Volume 2 July 9, 1887
The Coming Excommunication
The Roman machine has acted promptly and boldly. Before midnight on the Fourth July the American press were informed by cable that orders had been sent to the archbishop of New York to excommunicate Dr. McGlynn and to publish the decree of excommunication in the journals. Details have at this writing not yet been given to the public but private information to the effect that Archbishop Corrigan is been authorized by cable to communicate his “rebellious subject” with the major excommunication, declaring him he whom the faithful must avoid that the same major excommunication is to be declared against all Dr. McGlynn’s “sympathizers and abettors,” while the minor excommunication is to be denounced against all who communicate with either Dr. McGlynn or those “sympathizers and abettors.”
In taking this straightforward course Cardinal Simeoni and his associates of the propaganda have acted in much more manly fashion than if they had adopted the sneaking suggestion that has been made here—to pretend that Dr. McGlynn had excommunicated himself ipso facto. It will be well if Archbishop Corrigan will carry out his instructions in the same spirit. The occasion is important enough to justify the most solemn and impressive ceremony that the resources of the cathedral will enable him to get up. Long after all else that he has yet done shall be forgotten the name of Corrigan shall be remembered as that of the archbishop who excommunicated McGlynn.
The decision of Rome draws the line aid makes clear the issue between the Roman hierarchy and the spirit of freedom. Itis suggestive coincidence that it should have been promulgated on the anniversary the day made memorable by the great declaration, not merely of American independence, but of the rights of man.
The immediate cause of Dr. McGlynn’s communication is his refusal to tale his political orders from his archbishop his sermon that in becoming a priest as did not evade the duties nor surrender the heights of a man and a citizen, and his denial of the authority of bishop, propaganda of pope to order him to Italy to answer for his acts in American politics or his opinions political economy. It is virtually a declaration, not from the highest authority of the Catholic church, but from thecontrolling power in me ecclesiastical “machine,” that even in the United States the Catholic priest must be the political serf of superior who owes his appointment to a self-perpetuating Italian ring, constantly engaged in schemes for selling out the people whom they thus control to their oppressors.
There is nothing in this ecclesiastical outlawry of the best known and best loved American priests to shake the belief of Catholics in the true essential of the Catholic faith, but there is indecisive roof to the intelligent and devout Catholic that the organization of his church has fallen into the hands of a machine which isdetermined to use it for base and selfish purposes. There is nothing in it to show he non-Catholic that the Catholic religion in itself inconsistent with political liberty ind human progress, but it is the strongest demonstration that the ecclesiasticism which, in the name of religion, imposes its 1etters upon ignorance and superstition, and which in this country seeks the alliance of bosses, as in Europe does that of kings, is the deadly foe of civil as of religious liberty.
Archbishop Corrigan, in insisting upon he implicit political obedience of his priests, had probably at first nothing larger in view than the use of hi ecclesiastical power as his allies, the Tammany bosses, use political patronage; and in sustaining him by excommunicating Dr. McGlynn the Italian cardinal have doubtless had primarily in view the maintenance of the political control of their “subjects,” as necessary to the game they are playing in European diplomacy. But beyond all, this excommunication is the culminating proof that I was right when, in the first issue of this paper, I said that American workingmen might as well make up their minds that in their light for the enfranchisement of labor hey must meet the opposition of the Catholic hierarchy.
The pro-poverty papers and especially those which have been previously noted for their bitter hostility to everything Catholic, are chuckling with delight over the impending excommunication. The very depth of their contempt for “ignorant and superstitious Catholics” gives them firm faith in the efficacy of excommunication as a political weapon. Just as they predicted that suspension would utterly destroy the influence of the priest who insisted on declaring that God made this earth for all His children, so, with renewed faith in Catholic slavishness, they are now predicting that threatened with the “curse of Rome,” every Catholic will flee from Dr. McGlynn as from a leper, and his non-Catholic followers with then desert him from fear of exciting the animosity of Catholics. The spectacle which their fancy presents of the open-handed minister of Christ whose whole life has been one succession of deeds of charity, who has never spared himself to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and comfort the distressed, being actually reduced to want for the very necessaries of life, fills them with a delight that washes away all the hatred they have ever felt toward “popery,” and substitutes for fear of “Romish aggression” the warmest admiration of Rome’s power.
The Post has at last found a boycott of which it thoroughly approves, and thus it rejoices:
The formal excommunication of McGlynn has been ordered from Rome, and will in due time be published by the archbishop. It will be interesting from this date to watch the sure and rapid disappearance of McGlynn as a “force” in politics. Nobody ought to be better able to calculate the time required for this than McGlynn, but he seems not to have been able to realize what he was calling down upon his own head. So long as he was merely in dispute with the local church authorities he was able to have followers and sympathizers, both in and out of his own church, but from the moment he is excommunicated all will be changed. No good Catholic can follow him after that, and as his following which is not Catholic is political, that, too, will drop away from him, for no political organization can afford to have him for a member. He may go on for a while abolishing poverty, but it will not be long before his own poverty will be the most serious problem confronting him.
And thus does the Times conclude a long tirade of misrepresentation and insult:
Whatever pity may be felt for Dr. McGlynn by any right minded person must be felt in spite of the knowledge that his fate is deserved. He has not only deserved, but invited it, and he has nobody but himself to blame that his career is closed and his life ruined.
Let these pro-poverty prophets wait a while, and they will see these predictions prove as false as those they made when Dr. McGlynn was suspended, and again, when he was evicted. They count too much on “Catholic superstition.”
The truth is, that if there are in the United States any Catholics so ignorant and superstitious as journals like the Post and Times fondly imagine all Catholics to be, they are already on the side of Corrigan, and not of McGlynn. Upon the Catholics who have supported Dr. McGlynn, and who have resented the attempt to control their politics through their religion, the excommunication upon which Tammany hall and the pro-poverty press are counting so much will have no more effect than the apocryphal “bull against the comet,” unless it be to make them take a more determined stand.
The Catholic faith, in which so many wise and just and true men have believed and yet believe; the Catholic faith which has numbered so many sages and heroes and martyrs, is, no matter how much craft may have sought to use it to impose on ignorance, something more than an African voodooism varnished with a gloss of Christian names and phrases. And whatever may have been the beliefs entertained in places or times of general ignorance and superstition, the intelligent American Catholics who are standing side by side with Dr. McGlynn do not believe that it is within the power of archbishop, propaganda or pope to really cut either him or them off from the church because they ref use to take their politics from Tammany or from Italy, or to consign them to everlasting names in another world because they refuse to give up the belief that God intends some portion in this world for every child that He brings into it.
But this the excommunication will do: It will convince such Catholics that a system of church government which deprives the people of all choice of their priest, and deprives the priests of all choice of their bishop, and concentrates all the power of the organization in thehands of a self-perpetuating ring of Italians, is a disgrace to the church and a scandal and injury to true religion.
Edward McGlynn is to be excommunicated. So far as a forty thousand dollar archbishop and a triple crowned pope and a ring of money grabbing Italian cardinals can do it, he is to be while living cut off from the communion of the church he has loved and served, and after death consigned to eternal torments. What for? Because he has been negligent of his priestly duty? Because he has been unseemly in his life or impure in his conversation? Because he has denied any article of faith taught by the church? There are no such charges. His real offense, for it is out of this that even his getting into the way of Tammany grew, is that he has refused to regard poverty as a divine institution—that he has held and taught that if we would only apply the Golden Rule to the making of our laws; if we would only consent to treat each other as brethren equally entitled to share in the bounty of a common Father, we could find on this earth which He has provided; enough and more than enough for us all—and that no one need go hungry, and no one want for clothing, and no one be crowded into unwholesome lodgings, and no one be oppressed by long toil, and all have an opportunity to develop body and mind in due symmetry. And for seeing this revelation of God’s justice and beneficence, as Galileo saw the revelation of the solar system—for seeing this, and refusing to deny it, a man whose twenty-five years of priesthood have been unmarked by stain or blemish; a man who stands today the best known and best loved of all the Catholic priests of America, is to be cut off from the Catholic church, so far as archbishop, propaganda and pope can cut him off.
Well may “his grace,” the archbishop of New York, make the excommunication of such a man at the command of “his eminence” Cardinal Simeoni, by authority of “his holiness,” the wearer of three crowns, in a cathedral dedicated to the carpenter’s son, and hung around with pictures of his passion and cruel death, an occasion for display and ceremony. If he decides to treat the society saviors of New York to a spectacle that will delight them as greatly as did Nero’s illuminated gardens delight the society saviors of ancient Rome, he should have not only twelve priests, but all who signed his memorial, to extinguish their lighted candles and throw them on the floor as they echo "Fiat! fiat! Fiat!" to his curse.
Consider the conditions of society here in New York as there in Italy and yonder in Ireland, and wherever in short our so-called Christian civilization is reaching anything approaching full development Consider the armies, the fleets, the policemen, the prisons, the workhouses. Consider the wanton luxury of the rich, gorged to satiety, and morally rotting amid profusion; consider the squalid want of the poor, and the vices and the crimes bred of it; consider the tramps, the prostitutes, the thieves, the gamblers, the courts, the swindlers consider the long toil and scant fare of those on whom the hard work of all other classes is thrown; consider the corruption of government, the .morals of trade, the ideals of success that are set before the young. Consider that in human society such as this it is utterly impossible for any one to follow the bidding of Christ and to do to others as he would have them do unto him. Consider how the workman must oft-times snatch employment and the poor bread it brings, from another to support his own, how the manufacturer must grind others’ children lest his own come to want; how the trader must drive a sharp bargain or fall himself; how the rich man must steel his heart or become a pauper; how the trustful must learn to look on all men as rogues; how the good Samaritan must pass by on the other side if he would ever reach his journey’s end. If this be the only possible human society, was not Christ a fool when he told men to love one another, and trust one another, and to treat one another as they would have others treat them—when he told them that they need no more worry and fret about what they should eat, and what they should drink, and wherewithal they should be clothed than do the lilies of the field?
Consider who is to be excommunicated, and what he is to be excommunicated for, and who is to do the excommunicating?
The man who is to be excommunicated is a man who all his life has been known as a friend of the poor; who is followed by the oppressed and loved by the heavy burdened. He is to be excommunicated for saying and insisting that human society as it exists to-day is not the human society that God intended; for declaring that the poverty, the vice, the greed and the crime that exist today are not due to the Creator’s bungling, but to the fact that we have founded our social structure on a fundamental injustice, and make the bounties and opportunities that the All-Father has provided for all His children the absolute property of a few. And the man who is to do the excommunicating—he is called by a name of honor; he lives in a marble palace, and is clothed in purple and fine linen, and people kneel down to kiss his hand. He holds that society as it is to-day is the divinely appointed and only proper society; he holds that the want and greed and vice and crime that spring from poverty are divinely ordained that the scripture may be fulfilled, “The poor ye have always with you.”
Consider these things. Read the gospel that tells of a certain proceeding had before another high priest eighteen centuries ago, and say, as between what is represented by archbishop, propaganda and pope on the one side and what is represented by the simple priest whom they propose to excommunicate on the other side, which stands for the Christianity of Christ?
It would be well for the archbishop to provide good accommodations for reporters when he excommunicates Dr. McGlynn. People far and near will on the next day like to read full details of it, and how everybody looked. And perhaps some one might like to refer to these accounts some years thereafter.
The state convention called by the united labor party to meet in Syracuse on the 17th of August, promises to be a large and notable gathering. Already in 101 out of the 128 assembly districts of the state of New York the united labor party is organized or in the process of organization, and the Syracuse convention will embrace delegates from almost, if not quite every assembly district in the state. Those men will be delegates, chosen by citizens who believe in t h e principles set forth in the call for the convention, and prepared to vote for its nominees—not, as have been the components of so many of the conventions that have essay ed to manufacture new parties, mere self-appointed representatives of conflicting views and crochets.
The importance of this convention is that it will make the first formal state organization upon a principle on which the political contests of the immediate future in the United States are certain to be waged—a principle which will ultimately sweep the country as surely as tomorrow’s sun will rise. This the politicians of the two old parties do not yet understand. They have been so long accustomed to regard politics as a mere struggle for office; so long accustomed to see attempts to manufacture third parties come to naught, and efforts to concentrate for political action the discontent of the working masses miserably fail, that they are blind to all the signs of the times. They still imagine that the movement to abolish poverty and bring to an end industrial slavery by securing equal rights to land, which entered the stage of practical politics in last fall’s municipal election in New York is as evanescent as have been the sporadic labor movements which during the last ten or fifteen years have now and again carried a local election only to subside again.
They will discover their mistake only when they shall have been driven together or overwhelmed. The party which holds its first state convention on the 17th of August is yet in its infancy, but while the two old parties that have hitherto struggled for supremacy are dead and disintegrating, it is alive and growing. It is crystallizing around a great principle; it has a definite policy. It knows just what it wants, and how to get it. Every day adds to its members; every day heightens its enthusiasm; every day increases its confidence in itself and its faith in its destiny, and every day the issue which it presents becomes more and more clearly the issue on one side or the other of which every American must are long take his stand.
What is called the union labor party amounts in New York to nothing whatever, except a skeleton organization such as those of the humbug labor parties that were started here during the last municipal election to bleed politicians and resolute for publication. In the west it amounts, in some places, to a respectable body, composed, however, of incongruous materials, without any real bond of union, and engineered mostly by professional “labor politicians.” Its fate, however, is everywhere to melt away before the party of a definite idea, or to come over to it bodily by adopting its principles. A compromise milk-and-water platform, such as was adopted by the conference of all sorts of people who manufactured the union labor party in Cincinnati in February, or such as was adopted at the union labor convention in Ohio on Tuesday will neither provoke opposition nor invite support. The united labor or anti-poverty men are organizing through the west as they organized a state executive in Cincinnati on the Fourth, and very shortly after the Syracuse convention the nucleus of a national organization will be formed. Between the party organized to carry out an idea and the party organized for the sake of forming a party, there is no question which will swallow the other.
For a party of aggression the shorter platform and the fewer ideas brought forward the better. Political issues are joined at one point, and the tool cuts best that has the sharpest edge. When a central and inclusive idea furnishes a rallying point, anything more weakens instead of strengthening it.
The talk that has suddenly sprung up about restricting or prohibiting European immigration is significant of two or three things. It is significant of the consciousness on the part of the protected rings that the old style of “protecting American labor” by shutting out foreign goods has lost its charm for the American laborer, and that he must be offered the whole Chinese system as the only hope of getting him to agree to continue the half of it. It is significant also of the fact that the conditions of labor are steadily becoming harder in the United States in spite of all the pleasant statistics of the Atkinsons. And it is significant, moreover, of a growing consciousness on the part of the propertied classes that something must be done if the rapid growth of radical ideas on the land question is not to speedily sweep everything before it.
But what is T. V. Powderly, master workman of the Knights of Labor, doing in advocating t h e restriction of immigration as a panacea for the ills of labor?
Mr. Powderly, according to the reports, devoted his Fourth of July address to this subject, and in a letter to the Scranton Truth claims that “no laborer who lands on American soil from a foreign country under existing conditions, without visible means of support, will own a home of his own within the next fifty years.” He further says:
The conditions which surrounded the immigrant of fifty, twenty-five or even ten years ago were far different from those surrounding- the poor fellow who lands today, and among the men who cry out against immigration to-day are thousands who landed no longer ago than ten years. Improved machinery and new inventions have within the last twenty- five years made it possible for one man to do the work of three, and in many instances the work of ten. In every case where the machine has made it possible for a man to do in a day what it required three men to do before, two out of every three must look elsewhere for a means of learning a livelihood. Twenty-five years have witnessed the absorption of our public lands by syndicates, native and alien. Bonanza farming on the one hand and land speculation on the other have made it impossible for the two men who have been displaced by the machine to go upon the land and earn a living. They must remain in the town or city. Today we witness a marvelous increase in the population Of our cities and an alarming decrease in the population of our farming districts—that is, the agricultural population does not by any means keep proportionate pace with the population of mining, manufacturing and mechanical centers. All this tends to show that something must be done to equalize our population.
Of course it does. But that “something” ought to be done to remove the cause, and that cause Mr. Powderly sees with evident clearness is land monopoly. Land monopoly, and not any scarcity of land, is the reason why the immigrant cannot find a home of his own, and why it “is impossible for the two men who have been displaced by the machine to go upon t h e land and earn a living.” Why should not Mr. Powderly lend his great influence to urge on the movement for throwing land open to labor by concentrating taxes on its values, rather than aid in “drawing a red herring across the trail” of true reform by advocating a policy opposed both to the genius of American institutions and the catholic spirit of the Knights of Labor?
The “Isolated” Priest in Milwaukee
The Catholic clergy of Milwaukee were active last week in warning their parishioners to stay away from the meeting of July 4, which was to be addressed by Dr. McGlynn. Their admonitions, however, had but little effect, for when the doctor presented himself on the platform in the Shooting park fully 10,000 people were present, very many of whom were Catholics.
Dr. McGlynn spoke for nearly an hour and a half, and the frequent outbursts of applause among the audience were a tribute to his eloquence. On July 5 he addressed a meeting in Racine, Wis., and was to return to Milwaukee to deliver a lecture on July 6.
A Right Divine
Pawtucket, R. I.—I have been a reader of The Standard from its first issue, and I must say it suits me well. I have made several converts, and intend making more. Some of our clergy men are cracking their brains perusing the Bible for something to bolster up land monopoly. But the rights of so-called property are insignificant when compared with the right of human beings to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Earnest Men in Lancaster, Pa.
Lancaster, Pa., June 26.—Seven of us in earnest to spread the light of the doctrines of “the land for the people” held a conference on Sunday, and will form an organization next Sunday. The new gospel is taking hold of men and making them terribly” in earnest. We shall push the work by means of The Standard and tracts and by speeches.
Henry W. Stein
Perpetuating Slavery in Africa
The explorer, Henry M. Stanley, is said to have acquired by purchase of the native chiefs several of the most commanding sites and large tracts of the richest territory in Africa, which he intends to hold by title, trusting to time to make it remunerative. He took the precaution to have white witnesses to all his transaction, which were verified by written instruments. The consideration given was, of course, comparatively trifling.
The McGlynn Fund
The Standard acknowledges the receipt of $2 for the Dr. McGlynn fund from H.H. Bryant, Somerville, Mass.
St. Bernard And Edward M’Glynn
A Thoughtful Letter from a Catholic Priest—An Illustration from the History of St. Bernard
In putting himself on the side of the oppressed against the oppressor, on the side of the slave against the master, of the poor against the rich, the right against the wrong, Dr. McGlynn has brought down upon himself the thunder of his ecclesiastical superior and the abuse and hostility of a class of individuals who have grown fat from the toil of their fellows.
It is said that he has been condemned because he heretically taught the equal right of all to land! But when has this subject been defined as a point of Catholic dogma? A future council and a future pope have yet to do that.
Was there not a time when the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin was a matter of free discussion and of bitter controversy between the schools? Who does not know how strenuously the great St. Bernard contended against that doctrine? Did he make shipwreck in the faith? Whoever dared call him a heretic! Every divine in the church, from the day of the first Pentecost till December, 1859, was free to take issue on the score when, where and with whomsoever he pleased. Were they heretics? So it was also in regard to the doctrine of the infallibility of the pope. Every man had his free say about it until the doctrine was defined as an article of faith. Now, has Dr. McGlynn done anything more than St. Bernard did? Why has he been degraded then from his position and set adrift as a heretic or something of the kind? The land question is yet as free as the air we breathe. The Catholic church has never set her seal of final judgment upon it. Not only that; she has never brought the subject into her council chambers for discussion. And until Rome shall have set her seal against it Dr. McGlynn should not be condemned.
God in His merciful wisdom never intended that one man or one set of men should possess the earth to the exclusion of all the rest. The Heavenly Father disinherits none of His children. They are all equally the object of His tender love and compassion. What other doctrine than this has Dr. McGlynn taught? What other doctrine than this have the illustrious bishop of Meath and the great archbishop of Cashel taught? These great pillars of the church have not been condemned.
But the sentence of decapitation has been pronounced, and now is heard the cry: “Go to Rome, go to Rome.” Go to Rome after decapitation! Go to Rome to be treated to sackcloth and ashes! “But,” it is said, “the pope might deal more favorably and condone the crime.” But I answer, there has been no crime. Suppose there had been a crime. Was Dr. McGlynn not entitled to trial before sentence?
The archbishop of New York has set himself up as an absolute dictator. The voice of justice and the voice of mankind are to go for naught.
There was once a great French revolution. It bore down everything before it like a mighty flood tumbling down to the sea. In a brief moment, the sins, the iniquities, the injustices and the abominations of a century were washed out of existence. Rulers of the church of God. take heed! The cup is nearly full. A French revolution may burst forth again. We pray an end of Cæsarism in this country before the flood gates of wrath and outraged justice may burst open upon you. We have satis superque of your revealed and unrevealed acts of tyranny and injustice. I, a simple priest, give this advice as “an ounce of prevention.”
For over one hundred years the Catholic church has enjoyed supreme peace in these United States. The misdeeds of its rulers have been hidden. No storms or tempests reached them. Imperialism, Cæsarism, flourished in all its brazen effrontery. Vengeance and extinction pursued the refractory. “Open your mouth, sir, and we crush the life out of you. Our arrows of death will go with you to the extremities of the earth. Anathemas will be your last requiem. Starvation and a pauper’s grave will be your final inheritance.”
Who was hero enough to resist this dread decree? None, until the great soul, Edward McGlynn, stepped forward into the arena. But, oh, the odds are terrible. A most powerful enemy a hundred years old, an enemy well fortified, admirably skilled m the tactics of war, abundantly supplied with pecuniary resources, animated with great courage and flushed with the halo of a myriad victories.
Let the guilty ones take heed. They have sown the wind; they may reap the whirlwind.
The Catholic people of this republic of the United States want to see their church purged of its Cæsarism; purged of the worldliness, the royalty and the splendor of its rulers. Jesus Christ, the Son of the eternal Father, had not a place to lay his head.
A Catholic Priest.
Give Capital and Labor a Chance
Evansville, Ind.—Probably no city in the United States has more need to study the science of taxation than tax-ridden Evansville. At one of the citizens1 meetings last spring, a citizen urged the land owners nob to frighten capital out of the city by running of the price of land. But he might as well have carried his strong statements and clear logic down to the levee and appealed to the Ohio river, begging it not to run into the Mississippi. Of course he was right. We need capital, we need manufactures. The manufacturers need our coal, our gas, our convenient means of transport, our fertile outlying country, and all our natural advantages. But the land owners control the situation. What a boom there would be in Evansville if the taxes which bear so heavily upon every form of useful investment were shifted upon land values. How rapidly houses would go up. And workingmen would not have to wait so many years to save money to build a little home.
The man who builds a good house is as much a benefactor to his race as the man who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before. He ought nut to be punished by a tax from which his neighbor. who will neither build himself nor allow any one else to build, is exempt.
Can’t Keep a Copy of “The Standard” Long
Exeter, Neb., June 10.—Enclosed find one dollar for the Anti-poverty society. You can put me down as a member. I want to be enrolled under the banner of Rev. Dr. McGlynn’s crusade. He is the teacher of truth and the friend of humanity. God bless him! Please send me some information to start a labor organization here. I take The Standard, but I can’t keep a copy long, because many others want to read it.
An Enthusiastic Meeting, Notwithstanding The Hot Weather
A Stirring Address by Rev. C.M. Winchester of Middletown, N.Y.—Thoughtful Words on the Pope-Corrigan Situation by Michael Clarke—John McMackin Speaks for the United Labor Party—“Let Them Excommunicate if They Dare.”
The excessive heat and the fact that a vast number of people left the city on Saturday for the Fourth of July, would have rendered it impossible to get together any considerable number of people on Sunday evening for any ordinary purpose; but the purposes of the Anti-poverty society are far from ordinary or commonplace, and the throng at the Academy of Music on Sunday night showed how effectively the gospel of the new crusade has taken bold of the hear is of the people.
Mr. Michael Clarke acted as chairman, and the Concordia chorus, under the leadership of Miss Munier, was present in almost undiminished numbers.
Mr. T.L. McCready, the chairman of the executive committee, made a few remarks, explaining the urgent need of the society for funds, and appealing to the audience to do all in their power to help the cause along. “The sphere of work of the Anti-poverty society,” he said, “is widening day by day. We have constant daily appeals to us from other places for tracts and information. Three clerks are already employed and there is work for more. But tracts and clerk hire and postage require money, and unless the good people who attend the public meetings of the society will furnish the money, the work of the society must be curtailed.”
The chairman then introduced the Rev. C.M. Winchester of Middletown, X. Y., who was welcomed with prolonged applause,
In his opening remarks Mr. Winchester alluded to the recent visit of Dr. McGlynn to the city where he lived, and spoke of the immense interest the Anti-poverty society was exciting throughout the country.
“’This cause,” he said, “is gaining, growing—gaining the land. That is what we all are for. Now, what is poverty? Let us begin at the bottom of this matter. Let us see what poverty is. Some people think that poverty iswhat this illustrated newspaper (showing a page of the New York World) makes it out. If you noticed it today, you will have seen a picture of one of your tenement houses, and somebody putting a lot of second-hand furniture in the rain, while a poor woman and her children are weeping that they are obliged to vacate a place that a beast ought not to live in. That is not the only kind of poverty. Hook upon this audience tonight, and I hope you will not be offended if I say that the greater part of you are in poverty. (Applause.) I know I am in poverty, and I am not ashamed to own it, as long as it is true; but I am ashamed to own it, considering all the natural resources God has given to the people. Poverty is the want of any necessity of life or of any luxury that the Creator has given to His children.
“I met a judge last evening who has been our county judge in the past. He is now a lawyer, comes down and spends the week in your city and then returns home on Friday or Saturday to spend the time with his children. He is a very able lawyer, and—are there any lawyers here?—he is as near an honest lawyer as any could be and live. (Uproarious laughter.) He has a pleasant, comfortable home,just about a medium home, and he just about makes a comfortable living. If he should die he has perhaps a small policy of life insurance. I don’t know whether it would payoff the mortgage on his house or not. What can he do toward setting his children out in life? He is in actual poverty, as I understand poverty. He has not the necessary conveniences to bring up his children in the sort of life that everybody has a right to be in, for everybody has a right to be comfortable, and nobody has a right to make anybody else less than comfortable. (Applause.)
“The Lord bless the rich; the poor can beg.” (Laughter.) That is about the prevailing idea—that the Lord is peculiarly favorable to the rich and the poor may beg or live the best they can. There are some people who think that God took of the dust of the earth and screened it, and out of the best part of it made some men, and out of the rest made the poor. (Laughter.) So it has got to be thought really true in this world that God wants a part of the people to be poor so that the rich can show their bowels of mercy and be charitable(Laughter.)
“That is about the height that the Christian sentiment of this century has risen to—that God wants people to be poor. (Applause.) And I am glad that that wonderful Catholic church, from which have come some of the best men the world ever saw, has brought to the front a man who is willing to bear the reproach of the world in order to proclaim the truth that all men are brethren, and that God is the Father of them all. (Tumultuous applause.) Now, I ought to be the last man, and I will be the last man, to say anything against the church; against any church. Every church in this land is needed. In my mind I have no opposition to any church. I am not a Protestant, I am not a Catholic, but I am trying to be a human being (wild applause); and I shall stand, I trust, firm and true to that God who made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of this glorious earth of ours (applause), and means them to have the use of the earth while they dwell on it. (Applause.)
“Now the churches, and I say it with all kindness, have been too much taken up with what men call theology, and they have had so much to do to sharpen their swords and their spears to light one another about doctrines and creeds and isms, that they haven’t bad time to talk about the things that pertain to humanity. (Applause.) The religion of the churches of today is well typified by their tall steeples. Their religion, like the steeples, is so lofty that it is of very little practical use. (Laughter and applause.) You would think, to hear them, that when our Heavenly Father brought into being these millions on the face of the earth, it was only that they might finally get into heaven some way— squeeze in somehow. I protest against that as a most terrible humbug. (Applause.) God made the earth for the solid enjoyment of the people a s long as they can stay upon it, and after that He has promised them a new heaven and a new earth on which the righteous can dwell. (Applause.) I am glad to see so many young men and young maidens raising: the cry of ‘The land for the people.’ It was God who gave the land for the people, and I hope that they will continue to shout that chorus until the glorious stars and stripes shall wave over a land where every man, woman and child shall have a snare of the common bounty. (Applause.)
“The fertility of the soil, the productiveness of the soil, teaches me that our heavenly father never intended to have poverty. Take one good ear of corn. Just look at it, rich and golden! What are the possibilities of one ear of corn? Does it bring forth an ear? Does it increase as slowly as the human race increases? No indeed. One ear, well planted and with simple cultivation, brings a rich reward of ripe, waving corn. So with all production. God has implanted the life principle that seems to say with the waving of every blade of grain, with the waving of every field of wheat, let there be no poverty in this world of yours, my children, for the land God gave to the children of men. (Applause.)
“Now, in the midst of plenty, in the midst of the provisions that God has made, the most amazing thing for a Christian to look upon is the intense suffering and poverty that everywhere stares us in the face. What makes all this poverty? There are some lazy people. Yes, that is so. I have nothing to say for the lazy man. (Applause.) Another says, so many are intemperate. Well, I suppose that is so. But I am bound to say that if you should do away with all the intemperance in the land, the same evils of poverty that afflict us now would still continue to exist. (Applause.) People would be just as badly off as they are now. They are able to live now, to support their wives and children, and at the same time to help support the liquor dealer’s wife and children; and if the expense of the liquor dealer’s family should be lifted from them, the employers would simply say: ‘These fellows can get along on less money than we are now paying them. Cut their wages down. They can live on less money now than when they were drinking.’ That is what would happen.
“The measure of a man’s wages is what the majority of people in the same occupation can live on, for the simple reason that if he tries to get more some other fellow who is out of a job will come forward and offer to work for just the sum that will en able him to live without saving anything. The slave gets his food, and clothing, and house room, and an allowance for beer and whiskey. If all the slaves should stop using beer and whiskey they would simply get no allowance for it.
Now, the Anti-poverty society steps in and says, ‘No more of this robbery.’ (Applause.) And let the robbery of the land stop as the first thing. (Applause.) We say tonight that no man living has a title to the land that runs back to the original owner of the land. The time. is coming when the citizens will rise up and say to the man who is holding a great tract of land, Show us your title to the land. They will say, ‘My title dates back to the Dutch who first came over.’ "Where did they get it? ‘They got a patent,’ or, ‘My title to it runs back to Roger Williams or his friends.’ ‘Where did they get it? ‘They bought it from the Indians for a chew of tobacco.’ (Laughter.) ‘How did they get the title?” They turn over the Bible that they are so pious about, and the Bible says that the land belongs to God. (Applause.) “I am thankful that this tide of public opinion is rising higher and higher. You couldn’t get in any church in this city half as many people as are here to-night. (Applause.) I was really astonished when I saw this audience. If the preachers of this city want to till up all their churches and crowd them full, let them talk of the burning question of the hour—the land for the people.” (Long continued applause.)
“Mr. Winchester closed his address with a stirring peroration, hailing the advent of the hour when the moving principle of society should be “Peace on earth, good will to men,” and the earth should witness the fulfillment of the Savior’s prayer—“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The chairman then arose, and in a few well considered words reminded the audience that the date set by the ecclesiastical authorities of the Catholic church for the excommunication of the president of the Anti-poverty society had arrived.
“They may,” said Mr. Clarke, “commit the folly and the outrage of excommunicating Dr. McGlynn (hisses), for it seems that there is no limit to their capabilities in the direction of folly and injustice and contempt for the feelings and rights of the people. (Applause.) In view of such a contingency, it is well for us to keep clearly before our minds the true facts of the case, and to have a clear understanding of the real position.
“If they excommunicate Dr. McGlynn they will excommunicate him for teaching certain doctrines upon the land question. Now, what are those doctrines that Dr. McGlynn has been preaching? I don’t propose detaining you for many minutes; but as this is a question of some importance, I repeat it is well for us to keep clearly before our minds the real facts of the case. What are the doctrines that Dr. McGlynn has been teaching, and for the teaching of which he has been threatened with excommunication? (A voice: ‘He has been teaching the truth.’) I will give you a brief statement of those doctrines, not in my words, but in the words of a very able, a very learned and very eminent theologian of the Catholic church, whose name I shall mention to you presently.
“This is the statement: The land of every country is the common property of the people of that country, because its real owner, the Creator who made it, has transferred it as a voluntary gift to them. The land He has given to the children of men. Now, as every individual is a creature and a child of God, and as all His creatures are equal in His sight, any settlement of the land of a country that would exclude the humblest man in that country from his share of the common inheritance would be not only an injustice and a wrong to that man, but, moreover, would be an impious resistance to the benevolent intentions of the Creator. (Great applause.)
“This is precisely th« doctrine that Dr. McGlynn has been teaching; no more and no less. And who was it that w rote those words that I have read? They were written by Dr. Thomas Nulty, the present Catholic bishop of the diocese of Meath in Ireland. (Great applause.) They were written by Dr. Nulty in a letter addressed by him in 1881 to the clergy and laity of his diocese. And what, ladies gentlemen, is the position of our case in the light of those remarkable words? The position is this: That a Catholic priest in New York has been suspended, and is threatened with excommunication, for teaching the very same doctrines that a Catholic bishop in Ireland has taught without a word of censure. (Applause.)
“Now, I would ask the editors of the New York papers who have been so zealous in their defense of Archbishop Corrigan (hisses and groans long drawn out), and the pope (a voice: ‘They are jealous of him!’), I would ask those defenders of Archbishop Corrigan and the pope to explain to us the gross inconsistency to which I now direct their attention. They have been saying that Dr. McGlynn has been teaching doctrines condemned by the Catholic church, and that, therefore, he deserves the punishment he has got. Will they tell us why it is that Dr. Nulty was not excommunicated in 1881?
“Surely it cannot be wrong for a Catholic priest in New York to preach doctrines which it is not wrong for a Catholic bishop in Ireland to preach. (A voice: ‘There is no Tammany hall in Ireland.’ This sentiment evoked great applause.) The Catholic church, as we all know, claims that her teaching is one and the same in all countries and at all times.
“The catechism, from which, when I was a boy, I learned the rudiments of the Catholic religion, contained this question: ‘What are the marks and signs of the true church?’ And the answer was: ‘The true church is one, holy, Catholic, apostolic’ (The same voice: ‘There is a revised edition by Tammany hall’ Applause and merriment) And in explanation of the marked oneness the catechism told us that the church was one, inasmuch as her teaching throughout all the ages and in all nations was one and the same.
“Now, I would ask Archbishop Corrigan (hisses and groans) and his defenders to tell us where this oneness comes in in the case of Dr. McGlynn as contrasted with case of Dr. Nulty. I do not suppose that they will answer the question. I do not suppose that they will tell us why Dr. Nulty was not censured for preaching what Dr. McGlynn is now censured for preaching.
“But we can tell them why. We can tell them why Dr. Nulty was not excommunicated in 1881. The gentlemen at the Vatican dared not do it, because they knew that Dr. Nulty had the Irish race at his back. (Applause.) They knew that if they were to excommunicate Dr. Nulty for giving expression to his opinions on the land question, they would have a schism in the Irish church.
“Now, I think that we in America ought to be able to teach those gentlemen at the Vatican a lesson similar to that taught them six years ago in Ireland. (Applause). And I think that we are at present in a proper spirit and in a proper frame of mind to teach them a very stem lesson upon that question. (Applause.) I think that if they excommunicate Dr. McGlynn, they will have to excommunicate one or two more of us. (Great applause.) I believe that they will have to excommunicate millions of American Catholics if they excommunicate Dr. McGlynn. (Tumultuous applause.)
What a monstrous claim it is that they make upon us. They claim that we Catholics should have less liberty in political affairs than our non-Catholic fellow citizens; that while men of other creeds should have full liberty to think and act and speak as they please on public questions, we Catholics should have only that measure of freedom which Archbishop Corrigan and the pope may choose to accord to us. (Hisses and groans.) I refuse, as a Catholic, to occupy such a humiliating position. I should be ashamed to look in the face of my non-Catholic fellow citizen with such a brand of inferiority stamped upon my brow. (Great applause.) I could not expect my non-Catholic fellow citizen to respect me as a man were I such a slave and a recreant as to render up to the keeping of any ignorant;” pretenders to political superiority my God-given liberty of conscience and judgment on the political affairs of my country. (Applause.) I shall never be such a slave. The Catholics of America will never be such slaves. (Great applause.) I speak for Catholics—I think I may venture to say I speak for thousands and millions of Catholics when I say this: That so long as the breath of life is in our bodies we will never yield up to pope, propaganda or bishop one jot or tittle of our full rights as American citizens. (Great and long continued applause.)
“This is our answer to the threat of excommunication. This is the vow that from this Anti- poverty society platform we send up to heaven here to-night. We are resolved, excommunication or no excommunication, to stand firmly and steadfastly by Dr. McGlynn. (A moments silence, followed by shouts of applause and cheers.)
“Ladies and gentlemen, they cannot put us out of the church. There are as good and as true and devoted Catholics in this Anti-poverty society as any of those who are among the friends and defenders of Archbishop Corrigan. (Hisses and groans.) We claim a right in the Catholic church as strong and as well founded as their right. (A voice: ‘We are more entitled to it than they are.’) The Catholic church was not founded to be a monopoly of archbishops and cardinals. (A voice: ‘We want a democratic pope.’ Applause.) It was instituted for the people, and the people have a right to its benefits. We claim the sacraments of the Catholic church—we who are Catholics—not as a privilege or a favor, but as a God-given right which no cardinal archbishop can, upon a flimsy pretext, deprive us of.
“Once for all, then, fellow Catholics, our answer and our ultimatum upon this mutter of excommunication is this: Let them excommunicate if they dare! (Great applause.) If they put Dr. McGlynn out of the church, they put us out of the church. (Great applause.) Wherever Dr. McGlynn takes his stand, we take our stand. (Applause.) I have heard, we have all heard, ever since the formation of this Anti-poverty society, that people in all parts of the United States are declaring themselves McGlynn Catholics. (Applause.) Well, I fancy that if they proceed with this matter of excommunication, they will discover very quickly and in a very disagreeable and unpleasant form that the McGlynn Catholic congregation will be the biggest congregation on this continent.” (Great applause.) Mr. Clarke then announced John McMackin, chairman of the county committee of the united labor party, who said:
“We are approaching the anniversary of American independence. Our united labor party intends to celebrate it, to show that in struggling to lift humanity out of the depths of poverty we are the best friends of those stars and stripes that ought to float over a free. and good, a generous people. (Applause.) Might I not say that it is well, too, that those people across the water who have fixed that day for the consummation of an outrage should be told to-morrow in plain language, in unmistakable tones, that while we are true to this flag, while we are law-abiding citizens, we are determined that no power, no matter from whence it comes, shall circumscribe the rights of a Catholic citizen in America. (Great applause.)
“We have got through boasting. It is a question of fight today. (Applause.) It is a question in our country today not only of citizenship, but whether the same outrageous, tyrannous, unjustifiable conduct that has characterized the church in Europe shall be allowed in America to bring the Catholic church into that disreputable state that makes i ts followers the mere tools of corrupt men.
“They may say that we in New York are forgetting the church, are forgetting catholicity. Let no man or woman be mistaken. We say that we believe that Christ came upon earth to save men; but that does not make it necessary that we should become stones to crush our fellow men. (Applause.) And when, my friends, our churches and our bishops can divest themselves of this idea, it will be a great deal better for Christianity.
“But let me tell them something further. Outside of this religious fight, with which I have nothing to do, but in the political fight, I can tell Corrigan–(hisses and groans)—I can tell the man who made Corrigan bishop, that there is a power in New York city that will vindicate the priest, Edward McGlynn. (Great applause. A voice: ‘Give it to them, John.’) Let them wait till November. My advice is something like Cromwell’s—’Keep your powder dry.’ There is a lesson to be taught, and it will be taught. It will be the greatest lesson perhaps the Catholic church ever got, and that is to know that it is not necessary to be a good Catholic to wear a Roman collar. There is a good deal of meaning in that. The Catholic church today throughout the United States stands under better conditions than it does in any other country in the world. And why? Simply because the church is free from corrupt alliances with men who seek to Control the government. (Applause.)
“And so it will be with this fight of Edward McGlynn. (Applause.) It looks a small matter to some men today, but it is the beginning of a new era in the Catholic church throughout the whole world. If ever a man tried to preach Christ’s gospel on earth to mankind, that man is Edward McGlynn. (Applause.)
“As Dr. McGlynn said, when these meetings opened at Chickering hall, we are not starting a new church, we are not opening a new gospel shop, but we are trying to bring men back to that love of God that makes man love his fellow men. (Applause.) Men of all creeds—the heathen Chinese even—an meet upon this platform of ours and applaud God’s name.
“If I thought that at this stage it were necessary to say anything as to what is likely to occur, I should say it very plainly, very distinctly. But I think we need do no more than to say in plain, simple English that we are determined that as Americans we shall exercise our rights without interference. (Applause.) And if at this moment there is in that marble palace an order for the excommunication of Dr. McGlynn, suffice it to state that there never was an order issued from the Roman propaganda that could fall with less effect than will that intended for Edward McGlynn. (Applause.) It is the most peculiar thing in the world. Corrigan said, when he suspended McGlynn, to a friend, a good friend of ours, ‘You won’t hear tell of him three days after I suspend him.’ (Hisses and groans.) They did suspend him, and they did hear tell of him. (A voice: ‘And they will hear tell of him!’) Aye, and other people are hearing tell of him! He is doing a great work. Our friend, the archbishop (hisses), said the other day that the minute he exercised his power of bell, book and candle, that would be the last of Edward McGlynn. A very good friend of ours said, ‘Don’t you think you are bringing the whole church into disgrace? You told me when you suspended him that we would not hear of him three days after.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘these labor men made such a racket.’ ‘Suppose you excommunicate him, what will the labor men do then? It will drive away the whole lot of them; Central labor union and district 40, and all the rest.’ (Applause.) The fact of it is they have played the last card in t h e pack. (Great applause and laughter. A voice: ‘McGlynn holds the joker!’) You may rest assured that they have no more power to excommunicate McGlynn than they have to fire me off this platform Let me tell the Catholics of New York once for all, as Dr. Burtsell (great applause, long continued) put it, they haven’t the power to excommunicate Edward McGlynn!
“Looking at the subject calmly and dispassionately, I say that if this struggle is to end in the triumph of the ecclesiastical machinery, then this American republic is not worth the struggle it cost to establish it. If men who take the oath of allegiance to this government, and young men born here are compelled to vote as an archbishop may dictate, then I say this American republic has very little to stand upon. And, indeed, it were well that thinking men. the men who have the interests of the Catholic church at heart, should stop and consider the disgrace that threatens the Catholic population of the United States.
“This movement of ours is a menace to the corrupt power that has attained toauthority both in church and in state. There is something unnatural in this struggle for existence that compels one to starve his fellow man in order that he may obtain an advantage. If this is the lot of men, then indeed might we blaspheme that God who made it possible for me or for you to take advantage of our fellow men. But such is not our view of life. We believe that all these inequalities that exist today are the result of the unjust measures used by men themselves, and that even the church itself has winked at—at this crime of poverty. Any man, I care not whether he be priest, bishop or mayor, that will say to me that this is the natural condition of God’s children, I say he lies most damnably. (Applause.) There is, my friends, a condition of life to be obtained from just laws, not for the lazy, not for the indolent, but for those who desire to honestly toil. There should be a living for them, which there is not today. But while Mr. Hewitt establishes his one man anti-poverty society, let us go on with this crusade, take up the cross, carry it because it is the cross of Christ, carry it as men and women. As I told you before, the greatest salvation of the human family, the greatest vindication of Edward McGlynn will be to add to the vote of the united labor party next November. (Applause.)
A Knife Grinder’s Story
Reynolds Bridge, Conn.—As a simple grinder in the pocketknife trade I came to this country in 1848 from Sheffield, England. The trade was then in its infancy. I could always see that the cause of the material prosperity in this country was the abundance of good land which could be easily and cheaply had by any who wanted it. At that time we had in our trade the “Sheffield statement price.” We could get in wages from $4 to $5a day and we paid $1.50 a week for board at factory boarding houses. Now this abundance of free land is gone and we have the land speculator and the tramp, and wages have dropped. I thoroughly believe in the doctrine that you advocate. All that men want is the r aw material to work up into products. With equal opportunities to obtain this raw material each might take off his coat and go to work with a fair field and no favor.
The People Are Thinking
Brooklyn, Md., June 27.—I do not see how any intelligent persons can fail to comprehend the doctrine of the land for the people after the clear and explicit definitions given by you to the queries of the students of the Packard college. The benefits derivable from such a system of taxation are as clear as the noonday sun.
The Standard is doing noble work in educating the toiling masses, as is evident from the numerous Henry George and anti-poverty clubs that are being formed throughout the country. This shows beyond a doubt that the people only want instruction in the proper means to be adopted to relieve them of the heavy burden under which they are struggling.
A Brother in the North
Parkhilly, Ont., July 2.—I heard your lecture on “Land and Labor,” given in Toronto some few months ago. Since then I have read your great work, “Progress and Poverty.” I am thoroughly convinced of the correctness of your theory. It appeals so to common sense that I cannot see how any reasonable person can deny its truth. The magnitude of the projected reform is startling, but that such a reform is necessary no one who has enough intelligence to determine the sum of two and two can doubt. I am quite willing and anxious to do anything I can for the furtherance of this great cause, though my sphere be humble.
Rev. J.B. Barnhill on the Cross of the New Crusade
During the next three months Rev. John B. Barnhill of Xenia, Ill., will be open to engagements to deliver his lecture on “The Cross of the New Crusade” to audiences in his own and adjacent states.
The Appeal To Rome
A Priestly Correspondent Gives Some Important Points in Canon Law
A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania sends the following statement of the canon law with regard to appeals to the high ecclesiastical court ofRome, showing how helpless are the rank and file of the clergy in the hands of their superiors:
“The Standard’s most intelligent and manly discussion of the case of the Rev. Dr. McGlynn has, I hope, led many Catholics to perceive that there are important defects in the exercising of the authority of their church. It is now manifest to all the world by the prominence of this case that a man may be condemned and visited with severest penalties in the American hierarchy, without a hearing or any opportunity of defense; but it is a further fact, not as well known, that when a man is so condemned, he can hardly ever obtain any adequate redress for the injury done to him. This will surprise the average Catholic, who is ready on all occasions with the advice to appeal to Rome. For the feeling has been almost universal among us that for every wrong and grievance a journey to Rome would produce an unfailing remedy.
“The people generally do not comprehend the idea that an appeal proper within the church cannot be taken except from a judicial sentence and that there can be no appeal where there has been no trial and consequently no record on which to ground an appeal.
“The Catholic mind is, naturally enough, misled by the confusion of two things which are widely different. The canon system of the church admits what is termed a “recourse” to Rome in all cases where the proceedings below have been extra-judicial or irregular, and it is this recourse which the Catholic press and people so often misapprehend for an appeal. The essential difference is that when a priest is compelled to take the method of a recourse instead of a regular appeal he is heard at the Roman tribunal by petition as of grace and informally without argument; whereas, if the processes of the canon law had been observed below, in the ecclesiastical court of the diocese or archdiocese, the priest could then take a record of the evidence and transactions and be entitled to present the same at Rome as of right and to offer argument touching all the questions involved and to get an adjudication of the main issue in the accustomed form of a decision by review. In short an appeal is bad of right fromjudicial pronouncements; a recourse is had of grace from arbitrary acts.
“Obviously a recourse is a very imperfect method of procuring justice. In the canon system of the church it is regarded as an exception; but under our American regime a recourse has of necessity become the rule, because here the bishops rarely afford a hearing on trial, but usually inflict summary and arbitrary punishment. The appeal proper is thus destroyed at the root, and a suspended or deposed priest has no alternative but the recourse—within the lines of the church.
“What benefit, however, this recourse might ordinarily supply, its value was much impaired in the case of Father McGlynn, for the reason that the appellate court ofpropaganda seemed committed in advance by the action of the cardinal. president, who unfortunately allowed himself to be moved in the matter by an ex parte correspondence.
“But the worst of the business is that no provision is made in behalf of the parochial clergy for carrying a recourse into effect. There is no diocesan fund to be drawn upon, no plan of assessment or contribution. And thus we have in the great Roman church, notwithstanding the boasted perfection of its discipline, what in a civil government would be deemed an anomaly of juridical practice—namely, a law without any provision for its enforcement. In a state we would attribute such defect to incompetence or corruption on the part of the legislature. In the church it may be fairly ascribed to neglect or oversight on the part of the Roman administration. Assuredly the recourse to Rome, in nine cases out of ten, remains a mere abstraction, if not a mere mockery, for want of ways and means to carry it on. Witness the more than a thousand priests—called in classic language sacerdotes vagahundi who are wandering about in America, deprived of honors and even of their livelihood. These men were thrown on the street by the arbitrary acts of bishops—that is, without a hearing or trial. Of what use to them is this recourse to Rome? It is, as an eminent writer has said in reference to another subject, it is like throwing a man overboard in mid-ocean and telling him he is at liberty to swim ashore. And the reflection is sad, indeed, that the more unselfish and faithful the priest the worse he finds his condition when placed under ban and censure. If he has served God and hated Mammon; if he has not hoarded the filthy lucre, but has kindly shared his possessions with the fatherless and the afflicted, he is for that the worse off when difficulties and misfortunes are put upon him. This result is teaching a terrible lesson to the priesthood—the lesson, namely, to be wise in their generation, like the unjust steward, and not to trust in the equities of their sacred profession.
“But if the canons of the church were enjoined by the propaganda on the American episcopate, then it would follow that men could not be deprived of their vocation and professional support by arbitrary acts of other men. On the contrary, even if a regular decision was rendered against a priest after a fair trial before his peers, he would still be entitled to sufficient income from his parish to enable him to prosecute an appeal at the court of Rome.
“The right to a trial before punishment; the right to a proportion of the parochial revenues—pending an appeal, and the election of their own bishop by the priests of the several dioceses—these, among other things, are the rights ordained in the council cf Trent and other ecumenical councils for the protection of the priesthood.
“Alas! the priests of America, despite our frequent protests and exertions, have hitherto failed of securing a t Rome any respectable recognition of their parochial privileges. It is,therefore, high time the laity should cooperate with them and unite throughout the country in demanding a full measure of justice for their devoted clergy.”
It Was a Lazy Man’s Paradise, But That Time Has Gone
The profit in San Diego ranches and government lands have so far been made by the owners, not from their products, but from the extraordinary rise in value of their lands. Any one in fair health and out of debt must have a poor excuse if unable to make a living easily on a government claim under such simple conditions as above. The average settler in Mr. Wade’s section has not only made a living, but the land, which cost him nothing next to nothing, has a fixed value, which is a large profit on a few years’ holding. Two claims entered by ex-soldiers a few years ago on which the value of improvements have been but a few hundred dollars, were sold just before Mr. Wade came east, one for $3,100, the other for $5,000. In each case nearly every dollar is clear profit, the reward of going out a few miles from the city and living on a claim for three or four years. Other claims on which more time and money for fruit have been expended have sold for $12,000 to $16,000. Still other ranches, and by far the greater number, are being held and further improved by the men who are homesteaders or preempted them. These last will probably do better than those who sold and realized their average of $5,000 profit.
The unoccupied government land has about all been taken up, so that the experiment cannot be repeated, and no one needs to start for southern California expecting to find a lazy man:s paradise, with land for the taking, as he could have done a few years ago.
Now Figure Out the Profit That on Purchase, and Remember that Somebody Has Made It All
Only seventy years ago a large portion of the territory comprising the state of Wisconsin, with a section of Minnesota, was sold for $100,000, and the deed is recorded in the New York register’s office. The sale was made by Samuel Peters to a syndicate," for there were syndicates in those days as well as in this. The sale was made in January, 1817, and the syndicate was composed of Lewis Ayres and ninety-nine others. It is described as a large tract of land in the northwestern territory, containing 8,000,000 acres and more. It comprised the greater portion of the land sold in 1727 to Jonathan Garver by the Nandawrssies tribe of Indians. Carver received 160,000 acres. The description is as follows:
Running from the falls of St. Anthony from the east bank of the Mississippi nearly east as far as the south end of Lake Pepin, where the Chippewa. river joins the Mississippi; and from thence eastward five days’ travel, accounting twenty English miles a day; and from thence north six days’ travel, at twenty English miles per day; and from thence again to the falls of St. Anthony. There is reserved to the Indians the sole right to fish and hunt on unimproved land.
There is a population of 1,315,497 in Wisconsin at this date, and the value of the farm products is $727,779,496.
No Public Land to Be Had
Springfield, Mass., Republican.
All of the land grant railroads of the country have returned answers to Secretary Lamar’s order, requiring them to show cause why the several orders of withdrawal from settlement of the lauds within their indemnity limit should not be revoked and the lands thrown open t o settlement. With but few exceptions the roads simply state that if they had their due they would receive more land than they now have, as much of the land granted them has been preempted, and there is no land from which to make selections. The St. Paul and Sioux City railroad company take the ground that this matter is beyond the jurisdiction of the secretary of the interior. The St. Paul, Minneapolis “and Manitoba road states that it now has a case pending in the supreme court of the United State which will, when decided, determine the status of that road before the law in regard to its land grant. The Atlantic and Pacific railroad state that they have earned 1,000,000 acres more land than they have received.
There is a Better Blessing Than That in Store for Them
San Francisco Argonaut.
This(the Colorado desert) is a marvelous and wonderful land, and nothing caused the writer greater surprise than the soil and water discoveries constantly being made in these desert places. Places that are very inaccessible, that lie embedded in mountain canons and away from civilization, are becoming the luxurious homes of industrious and enterprising people who have the nerve to go somewhat beyond the confines and boundaries of present “genteel” life. What a God’s blessing it would be to the members of Henry George’s anti-poverty party if some kind, powerful genie would clothe them all in shirt and breeches, and then lift them up by the slack of their unmentionable garment out of city slums, tenement houses, politics, gin, idleness and crime, into these mountain and desert homes where poverty is only known and destitution only felt by those who are unable or unwilling to toll.
Emigration from Italy
Italian immigration, especially from the old Neapolitan provinces, in 1883 had risen to 169,000, and it is rising by 10,000 or 15,000 a year. Of this outpouring more than. Half reaches South America, where it is believed more than 370.000 Italians are now settled in the valley of the Platte alone, toward whose schools the Roman government, with a wise foresight, contributes £50,000 a year. Sir Horace Rumbolt, in his work on the Silver river, just published, describes Buenos Ayres as filled with Italians, who, though perfectly orderly and peaceable, every now and then manifest in home gathering or festival their overwhelming strength. It is by no means impossible that the states of the Platte may become, without violence, by the natural operation of emigration and a full birth rate, Italian colonies. Political power as yet, however, still remains in the hands of the Spaniards.
The Wisdom of Foresight
New York Cor. Philadelphia Record.
A new railway station has just been built at Mott avenue,”formerly a suburb of this city, but now within the corporation limits. This station was built at a cost of $70,000, and is the prettiest anywhere in this neighborhood, and its appearance has been the signal for sending op t|e price of real estate in its neighborhood. Every train that goes out of or comes into the Grand Central station is obliged to stop at Mott avenue, so inhabitants of that end of be town can go to and from their places of business as readily as though they lived on the line of the elevated road. Property up and around Mott avenue until within a few months ago could be bought at a very low figure and the man who bought then and sells now stands a fair chance of making a fortune; but the trouble with most people is that they don’t see these opportunities until after they are past. The wise man is the man of foresight.
Alabama’s Great Opportunity
Edward Q. Norton in Mobile Item.
If the people of Alabama today owned all the coal and iron lands in the state, and received but a fraction of the market price for the coal and iron mined, this alone would pay all state, county and city governmental expenses, and instead of all these great fortunes going, as they not do, into the pockets of a few individuals, this wealth would be, by this method of taxation, returned to the whole people. There are over 5,500 square mile of coal lands in this state, with thousands of square miles of ton and valuable stone.
The state expenditures in 1879 were $843,734; call them now in round figures one million and a half dollars, and a very small tax upon the rental value of the 21,000,000 acres of land in this state would pay all this and leave a margin for county, township, city and all other government expenditures, and relieve the people of every other form of taxation.
Must Sell or Die
Toronto Labor Reformer.
Go on the market toward the close of market day and you will notice this. that such articles as remain unsold, and which, being comparatively imperishable, their owners can take home with them, fall but little inprice; but the perishable articles must be sold or lost, and consequently toward the close of the day their price falls greatly. But of all perishable articles none are so perishable as labor. Under our social system it must sell or die. Every moment it remains unsold it suffers loss.
Listen to Whitelaw Reid
New York Tribune Editorial.
Character is not bettered by mere expansion of rights. It requires discipline, self-denial, education in sobriety and thrift, to improve it. There is nothing in Mr. George’s land doctrine which touches any of these vital springs of action. He appeals to greed, not to the higher self. He seeks to build a party upon the general lust of acquisition.
Queries And Answers
A Threadbare Question
Please answer the following question: A has improvements worth $100,000, on which he receives income of ten per cent, or $10,000 per annum. B has improvements worth $10,000, but which are old, and on which he receives seven per cent:, or $700 per year. C owns lot free and has a small home on same in which he lives and where he stables the one horse with which hegets a living for his family. (1) On what principle of justice can each of those men be ca i led upon to pay the same taxes on each of these lots? (2) Would not taxing land in this way wipe out the poor man and make the rich man richer?
(1) In the case you suppose, neither A, B nor C would pay any taxes. As the lots adjoined each other, they would be of the same or nearly the same, value, and as C’s lot is supposed to be free, the others would also be free, or so nearly free that the difference would not be worth computing.
But to bring out the point that troubles you, let us suppose that C’s lot is a valuable one, in which case he would have to pay as high a tax as A and B. The principle of justice in such case is that each monopolizes the same natural and social opportunity. Under existing conditions if D owned all three lots, he would not charge any less ground rent to C, because he had ashanty on his lot than to A, who had a hundred thousand dollar building on his. If common ownership were recognized by the land value tax , it would be a n injustice to every other member of the community to allow C to waste his opportunities without paying their value into the common fund.
If A could make a profit out of a hundred thousand dollar building on one of these lots a profit could be made out of such a building on each of the other lots, and it would be to the best interest of the whole community to force the occupiers of the second and third lots to make as good use of them as was made of the first. In the case you suppose B and Cwould be mere speculators in land values, keeping land out of its best use for some selfish end. If they could not afford to put their landto as good use as A put his to there would be plenty of land in the neighborhood to which they could resort for little or no tax and where their inferior improvements would be appropriate.
(2)No. What now makes the rich man richer and wipes out the poor man is the system of taxation which permits the appropriation of land without using it, or what in principle is the same thing , without putting it t o its best use. Taxing improvements does not hurt the rich man, for of such taxes he pays but a small proportion. Taxes on products are paid by the consumer. If your example were reversed and taxes were laid wholly on the improvements the result would be somewhat like this: A would pay no tax at all; he would make his tenants pay it in higher house rent. B would pay no tax; he also would make his tenants pay. But C would pay taxes, because he would himself be the consumer of his home and stable o n which the taxes would be paid. But if land were taxed exclusively C would pay no taxes if he chose to put his home and stable on a free lot, while A and B would have to pay a tax equal to the rental value of their lots.
Your questions are rather threadbare. They have been answered over and over again, and it would be well for you to consult the back numbers of The Standard if your mind is not yet clear on the subject.
Washington, D.C., June 19.—Iown eight teen acres of land, the rental value of which is $8 per acre. My taxes under the present system are $21 per year. What taxes would I have to pay under your system, to retain the occupancy and use of the land? Would I have to pay $8 per acre, supposing the rental value did not change, if your theory is fully carried out, thus making my outlay $144 per year,instead of $21?
If you do not include rent of improvements, and if the rental value of your land did not change, your taxes would be $8 per acre. If the skies fell you might catch larks.
Twenty-Fifth of Henry VIII
Jersey City.—In your Standard of June 18 your correspondent, C. N. Matson, refers to the law thirteenth of twenty-fifth of Henry VII. Has that law ever been repealed? If not, is not that statute in force now even in the United States? As I understand, the colonists brought the laws of England in force at the time they left with them, and unless repealed since the declaration of independence by the various states, must still be effective, though not acted on. Can you or any of your friends tell if it still lives and can be acted on?
The law to which you refer has no force in this country. The colonists did bring with them all the laws of them other country that were appropriate to their new situation. Whether this law was in force in England then we do not know, bu t even if it was its force as law has been spent here by nearly three centuries of inconsistent practice.
New York.—(1) I am told that it would ruin a man to pay taxes on unimproved land atthe present rate of taxation. This means that your theory is in actual practice. As I know it is not so, please give me the figures. (2) I am told that a man who possesses land valued a t $10,000, or unimproved land to that value, with no other means to make improvements, would be ruined by the improvements of wealthier neighbors, who, by improving their property to $50,000,would cause the value of the unimproved land to rise. That is, that your theory would concentrate wealth. and sweep away the middle classes. (3)Is “Progress and Poverty” translated into French? (4) Can I get the German edition in New York?
(1) If present taxes would ruin the owners of unimproved land, those owners must evade the taxes, for very few ruins of that kind are visible. Our theory is no t in practice so long as taxes are imposed on labor products. It is of the essence of the theory that labor products shall not be taxed. Your informants mean that if unimproved land were taxed even at present taxing rates to its full value as the l aw requires, its owners would have to use it or let it go. This, in many cases, would be true; and that it is not so taxed is because it is to the interest of the rich to keep taxes on land as low as possible, while the rest of the community are not conscious of any interest in the matter. Other taxes are shifted to the consumer, but land taxes cannot be. When the theory we advocate is enforced it will be to the obvious interest of everybody to see to it that one piece of land pays, irrespective of improvements, as high a tax as another of the same value; and then land cannot be kept out of use without yielding as much to the community as it would if used, while every one will be encouraged to invest his money in production which will be exempt from taxation.
(2) A n expensive building does not of itself increase the value of the lot on which it stands or lots adjoining. It is not improvements that increase values, but population. An expensive building on one lot may induce some one t o erect another expensive building on an adjoining lot, and thus increase values; but it is the demand for more land, not the expensive building, that is the real cause of the increased value. If values were increased in this or any other way, it would be a good thing for the community at large, and a good thing also for the poor man who, because he was worth only $10,000, had to move. If his lot were unimproved, and he would not or could not improve it, he ought to move and give a better man a chance to utilize the opportunity he was wasting; and if some of his wealth was in improvements, he would, in most cases, lose none of that. This would not concentrate wealth. The appropriation to public use of land values, and the opening to use, free, of all land having no value would put an effectual check upon that. It is amusing to notice the anxiety of wealth concentrators lest something may be done tending to concentrate wealth. When labor and capital are free, wealth cannot be concentrated; it is only when they can be exploited under conditions that make the laborer dependent and small capital a drug, that wealth can be concentrated. If the theory we advocate would tend to concentrate wealth, it would not be honored with the enemies it has.
(4) Send to The Standard.
Louisville. Ky.—Is it right to sell land by a co-operative mining and manufacturing company and give clear titles or checks for the same, so the individuals can again sell said land to the highest bidder that may come along, and speculate in that manner, and in time would it not drive co-operation to the wail and leave us again in as oppressed condition as at present?
William H. Smith.
As long as private ownership in land is recognized by law, there is no reason why it should not be done. We are not called upon t o put square pegs into round holes. It can serve no good purpose for individuals to act respecting land ownership differently from prevailing customs.
As to co-operation, there can be no real co-operation so long as land is private property. The very first step inthe direction of co-operation must be the freeing of the land. To undertake co-operative enterprises, while our present land system prevails, is to begin the building of a house by laying the shingles, and shingles will not stay in place on the roof of a house that hasn’t been built.
Glen Cove.—Opposite my shop is or has been a swamp one-half acre square, bordered by a creek on two sides, and by buildings on the other. It was overflooded by the tide and became a source of malaria when the tide was out. It had only a nominal value. The owner of said swamp built a dock on the water side and filled gradually the swamp with ashes, etc. The tide does not reach it any more. The fifteen feet deep surface is due to improvement—i. e., is owned by the land lord, and the whole present value is due to the improvement. How do you propose to base the taxes on this half acre, as there is no similar land surrounding it? And does that landlord not actually own that fifteen feet deep surface.
WM. E. Fellendorf.
This is a case of “made ground.” So long as the whole value was due to the filling in we would not tax the owner a t all. But when the location acquire a value, we would base taxes on that. This kind of improvement, however, is permanent. Once made, it is made forever. It requires no labor to keep it in repair, as houses do. It is as a labor product analogous to a new invention, and we should no more think of giving its producer and his successors perpetual ownership than of giving a perpetual patent for an invention. In time its value will merge into the value of the location, and be entitled to no consideration in adjusting the land value tax. It is not necessary, desirable or just to exempt it from taxation longer than is requisite to induce labor to reclaim other waste places.
Sr. Louis, Mo.—(1) Does the increase of money increase the price of things?
(3) Ought there to be any more paper money
than truly represents coin held in reserve?
(4) If there is more paper money than this for circulation will not the result be an opportunity to “corner,” “gobble,” etc., even with “the land theory” in successful operation?
(5) Is not all paper money beyond representation of com fictitious in value?
(6) And is not that as bad as fictitious values of land?
H. S. Chase.
(1) That is its tendency if the volume of production and rapidity of exchange remain the same.
(2) By augmenting the supply of media of exchange relatively to demand.
(3) Why not? Coin held in reserve is capital tied up. Its functions as coin are as well performed by paper, and its functions as a useful product of labor are paralyzed. There is no justification of any coin reserve.
(5) No, unless to be a representative of values is to be fictitious in value. Money as such has no value in the sense that a house or land has value. A new house adds to the values of the community, but an additional issue of money does not. The community is no richer when eighty cents of silver comes out of the mint stamped with the dollar mark than when the silver went to the mint, but a representative of values to the extent of twenty cents has been created.
(6) Fictitious land values are bad because they operate as barriers between labor and land. What you call fictitious money values has no such effect.
He Dies Young
Harrisburg, Pa.—Mr. George’s plan for asserting; and securing equal rights to land is to abolish all taxation except that upon land values. He would not abolish private titles; he would allow those now in possession to “continue to call it their land;” to buy and sell, convey and devise it. Now would not this enable the holders of land to exact in the form of rent all the tax levied upon the land? What could prevent it? Would not the burden fall on the tenant at last for the same reason that a tax on a commodity is paid by the persons consuming the commodity?
E. W. J.
The margin of production determines rent. When that is low rent is high ; when that is high rent is low. And the margin of production is fixed by demand for land relatively to the supply. The demand for land is in the order of its productiveness. When the most productive is appropriated, whether it be used or not, additional demand must be met from the supply of the next productive, and then from the next and so on; and as people are forced upon lower grades the higher grades rise in value. The value is speculative or real, according as it is based on the current rent the land will command, or the rent it is expected to command in the future. In fact, all land values are to some extent speculative. No land will yield rent equal to current rates of interest on its selling value. This speculative value would be destroyed by a high land value tax, because it would not pay to keep any valuable land out of use, or out of its best use, and there would be such a market supply of land of all grades that values would fall. The margin of production would rise. As Mr. Mill says: “A tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. There are no means by which he can shift the burden upon any one else. It does not affect the value or price of agricultural produce, for this is determined by the cost of production in the most unfavorable circumstances, and in those circumstances, as we have so often demonstrated, no rent is paid. A tax on rent, therefore, has no effect other than its obvious one. It merely takes so much from the landlord and transfers it to the state.”
When a tax is imposed on a product of labor, it tends to diminish the supply and thus to increase the price; but a tax on land values tends to increase the market supply of land by forcing the use or sale of idle land, and thus to decrease the price. Of one thing you may be sure, that what landlords do not do in the way of raising rent when there is no tax, they cannot do when there is a tax. The landlord who can increase rent, and yet restrains himself until taxes are put on his land, always dies young.
A Case of Hardship
Chicago.—Among the host of questions suggested by a careful examination of the principles enunciated in “Progress and Poverty,” one occurs to me which I have not yet seen answered fully. It is this: Supposing that a man has bought a home for himself and beautified the grounds, etc., and in the course of years the growth of the city is such that what was once a residence district becomes a rushing business center. Now for two reasons the man who owns the homestead is in a bad position: First, the location has already become undesirable for a home; second, if he endeavors to sell, he finds that his house is useless for business purposes. He cannot afford to stay, because the full tax would be altogether too much for him to pay for a home, and he could not sell the only thing he owned—the house and improvements—because they would be useless to the only parties who would be likely to purchase, i.e., business men for business purposes. What remedy would he have? Of course I am now talking about his own property, the home, not the property of the community, which would be the increased value of the land itself.
C. W. Phillips.
In the case you suppose, the occupier would be in precisely the same position that he would be in under the present condition, with this difference, that whereas now he would receive from the community enough to pay for his house and leave a large profit besides, he would then receive nothing from the community. In other words, so much of the present system as would give him a pension would be abolished. If there were individual cases of hardship the community might, if it chose, give the sufferer another house. It would be cheaper to do that than to give him what it gives now, namely, the privilege of levying a perpetual and indefinite tax upon his fellow men.
Such cases, however, would seldom arise. A man who had occupied a beautiful home throughout “a course of years,” in which the growth of the city was “such that what was once a residence district becomes a rushing business center,” would find it profitable to convert his dwelling into a business building, or even to tear it down and erect a business building; and his means would enable him to do it. Or if he did not want to do that himself he would find plenty of people who would want to do it and who would buy him out at a price that would give to him the value of the dwelling as an inducement to let them erect a business building there instead of doing it himself. Moreover, in nearly all cases, by the time a residence district has become a rushing business center the house owner would have enjoyed in use the full average value of his improvements. Finally, let the apparent hardship be what it will, compare it with the hardships of our present system and say which of the two you, as a humane man, would choose.
The Best Way to Find Out
Wakefield, Mass.—Not understanding one of your answers you made to the Packard students, and being interested in your theory on the land question, I would like to know what you meant by saying, –Under this system a man would own his home just as securely as he does now; the house would be his, the possession of the land would be his; he would still be its owner, subject- to the condition of paring the tax, and could give it or sell it, just as he does now.” Do you mean to say he can sell the land that belongs to the government, or do you mean sell the right of it? By having possession of it at the time your theory commences, he would have the right to hold it. But supposing he wanted to leave town or country, and he was a poor man and owned a little home which he paid for, would it be right for him to lose it and the government take it without making it good for him? I would like to understand those points.
Henry De Koch.
If you would really like to understand these points, read chapters 1, 2 and 3 of book 7, and chapter 3 of book 9 of “Progress and Poverty.” It will do you no harm to read the book through.
D.M. Hunter, Alliance, O.—We believe that the government alone should issue money; but profits on the handling of money are not economic interest. Read chapters 3, 4 and 5 of book 3 of “Progress and Poverty.”
J. H. Milleur of Philadelphia, Pa., should read “Progress and Poverty.” The Standard’s query column may dissipate mists, but it cannot roil clouds away.
W. Curtis Taylor, Ridley Park, Pa.—If you really think that the land of Pennsylvania is “only worth what it was worth when there was not an inhabitant on it, plus the value of the labor that has been put upon it,” put your proposition in t h e form of a question and we will answer it. And as your mind is fixed on Pennsylvania, you might, in framing your question, take into consideration the value of an acre of Pennsylvania land live minutes before and its value five minutes after a coal deposit is discovered under its surface You might consider also the difference between the value of a city lot before population moves in its direction and after, no labor being done upon the lot meantime.
Levi R. Pierce, Lynn, Mass.—The answer to which you refer assumed a fixed volume of money. The question was really one of values rather than prices. You are right in supposing that a variable volume of money may affect prices.
Another New Name for the Party
Columbus, O.—I suggest “Anti-confiscation” as a fitting name for a party advocating the reforms which we propose, and in support thereof offer the following reasons:
1. We are opposed to all further confiscation by individuals or corporations of the indivisible unearned increment and common inheritance of all mankind—i. e., the rental value of land.
2. We are opposed to the confiscation by taxation of any part of the product of true capital and labor.
3. We are opposed to all further confiscation of the earnings of the many who toil for the benefit of the favored few who enjoy special privileges, such as railroad and telegraph monopolies.
In short, the mission of our party is the prevention of confiscation, and should the name anti- confiscation party be adopted, we will not only make known our purpose, but effectually spike the guns of our enemies, and, better still, capture their ammunition, which has so far consisted mostly in dubbing us confiscators. With an anti-poverty society and an anti-confiscation party, we can sweep the social and political platter clean.
Charles F. Kipp.
A Sample Case of Western “Progress”
Arkansas City, Kan.—I want to give you a few facts about this growing little town. Our location and situation lit us to be some tune a great city, and sums of money ranging from $100,000 down have already been gained by the increase in value of land here. The ways taken to “boom” the city show the helplessness of the poor man and the power of the railroads and land owners.
One year ago a syndicate purchased large tracts of land hero and then deeded hall of it to the Atchison, Topeka and .Santa Fe railroad on condition that they would “boom” the town by every means in their power. The syndicate also got, through the city government, a free gift to the railroad company of the gas, electric light and horse railroad franchises. The railroad company carried out their bargain, located division shops, round house, etc., here, and laud has trebled in value since. The result is that a house costing $1,000 to build, if any where within easy walking distance of the business center, will rent for $25 a month. Thus we see the twin robbers, the railroad and land owner, conspiring to compel the would be inhabitant to pay a blackmail price for the privilege of living and doing business here.
W. H. Creamer.
Farmers in the South
Ralph Beaumont, general lecturer of the Knights of Labor, who has returned from a lecture tour through the southern states, says:
“I found the people through the south very eager to obtain knowledge upon the great economic questions that are agitating the people in this country. There is a stereotyped phrase ‘that you cannot get the farmers to fall in with the land doctrines advocated by Henry George.’ Well, people who make t h at statement have but a very faint knowledge of either the doctrine or of public opinion among the farmers upon that question. Let them go where I have been in the south for the past six weeks and it will not take them long to be convinced that the idea that the American farmer owns his farm is only a delusion. In the state of North Carolina four fifths of the farms are owned by the farmers only in name. They possess a deed, but the real owner is the fellow that holds the other kind of a deed called a mortgage. And the only reason that the merchant does not take the farm and take a fee simple deed for it is that if he did so he would have to pay the taxes on the farm.”
A Man Who is Thinking
Adams, Mass., June 27.—We have a plant in this town representing $350,000 on a piece of land of five acres. Why should that land be taxed more by many a thousand dollars than the five acres alongside of it owned by a man who makes no use of it, but is holding it simply for speculative purposes. Under a proper system both would be taxed alike, the benefits of the improvements going direct to the parties whose brains and muscle produced them.
I am a constant reader of your valuable paper and tracts and am a firm believer in in your doctrine on the land question. As for Dr. McGlynn, God will bless him every day of his life. He is the David of the nineteenth century fighting the battles of the poor and oppressed.
And That Is the Anti-Poverty Society We Are Re-establishing Now
New York Observer.
We are firmly persuaded that there is no anti-poverty society in the world like that established in Galilee eighteen hundred years ago. In the acceptance of the doctrines taught by the founder of this institution, and in the faithful practice of them, we find the only rational hope of the deliverance of the world from the bondage of sin and all the woe and misery which sin entails.
Can’t a Young Man Look to the Rise of Land Values for Wealth?
Toronto, Can., Christian Guardian.
All theories which ignore the individuality and independence of men, or which teach our young people to look to anything but their own exertions for wealth, are broken reeds.
Where The Churches Stand
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost Speaks Frankly on the Subject-Missions Are Simply Church Poor Houses
At the Belleville Avenue Congregational church, Newark, N. J., Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost lately delivered an interesting and impressive sermon on the text, “And the common people heard him gladly.” Mark xii, 37:
“If the common people,” said Mr. Pentecost, “the poor people, the people of no special social distinction, heard Christ gladly, it must have been because He said what they wished to hear in a manner which pleased them. Jesus was an unmistakable friend of the common people, and possessed the rare trait of speaking words of truth, and righteousness in simple, direct language, and with unaffected earnestness. He was admirably fitted to preach the gospel to the poor, for while he possessed a divinely great soul, and saw the truth with divinely sharp intuitions, He was at the same time, as we are accustomed to say, ‘only a carpenter.’ Not merely the supposed son of a carpenter, but Himself a workman at the bench, He knew the hardship of poverty and the unjust social disadvantages of a poor man. He never was anything but a carpenter. He became a preacher, but He never entered the class of preachers; He never received a theological education or a salary. He was Jesus the carpenter, prophet, till the day of His death. He was in sympathy with common people, because He was one of the common people Himself. You must remember this, if you expect to understand Him. Jesus never associated with rich people, although He occasionally visited them. Nor with the priests and ministers of His day, who were His opponents and critics. They had no sympathy for the common people He loved. In fact, He was almost absolutely alone in His doctrine and the purpose which. He intended to accomplish. He gathered a few earnest men as disciples, He founded no church, instituted no organization.
“It is a fair question now to ask whether the men who are preaching what is called the gospel of Christ, and who are supposed to be His ambassadors, bear resemblance to Him whom they call their Master or not in this particular, that they are men whom the common people hear gladly, and whether the church resembles Him. The Christian ministry, as a rule, are not men who are in airy true sense of the word, poor or in sympathy with the common people.
“Most ministers have nothing but their salaries, and they are proverbially small, but they are not as poor as Jesus was. Many are sons of farmers and middle class men, but they are finely educated under influences that separate them in thought from the common people. When they get into the ministry they soon find that a successful pastorate means the preaching a gospel that will not disturb the well-to-do.
“I do not say it is strange or unnatural that ministers are out of sympathy with common people. I merely report a fact which few would have the courage to deny. Take up the Monday papers, where you will find reports of sermons. the day before in which were discussed themes of popular interest, and how seldom will you find that any minister has squarely taken the right side of any question if the ‘best people’ of the community are on the wrong side. Everyone knows that if a monopolist or money manipulator sits regularly-in the pew the pulpit is silent on those subjects; or if it does speak it is not long before the minister ‘goes’ and the pious robber of the poor stays.
“Read the sermons printed in the Monday papers on the labor question and find me one, if you can, preached to a congregation in which are many employers, which does not pity and patronize the laborer, and tell him he ought to behave himself and submit to his superior. Or, if there is any recognition of the laborers wrongs, the blame is laid nowhere that the rich and ruling class is not willing to have it laid. Or, if a minister does happen to speak the truth upon any of these subjects, it is only a question of time when he has to go, for the church of today has no use for a man who preaches a gospel for the poor and to the poor, because the church is run in the interest of the rich, and not in the interest of the rich and poor alike.
“Not but that there are churches for the poor. There are mission churches, but missions, as I have of ten said before, are simply church poor houses, and are a disgrace to Christianity. No church ought to have a mission annex. If you don’t want the poor to come to church have the courage to say so, but for the sake of sincerity do not go through the hypocrisy of pretending to do a good thing by building a mission. You cannot deceive God by building a mission chapel. He knows that it is simply a salve to the conscience of an institution which does not want the unwashed within its doors. It is a wonder that He has born with such loathsome hypocrisy so long.
“There are some churches whose members are poor, yet these churches are run in the interest of those among their number who contribute the most money (not in proportion to their means), and you will find them many times as happy when the rich Mr. This or the Hon. Mr. That comes in to their services than when some man comes in who is ‘only a carpenter.” Just as soon as possible you will find that church leaving the locality where the poor reside and putting up a stone building with a mortgage on it in a better neighborhood.
“All that I have said of the lack of sympathy among ministers and in the church is just as true of the Roman Catholic as of the Protestant church. I speak of this because until lately it was believed, and sometimes flung in the face of Protestants, that the Roman Catholic church was the church of the poor. But recent events have shown that the Roman Catholic church has no more sympathy with poor people than we have. When the real touchstone was applied she was found wanting. If you ask the Roman Catholic or Protestant church, ‘Shall the poor have charity?’ both will answer with pious zeal, ‘Yes.’ But if you ask either of them, ‘Shall the poor have their rights; shall the poor have justice; shall the poor have the gospel preached to them upon an equality with the rich?’ both churches have said and do say ‘No.’
“Many persons object to this severe arraignment of Christianity. They cannot disprove what I say. But they say it is very bad to admit such things and call attention to them even if true, but it seems to me eminently important that we should look the fact and its consequences in the face. The fact is undeniable. The consequence is that multitudes have given up the church, and because they identify Christianity and the church, they have given up Christianity too.
“To the rulers of Europe—the iron-handed Bismarck, the tyrannical czar, the queen of England, a nation that never did right until forced to, a woman who permits sick women and infirm men to be flung out of their homes in Ireland while she celebrates her jubilee—the rulers, most of whom are monsters of wickedness which only the patience of God can endure and His mercy forgive, are Christians, Heaven save the mark.
“Most of the men in this country who constitute the assemblies which make the laws that put power into the hands of a few to rob the many, and most of the men who heartlessly oppress the poor are Christians. And most of the ministers and churches justify these wicked people in their wickedness. Is it any wonder that there are a few socialists and anarchists abroad who are also atheists? It; is a wonder that there are no more. I foresee that unless the church of Christ becomes converted to the religion of Christ, the day is not far distant when some different form of Christianity will take the place of the present church—a form more nearly in accord with the truth as it came from the lips of Christ, and less given over to the world, the flesh and the devil.
“Nor need it be said that I find fault with what is, and yet offer nothing in its place. For I do offer something in i ts place—I offer the religion of Jesus Christ. My brethren, I do not wish to offend you, although I know I sometimes do. But I must speak to you the truth of God. Take these words of Christ and show me wherein I am wrong. Do not come to me With creeds and the decisions of popes and councils. Do these know what Christ’s religion was and is better than He knew Himself? I tell you this is the sign of it!—that the common people hear it gladly, and when the ministry or the church look coldly on the common people, that is the sign of decay. I leave you to judge whether that decay has set in or not.”
Words of Wisdom
New York Sun
It is true enough that the evils of poverty are felt most keenly by those who fear destitution and are struggling to make both ends meet. Such people are in continual dread of the coming of a day when they will fall over the edge so perilously near which they are living; and trouble and difficulty, as we all know, are worse in the anticipation than in the actual experience of them.
Therefore it happens that a man with an income which a common laborer or even a mechanic would regard as opulence oftentimes feels poorer than either of them, and more anxious regarding his future. Any considerable reduction of this income means for him an entire change in this mode of life, and even in his social relations; for he has adopted a style of living which eats up every cent he can make. He has sacrificed his peace of mind by taking an unjustifiable risk in order to maintain what he regards as necessary respectability.
Many salaried men are in that position, the associations they have chosen almost compelling them to indulge in extravagances, considering the insecurity of their incomes. They may carry an insurance on their lives for the benefit of their families, to whom they can leave nothing else, but even that may be lost in the day of disaster because of their inability to keep it up. The great mass of men who depend on salaries, clerks, for instance, are, of course,. driven to the greatest economy of living, for their pay, on the average, does not equal that of a mechanic, and in very many cases is not more than than of a common laborer. They are worse off than the mechanic, too, because they do work of which the supply vastly exceed the demand and have no expert ability which enables them to readily obtain a new job. When they have lost their places they are all at sea, not knowing where or when others may be found. Their labor, for which there is so uncertain a demand, is all the capital they have, and yet they have little or nothing of their gains, so that when they lose employment they are flat on their backs.
Isn’t This Sound Common Sense?
Burlington, Ia., Justice.
There are in Burlington some 25,000 lots averaging one-sixth of an acre.
There are some 23,000 people living here and an unknown quantity of dead men who own the land, or whose will is being executed by those who live here.
“The 25,000 living people pay some $700,000 a year to those dead men. through “their heirs or assigns forever,” for the privilege of living here, where moat of them were born. They also pay fifty per cent or so over its value for everything. they buy, from the cradle to the rough box on their coffin.
The city gets a revenue of $70.000 to $80,000 annually from the tax-ridden people in the shape of poll tax. dray license, dog tax, scales, wharfage, police costs, lines and miscellaneous revenues, but nothing from the saloons. The temperance champions pick them enough, so the police are easy with them.
Most of these taxes are burdensome, unjust and difficult and expensive to collect, and ought to abolished.
But there is hardly a lot in the city which might not yield $2 a year, and there are some that ought to yield $800; but at the average of $5 per lot the revenue would amount to $125,000 or thereabouts, and if there were no penalties for voting, driving a dray or building a house we could well afford to pay an average of $10 a year on each good-sized lot (60×120). This would bring into the treasury $250,000 annually, and very few lots would remain unused, only people who have use for them would pay the taxes on them. and they would be disposed of, as our present delinquent tax law disposes of our homes in October if we fail to pay all taxes, fines and costs in due time.
Suppose one-half of the $250,000, $125,000, goes for state, school, road and other purposes, and the other half into the city treasury, together with about $133,000 from miscellaneous sources, we would have a nice little revenue of $133,000 and business booming all the tune, for so many homes would be made here, and so many people employed, there won id be a constant demand for all sorts of commodities.
The Way Protection Works
When the high mark in the prices of iron was reached, and foreign importations were freely made, American operatives demanded a small share of the profits of the rise. Their demand was ref used except in a few instances, and then it was that the “labor troubles” began. When the coke syndicate saw how large a profit the iron and steel manufacturers were realizing they made an advance of twenty-five per cent on their tariff-protected product, which the manufacturers could very readily pay out of their increased earnings. The miners and coke workers then asked for an advance in the rates of wages that would not have amounted to ten cents of the advance of forty cents in the price of a ton of coke. The iron manufacturers and the coke syndicate, however, were determined to put all the profits in their own rhetoric pockets, while treating workingmen to newspaper articles and tracts of the tariff league on the blessings of protection to American industry.
The “Star” Is Impressed, in Spite of Its Pro-Poverty Principles
Reviewing the contents of the Forum, for July, the New York Star remarks:
The article of all others, however, which produces the profoundest impression, by reason of the appalling statements which it contains, is one on “Tenement House Morality,” by Father J.O.S. Huntington. Public attention cannot be too often called to the frightful conditions among us resulting from an overcrowding in our poorer districts that seems hardly possible to credit, and leading to a state of morality or rather immorality that no pen can picture, although Father Huntington stirs up his readers on the subject in a way that leaves further indifference an impossibility. Imagine, for instance, what must result from having 2,076 souls crowded into and living in a space covered by 700 by 200 feet, and divided into 1,736 rooms.
Why Employers Combine
Real Estate Record and Guide.
In prosperous times the unions have a fair chance of getting the better of their employers when the latter act singly, but when the bosses come together they have many advantages over their workingmen. The great trouble is that the employers are often rivals in business, and it goes against the grain for them to co-operate with other employers; yet they are learning the lesson that organization must be beaten by organization if the two parties are to contend on equal terms.
Jacob Sharp has been convicted, and unquestionably justly convicted. And yet it is impossible to resist a feeling of something like sympathy for him, since the crime for which he must now go to the state prison is simply what in hundreds of cases brings wealth, ease and honor.
Jacob Sharp is in truth more a victim than a criminal—a victim of that rotten condition of society which the anti-poverty movement seeks to abolish—a victim of that greed of gain born of the fear of want which sanctifies the getting of wealth by any means, provided the successful man can only keen out of the penitentiary. That he will not be able to keep out of the penitentiary is owing to what doubtless seems to him like a series of accidents, and not that he is in reality a sinner above other men who are to-day accounted our “first citizens.”
Jacob Sharp was an enterprising man who had set his heart on making- a public improvement in which he saw an advantage to the public and fortune to himself. Thanks to that corrupt political system so dear to the hearts of our respectable “saviors of society,” neither he nor any one else could obtain a franchise for a Broadway railroad without bribing a majority of the board of aldermen. Jacob Sharp bribed them. In this lie doubtless knew that he was doing something morally wrong; but it was a moral wrong acquiesced in, if not justified, by the code of the society in which he moved. He took the world as he found it,” as “practical men” do, and had he refused to take the opportunity that was offered him, on the ground that it was wicked to bribe aldermen, he would have been laughed at as a “milksop” by his associates and backers, and might at once have abandoned any idea of ever being trusted by moneyed men as the promoter and manager of a great financial enterprise.
Jacob Sharp doubtless felt that what he mas doing was wrong if judged by a strict code of morality; but it was just such a wrong as the rich men of New York do every day without any one seeming to think any the worse of them; just such a thing as lie himself had done before without losing one scintilla of the respect of those for whose respect he cared. Jacob Sharp’s view of the case mas doubtless that which attains in railroad offices and hank parlors and among the respectable congregations of pro-poverty churches—that the crime attaches to the bribed rather than to the briber . He may have looked upon the aldermen who took his thousand dollar bills as a set of corrupt scoundrels; but if they chose to fill their pockets by prostituting their official positions, what business was that of his? The idea that he was doing anything personally dishonorable probably never entered his mind.
Why should it? He was aided in the transaction by a legal firm of high standing and eminent respectability, who would have kicked out of their office any client who should have dared invite them to aid him in planning a burglary. His associates, who would have exploded with righteous wrath had any receiver of stolen goods invited them to share in a picayune robbery. His purchase of the franchise from the aldermen was a matter of common fame, yet no man among his business or social acquaintances uttered a word of condemnation or reproof, or gave him any whit less cordial greeting; and no investor hesitated to buy from him at retail what he had bought from the aldermen at wholesale. The same sort of thing has been notoriously done on even larger scale by men who sit in the front pews of churches and are looked up to as successful men.
As he sits in his prison parlor today with the shadow of the state prison upon him, it is but natural that Jacob Sharp should regard himself rather as unfortunate than as a criminal.
It is well that Jacob Sharp should go to prison, even though a thousand men as guilty as he be left outside. But it is idle to hope to cure corruption by such means. Judges from the bench may utter condemnation and reproof; preachers from the pulpit may thunder warnings and appeals; the press may deliver its platitudes, and the politicians vociferate their outcries for reform, and even an occasional boodler be sent to prison, but still where the carcass is there will the eagles be gathered together, and the only study of the unclean feasters will be to avoid, not publicity, but legal detection.
Consider how we train our boys for the business of life. Consider the ideals we hold up to our young girls. How carefully we point our children to the examples of men who have succeeded, and warn them against the examples of men who have failed. Succeeded and failed—in what? In carrying out that golden rule which underlies all true morality and is the basis of true social economy? No! The examples we uphold for their imitation and admiration are of men who have succeeded in eluding poverty and grasping wealth; the failures against which we warn them are of men who have been thrust backward in the hustle for existence, who have literally failed to get ahead of their fellows, who have neglected the motto, “Each for himself, and the devil take the hindmost.” To a generation trained in such a school the fate of Jacob Sharp conveys no warning, save the warning not to be found out. To them the lesson of the Sharp trial is that thousand dollar bills should not be used in bribing aldermen.
And while the fundamental law of justice is disregarded in our social organization it is useless to hope for any change for the better. In a society founded on theft, greed and lawlessness must still hold sway. Our social system is so arranged that the vast majority of men and women must, of absolute necessity, be sunk in poverty. On whom the awful lot shall fall—on us or on our neighbors—is, for many of us, a question still undecided; but on them or on us we know the curse must surely come, and a remnant only shall be saved. What wonder is it, then, that like panic-stricken men upon a sinking ship, who know of a surety that there is room in the boats for but one in a hundred, we should struggle and fight and crowd ? What wonder that we should fling to the winds honor, and fair dealing, and loving kindness, and all the Christlike virtues? What wonder that Jacob Sharp should have bribed the aldermen, and thought it but the purchase of an honorable provision for his children?
Our courts and newspapers and preachers may make an end of Jacob Sharp, the individual. They can never, by their present methods, make a n end of the class to which Jacob Sharp belongs. To put an end to stealing we must dig up stealing at the root
The New Fourth Of July
Never since the war that abolished chattel slavery has a celebration of the Fourth of July been so significant and hopeful as the celebration of the present year. The Declaration of Independence has acquired a new meaning to scores of thousands of people in the past twelve months. They had often read its assertion that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but they had read them as “cushioned-pew Christians” read the Lord’s prayer. The words sounded well, but there was no life in them. They had no relation to us, no application to the present. They were only rhetorical flourishes to the record of an old quarrel. Historically they were interesting, but for present use they were as impracticable as Christ’s golden rule.
But there is a great awakening. The Declaration of Independence is no longer a string of phrases. It contains a living truth which “hearts wide open on the Godward side” are welcoming and proclaiming. In several of the great cities of the union, and in many a country town and village, the Knights of Labor celebrated this anniversary as one of peculiar interest to men who work for a living. The orations to which they listened were not platitudes about the past, but exhortations to duty in the present If all men are created equal, it is our duty to see to it that this natural equality is not impaired by human laws and institutions. If life is an inalienable endowment then water, sunlight, air, soil and all other forces and substances of nature necessary to sustain life are also inalienable endowments, which, if lost may be at any time reclaimed. If liberty be an inalienable endowment then laws that force men into servitude by shutting them out from natural opportunities are an unwarrantable interference with natural right, as well as laws that force them into the servitude of chattel slavery, and, like the latter, may be repealed at once and without compensation. This was the drift of thought that met with enthusiastic responses at the various celebrations of our national birthday this week.
The Fourth day of July is the anniversary of the birth of our political liberties. To the work of that day we trace our possession of the most powerful weapon ever put into the hands of men—the ballot. But political liberty is a mockery and the ballot will be a plaything where industrial slavery prevails. We must have more than political liberty. We must also have back for the use and enjoyment of all those bounties of nature without which a man can neither work nor live, save by submitting to the charity or ministering to the cupidity of a fellow man. And in aiming at this the Declaration of Independence is an all-sufficient authority to Americans. Its assertion of equality is as fresh as when it was penned. It is a truth that can never be obsolete, but will grow in brilliancy as time goes on. It was the guiding star of the revolution, and to its magic power, at a later date, vested rights of property in man gave way; but still it points to further advance along the line of liberty. We are as yet far from realizing the full measure of its promise.
A Philadelphia paper congratulates the workingmen of that city who live in whole houses upon the difference between their condition and. that of the New York workingmen who live in crowded tenements. If the editor of that paper would calmly reflect, with the aid of a fan and a glass of ice water, upon the disparity of condition to which his attention has been casually directed, he might be able to write on the land question with more intelligence than he has thus far done.
Co-operation under the prevailing system of land tenure is and must be a failure; but with the land free its possibilities are beyond calculation.
A writer in a recent number of Harpers Magazine. telling of a tenement house in which mechanics live, says that the rent of rooms on lower floors is so much a month, and if the tenant wants better air and light, he may take a room on one of the upper floors for a few shillings additional. And yet the writer of that article does not see that those extra shillings are nothing but the price of air and sunlight, for which one man charges and another pays. Private ownership of land is equivalent to private ownership of air and sunlight “God is good to the landlord,” said the Scottish crofter, and the well-fed parson responded “amen!”
Mr. Benjamin Urner, the treasurer of the Anti-poverty society, asks us to state that the certificates of membership in the society are now coming from the press, and will be sent to members so soon as they can be signed by the officers of the society, probably within two weeks.
Here is another suggestion for Archbishop Corrigan’s next pastoral. In the coal regions of Pennsylvania the surface of the earth caves in at different places, making deep basin-like holes into which water collects and forms ponds. Last winter the miners of Mahanoy Plane, in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, undertook to gather ice from these places for summer use, but the owner of the land forbade them unless they would pay so much a ton for all the ice they gathered. The owner of the land, by the way, made neither the land, the water, the ice, nor the holes.
Fourth of July At Summit Hill
The Sort of Independence They Have in the Lehigh Valley—Miners Paying $3.50 a Ton for Coal—Poverty in the Midst of Unbounded Natural Opportunities—The Mysteries of Overproduction
Summit Hill, Carbon Co., Pa—Our coal miners celebrated the Fourth of July by having a parade, speech-making and a picnic in a grove near the town. Over a thousand men marched in the parade, the speeches were fair to middling, and the picnic a great success.
It was at Summit Hill that the first body of coal was discovered and developed in Pennsylvania; and by paying a quarter to a more or less ragged urchin a person can have the enjoyment of looking down into the hole from which the first coal was taken, can have pointed out to him the track of “the burning mine,” can go into any one of the mines to see the coal in its natural state, see the mules that are used down in the bowels of the earth, and can have pointed out to him how well fed they are and how sleek they appear. Then, after coming to the earth’s surface, the visitor will have an opportunity, for the same quarter, of enjoying the beautiful views on every hand. Well may this region be called the Switzerland of America. The boy has earned his quarter, and the average visitor is satisfied.
But there are other things to be seen and learned free of charge, if the visitor is of an investigating turn of mind. Two miners can mine on an average sixty tons of coal a day, for which they receive$3.78. with a deduction of five cents a day for oil, cotton, etc. A cent on the dollar is kept back by the company a miner works for, for hospital purposes. The entire average expense of digging out, cleaning: and placing a ton of coal in a car ready to be delivered to the consumer is, at the outside, forty cents. By the time that coal reaches the consumer, say, in New York, it costs to the very poor, who buy it by the bucket, about $11 a ton. Those who purchase a ton at a time have to pay between $6 and $6.50. The coal is on the surface at Summit Hill, but the miners are not allowed to touch it for their own use. If they want coal, the companies sell it to them at a reduced rate—$3.50 per ton. There is no middle man in this case, and the cost for transportation is but a trifle, yet we have to face this problem: We get about forty cents for doing all the work necessary to produce a ton of coal, yet if we want to use that very same ton of coal we have to pay back to the men who paid us the forty cents for our work, nearly nine times the price; and for that $3.10 extra they have charged us they have not even turned their hands.
All the land, the woods and water on Summit Hill and adjacent hills are owned by the Lehigh company. In the village of Summit Hill the houses belong to the occupants, but the land on which the houses stand belongs to the Lehigh company. The tenant has a right only to use the surface. Whatever may be discovered under the surface belongs to the Lehigh company. The village taxes must be paid by the house owner. The lease is a long one—namely,ninety-nine years—but most of the miners are under the mistaken impression that they have a perpetual title to the land they live on. It is gratifying to note, however, that none of them will live long enough to find out their mistake. Their children will be the sufferers, and the Lehigh company will be the gainer when these leases fall in. While the Lehigh company own such a tremendous domain, stocked with coal, they pay no taxes on it; the land which is being mined pays taxes, but the taxes are paid by the lessees, and the land which is not being worked pays no taxes. Yet no one can go on that land and work without settling affairs at the Lehigh company’s office.
Last winter, when the production of coal was stopped and the price increased to the consumer, there were hard times on Summit Hill; and yet, while the miners here were suffering for want of work or, in other words, for want of permission to dig coal out of the ground and sell it to New York—the poor of New York were shivering in their tenement houses for want of coal. A few coal barons had met together in a New York office and decided that coal mining should cease for a time, and it ceased accordingly. This was euphemistically called an over production of coal. It is noticeable that there was at the same time an over production of flannel, shoes, sugar, coffee, etc., which things lay. Unsold in the Lehigh valley stores, waiting till the miners should be allowed to earn money to buy them with, the miners’ wives and children being meantime barefooted, poorly clothed and hungry.
Some of the speeches made here on the Fourth have set people thinking. Our miners are beginning to understand what over production means, and to see that life is rendered hard for them, not because they have to mine coal, but because they are not allowed to mine it.
The Fourth in the Coal Regions
Lansford, Pa., July 5.—The Fourth was observed here by the local labor organizations in the old-fashioned way. A grand picnic was held by local assemblies 5,605, 7,373, 6,309 and 8,187. Their parade to the picnic grounds was participated in by post 177, G. A R., and St. Joseph cadets, an organization composed of young men of the local Catholic congregation. About 2,000 men were in line, and four bands and two their music. The opening speech was made by William Lester, L. A, No. 1, of Philadelphia, his subject being "Organization." He was followed by James Degnan of New York, who spoke on the Declaration of Independence, and pointed out the logical results of a full interpretation of its principles. The speaker’s assertion that the claim of the land for the people found its basis in the Declaration «f Independence was warmly applauded. The marshals of the day were C. C. McHugh, W. D. Boyle and John Nevins. The crowd attending the picnic was orderly, and no liquors were for sale on the grounds. Mr. Degnan, after closing his remarks, was taken to Nesquehoning, where another large picnic was being held, and there spoke again. Land and labor clubs are being formed in this part of the state, and the demand for The Standard is increasing weekly.
The United Labor Party on Independence Day
The united labor party of New York city celebrated the one hundred and eleventh anniversary of American independence by a mass meeting at the Academy of Music, which was attended by a large and enthusiastic assemblage of voters. Professor William B. Clarke presided, and speeches were delivered by John McMackin, Rev. C. M. Winchester of Middletown, N. Y.; Frank Ferrall and James P. Archibald.
The Declaration of Independence was read by Mrs. Clara Hackett, the audience pointing by their applause the paragraph which cites, among the grievances complained of by our forefathers, the “transporting us beyond seas to be tried for our offenses.”
The speakers all strongly emphasized the truth that the principles of the united labor party are simply those announced in the immortal declaration, and the audience evinced a keen appreciation of the fact that the party of labor emancipation is striving only to obtain a recognition of the truths to the maintenance of which their ancestors pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
Miss Munier’s Concordia chorus was in attendance, and sang several patriotic songs, chief among which was the “Song for the Fourth” published in last week’s Standard.
The New Wine in the Old Bottle
New York, June 25.—It is refreshing to read your wholesome criticism of the “jubilee.” I am an Englishman, but not one who has bent the knee to that very useless person dubbed “queen” on the fiftieth anniversary of her accession; and I am disgusted at the hypocritical praise which has filled the representative journals of this country for some days back. In one sense the jubilee was consistent. The oppressors, paupers and social enemies of Europe and of the east vied with each other in doing homage to the figurehead of oppression, and to the mythical being whom they set up as vindicator of their wrongs. If these things have made England great and English people free, then, indeed, was the ceremony praiseworthy.
Failures in the First Half of 1886
A recent issue of Bradstreet’s contained the statistics of failures in the United States for the six months ending July 1,1886. The total was 5,072, with liabilities of $55,359,829; in the same period of 1886 the number was 5,461, with liabilities of $53.241,431. In New York city there were 94 failures in the first half of 1887, with liabilities of $1,785,713. Bradstreet’s regards the “failure scare” as pointing to healthful underlying conditions in the business world. The proportion is, on the whole, no greater nor less than the running average. It is a settled conclusion that under the prevailing system, many business men must fail. If the average is not swollen largely it is cause for congratulation—to the solvent.
How to Dispose of the Ludlow, Vt., Farms
Allegheny, Pa.—Not long ago the New York Nation referred to a rich valley in the town of Ludlow, Vt., which had gone out of cultivation, and which, on that account, the legislature had been asked to exempt from taxation for a term of years.
If the farms are abandoned by their owners (as the Nation implies, but which I doubt, for who then is asking for a remission of the taxes?) let the state throw them open for occupancy to whomsoever will take them and pay such a rental as the land will afford. If no one can make a living on them they will, of course, lie fallow. If there is competition for them this will serve to fix the tax or rent.
The Movement in Pennsylvania
The Knights of Labor of Dauphin county, Pa., held a con vent ion on last Saturday at Millersburg, and nominated a full ticket. The candidates are pledged to accept the nomination of no other party. The platform adopted declares that the land belongs to the people, and expresses sympathy with Dr. McGlynn.
At the Fourth of July celebration of the Knights of Labor at Pottstown, Pa., a preamble and resolutions were passed declaring that all born into the world have an absolute right to the products of their labor, and also a right in the land, from which their subsistence must be gained.
No Hope in Political Churchianity
Wilmington, Del., June 26.—I am a reader of The Standard. I believe that this crusade is a political Christianity that embraces the purposes and promises of God to men; and that it must bring order out of chaos, light out of darkness and peace out of discord and confusion. You cannot hope for anything from a “political churchianity.” A great political movement must be on a level with Christianity.
The Land Question in Alabama
Calera, Ala., June 27.—I have read your “Social Problems,” “Progress and Poverty,” “The Land Question” and The Standard, and am satisfied that the theories you advocate are correct. The time is not far distant when very fair, unprejudiced mind in Alabama will believe as I do. Your “Land Question” is telling the tale. Our people are reading it attentively. The prejudices that have kept them back since the war are fast dying out. New men with new ideas and liberal views are coming to the front. God send the day when your works will be in every house in the land.
W. H. Davidson.
As Manufacturers They Lacked Brains to Succeed, as Land Owners They Didn’t Need Any Brains
Paterson, N. J.—The “society for establishing useful manufactures” of New Jersey was organized in 1791. Its charter exempted it from state taxes for ten years and from local taxes forever. The founders located at Paterson, and purchased seven hundred acres of laud for $8,230, or $12 an acre. They started in to manufacture cotton goods on a grand scale, but failed ignominiously, and the charter passed into the hands of the Colt family. The society retained its lands, however, and today is drawing an income of $70,000 per annum in rents, having already sold $600,000 worth of lots. They control the water rights, which ought ere this to have made Paterson the greatest manufacturing center in the east, and can easily double the power used in the manufacturing concerns of the city by simply allowing the power supplied by the Passaic to be utilized.
The land they purchased for $12 per acre is now worth $275,000 per acre. They failed in all attempts to do what their name implied they should do, and it was not until other manufacturers located here that the society made money. They began to make it then, and have continued ever since, although it was all earned by some one else.
E. W. Nellis.
They Want It Right Here, and as Soon as Possible, Too
St. Paul, Neb.— Professor Swing of Chicago thinks that for those who want free land there is enough in Africa or South America. But we don’t want to go there. We want the land right here in the United States. Fifty-five millions of people give the land its value, which a small fraction enjoy. Professor Swing may go to Africa if lie pleases, but the rest of us prefer to stay here, and mean soon to enjoy our equal share in the value of the land.
The Railroads and Real Estate
Grand Rapids Workman.
Speaking of booming real estate brings to mind the interest and excitement of late in the neighborhood of the Union depot. All that section bounded by Fulton street on the north, Ellsworth avenue on the west, and Almy street on the east, and any distance south, has suddenly become very valuable. Mr. Woodcock has been the main purchaser and has raised the rents of many of his tenants. He has purchased not far from a dozen homes inside of a few blocks and is now considerable of a landlord, and although he may be a bitter opponent of English landlordism he will quite likely do some evicting if they don’t come to time. Many amusing things are related in the neighborhood of his negotiation» and purchases. A certain physician owns a place on Calder street, and in giving his price to Mr. Woodcock in making out the bill of sale the buyer’s hand trembled in his anxiety lest the physician should back out, so the gossips say, and the M. D. was very angry with himself when he discovered the purpose of the purchase. A grass widow sold two places at the maximum price; she also became very excited when she made the discovery. A widow woman on Almy street asked $3.000. Mr. Woodcock, in order to make the bargain more binding, made it $15,500 of his own volition. The widow then backed out and now asks $5,000. It is a sure thing that in selling to railroad companies you must strike while the iron is hot. After the company gets enough territory to cut up with their tracks then they will fence you in with smoke and sulphurated hydrogen, and you can’t give away your home. It now looks as though it was only a question of a short time when the whole country that has been so much talked of in the papers lately will be completely depopulated so far as residents are concerned.
Not Born Free and Equal
Correspondence Providence People.
How can there be noble aspirations when there is no discontent with present surrounding? The very discontent among the masses is the surest sign of healthful life and hope. Why shut ears and eyes and plant the heavy foot of power on this spirit struggling to formulate itself into shape? Liberty and equality among men is so far only an ideal worth striving for, but only possible after the existing state of society is altered so far that it may be possible that every human being born may have an equal and free opportunity for a full physical and mental development.
As long as the land is held by a few, as long as a minority exists which does enjoy full liberty of action, by infringing upon the natural development and freedom of action of the majority—it is impossible. Not alone does this minority absorb all the surplus value from the toiling majority as interest, dividends and rents, but it robs this majority of the precious time wasted (in producing this surplus value) which otherwise might be put to their own betterment and development. Today we are not born free and equal, nor have we any immediate prospect of working our way toward liberty and equality? because there is lacking the spirit of fraternity.
Houses and the Death Rate
Mr. Noel A. Humphreys read a paper of much interest before the statistical society on “Class Mortality,” in which he drew attention to the fact that in the Peabody buildings in London, which now accommodate some 20,000 persons of the poorer classes, the number of infant deaths has been reduced seven per 1,000 below that of infants in London generally during the last five years. This shows, he said, how much housing has to do with our rate of death; and this is confirmed by the fact that the poorer classes who live much in the open air, like gardeners, nurserymen and agricultural laborers, attain an average age almost as good as that of clergymen themselves, in spite of their much greater privations. It is impure air, in the long run, which shortens life even more than any other cause.
Another Opinion of the “Post’s” About Cursing
Evening Post, July 5.
Yesterday was a day in which there surely ought to have been some cursing done about battle flags. Yet, as far as we can learn, the leading cursing men were silent. This shows that the cursing men have not the influence with God Almighty which they evidently thought they had. . . . Their curses, in other words, they see now, are wasted on the desert air. As far as can be ascertained, what God Almighty desires is that Americans should hereafter dwell together in harmony.
Columbus, O. July 4.—Hon. T. B. Barry of Michigan, member of the executive board of the Knights of Labor, who is in the city, said in answer to a question put to him by your correspondent tonight: “The George anti-poverty movement is here to stay. It is a second abolition movement and is gaining adherents daily. In 1888 there will be a national united labor ticket, and you will find by that time that the union labor party will have been swallowed by the George or united labor party.”
And They Need Not Have Worked Either
St. Paul Dispatch.
How many of the old settlers of Ramsey county look back on lost opportunities? A few hundred dollars wisely invested in land five ten or fifteen years ago would make the happy possessor a millionaire today.
Nearly all the summer residents have arrived at Newport and are comfortably settled for the season and about ready to engage in the fashionable gayeties which are being arranged. A few small cottage entertainments have already been given. On Monday next the Casino orchestra will give its first morning concert, from 11 a. m. to 1 p. m. The first of the series of semi-weekly dances will be given the same evening. The Sunday evening concerts at the Casino will be given as usual, but no loud playing will be heard and the puritanical portion of the community will not be seriously annoyed.
The slaughter of the innocents has begin. Last week 679 deaths occurred in the tenement houses of this city. The highest mortality of the year was reached yesterday. During the twenty-four hours ending yesterday evening 12$ infants died in the city, and fully seventy-five per cent of these deaths can be traced to heat, bad ventilation and unwholesome milk.—[New York World of July 3.]
The Albany Express, speaking of the children sent into the country by the Tribunes fresh air fund, says: “Every year hundreds of these unfortunates are given a sight of green fields, a breath of fresh air and a realization of what the surroundings of civilized life should be. The people of New York’s ‘pauper counties’ have often seen the smiling faces of these poor and unfortunate children of the metropolis, smiling a t leaving the oppressive and crowded tenement districts and getting a sight of God?s country.”
Mr. Wm. K. Vanderbilt sailed in his yacht Alva, July 2, on a voyage around the world. It costs $10,000 a month to run the Alva. Mr. Vanderbilt’s railway interests will be looked after during his absence by Cornelius Vanderbilt and Chauncey M. Depew.
William Divens, an iron worker of Pittsburgh, accidentally brought an iron bar which he was holding into contact with a monster fly wheel. The bar was driven through his neck, coming out at the base of the brain and protruding from the other side about three feet. Divens was fifty-two years old, a widower, and left several children.
Senator Farwell is going to Europe in August on business. He and Colonel Abner Taylor of Chicago are at the head of a mammoth land enterprise in Texas, and it is on affairs connected therewith that Mr. Farwell is going abroad. Colonel Taylor is spending the summer over there on the same business. They will come home together in October.—[New York Tribune.]
The people of this country imported, during 1886, cotton goods to the value of $3,730,671. They paid $1,701 795 for the privilege of doing it, besides an average profit of twenty-five per cent to the merchants who advanced the duty money.
A tramp went to the basement door of the residence of Mrs. Augusta C. Burdette, 229 West Twenty-fifth street, on Friday evening of last week, and begged for food. Mrs. Burdette brought him into the basement, fed him well, and gave him some money. He left the house, but sneaked back, and when Mrs. Burdette went up stairs she found him leaving the parlor with a bronze clock and a handsome cuspidor. A policeman was called and he was arrested.
The quotations from Wall street are received at Newport as quickly as they can be wired, and on Bellevue avenue two prominent New York broker firms are established. Four private wires are in use, and one broker has a private wire at his cottage.
A burglar raided the grocery store of Henry Lubbe in Indianapolis one day last week. A policeman came up while the burglar was unlocking the door, but supposing it was one of the clerks made no effort. to arrest him. The burglar talked to him and asked him to come in, and after he had gone finished. It is work. Only some small change was secured.
The profits of the cotton seed oil trust for the year ending July 1 were $2,439,720.75.
Horace Dalrymple Whitney, the defaulting secretary of the Montreal harbor trust, is said to be in New York. Whitney brought about $30,000 stolen money with him. He is said to be a dude, English style, and wears a monocle.
The number of cases of infanticide in this city is alarming. Reports of dead infants’ bodies found on doorsteps, in the ditches and in the water are numerous, and it is a subject for adverse criticism that it is the exception when the party who commits the crime is arrested and brought to justice. Such a state of things is to be regretted, and all the more so because of the general feeling of indifference that seems to be growing in relation to the matter. A few arrests and severe punishments of child murderers will have a tendency to reawaken popular indignation, and bring the indifferent public to a full appreciation of the enormity and hideousness of the crime—[Boston Traveller.]
William H. Vanderbilt’s tomb on Staten Island cost $500,000, and it costs $30 a day the year round for the services of detectives to guard the body.
Dr. J. B. Taylor of the sanitary bureau of New York city says that an effort must be made to stop diphtheria in the tenement house districts immediately. He states that carelessness on the part of occupants of tenements is one of the chief causes of the spread of the disease.
There is an institution in Boston for the reception and care of homeless and destitute cats.
The Riverside rest association, of which the Rev. Dr. Wendell Prime is president and W. M. F. Round, secretary of the prison association, is a vice-president, has opened its house, 341 East Twenty- sixth street, for the reception of inmates. The association extends a helping hand to women discharged from the various hospitals and correctional institutions supported by the city, giving them lodging, clothing and assisting them to find places. In order to preserve the self-respect of the women it requires that they shall do something to earn their board, and to this end has opened a laundry and a sewing room. The association is prepared to take in plain sewing and to communicate with per-ons in the country needing servants.—[New York Times.]
Mrs. Langtry has declared her intention to become a Citizen of the United States. Her chief reason for doing this, she told a New York World reporter, is that she “has invested in real estate, and intends to invest more.” Mrs. Langtry apparently thinks it is the custom for American citizens to own real estate.
During the six months from Jan. 1 to July l, 1887. 212,655 immigrants were landed at Castle garden.
The prince of Wales originated the idea of the jubilee jugs which, to t h e number of 35,000, were distributed to the children in Hyde park last week. His royal highness was much struck by the distribution of rough brown cups bearing the imperial cipher in relief, with which the czar commemorated the marriage of the czarovitch, and the productions of Messrs. Doulton, which cost nearly sixpence each, are great improvements on the original. The ground is of polished cream-colored earthenware, and the two portraits of the queen (1837 and 1887) are artistically executed in neutral tints.
E. L. Harper and Benjamin E. Hopkins of the broken Fidelity bank in Cincinnati have been committed to prison in default of bail.
Fourth of July will be a busy day for Secretary and Mrs. Whitney. The clerks and employees of the navy department have been invited to a picnic at “Grasslands.” On the Whitney grounds at “Lay Farm,” about two miles from “Grasslands” from a thousand to fifteen hundred poor children from Washington will be entertained. Between Secretary Whitney and Senator Cameron the children of the capital will remember July 4. 1887.—[New York World.]
The wife of the high sheriff of Gawlay, Ireland, has invented and patented a jubilee brooch and a jubilee bangle, both of which the queen has examined and commended.
An Admission to the Noted
New York World.
It is true that no direct issue based on a great principle now exists as between the democratic and republican parties.
With Apologies to “Father O’Flynn”
London Saturday Review
Of priests, though we offer a charming variety,
Mostly distinguished for larnin’ and piety,
Less than by zeal for uprooting society,
Fat her McGlynn is the boss of them all.
Here’s a health to you, Father McGlynn;
More power to your elbow, I hope you may win!
Loudest of preachers,
And first of the teachers,
Whose creed takes its features
From Father John Ball.
Divil a man or a pope that can frighten um;
No! and when Lao was afther invitin’ um
Over to Rome, he’d have gone to enlighten um
Freely, but not to be laid on the shelf.
Yes; I will venture to give ye my word
Never the likes of his logic was heard.
Wished him in Oregon,
Sure he’d, begorra! gone
Haven’t ye heard of that raction delectable,
When (it was “nuts” to the classes “respectable”)
Father McGlynn found no difference detectable
‘Twixt a landlord’s and a land leaguer’s line!
“What!” he exclaimed, “are ye meanly content
With ‘jewing’ down landlords some twenty per cent?”
Off wid your flummery!
Out on your mummery!
Such was his summary
Way wid O’Brine.
Lansdowne and he are but birds of a feather, boys;
Take an’ compare them, I tell ye, together, boys;
Is it a ha’porth’s consarn to us, whether, boys,
Leaguers or landlords are winning the day,
O’Brine believes Lansdowne owns Lansdowne’s own land,
While us, glory be! we brave boys understand
That his and his neighbor’s
Is all of it labor’s,
And proposes, be jabers,
To take ut away!”
Bravo! Well said! Here’s a health to your riverence!
Viewed by the light of that candid deliverance,
Communists wearing their creed with a difference,
Parnell, fashion, look mightily small.
Long live then, O Father McGlynn,
Such spurious stamps to the counter to pin,
Their pestilent spouting,
Who babble, while doubting
The creed of John Ball.
The Poor Man’s Court
The poor man’s court is the criminal court. But for it he would hardly know there is a law of the land; but for him it would have little to do. The rich seldom feel its power and always escape the severity of its procedure, while the poor are forever at its bar or under its hostile shadow. No censure of Judges is here intended. The charge of favoritism, so frequently made, is unjust. It is the system, not the men who manage it, that is responsible for the one-sided administration of justice which bears so heavily upon the poor.
The practice of requiring bail bonds is a striking example of the unequal operation of criminal law. As bail must possess property equal to the penalty of the bond an inequality between rich prisoners and poor is manifest. In country places, where personal reputation is diffused through the community, a poor man’s past conduct may obtain for him as ample bail as his rich neighbor can command; but it is not so in large cities, where classes are distinct and the only friends of the poor are the poor themselves. In fixing bail the prisoners pecuniary resources are usually considered, out there can be no allowance sufficient to place an accused person whose friends are poor upon an equality as to his liberty with one whose friends are rich; consequently the rich man goes free pending his trial and the poor man is imprisoned.
How can this inequality be remedied? By carrying into practice that fundamental precept of criminal law which presumes every man innocent until his guilt is proved. Preliminary imprisonment contravenes this precept, and is as unnecessary in the majority of cases as it is illogical and oppressive. A pledge to appear for trial would answer every purpose, if the accused appeared, theonly defensible object of preliminary arrest would be accomplished; if he absconded, judgment by default would make him an exile for life and rid the community of a worthless member. If, however, justice cannot be satisfied without vengeance, fugitives could be brought back from any state of the union under extradition laws; and as bail may reclaim their prisoner wherever found, defendants might be released in the custody of official bail, who could pursue them to the ends of the earth. Doubtless this would impose additional expense upon taxpayers, but shall personal liberty be weighed in the balance with pocketbooks? Are mercenary considerations to prevail against the plain right of a man to be free, until by crime duly proved he forfeits his freedom? If so, let us go a little further in the interest of the taxpayer, and lock up every body who cannot give bail for good behavior. That would wholly relieve the state of the pecuniary burden of criminal trials, since the forfeited bail bonds of those who became off enders would defray the expense of arresting and convicting them.
To parole persons accused of crime would be regarded, at first, a s an impracticable innovation, utterly without precedent and fraught with great danger to law abiding classes. But let it be remembered that once civil actions, too, were begun by arresting the defendant and putting him under bail when he could get bail, and into jail when he could not. That cruel practice was abolished despite the protests of law abiding classes, and so may be its twin sister of the criminal law.
The system of lines also automatically discriminates against the poor. A fine inflicted by way of imposing costs would be unobjectionable, if it were only a charge upon the offender’s property; but when the alternative of payment is imprisonment, fines operate to free the rich and incarcerate the poor. “Ten dollars or ten days!” is a familiar formula in police courts. To the poor it means ten days in jail; to the rich, no more than a slight addition to the cost of the carousal which brought them into court. Wehrgeld is supposed to be obsolete, but it survives in the fine. Modern fines, like the ancient wehrgeld, are sales of indulgences to those who have the money to buy.
There are some hardships of criminal procedure which would seem to operate equally against rich and poor, but the poor suffer most from them all. In theory prisoners are presumed to be innocent until proved to be guilty. With the rich man, surrounded by a host of reputable and influential friends, the theory usually holds good in practice; with the poor defendant it is reversed. True, certain evidence is required before a jury is permitted to convict, but beyond that the presumption of innocence has little weight in “prison cases.” An atmosphere of guilt pervades the prison pen, and indictments cast a shadow upon fettered defendants which neither judge nor jury can ignore. Judge Cowing once instructed his officers from the bench about bringing "criminals" to court. He meant persons under arrest upon accusation, but thoughtlessly expressed a latent sentiment, one from which nobody familiar with the poor man’s court is wholly free, that imprisoned defendants in criminal cases are criminals. In police courts this latent sentiment is aroused by the natural tendency of magistrates to act upon the evidence of policemen regardless of the asseverations of friendless prisoners.
In jury trials the accused is almost at the mercy of prosecuting officers, who are supposed to act with judicial impartiality. But the judicial office and that of the advocate are incompatible. Impartiality is a light weight in the scale against professional zeal, ambition and pride. The public expects district attorneys to convict, and they try to please the public. In doing this they have every advantage. The treasury of the state is behind them, detectives respond to their beck and call, jurors regard them as unbiased vindicators of the law. Every practitioner at the criminal bar, and every prosecuting officer can testify to the numerous incidental advantages of district attorneys over their professional adversaries. Not least among these is the privilege of choosing the time for trial. It often happens, when the prisoner is notified to be ready and is ready, that the district attorney arbitrarily postpones the trial; and though postponements may be dangerous, if not fatal, to an honest defense, and at any rate involve expense, there is no appeal. On the other hand, when the prisoner is not ready, though by no fault of his own, and the district attorney is ready, nothing but the discretion of the court lies between the accused and an unfair trial. That all this is specially burdensome to the poor defendant is obvious.
When convicted the poor prisoner gets what is cal led his “deserts.” When acquitted be must bear with the indignity and shame of a criminal trial as best he may and pay his expenses if he can. As there is no mercy for the guilty so there is no redress for the innocent. This in justice, which is only irritating to the rich, reaches the livelihood of the poor.
Once defendants were not allowed the aid of an advocate. Under the disadvantages of shame and impending disaster they were compelled to address the jury in person or go unheard. And it is not long since they were first permitted to testify. Within this decade men have been convicted in the federal courts, whose evidence, if they had been permitted to give it, might have acquitted them. Judge Benedict once suspended sentence after listening to a convict’s story, upon the ground that the jury would have rendered a different verdict if the story could have been told to them. It was merciful of the judge, and he did all he could; but think of an innocent man under suspension of sentence for crime! When these barbarities of the criminal law were in vogue it was t he poor who suffered most from them. Rich prisoners were usually sufficiently cultured to make an intelligent argument; the poor were dumb. The habits of the rich were such that their transactions were generally known to competent witnesses; the comings and goings of the poor were often unknown to any but themselves. Criminal procedure has been reformed in these particulars; but the same spirit that dictated such outrages upon justice prevails yet. Within the purview of that spirit accused persons are criminals who must be exterminated, and every melioration proposed is mawkish sentimentality.
But the criminal court is the poor man’s court in a sense far more odious than anything thus far touched upon suggests. Who are the criminal classes? Are they not the poor classes? Go into any police court when a “big haul” has been made over night and look at the prisoners. A cloud of poverty hangs over all. Go into the special sessions and watch the victims of the law who pass from the prison to the dock and back again to prison. Is not poverty the grim artist that designed their fate? Go to the general sessions. Here three judges, and three panels of jurymen, and three prosecuting officers, with a grand jury in the background, daily grind a never-failing grist of prisoners, nearly all of whom are poor. Few have ever felt the refining influences of decency and comfort, and those that have were east into the maelstrom of poverty before they were pitched into the hopper of the criminal court.
Only those offenses that are peculiar to the poor are reached by penal statutes. The crimes of the rich are too subtle to be detected by the cumbersome processes of law, or are of a kind which society approves and statutes foster. Most conventional crimes which the courts succeed in punishing are either violent or predatory in character. Few men commit the latter for the first time except under stress of poverty; and as to the former, the tendency of poverty to generate violence is so well known as to have found expression in a vulgar proverb: “The passion which the rich man humors by kicking his wife’s lap dog the poor man gratifies by breaking her skull.” That poverty breeds crime is tacitly admitted when the poor woman is imprisoned and the rich kleptomaniac goes free. We would not say, above a whisper, that the poverty of the one is proof of her guilt; but we do not hesitate to say that the wealth of the other establishes her innocence.
Upon the streets, at all hours, are bootblacks and news boys and news girls. What kind of homes have they? A great mass of poor men are continually out of work. How do they live? Industrious men are compelled to rear their little ones amid scenes of squalor, wickedness and criminality that would distort the morals of an angel. What can be expected of earth-born children? It is of such material that criminals are made. Pressure of want and familiarity with vice provoke an offense. Arrest, conviction, sentence follow; and with cropped hair and striped suit, a new candidate for penitentiary education is matriculated in tho freshman class of crime. At the end of his term he comes out with a callous conscience and a name indelibly stained. If he have ability he may aspire to leadership in some branch of criminal industry, but it is almost futile to hope for honest employment. His portrait is in the rogues’ gallery, and, like Jean Valjean, he must hide from the police to escape their constant surveillance. The avenues to labor which were choked before are now barred as well. Henceforth he is a professional criminal.
In the early days of the African diamond fields, when each man worked for himself, when the fields were open to all, and every one kept what he earned, there was no diamond stealing. But as the fields were appropriated, and diamond digging began to be carried on by hired labor, the independence of diamond diggers diminished, and diamond stealing coincidently became a common crime among them. Law after law, penal in character, was enacted, but without other effect than to excite the ingenuity of the thieves. As poverty came in at the door, honesty flew out at the window. A similar coincidence is observable in the United States. As the independence of laborers has diminished, census statistics show that crime has increased. In 1850 the proportion of penitentiary convicts to population was as 1 to 4,107; in 1880 it had increased to 1 in 1,637. It is easy to attribute this to the influx of a low foreign element; but that explanation is not tenable. The ratio of crime among our foreign population, as indicated by the number of penitentiary convicts, was but little greater in 1880 than in 1850, while among native Americans it had increased more than threefold.
That there is a vital relation between poverty and crime cannot be gainsaid. Statistics point to it, observation confirms it, the experience of the criminal court proves it. The relation is one of cause and effect; poverty is the germ, crime the fruit.
If poverty were dependent upon the will of the individual, or even upon natural conditions,society might escape responsibility for crime notwithstanding its source. But poverty depends upon neither the one nor the other. It is forced upon the individual by society. Nature is not at fault; it has bountifully provided everything that man requires. The individual is not at fault; he is willing to do all the work necessary to adapt natural objects to the satisfaction of his wants. But society is at fault: because with parchment titles it has erected a barrier between men who are willing to work and the natural materials, without which they cannot work. The efforts of sympathetic people to assuage the hardships of criminal law, to lighten the burden of convicts while under sentence, and to reclaim them when released, are inspired by a spirit that deserves unstinted commendation. But if it were not. for landlordism, an institution that could not exist without the support of these very people, and through which they acquire the means to gratify their tender sentiments, there would be no occasion for charity, no worthy object for pity. In the light of this truth the nursery rhyme of the “Considerate Crocodile” has a new and striking application:
There was once a considerate crocodile
That lived on the banks of the river Nile;
And he swallowed a fish with a face of woe,
While his tears flowed fast to the stream
“I am mourning,” said he, “the unhappy fate
Of the poor little fish which I just now ate!”
Access to those natural materials that are essential to labor, whether they be of air or soil or water, can be had only through access to the surface of the earth. The surface of the earth, to the uttermost limits of civilization, is owned in perpetuity by some of its occupants, whose permission is a prerequisite to its lawful occupation by all others. For that permission the owners exact a fee proportioned to the profitableness of the particular spot for which the fee is asked. Those who can pay the fee are allowed to work for themselves: those who cannot are compelled to hire to those who can; those who can neither pay the fee nor find a "boss” are forced into the ranks of the unemployed. A conflict between the unemployed and the employed follows, the object of the former being to get work, and of the latter to keep the work they have. The conflict is called competition; the weapon is underbidding; the battle ground is the labor market.
So long as this conflict continues, compensation for work will decline, enforced poverty flourish and crime prevail. It will continue and grow fiercer while population increases and invention advances, unless the land of the world be restored to its natural owners. But to secure to all men their birthright in the soil would open opportunities for work so inexhaustible that the conflict would cease for lack of combatants.
Remove the parchment bonds with which labor is bound, and the poor man’s court will be needed no more. As Wendell Phillips once said, “Open to man a fair field for his industry and secure to him its gains, and nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand would disdain to steal.”
Louis F. Post.
A Prominent Republican of Colorado Leaves the Old Party for the New Issues
James W. Bucklin of Grand Junction, Col., has written a letter to the members of the republican legislative committee for the counties of Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Gunnison and Pitkin, formally resigning from the chairmanship of that body and from membership in the republican party. He docs this in order that he may throw in his lot with the united labor party. He says that the republican party has not attempted to meet the great issues which have lately arisen, but is content to continue to live on its past deeds; and the democratic party is so like it that the two might be a consolidation under the name of the republican-democratic party.
“But outside of either party,” says he, “have arisen political principles so just, so full of the spirit of American” institutions, so far reaching in their beneficent influence upon all, that they deserve the support of all.
“These principles aim at the abolition of poverty, the actual decrease of want, intemperance, anarchy and crime, the increase of wages, the simplification of government and purification of politics, and the strengthening of that religious sympathy and love of duty which ‘makes the whole world kin.’ Their essence is love of country and obedience to her laws.
“So long as no political organization advocated these principles independent political action could not materially advance them. But now these ideas have been crystallized by the united labor party, and in the political struggle to secure their adoption I desire to engage.”
Ringing Resolution From a K. of L. Assembly
Richmond, Mo.—At a recent meeting of Eureka assembly 1080, K. of L., the following resolutions were unanimously passed:
Resolved, That we believe that the earth was created by God for the people who should be born on it.
Resolved, That we believe that the only way this equal right to nature’s bounties can be asserted and maintained is by taxing land to the full amount of its rental value, as proposed by Henry George.
Resolved, That we endorse the principles of the Anti-poverty society, and will do all in our power to abolish the system which makes the mere privilege to labor a boon, builds almshouses and prisons within the shadow of churches; and lauds as benefactors of humanity men who “furnish employment” to labor.
Resolved, That we endorse the action of Dr. McGlynn in refusing to go to Rome, and denounce foreign ecclesiastical interference in American politics.
Be it further resolved, That we endorse and support Henry George and Dr. McGlynn in their battle for the cross of the new crusade.
Cephas Luellen, M. W.
J. C. Williams, R. S.
The Room in California
San Francisco Call.
A boom prevails in many counties, especially in the south. Land which was unsalable last year at $30 is now held at $200 and $300 an acre. We hear of sales, which may or may not have been real, at $800 or $1000 an acre.
A Pennsylvania Mining Town
Mahanoy Plane and Its Surroundings—God’s Goodness to Mr. Shafer—It Takes a Day’s Work to Buy a Ton of Coal, Though a Few Minutes’ Work Will Mine It—Ringing Fourth of July Resolutions
Mahanoy, Schuylkill county, Pa,—Mahanoy Plane is a miners’ village, about fifty miles south of Wilkesbarre. It is in a cluster of towns, among which are Shenandoah, Geradville, Frackville and Mahanoy City. Coal mining is the only industry, and the population is wholly of the working class. According to one of the inhabitants “the Almighty spent thousands of years preparing this region for a man named Shafer.” Mr. Shafer owns nearly all the land. He leases mining rights to the Reading and other companies and to individuals at thirty-five cents a ton for all coal mined. The miners do not average a tenth of that, from which it appears that it is much more profitable to own coal in the ground than to take coal out of the ground. Mr. Shafer at one time sold building lots, but now he only leases them. And when he sold them it was only the surface that he parted with; mining rights were reserved. The average pay of a miner here, as the year runs, is $7.50 a week. Board is $20 a month. The whole region is a shell. The entire valley is sinking, and is everywhere dotted with great holes where the earth has caved in. The place maintains one school, which is attended by girls of all ages and by boys under ten. At from nine to ten years of age the boys leave school to take employment in one of the“breakers.” These “breakers” are dark and dismal buildings, full of coal dirt and dust, into which rocks of coal are taken from the mine to be crushed. After passing through the crushing roilers, the coal of various sizes is passed through a cylinder sieve into shoots, with a series of openings along the sides. At each of these openings a breaker boy sits ten hours a day picking slate from the coal, and handling every separate piece of coal and slate that comes down the shoot. As the boy grows to manhood he is promoted to be a laborer in the mine. This duty takes him hundreds of feet below the surface of the earth, where he loads the coal into cars to be carried up to the breaker. His next promotion is to the position of miner, and there his advancement ends. When old age unfits him for mining, he returns to the breaker where his monotonous life of toil began. Old age here is from forty-five to fifty.
The Knights of Labor are well organized throughout the region and their fundamental principles are well understood. The doctrine of the land for the people has a strong foothold. It would be strange if it had not, for in no place is the curse of poverty and dependence so clearly traceable to private ownership of land. Though coal in its natural state is abundant, it costs the miner a full day’s work for less than a ton of it—a day’s work in which it is not unusual for him to turn out fifty or a hundred tons. Though the whole mountain side is covered with rock none can be had for building purposes without paying a landlord twenty-five cents a perch. Though there are so few houses that the country seems to a traveler to be almost without population, most of the people are compelled to be tenants. Though the supply of coal has never yet equaled the demand the miners are kept idle three or four months in the year. And this sentiment respecting the land was emphatically declared at the celebration of the Fourth of July this year. Three assemblies of the Knights of Labor met at Frackville. Frank O’Boyle presided. John Bell read the Declaration of Independence and Louis F. Post of New York delivered the oration. During the proceedings the following resolutions were adopted:
“On this national anniversary we reiterate the sentiment of the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and since both life and liberty are dependent upon the right to the use of the earth, and the pursuit of happiness is made hopeless by private burdens upon industry, we assert that all men are endowed by nature with an equal, inalienable right to the land upon which and out of which they must live, and that every man is entitled to the full enjoyment of the products of his own labor. Therefore, we demand that land be taxed to its full value, and that labor be freed from all taxation.”
The Land and Labor Demonstration in Cincinnati
Cincinnati, July 5.—The land and labor men of this city and vicinity held a grand men of this city and vicinity held a grand demonstration in the grounds of the Zoological garden yesterday. Despite the threatening weather and one heavy rain storm, upward of ten thousand were present, and the managers of the garden say that such a large and orderly crowd never assembled there before. During the entire day and evening there was not a sign of drunkenness or a breath of disturbance.
The conference of delegates from the states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky was called to order in the gardens at 11 o’clock.
Dr. A. S. Houghton of Cincinnati was chosen chairman, and Charles F. Kipp of Columbus, secretary.
Rev. E. P. Foster. A. E. Burkhardt, M. H. Spillard, C. F. McLean, H. T. Ogden, A. W. Fries, Otto Sennser, C. S. Walker, A. P. Miner and W. W. Bailey were chosen vice-presidents.
H. T. Ogden presented the following declaration of principles, which was unanimously adopted:
We hold that all inequality of conditions arising under and made possible by the present economic system spring from the monopolization by the few of the natural opportunities which are the common rights of all; and therefore,
1. We demand the abolition of all taxation on improvements and the products of industry, and we advocate the raising of all public revenue by a single tax upon land values, thus preventing the holding of tracts of unused and and the taking for the general benefit of those values which are created solely by the growth of population.
2. As a logical sequence of the above we advocate governmental control of the railways, telegraphs, telephones and other means of distribution and communication that are in their nature monopolies.
3. We further advocate a reform in our fiscal system by which our medium of exchange shall issue direct from the national government.
Hon. S. B. Williams of Indiana presented the following resolution, which was adopted and ordered telegraphed to Dr. McGlynn:
Be it resolved by the representatives of the united labor party of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, in conference at Cincinnati, that we send fraternal greeting, love and congratulations to Dr. McGlynn, and bid him God-speed as the greatest apostle of the new crusade.
Then W. W. Bailey, state Organizer of the land and labor party of Indiana, and Messrs. Dunlap, Wynn, Bracken, Pohling, Kile, Good-enough, Williams, Thompson and Webster, from the several large towns in the three contiguous states, told how the land and labor party was progressing in growth, and to this Henry George added his testimony as to the marvelous growth of the new party in New York and through the Union.
On motion of Mr. Williams of Indiana the following resolution was adopted:
Be it resolved, That we, the representatives of the Henry George idea of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, in conference assembled at Cincinnati, deem it expedient and necessary that a national conference or convention be held in October, 1887.
We authorize and request Mr. John McMackin of New York to appoint a committee of five, of which he shall be chairman, to issue a call for said convention, fixing the time, place, ratio of representation and details of said convention.
At 1 o’clock the conference adjourned, and at 3 o’clock the public observance of the day took place in a beautiful natural amphitheater, in which a large platform had been erected for the speakers and delegates.
A. W. Fries of Cincinnati read the Declaration of Independence with splendid effect.
Joseph R. Buchanan of Chicago, editor of the Labor Enquirer, followed with an vigorous speech, which aroused much enthusiasm. He contrasted the present condition of the working masses of the country with that which it would have been if the principle of the declaration had been fully carried out; pointed out that the equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness included the equal right to land, and declared that in the struggle for the recognition of equal rights to the land in the method proposed by the resolutions adopted by the conference, he recognized the first great step to the full emancipation of labor, and that upon this point the hosts of labor should concentrate their strength.
Henry George was then introduced and made a speech which roused the audience to the utmost. He apostrophized the Declaration of Independence not merely as the charter of a nation’s liberty, but as a still grander declaration of the rights of man, showed him that all our national difficulties and dangers come from our failure to fully recognize the fundamental truth it sets forth, and pointing out how the condemnation of chattel slavery involved in the declaration had at last been vindicated, declared that the struggle to vindicate this fundamental truth further had now begun. To fully establish the American republic on the enduring basis of equal justice to all is the task of the men of the present.
We must make this a country not of tramps and of millionaires, but a country of self-employing, independent freemen. We must make this a country not of tenants, but of homes. This movement that we have commenced, this movement that is participated in not only by the men who have met here today, but of hundreds of thousands elsewhere, has this for its aim, and it must go on conquering and to conquer.
This is the day of little things; but next year will begin to see this movement swell and grow. No matter who stands against it, whether it be the power of the schools, of the pulpit, of the press, or the power of the pope of Rome (applause), it will go on. Already it is being recognized that there lies at the bottom of this movement a deep religious sentiment. Such men as Dr. McGlynn (applause), such men as Hugh O. Pentecost, such men as Father Huntington, such men as your own Mr. Foster, they may as yet be but few, but they represent the greatest of all powers, the power of a moral conviction, the power of that religious sentiment that recognizes the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. (Applause.) Men animated by this sentiment will spare nothing, will halt before nothing, will shrink from no sacrifice to bring again the kingdom of God on earth and to make this world a likeness of that which we hope for in a better life to come.
Hon. S. B. Williams of Indiana followed in a strain that so pleased and amused the audience that he was with difficulty allowed to quit. He addressed himself particularly to the allegation that the farmers would not consent to abolishing the present system of taxation in favor of a single tax on land values. This, he said, was nonsense. The farmers of the Hoosier state were ripe for the change, and would become its enthusiastic advocates. He illustrated in an amusing way the manner in which the present system of taxation bore upon the farmers, and showed that under it the independent, self- employing American farmer was m sure and rapid process of extinction. Mr. Williams’ manner was no less happy than his style. He will do great work in the campaigns of the new party.
Mr. Rosshan followed in German, making a ringing address that roused those who could understand him to great enthusiasm, and putting in some noble work for the new crusade, after which the meeting adjourned for dinner.
In the evening Henry George made another speech, and was followed by Mr. Edward Hoffman in German.
And it Would Start a Great Many Other Booms Besides, a Building Boom, too
Correspondence Anoka, Ky., Union.
The question of abolishing all taxes on buildings and improvements is receiving no little attention throughout the country, and already is gaining great favor in many sections. The friends of the scheme argue that it would inaugurate the mightiest building boom the country ever experienced. Here’s an illustration: Two men each own fl five hundred dollar lot, and one erects a five hundred dollar house: he pays not only twice as much tax, but often pays three times as much as the one who holds his lot vacant. The man who builds improves his property, helps the town and is enterprising, but he has to pay for his folly, for lo! and behold! the assessor comes around and, in nine cases out of ten, the lot is assessed higher than the one unimproved. This may seem queer, but it is true in hundreds of cases.
This looks to me as an in justice. Taxing the land only would relieve the man who improves of taxes on improvements, while the man who won’t improve has to pay just as much tax as the other. Today in Anoka there are a large number of unimproved lots owned by non-residents, which have never been assessed at anything near what they are worth, while improved lots right alongside of them are assessed considerably higher. Let me give you a pointer: A reverend gentleman in Kentucky has been the owner of a great many lots in Anoka for many years, and not until the last few years have they been assessed for more than one-twentieth of their real value, and the result has been he has held on to these lots, refusing to sell unless he was paid considerably more than their actual worth. Recently a gentleman desired to purchase a lot of the Kentucky resident, upon which he desired to erect a neat cottage, and received a reply to his letter informing him “that the lot was not for sale at present.” I think if these lots were assessed at their full value, or upon the basis of a land tax only, it wouldn’t be long before I should see many of them covered with neat residences.
Ireland’s Jubilee Year
Dublin Freeman’s Journal.
Irishmen, at all events. have no statistics of national progress to stimulate them to manifestations of rejoicing for the mercies of fifty years. The record runs the other way. We know that since the crown was placed on the head of Queen Victoria l,225,000 of the Irish race died of famine; that 3,068,000 were evicted; that 4,186,000 fled across the sea, as though escaping from ravening beasts of prey, to seek shelter from her rule and its consequences. Yet when England gives thanks to the Almighty, with all the accompaniment of brave pageantry, for the good that has accrued to the English people, there is no thought of the innumerable woes and immeasurable suffering that has been the lot of the Irish people.
Translated from the German by J.L. Joynes.
My dear good people, be content;
Howe’er in this bad world ye fare,
The lot in life that God has sent
Like Christian soldiers ye must bear.
For if ye still your Lord obey,
The world will wag its ancient way;
No gift that God on earth has sent
Can e’er be better than content.
And if ye get no work to do,
And if your shirts are torn and old,
And if ye starve and shiver too,
And ache with hunger and with cold,
Bethink ye, ’tis not all on earth
Can share its happiness and mirth;
Nay, these are to the wealthy sent;
The people’s portion is content.
And have ye lost your little all,
Or are ye crushed by others’ crime,
Still dreading what shall next befall?
Bethink ye, ’tis but for a time.
Nay, let them do the worst they may,
Ye still can sing, ye still can pray.
Howe’er your days on earth be spent,
One thing ye still may keep—content.
Content shall be my one delight,
Content shall all my glory be;
In tatters and in rags bedight,
No nobler virtue can I see.
And if in rags and tatters old
I die of hunger and of cold,
Write o’er my grave, “This good man went
And died at last of sheer content.”
Straws Which Show The Wind
If Dr. McGlynn expressed himself as reported his language may still further damage him, in the estimation of Rome. but some very well established and very stubborn facts are to be found in the language. They may grate upon the feelings of the Vatican and its machinery all the harsher for being facts undeniable and indisputable.—[Chicago Mail.]
The Cork, Ireland, Eagle reprints from The Standard the full text of Dr. McGlynn’s speech before the Anti-poverty society on May 29, and in an editorial in the same issue, beginning with the statement that “Ireland does not stand alone on the land question” gives an explanation of the plan and sentiments of the new crusade.
On the upper west side the Henry George movement is progressing wonderfully. Its organization is perfect, and its members are not merely enthusiastic, but clear headed and intelligent exponents of their ideas. At their meetings one is struck by the incessant flashing of shrewd common sense f ruin every part of the room.—[New York Uptown Visitor.]
One hundred thousand Catholics of New York in mass meeting recently supported Dr. McGlynn by a series of speeches and resolutions which have been forwarded to Rome. How many of these will stand by Dr. McGlynn in his startling defiance of Rome is problematical. Evidently a crisis in the Catholic church in America is at hand.—[St. Louis Evening Chronicle.]
The wonderful growth of popular respect for Dr. McGlynn has undiminished hold on his old friends, and the vast array of thinking men and women who now harken to his voice, prove the greatness of the man who has planted the cross of the new crusade in America. He has lost a parish, but gained a continent. He will regain the parish, and retain the continent.—[Exchange.]
There seems to be no limit to the advance in favored localities, but these high prices increase the rents demanded of working people, who are now fearfully crushed by the exactions of the landlord. The tenement house system is one of the horrors of the city, and it will be worse before it is better. The only deity known and feared in such districts is the landlord, and as for tenement house morals, they are just what you might expect under such a system.—[Utica Herald.]
While we cannot wholly agree with the reverend gentleman as to his theories and plans for the emancipation of the wage worker and laborer, we do admire his in dependence and the manly stand he has taken against foreign dictation as to his rights and privileges as a citizen. Should Dr. McGlynn again visit Buffalo Truth will accord him a hearty welcome and bespeak for him such treatment at the hands of the press as his scholarly attainments and numerous following entitle him to.—[Buffalo Sunday Truth.]
I have not studied the subject as yet, although I believe it is to be a political issue, and one which will make itself heard at the next presidential election. Please rake up the subject and study it pro et con, remembering this: If Mr. George’s theories are founded on just principles they will prevail, sooner or later; if, on the contrary, they are merely the hair-brained emanations of a fanatic they will come to naught. But do not make the mistake of giving a verdict without hearing the evidence.—[Editorial notes in Mobile Sunday Times.]
The Anti-poverty society already exhibits a phase from which much good may be expected. Dr. McGlynn in his addresses is constantly resurrecting the Christianity of the time of the apostles. He will not palliate or seek to mystify simple truths. With him a camel is not a dromedary, and a needle’s eye is not as large as the door of a cathedral. He is not afraid of telling “good news” to toilers, who are the modem poor. This is right, for their appeal for justice has long been made m vain to the fashionable churches.—[New York Social Science.]
One of the planks to be presented at the Syracuse convention is a modification of Proudhon’s theory in regard to land, of which Mr. George has recently constituted himself the champion. There is so much that is alluring in this theory that one would really like to see a feasible plan proposed to carry it into practice. How is the land to be got out of the hands of present owners into the hands of the public without violating those constitutional provisions which were adopted for the protection of minorities?—[San Francisco Call.]
So far all the objections that have been brought against this doctrine of the “land for the people,” instead of injuring have tended to strengthen and spread it, for, however men may differ as to details in bringing it about, the clearly defined and incontrovertible proposition that “the land of a country belongs to the people of that country, and not to a set of individuals called land owners” is gaining headway. It is also gradually becoming understood that the laws regulating the tenure of land are nob immovable, as were the laws of the Medes and Persians, but can be changed to meet modern requirements.—[St. Louis New Order.]
There are more evictions in New York, more cruel evictions and more causeless evictions, than there are in unhappy Ireland. Hard to believe, is it? Well, it is true, and it can be easily proved. There are landlords here, as there, who have men to manage their property. They don’t wish to know how bad. it is, and leave it to heartless agents, the slave drivers of the north, to do all the dirty business for them. Some of them are churchmen. Some are churches; for it is a fact that gilded sepulchers own some of the foulest dens in New York. Tell the owners that they are keeping pest houses, and ought to be shut up in striped clothes for manslaughter and they hold up their holy hands in deprecation. “Oh, no! It is the dirty tenants; You cannot force them to be clean!” A lie, this; a foul, dastardly slander, as every owner of a decent, well kept tenement will tell these hypocritical monsters. It is a cowardly attempt to shift blame on to other shoulders which belongs to them. And—shame that it can be said—a laggard, lazy and inefficient board of health endorses their excuse—[New York World.]
We Don’t, Eh? And Pray, Who Is “We?”
Cyrus W. Field’s Mail and Express.
There are a good many islands in the Pacific in need of population, and McMackin and his crowd had better go to them. They can make Dr. McGlynn their king. We don’t want people here who think this government a disgrace. Americans are proud of it, and if foreigners don’t like it they had better stay away or go away.
It is not in the west alone that one may grow up with the country. The annual increase of land values in New York city is greater than the value of the wheat crop of Kansas. The annual tax imposed by New York’s land owners in rent on the labor and active capital of the city exceeds the assessed valuation of ail Dakota. Forestalling land in New York city pays better to-day than dealing in St. Paul lots or Nebraska farms. But the New York speculator must generally command a large share of wealth in order to enrich himself out of the ever-advancing land values of the city. As a matter of fact, most of the increase goes to estates already large.
Loud as has been the condemnation of land monopoly in California, of alien land ownership in Texas and of railroad land grabbing on the public domain, the most signal examples of the evils of land monopoly to be found in America may be witnessed in New York, if its people will but see them. In the west the outcry against the first barriers raised between settlers and free land is because they are of ten placed there illegally. In New York city the barriers between land and the poor have long been impassable;if they are raised higher from year to year, it is done legally, and, though their height and strength have evoked comment,it has seemed absurd,in the face of law and tradition, to endeavor to break them down.
But men of this generation are thinking. They are seeking the emancipation of labor and the unfettering of productive capital. They will not rest with the knowledge that the times are out of joint. They are bent on fighting what is amiss, and, in order to find the fundamental wrong. they are scrutinizing the various ways in which the worker is being deprived of much of what he produces. That wrong found and destroyed, the abolition of lesser wrongs will follow.
It is not difficult in New York to detect the operation of the greatest legalized wrong—the one through which the larger share of the wealth created by business men and wage workers passes into the hands of toll gatherers, who ever stand by ready to grasp that which they have not exerted themselves in producing. A marked improvement, public or private, in any part of the city is invariably followed by an advance in the price of real estate—of laud—in the locality. Rapid transit, a new bridge, a new park, each gives additional rent to the owners of the land. All things considered, the rest of the community remains much in the same condition as it was before the improvement was made. The volume of New York’s business may expand at a rate far greater than that in which its population increases, vet the average percentage of profits for its business men—and especially its smaller business men—does not increase. It decreases. Wages do not increase on the average. They fall. But rents are ever rising in nearly every part of the city. Elevated roads may take thousands of people miles away from the business centers, but rents quickly rise in every newly built up quarter, until, with car fares and time lost in travel, they are on a level with rents in the older parts of the city. Increased activity in the business of a locality may arise from such a cause as the opening of the Brooklyn bridge, and as a consequence rents be doubled, as they were in Park row when that bridge was finished. Every phase of the city’s development adds to the wealth and power of its landlords. The privileges they possess exceed those of the feudal nobility, for unitedly they may tax New York’s labor and active capital to the last cent that can be borne if the the reader desires proof that it is the laud holder who is the real oppressor of the worker, whether business man or laborer, he is invited to look into the facts in connection with the rise in real estate values in that dismal part of New York round about Gansevoort market.
That section of the city lying between West Fourteenth street, Thirteenth avenue (the river front), Jane street and Eighth avenue forms a four-sided figure that needs its upper and lower boundaries to be extended but a single block eastward to become a triangle—that is, if Jane street, running northeast from the river, were cut through, it would strike Fourteenth street at Seventh avenue. Within the quadrilateral mentioned are twenty-seven city blocks, hardly two of them the same size, however, as a number of lateral streets diverge from Eighth avenue to the west and Southwest like the sticks of a fan, and while the flat-iron shaped blocks near Eighth avenue are small, those near the river are larger than the average city block. The uses to which one of the larger of these twenty-seven blocks has of late years been put, and to which two more adjoining it are to be put, have caused land values to rise in the other twenty-four, and, indeed, to a slight extent, in even a larger area, the gradual rise in values toward the highest point resembling a lull having its culminating ridge centering around the three blocks in question, and tapering off until it is indistinguishable from the lay of the land in general.
Let the reader look over this district with us. Three blocks south of the foot of West Fourteenth street is Bloomfield street, which is but a single block in length, and two blocks further down is Gansevoort street. On the northeast corner of the latter is the corporation yard, about an acre of ground enclosed by a high unpainted dose board fence. It is the depository of worn out materials belonging to the city department. If we walk up Gansevoort street and stand just beyond the eastern end of the corporation yard, we will see to the east and north an almost entirely open area, about twice the size of Union square. West street runs north and south through it as far as Bloomfield, and there, veering a little to the east, it becomes Tenth avenue. The great open block lying to the east of West street has five sides. It faces on Tenth avenue, Little Twelfth, Washington, Gansevoort and West streets. The farmers’ wagons standing about in it indicate its use. It is a country produce market. The two blocks between West street and the river, Gansevoort and Bloomfield, are unenclosed, save as to the part taken up by the corporation yard. But there stands on them what looks like a squatters stable—an old, tumble-down, one story affair—and a blacksmith’s shop that apparently dates from the time of Tubal Cain, the rest of the space being an unsightly receptacle for rubbish and worn-out wagons. The scene in all directions is the uninviting one presented by an old and neglected quarter of a great city. There is not a tree in sight. Nearly all the buildings bordering on the open are battered and weather worn. Many are old stables, one story shanties, and shabby two and three story old fashioned brick or frame houses. The colors prevailing in the picture are the finger marks of time, soot from adjacent lead smelting works, dust from the streets and from rag warehouses near the river, and smoke from a cluster of blackened pottery chimneys standing back of Little Twelfth street, fit monuments to the dirty and dreary neighborhood. There are, it is true, two or three rather imposing new warehouses facing the open square, and two urge new style tenement houses. But the only other clean and fresh objects that strike the eye are numerous new signs, which are hung out over every shanty and basement and ground floor. They advertise the business of dealers in butter, cheese and eggs, hay, grain and feed, and fruits and provisions. When, a few years ago, these new signs were swung out on those old buildings, the real estate facing the market place trebled in price, and rents went up in proportion. It was when the farmers1 market was established here and the provision dealers followed in their wake to the locality.
A walk of four blocks up Gansevoort street brings us to the small triangular block at Gansevoort, Hudson and Little Twelfth streets. There is a decided change in the scene here, for men are at work on new buildings in all directions. Gansevoort, from the market place to Eighth avenue, a block east of where we stand, has been widened fifteen feet, and new brick business houses are going up where old tenement dwellings were torn away. Off on Eighth avenue and Hudson and Thirteenth streets are houses newly painted and having new stores on the ground floor.
Gansevoort and Little Twelfth streets are two of those mentioned which join like the sticks of a fan, and so, turning down Little Twelfth, a walk of four blocks takes us back to the river. Little Twelfth, with its bad pavement, miserable tenement houses and foul stables, is indescribably mean. But in walking through it toward the river one may see new houses being erected in adjoining thoroughfares. The improvements in some quarters, and the lack of them m others, have their significance when all the facts are known. Let us stop a moment and get an outline of the history of the locality.
During the war of 1812 a fort was built near what is now the foot of Gansevoort street, the purpose being to prevent British ships from passing up the river. It was named Fort Gansevoort, in honor of General Peter Gansevoort, U. S. A., a native of Albany. After the war the city acquired a part of the fort grounds, which was in later years sold or granted to Joseph B. Varian. In 1803 it was repurchased for market purposes for $533,437, Since that time it has been regarded by real estate dealers as the future site of a great market. It possesses many advantages for the purpose. It borders on the North river, is two miles north of Washington market, and is rendered easy of access by the many streets leading to it. It was not until 1871, however, that the Bleecker street car company’s stables, which had stood on part of the grounds, were demolished and the farmers’ market established upon it. By act of the legislature the use of the new market was restricted to farmers bringing their produce to the city, and they were forbidden to carry on their traffic in any other place. Formerly they had on market days. lined Washington, West and Greenwich streets, from Washington market northward a long distance.
The Farmers’ market, paved, but uncovered, extends 299 feet on West street, 187.6 on Tenth avenue, 317 on Little Twelfth, 302.8 on Washington, and 366 on Gansevoort. It has room for 350 wagons.
In March, 1880, a bill was presented to the legislature providing for the removal of Washington and West Washington market to the two blocks lying between the Farmers’ market and the river. The West Washington market men—the wholesale butchers—thereupon held a meeting and unanimously voted to move to the Gansevoort site. It was at first proposed by them to erect their own market house. But Comptroller Hugh J. Grant, in 1884, gave it as his opinion that it was best for the interests of the city that it should itself build the market. The required plans/or the structure, with the estimate of its cost, which was $468,050, were pigeonholed for two years, when the sinking fund commissioners authorized Comptroller E. V. Loew to issue $500,000 in bonds to pay for the work. The contract was given for $477,443. The new market, the finest in the city, must be finished by May, 1888. It will be of brick and about 400 feet square.
So much for the history of the three blocks belonging to the city which are pushing upward the prices of real estate every where in sight of them. Something can be told of the ownership of adjacent property. About one-third of the twenty-four blocks spoken of belongs to the Astor estate. With the exception of a few lots, all the land lying between Ninth avenue and the river and Fourteenth and Little Twelfth streets is Astor property. The block lying opposite the farmers’ market on Washington street, most of the lots on Little Twelfth as far east as Hudson and a number on the north side of Gansevoort street, all belong to the Astors. Let us ascertain what is the number of owners of property facing the three market blocks. Beginning at the river on the north side, the great block lying between Bloomfield and Little Twelfth streets, the river and Tenth avenue, is owned by John Glass. Mr. Glass has just nut up ten five-story tenement houses midway in the block, the ground floors being fitted up as immense warerooms. As we have seen, the north and east sides of the farmers’ market are faced by property belonging to the Astors. The only building erected of late years on these blocks is a five-story tenement house at the corner of Washington and Gansevoort streets, built by a lessee of the lots. Of the two remaining blocks, those south of the markets, the one nearest the river is owned by G. B. Lawton, while the other is the property of four persons. Here are but nine parties standing close by a mint that for many years to come will continue coining dollars in rent. It seems that the selection of this site for a market was not simply an act of our city lathers unaided by suggestions from interested citizens. The Market Journal in its issue of May 21, says:
“To secure the necessary legislation, overcome narrow and prejudiced self interest and bring about the building of this great and much needed market, has been a work of no small magnitude, cud there are many who deserve honorable mention in connection with it.”
Then follows praise for him who was unquestionably “the most diligent, untiring and effective worker in the cause,” and of those who “stood shoulder to shoulder with him in its advocacy”—all prominent real estate owners of the neighborhood. And then is given a list of lawyers “enlisted at different stages” in the cause. One may imagine the strictly legal methods adopted by these land owners and lawyers in furthering the worthy cause when bills were clogged in their passage through the legislature or while the scheme was slumbering for two years in the sinking fund commissioner’s office. But the panegyrist is constrained to speak of turpitude where it ought not to have been expected. Hear the Market Journal:
“During all these long years of public spirited effort to bestow upon the locality the advantages and benefits of a great wholesale market, the Astors, though repeatedly appealed to, have never, so far as is known, contributed one cent from their plethoric resources to advance the issue. But that they are keenly alive to the progress made is shown in the recently advanced rentals of all their. property in the vicinity. It is reported that the corning of the new market has already increased their annual revenue a hundred thousand dollars. They buy and lease, but never sell.”
We see there is not always the honor among money gathering men that people have a right to expect.
Suppose we inquire a little as to the rewards of the landlords hereabout—of those who were wickedly idle during the progress of “the cause,” alike with those others who had the merit of diligence and persistence in the duty of putting themselves in a position in which they could gather something while doing nothing. The information is not difficult to gather, for the tenant of the neighborhood finds doleful comfort in showing the gaping wounds that the landlord has inflicted in his bank account.
The gore, 204 by 199 feet, at Bloomfield street, Tenth avenue and Little Twelfth street, was bought a few mouths ago for $150,000. It was offered for sale three years ago at $90,000. On it stands a rookery unrivaled in New York in dirt and ricketyness. On the corner opposite, on the market square, stands a building owned by the city and leased by a politician for $1,200 per annum. The lessee sublets part of the building, the side yard, the back yard and the sidewalks to market men at a total sum which common rumor sets down from $6,000 to $8,000 a year. On the corner of Washington and Little Twelfth streets the proprietor of the pottery, a lessee of Astor land, has partitioned off what was formerly its front yard, a space about thirty feet in depth and eighty feet facing on the street, and erected on it four marketmen’s one-story cribs. The tenants pay $700 a year apiece for them. The four lots were offered a few years ago at $700 a year. Nos. 57 and 59 Little Twelfth street are now let at $1,300 a year, while not long ago they brought but $30 a month. Looking up Washington street we see new five story tenements going up between Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets that occupy the full block on each side. The Astors, quick to seize upon a certainty, say other real estate men lugubriously, are running up these buildings. On the next block of Little Twelfth street as we move eastward are basements renting at $30 to $45 a month, which formerly were empty or drew $5 a month. The basement of No. 26 lets at $35. Nos. 14,16, 18 and 20, one story market cribs, bring in $2,000 a year. Before the market opened the lot on which they stand was vacant and unproductive. At Thirteenth street and Ninth avenue, on a little flat-iron block, is Herring’s old safe factory, the ground floor transformed into a dozen marketmen’s stores, all but one or two occupied. Across the way on Hudson street another building is being similarly altered. Back in Gansevoort street the story of greatly increased rents is the same.
Places that were $40 are now $60 and $80. A liquor store that in the old day brought the landlord $40 a month now brings $1,500. A tenant of one of the heroes of "the cause" on this street now pays $65 for rooms that he once got for $40. The small stores between Greenwich and Washington that formerly let for $10 and $13 are now $25 and $30.
There is not much real estate for sale in the district now. Several lots, however, are pointed out to the curious and their old prices and the present ones told. A lot on Gansevoort street, old price, $5,000; present price, $11,000; four lots on the same street, facing the market, old price, less than $20,000; present price, $80,000.
Rents in tenement houses as far away as Fifteenth street and Greenwich were increased the present spring one dollar on every floor, the building of the new market bringing laborers to the neighborhood. Small houses on Jane street now rent higher than formerly, because of the large number of salesmen the new market is to bring with it. The rent of stables down near the river was advanced so that truckmen’s horses were driven out of them and higher toned horses put in.
It is to be observed that the lessee from the great estates is on hand. He is the entrepreneur, taking risks and putting life into business, as becomes his character. A great estate leases a few lots to him for a term of years, getting from him a sure return on the best market rates of its land. He improves it to suit the customer, the improvement for a marketman being but little better than a chicken coop, and lets out his structure by the month or the single year, and if his tenant does a good business the live entrepreneur sees to it that the rent is promptly increased. If he can avoid it the lessee neither improves nor repairs the property, but shifts all such burdens on the monthly or yearly occupant. The resultant "life" in business is a transfer to the fortunate lessee of the fruits of the hard work and business talents of his tenant. The total lack of improvements at many points near the market may be traced to the avarice of these middlemen between the great estates and the active business men.
Before ending our walk, let us have an interview or two with some of the residents here. We see well enough what the real estate business is. Do these workaday folks here look on it in the same light as do we? Let us speak to this workingman with his coat off and wearing a blue woolen shirt. He smiles at our question knowingly. He points out this house on the market square which, six years ago, sold for a third of its present value, and that one, which the owner will not sell for any price that a buyer might mention. He tells us a story. A man owning a small house in the old days wanted to sell it and move to the country. His price was $4,500. A buyer was haggling with him about it from week to week. The buyer one day received a pointer from the inside ring that the market was surely coming. He at once called on the seller and offered his check for the $4,500. No, the seller had had news himself. His price was now $20,000. And the workingman smiles as does one who enjoys seeing a fine game, but regrets that he is not in it.
Here is a business man seated in front of his store. A word with him. Yes, real estate has gone up, indeed. His opinion, profoundly worked out in our presence, is that in some cases it has been doubled; in some again, advanced fifty per cent; in others, thirty-three per cent. Rents were stiff, especially on Astor property. There was a restaurant over there renting at $100 a month. It had had five proprietors eaten up in it in five years by that rent.
One more, A smart, well dressed, middle aged Irishman. He discovers himself as a landlord. Yes, yes. Real estate is lively. He and the other real estate owners have generally done much for the neighborhood in stirring up things. But those Astors do nothing. They are unpopular with the rest of the landlords. They do no more now than “Crazy” Astor did when he owned this end of the ward. He had seen him many a time, a man of unsound intellect going out riding with his physician. While be lived in a great house that stood in the middle of the block at Ninth avenue and Fourteenth street, a being that could not count, nor know values, nor attend to any business, his real estate was rolling up wealth for him. What was the total increased value of the locality since the farmers’ market came? No one could reckon it exactly. Somewhere between five and ten millions.
Our walk is ended; a good deal has been learned. If the Astors alone are richer by a hundred thousand dollars a year through the increase of rents near the Gansevoort markets, it is safe to assume that all the land owners there are drawing a total of three hundred thousand dollars annually—six per cent of five million dollars. In addition, the lessees are receiving a large amount from those to whom they sublet. But the bricklayers, laborers, truck drivers, market porters and salesmen are making only current wages, and the business men are struggling against advancing rents, which leaves them, on the average, with about what they could get from their labor and capital wherever else they could apply these means of obtaining a livelihood. The class that possesses the sites of the stores holds a taxing power over the rest that is limited only at the point at which the tenants may be driven away. Not a hand’s turn need be done by the landlord class in producing the wealth from which it deducts so large a percentage for itself. When the new markets are built, the landlord’s tax will surely go far higher than now, and will continue to rise with the earning power due to better facilities and the concentration of trade.
In the light of these facts, let us consider the “land” question for a moment. Somehow, when land is mentioned, men see in their mind’s eye a plowed field. They ought rather to see a city lot, for the land question is a question of values. While nearly all land is in the country, land values are mostly in the cities. Men figure to themselves to battle for land as between a frenzied farmer, defending his acres with firearms unto the death, and a mob of reckless wretches pouring out of the alleys of town and city. The real land issue lies in the main between the owners of business sites and residence lots on the one hand and the men ready, willing and able to use them, if vacant, or who do use them and pay rack rent for them on the other.
Assuming that the Gansevoort section of New York has increased live millions in value during the past six or seven years, we may make some comparisons between city and country land values. In the state of New York there are twelve agricultural counties, in each of which the value of the farms, including land, fences and buildings, is less than $10,000,000. If the improvements represent one-half the value, all the farming land of each of these counties is worth about as much money as the citizens of New York have put to the bank account of the Gansevoort land owners in a few years. The total value of the farms of the state of New York, land, fences and buildings, was in 1880 less than eleven hundred million dollars; the assessed valuation of New York city real estate was more than nine hundred millions.
Would it not seem reasonable and just if, instead of presenting to the Gansevoort land owners the premium arising from the growth of business in that district, society should take it for the benefit of those who created it—all the people? A like premium arises wherever men are competing for business sites or residence lots, for mines or farm lands. The vantage points best situated are something for which men are willing to pay if the vantage places are open to them. Why are some men permitted to close them off? No reply can be given founded on morals or expediency. This power to close the highways to wealth is the underlying social wrong.
In Gansevoort we have seen the evils of land ownership. There is a remedy for it. If in Gansevoort, and throughout the country, a tax on land values were imposed that would consume the rents for land, the results, on a little reflection, can be seen. No land of any value could be held unproductive. Landlords could not raise impassable barriers between labor and land. Business men could not be blackmailed of their good will. Every worker could find land, at least, to labor upon. Homes would be possible to all. No other taxes than the land tax need be imposed, and all articles of consumption could be bought without their price being increased by taxes. Men could start in life without a handicap being put upon them by landlords. One man could not long profit by another’s labor.
Is This Anarchy, or Only Common Sense?
Hamilton, Ont., Times.
In a speech at St. Hyacinthe Mr. Mercier touched the key to a solution of the whole financial difficulty. We quote from the report:
We had under timber license on the 30th of June, 1886, 46,078 square miles of forest; that is to say that speculators and lumber merchants held them under lease at the rate of two dollars per square mile, and in consideration of certain money payments on each, log cut.
We have increased the rate of rent, and we have fixed it at five dollars per square mile.
The Ontario government has followed our example and increased the ground rent though to a less extent.
Mr. Mercier finds it possible to increase the ground rents of the forest land leased by the lumbermen and speculators, because the value has increased. He sees nothing immoral in taking this unearned increment for the public revenue. Now, why should Mr. Mercier confine his operations to timber lands? All the land in the province is really held in lease from the “crown,” that is, the provincial legislature. The legislature delegates to the municipal councils authority to collect a rental for the use of the land, but the amount; collected is by no means equal to the full rental value. The legislature has full power and right to increase the ground rent when additional municipal or provincial revenue is needed. Here is a source from which all the provinces can obtain plenty of revenue without any dickering with the federal government. The abolition of the subsidies can then be agreed upon, and the votes of the people can compel the Dominion parliament to reduce federal (indirect) taxation to a mere fraction of what it is at present. A result of the change might be that land speculators would have to go at some productive work to make a living, but that change need not be generally regretted. Keep right on, Mr. Mercier. An addition of $138,000 to the provincial revenue is nut enough. Ground rents can be drawn upon for many times that sum, not only without; injustice, but with great advantage to the working masses, who produce tho wealth of the community.
“Out of Debt”
Burlington, Ia., Justice.
“No, sir, I owe no man a dollar. I buy everything for cash. Ever since I commenced business I have kept out of debt.” So, the other day, spake unto us a Jefferson street dealer. “Well,” we said, “but you have borrowed your store building and the ground on which it stands, have you not?" "Oh, yes; I don’t own them.” “What rent do you pay?” “One thousand dollars a year.” “How much of that is ground rent?” “About $700,1 should think.” “Well, you are a logical man to assert that you are quite out of debt! One thousand dollars a year is the interest at seven per cent of about $15,000; besides as population grows so will that rent, for which your landlord has a lien (a first lien, mind you, that precedes all other claims, mortgages or even your own funeral expenses) upon your stock. And this is not all. In addition to borrowing at so high a rate a piece of the earth’s surface, you are taxed upon your stock, a tax that is a second hen, taking precedence of all claims but the landlord’s.
What do they assess you at? Two thousand dollars. Tax levy about fifty-five mills makes your annual payment $105. But more, as you can’t control the careless actions of the men occupying the offices above you, or the incendiary intentions of your financially troubled neighbors, your stock must be insured or you can’t sleep at night. Here’s more debt, is it not? You are insured on $8,000 the rate is one per cent or $80 a year. For watering the street you pay again $1.50 a month for eight months or $13 for the season. Out of debt! not much, my hard working friend; and there are yet many liabilities you have quite overlooked, but I will name only one more—the constant payments you are forced to make under the name of benevolences, to excursions, public exhibitions, bands in the public square, missionaries and churches. You know, as we do, that the lawyers and doctors upstairs, the bankers, the manufacturers, or clerks cannot easily be coerced, but you must buy, under fear of boycott, almost everything that is offered. Out of debt are you? Not much, Mary Ann!”
Creating Wealth by Labor
Faraway Moses writes from Pensacola to the Toledo News:
I took a stroll among the tenderfoot and club gentry of our city some’ time ago, and found them busy looking over some new maps and big rolls of paper, with black and colored streaks and lines and dots all over them. Being a little puzzled I asked them what they were doing. They told me they were drawing off cities for future generations to live in. They also asked me to help them out by buying some lots. Being a dealer in all kinds of lots myself, but sand lots, I naturally inquired what market value they had. They told me they had no market value except what they (the agency) would create by advertising it newspapers and railroad circulars, which would induce people to come there to build. Then they (the speculators) would raise the value of the lots to what the people could afford to pay. Not being very anxious to speculate in that kind of lots, nor understanding fully how to discount the future, I left them, and so the conversation ended.
Presbyterianism and Anti-Poverty
A correspondent who signs himself “A True Blue Presbyterian and a George Man,” writes to the Presbyterian Observer:
Clergymen are constantly wondering why the mass of the people take so little interest in the affairs of the church. An answer to their query in this regard is very easy—simply, that there is abroad an opinion that the church is out of sympathy with the masses, and I am sorry to say that I believe this myself.
Dr. McGlynn is spoken of as a revolutionist. What good man is not a revolutionist in the present state of society? Will any one go so far as to state that mankind has reached that acme of civilization. and that the millennium has already arrived? I would like to make the acquaintance of that man who is so bold as to say that. “I come not to send peace, but a sword,” says Christ.
A Philanthropist Who Provides Work
The Springfield Republican names a man in Northampton, Mass., who, it asserts, has for several years been supplying New England farmers with ignorant foreigners whom he picks up through agents as soon as they land, and induces them to sign cast-iron contracts to work for a certain length of time for about half the usual wages or forfeit everything due them. He "sells" these unfortunates to farmers at $10 a head and clears about $400 a month. It is asserted that he has placed 5,000 of them in the agricultural districts of the east.
For Pity’s Sake! Aren’t They Doing So?
The tenement houses of New York are a disgrace to American civilization. A writer in a July magazine, who describes graphically he disease, vice and crime resulting from overcrowded dwellings, states that the most densely inhabited portion of London contains 170,000 people to the square mile, while in New York there are similar areas containing 290,000. If Henry George and Dr. McGlynn would grapple with this monstrous evil, instead of advocating abstract economic theories, they might accomplish some practical good.
The Masque of Life
The poor are crowing poorer,
And the rich are growing richer;
The cannibal clothier fattens upon
The lean and hungry stitcher.
The mountains of gold which some have rolled
From above, around and under,
Burn gloomy bright as a comet a t night,
And should make men weep and wonder.
Ghastly is the dance of death
Ghastlier the dance of being—
A masque fantastical and strange
To the hearing and the seeing.
One man lies on pulpy down,
Another kicks a bed;
One man eats and drinks his fill,
Another hath not bread-
The pale women in the factories,
The children dwarfed and ugly,
Dives, within his counting house
Secure, surveyeth smugly.
They cry, “We rot in these dark dens;”
He careth not a little.
They cry, “We swoon with toil;” but he
Thinks ten hours’ work too little.
Ghastly is the dance of death,
Ghastlier the dance of being—
A masque fantastical and strange
To the hearing and the seeing.
Lo! here comes a reverend doctor,
lo the midst of all our troubles,
Wrangling and grimacing wildly
Over his own learned bubbles.
And he mingles with the masquers,
And he dances and he sings,
6ci’ibbling on the eternal heavens
His grotesque imaginings.
Meanwhile, in the lanes and alleys,
Souls are slain for want of teaching,
Which might all have sung one tone
Of round music had they known
More of love and less of preaching.
Ghastly is the dance of death,
Ghastlier the dance of being—
A masque, fantastical and strange
To the hearing and the seeing.
Here’s a woman decked with pearls,
As with stars the midnight sky,
Clad in smooth and warm excess
And soft superfluity.
Here’s another, hung with rags
A with weeds of snaky motion,
That clasp some moldering palace wall
On a deserted shore; or crawl
Idly on the ocean.
Here’s a thing that’s half a saint,
Half a soldier, all a monarch,
Weighing down a people’s life,
Yet a most embodied anarch.
Likea bloodhound lean and fierce
He gnaws Europe; yet his curship
Talks of God in every act,
And blasphemes Him by such worship»
Here’s a lord with Sunday club,
Bright and light to lounge and lurch in,
Closing up the wayside shop
Where the poor man used to stop
To drink his beer and eat his lunch in.
Doth thou see this man? The morning
Of his life was hard, stern work,
And the evening closes round him
Desolate and bare and dark.
All the toil and sore endeavor—
The sharp light fought every day
Leaves him still the same grim foeman
Now that he is old and gray.
Seest this other man? Birds dancing
In the heavenward breath of spring,
Perfumed flowers in sheltered gardens,
Brooks that leap and laugh and sing.
Butterflies within the sunshine,
Living in one smile of fate,
Knowing but the world’s adorning,
Are the symbols of his state.
Let both mingle with the masquers
And dance on. These sharp extremes
Are the miserable nightmares
That behag our waking dreams.
Ghastly is the dance of death,
Ghastlier the dance of being—
A masque fantastical and strange
To the hearing and the seeing.
But the earth is slowly ripening,
Like a great fruit in the sun,
And will learn some better dancing
Ere the centuries are done.
The Poor, Poorer?
I have been working out a puzzle. It is not one performed with blocks, or rings, or strings, or figures. It is solved in the mind alone—when solved at all. It has baffled many good, earnest people. It is started by a question, and until a satisfactory answer is reached, one is haunted by it. The question is, Are the poor growing poorer?
There you are, plunged right into the intricacies of the puzzle. You are recalling your own experience. You are thinking of the sermons you have heard on the topic. You are trying in vain to reconcile the Atkinsonian statistics. You are weighing some of the countless assertions that people have made in your presence in reply to that question.
Now, I want to bring you gradually to the point at which the debate rested with me. When we say “the poor,” we do not refer to the poor Indian or any poor savage. Neither do we mean the poor Hindoo, the poor Chinaman, nor the poor Russian. You did not mean any of these, did you? No, nor very likely the peasantry of Italy, or Spain, or South America, or, to come nearer our range of personal acquaintance, of Ireland. Eliminate these poor from the problem, and there are, comparatively, not many poor left. Say only those in England, France and Germany. In those countries the cities are growing rapidly, much as they are in America, though France keeps a larger proportion of her population in the rural districts than do the rest of us. If we glance at a few statistical tables relating to the laboring classes of England, France and Germany, we are apt to wonder how the poor get along over there at all, and we see that it will require a great change to make any noticeable improvement in their condition. They cannot have grown very much better off, for there is only the shadow of a line between large masses of them and pauperism. And so we are brought home to America to work out our puzzle here.
I suppose you have gone all through the mill on this question. I dare say you have consumed all the facts that could be imparted to you by the daily newspapers, the magazines and the solid tomes of the libraries. At one time you were convinced that the poor were not so badly off as they were a quarter of a century ago—and you happened to walk through a crowded quarter of the city and the appalling evidences of poverty there staggered your belief. Hence you failed to detect the first streaks of the millennial sun in the eastern sky. At another time your newspaper contained the quarterly mortality tables, and you saw that the poor, and especially the children of the poor, were dying off like flies in early frost time, and you were about forming the opinion that the lot of the poor of this country was never more dreadful—when you were recalled to a happier frame of mind by seeing a washerwoman in a silk dress.
A silk dress! That brings up the sermons. How they are east in one mold! The poor nowadays enjoy what kings in the old days could not—and all that. Then the enumeration of the things of luxury that the poor have now occasionally and that the kings could not have had because these modern fine things existed not in their day. Did Prince Hal have a locomotive? Never. Did Henry VIII have a pipe of tobacco, a lucifer match, a Waterbury watch, or a chromo? He had none of these. Yet the poorest of our poor enjoy them all. Our poor are richer than were the old-time kings!
Well, fellow sufferer, I, too, have imbibed all the benefit I could from the sermonizers, the editorial builders, the figure paraders, and still I have been asking myself, Are the poor growing poorer? Accident lately threw a flood of satisfying light on the subject for me.
I was seated in the office of a coal yard down near the river front, chatting with the bookkeeper. The topic was. “Are the poor growing poorer?” The bookkeeper believed they were not. I was taking the other side of the argument, either because he was so positive in his opinion, or because the facts latest coming to my observation had act ed on my mind like the varying wind on a weather vane, and had directed my attention to the extreme poverty of the many.
The office door leading to the coal yard was open, and on the steps sat a dirty, ragged fellow. Unknown to us he was listening to our talk. Presently, when a lull occurred in the conversation, he looked in on us. I saw he was a hard-faced, middle-aged tramp. The expression of his face was at once humorous, careless and defiant. I glanced at the bookkeeper and saw he was in a mood to tolerate the vagrant’s talk, since something we had said related to his class. The tramp saw it, too, and began a monologue, which he was allowed to proceed with. I shall not attempt to reproduce in type his thieves’ lingo. His manner showed the outcast. He began by assuring me that I was “dead wrong.” He would prove it.
He had two professions. In summer he was a tramp; in winter a pauper. He had sworn off hard work thirty years ago. He was English. The best friend he ever had was a tramp who had been thirty years on the road when he himself began the practice of his professions in England. So he was familiar with tramp life for a period of sixty years. And to hear now that the poor were growing poorer!
Why, sixty years ago tramps in England were liable to arrest for doing nothing but tramping, and the prisons were horrible. He had come to this country before the war, and there were mighty few tramps in America then. During the war every body had money, of course, and he made some himself bounty jumping. But it all went soon. What did he want with money? All his relatives were low down social outcasts, and he felt that he never could get above them. They were bound to find him out and pull him down if he happened to grow respectable. They did not have the foolish pride that some poor people possess, those that work and starve themselves to death trying to be called honest and thinking they did great things in holding themselves above begging. His family never had notions of that kind. When he landed, a stowaway. at New York, long years ago, he found hardly any people who shared his views about shifting along without work. What a fine time he had! Begging was easy, for folks thought it such a pity that an able bodied young fellow like him should have to beg his way to find work, as he used to say he was doing, and they would often give him food and money. But of late years tramps seemed to be growing right out of the ground, and it cost more effort to get a crust at a basement door of a cook or waitress than it once did to pull a dollar out of a kindly-disposed gentleman pocketbook. Tramps were so numerous now in New York that the parks were filled with them. Just for fun, one day he counted the idlers hanging around the Battery pretending they wanted work, and there were nearly three hundred of them. Lots of men were finding out that a fellow could live as a tramp until he died. That’s about all the fellows who work can do—live until they die. Astor only got his board and clothes, you know.
Well, but about the poor growing poorer. He was “dead sure” they were not. He was certain the poor had many things now that they did not have thirty years ago. Now, look here. He was a consistent representative of the poorest class. He had nothing, not even a character. Even the clothes on his back he had begged or “swiped.” Now, he ought to know, by personal observation, whether he was poorer than he was thirty years ago. He wasn’t a bit. He could enjoy more, see more, travel either and partake of the benefits of civilization as would have been absolutely impossible for him when he came to America. Now, take traveling, for example. Thirty years ago he would have been obliged to “leg it” in many parts of the country where he could now hang onto a brake beam and make quick time. It would have been impossible then for him to visit California, but he had been there twice in the last live years. He could make San Francisco in from two to three weeks from New York, stealing rides on railroad trains. How was that for growing poorer? Then newspapers. They are cheap, and people throw away a great many. He never bought a newspaper in his life, but he would bet he knew everything t h a t was going on. And household goods. Why, he could remember when the tableware in the almshouses and jails were made of wood. Now they were made of stoneware. and the knives and forks were of better material. These residences of his class were comfortably heated now with steam; in old times one big wood stove was expected to heat a whole jail. There were more counties now in every state than there were thirty years ago, and all of them had prisons and poor houses. The paupers had more and better accommodations. He had traveled through the south, and had seen how the colored people lived. They did not as a class have the conveniences of life that the northern pauper enjoyed. But when they were slaves they had not owned even themselves; now they had an opportunity to save whatever they could after paying their rent. Look out west There were many out there who had grown from poverty to wealth. Of course, though, the chances for everybody doing well were less than they used to be, but that must be expected as a country settles up, and some get rich enough to own the farms and the town lots. But if any one wanted to be convinced that the poor were not growing poorer, let him look at any factory town. See the line clothes both the men and women wear. Did that not prove that the poor were growing better off? Those fine clothes could not have been worn by any but the rich fifty years ago. It was just like the steam heat in jails and the quick traveling of the tramps. Everybody gets some share of improvement in the arts. These factory people, of course, lost time by suspensions of work on account of overproduction and strikes and lockouts, and they could not aspire to self-employment or think of changing their employment, but they had in their houses what their grandfathers never had—chromos, dollar newspapers, Bayside libraries, cheap silk dresses, chinaware and carpets. See what chances there were to “tramp it” when work was slack! Factory people all expected to be seeking for work from place to place sooner or later, and instead of walking they could journey by rail for nothing, as tramps do. Another thing, factory people and others like them, employed irregularly and now here permanently, incurred no expenses in maintaining homes for themselves. So they were enabled to buy good clothes.
Our tramp wound up his curious talk by declaring that he lived in the city because he could enjoy more things here than could the hard working men in the country. Poor as he was he was better off than the lonely farmer who hoed his own acres.
As I have said, I have had light enough given me in response to the question, Are the poor growing poorer? The tramp gave it to me.
An Open Letter to Professor David Swing
W. H. Van Ornum of Ravenswood, Ill., has addressed a letter to Professor David Swing of Chicago in answer to his recent sermon on “Henry George’s Dream.” Space forbids the publication of more than one or two points:
“You lay great stress upon the fact that in the two ‘streams of eloquence’ under consideration neither Dr. McGlynn nor Mr. Pentecost ‘make any approach toward explaining the free landism of their chieftain, Henry George; nor did either intimate in any manner how the poor could all be made comfortable by any new plan. These explanations have been made so often and so distinctly that there remains not the slightest excuse for any man who lays claim to being at all well informed to plead ignorance; nor in the speeches of Rev. Dr. McGlynn or Mr. Pentecost can one fail to get a clear idea of what free land means or how it is to be obtained. Its necessary effect upon the masses of poor people who are now shut out from participation in God’s bounties is also clearly pointed out. There is nowhere the least reservation or evasion, a fact which you ought to know if you do not. We might with as much reason expect you to explain fully the plan of salvation in every sermon you preach, as for you to cavil at them for not fully and exhaustively explaining the remedy in addresses intended to awaken the hearts and consciences of men to this great injustice. . . . But the most surprising statement is the one that ‘it would be a matter of great joy for many of our millionaires if all taxes should be exacted from land investments. Perhaps that is the reason so many of our millionaires are so enthusiastically supporting Henry George!”
When Mr. Warder Retires Will He Talk About How He Worked for His Money?
Springfield, Ohio, Republic.
Mr. B. H. Warder of this city spent the winter in Washington and while there has been amusing himself with buying and selling real estate. He has had wonderful success, and it is said that the crowd of speculators at the capital watch his investments closely and buy as near where he buys as possible. When Mr. Warder buys a piece of property owners of adjacent property immediately advance the price so that his profit is assured. The following special gives an account of Mr. Warder’s success. It is clipped from a Philadelphia paper and his address is given as Chicago instead of Springfield:
“Capitalists from all sections of the country continue to flock to Washington, apparently holding real estate investments in that city in higher esteem than those of other eastern towns, so says the Philadelphia Times. Next to Senator Don Cameron, who is said to have added $250,000 to his vast fortune by shrewd purchases here, B. H. Warder of Chicago is understood to have made the most out of recent deals. Unlike Senator Cameron. Mr. Warder does not buy for the purpose of holding his purchases for any considerable time. His rule is to sell quickly, always at a profit, of course, but never to wait for enormous gains. Less than a year ago be bought a tract of land on Sixteenth street at $1.50 per foot, which he held for a short time and then disposed of it at an advance of fifty cents. The same property has been sold three times since, and the estimate is that in a year more it will be held at $5 a foot.”
It’s a Very Simple Question
Horse Collar Makers’ Journal.
The question requires no complex reasoning; in its entirety it is simplicity itself. So simple is it that the natural instinct of the most ignorant man that ever existed (providing that his reason was not impaired) would easily lead him to a correct understanding of the fundamental principles of this most pertinent of all questions. It is, in brief: Are the whole people of the world equally entitled to a footing upon it, or are some people specially blessed with privileges not enjoyed by the rest of humanity?
The Bodyke Tenants
Correspondence Mail and Express.
In the case of forty-nine of these Bodyke tenants, so far as I could ascertain, the government valuation of their holdings was £630; the rent in 1859 amounted to £595; when the present agitation broke out, these had been “racked up” on the tenants’ own improvements and the supposed rise in the value of land to £1,224, which was reduced by the land court to £808.
Land and Labor
The following are extracts from correspondence received by Secretary Barnes at 28 Cooper union:
Lockport, N. Y.—Dr. McGlynn’s lecture has done a world of good here. It has stopped the cry of “anarchy,” etc. Several of our most intelligent Citizens have said since the lecture that they do not know but the single tax is right. On our side will be found true religion, morality, intelligence, charity, justice, philanthropy; arrayed against us only selfishness, avarice and ignorance. The old racial feuds must be blotted out, and this can only be done by preaching the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men.
Buffalo, N. Y.—Dr. McGlynn had an audience here of earnest, thoughtful faces, old men and young, maids and matrons, and every seat filled, and the aisles as far as was permitted. Scores could not get near the doors and were turned away; all this in as orderly a manner as any church gathering. The doctor spoke two hours and a half and many remained standing the entire time. We find a growing sentiment here against the clumsy demagogy of the Tammany politicians at the 0’Brien meeting. Think of a paper calling itself the organ of labor (Buffalo Truth) heading a five-line notice of Dr. McGlynn as “The Priestly Politician.” No wonder people distrust the “professional” labor reformers of this city.
F. W. Morgan, Troy, N. Y.—Land and labor club No. 19 has elected the following officers: President, H. C. Romaine; vice-president, A. J. Nugent; financial secretary, James Chambers; treasurer, George L. Storer, with myself as recording secretary.
John Daly, secretary land and labor club, Iron Mountain, Mich.—It is astonishing the amount of attention that is paid in this place to the doctrines advocated by our organization, and the secret of it is that we don’t need to dwell very long on the theoretical part of it, because it is so easy to deal with it in the practical way. We have only to point out of our window and ask who they are that own this land of the upper peninsula, and the answer is plain: the great corporations, not the hardy pioneers who, by their skill and endurance have opened the resources of the country. This is the hot-bed of monopoly, the paradise of land pirates, and real estate men speak about it in veneration. This county is labor in politics from dog catcher to legislator.
F. M. Crosby, Wakefield, Mass.—Our club has elected the following officers: President, George B. Sinclair; vice-president, J. N. Ryder; financial secretary, J. S. Cooper; treasurer, S. H. Higgins; recording and corresponding secretary, myself.
Bernard W. Doyle, register of deeds, Milwaukee, Wis.—The central committee of the labor party have now definitely arranged for Dr. McGlynn to deliver his address at the great picnic on the Fourth of July. He can then speak at Racine on the 5th, and we have engaged one of the largest halls here for the evening of the 6th, and expect to pack it with people from parquet to dome.
C. H. Fuller, Middletown, N. Y.—There was an excellent audience to hear Dr. McGlynn here, and on the day following hundreds regretted the fact that they also had not attended. The lecture created a profound impression.
D. L. Munro, Altoona, Pa.—Not 200 yards from where I sit writing this, in what is known as the valley of Altoona, Pa., eastern side, is a block of unimproved vacant land—enough to make happy homes for fifty families, made valuable not by reason of anything the holder has done, but by reason of its proximity to the center of business. Although building lots are much sought after, yet the occupant of this block will not dispose of any part of it. Here is a property which blocks development of the city. Should not this and land alike situated be more heavily taxed to choke off such and all similar dogs in the manger? Those who give opposition advance no sufficient reason for doing so, but simply that it partakes of “socialism.” It strikes me as novel to hear such parties prate of robbery and religion. The movement has many friends and cannot be set aside. The picnic here on the Fourth of July under the auspices of the K. of L. promises to be a big demonstration. Orators from New York, Richmond, Va., and Hollidaysburg, Pa., have been secured.
——, We attended the conference a Elmira last week, with the result that we are dissatisfied with its leaders. We do not believe they are honest in their undertaking. For this reason we come to the united labor party, believing that the land doctrine is the one to follow. I shall from this forward do all I can to advance the interests of the united labor party of New York.
Finlay A. Grant, Merricourt, Dak.—The dearth of settlers here is not due to the fact that unimproved land is scare, or that land seekers are few. There is land in plenty, and intending settlers come daily, but pass further on, for, though not a tenth of the land is improved, it is all owned—held for speculation, of course. It is hard, in a disfranchised region like this, to brook the thought of waiting for a share in the fight until the battle has been half won. I am now doing for land reform all that my time and opportunity will permit.
W. H. Ryan, Louisville, Ky.—There are a number here who are friends of the movement, but who hesitate publicly to proclaim the fact lest by so doing they should be injured in business. You are doing a grand work in New York, and The Standard is doing grand work all over the country. We need more Standards. We. can only have one George and one McGlynn. Shearman’s essay on “The Single Tax” is a home thrust.
Dr. T. M. Crowe, Buffalo, N. Y.—The O’Brien incident is an event portending the absolute destruction of landlordism and proclaiming with powerful effectiveness the principles of equity and justice. Coming events east their shadow before. That the event in this case will be greater than its shadow is already apparent.
Auburn, N. Y.—Dr. McGlynn’s lecture accomplished more than the most sanguine could have hoped for. People who have hitherto been bitterly opposed both to the doctor and to Mr. George are now willing to be classed as disciples of both.
John J. Kelleher, Boston, Mass.—We are now thoroughly organized, with president, A. Sarbutt; treasurer, T. Collins, and myself as secretary, and we have very spirited discussions on land reform every night.
William H. Coughlin, Gloversville, N. Y.—Our club organized on Friday, June 3, and our membership is increasing rapidly in this stronghold of the grand old party. We have now forty members on the roll.
John H. McCormick, Tampa, Fla.—Our land and labor club here is organized with thirty members on the roll and officers elected. We have distributed several thousand tracts and have some good men reading The Standard.
Gloversville, N. Y.—This town, containing the villages of Gloversville and Johnstown, with 20,000 people, nearly all wage earners, is the very place where the land and labor doctrines should get a strong hold. Some of our people have heard Mr. Redpath and would like to have him come here and give us a lecture.
William E. Morgan, Syracuse, N. Y.—Dr. McGlynn’s lecture is the principal topic in the city today. He sounded an alarm, the echo of which has reverberated into the homes and workshops of the people in this vicinity.
W. W. Bailey, state Organizer of Indiana, writes: H. Martin Williams, the gifted Missouri orator, was here in Vincennes recently under the auspices of land and labor club No. 3, and had a large, intelligent audience. Some who came to scoff remained to pray, and such was the general effect of his speech that if he were to come again he would draw a very much larger audience. Preparations are being made by the local club to organize the country, which will be done just as soon as harvest is over. I am satisfied that the sentiment here is rapidly changing in our favor. Everybody is giving more or less thought to the question. Vincennes will bend a good delegation to the Fourth of July conference and celebration at Cincinnati, where Henry George is to speak. The demand for The Standard is steadily growing.
Work in Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minn., June 27.—Our city has been quietly organizing. We have seven out of the thirteen wards organized, with one more to be added this week. Our progress is steady and the whole movement harmonious. Our greatest lack has been a few good, popular speakers. We hold a big picnic on the Fourth, at which the “land question” will be the theme for orations. At a meeting held on Sunday afternoon it was unanimously decided to organize an anti-poverty society. The Standard is doing good work here.
Tampa, Fla.—We have organized a Henry George land and labor club here. The following officers have been elected: F. M. Myers, president; W. A. McArthur, M. D. first vice-president: S. M. Loomer, second vice-president; John H. McCormick, secretary; G. W. Carter, treasurer.
We are going to work with our sleeves rolled up, and in a few months we will, I hope, have a few hundred members. The night we organized some thirty signed their names on our books. We have a splendid held to work in, and we expect to make good use of our time. We shall endeavor to put as many copies of The Standard in circulation as we can, as we believe it is doing a good work wherever read. God speed Dr. McGlynn and Henry George and the Rev. Hugh Pentecost. They are are doing a grand and noble work. Would to God we had thousands of such men and less Corrigans, Hewitts, Goulds, and such stock, then this world would be better off. Corrigan cannot stem the tide cf public opinion that is rising in his church, and the sooner he learns this the better for the Catholic church.
John H. McCormick.
This Sort of Thing Passes for Argument With the Pro-Poverty Press
New York Sun.
We suppose that Mr. Henry George would willingly confess that the last two months of his life have been the happiest he has ever experienced. He has started a paper of which he is the sole proprietor, and its weekly balance sheet, we believe, shows a comfortable sum to his credit.
Yet his satisfaction over the week’s work cannot be half so intense as the pleasure which he gets every Sunday evening at the meeting of the Anti-poverty society in the Academy of Music. That is the culminating moment of the week in Mr. George’s happiness and might well fill the heart of any man with a glow of pleasure. He then appears as the idol of a band of enthusiastic and emotional philosophers, and it is not too much to say that they regard him as the first of living men. He is the pioneer, if not the inventor, of a system of taxation which they hope will relieve the human race of all the economic ills with which it struggles.
But on Sunday night last Mr. George said that one thing gave him even greater pleasure than the demonstration for which , his weekly entrance on the Academy stage was always the signal. This was the applause bestowed upon Dr. McGlynn. “This week.” said Mr. George, “Dr. McGlynn is to be excommunicated.”
The crowning triumph of the editor of The Standard’s brief career as a political and economic agitator in this city is this fact of excommunication.
Mr. George’s effort to put all taxes on land is no nearer to success than it was when he ran for may or. But upon the issue raised between him and the Roman Catholic church he has unquestionably come out ahead. It has been like a contest for the possession of a priest. Should he cleave to his church or to Mr. George? He has chosen George. No wonder that the latter was gratified by the excommunication. It was the proof of his own victory, whatever effect it may eventually have upon the priest.
Anti-Poverty Societies of One
The Kansas City Star recently published this interview with a prominent real estate speculator:
About three months ago we received from a party in Worcester, Mass., $10,000 to invest in Kansas City real estate, which we did in that delightful suburb of Argentine, which at that time was comparatively quiet and uninteresting, the “boom” not having yet struck there. We went in with him and bought an eighty-acre piece at $500 per acre, one-half cash. Since that time the Burton stock car company, the Meigs elevated road and various other smaller manufactories have located there, and in just six weeks we sold those eighty acres at $1,500 an acre, clearing just $80,000 on the deal. Of course this made him feel pretty good, and he came again, bringing some money with him that belonged to a young widow of his town, and we invested it for them at Argentine, in several pieces of acre property; this time at much higher figures than at first paid, and in some instances was obliged to go in with them to give them confidence. Well, during the past ten days we have sold thorn out clear and clean of everything, at a net profit of $425,000, part of which they desire to invest again at Argentine this week or next.
How goes the war? Are we gaining on the enemy or are we losing ground? Through the press and turmoil of this glorious battle for human rights, through the heat and dust and clashing of this continental struggle for freedom, is the anti-poverty banner advancing, and are the anti-poverty hosts pressing harder and yet harder on their foes?
Yes, friends, the banner is advancing—the hosts of truth are gaining ground. “We have forced the outposts of the enemy; we have compelled them to muster their battalions, to form their forces into line, to summon all their energies to withstand the onset that they see is surely coming before long. See how their cohorts are gathering. Every misrepresentation of our objects, every insinuated slander upon our leaders, every depreciation of our strength, is a sure and certain sign that the supporters of monopoly and greed and poverty are bracing themselves for a life and death struggle with our advancing army. Pick up any journal, religions, secular or comic, no matter where published, and in its pages you will surely find some reference to the anti-poverty crusade—a sneer, a jest, a labored argument, a studied falsehood, an advocacy of some other remedy than ours. Read the utterances of men in public life—their Fourth of July orations, their after-dinner speeches—and see how few cf them are able to avoid a little fling at anti-poverty. The preachers are discussing the matter, the college forums are debating it, the little children talk about it.
There is no mistaking these signs of the times. The anti-poverty cause is gaining. the pro-poverty folks are scared.
And now, you readers of THE STANDARD, you men and women—aye, and children, too,—whose hearts are glad within you as you see these signs of progress, and who long with all your souls for the coming of that thrice-blessed day when poverty shall be plucked up by the roots and the last vestige of it destroyed forevermore, remember that the very things that make you hopeful should spur you on to fresh endeavors. When the pro-poverty bugles are sounding all along the line, and the pro- poverty hosts are waking from their fancied security and mustering from every direction, is no time for you to be sitting idly in your tents! Up and be doing! Let the stern shout of your defiance answer the sneers and falsehoods of your foes. You love your cause; you long with all your souls f or its triumph. Let your love and longing find expression in your deeds. To work! To work! To work!
Our cause wants men. Truth we have on our side; but truth without men to voice it and enforce it is like land without labor. This battle must be decided by votes: and every ballot counts just one on either side. To get these votes—to persuade men to see the truth—is the task before us. It’s a very simple one, a very easy one, if only we go at it with our whole hearts. And take this thought along with you, you men and women who read these lines, that if every one of us would go earnestly to work to spread this anti-poverty gospel, our cause would triumph within two years or less. Think of that, and then stand idle if you dare! Go out among your friends and talk the truth to thorn with all the earnestness and fire of men who really believe. Get them to take THE STANDARD—don’t merely ask them to take it and go off with “no” for an answer; but read it to them; force them to sec that it’s a live paper, discussing a question that must be considered; make them know that you really want their subscriptions, that you really mean to have them, and you’1l get them, sure.
Buffalo, N- Y.—I have quite a number of friends in various parts of the country, chiefly in the western states and territories, whom I want to bring into the anti-poverty army. I don’t know any better way to do it than by sending them THE STANDARD: but I really am not able to send a three months’ subscription for each one of them. Can you do anything to help me? I am sure that if they got the paper for just a few weeks they would understand the matter and become subscribers.
Elizabeth F. B .
We have received several letters of this sort lately, and have done a heap of thinking over them. And the outcome of our thinking is a system of “recruit subscriptions” which will enable Standard readers to do efficient work upon their friends at a distance, or upon persons whom they don’t know personally, but want t o see brought into the fold nevertheless. We will send THE STANDARD for six weeks.
To a n y two addresses for fifty cents.
To any five addresses for $1.
To any twelve addresses for f 2.
Now, friends, here’s a fresh chance for you. There’s mighty little doubt that any man who reads THE STANDARD for six weeks will at least get to thinking hard enough to induce him to subscribe for the paper, even if he doesn’t become an out and out convert; and if each one of you will send us only two of these subscriptions, w e can gather in recruits by the hundred. What do you say! A car fare saved now and again, a few pennies put by when you can spare them, will soon enable you to give six weeks of THE STANDARD to at least two people of the many who need it. See to it that the clergymen in your neighborhood get the benefit of these recruit subscriptions. They are the most valuable allies we can have; and when they do see the truth, they labor for the cause with an energy, and a fearlessness, and a self-devotion worthy of all praise. Look out for the farmers, too; they need a course of Standards badly to disabuse their minds of the pro-poverty press slanders. Your storekeepers, too, also want looking after; your school teachers are good folks t o work on; mechanics, laborers, who is there who can read and think to whom THE STANDARD cannot point the way of hope? Go for them all, good friends, and do it soon, that they, in turn, may carry the tidings on to others.
And now for a look into our mailbag. If we gave up the whole Standard to “Publishers Notes” we shouldn’t have room for half the letters that ought to be published, but here are some of them:
Los Angeles, Cal.—Enclosed is money order of $l8 for three subscriptions to THE STANDARD and the balance for 6,000 tracts for the land and labor club of this city. Clubs are now being organized m Pasadena, Monrovia, Colton, Sierra Madre, Santa Barbara, Long Beach and Riverside. The real estate boom still continues. Fabulous profits are being realized from the increase of land values and professional gamblers are quitting “roulette and faro” to take a hand in “lots.” Louisiana lottery is at a discount and “thimble rigging” has lost its charms. Church societies have adopted this simple and effective method of “raising the wind,” and the city of angels bids fair to rival Brooklyn in the number of her spires. Every day we are treated to an auction sale of lots, with brass baud and free lunch accompaniments, and the erstwhile stock craze over Gould and Curry and Consolidated Virginia is totally eclipsed. The fair sex take a Band in the game, and our local “Chatauqua” bas resolved itself into a co-operative land speculation society. The latest phase which the boom has assumed is an auction sale of Los Angeles property, held in San Francisco on the 19th inst. Twenty-live thousand dollars’ worth of lots were sold in a few hours.
There are about one hundred boomlets of more or less magnitude throughout the country, all of which are rival claimants to the best water, the best climate and the best society, inasmuch as the climate is an essential item of valuation, it may truthfully be said of us that we are “selling the air.” The moral tone of the community, however, is maintained by occasional raids on a faro bank or the Chinese “fan tan” games. The players put up $10 bail for their appearance in court, which event never occurs, and thus “society is saved.” The country is swarming with tramps, and these are of two species. One is the tramp philosopher, the “brake-beam” immigrant, with a penchant for stale beer and bay lofts. He has discovered that a multitude of people are traveling to the pearly gates on the “charity route,” and concluded to discard work and levy “baksheesh” on the pilgrim. The other goes “begging for work.” He has no capital to gamble at “land faro,” and he finds climate a very thin diet to subsist on. He has reached the jumping off place on his western journey, and he wanders about looking for the benevolent master who will give him “employment.” He is “for sale” on the auction block, but there has been seemingly an over production of the merchandise and be is “not wanted.”
In the midst of these anomalies of nature we have planted the “Cross of the New Crusade,” never to be uprooted, and we earnestly hope that the day is not far distant when the fraternity of mankind will be recognized in its fullest sense.
Deputy organizer for southern California.
New York City.—On Sunday evening, June 19, I attended the meeting of the Anti-poverty society, faintly interested, but somewhat skeptical as to the practicability of such an organization. But under the calm, dispassionate utterances of Dr. McGlynn, the magnetic eloquence of Mr. Pentecost, and the terse, merciless, crushing logic of Henry George, I surrendered, and enrolled my self as a member in the glorious society. And now I am heart and soul in the cause. And feel an intense longing to do something, however humble, to advance it. And I venture to suggest that a great deal of good could be done, and a vast number of recruits added to the ranks by members going personally among their friends, acquaintances and neighbors and setting forth the gospel and aims of the society in such a manner as personal knowledge may suggest to be the most effective. We must wake up and work if we would have this movement succeed. Every member ought to feel that upon his individual and unceasing efforts depends the success of the undertaking.
Henry C. Power.
Ridgewood, N. J.—Your book, “Progress and Poverty,” has cleared all the fogs from the labor question. I am with you heart and soul. I have begun the warfare, and am going to carry it into Africa. There are several I have made uncomfortable and set to thinking, as the questions they put to me show. If there is any thing I can do, I am ready.
E. B. Crane.
New Orleans.—Enclosed please find $10, which you will please apply as you deem best. It does not belong to me. I found it about two months ago, and have not found the owner, and I cannot think of any better cause than the one you are engaged in to apply it to. If you think it will do an v good you might use it toward sending a copy of “Social Problems” and “Progress and Poverty” to such men as Rev. Sam Jones and Rev. Sam Small, or any others that you may think honest enough to be convinced by facts. A half dozen more like yourself and Father McGlynn and the day is won. We are away behind down here. As soon as I am able to contribute from my own means I sha1l do so.
H. J. Clavier.
Monroe, Mich.—I shall advocate the claims of THE STANDARD to the attention of thinking men at any and all times, though my duties will not permit me to make an arduous canvass for it. I shall be on the alert to spread the light.
Like the Tammany hall man in a recent number, my present position is such that a too strong advocacy of what I believe might imperil the bread for my wife and babies, but I am waiting for the day when I can openly advocate the land doctrine. Ten years ago I said to some friends that the day of a great change was coming, how or when I knew not, but I believed I should live to see it. They called me a crank. They have stopped calling names now, and begin to believe that, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” has ,been written on the wall.
One word more. I used to believe that the Catholic priesthood were the bulwarks of bigotry. But when I read of Dr. McGlynn, and the thoughtful Catholics who are standing by him in his resistance to Italian dictation in American affairs; when 1 read his creed in his lectures to the Anti-poverty society, I find I am in error, and think that possibly the light may come from the Nazareth I had despised. Godspeed the day of its dawning.
Dunkirk, N. Y.—About two years ago I sent to New York for a copy of “Progress and Poverty,” and after carefully reading it handed it to a friend, and sent for the rest of your works; but I did not stop there. I commenced to talk about the doctrines taught in these books in the shop where I worked, in the stores where I traded and on the street; in fact, whenever I had five minutes to spare I devoted them to what I considered my duty to my fellow man. The next step I took was in reading a chapter every day from “Free Trade, or Protection” in my workshop. In this way I have done what I could to “spread the light.”
Minn.—My husband’s subscription to THE STANDARD has expired and unluckily he has not the money to renew it. Will you please to continue it and he will send you a year’s rate after 8th of July, as we will be getting money then. The house is lonesome without THE STANDARD. This is a terrible hard place; we’ve lost our crops so of ten last year by hail storms.
Aspen, Col.—Enclosed find postal note for my subscription to THE STANDARD. I have been a reader of your paper since the first issue. 1 have been talking “the land for the people” for twenty-five years and expected the democratic party, to which I belonged, to be true to its principles, but I find there is no difference between the republican party and them, therefore let my voice swell the chorus, “The people must and shall have their inheritance.” All hail to the noble Dr. McGlynn! May the Lord take a liking to him!
Chas. A. Chapman.
Portland, Ore.—I send you my subscription for the balance of the year. I don’t want to be left without my paper, as there are about twenty others eager to read it after I get through, and after that it even goes as far north as Alaska, with a fireman on the steamer.
Lowell, Mass.—Enclosed please find $1 initiation fee to the Anti-poverty society. I wish to have my name enrolled among the names of those who love their fellow men. I am doing all I can in every way I can to forward the principles of justice and laud reform, and I have made some converts. My talents are humble, but as much as I can that I will do to hasten the great emancipation, for I believe—
Oppression will not always last, There comes a better day When right shall over might prevail, And truth like heroes armed in mail, The host of tyrants, wrong, assail, And hold eternal sway.
George H. Browns.
Philadelphia.—I take this method to give vent to my feelings, for I feel that at last a cause has arisen in this world that a person can live and die for. And as I have taken THE STANDARD since the first issue I wish now to say that I like it better and better of late. That part of it called “Publishers Notes” is very good indeed, for, while I wish the cause well and talk “Georgeism” and contribute something for literature, lectures, etc., those notes make me feel as though I ought to do something more, so, as in the past I contributed a certain amount each mouth, I will double it for the future; and if you keep adding fuel to the tire you have kindled within me perhaps I will do my self an in jury—that is, some people might think so.
The suggestion in this week’s Standard that the New York society is going to arrange us into groups and send each one of us the address of every member in our locality I hail with joy, for at times, if it wasn’t for receiving THE STANDARD every week, I should feel very much isolated.
And now please find enclosed two dollars for sending THE STANDARD wherever you think it will do the most good. I remain very much devoted to the cause,
Chihuahua, Mexico.—I send a check for subscription to THE STANDARD and fee for membership in the Anti-poverty society. I have a number of your tracts which I distribute with pleasure, and I keep your books circulated.
N. D. Alma.
Sacramento, Cal.—I bought a copy of “Progress and Poverty” when it first came out, read it, and was convinced. I am a constant reader of THE STANDARD, and have prevailed upon my assembly of the K. of L. to subscribe for ‘five copies. Workingmen are doing a great deal of thinking nowadays.
Los Angeles, Cal.—Here is a place where a poor man has no chance at all. Land is boomed so high that a man who wants a home for himself and family has to leave. Even the ministers are preaching of the great success of the country, and of the blessed boom they are having. It is enough to make any man a socialist or an anarchist. I must have some of those tracts of yours to set our people thinking. I am a news agent on the railway, and will do all I can for THE STANDARD along my route.
Elmira, N. Y.—I can’t do much at writing, but money talks, Here is 15 to speak for me. Put it to the recruiting fund.
Asbury Park.—Deer Standurd: My mamma has been teling me about the poor Childeren in the Tenement housis. She sais wen you win thare will be no more. I cried when she told me. We are heer by the see side, and it is nice. My papa gave me a quarter. Please take it so there wil bee no more tenements. I am Eight yeres old. Your loving litle frend,
Pittsburgh, Pa.—Long may THE STANDARD wave. Here’s a dollar to help wave it.
G. S. P.
There! Isn’t that a lovely batch of letters? Doesn’t it quicken the pulse and moisten the eye to read them? East and west and north and south the seed is springing up and ripening. Isn’t there encouragement for work in all this? Ah! friends, it needs but steady effort on our part, a long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether, to secure the victory. And when that happy day shall come, when poverty and greed and degrading, embruting toil shall be once and forever swept away, and the world made clean and pure for the coming of the kingdom, thrice happy will be he who can say: “I also did my share of work toward the earth’s redemption.” Courage, friends! The eastern sky is golden with the coming dawn. Yet a little longer—a little patience—a little earnest work—and your eyes shall see the glory of the coming of the Lord. For truth demands it, justice will sit, and heaven itself has promised it.
The recruiting fund is doing fairly well; mind, we say fairly well, and that means not as well as it ought to. If this crusade of ours were a movement for sending moral pocket handkerchiefs to the heathen or something of that sort, we should say the fund was a big success; but as an aid to such an object as the extirpation of poverty, it is rather inadequate. Standard readers, this ought not to be. The work of this fund is your work, done for your benefit, and by your wishes, and you ought to support it. It costs money to spread the knowledge of the truth, and that money you ought to find. We have a right to ask it, and you should regard it as a privilege to give it. Now, let us see the recruiting fund roll up next week. Meantime, here is how it stands at present:
F. Bishop, Elmira, N.Y.
Bessie, Asbury Park
G.S.P., Pittsburgh, Pa.
H.J. Clavier, New Orleans
Frank Scanlan, Philadelphia
“Land for the People”
I and another
John Marsden, Gouldsville, Vt.
The Testimony of a Protestant Religious Journal
New York Independent.
It is little less than astounding to see what is the extent of the following Dr. McGlynn has in his rebellion against the interference of the ecclesiastical machine with his political liberty. That wonderful meeting and parade in his honor on Saturday night, June 18, was something to open the eyes of Protestants and Catholics. That scores of leading Irish Catholics should not hesitate even to defy the pope is wonderful. A dozen declare in interviews for the press that “if all the popes in heaven and earth should condemn Dr. McGlynn’s land theories they will stand by him.” We print from a private letter written by a well educated Irishwoman who went out to see that parade:
Saturday night I passed up Union square and stopped at several places where I saw two or more men in conversation. I wanted to know what the sentiments were of those who came to look on. They were all on the McGlynn side. One man said: “I would like to give that man Corrigan six months on the island, and, if I had my way about it, without much ceremony.” This same man said: “There is nowhere in the Bible that Jesus Christ addressed his disciples as ‘My Lord Peter,’ or ‘My Lord John, James, etc.”’ Great guns! if our Lord Jesus Christ came now to address his representatives in Rome or elsewhere he would not know how to begin with the great string of titles these fellows have stuck before their names. Religion must be simple and free. No one can or must lock up another person’s mind and keep him from thinking until it suits him. As Hugh O. Pentecost said: ‘If a man has an idea his theories are right he will preach them to the elements if there is no one else to preach to.’” Everywhere I stopped I heard the most forcible language. Even the police had nothing to do but discuss the matter. I heard more than ten intelligent looking men, old and young, say they had done with the church. After this business it was only a humbug, only a money business.
It Is the Machine, and Not the Faith, that Protestants Object To
New York Independent.
Excommunication does not mean so much as it did. It will not hurt the good, if misguided, priest much to be excommunicated. His faith toward God will be just the same, only he will be free of the “machine.” And it is just that machine, and not the faith, however imperfect that may be, in which Protestants think they see an anti-Christ. Take away the machine, and we could be in the same fellowship of Christian brotherhood with the Catholic church as with a number of Protestant churches. And we fully believe, with Dr. McGlynn, that the noblest part of the Catholic church’s history will come when her chief bishop sits humble and simple as Peter, when bishops concern themselves only with the propagation of the gospel and the conversion of the world.
Is This Our Country or the English Nobility’s Country?
Kansas City Star.
The earl of Aberdeen, who was in the city yesterday, is a man of large wealth and part of it is in this country. The earl and a lord own a vast amount of land in the United States, and belong to that unsavory class known as alien land owners. The earl is a pleasantly disposed person and may be bent upon improving his ranch, but he is part of a system which is no longer popular with the people of America. Foreign land syndicates composed of men, who, like the earl, intend to remain absentees, should nor be encouraged or permitted. The public domain is rapidly getting smaller and should be held for those who want to make permanent settlement thereon. Men who live in other countries should not by the fact of their money be allowed to buy and hold American land.
The Land Belongs to All
(Air—“Uncle Sam’s Farm”)
Have you heard the great commotion
Which this mighty truth has made,
Sweeping over land and ocean i
Have you joined the New Crusade—
Where the people all are learning,
Like a revelation grand,
God’s eternal truth concerning
This great question of the land!
Then swell the song, loud and long!
Land must be free;
Join the crusade! right this wrong!
Down with poverty I
Hear the truth by prophets told,
Then heed the call,
“Land shall not be forever sold,”
For it belongs to all.
Grand, indeed, that revolution,
In the days of Washington;
But the law of evolution
Shows the battle then begun
Must be waged in every nation,
Till all people understand,
Every man, whate’er his station,
Has an equal right to land.
We have had emancipation
Proclamations for the slave,
And a temperance reformation
By true women, grand and brave;
But a greater curse than slav’ry
Stalks abroad on every hand,
Foster father of all knav’ry—
This monopoly of land.
Soldiers, then, from every station, .
Come and join our grand brigade;
Forward march, let every nation
Rally round the new crusade.
Hoist the standard; truth and justice .
Are most mighty—they must win;
Rally, then, for peace and progress,
Hail our chiefs, George and McGlynn.
Then swell the song, loud and long,
Land must be free.
Join the crusade, right this wrong,
Down with poverty.
This good old truth is grand enough;
When thieves disgorge
Then we shall all have land enough;
All hail McGlynn and George.
B. M. Lawrence, M. D.
39 West Twenty-seventh street.
Rumors in the Enemy’s Camp
New York World.
The word has been quietly passed around among local politicians that, in the next city elections, the labor party will not endorse any candidate of the democratic or republican factions, but will insist that its nominees shall stand,squarely upon the George platform and disavow former connections or present relations with partisan organizations. In the plainest possible words, no one who claims to be either a democrat or a republican will be supported by the labor vote. This information is so important if true—and it comes from the best authority—that all the politicians are disturbed by it. To renounce their affiliations with the great national parties might cut them off from future promotion as certainly as opposition to the labor party might defeat them in this city next autumn. Besides, there is the land theory of Mr. George and the religious idiosyncrasy of Dr. McGlynn. Altogether, the lot of a New York politician this summer is not a happy one.
Is Selfishness the Cause?
New Jersey Unionist.
Two things are passing strange to us. One is the apparent inability of educated men, supposed to be trained thinkers, to understand Mr. George’s theory, which is really very simple. The other is the disposition to discuss it, not with reference to its rightness or wrongness, but with regard of what would happen to the world in general should it prevail. and particularly what would happen to “me and my family.”