VOL. II. — NO. 14. NEW YORK,
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1887
PRICE FIVE CENTS
Canandaigua, Oct. 4 — How firm a hold anti-poverty principles have taken in the city of New York the great fair now going on in Madison square garden, and such meetings as those held in the Academy of Music and Nilsson hall last Sunday evening amply show, even if there were no other evidences. Even the politicians are beginning to see that what they have been flattering themselves was but a passing madness is “not insurrection, but revolution.” The notion that the anti-poverty movement could get no hold outside of the great cities is destined to be as rudely dissipated. Something over a fortnight’s campaigning through the interior has, in my mind, amply justified all our anticipations of being able to arouse the same enthusiasm in the smaller towns and villages as is shown in New York.
The movement is not yet so far advanced in the interior, but it has taken a firm hold, and everywhere that I have yet been the report is of rapid growth. I have not yet addressed either a small audience or an inattentive or hostile one. The people flock to our meetings because they are anxious to hear something of the new movement. The majority probably come with minds full of misconceptions, but still with a feeling that there must be something in a movement which has already developed such strength and excited such enthusiasm. They are anxious to hear and ready to accept. The ground is indeed ready to accept. The ground is indeed ready for the seed. Outside of the ranks of the machine politicians men are thoroughly tired of the old politics, and whether for us or against us at first, seem to turn with avidity to a discussion of live issues.
Up to the holding of the Syracuse convention our only organizations through the state were the land and labor clubs established during the past year; but everywhere are to be found thoughtful men who have been reached by the literature of the new movement, each of whom has become a center for spreading the doctrine of the land for the people among his acquaintances. And without any organization, and in most cases without any mutual acquaintance, these men have largely leavened the lump. The same influence has been working through the ranks of organized labor. In all the labor associations, and in all establishments where huge numbers of men are employed, there are some who thoroughly understand and have enthusiastically adopted the programme of the united labor party, while the great body has become at least predisposed in its favor.
Of socialism of the progressive labor party kind there is practically none in the interior, and the action of the united labor party in repudiating state socialism, and casting out those who were determined to rivet its doctrines upon the party, is everywhere applauded, and has served to neutralize the charges that were, up to that time, so industriously made against us.
The union labor party, which, in New York city, has existed only under the hats of half a dozen professional “labor politicians,” showed, for a time, some strength in the western part of the state, where it obtained adherents among men whose anxiety for some national labor movement led them to join the first that offered. But these men are rapidly coming into line with us. At Elmira, Mr. Colgrove, chairman of the union labor party’s executive committee, occupied a seat on the platform of our meeting, and declared his intention and that of his club, of falling in with us.
In Jamestown the meeting was held under the auspices of an organization of the union labor party that had been formed there this spring, but its members for the future will act with the united labor party.
I have addressed at agricultural fairs three large audiences composed of farmers, and I never had more attentive listeners. From their expressions afterward, as well as from what I have heard from others who have been among them, it is evident that the farmers accept the principle of the single tax upon land value as soon as it is fairly presented to them — perhaps even more readily than any other class.
The new party has of course great difficulties to contend with. If the Australian system of voting were now in force in this state, so that each voter would be presented with one ballot, and bribery and intimidation prevented, it would be a comparatively easy thing for us to carry the state. As it is, it would require a very large sum of money and an organization which this year it will be impossible for us to effect, to insure that those who are willing to vote with us are provided with a ticket to vote. Still our friends seem alive to the importance of doing what they can, and from the towns where organizations have been formed, efforts are being made to secure somebody in each of the surrounding election districts who will take charge of our ballots. Bribery in many of the interior towns seems far more open and notorious than in the metropolis. Elmira, the home of Governor Hill, is said by the people there to be a peculiarly rotten place politically, five, ten, fifteen and twenty dollars being sometimes paid for votes. At a recent election, two candidates for alderman are said to have bid against each other for a vote until they run it up to thirty dollars.
In the smaller places, too, the intimidation of employes by their employers is more easy than in a larger city. As illustrating how high-handed corporation agents are, a lawyer in one of the towns I have visited told me that he had recently brought civil suit on behalf of a railroad employe against a merchant who was a large patron of the road. The case would unquestionably have gone in favor of his client, but before it came to trial he was visited by a railroad official, who asked him to inform his client that he had the option either of withdrawing the suit or losing his employment Rather than lose his employment the man consented to a withdrawal of the suit.
Louis F. Post and H. H. Freeman opened the campaign in Rochester last week, and produced a marked effect. I followed on Monday night. The meeting was held in the rink. In spite of a heavy thunder storm between seven and eight o’clock some fifteen hundred people were present when the meeting was called to order, and as soon as the rain ceased the large hall, which will hold twenty-five hundred people, filled completely up.
It was an exceedingly attentive and intelligent audience. Joseph Bauer, president of the Rochester club, presided, and Rev. John A. Copeland, who has been an active prohibitionist, but has now resolved to devote his energies to the far larger aims of the united labor party, made a brief address, in which he announced the formation of an Anti-poverty society and the engagement of the opera house for Sunday evening meetings similar to those held in New York. Denis C. Feely, our candidate for attorney-general, was on the platform, but made no speech. He is, however, doing very efficient work, pushing the organization through the wards and adjacent country, and thoroughly distributing anti-poverty literature.
A house to house canvass with the tracts has been begun in Rochester, and will be carried on through all the wards. The first number of a bright weekly, called The Earth, devoted to the advocacy of the single tax, was issued last Saturday. It is published by Frank Hughes and Edward Saxton, and judging from the success of the first number is likely to prove a permanent institution.
The present mayor of Rochester was elected last year by the labor party. He had already served six terms, having been elected to them as a republican, but the republican machine having discarded him last year the labor men took him up, and with the aid of independent citizens elected him. But the true strength of the labor party was shown in the contest for assemblyman, in which the labor men nominated a candidate of their own, and came within one hundred of equaling the democratic vote. This year they expect to do much better for the united labor state ticket, but will run no local ticket.
Mr. Feely is extremely popular among his fellow townsmen, with one exception. Bishop McQuade has been for a number of Sundays openly preaching against the principles of the united labor party, which he thinks involve confiscation and robbery. He has not only indulged in bitter denunciations of Dr. McGlynn, but has also, from the altar, alluded in the same way to Mr. Feely, who is a member of the cathedral congregation. The bishop has a twofold objection to Mr. Feely; first, that he is a candidate for attorney-general on the united labor ticket, and is laboring to popularize the single tax; and second, that he has taken part in inviting Dr. McGlynn to lecture in Rochester. The old gentleman’s denunciations, however, do not seem to have much effect. The tract entitled “Back to the Land,”1 containing Dr. Nulty’s letter to the clergy and laity of his diocese on the land question, is being largely circulated among the Catholics of Rochester and is proving a powerful antidote to Bishop McQuade’s diatribes. So far, indeed, from the Catholics of Rochester not coming to our meetings it was said by the Rochester men that probably one-half of the large audience on Monday night was composed of Catholics, and what they thought of Dr. McGlynn was shown by the way in which they cheered his name to the echo. Dr. McGlynn is to speak in Rochester on the 20th, and there is no hall in town big enough to hold the audience that will flock to hear him. Everywhere Dr. McGlynn has spoken he has left a powerful impression, and even where his voice has not yet been heard, his testimony for the truth has produced a telling effect. There are also many calls for Rev. Mr. Pentecost; our friends in Rochester are specially anxious to have him speak there before the campaign closes.
In the meantime the Rochester men are not relying upon speakers from other parts of the country, and in the intervals between the larger meetings they propose to hold a series of ward meetings, to be addressed by local speakers, besides the anti-poverty meetings which will be held in the opera house every Sunday evening. At these ward meetings they are adopting the plan of reading one of the tracts of the Land and labor library, or a chapter from a book, and then following it up with discussion. Thus, at one of the meetings held last week, Rev. Mr. Copeland in lieu of making a speech himself, read the excellent speech of H. F. Ring before the Houston, Texas, Knights of Labor, entitled, “The Case Plainly Stated,”2 and then answered questions upon the general subject. These ward meetings are in many respects more effective than the larger meetings, and do a great deal to make our friends acquainted with each other and accustomed to work together.
No reader of The Standard need be told that the anti-poverty movement is now attracting the wide attention of the clergy of all denominations, and is finding among them many of its most influential supporters. In a good many places the Catholic clergy, who are under the thumb of their bishops, are openly or secretly opposing the movement, but in many other places the priests are its quiet friends. In all the meetings which I have addressed I have had among the audience a number of clergymen, some of them outspoken and efficient advocates of our principles.
Rev. C. M. Winchester of Middletown, of the Christian denomination, is not only speaking for us in that town, but is making excursions through the surrounding country, holding meetings in the school houses.
At Marathon I met Rev. E. W. Brown, of that place, and Rev. E. J. Williams, of Pitcher, who are both heartily in sympathy with us. In Dunkirk Rev. E. P. Adams, minister of an influential Presbyterian church, presided at the meeting, and made the opening speech. He has been preaching the doctrine of the land for the people from his pulpit. In this he met some opposition. But as soon as he heard of this Mr. Adams put it to the congregation whether he should retire from his position or continue to preach what his conscience told him to be right; and by a formal vote they asked him to continue with them, and to preach as he pleased.
I have also met a number of clergymen of all denominations, including one Jewish rabbi, who are thoroughly imbued with our doctrines, and are quiet advocates of the cause. I do not wish to mention their names, as most of them are as yet somewhat timid about any public avowal of their belief. Everywhere, too, I have received assurance that there will be a large silent vote from men who do not as yet care to openly avow their adherence to a cause which excites so much opposition.
This very opposition, however, though it may for a while prevent men from openly avowing themselves, serves a good purpose in stimulating discussion. What is directly accomplished by speeches and meetings is to my mind little as compared with the results produced by the after discussion such meetings provoke. As I once said to a conference of English clergymen to which I was invited in London, “If we can once get the land owners to defending the rightfulness of that private ownership in land which disinherits the majority of the people of all share in the bounty of their Creator, we who are endeavoring to disseminate the idea of equal rights may fold our arms. They will do our work, even though we keep silent.”
And there is no village in the state of New York, or, in fact, throughout the country, where the principle of putting all taxes on land values can be discussed or even denounced without opening the eyes of people to the absurdity and injustice of the present system. In all these towns and villages vacant lots can be seen which are being withheld from use at high prices, while the weight of taxation falls upon the men who improve. And the farmers are keenly alive to the fact that their industry and thrift bring upon them an increase of taxation which the man who does not improve avoids. In Port Jervis, Assessor Vail, who is an active member of the united labor party, has this year succeeded in putting the assessment upon vacant land a good deal nearer a fair figure than it has been before. He told me, when I was in Port Jervis, how a farmer had come to him to ask the reason why, although the tax levy was higher this year than last, his taxes had been reduced. “It is,” said the assessor, “because there is this year a heavier tax on the vacant land. We are trying to make some little approach to the principle that vacant land should be taxed as heavily as improved land.” “Is that what you men mean by taxing land values?” said the farmer. “It is,” said Assessor Vail. “What the united labor party aims at is not to tax you out of your farm, as the newspapers have been telling you, but to not tax you at all on account of your improvements. If we had our way you would pay no more taxes on land you owned than would the man who is holding idle a piece of land as valuable as yours without any improvements at all upon it.” “If that is it,” said the farmer, “I am for that principle from now on.”
The pretty little town of Canandaigua, where I spoke on Tuesday night, is one of the places in which our principles have as yet taken little hold. The town is strongly Republican; the only labor organization is a small assembly of Knights of Labor, and the prevailing idea of our doctrines and aims is founded on those caricatures of them which have been given by pro-poverty newspapers. It is in precisely such place, however, that a campaign like the present will effect the most good, for the carrying of a great principle into politics brings it into the domain of the practical, and forces men to consider and discuss it who would give no attention to it so long as it seemed to them a “mere theory.” Here, as everywhere, however, we had a few friends. Some of the members of the little assembly of Knights of Labor sent awhile ago for a few copies of “Progress and Poverty” and then some copies of The Standard began to come to the town, and the result was a little knot of earnest men imbued with our principles. The first public explanation of the anti-poverty movement was at a small meeting addressed by Messrs. Post and Freeman some ten days ago.
“We have torn down the bills for the George meeting as fast as they were put up,” said ex-United States Senator Lapham to a gentleman at the railroad station, “and he won’t have any kind of a meeting.” Our friends who had made arrangements for the meeting, Messrs. McCarthy and Tuohey, also told me that the bills had been torn down as fast as they had been put up; but nevertheless they said we would have a good meeting, and would have had an overflowing meeting if the weather had only been good. And in spite of the rain and bad roads which kept away very many people from out of town, the opera house was filled by an audience of some seven or eight hundred people, who listened with much attention and evinced great interest, and who, after the meeting, gathered in knots arguing the question with each other. The discussion has been commenced in Canandaigua, and our strength will increase steadily. Here, as everywhere, concrete illustrations of our principles are readily seen by looking around. Between the opera house and the station, for instance, is a large lot, for which the owner has refused $19,000, but which is occupied only by a peanut stand and two or three advertising signs.
And though Canandaigua has of recent years but slowly increased in population, and has had nothing like a boom, the man who wants to make himself a home on land assessed only at agricultural rates must pay two or three hundred dollars for a small lot. If nothing more is done in the way of meetings the seed has now been firmly planted in Canandaigua and will grow of itself. But Dr. McGlynn, who is to speak here on the 15th, will have even a larger meeting than I had. The people everywhere are anxious to hear him, and the Catholics especially flock from far and near to hear him speak in spite of the adjurations of some of the priests.
The tracts of the land and labor library are proving of great use everywhere, but especially in places where we have no organization and no speakers. Our friends in Canandaigua propose to do good service with them in distributing them through the town, and giving them to farmers when they come. They are always readily accepted.
I have seen no statement of the ground on which the authorities of Union Hill, New Jersey, prohibited the meeting of sympathy for the Chicago anarchists, which was to have been held there on Sunday afternoon, and was prevented by the police with a free use of their clubs. But whatever may have been the legal excuse, the action was wrong in principle and mistaken in policy. We cannot too carefully guard the right of free speech, and the surest way to prevent the spread of doctrines wrong in themselves is to allow them to be freely ventilated, drawing the line only when overt acts of violence are committed or incited to.
This is illustrated by the effect which the violent language used by the sympathizers of the Chicago anarchists has been producing, and which is likely to be retarded by such occurrences as that at Union Hill. The withdrawal from the Central labor union on Sunday week [sic] of the representatives of the strongest and most influential of its component bodies rather than permit themselves to be trapped into action which would have been used as an expression of the sympathy of the workingmen of New York with the methods and deeds of the Chicago anarchists is indicative of the marked change of opinion, which has been produced by the ravings of the socialists of the progressive labor party. Among the great body of workingmen there has never been any sympathy with the bomb throwers of Chicago or any justification of anarchistic methods, but there was a widespread impression that the men condemned at Chicago had, in their excited state of public opinion, failed to get a fair trial; and this feeling led some of the representative men of the New York trades unions, upon the first receipt of the news that the anarchists had been refused a new trial, to consent to put their names to a circular calling for a protest against the execution of the sentence. But the violent utterances of the “progressive socialists,” one of whom, at the meeting of the Central labor union last Sunday week, called on God to bless the hand that threw the bomb at Chicago, and their attempt to put the Chicago anarchists in the light of leaders of the industrial movement who were being persecuted to the death for legitimate and laudable efforts in the cause of labor, have produced a strong reaction. Well, indeed, may the personal friends of the men who in Chicago are under sentence of death declare that their blatant “sympathizers” are their worst enemies.
The truth is that there is no ground for asking executive clemency in behalf of the Chicago anarchists as a matter of right. An unlawful and murderous deed was committed in Chicago, the penalty of which by the laws of the state of Illinois is death. Seven men were tried on the charge of being accessory to the crime, and after a long trial were convicted. The case was appealed to the supreme court of the state of Illinois, and that body, composed of seven judges, removed, both in time and place, from the excitement which may have been supposed to have affected public opinion in Chicago during the first trial, have, after an elaborate examination of the evidence and the law, unanimously confirmed the sentence.
That seven judges of the highest court of Illinois, men accustomed to weigh evidence and to pass upon judicial rulings, should, after a full examination of the testimony and the record, and with the responsibility of life and death resting upon them, unanimously sustain the verdict and the sentence, is inconsistent with the idea that the Chicago anarchists were condemned on insufficient evidence. And the elaborate review of the testimony which is given in the decision of the supreme court dissipates the impression that these men were only connected with the bomb throwing by general and vague incitements to and preparations for acts of this kind. Even discarding the testimony (contradicted by other testimony) that Spies handed a bomb to the man who is supposed to have thrown it, there was enough evidence left to connect the seven men with a specific conspiracy to prepare dynamite bombs and to use them against the police on the evening on which the bomb was thrown. It was not indeed proved that any of the seven men threw the bomb, nor even was it proved who did throw the bomb, but it was proved beyond any reasonable doubt that these men were engaged in a conspiracy, as a result of which the bomb was thrown, and were therefore under the laws of Illinois as guilty as though they themselves had done the act. It may be said that these men had worked themselves up to the belief that it is only by acts of violence and bloodshed that social reform can be attained, but that does not affect the justice of their sentence. No matter how honest or how intense may have been their conviction on this point, organized society is none the less justified in protecting itself against such acts.
There may be countries in which the suppression by an absolute despotism of all freedom of speech and action justifies the use of force, if the use of force ever can be justified. But even in such countries complaint cannot be made when the sword is unsheathed against those who draw the sword. In this country, however, where a freedom of speech which extends almost to license is seldom interfered with, and where all political power rests upon the will of the people, those who counsel to force or to the use of force in the name of political or social reform are enemies of society, and especially are they enemies of the working masses. What in this country holds the masses down and permits the social injustice of which they are becoming so bitterly conscious, is not any superimposed tyranny, but their own ignorance. The workingmen of the United States have in their own hands the power to remedy political abuses and to change social conditions by rewriting the laws as they will. For the intelligent use of this power thought must be aroused and reason invoked. But the effect of force, on the contrary, is always to awaken prejudice and to kindle passion.
There is legitimate ground on which executive clemency may be asked for the Chicago anarchists — that, being imbued with ideas which germinate in countries where the legitimate freedom of speech and action is sternly repressed, they were not fully conscious of the moral criminality of their action, and that the main purpose of their punishment — the prevention of such crimes in future — will be as well served, if not even better served, by a commutation of the sentence of death into a sentence of imprisonment.
This last is a very strong ground for the interposition of executive clemency; and it is sincerely to be hoped that the governor of Illinois will see its force. A tragical death always tends to condone mistakes and crimes, and a certain amount of sympathy will undoubtedly attach to the Chicago anarchists if they are hanged, which would not be aroused if they were merely imprisoned.
But in whatever expression of opinion associations of workingmen who do not themselves believe in the use of dynamite may see fit to make upon this subject, there should be nothing which tends to put the Chicago anarchists in the light of leaders and martyrs in the cause of American social reform.
There are certain lessons connected with this Chicago tragedy that are well worth the consideration of every thoughtful American. The appearance in this country of a violent phase of anarchism is not to be imputed entirely to the ignorance or viciousness of foreigners unacquainted with our institutions. If they did not find in this country deep and grievous social injustice, they would not retain the idea of violence as a remedy for social evils after coming here; and were it not for this injustice which large bodies of our people keenly feel, the man who should propose violence or plot violence as a means for improving the condition of the people would be laughed into silence. The really dangerous thing in this country is not the presence of foreign born incendiaries, but the existence of industrial conditions, which, in the midst of plenty, deprive the laborer of what he knows to be the fair earnings of his toil, and condemn men able to work and willing to work to enforced idleness. And the most dangerous men are in reality not the socialists or anarchists, but the comfortable classes who declare that things as they are are just what they ought to be, and who not only do not address themselves to finding any reasonable or peaceful solution for social difficulties, but do their utmost to prevent any such peaceful solution from being generally accepted.
Nor is the talking about force confined to anarchists. The rich and influential are too ready to talk about it, and to condone such applications of it as the employment of Pinkerton’s detectives and the clubbing of peaceful assemblages by police.3 And the readiness with which the idea has spread that the Chicago anarchists have been unjustly and illegally condemned is a grave warning of the loss of faith in our judicial system consequent upon the corruption of our politics. We are yet far from the point at which it can be rationally assumed that seven judges of a highest state court would condemn a number of their fellow creatures to death against law and evidence; but when, as in this state, $60,000 is sometimes spent to secure a judicial nomination, and great corporations can make their influence felt in politics to secure friends on the bench, the belief in judicial integrity is surely on the wane.
A Typical Instance in Ellenville.
New York, Oct. 2. — A few weeks ago I visited Ellenville, and induced a few men there to form a land and labor club. It required some persuasion, as the doctrine of the single tax was little known, and there seemed to them small prospect of successful independent political action. Nevertheless, the seed was sown, and has sprouted and fructified beyond my most hopeful anticipations. On Saturday last, in company with John J. Bealin, I went to Ellenville to address a public meeting convened by the united labor party there. At the station we were met by a delegation headed by the united labor party brass band and were escorted to Masonic hall, which was crowded, not withstanding the fact that the night was stormy. Many ladies were present, and were quite as demonstrative as the men in their approval of the sentiments we expressed. Before the speaking began a well-organized choir of male voices, with violin accompaniment, sang appropriate campaign songs, and all through the proceedings were incidents that showed forethought and care. The chair was ably filled by Thomas Clayton, and on the platform were Messrs. Jordan, Wilson, Rule, Eckert, Purcell and other active workers. Our speeches were followed throughout with close attention and were frequently interrupted by applause. All these facts went to show the rapid development of thought in Ellenville during the past few weeks. This kind of progress I have found in other parts of the state where I have been. Where a small seed was dropped a few weeks or months ago is now a hardy plant. The hunger of the people for knowledge, surprises everyone. James J. Gahan
Richmond County Well in Hand.
Tompkinsville, Richmond County, S. I., Oct. 1. — We have twenty compact branches of the united labor party in this county. They are situated in Middleton, Castleton, Northfield and Southfield, and have a membership of 400, all of whom are active workers — men who can secure votes. All the united labor meetings have been well attended, and if an election were held tomorrow Henry George would get 2,000 votes.
This is a democratic county and the democratic party will suffer most from our movement. We have active and rather influential men in our ranks. Among them are W. E. Simpkins, John De Morgan, A. B. Stoddard, W. B. Hallock, B. J. Clark and H. D. Turner. We will conduct an active campaign and look for a good vote. William F. Esterbrook.
A Stir in Genesee County.
Batavia, Genesee Co., Oct. 2. — We had a meeting here tonight, but a heavy rain kept many away. However, the audience was very attentive. Hubert Crowe and Clarence Moeller were the speakers. We had a good meeting of farmers at Castile during the week. They became interested, and good men were secured to handle ballots on election day and do good work in the meantime. In St. Helena, Garnetville, Dale and Sheldon I have found the right kind of men to do effective work. There are calls from all parts of my district for speakers, and people generally are becoming more and more interested. A. J. Rose, Member of State Committee
Booming in Gloversville.
Gloversville, Fulton Co. — Our organization is steadily getting stronger and I believe we are going to grow very rapidly between now and election. Our meeting last week, at which Louis F. Post and Robert Crowe of New York, P. H. Cummins, candidate for state treasurer, and Clarence Moeller of Chicago, spoke, was the largest political meeting held here in five years and has excited the wonder and chagrin of the politicians. We expect an even bigger meeting this Thursday when Dr. McGlynn and Everett Glackin speak. William C. Wood
Hustling Things in Troy.
A correspondent writes from Troy: Since Dr. McGlynn and Everett Glackin spoke here Wednesday a week, there has been much discussion, and the tone of some of our most pronounced opponents has been modified. We are not allowing the grass to grow under our feet. The feeling among the farmers is very strong. Some came thirty miles to hear Dr. McGlynn.
To Our Friends Throughout the State.
The Standard invites correspondence from its friends throughout the state relating to the progress of the campaign, and giving facts which may illustrate or bear upon the principles advocated by the united labor party. Such correspondence should be brief, and confined to the recital of facts, to avoid undue pressure upon our columns.
THE SOCIETY MUSTERS TO WELCOME JUDGE MAGUIRE.
Two Great Halls Filled to Overflowing and Thousands Turned Away Disappointed – Henry George’s Words of Welcome for His Old Time Friend – Judge Maguire Puts the Single Tax Theory in a Nutshell – Eloquent Words from Dr. McGlynn
The twenty-third public meeting of the Anti-poverty society was a memorable one. The occasion was the welcoming to New York of Judge James G. Maguire of San Francisco, who has crossed the continent to lend his aid to the principle of anti-poverty in the pending New York campaign. It was interesting and exhilarating to observe how enthusiastically and in what prodigious numbers the members of the society and their friends turned out to welcome one whom they knew only by reputation, but whom they rejoiced to see because he came among them to advocate a principle so dear to their hearts.
A single hall, even as large as the Academy of Music, would have been utterly insufficient to accommodated the throng, and, foreseeing this the executive committee had engaged Nilsson hall, nearby, for an overflow meeting, and arranged the programme so that the speakers of the evening might be heard alternatively in each house. But as the event proved, a third, and perhaps even a fourth, meeting might have been held without accommodating all who wish by their presence to emphasize the welcome to Judge Maguire. Both the Academy and Nilsson hall were crowded to the limit of their capacity almost as soon as the doors were opened; and when the last possible auditor had been admitted, the throng that filled the streets and surged toward the floors, seemed just as great as ever.
At eight o’clock Dr. McGlynn took the chair at the Academy meeting amid a tumult of applause, with Henry George and Judge Maguire beside him. Then when the cheering had somewhat subsided, Henry George advanced to introduce the guest of the evening.
Mr. George said:
I am glad that we are able to show to my good friend from California such a meeting as this, he tells me that they have heard out there through the associated press (laughter) that the anti-poverty meetings in New York are mostly composed of women, and that they are not very large at that. (Laughter.) The crowds at the doors, the two halls filled as they are tonight, show, as nothing else can show, how deeply this movement has taken hold upon the popular heart and the popular conscience in the great metropolis of the nation. I can say to you tonight that my trip during the week, which has taken me through the southern tier of counties, beginning at Elmira and winding up at Buffalo, has shown, as my other meetings did, the readiness, aye, the eagerness of the people everywhere to hear our doctrines and to join hands in this movement. (Applause.) If we do our duty in this city we need not be afraid of the rest of the state. (Cries of “We will, We will.”)
Our difficulty so far has been that we have had little organization. But everywhere the seed has been taking root, and now it begins to sprout up. About fourteen months ago one of the very best and most earnest workers in this movement, a man who for six years has been working in season and out of season in this city of New York, said to me: “I begin to feel dubious; I begin to fear that we shall never see any result of our work. I know that we are making converts all over; and yet though men seem to be convinced of the truth of our doctrines, that is the last we hear of it, and everything goes on as before.” I said to him: “Don’t be disheartened. That is only what must be expected. When a seed germinates in the ground its growth is at first all downward; it stretches out its roots in the darkness, and the human eye can see no sign of growth. But by and by a little green sprout appears above the surface, and then, clearly to every eye, the plant grows. So it is with all movements of thought. Our ideas are today, as it were, latent throughout the community. By and by will come something that will seem to us like an accident, to bring these principles in issue; and then you will see their friends rising as though they started out of the ground.” (Great applause.)
A few months after we held that conversation, by what seemed at that time an accident, by a means that was then, of all, furthest from my thoughts, by the holding of a political convention and the nomination of myself for an office, the principle was brought into issue, and the strength we developed astounded people who had not known anything about it. And just so it is everywhere through the state, and everywhere throughout this nation. There is no village or hamlet in the state today in which we have not some earnest friends. They may not be, as yet, known to each other; they have, for the most part, been working quietly and secretly. But now that the time for organization has arrived, they are coming together, and the fruits are already obvious. Take Buffalo, for instance, which some of our best informed friends have considered, as they phrase it, “the most hopeless town in the state for us.” Last Saturday night I spoke there to a crowded hall, and the members of the club told me that within the last week everything had seemed to change since the time when Mr. Post and Mr. Freeman spoke there before. They now have formed the nucleus of an active and efficient organization, and they are organizing clubs in every ward of the city; they are making arrangements to push out into the rest of the county, securing friends who will distribute our literature, who will, on election day, present our tickets, and their estimate of the vote we are going to get is increasing every day. (Applause.) I find, too, among the class that the pro-poverty press have always flattered themselves would suffice to prevent our triumphs — the farming class — a readiness and an eagerness to learn our principles, and when they are explained to them, I find no other class of men so ready to accept our doctrine. The friends of poverty who are relying upon the farmers are counting without their hosts. We can carry the state — (great applause) — with the aid of a majority of the farmers’ votes, if we can get to them. Our only difficulties re the want of organization, and especially the want of mone. But what we are doing here is telling all through the interior. This great antipoverty fair, of which our leading papers are publishing full accounts, is something novel in politics, just as the taking up of collections in our meetings is novel; and it shows, even to those who know nothing else about us, that this is in reality a people’s movement, not a movement relying upon the contributions of corporations and the assessments of officeholders, but a spontaneous uprising of the people and for the people. (Prolonged applause.)
I start in a very short time for Rochester, where I am to speak tomorrow night. I have been very busily engaged, and I take this opportunity of making a reply to a letter addressed to me which I have not yet read, but which I see in the papers this morning (laughter) has been sent — a challenge from Mr. Shevitch (hisses and cries of “Don’t waste any ammunition”) on the part of the progressive labor party to debate with him the issues of the campaign. I have only had the letter as yet through the newspapers, and so to prevent loss of time I will answer in the same public way, sending him a formal letter tomorrow.
I begin to speak through the state tomorrow, speaking tomorrow night at Rochester, and winding up at New Brighton on Saturday night. If Mr. Shevitch chooses to meet me at any one of those meetings I will gladly give him half my time. (Applause, and cries of, “He will not dare to meet you.”) If he prefers to have the meetings in New York he need not bother about any committee on my part, as he proposes. I am perfectly willing that he shall select the hall. Next Sunday night is the only opportunity I have, but if he and his friends will select a hall — (Cries of, “Bring him here.”) No, I should prefer to meet him down on the east side. (Laughter.) He and his friends can get the hall and make whatever arrangements they please. I only stipulate that the admission shall be free, and I am willing on my part to pay one half of the expenses.
And now I have a most pleasing duty before me — that of introducing to the Anti-poverty society of New York my good friend Judge James G. Maguire. (Great applause and cheering.) We know Judge Maguire in New York; we know him by the work he has done on the Pacific coast for this cause. We know him from the fact that he had the manliness some mouths ago to write a public letter withdrawing formally from the sham democracy (laughter and applause) in order that he might openly take his stand with the true democracy. (Applause.) We know him as one of those Catholics whose voice was raised against the oppression of our good friend Dr. Edward McGlynn. (Enthusiastic applause.) And — (here Mr. George turned to the judge) — Judge Maguire, there is not a man in the Anti-poverty society, there is not a man in this hall who would not feel honored, as I feel honored, by the opportunity of introducing you to this audience. (Applause.)
But with me there is also another feeling. For years, for many years, we have been friends. He is to me not merely Judge Maguire, but Jimmy Maguire (applause) of the old days; we knew each other, and knew each other well, but neither of us ever dreamed that we should stand before such an audience as this. I know him for a man of the whitest and clearest character. I know him for a man who has cut his own way; beginning life as a blacksmith, he has worked up to one of the highest positions in his state and to the winning of the confidence, not merely of the legal profession, but of the entire people. I know him for a man who has always stood for every just cause since his public career began. (Applause.) And here is another proof of the enthusiasm this movement creates, that a judge of the superior court of San Francisco should call another to his place, should excite the tireless vindictiveness of the machine politicians who look upon New York as the battle ground for the next presidency, and at the call of the men of New York, should, at his own expense, travel across the continent for the purpose of helping us here.
And there are some other feelings that come up in my mind as I meet my old friend. When I first stood up for these principles I did not know another man in the world who held them. It was dark, and it was oft times bitter — the way that I was forced to tread. I know what ostracism means; I know what it is to turn one’s back for the sake of principle on all the temptations of life; I know what it is to struggle on, utterly hopeless that in one’s time he shall see any fruition of his work; and as I think of that, I feel most deeply grateful. More I sometimes think, has been already given to me than is accorded to most men. Even when leaving California to come to the east I could have no hope that in a few years I should see this movement assuming such dimensions. After I shall be gone, I thought, some time the day will come when these truths will come forward in their strength; but when, I could not tell. I never counted upon success. It has always been enough to me that I was doing my duty. (“Hear, hear!”) And to every one into whose heart the enthusiasm of this movement has entered there is a reward totally irrespective of what the world calls success. I know that it has been so in my own case; I know that it has been so in the case of hundreds, aye, even thousands, from whom I have heard. There is sufficient reward in the knowledge that comes to a man who thinks that this earth is really under the control of a beneficent providence. When one realizes that the poverty, the degradation, the bitter strife of which our civilization is full is not the fault of God; that it is solely the result of human injustice; that it comes from the fact that we have broken the laws of the Divine Law Giver, then there comes to him a deeper and a higher faith. Then he can say, as without that knowledge he never could say before, “Our Father which art in heaven.” And there comes to him a hope and a trust that, no matter how the fortunes of this brief life may go, there is another life, and that somewhere, at some time, the great Power that makes all good, will call upon those who have stood for what is good, call on those who have battled for the right; and that somewhere, some time, if he does his duty, he shall hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Applause.)
This is no political movement in the ordinary acceptation of the term. This is a deeply religious movement. (Applause.) This audience — the way people have flocked to this hall — the way all over the state in which they crowd to hear the words of the priest of the people (great applause) prove that today, as eighteen centuries ago, when the real truths of Christianity are preached, the common people hear them gladly. In this is the strength of this great movement. This is the sign in which it goes on conquering and to conquer. One of the greatest of patriots, of philanthropists, one of the greatest of moral teachers, the great Italian, Mazzini, said in the last generation that all movements for social reform must be utterly hopeless so long as they do not take hold of the religious sentiment of men; that to fight power and wealth and organization, to break up a system founded on selfishness and appealing to selfishness, it is utterly idle to call upon men in the name of their own personal interests; that something deeper, something stronger, must be appealed to; and in the religious sentiment of men, in the sentiment of sympathy with their fellows, in their love for their God, lies the only power that can reform the world and rescue our civilization from what will otherwise prove its certain destruction. (Cheers.) Here today in the United States of America, in the city of New York, that world conquering power has been aroused. It is the same power that placed the cross above the temples of the Caesars. It is the great power that, sweeping out from a little province, preached through the whole earth, by the mouths of the poor and enslaved, the doctrine that revolutionized the world and made modern civilization possible. (Cheers.) And now it comes again, another and a greater crusade, the mightiest of revolutions, the movement that aims at nothing less than the abolishing of poverty; the movement that aims at nothing less than the placing of all men upon a footing of equality (cheers); the movement that aims at nothing less than the regeneration of the world. (Great cheering.) It is an honor, it is a privilege that I feel to the bottom of my heart that I am permitted to take part in it; and every man, and every woman, and every child who joins with us may feel the same joy and the same pride. (Great applause.)
As Mr. George concluded, and Judge Maguire rose to respond, the enthusiasm of the audience fairly broke loose, and a long continued tempest of applause and cheers testified the heartiness of their welcome. When at last he could be heard, Judge Maguire said:
My Friends — This is by far the grandest spectacle that has ever been presented to my eyes — grand in the magnitude of the assemblage — grander, mightier, noblier, holier in the principles which you are here to espouse, and to aid in carrying into practical effect among mankind and for the good of mankind. I feel overpowered by this demonstration, so far beyond anything that I had any reason to expect, and my embarrassment has been increased by the earnest and sympathetic words of my dear and long-time friend, the prophet of the new crusade. (Applause and cheering.) I am proud indeed to hear you cheering. Well may you cheer, well may you applaud, well may you follow the grandest philosopher of the nineteenth century. For ten long years I have yearned for the day when the work of emancipating the world from the condition of social slavery, injustice and wrong which had been fastened upon it by the denial of natural rights should commence (applause); for ten years I have been hoping that in that struggle I might be permitted to take some part.
With the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, I thank God that I was not born either sooner or later, but am permitted to take part in this grand, this mighty struggle for the emancipation of mankind, and the establishment of God’s will upon earth, as it is in Heaven. (Applause.)
Mr. George’s remarks have called back to mind some pleasant recollections. At the time when he tells you he knew of none, or of very few, who entertained the opinions that he and you are now bringing out into the arena of practical politics, I remember that Mr. George and myself were discussing these questions — mind you, “Progress and Poverty” had not then been written. Mr. George had published a little pamphlet, called “Our Land and Land Policy,” in which he outlined the theory afterward developed in “Progress and Poverty,” and in 1877 a few of us were urging upon him the immediate execution of his proposed development of those principles in the form of a philosophical work. We talked about the possibility of bringing these theories into practical politics, of getting them before the world and establishing them in the systems of government. I remember suggesting to him that it took twenty-five years for Herbert Spencer to get a respectable hearing in the world, and that it might be possible that these grand principles should be forced forward to a general hearing within the same period. But neither of us could have dreamed or thought possible that within ten years such a grand uprising of the people, such a grand uprising in the name of God and for the benefit of mankind should take hold upon the world as the one that is now progressing in New York. Our hopes looked forward to the twentieth century, and did not at all contemplate the establishment of these principles in the nineteenth century. (Applause.) But now a mighty momentum has been given to the movement. A priest has come to join the prophet — (long and loud applause and cheering) — and bringing the mighty principle of religion to the aid of the great philosophy of Henry George, our cause has been forced forward; the minds and hearts of men have both been reached, and now not in New York alone, but everywhere throughout the civilized world these theories are working like a leaven among the people; and gradually leaders of thought are springing up here and there to declare their faith in the principles, and to lead their slower and less active brothers out into the light that is here beaming upon all classes in the great metropolis of New York. (Applause.)
The eyes of the world are indeed upon you in this grand struggle. Its effects are not and cannot be confined to the state of New York. Already your work of last fall has sent a thrill through the whole United States, and every word, every line that appears from your speakers or about your work in this state is read with the deepest interest by people throughout the entire union. The names of Henry George and Dr. McGlynn are household words throughout the world today; they are known to all, admired by all, whether believers or unbelievers in the great truth that they are preaching. And when I speak of the great work of these leaders and preachers of the new gospel of justice, let me not forget another name, that of your choir leader, Miss Agatha Munier.4 (Applause.) The strains of her music echo upon the Pacific coast, and many a one of my friends, when taking leave of me, said that he envied me the privilege of hearing the Concordia choir in this academy. It is a grand auxiliary; it is doing glorious work.
When I visited the great anti-poverty fair last evening it was a surprise to me, though not so much of a surprise as this meeting here tonight. When I saw thousands upon thousands of people swaying as their leaders entered the hall, cheering as a single voice upon the mention of their names; when I saw the upturned, intelligent faces, with determination stamped upon every countenance, with love and human affection beaming from every eye, I knew that one and all were engaged in what they regarded as a holy cause, a cause which involves the sublimest principles of religion, a cause which made their hearts sympathtic, [sic] and made them yearn and pray for justice and for the triumph of all the noble principles which tend to lift up, to elevate and to increase the happiness of mankind. (Great cheering.) I have never lacked faith in the soundness of Henry George’s principles — never since I first learned them from his own lips. But until I saw that multitude of supporters last night at the fair I never realized how near fruition was his work. As I stood upon the platform at that fair I said, “The time is near at hand when liberty and justice under this true, this only plan of social organization, shall be accomplished.” And I thought just then of an effort that was made shortly after the period of which Mr. George has spoken, when we sought to find if there were others in San Francisco who had read the pamphlet of which I have spoken, and we managed to get together just two beside ourselves. That was only ten years ago. And after several days of casting about, not only among the readers of the pamphlet but among our own personal friends who were willing to investigate anything in which we took a sufficient interest to devote our time and our energies to it, we managed to get together just about thirteen who were willing to form a land reform league, and so we formed the first organization for the purpose of promoting these particular principles. But the four or five who then stood up for these principles have multiplied a thousand, aye, ten, a hundred thousand fold, and in almost every village of the United States today can be found more men ready to unite for the advocacy of these principles understandingly and hopefully, with the expectation of seeing their fruition realized, than we could get together in the whole city of San Francisco ten years ago. (Immense applause.)
Out there in California we have some of the noblest missionaries at work that have ever undertaken to carry the banner of any cause in the world. We have mechanics who have left their places in San Francisco to go through the state seeking employment, finding it as they can in the towns and villages throughout the state and working long enough in each to organize a land and labor club, to preach the gospel of the new crusade, to distribute tracts (applause), to establish a nucleus of organization, and then send to San Francisco for a speaker to go down and address public meetings, which are called with never-failing success. We have there a lady of whom you have heard through The Standard, Mrs. Frances M. Milne, one of the noblest women that ever lifted voice or pen in behalf of any cause; she never falters, never hesitates, but works as a missionary going about among her neighbors distributing tracts (applause), talking to them, urging upon them the cause which she believes most truly to be God’s most noblest work upon earth — the restoration to his people of the natural rights which God created, and finding time for correspondence with The Standard, and with our San Francisco paper, the Weekly Star. I cannot speak of all the individuals who are working in the cause. A few years ago I might have named them all without wearying you, but now their name is legion, and when the success of which I am now feeling sure shall be realized in New York in this campaign (applause), the land and labor clubs of California will multiply as ten to one and continue to increase in a geometric rather than in an arithmetic ratio.
Mr. George spoke of some false impressions that I had received from reading the accounts of these meetings in the California papers. The Standard has never spoken particularly of the sex of the people who attended these anti-poverty meetings. I knew that they were grandly enthusiastic, but the papers, by way of showing that the voters of New York do not attend the meetings, but that an enthusiasm has been stirred up among the non-voters, represent that these meetings are attended almost exclusively by the very excellent ladies of Dr. McGlynn’s former congregation — (laughter and applause) — who are here, as they say, not because they understand the principles of the society, but because they have a sympathy for Dr. McGlynn personally (laughter); they are wholly ignorant of the real purpose of the meetings, and come here simply to do honor to Dr. McGlynn personally. (Laughter.) Well, I shall be able anyway, if anybody should ask me about it hereafter, to draw it mildly, to say that, that is a very great mistake. (Laughter.)
I met a leading lawyer of San Francisco on a streetcar the other evening as I was going to my home, who said to me: “I am awful sorry to see that you are going over to New York to join that crowd at the anti-poverty meeting (laughter); and, don’t you know, I don’t like to criticise; I suppose that you have thought it all over, but it is not only ridiculous, in my judgment, but it is a thing that will all blow away in a short time; there will be nothing of it left. (Laughter.) You fellows will go over there and talk, and be applauded for a time while this enthusiasm lasts, and then it will die out and you will all be left standing out in the cold, high and dry, and will have lost the respect and power and place that you might have had by remaining here and keeping out of it. Why,” he said, “those people that attend the anti-poverty meetings don’t know anything about Henry George’s theories. (Laughter.) They don’t understand them at all.”
I replied: “I think that is a statement you should hesitate to make. Those people have been studying the theories for several months. They seem to be deeply interested in them, and the principles are very simple.”
“Oh, simple!” said he. “No, they are not. I have been studying them for many years, and don’t understand them.” (Laughter and long continued applause.)
“Well,” said I, “I beg your pardon, sir; we must take your word for it that you have been studying them for many years, and that you don’t understand them; but still I assert that these people who attend the anti-poverty meeting do understand them.”
“Why,” said he, “I have not yet been able to find out what Henry George proposes to do; I can’t find out what his proposition is.”
So then, of course, I knew that, like all of the men who criticise the theory or the man, he had never read the work, and looking at it from a distance, imagined that there was something very hard in it; something awfully difficult to understand.
But he had drawn the eyes of all the people in the car to us; he had got a little excited, and was talking in rather a loud tone — for you know that the leaders of both the old parties are rather doubtful where this thing is going to strike. They all hate it terribly, and it nettles them to talk about it. (Cries of “Good.”) I thought I could give him a lesson in political economy — (laughter) — so I said: “Are you able to understand what is meant by exempting personal property from taxation?” He felt a little piqued at being asked such a simple question, and replied: “Of course I do.” I then said, “Do you understand what is meant by exempting all of the improvements upon land from taxation?” “Yes.” “Do you understand what is meant by abolishing all poll taxes?”
“Do you understand what is meant by raising all public revenues from a single tax upon land values?”
“Yes,” said he.
“Now, sir,” I continued, “you ought to be very thankful to me, for within less than one minute I have given you Mr. George’s theory complete. (Great applause and laughter.) And you have learned more, according to your own statement, than you were able to learn by several months of hard study.” (Laughter.)
“Well,” he said. “I never understood Henry George’s theory exactly that way before.”
I then said: “Are you willing to admit that the members of the Anti-poverty society are probably as a general rule, sufficiently intelligent to understand that.” Yes, he rather thought they were; but added he, “Now that you have stated it more plainly than I have ever seen it stated before, it is a good deal worse than I thought it was. (Laughter.) Why,” he said, “what a monstrous piece of injustice it is. Here you propose to exempt about one-half of the wealth of the country from taxation and put the entire burden of maintaining the government upon one class of people; you propose to put the taxes entirely upon the owners of land and make them bear all of the burdens of taxation, while everybody else escapes; that is worse than I thought it was, positively.”
I then commenced to discuss with him the distinction between property in land and property which is the production of human labor, and I finally got him to recognize and acknowledge that there was possibly some difference between the natural elements of wealth which God created and gave freely to all mankind for the equal use of all and the wealth which is the result of human skill and labor. In that he acknowledged the distinction between wealth and the sources of wealth; and after a little more discussion he concluded that it was possible that the members of the Anti-poverty society could appreciate the difference as well as himself.
Then my friend raised the other usual objection — it ought to be patented, for it is so generally used (laughter), and I think it can be patented, for it has not been in use two years yet. “Why,” said he, “how futile that would be; for the very moment that you raise the tax on my land I will raise your rent, and then I have got you.” (Laughter.)
I simply asked him, “Why don’t you raise my rent now? (Applause.) Do you know of a landlord in this community who would be guilty of such an atrocious breach of the ethics of his profession as to allow any man to escape now with less rent than he can possibly collect from him? (Prolonged applause.) If he is extracting the last penny from him now that he can extract, how is he going to extract any more in the future? But let us suppose that he should try to. Look at all of the unoccupied land in our cities, even adjoining houses and business places; what will become of that if we take the rental value of it for public purposes?”
“Well,” said my friend, “it would be pretty rough for the fellow that owned it.”
Said I, “Don’t you think that he would try to make it productive?”
“I guess he would,” said he, “or he would have to let it go (great applause), for he could not afford to hold it idle.”
Don’t you see how rapidly they learn?
“Well,” I said, “what effect would that probably have on the individual who is renting the building? Every one of the owners of those lots will be compelled to build to make his land productive. What would become of the other fellows? Suppose that all of the land now held idle were built upon and offered to tenants in competition with the present owners of houses, don’t you realize that that increase in the number of houses, forced by the operation of these principles, would compel the owners of tenements to lower their rents instead of raising them?” (Great cheering.) Then he said. “I understand (laughter); it would accomplish that.”
I then told him that the main thing that I wanted to get through his head was that the Anti-poverty society was probably as well able as he to understand these things, and that the people who are following this movement in New York are really and truly supporting and sustaining the principles which they applaud, and are not merely following men. Then he came forward with the time-honored plea for mercy, and said: “You propose to take away the accumulations of a lifetime from all of these men who have invested their money in land?”
“Well,” I replied, “haven’t the people a reserved right to do that? Isn’t it a matter of law impressed upon every deed and every title to private lands in the United States that the people reserve the right to take the rental value of land by taxation whenever they may please to do so?” (Great applause.)
After a little further argument, which it is not necessary to go over here, he admitted that the power of taxation was unlimited and could undoubtedly be exercised under the constitution, in accordance with the reserved rights of the people, to the extent of taking the entire rental value of land by taxation. Then I said: “You know that landlords and all others who suffer for violation of laws that they claim not to understand are still bound to know the law; that the rule which applies to the man who has no leisure applies equally to the man who has plenty of leisure. Why, one of the great arguments in favor of landlordism is that we ought to have a leisure class to keep alive learning and refinement, to patronize the arts and sciences, you know (laughter and applause), and that society ought to give up the rental value to them on that account. And now here at the last moment they come in and say: “Why, we didn’t know it was the law.” Think of it! The class especially set aside by civilization for the purpose of promoting arts and sciences do not know the law that every tramp in the land is bound to know; and whine that they ought not to have the conditions of their contract enforced against them, because, forsooth, they haven’t had time to study the law or to know the terms of the contract they made when they purchased their land.”
Well, he thought that it was horrible anyhow, because it was taking away the past accumulations of these people. He thought that however right it might have been in the beginning, however right it might still be to take for the people the future unearned increment of land, that the unearned increment that had already become vested in the landlords ought not to be disturbed. (Laughter.)
“But,” I said, “let us see what the future unearned increment of land is. Upon what is it that the landlord depends for tomorrow’s rent? Does his rental value tomorrow result from anything that the community has done in the past? Not at all: not in the slightest. It depends upon what the toiling masses shall do tomorrow. (Immense applause.) If the people determine tomorrow not to exert themselves any further; if they resolve to become as idle and as shiftless or as vicious as were the digger Indians of our earlier times in California, land values would fall to nothing instantly. (Applause and cheers.) All that was over done in the past would not give the land any rental value at all, so that you see the unearned increment of the future means the whole rental value of the land. John Stuart Mill simply made a mistake in supposing that the rental value which has already been established, that prevails today by reason of the industry and enterprise of the people of every community, would be maintained it the people should cease from exercising those virtues. But it is not true; the rental value of land tomorrow depends upon tomorrow’s work, and if the landlords have no right to compel the people who labor to exercise their enterprise and industry tomorrow, why should they be permitted to sit as parasites, to reap the benefit of that enterprise and industry when you voluntarily exert it? (Immense applause.) There is no reason why they should. In the days of the anti-slavery agitation it was declared and acknowledged that the slave was entitled to his liberty, to have the shackles stricken from his limbs. That moment he was entitled to his freedom as a matter of natural right. The slave owner said: “Why, he ought to be compelled to work for me and give the fruits of his labor to me, because, forsooth, under your laws I bought the right to take the labor, that he might be able to exert during the course of his life.” (Immense applause.) But those who favored the abolition of slavery said, “Not so! that man is entitled to his liberty now absolutely, unequivocally. If you paid some man for a thing that he had no right to sell, go hunt him up and get your money back. (Cheering and great applause.) But you have no right to take the fruits of this man’s labor simply because you paid another man for that privilege. Let him go!”
“Now let us draw the parallel between that case and the present. What is it that the landlords of this country ask the privilege of taking for the future? What? Simply your earnings. They say that they have bought the right to take your earnings for all time in the future. And just as the slave might have said to his master: “You have no right to take any future earnings, because they are mine by natural right; I am entitled to my freedom this instant; I am entitled to whatever I produce by my labor that would not have existed without it.”
So the people propose, and they want it done immediately, as I see by the grand movement which has taken root here, to put an end to that robbery forthwith; to give to each individual all that he individually is entitled to, namely, that which his labor, exclusive of the assistance of other members of the community, has produced or purchased, but that all of the value which results not from the labor of any particular man or men, but from the industry, the virtues, and the mere presence of the whole people collectively shall go, as by natural right it should, to the community which created it.
I am afraid that I have become so interested in this audience that I am forgetting your comfort, and forgetting also another engagement that I have across the way in Nilsson hall. (Cries of “Go on!” “go on!”) But I have still one thought to suggest, and that is that the rental value of land and the necessity for public revenue both arise by operation of the same natural laws. There is a great natural truth embodied in the fact, a grand principle, which pervades all nature and is known to philosophy as the law of natural compensation. (Applause.) Wherever any necessity is created by natural laws, the means of supplying that necessity are placed close at hand. Men come together by the very law of their existence. God has made us a gregarious race; we come together in communities by force of natural laws. When a few families come together, a small need of public revenue arises; when twenty families come together and form a community, they need just enough to pay for a common school in which to educate their children and have little other uses for public revenue. And just then you will find that the place at which these people are getting their horses shod, or have established their post office, or buy their groceries, or to which they bring the products of their labor for exchange or for shipment, no matter whether it be more or less fertile than the rest of the land within the limits of the community, instantly acquires a value that other places have not (applause); and you will find that the advantage of locating at or near that particular point, which has become, so to speak, the center of the community, is just about equal to the revenue required to maintain the public, and as the community grows to thousands or tens of thousands, rendering necessary a larger revenue for the purpose of making streets, supplying water and light, maintaining a police force, etc., you will find that by the simple operation of natural law the value of land at and near the center of the community becomes proportionately increased.5
It is as plain as day to any man who will examine the subject, that the rental value created by the labor and enterprise of the whole community, which no man can claim as his own because of his exclusive production, but that justly belongs to the community, because the labor and enterprise of all have produced it, was designed, by the Creator to meet the necessity that results from the gathering of people together in communities in obedience to His laws. The wrong that has been wrought by the violation of the law has long been felt, and has shown itself in discontent and dissatisfaction, in growing opposition to things as they are, in an ever-increasing outcry against the prevailing injustice. This discontent has become more general as with the growth of society the pressure of that awful evil has been more intensely felt. Men without understanding how to remedy it have sought and advised all sorts of changes in our social organization. In the confusion of outcries men have been at a loss to know what was meant by any of them, or to comprehend what means could possibly effect a restoration of what it seemed clear to all were the rights of the producers of wealth. They saw that the production of wealth was the result of labor entirely, that strangely enough by some sort of hocus-pocus the men who had produced the wealth of the world were standing in enforced idleness, and still the men who had been willfully standing idle, doing nothing, were said to have produced it all. (Great applause.) And the clearing away of that confusion by the presentation of the simple truth put forward by Henry George brings to my mind one of Charles Mackay’s beautiful poems:
Lonely sitting, deeply musing,
On a still and starry night,
Full of fancies when my glances
Turn’d upon those far romances
Scatter’d o’er the Infinite;
On a sudden broke upon me
Murmurs, rumors, quick and loud,
And half-waking I discovered
An innumerable crowd.
‘Mid the uproar of their voices
Scarcely could I hear a word;
There was rushing, there was crushing,
And a sound like music gushing,
And a roar like forests stirred.
By a fierce wind passing o’er them;
And a voice came now and then,
Louder than all – exclaiming,
Give us justice! We are men!”
And the longer that I listen’d,
More distinctly could I hear,
‘Mid the poising of the voicing
Sounds of sorrow and rejoicing
Utterance of hope and fear;
And a clash of disputation
And of words at random cast –
Truths and errors intermingling
Of the present and the past.
Some were shouting that oppression
Held their consciences in thrall;
Some were crying, “Men are dying,
Hungersmit, and none supplying
Bread, the birthright of us all.”
Some exclaimed that wealth was haughty,
Harsh and callous to the poor;
Others cried the poor were vicious,
Idle, thankless, insecure.
Some, with voice of indignation,
Told the story of their wrongs,
Full of dolour — life controller —
That for difference of color
They were sold like cattle throngs.
Others, pallid, weak and shivering,
Said that laws were surely bad,
When the willing hand was idle
And the cheeks of toil were sad.
“Give us freedom for the conscience!”
“Equal rights.” “Unfettered mind!”
“Justice for a mighty nation!”
“Progress!” “Peace with all mankind!”
“Let us labor!” “Give us churches!”
“Give us corn, wher’er it grow!”
These, and other cries, around me.
Surged incessantly, loud or low.
Old opinions jarr’d with new ones;
New ones jostled with the old;
In such babel few were able
To distinguish truth from fable
In the tale their neighbors told.
But one voice, above all others,
Sounded like the voice of ten,
Clear, sonorous, and persuasive,
“Give us justice! We are men.”
And I said, Oh, Sovereign Reason,
Sire of Peace and Liberty;
Aid forever their endeavor;
Boldly let them still assever
All their rights they claim in Thee.
Aid the mighty fermentation
Till it purifies at last,
And the future of the people
Is made brighter than the past.
Before Judge Maguire had finished speaking a deputation had arrived from Nilsson hall to announce that the audience at the overflow meeting were awaiting him, so without waiting for the subsidence of the applause, and with a hearty handshake from Dr. McGlynn he hurriedly left the Academy. Loud calls were then made for Dr. McGlynn, who spoke as follows:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen — My very dear friends, it is instructive to observe how men of every profession, men who hitherto belonged to different political parties — men of all religions and of no religion — have been brought together by this movement to form, not so much a party as a family, and how they all by a common impulse — that can be nothing short of an inspiration from the source of all truth and goodness — are compelled to declare that they are attracted, not by the thought of the benefit that may come to themselves from the amelioration of social conditions, nor even by the mere philanthropic impulse of alleviating the social condition of their brethren, but by the most potent of all attractions, the deepest of all convictions — the attraction and the conviction of religious truth and sentiment. (Applause.) Surely this is not the work of any one man or set of men. Surely it can be said of this movement, as was said of the beginning of the preachings of Christianity: “This is the work of the finger of God.” (Applause.)
It needs at this late day no protest from me to assure you that we never desired, and that we do not desire, to establish a new church, to preach a new religion, or to say aught in disparagement of any portion of the Christian creed. We are impelled rather by the same truth that inspires the Christian creed, by the same love of God, and desire of God’s grace and benediction, that gives to the Christian sacraments all their charm and potency, to forget ourselves, to leave, if need be, the pursuits that hitherto have engrossed us, and so give our time, our labor of brain and hand, to spend and to be spent, and to think it exceeding honor and great joy that we are permitted to preach the truths of God to hungry multitudes, with the knowledge that it is the truth of God, confirmed by the fact that the common people hear it gladly. (Immense applause.)
The economic, political and, best of all, the religious truths, that form the platform of the united labor party — (applause) — and are the animating spirit of the Anti-poverty society — (applause) — are those great cardinal ideas for which the minds and hearts of men were made. The vision of the truth may for a time be dimmed by the mists of passion, may be clouded by prejudices; the vision of men may be distorted by false education; the hearts of men may be debased, degraded and hardened by poverty, and the vice and crime that flow from poverty; the precious image of God may be obscured by the mire in which the coin has lain; it may be incrusted by the rust of centuries, but the image of the King is still there and the time must come in God’s good providence when that coin shall be diligently sought and the mire carefully cleaned away and the incrustations of ages removed, and the image of the King shall be still found there as bright as on the day that it was stamped by God’s own hand upon His noblest work. And it is ever true that, in spite of prejudice, in spite of vice, in spite of perversion of mind and hardening of heart, the minds of God’s children are still crying out for more light and for more love, and when the truth unveiled is presented to their vision they recognize it by a natural instinct; it becomes as potent as the truths in that magnificent Declaration of Independence which was vouchsafed to us and to all of the world by one of the greatest providences of God our Father. And therefore it is that in a few brief months this doctrine so little known, so reviled, misrepresented and maligned, has stirred the hearts of men and quickened their minds and is bringing together such vast multitudes that additional halls must be hired to accommodate all who are eager to come here, not to listen to political speeches, but to hear from the stage of a theater the word of God. (Immense and prolonged applause.)
We are witnessing here today a revival of religion. We are permitted to witness the marvels of the propagation of the religion, of which we are teaching today, the very essence and the core. We see that this great cardinal truth of justice — this great cardinal truth of religion — is propagated today by the same instrumentalities as was Christianity eighteen centuries ago. The very wrath of man is working the will of God; the very storms that are breathed forth by the infernal spirit to stifle the truth help but to scatter it far and wide; the very tempests that are raised to eradicate this new and humble plant are but compelling it, as if by a natural law, to send its roots deeper into the soil, giving new vigor to its branches, and scattering its seeds to all the winds of heaven; and where-ever those seeds shall fall, they shall fall upon good ground, and will bring forth fruit a hundred fold. (Applause.)
I am at times oppressed with the thought of the infinite potentialities that lie in this great truth, the preaching of which, for the moment, seems so largely committed to the small band that here Sunday after Sunday is preaching to you the truths of God. And I feel a solemn sense of responsibility to do what I can to grow to the full stature to which God calls everyone to grow, to whom He gives a consecration to preach His truth, to go out into the world, regardless of all consequences of self, to preach justice, truth, charity — the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. (Great applause.)
Whatsoever thrills the mind, whatsoever stirs the heart, whatsoever charms or enchants has potency, because of the truth that is in it; because it contains in some measure a perception of the infinite truth and goodness and beauty from which we come and toward which we must tend, and outside of which our lives and hearts must always be restless, till in God’s good time they shall find their perfect repose in the bosom of their Father. So all of the trials and the strifes of life, the cares, the tasks, the sorrows, the fleeting joys and burdens hard to bear, all of these things are full of divine potency, if we see but clearly the significance given to them by a wise, a powerful and a beneficent Father.
And so we appeal to you to forget selfish interest in the magnificent, enthusiastic love of the welfare of mankind. (Applause.) We ask you to inspire yourselves in this great conflict for justice with the same enthusiasm that in other days has sent men out from their firesides, from their shops, from their forges, ready to sacrifice not only all of the good things of this world, but life itself, feeling that they were thereby purchasing something well worthy of the price. And what was that something that they were willing to purchase by the payment of so awful a price? It was justice for all men; it was liberty for all men; it was the bringing into this world of a new and better order of things, that with liberty and equality, with the equal right to the pursuit of happiness, the minds and hearts of men might return to their Father; might give over their doubtings and their blasphemies and acknowledge that this is God’s world; that God is God; that, above all things, He is a loving and a beneficent and a provident Father, and that if he asks sacrifices of us here it is that by sacrificing some pleasures here for justice we may the better know that the thing for which we make the sacrifice is so infinitely precious that any earthly price is but little to pay for it. And so this movement asks you to rise out of your baser selves, to forget your selfish interests in the perfect welfare of all. It appeals to your religious instincts. It appeals to your deepest convictions. It appeals to your highest and holiest interests. It appeals to your sense of duty. It appeals to the will of God. And therefore does this simple teaching of the law of perfect justice between man and man — which is the essence of the moral law — raise us to loftier stature, make us better, holier and nearer to God. It calls upon us to consecrate ourselves to the love of the truth, to the doing of justice, to obey the will of God in every slightest tittle, to obey the law not merely before the eyes of man, but in the innermost recesses of our minds and hearts, reserving no part of ourselves where God shall not be the king and lord and master; calling nothing ours that we will not joyfully sacrifice; doing His will here in the perfect assurance that whatsoever we lose here for Him He will restore to us somewhere, sometime, a hundred fold. (Great applause.)
And therefore it is that these political meetings are essentially religious; therefore it is that the stage of the theater and the platform at the street corner, and the truck or the cart become for the moment sacred spots, because there are preached the truths of God. And therefore it is that men go forth from these meetings with more reverence for the truth, with quickened sense of religion, with a hunger for God’s truth, with a resolve to hear more of God’s things, far greater than they take with them from many a place consecrated to the ministrations of religion where these essential truths are not permitted to be uttered. (Prolonged and great applause.) It is a fact that men who had neglected their religious duties for years and years — I have heard more than one authentic story of such cases — have gone from these meetings with so keen a sense of religion, with such remorse for their past worldly and indifferent and sinful lives that they have made haste to go to their pastors and to acknowledge their delinquency; and they have been frank and honest enough to tell the truth, that they were compelled thus to do by the new sense of religion that came to them as they sat in this hall hearing from this platform the word of God. (Immense applause.)
So let us take heart of hope. There are indeed moments when all things may seem dark and the very love and sympathy of our hearts become our tormentors. We stand appalled at the sight of human misery, and mourn our inability to prevent the march of the horrid Juggernaut car as it goes crushing human creatures, crunching flesh and bone, and, worst of all, destroying the best hopes and convictions, the religion and the sympathy and the affections of millions of the souls of God’s children. At such moments we feel something of the agony of the Son of Man when He said: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death; sorrowful because of its unrequited love” — when his heart was breaking with the eager yet hopeless longing to ameliorate the condition of mankind. But the clouds disappeared after the crucifixion. The glorious day of the resurrection dawned, and angels from heaven came down and rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulcher, and when men and women came eagerly and lovingly, undoubtedly, to seek their salvation in the charnel house of the tomb they found angels sitting upon the stone, telling them where, indeed, they should seek their salvation: “He is risen; He is not here.” And so it is with us; in spite of our trials, and cares, and sorrows, and agonies, we take heart of hope, as we feel that we are performing God’s work, that we are doing what we can to hasten the day when the prayer of Christ shall be granted and the will of the Father shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Applause.) Then we put the past behind us; we forget our former selves; we have no regrets; and we go on with a perfect assurance of victory, feeling that with God we are mightier than all the hosts of the world and of hell itself; with a perfect assurance that the wrath of men shall but work the will of God; that the evil one must always overreach himself, and that the very calumnies and persecutions we are called upon to suffer will be potent instruments in the hands of our Father to hasten the coming of the kingdom of heaven. (Applause.)
If God be with us, what matters it who may be against us? (Applause.) And if we fall, what matter? The Father is abundantly able, even from the very stones by the wayside, to raise up better children of Abraham, better prophets, better priests, better apostles, than we. God’s arm is not shortened and has lost nothing of its strength. And so we go on with a perfect assurance that, happen what will, whether we live to see the victory or whether we die in one of the earliest conflicts for the mastery of truth over error, of justice over wrong — whether we are destined to the prize and enjoy the spoils of the victory or whether the triumph shall be left for others who come after us, matters nothing. Whosoever, without thought for self, without hope of reward, takes up the cross of this crusade — whosoever undertakes to do his part in this holy war — is as sure as the word of God can make him that fall when or where he may, whatever be his lot here, honored or dishonored, successful or defeated, he somewhere, somehow, sometime, shall have his perfect reward, and having hungered for justice to the end, somewhere, sometime, somehow, he shall have his fill. (Great applause.)
And so we go into this fight for justice animated with the fierce delight of the conflict, with perfect assurance of victory, with unspeakable confidence in the blessedness of the great reward; we go with a resolve that our lives shall contain nothing unworthy of priests and preachers and warriors of God. We go forth as if baptized with a baptism of fire, fearing the face of no man, but humbly and reverently bowing before the holy will of God. So our preaching, our speaking, our laboring and our talking become, as it were, one continued prayer. We are trying to practice what we are teaching the multitudes, that to labor and to fight for the fulfillment of God’s will is but another form of prayer. Laborare est orare.6 The prayer is the echo of the labor, and the labor alternates with the prayer. (Applause.)
The hour is late, and I shall detain you only long enough to exhort you to do what you can to make practical the preachings of this pulpit. (Immense and long continued applause.) Offer yourselves, each and every one of you — men, women and children — as speakers, preachers, workers in this conflict for God’s truth and justice. An obligation is laid upon every one of you, that after you come in here and hear the truth you cannot go out of this place just the same as when you came in; you must either go out quickened with the truth, touched with new sympathies and with new resolves to lead pure, and holy, and honest and self-sacrificing lives, or you must go out worse than you came in, having heard the truth and been so cowardly and so base as to shut your eyes to it because it calls upon you to make some painful sacrifice — (applause) — because it demands that you should, perhaps, incur censure or lose some friend; because it asks of you to sacrifice yourselves by living perfectly honest and noble and generous lives. And if you go out thus you go out wretched indeed; better were it for you that you had never come in. (Applause.) But God forbid such evil. And so I exhort you all, with great confidence that for no one of you shall exhortation be in vain, to go out from this place animated with a new resolve to do, to speak, to labor, to suffer for justice’s sake. And then your thoughts will take shape in deeds; you will be alive; it will be impossible for men to come to you and not partake of the light, of the genial warmth that is in you. Thus it is that truth is propagated; thus it was that the Christian religion in a few centuries dominated the whole civilized world.
But, thanks to the providence of God, we can today accomplish in years what formerly required centuries. (“Hear! hear!” Great applause.) All the magnificent progress of civilization; all the labor-saving machinery, the annihilation of time and space by steam and electricity — all of these things have been wisely and lovingly and promptly inspired and helped by the providence of God, that in His good time justice should spread all over the world like a fire in the forest; so that today we may hope, without extravagance, that in a few years this doctrine of justice shall be the common property of men. And thus we have good reason to hope that this movement in a short time will bring not merely peace, prosperity, virtue, happiness and joy to the people of this beautiful land, but by the potency of truth, by the force of example, it will emancipate the world. And in that happy day Christ’s prayer will have been fulfilled; the kingdom of God will have come on earth, and God’s will shall have begun to be done on earth as it is in heaven. And then men will learn; we shall know more. Then standing armies shall be a thing of the barbarous past, and all the nations shall form but one family, one commonwealth, one republic, under wise laws framed by their chosen representatives in the parliament of man. (Immense and long continued applause.)
The Meeting in Nilsson Hall.
The overflow meeting in Nilsson hall was the counterpart of its big brother in numbers, earnestness and enthusiasm. Every inch of the building was occupied, the major portion of the audience being of the voting sex. Abner C. Thomas presided, and opened the exercises with an address, in the course of which he said that “if there was any doubt as to the intensity and probable outcome of the labor movement, the sight of two great halls crowded to their utmost, capacity, while still greater numbers thronged the streets without, would be a sufficient answer.” At the conclusion of Mr. Thomas’s remarks Miss Munier, with her Concordia chorus, filed into the hall from the Academy. Loud cheers greeted these indefatigable volunteers as they rendered “Keep It Before the People,” and the now familiar campaign song of “Land and Labor.”
Louis F. Post was the first speaker. He narrated his experiences among the farmers of the interior, the citizens of the different towns he had spoken in, and felt assured from his canvass of the state that the rural districts would emulate the large cities in voting for the united labor party. He related a conversation with a farmer, who wanted to know “just what Mr. George calculates to do.” Mr. Post asked him what, his farm was worth, and its assessment for purposes of taxation.
The farmer replied that his property was worth probably $6,000, and that he was assessed for $3,000. “Well,” said Mr. Post, “suppose a cyclone came along and wiped off everything, leaving you just the land, what would your farm be worth then?”
“Oh! then I couldn’t get more than $1,000 for it,” replied the farmer.
“Then that’s just the amount your whole farm as it stands would be assessed under Mr. George’s plan of taxation,” said the speaker, whereupon the farmer assured Mr. Post that he was going to vote the whole united labor party ticket. Here the audience laughed and cheered heartily. John McMackin followed in a telling speech and was succeeded by Henry George, whose appearance was the signal for long continued applause.
“All this enthusiasm,” said Mr. George, “and these crowded gatherings are evidences that we are going to triumph. The same fiery enthusiasm that is shown here tonight is exhibited everywhere throughout the state. Everywhere the best people are coming over to our side. This is the grandest of campaigns; in which the light of the new crusade is leading ministers of every denomination to preach the principles we are striving to bring into American politics.”
J. J. Bealin and W. T. Croasdale followed in brief but telling speeches, after, which Dr. McGlynn addressed the meeting with his wonted eloquence on the great issues involved in carrying into practical politics the sentiment of fraternity among men.
Judge Maguire was the last speaker, and his presence and glowing sentences kept up the enthusiasm until the overpent feelings of the people found voice in joining Miss Munier’s choir as they sang Rev. Mr. Anketell’s “Cross of the Crusade.”
Is There Any Need That a Great City Should Have Shadows of This Kind?
Cleveland, Sept. 20. — Some of the shadows of a great city were well illustrated in two cases which came to light today. Forty years ago pretty, dashing Katie Reinhart was a much-courted belle in Cleveland. She married a young man named Smith, and soon disaster overtook her. Through her husband’s speculations they lost their home. His drunken habits and neglect broke her heart, and finally disease took her husband and children from her. This morning an old woman sixty-five years old was found dead in a little shanty at 96 Birch street. The miserable abode was cold, barren of furniture and destitute of every necessity of life. The body was identified as that of Mrs. Katie Smith. She had starved to death. Her remains will be buried by the city. Another sad case is that of Mrs. Alexander Grover. She is a young woman twenty-four years of age, and, although only married three years, has been repeatedly deserted by her husband. Unable to support herself, and too proud to beg she was found today in an unfurnished room of a tenement house on Woodland avenue starving to death with her two emaciated babies in her lap. Through lack of nourishment the babies had wasted away to mere skeletons, and they will die.
Did Dr. Phelon Have “Snakes” or “Georgeism” When He Wrote This?
Riverside, Cal. Press.
“Let land be taxed out of ownership” and “everything will be lovely,” is the cry of the pestilential, riot breeding foreigners who left their country for their country’s good.
Our country cousins should lose no occasion by voice, influence or vote to stamp out Georgeism as they would stamp out a prairie fire or crush a rattlesnake. The sooner this horrid doctrine is relegated to the limbo of the dead past, the sooner we shall be freed from the fear of the unknown.
It is unaccountable how the legacies of savagery ever and anon appear in the ages of civilization as clouds shadow the brightness of the sun. The ownership of land was the first step from the barbarism of strolling tribes, with their hordes of cattle and horses, to a permanent abiding place and fixed improvements, that has made the present civilization possible. Are we ready to turn back? Are we willing to undo the strides of the past century and remand our lovely country to the silence of its original, primeval wilderness? Scarcely! scarcely. W. P.Phelon, M. D.
A FILE FOR DEMOCRATS TO GNAW.
Thomas Jefferson’s Position on the Land Question — The Author of the Declaration of Independence and the Father of the Constitution in Substantial Agreement.
Washington, D. C. — Thomas Jefferson, although born a slave owner and retaining slaves until his death, was by nature or by circumstances an extreme radical in his theories of human rights and government. The exigencies of party politics in later life caused him to waive the assertion of his deep convictions, and oftentimes to act on opposite principles; but up to the date of the organization of the government under the constitution he was as radical in his ideas and in his writings as the most advanced thinker of the present day. I think it was in a letter to one of his young friends that he makes the statement that early in life he had “sworn eternal hostility to every form of despotism over the mind of man.” In his “Notes on Virginia” he describes slavery in terms of graphic power that have never been surpassed. Lord Brougham’s famous sentence, in which he characterizes the idea that there can be property in man, as a “guilty phantasy” was thought by Mr. Sumner to be unrivaled, except by that grand utterance of Hooker in regard to law as having its seat in the bosom of God. But Jefferson’s description of slavery, like the photograph, was the mirror held up to nature.
“The whole commerce between master and slave,” said he, “is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions — the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. . . The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose rein to the worst of passions; and that nursed, educated and daily exercised in tyranny cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one half the citizens to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part and the amor patriae of the other, for if a slave can have a country in this world it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another; in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. . . . And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis — a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God — that they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that, considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference. The Mighty has no attribute which can take sides with us in such a contest.”
Mr. Jefferson, after participating in the proceedings which led to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence of which he was the author, resigned his seat in the continental congress, to go home and become a member of the state legislature. His object was to bring about a reform in the laws of the commonwealth. He introduced a bill, which became a law, providing for the appointment of a commission to revise the laws; and in that capacity he procured the abolition of primogeniture and the church establishment, and placed all forms of religion on an equal footing of independence, and self-support by voluntary contributions, while all religious tests were swept away.
But Jefferson went far beyond the assertion of the right of every man to freedom. He saw the injustice which results from the monopoly of the earth; and he laid down principles which sap the foundation of the system. In a letter from Paris, dated Sept. 6, 1789, to James Madison, who was at the time a leading member of the house of representatives, Jefferson says:
“The question whether one generation of men has a right to bind another seems never to have been started, either on this or our side of the water, yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place, also, among the fundamental principles of every government. The course of reflection in which we are immersed here on the elementary principles of society, has presented this question to my mind; and that no such obligation can be transmitted I think very capable of proof. I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. The portion occupied by any individual ceases to be his when he ceases to be, and reverts to society. If society has formed no rules for the appropriation of its lands in severalty, it will be taken by the first occupants, and these will generally be the wife and children of the decedent. If they have formed rules of appropriation; those rules may give it to the wife and children, or to some one of them, or to the legatee of the deceased. So they may give it to his creditor. But the child, legatee or creditor, takes it, not by natural right, but by a law of the society of which he is a member and to which he is subject. Then, no man can, by natural right, oblige the lands he occupied, or the persons who succeed him in that occupation, to the payment of debts contracted by him. For if he could he might, during his own life, eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come; and then the lands would belong to the dead, and not to the living, which is the reverse of our principle.
“What is true of every member of society individually, is true of them all collectively, since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.”
Mr. Jefferson proceeds to the conclusion that one generation cannot contract a public or private debt to be paid by another which is to succeed it.
This proposition, which he affirms to be self-evident, “that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living,” and “that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it,” strikes down at once all pretence of natural right to lands founded on titles of inheritance or on a devise by last will and testament. Such claims of individuals to property in land, therefore, have no other foundation to rest on than positive law — the sole foundation on which slavery rested. Jefferson adds that “the portion (of land) occupied by any individual ceases to be his when himself ceases to be, and reverts to society.” In other words, it escheats.
The law-making authority — the legislature — is the guardian of society, of the rights of every individual in society, and is bound to manage all property that escheats for the general good. Sometimes such windfalls are devoted to general education by being added to the general fund for the support of schools, or escheats may be sold and the proceeds of sale be covered into the treasury. But there is no instance on record of the grant of such property to individuals.
Jefferson, therefore, was as thoroughly committed to the doctrine that the earth belongs of right to the whole people as is Herbert Spencer or Henry George.
The application which he made of his theory — which, by the way, he claimed to be the first to propound — was to overthrow monopolies. In the same long and interesting letter he says:
“This principle that the earth belongs to the living, and not to the dead, is of very extensive application and consequences in every country, as most especially in France. It enters into the resolution of the questions, whether the nation may change the descent of lands given anciently to the church, to hospitals, colleges, orders of chivalry, and otherwise in perpetuity; whether they may abolish the charges and privileges attached on lands, including the whole catalogue, ecclesiastical and feudal; it goes to hereditary offices, authorities and jurisdictions — to hereditary orders, distinctions and appellations — to perpetual monopolies in commerce, the arts or sciences, with a long train of et ceteras; and it renders the question of reimbursement a question of generosity, and not of right. In all these cases the legislature of the day could authorize such appropriations and establishments for their own.time, but no longer, and the present holders, even where they or their ancestors have purchased, are in the case of bona fide purchasers of what the seller had no right to convey.”
It goes without saying that these deductions of Jefferson from his own “self-evident” propositions, would authorize the cancellation by legislative acts of all bank, railroad and other charters.
Mr. Jefferson calls on Mr. Madison to “turn the subject in his mind,” with a view to engrafting the principles laid down by him upon the laws of the country. To which that conservative statesman replies as follows, under date of February 4, 1790: “The idea which the latter (letter) evolves is a great one, and suggests many interesting reflections to legislators, particularly when contracting and providing for public debts. Whether it can be received in the extent to which your reasonings carry it is a question which I ought to turn more in my thoughts than I yet have been able to do before I should be justified in making up a full opinion on it. My first thoughts lead me to view the doctrine as not in all respects compatible with the course of human affairs.”
Without denying the truth of the proposition that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living, Mr. Madison suggests difficulties in the way of its application for public debts, and to private interests. He, however, indorses the doctrine in its application to monopolies, which was the use made of it by Jefferson, when he says that his objections “are not meant, however, to impeach the utility of the principle as applied to the cases you have particularly in view, or the general importance of it in the eye of the philosophical legislator. On the contrary, it would give me singular pleasure to see it first announced to the world in a law of the United States, and always kept in view as a salutary restraint on living generations from imposing unjust and unnecessary burdens on their successors.”
It appears, therefore, from this correspondence between the author of the Declaration of Independence and the author of the constitution that the former enumerated the great principle that the land belongs to the whole people, and that the latter substantially indorsed it.
Daniel K. Goodloe.
The Rent Tax Paid by Farmers to City Landlords.
Marlborough, Ulster Co., N. Y. — Here is a fact which I have not yet seen noticed in The Standard, showing how farmers directly pay rent to the great city landlords.
In this part of Ulster county nearly every farmer grows fruit, and after the season’s luck or ill luck and great labor and expense in cultivating and preparing the fruit for market, sends it, and receives not a just and fair return for all his labor and trouble, but what an active competition leaves him. The consequence is much grumbling and fault finding, and often a loss.
But the fact I wish to mention, and which the farmers apparently never include in the category of the wrongs they suffer, is this: They ship the bulk of their fruit to commission men in the large cities, who charge for their services ten percent on the gross amount of sales. Out of this ten percent they pay their expenses, which of course include heavy rents, such as all city business men suffer under as from a nightmare. These rents come directly out of the farmer’s profits. Not only is fruit shipped in this way, but from all over the land grain, vegetables, meat, poultry, etc., are sold through commission men. If the gross amount of the rents thus paid by farmers to city landlords were computed, the result would be as astonishing as the indifference of the farmers upon the subject. C. H. Baildon.
Dr. W. C. Wood’s Method of Finding the Land Value of a Farm.
The actual value of the farm (i. e. what it would sell for) is $—— . To find the land value, deduct from this actual value:
1. The value of buildings.
2. The value of orchards.
3. The value of wells.
4. The value of fences.
5. The average cost of clearing the soil.
What is left will be the land value.
In a long settled country the clearing of the soil may lapse, this improvement being absorbed and merged with the value of the land.
When will this be the case? Evidently not so long as there is any land not cleared (stump land) with which to compare it, and for so long a time thereafter as may be covered by a law of limit similar to a patent law.
In other words, so long as there is any land totally unimproved and unused (which is, nevertheless, wanted for use, and so possesses a value), the value of that land must fix the bare land value of the rest, which will be higher or lower, according to its situation, when compared with the location of the land taken as a basis. W. C. Wood.
Nicodemus in Oregon.
Portland, Ore., Sept. 20. — Your friends here are busy canvassing for contributions to the united labor party campaign fund. Within a few days we will forward what we have, probably $50 or $100. We are glad to see that our Pacific coast “heavy weight,” Judge Maguire, has gone on to assist in the noble fight. Your friends are multiplying every day, notwithstanding the scurrilous misrepresentations of the pro-poverty press.
If you should desire to say anything about this communication in The Standard for the purpose of encouraging others, please omit my name — I am “Another Nicodemus.” You may feel that we are doing wrong in firing thus from ambush; but while our hearts are thoroughly in the movement, yet “bread and butter” considerations are involved in the issue. When the wave strikes the Pacific coast in good earnest, say at the next presidential campaign, then we will stand out with the other veterans. Another Nicodemus.
Will He Please Call?
Mr. H. F. Hoover will find a letter at the office of The Standard.
THE ANTI-POVERTY FAIR.
The second week of the Anti-poverty fair opened under cheering auspices last Monday evening. It was traditional anti-poverty weather, hence Madison square garden was filled with friends of the movement, who had been forced to absent themselves during the rainy days and nights of the preceeding week. Groups of men and women, with their children, streamed into the large hall, thus preserving the family character of all anti-poverty and united labor gatherings. At the several tables and booths the ladies of the new crusade attended in full force, and put forth every effort to make the receipts of the second week far exceed those already secured. “It is God’s work we are doing,” said Miss Byrnes to a group of visitors, and the zeal of her assistants showed that they were determined to make the fair a great success. At her table, as indeed at all, the various articles were donated, and every day additional donations were added to the list of prizes. Several of the assembly districts were well represented by tables, attended by the wives and sisters of the most active campaigners in the movement. One of the most taking booths in the fair, elaborately draped in crimson and old gold, was distinguished by the title of “Cross of the New Crusade,” and here Miss Ryan, surrounded by a bevy of active workers, succeeded admirably in increasing the receipts each evening. The “Star of the Crusade,” attended by Mrs. Frank Purcell, and the “Flower of the New Crusade,” by Miss Brennan, received well-merited patronage; and, with her usual activity, Miss Munier, who has done so much for the movement since she organized the Concordia chorus, made every visitor to her table pay the full amount of his assessment. Indeed, there was no loop-hole of escape for anyone. Miss Wynne worked on the sentiment of many at “our pastor’s table,” and if at the adjoining table one succeeded in baffling the ladies of the St. Stephens parish committee he was certain to fall into the hands of Miss Van Etten, Miss Norris or Miss McQueeny, who gave special attention to any man imprudent enough to wear a Knight of Labor button.
One of the chief features of the Knights of Labor table was a beautiful silk flag presented to Dr. McGlynn by the children of St. Stephen’s home. But enumeration of all the attractions is a virtual impossibility. Suffice it to say that nothing was omitted to render the tables inviting, and the large numbers who attended each evening had no difficulty in finding all manners of articles, useful or beautiful, to invest their spare cash on.
The reception accorded Judge Maguire, on Tuesday evening, was the event of the week. The garden was thronged, and the judge was at his best. He had been surprised at the tumultuous welcome given him at the Academy of Music on Sunday, but words failed to express his utter astonishment when he was presented to the swaying thousands, who cheered him and otherwise made him feel that as he was a stranger, it was the duty of each anti-poverty Samaritan to take him in.
The address of Judge Maguire evoked great applause. He touched the mighty organ of human hearts before him, and brought out every note with distinctness. Availing himself of Dr. McGlynn’s absence, the gifted speaker told how the utterances of the soggarth aroon had swept from this city to the golden gates of the Pacific, everywhere bearing messages of hope to the oppressed and disinherited of the country. In the opinion of Judge Maguire the movement was as necessary to Dr. McGlynn as was he to the movement. In its advocacy he had full scope, and its beneficent mission brought out the best thoughts and most luminous conceptions of the mind.
Then the judge referred to the prophet of the crusade, and when the name of Henry George fell from his lips the very rafters trembled, while a mighty cheer went up from five thousand throats. He spoke of the grand possibilities of the future when the reign of natural justice would be asserted in the laws. He drew a glowing picture of the time when the voice of labor would no longer be heard in idle wails, but happy songs should cheer the workshop when honest toil labored in support of cheerful homes. Then he proved, beyond possibility of contradiction the justice of the measures advocated by the united labor party, and when he called his hearers to support the movement until man should be redeemed, the vast auditorium rang with shouts of “We will, we will!”
Speaking to Chairman Croasdale of the outcome and results of the fair, a representative of The Standard was assured that the managers had so far found their expectations fully realized. When it is remembered that this is essentially a poor man’s party, that constant calls are made on the resources of its members, surprise is felt at the success attained. With tireless zeal the ladies have labored to strike the word failure from the lexicon of anti-poverty and their work has been fruitful indeed.
It is now settled that the fair will continue one week longer than originally intended, and if possible, it will be kept open during the closing week day and evening, the only difficulty in the way of doing so now being that the majority of the ladies attending the tables cannot find time from household and other duties to be present during the day. It is expected, however, that this difficulty will be overcome.
An important step to promote the success of the fair has been taken by a committee of the united labor party, of which Michael Murray, of the Fourteenth assembly district, is chairman. It is arranged by the committee to form a given number of districts in groups, devoting one night to each group, which will march in a body to the fair from a convenient mustering hall. By this plan the full strength of the united labor party in this city will be brought to bear in behalf of an enterprise of which the party at large is to be the beneficiary.
Land Values in Kansas.
The fact that the growth of population increases land values is aptly demonstrated by the Kansas City Star, which states that were it not for proximity to Kansas City thousands of acres of land lying between the city’s present limits and its proposed new boundaries would have no value except for farming purposes. The greater portion of the territory is now plotted in lots, and land bought a few years ago for $100 an acre is now worth not less than $6,000 an acre. Land at the terminus of the Grand avenue cable, worth $800 three years ago, is now selling at $10,000 an acre. One property owner has made out of a tract of land comprising 100 acres nearly a million of dollars; or in other words, the unearned increment has made this individual rich beyond his possible dreams, while the conditions of life for the community which created all this wealth are rendered more onerous.
Activity in Dutchess County.
H. H. Freeman, who has been organizing in the counties along the Hudson river, writes from Hudson: Dutchess county can be depended on for systematic and effective handling of tickets in townships. Earnest, practical men are hard at work everywhere.
Page 4 – Editorial
HENRY GEORGE. Editor and Proprietor.
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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8. 1887.
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PLATFORM OF THE UNITED LABOR PARTY.
Adopted at Syracuse August 19, 1887.
We, the delegates of the united labor party of New York, in state convention assembled, hereby reassert, as the fundamental platform of the party, and the basis on which we ask the co-operation of citizens of other states, the following declaration or principles adopted on September 23, 1886, by the convention of trade and labor associations of the city of New York, that resulted in the formation of the united labor party.
“Holding that the corruptions of government and the impoverishment of labor result from neglect of the self-evident truths proclaimed by the founders of this republic that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, we aim at the abolition of a system which compels men to pay their fellow creatures for the use of God’s gifts to all, and permits monopolizers to deprive labor of natural opportunities for employment, thus filling the land with tramps and paupers and bringing about an unnatural competition which tends to reduce wages to starvation rates and to make the wealth producer the industrial slave of those who grow rich by his toil.
“Holding, moreover, that the advantages arising from social growth and improvement belong to society at large, we aim at the abolition of the system which makes such beneficent inventions as the railroad and telegraph a means for the oppression of the people and the aggrandizement of an aristocracy of wealth and power. We declare the true purpose of government to be the maintenance of that sacred right of property which gives to every one opportunity to employ his labor, and security that he shall enjoy its fruits; to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak, and the unscrupulous from robbing the honest; and to do for the equal benefit of all such things as can be better done by organized society than by individuals; and we aim at the abolition of all laws which give to any class of citizens advantages, either judicial, financial, industrial or political, that are not equally shared by all others.”
We call upon all who seek the emancipation of labor, and who would make the American union and its component states democratic commonwealths of really free and independent citizens, to ignore all minor differences and join with us in organizing a great national party on this broad platform of natural rights and equal justice. We do not aim at securing any forced equality in the distribution of wealth. We do not propose that the state shall attempt to control production, conduct distribution, or in any wise interfere with the freedom of the individual to use his labor or capital in any way that may seem proper to him and that will not interfere with the equal rights of others. Nor do we propose that the state shall take possession of land and either work it or rent it out. What we propose is not the disturbing of any man in his holding or title, but by abolishing all taxes on industry or its products, to leave to the producer the full fruits of his exertion and by the taxation of land values, exclusive or improvements, to devote to the common use and benefit those values, which, arising not from the exertion of the individual, but from the growth of society, belong justly to the community as a whole. This increased taxation of land, not according to its area, but according to its value, must, while relieving the working farmer and small homestead owner of the undue burdens now imposed upon them, make it unprofitable to hold land for speculation, and thus throw open abundant opportunities for the employment of labor and the building up of homes.
While thus simplifying government by doing away with the horde of officials required by the present system of taxation and with its incentives to fraud and corruption, we would further promote the common weal and further secure the equal rights of all, by placing under public control such agencies as are in their nature monopolies: We would have our municipalities supply their inhabitants with water, light and heat; we would have the general government issue all money, without the intervention of banks; we would add a postal telegraph system and postal savings banks to the postal service, and would assume public control and ownership of those iron roads which have become the highways of modern commerce.
While declaring the foregoing to be the fundamental principles and aims of the united labor party, and while conscious that no reform can give effectual and permanent relief to labor that does not involve the legal recognition of equal rights to natural opportunities, we nevertheless, as measures of relief from some of the evil effects of ignoring those rights, favor such legislation as may tend to reduce the hours of labor, to prevent the employment of children of tender years, to avoid the competition of convict labor with honest industry, to secure the sanitary inspection of tenements, factories and mines, and to put an end to the abuse of conspiracy laws.
We desire also to so simplify the procedure of our courts and diminish the expense of legal proceedings, that the poor may be placed on an equality with the rich and the long delays which now result in scandalous miscarriages of justice may be prevented.
And since the ballot is the only means by which in our Republic the redress of political and social grievances is to be sought, we especially and emphatically declare for the adoption of what is known as the “Australian system of voting,” in order that the effectual secrecy of the ballot and the relief of candidates for public office from the heavy expenses now imposed upon them, may prevent bribery and intimidation, do away with practical discriminations in favor of the rich and unscrupulous, and lessen the pernicious influence of money in politics.
In support or these aims we solicit the co-operation of all patriotic citizens who, sick of the degradation of politics, desire by constitutional methods to establish justice, to preserve liberty, to extend the spirit of fraternity, and to elevate humanity.
United Labor Party of the State of New York.
Headquarters State Executive Committee,
28 Cooper Union,
New York City, Sept. 1, 1887.
To all Members and Friends of the United Labor Party throughout the United States: By its platform, adopted at Syracuse on the 19th of August last, the united labor party of the state of New York has brought into state politics the principles on which the memorable municipal campaign of a year ago was fought, and thus taken a great stride in the forward movement which must not know retreat. Within the next twelvemonth the advance must be made upon the national field. To this end a national conference will at an early day be called in conformity with a resolution adopted by the New York state convention. To all throughout the state and the union who desire the emancipation of labor, the destruction of the doing of even justice, the simplification and purification of government, with the abolition of privilege on one hand and of poverty on the other, the united labor party of New York sends greeting and it solicits their help. Every such contest as the one we are now entering upon must be a costly one. We need money to send speakers through the state, to distribute literature in every city, town and village, and to print and distribute our ballots. The last item alone, owing to unjust electoral laws which we are striving to reform, and which throw upon private generosity what should be a public burden, will cost us several thousands of dollars. Contributions, small or great, to aid in this work will be gratefully received and promptly acknowledged by this committee.
Chairman and Treasurer.
Gaybert Barnes, Secretary.
THE NEWARK ELECTION.
The nomination of the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost for mayor of Newark is a sign of the times. It illustrates with what amazing rapidity men are learning that politics and religion, so far from being disconnected or antagonistic, are really capable of working together side by side toward the same great end — the bringing into harmony of the human laws on which society rests with the eternal law of justice, through whose operation only can society be preserved.
Mr. Pentecost’s brief campaign will be fought upon no issue of patronage or spoils. The men who cast their ballots for him will vote for a principle higher and more enduring than was ever announced by any political organization up to the time the united labor party entered the field — the principle of equal rights for all men — the principle of the golden rule.
Mr. Pentecost can be elected. Already he is assured of the support of men and organizations whom no other candidacy could have brought into political harmony. Not only are the workingmen of Newark on his side, but merchants, professional men, school teachers, storekeepers, men of every walk in life have welcomed his nomination and are pledging him their votes.
The members of the united labor party in New York can do much to aid in the redemption of their sister city, by personal appeals, by correspondence, by tract distribution, and in other ways. The occasion is urgent. The time for work is brief. Let every man who believes in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man see to it that he leaves no proper means untried to secure a glorious triumph for our principles in Newark on Tuesday next.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.
Mr. Edward Atkinson is a gentleman of whom I have no disposition to speak in any other terms than those of respect and esteem. He has done a vast amount of useful work; he is sincerely desirous of promoting the welfare of mankind; he has done much for the dissemination of sound ideas on economic questions, and he is always sincere and earnest. His weakness is mostly in a too strong conviction of his own infallibility, in the full persuasion that he knows just what needs to be done, how it is to be done and when it must be done, and a consequent peremptory method of disposing of everybody as something very like a fool who does not agree with him upon all these details. Thus, he has been for many years in favor of free trade, and in former years he strenuously insisted upon the vital importance of reform in that direction. He has not recanted his opinions; but he has become more interested in other questions, and now he has very little patience with, and indeed, something very like contempt for, men who hold his opinions as to free trade and think that issue more important than the new questions which have recently attracted Mr. Atkinson’s mind.
In May last Mr. Atkinson addressed the Boston labor lyceum, ostensibly on the subject of the proposed eight hour law, but really on the question, “How are the profits divided?” His address, as revised, has but just come into my hands, and it raises some issues which need further consideration and a broader view. In reviewing its conclusions, it may be as well to accept its statement of facts and statistics without dispute, for it is so evident that Mr. Atkinson has overlooked important elements of the problem, upon his own showing, that it is not worth while to enter into controversy as to the facts or figures.
Mr. Atkinson claims that in $1,100,000 worth of cotton sheeting there is not more than $145,000 profit to capitalists, while $15,000 go in taxes and $940,000 to labor. He makes no allowance whatever for rent, except perhaps for the rent of the ground upon which the mill stands. He assumes that 1,400 bales of cotton can be grown upon land which pays no rent and costs nothing to the cotton grower. Of course he makes no allowance for rent in the cost of supplies, machinery, repairs, freight, etc. In one place he says that rent does enter into the cost; in another he says that if the landlord is taxed upon his rent he will add the tax to the rent, and so it will enter into the cost; and finally he says that rent amounts to a trifle less than 1% of sales, anyway. Now the truth is that before this $1,100,000 worth of cotton sheeting can get into the hands of the people there must be paid out of the proceeds rent, or the interest on the cost of the land, which is the same thing, on the land where the cotton is grown, on which the supplies are manufactured, on which the railroad is laid, on which the repairs are done, on which the sheeting mill is situated, on which the great stores where the sheetings are sold stand, and, finally, on which the residences of the 3,400 persons said to be engaged in producing these goods also stand. All this is plainly stated in Mr. Atkinson’s “Distribution of Products.” We will leave Mr. Atkinson to reckon the amount of these items, simply remarking that upon his own estimates the single item of the rent of the stores in which the goods are sold would add $100,000 to their cost, and that, making the most moderate allowance for the rent of the other land used in this work of production, it is obvious that rent alone would far exceed the whole sum Mr. Atkinson has allowed to go to compensation for capital.
In the next place, Mr. Atkinson has fallen, for the moment, into the old idea, long ago exploded by Adam Smith, but still current among unthinking people, that what is spent by the rich in their personal luxuries is as truly employed for the general good as that which is spent in productive enterprise. He seeks to reduce the $145,000 appropriated by capital by showing that much of this is spent in employing labor. He might just as well include the whole of it, because even the money which he charges to waste, as spent on champagne, etc., is all paid out for labor of some kind. The true rule is that nothing should be charged to labor except that which is expended usefully and so as to promote reproduction. A lord who employs a hundred servants to wait upon his idle and useless person, not only wastes the money which he pays to them, but also wastes their time and skill in occupations which neither help him nor them to serve mankind any better than they would have done before. Every dollar thus spent is devoted to waste, not to useful labor.
All this Mr. Atkinson knows quite well, and he will probably be indignant at the suggestion that he has forgotten it, even for a moment. But he certainly did forget it; not only when speaking to the workingmen of Boston, but also when revising his address afterward.
Upon many points it is easy to agree with Mr. Atkinson. We certainly agree that capital is exceedingly useful to labor; that the margin of profit upon the use of real capital is growing smaller and smaller; that it is not now excessive, and is likely still to diminish; that the condition of the laborer has improved and is slowly improving; that a mere arbitrary reduction of working time to eight hours a day, if unattended with a corresponding increase of production in each hour, would do harm to the mass of workers themselves; that there is an enormous and needless amount of waste in the food and fuel of all people, and pre-eminently among Americans; that education of a new and more practical kind is indispensable to the development of a higher prosperity among hand workers, and, for that matter, among all men, and so about other matters, not necessary to mention here.
But when Mr. Atkinson undertakes to state the present division of income between the comparatively rich and the comparatively poor, and asserts, or seems to assert, that “labor” — that is, the manual laborers of the country — absorb nine-tenths or more of the income of the nation, we are compelled to dissent most emphatically. Such an assertion is contradicted by all statistics — whether in Europe or America — and is utterly inconsistent, not only with obvious facts, but with Mr. Atkinson’s own analysis of the annual income of the United States.
It is necessary to repeat that, if all which is meant by such an assertion is that nine-tenths of the national income is spent in the employment of labor, including the labor expended upon the luxuries and extravagances of the rich, it is a statement not worth making or refuting. Precisely the same thing might have been said of the south in the time of slavery, or of the income of the czar of Russia today. Slaveholders spent substantially all of the gold which they wrung out of their slaves in the field in the support of other slaves to attend upon their personal wants in the house or on the road. Robbers spend all their gains in payment for labor used in providing them with food, clothing, shelter, etc. Nothing of importance can be had without labor, and, therefore, all gains and income — no matter how acquired — must be spent in the employment of labor. The real test is, is it useful labor? That is what we all mean, or should mean, when talking about labor. If we do not mean that, our talk is idle and absurd. If it is a sufficient justification for any mode of gaining wealth or for any plan of its distribution, that, when gained, it is expended in employing other people to do something for us, we may as well all turn thieves, for thieves have to spend just as much upon this kind of labor as the most honest man alive.
Having got rid of all this nonsense, which is quite pardonable in poor, uneducated men, but almost inexcusable in so wise and studious a gentleman as Mr. Atkinson, let us see what portion of the general income really falls to capital and land, as distinguished from labor. For this purpose we have the statistics of the income tax in Great Britain and Germany, and the census estimates of income in the United States, as well as a very doubtful estimate of the national wealth.
Writing in the midst of the Alps, with no books and no figures at hand, my estimate, based on recollection, must be subject to correction in detail; but it cannot be very far wrong. The value of all property in the United States was estimated at $43,000,000,000, of which at least $35,000,000,000 were productive of income. The average income from investments in 1880 could not have been less than 6%. This would amount to $2,100,000,000. The income of capital and land could not, therefore, have been less than this sum for that year. But the most extravagant estimate of the total national earnings during the same year does not exceed $10,000,000,000. Taxes amounted to over $700,000,000. If nothing else were to be deducted there would be only seven-tenths instead of nine-tenths left for the income of the laborers. But this is only a beginning. From the $7,000,000,000 which appear to remain must be deducted again the income of the higher class of workers — those who work with the brain rather than the hand, and whose skill commands vastly superior compensation. Mr. Atkinson has himself estimated the number of these in 1880 at 1,100,000. He has also shown that the average compensation of railroad officers and clerks exceeded $1,000 per annum. He has shown that the average compensation of 400,000 ordinary railroad hands, who are a picked and superior class of workmen, did not exceed $450, while the average wages of the 4,000,000 farm laborers did not exceed $200, and the 3,000,000 mechanical workmen earned less than $350. Thus there remained 16,200,000 persons who alone belonged to the class properly called manual laborers. It is impossible that their income could have exceeded for the whole year $6,000,000,000. In fact, it could not have approached that sum. But suppose it did. Out of this sum was taken more than seven-eighths of the taxes, it being undisputed that they paid taxes in proportion to their living expenses, not their income. This amounts to over $600,000,000.
What, then, is the result of this tabulation of Mr. Atkinson’s own figures, taken from his own book of pamphlets, as these are? Simply this, that, even including the great mass of farmers nominally owning their own farms in the laboring class, that class, constituting sixteen-seventeenths of the whole people, or 94% of all, collected, free of taxes, only 54% of the total national income.
But we have not done with this matter yet. Out of this 54% must be deducted all the interest on the cost of land in the hands of these laborers. These earnings include all that the land owners among them received as compensation for the use of their land. From these earnings had to be paid all rent and mortgage interest which those of them paid who did not own the land on which they lived. I have no figures to quote from Mr. Atkinson on this point, and will not incur the risk of a debate on false issues by making estimates; but no one in his senses will dispute that the most moderate allowance for these purposes must immensely exceed the amount which would be needed to reduce the share of the laborer to less than 50% of the annual product. It is impossible to doubt that the American laborer, instead of receiving, as Mr. Atkinson, deceived by the cunning tactics of John Roach, has been led to believe, 90% of the combined product of land, capital and labor receives less than 50%.
Is there anything else to confirm this view? Everything. The census shows that wages, in manufacturing and mechanical industries, amount to less than half the net production. Of course, it would be a gross mistake to assume that the manufacturers pocketed the difference. It is an equal mistake to suppose that the immediate employers of laborers generally make on the average such enormous profits on the work done for them. But somebody gets it, or it is utterly lost. Whatever may be the fact as to this, the only point which interests the laborer is to know that he does not get it, and to know the reason why.
What do we find in Great Britain? The profits of manufacturers and merchants are smaller there than in the United States, and have always been so. If Mr. Atkinson’s apparent theory, that the laborer gets all that his employer does not retain, is correct, then the condition of the British laborer ought to be vastly superior to that of the American; for the British employer has been content for fifty years with half the American rate of profit. If the American workman has had 90% of his production, the British workman must have had 95%. Yet what do the income returns of Great Britain show? They demonstrate that the “working classes” have received, on the average, only about one-third of the national earnings, and do not even now receive two-fifths. Much the same thing appears by the income returns of Germany; and it is confirmed by all that can be learned in any other country.
In his last computation, Mr. Atkinson ignores rent and federal taxes. There lies the mistake which makes all his calculations worthless. Instead of the taxes upon the production of $1,100,000 of sheetings being $15,000, as he says, the taxes levied upon the 3,400 workmen said to be employed in it must amount to over $100,000. The increase of prices, resulting directly from this taxation can rarely be less than $50,000, and has often been $100,000 a year. Some of this goes to capitalists but far more goes to waste. No matter where it goes, the workman loses it. Can the rent of these workmen be less than another $100,000? They must live like dogs if it is.
The statistics furnished by Mr. Atkinson, although worthless for the purpose of proving the conclusion which he seeks to draw from them, are valuable as a basis for further inquiry. He has rendered good service in all his publications by collecting figures and facts, the bearing of which he does not always appreciate, but which are eminently suggestive to those who will take pains to give them the proper sifting and application. And when he becomes a little less dogmatic, and looks deeper into the facts which he has so laboriously and skillfully collected, he will begin to see that the real “irrepressible conflict” is not between capital and labor, but between both of these, on one side, and untaxed rent, on the other.
THOMAS G. SHEARMAN.
Switzerland, Sept 13, 1887.
His grace Michael Augustine, archbishop of Petra in partibus infidelium, hasn’t sent back that subscription book yet.
Henry George in Buffalo.
Buffalo, Erie County, Oct. 1. — The meeting which Henry George addressed here in Liedertafel hall last evening was a great success. The attendance was large, respectable and quite enthusiastic, especially at the close of Mr. George’s speech, when he answered some questions put to him by some of the audience. Mr. George produced a deep impression and has made many new proselytes. Our organization is being perfected, and various committees meet every day and evening. Recent events have confirmed me in the opinion that we will poll a very respectable vote in Buffalo.
J. A. Ronayne,
Member State Committee.
Farmers In Washington County Asking Questions.
Fort Edward, Washington County. A great many have been talking since Henry George was here a fortnight ago. The farmers are asking all sorts of questions. “We have plenty of tracts on hand, and are putting them out with very encouraging results. In commenting recently on Henry George’s speech here, the Sandy Hill Herald said that “many people were surprised in not hearing a harangue on socialism.” It further said: “Mr. George’s ideas on taxes, etc., were sound, and could be heartily indorsed by the most conservative citizen. We wish his ideas on our ‘demoralizing system of taxation,’ as he termed it, were generally read, so that it could be seen how many wealthy sharks evade their share of the public burdens and compel the workingman, which term includes the farmer, to pay more than his share. The man or men, let it be Henry George or another, who will be the instrument of abating this injustice by ‘making taxes equal,’ deserves the gratitude of his countrymen.”
This newspaper clipping indicates the general temper. Men’s minds are open to new ideas. We are working hard and every day adds to our numbers. Frank S. Craft.
Yonkers, Westchester county. — The fact that Yonkers is about the poorest place in the state for organized labor to make a showing, together with the fact of inclement weather, account for the slim audience that attended our meeting on Saturday night, when Louis F. Post and James P. Kohler spoke. However, there are some hard workers among us. We have elected a county committee and have taken steps to call a convention. Men are coming into the ranks steadily. A prominent citizen, who reserves his name, has signified his intention of contributing liberally to the campaign fund. George F. Bedder.
The Strength of Orange County.
Montgomery, Orange Co. — Our township has one local assembly K. of L. of 240 members, and one land and labor club of more than forty members. The party here may be expected to do pretty well, as a labor candidate for supervisor was elected last spring. But the party will do better in some of the other towns in the county. Newburg, Wallkill, Deerpark and Port Jervis all have assemblies of the K. of L., and I believe three have land and labor clubs. In this town our club, which now numbers forty-seven members, holds a meeting every Wednesday evening.
Mt. Vernon in Line.
Mt. Vernon, Westchester County. — What may be termed a large meeting for Mt. Vernon was held in Schuermann’s hall on Thursday evening, Sept. 29. Professor Weldon presided and James J. Gahan of New York made an elegant address. The meeting indorsed the platform and nominees, Henry George’s name being received with loud applause. A regular organization as a branch of the united labor party was then perfected, and a committee appointed to arrange for further meetings and the distribution of tracts. Professor Weldon is an energetic worker and will create a stir in this town. E.
Father Nilan’s Work is Telling.
Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County. — All the labor societies hereabouts are gravitating toward the anti-poverty movement. At the regular meeting of the Anti-poverty society last Sunday afternoon Professor L. V. Gardner, Henry Bartlett and Henry Burgess spoke on the question of taxation. We are making converts steadily. Father Nilan’s strong words in support of the united labor party have had telling effect. Everybody is thinking, and we expect to poll a big vote.
W. C. Albro.
They Only Wanted the Light.
Green Island, Rensselaer County, Oct. 1.— The mass meeting in Troy last week addressed by Dr. McGlynn and Everett Glackin was a big success. Every seat and every foot of standing room in Music hall was filled, and 2,000 people stood outside clamoring for admission. The janitor had to close the doors at a quarter to eight. Both speakers were enthusiastically received, and their words have done a deal of good for the cause in Troy and vicinity.
H. C. Romaine.
Getting Hot in Middletown.
Middletown, Orange Co. — We have held several well attended meetings and are doing what we can to direct attention to the principles of the united labor party. The outlook is very encouraging. The greenbackers are with us and we expect to draw well from both of the older parties. Things are beginning to get hot. Democratic politicians are very bitter and are doing everything to keep “the faithful” in line. C. H. Fuller.
Gaining Converts Every Day.
St. Johnsville, Montgomery County. — We have not had any meetings as yet, but P. H. Cummins and I have been arranging for some. Our organization is growing and the prospects for a good vote are very favorable. I am distributing all the tracts I can get among business men and farmers, both of whom, not understanding what it is we want to do, are strongly opposed to us. I can safely say that our cause is gaining converts every day. Eugene Munier.
Among the Farmers at Penn Yan.
Penn Yan, Yates County, Oct. 4. — The citizens of Penn Yan almost filled the opera house on Monday night to hear Louis F. Post explain the principles of the united labor party, and particularly the theory of the single tax. Mr. Henston, a leading and wealthy farmer, presided. The audience was a mixed one, but showed great interest. This meeting starts the agitation here. J.
Will Hold the Balance of Power in Marlborough.
Marlborough, Ulster Co. — I think we will make a respectable showing in this county. We are working hard. It looks as if we would draw about equally from both the republican and democratic parties. At any rate we are sure to hold the balance of power. Bribery has hitherto decided a contest in this town. We are putting tracts in the hands of every voter in Marlborough. C. H. Baildon.
CITY CAMPAIGN NOTES.
Most significant among the events of the week directly connected with the fortunes of the united labor party was the Anti-poverty society’s demonstration of welcome to Judge James G. Maguire of San Francisco on Sunday night last.7
Judge Maguire has been personally comparatively unknown in New York. Members of the united labor party have learned, through the columns of The Standard of the gallant work he has been doing for their cause on the Pacific coast; but of the man’s individuality few of them knew anything. It was not because of any personal magnetism on the part of the man himself, but on account of the principles he represents, that men and women assembled last Sunday evening to bid Judge Maguire welcome to New York. They welcomed him because they knew that his coming across the continent was a fresh assurance of victory for their cause here, and their cheers of gladness and congratulation were significant of their thorough understanding and heartfelt indorsement of the principles which Judge Maguire comes among us to advocate.
And what a demonstration it was! The Academy of Music was filled to overflowing; Nilsson hall was packed to its utmost capacity; and after both places were filled the crowd still surged against the doors and lingered in the streets, hopeful of a chance to enter. A more triumphant refutation of the charge that those who attend the meetings of the Anti-poverty society and the united labor party are guided by admiration for individuals and not by devotion to principle, it would be impossible to ask or find.
Of the smaller gatherings in the city during the week, the most noticeable have been a mass meeting of car drivers in the Twenty-third assembly district on Saturday night last, at which Dr. McGlynn, Henry George and John McMackin spoke; a ball of the Tenth district association in Germania hall on the same evening, addressed by the same speakers; and a mass meeting of the Twenty-second district, in Columbia hall, on Thursday evening, at which William J. O’Dair presided, and which was addressed by Dr. Daniel DeLeon, John McMackin, James P. Archibald, Richard J. Norris, Henry George, Jr.,8 Charles Field and Thomas J. Ford. All these were well attended, and were marked by the enthusiasm and confidence which, so far, have distinguished every meeting held during the campaign. The meeting at Columbia hall, especially, illustrated the remarkably catholic character of the movement, the speakers being a mechanical engineer, a lecturer on international law, a house painter, a paper hanger, a lithographer, a newspaper man, a jewelry salesman, and a brass worker. One speaker addressed himself particularly to the cigar makers and car drivers, of whom the population of the district is largely composed, and showed them how they personally would benefit by the removal of all taxation from industry, and taxing land values to a sufficient extent.
The work of organizing the election districts is progressing steadily throughout the city, and every district will ere long be equipped with an efficient and well-drilled corps for the manning of the polls on election-day.
Branch Anti-Poverty Societies.
The Anti-poverty society has received numerous communications from members residing at a distance who desire to organize branch societies without severing their connection with the parent society in New York, and ask instructions how to proceed.
At a recent meeting of the executive committee it was resolved that any twenty members residing in any place outside of New York city may form a branch society by adopting the constitution of and agreeing to affiliate with the New York society.
The condition of affiliation shall be the payment to the parent society of a fee of twenty-five cents for each member admitted to the branch, in consideration of which the parent society shall furnish for each branch member a certificate of membership bearing: the autograph signatures of the president and vice-president.
It is recommended that the initiation fee of branch members be the same as that of members of the parent society, viz., one dollar.
From the Great Canal Center.
Lockport, Niagara County Oct. 1. — I am an old greenbacker and therefore conservative in my estimates and predictions. Thus far we have had only one labor demonstration, but it was the largest ever held here. Interest in the movement is increasing daily. Already there are four clubs in the city, one at Sanborn and another at Niagara Falls. Many influential citizens have shown considerable interest in the movement, but none of them have come out in favor of it. A peculiar feature about our organization is that a number of women have contributed to the fund. Campaign literature is eagerly sought for and we are supplying it. The present indications are that Henry George will receive 500 votes in this county.Lawrence J. McParlin.
Member of the State Committee
A Large Silent Vote In Peekskill.
Peekskill, Westchester County. — In this town a great deal of interest is now taken in the doctrines proclaimed by the united labor party. The speeches of Dr. McGlynn and Everett Glackin a few days ago have set everybody talking, and business and professional men, as well as members of trades, are actively “spreading the light.” During the past fortnight a great many converts have been made, and our organization has been considerably strengthened. There are in addition a very large number of men who are with us in heart, who have made no outward show; and we have good reason to believe that there will be a large silent vote.
George D. Gasson
Confident in Erie County.
East Aurora, Erie County, Oct. 1. — We have no land and labor club in this place, but the county is well organized. I have converted about fifty men. If we had good, effective speakers we could get twenty-five percent of the vote in Erie county.
I do not look for success this year. The masses must be educated, and that accomplished, success will crown the united labor party. However, Henry George’s vote will not be less than 150,000, and events go by such jumps that it may reach 300,000. Thomas Leary.
Rapid Progress in Herkimer.
Herkimer, Herkimer Co., Oct. 1. — Now that we have had a big meeting, and Dr. McGlynn and Everett Glackin have spoken here, the converts are coming in fast. We are no longer “cranks,” but are treated with respectful consideration. The remark, “There is more in that land tax theory than I thought,” is heard frequently, and everywhere there is a desire to learn. Tracts are of great use to us. All the professional classes were well represented at the McGlynn meeting.
George E. Bedell
QUERIES AND ANSWERS.
When Would Wages Fall?
Philadelphia. — It strikes me that when our land value tax is in full force the same old tendency of wages to a minimum will still exist; rents will go up higher and higher as the less productive land comes into use through the constant increase of population, and wages will keep getting lower and lower. The only difference, it seems to me, will be that the rent will be going to the common benefit, and that the attainment of the minimum of wages will be postponed for a century or two. Now, I am satisfied to say that if land belongs to the whole human race, it belongs to them, and if I am entitled to my share of the income arising from the use of valuable land, I ought to have it in some form or other, and that no matter what the consequences; what’s mine is mine, and I ought to have it. I am perfectly satisfied to accept William Saunders’ proposition: “No taxes at all and a pension for everybody.” Why shouldn’t there be a pension for everybody when wages are low, and when the governmental revenue is so enormous, as it will have to be when the minimum is reached. Or, again, I would be satisfied to wait until the difficulty actually presents itself before trying to meet it. But I meet some people who will not be satisfied with such answers, and I would be greatly obliged if you would give me a better one. H.
The tendency of wages to a minimum would not continue, as you fear. It is true that after rents had fallen to the normal level they would begin to rise and continue to rise under the spur of material progress; but as there would be no speculative demand for land, there would be a constant supply of productive land that bore no rent, the earnings on which would regulate wages. It could only be after all land was in actual use, if even then, that individual wages would fall, and that time is so far off that it is hardly worth considering. But even when it came, if it came, the rents which went to all the people would be so great as to more than compensate for the fall in wages. As men lost as laborers, they would gain as landlords. Present conditions make wages low by diminishing opportunities for production; land speculation has the effect of lessening the area of land. But land speculation abolished, the whole earth’s surface would be available as required, and wages would increase rather than diminish until not a spot on the planet could be had for nothing. After that they would not decline unless demand for products declined; and demand for products would not decline unless population diminished; and if population diminished demand for land would diminish; and if demand for land diminished. rents would fall, and free land appear again. The appropriation of land values to public use is a regulator that will keep the social machine in gear, no matter how intricate its parts or complex its movements, or howsoever great a machine it may become.
The Mortgaged Householder.
New York. — What will be the effect of the “single land tax” upon that large class of small land holders whose properties are heavily mortgaged? As an illustration: A owns a house and lot worth $5,000, which is mortgaged to B for $3,000. The land tax will probably reduce the exchange value of his property to $3,000, the value of the improvements. Will not A, who is a comparatively poor man, lose all, while B, likely a rich money lender, gets the benefit by virtually becoming the owner of the property? Independent Voter.
Under existing conditions, A must pay off his mortgage or lose his whole property by foreclosure. If he submits to foreclosure, he is nominally entitled to the surplus; but in the case of small mortgages the depressing effect of a forced sale and the expenses not only leave little or no surplus, but usually create a deficiency. If A pays off his mortgage he must also pay taxes based on an appraisement of, say 60 percent of the value of the whole property, or $3,000. He must also pay taxes on his furniture and all his personal belongings, which in the case you suppose would raise his basis of taxation another thousand, or to $4,000. He must also pay indirect taxes every time he goes to the store, the basis of which it is impossible to put in figures, but which will impose an additional tax upon him equal to at least thirty percent of his expenditures.
Think over the present condition of “that large class of small landholders whose properties are heavily mortgaged,” and you will be better prepared to consider the effect upon them of the single tax.
Now let us suppose the single tax in force. Then A must pay off his mortgage or lose his whole property if he submits to foreclosure as before, and he may as before be mulct9 in a deficiency judgment. That is an evil that is incident to the disease we are trying to eradicate, and as an incident of the disease will disappear with the disease. It applies only to existing mortgages and under the influence of the single tax will be temporary, and modified in its effects.
If, however, A pays off his mortgage he will have the property free of all taxes save those that fall on the value of the land alone, which you fix at $2,000. That is to say, whereas he now pays taxes on $4,000, he would then pay on $2,000. So if he paid double the present rate, or say, five percent, which would be the full rental value of his land, he would pay no more direct taxes than he does now, and having no indirect taxes at all to pay, could live as well as he does now for at least thirty percent less than living costs him now.
It is true that his land would have no exchange value except for other land. But it is the land he really needs, and not the exchange value of the land, and the land he would have. He could trade it for any other land on just as good terms as he can now, because all land would be held on the same conditions; but he could not trade it for labor products on any terms, and he ought not, for that would be getting the labor of others without giving labor in return. He could trade his house and furniture, however, for anything on better terms than now, because there would then be a livelier effective demand for houses and furniture than there is now.
Thus of A as a mortgaged house holder only. But is it possible that you suppose A’s interests are circumscribed by a $2,000 piece of land? That land will not yield him a living without work. Above and beyond his petty interest as a land owner, and even his interest as a $3,000 mortgagee is his interest as a laborer. The abolition of land monopoly will open up natural opportunities to labor and capital, thereby making business thrive and wages advance. In the benefits resulting from this A will share, and be thereby the better enabled to pay off his debt, and terminate his slavery to the money lender.
And even beyond A’s pecuniary interests as a land owner, and a mortgagee and a laborer, are his moral interests as a man, a citizen and a Christian. As a man he will be free; no one can say to him go or come, and enforce obedience by the lash of possible poverty. As a citizen he will be a sovereign among sovereigns, knowing that his ballot is not nullified by the bribery or intimidation of his fellow-citizens. As a Christian, he will rejoice that all may live in comfort who will, and that the golden rule is a possible law of human conduct instead of the dream of an enthusiast, to be prattled by Sunday school children, but banished from the business life of men.
Shifting the Tax.
Okobojo, Dak. — Cannot the land tax be shifted when all government land is patented? What will labor do then? Smart Alexander10.
What you mean to ask is if the land value tax cannot be shifted when all land is in use. The mere patenting of all land does not enable the owner to shift the tax. A tax on land values tends to diminish land values, when land is held out of use, by forcing it into market.
If all land were of equal value, neither more nor less, and all land were in use, then a land value tax might be shifted from the owner to the user; but so long as all land is not in use, or, even if all were in use, so long as different lands had different values the tax could not be shifted. Land values are regulated by the productiveness of the best land to be had for nothing,11 not by taxation. If all land were in use it would still vary in productiveness, and while some would command a very high rent other land would command only a low rent or none at all; then if the owners of better lands sought to shift the land value tax there would be a greater demand for the poorer and more plentiful lands and a diminished demand for the better and scarcer land, the effect of which would be to reduce the value of the scarcer land so quickly and to increase that of the plentiful land so slowly that in neither case could the tenant be saddled with the tax.
When the whole globe is in use and all land is equally in demand and consequently of equal value, we may safely concede that land owners can make land users pay the land value tax.
Hurrah for the Boundless West.
New York. — The Rev. Duncan M. Young, pastor of the Church of Sea and Land, while preaching on the subject of labor, said there was no reason for any one being a communist or an anarchist, for there was employment for all out west. Now I am a New York sailor who is in debt, and I want to go where work is plenty. Whereabouts in the west shall I go?
Ask the Rev. Duncan M. Young.
T. F. G., Washington, D. C. — Dr. McGlynn and Mr. George do not mean “selfishness” by “individualism.” They use the word in contradistinction to “socialism.” The ideal anarchist is an extreme individualist, yet you would not call his theory a theory of selfishness. Dr. McGlynn and Mr. George are not anarchists nor socialists; they believe that some things are better left to the control of individuals, and that other things are better managed by society. Read the chapter on “Free Trade and Socialism” in “Protection or Free Trade,”12 and you will understand what is meant by “individualism.”
Franklin C. Wickes, Brooklyn, N. Y.— Your friends who say that if land values only were taxed, Astor, Vanderbilt and others would be able to occupy all land by outbidding their poorer neighbors, do not do much thinking. They evidently belong to the class who hire a thinker for them at two cents a copy every morning. Astor and Vanderbilt could outbid their poorer neighbors now in the purchase of land if they wanted to. But it serves their purpose better in the main to let others keep land out of use while they get the benefit of the resulting low wages. It would be easier for Astor and Vanderbilt to outbid their poorer neighbors now when land value taxes are low than when land value taxes were high; and as they do not now, why should we fear that they would then? Of course you understand that there would be no different kind of bidding under the single tax system from under the present multiform tax system. The only bidding then as now would be by individuals of individuals, and not by individuals of the government.
Rupert Brown, Salt Lake county, Utah.— The land value tax would ultimately destroy the selling value of land, but not its rental value. Selling value is based on rental value. Land that will rent for $100 annually has a selling value at say twenty years’ purchase of $2,000. If your tax takes away fifty percent of the rental value the selling value will fall to $1,000; and if it takes away the whole rental value the selling value will fall to zero; but the rental value will be $100, just the same. These figures are given only to illustrate.
Hugo Bilgram, Philadelphia, Pa. — In answering your questions, the allusion to “the figure habit” was not intended to be offensive. If it seemed so to you or to any one else I am very sorry I used it. Your other questions will receive attention in an early issue. Louis F. Post.
Bright Prospect at Hoosick Falls.
Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer Co., Oct. 1. — At the meeting of our club last Thursday evening, we added twenty-five names to the list of members. The prospect is very bright. We stand a good chance of carrying Hoosick by a good plurality. The best informed of our members estimate our vote in the town at from 700 to 800 in a total vote of almost 2,000. This will bring us victory, unless the old parties combine, which is improbable. The county is in good condition for a contest, too, and we have decided to make nominations for senator and assemblyman.
F. S. Hammond.
United Labor in Queens County.
Delegates from land and labor clubs organized in five towns of Queens county met in convention in Long Island City on the 2d inst., and after declaring their approval of the Syracuse platform and their determination to support the nominees of the Syracuse convention, effected permanent organization as the Queens county united labor party central committee. Robert Logan of Long Island City was elected chairman and Timothy Scully secretary.
HARD ON THE PEOPLE OF BUFFALO.
Besides Paying Rent Taxes to Those Men Who Own Buffalo, They Have to Make Roads and Sewers for Them — How the Thing is Managed.
Buffalo, N. Y. — There are in this city not less than five hundred land associations who have seized every acre of available land at prices ranging from $200 to $500 an acre, and are now endeavoring to place it on the market at from $2,000 to $2,500. The result has been most disastrous to the taxpayers.
These “land associations” have “worked” the common council, and have succeeded in extending the lamp districts to the city line in almost every direction. Buffalo is in territory one of the largest cities in the world, and this fact has aided in increasing the burdens of the taxpayers, for between the heart of the city and these outlying settlements lie thousands of acres of farm lands assessed at two or three hundred dollars an acre, but which cannot be purchased for less than $1,500 or $2,000 per acre. In our city the expense of lighting the public streets is paid, one-half out of the general fund and the other half by assessment on the valuation of the property. The result is that these intermediate lands are lighted by electricity, while the older portions of the city are only allowed gas. The expenses of the water department are also paid out of the general fund, and the result is the same there. In order to reach these settlements near the city line it is necessary to carry the mains through all these unoccupied territories for which, not the people who own these lands pay, but the people in the older part of the city, who have already paid for their water. And every time a new land association is framed this thing is repeated. The lighting question has become a scandal throughout the city. The Brown building, at the corner of Seneca and Main streets, having a frontage of fifty-one feet on Main street, last year paid a lamp tax of nearly $1,200, one-half as a direct assessment and the other half through the “general fund,” all for four gas lamps; and all other property on Main street paid in proportion. This is the regular order of business in this city.
But recently a new scheme to fleece the people who have already paid for all their improvements has been inaugurated. All sewers except the “trunk line” have been paid for by local assessments. Mr. Stafford and a number of his associates of the “Buffalo business men’s association” happen to have some land located about five or six miles from the city hall, which is known as the “Hertel avenue” district. It is low land, and before it can be utilized it will have to be drained, which will necessitate the building of an immense sewer costing from $250,000 to $300,000. Well, what do they propose to do? build a sewer themselves? Oh! no; not at all! They are going to bond the city for enough to build it. A number of the aldermen own property in that section of the city and they worked a resolution through the council authorizing the city to issue bonds for this purpose. It was, however, promptly vetoed by the mayor, but would undoubtedly have been passed over his veto had he not called a meeting of citizens to protest against the villainy. This frightened the aldermen; but that did not settle it. What do we have assemblymen and senators for? They immediately began correspondence with the Albany solons, and finally sent down a delegation to explain the vital necessity of this sewer out in the country, and the result is that thirty years from now the people of Buffalo will have to plank down about $200,000 in hard cash; all because Buffalo has a boom and a “Buffalo business men’s association.”
I might multiply instances of how the honest and hard working people of our city are being robbed by speculators, but we are probably no worse off than any other city. It is an infamous fact that the people who have through hard labor secured themselves homes are assessed up to within ten percent of the selling value of their property, while speculators do not pay taxes on more than ten percent of the price they ask for their lands. God speed the day when every man shall pay according to the natural advantages he monopolizes.
181 Elliott street
ST. STEPHEN’S PARISH MEETING.
Still Standing by Dr. McGlynn Because of His Principles Rather Than His Personality.
“I knew as a workingman that the condition of affairs was out of joint. But I saw no remedy until I followed the advice of a good priest, a friend of Dr. McGlynn, and read ‘Progress and Poverty.’ Then the light dawned and I beheld the star of social and industrial emancipation shining behind the clouds of monopoly.”
Such were the ringing words with which Frank Purcell greeted a crowded meeting of Dr. McGlynn’s supporters last Friday evening in International hall on East Twenty-seventh street. Outside the hall were chilling blasts, spattering rain, splashing mud, but inside were cordial fraternity and warm-hearted devotion to the soggarth aroon. It mattered not that many of the men who usually assist at these parish meetings were scattered in different portions of the state, sowing the good seed and planting the cross of the new crusade in hamlet, village, town and city. It mattered not that many of the ladies usually present were at the Anti-poverty fair, working for the same cause in another manner, still the hall was crowded to its fullest capacity, and Chairman Feeny seemed to grow in stature as he does in eloquence, when expressing anew his firm allegiance to the principles for which Dr. McGlynn stands as the tribune of the crusade.
The speech of Frank Purcell was a manly avowal of belief in the land for the people doctrine, as taught by Henry George, and of determination to support the nominees of the united labor party. He was cheered throughout, thus establishing beyond question the fact that the support of St. Stephen’s parish is given to Dr. McGlynn because of intelligent approval and appreciation of his principles. It is not a mere sentimental expression of affection for a deserving and much loved clergyman, but an intelligent protest of friendship for the man whose great heart would seek satisfaction in abolishing the legalized causes of poverty rather than in the mere perfunctory alms giving to the needy.
A. J. Steers also attended this meeting, and if the parishoners had any grudge against the united labor party they would have vented it on Mr. Steers, because they knew he was the man who first induced Dr. McGlynn to read “Progress and Poverty,” and so brought their pastor into intellectual communication with Henry George. But that they approved the deed was evident from the cordial welcome given their visitor, and the hearty cheers which punctuated his appeal for the battle to go on until right should triumph over might. W. O. Eastlake followed in a logical speech on the merits of the McGlynn-Corrigan controversy, and George Smith of Green point told the meeting how the cause was progressing in that interesting portion of Brooklyn. Altogether the meeting was a decided success, proving anew the strength of the movement among the spiritual constituency of Dr. McGlynn. When closing the exercises, Chairman Feeny told the people that though their constant friend, Mr. Gahan, was not present, yet he was doing good work elsewhere, spreading the light in Sag Harbor, after which the meeting closed with ringing shouts of applause and cheers for Dr. McGlynn, Henry George and the united labor party.
The State Organizer Seen Much That Is Cheerful in the Hoosier Prospect.
W. W. Bailey,13 the energetic editor of the Vincennes News, sends the following interesting account of his work as state organizer in Indiana. Friends of the cause will notice Mr. Bailey’s modest appeal for funds to aid him in his labors. Contributions can be sent to him at Vincennes, Ind. Both individually and as editor of the News W. W. Bailey is doing noble work for the cause of industrial emancipation. Such a man should not be checked by want of a few dollars.
Vincennes, Ind., Sept. 24. — The New York campaign is giving an appreciable impetus to the new movement in this state. I see evidences of this in the newspapers and in frequent letters. Here interest has not lagged. The News has agitated with unremitting vigor with the result of drawing its contemporaries of the city and neighborhood into spirited controversies on this, that and the other point of the new crusade, while the public has been set to talking. The land and labor club is active. An open air meeting this week, addressed by Charles M. Wetzel of Vincennes and ex-Prosecutor A. J. Padgett of Washington, Ind., a recent convert from the democracy, drew a large and attentive crowd, which went away thoughtful. The club meets every Friday night, is open to the public, and carries on free discussions of the single tax question. Several notable converts have been made recently, among them Mr. A. J. Gilbert, an earnest and clear-headed resident of Ontario county, N. Y., now here on business. He will arm himself for the war, and is even now proselyting among his New York friends. Another convert was Dr. Ignatz Mayer, a Chicago optician. He was formerly a socialist in Vienna, where he was born and educated in the gymnasium, but he had become disgusted with socialism and had fallen into a sort of despair of any social betterment. I brought the doctrines of the united labor party to his attention and he was seized at once with their grand simplicity and absolute justice, leaving here an enthusiast. The farmers are becoming more and more interested in the single tax, and scores of them tell me that they are ready to indorse it. Nearly all are studying the question. I think them more open to conviction than the small shop keeper and business men generally, for these as a rule read less and know less of principles than any men I meet, not excepting day laborers.
Through the state the work moves slowly, for want of funds to push it, chiefly. I hear from widely scattered friends that the cause is being held up steadily all over the state by sturdy hands. I send all the tracts I can, but as I have no money but my own for the work there is a sharp limit to my efforts. If any friend of the cause desires to help me in my duty, let him send what he can spare and I will acknowledge. I feel hopeful of the union labor element. Many of its best men in this state are firm believers in the single tax, and the Knights of Labor are discussing the question and falling into line. The utmost interest prevails in the New York contest, which we expect to see end in a moral and perhaps an actual triumph for the united labor party.
W. W. Bailey.
News From Florida.
Tampa. Fla. — Perhaps a line from southern peninsula may not be out of place.
It seems indeed strange after so many years of strife and contention, prejudice and hatred between parties, creeds and sections to see them now joining in a common cause and striving together for the common good of mankind.
I for one was tutored from childhood to regard the north as our enemy, and Catholics and their doctrines I looked upon as intolerable. But since Dr. McGlynn and American Catholics in general have shown to the world that they are American citizens and free men, and since hearing the grand teaching of the Bible set forth and defended so ably and fearlessly by the good doctor, and seeing him stand up for truth and right in spite of his adversaries, my prejudice is transformed into admiration. I feel proud of The Standard and of the glorious truths it is spreading throughout the length and breadth of our land. I’m proud of a party whose platform is founded on principles so pure, so noble, so just and generous that all true Americans can lay aside petty preferences and prejudices and espouse the cause as one common brotherhood and march triumphantly to victory.
The Standard has at last been admitted to our news stand with the leading organs of the old parties. It was until recently hidden behind the counter and only exhibited by special request. We worked on the news man and persuaded him to read it and think that accounts for the promotion. I furnished the postmaster a copy; he promised to read it carefully; think he will soon be all right.
We are all idle here except cigarmakers, who are mostly Cubans and Spaniards. Ybor & Co. are manufacturing cigars; they use several hundred hands. Sanchez & Haya also work a goodly number. Ybor lately raised $1 per month on his small box cottages and forces his hands to rent them on penalty of discharge. That is America’s free labor. I wish we could aid the grand cause in New York, but poverty forbids. R. H. Garner.
Anti-Poverty in Brooklyn.
The Kings county Henry George club held a large and enthusiastic meeting on Sunday evening, in the Brooklyn Academy of Music. J. P. Kohler presided, and in the unavoidable absence of Mr. George, who had been announced to speak, Mr. J. P. O’Donnell addressed the meeting.
The former president of “Big Six” delivered an interesting address, in which he sketched the origin and subsequent history of the so-called rights of property in land. He showed that the value of all the land in this country today was created by the community, and reasoned that to the community should accrue the values it had created. The proper way to bring about this equitable condition of affairs was by taxing land values and thus recover the land for the people without interfering with private possession.
Major A. R. Calhoun followed in a rousing speech, which elicited much applause and enthusiasm.
The Kings county club is doing efficient work by these Sunday night meetings, through which the principles of the land and labor party are brought to the attention of many whom it might be difficult to reach in any other way.
OUT AT LAST.
New York, Oct. 2. — The following is from the Sunday (Oct. 2) issue of the New York World:
Dr. McGlynn says that his followers do not want to “go west” to abolish their poverty. “Isolation is inhuman; it is semi-barbarous,” he declares. “We don’t want to go Dakota, where they tell us we can get land for nothing. We want land in New York.” The truth is out at last. If thousands of sturdy farmers had not gone where land is plenty and cheap, and raised wheat and corn and beef in “semi-barbarous isolation,” the members of the anti-poverty crusade would have starved to death before now. As there is not land enough in New York to give every man who lives here a spot big enough to swing a cat in, the outlook for satisfying them is not very bright.
The New York World! The protagonist in the arena of modern journalism! Neither in the heavens above, nor the earth beneath, nor yet within the depths of the sea, is there any hidden thing which its reporters cannot bring to light, and its editors clarify in accordance with the strict laws of exegesis.
Having sent its representative into the far northwest to collect data pertaining to the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy, wherewith to “electrify the literary world;” and having sent a bold diver beneath the sea to collect data pertaining to the form and dimensions of the Thistle’s hull, wherewith to startle the slow-moving Scotch and English mind, it now offers to the reading public the results of its third marvelous journalistic effort.
With strategical skill worthy the great Napoleon it has, by bringing to bear upon an unguarded point the irresistible combination of reportorial inquisitiveness and editorial acuteness, triumphantly plucked from the united labor party the very heart of its secret.
Alas and alack! “The truth is out at last.” Very much out; in fact, printed and circulated throughout this broad land in a quarter million edition.
Had “the followers” of Dr. McGlynn obediently consented to “go west” there would have been no occasion for the doctor’s utterance, and the hitherto profound secret that “we want land in New York” would not have been “out at last.” A pitcher may be taken once too often to the well, and a profound secret may be once too often told. Of course it may be given a daily public rehearsal for a year or two, or published and widely circulated in book form for a period of eight or ten years, but even at the end of that time some wideawake, enterprising, public-spirited newspaper like the protagonistic World may become possessed of it, and cry out in unholy glee: “Aha! the truth is out at last.”
Previous to Dr. McGlynn’s declaration of desire the observant and reflective editors of the World evidently believed that we were struggling and yearning for town lots and farms in the heart of Africa or on Greenland’s icy mountains. But as the truth is out at last we may as well develop the whole of it. If the World will grant the loan of its economic editor we will whisper to him that it is not only our desire and intention to so arrange matters that New Yorkers shall be enabled to possess and occupy a spot of land in New York “large enough to swing a cat in,” but we also intend ultimately to arrange matters so that this condition of things shall be common to all the states and territories.
And if the conservative editors of the World will conscientiously endeavor to grasp its significance we can put it in possession of information which will enable their journal to “scoop” its contemporaries. We intend to so change the economic status of things that within the time of some now living the Irish shall actually take possession of Ireland, and secure to their own use and benefit the products of its soil. Now let the World herald this abroad as a second secret that is “out at last.” Let it be published in Gath and told in the synagogues. Let the forces of the World join the forces of the Chicago Tribune to overwhelm this subtle, progressive, leavening principle. Let their strong men array themselves in complete steel and come forth to meet us on the economic field of battle. We are ready and eager for the fray, because, forsooth, our secret is “out at last,” and we must bear the brunt of battle with a bold front. Burch.
President Garfield on the Land Question.
Cleveland, O. — Our martyred president, James A. Garfield, evidently saw the true cause of slavery, both chattel and industrial, when in his speech in the house of representatives on Jan. 28, 1864, he said:
“The landless man of the south has learned the lesson of submission so well that when he is confronted by the landed proprietor he begins to be deferential, he is facile and dependent, and less of a man than if he stood on a little spot of God’s earth covered by his own little deed. Sir, if we want a lasting peace, if we want to put down this rebellion so that it shall stay forever put down, we must put down its guilty cause; we must put down slavery; we must take away the platform on which slavery stands — the great landed estates of the armed rebels of the south.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson also recognized the injustice of private ownership in land when in his essay on “Napoleon, the man of the world,” he said: “As long as our civilization is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, elusiveness, it will be mocked by delusions. Our riches will leave us sick; there will be bitterness in our laughter, and our wine will burn our mouth. Only that good profits which we can taste with all doors open and which serves all men.”
Not Charity, but Justice, is what is Needed.
London, S. W., England. — I have lately seen your most excellent article, headed “Charity and Justice,”14 and I think it strikes me with peculiar force, since I am one of those who have come round to the land question via the charity question. I had been working for some years for a large charitable society in London, when I read “Progress and Poverty.” I had formerly read The Standard treaties on political economy with interest, but I was altogether hopeless of our arriving at any sort of solution of those great difficulties which cannot fail to face one in such work as mine was and is, burdens which seem to press on one day and night, clamoring for a remedy.
It appears to me, from statistics which I have collected myself, that out of these who apply for assistance on account of being out of work, some ten percent owe their want of work to their own misconduct; the rest are able and willing to work, yet can not find work to do; in other words, are unable to procure material on which to employ their labor. That is the problem to which there is, I venture to affirm, no solution save that which the Anti-poverty society offers.
But the reading of “Progress and Poverty” suddenly opened to me a vista such as I had not dreamed of. I soon began to say to myself, Surely if these men could have access to some of the abundant stores of nature they would soon begin supplying one another with the necessaries of life in a natural way. From this they were precluded by a system which enables a favored few to lock up those stores from the unfavored many, with those consequences which I see daily around me, namely, enforced idleness, want of proper nourishment, illness, hopelessness, vice, the workhouse, jail, or asylum, followed by a pauper’s grave. If it is true that these things need not be, there is hope after all.
All this I said to myself, and henceforth began to take courage. I have read and re-read all Mr. George’s books. I have perused every number of The Standard, with the result that every week I live I feel more strongly convinced that the principles there enunciated contain not merely the only solution of the difficulties yet put forward, but the absolutely true one, and one in accordance with nature and common sense.
If you think well to insert this in your paper I shall be pleased to think that I have added my small testimony to those many others which, though doubtless of greater value, cannot be of greater sincerity. Yours faithfully, H. A. Freeman.
A Song Against Poverty.
Rossetti’s “Dante and His Circle.”
O poverty, by thee the soul is wrapped
With hate, with envy, dolefulness and doubt.
Even so be thou cast out,
And even so he that speaks thee otherwise.
I name thee now, because my mood is apt
To curse thee, bride of every lost estate,
Through whom are desolate
On earth all honorable things and wise.
Within thy power each blest condition dies;
By thee men’s minds with sore distrust are made
Fantastic and afraid.
Thou hated worse than Death, by just accord,
And with the loathing of all hearts abhorred.
An Example Worth Following.
Land and labor club No. 1, of Cincinnati, is setting an example of energetic work which should be followed by similar organizations everywhere. Its latest step has been the issue of the following circular, which is being distributed broadcast throughout Ohio and Kentucky:
Cincinnati, October, 1887. — It is time for us to draw up our line of battle against the Philistines. The cause now pleading in whispers for a hearing with the just must come in the thunderings of political power to which none can stop their ears.
Everywhere there are scattered elements of power in those who are privately convinced of the truth of our principles. Let us all make common cause in the formation of chartered societies in every township and congressional district throughout Ohio and Kentucky.
Send us the addresses of those whom you know to be in sympathy with the struggle to restore the natural rights of man. Mention their calling and religious professions for the influence which runs in these channels. Strengthen our weaker members against petty persecutions of principle. Aid us in urging faithful men to issue calls for local organization.
It matters little if the gatherings are begun upon a small basis. It matters everything that they should be composed of men and women with pure motives, clear heads and great hearts, full of faith in the realization of a nobler destiny for mankind than the poverty and injustice of the present.
Let us banish timidity and irresolution, and go on.
Charles H. Fitch,
The Cincinnati club is working in the right direction in thus laboring for the formation of as many centers of agitation as possible. If every land and labor club will do as much, the united labor party will sweep the country in 1888.
Sowing Seed as He Goes Along.
Princess Anne, Md. — We have no formal organization in the town in which I reside, but I am trying to do some quiet work as I go along. Have had the pleasure of explaining the single tax on land to several and of defending it from unjust aspersions in quite a number of instances. I find that four out of every five are opposed to it because they have thoroughly mistaken notions respecting it. Many with whom I have talked have thought that the adoption of your theory meant the turning out of homes of all who are fortunate enough to possess them. But to their credit be it said I have yet to meet the man who has disputed the honest facts when squarely confronted by them.
I am more than ever convinced that what the mass of the people want is a plain understanding of the real merits of the question and they will act promptly and decisively.
Nor Old Enough to Vote, but Old Enough to Think and Talk.
New York City. — I want to give you my experience as soldier in the new crusade. I am not old enough to vote yet, but if I can’t vote I can talk, and I never lose the chance where it is offered. When I go around the corner in the evening the boys will say, “Here comes Henry George.” I don’t mind that. I have converted a number of them, and some are going to vote with us this time. I have got all of your books, but I have only read “Progress and Poverty” and “The Land Question.” Anti-Poverty No. 1,514
A Candidate Whose Candidacy Means Something.
Mr. J. Wallace, one of the candidates for state senator in Iowa, is an earnest member of the Anti-poverty society. Mr. Wallace is the proprietor of a number of creameries and cheese factories in Iowa, and is one of the men who see clearly that the only security for success in any productive business is to be sought in the emancipation of industry by throwing open natural opportunities to labor.
Here’s a Pretty Mess!
Gems from New York Sun editorial Oct. 2.
Is it true that labor creates capital? It is certainly not always true.
It is not labor that creates capital. It is created by actual profits.
Not only is labor not the creator of capital, but capital cannot be created by labor in any considerable amounts.
Capital, in the main, instead of being a product of labor, is a fruit of the increase in value over the cost of labor which every commodity may be made to command after it has been taken from the hand of the laborer and placed upon the market.
If a commodity brings more than the cost of production, some capital has been created; if less, then some capital has been lost.
So long as workmen believe that labor is the chief factor in the creation of wealth, they will fail in turning their attention to the practical work to be done by their organizations before these can emerge from their chrysalis condition and become a substantial benefit to the members.
Co-operation is what workmen, in common with the whole human race, most urgently need, but it must be … a co-operation that will enable them, by a judicious use of the laws of interest, to obtain possession of lands and houses which they may personally hold for homes and homesteads, and for whatever of increment may be made to follow.
Anxious Eyes Are Watching Us From England.
Reynolds’s Weekly, London, England.
We are quite content with the Syracuse platform as it stands, as a mighty installment of justice, and we trust to see before long a united labor party formed in Great Britain, with a programme no less thorough. The makeshift rule of thumb economics of trades unionisms are simply a disgrace to British workmen, and the sooner they take a leaf out of the book of their American brethren the better.
Who are the men to come forward among us to play the part of the McGlynns, the Georges, the Pentecosts, the Huntingtons and the Redpaths of America? Who — Who?
TEN THOUGHTS FOR CHRISTIAN THINKERS.
BY JOHN W. KRAMER.
I. Jesus Christ, representing the Father, did not wish to have poverty continued. To many who were rich he spoke words of denunciation and warning. To the poor he gave words of highest hope and blessing.
Of those who were poor because of indolence and vice we perceive how his moral teaching would remove the cause of their poverty. It may be as clearly seen that the same teaching would destroy the cause of all poverty that results from injustice and cruelty. This leaves remaining only the poor whose dependence comes from mistakes, incompetence, extravagance, sickness, or bereavement.
It has been claimed that the divine Master sanctioned the existence of poverty in saying, “Ye have the poor always with you.” This was but an allusion to the fact attendant on painful social disorder; in no sense was it the sanction of the disorder or the prediction that it must continue.
If poverty is a bad thing for man our Lord would have anyone bear it with a brave spirit; but as surely as it is a bad thing He would have it removed.
II. The Master presents the remedy for poverty.
We must look for the disapproval of poverty and the remedy for it in that deeper study of His teaching which brings out principles, rather than by a merely superficial reading of cited words.
He certainly exhorted to the relief of poverty; hence the almsgiving of the Christian ages. But He did much more than ask for such expression of charity. He preached justice and brotherhood and put the golden rule on the pages of the New Testaments. If modern thought learns that the prevailing poverty of the many who wish to be virtuous and who toil well comes from legal injustice and the selfishness of strong and crafty ones, Christ’s teaching aims a deadly blow at the evil. For then, as surely as He provided the remedy for slavery, so surely did he also for poverty. The Holy Ghost, as Christ predicted the work of the Spirit, was to persuade the strong to righteousness in every direction that the intelligence of the world might be developed.
III. The early disciples understood the spirit of their Master’s teaching in this matter. Their unwise attempt at a Christian communism shows their purpose to make the infant church an anti-poverty society. In this society none was to say “that aught of the things he possessed was his own” and of this community it is written: “Neither was there any among them that lacked.”
IV. When we study the best modern thought in political economy and social science, we find it to run parallel with Christ’s teaching. It is not surprising that down to recent days errors should confuse thought and that wrong should be justified. The saddest outcome of the confusion was the Malthusian reasoning which made political economy indeed “a dreary science,” which gave despair to thought and made it skeptical, which esteemed pestilence and war as blessings that reduced the number of God’s hungry children on earth. But social science comes to lead us into a higher study of political economy, and we may now see how harmonious the divine law is if it be allowed free play in society. John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer, aside from any Christian standard, have led the political thought of this day into the eternal realm of righteousness. In doing this they had to consider land monopoly and land speculation, and they undermined the legal support of these offensive social growths. Theirs has been an independent and original study, though others preceded them in this same line of investigation. The inquiry has been, what is right and what is wrong? and what should be for the highest good of all? It is in such a scope of inquiry that we have been able to find the Malthusian theory to be utterly false, and to take away from the All Father the blasphemous charge that He ever meant to place more children at his board than He meant to feed. God’s board is the land which gives the bread and the means to buy bread, which gives all the wealth man may obtain; and we learn that if it be treated as common property all probable multiplication of the race will not exhaust its treasure. Then no man able and willing to labor will want. This conclusion has come from reasoning along the line of justice and brotherhood.
V. There are some things apparent to plain people as wrong in the present landholding.
1. It legalizes the privilege of the strong to forbid the poor a foothold on the land of their nativity. The privilege is not often exercised, for the simple reason that it would be unprofitable to do so. But the privilege is in the law, and in some way the poor and weak must pay other men for room on the land where their heavenly father has placed them.
2. The unearned increment of land is a value made by society. All a land owner need do is wait until population comes about his estate. He need not expend a dollar to improve it; if he can afford to let it lie wild the better for him. Other land is improved, people came to live near his property, and he finds society making him rich. It is a man in a legal position where he may compel the community to earn wealth for him. The poor and the toilers are the greater part of the community. The unearned increment comes to those who give nothing in return.
3. The vacant land in crowded centers is wanted. The owners who will neither sell it nor improve it are impeding the convenience and need of the community. Referring to the previous point, these owners are obstructors in the path of the community which makes them rich, and wealth comes to them from obstruction.
4. Where land is improved the burden of the unearned increment which enriches the landlord ofttimes falls severely upon the tenant. Does he occupy the improvement as a home? — then his rent quite often is increased to become a serious hardship, and if he cannot pay the demand he must remove. Does he use the improvement for shop or store? — then from two causes he may be harmed, both from the unearned increment and from his own diligence and toil in making a business. One may work very hard and use close economy to find, when the trade comes from which he hoped to make something for his family, that he has been working to enrich the landlord, who now demands a large rent because the tenant has made “a good stand.” The house or the shop is of less value because of age and use, but the land, the position, has increased in value.
It is not for a moment supposed that increment of value will not come to ground under any system; but under the present it comes to strong individuals who have no equity to it and who may grind the poor under a legal millstone, while under the reform now asked it would come to the state of which the poor man is a part — would come to the commonwealth which in providing education, art, and conveniences for himself and his children would compensate anyone for the little hurt increment under state lordship of values would give.
There has been presented here only what may be seen on the surface of this great question, and every item is an example of injustice.
VI. The wretchedness that results from this injustice has given philanthropists painful thought, and yet they have not many of them discerned the cause and the remedy.
Old age and little children are cold while “coal barons” meet in palatial places to put up the price of fuel. No public sentiment or laws stop them; the pulpit, under which some of them sit, does not check them. The masses seem to have discerned that but one thing can and will, and that is to say, “The coal is not theirs, but ours.” For mineral wealth in the economic sense is land.
The crowded tenement houses in which the toilers find shelter and can never have homes are the direct result of land propriety. Then come indirect results — the sickness and mortality of infants; the fevers that feed upon adults and children; the discomfort and indecency which send many a man to the rum hole and many a girl to the brothel — frightful forms of misery, crime and death in numberless instances, the result of high-priced land and the legal denial to the poor of access to vacant land in the cities. And, let it be repeated, the people who suffer have given the value to the land. The earnings of wage workers would give them comfortable and healthful homes under the reform now demanded.
It might have been more briefly put. The result of the injustice is the wretchedness of poverty. Too much possibly may be expected from the proposed reform, but it has been shown with a logic that appears faultless from premise to conclusion that all the pains of poverty may be much more than mitigated and that most men will be given a fair chance to escape poverty.
VII. We must acknowledge the great distinction between land and other property.
1. God made it. Apparently He made it for all His children. If a man grows a vegetable it is his own production; if he tills and fertilizes land and thus gives it increased productive strength, the added value is his; if he builds a house it is his own work. But no man makes the natural opportunity which uncultivated land itself is. What a man makes should be his against all claims of other men. What God creates belongs to the race.
2. Society adds value to land. What value the community adds to natural opportunity which is God’s free gift — a value made by no one man or firm — should be an addition to the commonwealth. This is the unearned increment of land.
3. When we trace back the title to land we find that it always begins in wrong. It was claimed by a prince or a conqueror, or a discoverer, and was parceled out to favorites as a gift or sold to enrich the claimant. The individual had no right to claim it against all the world, to give or to sell it. If fraud taints a title, so that a man having paid for real estate in ignorance of the fraud, may now lose it, in equity it taints a title from the beginning, a hundred or a thousand years ago.
4. So very different is land from all other things that the principle of the state’s eminent domain has ever been recognized in law. The sovereign, as the head of the nation, is the owner from whom every freeholder has title as “tenant” to English land; and in every American state, which was once covered by English laws, the state holds the place and title of the sovereign. Dr. William Paley15 entered upon an exhaustive examination of reasons; which justified the English constitution when he wrote his great work on “Moral and Political Philosophy.” He asks upon what the right of property in land — so different from other things — is founded. He controverts Mr. Locke’s solution and solutions of some others, and finally rests it solely upon the law of the land. He argues that this is not from the will of God, but that it is according to the will of God. The reasons which he gives for the latter part of the argument have since then been demonstrated to be false. But if the right rests solely upon the law of the land, not upon a principle of eternal righteousness, we have only to remember that no law of expediency is unchangeable, and that any human law may be repealed by the children of the men who made it. By constitutional process the law relating to land may be radically changed.
VIII. We should listen to what some thoughtful Christian teachers are saying, who give us the religious supplement to what such a political, economist as Mr. Mill, and such a social scientist as Mr. Spencer, have said. One only will be quoted here as representative of this class, the Rev. Llewelyn Davies, an Anglican divine. His name will be recognized by all clergymen who are widely read in the utterances of living teachers of the English establishment, as that of one worthy of respect from the best class of Christian thinkers. Some of the following extracts are of such radical tone, if not character, that they are beyond the mind of the present writer, who would not cast the semblance of a shadow on “the sacredness of private property.” Mr. Davies says:
“It is an important fact, of which we must not lose sight, that the principle of communism can hardly be stated in any general form which shall not demand universal acquiescence.
“There are those who think that there is irreverence and danger in discussing these questions at all. They would have property treated with the respect due a divine mystery, as a thing not to be approached, even in thought without delicacy and caution. They speak often of the sacredness of private property. Now various objects have been sacred in various religions. But it is not the Christian religion that has ever consecrated private property. To a Christian trained in the authoritative writings of our faith the notion of treating private property as something sacred ought to seem utterly strange. The common interest is invariably exalted over the private in the Bible. The principle of private property receives contumelious rather than reverent handling in the New Testament. The common interest, on the other hand, is associated with all that we are taught to hallow most reverently and to seek most devoutly.
“It is just possible you may persuade yourself that nothing better can be devised than the competitive struggle for existence, in which the helpless go to the wall. But if you have imaginative enterprise enough to construct an ideal scheme of social constitution, your scheme will almost inevitably be more communistic than the existing arrangements of society.
“It is scarcely possible to be religious or thoughtful at all without revolving plans of some kind by which social miseries may be cured or social happiness increased.
“I speak to humane and Christian persons. I recall to your minds the teaching of the New Testament and the instincts of humanity. Now, if certain plans were proposed to you, by which it could be shown to your satisfaction that, at the cost of some of the wealth of the rich, the condition of the poor could be made permanently more easy and more secure against degradation, would you not joyfully accept them? You cannot say no. If you refuse to listen to them, you may say that you know beforehand that all such plans must be delusive — that they will fail to attain their end, or that the end is not worth the disturbance and apparent injustice by which it would have to be sought. But overwhelming proof can be given that all such plans are not delusive.
“One of the most ambitious schemes which has been put forward by the International society is that of the acquisition of the land by the state. On the great scale, it seems impossible to imagine how this could be done. But there is no a priori reason why more of the land should not belong to the public than is at present the case among ourselves. In Switzerland, the communes hold a great deal of land which they either keep for common use or let to tenants at a rent.
“We are subject to a double magnetism, and are drawn on the one hand toward the rich, on the other hand toward the poor. We may yield ourselves to either attraction; but let us remember that it is the spirit of the world that tempts us to make up to the rich, while the spirit of Christ bids us sympathize with the humble and the poor.” (“Theology and Morality.” Chapter on Communism.)
When Mr. Davies wrote in 1873 of the acquisition of land by the state, “On the great scale it seems impossible to imagine how this could be done,” the beautiful, the simple, the complete scheme of the taxation of land values had not been offered to the thought of men.
IX. There are persons who will be injured by the reform advocated. Who are they? and should anything be done for them?
The burden of taxation would fall upon land holders; the tax light on land in agricultural districts and heavy in large cities, where land is of highest value. Holders of titles to improved land would find rents reduced from the competition of other land forced to seek improvement, and the taxes paid would be a further reduction of rent, this being a tax not to be shifted upon tenants. Naked land would lose its marketable value, and there would be a fall in all rents. Something that is now a good business, made such by an artificial and unjust opportunity, would become a poor business. A number of persons would be harmed; very few injured to suffering.
If the change were to come suddenly — especially in a time when the real estate market boasts of its “boom,” an activity and rise which falls severely upon the poor — it would be disastrous to those who would be “caught long” of land. But any reform of this magnitude determined by legislation gives warning of its approach, and no actual suffering should result. Possibly a comparatively small number of persons inheriting land bought for investment would be injured.
Where the signs of the time were unwatched and inheritors might suffer, it is difficult to see how relief could be given. These cases are analogous to those where any bad investment has been made. The release of the land will be such a boon to society, will help so many thousand poor widows and children, that it cannot pause for the comparatively few who might be harmed. If any equitable way of relieving these can be devised which will not be taken advantage of by the speculators, every humane citizen will be glad to have it proposed.
Owners of small homes mortgaged on the present value of land and improvements would be harmed by an unexpected approach of this reform, at least for awhile. But very little harm must come to them from a change which will give its due warning. In any case compensation will come to them in relief from all other taxation and in their share of the general welfare to result from the reform.
Persons who are holders of real estate, either as a little investment or a humble home, suffer now, as a neighborhood may have its character changed for the worse, as a public road may be carried by it to the annoyance of residents or diverted from it to the loss of convenience or of trade, or as there comes any reaction in values which depresses the market below the cost to the owners.
The classes supposed above as being possible sufferers would very soon be gainers under the changed condition of things.
The most serious damage will be done to land speculators. Every capitalist and every laborer, except the capitalist who speculates in land or who holds it for a rise, will be helped, and every kind of business that is now both legitimate and helpful to society will be advanced. The thing which is an evil will be destroyed, and those who profit from the evil will find this source of gain gone. Equity does not require any compensation to the speculators. What gain they have cannot be taken from them; they will simply have to seek other means of further gain. Greedy speculation in anything causes more distress than could come from legislation which speedily put an end to it. In the latter case it is another and a smaller class, and one not to be pitied, that suffers.
The sympathetic could hardly bear to think of it bringing temporary harm to any not well off but for the hundred others — men, women, and children whom it will raise out of degradation and pain. The land holding of today makes a few very rich and the many very poor.
X. We should reflect upon what must be the result to our organized Christianity if this cry for land restoration be not respectfully heard by those who represent the church.
The Protestant churches in our large cities show us what is coming — something most sad for the church and most sad for those who will go away from their spiritual nurture. There are not many intelligent workingmen now attending the Protestant churches of our great cities and busy towns. Perhaps it is not too much to say that a thousand boys instructed in Sunday schools and who become toilers desert the church where a score remain. All of those who leave are not without a living sense of the religious nature belonging to man; but organized Christianity seems to be against them, and the rich in the churches, for reasons they cannot appreciate, control the churches. Worse than all else, it appears to them that the greed spirit is not exorcised from the most of those who are communicants of the churches. Of course too much is expected of human nature in this respect. But it is asked that those who are of the church will not be intolerant of any opinion that claims righteousness for its support, even though it appears to threaten harm to some interests. The church must not appear as ever ready to give alms, but not always willing to be just.
A glance at the ethics and religion in this great subject has been attempted. Enough has been said, surely, to lead any thoughtful reader to examine the question fully. At least I plead that patient tolerance be exercised toward those of us who speak from convictions that are outlined above. We are ready to yield to any master who can show us a mistake in them. The question is a living one, and it is here to stay and trouble us until one of two things comes to pass — until it is met and vanquished by fair argument or until the reform be given. The truth, whatever it is, belongs to God, and must prevail.
“I have delivered my soul.”
There’s a Whole Sermon in This Paragraph.
St. Paul Globe.
A St. Paul man who planted some of his surplus in California real estate last fall, sight unseen, took a run down the other day to see what it looked like. He was disappointed to find what he supposed was a ten acre garden spot to be only a huge sand bank. He went to the real estate agent from whom he purchased and made a vigorous kick. “Isn’t this a great climate?” asked the real estate agent, with a bland smile on his face. “The climate is all right. It is simply glorious,” replied the St. Paul citizen. “Well, then you have no room to kick,” said the agent; “it was the climate I sold you. The land was thrown in.”
A SERMON IN A LETTER.
Rev. D. W. P. Bliss Declines the Nomination for the Lieutenant Governorship of Massachusetts — His Field of Labor is the Ministry, Where He Will Preach the Gospel of Industrial Emancipation and the Golden Rule.
Rev. W. D. P. Bliss writes to The Standard from Boston:
I have been nominated lieutenant governor by the labor party here, but have declined, and send you a copy of my declination. I have put into it some thoughts on land ownership, and also of the relations of the clergy to the labor problem that may suit your readers. If you can make any use of it to help your cause I shall be very glad. As soon as I get a little started in my new parish here I shall actively join the land and labor move here.
The following is Mr. Bliss’s letter of declination, addressed to the committee of the nominating convention:
Dear Sirs — I see by the morning papers that you have seen fit to nominate me for lieutenant governor on your state labor ticket. I write to thank you for the honor, but also to respectfully decline. Having chosen the ministry of religion, I have no ambition, do not feel any call of duty, to seek the ministry of state, and cannot therefore for a moment allow my name to appear upon your ticket. Wholly apart from office, however, as a minister of religion, and the more because I am one, I shall make it my privilege and my duty to interest myself in the cause of labor, and, so far as it shall be in my power, to aid its advancement through all lawful and legitimate methods. The clergyman, I believe, has a duty in politics, a message that he is bound to deliver on all questions of national, class and political discussion. I recognize no charmed circle drawn around the ballot box within which religion has no place. If our Christianity is worth anything it is worth applying in the family, in business, in the state. Our family relations, our business interests, our political institutions, are all today imperiled largely because we as a people have too much divorced our religious and our social, our corporate and our institutional daily life. What God hath joined let no man put assunder.
Herein lies our hope in the labor problem. Strikes are useless. Strikes have done good in arresting and compelling public thought, but that having been accomplished, strikes in nine cases out of ten are folly and worse than folly. The manufacturers and employers of our land are not, as a class, the tyrannical and unjust oppressors they are sometimes called, and which I myself once considered them when I began to study the labor problem. The working man has many and many a just and real grievance, but striking against the average manufacturer cannot help him. Our manufacturers are themselves the slaves of competition. There are exceptions indeed, and exceptions, I grant, only too numerous, but, as a whole, the manufacturers and employers of our land are already doing all, or well nigh all, that they can under existing conditions for the wage workers under their employ. It is the system we must change, and not the men, who are applying an unscientific system as justly, and, on the whole, as generously as they know how. Business and production are today conducted on a system of utterly unscientific and anarchical competition, resulting naturally in private and high handed monopoly and combination. War is the keynote to the business of today. It must be brotherhood. Universal, not private, combination must take the place of unlicensed competition. Co-operation, industrial federation, must gradually replace the wage system. The recognition of the common ownership of all in the natural resources of the earth, together with the equal recognition of the right of the individual to the fruits of his own labor, must be scientifically applied to the land question, to every national interest. In these and similar reforms, together with and never forgetting the development of that individual character which is necessary in every system, even the most perfect, lies, I am convinced, our hope in the labor problem.
If this cannot be done, if men are not brothers, if the golden rule is, as it has been called, merely idle platitude when applied in practical life, then the sooner that I and my brother clergy leave our pulpits and farm New England hills the better for us, for mankind and for the truth. But because I do not believe this, because I believe that the golden rule shall yet become the rule for good, because I believe that the two fundamental principles of Christianity, the fatherhood of God and the resultant brotherhood of man, may be and should be applied in daily life, I, as a priest of Christ, shall do all I can for the cause of righteousness in politics and in all life.
Declining then all thought of office, just so far as your platform and your organization represent the cause of truth and the elevation of the poor and oppressed, you may count on my assistance and co-operation. I remain, yours respectfully,
W. D. P. Bliss.
If Any One Should Give These Pennsylvania Tenants the Same Advice that William O’Brien Gave to Irish Tenants Similarly Agitated What Would be Done to Him?
Pittsburg Trades Journal.
Judging by surface indications it would seem that the teachings of Henry George have made but little stir in Pittsburg, yet this city strikingly illustrates the legal robberies perpetrated under our present system of land tenure. One who cares to investigate has to go but a short distance out on Penn avenue to see the beauties of the law by which one family can tax an entire city. In the Twelfth ward, where great industrial establishments display Pittsburg’s achievements, there stands a large mill, erected within a few days. It is one of Pittsburg’s representative workshops, the products of which are shipped to all parts of the continent. The company operating this mill owns the buildings, but for the privilege of occupying the ground, for the opportunity to increase Pittsburg’s wealth, for the chance to give employment to several hundred of Pittsburgh workmen, this company has to pay $8,000 per year to an English family. The ground occupied by this company belongs to the great Schenley estate. Generations ago a revolutionary soldier secured a grant of this land when it was of little value, and now his descendants, born citizens of a foreign country, are trying to rob Pittsburg labor of a certain amount each year, for we all know that labor alone must pay the rent.
Yet this is only one of the many Pittsburg industrial establishments taxed to keep up a family of English snobocracy. The Atlas works, Hussey, Binns & Co.’s factory, the Westinghouse machine company’s shops and one of the French spring works, are merely a few of the leading Pittsburg industries from which this unholy tax is exacted. The Schenley heirs, who have no moral right in the world to this land, take the following plan of bleeding Pittsburg enterprise: When a manufacturer wants a piece of ground he gets a lease by paying annually six percent of the highest valuation placed upon that ground by the city authorities. In addition he must pay all taxes, and stand all improvements, such as grading, paving and sewer construction. A manufacturer who leases on these terms from the Pittsburg representative of the Schenley family said to the writer a few days since: “It is robbery, just as clear as any ever committed by a burglar, but what can we do? It is law.”
It is estimated that Pittsburg pours $800,000 annually into the coffers of the Schenley family. Eight hundred thousand each year wrung from the sweat of Pittsburg mill workers and spent abroad by an English family, not a living member of which ever did one thing, or donated one dollar, to increase the material wealth of Pittsburg. They will not even deign to live here, and know Pittsburg only by the plunderings they get from its people. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars of hard-earned Pittsburg money was once used by the founders of this noble house to buy a seat in the British parliament, but his briberies were so flagrant that he was never allowed to take that seat. Thus we see the land question in Pittsburg. This phase of the matter will never be touched upon by the clerical gentlemen who never look beyond their study windows to see whether there is any foundation for the statements made by Henry George. But when these facts are fully appreciated by Pittsburg workingmen, when these truths settle in their honest hearts, there will sweep over this city a wave of land reform which will exceed the George movement in New York.
Facts and Figures About St. Louis.
St. Louis New Order.
Let us take a look at the dry figures and facts as we find them in the records of the city of St. Louis. They are horrible, and, if true, or if only one-half of them are true, as Colonel Slayback used to say, they ought to send the president of the board of assessors and his deputies to the penitentiary.
The homestead owned by one of my neighbors, which is worth $3,000, is assessed at $2,600, the improvements $2,000 and the ground $600. The front foot on the street sells for $40, which makes $1,000 for twenty-five feet. The improvements here cost about $2,000. The rate of taxation is $2.65 on $100, which makes on the total $68.90. The ground owned by the homesteaders in St. Louis is worth one-fourth to one-third of the improvements, and, if not worth it, is assessed in about that proportion.
The assessed valuation of real estate in St. Louis is in round figures $200,000,000, of which $50,000,000 are improvements. This leaves $150,000,000 for the ground alone. This is assessed at less than one-half of its value, which should be $300,000,000, on which the losses at present rate will exceed all taxes raised in St. Louis for municipal and state purposes. Think of it, no water tax, no licenses or any other tax or burden, except the ground tax, and the homestead owner, only paying one-third and one-half of what he pays at present on his homestead and hardly one-sixth of all the taxes squeezed out of him. But the small homesteader, who sits on his twenty-five foot front, is a two-legged jackass. He is happy for the reason that nine-tenths of the inhabitants of St. Louis are homeless and thanks God that he is better off than these vagabonds.
Let us go over the ground again and do a little more figuring.
If the Post-Dispatch does not lie — and if it does the president of the board of assessors ought to correct the solemn statement — there are 400 individuals who own one-half of the wealth found by the board of assessors in St. Louis; 500 persons own over one-half of all the ground worth $150,000,000, assessed at $75,000,000, and steal every year, with the assistance of the board of assessors and other city officers, more money than is necessary to set to useful work every idle person and to abolish poverty in St. Louis. Are the above figures correct? Whoever knows to the contrary ought to correct them; but if they are correct let all honest men of brains, all good Christians, unite and help to get justice. O. W. B.
A Combination Editorial Made Up of Two Extracts from the Same Paper.
Weekly San Diegan
George holds that a man has no moral right to the increased value his farm acquires by reason of the increase of population or the improvements that other men make around him or near him. Here is a man, he says, who bought 160 acres of land by preemption for $200 — $1.25 per acre. He only built a house and barn on it, plowed a few acres for crops, for which the crops paid him, but a city grew up beside that farm, and in a few years he could sell his land for $800 or $1,000 per acre, and poor men who buy lots or rent houses in that city are robbed for his benefit. He refuses to sell, but divides his farm into lots, erects houses on them, which he rents for large sums monthly, and when he dies his children become rich without having earned a dollar in their lives. And this, he thinks, is robbery, to cure which he would tax all real estate to the verge of confiscation, and tax nothing else!
In the west his idea will certainly find no favor, for in the west the men of industry and foresight who comprise the main body of the people, think they have honestly earned all the advantages that have accrued to them in the increased value of their lands. . . .
There are many men at this time holding property that should be taxed until they sold or improved it. No one has a right to back his cart up onto the line of progress and stop it. If he is too poor to improve, or too mean to do so, means should be adopted to compel a change.
The Sort of Treatment a Clergyman Receives Who is Endeavoring to Teach the Truth as He Sees It.
The following letter from the Rev. John B. Barnhill of Xenia, Ill., to the Journal of that place is worth reading.
The priest of St. Stephen’s is not the only clerical martyr of the new crusade:
Editor Journal — Attempting in my feeble way to be truly a minister of God’s truth, love and righteousness, I hearken to no guide in the discernment of my duty but the one trustworthy guide, the voice of God in man — the conscience. When my conscience bade me take up the cross of the most unpopular cause in our country I did so with the certain conviction that men would persecute me and revile me and say all manner of vile things against me falsely. Your editorial of last week is of interest to me only as a fulfillment of the olden prophecy — an exemplification of the great truth which Jesus declared; I rejoice and am exceeding glad when I recall that this is only the same sort of persecution which all the prophets and all leaders of reform in every age had to endure. Mr. Reed, you are an editor. I commend to you the words of the greatest editor that ever lived — the founder of the New York Tribune: “The world does move, and its motive power under God is the fearless thought and speech of those who dared to be in advance of their time — who are sneered at and shunned through their days of struggle and of trial as lunatics, dreamers, impracticables and visionaries — men of crochets, of vagaries or of ‘isms.’ Please remember these words as you are sneering at Henry George and calling him crank. They are the words of an editor who did not trim his sails to swim with the current of public opinion, but who often changed that current by his fearless advocacy of righteous but unpopular causes.
Yes, the cause I have espoused is unpopular today. I shall advocate it as long as my conscience bids me to, no matter how much more unpopular it becomes. But being based on the eternal principles of truth and justice, I know it will grow in the esteem of a great, free and intelligent people. Today our cause is as unpopular as abolition was fifty years ago; as unpopular as republicanism was when first known; as unpopular as the idea of a republic was 300 years ago, when everyone believed in the divine right of kings. I believe that the reform of which Henry George is the father is destined to a more speedy triumph than any of those great movements enjoyed. At all events let me say with all deliberateness that if the Henry George idea is not adapted by all civilized nations by 1930 or 1940; if it has not then taken its place in history as one of the greatest reforms — the culminating achievement of centuries of legislation — then, I say, I shall be willing that my gravestone (if I shall be worthy of one) shall be covered all over with every synonym of “crank,” “fool,” “lunatic” and every epithet of hate that a spirit of malevolence in men or devils can devise.
Why do I speak so confidently? Because more than anything else I have studied the rise and growth of great movements: the beginning of Christianity; the beginning of Catholicism; the early history of Protestantism; the rise of the idea of popular liberty; the rise of abolitionism. These questions, and such as these, have engrossed my attention for years. I see that Georgeism has the sanction of Christ’s spirit and gospel, as well as the Old Testament. Some of my critics would be able to see this, too, if they would spend less time playing cards on Sunday and more in reading their Bible. My common sense tells me that there is a radical wrong somewhere when I see that the average workman is worse off now than he was one hundred years ago, notwithstanding the fact that he can create four times as much wealth now, as a result of improvement in machinery, than he could then. I know there is something wrong when I see the rich growing richer and the poor growing poorer. If this tendency goes unchecked, when the poor of our country become as poor as were the peasantry of France one hundred years ago, there will be a revolution in America compared with which the French revolution would be nearly child’s play. Henry George has proven beyond a doubt that the cause of all our troubles is the monopolization of the bounties of nature by a few men — especially the monopolization of the land. “Whoever has more land than is necessary to his own existence, has land that is necessary to somebody else’s existence. Whoever owns the land owns the people that live upon the land.” You had a right to refuse to print the “hogwash” on Henry George which I sent you, even though the leading magazines and periodicals of both continents are full of it all the time. You can scarcely pick up a number of the Forum, North American Review, Century Magazine, Fortnightly Review, Nineteenth Century, etc., which has not something about Henry George’s theories pro or con. What I could not see any defense for was your refusal to print the notices of my meeting which was appended to the article.
Surely there are good reasons why I should be troubled with egotism, as I have now for about two months been advocating the principles of Henry George in Xenia and vainly endeavoring some one to refute me. And I shall become vastly more egotistic if that long looked-for “refuter” is not soon forthcoming. The better to find such a hero, I hereby publish my challenge to any man in or out of the county to meet me in a joint discussion of the merits Henry George, propound remedies for the labor troubles, on any fair and reasonable terms. If desired I will extend the scope of this challenge to include any of those questions, my attitude upon which meets the condemnation of the Journal. You will not accept this challenge, Mr. Reed. You will treat with silent contempt — possibly by the aid of one ex-central committeeman you will invent another letter from Henry George to myself, in order to raise a cloud of dust about the great issue at stake. But whatever your action may be, I shall go on advocating these doctrines with a zeal that I once would have thought myself incapable of. I am quite content to be persecuted for the sake of principle. That is the highest pleasure I know. The verdict of today may be against me. I appeal to the calm verdict of the future, strong in the confidence of the truth, firm in the faith that “the eternal years of God are here.”
“Never a truth has been destroyed;
They may curse it and call it a crime,
Pervert and betray, and slander and slay
Its teachers for a time.
But the sunshine, aye, shall light the sky;
As round and round we run,
And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.”
John B. Barnhill.
The Truth Practically Illustrated.
Grand Rapids Workman.
South and east of the city limits lies a platted addition to the suburbs of Grand Rapids. It is named Powers’s addition. Six weeks ago this property was for sale in lots the same as now. Some of the best lots on Adams street were offered for $130 each, 140 deep and 60 feet in width. Now they are advertised for sale at from $4 to $6 per foot — double what was charged only six weeks ago. The writer was offered two very desirable lots on Adams street for $300. Now those lots, per advertisement, would cost $600. It was especially desired on the part of the sellers that a good house that would cost $400 should be built. Quite a number of houses have probably been built lately. This has raised the price of the surrounding property to double its former valuation in six weeks. Those homes are probably mortgaged. They will be taxed according to their increased value, while the surrounding vacant lots will be taxed as naked land. No labor has been put on these lots; they are held for speculation; the speculator will be aided in his speculating scheme by the assessor. The labor is on the houses. That will be retarded by the assessor. These men have got to pay for the privilege of having a home to shelter their wives and children, besides paying for their home. Every vacant lot on that plat should be taxed equal to the lots with houses on them. We cite this case simply to explain a principle. The speculators are doing a legitimate business, but we do object to the system. Probably if we were in their place we would do the same thing. This is the Henry George idea of taxation, of which so much is being said, and its justice is plain to be seen.
Here is another advertisement, and we don’t charge the parties a cent for inserting it:
“Purchases made here are an absolutely safe investment, because when improvements now contemplated are made the prices of these lots will be advanced twenty percent. Lots purchased now are liable to double in value in the near future. Liberal terms of payment: One-quarter down, the remainder on six months, one, two and three years’ time, with interest at six percent. No houses can be erected to cost less than $1,000.” This is the old Windsor place just outside of East street. This property will be advanced twenty percent within three months, provided the improvements contemplated are made. If you want to save twenty percent, buy right now and build a $1,000 house. Of course, just as soon as a few $1,000 houses, are put up the price of the vacant lots will be put up twenty percent. That is all the speculator is waiting for to advance the price. The builders of the $1,000 houses won’t receive any rebate for the increased value their $1,000 houses will give to the surrounding vacant lots. Tax these vacant lots equal to the $1,000 houses — yes, more — then the inducements for buying a home will be real and not fictitious; for what is a home but a home, if it is worth ten cents or a million?
This is Good Natured in Mr. Hall, and Would be a Good Thing for the Other People Who “Own” Georgia — But the Irish Think They Have as Good a Right to Stay in Ireland as Mr. Hall Has to Stay in Georgia.
New York World.
To the Editor of the World: I will trouble you with a letter of inquiry, as I think that you are the party likely to give me the most satisfaction. I feel deeply for the suffering in Ireland, and don’t care to enter into the political cause, or what not, — the fact seems to be patent that there is suffering. I want to relieve it to the extent that I can. I want to bequeath, if I may use that word, 100,000 acres of land in Georgia to the sufferers of Ireland — twenty-five acres to each family. If they can get here, the land they may have for nothing. This is plain enough. It has been shown in a small work that, a man may live on four acres of ground. In this grant of twenty-five acres I suppose a man may have in time probably five or six children who may become heirs and four acres would be valuable. This tract will accommodate 4,000 families. Georgia, you are aware, is a pine-growing country. I have sold tracts of thousands of acres. The grant to the suffering Irish, is prompted by no motives of interest.
Now what I want to know from you personally is, in what way should this matter be made known, to whom to be trusted, and how I shall proceed. Most respectfully and truly yours,
J. H. Hall
No. 64 West Bay Street, Jacksonville, Fla.
A Practical Illustration from Middletown.
Middletown, N. Y., Advance.
A tax on land values brings more land into the market, but a tax on commodities decreases the supply by discouraging production. If the tax we have on land were abolished in Middletown, you certainly could not buy or rent a lot cheaper than you can now; but if land values were taxed to their uttermost, you could get plenty of lots for a song. Take, for instance, the case of our townsman Senator Low, a land speculator, who owns about all the vacant land around our village, and who, to our knowledge, has tried hard enough to get what little he does not already control — what would he do with his hundreds of building lots if they were taxed to the full extent of the value which attaches to them by reason of the growth of the community and general improvements? He certainly would quickly drop those which he could not use.
The Idle Land.
A. J. H. Duganne.
Millions of acres of unused land
Are lying in grievous dearth;
And millions of men in the image of God
Are starving — all over the earth!
Oh! tell me, ye sons of America!
How much men’s lives are worth!
Millions on millions of acres good,
That never knew spade nor plow; —
And millions of souls, in our goodly land,
Are pining in want, I trow;
And orphans are crying for bread this day,
And widows in misery bow!
To whom do these acres of land belong?
And why do they thriftless lie?
And why is the widow’s lament unheard —
And stilled the orphan’s cry?
And why are the poor-house and jail so full —
And the gallows-tree built high!
Those millions of acres belong to man!
And his claim is — that he needs!
And his title is sealed by the hand of God —
Our God! who the raven feeds;
And the starving soul of each famished man
At the throne of justice pleads!
Ye may not heed it, ye haughty men,
Whose hearts as rocks are cold! —
But the time is nigh when the fiat of God
In thunder shall be told!
For the voice of the great I AM hath said,
That “the land shall not be sold!”
A SERMON FOR THESE TIMES.
Rev. E. P. Foster, of Storrs Congregational Church, Cincinnati, on the Question of the Day — A Commentary on General Butler’s Recipe for Making Money
This we commanded you, that if any would not work neither should he eat. II. Thess. iii, 10.
The minister of the gospel need make no apology for taking up such a theme as the labor problem. It is the question for our day, the question of questions. It is the one that presses for solution with tremendous energy. It is not simply a political or a financial question. It touches every spring of modern life. It is not only fundamental to the state, but to the church and to religion. It touches the very core of the gospel. It is a question of basic justice, and can never be fully solved until every man is willing to consider every other as a brother, and to deal with him in that relation. That is simply the golden rule that Christ says is the law and the prophets: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you do you even so to them.” To this general truth we are all agreed. That is the divine law, and is the rock down to which we must go, and on which we must build our social life, or the structure will continually vibrate under the force of the storms that beat against it and threaten its overthrow. In that alone there is no disturbing conflicting question. Every believer in God’s truth, or even in what men might call natural truth, every religious newspaper, every religious teacher, agrees to that general solution. At that point, however, very many of them are content to stop. They see the evils that threaten and say that the remedy is in living according to the gospel, and bid us “preach the gospel,” and while the gospel is being preached all the time in this general way, the clouds that overhang us are growing thicker and denser, the lightnings more vivid, and the thunderings more fearful.
The question that is before us in these days is: How shall the gospel be practically preached? What step shall we take first for reaching that rock of divine law on which we all agree that society must build or go down in the midst of the flood? Of course men disagree about this or they would never ask the question, but simply take the step. It is in endeavoring to preach a gospel for the times that the preacher, whether within the pulpit or out of it, must be willing to meet those who object to his course. Every sincere and earnest man must submit to that, for it is a law of the universe. If you go with the crowd they will of course not find fault with you; but if you think the crowd is going in the wrong direction, and attempt to point out or to follow another course, you must expect to be laughed at or opposed, perhaps even to martyrdom.
There are times when it is simply irreligious to sit still and cry, Preach the gospel. When your house is on fire it is time for you to ring the alarm or pour on water. To sit unconcerned at ease quoting the scripture, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling,” might perhaps be considered as pious, but it would be a soft-headed kind of piety for which the Bible has no use. When the gun was heard at Fort Sumter then was the time for the loyal citizen to shoulder his musket and go to the front. That was then the practical preaching of the gospel. So when the apostle tells us that it is a command of God’s law that if any will not work neither shall he eat, it is not simply our right, but our duty, to look into the meaning of that, and if we find anything in our human laws that is opposed to that fundamental divine truth, to advocate its removal. If we can do that, that is effective proclaiming of God’s truth.
Let us ask, then, are there any persons in our land who as a class are permitted to eat, even though they do not work, and are expressly protected by our laws in that privilege? Are there those who, while they might work do not work, and yet are privileged to draw a living from society?
What is the meaning of the word “work?” It is frequently used as if it applied alone to manual labor, but that is too narrow a designation. It must apply to labor either of the hand or of the brain; whosoever gives time or thought or toil for the benefit of the community, or who, while making his own living, adds thereby to the advantages, or the wealth of life, earns what he eats and is truly a laborer, a workingman. The man is a true laborer whose life adds value to the people. The merchant may by his calling create wealth, but he aids in its distribution, and is in that sense a genuine workingman. The president of a bank, master mechanic or superintendent of a machine shop, the foreman of a gang of street pavers, or the boss of a section gang upon a railroad, may not labor in that occupation with his hands, but in directing the work of others he must toil with his brain. The teacher in school or college, the professional man, uses his brain in such a way as to benefit others, and so takes his place among those who by their work earn what they eat.
The Bible teaches us that the laborer is worthy of his hire, and that the man who does not labor does not deserve to eat. It must therefore follow, other things being equal, that the man who does the greatest amount of labor deserves the highest pay, and the man who does no labor does not deserve to eat. It is true that the man who has capital to employ in his business receives a return therefor which he could not have from the mere labor of hand or brain; but, after all, capital, whether inherited or acquired by one’s own exertion, is merely the accumulated savings of the toil of some one, and so that does not alter in any wise the general proposition. Now, is it true that the divine law as set forth in the text, that the man who will not work shall not eat, is seconded by human law or opposed to it, or that the man who does the greatest amount of work receives therefor the largest recompense?
The Evening Post of this city copies from the New York Sun a number of suggestions from successful men as to the means of acquiring wealth in these days. Among others whose advice is quoted is General Benjamin F. Butler,16 who says: “Nothing is so safe for an investment as improved real estate — nothing is likely to grow in value faster. In the last fifty years ninety percent of all the merchants and traders in Boston have failed. In the last fifty years ninety percent of all the business corporations have failed or gone out of business, so that their stock has been wiped out. In the last fifty years all the improved real estate, on the average, has paid its interest and taxes and quadrupled in value. If a young man’s father can give him anything to start him in the world, he had better invest it in that way, and let it accumulate and earn his living, and he will be richer than if he had gone into business.”
General Butler is a sharp, keen man, and the shrewd advice he gives is the same that other men are acting upon, and increasing their fortunes in that way rapidly and safely. But is there not something wrong when a man can say, and truthfully say, as General Butler does, that if a man has a little start he had better invest it in real estate and let it accumulate and earn his living, and he will be richer than if he had gone into business? Why is it possible that a young man who gets hold of a piece of real estate and sits down to do absolutely no work whatever can in a few years be richer than if he had gone into some business that would have called for toil of hand or brain? How is it that young man acquires his wealth? If he had plowed the ground and grown a bushel of corn or a hill of beans he would have added a little to the possessions of the country. If he had put up a factory and made a pair of shoes or a suit of clothes — in short, if he had gone into any kind of business and done honest and useful kind of work, he would have earned his living. But he has done nothing of the kind, and yet he becomes richer than if he had done any kind of work. Can you tell how it is done or who earns that man’s living for him?
If God lays down the law that the one who will not work must not eat, then must he not see that every one has at least the opportunity of working or give up his claim to be a God of justice?
I do not wonder that that question, asking itself in the hearts of multitudes, should be driving them into atheism, and digging between many a workingman and the church of today a yawning gulf spanned by no visible bridge. I regret that these men should cut themselves off from the church, and yet, brethren, I sincerely think they deserve more sympathy than blame. I talked with one a few days ago. He has been working with a gang laying down pavements in a part of the town so distant that he must rise at four in the morning to get to his work in time (walking there, for street car fares eat up his scanty earnings too rapidly), and when he gets back it is nine at night. Once, overcome by the intense heat, he was brought home in the patrol wagon with head and neck so blackened and swollen, and so prostrate that his frightened wife thought him dead. I am sorry for the sake of the children in the house that that man does not attend church, but spends the time in resting ready for his six days of toil during the coming week. I can not find it in my heart, however, to speak words of blame, for I am not sure that under the circumstances I would do one whit better myself. That man is better off than others, nevertheless, for there are multitudes who would be glad to take his place if he should give up his job. And yet if that man had crossed the ocean in the ship with Christopher Columbus, and from the time the keel of the vessel grated on the beach down to this hour had labored at his present wages, his income for that entire 400 years would have been just about what the papers give as the income of certain rich men of these United States for two short days. Do you wonder that some people think that hardly fair? Ten years against one hour! This man to earn his money is on his feet from four in the morning until nine at night. The Bible may be all right, but he hasn’t time to read it.
Another man goes to Benjamin F. Butler for advice, and doesn’t work at all, but invests in real estate and steadily grows rich. He has plenty of time to read the Bible, but as he sits at his table heaped with luxury, and glances out through his plate glass window at the laborers in the broiling sun laying down granite blocks in the middle of the street, or stopping long enough in the shade of a wall to eat a few cold bites out of a tin bucket, is it any wonder if he has a little secret contempt for the wisdom of a book old fashioned enough to say, “If any man will not work neither shall he eat?” Is it strange if he thinks Butler a far smarter man than Paul? Is it then strange if this indifference and skepticism at the two extremes of society should permeate the whole of it?
Well, now that the true method of getting rich has been discovered, suppose we all try it, especially as it doesn’t require any work. Let us all invest in real estate and all sit down to see our fortunes grow. Let us all take General Butler’s advice, and go into no business whatever, but simply rub our hands in glee as our fortunes roll up. How do we find things at the end of the year? Ah! since nobody has worked, the weeds have taken the fields, and there has not been an ear of corn grown, nor a bushel of wheat ground, nor a single sheep sheared, nor a pound of coal dug. The cooks, too, have left the kitchens, and not a single meal has been served. The only consolation is that we do not know how badly the whole country is faring, for not a railroad car has turned a wheel, and the telegraph operators have left their offices and sent us no news, and it would not make much difference if they had not, for the typesetters have left their cases, and there has been no one to print the news if we had it. And worst of all, our real estate that was to make us all rich, has gone down in the market just one hundred percent.
We learn then from experience that the Bible rule is true in so far as that somebody must work, and that we can’t all be made rich by dealing in real estate.
Then comes the practical question: How is it that that which will make a favored few rich without work will not perform the same service for all mankind? The answer is so plain that a blind man ought to be able to see it. It is that our legal methods of holding the natural opportunities of life give to some men the privilege under the laws of levying tribute upon the labor of their fellow men. That is the easy explanation of the whole labor problem of the present day. Land alone can make no one rich.
I plead guilty myself to having once invested one dollar in a well-advertised lot of land in Florida. Now, as long as the alligator, undisturbed, suns himself on that piece of dry sandbank I shall get no income from my investment. But if half a million of people should take it into their heads to build a city on and around that particular spot of ground, then I might reap a harvest of golden dollars. Why? Because I worked harder than I do now? Not at all; but simply because I would then have the power under the laws of the country of laying a tax upon every person who might use that land, and of compelling him to share with me the proceeds of his labor. I, too, could then defy the Bible law that says, “If a man will not work neither shall he eat.”
This question of land reform lies at the basis of all the economic reforms needed in our time, and it is a question, not primarily of politics, but of fundamental justice and of religion.
What is the remedy? you that do not believe in injustice can settle the question easily, for as President Cleveland said, but a day ago, in his address at the centennial of the constitution: “The people themselves are the rulers of this country.” You have a weapon more effective than a dynamite bomb. It is simply a tiny piece of paper dropped into the ballot box. By that you can make it impossible for a small minority of the people to build a legal fence around the bounties given so generously by the God of nature, and then say to their fellow men, “You shall not touch these things except at our own price.” When you cast your ballots so as to mean that, then you vote to give everybody a fair show with everybody else, and there will no longer be need of disastrous strikes. But things will be brought again to the bible Basis, when it will not be the working man who starves, as is too often the case today, but the man who will not work. Then we shall no longer hear of the classes against the masses; but there will be a chance for the golden rule that says, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so unto them, for that is the law of the prophets.”
How the Fathers of the Republican Party Regarded Land Monopoly.
Galusha A. Grow17 was one of the founders of the republican party, and stood high in its councils, being speaker of the house of representatives during the most critical period of the war. The extracts which we give below from a speech delivered by him in congress March 30, 1852, are worth the attention of those young men who fondly believe that in voting the republican ticket they are advocating the principles of the men who brought the republican party into being:
The fundamental rights of man may be summed up in two words — life and happiness. The first is the gift of the Creator, and may be bestowed at his pleasure; but it is not consistent with his character for benevolence that it should be bestowed for any other purpose than to be enjoyed, and that we call happiness. Therefore, whatever nature has provided for preserving the one, or promoting the other, belongs alike to the whole race. . . . The only true foundation of any right to property is man’s labor. That is property, and that alone which the labor of man has made such. . . . That government, and that alone, is just which enforces and defends all of man’s natural rights and protects him against the wrongs of his fellow men.
What is there in the constitution of things giving to one individual the sole and exclusive right to any of the bounties provided by nature for the benefit and support of the whole race, because, perchance, he was the first to look upon a mere fragment of creation? By the same process of reasoning he who should first discover the source or mouth of a river would be entitled to a monopoly of the waters that flow into the channel, or he who should first look upon one of the rills or fountains of the earth might prevent fainting man from quenching there his thirst, unless his right was first secured by parchment.
Why has the claim to monopolize any of the gifts of God to man been confined, by legal codes, to the soil alone? Is there any other reason than that it is a right which, having its origin in feudal times, under a system that regarded man but as an appendage of the soil that he tilled, and whose life, liberty and happiness were but means of increasing the pleasures, pampering the passions and appetites of his liege lord, and, having once found a place in the books, it has been retained by the reverence which man is wont to pay to the past and to time-honored precedents? The human mind is so constituted that it is prone to regard as right what has come down to us approved by long usage and hallowed by gray age. It is a claim that had its origin with the kindred idea that royal blood flows only in the veins of an exclusive few, whose souls are more ethereal because born amid the glitter of courts and cradled amid the pomp of lords and courtiers, and, therefore, they are to be installed as rulers and law givers of the race. Most of the evils that afflict society have had their origin in violence and wrong enacted into law by the experience of the past and retained by the prejudices of the present.
Is it not time to sweep from the statute books its still lingering relics of feudalism, and to blot out the principles engrafted upon it by the narrow minded policy of other times, and adapt the legislation of the country to the spirit of the age, and to the true ideas of man’s rights and relations to his government? If a man has a right on earth, he has a right to land enough to rear a habitation on. If he has a right to live, he has a right to the free use of whatever nature has provided for his sustenance — air to breathe, water to drink, and land enough to cultivate for his subsistence; for these are the necessary and indispensable means for the enjoyment of his inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And is it right for a government that claims to dispense equal justice to all classes of men, and that has laid down correct principles in its great chart of human rights, to violate those principles and its solemn declarations in its legislative enactments? . . .
If you would raise fallen man from his degradation, elevate the servile from their groveling pursuits to the rights and dignity of men, you must first place within their reach the means for satisfying their pressing physical wants, so that religion can exert its influence on the soul, and soothe the weary pilgrim in his pathway to the tomb. It is in vain you talk of the goodness and benevolence of an Omniscient Ruler to him, whose life from the cradle to the grave is one continued scene of pain, misery and want. Talk not of free agency to him whose only freedom is to choose his own method to die. In such cases there might, perhaps, be some feeble conceptions of religion and its duties, of the infinite, ever lasting and pure; but unless there be a more than common intellect they would be like the dim shadows that float in the twilight.
Truthful Premises, but a Mighty Lame and Impotent Conclusion.
The remark frequently heard that any one who really desires work in this country can easily find it, is not strictly true. There is, no doubt, in times of prosperity like the present, work of one kind or another for all, but it is not always of a kind that certain classes are able or willing to undertake. The fact is, the city labor markets are at all times overstocked with some class of workmen. Let a merchant or manufacturer advertise for a clerk, a salesman or a bookkeeper, and the chances are that he will be overwhelmed with applicants. As many as 300 have been known to respond to an advertisement for a bookkeeper published but once, and all more or less well fitted for the duties of the position.
What is true of bookkeepers is true also of clerks and salesmen. There are vastly more of them than there is work for, and they are reduced in the choice of seeking some other and perhaps more laborious employment, living in dependence upon others, going hungry or becoming confirmed idlers, and resorting to questionable if not dishonest practices in order to secure money to subsist upon.
The inevitable result of the overstocking of the market with these classes of employees has been a reduction of wages for their work to a very low rate. So long as there are too many of them seeking employment their wages as a rule will be low. Then again, with sharp competition in every line of trade, merchants are compelled to operate on very narrow margins, and economy in every department of their business is an absolute necessity in order that they may retain their places in the field. A saving of a dollar or two per week in the wages of such employees in a large mercantile or manufacturing establishment is an important item in the account, and the pay of such has been so frequently reduced that it is now but little above that of the day laborer, and often not so large. As a general thing they gain a bare subsistence, and, if married, hardly that.
Who is to blame that this sort of thing exists? Parents principally. Proud of their offspring they desire to see them engaged in something more “genteel” than mechanical pursuits, not stopping to consider the natural aptitudes, inclination and general fitness of their boys for particular fields of effort. Good mechanics are spoiled and youths’ chances of success in life ruined in order to keep up the family idea of gentility, and from this perverted good material the medical and law schools grind out yearly scores and hundreds of failures as doctors and lawyers, and cities filled with work-hunting young clerks and salesmen.
Some Practical Questions for the Man Who Wants to Own a Home.
Vincennes. Ind., News.
Under our system any man who would work could have a home — and he wouldn’t have to buy the privilege of building it. All his home would cost him would be the price of the labor represented in the material. There would be no expense for opportunity — the thing the poor man now has to buy; nor would he have to be giving a third or half the fruit of his toil to some fellow while toiling and saving for a home. Is it not worth while to think of this thing? Wouldn’t such a system as we propose be better than the one we have?
Suppose, by thrift, prudence and sobriety, you are able to save out of the fruits of your labor $100 a year. You want to buy a lot on which to build a home. When you begin to save the lot is worth $500, but by the time your savings have reached that sum, increase of population and public improvements have sent the price up to $1,000. So you go on saving, and finally you hand over your accumulated labor for the lot. In other words, you have been storing up your labor to give it to that man who had no right to it. He had that lot and didn’t want it. It wasn’t the lot he wanted, it was your labor; the possession of the one put him in a position to command the other. And now you must go on saving till you get enough stored up to build your house, whereupon the assessor makes a bee-line for you, slaps a fine on you for having made you a roof to cover you head, taxes your lot twice as much as he taxes the vacant and equally valuable lot beside it, and goes on to hunt down another poor devil who has had the hardihood to face all difficulties and get a home for wife and babies. Is this thing right? Isn’t there something wrong in it somewhere? Isn’t there the possibility of making it easier for you to rear that longed-for roof over baby heads? Couldn’t you save a little faster if you didn’t have to buy the opportunity to labor? and then, if you didn’t have to pay somebody for the privilege of building, couldn’t you build this year or next instead of five or ten years hence?
Merchants’ Bankers May Break, but the People’s Bankers Make Money All the Time.
A Pawnbroker in New York Tribune.
Upon every package in a pawnshop is written “M. M.” This is usually taken to mean misery and money, and it’s safe to say that the pawner gets the misery and the pawnbroker the money. I challenge you to find a starving pawnbroker in the city. There is no business in which there is so much money made on the capital invested. It is all profit. There can be no losses, as for every dollar put out there are three dollars pledged.
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United Labor Party
Appointments for Speakers in New York State
Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn and Everett Glackin, president of Typographical union No. 6, will speak as follows:
|Oct. 11, WatertownOct. 12, OgdensburgOct. 13, OswegoOct. 14, SyracuseOct. 15, Auburn (Messrs Glackin and Wilder)Oct. 16. (afternoon) Flushing
Oct. 17, Ithaca
Oct. 18, Geneva
Oct. 19, Canandaigua
Oct. 20, Rochester
|Oct. 21, LockportOct. 24, DunkirkOct. 25, JamestownOct. 26, HornellsvilleOct. 27, ElmiraOct. 28, Owego
Oct. 31, Port Jervis
Nov. 1, Middletown
Nov. 2, Newburg
Nov. 3, Glens Falls
Nov. 4, Whitehall
Henry George will speak:
|Oct. 8, New BrightonOct. 10, CohoesOct. 11, WhitehallOct. 12, PlattsburgOct. 13, MaloneOct. 17, Kingston
Oct. 18, Poughkeepsie
Oct. 19, Albany
Oct. 20. Sing Sing
Oct. 21, Yonkers
|Oct. 24, UticaOct. 25, OgdensburgOct. 26, WatertownOct. 27, OswegoOct. 28, RomeOct. 31, Gloversville
Nov. 1, Amsterdam
Nov. 2, Schenectady
Nov. 3, Saratoga
Nov. 4, Hoosick Falls
Rev. W. E. Lincoln of Painesville, O., will speak:
|Oct. 22, BuffaloOct. 25, MedinaOct. 26, BataviaOct. 27, Penn YanOct. 28, CanandaiguaOct. 29, Geneva||Oct. 31, IthacaNov. 1, AuburnNov. 2, OswegoNov. 3, OgdensburgNov. 4, WatertownNov. 5, Rome|
Victor A. Wilder of Brooklyn will speak:
|Oct. 14, BuffaloOct. 15, Auburn||Oct. 22, Pt. Richmond|
Judge James G. Maguire of San Francisco will speak:
|Oct. 8, Hoosick FallsOct. 11, Green IslandOct. 12, LansingburgOct. 13, TroyOct. 15, DunkirkOct. 17, Jamestown
Oct. 18, Hornellsville
Oct. 19, Elmira
Oct. 20, Owego
Oct 22, Oneonta
|Oct 24, Port JervisOct. 25, MiddletownOct. 26, NewburgOct. 27, NyackOct. 29, BinghamtonNov. 1, Corning
Nov. 2, Penn Yan
Nov. 3, Seneca Falls
Nov. 4, Batavia
Nov. 5, Medina
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost of Newark, N. J., will speak:
|Oct. 10, Port JervisOct. 12, NewburgOct. 17, GloversvilleOct. 19, Cohoes.||Oct. 21. BinghamtonOct. 28, PeekskillOct. 31, YonkersNov. 2, Stapleton,|
Dr. Alfred S. Houghton of Cincinnati will speak:
|Oct. 8, DunkirkOct. 10, RomeOct. 11. MedinaOct. 12, BataviaOct. 13, Penn YanOct. 14, Corning
Oct. 15, Olean
Oct. 17, Oneonta
Oct. 18, Nyack
Oct. 19, Hoosick Falls
Oct. 20, Glens Falls
Oct. 21, Whitehall
|Oct. 22 PlattsburgOct. 24; MaloneOct. 26. KingstonOct. 27, PoughkeepsieOct. 28 PeekskillOct. 29. Sing Sing
Oct. 31, Yonkers
Nov 1, Utica
Nov 2 Syracuse
Nov 3 Rochester
Nov 4 Lockport
Nov 5 Buffalo
Mr. Louis F. Post of New York will speak
|Oct. 8, SyracuseOct. 10, Seneca FallsOct. 11, MedinaOct. 12, BataviaOct. 13, UticaOct. 14, Hudson
Oct. 15. Amsterdam
|Oct. 17, KingstonOct. 18, HerkimerOct. 19, PeekskillOct. 20, Glens FallsOct. 21, WhitehallOct. 22, Troy|
Mr. James P. Kohler of Brooklyn, will speak:
|Oct. 8, New BrightonOct. 12, NewburgOct. 19, Peekskill||Oct. 22, Port RichmondNov. 2, Stapleton|
Mr. John J. Bealin of New York will speak:
|Oct 8, SyracuseOct. 10, Seneca FallsOct. 11, MiddletownOct. 13, UticaOct. 14, HudsonOct. 15, Amsterdam||Oct. 18, HerkimerOct. 19, Hoosick FallsOct. 20, Green IslandOct. 21, LansingburgOct. 22, Troy|
Mr. Robert Crowe of New York will speak:
|Oct. 8, DunkirkOct. 10, Port JervisOct. 11, MiddletownOct. 13, Penn YanOct. 14, CorningOct. 17, Oneonta
Oct. 18, Nyack
Oct. 22, Plattsburg
Oct. 24, Malone
|Oct. 20, KingstonOct. 27, PoughkeepsieOct. 28, PeekskillOct. 31, YonkersNov. 1, UticaNov. 2, Syracuse
Nov. 3, Rochester
Nov. 4, Lockport
Nov. 5, Buffalo
Secretary State Committee United Labor Party,
Room 28. Cooper Union, New York.
Land and Labor Library – [same as the 10/1/1887 issue]
THE LAND AND LABOR LIBRARY.—
We are now publishing under the title of “The Land and Labor Library” a series of short tracts on various phases of the social problem. These pamphlets contain facts, figures and arguments expressed m concise, vigorous language easily understood. As a means of propaganda we recommend them to all who desire to help on the movement for social reform. Those who wish to have these tracts placed where they will do good but who are unable personally to attend to their distribution, can remit the price to us, as we have every facility for sending them where they are needed and will be read.
The following have already appeared:
No. 1. “First Principles.” By Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 2. “Land and Taxation.” A conversation between David Dudley Field and Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 3. “The Right to the Use of the Earth.” By Herbert Spencer. 4 pages.
No. 4. “A Christian Minister on the Remedy for Poverty.” A sermon by the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost of Newark, N. J. 2 pages.
No. 5. “A Sum in Proportion.” By T. L. McCready. 2 pages.
No. 6. “The Settler’s Nightmare.” By Louis F. Post. 4 pages.
No. 7. “New York’s Docks. The True Mode of Raising Revenue.” By. J. W. Sullivan. 4 pages.
No. 8. “Unemployed Labor.” By Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 9. “Voices for Reform.” 2 pages.
No. 10. “A Mysterious Disappearance.” By Lewis Freeland. 6 pages.
No. 1l. “How to Increase Profits.” By A. J. Steers. 2 pages.
No. 12. “The American Farmer.” By Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 13. “Sailors’ Snug Harbor and the Randall Farm.” By W. T. Croasdale. 12 pages.
No. 14. “The Collegiate Church and the Shoemaker’s Field.” By W. T. Croasdale. 12 pages.
No. 15. “Only A Dream.” By Abner C. Thomas. 4 pages.
No. 16. “The Anti-Poverty Society.” Dr. McGlynn’s address at the first meeting. 8 pages.
No. 17. “The Cross of the New Crusade.” A poem by David Rorty. 2 pages.
No. 18. “It Is the Law of Christ.” By Rev. S. H. Spencer of Henry, Ill. 4 pages.
No. 19. “My Landlord.” By John Jones. 4 pages.
No. 20. “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” An address by Henry George before the Anti-Poverty Society. 8 pages.
No. 21. “Christianity and Poverty An address by Father Huntington before the Anti-poverty society.” 4 pages.
No. 22. “Poverty and Christianity.” An address by Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost before the Anti-poverty society. 8 pages.
No. 23. “The Single Tax.” By Thomas G. Shearman. 8 pages.
No. 24. “Hymns of the New Crusade—No. 1.” 4 pages
No. 25. “Hymns of the New Crusade— No. 2.” 4 pages.
No. 26. “Religion vs. Robbery.” Address by Rev. Dr McGlynn before the New York Anti-poverty society June 12,1887. 8 pages.
No. 27. “Back to the Land.” Bishop Nulty’s letter to the clergy and laity of his diocese. 16 pages. Price 5 cents.
No. 28. “Anti-Slavery and Anti-Poverty.” An address by the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost before the New York Anti-Poverty Society, June 19. 3 pages.
No. 29. “Tenement House Morality,” Rev. J. O. S. Huntington in the Forum. 4 pages.
No. 30. “The Case Plainly Stated.” A speech by H. F. Ring before the Knights of Labor at Houston, Texas. 8 pages.
No. 31. “Questions and Answers” Questions by Rev. Howard Henderson of the Sixty-first street M. E. church of New York; with answers by Henry George. 2 pages.
No. 32. “Objections to the Land Tax.” By Thomas G. Shearman. 4 pages.
No. 33. “Socialism—Its Truth and Its Error.” Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 34. “Horse Sense.” W. C. Woods. 2 pages.
No. 35. The Syracuse Platform. 2 pages.
No. 36. “Citycus and Rusticus.” Tudor S. Jenks. 4 pages.
No. 37. “Taxing Land Values.” Henry George- 8 pages
No. 38. “God Wills It.” Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 39. “What We Want.” Everett Glackin, president, Typographical Union No. 6. 2 pages.
No. 40. “Protection or Free Trade.” Henry George. Price 25 cents.
No. 41. The Syracuse Platform. (German.) 2 pages.
No. 42. “First Principles.” (German.) Henry George. 4 pages
No. 43. “Socialism—Its Truth and Its Error.” (German:) Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 44. “How John’s Father Saw the Light.” W. C. Woods, M. D., 2 pages.
No. 45. Platform of the United Labor Party. 2 pages.
prices, free by mail:
2-page tracts — 50 copies, 10 cents; 100 copies, 15 cents; 1,000 copies $1; 5,000 copies $4.25
four-page tracts — 25 copies, 10 cents; 100 copies, 25 cents; 1,000 copies $2; 5,000 copies $8.50
six-page tracts — 25 copies, 15 cents; 100 copies, 37 cents; 1,000 copies $3; 5,000 copies $12.75
eight-page tracts — 25 copies, 20 cents; 100 copies, 50 cents; 1,000 copies $4; 5,000 copies $17
twelve-page tracts — 25 copies, 30 cents; 100 copies, 75 cents; 1,000 copies $6; 5,000 copies $22.50
sixteen-page tracts — 25 copies, 40 cents; 100 copies, $1; 1,000 copies $8; 5,000 copies $34
Binghamton, N. Y. — Inclosed find a list of thirty campaign subscriptions, with post office order to pay for same.
What you said in last week’s Standard about the silent vote is very true — it is going to surprise everybody. I am a salesman in one of the largest “bazar” houses here, where there are over three hundred employees of both sexes. You might go through that house tomorrow, asking every man how he is going to vote, and you would get but three kinds of answers, “democratic,” “republican,” “don’t know.” Apparently there isn’t a united labor man in the house. And yet I know of fifty votes among those employees that will be cast for your ticket.
The truth is, that men in our circumstances can’t and won’t speak out — just yet. We are not cowards, but we know what it is to be hunting for a job, and we can’t afford to take many risks of that kind. I don’t suppose I should be discharged if —— & —— knew I belonged to the party, but I am very certain they would set a mark against me in their minds, and that for some mistake or fault which otherwise wouldn’t be noticed, I should pretty soon be sent adrift.
I believe there are anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 Nicodemuses18 right here in Binghamton, and I venture the prophecy that if you carry this election, or come anywhere near carrying it, you will see new advocates of your doctrines coming up like mushrooms on every side. They won’t be new converts; they’ll just be the Nicodemuses coming out of their holes. But they’ll make the thing fashionable; and then hey for ’88. Nicodemus IV.
Dunkirk, N. Y. — I am a new recruit, just joined, and I want my equipments, viz., The Standard for one year, a thousand selected tracts, a dozen copies of “Progress and Poverty,” and The Standard sent to the following list of people in the “recruit subscription” plan. I am going gunning among the enemy, and I want to be loaded for bear.
I know by my own experience that any reasonable man must accept the doctrines of the united labor party when once he sees what they really are. He can’t help it. It makes me furious to think how often I have laughed at the “George theory,” and argued against it as absurd, when all the time I hadn’t the slightest idea what it really was, but accepted the newspaper accounts of it as gospel. I went to hear Henry George last week, and then I heard the truth for the first time.
It seems to me we ought to carry this election if our fellows will only bestir themselves. I know I can convince four men — I’ve got them all selected and know I can fetch them. Surely every other member of the party can do as much. And if each of every man’s four will only bring in one more that ought to be enough. James Edwards.
Yes, we can win. We have arrayed against us the power of wealth, of prejudice, of bigotry, of falsehood, of private and public patronage. But we can win in spite of all.
Shall we win? That is for you to say — you readers of The Standard. If each one of you individually will makeup his mind, or her mind — for in this women can strike doughty blows as well as men — that you want to win, that you must win, that you are going to win or know the reason why, the united labor party will sweep the state.
Ah, John Smith, John Smith, you can do it if you will. And surely you would do it, beyond doubt, did you but once fairly realize all that victory will mean for you and for your fellow men.
If you saw the opportunity, by a few weeks of steady, earnest labor, of so providing for your wife and little ones that there should never be any chance of their coming to want, how cheerfully would you go to work. Well, just such an opportunity is offered you in this campaign. For it is not against democrat or republican that we are fighting, but against that poverty whose existence democrat and republican alike have sworn to defend. Here we are, we people of this great state of New York, with a storehouse provided for us by Almighty God full to overflowing with treasures that need but hands to take and utilize them; and all we lack for our perfect happiness is that the doors of the storehouse should be thrown open that we may be allowed to enjoy our rich inheritance. That is what we are working for — the reward that awaits our victory in this campaign. Isn’t such a prize worth the winning, especially when the winning need cost us such very little trouble? A few weeks of earnest, determined work, John Smith, a word spoken here, a tract handed there, a campaign subscription to The Standardin another place, and this continued day after day, with the earnest determination when you attack a man that you’re going to capture him for sure — this is the sort of work that is required of you. And surely it is not much, as compared with the reward that awaits you.
You can win this fight, John Smith, and only you can do it.
The campaign subscriptions are pouring in upon us. Fast as they come, we want to see them pour in faster still, for we know that every club of five means at least two voters for liberty on the 8th of November.
We send The Standard up to the end of the campaign, in clubs of five or over, each paper to a separate address, or the whole club to one address, as preferred, at fifteen cents for each subscription.
Here is a chance to do good missionary work. Seventy-five cents will enable you to attack five voters, to rain upon them, from now till the day of election, a constant stream of argument, illustration and demonstration. How many men are there in your neighborhood whose political views might be changed by reading The Standard for the next four weeks? A dozen? twenty? a hundred? Then why don’t you make it your business to see that in some way or another The Standard is sent to them? If you haven’t the money yourself to pay for their campaign subscriptions, is there no other friend of the cause whom you can ask for assistance towards such a purpose? Or, if you can’t do that, why not go direct to the men themselves and get the money from them? By hook or by crook, in this way, that way, or the other way, make it your business to see that every voter in your neighborhood, whose support is not already pledged to the united labor party, has a chance to learn through the columns of The Standard what the party really is, what it wants, and what it proposes to do. There is a work that lies ready to your hand, and which you can perform with very little trouble.
Here is a letter from Chicago which tells of earnest work by earnest men:
We have organized an anti-poverty society, a lecture bureau and bureau of correspondence, all in one. The officers are John Z. White, president; Clarence Moeller, vice president; myself secretary, and John W. Street, treasurer, who together form an executive committee. We have also provided for a finance committee of six members. We propose to carry on a course of lectures in Chicago and in about twenty other places throughout the state during the fall and winter at low rates of admission, such as will barely cover cost safely. In addition to the paid lectures we shall hold weekly open anti-poverty meetings, such as you have in New York, depending upon voluntary contributions at each meeting to pay expenses. Of course this is only in Chicago. So few places in the state have local organizations, and there being no central committee to do it, we thought best also to conduct a limited number of lectures in about twenty of the principal cities; of course, not expecting any one lecturer coming here from the east to make the whole circuit, perhaps not half of it.
Every dollar of the fund raised, over and above the necessary expenses, goes to push the work of propaganda.
In connection with the society we are to have a bureau of correspondence, with a corps of volunteer writers, who will furnish articles on the reform principles of the party free of charge. We shall send to every paper in the state inquiries as to who will publish special correspondence, speeches, statistics and extracts on labor topics, then put the matter into stereotype plates and furnish them all ready to slip into their columns. We can do this for them at much less than they could set the type and we will know then it is all right.
We also have a plan of work for Chicago by which we hope to run the sales of The Standard up to from 10,000 to 15,000 copies regularly in this city. We have also started a subscription to the New York campaign fund and mean to raise every dollar we can, as we recognize the importance of every additional vote there. It is the key of the situation, and our anxiety is second only to your own. We thought best to make the subscription payable one-third down, one-third in say twenty days, and the balance in twenty days more. W. H. Van Ornum
And here are two or three others, which show how, from every part of the country, eager eyes are turned toward New York, and eager hearts are longing for our victory. It is the campaign of a continent that we are battling for.
Topeka, Kan. — Inclosed find $1, for which please send your truth laden paper to the following addresses. . . . I had the pleasure of procuring and reading your “Progress and Poverty” shortly after it was published. I believed then that a party must arise advocating the restoration of the land to the people, the rightful owners, or this republic would fall. It has arisen sooner than I had dared to hope for, but I hail it with joy. It is the only salvation for future generations. Long before reading any of your works I had ceased to vote at all at any election, believing it to be a sin to assist in placing corrupt men in public positions who were the known tools of higher corruptionists, knowing full well that no good could or would result from either party. I only pray God that I may live to undo every vote that I have ever cast ignorantly in the interest of monopoly and thieving and see the party in power advocating the platform of the united labor party and land restored to the people. Then I can depart in peace, well knowing that my children are well provided for. I. M. Davis.
Montgomery, Ala. — In view of the urgent necessity for prompt and effective work in New York state at this time, I wish to call the attention of Standard readers to the following: About August 5th I had The Standard sent to two lawyers, one merchant and two “boss” mechanics without knowing anything of their views anent the “land value tax.” Within the last two weeks I have received the information (in each case direct) that the merchant, one of the lawyers, a man highly esteemed in his community and enjoying a fine practice, and one of the mechanics indorse the “land value tax,” and I am satisfied would, if in New York state today, cast their ballots for the united labor party’s candidates. The remaining two of the five I have not heard from, but I am sure both are thinking seriously. Now listen: All five of the gentlemen are “democrats” and landowners. I do not pretend to say that we have the right to expect such results in every case, but I do mean to say that it means that no real man will turn a deaf ear to the cause of justice and right. L.
The recruiting fund is mounting upward, but the work it has to do increases faster still.
Boston, Mass. — Inclosed please find money order for $2, to be used as you think best to help along the campaign in New York. Will send as much more next week. I wish I could help you with my vote. E. J. F.
Brooklyn, Sept. 28. — In response to your eloquent appeal in Publisher’s Notes of last Standard I send $1 for recruiting fund and will soon send $1 also for campaign fund. Let every Standard reader do likewise, and raise such a fund as will boom the anti-poverty cause to victory. Valdemar.
Evanston, Ill. — Find inclosed exchange for $12, for $2 of which send Standard six weeks to names on inclosed list; remaining $10 can be used in printing anti-poverty literature in some foreign language, or in such other manner as you think best. I am with you heart and soul in your efforts for pure government, the suppression of poverty, and the restoration of their rights to the people. I expect to do some work for the cause, though its success means death to a very profitable business in which I am engaged. My work will have to be done in a quiet way. Will stand behind, as it were, and rush others on. Not that I, individually, am afraid to face the consequences, but if it was generally known that I am friendly to the cause of the united labor party my business would be injured, and in that business a large number of people have invested, to whom my action would bring great pecuniary loss. A regard for their rights compels me to refrain from taking an active part. I intended to send $25, but find I am nearly out of funds. Will send $15 more in a few days. H. G. D.
New York. — Inclosed please find $1. Its certainly very funny to see the Times and Post exaggerating and enlarging all the doings of the progressive labor party — not one word of condemnation of its aims and tendency — while they ignore the great meetings of the united labor party. They must have a poor opinion of the intelligence of their readers. It will not be long before they will have to show their colors plainly. If they are masquerading as saviors of society while really hoping for the success of the anarchists, all should know it. A. Van Dyke.
New York, Sept. 29. — I take pleasure in being the medium to convey to you the inclosed twenty-five dollars, a contribution to the recruiting fund of the Standard by Wm. Fuister [sic], of this city. It is part of $165 sent me by Mr. Fuister for several objects connected with our glorious cause. Mr. Fuister designates the amount, $25, to your recruiting fund himself.
Treas. Anti Poverty Society.
Fredonia, Kan. — Inclosed find $1, to be used by you as you see fit.
I have very little money, but what I do have I want to treasure up where “moth and rust do not corrupt.”
How I wish I were in New York state now. I am sure I could speak eloquently on the one theme that lies so near the hearts of us all. God speed the right in New York.
(Rev.) Thomas Shenk.
We are a poor laborer’s family, all crusaders. We inclose all we can spare at present, for the recruiting fund.
We do not appreciate your remarks about openly avowing our faith, for if we did so in this monopoly-ridden state we would mighty quick be out of work and unable to contribute our mite toward spreading the light. We believe in the efficacy of the divine injunction to “be cunning as serpents and harmless as doves,” at least until your great scheme of compelling the land thief to fork over to the money thief and to the privileged thief shall set all the thieves quarreling a little harder than at present over the booty. We poor, degraded working cattle are enjoying the show, and at the proper time we will take a hand in it also; but under our present condition we must keep “mum.”
“More power to you,” is the fervent wish of Four John Smiths.
Plainfield, N. J. — I inclose another $5 for the recruiting fund.
If I were governed solely by the promptings of conventional economy, I should withhold even this small contribution, but the urgent justice of the Georgean way of solving the labor problem calls, it seems to me, for more than ordinary sacrifice and effort.
I have never been a “charitable” man. I could never see that want or vice were radically reached, or even seriously threatened, by the methods most in favor for accomplishing that end. Dorcas societies, soup houses, fresh air funds, temperance pledges, strikes, Borioboola-Gha in all its forms, the farcical Christmas box of clothing for the frontier preacher, the sentimental Holly Tree inn, with its effeminate, goody-goody atmosphere and weak cajolery of lace curtained show window in which the fretful gin bottle is replaced by orthodox apples and moral oranges — what are all these but a trivial scratching of the surface when the situation calls for vigorous subsoiling? Why lop away so assiduously out at the ends of the branches when the roots and trunk are left untouched?
The united labor party would change all this. It believes that removal of condition is infinitely better than any mere mitigation of consequence — that prevention, in a word, is — here as always — better than cure. It proposes, therefore, to discontinue random pea shooting on the picket line and mass its forces for the storming of the citadel. S. H. R.
Jacksonville, Ill. — Please accept a mite of a few friends of the cause. Please put it where it will do the most good. W. W. E. McEvers.
Greenville, Pa. — For the inclosed $2 you will please send The Standard six weeks to the following addresses, and the balance, $1, place to the credit of recruiting fund in New York state only.
There are many hearts that beat in unison with yours that you will never know of, whose means are so limited that they are not able to contribute, but who in their limited spheres are doing all they can. This mite of mine I freely give, that the seed may be sown that will germinate in a bountiful crop. That our cause will finally succeed I have no more doubt than that I exist; but when, O when!
I am living in hope that I may see the time when I can spend the balance of my days in battling for the cause of humanity. But not yet; I must bide my time. What will a year bring forth? ‘Tis glorious to live in this day, but more glorious if one could work.
F. A. Bascom.
Received this week:
W. Kuemmel $1.00
E. J. F 2.00
A. R. Winn 1.75
B. Van Veen 5.80
L. Lesaulmer 1.00
S. E. Rose .50
A. Van Dyke 1.00
Wm. Finster [sic] 25.00
Rev. F. D. Drummond. 1.00
Rev. F. Sherk 1.00
John Smiths. 8.00
N. W. K. McEvers 4.40
T. J. Werner .45
T. Dubudet 7.45
R. H. G. 1.00
A. B. C. 1.00
S. H. R. 5.00
Geo. D. 1.00
G. C. 2.35
H. B. 1.00
E. S. Cross 1.00
Rev. C. M. Morese 1.00
‘Ammer, ‘ammer, ‘ammer 1.00
P. C. Rogers .60
W. P. Eagleton 50.00
G. H. Browne 2.00
Previously acknowledged. $1,050.08
Total to date $1,175.38
There are thousands of names in our office of people to whom tracts and Standards can be sent with every prospect of advantage — clergymen, mechanics, storekeepers, men of every trade and profession — and the object of this fund is to enable us to meet these calls. Fresh lists of names are coming to us daily, sent by those whose zeal for our cause outstrips the measure of their means. During the campaign we are turning the whole power of the fund upon New York, and with every evidence of grand results. The fund needs support; the weekly drain upon it is heavier than the contributions, and our friends at a distance, who are longing to strike a blow for freedom, can do so in no more effective way than by strengthening the recruiting fund, and thus enabling us to hold up the truth before the eyes of a still larger number of the voters of this state.
We have now ready, for the use of clubs and other organizations, a form of invitation to attend meetings, issued as No. 45 of the Land and labor library, under the title of “The Platform of the United Labor Party.” On one side is given the Syracuse platform; on the other an urgent appeal to attend a meeting of the party or club, with plain, straight forward reasons for doing so. Proper blanks are left for writing or stamping the name of the organization, time and place of meeting, etc.
These invitation forms can be distributed in cars or in the streets, left at houses, sent in letters, etc., and properly utilized can be made a very efficient means of propaganda. We furnish them at ten cents per 100, $1 per 1,000, or $4.25 per 5,000.
The Campaign Fund.
The great and ever pressing need of the united labor party in this campaign is money — money to pay the traveling expenses of the many speakers who are unable to pay them themselves — money for hiring halls and distributing campaign literature — money for printing ballots. We still are wofully short of the total that will be required.
The united labor party has none of the time-honored resources of the old parties. It does not sell its nominations, levying an assessment of $5,000 for one office and $10,000 for another. It is strictly and literally a party of the people, and by the people who compose it its expenses must be borne.
This is why, week after week, we appeal to you who believe in the principles which the united labor party is striving to establish to strengthen the hands of your party; to deny yourselves that it may live and work; to testify your faith by your contributions. The responses are gratifying indeed. But as the battle waxes fiercer the need grows ever more and more urgent. Standard readers, come to our aid.
Matawan, N. J. — Inclosed please find $1 to help along the canvass in New York state. It is from one of the very poorest of your regular readers, who can’t help doing something toward the glorious cause. How intensely I watch the canvass, and how ardently I pray you may succeed, and if I can at all I will forward you another dollar before election. John Stewart.
London, Eng., Sept. 20. — Having had The Standard regularly, I have watched your progress with the greatest sympathy; but being engaged myself with what time and money I could spare in the same fight in a much smaller arena, it has only just entered my noddle that your battle in New York is my battle in England; that your victory in America will be ours also in London, consequently I inclose a money order for 10s. ($2.42) for the campaign. H. J. Webling.
Alpena, Mich., Sept. 20. — Please find inclosed $2, one to pay for my enrollment as a member of the Anti-poverty society; the other to assist in the campaign. Just at present my circumstances are such that dollars seem more precious than diamonds, but you will hear from me again. Wm. Henry.
Baltimore, Md., Oct. 3. — Please find inclosed for the campaign fund. I should feel miserable if I did not contribute. This is my all. I had saved it at $1 per week, so you will see it took twenty weeks. It was intended for an overcoat, but here it goes cheerfully. If you win the battle in New York I will feel happy without an overcoat, and if not, I will stay at home and read The Standard. A Member of L. A. 5918
New York, Oct. 2. — Inclosed please find $5 for the campaign fund. I am a warm friend of the cause and wish I could send you dollars where I send cents, but still hope this first contribution is only the beginning of “more to follow.”
Only this summer I regarded Henry George as a wild, flighty, dangerous demagogue, appealing to the ignorance of men for support. I investigated and found ignorance all on my side, and the “dangerous” men those who, like me, had hitherto stood listless to one side, refusing to even search after truth. As for demagogy, I found that it belonged to those who oppose our cause, who appeal to selfish passions or prejudices, answer arguments with abuse, and truth with sneers and ridicule. W. S. Harris.
Stapleton, N. Y. — Inclosed please $5 for the campaign fund. I am a follower of the cross of the new crusade, and pray and work for the triumph of our glorious principles. James J. O’Dea.
Received this week:
By Alexander Orme, Detroit, Mich..
James Dalgarno $1 00
James Scully 1 00
Alex. Orme 1 00
Sherman Hunter 50
William Krady 50
James McCaig 50
W. H. Nichol 50
W. H. Hanford 25
T. W. Curtis, New Haven, 1 00
N. G. Leslie, Kalamazoo, Mich 2 50
William Henry, Alpena, Mich 1 00
J. C. Denver, Col 1 00
John Fox, Denver, Col 2 00
Land and labor club, Memphis, Tenn 30 00
William H., Memphis, Tenn. 5 00
P. H. M.. St. Louis, Mo.. 1 00
John Stewart, Matawan. N. J. 1 00
Benjamin Grove, Jackson, Tenn. .95
Two Beaumont, Tex., sympathizers. 1 00
R. J. Webling, London, Eng.. 2.42
John Dunne, Brooklyn. 3 00
Cash 1 00
I. J. McCollom. 1.00
C. F. Smith, Colton, Cal. 5.00
Mestang, Beaumont, Tex. .75
Hubert Dixon, New York city. .50
By Joseph Leggett, San Francisco:
F. Gutschow. 20 00
W. H. Easton 1 00
R. H. H. Hunt 1 00
S. H. Benson. 50
Louis C. Buckley 5 00
George Johnson 1 00
A friend 25
A lady. 25
Two young crusaders 50
Member of L. A. 5,918, Baltimore, Md.. 20 00
J W. Neeley 2 00
Walter Crook, Ponce Park. Fla.. 5 00
Roxbury, Mass., Land and labor club 10 00
James J. O’Dea, Stapleton, N. Y. 5 00
W. S. Harris, New York 5 00
C. P., Memphis, Tenn 5 00
By James McDaniel, Minneapolis. Minn.:
Matt Donohue $2 00
A. H. Brockman. 2 00
James O’Connell. 1 00
Alex. Stewart. 1 00
T. W. Cumstock. 1 00
T. W. Musks. 1 00
Hugh Donohue. 50
E. A. Richards. 2 00
T. S. Kelly.. 1 00
A friend. 2 00
Henry Smith. 50
James Mc Daniel 10 00
P Aitken, Orient, L. I. 9.00
W. W. Gray 1.00
Frank Kooney, New York.. 5 00
Jesse Keen, Baltimore, Md. 1 10
Jose Gros, Morristown, N J. 10 00
Rev. C. M. Morse, New Castle, Pa. 1 00
Alex. Cohn, Corsicana, Tex. 2 00
Boston Herald chapel 8 00
’ammer, ’ammer, ’ammer. 8 00
H P. Garrity, Boston, Mass. 5 00
W. L. Johnson, Aberdeen, Dak. 2 10
D. Harrower. 1.75
S. B. Walsh 1.00
Pawtucket land and labor club and others. 4.00
O. M. 16.00
Total contributions for week, 255.82
Previously acknowledged, 1,522.95
Total to date $1,758.77
MR. PENTECOST’S NOMINATION IN NEWARK.
At the convention of the united labor party in Newark, N. J., on Monday last, Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost was nominated for mayor by a large majority, but in deference to the suggestion of Mr Collins, one of the deacons of Belleville avenue church, that to be elected mayor would really narrow Mr. Pentecost’s field of usefulness, his name was withdrawn and W. O. McDowell nominated instead.
Mr. McDowell, however, was convinced that his own nomination would be less effectual than that of the Belleville avenue pastor to bring out the full strength of the party and its friends. On Tuesday evening, therefore, he tendered his resignation of the nomination to the central committee, and Mr. Pentecost’s name was substituted. A committee waited upon the latter, and after some deliberation he consented to accept.
The news spread like wildfire, and the enthusiasm has increased every hour. Letters are pouring in on the nominee from voters sick of the degradation of politics, assuring him of their cordial support. The press speak of the nomination with respect, and predict a lively contest. In the history of its municipal affairs, there has not been such excitement in Newark for a long time, and the politicians are thoroughly frightened.
On a straight, clean-cut united labor platform Mr. Pentecost means to bring the great issue into prominent discussion, and on this he will poll the full united labor party vote, the democratic labor vote, a large silent vote and that of a number of men who desire decency in the administration of the city’s affairs. It only requires 9,000 votes to elect in Newark, and so close will be the contest that, if not elected, Mr. Pentecost will at least win a moral victory similar to that of Mr. George in this city last fall.
The New York County Convention.
The first session of the county convention of the united labor party was held on last Monday night in the large hall of the Cooper union. Each of the twenty-four assembly districts sent one delegate for every hundred votes and a fraction that it cast, and credentials were handed in for 694 members. Frank J. Ferrell was elected temporary chairman and Thomas Walsh, William Joyce, John Batterburg and George K. Lloyd, temporary secretaries. The credentials committee was then made up by the election of a member from each assembly district. While it was in session the convention was addressed by John Curran, Rev C. P. McCarthy, Jolm McMackin, and Dr. S. P. Miller. Mr. Curran is a well known builder who employs 150 men, and has declared himself an advocate of the united labor party’s land doctrine. It was late when the credentials committee reported. There had been questions raised on the seating of delegates from the First, Sixth and Nineteenth districts. The sitting delegations from the Sixth and Nineteenth were recognized by the committee, and the convention approved of the action. In the case of the Sixth, a majority of the committee recommended that both delegations be admitted, but the convention, on a call of the roll, adopted a minority report favoring the sitting delegation. The convention at 1 o’clock adjourned to Monday, 17th inst., when it is expected nominations for county offices will be made.
The Renssalaer County Convention.
All organizations belonging to the united labor party of Renssalaer county are requested to send delegates to a conference to be held in Troy on Friday, Oct. 14, to fix bases of representation to the county convention. The conference will be held in the committee rooms, Watkins block, on Congress street. Charles A. Raymond,
Sec. Committee of Arrangements.
The Party’s Big Picnic.
The monster picnic of the united labor party takes place on Saturday afternoon and evening, Oct. 8, in Brommer’s Park, situated at 133d street and the southern boulevard.
Display ads follow, including:
REV. EDWARD McGLYNN, D. D., PRESIDENT.
The twenty-fourth public meeting of the society will be held at the
ACADEMY OF MUSIC
SUNDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 9.
REV. DR. MGLYNN.
Under the direction of
MISS AGATHA MUNIER.
Admission—Family circle free.
Seats in orchestra chairs, orchestra circle and circle boxes, 25 cents each: in proscenium boxes, 50 cents.
Box office open at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets on sale from Thursday to members, or to persons introduced by members at the Anti-Poverty Society office, 20 Cooper Union