williams, P. A. Boyle of Pittston, D. M. Jones of Wilkesbarre, and Henry George, Jr. Mr. George spoke for about an hour, giving a considerable portion of his time to an explanation of the land question. Resolutions were passed demanding that the law be observed.
The Lesson of Antiquity
Montesquieu’s “Considerations of the Cause of the Grandeur and Declension of the Roman Empire” is not a book which the average English speaking reader often consults, for the simple reason that English translations of it are both scarce and poor. It is, however, a great work, and in it the soldier of the new crusade will find many helpful thoughts. Here are a few passages:
The avarice of some particular persons and the lavish profuseness of others occasioned the lands to become the property of a few. Immediately arts were introduced to supply the reciprocal wants of the rich and poor; there were but very few soldiers or citizens seen. for the revenues of the lands that had before been employed to support the latter were now bestowed wholly upon slaves and artificers, who ministered to the luxury of the new proprietors.
Those who expect in a free state to see the people undaunted in war and pusillanimous in peace are certainly desirous of impossibilities; and it may be advanced as a general rule that whenever a perfect calm is visible in a state that calls itself a republic the spirit of liberty no longer exists.
Mrs. Langtry drove over from her Long Branch cottage to the race track yesterday afternoon, reaching the race course at 4 o’clock. Mr. Gebhard had arrived earlier, and was awaiting her coming impatiently. The English beauty wore a gown of pale pink woolen material, and her waist was encircled by a big pale blue silk sash with embroidered edges. Her complexion was pale enough to harmonize with the pale shades of her attire, and she seemed much more slender than when she started upon her western trip. She was accompanied by a fair friend, and Mr. Gebhard escorted the two to pleasant seats on the club house piazza, where all three saw the defeat of Eole with deep regret.—[New York Tribune.]
The Princess Pignatale is now a waiter girl in a second-class Vienna cafe. She quarreled with her noble relatives last winter, and tried lite in a London music hall for a brief period.
Julia Armstrong, an old woman, homeless and friendless, was discharged yesterday from the Homeopathic hospital at Blackwell’s island. She had been ab the hospital for a long while suffering from consumption and rheumatism. She wandered around the streets during the day, and when night came on applied at St. Barnabas’s home, in Mulberry street, for lodging. The rain poured in torrents when the old woman tottered up the steps to the door of the home and rang the bell. One of the sisters came to the door heard the woman’s story and refused her admittance. She went to police headquarters. There are no lodging places there for women, and she was sent to the Mulberrv street station. The sergeant on duty told her that all the places were full and sent her away. She came back to police headquarters and fell utterly exhausted in a pool of water in the street. She was picked up by several reporters and carried into their quarters. Sergeant Kelleher, when he learned that the woman was seriously ill, sent an ambulance call from, police headquarters and she was taken to Bellevue hospital. As she was being carried to the ambulance she said piteously that all she wanted was to be taken to some place where it, was quiet and left alone to die.—[New York Tribune.]
The Boston Herald says that a wealthy gentleman of Boston is having constructed two burial caskets for the future use of himself and wife, at a cost of $10,000.
Jean Durion, who died in a Frankfort street tenement house lately, was the son of a wealthy commodore in the United States navy. He died in the most abject poverty, and his poor old wife was heart broker, because she could not pay for a coffin and hearse and had to let him be buried in Pottens field. Durion had been a sober, industrious, saving man all his life, and was simply ruffed by hard luck.
A young man has been making a good living recently by strolling along the streets with a sealed letter in his hand and begging every passer by for a postage stamp. He invariably ref used money. He sold the stamps at a discount to a dealer down town.
The latest wrinkle among the girls at Narragansett is to lisp and use “baby talk,” which is considered “verwy tunnin.”—[Philadelphia Times.]
The Mail and Express reports a woman and her baby starving at No. 30 Orchard street, New York. The pair, when found, had supported life for more than a week on ten cents worth of dry bread. The police were notified.
Albert Vincent of Kansas City dragged a young lady from before a runaway team, and was himself knocked down and badly trampled. He remained in his tenement room, without medical treatment and unable to work, for several weeks. Finally the landlord threw him out, and he was picked up on the streets with one leg mortified. Then he was sent to a hospital.
Thomas McCormack, 312 East Fifteenth street, was found by one of the visiting physicians of the health board in the last stage of consumption, and unable to work. His little thirteen-year-old daughter was supporting the family on her weekly wage of $2. Mr. and Mrs. Whitney spend $100,000 a year for charity.
The Minneapolis Journal says the society for the suppression of vice, of that city, is having small success in its work. A leading member of the society told the Journal reporter that the “great hindrance to the prosecution of the work is the rotten condition of society.”
Henry S. Ives had a simple method of getting money when he needed it. As president of the C , H. and D. railway, he issued preferred stock to Henry S. Ives & Co. in return for their check. He then deposited the check with Henry S. Ives & Co. as hankers for the road, and the transaction was complete.
A Waterbury merchant, visiting New York lately, was accosted by bunko men after the usual fashion. The merchant accepted an invitation to lunch, ale a hearty meal in a Broadway restaurant at the bunko man’s expense, and then left to catch his train, advising his entertainers to come down and work Waterbury.
Oscar Wilde’s dining room is described as a dainty, cream colored and specially attractive apartment—white walls, white chairs, white cabinets—not a trace of color anywhere save in the rare glass and china and the flowers and fruit on the table.
One of the charming events in society life at Santa Cruz was the reception given to the Mandolinata club by Mr. Peter Donahue, on board the Nellie. The club, chaperoned by Mrs. William Dunphy, and accompanied by a few friends, boarded the yacht about 9 o’clock and were delighted at the extent of the preparations made for their comfort. Snowy canvas inclosed the deck, fanciful Japanese lanterns shed a soft and pleasing light in the improvised drawing room, and, to lend dignity to the occasion, the arrival of the guests was greeted with salvos from the yacht’s howitzers and showers of rockets and fireworks.—[San Francisco Call.]
Maylein Lamberson, a young German, wearing dirty clothes, with ragged edges, had pleaded guilty to stealing a lot of property from the George Weber brewing company. The property he took was valued at $145. He was sentenced to hard labor in the penitentiary for six years and to pay the cost—[Cincinnati Times-Star.]
The dress worn by the Princess of Wales at the last state concert attracted a great deal of attention. The foundation of the toilet was a magnificent brocade of simmering gold and red, with lustrous drapings of red satin and beaded embroidery. Her corsage sparkled with diamonds, and the tiara that encircled her head crowned it with ever changing flashes of light.—[Oakland, Cal., Echoes.]
Officer Schwartz arrested this morning Angela Creola, an Italian woman living at No. 23 Park avenue, and her ten-year-old daughter Viena. The girl and her mother were standing in front of a barrel of refuse on Myrtle avenue, opposite Fort Greene, eating some rotten apples and melons they had fished out. Viena had buried her face in a melon, the odor of which was terrific, and the mother ate with relish the decomposed fruits she had picked up. A large crowd stood as near as the smell would allow them and watched the Italians with disgust. As the pair secured article after article they would take a bite and place the remainder in a bag, evidently for the purpose of rating when they reached home.—[Brooklyn Citizen.]
On Wednesday last Mrs. Peter Donahue gave a charming luncheon party at her residence, on Rincon hill, in honor of Mrs. Holloway and daughter of Baltimore, who are making a visit to this coast. The guests arrived shortly after noon, and were received by the the hostess, assisted by Mrs. Ed. Martin, the Baroness von Schrotler and ex-Governor Downey. An hour later the company sat down to the enjoyment of a delicious repast, which was served amid a profusion of the choicest flowers, arranged with excellent taste upon the ample table and throughout the apartment. The menus were handsomely illustrated with paintings of California Hora, and the favors consisted of elegant corsage bouquets tied with dainty ribbons. After lunch the parlors were sought, and the afternoon was whiled away amidst the delights of music.—[San Francisco Call.]
By The Seashore
The Anti-Poverty Society’s First Grove Meeting
A Perfect Day, an Immense Throng and Nothing to Mar the Pleasure—Music, Dancing, Fun, Good Humor and Sound Doctrine—Speeches by Dr. McGlynn, Hugh O. Pentecost and Henry George
The first grove meeting and excursion of the Anti-poverty society will long be remembered with pleasure by the thousands who attended it. The weather was perfect, no untoward event occurred, and the financial success of the affair was greater than expected. Saturday, Aug. 13, 1887, is now marked as a red-letter day in the diaries of all good anti-povertyites.
The time schedule was well observed for such an occasion, the barges being taken up on time from their moorings at West Eleventh street and Broome and Eighth streets, East river, and the full flotilla being formed off East Thirty-first only half an hour late. The trip thence to the grove was made in two hours and a half.
It was a huge collection of watercraft that carried the excursionists. The tugboats Jason, Howard and Edwin Hawley, lashed side by side, preceded the rest of the fleet, being attached to it by long tug lines. The steamer Crystal Stream assisted the tugs in their work, the barges Caledonia and Republic being swung to its port side and the Coxsackie and Myers to the starboard. As the boats proceeded swiftly up the river, a hundred Hags of various nations flying from them, they attracted attention from every quarter. Passing steamboats hailed them with whistle blasts, people on the piers and along shore cheered, and even the unfortunates of the institutions of the islands collected in groups and waved their hats in greeting.
Aboard the boats all the sounds and scenes were inspiriting. Bayne’s Sixty-ninth regiment baud, in two sections, furnished good dancing music. A little Impromptu orchestra composed of an Irish piper and a fiddler on one of the lower decks put life into the toes of a merry party of young men and women expert in the steps of the Irish jig. Very soon after the start the salt air whetted the appetites of many and there was a cry for chowder that set piles of plates clattering at lunch counters. People were sociable. Groups and couples moved over the gang-planks from boat to boat greeting old acquaintances and making new ones. Of course, the young chaps and their young ladies sought the best dancing floors near the orchestras: the little ones flocked near the candy stands and the cake baskets, the sober elders talked over antipoverty events, and the equally sober thirsty ones who went to the bar to drink congratulated one another on the fact that nothing stronger could be bought there than sarsaparilla. Dr. McGlynn exhibited a new side of his character to many who have only known him of late. for his qualities as a social entertainer and talker had full play the whole day long. Wherever he went people crowded about him, saluting, cheering and laughing at his humorous stories. He enjoyed the occasion keenly and his joyousness was infectious. A boy huckstering candy thinks the doctor the greatest of living humorists, for to his surprise the reverend gentleman bought out his stock and gave it away to the youngsters who flocked about him.
Oriental grove is a tract of about ten acres of land on a promontory running out from the north shore of Long island. Its pier was reached about 1o’clock. So great was the crowd on the boats that before the last of the long processing from the gang plank filed away, some of those who had first landed had already had their dinner and many of the boys were in bathing. Those who had taken their lunch with them were the luckiest, as they were enabled to get elbow room at the rough tables under the shade of the trees and partake bountifully of the well filled baskets. At the grove hotel the proprietor, guided in his experience with many another picnic party, had provided dinners for two hundred. All his tables and counters were quickly occupied, and when every seat had done-duty for two or three dinners there were signs that the larder was about exhausted. There had been double the usual dinners sold, and still there was a great hungry crowd waiting for something to eat. There was then a return wave from the crowd to the boats, an onset was made on the lunch counters there, and soon the caterer was compelled to announce successively that there was no more chowder, no more beef, no more tea, and so on with nearly everything on the bill of fare. There were not a few of the hungry ones whose dinner was made up of whatever incongruous refreshments could be had, such as ice cream, green corn, milk, cake and lemon soda.
On the grounds the “scups,” shooting galleries, merry-go-rounds, photograph booths, etc., did a rushing business. Away off back of the grove in a little clearing two base ball clubs, made up of youths from St. Stephen’s parish, played a game.
A speakers stand had been erected. It was decorated with the American flag. At 3 o’clock Miss Munier’s chorus opened the exercises, and Louis F. Post, the chairman selected, introduced Dr. McGlynn to the immense crowd. A good many people from the vicinity had come to see the doctor and the anti-povertyites. From expressions heard falling from their lips they were pleased with the people they saw, and impressed with what they heard.
Dr. McGlynn said:
This is a festive occasion. It is one of merry-making; and I should be the last of all men to forbid your mirth. It is well said that man alone, the monarch of God’s visible creation, is an animal that knows how to laugh. (Laughter.) And so, they were unwise philosophers who would rebuke our merry- making, as if it were unworthy of the men and women who have started out with the grim and stern resolve to do more than their share to destroy the hydra-headed monster of poverty. (Applause.) We believe with the wise men of old that the bow that is always bent shall more speedily lose its power. We believe with that other wise man that it is at times a most excellent thing to tell the truth laughing. (Laughter.) If it be true that man is the only animal that laughs, I should say that that man or woman or child alone should be able to laugh a merry, joyous, honest laugh from the inmost depth of the heart whose heart is clean, whose conscience is serene, and who can look up to God’s blue heaven, knowing that the eye of God can scan the deepest recesses of the heart of man, fearing no reproving frown on the face of God the Father.
I believe that we are enlisted in a holy war. I believe that the doctrines of this crusade of ours are the doctrines of Him who preached of old to men and women by the seaside and amid the groves, upon the hillsides, on the mountain tops and in the midst of the hay fields, of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man—(applause)—and taught the multitudes that the essence of all religion consists in this: to love God the Father, for His own sake, because He is all loveable, and to love our brethren in spite of their shortcomings, because they are in the image of God, and, therefore, deserve to be loved with that same love with which we love ourselves, for dear God’s sake. (Applause.) I believe that those who have come together, banding themselves in this holy fraternity of the Antipoverty society, are made better men and women by belonging to that society. (Applause.)
At the very moment that men, ignorant or malevolent, are charging us with irreligion, it is an unspeakably great comfort to me and to other preachers of the blessed truths that are the doctrines of this crusade, that our preaching, our practice, the objects that we have in view and the means by which we seek to obtain them, are bringing men back to God. (“Hear! hear!” and applause.) Men who nave been soured and embittered and made angry by the absence of justice, even in the name of Christ, have been brought back to a reverent and touching and filial sense of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of Christ (Applause.) I feel that I have been made a better man since I have gone into the highways and byways and preached to large audiences, and on a broader field than ever before (great applause), the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. (Applause.) I would be less receptive than I have the humility to confess that I think I am, if, while being, under the providence of God, permitted to enjoy the unspeakable happiness of being in some sense a messenger of God, of the glad tidings of redemption, of the dawn of a better day of justice and brotherhood, I were not my self to take on not a little of the divine enthusiasm that necessarily attaches to the blessed message—if I myself should not feel my stature to grow higher and my chest expand and all my nature exult and thrill in God my Savior. (Applause.)
And does not this scene remind you, dear friends, of the scenes that took place eighteen hundred years ago, when men and women followed the best of teachers from the busy streets, from the haunts of want, and even from the house of prayer, to God’s wilderness, hanging upon the lips of Him, who,-more than man, spake as man never spake before of the blessedness of justice, and who, with a simplicity that made him understood to the little children, with a sublime philosophy that staggered the pride of the self-righteous, preached of the blessedness of them that hunger and thirst after justice, and with rapturous poetry of thought and expression, and with heaven’s music on his lips, pronounced the benediction of his beatitudes upon the lowly of spirit and upon the clean of heart.
It is good for us to be here. We stand here because of our having pledged ourselves to a great and pure and holy work. We have come here to unbend a little that we may go back to our work with new and firm resolve and with renewed energies to do battle for the right and to beat down the wrong. (Applause.) We were unworthy of the cause if we expected too speedy or too easy a victory. We should even feel enough touch of human nature in us to enjoy the fierce delight of the conflict almost as much as the fruition of the victory. We should feel that it is a blessed thing to give and to take blows, to hear the sword ringing upon our armor, and to hear the clanging of our good swords upon the armor of the enemy. We should feel that the victory will be better worth the earning if it shall have cost a long and a hard fought battle. (“Hear! hear!” and applause.) But the battle is not of our choosing. The hosts against which we must wage war are long arrayed; they are made confident by long possession of every field and every fortress; they seem to have everything on their side except two things, in the possession of which we feel we are stronger than they, and that make us sure of victory if we shall be true to ourselves. They have the wealth, they have the numbers. they have the political power, and, sad to say, they have almost the exclusive possession of many of the pulpits from which was supposed to be preached the truth of Christ. (Applause.) But we have with us something that makes us stronger than they, that makes us more terrible than any mere earthly army in battle array, for we have on our side justice and God. (Applause.) Every weakest woman, every tenderest child here today, taught by the teaching and the example of Christ, can place her hand or its hand upon the breast and say, “God and I are more than a match for all the world and for all the devils.” (Applause.)
Let us, then, rest a little; let us make merry and be glad. We are reminded of the loving invitation of the Master of old, who, after He had sent His loved ones in the towns and hamlets of Galilee and Judea to go before His face and to prepare for His coming, when they came back from their mission, taught them to enjoy His familiar face, and said: “Come and rest a little.” We could not have chosen a happier or a sweeter day. We could not have chosen a brighter or a lovelier place. It may seem a superstition, but it is fast growing in the minds of the members of this society to believe that fate is on our side—(applause)—that the stars in their courses are fighting for us; that every time any one of our enemies opens his mouth to blaspheme against our holy cause he is sure to put his foot in it. (Laughter and applause.)
I am in a very confidential mood today, and I am going to let you into another secret, and it is this: That the officers of this Anti-poverty society have a private, confidential arrangement with the clerk of the weather. (Laughter.) I do not think it quite discreet to tell you exactly what consideration we have offered him in return (laughter), but we have a private, confidential arrangement with him, by virtue of which, when we have a street parade, he may pour as much rain as he chooses on every part of the city except that part of it through which we are marching. (Laughter and applause.) And if on a threatening day we should happen to go to an excursion to any place in the suburbs of the city, and there should be two or three other excursions, he may rain as much as he pleases upon them, but must not dare to let a single drop fall upon us. (Laughter.) That seems a joke. but it is actual history. This Anti-poverty society sent an emissary out to Milwaukee on the Fourth of July. There were three picnics all in a row, one at one end, another in the middle, and another at the other end of the town. The picnic at which that emissary of the Anti-poverty society went to make his speech was kept dry, while it rained abundantly on the other two. (Laughter and applause.)
I speak facetiously (laughter and applause), but, as I said before, what shall forbid me telling the truth laughing? It is a good thing to be in the right. It is a good thing to have justice on your side, and it is a very good thing for time and eternity for any one of God’s children to have God on his side. (Applause.) A good many believe—I do believe, with a most strong and ever present faith in spiritual influences—in the potency of spirits, whether of good or evil. I do believe that in this world of God there are more things than are dreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy, and that they are wisely hinted at in the better philosophy of the melancholy prince of Shakespeare’s magnificent creation. I believe in this potency of spirits, both good and evil; and I do believe that angels are fighting on our side—that demons are fighting against us. It were hard to explain the peculiar malevolence and the wickedness of attack and the utter perversion of truth and misrepresentation of us that are common every day, in speech and in the press, if there were not some such explanation as this: “The devil is potent with such spirits.” (Applause.) We have the authority of holy writ itself to tell us that the devil has power to become himself as an angel of light, and so I do believe that our warfare, as the scriptures say, is not merely against flesh and blood, but it is against the powers of the air, against the powers of evil and darkness, so that we must not trust merely in the arm of flesh, no matter how strong we may flatter, ourselves to be; we must feel that we are but weak instruments that are to be played upon by higher powers; that. this earth is but the chessboard and we are the conscious pawns with which the mighty battle is fighting out to the bitter end between God and his angels and all the friends of truth and righteousness on the one side, and legions of evil spirits, the friends and the beneficiaries of wrong, injustice and sin on the other side. (Applause.) It is Christian tradition that Michael, leader of the heavenly hosts, borrows his name (Mi-cha-el, “who-like-to-God”), from the valiant light that he fought against the proud hosts that would usurp the place of God, and that he, the highest in the hierarchy of heaven, is the gentlest and the sweetest and the lowliest of spirits, and acknowledges that he is but the flaming sword of the Most High. And so we must feel that we are but instruments upon which higher powers must play, and that if God will, even from such imperfect instruments, He can make the most exquisite melody and harmony, and even through such weak instruments He can fight a mighty and victorious battle against the serried hosts of Satan and all his friends.
If, then, we shall cling to God, we, too, can make the woods and the cities, and all the world resound with the triumphant cry: “Who like to God?” and we can feel that we have things more potent than the things of time and sense; that we have on our side justice, truth, charity, love—things above the things of time and sense—things that are eternal and have their source, their ideal and their consummation in the very bosom of God. So, while we start out to establish no new church, we do start out with the firm resolve that no word of ours shall ever take men further from God, but that every word of ours and every deed, so far as rests with our poor weak nature, shall bring men nearer to God. (Great applause.)
Dr. McGlynn was followed by Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, who had reached the grounds by rail, coming from Watch hill, where he was resting during his vacation.
Mr. Pentecost’s address is printed in another column.
Loud calls were then made for Henry George, who spoke as follows:
Members of the Anti-poverty Society—I feel quite proud of, and I congratulate you upon, the success of this picnic, upon its numbers, upon its good order, upon its good humor, upon its quiet but intense enjoyment. It has been a real holiday. (Here the boats whistle blew.) The whistle has blown, I suppose, in anticipation, and I want Miss Munier to sing, and I know that is a wish in which you all share, so I will only say a few words.
First, to those who are here, not knowing much about what we propose, let us state our purposes in briefest words. We don’t propose to divide property; we don’t deny the right of property; we hold that all things produced by human labor belong, in the first place, to the man or men who produce them (applause), and may be transferred from them and others by sale, by exchange, by gift, or by bequest, with a clean and exclusive title. We hold that in that which labor produces there is and ought to be an individual and exclusive right. But we hold that in the things which have not been produced by man, but were created by God, all men have a common right of use. (Applause.) We hold that all human beings living in a country are equally entitled to the use of the land of that country, and we propose to assert that right, not by the taking of land which any individual has now, but simply by imposing such a tax upon it as may take the value created by the growth of the community—such a tax as will take whatever premium any land may have over the poorest land which can be had for nothing. And in doing that we propose, as Dr. Pentecost has said, to abolish all fines nd taxes upon the production or accumulation of wealth.
We have no quarrel with any man for being too rich. Let every man get all he can, provided he does it not at the expense of other people. (Applause.)
This is a religious movement. In the eloquent words with which he closed his address, I think Dr. McGlynn appealed to the deepest feeling in our hearts. We hope in this movement to do something for ourselves, something for our own children; but we hope more than that, and we believe more than that. We hope to do something for the whole human race. We believe that we will be doing the will of God (“hear! hear!”), and making this earth more like heaven. (Applause.)
Who could come out in a place like this, on such a day as this, without feeling the joy and beauty of life, and without thinking with something like dread of the days that must soon come when all that is mortal shall be returned again to the ground. 1 don’t want to die; I want to live; and I believe—no, I am certain—that a hundred years from now, and a thousand years from now, and ten thousand years from now I will be living somewhere. (Applause.) To the man who believes that, what is there that life can offer, or wealth, or present enjoyment, that can compare with the feeling that he is on the side of the great power that through all this universe is making for good; that in his humble way, with his little effort, he is yet fighting the fight that the angels fight, doing something to bring to its culmination this grandest drama that is being worked out through human life, doing something to bring into effect the will of the Being who created him. (Applause.)
The homeward journey was a quick one, and as pleasant as the morning’s trip to. The grove. The only event of importance that occurred was an accident to the tug Jason. When the flotilla was off Sixty-fifth street the steamer H. F. Dimock, bound up the sound, passed by rapidly, and the swell from her wake resulted in splashing the lower decks of the barge nearest to the passing vessel, and wetting the clothing of some of the excursionists. When the swell struck the tug Jason, she shipped a quantity of water that, owing to the lack of scupper holes, she v/as unable to shed. She careened so that her smoke stack overlapped the Howard, and escaping steam from her exhaust pipe, which was thrown under the surface of the water, made a noise that alarmed a few of the excursionists. Her deck hands, most of whom left her in alarm when the swell struck her, getting on the boat adjoining, quickly returned, and with axes opened holes in her sides that provided an outlet for the water on her deck. She was then loosened from the other tugs, and was swung off toward shore.
The foot of East Thirty-first street was reached at half-past 7. More than half an hour was taken up in disembarking the excursionists. On the dock and along the street, as far as Second avenue, was an enormous crowd waiting to cheer Dr. McGlynn.
The committee of arrangements for the excursion was a committee of one—Wm. McCabe. The experiment of not selling the bar and lunch privileges, but requiring the caterer to sell at city prices, resulted satisfactorily. The society’s own special police were needed only in extending to the excursionists its courtesies as host. There was no demand whatever made upon them to maintain order, for all comported themselves with strict decorum. The captain of the guards was Edward J. McConnell. The floor manager was Joseph P. McCloskey. Captain McConnell’s disposition of his force was such that not a baby was lost, injured in the crush or tumbled overboard.
The Anti-poverty society’s treasury will be the richer by about $1,000 from the earnings of the excursion.
Taxation in Cheyenne
The Cheyenne, Wyo., daily Sun has a grievance relating both to the tax assessors of the county in which it is published and a local morning contemporary. Although the rate of assessment in Cheyenne is usually but fifty cents on the dollar, the Sun’s twenty-five thousand dollar printing house was lately assessed at twenty thousand dollars. At this the Sun demurred, and pointed out inconsistencies in the assessors’ lists. Then the daily Leader shed a tear in sympathy with its esteemed co-laborer, but regretted that, under the circumstances, the Sun’s criticisms could not have the force they deserved. The Sun thinks this is drawing a fine point, and says:
There may be people so superlatively sensitive and possessing such exquisite ideas of propriety that they would regard it as highly indelicate for a newspaper to mention a grievance of the public, simply because it, the paper, was one of the sufferers. Our apology is this: The Sun, unlike any other journal published in Cheyenne, has had sufficient confidence in the city to go in debt for a few feet of ground within the city limits. Acting under this peculiar delusion, it has been foolish enough to put some brick together, although no other newspaper in Cheyenne has done so. Furthermore, it has borrowed sufficient funds to obtain the apartments and apparatus necessary to carry on a printing business. Believing that what Cheyenne most needed was manufactories, it has, through a possibly mistaken spirit of enterprise, which will no doubt excite the commiseration of our morning contemporary, given employment to fifteen or twenty men and women during the past four months, and kept a large sum of money from going away from the city in consequence of its publishing facilities.
Perhaps we should not say this, as it relates to the Sun. It may not be “nice” for us to speak of such things. Perhaps we should forbear for fear of offending the fastidious taste of our fine-haired contemporary. Yet we hope to see a drop of about $5,000 in our assessment.
It is but a short time since the Sun mentioned that there were a great many vacant lots in Cheyenne, assessed at low figures but held at high prices by persons expecting to profitably Cheyenne’s “boom,” for new railroads are about entering the city, new residences are going up for an increased population, and new places of business are being established by enterprising men. The Sun thought that those vacant lots ought to be taxed like any other class of property, and gave evidence of entertaining a notion that holding lots vacant for a rise in their value was not very profitable to the community, however much so it might be to the speculators engaged in the business.
Certain principles are evidently unfolding themselves in the mind of the editor of the Cheyenne Sun as he advances in the study of the question of taxation practically. He sees that his industry and enterprise are the targets of the assessors, while the “industry” of making a corner in building lots is comparatively free of taxation. He is engaged in creating wealth; the speculators in vacant lots are withholding from the business men and workingmen of the community the sites where wealth may be exchanged, or transformed, or economized. He smarts under a fine for conducting a business that gives employment to working people, while the assessors encourage the speculators, who stifle production by keeping people off the land of the city—a primary necessity for its inhabitants.
Men sometimes fall upon a great truth, but fail to recognize its important applications. If the editor of the Sun will consider the vacant lot question awhile, the germs of truth to which he has given utterance in reference thereto will develop in its significance. Moreover, his protest against being taxed too high in consequence of his business enterprise may be changed to a protest against any taxation whatever on the products of his industry.
Here are a few facts, with deductions: Twenty years ago the site of Cheyenne was but a part of the broad prairie, and it was worth ten cents an acre. Today the city’s site is worth millions, and parts of it are worth one hundred thousand dollars an acre. Vacant lots, unchanged from the time when they formed parts of the boundless plains, excepting that they are fenced, are worth thousands of dollars. Obviously, the value of land increases with population, population bringing with it the possibilities of increased production of wealth, and the advantages attaching to a location being rendered tangible in the land. The purchasers of any of the land of Cheyenne bought, first, security to themselves for improvements placed upon it; second, the power to sell it at an enhanced price in case of the growth of the city, or to draw from it a rental constantly advancing with the increase of population.
If, when Cheyenne was laid out, its city fathers had framed a law by which all increase in the value of land, as exhibited in rent or in selling price, should constitute a fund from which all public revenues should be drawn, through a tax on the holders of the land, what would have been the result?
There would never have been any speculators in vacant lots; for it would have profited a man nothing to hold land for a rise in value and then be taxed to the extent of the annual interest on that value. The city would consequently have been compactly built. No tax save that on land values would now be needed; the live editor of the Sun would have no difficulty in securing for his lot an assessment gauged by that on near by lots, and his spirit of enterprise, as materialized in a big printing house, would be unfettered of all taxation. Inconsistencies in assessments would disappear; for land values are easily ascertained, and most of Cheyenne’s people would, as lot holders, have a direct interest in preventing unequal assessments. Newcomers in Cheyenne would not be obliged to purchase a footing in the city. They would acquire, through paying a tax on it, whatever vacant land they intended putting to use; consequently the money now going into the pockets of vacant lot speculators would go to the erection of houses and into circulation.
With such conditions would not Cheyenne “boom” indeed? Would not a tax on ground rents be sufficient to defray all public expenses? Would not the tax be surely derived from a form of wealth created by all and rightfully a source of profit to all?
The editor of the Cheyenne Sun—evidently a keen-witted man, and one spirited enough to assert his convictions—is asked to cogitate in view of further questions. Is not the rent drawn by the proprietors of land so adjusted as to leave the lessee doing business on it only average returns on his labor and capital? Or, in case the owner of a lot, house and business decides to sell, does he not ask, beyond the value of his good will, his house and stock, enough to represent the capitalization of his ground rent? Is it not true that for ten years past the tendency of wages in Wyoming has been downward, that interest has been reduced, but that building lots have advanced steadily? Does not the title to a piece of land in Cheyenne resemble the franchise possessed by the Union Pacific railroad, enabling the holder to ask of the user all that the traffic will bear? And, collectively, do not the owners of the site of Cheyenne possess a monopoly even more oppressive to the non-landholders than the railroad?—for the railroad may have rivals, while the site holders as a body, cannot; the railroad’s charges may be controlled by law, but the siteholders possess a perpetual and unlimited right to advance prices in proportion to the needs of other people for the location they command.
If the principle of taxing the value of land were to be applied to all Wyoming, and the revenues placed in the treasury of the territory, the resulting “boom” would quickly attract the attention of the country. There is a strong party among the cattlemen of Wyoming desirous of obtaining legal possession of the land on which their cattle range. They would “rent” it from the government, subject to settlement under the homestead laws. In other words, they would pay a tax on the value of the land. Then, they say, they could exclude the herds of predatory, speculative and reckless cattle men who overstock the ranges. They could build sheds for wintering cattle and improve the breed of their herds in a word, have security in the conduct of their business. On the increase of the value of land, they could pay a tax up to its full value for stock raising purposes. On the advance of any of their land from the inferior classification, which, however, will never be the case with the most of Wyoming, they could. if not wishing to use it for purposes yielding better results sell the improvements on it and part with their possessory title. With the increase of population land would be forced to its higher forms of production. Is this not the true, rightful, natural tenure of all land? Would not such a system contemplate the rights of every one to a share in the soil—the reservoir of ail that man consumes?
Having proceeded thus far in following the logical conclusions of his thought germ the editor of the Cheyenne Sun could not but be carried further in his contemplation of evolving truths. New principles would dawn upon him as new light comes to one who sees the glories of the sun as it rises out of the night. He would see that the only tax necessary for any community should come from the self-creating fund; that all other taxes are burdensome and wearing, like a single heavy panier on one side of a pack horse; that free trade spreads civilization; that all men are brothers, having equal rights; that a bounteous providence has given ample wealth for all the peoples of the earth.
Give Us Justice
Lonely sitting, deeply musing,
On a still and starry night,
Full of fancies, when my glances
Turned upon those far romances
Scattered o’er the infinite;
On a sudden broke upon me
Murmurs, rumors, quick and loud,
And half waking I discovered
An innumerable crowd.
‘Mid the uproar of their voices
Scarcely could I hear a word;
There was rushing, there was crushing,
And a sound like music gushing,
And a roar like forests stirred
“By a fierce wind passing o’er them—
And a voice came now and then
Louder than them all, exclaiming,
“Give us justice! we are men.”
And the longer that I listened,
More distinctly could I hear,
‘Mid the poising of the voicing,
Sounds oi sorrow and rejoicing,
Utterance of hope and fear;
And a dash of disputation,
And of words at random east—
Truths and errors intermingling,
Of the present and the past.
Some were shouting that oppression
Held their consciences in thrall;
Some were crying, “Men are dying,
Hunger smit, and none supplying
Bread, the birthright of us all!”
Some exclaimed that wealth was haughty,
Harsh, and callous to the poor;
Others cried. the poor were vicious,
Idle, thankless, insecure.
Some, with voice of indignation,
Told the story of their wrongs,
Full of colour—life controller—
That for difference of color
They were sold like cattle throngs;
Others, pallid, weak and shivering,
Said that laws were surely bad,
When the willing hand was idle,
And the cheeks of toil were sad.
Old opinions jarred with new ones;
New ones jostled with the old;
In such Babel few were able
To distinguish truth from fable,
In the tale their neighbors told,
But one voice above ail others
Sounded like the voice of ten—
Clear, sonorous. and persuasive—
“Give us justice! we are men!”
And I said, “Oh! sovereign reason,
Sire of peace and liberty!
Aid forever their endeavor—
Boldly let them still assever
All the rights they claim in thee.
Aid the mighty fermentation
Till it purifies at last,
And the future of the people
Is made brighter than the past!”
And Still Georgians and South Carolinians Talk About “Our Country”
New York Times.
A syndicate of New York and Pittsburgh capitalists have just closed a transaction by which they become the owners of nearly 100,000 acres of the finest pine forests in the south. The lands are along the northern line of South Carolina and the southern boundary of Georgia, most of it being in the latter state. The price paid was $1,000,000 in cash. The intention of the purchasers is not to develop the lands, but to hold them as an investment until the advance in the price of lumber greatly increases their value.
Rents Growing Up with the City
Real Estate Record and Guide.
Owners of up town apartment house property expect to be in receipt of nigher rents hereafter. There was too much competition one, two and three years ago, but there are no more apartment houses being built, and the class who prefer them to ordinary houses is growing. The owner of one very large apartment house up town, who has been receiving only one and a half per cent on his outlay, expects to make at least four per cent on his investment alter the renting season is over this fall.
Too Many People in a Country Where the Houses Are Miles Apart
Cincinnati Christian Advocate.
We incline to think that in the discussion of the Irish question too little attention is given to the density of the population in some parts of Ireland. Too many people to the square mile is a condition of things which means wane and woe, always and in all countries.
Straws Which Show The Wind
Does not the existence of a building on one lot materially improve the value of the vacant lot adjoining?—[New York Star.]
When lots in 116th street sell for $11,000, with or without a builder’s loan, it is a sign that we live in a time of revolution.—[New York Herald.]
The taxing of land values alone, exempting improvements created by labor, would give us such a boom as would make hard times a stranger to industrious people.—[Des Moines Social Problems.]
The fundamental principle, to which all others are secondary, is the placing of all taxation upon land values. Land and labor are co-relative, each being useless to civilization without the other. This fundamental change in our political system will comprehend ail minor reforms.—[Middletown, N. Y., Advance.]
The Henry George theories and Dr. McGlynn crusade against our present land tenures are ridiculed everywhere as failures, and still they are commanding a more and more deliberate consideration at the hands of every political economist, and the most diligent and painful study of every politician.—[Burlington, Vt., Independent.]
Since, as a rule, the tax, or rent. would have to be drawn from the land itself, the highest rent—which that method calls for—could only be so drawn by best use. How quickly, therefore, under that system of taxation, the tumble down rookeries in the vicinity of Providence post office, as well as else where, would have to disappear:—[ProvidencePeople.]
We already see the vital idea of human brotherhood transforming the spirit of social relationships. It is the lever that is moving the old planet. Archimedes wanted iron— the Nazarene USPS truth. We look upon this plank of brotherhood in the New Testament platform as giving foothold for every social hope that inspires the human race.—[Frank Woodrow in Age of Steel.]
Certainly there is room for vast improvement in the land laws, and in any event there can be nothing harmful in the peaceful agitation of the subject. If it teaches the masses self-reliance to the extent of making them more clearly realize than they do now that all reforms must come through the ballot box, the cross of the new crusade will not have been raised in vain.—[Brooklyn Standard-Union.]
Correspondence Albany Independent Cities.
Riding over the hills, the other day, I pulled up my mustang for a rest, and at that moment the sun, bursting through the clouds, spread a flood of light over the valley below and the mountains beyond, and I could not help thinking what a beautiful world this was, and how the Creator, mindful of the wants of his creatures, has placed here all that they required, and all that they had to do was to labor, produce and have. My eyes then fell on the mustang who, with neck stretched to the greatest extent, was trying to reach a tuft of fragrant clover, and failing to do so, tugged impatiently at the strap by which I held her. “Poor girl,” said I, “doomed to a lot of labor, always restrained by bar or halter, compelled to carry heavy burdens, to run or walk, as your master requires; hard lines, Midget,” and I patted her on the neck, sympathizingly, and pulled up the clover where she could get it. I was so astonished the next moment that I nearly dropped the reins, at her replying: “I’d rather be a mustang than a man.”
A talking horse being a rarity, it seemed too bad not to improve the opportunity to carry on a conversation, so I asked, “Why?”
“Why, indeed,” answered Midget, “a horse fares better than a man, at least than most men, and if you will reach me another lot of that clover I’ll tell you why.”
I did so, and the pony resumed:
“You see, sir, I have to work, but not all the time. I don’t have to worry about my food—you do all that. When you don’t want to ride you feed me just the same, furnish me with a good bed at night, groom me, keep me warm in winter, and find a shady spot for me in summer, protect my feet with good strong shoes, and, taking it all in all, I don’t average six hours a day work Now, if f were a man, I’d have to work all the time, worrying about my food, shelter and clothing; and if I missed a day’s work would pretty likely have to miss a meal. Why, you were just saying before I spoke that this was such a fine world, with everything that men wanted in it, and all they had to do was to go to work, labor, produce and have, I think you .said. Nonsense, you’d get into jail in a hurry if you tried that. What you would have to do, in spite of your tine phrases about the matter, would be first to get somebody’s permission to labor and produce, and as for having, you would not get but a very little more than a bare sustenance. Your beautiful world don’t belong to men at all: it only belongs to some men, and if you want to labor you will have to go to the men who own this world and hire some of it, and all that you produce they will have, except just enough to keep you working, so they can continue having. You men are very peculiar creatures. Why, when I was out on the plains, before a man threw a rope around my neck and pretty near choked me. I was in a herd of ponies, and the way we arranged it was this: We all had to have water, so we started every morning for the river and drank; if we didn’t go, we went thirsty. Then we spread out on the prairie and ate all the grass we wanted. If any pony was poor it was because he was too lazy to eat. Now, if we had done as you men do, running as you are in some particulars, why, some of the ponies would have owned the river and some would have owned the prairie, and the rest of the herd would have had to carry some of the water and some of the grass to them. in order to get permission to slake our thirst. and fill our stomachs. Ah! those were happy days then, each had what he needed, none more; no poverty with us; no tramp ponies; no trouble about a living; all we had to do was to work for ourselves, and all the work we did was our own gain. If a pony would not get his feed and water he had to go without; but he had a chance to get it. I overheard two men talking the other day. near where you tied me. One wanted to work, but could not find a job; he said he was out oi work, out of fuel and food, and he did not know how he could support his family unless he quit a job. The other man said he had all the help he wanted. ‘Well,’ said the first man, ‘I will work for less than your present, employees, for if I don’t get a job my family will suffer.’ He got a job, and I suppose some other man lost his. I don’t see why he should. though, for right across the way was a big field which nobody used, and which didn’t look as though it had ever been used. Why couldn’t he go to work there and raise wheat or potatoes, of (meditatively) oats!”
“Why,” I answered, “he didn’t own the land.”
“Own the land!” exclaimed the pony. “Who did own the land?”
“John Smith,” said I.
“How does he own the land, did he make it?”
“Well, then, how could he own it? If he was using it, it wouldn’t be right to crowd him off, but if he didn’t use it where would be the harm in a hungry man growing potatoes! I think our plan was the best. Each pony ate what he wanted, if he had gumption enough to graze while the prairie was free to all who wanted grass. You are wise (?), you men, and selfish, because, in order to give some more than they can possibly use, you make others suffer and sometime starve. I’m disgusted,” and, kicking up her heels, she broke away, leaving me staring after her.
It’s no joke catching a mustang that’s loose, and so it was only after an hour’s hard work that, hot and tired, I was again on the pony’s back. I felt tempted to give her a good thrashing, but for fear she might tell of it I refrained, and rode home slowly, wondering if I had fallen asleep and dreamed it, or if it were really all “horse sense” after ail.
W. C. Wood, M. D.
Keep It Before the People
A. J. H. Duganne.
Keep it before the people—
That the earth was made for man!
That Hovers were strewn,
And fruits were grown,
To bless and never to ban;
That land and main,
And sun and rain,
Are yours and mine, my brother!—
Free gifts from heaven,
And freely given,
To one as well us another!
Keep it before the people—
That man is the image of God!
His limbs or soul
Ye may not control
With shackle, or shame, or rod!
We may not be sold,
For silver or gold:
Neither you nor I, my brother!
For freedom was given,
By God from heaven,
To one as well as another!
Keep it before the people—
That famine, and crime, and woe,
Forever a bide,
Still side by side,
With luxury’s dazzling show;
That Lazarus crawls
From Dives’ halls,
And starves at his gate, my brother!—
Yet life was given,
By God from heaven,
To one as well as another!
Keep it before the people—
That the laborer claims his meed:
The right of soil,
And the right to toil,
From spur and bridle freed;
The right to bear.
And the right to share,
With you and me, my brother!—
Whatever is given,
By God from heaven,
To one as well as another!
Poverty And Pork
Mr. Edward Atkinson is a gentleman with talent for cookery and a weakness for Statistics. His serious ambition is to have inscribed on his tombstone the epitaph, “He taught the American people how to stew;” the diversion of his leisure moments is to do sums and to draw diagrams, sometimes in colors and sometimes in simple crayon. In the August issue of the Century magazine he turns the light and playful side of his nature to the world and shows what curious things can be done with a few statistics, a bit of paper and a pencil and an active imagination.
Mr. Atkinson’s object in this, as near as I can make it out, is very much like that of the logician who wrote a lengthy essay to prove that Napoleon Bonaparte never existed. He wants to show the nothingness of facts—the non-existence of the is, so to speak. Common people look around them and think they really see quite a good deal of misery and poverty in the United States. Mr. Atkinson takes a few figures, does a sum, and behold! The misery and poverty have—well they haven’t quite disappeared, but they’re going, they’re going—just a few more sums and they’ll be gone altogether. Ah! if we could only eat figures, and wear straight lines, and roof ourselves in with parallelograms, what a benefactor Edward Atkinson would be! However, since we can’t digest figures or cover ourselves with extensions of a single dimension, there’s an end of that; and the next best thing is to get what amusement we can out of the Atkinsonian sums and diagrams, and do a little laughing, even if we don’t grow fat.
Mr. Atkinson does a sum in rations this time—he does other sums, too, but the ration sum is the greatest fun. Everything is reduced to rations: so much wife, so much children, so much brown cotton, so mach tea and coffee, so much Kentucky Jean satinet, so much cheese, egg every other day—he brings everything down to the finest kind of a fine point. The ration is the foundation stone or center of the whole performance. Keep your eve on the ration, and the bounding figures and waving lines and little criss-crossed marks, like railroads on a map, won’t confuse you; but lose sight of the ration and the whole business, Atkinson, figures, criss-crosses, straight lines and all, will become but a set of whirling phantasmagoria, gradually vanishing into nothingness.
The family ration—now I don’t mean the ration for the family, but the ration of family—Is one wife, one child over twelve years, and two children under twelve years. The two children under twelve are to count as one adult, so that the man and his family ration amount altogether to four adults. It is important to get this fixed in your mind, or you can’t understand what follows—especially when the pig comes in. What is to be done with the misguided man whose wife is guilty of twins, God only knows, and I am not altogether clear myself about that second child—seems to me there must come a time when there would be two children over twelve and only one under—but anyhow that’s the family ration as Edward Atkinson states it; and if you’re going to cavil about it, why he can’ t do the sum, that’s all.
Then there comes the food ration. Here is the Atkinsonian allowance for each adult. Remember two children under twelve count as one—nothing off for nursing babies:
¼ to 1 lb. meat, poultry or fish, ½ to 2/3 pints milk, 1 to ¼ oz. Butter, 1/3 to ¾ o z . cheese, 1 egg every other day, ¾ to 1 lb. bread, 2 cents’ worth vegetables and roots, 2 cents’ worth sugar and sirup. 1 cent’s worth tea and coffee, 1½ to 2 cents’ worth salt, spice, fruit, ice and sundries.
This ration allows no pie, which would be rough on some folks; but bread pudding would be possible on egg; days.
The clothing ration comes next. This to be drawn for the entire year at once, as a daily issue would involve patchwork, and crazy quilt trousers are too much for even Edward Atkinson’s imagination. Listen to the yearly clothing ration:
10 yards medium brown cotton, 10 yards standard gingham, 10 yards 36-inch bleached shirting, 20 yards printed calico, 10 yards 4 oz. woolen flannel or worsted dress goods, 5 yards 16 oz. Cassimere, 5 yards Kentucky jean satinet or light cassimere.
I submitted this list to my own personal ration of wife, who (or should I say which) at first said I was a fool, and on my apologizing and saying I didn’t do it my self, pointed out to me that the Atkinsonian list provided no linings, no buttons or hooks and eyes, no thread and needle, no thimble, no scissors, no trimmings, no stockings, no hat or bonnet, no shawl or wrap, no umbrella, no pocket handkerchiefs. no collars, no cuffs, no blankets, no mattresses, no pillows and no gloves. My own intelligence had noted the absence of a bustle. However, if we stop to criticize, we’11 never get to the sums.
The boat and shoe ration, also yearly.
Two pairs men’s heavy boots.
The fuel ration; this is yearly, to.
One and one-half tons anthracite coal, or its equivalent in bituminous coal, or wood.
No rations are allowed of furniture, books, beer, newspaper, Sunday school and church collections, lodge, union or assembly dues, doctor, nurse to preside at serving out of family ration, breakage, kerosene, Coney island, or funeral—but please don’t interrupt. Edward Atkinson is going to do a sum. Keep your eye on the rations.
The laborers connected with 100 establishments earned, in l860, each $303. Put that down.
In the same year the united daily cost of the rations of food, clothing and fuel was 30.95 cents. Divide $303 by .3095, and you get 890—that is, Edward Atkinson says you do, though you really don’t as the number of rations of food, clothing and fuel earned by each laborer in 1860. Put that down; and draw a straight line.
In 1865 the laborer earned $468, and his daily food, clothing and fuel rations cost 55.09 cents. Divide as before, and you get $40, or something near it. Put that down, and draw another line a little shorter.
In 1870 laborer earned $474, and rations cost 43.53 cents; result 1,090 rations a year. In 1875 the earning was $414, ration-cost 38.69 cents, result 1,070. In 1880 earning was $402, ration-cost 33.24 cents, result 1,210. In 1885 and 1886 earning was $420, ration-cost 30 cents (this is only estimated and not a dead sure thing like the other years), and result 1,400. Put all this down, and there you have a table.
In 1860 the laborer earned of food, clothing, and fuel
In 1865 he earned
In 1870 he earned
In 1875 he earned
In 1880 he earned
In 1885-86 he earned
You can draw the straight lines for yourself, and there you are with a beautiful table and diagram—to w prices, high wages, small profits—$40 ration in 1805, 1,400 in 1880—nearly double—laborers all getting rich—progress from poverty (Atkinsonian italics)—world advancing—hang Father McGlynn, confound Henry George, and down with the Anti-poverty society. Isn’t it just beautiful? And doesn’t he do it nicely?
And now that we are in an arithmetical humor, suppose we take pencil and paper, and do some sums on our own account. There’s one ration that doesn’t appear in the pretty little table above, and that’s the family ration—the wife and children. Let us make a new table with this element in it. Ready? Off we go then.
The family ration, remember, is 1 wife, 1 child over 12 years and 2 children under 12, to count as 1 adult. Total, including man, receiving ration, 4 adults.
Now, it is evident that for the continuous existence of the family ration there must be provided 365 daily rations of food, clothing and fuel for each adult every year—366 in leap year; but never mind that. In 1860 the laborer earned 980 rations. Divide 980 by 365 and you get 2.6849315 as the number of adults that the laborers’ earnings would keep alive during 1S00. Deduct 2.6849315 from 4, and you get 1.3150685 as the number of adults in his family ration that had to get through 1860 without food or clothing or fuel. Put all this down and do the same thing for the other years, and you get this pretty little table, reinforced with straight lines, and dressed up in the regular Atkinson style:
Number Of Adults In Each Laborer’s Family Ration Who Must Get Along Without Food, Clothing or Fuel
Computed by T. L. McCready.
New York, August 13, 1887.
There! Isn’t that pretty? Isn’t it Atkinsonian? You can fix it up in colors if you like— the laborer green and the unclothed and food-less part of the wife-and-children ration decidedly blue—call it a “spectrum analysis of laboring man and family” and use it with great effect in a lecture on “Tenement House Mortality.”
There is just one thing that bothers me about the Atkinson sum I have described, and that is that the laborer must keep and consume his rations of wife, children, clothes and so on in the street—there isn’t any ration of house. This would be rough on the laborer, and especially inconvenient for that portion of his rations for which no clothes, food or fuel are provided; but the figures can’t lie, and there doesn’t seem to be any help for it. Mr. Atkinson, indeed, makes a mysterious remark later on in his Century article about “rent—eighteen to twenty per cent—$37.50 $150;” but that can’t have anything to do with the laborer in the sum, because he, poor devil, hasn’t got a hundred and fifty dollars nor a hundred and fifty cents; he takes his earnings out in rations, and doesn’t get enough of them.
There are other sums and other diagrams in the Century article, and very pretty they are, too. But I can’t go into them, because The Standard will only allow me so much space, and I want to tell you about the pig.
This is the story of the pig:
In a rough and ready way it takes five pounds of western corn to make a pound of pork. Even the hogs (Mr. Atkinson seems slightly inconsequential here) do not consume their whole ration; they waste a part of it. The proportion is substantially one thousand pounds of Indian corn to a barrel of pork weighing two hundred pounds. In this conversion nearly all the starch and all the protein are wasted, and the fat which is left is not required for use.
The necessary deduction is this, that the con version of corn into pork is an absolute and total waste of nutritious food. Far better that corn should be converted into beef, or even burned for fuel (often a very economical expedient for settlers), rather than to be expended in this way.
I ate some bacon this morning. I hadn’t told my ration of wife about Atkinson and the pig, and we had bacon for breakfast. It tasted good, but I could have wept as I thought of the wasted starch and protein, and the fat which was not required for use. When I explained the matter, my ration of child under twelve impiously asked for more bacon, and said: “Pa ought to see a doctor.” This, however, is by the way; let Edward Atkinson proceed:
Assuming that the product of this country, at its market value for final consumption or export, cannot exceed $200 worth per person, $600 worth for each group of three of whom one is occupied for gain; or $1,000 worth for each average family of five persons, it may be assumed that not exceeding ten per cent, or $20 worth a year per capita, can be saved, and added to the capital of the country, however such capital may be owned individually; five to ten per cent, or $10 to $12 a year must be set aside to meet all forms of taxation, national, state, and municipal. There remains $168 to $170 a year, which constitutes the wage fund, it being manifest that the source of all wages, earnings, taxes, and profits must be the annual product, whatever that may be.
Look out now, the pig is coming! If these sums per year be reduced to portions per day, the wages or earnings of each person amount to a fraction over forty-six cents per day, or $1.38 for every day in the year, including Sundays, secured by one person in three of the population who constitute the working forces. Profits amount to a fraction under five and a half cents a day; taxes to a fraction over three cents. The cost of the excess of fat and sugar in the standard ration is seven cents out of twenty- five. If this were saved and applied to shelter, the housing of the working people would be solved.
There! do you want anything clearer than that? If the western farmer would only bum his corn, instead of feeding it to the pigs, the working people could be housed. Mr. Atkinson, it is true, suggests the alternative of converting the corn into beef, but that is evidently a slip of the pen, because the working people don’t need beef. The pork that they eat now is altogether superfluous, doing them no good whatever, consequently it makes no difference whether they get the pork or not, and if they are deprived of it, they don’t require beef or anything else in the place of it. It is the wicked hog family—the succulent sucking pig, the tender shoat, the ham and the bacon, and the pickled pigs’ feet—that are filling the brothels, and packing the tenement houses, and killing the babies, and crowding the potter’s field. Dr. McGlynn and Father Huntington and all the other good but mistaken men who are striving to drain the slough of poverty ought to give over their foolish efforts and go to killing pigs, so as to save the starch and protein which are being wasted, and put an end to the fat which is not required for use. And hereafter, when the burial service is read over the poor man’s ration of child under twelve, crowded out of the world by the excess of fat which is not required tor use, and the deficiency of starch and protein, let the consolatory phrase be changed to “The Lord gave, and the Hogs have taken away”—that so the gospel according to Edward Atkinson, may be fulfilled.
To take Edward Atkinson seriously is like playing battledore and shuttlecock with sledge- hammers—one soon gets tired of the game. The providence which for its own mysterious purposes dispensed Mr. Atkinson never meant him to be taken seriously. What serious consideration can a man give to such a statement as this: “It may be assumed that not exceeding ten per cent, or $20, worth a year per capita, can be saved and added to the capital of the country, however such capital may be owned individually.” Why may it be assumed? How are you going to save it? “Won’t it wear out, or rust out, or rot, or get moth eaten, or weevily, or sour? And what does that nonsense about the $168 or $170 a year wages fund mean? Does Mr. Atkinson or Mr. Anybody else pay his laborers before they do their work? Doesn’t he wait till the end of the week or the month or the quarter till they have produced a certain amount of wealth, and then pay them—generally considerably less than the amount of their production? Is Mr. Atkinson acquainted with any employer of labor who really provides a wage fund? who would stop business on the 1st of January because he hadn’t money enough in hand to meet his pay rolls up to the following December? If every laboring man in the country should double his consumption of bread and beef and beer and tobacco and clothes, and even of the deleterious pig, would the manufacturers close their factories at the end of six months and say the wage fund was exhausted? Wouldn’t they, on the contrary, thank God for the good times and even raise the wages of their own laborers sooner than have production checked by strikes? As the youth of the period says when a self-evident proposition is presented to him, Well, I should smile.
Mr. Atkinson told a lot of workingmen in Boston one night that he hoped the day would come when his sons would own a cotton mill worth $1,000,000. If they ever are so lucky they will find, when they enter into possession of that mill, that the real difficulty in starting a cotton mill, or any other business, is not to get the capital, but to get the customers, the consumers of the products. If they have those, their million dollar cotton mill will prosper; if they haven’t, it will be a failure. And if they have customers enough to keep a $2,000,000 mill running they won’t have to wait to “save” an extra million of dollars, or to accumulate a gigantic “wage fund” before enlarging their operations. They will empty their treasury on pay day with a firm confidence that it will fill up again before the next pay day comes around; and if they want a few hundred thousand dollars worth of machinery they will find little difficulty in getting it on terms which will give them the privilege of its use for a goodly period before they pay the money for it.
So far from its being true, as Mr. Atkinson and other arithmetical humorists imagine, that production is limited for want of capital, the simple truth is that an enormous amount of capital is yearly wasted and allowed to perish for want of use; and in cases where fresh capital is needed, it springs into being at the magic touch of labor upon the raw material of nature. How many of Mr. Atkinson’s favorite cotton mills are there that could not increase their product without a particle of addition to the machinery and buildings? How many factories of any kind run full time, and to their full capacity, all through the year? What railroad is there that could act increase its traffic without increasing its equipment? What steamship line that isn’t, ready to take more freight? In every one of these cases capital is lying idle, wasting away, being consumed by the destructive energies of nature without a chance to aid in production. And the men who own it are not worrying about any wage fund, but simply cursing the hard times that prevent customers from buying; give them purchasers, and they’ll find wages soon enough.
On the other hand, nothing is easier than to secure the creation of fresh capital, if only the market for the product is secure. Give me tomorrow the undisputed franchise for an elevated railway along Broadway, and within a month thousands of men shall be at work applying their labor to the raw material of nature, bringing into being the capital that I require without the previous saving of an extra day’s wages by me or anybody else. The brick makers will dig clay, the miners will delve for iron, the furnaces will glow, the puddlers sweat and strain, the railways haul, the forge hammers clang, the engineers run their lines; a joyous thrill of industry will propagate itself from man to man throughout the whole community. Laborers, before idle, will go to work; butchers will kill more meat; farmers will raise more vegetables; boarding houses and eating houses will get fresh custom; everybody for a time will be better off, until the landlord, cannily surveying the situation, raises his rents, and so checks the tide of prosperity. And pray, out of whose savings will all this vast capital have come? Out of what wage fund will all these wages be paid? The landlord’s gates will for a time have been forced ajar by the sudden pressure, and eager labor allowed to exert itself upon the land; only that and nothing more; and the occasion over, the sullen gates will close again, the miner be left without work, the clay digger remain idle, the day laborer hide again in his tenement or wander forth a tramp, the hammer rest idle upon the anvil, the engineer go hunting for a job, and Edward Atkinson will speak another piece about capital, and labor, and wage fund, and the horrible effects of eating pork.
Mr. Atkinson has a fondness for figures and diagrams. I will do him a favor by giving him a subject for a fresh set of figures and a new series of lines and parallelograms. Let him explain to me, arithmetically or diagrammatically as he will, how it is that a miner in the Lehigh valley, when he wants a ton of coal, has coal, hoist it to the upper earth and put it on a pile before he can take one ton of coal from the self same pile. And while he has ruler and pen in hand he can draw a lot more lines showing who gets the other nine tons, and why he gets it. Perhaps in doing this he may find that the pig is not the only animal that deranges our social system; that other things involve waste besides bacon, and that the lack of starch and protein is not the sole cause of the misery of the poor.
T. L. McCready.
A Story For Howard Crosby
A Day Laborer who Saved His $50 a Year to Buy a Home With—How He Prospered with His Providence
Amsterdam Labor’s Stage.
He was a go-ahead young man. But because his parents were poor he had missed an education, except a few weeks in the winter; and as a result at twenty-one he was only a day laborer. He wanted a home, and so formed himself into an “anti-poverty society of one,” and began to save his wages. At the end of the first year he had $50 in the bank drawing four per cent. This he continued to do year after year with patient perseverance, never running in debt or spending money foolishly, until at the end of ten years he had just $750.
At that rate the home seemed as far off as ever, so he determined to buy a lot, and with what was left start the house and then give a mortgage on the whole to get the money to complete it.
But while he had been working and saving others had done the same thing. The town had grown and the value of land had increased. Across the street was the lot he had set Ins mind on having and he went to buy it. The price was a thousand dollars. For the last ten years he couldn’t remember that even a co w had pastured there; the boys had used it to play ball on Saturday, and that was all.
“Why,” said he, “ten years ago I could have bought that lot for a hundred dollars from you.” “More fool you that you didn’t,” said the owner. “Its worth a thousand now.” And so it was. He ought to have purchased then, only he had no money in those days. “Well, PH have to find a cheaper lot,” he said to himself, and wandered from one real estate office to another, till at lust, way out on the edge of the town, far from his work, in a squalid neighborhood, where there were none of his kind, he found a let that three hundred and seventy-two dollars would buy.
He could have got cheaper ones further on, only they were so far that he couldn’t reach his work mornings, so he bought this—half his savings gone. He begins his house, borrows $500, gives the mortgage, and at last has a lot worth $375 and a house worth $850, or $1,025 in all.
Now, at last, says he, I have a home, and the fifty dollars a year I save will pay the interest of thirty dollars and a little on the principal.
Then the assessors come along and assess him on the house as worth a thousand dollars, while the six vacant lots next to his place, for which three hundred and seventy-five dollars apiece is asked, are assessed as worth only two hundred and fifty dollars in all. The mortgage is a bill of sale to the man he borrowed of, of his house and lot, yet he himself pays the taxes on it all. He can only work six days in the week, while the mortgage works all the time nights and Sundays. The burden of debt and taxes is eating him up, and the little “anti-poverty society of one” is in danger of a foreclosure.
A copy of “Progress and Poverty” falls into his hands, and in the evening, when not too tired, and perhaps a Sunday afternoon, he studies that wonderful book, until at last the light breaks in upon him, and he begins to see why it is so hard for a poor man to get a home or anything else in this world, and next we hour him discussing it with his nearest neighbor.
“Ye see, Jack, I was after thinkin’ I were savin’ $50 a year, but I weren’t. I were only goin’ to give it to some feller what’s doin’ nuthin’ at all only a waitin’.’ Why, ten years ago I hadn’t nothin’, and he had*this lot. It wasn’t worth $25 then, and was was out in the country. Now it sells for $375, so ye see I was a savin’ $35 every year of my wages to give to him, an’ he doin’ nothin’ to earn it. It was only ‘cos such fellers as mo an’ you were workin’ and the boss a usin’ his capital and buildin’ up trade and bizness in the town wot made this land rise vally, and it kind o seems to me that if we can make the vally, and the land gits it, the land ought to pay the taxes, and I figgers it that if I only paid taxes on my land vally an’ not on my house I wudn’t have much taxes to pay, ‘cos if they assess me like they do him on those lots over there, I wud only have to pay on an assessment of forty-two and two-thirds dollars, while if they assessed him like they do me, I’d have to pay taxes on an assessment of three hundred and seventy-five dollars, an’ he’d have to pay on an assessment of twenty-two hundred and fifty dollars, so the rate wud be considerable less, and I’d pay less either way, while now he pays on an assessment of two hundred and fifty, and he rich; I bein’ poor, pays on an assessment of a thousand.
“I guess I’ll go the George plan every time.”
“And if that be true, so will I,” says Jack.
W. C. Wood, M. D.
Yes You Will, Until You Tax Away “John Alexander’s Selfish Speculative Interests”
Brookwayville, Pa., Record.
The land near the R. & P. station covered with old stubs and rubbish, so far as it benefits anybody in Jefferson county, might as well be in Gehenna. A big mud lake would be eminently better than this wide mass of dry brush that threatens to catch fire every day. The man who owns it will not clear it to use it. In self-defense it should be declared a nuisance, and the brush and trees should be ordered removed just the same as would be done if it belonged to a man who owned but one town lot.
Shall we allow John Alexander’s selfish speculative interests to predominate over the safety of the entire village?
“And, Behold, Certain of the Scribes Said Within Themselves, This Man Blasphemeth”
McGlynn is already more of an extremist than Robespierre was when he entered politics. The natural tendency of his opinions will hurry him on until he will stand by the side of Herr Most and the Chicago anarchists. The church has declared him an outcast; the state will sooner or later pronounce him an outlaw.
It is not likely that this man will ever retrace his steps. Each day widens the gulf between him and society. The road he is traveling branches out to the jail, the lunatic asylum and the poor house. In one of those places he will breathe his last blasphemy and utter his last curse.
Where Else, Indeed, Now That Chattel Slavery is Abolished?
Farming lands in wheat in the vicinity of Selma are paying this year from $3 upward per acre rental, where only once plowed. Where the ground was double plowed, as high as $6 per acre has been realized for rental of ground. These lands rent for a fourth of the crop, and it is the cash value of this fourth of the crop that we are speaking of. Such lands can be bought for from $20 to $40 per acre and the yearly tax on such lands is about 25 cents. Where else are such inducements for investment to be found?
Put That Association in a Tenement House Without Work and See What Will Happen
Marlborough, Mass., Times.
The best and most potent anti-poverty society that we know anything about is the one formed by the close alliance of health, industry and temperance. That association knocks poverty out every time.
The Farmer And The Single Tax
A Land Owner Discuss the Effect of the Direct Tax on His Property
Washington Cor. Dubuque Industrial Leader.
A point the Dubuque Herald attempts to make is this:
“In addition to this fallacy of no title in land is the still more objectionable vagary that land should be made to pay all taxes. . . . Farmers are to be asked not only to give up their titles, but to pay almost all the taxes.”
I would suggest that you take a copy of that number of the Herald, and start out with it as a missionary among the business men of Dubuque, especially among the owners of real estate in your city. Explain to them that under the practical operation of the “Henry George idea” all their magnificent residences will escape taxation, with their luxurious furniture; also all their grand four-story blocks, with all the stocks of goods stored therein. Expatiate upon the fact that here is a chance for them to get rid of the larger share of their present taxation by the adoption of the “Henry George idea,” under which, the Herald says, “the farmers will have to pay almost all the taxes.” Count up the number of converts you make among them, and let me know, by telegraph, at my expense. I can tell you the number beforehand to a nicety. Not one? Not through the presentation of that argument.
What is the matter? Are the business men of Dubuque unanimously blind where their own pecuniary interests are concerned? Are they so generous and philanthropic that they still insist upon carrying a burden of taxation concerning which they have complained so frequently and so loudly, when an opportunity is now offered—if the HeraId is correct—to quietly shift it over on to the shoulders of their rural friends, the farmers? If such a spirit of self abnegation has taken possession of them—since I left—certainly the millennium cannot be far away. The truth is, as every business man in Dubuque city knows, the statement of the Herald has no foundation in fact, but was promulgated solely for country consumption. The “Henry George idea” does not propose to tax land, in and of itself, at all—but land values. The Herald, about three months ago, copied an article from the New York Mail, stating that a lot on the corner of Broadway and Cedar streets, had recently sold for $706,000. This was an extraordinary price, and we will not take it as a criterion; but in other papers recently I have seen notices of the sale of business lots of the ordinary size in New York city for from $250,000 down to $100,000. Now, if you are the owner of a farm of 100 acres, you would, under the single tax system, have to pay the same tax on your whole farm as the owner of that $100,000 city lot does on his 25xl00 lot, when your land (the bare land, without a furrow turned, or a particle of other improvements) becomes worth $1,000 an acre, and not a day sooner.
The fact is the farmer shoulders the burden of taxation now.
1. The bulk of personal property in cities cannot be, or at least is not, reached by the assessor. The family jewels are in the jewel case the day he comes round; the silver plate is carefully hid away where thieves and assessors cannot find them; the thousand dollar pictures on the wall are “for the occasion only,” mere daubs, of no intrinsic value. But the tanner cannot carry his 100 acres of land down cellar or hide it under his barn where the assessor will not discover it.
2. If the assessor is honest and the property visible, the business man rarely or never is assessed as high as the farmer. The assessor knows how many acres the farmer owns, and how much an acre such land is worth. But when he ‘comes to the Leader office, for instance, he finds himself in the midst of a mass of material and machinery of the value of which he knows nothing. He takes up a “composing stick,” but can gain no idea by looking at it whether it is worth 15 cents or $1.50. He does not know that “nonparell” type costs three or four times as much as “plea.” It would a very stupid proprietor—or a very honest one—who could not work off $5,000 worth of material under an assessment of $1,500. The first printing office I ever bought I found my predecessor had had it assessed at $350 and insured at $1,350. But a farmer cannot so easily deceive the assessor as to the value of his land and improvements.
3. If by accident there should be a fair assessment, the city merchant can make the farmer pay taxes for the two. “John,” says the shoe dealer, “those Knights of .Labor are after us. They have elected a fellow for assessor who used to be a shoemaker, and he has got our stock down for its full value. But I have been talking with both the other shoe dealers in the village, and we think we can pool our issues and come out even. You and Thomas go to work this morning and mark those $4 shoes up to $4.15, and all the others in proportion. If these county fellows double our taxes, they can have the blessed privilege of paying them for us, that’s all.” But when the value of the farmer’s land is raised on the assessment roll from $7 an acre to $9, it is no use for him to say to his son. “John, we cannot afford to sell our wheat any longer for seventy cents a bushel; you must not let any more go for less than ninety.”
4. If taxation were shifted to land values it would relieve the farmer from the indirect taxes now levied upon him through the tariff. The city capitalist, worth $500,000, does not eat a thousand times as much sugar, wear a thousand times as many shirts, use a thousand times as many axes, and consume a thousand times as many other tariff “protected” articles as the farmer with $500 worth of taxable property; and not until he does will the capitalist take kindly to the suggestion that a land tax be substituted for the tariff, which exacts as much revenue from the $500 man as from the $500,000 man.
5. Any estimate of the taxes that a farmer would have to pay under the operation of the Henry George idea should be based on the conditions that would then exist—not on the conditions that now exist. Under the conditions that now exist- in Washington on every inauguration day the windows of houses on Pennsylvania avenue rent for $10 a day, in order that persons occupying them may have an opportunity to see the pageant on that occasion. But if some future president elect should announce that, for the accommodation of the public, he and his military escort would march not only along Pennsylvania avenue from the capitol to the White house, but live miles out into the open county adjacent to Washington and back, there would be a sudden and surprising fall in the rental value of Pennsylvania avenue windows on inauguration day. The people could get what they wanted—a view of the new president and his escort—somewhere else at less expense. In like manner, if all the land upon which speculators and non-users now have their clutches were set free for the benefit of actual occupants, down would go the present rental value of every acre of land in the United States, and down would go the taxes, for there would be more land occupants among whore to divide the aggregate taxation.
6. When a community gets tired of contributing to support a set of aristocratic idlers on the fat of the land, and allows each producer to reap and retain the entire product of his labor, to be yielded to nobody who does not render in return a full equivalent therefor, the farmer will find enough money left in his pocket so that he can pay even his present tax and yet be left better off than he would be under the regime of the real estate syndicates in case he were to pay no tax at all.
But, you may inquire, what if the farmer should want to sell his land?
Now you are asking a question relative to a matter entirely disconnected with farming interests. I do not recollect that I have any where asserted that the Henry George idea would prove a benefit financially to the land speculator; and a man who wants to sell his land is a man who has abandoned the attitude of a farmer and assumed that of a land speculator. Such a man, under the new dispensation,would find himself in the predicament that the islander, who had paid out money for a wife, would be if the “American idea” relative to wife brokerage should be adopted, and he should afterward want to sell his wife; he would have reason to regret that his ancestors had ever adopted such a. foolish and unjust custom as wifeselling.
However, even for him there is “balm in Gilead.” Any man who has lived on a farm for a number of years is sure to have placed upon it many and valuable improvements.” Everything upon the land that is the product of human labor, from the first furrow turned to the last mosquito screen in the back window, he can rightfully claim as his property. House and barn, hedge and ditch, fence and well, orchard and shade trees, terrace and trellis—all these he can rightfully sell. Sometimes the question is asked by me—Why do I, a land owner in Nebraska, and a lot owner in Dubuque and Washington city, advocate the “Henry George idea,” to the “confiscation”’ of my own property? I answer: My lot hero in Washington cost me $400; I have built upon it a house that cost me $2,000; now if Henry George and his “communistic followers” will only take these land pirates by the throat (metaphorically speaking), confiscate the last foot of their land—and mine, too, for consistency’s sake—turn their pockets inside out and scatter their ill-gotten gains back among the working masses of the community from whom it was wrung (of course it is now too fate to restore it to the pockets of the same persons, but it would gradually reflow into the pockets of the same class); then, by the time I get ready to leave here andwant to “sell out,” the present “financial stringency, will be abated, and money will be plenty enough so I can sell my house alone (the ground having been “confiscated”) for $2,500; and where will my loss come in.
And this is only one of the many ways in which I shall be abundantly reimbursed for the loss of my land ,when the “Henry George idea” is carried into practical operation.
A “Reverend” Who Has More Contempt Than Reverence
The Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, discussing the anti-poverty movement in the Elmira Gazette and Free Press, says:
I see no flaw in this “theory” so far. It sails along like a white cloud in mid-heaven too high to reach my parched garden, far too high for me to reach it and shape it to my needs, or my needs to it.
Father McGlynn! Certain facts as to man trouble me whenever I dream out the theories of remedy and right. (1) Many men fear not God, and therefore regard not man. (2) The mass of men do not want to be brothers. (3) They do not want an undivided usufruct of Father God’s good gifts. (4) They do not want to work, and take as their reward just what their labor wins from the land. (5) Men do not want to be equal; they’d rather no races and gamble than live along, fat and quiet as lard. (6) “Success” means getting ahead of other folks. A rich man wouldn’t know he was well off were there no poverty close by him. (7) Men don’t want land; they run away from free farms. (8) Men don’t want peace and co-operation. They enjoy fighting, in Cities with alt their squalor and wretchedness and sin suck men in from God’s sweet country. They’d rather be rats in a sewer than rabbits in the bush. In short, Henry George’s theory goes to pieces the moment you try to man it and work it with such men as we know mankind to be. He makes no account of human nature in his theory. Human nature, limited, impatient, self-willed, ignorant, envious and averse to duty. Human nature, combative, sensuous, disobedient to parents, restive under contradiction, headstrong—lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
The sermon on the mount, with its “theories of remedy and right,” must amuse the Rev. Thos. K. Beecher. What an impracticable dreamer he must think Jesus was, with his golden rule and other nonsense!
Suppose their Neighborhood Had Been One of Wealth Instead of Hopeless Poverty, Would Their Story Have Been Told so Jocosely?
St. Louis cor. Phila. North American.
On the reporters’ hook at the third district police station, this morning, was an officer’s report to the effect that Miss Annie Grimshaw had tried last night to take her own life by swallowing poison at her home on Tyler street, near Broadway, on account of a love affair, but a doctor and pump had saved her. Later in the day on the same hook flung a similar report showing that Annie O’Donnell, eighteen years old, had taken rough on rats at her home on Broadway, near Tyler street, about 11 o’clock this morning, and that she, too, had been saved by a stomach pump. The two attempts at suicide, so near together, both at the same location and tune, led to the belief that some thing interesting might reward investigation.
The labors of a searcher after truth were rewarded by the uncovering of what doubtless M. Zola would consider a splendid incident for one of his novels. The two girls are chums, and their families, homos, surroundings and associations are of the slums, slummy.
The neighborhood in which they live is the abode of hopeless poverty, one of the most miserable tenement districts of the city. They had inspiration for something better than their fate had given them, their hearts sickened over their lowly condition, and they had longings for better homes, better society and better clothes.
Annie Grimshaw was a kitchen girl in a restaurant, very pretty, and a neat dresser. Annie O’Donnell is employed in a spice mill. They sought consolation in telling each other what they longed for and how they hated their condition in life.
Yesterday evening in their confidential talk they made the “horrible discovery that both were violently in love with the same young man, Will Gallagher, a plumber. They did not fight, nor did their friendship turn to hatred; but when truly parted the Grimshaw girl went home and took a big close of rough on rats.
The O’Donnell girl had other work to do. When she got home she found her mother was missing. She went on a hunt, and finale about daylight located her mother in a cell in the third district station house, the old woman having been arrested in the act of draining stale beer in kegs. She took her poison this morning.
Irish Letter in Boston Globe.
It was a picture such as can be seen nowhere save in Ireland. Here were the wide, hedge-checkered fields, undulating and rolling away for miles. In all the wide vista there was not a human being in sight. And yet the English government must pay men, and clothe men and feed men to keep the peace where no one lives, and where all as still as dream land. To me it was a startling, a horrible idea. I had heard of rack-rented Ireland; I had known of her woes; but I did not think it had come to this. I would as soon think of hiring men to keep the peace among the dead in yonderquiet cemetery.
Plenty More Like Him
Edward O’Donnel in Boston Labor Leader.
“McGlynn is right,” remarked a certain newspaper man to me the other day, “but, he was not diplomatic enough to hold his tongue. No man can afford to quarrel with the Catholic church.”
“Do you concede that any act of the doctor called for excommunication?” I asked. “No!” was the emphatic response, and the speaker was a consistent Catholic.
“Then why don’t you come out and voice the honest protest of a free man against this impudent and tyrannical foreign interference with the rights of citizens?”
“Can’t afford to, my dear boy,” was the response.
A Letter Some Clergymen Might Read With Profit
An officer of the trades and labor assembly of Akron, O., writes:
Having read all your works at the time of their first appearance, I can testify to their value. “Social Problems” and “Protection or Free Trade?” converted me from a rampant republican protectionist and free thinker to a free trade, Christian, land and labor advocate. If you have any copies of “Protection or Free Trade?” left for distribution, please forward one for our assembly. I can assure you it shall do good missionary service.
From A Greenback Leader
Benjamin Urner of New Jersey on the Situation—The Land Reform is Basic, and Should Precede All Others
The following letter has been addressed by Benjamin Urner of New Jersey to the delegates of the united labor party, assembled in convention at Syracuse:
Elizabeth, N. J., Aug. 15, 1887.
Your convention, though nominally representing the united labor party of New York, is really, and in a higher sense, representative of the entire country. For the battle to he fought in New York this fall is not a mere local contest, but rather the first action of a campaign in which the whole army of freedom lovers in all parts of the United States must be combatants. This is why I, a Citizen of New Jersey, address you.
Since 1872 I have been in hearty sympathy with the Greenback party, believing that the entire community, through its general government, should control the material agencies of exchange—money the tool, and transportation the vehicle. This opinion I still hold with unabated fervor of belief. But I have become convinced that the principle of rendering natural opportunities free to labor and capital is basic to all other reforms. The effect is, economically, the same, whether labor is controlled in its person or in its opportunities to exert itself in production. The first involves chattel slavery; the second industrial slavery.
So long as a portion of the earth’s inhabitants hold the power to exact from their fellow men tribute for the use of the natural opportunities on which alone labor can be profitably exerted, so long will they and not the masses of mankind reap the benefit of any increased power of production, whether caused by improvements in industrial processes, by an advance in health or morals, or by an improvement in the facilities of trade and exchange.
If the slave is more moral and healthful the greater his production—for his master. If he work with better tools and increase his production. so much the better—for his master- If society advances so that less of production need be exacted to preserve order, so much the greater will be the accumulations —of the master. If exchanging of products is facilitated and its cost diminished, by so much is the value of the product of labor advanced—for the master.
In a community where chattel slavery exists, the property interest of the master ameliorates somewhat the condition of the slave, for the slave’s production is proportionate to his health and vigor. But under our existing system the interest of the master is concentrated on the preservation and acquisition of that which he directly controls, viz.: the natural opportunity. He has not, and in the nature of things cannot have, any consideration for the laborer. The lower the life conditions which the laborer can be indeed to accept the greater the share of production which can be exacted by the owner of the land.
Right here we strike the point. Any improvement in the machinery of production, or any modification of social conditions which renders production more profitable, while still leaving to a few individuals the control of the natural elements of production, can have no other effect than to increase the taxing power of the land lord and make more remote the free zone within which labor can be exerted without paying tribute to an owner of the soil.
A glance backward over a century of time must illustrate the truth of the foregoing proposition. The power of production by improved tools and processes has enormously increased; the cost of order to the community has probably decreased; the cost of the agendas of exchange has very greatly decreased. Conditions have existed which, compared with former times, should, with free opportunities for the employment of his labor by the worker, have greatly lessened his hours of toil, while increasing the totality of production for his enjoyment. But the benefits to him in those directions have been barely appreciable, while, on the other hand, the monopolized zone of cultivable lands has greatly extended and its value enormously increased, to the profit and enrichment of the landed classes.
Such considerations as these, gentlemen, have convinced me that the reforms which we have heretofore advocated in the greenback party will not be materially productive of benefit to mankind as a whole under existing conditions. We must first, by setting free the natural opportunities to labor, give to the workers the totality of their product, and then all the agencies which will increase the product by economizing effort, either in the cost of production or exchange, will inure to the benefit of the whole community.
If these views are sound it would seem to be the highest wisdom on your part to make the leading plank of your platform, if not the whole of it, the principle of setting free the natural opportunities to labor by imposing a single tax upon land values, releasing from taxation all the products of industry; as such a policy must result in throwing open to labor the now monopolized opportunities upon which it may be exert ed, while at the same time, by supporting the machinery of society by means of the “unearned increment” in the value of land created by society, it will relive the community of a very serious item in the cost of production.
Perhaps, not to lose the results of the efforts of the greenback party and other parties advocating in great measure the same principles, it would be wise to briefly enunciate the true doctrine that the issue of money is a societary function which should be exercised by the national government, and which should not on any account be delegated to private individuals or corporations; and that the highways of the country, whether for the transportation of persons, commodities or intelligence, should be owned or directed and controlled by the government in the interest of the whole people, and not monopolized by individuals or corporations. But I beg you to remember that too many issues in a political platform are a source of weakness. When we have, as in the present case, one issue which is basic to the welfare of society and upon the success of which all other reforms depend for their usefulness, we should concentrate all effort for its attainment, and not destroy the allegiance of voters to the main issue by differences as to minor points which at the moment have only a secondary importance.
Asking the blessing of God upon your efforts, I am, Yours truly,
From Wheeling, W. Va.
Wheeling, W. Va., August 7.—Henry Georges speech in this city on the land question on July 30 has filled our friends with hopes and spurred them on to greater effort, while our enemies have learned to know that Henry George and the principle he represents have come to stay and must be met not by ridicule, but by intelligent argument.
The workers of this section are beginning to learn that to be with us in this movement is to be among their friends and to be against us is to be aiding their enemies. They have also learned to know the adverse criticisms of our movement are the best evidence of the effectiveness of our agitation.
Since Mr. George’s appearance in our city he has gained the respect of our worst enemies. Men who previous to hearing him elucidate our theories could not even be indeed to look at his works have now begun to study them. He has raised the mist from many a mind as to the objects of our crusade.
I shall hail the time with a great deal of hope when our national party shall have been named and when the leaders of our new crusade shall proclaim to all the world that justice shall be done on earth “as it is in heaven.”
John L. Frank.
Palliative And Remedy
How a Discussion of the Two Weeks Pay Bill Paved the Way to an Acceptance of the Principles of Taxing Land Values
Wilkesbarre, Pa.— Saturday evening last two mass meetings were held, one at Edwardsville, the other at Luzerne borough. The object of the meetings was to consider what steps were necessary to take to compel the companies to obey the “two weeks pay bill,” which provides for the payment of labor once in two weeks instead of once in four to six weeks. Like all other bills that have been passed ostensibly in the interests of labor, it is liable to become a dead letter, as there is no penalty clause attached to the bill. There were rumors that if the men agitated the question the mines at these places would be shut down for three months, or until such time as the men would accept such terms as the companies might impose, in perfect disregard of the laws of the state.
The speakers of the evening were J. J. Smythe, M. D., and C. S. Hopkins, both of Wilkesbarre, Pa. Arrangements had been made for both gentlemen to address both meetings. which were about a mile apart Carriages were in waiting, and as soon as the speakers were through at one place they were driven to the other.
Mr. Hopkins, after showing what advantages were to be gained by enforcing the provisions of the new law, showed how hopeless any attempts at compulsion would be. The companies could “shut down the mines,” evict tenants, etc., etc. But here the speaker asked the question, “Suppose that you organize for the purpose of electing assessors, tax collectors and legislators, if necessary, and instruct them to assess the mining lands at their true value, as the poor man’s little home is assessed, and place the burdens of taxation upon that assessed value, what would be the result? Could they afford to shut down for three months or three days even?” There were cries of “No! No!” Like the rays of a rising sun the idea burst upon the crowd, and during the enthusiasm that followed an explanation was given of the anti-poverty doctrine. The audience and speaker alike seemed to see the star of hope, or, perhaps, it was the “star of Bethlehem,” nearing the zenith, and to feel that the day of “peace, good will on earth to men” had come.
The two boroughs are to hold another meeting in the open air midway between the two places, on Saturday’ night, l3th inst. The same speakers will be present. Mr. Hopkins will address a meeting at Pleasant valley, Pa., on Monday night, 15th inst. There is a constantly increasing interest in this vicinity in the principle of “land value taxation” and converts can now be counted by the score.
An Anti-Poverty Society in Topeka
Topeka, Kan.. Aug. 1.—Our anti-poverty society numbers nearly one hundred and is progressing favorably. Interest is increasing. We are also getting our share of criticism by the pro- poverty press. We are developing talent. Rev. Wm. Radly (colored) addressed us yesterday with effect. C. A. Hennie, editor of Labor Chieftain, and our secretary, Mr. Gaskell, also spoke. Seventeen copies of “Progress and Poverty” were sold. Many tracts and Standards were disposed of. On the 29th of July the society elected four delegates with four alternates to attend the union labor state convention to be held here the 9th inst. We would like a stronger land plank in that platform.
J. N. Adams,
President Anti-poverty society.
Can Unite Only on Principle
The following answer has been returned to an invitation to the Philadelphia anti-poverty people to join in a convention of the union labor party of Pennsylvania:
926 Chestnut Street.
Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 11, 1887.
Mr. Ferdinand Kreiner, national committee U. L. P., Bradford, Pa.: Dear Sir—Your favor of Aug. 8 received, containing invitation to take part in the convention to be held at Williamsport on Sept. 7.
While fully sympathizing with the spirit of your letter, and believing that the better element of the union labor party will undoubtedly unite with us next year, yet it is impossible for us to unite under your call, and even more impossible for us to consent to become fellow workers with such politicians for revenue only as Carsey, Lennon, Gallahue and others prominent in your party in New York state, who openly acknowledge that they are for sale to the highest bidder, and whose weight will be too heavy a handicap for you to succeed. Then, too, the Cincinnati platform is too diffusive.
It is worse than useless for us to waste our fire by scattering it. We cannot expect to overcome all evils by one effort, and it is only by concentrating all of our energies to remove the one great evil of land monopoly that we ever hope to succeed. That once abolished, all other reforms will be easy. Trusting you will succeed in freeing your organization from the disgrace of being the prey of professional politicians who use it merely as a stalking horse to advance their own ends, and that the time may soon come when the mighty force that is even now in the hands of the workingmen of this country may be concentrated eventually so as to obtain the reform we all wish for, and that every toiler, with brain or hand, may speedily subscribe to the principles of the Clarendon hall platform, I remain, Fraternally yours,
W. J. Atkinson.
Equal Opportunities and Individual Freedom
Gloversville, N. Y.—I am more than pleased with your attitude toward socialism. Free opportunities to labor and full return to the individual of the result of that labor and the use of his capital is my motto. Capital is the basket man makes to carry apples. Labor picks apples, puts them in the basket and gets more than he would without it. The earnings of the basket are the fruits of the labor used in making it. The trouble today is that the land owner robs the basket and consequently the laborer.
Wm. C. Wood, M. D.
From Medina, N. Y.
Medina, Aug. 13.—Medina has an assembly of the Knights of Labor with nearly 400 members, and there is talk of forming a land and labor club. We have a valuable helper in the person of S. Mainville Burroughs, who is an occasional writer for The Standard, and is one of our most respected citizens. The labor vote here is very large.
Poverty And Drunkenness
Poverty and drunkenness! There they stand, like the shapes in Charles Mackay’s terrible poem of “The Reapers,” towering in more and more awful proportions, flinging a darker and deadlier shadow over this fair land. Each of them is even now reaping a rich harvest or Death in our great cities. Each of them can boast in these sweltering summer days:
“’Tis I am lord of the swarming town; I mow them down, I mow them down.”
But what relation exists between these gruesome forms; on what compact do they work so harmoniously together? Does drunkenness furnish victims to be crushed by the iron wheels of poverty, or does poverty make men slaves of the ‘tyranny of drink? No doubt they aid one another in their cruel work; but to lav aside the metaphor, is it as true that people drink because they are poor as that they are poor because they drink? It is the popular belief among respectable people and well to do philanthropists that the cause of the curse of poverty is intemperance. That is very natural. These people perceive that when a man indulges in immoderate drinking, his business suffers, he loses his position, his family is neglected—in a word, he becomes “poor.” Then, seeing multitudes in this condition and finding that numbers of them drink to excess, our reasoners are quick to inf er that the cause of destitution in intemperance. But such generalizations are dangerous. Perhaps these good hearted people have not mastered all the facts in the case; perhaps they have not asked with sufficient care: “Why do men and women begin to drink?” Those among the poor who have minds to think and reason, together with many of those who have lived with the poor so as to know the real conditions under which they exist, assert that the case is far otherwise, and that while intemperance does create want, yet intemperance is in numberless cases the result of poverty. Into such a question many elements enter that make any mathematical demonstration impossible, some of the most important factors in human affairs being not. capable of being weighed, measured or numbered. But a few instances may serve to illustrate the grounds of this somewhat new view of the case.
There are many thousands of mothers, whose husbands are dead, who are supporting themselves and their children by tailoring. That means, in this city, at least fourteen hours of steady work in order to make the eighty or ninety cents on which they live. They simply cannot live on less than they earn. But to stop two. or three times a day and cook a meal would make an appalling deficiency at the end of the week. Besides, cooking requires fuel, and coal by the scuttle is dear even in summer. What is more simple than to send a child out for a pail of beer? The children get a few sips all around. It quiets the ache of hunger; it furnishes some nourishment—in tenement districts the beer is better than the milk—it is warming in winter; it is cool and refreshing in summer, and many of these women cannot afford to keep ice, and must drink the water at the temperature of the atmosphere—from 90 to 100 degrees, perhaps—and so the whole family slowly drift on into that dependence upon stimulants that is the vestibule of intemperance. Of course, much of this is true of other families than these just described. I know a grandfather and a grandson living together at the top of a rear tenement house, who never do any cooking, and who, after working hard all day, have but just money enough to get their pails of beer for supper.
It is thought that poverty often prevents people from becoming intoxicated, because liquor costs so much. But this is not the case in a city like New York. A poor woman said to me: “What kind of drink must that be that my husband can get drunk on for five cents!” Then, again, the lack of healthful recreation among poor people is another instance of the way in which poverty leads to drinking and drunkenness. The only gathering place for thousands of young men in the poorer quarters of the city is the street corner. When that becomes uncomfortable in the rain or snow or cold the natural refuge is the saloon, and, once there, drinking must follow before they leave. The saloon, with the imperative necessity east upon its proprietor to get men to drink all that he can, is really the center of social life of poorer districts. It is in halls connected with saloons that most of the parties and balls are held, which are about the only places where the young people can meet one another for mutual acquaintance and enjoyment. Yet these halls are under the saloon influence, and though dancing saves many from drunkenness at the time, yet the drinking habit is fostered in every way. But this is the direct result of the poverty of the people. If they had even moderate incomes and decent house room this inducement to degradation would be greatly lessened. A member of a workingmen’s club where alcoholic beverages had been allowed at first, said: “I don’t know how it is we don’t care for the beer any more, but what with all these concerts and lectures and reading and singing, I suppose we haven’t time to think of it!”
Still more evident is the baneful effect of poverty leading to drunkenness in the case of those who are out of work. Almost any one of the two or three thousand tramps roaming the streets of New York will tell you that though he must often go hungry and cannot get a crust of bread without risk of being handed over to the police, he can get a drink of liquor any time. Even if he holds out against the use of the stimulant for a while, constant exposure to the weather, rainy nights on door steps and burning days on the pavements will bring on some illness for which brandy is considered a specific, and is, for him, the readiest, if not the only available remedy.
Of the debasing effect of the life in tenement houses and the way in which it leads directly to intemperance and other evils, I have lately spoken elsewhere. This corroborative fact has just been given me by Dr. Daniell. She says that on questioning two hundred and eighty-two women who came to the Hopper home as to how they had been led into drunkenness, all but nineteen of them attributed their fall directly to the influences that surrounded them in the tenement houses where they had Jived. Their neighbors had offered them beer. At first, perhaps, they had refused it, but social custom about them was too strong. Then trouble came; the beer was insufficient in stimulating power, they learnt to make whiskey with it, and the work was done. Many of them said bitterly: “We should be honest and sober women today if we could have had any sort of living wages and have lodged in a decent place.”
But most powerfully of all does poverty work in enslaving our unhappy brothers and sisters to drink by that silent but steady wasting and deterioration of physical, mental and moral powers, that sapping of the sources of strength, that drain upon the mental vigor, the moral manhood, the hope, courage, resolution on which depend the very salvability of the individual; in short, that actual impoverishment of the soul that is the result of want and misery. The rich know this not, because they have never felt it; the poor, because they have ceased to feel. Yet this exhaustion of nature is that which is driving multitudes of disappointed men and women into the grasp of drink, or, more yet, of opium. We think we should do better; we would live on oatmeal, we would practice economy, we would avoid many of the foolish expenditures that the poor are guilty of, we would be entirely wise, prudent, self-controlled and resolute. Such reflections are, at least, agreeable. And yet do we even now rise so far above those of equal opportunities with ourselves that we can safely assume we should do so if our circumstances were changed? I do not mean that poor people deliberately resort to drink “to drown their misery,” as the saying is, but the liquor taken at first for some ailment that is really the result of bad and insufficient food, foul air, long hours in unhealthy trades, dirt and stench or incipient starvation, becomes in time the object of a constant demand, and then of an imperious necessity. And who can say how much of the liquor consumed every day by people who do not pass for “poor” is taken to meet the nervous exhaustion that comes, if not from want, yet from the dread of want and from the feverish struggle to rise as far as possible above the possibility of it? I have but one word to add. As I have been writing this article I have been asked to indicate how we can get rid, or partially rid, of rum shops in tenement houses. There is one sure and simple way: “Get rid of the tenements.” How that work can be, at least, begun will be indicated, perhaps, by the signature affixed to this article.
James O. S. Huntington, Sup. O. H. C.
A Word to the Farmers
Ceresco, Neb., Times.
The monopoly organs are trying to make the farmers believe that if the new land theory advocated by the labor party prevails they will lose their land. This is partly the result of ignorance of that theory and partly because they know that the success of that theory means the downfall of monopoly. We can prove that the farmers would be infinitely benefited by such a change. Let us state a few points of this new theory. First, all taxes should be levied upon land. When we say land we mean all the resources of nature, such as farms, town lots, mines, etc. That the products of labor should never be taxed. If a man labors and builds a line house or raises a fine horse he ought not to be fined for doing it. The facts are that farmers’ taxes would not be as much under such a system as they are now. For he has to pay a tax on all his personal property, his buildings, and in addition to this he pays an enormous tax upon everything that he buys. For instance, he pays two and a half cents tax on every pound of sugar he buys. There is hardly a farmer but pays more tax on his sugar during the year than he does on his land. But you ask where are all the taxes coming from? Under such a system natural resources which now pay little or no taxes would bear their appropriate share of the burden. Town lots which are worth $1,000 per front foot would be taxed for their full rental value: coal mines and oil wells would contribute their natural advantages to the state. Titles need not be disturbed; in fact, it would make titles more secure, for it would destroy the mortgage system and no one could be dispossessed as long as he paid his taxes.
It is nothing uncommon in this locality for a man’s land to be listed at $500 and his buildings and personal property at $1,000. If all taxes were levied upon land he would have to pay on $500 valuation instead of $1,500. It is urged that the system would throw all taxes upon the farmers. Not so. The fact is, under the preset system the farmers pay nearly all the taxes. But under the proposed new system large and valuable natural advantages which now pay no taxes would bear their share and there by lighten the farmer’s burden. We admit that this system would destroy the speculative value of land, but the farmer would be none the worse off. And if he wished to obtain more land for his children he could obtain it much cheaper than now. This subject is too long to be discussed in a newspaper article, but the above are a few points for thought.
What the Pro-Poverty Press Does
Vincennes, Ind., Daily News.
The Commercial says that a paper that is the advocate of “theories that tend to rob and plunder honest property holders could not say much that is harmful.” The Commercial is proof of the exact contrary. It is the advocate of a theory of taxation that undeniably and inevitably robs and plunders honest property holders. It advocates a “protective” tariff tax which robs labor for the aggrandizement of monopoly. It advocates a system that has built Andrew Carnegie up into a twenty millionaire at the expense of every creature in this country who has to use iron and steel in any of their forms; and, as far as it knows, which isn’t far, the Commercial is an advocate of that system of that taxation—the one now practiced right here—which robs honest property holders, while encouraging rascality, promoting perjury and fraud, checking production and fostering the worst forms of monopoly. In thus advocating these pernicious doctrines of taxation, it says much that is harmful. It says that which persuades men to put up with evils that are all but unbearable. It says that which sustains a system that robs industry, cheeks production and destroys ho,es. It says that which upholds a barbarous law whose best fruits are the multi-millionaire on the one hand and the man begging for work on the other. It says that which deludes its readers into accepting conditions hard, unnatural and galling, conditions which compel men to mortgage their farms, to go from country to town and from town to city in quest of employment, which compel young girls to sell their virtue for bread; that drive young men to vagabondage, drunkenness and crime; that force graybeards to toil like slaves till they drop exhausted into pauper graves. Perhaps the Commercial may not think a paper which advocates such infamous doctrines can say much that is harmful: but when the reckoning up comes, such a paper will not be held guiltless by a deceived and outraged public opinion.
How to Kill Poverty
There is a very encouraging contribution in the latest issue of the Forum. It is intended to cheer up all those toilers of the world who earn about $2 a day, and it may be commended to the attention the Anti-poverty society and all its members who are not paid advisers and lecturers. The writer asks this poser at the very outset: How can a man within a day save money when he has a wife and family to support? Being one of those natural born mathematicians who can go without their means while they figure, he sets to work to answer by mathematical demonstrations how the thing can be done. . . . This demonstration not only encourages the $2 man to save and skim the milk on both sides, but it is intended to stimulate a strong desire in him also to live thirty years at least, so that he may sit down like Marius amid the wreck of time and contemplate what he has done. On the whole, these mathematicians with a turn for thriftiness are people of worth to the would. It is to be regretted, however, that they connect with one another occasionally. The other day one of them demonstrated conclusively that a man who lived as long as the life insurance companies agree that man does live on the average—thirty- five years—could not hope to have more than seven years to do anything in if time for sleep, eating and recreation were duly subtracted. Still, we see no reason why the anti-poverty people should not lay to heart the demonstration of the writer in the periodical mentioned.
How to Keep Out of the Wilderness
Every furrow turned by the farmer’s plow, every fence post set, every tree or shrub planted, every animal reared, every shingle nailed down, or window glass put in, but adds to the value of the speculator’s acres which lie close at hand and upon which the owner pays a proportionately decreasing ratio of tax. The single tax upon land values by cheapening land will enable the farmer to settle his children nearer home, instead of sending them into the wilderness.
The Specter Behind Civilization
The deadest aspect the decay of civic society can exhibit has appeared to me to be this, when honorable, honor-loving, conscientious diligence cannot, by the utmost efforts of toil, obtain the necessaries of life; or when the workingman cannot even find work, but must stand with folded arms, lamenting his forced idleness, through which himself and his family are verging to starvation, or, it may be, actually suffering the pains of hunger.
Swindling a Poor Italian
Burlington, Ia., Justice.
Cooley’s Weekly, Norwich, Conn., says: “There is no great loss, it is said, without some small gain. The pope has lost Dr. McGlynn and captured all the great American editors from New York to Podunk.” Of course, the exchange was not much of a bargain, but the pope does not know how badly he got swindled in the trade, and as he is only a foreigner anyhow, he may live for some years yet before he will and it out.
Edward Atkinson’s Figures
Professor James of the University of Pennsylvania Says They Are Unreliable, and His Conclusions Unwarranted—The Conditions of Life Are Becoming More Severe—We Are in a Dangerous Condition as a Nation
At the session of the “Association for the advancement of science” in this city, on Aug. 12, Professor E. J. James, professor of political economy in the University of Pennsylvania, drew attention to the utterly unreliable and misleading nature of the figures quoted by Edward Atkinson in his recent articles in the Century. Alluding to Mr. Atkinson’s statement that the present methods of distribution of wealth among the factors of production is as nearly perfect as can be hoped for, Professor James says:
I dissent most emphatically from these conclusions. I have at least as thorough a confidence in the future of my country as that which Professor Atkinson displays, but I base it on the belief that we shall at many points make radical departures from our present was of doing things.
Part of the figures and data are taken from the census reports and part from other sources. So far as the census reports are concerned, the superintendent of the census calls attention to the fact that the figures for all the censuses be fore 1880 relating to industry are in the highest degree untrustworthy. If, however, we take for granted that Mr. Atkinson’s figures are trustworthy and complete, even then they do not show what they appear to prove at his hands.
The estimates of the cost of living made by Mr. Atkinson are moderate in amount, and yet the sum of money which his average laborer needs for average consumption is away beyond what the majority of our laborers can earn under existing conditions. His estimate of the cost of raw material of food for a family of five, counting three children as one and a half grown persons, is $350. It is hardly necessary to say that the allowance is not a liberal one for any great city. But taking it as it is and adding the average rates of consumption of clothing, shoes, fuel, etc., the total amount will reach over $600. In this there is no estimate for expenses for school, for books, recreation, or any of those things which distinguish a man from a serf. Yet in an examination of a long series of cases I fail to find more than a small per cent of laborers who actually make $000 a year. Six hundred a year is $2 a day. Two dollars a day is more than the average unskilled laborer can earn and a skilled mechanic, to earn much more, must have few idle days in the working season.
The amount of comfort or elegance to be obtained out of two dollars a day for five persons, you can imagine for yourselves. Yet the average earnings of all laborers reported by the Pennsylvania bureau of statistics were only $400 a year or $1.33 a day. Only three industries in the state paid more than $12 a week, and the wages in many cases were only $7 a week. just what Mr. Atkinson allows for the cost of the raw material of food for a family of five. The conditions cf life are becoming more severe. The prizes open to success are growing larger, but the held is narrowing. I can remember when it was possible for a farm hand in central Illinois to save enough from his wages in a few years to buy and stock a thirty-acre farm. This is no longer possible m the same neighborhood. Forty years ago it was a common thing for a mechanic without capital to start a business which would grow to be the largest firm in the country. Today he must have capital to begin with or he stands little chance.
The number of laborers is rapidly increasing. The hopes that laborers can become anything but laborers are waning, wherever manufacturing is carried on on a large scale. Even in this country a class of agricultural laborers is growing up which has no outlook toward anything better than wage dependence. As long as the average man by industry, abstinence and thrift could look to becoming independent he was likely to be content with low wages and inferior position. But nowadays this conservatism is largely weakened. If a laborer can become nothing but a laborer, his only hope is for the improvement of the condition of laborers as a class. There is no doubt that we have here the bone of a bitter and long continued struggle.
It will not do to say in answer to this that wealth is increasing. For it might increase as fast again and make things worse rather than better. Nor is it wholly satisfactory to prove that wages are increasing, for the point is, are they increasing fast enough to allow the laboring classes a standard of comfort sufficient to keep them satisfied with society as it is at present, and enlist a majority of them on the side of good order and peace? If we allow a large class to sink low enough to see profit in a change we are m a dangerous condition as a nation. It can hardly be said that the laboring classes are now content. Nor is it fair to impute our labor disturbances to the influence of foreign agitators. The genuine Anglo-Saxon is one of the most successful of agitators, and the history of English trade unionism proves it. It looks as if the disturbances were likely to increase, compelling us either to remove the causes of discontent or resort to the club and musket to repress it—a course which would land us in the worst evils of the German police state.
Same Old Chestnut
Jacksonville, Fla., News-Herald.
Mr. George, like every other theorizer, forgets that nothing is perfect. Even the great Creator Himself has made no perfect work. It often ruins on the unjust and the just alike when the just man is needing anything else but rain. Apparently the fairest rule (according to Mr. George) would be to divide all the land equally. but in less than a year A would own B’s allotment and B would be aspoor as ever.
Life Seems More Pleasant
Boston, Mass.—Life seems more pleasant to me since I have read in The Standard those beautiful lectures given by Dr. McGlynn. May the good God inspire others like him.
Not all the seed falls on good ground. There are stony places as well as fruitfulsoils. Here is a letter from one of the stony places:
Memphis, Tenn.—A few weeks ago I sent back two copies of your Standard, accompanied by a letter in which I notified you that I had no desire to keep your paper. Notwithstanding, you continued to send it. What you think of me I do not know, but what I think of your paper you may learn now:
“Henry George,” this name on the top of a newspaper is under the present state of affairs, a sufficient reason to reject it, and to deem it not worthy to be read by any “Catholic.”
I, therefore, send again two copies back, and hope you will be kind enough to trouble me no more with your paper.
Father Leonard, I. S. F.,
St. Mary’s , 61 Market street, Memphis, Tenn.
Well, we are sorry for Father Leonard, and sorrier still for the congregation of St. Mary’s who look to him for spiritual and moral guidance. Father Leonard is one of those who willfully turn their faces from the light and seek to persuade others to do likewise. But the light is spreading for all that,and Father Leonard’s eyes will yet be forced to see it, in Iris own despite. And when that time arrives the chances are that Father Leonard will forget that he ever wrote such a letter as the one published above, and will proclaim the gospel of the brotherhood of God and the brotherhood of manas a self-evident truth, to deny which were a crime against revealed and natural religion. Truth can afford to wait for Father Leonard.
How different a spirit is breathed in this letter from another minister of Christ. I am much interested in the three last copies of The Standard which have been mailed to me. While I am at present by no means a convert to your land scheme in its entirety, yet I heartily sympathize with any national and Christians movement having for its end the lessening of undeserved poverty. I inclose thirty cents, in return for which please send me “Progress and Poverty,” bound in paper, and “The Land Question.”
H. N. C.
Here speaks the true servant of God, seeking for truth, anxious to find it, but determined, before he acknowledges it, to know that it is indeed the truth—the very will and law of God. Such a man is worth winning to our side; and that we shall win him, and thousands like him, who that knows the power of our cause can doubt.
A correspondent, who requests us to withhold his name, sends this letter:
I send inclosed a list of Methodist ministers which I have culled from our city directory in response to your request in this week’s issue.
No one can read “Publisher’s Notes” without becoming so enthusiastic as to be tempted to impoverish himself in aiding the cause. So, although I already have The Standard sent to quite a number and have distributed many hundred tracts, I still feel that I must be doing more, and so inclose $5, which I hope soon to repeat.
The education on the land question which is going on so rapidly all over the country is cause for great satisfaction, but I sometimes think that if the political work which is being alone in connection with it could be concentrated in some state such as New York, the fruits of the victory could be sooner seen and such an impetus given to the movement that a national victory would quickly follow. Once let the country see the wonderful good that would follow the change in New York, even although the national taxes and tariffs remained, and the other states would quickly follow its example and all taxes would be soon abolished. And so you may apply my contribution as you deem wisest to spreading the doctrine or to political work. There is no doubt in my mind that your campaign last fall directed more attention to the land question than anything else that has been done.
We wish our friend would have allowed us to publish his signature, for the subject upon which he writes is an important one, and his name would have added weight to what he says.
The banner of the new crusade is to be carried into the field of politics this fail in the state of New York. As these lines are being written, the delegates of the united labor party are gathering for the convention at Syracuse, and by the time this issue of The Standard reaches its readers that convention will have formulated its principles into a platform and cast down the gage of battle to its pro-poverty antagonists.
Standard readers, do you realize what a victory at the polls in this imperial state of New York would mean for our cause? Do you realize what even a glorious defeat—a defeat that should be but a presage of future victory—would mean? Ponder on it, you earnest workers for the cause, whose hearts and hands are already active in the struggle! Lay down your Standards for a moment, you careless ones, who believe and hope, but, as yet, have shrunk from active work, and think of it! Think of the thrill of joy that will run through our ranks, of the dismay that shall chill our opponents if, at the election to be held in New York this fall, it shall be shown so clearly that none can mistake or doubt that the people of this state are determined to assert their equal rights to the use of the bounties of God! How the fences will tremble to their tall! How the monopolizers of those vast natural opportunities, for want of access to which men and women and little children are writhing and struggling in the grasp of the poverty demon, will make haste to unlock the gales for the admission of eager labor, ere a worse thing befall them. What holder of a vacant lot but will make haste to build a house upon it; what owner of an unused field but will be quick to have it cultivated; what lord of mine or quarry, but will seek to utilize it to the utmost; when once they understand that the taking away from them of all that unearned increment of value which alone renders it profitable to keep God’s gifts idle, is only a question of time, and of a very little time at that? How the waste places will blossom, and the deserts sing for joy, and the hammer and anvil clang, and the shuttle fly, and the plow brighten in the furrow—with what a joyous bound will every form of production and exchange advance—if only the people of this great a tale shall assert, in tones that cannot be mistaken, that they mean to have their own!
Friends, it can be done! It rests with you to do it. It is no idle dream that we are indulging, but a forecast of a situation that is perfectly possible, if only you are determined,with all your hearts, and with all your souls, and with all your minds, to have it so. If every one of you wi1l but make up his mind that he really wants the party of united labor to triumph in New York—if he will but do whatever lies in his power to advance the cause, and know no rest so long as anything that he can do remains undone—a victory in November is an assured fact. It is no light task that lies before us, but it can be done; it should be done; and, friends, if you but will it so, it shall be done.
If you have money, send it. It is sorely needed. Rain your dollars into the recruiting fund; swell the recruit subscription list with New York voters. If you live within the state, see that your neighbors are not left ignorant of the great issues upon which the battle must be fought. Speak, write, work, be active in the cause. Act as though the whole responsibility for the campaign rested upon you alone, and spur on others to do likewise. It is a battle for freedom we are fighting, and in such a cause no man should be idle.
The bulletin board is a mighty effective thing for missionary work, and has, moreover, this great advantage, that it calls for no expenditure of money. In small towns and villages especially it can be used to advantage. Every Standard reader should see to it that somewhere in his neighborhood there are posted up extracts from The Standard or carefully selected tracts, together with the platform of the united labor party. The object aimed at should be to make men familiar with what we are striving for, and to force discussion. Once get people to disputing, once induce them to argue against the great reform, and converts will come in by scores. Truth will prevail; she only needs a chance to strike at her adversaries, and by inducing discussion you secure to her that chance.
From New York to New South Wales. Isn’t our cause indeed a world-wide one, and are not we, in our political campaign in New York this fall, fighting a battle for all humanity? Truly, if a deadly blow can be struck the poverty demon here in the Empire state, his fall will shake the globe.
Duebo, N. S. W., July 10.—I have received parcels of The Standard running to the end of May, and am much pleased with the paper. This development of progressive ideas is quite unknown to many thousands in this colony. I am getting circulars printed to bring your paper under the notice of news agents and editors of liberal colonial papers. I anticipate a great deal of good can be done by widely circulating The Standard, and expect to get orders for a very large number.
The tracts are very good, and I send an order for further supplies; also for “Progress and Poverty.”
There is a society at Forbes called “the land nationalization society,” and I have originated one here called “the land tax association.” We have friends everywhere. I know men who deny themselves all luxuries to devote their few pounds of savings to this matter. I am in communication with all who have declared themselves publicly; and hope for much good when The Standard and tracts shall be freely circulated among the people.
I inclose £10, with order for books and papers.
Here is Scotland eager for light, too:
Glasgow.—Send us all The Standards you can for the £1 inclosed. We want to give them out as sample copies. We are in the army, and want to work for the good cause. We have four retail shoe shops, and will supply The Standard from them all, not for profit, but to spread the light.
We say, with Mr. Pentecost, this is the most religious movement we have ever seen.
Philip and Edward Devine.
England next; the day is breaking there as well as elsewhere. This comes with a renewal of a subscription to The Standard.
Staines, Middlesex, Eng.—Dr. McGlynn has, to a certain extent, restored my faith in the preachers of Christ. Episcopalians in this country, especially in country villages, teach people to “bless the squire, and his relations, etc.,” and to thank God for the privilege of hard work.
I do not sympathize with Edward McGlynn. I envy him the privilege of being the first martyr in so glorious a cause.
I should like to tell you how I came to read “Progress and Poverty.” All my life long I have been saddened by the misery and sin of thousands, and by the abject servility of the poor to the rich. It seemed to me an insult to God to suppose that he made the world for this. Political economy gave me no hope, and I thought: It is no use trying to do anything. I can only pray for others and do as little harm myself as possible. It was in this frame of mind that I called one evening on a friend, a Congregational minister. He told me, “What you want is the true remedy. You must read a book I have upstairs.” He gave me “Progress and Poverty.”
So they come. Would that we could give you all of them to read. For sure we are that no man who believes in the righteousness of our cause could read the earnest, thrilling letters that come to us from all over the world and refrain from putting his own hand to the plow. Ah! the harvest is ripening, the grain is yellowing for the sickle, and the laborers are gathering. Well will it be for you, friend, if your name be entered on the muster roll ere the eleventh hour strikes.
The recruit subscriptions are coming in bravely, and ye tall too slow. The men and women who are at work are toiling like beavers, and throwing their whole souls in to the effort; but the idlers are all too many. Some are thinking of the great things they would do if they only had the chance; some are quieting their consciences with a resolution to go to work next month, next week, tomorrow; and some, it may be feared, are hugging their faith to their souls as though it were a secret not to be betrayed, and timorously shrinking from avowing it. Yet the ranks of the workers are swelling day by day; and in this great struggle we are waging for truth and justice a man cannot, even if he would, go back. The fire of enthusiasm once kindled in the heart can never be quenched. It burns and burns with steadily increasing flame, and the worker once, is a worker always, and will be so till death relax his energies or victory crown his efforts.
Workers, read what your brothers and sisters are doing, and take courage in the reading. And, idlers, read and be ashamed!
Paterson, N. J.—Inclosed are two “recruit clubs” of twelve each, the first fruits of the Paterson Anti-poverty society. We have held three meetings, and the interest is increasing all the time. We trust to just about revolutionize the habits of thought in this town; and think if a man gets The Standard for six weeks he will want to keep right on with it.
Los Angeles, Cal.—Inclosed is fifty cents for recruit subscriptions of the Young Men’s Christian associations of San Francisco and this city. In this land booming town industrial hard workers cannot get a house to live in, and rents are flying up in worse than Irish style; while eastern people are being brought here in thousands by the unholy combination of land speculators. Southern California is sadly in need of some bold, outspoken divines to make our pulpits shake with the monster wrongs inflicted upon the masses here under a pretense of advancing prosperity.
Chicago, Ill.—I inclose $3, for which enroll my sister and myself as members of the Anti-poverty society, and send The Standard to the following five addresses for six weeks.
Robt. H. Byers.
Minneapolis, Minn.—Inclosed is $2, with twelve recruit subscriptions. If you would publish Mr. Ring’s speech, given in your issue of July 30, every week for the next year, I think I could get a thousand converts.
Edwin B. Barber.
Mr. Ring’s speech has been published in the “Land and Labor library,” and is already doing noble work. From Pittsburgh alone we have received an order for 15,000 copies.
Stockton, Cal.—Neither my age (sixty-six) nor the ownership of $20,000 worth of land have in the least affected my zeal in behalf of the great truth you are working so zealously to propagate. I inclose post office order for $5, of which $1 is to enroll my name among the anti-povertyites, $2 for the recruit subscriptions below, and $2 to be applied in your discretion.
D. A. Learned.
Washington, D.C.—The recruiting plan suggested by some good friend of the cause some time ago seems to me to be the way to spread the light. The inclosed $2 will send the gospel to twelve souls, who are, or should be, thirsting for it.
I propose to furnish twelve names, and the $2 to pay for same, monthly, until I shall have given you the names of all the ministers in this city. Those I send today are all ministers of the gospel of Christ.
WM. Geddes, M. D.
These recruit subscriptions are doing their work. Already renewals for six months and a year are beginning to come in, while very many are writing for information, copies of “Progress and Poverty,” etc. Keep it up, friends; keep it up! Your blows are telling. We send The Standard, on this recruit subscription plan, for s ix weeks: To any two addresses for 50 cents. To any five addresses for $ 1. To any twelve addresses for $2. But we cannot renew subscriptions at the same rates.
Now for the general letter box. If we only had room for more of it!
Hamilton, Ont.—Through reading The Standard regularly for the last few months, the inevitable result of conversion to the doctrine of the land for the people has overtaken me, and with that has come an impatience to see the people around me get their eyes opened and engage in the tight. Even in this comparatively thinly settled country the dangers attendant on the present unjust system of land ownership are looming up. It is pitiable to find so many people both in and out of labor organizations sensible that they are being robbed, that they are year by year becoming less able to make suitable provision for their own and their family’s wants, but failing to recognize the cause that lies underneath it, while they spend their energies in battling with comparatively trilling and imaginary evils. I am anxious to do something to set a few of these people thinking, and would like to have a few sample copies of The Standard to use for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions. I know some of my friends who have had a few copies are ready to subscribe, and there are surely many others who could be easily aroused to wish more light.
E. S. Gilbert.
This from the pastor of a Universalist church:
Syracuse, N. Y.—Inclosed find $1.25 for half year’s subscription. The Standard, editorially and otherwise, contains the most thoughtful and independent reading I have ever seen.
J. C. F . G.
St. Louis, MO.—I inclose a year’s subscription to The Standard is daily growing in popularity in this city. I deem it the best paper for the laboring people in the country.
S. R. Jackson.
Portland, Me.—I began reading The Standard only a few weeks ago. I have talked to and interested quite a number who will soon become converts. I have purchased and read “Progress and Poverty” and the “Land Problem,” and passed them around for others to read. I do the same with The Standard each week.
It is surprising how quickly people become convinced after beginning to read. The most difficult thing is to get a hearing . I have “enlisted for the war” and do not mean to be mustered out.
For the amount inclosed please make me a member of the Anti-poverty society, and send me The Standard for six months.
I suggest the words “free land” as a good name for our new party. I would not be ashamed to be called a “free lander.”
S. T. Taylor.
San Francisco, Cal.—Inclosed you will find cash for three subscribers to The Standard. This is but part of the result I expect to come from the few papers and tracts you sent me. I think I can say I have nine converts, and I now intend to monopolize some other man’s nine.
I had always hoped to avoid active participation in politics, but I see so much good to arise from the land for the people that were I to remain idle I should feel myself a trait or to the best interest of my God, my country, and my fellow man, and unworthy of the right of an American Citizen. So, with earnest prayers for the success of our cause, I remain,
J. A. Johnston.
Sioux City, Ia.,—Inclosed find 50 cents, for which please send me as large an assortment of tracts as the money will buy. I want to make some selections for missionary work. The cause is growing here, and an effort will soon be made to organize a club in the interest of the glorious “new crusade.” Most of my life has been spent in the editorial harness, but at present I am a commercial traveler. Nearly everywhere I go I hear the new party talked about, but its objects and principles are not understood or appreciated by one in a thousand. Respectfully.
J. L. Ford.
Wichita Falls, Tex.—The tracts I have distributed are beginning to tell; new ideas are coming to the front; more reading matter is wanted. I send you an order for six copies of “Progress and Poverty.” Inclosed please find $1.20 to pay for them. I think I shall be able to send for a larger number soon. Am delighted to hear our grand cause, founded upon justice, is marching on. Shall endeavor to do what I can in the great battle for industrial freedom.
E. J . Perego,
Sec. Farmers’ Alliance.
Cameron, MO.—I received the Bishop Nulty letters a few days ago, and have distributed them to those who will read them. I find most of the laity siding with you and Dr. McGlynn. Our priest is so also at times, when he lets his Irish blood flow freely; but at times he is a little against it. His congregation is for free land.
D. C. Ballard.
Wilmington, Del.—Inclosed find $3.25, for which send the following tracts. Your doctrines are taking hold here. Yours in the cause of the new crusade.
David S. Bishop.
Pawtucket, R. I.—Will you please send me a set of “Land and Labor” tracts, for which I inclose 20 cents. Two weeks ago we started a land and labor club here. Mr. Edward Barker was elected president; a good man and true; I wish we had more like him. For myself, I shall do all I can to spread the truth by means of The Standard and tracts.
The recruiting fund grows slowly. that the campaign is about to open in York, we hope to see it swell rapidly.
The recruiting fund now stands:
A. H. Groh
J. M. Gay
G. B. Sinclair
‘Ammer ‘Ammer ‘Ammer
M. W. C.
A. Gardiner, Sherman, Tex.
D. A. Learned, Stockton, Cal.
Total to date
The McGlynn Fund
The publisher of The Standard acknowledges receipt of the following contributions, which have been handed to Dr. McGlynn: Abner C. Thomas, $25; Mrs. Abner C. Thomas, $10; Fifteenth assembly district U. L. P ., $50; ‘Ammer ‘Ammer ‘Ammer, $l; Geo. Wilson and Mrs. Mary E . Wilson, $2; M. G. F., $l.
“Therefore Did My Heart Rejoice, and My Tongue Was Glad”
Walter Carr in Long Island Record.
Henry George’s land theories and Dr. McGlynn’s “new crusade,” and all the ultimate reforms they involve, have revealed Christ and His true religion to me in a most comforting way. I can hardly restrain my cool and practical self from acclaiming to every one, “I have found a good thing; come and enjoy it with me!”
How They Wish it Were True
It is Dr. McGlynn, not the pope, who tried to draw his church into politics by becoming an ecclesiastical side show to Henry George’s free land hippodrome. He advocated theories which are at variance not only with the doctrines of the church of Rome, but of all other churches, and with common sense and reason as well. He has gained notoriety, simply as a freak, but it will be temporary, and he will drop out of sight when the novelty of his performance has worn off.
Spreading The Net
Making a Town for the Purpose of Reaping Accruing Land Values
The Las Cruces, N. M., Rio Grande Republican gives the following account of what it terms “the first term in the coloring schemes:”
Last Thursday Mr. J. K. Livingston received information from headquarters in Topeka that his plans for improvement of the lands of the Rio Grande land company had been adopted and that he should proceed to build ten cottages on the company’s lands at Mesilla Park, the name adopted for the Mesilla colony. The contracts will immediately be let for the ten cottages, to cost no less than $1,200 each, and they are to be completed in a specified time, or prior to the fair, which begins Sept. 13.
The big excursion which will come in from the east, will bring a host of home seekers and investors, and in addition to this, excursions will be run from different points in the territory and from El Paso. The second day of the fair has been selected, and it will be known as “Colonists’ day.” The program as mapped out by the company, will be extensive and interesting. In the first place, everything except brown-stone fronts and tracts of land will be free. In fact the RioGrande land company for that day will constitute themselves the hosts of the valley, and the entire assembly will be their guests. Carriages will be provided to take them to all points of interest, and excursion trains will leave the depot at Mesilla park at 9 o’clock in the morning and return at 3 in the afternoon.
At this point sales of lots will be made at $200 a lot. These lots will differ in size from a small town lot 25 by 3l to one acre tracts with neat cottages upon them. The buyers pay that amount for a lot, and after the sale, in the evening, the purchasers will meet in Amador hall, where there will be a drawing to ascertain who gets the cottages and choicest lots. The scheme differs from a lottery in this respect. The man who buys a lot has the assurance that he is getting his money’s worth whether he is fortunate enough to secure a house on it or not. Then there will be a sale of lots in the company’s addition to Las Cruces, which will be carried on in a somewhat similar manner. It can plainly be seen that there will be no blanks.
The refreshment stand will be under the auspices of the ladies of the Presbyterian church of this city, who will take the contract to feed the multitude. The large force of workmen who are employed by the company are now opening up a boulevard straight down the railroad tract, connecting the colony with Las Cruces, and in a few years it will be a pleasant drive lined with trees.
This is but the beginning of the company’s plans to improve their recent purchases in this valley. In good time the alameda north of town, will be populated in a like manner. The Rio Grande land company has a good thing in the 5,000 acres they own here and they know it, and they propose to improve and sell their lands at a price that will insure them good returns, and still be a nice thing for the purchaser.
The Way to Make Them Disagree
Parkersburg, Pa., Farmer’s Magazine. We copy the following from an exchange:
The timbered lands of the south are fast falling into the hands of wealthy syndicates of both native and foreign capitalists. About the middle of last month a Dutch syndicate of bankers in Amsterdam, Holland, acquired from the land and mortgage company (limited) nearly nine hundred square miles of heavily timbered lands in west Florida. This is the largest single transaction in Florida since the great Disston sale in 1881.
Yet these bankers never expect to,come to this country, nor do they care a fig for it. Here is where Henry George’s plan works well. The best way to make them disgorge is to tax them, and that, too, before they take all the timber and make the state a desert.
What About the Man Who Wants to Be a Farmer, but Hasn’t Got a Farm Yet?
Real Estate Record and Guide.
Foreign immigration is large, and large numbers of people are moving from east to west, hence the outlook for the coming year is very favorable. Even the farming community will be benefited by the enhanced value of their lands, due to the increase of our population. A Dakota farmer can afford to sell his wheat for sixty cents a bushel if his farm in the meantime is worth live dollars more per acre.
Thanks. There’s Plenty of Vacant Land Right Here
You of the east who are bawling “land monopoly,” just look this way. Here are millions of acres you can have just for the trouble of coming to get them. Come right along. No sense in squatting down in the eastern cities and yelling “land monopoly!” Come out here and become “monopolists” yourselves. (Henry George’s paper please copy).
Yet the House Costs Less to Build Today Than Twelve Years Since
New York Tribune.
Twelve years ago a house in Harlem could easily be rented by an ordinary mechanic. It is a poor sort of habitation that can be secured there now for less than his entire wages.
The Encyclopedia Britannica
Messrs. Henry G. Allen & Co. of New York have in hand the publication of the cheapest form of the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica yet issued. Originally published at $9 a volume, this work was beyond the reach of any but the wealthy, and only a limited sale at that rate could be expected. An American reprint reduced the price to $5 a volume. At this price the work had a large sale, said to be about 80,000 sets. By a new process of reproducing the plates, only recently brought to perfection in this country. Henry G. Allen & Co. are enabled to offer the work complete at the remark ably low-price of $2.50 a volume. It is a facsimile reproduction of every article, map and plate of the original publication, page for page, reduced to an octavo volume. It is more convenient to handle and shelve than either of the more expensive editions. In paper, binding and general make up it is equal to the edition sold for $5 a volume. While this work is two and a half times as large as Johnson’s or Appleton’s, it is twenty-five per cent lower in price than the latter, and but twenty-five per cent higher than the former, while its contents are brought to a later date, and its subjects are dealt with more fully than are those of any other works of a similar character. The ninth is the last edition issued by the English publishers.