The Standard September 10, 1887
Vol II, No. 10 Five Cents
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.
A very common objection to the proposition to concentrate all taxes on land values is that the land owner would add the increased tax on the value of his land to the rent that must be paid by his tenants. It is this notion that increased taxation of land values would fall upon the users, not upon the owners of land, that more perhaps than anything else prevents men from seeing the far reaching and beneficent effects of doing away with the taxes that now fall upon labor or the products of labor and taking for public use those values which attach to land by reason of the growth and progress of society.
That taxes levied upon land values, or, to use the politico-economic term, taxes levied upon rent, do not fall upon the user of land, and cannot be transferred by the landlord to the tenant, is conceded by all economists of reputation. However much they may dispute as to other things, there is no dispute upon this point. Whatever flimsy reasons any of them may have deemed it expedient to give why the tax on rent should not be more resorted to, they all admit that the taxation of rent merely diminishes the profits of the land owner, cannot be shifted on the user of land, cannot add to prices, or check production. Not to multiply authorities, it will be sufficient to quote John Stuart Mill. He says (section 2, chapter 3, book 5, “Principles of Political Economy”):
A tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. There are no means by which he ran shift the burden upon any one else. It does not affect the value or price of agricultural produce, for this is determined by the cost of production in the most unfavorable circumstances, and in those circumstances, as we have so often demonstrated, no rent is paid. A tax on rent, therefore, has no effect other than its obvious one. It merely takes so much from the landlord and transfers it to the state.
The reason of this will be clear to every one who has grasped the accepted theory of rent —
that theory to which the name of Ricardo has been given, and which, as John Stuart Mill says, has but to be understood to be proved. And it will be clear to every one who will consider a moment, even if he has never before thought of the cause and nature of rent. The rent of land represents a return to ownership over and above the return which is sufficient to induce use — it is a premium paid for permission to use. To take, in taxation, part or the whole of this premium, in no way affects the incentive to use or the return to use; in no way diminishes the amount of land there is to use, or makes it more difficult to obtain it for use. Thus there is no way in which a tax upon rent or land values can be transferred to the user. Whatever the state may demand of this premium simply diminishes the net amount which ownership can get for its use, or the price which it can demand as purchase money, which is, of course, rent, or the expectation of rent, capitalized.
Here, for instance, is a piece of land that has a value — let it be where it may. Its rent, or value, is the highest price that any one will give for it — it is a premium which the man who wants to use the land must pay to the man who owns the land for permission to use it. Now, if a tax be levied on that rent or value, this in no wise adds to the willingness of anyone to pay more for the land than before; nor does it in any way add to the ability of the owner to demand more. To suppose, in fact, that such a tax could be thrown by land owners upon tenants, is to suppose that the owners of land do not now get for their land all it will bring; is to suppose that, simply whenever they want to, they can put up prices as they please.
This is, of course, absurd. There would be no limit whatever to prices, did the fixing of them rest entirely with the seller. To the price which will be given and received for anything, two wants or wills must concur — the want or will of the buyer, and the want or will of the seller. The one wants to give as little as he can, the other to get as much as he can, and the point at which the exchange will take place is the point where these two desires come to a balance or effect a compromise. In other words, price is determined by the equation of supply and demand. And, evidently, taxation can not affect price unless it affects the relative power of one or the other of the elements of this equation. The mere wish of the seller to get more, the mere desire of the buyer to pay less, can neither raise nor lower prices. Nothing will raise prices unless it either decreases supply or increases demand. Nothing will lower prices unless it either increases supply or decreases demand. Now, the taxation of land values, which is simply the taking by the state of a part of the premium which the land owner can get for the permission to use land, neither increases the demand for land nor decreases the supply of land, and therefore can not increase the price which the land owner can get from the user. Thus it is impossible for land owners to throw such taxation on land users by raising rents. Other things being unaltered, rents would be no higher than before, while the selling price of land, which is determined by net rent, would be much diminished. Whoever purchased land outright would have to pay less to the seller, because he would thereafter be called on to pay more to the state.
But, while the taxation of land values cannot raise rents, it would, especially in a country like this, where there is so much valuable land unused, tend strongly to lower them. In all our cities and through all the country, there is much land which is not used, or not put to its best use, because it is held at high prices by men who do not want to or who cannot use it themselves, but who are holding it in expectation of profiting by the increased value which the growth of population will give to it in the future. Now, the effect of the taxation of land values would be to compel these men to seek tenants or purchasers. Land upon which there is no taxation even a poor man can easily hold for higher prices, for land eats nothing. But put heavy taxation upon it, and even a rich man will be driven to seek purchasers or tenants, and to get them he will have to put down the price be asks, instead of putting it up; for it is by asking less, not by asking more, that those who have anything they are forced to dispose of must seek customers. Rather than continue to pay heavy taxes upon land yielding him nothing, and from the future increase in value, of which he could have no expectation or profit, since increase in value would mean increased taxes, he would be glad to give it away or to let it revert to the state. Thus the dogs in the manger, who all over the country are withholding land that they cannot use themselves from those who would be glad to use it, would be forced to let go their grasp. To tax land values up to anywhere near their full amount would be to utterly destroy speculative values, and to diminish all rents into which this speculative element enters. And, how groundless it is to think that landlords who have tenants could shift a tax on land values upon their tenants, can be readily seen from the effect upon landlords who have no tenants. It is when tenants seek for land, not when landlords seek for tenants, that rent goes up.
To put the matter in a form in which it can be easily understood let us take two cases. The one, a country where the available land is all in use and the competition of tenants has carried rents to a point at which the tenant pays the landlord all he can possibly earn save just enough to barely live. The other, a country where all the available land is not in use and the rent that the landlord can get from the tenant is limited by the terms on which the tenant can get access to unused land. How, in either case, if a tax were imposed upon land values (or rent) could the landlord compel the tenant to pay it?
It may be well to call attention to the fact that a tax on land values is not a tax on land. They are very different things, and the difference should be noted because a confusion of thought as to them may lead to the assumption that a tax on land values would fall on the user. A tax upon land — that is to say, a tax on all land of so much per acre or so much per foot — would fall on the user, barring such effect as it might have on speculation. For such a tax, falling equally on all land — on the poorest and least advantageously situated as fully as on the richest and best situated land, would become a condition imposed on the use of any land, from which there could be no escape, and thus the owners of rentable land could add it to their rents. Its operation would be analogous to that of a tax on a producible commodity, and it would in effect reduce the supply of land that could be used, since no land could then be used that would not yield sufficient to pay the tax. But a tax on economic rent or land values would not fall on all land; it would fall only on valuable land, and on that in proportion to its value. It would thus not have to be paid upon the poorest land in use (which always determines rent), and so would not become a condition of use, or restrict the amount of land that could be profitably used, and so the land owners on whom it fell could not shift it on the users of land. This distinction, as to nature and effects, between a tax on land and a tax on land values, it is necessary to bear in mind.
It is also necessary to bear in mind that the value of land is something totally distinct from the value of improvements. It is a value which arises not from the exertion of any particular individual, but from the growth and progress of the community. A tax on land values, therefore, never lessens the reward of exertion or accumulation. It simply takes for the whole community that value which the whole community creates.
While it is not true that a tax on land values or rent falls on the user, and thus distributes itself through increased prices, it is true that the greater number of taxes by which our public revenues are raised do. Thus, speaking generally, taxes upon capital fall, not upon the owners of capital, but upon the users of capital, and are by them transferred to the consumers of whatever the capital is used to produce; taxes upon buildings or building materials must ultimately be paid in increased building rents or prices by the occupiers of buildings; imposts upon production or duties upon imports must finally fall upon the consumers of the commodities. This fact is far from being popularly appreciated, for, if it were, the masses would never consent to the system by which the greater part of our revenues are raised. But, nevertheless, it is the vague apprehension of this that leads by confusion of ideas to the notion that a tax on land values must add to rents. This notion will disappear if it be considered how it is that any tax gives to the person first called on to pay it the power of shifting it upon others by an increase of price. The general principle is this: A tax upon anything or upon the methods or means of production of anything, the price of which is kept down by the ability to produce increased supplies, will, by increasing the cost of production, check supply and thus add to the price of that thing, and ultimately fall on the consumer. But a tax upon anything of which the supply is fixed or monopolized, and of which the cost of production is not therefore a determining element, since it has no effect in checking supply, does not increase prices, and falls entirely on the owner.
Many of the objections made to the substitution of the single tax on land values for the other taxes now imposed relate to those who are both owners and users of land, such as farmers and homestead owners. But in endeavoring to determine the fundamental principle it is necessary to treat land owners and land users as though they constituted two distinct classes. And it is necessary first to trace out the influence of this measure upon society in general before we can determine its effects upon any particular class.
As to the effect upon the general interests of society of substituting the tax on land values for other taxes three claims can be made. They are that it would tend to—
1. Great governmental and social economies.
2. Great increase in the production wealth.
3. A just equalization in the distribution of wealth.
1. The substitution of taxation upon the single item of land values for all the various taxes now imposed would be an enormous governmental and social economy. We should save the salaries and perquisites and official expenses of the horde of functionaries, national, state and municipal, who are now engaged in assessing and collecting all these other taxes, or in doing things directly or indirectly necessitated by the cumbrous system. We should get rid of them all, from those fee-paid local officials who in a single term expect a fortune, and those federal collectors whose places are deemed of more importance than the governorship of sovereign states, down to the officials who are busied in seeing whether cigar boxes are stamped and peddlers are provided with licenses, or in searching the trunks and persons of passengers as they land. We should save the cost of trying and imprisoning offenders; we should save, too, the cost of all the devices — some of them very expensive — that are resorted to for evading the revenue laws, for it is obvious that all these expenses must ultimately be borne by consumers.
The tax upon land values is of all taxes that which combines the maximum of certainty with the minimum of expense. “Land lies out of doors;” it cannot be hid or disguised, and its value is easily ascertained. Any competent real estate dealer can tell to a nicety the value per front foot of any lot on Broadway. But, to ascertain the value of the building on it, it will be necessary to get an expert to make an examination; while, if that building be filled with goods, it is impossible for any outsider to get at their value. A tax upon the value of land can be collected to the last cent by a tax collector sitting in his office. Deducting the very small percentage, which would be all that would be required to pay the expenses of the periodical assessment and the receipt of taxes, the people in their collective capacity would thus get the benefit of all that was paid in as taxes by the people as individuals.
But the saving that would result is by no means to be estimated by the reduction in the cost and direct incidents of collecting revenues. It is the great vice of taxes that distribute themselves in added prices that, beyond the official tax gatherers, they create a long line of virtual tax gatherers, and that each man in the line not only takes the tax, but his profit on the tax, and in many cases is enabled to take a great deal more. How strongly the “whisky ring” opposed the reduction of the whisky tax and the match manufacturers the abolition of the tax on matches is well known. And so with all indirect taxes. The difficulty is not usually in imposing them, but in abolishing them. Let a bill be introduced in congress to abolish the tax on any of the long list of things taxed, and straightway there will appear in the lobby some one to protest and log-roll against it, a sure proof that somebody besides the government is making money from the tax — that is to say, that the tax is taking from the people at large a good deal more than the government is getting from it. That this system, which engages great private interests in keeping up rather than in putting down taxation, fosters governmental extravagance and corruption is clear.
Now, by abolishing all other taxes in favor of the tax upon land values we should not only save very largely in the ways thus pointed out, but by the greater simplicity that would be given to government, we should save the political demoralization which the present system entails. It is “the money in politics” that makes our politics so corrupt, that puts honesty and patriotism at a disadvantage, and gives us traders and jobbers where we ought to have statesmen. That there is so much money in politics arises principally from the great number of officers which our present system of taxation necessitates, and from the great number of pecuniary interests which it concerns in the running of government. And beyond all this is the effect upon morals. Nearly all the taxes which we propose to abolish become, in one way or another, taxes upon conscience, and by setting a premium on bribery, forgery and fraud, foster political corruption and social demoralization.
Now, in view of the great economies which in all these various ways would result from the substitution of a tax on land values for all other taxes, is it not clear that the change would be of the greatest benefit, and would conduce largely to the general prosperity. Beside such “civil service reform” as this, the little picayune measure, good though it may be in itself, on which men like George William Curtis have been spending so much time and talent, is as a minnow to a whale.
2. The present system, which taxes buildings and improvements, capital in all its forms, and in most of our states in all its shadows, is a system of direct discouragement to production, a system which fines the man who creates wealth just in proportion as he creates wealth. Instead of acting on the principle that the man who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before is a public benefactor, our system of taxation treats him as a public enemy. If a man clothe a barren waste with grain and fruit trees, if he drain a swamp or open a mine, if he put up a house where none stood before, or erect a factory, or turn wood or iron into a ship; if he get him a library with which to store and exercise his mind, or a telescope with which to sweep the heavens, or a laboratory in which to seek out the laws of nature’s combinations; if out of his savings he lay by a provision for his declining days; if by his energy and thrift he accumulate capital with which to assist and organize and provide the tools for industry — down comes the tax gatherer to make him pay for having done these things! Is not this as absurd as it is unjust? Is it not in direct contravention of the plainest dictates of enlightened public policy? Do we not all want more wealth? Why, then, should we tax and fine the production of wealth?
Some of the southern states have recently passed laws exempting cotton manufactories from taxation for a term of years, and the result has been the erection of a number of cotton factories, for the capitalists who thus invest their money can calculate on dividing as profits what otherwise they would have had to pay as taxes. Are not these states wise in this? Do not these cotton factories create new industries, add to the wealth of the neighborhoods in which they are erected, and enrich the whole state? But if this be wise, would it not be still wiser to make the exemption permanent instead of for a term of years? And, if it be wise to exempt cotton factories, would it not be wiser still to exempt all sorts of factories, all forms of capital, all kinds of wealth — houses and goods, horses and cattle, railroads and telegraphs? Is not the state the richest that has the most of these things? Why, then, should the state tax them? Is not the stupid system that does tax them too absurd for any rational defense? The people of New York want cheaper house rents. Is it not stupid, then, to put taxes on buildings, which necessarily will diminish the erection of buildings, and, unlike the tax on land values, must inevitably be collected from tenants in higher rents?
But the direct obstacles to production, which this system imposes, are not the worst. All the indirect taxes which pass from hand to hand, increasing the cost of commodities, are taxes against production, which increase as they go. This barbarous tariff of ours, that raises an artificial barrier around our coasts is more difficult for commerce to surmount than would be the Andes or the Himalayas, takes from the people much more than is received by the government, and, by its action and reaction on prices, hampers every exertion of industry, from the building of a railroad to the shingling of a woodshed or the making of a shirt.
Now, it is clear that to abolish all the taxes that thus hamper industry, would be to vastly stimulate production and increase the general wealth. But this is only one side of it. To put taxation on the value of land would also be to remove obstacles to production. For the speculative value, which now attaches to land as soon as it becomes probable that it will be needed for use is a direct check to production. To get the vacant lot on which to put up a house, even on the outskirts of any one of our large cities, costs as much as or more than ordinarily does the house. Before he can strike a plowshare into virgin soil, the farmer, unless he will go far beyond where his labor can be exerted to most advantage, is obliged to pay down a large part of his capital, to embarrass himself with a mortgage, or to agree to give up a large share of his produce as rent. The result is to fill the land with tramps; to crowd our centers even in the best of times with men who are willing to work, anxious to work, but unable to find opportunity to work — and thus to produce an unnatural competition, which in all occupations tends to force wages down to the minimum on which men can live, and which workingmen are driven to resist by what President Glackin, in his address to the Anti-poverty society on last Sunday night,1 styled the resort to brute force. The result is to crowd people together too closely in the cities, to scatter them too far apart in the country. To say nothing of the moral, social and intellectual disadvantages which result from this unnatural distribution of population, there is a great obstacle put in the way of improvement, a manifest waste of productive forces.
The measure we propose, which would utterly destroy the speculative value of land, and would reduce the selling value of land to but a nominal figure, would remove this obstacle and prevent this waste. No one would care to take up land that he could not use, or to hold land unless it was put to its most valuable use. The homes of our farmers would be closer together, the poorer classes of our cities would no longer be compelled to herd in tenement houses, and the capitalist who proposed to erect a factory would no longer have to pay out so much of his capital for a site. Instead of that, he would pay the annual rental value of the land in taxes, but this would be in lieu of all other taxation. Thus the effect of this measure would be to throw open to labor and capital the means of production while relieving production from taxation. And the result of thus opening to labor the natural opportunities for the employment of labor would be to set to work every man willing to work; to do away with that unnatural competition which comes from a glutted labor market. It would be to create a demand for commodities that would set every wheel of industry in motion, and stimulate the forces of production to their utmost.
Clearly this would be greatly to promote the general prosperity and greatly to add to the general wealth.
3. All taxes which increase prices are necessarily taxes in favor of monopoly, since the more capital it requires to go into any business, or to make any improvement, the smaller the number of those who can do so. And, besides this general characteristic of the taxes we would abolish, many of these taxes are specially designed to foster monopolies. It is, moreover, evident that when a large part of the produce of the labor and capital of the community is taken in rent by those who do nothing to aid in production (for land owners as land owners in no wise aid production), there is not merely created an unnecessary and unnatural inequality in the distribution of wealth, but this primary inequality gives rise to a tendency to further inequality. “Unto him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken away,” is the expression of a universal law. To take from one and give to another is, both by decreasing the relative power of the one and increasing the relative power of the other, to put them upon unequal footings in treating of future divisions. If we trace to their cause the majority of great fortunes, we shall find it in monopolies of some kind — the primary and most important of all being the monopoly of the land. It is not because capital gets an undue proportion of the wealth that it helps to produce (though capital in some of its aggregations which involve monopoly does), that, in spite of all the enormous advances which invention and improvement and the growth of population have made, and still are making, in productive power, labor gets but such a scant living, and wages tend constantly to the minimum that will support life. With the advance of the arts and the progress of society, interest — which measures the return to capital — does not increase, but tends rather to diminish. It is rent which goes up, and up, and up. To divert to common uses this great fund which, though drawn from the production of the whole community, now goes to but a portion of the community, would be to turn into a promoter of equality what is now a promoter of inequality. To release capital from taxation, to lift the burden which now rests upon improvement and production, to destroy speculative land values, and throw open land to those who would use it, would open opportunities for labor in every direction and send wages up. In all industries laborers would get a fairer proportion than now of the value their labor creates.
There can be no dispute that in the three ways thus outlined the effect of substituting a tax on land values for all the other taxes by which our public revenues are now raised would be most beneficial to the general interests of society. It would greatly simplify and cheapen government; it would greatly increase the production of wealth; it would do away with the gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth which are now so painfully apparent. And whoever will further consider the matter will see that improvement in one of these directions would react to produce improvement in others — as, for instance, greater equality in the distribution of wealth would, by increasing intelligence and stimulating invention, vastly multiply the forces of production, and, by raising the standard of morals, render government both purer and abler, and diminish the economic wastes which immorality entails.
With relation to the factors of production and the primary distribution of the produce, society is divided for purposes of economic investigation into three classes — land owners, capitalists and laborers. Of these it is evident that the change would be to the advantage of the capitalists and laborers, and to the disadvantage of the land owners. But it is only in the abstract that such a distinction can be clearly made in any country, and especially in such a country as ours. We have, it is true, a considerable class of laborers who are neither capitalists nor land owners; but we have few capitalists who are not laborers, for in the economic use of the term the managing head of any great industrial enterprise is as truly a laborer as is any workman in his employ; and we have probably no land owners who are not either laborers or capitalists, for, in the strict definition of the term, buildings and improvements are capital, not land.(l). A very great number of our people combine the characters of land owner, capitalist and laborer, and there are certainly a large majority who combine at least two of these characters. Thus, while all would profit in the general social gains, it is only in the character of land owner that against these general gains any one could set individual loss. Therefore, the proposition to concentrate taxes on land values should, as a matter of mere individual interest, commend itself even to land owners whose interests as land owners do not exceed their interests as capitalists or laborers, or both.
(1)Strictly, they are wealth, and may or may not be capital, according to the use to which they are put. But it is not necessary, in an article like this, to draw the distinction between capital and wealth, since under the change proposed all wealth would be relieved from taxation, whether it were merely wealth, or also capital — that is to say, whether it were used merely for the gratification of the owner or for productive purposes.
With reference to the ownership of land and with regard to actual facts, our people may be divided into three classes — those who own land which they do not themselves use, those who own land which they use, and those who own no land. The latter class may contain some capitalists, but is mainly composed of laborers — farm hands, manual laborers, operatives, mechanics, clerks, professional men, etc., who depend for their living upon the earnings of their labor. This is the class which it is most important to consider, not merely for sentimental reasons, but because, since they constitute the base of the social pyramid, whatever improves or depresses their condition will affect all the rest. Now, it is manifest that to take taxes off capital and improvement and production and exchange would be greatly to benefit all of those who live by their earnings, whether of hand or of head. It is manifest also that it would benefit all who live partly by the earnings of their labor and partly by the earnings of their capital — store keepers, merchants, manufacturers, etc. — and that by increasing the net productiveness of capital it would benefit those whose incomes are drawn from capital alone.
Take now the case of those to whom the opponents of the single tax are so fond of referring — the farmers who till their own acres, the men who own their homesteads in which they live. It is true that the change we propose would diminish the selling value of their land (but merely of the bare land, not of the buildings or improvements), and if fully carried out would virtually destroy it. But it would in no wise diminish the usefulness of their land; it would in no wise diminish, but would in fact increase, their incomes. They would pay under this system less taxes than they pay now. The clerk or mechanic or business or professional man who owns a house and lot in which he lives might pay more taxes on his lot than now, but in return for this he would escape the taxes now levied on his house and its contents, and, through the medium of indirect taxation, upon everything that his family consumes. And so with the farmer. Our present system of taxation falls with peculiar severity upon the farming class. Not only is improved land all over the United States taxed higher than unimproved land of the same quality, but the taxes which so largely raise the prices of all the farmer has to buy do not, and cannot, so long as we are exporters of agricultural produce, raise the prices of what the farmer has to sell. And, further than this, to put taxation solely upon land values would shift the weight of taxation from the sparsely settled agricultural districts to those populous centers where land has a real and a high value. As it would destroy the speculative value of land, the result would be that many farmers would have no taxes at all to pay, for, no matter what might be the value of his improvements, no farmer would have more taxes to pay than could be collected from unimproved land equal to his in quality and situation. Manifestly it would be very greatly to the relief of the farmer to abolish all the taxes which now fall upon his improvements and his consumption, and substitute for them a tax upon the value of bare land, which is always higher in populous centers than in agricultural districts, and in sparsely settled agricultural districts hardly exists at all, except as the result of speculation. And from the effects upon the diffusion of population the farmer would greatly gain. Just as the city population would gain from the destruction of the system which now build tenement houses amid vacant lots, so would the agricultural communities gain in productive power and in social enjoyment when settlement should become closer, from the fact that there would no longer be any inducement for any one to take up or hold more land than he could use.
Further than this, it must be remembered that, although the selling price of land would diminish, this, since it would affect all land, would not affect the exchange value of the homestead lot or farm, as compared with other homestead lots or farms. It would be, to the man who wants for himself and his family the security of a home in which to live, or land to cultivate, a purely nominal and intangible loss, to offset which there would be great and actual gains; and, as his children grew up, it would be very much easier for them to get homesteads or farms of their own.
The only people who would really lose would be those whose incomes are mainly drawn from the rent, not of buildings, out of land, and those who are holding land in the expectation of future profit from the high prices that in time those who want to use it will be compelled to pay them. But there are few, if any, individuals who belong exclusively to this class. In varying degrees all our large landholders are also capitalists, and would gain as capitalists though they might lose as land owners. And, if in some cases the relative loss exceeded the relative gain, it would only be (and this, if necessary, might be made certain by some provision, as to widows, etc.) in the case of those who could readily stand the loss without being really hurt. In any large view it will always be found that the true interests of all individuals coincide with the best interests of society.
To put all taxes on land values would be to remove all burdens from capital and labor; to free industry, and energy, and thrift from restriction or fine; to take away the incentives to speculation in land, and to throw open natural opportunities to those who would use them, without, as now, compelling them to pay a heavy premium to some non-user. From the freedom of operation which would thus be given to productive forces would result an enormous increase in the production of wealth. The fund from which all incomes must be drawn would be vastly augmented. And at the same time would come a great equalization in distribution; for that freedom of operation which is essential to the largest production of wealth is also essential to its fairest distribution.
To one who has never thought over the matter it may seem preposterous to say that in a simple change in the methods of taxation lies the fundamental cure for pauperism and low wages and all the social difficulties which afflict modern society. Yet, to all who will carefully think over it this will appear. When it is considered what is really involved in this simple change, such great effects do not seem disproportionate to the cause. For, to remove taxation from the production and accumulation of wealth, and to put it on the appropriation of this element which is the raw material of wealth, would be to remove obstructions to the natural play of social forces — obstructions which produce in the social organism just such effects as bandages and ligatures that impeded the circulation of the blood would produce in the human body. It would be to conform our most important social adjustments to the supreme law of justice; for, that the right to land is common and equal while the right to the products of labor is individual and exclusive, are correlative propositions too manifest to need discussion.
The speech of Everett Glackin, president of Typographical union No. 6 — one of the most powerful and conservative of the great trades unions of the country — at the Anti-poverty society last Sunday evening is indicative of the great change of opinion which has been for some time going on among the more thoughtful members of labor organizations. It is well worth careful reading by those who imagine that the men who have joined in the united labor party and the Anti-poverty society have no definite idea of what they want to accomplish. Henry George.
Will Follow the Banner of Justice to the End.
Brooklyn, N. Y.—I just want to say to you in a few words that I am proud of and delighted with the action of the Syracuse convention. In this battle for justice I have “enlisted for the war.” I am not so particular who carries the banner as that “Justice” shall blazon upon it, and that its bearers shall walk with the boldness of truth, and lead straight on to the '‘lines of the enemy.”
E. S. D.
A Sample Letter Out of Thousands That Come to Us.
I am greatly pleased with the stand taken at Syracuse. May your campaign result grandly and successfully is the earnest prayer of W. H. Hanford.
An Interesting Speech From Everett Glackin, President of Typographical Union No. 6 – E. Q. Norton of Mobile Tells About Landlordism in the South – Speeches by Dr. McGlynn and Henry George — The Ladies of the Society to do Active Work for the Campaign
The nineteenth public meeting of the Anti-poverty society gave good evidence of the increasing; interest which the people of this city are taking in the work of the society, and in the efforts of the united labor party to bring the principles of the society into active operation through political action.
Everett Glackin, president of Typographical union No. 6, presided, and his opening speech gave unmistakable evidence that the workingmen of New York understand just what it is that the Anti-poverty society advocates, and the united labor party proposes to do. Mr. Norton’s remarks illustrated the evils of landlordism in the south, and the speeches of Dr. McGlynn and Henry George were full of interest. Mr. Croasdale’s call for the co-operation of the ladies of the society in the work of raising funds for the campaign was well received; and the meeting which he announced for Tuesday evening last has decided upon holding an Anti-poverty fair, some particulars of which are given in another column.
After the singing of the “National Hymn” by Miss Munier’s choir, Chairman Glackin addressed the meeting as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen — These are very strange times when a wage worker occupying the position in society I do is called upon to address such an audience as this, and I can assure you it is a terrible trial to me to do so. But, when we believe, as we do, that at last we are on the right track (applause), that at last there has been pointed out a way by which we can all have steady employment and enough to eat without resorting to that miserable thing that we all hate and fear so, called a strike, a man would be a coward if he did not act whenever called upon to do anything in this fight. (Great applause.)
And so I ask you to listen to me tonight, whether you be wage workers or not, and try to understand my feelings and ideas, because if you do not use your own judgment it will be impossible for me, as poor a speaker as I am, to make you fully understand what I wish to impress upon you. There are certain people in this city who call themselves workingmen, and so they are, men who are striving in their own way to do the same thing that we are trying to do, but who are on the wrong track, and who are announcing themselves to the world at large as the true representatives of the workingmen of this city. They are not such representatives. They represent themselves only, and they are very few in numbers. (Applause.) They do not represent what is called organized labor. It was organized labor that began this movement, and the same men that started the movement are in it today. But the movement has gone beyond their control: and so it should.
The organized laborers in this city and country are not the only laborers who are here, and who have to make a living. The organized laborers are intelligent enough to understand that every laborer does not wish to come inside the lines of organized labor. And while we, under existing conditions, have to use brute force in order to get living wages, have discovered that by putting this idea of the united labor party into operation, by running this government as a whole under the principles of the united labor party, there will be no necessity for strikes or labor organizations. (Great applause.)
These honest but misguided men claim that the united labor party has ignored the interests of organized labor. They only prove either their own ignorance of the true status of that party, or they prove that they are controlled and maintained by a lot of selfish or unthinking men when they make such a statement. This party today is just exactly the same as it was last year. (Applause.) And if those men could support it last year, and they did, they cannot honorably refuse to support it now. (Applause.) I believe in one sense that it is hardly worth while trying to say anything to convince them that they are wrong. In one sense we could afford perhaps to let them go, because it makes no difference what any small portion of the wage workers in this country may think or do if the American people believe in our idea, as they certainly will; when we succeed in explaining it to them, they will take it up, and then there will be nothing in the world to prevent the United States government being controlled by the united labor party. (Applause.)
We may not have known it two or three years ago, but today we do know that there is land and more than land enough in this world for all the people that can ever possibly be on the face of the earth. (Applause.) We know that there are more than enough of the natural opportunities for wealth production in this world to supply the wants of every individual. And we know that many of the people in this world fail to secure enough of the necessaries of life. The thing that we want today is to so perfect our distributive machinery that enough of the necessaries of life can be had or secured by each individual in the world. That can be done by throwing open to the people that wish to work, the natural opportunities.
If there is room enough in this world for all, if there is land enough in the world for all, and the things that we must have in order to live come from the land, all that we need today is to have the land for the people and give every man a free opportunity to take so much as he needs. Of course, in saying that, we do not mean that every man is to become a farmer and till the soil. We mean to say this, that indirectly we can get that land for the people by taxing it up to its full rental value. (Applause.)
I would not undertake to speak to you on these questions, if it had not been stated by people who should know better, that the workingmen of New York are not aware of what they are doing; that they do not understand the true significance of the principles set forth by this party. I can tell these people — who know nothing of poverty except what they read in books — that the working men of New York do know very well what this party means, and they are bound to have it, and will have it sooner or later. (Applause.)
We know that for years back every legislative body in this country in giving charters to the large railroad corporations has always claimed that the earnings in excess of a certain amount should be handed over to the government, the representative of the people. And we know that all of those corporations so soon as they were earning sufficient money to be able to pay to the government something each year, have watered their stock so that they could take up all of that surplus and never pay back anything. We know that if we get a system of government that will enable us to tax land up to its full rental value, thereby taking from the landlords all the vast amount of money now paid them for the mere privilege of living, and if we can have a government that will insist upon these railroads running their concerns so that the stocks will not be watered and that the profits in excess of five or ten percent shall be paid to the government, and that the natural opportunities, those things made by God for all the people shall be opened to them — if we can do these three things no man on the face of the earth will be able to say that he is unable to find employment. (Applause.)
This is all we want to do. We have as little respect for the loafer or for the man who is too dishonest to work as anybody else; but we claim that if the government, the representative of the people, has a right to draft us in time of war, if it has a right in time of need to take our lives from us, we have a right in time of peace to demand that we shall have enough to be free and independent. (Great applause.) These men write long letters and deliver long speeches about civil service reform. (Laughter.) We believe in it of course. It is all right; but where is the use of a man telling us that civil service reform is going to give us pure government? We do not believe anything of the kind. For what is it that makes civil service reform necessary? Simply that every blackguard of a barroom politician has a certain amount of patronage given to him by his party to use in the way of corrupting voters. (Applause.) And if we can get this system in operation, we then have a condition of things that will make it impossible that any honest workingman shall ever have to go to a corner loafer who is a ward heeler of some political machine, with his hat in one hand and a letter in the other, in order to get a political job. (Applause.)
We know that with this system once in operation no man can meet us on the street and hold out his hand expecting to get money, because we can say to such a man, You can get work if you want it. As it is now, we cannot speak to those people in that way, because society is not doing its duty by them.
This party is not a class party. It is not a party of workingmen only. It is made up of representatives of every walk of life, the wage earner, the manufacturer, the professional man. We have men from every class, and that is the only kind of a party that can win in this country. (Great applause and “Three cheers for Glackin.”)
Mr. Glackin then briefly announced Dr. McGlynn, who spoke as follows:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: I have to take my departure from you at a very early moment in order to catch the train at a quarter past nine for Buffalo. (Many voices. God be with you.) I am going there to a little picnic. (Laughter.) I am glad that I am able to unite with that pleasure the doing of a good work.
I was this afternoon in New Jersey, on a mountain eighteen hundred feet above the level of the sea, where it was my happiness to address a most remarkable audience of some two thousand people gathered from all the country round about — from the farms, from the villages, from the cities of New Jersey, and even from New York and Brooklyn (applause): and it occurs to me that I may well spend a portion of the time this evening in telling you something of my feelings and impressions on that mountain. We read in the scriptures that the mountains have peculiar significance of the higher and better natures of men in their relations to God the Father. The hills and the mountains are frequently called the mountains of God. It was not without a peculiar poetic fitness that the saints and sages of old made the mountain tops the chosen places upon which to worship the Most High, and retired to them from the tumult of men to commune in solitude with the majesty of God. God's chosen temples in the earliest days were the hillsides, and the forests, and the mountain tops.
No man. I think, can surpass me in reverence for the sacred stillness and mysterious charm of the houses that are consecrated to God; no man's nature thrills more than mine with the poetry of the ceremonies of the church. And yet it is well for us to remember that these are but signs and symbols of spiritual things; and it is well for us sometimes to go out in the open air, to listen to nature’s teachings, and learn from the dear old mother the primary truths, the natural religion which, as I have endeavored to teach you time and again, are the necessary bases of all true religion. (Applause.)
This primary religion, that is the very essence and the core of our religion, teaches man that he is totally different from the brute animal; that he is the child of God. And as he walks the earth in her verdure clad, as he rises to the purer atmosphere, the loftier altitudes of the mountains of God, he feels a little more of the angel within him and less of the mere animal; he thinks of the vastness of space; he takes in a larger panorama; he sees more of the beauties of nature’s plan: and he rises without effort, and by a natural impulse, from nature to nature’s God.
And, filled with these thoughts, it was for me a peculiar happiness to discourse to listening multitudes of the benignity and humanity of God our Savior — to speak of the loving kindness of God our Father, to tell them to look around and to fill their souls with the ecstacy of merely living, to witness the wondrous panorama covering an extent of seventy-five miles, taking in the beauties of plains, groves and hamlets, the factories, the waters, the distant bay, the statue of Liberty, the towers of the mighty bridge that make twin cities one. And as our souls were filled with the wondrous view, as our lungs were inflated with the pure air, as we seemed to be nearer to heaven, I am sure that we all had a peculiar sense of the presence of God our Father, and of the wondrous bounties of the Father to his children; and we deplored the stupidity, the ignorance and the avarice of men that have led them, through ignorance as much as through malice, to mar and thwart the plan of God and to blotch and blur the fair face of God’s creation. (Applause.)
And I am sure that we all came down from that mountain better than we ascended it. We came with new thoughts of heaven, of purity, of justice in our hearts. We came with a new enthusiasm for duty to God. And we resolved that we would do what we could to take away the blotch from the fair creation, to cause the jarring, discordant notes that mar the wondrous harmony of God’s works to cease from out the world. It is a reproach to man that from all the visible creation of God there is but one discordant note that goes up to the ear of the angels and of God the Father. All the animate and inanimate works of God, the mineral, the vegetable, the animal creation, are obeying perfectly and inexorably the perfect law of God. It is man alone that, abusing his liberty, dares to rise up and stand before the face of the Father and demand as a right what he should never dare to claim except as a wondrous gift of the Father to his child; and daring to demand as a right what he should be thankful for as a favor, dares to abuse that right, and so to squander and misuse the inheritance of God as to crowd out a large portion of his brethren. (Applause.)
It is then our duty as we gain a nobler conception of God’s wondrous plan, of the wondrous justice that presides over the world, of the wondrous abundance with which God has filled this storehouse, and of the wondrous capacity for learning, for education, for the development of the highest and noblest faculties with which God has endowed us, to be up and doing, to feel that the days are short, and that we must waste no time, omit no opportunity, but harden our muscles and quicken our imaginations, and do what we can to foster within ourselves the divine enthusiasm of humanity. We should feel it to be a sad, deplorable thing, that having seen this great light, men should criminally shut their eyes to it and walk away as if they had seen nothing (applause); that having seen swinging into the field of their vision the wondrous star that shall lead them into a new Bethlehem, they should refuse to follow that star which will infallibly lead them to perfect salvation from the ills of time, and to the fulfillment here on earth of the will of God, even as it is done in heaven. (Applause.)
I love to take you into my confidence, to lay bare my heart before you, to impart to you my joys and my sorrows, and I am delighted to tell you of the great comfort that came to me, as men from distant states met me on that mountain today and told me that poor words of mine as read on printed pages have converted blasphemers to a sense of reverence. (Great applause.) I met these men who in their doubt and despair and agony had once cursed God, but who have now begun to see the light of the Father’s face, have learned once more to bow their heads in prayer, and have risen from their prayers with a new enthusiasm to go out to battle for justice and to do what they can to bring the whole world to a better knowledge of the Father’s law and to a perfect doing of it. (Applause.)
And if we were permitted to feel in that clear atmosphere the ecstacy of merely living, still more should we be thankful that we are permitted to live in these days when a great truth is shining, when a great battle is beginning, when a new order of things is opening, when prophets and sages see with a clear vision the will of God that justice should begin to be done. Blessed are they who hear the call and obey it! (Applause.) Thrice blessed if they hear and obey it in the spirit of the apostles of Him who taught us to hunger and thirst after justice, with the divine assurance that we shall be filled. For they shall have their fill. And if, after their example, we shall obey the call — the very self-same call — to labor, to pray, to suffer, and, if need be, to die for the dawning of the day of the coming of the Lord, ours shall be the same beatitude, and it may even be that before we die we shall have the unspeakable consolation of seeing, not merely the first glimmerings of the dawn, but the veritable rising of the glorious sun of justice. (Uproarious applause.)
When the applause had subsided, which was only after Dr. McGlynn had disappeared from the platform, Mr. Glackin again addressed the audience, urging them to contribute liberally to the collection which was about to be made. “Last year,” he said, “in this city we gained a great moral victory. This year we must do more than that. (Applause.) We must carry this city in the coming election, and that we can do very easily if we only work as we should. All that we require is twenty thousand more votes than we had last election and the city will be ours. (Applause.) There is not the slightest doubt in my opinion about our getting those extra twenty thousand votes, but it will require a great deal of work and a great deal of money. When we think of the great comfort and relief that will be brought to those now living in the tenement districts in this city when the reform we advocate shall be inaugurated, we ought surely to be willing, each one of us, to give according to our means.”
The choir sang “The Land for the People” so acceptably that an encore was called for and given, after which Chairman Glackin introduced Mr. E. Q. Norton2 of Mobile, Ala.
“On Bedloe’s island, in this harbor,” said Mr. Norton, “Liberty stands personated in stone and bronze. On Manhattan island, according to present indications, you will soon have liberty herself.”
Mr. Norton stated that during the last five years he had traveled from Maine to Dakota, and from Dakota to Florida, and through every intervening state, and had found everywhere a keen and increasing interest in the land and labor questions. “I shall not,” said he “weary you with my impressions, nor shall I undertake to tell you here in New York, in the very center and focus of the land reform movement — anything about the vast advantages which will come from the success of that movement. But I may interest you by telling you something regarding the movement in the south, where I now have my home.
“No section of the country today is worse off on the land question than the south. We have a system there which we call advancing. The planter is carried through the season, and when his crop is marketed the account is made up, a balance is struck, and if there is anything coming to him it is paid to him by the merchant who did the advancing. I have seen in Macon, Ga., 125 mules with all the machinery necessary to run the farm, brought in and turned over to a merchant because the planter could not raise enough to pay up his indebtedness. And what is the result? A bill of sale is given and a balance is struck. Sometimes the planter comes out even, sometimes in debt. I am told on the best authority by a gentleman who investigated the matter at my request, that there is one man in a county in northern Georgia who either owns or has a mortgage on nearly every plantation in three counties. That man is considered by the planters to be an extraordinary good fellow. One of them said to me: ‘He is a good man: he does not foreclose; he does not throw us out. Why, he says, if you cannot make your crop come out all right this year, we will settle up and I will see how much you owe me. You have been a good tenant and I don't want to throw you out. Let us start another year and try again.’ So the planter goes on hoping to own that place, laboring with the expectation that the plantation will finally be his. And what is the result? Year after year he gets deeper and deeper into debt. The merchant could not possibly get as good a tenant if he actually owned that property. He could never hire a man to cultivate it and work as hard as the man who thinks he is eventually going to own it.
Chairman Glackin’s introduction of Henry George excited uproarious laughter and deafening applause: “I will not delay you by making any formal introduction. I will simply say that we are now about to hear from our boss.”
Mr. George said:
As for the Anti-poverty society, it has no boss. (Applause.) It has a president that it loves and honors and trusts. (Applause.) And it has a choir that it is proud of (applause), led by a lady whom we all hold in our hearts. (Three cheers for Miss Munier.) But the Anti-poverty society has no boss (laughter), and the united labor party has no boss. (Great applause.) The united labor party differs from the other parties in that (applause), because it differs from the other parties in something deeper. The difference between the new party that is now coming to the front, the party that is, as Mr. Glackin has said, destined to control this great republic and to write its policy on our laws and institutions, differs from the other parties that exist today in this, that it has a belief, that it has a faith. We know what we want (“Hear, hear!”), and we know how to get it. (Deafening applause and a voice, “We will get it!")
Policy! We have nothing whatever to do with policy. Our policy is the right. (Applause.) The pole star of justice is the star by which we steer, and we are moving on our path with an ardor, a strength and a determination that are born of a religious conviction. (Applause.) Truly has it been said that this is a new crusade. Of all great wars and uprisings of men to murder one another of which history tells us, those great uprisings of Europe in which the flower of her youth were hurled on Asia were, in their inception at least, the noblest.
It was with the cry, “God wills it! God wills it,” that the flower of the youth and chivalry of Europe were hurled on Asia to win back the Holy Land from the Turk. False views of religion, superstition deep and dark, lay at the base of that great movement; but there also lay at its base something of the very highest; something of that spirit that raises man above the beast; something of that spirit that links him to God — the enthusiasm for what was to the man who felt its power a high and a noble cause.
And now again, in this nineteenth century, on this new continent, and in our ranks, goes up the cry, “God wills it! God wills it!” (Great applause.) And again that enthusiasm that would take men and women to death if there be need fills hearts and fires tongues. Greater and nobler though is our crusade. Its aim is not to rescue from the infidel the tomb wherein the dead Christ has lain, but to rescue from vice and want and misery the living images of Christ (applause); to take out of the squalor and degradation those little children of whom the Master said, “Let them come unto me;” of whom the Master said, “It were better for a man that he should have a millstone tied around his neck and be thrown into the sea than that he should offend one of those little ones. (Great applause.)
Aye, we know it! The fullness of time has come. “God wills it! God wills it,” and because He wills it we go on to victory. (Applause.) What matters it whether it be today or tomorrow or next week, what matters it who falls from our ranks, what matters it who turns back, this movement must and will go on. (Deafening applause.)
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Him not because my mother taught me so. I believe in Him not because the churches have preached to me of Him. There was a time when I did not, a time when I could not, believe in Him. I believe in God the Father Almighty because wherever I have looked, through all that I see around me, I see the trace of an intelligent mind, and because in those works, and especially in the social laws which govern the relations of men, I see, not merely the proofs of intelligence, but the proofs of beneficence. (Applause.)
There is nothing in this universe, so far as we can see, that is wholly good or wholly evil. The things that are most potent for evil are most potent for good. The poisons that kill men are, rightly used, powerful medicines. The liquor that intoxicates and embrutes may at times save life. What more destructive than fire, yet what more useful to man? Electricity was to our forefathers the very emblem of the anger of the gods. Yet we have learned to use it, and it is already becoming one of our most useful servants.
So it is all through nature. We look around upon the world today and we see misery and want everywhere. We see the lives even of those who are raised somewhat above the fiercest struggle made in most cases but an intense and bitter effort to get and to keep. We see men with the noblest powers unable to develop them, passing their years in a mere struggle to live. We see a debauched public opinion that counts success in making money as the highest virtue, and in the very temples of the living God sets up and worships the golden calf. (Great applause.)
Yet, when we search and analyze, we find that the cause of poverty, that poverty which degrades and imbrutes, that poverty which arouses on the one side the greed of gain and on the other side the horrible fear of want, comes from a great primary wrong, from the denial of the equal rights of men to the element which is necessary to life (applause); comes from the fact that we have made that which belongs to all the exclusive property of some. (Applause.)
Our friend, the president of Number Six (applause), has spoken of the immense sums taken from the earnings of industry, which now go into the coffers of those who do nothing to add to the general wealth. Yet this is not the result of a social law, but of the misuse of social law most powerful for good. The phenomenon of rent is a fact of nature. Wherever society begins, wherever men begin to come together, land begins to have a value, and that value increases as population increases, as the arts are developed, as improvements are made. The value of land is the one thing that steadily advances in the midst of an advancing civilization. The tendency of advancing civilization is to reduce the price of all manufactured goods, of the products of labor, but everywhere to increase the price of land. Now here is a universal fact which bespeaks a universal law — a fiat of creative mind. What does it mean? What is its purpose?
If you can imagine a world which in every part gave equal opportunities for the use of all natural elements, and in which there was no difference between locality and locality, if, like fishes swimming in a uniform ocean, men could draw all they needed from the element in which they were immersed, so that there would be no advantage or disadvantage in locality, then each man, under a free condition of things, would get what he produced. Such a state would be better than that which exists in the world today, but it would not be the best. Society as a whole would, under such conditions, have no funds save what it took from individuals. What about the weak? What about those who by some accident were deprived of the ability to labor? What about those who fell by the wayside?
Now, in the world as it is, the differences in soil, climate, mineral deposits, etc., give to different places different advantages for different pursuits. And the growth of population itself causes a difference of advantage which attaches to locality. If ten thousand men settle on land that is all of equal quality, some portion of the land, that which is toward the center, or for other reasons becomes the easiest place of exchange, will become more valuable than the rest; and such values tend to increase as social development goes on. These values of locality constitute economic rent. Here there is a natural provision for the social needs, a natural fund increasing as society advances, which is due not to the exertion of any individual, but to the growth and development of society as a whole, from which provision can be made for all those who are incapacitated by accident or misfortune from making a living for themselves, and which can be used for purposes of common need or benefit without taking from the individual anything due to his own exertion. And note the effect of this great social law by virtue of which land values constantly increase as social growth and development go on. It is to the constant increase of that fund which justly belongs to all, and which can be used for the equal benefit of all without taking from any individual the due reward of his exertions. It is thus to increase both absolutely and relatively the interest of the individual as a member of society, and thus to more and more lessen the difference between the strong and the weak. It is to make the progress of society an advance toward equality, instead of, as we see it today, an advance toward a more and more monstrous inequality.
That is the beneficent law of rent — a law in itself good which the injustice of modern society converts into an evil — and in this law I think every man who investigates it must see what the great and good Irish bishop, Dr. Nulty, sees — (applause) — one of the most beautiful of all those provisions that attest the existence of a divine plan in the universe. What we are aiming to do is to take this great fund that rises as society progresses for the purposes for which it was evidently intended. (Applause.) What we propose to do is to establish in one of the most important of all human adjustments that order which is evidently the divine intent.
“There must be,” as M. de Laveleye says, “there must be in human affairs one order which is the best. That order is not the one that exists, but the one that should exist. God knows it and wills it; man’s duty it is to discover and establish it.” It is that which the Anti-poverty society and the united labor party propose to do. (Great applause.) Civilization, government, taxation, all these things that so vitally affect men living in society are not beyond the purview of the divine intent. God is God; and in the beginning provision was made for a civilization like this, and for a higher civilization that will succeed it, just as much as provision was made for the needs of the individual, and for the rude society with which social advance began; in which each man did his own work without exchange with others. There must be a right end a wrong way of raising public revenues. There must be a right and wrong in taxation. That is to say, there must be a way that God willed and God intended, just as God willed and intended that men should walk on their feet and not on their hands; just as God willed and intended that one man should have one wife, and that there should exist between man and woman that family relation in which children grow up in virtue and in knowledge, to take their places and play their parts in the long world drama. (Applause.)
Now, that the ways by which we at present raise our taxes are not the right way, can be very clearly seen from their effects. Take their effects upon morals. One of the great evils of our methods of raising taxes today is that they tax conscience, that they make men lie and perjure and bribe and corrupt. Take the taxes that are collected at our custom houses. They are constant temptations to evasions and fraud. They involve constant interference with personal liberty. You pass under that statue of Liberty of which Mr. Norton has spoken, and up comes an officer and makes you take an oath that you have not anything dutiable about you, and after you have taken an oath you hand up your keys, and they search through your trunks — unless sometimes they may happen to find a greenback on the top. (Laughter.) And on some occasions women are even taken in the staterooms and stripped and searched. There are all sorts of fraud, all sorts of corruption connected with that system, beginning with the enactment of the law in congress and going through every department.
So with the taxes which we levy on personal property. All over the country the most ridiculous thing is to find how poor our rich men are, according to the personal returns tax. (Laughter.) And as such taxes are taxes upon conscience, so are they taxes upon production. They prevent and discourage the growth of wealth — the increase of the great fund from which we all must be fed and clothed. If a man today, in any of the states of the Union, makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before, the tax gatherer comes down and fines him for it. If he builds a house where there was none before, he has to pay a fine of so much each year. The bigger the house he builds the more he has to pay. The more he produces, the more he saves, the more he is supposed to be taxed for it.
Clearly a system of taxation which discourages the production of wealth; clearly a system of taxation which taxes the poor more heavily than the rich; clearly a system of taxation which puts a premium upon bribery and perjury and fraud, must be wrong. (Applause. A voice, “The boodle press does not say so.”) It does not matter about the press. The press is slow. (Applause.) I wish the editors — the reporters know better — could attend some of those meetings. Many of these editors have been deluding themselves that the 68,000 men who voted for me in this city last year did not know what they were voting about (laughter); that the great audiences that assemble here every Sunday night, do not know what they are meeting for. I wish these editors could have heard the speech to which we have listened tonight from the president of the most powerful trades union in the country. (Applause.) And in saying what he did, that the doctrine which we are banded together to carry out is with the men whom he represents a matter of belief, of intellectual conviction, I am confident that Mr. Glackin spoke the sentiments of the great mass of the people of this city who earn their daily bread by their daily toil (applause), and those sentiments will soon be the sentiments of the great mass of the people throughout the entire country. (Great applause.)
We propose to substitute for the present system of taxation a system of taxation that will not discourage enterprise, that will not fine and punish industry, that will not require any one to come up and take an oath, that will not necessitate an army of spies and a horde of tax gatherers. (Applause.) We say that this system is the natural system. (A voice, “That is right.” Applause.) That is, therefore, the system that God wills. (Applause) And still more clearly can we say that the system we propose is the system that God wills when we see that its effect will be to entirely prevent the monopolization of natural opportunities that now makes men, anxious to make a living by their toil as God intended, beggars and tramps (applause), and compels men for their own sakes and for the sakes of their wives and children to resort in many cases, as Mr. Glackin has said, to brute force, in order to prevent themselves from being absolutely crowded to the wall. (Applause.)
We say that the Father of us all made this world not for some, but, for all of His children whom he brings into being here. (Applause.) We say that the equal right to the use of land that attaches to man from the time of his birth to the day of his death is a natural right, that it is a gift of the Creator (applause); and that in taking steps to effectually secure that right to every human being in the land, we are indeed moving forward to carry out the will of God. (Applause.)
And further. These great corporations that are rising all over the land, what do they mean? (A voice, “Robbery!”) Aye, something more than robbery. If there is robbery, it is simply because of our misadjustments. It is the natural law of social growth, the law of advancing civilization, that leads men into closer and closer relations, and establishes and necessitates businesses that in their very nature are monopolies. The railroad is a monopoly by its nature. It is so costly in construction that when one railroad is built no one will build a parallel line along side of it except with the expectation of being bought out. So with gas companies and telegraph companies; they are in their nature monopolies (A voice: “Do not forget the express companies.”) Yes, and the express companies. Now, a monopoly may be a bad thing or may be a good thing. That depends very much upon who has the monopoly. Here are monopolies that in a civilization like ours, must exist; and we say that the only way of meeting the necessity upon the democratic principle of equality is for the whole people to be the owner of the monopoly. (Applause.)
We hold to the good old democratic principle that the president of Number Six has stated, that that is the best government that governs least. (Applause.) We want to get rid of the government of repression. The less repression the better. What we want is liberty. (Applause.) And at the same time, while doing away as fast as possible with the repressive functions of government, we propose, for the very same end of securing liberty, to extend the co-operative functions of government by taking in necessary monopolies as fast as we can and administering them for the common benefit. (A voice, “The Standard oil company.”) That is a growth and an excresence of the railroad monopoly. That is one of those secondary monopolies that grow out of the parent monopoly, and the big mother of them all is the land monopoly. (Applause.)
But some people stand aghast at the proposal to put such things as the railroad and telegraph into government control. They say, look at the corruption that will ensue. It is true that there is danger. Such great extension of the functions of government is something that we ought to carefully think about. But it is pressed upon us by an advancing civilization, and if we cannot find some way to manage the railroad and the telegraph, without practical monopolies on one side or widespread corruption on the other, our civilization is doomed. Here is the fundamental law: As men advance, so do new duties devolve upon us. It is the law of God, the law of the universe, that from him to whom much is given much will be required. (Applause.) To us in the heyday of the nineteenth century civilization much has indeed been given. All these mighty agencies that are extending our powers, that are enabling us to do things that men of a generation ago little dreamed of, that are giving to the hand of a young girl, aided by steam, as much productive force as had a thousand men a century ago; they are increasing our responsibilities; they demand of us more public virtue, a truer public conscience, a deeper and a keener regard for the rights of others. (Applause.)
And today the united labor party comes forward to clear the way to bring about an adjustment that will enable that higher conscience to exert itself. Aye, the growth of this new party is in itself a proof of an awakened conscience. (Applause.)
What has called this party into being? You men and you women know that the sentiment that animates this society is not the desire that its members may get more for themselves, not a regard for their own interest, but a sympathy with those who are worse off, with those who are lower down; a sympathy with those who toil and suffer. (Applause.) Our purpose, our aim, is, by abolishing monopolies by giving to each his equal right and his equal opportunity, to bring about a state of things in which no human being shall suffer want, unless it be by his own fault (applause); in which there shall be no child that shall go hungry; in which there shall be no woman, be she maid, wife, or widow, who will be driven to unsex herself by hard and unseemly work; to bring about a state of things in which there shall be work for all, leisure for all, opportunity for all; in which not merely the necessities of life, but even the luxuries and the refinements of a high civilization shall be the portion of all. (Applause.)
We have a faith — that our Father in heaven did not decree poverty, but that it exists because of the violation of His law. (Applause.) We have a belief — that poverty can be abolished by conforming human laws and institutions to the great principles of equal justice. And having this faith, and having this belief, we have a destiny. That destiny is to abolish poverty in the United States of America, and in doing so to fire a beacon that will light the whole world! (Deafening and long continued applause.)
After the conclusion of Mr. George’s speech Mr. Croasdale, the chairman of the executive committee, stated that during the coming campaign the work of the society would need to be pushed with redoubled energy, and there would be a largely increased demand for funds. How to provide these funds was a problem which must be solved, and to this end the executive committee had decided to call on the ladies of the society for advice and assistance. He then announced that a meeting would be held at Cooper union on Tuesday evening, at which a special committee of the executive committee would attend to advise with the ladies of the society what steps should be taken for raising the needed funds.
Chairman Glackin then closed the meeting with a brief address, in which he drew attention to the interest which all classes of the community, employers as well as employed, had in the success of the united labor party.
The collection, with fees for new members, amounted to $164.
The Anti-Poverty Society’s Coming Fair.
The ladies of the Anti-poverty society held a meeting on Tuesday evening last, and with great unanimity and enthusiasm determined to hold a fair and festival in order to raise funds that will enable the society to make a generous contribution toward defraying the expenses of the coming campaign of the united labor party. The fair will be held from Monday, Sept. 26 to Saturday, Oct. 8, if a hall can be had for that length of time, and it is hoped that a handsome sum can be realized. The ladies of the society in New York are unanimous in embracing this opportunity to allow the disfranchised sex to do something definite toward helping on the canvass, and their enterprise has taken a shape that will allow members outside the state to render effective service.
Every conceivable article of utility or fancy work will be welcomed, and those who can contribute nothing else can send money for the fair to Benj. Urner, treasurer of the society. No. 6 Harrison street, or to the president, Dr. Edward McGlynn, room 30 Cooper union. The time is short; as it will not do to have the fair extend into the later weeks of the canvass, when all of the men to whom it can look for support will be in the thick of the fight.
Going to Work in Atlanta.
Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 5.—I wish to express my hearty appreciation of your efforts in the interest of the “masses.” Yours is a noble work, and the cause you represent is worthy of success; and as right and justice is at the bottom of it, it will triumph.
My attention was accidentally drawn to your paper, and I at once became interested and concerned, and shall advocate its principles, and hope to be instrumental in doing some good here. I shall watch with much interest the campaign in New York, and wish you all success.
E. F. Donelson
A VOICE FROM THE TOMB.
A Defence of Chattel Slavery on Religious and Economic Grounds — An Extraordinary Forecast of the Present Social Condition as the Outcome of the Free Labor System
A correspondent sends us the following extract from a fast-day sermon delivered in the Presbyterian church of Columbia, S. C., by the Rev. James H. Thornwell, D.D., just one month before the secession of the state of South Carolina.
Dr. Thornwell, says our correspondent, was in his day looked upon as a bright ornament of the Presbyterian church. He was elected a moderator of its general assembly in 1847, and from 1852 to 1855 was president of the South Carolina, college, doing duty as college chaplain and as professor of moral philosophy. A keen and close logician, and of great controversial power, he had, as you will see, the courage of his conclusions and did not shrink from publicly stating them. He was a man of great learning, and of his wonderful eloquence many who heard him preach both north and south still live to testify. During the latter part of the career of John C. Calhoun Dr. Thornwell, who was his bosom friend, wielded in South Carolina an influence scarcely less than that of the father of secession himself, and would in all probability, but for his sacred calling, have succeeded the celebrated South Carolinian in the senate of the United States.
The extract referred to is as follows:
Having adverted to the sins which belong to us as members of the confederacy, let us turn to those that belong to us as a particular commonwealth. I shall restrict myself to our dealings with the institution which has produced the present convulsion of the country and brought us to the verge of ruin. That the relation betwixt the slave and his master is not inconsistent with the Word of God, we have long since settled. Our consciences are not troubled, and have no reason to be troubled, on this score. We do not hold our slaves in bondage from remorseless considerations of interest. If I know the character of our people, I think I can safely say that if they were persuaded of the essential immorality of slavery, they would not be backward in adopting measures for the ultimate abatement of the evil. We cherish the institution, not from avarice, but from principle. We look upon it as an element of strength, and not of weakness, and confidently anticipate the time when the nations that now revile us would gladly change places with us. In its last analysis, slavery is nothing but an organization of labor, and an organization by virtue of which labor and capital are made to coincide. Under this scheme labor can never be without employment, and the wealth of the country is pledged to feed and clothe it. Where labor is free, and the laborer not a part of the capital of the country, there are two causes constantly at work, which, in the excessive contrasts which they produce, must end in agrarian revolutions and intolerable distress. The first is the tendency of capital to accumulate. Where it does not include the laborer as a part, it will employ only that labor which will yield the largest returns. It looks to itself, and not to the interest of the laborer. The other is the tendency of population to outstrip the demands for employment. The multiplication of laborers not only reduces wages to the lowest point, but leaves multitudes wholly unemployed. While the capitalist is accumulating his hoards, rolling in affluence and splendor, thousands who would work if they had the opportunity are doomed to perish of hunger. The most astonishing contrasts of poverty and riches are constantly increasing. Society is divided between princes and beggars. If labor is left free, how is this condition of things to be obviated? The government must either make provision to support people in idleness, or it must arrest the law of population and keep them from being born, or it must organize labor. Human beings cannot be expected to starve. There is a point at which they will rise in desperation against a social order which dooms them to nakedness and famine, while their lordly neighbor is clothed in purple and fine linen and faring sumptuously every day. They will scorn the logic which makes it their duty to perish in the midst of plenty. Bread they must have, and bread they will have, though all the distinctions of property have to be abolished to provide it. The government, therefore, must support them, or an agrarian revolution is inevitable. But shall it support them in idleness? Will the poor, who have to work for their living, consent to see others as stout and able as themselves clothed and fed like the lilies of the field, while they toil not neither do they spin? Will not this be to give a premium to idleness? The government, then, must find them employment; but how shall this be done? On what principle shall labor be organized so as to make it certain that the laborer shall never be without employment, and employment adequate for his support? The only way in which it can be done, as a permanent arrangement, is by converting the laborer into capital — that is, by giving the employer a right of property in the labor employed; in other words, by slavery. The master must always find work for his slave, as well as food and raiment. The capital of the country, under this system, must always feed and clothe the country. There can be no pauperism, and no temptations to agrarianism. That non-slaveholding states will eventually have to organize labor, and to introduce something so like slavery that it will be impossible to discriminate between them, or to suffer from the most violent and disastrous insurrections against the system which creates and perpetuates their misery, seems to be as certain as the tendencies in the laws of capital and population to produce the extremes of poverty and wealth. We do not envy them their social condition. With sanctimonious complacency they may affect to despise us, and to shun our society as they would shun the infection of a plague. They may say to us, "Stand by — we are holier than thou!” but the day of reckoning must come. As long as the demand for labor transcends the supply, all is well; capital and labor are mutual friends, and the country grows with mushroom rapidity. But when it is no longer capital asking for labor, but labor asking for capital; when it is no longer work seeking men, but men seeking work, then the tables are turned, and unemployed labor and selfish capital stand face to face in deadly hostility. We desire to see no such state of things among ourselves, and we accept as a good and merciful constitution the organization of labor which providence has given us in slavery. Like every human arrangement, it is liable to abuse; but in its idea, and in its ultimate influence upon the social system, it is wise and beneficent. We see in it a security for the rights of property and a safeguard against pauperism and idleness, which our traducers may yet live to wish had been engrafted upon their own institutions. The idle declamation about degrading men to the condition of chattels, and treating them as cows, oxen or swine; the idea that they are regarded as tools and instruments, and not as beings possessed of immortal souls, betray gross ignorance of the real nature of the relation. Slavery gives one man the right of property in the labor of another. The property of man in man is only the property of man in human toil. The laborer becomes capital, not because he is a thing, but because he is the exponent of a presumed amount of labor. This is the radical notion of the system, and all legislation upon it should be regulated by this fundamental idea.
Anti-Povertyites, United Labor Men and Crusaders — Earnest Words from One of the Latter
East Orange, N. J.—The material of our growing movement at the present time I think may be divided into three parts or divisions, Anti-povertyites, united labor men and crusaders. To be sure, the last may be either or both of the first, but the first is not necessarily one of the last. A man or woman may send in for membership in the Anti-poverty society and the neighborhood in which he or she lives know nothing of it. Indeed, the he or she may almost forget it themselves in a few months. Or a man may be a member of the united labor party, attend an occasional meeting and vote his ticket on election day, and still not be a crusader.
By crusaders I mean the men and women of positive characters who have taken up the cross in earnest and bear it every day before the world. The active, aggressive, enthusiastic ones, who let no opportunity where speech or act will tell for the cause they deem holy pass without using it. I believe that the great majority of our membership are crusaders, because few negative people connect themselves with a new and unpopular agitation. Such generally go with the current — sail with the popular tide.
To the “crusader,” then, as I have defined him, I want to say, look after the clergy of your neighborhood; see that they are supplied with The Standard and any other literature likely to convert them to the true faith — the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. In every such convert we have a man of established influence and deep sincerity, already equipped and therefore ready to enter into the fight for the right, one who can defend his new faith with pen and speech. Another class whom we should look closely after are the newsdealers. Few know their power, but any one may partially comprehend it by looking at the results of the “Herald war” or the help of the newsmen in building up the World. A prejudiced newsman may refuse entirety to handle a publication for which there is only a moderate demand, or if it is sent him “on sale” throw it anywhere aside until he returns it, while a publication he indorses is kept where every one can see it and he talks it up beside.
Make a convert of your newsman, and if you fail, make him your friend for the good of the cause. Sergi. E. C. Alphonse,
A Bit of Prophecy by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, the greatest of American novelists, twenty-five years ago made a prophecy which seems now not far from fulfillment. In his “Outside Glimpses of English Poverty," after contrasting a simple wedding among some poor people with the grand marriage ceremony over a rich couple, and describing the aristocrat’s home, with its magnificent grounds, venerable trees, shaven lawns and rich shrubbery — a perfect paradise — he asks:
And is it possible, after all, that there may be a flaw in the title deeds? Is or is not the system wrong that gives one married pair so immense a superfluity of luxurious home and shuts out a million others from any home whatever? One day or another, safe as they
deem themselves, and safe as the hereditary temper of the people really tends to make them, the gentlemen of England will be compelled to face this question.
And it is worth while to remark that, notwithstanding the efforts of the “artful dodgers” of the press to hide the true issue, it is just this question of homes for a few or homes for all that the “gentlemen” of America are compelled to face. Allen B. Quinan
Be of Good Cheer — The Anti-Poverty Reform Will Emancipate Women as Well as Men and Children.
Louisville, Ky.—My thinking cap is on. I have heard of a young man, poor and talented, educated by a society of women of his church, who sold the product of their own labor therefor. His first sermon was from the text: “Let the women keep silence in the churches.” Where are the women to be if the “free landers” win? Are they to come in for equal wages for equal work? Are they to have guaranteed possession of their own earnings and their own inheritances? Are they to be citizens with privileges of citizenship? Anna Kalfus De Jarnette.
Binghamton Will Do Its Share.
Binghamton, N. Y.—The book “Protection or Free Trade?” received, also sample copies of The Standard and tracts. They have all been placed where they will do the most good. I have been a constant reader of The Standard since its first issue, and am heartily in sympathy with the doctrine it promulgates — “the land for the people.” Congratulations on the success of the first state convention of the new party. In the coming election I expect to see our party make such a showing, as will convince the two rotten old parties that there is a God in Israel. Binghamton will do its share. L. S. Hinman.
Stirring Things Up in Gloversville.
Gloversville, N. Y., Sept. 3.—We held a meeting of the land and labor club last evening and adopted the Syracuse platform. There were about one hundred present. Dr. Wood addressed the meeting in a speech of about an hour. The platform was thoroughly discussed, and comparisons between the present system of taxation on small homes and the united labor party’s plan showed that the latter was much the fairer method. Mr. A. Leake, of the Twenty-third assembly district, New York city, also spoke a few words. S.
We Want all the Help We Can Get to Wake the Country Up.
Kalamazoo, Mich., Sept 5.—I hope your campaign in New York will be successful. It is sure to be successful in respect to waking the country up. I shall send something in a week or two to help the good work. May heaven hasten the day of victory. I am delighted with The Standard. It seems as if every successive number was better than the previous one. N. G. Leslie.
The United Labor Party In Baltimore.
A branch of the united labor party was formed last week in Baltimore. The Syracuse platform was adopted. The officers selected were Uriah Garber, temporary chairman; William L. Atkinson, secretary, and William J. Ogden, William Barrett, James H. White and John M. Ralph, committee on permanent organization.
Preaching the Gospel in Brooklyn
The third public meeting of the Kings county Henry George land club will be held Sunday evening, Sept. 11, at the Criterion theater, Fulton street, near Grand avenue. Addresses will be made by Louis F. Post and Victor A. Wilder.
THE ROUGH EXPERIENCE OF SQUIBOB, JR.
Oh that I might find that “mouse trap” that, coupled with no less energy and enterprise than Jay Gould’s, will make me a multi-millionaire. Or that anti-poverty society that abolishes all poverty with three words: “Go to work!”
I am here, I am ready, I am anxious. Where’s the work? Surely when they give me my opportunity to work, they also expect to permit me to enjoy the result of my work, for I cannot eat my labor. My work will no doubt keep me warm while I’m at it, but work isn’t clothing, and there are nights, and times of rest, and the thought of stopping gives me a chill.
Ah! they so often stop us when we beg to continue working. Stop us against our will. We “overproduce,” they say. If only some man or set of men would but overproduce for me — would give me more of the fruits of labor than I want. Why, I want more and better food, more and better clothing, and books — and, well, I want all sorts of things.
I frequently omit my midday lunch and get on with two meals, because I can’t safely afford to buy that third meal. I’ve got my rent to pay; that must be paid. And I have a family to provide for. I, a poor man, am guilty of the crime of a family. If I should be taken sick or die, what right have I or they to claim or expect the wealthy and more fortunate to support them? Isn’t our poverty our own fault? We should not marry; we should never, never, never touch beer or tobacco. We should dress very plainly and adapt ourselves to our station, and make no foolish effort to imitate our betters. We have been repeatedly told how to live on very little money. If we would only do in all these things us we are told by our betters, and work faithfully every day until we find our mouse trap, as Mr. Gould did, and then push it with his energy and enterprise, we might, every one of us, be as wealthy as he. Why not? Isn’t this a free country. Haven’t we all got the same chance?
But about this family of mine that I have obtruded, or who have obtruded themselves, upon society, or whom the heavenly Father obtrudes — whoever be responsible, the crime is just as great. It consists of my widowed mother — she is past 80, not pretty nor spry, and the factory or store has no place for her. She is a little body, and sits so quietly in her chair waiting. I look at her dear old hands and think of the work she has done and the wealth that she has won. She is all that is true and beautiful in my eyes. And my sister — she is an invalid, and doesn’t seem to have avoided all trouble by avoiding matrimony. She is past 50 years old. Then there is my little motherless daughter, 13 years old, pretty, with bright eyes and hope still in her face, though ofttimes her smiles shine out through her tears. Well, I could get her a place in a store or factory at $2.50 or $3.00 a week, but in those places are children of very careless parents, who know many things they ought, not to know, and talk in a fashion I do not like to hear.
We four — mother, sister, daughter and self — that's my poor man’s family. I am 40 years old. My good wife died eight years ago!
What soft-hearted fools we poor men are! Will we never learn to adapt ourselves to our condition — grit our teeth, sit down on our hearts, keep quiet and be content? I have a thorough general business experience. I know how all these things are done. But I suppose I am not sharp. My business friends tell me I’m “too damned conscientious” Hard word, isn’t it? Well, there are hard words — hard thoughts and hard deeds — in business. As a full-cloth, flat-footed, serious-faced liar I own I am a failure.
I’ve tried many a time. To a customer, not long ago, a friend, indeed, who knew me well and had confidence in my truthfulness, I said: “Ben, isn’t that nice? — soft? — fine? — the prettiest combination of color and pattern you’ve seen in pants cloth this season?”
“Yes, that is a beauty — what’s the price?”
“Three dollars a yard.”
“Three dollars,” says Ben, “well that is a bargain. I guess you may send me a bolt of that. It’s English goods, of course? You know I don’t use any but imported goods for my trade.”
Whew! That was a sticker for me. But if I didn’t sell those goods I couldn’t hold my place. And if I couldn’t hold my place, I couldn’t eat, probably; for places are not “over-produced.”
So I “braced up” and tried to dodge the issue. I said: “Why, Ben, you don’t think I’d try to down you, do you?”
“Well, no, Billy, but I just want you to say they are imported goods, so that I may know best what I am buying.”
“Why, of course they are English, Ben;” and then I tried to be funny and said, “They’re English, you know; they’re English, you know.”
But I think I must have looked mean; I know I felt mean; and Ben saw me flush up, and he looked pityingly into my face. I think Ben knew I was lying, though he didn’t say so. He only said, “I guess I won’t order any today, Billy; you call in again next week.”
I wished Ben would kick me out of his store. I think he knew that, too. I know I felt pale. I think my heart shoved itself up into my throat; and when in an off-hand effort I said, “So long, Ben,” ’twas with a sickly playhouse smile and a laugh that to my own ears sounded like a sob. I wonder how it sounded to Ben?
I can tell a funny lie as well as the next man. But when it comes to flopping a man down in the dirt with a great business lie, and then getting up with his money, I haven't, as my business friends say, got half “enough gall.” Well, I’ve sold the entire product of an interior factory this season; they make only summer goods; they were “straight goods,” and I could tell great big truths about them. I sold all they could make, which wasn’t much; their facilities are not large. Why is it, by the way, that nearly always the manufacturers of “straight” goods have but small capital and small facilities?
Now the season is over and I am idle again. Our appetites are good yet, and the landlord will come round for his rent, and my summer’s work was barely a summer's support for our family of four. Winter is coming; my friends have more help now than they can profitably employ, and strangers say to me, “No help wanted” — sometimes pleasantly, sometimes snappishly.
Where is the “mouse trap” that, coupled with energy and industry equal to Jay Gould’s, will make anybody a multi-millionaire?
Where is the “go to-work” Anti-poverty society? There are a great, great, many of us willing and capable fellows, who don’t get drunk, and who don’t squander our wealth. We want work.
But They Heard the Gospel of Labor Emancipation All the Same
Oswego, N. Y., Sept. 6.—Previous to the holding of the picnic at Three Rivers point, near this city, and before final arrangements had been made, it was agreed to have one republican, one democratic and one united labor party speaker to deliver labor day orations. The K. of L. assembly that wanted Mr. George to come or send somebody wrote to Mr. George and received as a reply that he could not come and knew of no one whom he could send. Mr. George found, however, that J. P. Kohler3 of Brooklyn could get there in time, so he asked Mr. Kohler to telegraph to the master workman of Shamrock assembly K. of L. that he would be there. This Mr. Kohler did, but the telegram was not delivered until Sunday, and by that time the assemblies, not hearing from Mr. George, had concluded to have no speeches at all. They telegraphed Mr. Kohler on receiving his dispatch not to come, but he had already left New York and did not learn of their arrangements until he arrived on the ground.
A number of our knights here are “practical politicians,” some republicans and some democrats, and some are office holders and ex-officials of various kinds, and these are bitter opponents of the new party. When they found a “George” speaker was on the ground they protested against any speechmaking at all, asserting that it was a “put up” game. This was disproved to their satisfaction, and the majority of the committee agreed that Mr. Kohler could make a speech if he referred in no way to Henry George, Dr. McGlynn or the old parties. The dancing stand was reserved for the speaker for about three-quarters of an hour, and Mr. Kohler began to talk about wages, the sources of production and the distribution of wealth, and proved by facts that as rent increased the earnings of both labor and capital decreased. The terms “rent” and “land” aroused the ire of the democratic and republican politicians on the grounds, and they immediately smelt the George mouse though the name was not mentioned. They pushed their way to the platform and demanded that the speaking should cease. Mr. Kohler appealed to the audience and at once received evidence that the majority of those present were in favor of his continuing. Cries of “Speech, speech, speech,” went up from all parts of the stand, and the chairman not being able to stop the disturbance, a general bustling took place, in which the “practical politicians” were forced to leave the stand. Then Mr. Kohler was urged to go ahead with his speech, and, without mentioning any political party, he enlarged somewhat upon the wage question as Mr. George treats it. Near the close the politicians got part of the band of musicians to come close up to the stand and play, trying thereby to drown the speaker’s voice.
After the close of the speech hundreds of the knights crowded to the front and shook hands with Mr. Kohler, and several prominent Oswego men wished him to assure Mr. George that the opposition of the old party politicians, showed in such a disgraceful way, would do much to disgust the laboring men with the republican and democratic machines, and lead them to support the united labor party. E. S. J.
How a House Tenant Pays the Taxes on His Landlord’s Vacant Lots
New York City.—One of the worst features of our present tax system is apt to escape attention, and that is the manner in which the tenants of houses are forced, indirectly, into paying a large share of the taxes on other people's vacant lots.
For instance: I am living in one of two houses, both alike, the owner living in the other. This same party owns two vacant lots adjoining that were bid off at auction last winter for $6,000 each. These lots are taxed on an assessed value of $2,000 each, and the two houses at $6,000 each — an aggregate of $10,000 for the whole. Now, if the four lots, leaving out the buildings, were assessed at $4,000 each, the amount of taxes due to the city would be the same as now, but there would be an equalizing whereby the tax on the houses would be taken off and put on the vacant lots. As it stands now the tax on the house I occupy is on $2,000 more than it ought to be, and on the vacant lots $2000 less. The tax on one of these vacant lots is shifted to and falls upon the house I occupy. This is not an isolated case. Inquiry will discover a multitude of similar or more glaring specimens of injustice. I am sure this will be corrected as soon as the burden bearers come to see what is meant and all that is meant, by those who are working to have taxes based on land values only; that there will be no disturbance of possession or of titles so long as the taxes shall be promptly paid, just as they are now required to be. Abraham L. Earle.
The Twenty-third Means Work—Why Cannot Every Other District Imitate Them?
The Progress and Poverty club, composed of young men of the Twenty-third assembly district, and formed for the purpose of spreading the land doctrine, last Sunday distributed a large quantify of tracts among the congregations of six of the churches in the lower part of the district. The distribution was made by members of the club, who took their stand before the churches as the people issued forth. The tracts went off like hot cakes and the supply was quickly exhausted. A similar distribution will be made among the congregations of every church in the district during the next four weeks. Another committee will be appointed to put tracts into every store in the district, and in this way, together with a weekly open air meeting under the direction of the united labor party organization, it is hoped to get the land question squarely before the electors. The Progress and Poverty club believes that if the mountain won’t come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain.
Young in Years, but Old Enough to Work Hard for the Cause
New York City.—On June 18 you printed my letter, and you called me an eight-year-old anti-povertyite. Well, I was not an anti-povertyite then, but I am going to be one. Now, I felt very proud to see my letter printed in The Standard, so that all the people could see that I had started on the right track. I promised to join when I got money enough, and now I am proud to let everybody in the world know that I have joined. I have been working hard for our cause, giving, out tracts and talking to people, but I shall work harder now that I am a member, but I can’t get tracts enough. I hope Mr. George will be elected. Please send my certificate soon.
Harry F. Burroughs,
332 West Fortieth street.
There is No Refuting the Truth.
Poughkeepsie, N. Y.—I have looked and looked in vain for a refutation of the land tax theory, and have not seen an approach to one. There seems to me to be but one side to take in the question, and what is the marvel to me is that many of the most intelligent men that I meet who think they oppose it do not really oppose it, but something they think to be it, and often use the very best arguments in its favor. H. B.
Labor Day in Portchester.
The land and labor club of Portchester4 celebrated Labor day by holding a well-attended picnic at a grove near the sound. Late in the afternoon dancing was suspended for a couple of hours, during which time addresses on the land question were delivered by Mr. Ross of Stamford and Messrs. Henry George, Jr., A. J. Steers, W. O. Eastlake, Jerome O’Neil and W. B. Scott of New York.
A SKIRMISH AT ROSEVILLE.
Last Saturday, being rainy, I went over to ROSEVILLE to get the horses shod and lay in some sugar and other fixings for the women, and John Dawson, my neighbor just above, rode along with me. I had been reading an account in the ROSEVILLE Gazette of the Henry George convention at Syracuse, and I studied it over pretty well, especially the platform, for I had seen Henry George’s name in the paper several times lately, and had got it into my head that he was trying to kick up a muss with us farmers somehow.
As we were jogging along I asked Dawson if he knew anything about this new notion of taxing nothing but land values. He said that Eph Barnes — that’s his brother-in-law — had talked to him a good deal about it. He had thought at first that Barnes was a little cracked on the subject, but he had read some copies of Henry George’s paper and some tracts that Barnes had let him have, and the more he looked into it the more he was inclined to think that the new scheme was a mighty good thing for farmers and everybody else that expected to earn what they got. But Dawson said he hadn’t got so he could talk it much yet, and he came across some points in his city papers every little while that he couldn’t get over.
Well, along in the afternoon there was quite a knot of us in Banks’s store, and Dr. Brunnell was there talking about the Henry George convention and going on to beat all about the infernal set of thieves wanting to confiscate honest men’s property. Dr. Brunnell owns the land across the river from ROSEVILLE, a splendid piece of wood land, about fifty acres, and not a house nor a building on it, and worth, they say, since the new iron bridge was built, at least $500 an acre. In fact, the McConnell carriage works and sash, blind and door company offered him $1,200 for a two acre site three years ago; and I’ve heard the doctor threatened to kick their agent down his doorsteps he hung on and argued so; but finally they located the factory away down about three-quarters of a mile in Jarvis’s swamp. Jarvis gave ’em a site there, but they say he made it up out of ’em when they came to lease the land for their workmen’s houses.
Well, as I was saying, Dr. Brunnell was in Banks’s store talking about Henry George and taking on like a wet hen, and Dawson and I sat there listening with the rest, when in pops Ephe Barnes with a new Henry George paper opened right out so everybody could see just what he had. Dr. Brunnell went for him directly and said he couldn’t see how an American with sense enough to learn to read could allow himself to be bamboozled by that infernal bosh and nonsense.
“You are perfectly wild and crazy about Henry George,” he went on to Barnes. “You swallow every word he tells you for gospel truth, and you won’t listen to reason.”
Barnes answered in a quiet and respectful way:
“You are altogether mistaken, Dr. Brunnell. I for one am neither wild nor crazy. I am ready and anxious to hear what any man can say against the doctrine of Henry George and his party, and if you will undertake to show me where he is wrong I will give you my best attention and try hard to see it, and I will drop the whole matter from the moment I do see it.”
This seemed to please Dr. Brunnell amazingly, and he looked around on us all in a smiling way, about half pompous and half condescending, and went on to instruct us.
“Well now, men, just see here. The United States government raises by the tariff and internal revenue taxes nearly $400,000 a year. The state, county and municipal taxes of this country amount to at least three times as much more. Now, the idea that this vast amount, a billion and a half of money, could be raised by merely taxing land values is such utter bosh and folly as fairly to make a sensible and practical man sick. Then, again, there is this idea of representation without taxation. It is worse than the tyranny of old George III. If only land values are taxed there will be an immense majority of the people of this country who will pay no taxes at all, and consequently will have no interest in economical government. The enormous revenues will be squandered in such extravagance and corruption as the world has never witnessed. Representation without taxation, as the New York World has shown.”
“But, come now, doctor, hold on, wait a minute, I say, you are mixing us all up,” here put in Eph Barnes, without a smile on his face, “It is just as you say, doctor, a billion and a half of money is a tremendous sum to be raised by merely taxing land values, and I think the most of us are ready to believe, in the absence of any definite information, that it can’t be done. Then again, the taxing of land values only would bring into the public treasury such an immense surplus above the legitimate needs of the government that, being wrung from only a small minority of this “nation of land owners,” the majority would rush in by their representatives and spend it in riotous living. We have — first, the land value tax would fail because the necessary revenues would not be raised by its means; second, it would result in disaster because the sum raised by it would be so immense as to lead to wild extravagance and corruption.”
Dr. Brunnell had before this looked at his watch twice, and here he got up slowly and walked majestically toward the door, giving us all a rather contemptuous look as he passed us. Barnes went right on talking to him.
“Your two reasons thus far advanced, Dr. Brunnell, are very good and plausible. We are not just now prepared to say that one or the other of them may not be sound, but I humbly suggest that we ought not to be asked to accept both of them at once. The sum that the land value tax would raise might, perhaps, be too small or it might be too large; but it is pretty hard on us to be required to suppose that it would be both at the same time.”
Before this, the door had closed behind Dr. Brunnell, and Barnes turned to us with a queer smile and wink of his eye.
“Now, gentlemen,” said he, “you know I am a working farmer, like the most of you, and I am looking to find out what is best for myself and the world in general, just as you are. We have just ‘listened to reason’ from a man whom you know, and who wants things to go on just as they are going. He is well satisfied to see Jarvis’s swamp and all the surrounding country placed under perpetual contribution to increase the value of Brunnell’s woods. But it is no more than fair for you to listen now to a little reason from the men who advocate an important change in the present methods of taxation.”
Then Barnes read from the paper in his hand some objections to the land value tax and the answers, and I must say I never heard plainer or fairer arguments in my life. After this he produced some tracts from his pockets which he distributed among us, and you may be sure that we didn’t throw them away, but tucked them in a safe pocket for Sunday reading.
“Well, Dawson,” says I, “the rain is holding up for a spell, and I guess we’ll strike out for home.” And we allowed as we talked up what we had heard that we would sift this land value tax business to the bottom before next November, if the Lord had given us a head that would do it. Nathan Hankins,
No. 1208 A. P. S.
Labor Day in Orange County.
Walden, Orange county, N. Y., Sept. 5.— Labor day was celebrated here for the first time. The Knights of Labor gave a picnic in the grove near the village. The morning was devoted to sports, in which prizes contributed by local merchants were awarded. In the afternoon over five hundred people, including several farmers, were addressed by Louis F. Post of New York, who discussed the land question in its relations to farmers and mechanics. The evening was given over to dancing. The single tax idea is just taking hold here, but it is making rapid headway. Some of the farmers who were present at the picnic declared their acceptance of the new doctrine.
Our Colored Countrymen Will Come to the Front When They Understand What We Are Fighting For.
Albany, N. Y.—Six years ago I read “Progress and Poverty” and there I got my first light on the solution of the labor problem. I have never failed when an opportunity occurred to impress its doctrines on my fellow workmen. I have taken every copy of The Standard since its first issue, and what strikes me as most singular is that I hear scarcely anything from our colored countrymen. It strikes me that those men, who were held as chattel slaves, should be the first to come to the front to help free the industrial slaves as the industrial slaves helped free them.
Frank S. Rose.
The Truth Fast Spreading In the Rural Districts
New York City.—I was out of town for several weeks this summer, and I found that the united labor party was known even in the isolated country districts of New York and Pennsylvania. The perception of the injustice and foolishness of taxing improvements is spreading even where there is no connection visible between our party and those ideas. Walt Herr.
The Anti-Poverty Society of Troy.
Troy, N. Y., Sept. 5.—A well attended meeting of the Anti-poverty society was held at the City hall last night. T. J. Sanford presided and introduced Louis F. Post of New York as the speaker. Mr. Post spoke for an hour and a half, and at the close of the meeting twenty-five new members signed the roll. This was the first public meeting of tho society, which now has a membership of a hundred.
An Anti-Poverty Lecture on the West Side
On Sunday, Sep. 18, Dr. McGlynn will deliver a lecture at Miner’s theater, Eighth avenue, between Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth streets. The lecture will be under the auspices of the Thirteenth assembly district, united labor party, and Mr. Louis F. Post will preside. There will be singing by the Concordia chorus, under the leadership of Miss Munier.
The Dr. McGlynn Fund
The publisher of The Standard acknowledges the receipt of the following amounts, which have been handed to Dr. McGlynn: E. Herrick, $1; Cash, $1; ’ammer ’ammer ’ammer, $1; John Harrington and O. K. Carroll, Fort Dodge, Ia., $1; Ajax, $3.
Still Another Clergyman to Teach the True Doctrine.
In a recent sermon Rev. Bird Wilkins, pastor of the Bethesda Baptist church (colored) of Chicago, said:
Professor Swing calls Henry George a dreamer, and in so naming him lifts him into the company of the grandest man that ever blessed the world. Henry George finds fault with things as he finds them in his time. So did Christ find fault with the world as it was when He descended from heaven. In His day He found a people oppressed by outrageous taxation; the poor people ground to death by the rich: the blind beggar sat at the gate of the temple and heard the rustle of the costly garments of the proud patrician. The money lenders infested the holy temple of God; the scarlet woman was on the streets of Jerusalem; the wealthy tore down their old barns and built newer and larger ones. In that day the rich churchman folded his robes around him and thanked God that he was not as the common herd, while the poor man smote himself on the breast and said, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner.’ In that day, as in this, the rich were striving to get richer, and the poor were gradually getting poorer. Christ came to preach the gospel to the poor. . . . There are no millionaires in heaven who have succeeded in stealing the fairer portions and renting them out or in driving the poorer angels into the lower quarters. If I could see true Christianity rule on earth I could die happy.
A Confidence Game in which the Farmers Lose their Money.
Three men — Brown, Jones and Robinson — sat around a table, each with $1 in his pocket, discussing the tariff. Jones said: “Protection is for the farmer as well as for the merchant; and manufacturer; the tariff is for all alike. The farmer pays more for what he buys, but he has a home market: that is, he sells to the manufacturer for more than he could get abroad.”
Brown replied: “If you tax the farmer to help the manufacturer, and the manufacturer to help the merchant, and the merchant to help the farmer, then there is no good in it; no advantage to any one. To show how it would work, you, Jones, give your $1 to Robinson; Robinson give your $1 to me, and I will give my $1 to Jones. We have each been taxed equally, we have been equally protected, and we have each $1, just as we started. If Jones is right I see no good and no harm in the tariff; it is merely child’s play.”
“Yes,” said Robinson, “but Jones is not right. He represents the manufacturer. I give him my $1, but he only returns to you, who represent the merchant, 50 cents, and you give me only 25 cents. The result of the game is that Jones, who is a manufacturer, has $1.50; you, Brown, who stand for the merchant, have $1.25, while I, the poor farmer, have but 25 cents, though we each started out with the same amount of money. This is the game of protection, and it is not child's play; it is a confidence game, and the farmers have to foot the loss.”
A Catholic Journal Indorses United Labor’s Candidate for Attorney-General.
New York Tablet.
The Syracuse convention did at least one wise thing. It placed in nomination for attorney-general of the state of New York a man whose name would add strength and dignity to the ticket of any political party. D. C. Feeley of Rochester is well known to thousands of his fellow-citizens throughout this and other states of the Union. And we know that but one opinion of him prevails — that he is an able, honest and patriotic man. He has been for years a consistent and zealous worker in the cause of labor, and his singleness of purpose has won him the confidence of the entire organization throughout the state. We have every reason to believe, and to hope that he will receive a large vote.
Mr. Feeley has for many years been an untiring advocate of home role for Ireland and has freely devoted his time, his talent, and his means to promote the success of the cause. But he is withal an American, in the noblest, sense of the term, and we feel confident that the varied and important interests attached to the office of attorney general could not possibly be placed in better hands.
Page 4 – Editorial
HENRY GEORGE, Editor and Proprietor.
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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 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 of 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 everyone 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 of 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 burden 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 of 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 monopoly, 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.
A BRIGHT OUTLOOK.
A correspondent sending a contribution to the recruiting fund says: “I have been in nearly every town in the state from Shelter island to Dunkirk, and from Dunkirk to House's Point. I feel that I know the people of independent thought and action, and I predict a vote for the new principle that will be a regular political land slide.” Letters of similar hopeful turn reach us from all parts of the state, and advices from the various members of the state committee are to the same tenor. The supposition of some political ostriches that the new movement has but little hope outside of New York and Brooklyn is founded on an utter ignorance of the work of propaganda carried on for years by the labor organizations, and of the great work that has been accomplished through the wide distribution of tracts and literature. Aside from the votes that will be cast from sympathy with the principles embodied in the Syracuse platform, there is another large vote that will come from those who are wearied to disgust with the senseless strife between the old parties. A spectator at the Syracuse convention said to one of the delegates: “I see that this is a decent party, and that's all I want to know. I do not fully understand its principles, but I'm going to vote your ticket because I am tired and sick of the old parties, and can see no difference between them.” This feeling will bring thousands of votes to the united labor ticket.
So far as the city of New York is concerned there is not a shadow of doubt that the united labor party will carry it. Despite socialistic antagonism, every assembly district is adding members weekly, and the men joining show how rapid has been the advance of our principles since the last election. To quote one of the cries of the late presidential campaign, the answer to all queries about New York is, “She’s all right!” From Brooklyn, too, come reports far more encouraging than were looked for a few weeks ago. The hold of the mercenary labor politicians of the old trading school on the workingmen of Brooklyn is not so strong as it at one time appeared, and Brooklyn promises to do nobly.
Thus, from the state at large, as well as from the metropolitan district, all indications confirm the moderation of The Standard's estimate that our ticket will receive at least 230,000 votes in the whole state, and that the work of the campaign is simply to add to this number, so as to make success a certainty. The election of the ticket is easily possible if the men whose interests are most vitally concerned will do their duty. Organized labor has but to consolidate its strength to make success a certainty, since more than enough votes outside its ranks have already been won to assure success if the working men will vote as they have so long talked. Political action has begun, and the only question with the foes of monopoly is whether they will go forward with labors army, sulk in the rear, or join its foes. We have no fear as to the decision, and that decision if unanimous will unquestionably elect the whole state ticket. Then the labor question will instantly take precedence of all others, and its agitation will continue until it is settled forever on the everlasting basis of absolute justice.
According to the statistics collected by Bradstreet’s from thirty-five cities, the increase in the value of buildings erected during five months of this year was thirty-two percent more than last, while the increase in the reported values of real estate transfers amounted to fifty-two percent. Thus no sooner does an increased activity in building show itself than a rise in the speculative values of land begins to check it.
Some weeks ago a certain Father Leonard of Memphis, Tenn., returned several copies of The Standard which had been sent him on a “recruit subscription” and took occasion at the same time to indulge in some rather coarse abuse of this paper and its editor. The Standard gave Father Leonard the freedom of its columns and printed his letter in full, with a few words of good-natured comment. Hereupon the Memphis Avalanche reprints Father Leonard’s letter and follows it with the caustic remark that:
The Standard then patronizes Father Leonard in a way which is not likely to make that huckster of political extravagance either friends or converts among Catholics here or elsewhere.
The Avalanche should restrain its zeal for reform. Calling a man names is not the way to convert him. We think Father Leonard is unfortunately blind to one of the primary truths of Christianity, and we have said so; but calling him a ‘'huckster of political extravagance” is really going too far. The Avalanche owes Father Leonard an apology.
Twenty-seven years ago, an honored, trusted and experienced clergyman of the Presbyterian church defended from his pulpit the institution of human slavery by arguments which even today the apostles of poverty must admit to be logical, and which at the time of their delivery had no taint or flavor of impiety. The speaker was an earnest and orthodox Christian, sound in doctrine, thoughtful in speech, consistent in action, fearing the Lord. He had considered carefully whereof he spoke; he knew he was right, and he preached the truth as he saw it without fear or favor. We print what he said on another page. It is worth reading.
Consider the utterances of this pro-slavery apostle, and mark how history has verified his arguments.
“In its last analysis,” said Dr. Thornwell, slavery is nothing but an organization of labor, under which labor can never be without employment, and the wealth of the country is pledged to feed and clothe it. Where labor is free, there are two causes constantly at work to destroy society. The first is the tendency of capital to accumulate and to employ only that labor which will yield the largest returns. The second is the tendency of population to outstrip the demand for employment. While the capitalist is accumulating his hoards, thousands who would work if they had the opportunity are doomed to perish of hunger. Society is divided between princes and beggars. The government must either make provision to support people in idleness, or it must arrest the law of population and keep them from being born, or it must organize labor in some form of slavery.
“We do not envy the north,” this Christian apologist for slavery went on. “Their day of reckoning must come. When there shall be no longer work seeking men, but men seeking work, the tables will be turned and unemployed labor and selfish capital will stand face to face in deadly hostility. We see in slavery a security for the rights of property and a safeguard against pauperism and idleness which our traducers may yet wish had been engrafted upon their own institutions.”
And mark his definition of slavery:
The property of man in man is only the property of man in human toil. The laborer becomes capital, not because he is a thing, but because he is the exponent of a presumed amount of labor. This is the radical notion of the system, and all legislation upon it should be regulated by this fundamental idea.
If this eminent clergyman, who evidently considered himself a true servant of Christ, were alive today, would he not feel a perfectly justifiable pride in the literal fulfillment of his prophecies?
The truth which Dr. Thornwell saw, as through a glass darkly, was simply that private ownership of land necessarily involves the enslavement of labor. Accepting private ownership of land as natural and right — he probably had never thought of questioning it — the only escape from the horrors of industrial slavery seemed to him to be the existence of that undisguised form of slavery which gives the master a personal interest in the slave.
The Evening Post has dropped the subject of civil service reform — only for a moment, though — and devotes its powerful mind to the contemplation of “the masses” returning to New York after their summer at the watering places. “Although,” says the Post,
there be happy mortals, such as millionaires, lawyers, teachers and preachers and others of the luxurious classes, who for purposes of delight have all seasons for their own, still these are of the classes strictly, and it is only the masses who, by the power of their mere mass, make the real impression of summer travel and pleasuring.
And this is how the Post describes the man of the masses returning from his summer tour:
The returning traveler draws a surprised breath of thankfulness as he enters his speckless, cool, well-ordered city house and says: “This is the best hotel we have found.” He had well-nigh forgotten its perpetual luxury, the calm air of it, the quiet, the swift, neat service of people trained to his own ways of living, who look only to him for reward; the ample spaces for wardrobe and all other possessions in due order, his yielding bed, his tub, so close at hand that its grateful morning shock is part of the ceremony of waking, his own coffee at breakfast, his tea and his evening paper (both damp) before dinner, his traditional family dishes, his peculiar claret — with everything else which life holds, to be got just around the corner. It is not all of life to live, certainly, but what remains over and above living we hardly take to be summer travel, and we are far astray if it be not in the mind of most citizens returning as at this time from annual outings, with a cheery color of sunburn (offset by almost certain gastric disturbance), looking back upon the summer’s experience, to put, in historic phrase, some “such miserable interrogatory as, ‘What is all this worth?’ ”
We concern ourselves now with the mass who look for pleasure in motion, and seek rest in a succession of strange and barren beds and tables, in slavery to despotic casual railway and steamboat servants and hotel keepers, in getting up at unearthly times, in exchange of sleep for hours of weary waiting among scenes like Castle garden, in resenting ungracious, and fending off ungraceful, fellow travelers, in fog and storm over the rarest scenery, in the privation of all that makes life agreeable — to steal a line from the description of an occupation hardly less irksome, let us say tersely,
In poverty, hunger and dirt.
We cannot believe that this delights man, no, nor woman either.
The Post means well, poor thing, but it’s a little loose in its facts. “The masses” of New Yorkers don’t spend the summer at the watering places. They take their “slavery,” and their “scenes like Castle garden,” and their “poverty, hunger and dirt” right here in New York city. They stick to their “speckless, cool, well-ordered city houses” with the “perpetual luxury" and “swift, neat service,” and all the rest of it, all the year round. A wise providence forbids their wandering off to unwholesome spas, and fever breeding beaches, and chilly mountains.
But it is inspiriting to note that the Post has discovered that there are such things as “classes’’ and “masses.”
In an interview with a representative of the World President Cleveland declined to discuss the political aspect of the labor movement, but expressed his regret that congress had not acted on his recommendation made in April, 1886, for the establishment of a national board of arbitration. It is astonishing that any man of sufficient parts to have become successively governor and president can be blind to the fact that the labor movement has swept far beyond this puerile demand for an unending arbitration of an everlasting dispute. What labor demands today is a solution of the industrial problem that shall remove all reasonable cause for dispute between labor and capital. There is yet some difference of opinion as to the right means for accomplishing this, but the strong tendency is toward a speedy agreement on the great fundamental principles enunciated in the platform of the united labor party at its Syracuse convention. With the restoration to all men of their natural right of free access to the bounties of nature and the restoration to the public of the ownership of these great agencies of commerce that have been unwisely handed over to individual and corporate control, the labor problem as now understood will disappear and there will be no dispute to arbitrate. When every man shall be free to employ his own labor and to exchange its products for the products of the labor of others no one will work for less than his labor is worth, and the great controversy will end without the aid of a paternal government.
All that labor asks of federal or state legislation is the undoing of the wrong and injustice now established by law. After that is accomplished labor will take care of itself, but such reforms never will be made by representatives of parties that look to monopolies rather than to the people for support.
Printing Trades Legion.
A meeting of the Printing trades’ legion of the united labor party will take place this (Friday) evening, Sept. 9, at No. 10 Stanton street. All persons connected with the printing trades who are in sympathy with the Syracuse platform and ticket are requested to attend and enroll themselves. The object of the legion is to send a prominent member of the craft through the state during the coming campaign in support of the principles advocated by the party. We also propose to have a member of the craft at every polling place in New York city on election day, and request our friends of the craft throughout the state to adopt the same course wherever practicable.
President Printing trades legion, united labor party.
AUSTRALIANS ARE THINKING.
A Worker In California Sends a Clear Statement of the Situation.
San Diego, Cal.—You will be pleased to hear that my relative, Mr. Alfred Allen, has been elected a member of the New South Wales, Australia, parliament as an avowed disciple of yours. He writes in a recent letter to me: “I thoroughly indorse Henry George’s policy.”
Australia is indeed ripe for the realization of your doctrines. It is now passing through the most exhausting depression ever known there, all brought on by nothing else but the policy you so stanchly oppose.
It is true the government is a so-called “free trade” one, that meaning that the importing interest shall be untaxed while struggling manufacturers are oppressed by heavy excise duties. The old nostrum of protection is advocated by many, and as the government have borrowed all they dare and are millions sterling in debt they are half inclined to favor that. They impose license, house, and even think of adding personal property taxes — anything rather than one on the value of land, which, the land owners being the strongest party in parliament, goes scot free.
Meanwhile the entire country is at a standstill. Having no funds railways and other public works cannot be carried out. Irrigation, so sorely needed, has not even been touched, and tens of thousands of unemployed are wandering about. Retrenchment is the great cry, meaning that nothing shall be done to develop the resources of a continent bursting with natural wealth; and while even land owners would benefit from a tax which would cause prosperity to all, and while millions must be paid every year as interest to bondholders in England, not one penny may be taken from the monopolizers, who are bloated with their ill gotten gains.
How plain it is that nothing but a land value tax can be of any benefit to a country is evident from the example of Australia, where railways, telegraph, etc., belong, as you advocate, to the government, but from which no benefit results to the people, but only to the land owners, whose possessions are thus enormously and directly increased in value without any outlay on their part.
E. A. Phipson.
The Labor Day Celebration.
That careful record of just observations, the Philadelphia Ledger, says it may be put down as a fact that 25,000 men were in line in New York’s labor day parade. The New York papers displayed their usual diversity of guessing powers in relation to the number participating in the pageant, the figures given by them being from 15,000 to 35,000. Falling back on the Ledger as a fair authority, one may assume, what certainly appeared to be the fact, that the procession was larger than any previously seen on labor day. The crowds that lined the route of parade were far greater than those of previous labor days. In fact, at points along Fifth avenue, where last year there were but slim lines of people along the edge of the sidewalk, on last Monday dense crowds extended beyond the curb line in the street, back on the stoops, and into the very doorways. In the streets at the lower part of the route of the parade, and especially on Seventeenth street, from Broadway to Fifth avenue, the dense crowds barely left room for the procession to pass along. If there were 25,000 men in line, there were 250,000 people in the streets.
In Albany, Troy, Syracuse, Rochester and other centers of population in New York, the celebration of labor day indicated great progress in the awakening of the working people to the desire for the emancipation of labor. At all points the crowds turning out were larger than ever.
Well do the old party politicians know that this parading and picnic holding of labor day is not all for pure amusement. The people are thinking of something else while they march and gather in crowds at the merry-making. They do not intend to follow the bands and hurrah for labor on labor day, and then in a short month or two vote against labor. Knowing this fact the sight of the multitudes that took part in the demonstration of last Monday carried but little consolation to either the democratic or republican leaders.
Dr. McGlynn’s Sermon on the Hillside.
Dr. McGlynn’s second appearance at the summit of Baltus Roll hill, in New Jersey, attracted last Sunday a multitude that surpassed the assemblage which greeted him there a few weeks ago, people gathering to hear him from Newark, the Oranges, Milburn, Summit, Madison, Morristown, Wendham, Springfield and Roselle. A delegation from the Central labor club of Newark opened the exercises by singing “The Cross of the New Crusade.” Dr. McGlynn spoke for an hour and a half, and his audience testified to their appreciation by frequent hearty demonstrations.
Working Among the Farmers.
Wichita Falls, Tex.—I am without means to help in our grand and noble cause, but I am fighting bravely. I am rallying the almost discouraged ones and bringing them to the front. I have some ministers reading “Progress and Poverty” and studying the gospel of the new crusade. I look upon your campaign in New York as a great battle to decide the destinies of nations. My heart and soul is in the struggle. E. J. Perego,
Secretary Farmers’ Alliance.
The Sort of Social Parasites That Land Monopoly Breeds.
“They are seen all along the road lying about the water tanks and wherever there is shade and water and grass to lie upon,” said a trainman to a reporter of the Times. 'They travel by night mostly, and every run we have made this season we have brought more or less of them into the state.
“A crowd of these fellows will climb on the platforms just as the train pulls away from a station or water tank, and we have to let them stay on, for the trainmen are not numerous enough to put them off.
“Sometimes thirty or forty will get on a train in this way and ride, often as far as a hundred miles without getting off. The night is dark and the stations far apart or small, and a trainman is not paid to pick up fights with them and run the risk of being knifed.
“Yes, there are a great many who are shipped into Denver by employment agencies. They come in on the regular train. They pay at Omaha or Kansas City to the agent and get free transportation. As a rule, they sneak off as soon as Denver is reached.
“You would be surprised to know the number of this class of alleged laborers shipped into Colorado this summer. I presume there has at least been anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 shipped over the Union Pacific line this season, and it is safe to say the other roads have done as well.”
When an eastern train pulled into the Union depot Saturday evening it unloaded upon the platform about forty of the dirtiest looking tramps that ever gazed from the hurricane deck of an emigrant sleeper.
“Where did those men come from?” asked the Times reporter of an official standing near by.
“Why, they were shipped from Omaha, I think, by Atwood & Co., and are to be sent up on the Buckhorn.”
The next morning the Times reporter was again at the depot, and saw an “emigrant sleeper” attached to the Colorado Central train, and was told the car had been provided for Atwood to ship forty men to the Buckhorn. The train was held for seven minutes longer than the schedule time, and pulled out without receiving one of the forty. They had all received a ride to Denver for $2, and that was all they wanted. They are camped here in our midst now.
What a Stranger Saw at an Anti-Poverty Society Meeting.
Blanton Duncan thus describes in the Louisville Commercial his experience at a meeting of the Anti-poverty society in New York:
The scene at the Academy was almost indescribable; certainly nothing like it was ever before witnessed by me. On Sundays, the only day of recreation and rest for the masses, hundreds of thousands go out of town in the many excursions to secure life-giving fresh air. Last Sunday was very hot and muggy, and yet that huge building was packed from pit to dome, while hundreds were turned away from the doors, unable even to secure standing room. Neither the republicans nor the democrats, with their best speakers, could get up such a meeting. And yet during the entire hot summer that building has been crammed at each of the Anti-poverty meetings.
It may suit the press of the country — though Mr. Watterson5 publicly here stated that the journalist’s duty was to give the truth before anybody else could tell it — to misrepresent, garble, lie and suppress every item of information about this movement, but the result will be like the fly’s attempt to become the author of rolling onward the wheel, and the huge factor in politics will move onward toward its destiny, whatever that may be. If the Commercial prefers to really act the role of journalism and present facts, whether approving or disapproving of them, its readers will not be like the millions who read the old party journals, who will be astounded by the future thunderclap, because the editor swore there was not even a cloud upon the sky.
Man the Steward, and God the Landlord.
Fred Woodrow in the Age of Steel.
What there is of this round globe, from its crust to its center, in its bowels or on its skin, of gold or grass, oil or water, iron, wood and of gold or grass, oil or water, iron, wood and stone, belongs to man by virtue of a lease, and not by ownership. There is but one owner and but one landlord. This may seem to be somewhat old-fashioned and antique, and not very helpful in this practical age, when a sheriff’s writ strikes more terror than the Ten Commandments, and a letter of Powderly’s has more gospel than the ancient parchments of Peter, Paul and the Exile of Patmos.
This may be. Such a spirit exists. We have got away from the first cause and are on our marrow bones in the worship of sub-agencies. It is a question of mistaking a spindle for a fly-wheel. The spindle has its place and purpose, but there is a giant wheel in the basement, without which a thousand spindles are as useless as a knitting needle in the hand of a dead woman.
The motor force that made this globe a fact still holds the little star in volition, regulates, governs and has jurisdiction over it and the human swarm on its surface. We believe this world was made for a purpose — that it was projected into space on an errand, and that the men and women cradled on its bosom and sepulchered in its dust are under a government of law, in the keeping of which is life and the forfeiture thereof is judgment, and it applies to the right use of a spadeful of earth as to the moral use of intellect and conscience. We can be as morally damned as landlords as we can by stealing sheep or sanding sugar.
As before said, we are occupants of this globe, and not owners. Man is the steward, God is the landlord.
The Duty of Every Christian.
Robert Rainier in Kingston British Wig.
But there is yet a question of duty higher than that of expediency. Our best informed economist, William Houston, M. A., of the legislative library, Toronto, felt impelled to say publicly in a letter to the Toronto Mail, July 22, referring to the land doctrine of Henry George: “I cannot understand how any intelligent man can refuse his assent to so axiomatic a principle.” The workingman pleads that until land monopoly is abolished the emancipation of labor cannot be won. And earnest divines, in ever increasing number, with bibles in their hands, are proclaiming that it is the law of Christ. Now, is it not the sacred duty of every Christian who meets this triple challenge to give to the question his immediate and most serious study? His reason, his conscience, his sense of the actual suffering and degradation of labor, will make further delay impossible.
At the great Vanderbilt reception at Newport Tuesday evening the masterpiece of table ornament was a large owl on a perch, the bird being composed of 700 pieces of sugar and almonds, the eyes alone containing sixty pieces. A chain of confections in imitation of silver held the bird of wisdom to his candied perch. The other decorations included baskets of Parisian glace fruit, with apparently natural leaves, large beehives, upon which the sugar bees clung, and a gilded lyre, on which rested an angel. One of the most effective pieces was a large representation of fishermen hauling their nets, in the meshes of which were salmon.
The grounds were illuminated. The Casino orchestra furnished music, and during the supper was located in the billiard room, hidden by banks of flowers. Leading cottagers, prominent belles, members of the diplomatic corps, and, in fact, everybody in society was present. It is said that $10,000 will scarcely pay the cost of tonight’s festivities at the Breakers. Among the decorations were sedan chairs, and these, with the Russian sleigh heavy enough for a good pair of trotters, were the subject of much curiosity. It is the finest Russian sleigh in this country or England, and cost exclusive of duties about $1,000.—[Boston Herald.
Peter Kearns is a picture frame maker who was unable to find work at his trade. He has a wife and three small children. The wife worked at scrubbing and washing when she got a chance, and Kearns got an occasional job, but both together could not make both ends meet, and by degrees they pawned or sold all their furniture except a broken bedstead and an old stove. On Aug. 20 the family had been without food for two days. Kearns went hunting work in desperation, found a job at house painting, was too weak from starvation to stand on the scaffold, fell, and was taken to the hospital with a broken back. Saturday last the landlord turned the Kearns family into the street. Agents of the society for the prevention of cruelty to children took the family to Jefferson market police court, where the children were committed to the Home for the friendless. What became of Mrs. Kearns we are not told.
While passing through the salons of the palace after a banquet recently, the emperor of Germany stumbled over a slight unevenness in the parquet flooring and fell, bruising his left hip and elbow. Crowds flocked to the palace all the next day, so great was the uneasiness, but he appeared at the window several times, and was greeted with uproarious cheering. He slept well during the night.
The Philadelphia papers record an evidence of the ironclad qualities of the mule. One of these animals fell headlong into a well forty feet deep, and stood on his head at the bottom until he was drawn up by means of a derrick, with only a few scratches to tell the tale. He was at once put to work again.
While the empress of Austria was at Cromer this summer a fisherman was drowned there. Hearing of it she went to his cottage alone, broke the news gently to his widow and left a purse of $2,000.
The swell bachelor, living in lodgings at Newport, has shown up a new garment in his collection of necessities for Newport wear. This is an opera cloak, needed after the warmth of the ball room, but it is a contradiction to the white mantle of a lady. As he steps out of the glare and heat he has his man ready with a long black cashmere cloak, most voluminous in material and folds, quite like that in which Mephistopheles slinks on the first time he appears in “Faust.” It is of the finest cloth, patterned much as the old woman's garment of the peasantry of Ireland, and into this he is wrapped, for fear his tender self will be injured with contact with the moist night air, and drives or is driven home to sweet dreams, in which “I, myself,” figures as the all-absorbing thought.—[Brooklyn Standard-Union.
One well known countess, whose life is spent in devising new varities [sic] of social pleasures, gave a canine “at home” a week or two since at her London home, at which more than fifty pet dogs, principally terriers, pugs and dachshunds, put in an appearance. A cold collation, served on a special dinner service, was provided, while, as a delicate attention, several live rats were placed in a back room for the terriers, who were equal to the more exciting task of worrying them.—[Hamilton, Ont., Times.
A lady in Newport calling herself Miss O’Rourke has been deriving quite an income from the wealthy cottagers by collecting money for the relief of a mythical Mary O'Rourke, whom she represents as being in destitute circumstances in New York. Miss O’Rourke has a pleading, sympathetic way with her that is very effective among the cottagers.
The Newark, N. J., aldermen are anything but happy. Some time ago they ordered gorgeous badges for themselves to wear, so that the average citizen would know his local law maker by sight. The badges were of gold and very handsome. They cost $465. The bill was promptly ordered paid. Now, however, Mayor Haynes has vetoed the resolution ordering the money paid, and he backs up his veto with the written opinion of the city counsel that such expenditure is illegal, and that the aldermen might as well vote themselves so much cold cash from the local treasury. It is said the aldermen have also been eating fine dinners at the public expense. The mayor proposes to stop that unlawful extravagance.
Mr. George M. Pullman and family went to the Thousand islands a few days ago to reclaim their island from desolation. They will build a splendid mansion there and henceforth make it their summer home. Mr. Pullman bought the island for $40. That was seventeen years ago. It is worth $10,000 now, though Mr. Pullman has done nothing to it.
Among the charitable institutions of Cincinnati is a sanitarium, recently established at Westwood, about six miles from the city, for the benefit of babies, children, sickly mothers and others among the deserving poor.
The saloon keepers of this city have long been trying to outdo each other in the attractiveness of their places of business. Ann street now takes the lead temporarily with a projected inn. In the window there will be an aquarium of fish of many colors and kinds with a number of young ducks swimming about. The top of the bar will be of plate glass, under which myriads of live fish, frogs, lizards, turtles, etc., will disport themselves. The only thing ruled out is the snake — for obvious reasons. Another saloon about to be opened in Essex street will have the floor inlaid with silver dollars.
Mr. David Dudley Field, writing from the Isle of Wight, where he is spending the season with his grandchildren, says: “The scene on the esplanade by the sea is very interesting — two or three hundred men, women and children bathing, boating, digging in the sand, with boys and girls filling little buckets and emptying them again, repeating the process for hours, only shifting the position — a picture of life in the great world. I sat musing over it, while my boys exulted in the wild waves.”
Long Branch is excited over two heiresses now visiting there. One is Miss Hidalgo of New York, worth $5,000,000; the other, Miss Sharpless of Philadelphia, worth $7,000,000. Miss Hidalgo is five years old and puts up at the Howland house; Miss Sharpless is eight and is stopping at the Beach house. The other residents at both hotels are very attentive to the young ladies.
Charles Theodore Jansen was appointed manager of the United cooks’ and pastry cooks’ employment bureau, on Twenty-ninth street. He remained in charge of the office only about one month, but he made hay while the sun shone. The bureau is free to both employers and employees, and the sign said so, but Jansen painted that part out with black paint, and proceeded to collect as much as he could from everyone who came. He hired two clerks, each of whom put up $150 as security, and he did a rushing business. He left the paint pot and brush as assets. Nobody knows just how much he got away with. He got the $300 that the clerks deposited with him, and at least $150 that was received from members as dues, and it is supposed that he got a great deal more from cooks who got work through the bureau.
CITYCUS AND RUSTICUS.
A Matter of Fact Rhyme.
Citycus—“By the way, what ticket are you going to vote this fall?”
Rusticus—“To tell the truth, I haven't thought about it yet, at all.”
C.—“But don’t you think a citizen some interest should take—”
R.—“Perhaps he should; but, after all, what difference does it make?”
C.—“I think it makes considerable, provided you vote right.”
R.— I can’t get interested. Let the politicians fight!”
C.—“Well, there I sympathize with you; but there's another choice.
This year, at least, we have a chance to hear the people’s voice!”
R—“Gracious! You don’t mean to say that you're one of the cranks
Who hope to banish poverty by robbing all the banks?”
C—‘“Well, when you put it that way, it’s difficult to tell
Exactly what to answer. Now, you know very well
I'm not the man to join a crowd that’s bent on peculations.”
R—“Then why on earth spend any time on such wild speculations?
You know the Evening Post has shown that George is wholly wrong
To mislead honest workingmen with theory and song.”
C.—“The trouble is, I took the pains to search the subject through,
And I agree with Henry George. So what am I to do?”
R—“You agree with—Oh, come off! I know you’re fond of jokes.
Perhaps you’re only poking fun at these deluded folks!”
C.—'“Well, if they are deluded (which I beg leave to doubt).
Perhaps you’ll kindly aid me to point the errors out.”
R—Why, every schoolboy knows that if George should take the land,
And divide it up in portions, giving each his lot of sand,
With the present dispositions and characters of men,
You’d find the same old state of things soon coming back again!”
C.—“I cheerfully admit that what you say is true,
But what’s the odds? That’s not at all what George sets out to do!”
R—“I know, of course, he says that he only wants the rent:
But when the nation got it, how could it all be spent?
And if we do not pay it up, the nation turns us out,
Re-lets the land by auction, so the land is hawked about.”
C.—“What makes you think that George wants the nation to collect it?
I’ve read his books and paper, but did not once suspect it!”
R.—“Of course he must. And what a lot of office holders, too!
And such a lot ’twould make; you see it wouldn’t do!”
C.—“I must admit there’s solid sense in every word you say,
That’s probably the reason he suggests another way!”
R—“But that is but a quibble. You must see what I mean;
The upshot of the scheme is plainly to be seen —
You try to make the sober, energetic workingman
Support the tramps and drunkards by some ingenious plan.”
C.—“If there was any such idea, I surely would oppose it.”
But I have never read a line to lead me to suppose it.”
R.—“Why all the papers say so! The Herald, World and Times,
The Post (though that's a trifle) the Sun, in comic rhymes—
Indeed the list is endless, I ought not to begin it”
C.—“It's strange, if true. The list is long; and — is The Standard in it?’
R.—“The Standard? Why, of course not. That's Henry George’s paper.
I never see it — never read it. What a curious caper
It was in him to start it! I hear he’s making money.”
C.—“And yet you do not read it? Now, really, it is funny
To judge a man entirely from what the papers say!
And never hear him in defense. It is a curious way
To pass upon a matter by hearing but one side.
I think you would complain aloud if cases were so tried.”
R.—“Of course it sounds unfair. But, then, you can't, expect a man
To give his time to studying every crazy-headed plan
That is proposed to remedy the evils that exist,
And will exist, forever! I only want the gist.
Just give me that. The main point, put down in black and white!
I think I've head enough to see and know the wrong from right!”
C.—“Well, let us take a question that has puzzled men for ages.
What’s your idea of paying men — of regulating wages!”
R.—“Just let ’em be! It's very plain a man gets what he's worth,
And will, so long as justice is found upon the earth!”
C.—“And yet, you know, economists, of nearly every school
Have studied out and given to the world this simple rule:
In every land where laborers are seeking their existence
Their wages tend invariably to reach a mere subsistence?”
R.—“That is the tendency, of course. But just look at the facts.
When any man, with common sense, his business transacts,
He’s forced to pay his laborers about the market rate.
And if a man won’t work for that — why, leave him to his fate!”
C.—“And still you say a man can get exactly what he’s worth —
His merit being settled by a rule through-out the earth,
Which shows that very steadily, since history’s existence,
His merit is declining to a pitiful subsistence!
Such is man’s depravity! I must confess I’m stunned!
I hoped for better things. Where is the ‘wages fund?’”
R.— “Oh, yes! the ‘wage fund,’ of course. Well, wages then, depend
Upon how much of capital's devoted to that end.
Of course, the more the workers, the less there is to pay —
It’s a very simple matter, when it’s reasoned in that way!”
C.— “Then let me understand it. ‘A man gets what he’s worth;
Which tends to mere subsistence, and every single birth,
Diminishes one’s wages.’ The workingman’s a goose,
When, urged by low brute instinct, he ‘consents to reproduce;’
I must confess it seems to me the inference is plain
That every new-born baby menaces its father’s gain.
If we would reach the blessed goal of general prosperity
We ought to drown the children, with a justified austerity!
This would, undoubtedly, assure the universal weal
When not a single baby was left alive to squeal.”
R.—“Oh, come! That is absurd! If parents can support ‘em,
Of course they ought to live in the place where we have brought ’em.
C.—“I'm glad to see you’re not a quite consistent Turk,
You’d only kill the babies who are born to do the work!”
R—“Well, surely, you admit that there are too many people—
Why, look at all the thousands under Trinity’s old Steeple!”
C.—“Well, surely, you admit that a man who wants to work
Is worth more to the world than a man who is a shirk?”
R—“Of course, on such a question I can only stand with you.
But suppose there is no work for the laborer to do?’
C.—“Can you name a single country, or a town, beneath the sun,
Where the people all are satisfied there’s nothing to be done?”
R.—“But if the government should furnish all with hash,
You’d precious soon be crying, ‘O, save the people's cash?"
C.—“We both agree in this: To benefit a neighbor,
The wisest thing to do is to make demand for labor.
For, there's plenty to be done — if the labor can be paid for.
Now, let me ask another thing: What has the land been made for?”
R.—“Made for us to live on. We take it as we need it.
We cultivate and till it. We pasture and we seed it.
In fact we use it all the time — in everything we do.
We live and die on land; and I know, as well as you,
What you are coming to. Suppose a man has sown it,
How can he gather crops unless a man can own it?”
C.—“He ought to have possession. No one should disturb him.
If any one should try, I’d be the first to curb him.
If any man will cultivate a plot of God’s good earth
He’s adding still new wealth unto the nation’s worth.
The more he tried to do, the more I’d seek to aid him.
Let’s not increase his tax — there should be bounties paid him!
But you’re a farmer, I believe; now, do you own your farm?
R.—“Why, no. I only rent it; and tell me where’s the harm?”
C.—“And yet you gather crops, as safely as you’ve sown them.
And so do others, too, although they’re not the men who own them?”
R.—“We pay our rent up promptly, and then we own the rest.
That makes our claim secure. That system is the best.”
C.—“And how about the taxes? Who pays the taxes now?"
R.—“The landlord has to pay them, except upon the cow,
The houses, tools and so forth, we pay upon all such—
The landlord pays upon the farm — the taxes are not much.”
C.—“Of course in fixing on the rent improvements do not count?”
R.—“Of course they do — improvements go to raise it in amount!”
C.—“So if a farm is much improved the rent is very high?”
R.—“Why, certainly. That’s only fair. It makes us pretty shy
Of building and improving, for every single cent
We spent upon such purposes would go to raise the rent.”
C.—“It strikes me (I’m a city man) that it’s a curious way
To run a farm, if one intends to make his farming pay!
Why can't the landlord hire men to cultivate his fields,
For then he could take everything — whatever each farm yields—
Except enough to pay the hands to keep them from starvation.
Which would, it seems to me, improve the landlord's situation!”
R.—“It’s safer this way. Don't you see that if the yield is small
I have to stand the loss? He doesn’t lose at all.
And if the yield is larger, the farm is worth the more —
The rent goes up — while my own share remains just as before."
C.—“I see. He holds the title; and you the farm can use,
The motto being: ‘Heads, I win! — and (if it’s tails) you lose.’”
R—“But wait; the taxes, too, go up, and those he has to pay.”
C.—“The rent repays him — so you see there’s nothing lost that way.”
R—“But then I pay the taxes — whichever way they go!”
C.—“I’m glad you see that for yourself — I haven’t told you so.
But still there is a part of them he cannot shift to you;
They’re bound to stay with him, whatever he may do.
Because the rent is firmly fixed — it’s all that he can get!
So if a tax on value of the land alone we set
It will so much diminish, if the rent he can demand,
The share that goes to pay him for the use of so much land —
There being plenty more as good that’s vacant all around.
So, if he tries to burden you, why, you just shift your ground!”
R—“Plenty more that’s vacant! I guess you’re pretty green,
Why I live in a growing place where competition’s keen.
I couldn’t get a foot of ground at any lower rent;
I haven’t got the money and I cannot save a cent!”
C.—“But you live in the country, and not one rood in ten
That's tilled — why all you need is sturdy workingmen!”
R.—“But every single acre is bound to draw a prize,
A syndicate has bought ’em up and holds ’em for a rise.”
C.—“How can they pay the taxes? I should think they’d have to sell!”
R—“Why, they are hardly taxed at all. You know it very well.
You know, if they were taxed, they would sell; or else improve.”
C—“Thank you kindly, farmer! That is what I want to prove.
Suppose we call a meeting and make the taxes fair;
It seems to me a simple way of saving you from care!
We'll tax all land according to its value in the town,
So that they'll have to use it — or to lay the title down!
Then if a landlord tries to shift his taxes on to me
I straightway get another farm! Come, now, do you agree?”
R—“It’s very simple, too. I don't see why I shouldn't;
And why don't George, or somebody — but then, of course, he couldn't.
The more I think of your plan, the more I like it, too!
Now that’s the very sort of thing those people ought to do!
Instead of all that nonsense about 'unearned increment.'
Why doesn't George try your way of keeping down the rent?”
C—“Suppose, in every country, they should try this plan of mine,
Suppose that all mankind on this nation should combine,
How long would labor have to seek in vain a chance for life?
How long would labor's children be a curse to man and wife?”
R.—“I see it all! You ought to try to bring this thing about!
Why don't you get some paper and sit down and write it out?”
C—“You'll find it has been written and argued, if you’ll look.
Just spend two dimes and purchase Mr. Henry George's book.”
R.—“If that is true I’ll read it. For, instead of ‘confiscation,’
It seems to me it should be called a ‘righteous restoration.’ ”
C—“Well, now we've talked it over till we find that we agree.
Just suppose you vote our ticket — ‘What will the harvest be?’”
T. S. J.
THE FIRST GUN OF THE CAMPAIGN.
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost’s Speech at Troy, N. Y. — An Anti-Poverty Society Formed.
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost’s speech before the citizens of Renssalaer county, on August 24, was practically the opening gun of the New York campaign. The meeting was held at the Casino, a large hall situated between Troy and Lansingburgh, and was attended by a large and intelligent audience, chiefly of residents of Troy, Cohoes and Lansingburgh.
Mr. H. C. Romaine, president of the county organization, introduced as chairman Mr. T. J. Sandford of Troy, who recently represented the county at the Syracuse convention. Mr. Sandford welcomed Rev. Mr. Pentecost in a brief speech.
The lecturer announced himself as representing the New York Anti-poverty society, the new crusade and the united labor movement, three phases of one fact. In sketching the rise of the movement the names of Henry George and Dr. McGlynn were loudly applauded. Members of the new party did not believe that poverty was a blessing, or that it came from God, or that it was the result of the individual conduct of poor people, but that it was due to unjust human laws. Trades unions, the speaker declared, could not abolish poverty, and the Knights of Labor could not do it. They could only maintain high wages for a little time and it was beginning to be evident that capital would win in the end if the present social system continued. He advised his hearers to stick to their organizations because they were a temporary aid. They were the spar in mid-ocean to which labor clung while the united labor party was the ship which had come in sight and would rescue labor from destruction.
Then Dr. Pentecost showed how the private ownership of land was the root of poverty and the oppression of labor. There was plenty for all, but by unjust laws some men were allowed to monopolize that which was intended for the use of all. Until these laws were changed there could be no remedy. The united labor party proposed to destroy private ownership of land, without interfering with its use or title, by putting all taxes on land value; and then raising the taxes until the full rental value was taken by the community for the benefit of all. Thus the equal and exact justice to all would be secured, and no one need be poor unless he wanted to. The lecturer concluded by a strong appeal to his hearers to vote for their homes and firesides.
Chairman Sandford presented Mr. Pentecost with a bouquet of flowers sent by an ardent admirer. A vote of confidence in the principles of the new party was passed unanimously.
Immediately afterward the organization of an anti-poverty society was begun. Sixty-nine persons handed in their names to the chairman as desirous of becoming members.
A Significant Letter.
The United Press,
New York, August 31, 1887.
I think that you will be gratified to learn that while only five of the men in this office voted for you last fall, twenty-three (23) will vote for you at the coming election. There are two others who have been converted to your views, but who have no vote this year.
I hope your strength has increased fourfold in all directions, as it has here. Your original adherents have kept up a vigorous propaganda, and we expect to make another quadruple addition to the list for 1888.
W. L. Loper.
Keeping It Hot All Along the Line.
Portland, Mich., Aug. 29.—The Detroit Evening News is doing good work for our cause in this state. Michigan is one of the states that may be counted on to go strong for the united labor party at an early day. We hope that New York may lead off this fall with a heavy vote for tax reform. In the meantime we are keeping it hot all along the line, so that Michigan may help swell the chorus for right and justice when once more we rally round the ballot box.
H. R. Selleck.
What Loyalty to Truth Means.
And we walk about it with a stately gesture, and really think the truth dangerous, and therefore mix it with lies and call it the “safe course,” the “moderate course,” and other fine names . . . balanced between God and the devil. The free man is he who is loyal to the universe; who in his heart sees and knows, across all contradictions, that injustice cannot hold out; that except by sloth and cowardly falsity evil is not possible in the end.
A Convert's Testimony.
Litchfield, Aug. 26.—I have just finished reading “Progress and Poverty,” and it has converted me. If people who condemn it would only take time and read it thoroughly they would change their minds.
Kate Palmer Stearns.
TIDINGS FROM ENGLAND
News that Newspapers Neglect — How the English People Regard the Jubilee — The Ferment Beneath the Surface of Society — What Is Coming.
London, Eng.—It has been my intention, on several occasions, after perusing The Standard, to convey to you and to your readers some notion of the status in quo on this side of the Atlantic. Now at last I make the attempt.
Recently The Standard made some observations on the queen's jubilee which were not less just than severe. We have been suffering, it is true, from an alarming outbreak of flunkeyism, but you must not suppose that the disease is so deep seated and incurable as the reports in the British daily press would lead one at a distance to suppose. The jubilee was exclusively the work of the “classes.” The “masses” had neither part nor lot in the business. Inwardly they cursed it, and with it royalty in general and the queen in particular. Their great republican organ, Reynolds’ Newspaper, with its two million readers, denounced it with unparalleled bitterness. In most cases the handful of select workingmen who were to have been admitted on Thanksgiving day to Westminster abbey were intimidated from attendance by the scorn of their fellows.
As for the procession, it was in reality a failure, so far as any exhibition of popular enthusiasm went. The crowd was not large for a London crowd, and it exhibited nothing but curiosity — not a symptom of joy or veneration. The queen is regarded by intelligent workers — and justly regarded — simply as the most perfect embodiment in this world of selfishness, nepotism and greed. During her long public career she has never been known to do a single useful or generous act, and her meanness is almost incredible. Nothing distresses me more than occasionally to find American citizens dishonoring the great republic by offering incense at the altar of British royalty.
One feature of the jubilee rejoicings I noted with peculiar satisfaction was the marked prevalence of the American flag among the decorations. The Daily News buildings, for example, which were most magnificently illuminated, did not display a single symbol of royalty, while high over all floated, not the Union Jack, but the Stars and Stripes! Some of the radical and socialistic clubs went into mourning and hoisted black flags. The workingmen of Bristol held an outdoor counter demonstration, and unanimously condemned royalty and all its works. We are, therefore, not quite so bad as we may seem.
One might naturally have expected the socialists of London, who have hitherto shown themselves anything but lacking in enterprise, to seize the opportunity of the jubilee to impeach the constitution of that execrable “society” of which Mme. Guelph is the head. But no. They are seemingly too busy quarreling among themselves and splitting hairs over shades of doctrine to do anything rational for the present. They have among them undeniably earnest and able men and women, but their conduct too frequently recalls the story of the Scottish covenanting couple, who, after numerous secessions, were all that remained of a once powerful sect. A friend congratulated Janet on the necessary purity of a church represented by herself and husband. “That’s a' vera weel,” said Janet, “but I’m nae sae sure aboot John.” The Johns and Janets of socialism seem to be about equally skeptical regarding each others’ orthodoxy. Moreover, they have a rare faculty for putting the cart before the horse. It is not unusual to find them relegating the fundamental question of the land to the ninth or tenth place in their programme of reforms, and treating it as a mere insignificant detail. They seem to have capital, especially Karl Marx's “Capital,” on the brain, and to be perfectly unable to recognize either the relative magnitude of economic phenomena or the natural order of their emergents and treatment.
As might be expected in these circumstances we have quite a crop of dwarfish little sectional papers springing up, to wit: Justice, The Commonwealth, Common Sense, The Church Reformer, The Christian Socialist, Brotherhood, Freedom, etc. They are all good and helpful in their way, but none of them good enough. At the same time, their appearance affords convincing evidence of the profound unrest by which the best minds here are affected. For all these publications are obviously written by men of cultivated intellects and benevolent hearts, as different from the old gang of professional workingman politicians as day from night.
We have nine of these gentry in parliament, by the way, but, without exception, they have proved dismal failures. They seem to possess neither courage, capacity, nor common honesty, and I should doubt if one of them will survive — none ought to survive — the shock of the next general election.
As for the general situation in parliament, it is quite as encouraging as was to be expected. Our grand old man always goes straight when he is satisfied that he has fairly, as the mathematicians say, “exhausted the possibilities of error.” His idea of statesmanship is not of a very exalted order, but he is a giant among the pygmies by whom he is surrounded.
For Chamberlain, alas, what a fall was there! He is a man of decided parts. He started in political life as a republican, and it is not a couple of years since he was sending a perfect tremor through the framework of “society” by talking of man's “natural rights” and the obligation of landlords to pay “ransom” to the people for their possessions. Now he is the chief opponent of Irish home rule and a steady supporter of the tory government in its miserable exploded policy of coercion. He is a prime favorite of Victoria Regina and basks in the smiles of duchesses. In the spring it is fully expected he and Hartington will join the government and then (praise be to Allah!) we shall have all our enemies in front and be brought within a measurable distance of the inevitable agrarian revolution.
Next session our government of landlords for landlords means to bring in a gigantic scheme of land purchase, and then will come the tug of war in dead earnest. Closure and coercion are but means to an end, the end being the intended pillage of the British exchequer in the name of compensation to the impoverished landlords of Erin. To make this spoilation palatable the Parnellites are to be befooled with peasant proprietorship and the English and Scottish democracy with leasehold enfranchisement and allotments, just as if the best method of curing the evils of landlordism were indefinitely to multiply landlords. It will take us all our time and more to get the true bearings of landlord compensation and peasant ownership into the heads of our people before the battle is joined. Still I should not despair if we had your political machinery, but unfortunately we have not. It is one thing to have only a plutocracy to contend with and quite another to have to face plutocracy, aristocracy and royalty in close alliance. In order to effect your social revolution you have but peacefully to conquer the intelligence of the sovereign people. As for us, we shall have first to storm the intrenched camp of privilege, and how that is to be successfully accomplished without an appeal to “blood and iron” I for one do not pretend to see. Messieurs the assassins are steadily preparing for the conflict by silently militarizing the police and aristocratizing the volunteers. They, as usual, will be the genuine revolutionists.
In conclusion pray understand one thing: Whatever good is achieved by your crusade for the American people is achieved also for suffering British humanity. “We are all members of one body,” and the membership, in these days of steam, electricity and The Standard, is no longer an article of faith, but a fact palpable to, and confessed of, all men. J. Morrison Davidson.
How It Strikes Them in San Francisco — The Hopes of the Pacific Coast Depend on the Campaign in New York.
San Francisco, Aug. 23.—The people on this coast are a week's distance by mail from New York, and so we are dependent upon the newspaper press, which, of course, has its telegrams sent to suit its own purposes. One of the results is that at the present time there is no accurate news of what took place at the convention at Syracuse beyond the first two days’ proceedings. We have, however been favored with editorials in the daily papers upon such items as they chose as texts from which to draw their own conclusions. We have learned first that the united labor party has been leagued with socialism; then that it discarded socialism, and again, while the socialists in New York are enraged against Mr. George, that he and the united labor party are all socialists! From this you can see how we have to wait for The Standard to bring us full and correct news.
It seems that the proceedings of the convention were most wisely directed, contrary to unfriendly expectation. The workers of the two political parties here seem to be in a very uncertain and irresolute condition. While they denounce and ridicule the prospects of the united labor party in New York, and seldom refer to its existence here, still these men are troubled in their minds. There is a dim, mysterious something, an unacknowledged fear that prevents the confident tone of success in either the republican or democratic parties, who would be joyous enough if the battles, as heretofore, were between themselves only. There is an unspoken dread of what the result in New York is going to be this autumn and an undefined feeling that the success of the united labor party is going to produce results the extent of which they do not wish to examine.
Success in New York will be like a blast from the angel Gabriel’s trumpet, resurrecting hope among the people of the Pacific coast who have no faith in the present political parties. Success then will largely determine the result of the presidential election in 1889.
The recent congressional investigation into the affairs of the Central Pacific railroad, which owes the United States a vast sum of money, has revealed a great deal of corruption. It is now learned that the stock of the Central Pacific railroad company, one hundred millions, was never paid up, but that it was given to the contractors; that the contractors were the directors of the company; that $33,000,000 dividends were paid on this unpaid stock; that the director-contractors, who had not a quarter of a million property between them when they commenced operations, have in twenty-five years acquired property valued at from $150,000,000 to $200,000,000, and that the Central Pacific railroad company, so far as its debt to the government is concerned, is a bankrupt. These plain facts will not be very successful arguments in behalf of making the president of the company, Senator Stanford,6 a candidate of the republican party for the presidency in 1888, as is talked of. H. D. D.
A Little Lesson for the “Evening Post.”
WASHINGTON, D. C, Aug. 24.—At last the omniscient Post has deigned to explain why it objects to “Henry George's taxation shibboleth.” It seems that “economists of all shades and everywhere, regard it as a fraud on the human intellect, a cheat and a delusion, and not an economic theory in any sense!” By “economists,” of course, the Post means those who agree with the Post, and if John Stuart Mill and Laveleye and a few others who might be mentioned, are dropped out by this classification, why — they “never will be missed.”
It seems that we positively cannot, “without disturbing the private title and holding.” “devote to the common use such of the values of land as arise from the growth of society.” And why not? Because “use cannot be had without title. The only object of title is to obtain use, and whatever effectually transfers the use of land, or of its values, from its present owners to new ones transfers the title.” E pur si, muove!7 The Post to the contrary, notwithstanding, this “impossible” can and does, and will occur. I can just as well own my farm, and cultivate it, when the community taxes away the whole of the ground rent for public uses, as when it so takes only a portion.
Again: “It has usually been assumed in finance that a state could not derive a revenue from taxing its own values or property to which it has title and use.” Property to which the Syracuse theory should be applied “would be remitted to the state, as the great tracts of land in the Adirondack wilderness have periodically been, because the taxes payable thereon equal or exceed the income derivable therefrom.” I confess I can't quite follow this. The Syracuse theory certainly is that the ground rent, and no more, shall be taken as tax. How can the application of the theory make the taxes “equal or exceed” the inducement to the holding of the land? The taking of ground rents by the duke of Westminster, or the Astors, or Trinity church, has not caused the property involved to be “remitted” to those collectors of rents; why should the result be different when the community gets the money?
What the Post really sees is that the private landlord, qua landlord, would be speedily eliminated. But as landlord there is no occasion whatever for his being tolerated. The duke of Westminster, and even the Astors, might go about their proper business, which certainly is not that of gratuitously increasing the burdens of their fellows; but the men and the women who now pay ground rents to these useless and greedy parasites would certainly not find in that any reason for abandoning their holdings and leaving the land idle and unused.
Do the Astors and Trinity church and the duke of Westminster now “embark as enterprisers” and get their rents only by “managing production” and “embarking their land values in all the risks and subject to all the losses of active business?” Are they and their fellow rent monopolists “the directors of enterprise, the only capitalists, the sole profit makers and employers of labor?” And if they can get the rents without being or doing these things, why cannot the state accomplish the same feat?
Another point that troubles the Post man is that, inasmuch as “taxes” are produced by labor, George cannot really carry out his promise to relieve labor from taxation. In one sense, of course, he can't; but that isn't the sense in which he makes the promise. The point is this: that under George's plan the public expenses will be defrayed by a fund which now is absorbed by private monopolists, so that labor has to pay two taxes, one to the government and another to landlords. In a letter to the London Examiner, John Stuart Mill (who was an “economist,” I believe) said in so many words, that a country in which ground rents go to the state is “practically untaxed, because it is the same thing as being untaxed to pay to the government only what must else have been paid to private owners.” How is that for “the second humbug underlying the main proposition of the Syracuse platform?”
I wish the Post man would try again, because I am eager to ascertain just what is that famous “fallacy” in Henry George’s notion about land.
Charles Fred. Adams, Sr.
The Faith Spreading in Mr. Blaine's State.
Portland, Me., Aug. 30.—I write to congratulate the party in New York on the result of the Syracuse convention. A most important point was rightly settled when the convention voted not to admit the socialistic delegates, as they belonged to a distinct party and organization. They could not have been admitted without compromising the united labor party and giving out the impression to the people that the party was ready to compromise its principle for the sake of votes or power. Principles cannot be proclaimed in platforms and betrayed in practice and the party survive.
The principle upon which the united labor party is founded is the greatest and grandest ever announced. I look forward with fond anticipation to the time when we shall have a state organization here and hold a state convention and become actively engaged in the cause of the new crusade. P. H. Gordon.
We Want Real Christianity, Too.
Those editors who express surprise that the Anti-poverty people are able to subscribe dollars and wear store clothes should be informed that this movement is not only a protest against the poor rations which Edward Atkinson says is the best we have to expect in the shape of material wealth, but also a protest against the poor quality of Christianity which the churches provide for us at the present. Even those of us who have enough to eat stand in need of honest, warm-hearted Christian fellowship. It is the idle pride and dishonor fostered by our evil land system which is sending its death-like chill over the faith and vitality of the churches. C. H. F.
A Party With Open Eyes.
Lynn, Mass.—-I know of farmers who, though they have enough money to build better ones, are living in old shabby houses because they know that as soon as they build the tax assessor will come and put a fine on them for being enterprising and industrious. I am glad there are some of God's children who are over nine day's old and whose eyes are wide open. The united labor party proposes to take all taxes off the fruits of industry, and to put one big tax on land values. That would be just, and then, if some men wished to hold valuable land idle, they would have to pay roundly for the privilege. Hiram P. Mayo.
STRAWS WHICH SHOW THE WIND.
We believe that eventually a majority of the members of all the different labor parties will fall into the ranks of the united labor party and adopt its platform as the best suited to conserve to the good of the whole people. Read and study it attentively. —[Northwest Labor Union.
The convention nominated a state ticket with Henry George at the head, and although the enterprise may at the outset seem very quixotic, we predict a lively shaking up in politics, and we warn the politicians of both the old parties to bestir themselves and not to belittle the strength of this new factor in state partisanship —[Buffalo Sunday Truth.
Between desertions to the united labor party, following the lead of A. N. Cole, and desertions to the prohibition party, following the lead of Rev. Dr. Huntington, it begins to look as if what is to be left of the republican party in the hands of Mr. Tom Platt will come out a bad fourth in the race of next November.—[Rochester Union and Advertiser.
The result of this convention will be to throw the democratic party of New York into a panic. The nomination of George assures the polling of the full vote of the united labor party, and as three-fourths of its strength is drawn from the democratic ranks, it is a serious matter for the latter party. The result is not what had been anticipated.—[Omaha Republican.
The Argus says the united labor party “at home in New York welcomed to its ranks socialists, communists, everybody; but now, in convention, they reject them.” And for this the Argus coarsely assails the convention. We doubt whether there was ever published in any journal in this country an article so well calculated to encourage communism and socialistic lawlessness. —[Albany Press and Knickerbocker.
When it is borne in mind that this is the most important political movement that has ever agitated this or any other country, that it has the unqualified support of the most profound and sagacious thinkers of the civilized world, and that the common people are in hearty sympathy with it and hear its agitators gladly, it is not too much to expect such an upheaval of political sentiment as will revolutionize political methods, and shake to their foundations the corrupt machines of the old political parties — and that itself will be a victory, while paving the way for a still greater victory. —[Tarentum, Pa., Times.
The united labor party is now an established fact. Electors who for years have been throwing away their votes can have the satisfaction of voting for principles with the full knowledge that those principles are rock-rooted and are adopted in good faith. Some of these principles have been advocated by the old parties where they could catch votes, but never carried out. We feel rejoiced that there is a likelihood that we can have the privilege of voting for a principle put forth in good faith. Since the days of anti-slavery there has been nothing like it. —[Grand Rapids Workman.
It was set forth so formally and positively that nobody can mistake the position of the party, except those who have an interest in misrepresentation, that Georgeism does not contemplate the taking of property by the state, but that it does mean that the land shall bear the burden of taxation in order to discourage the holding of tracts for speculative purposes. We regard the declaration as being in effect a very wholesome modification of the general idea of George's theory, and one which, if in force, would be of material assistance to industrious renters in the securing of homesteads, and of corresponding discouragement to real estate speculation. The party has started out well — so well that the criticism of the old party press has so far been notable for its advance. —[Pittsburg Labor Tribune.
Mr. Robert Porter, who is now in England engaged in writing letters, illustrated by pencil, portraying the poverty of the working people, need not have traveled so far to find food for his pen or subjects of art. It is the height of absurdity to ascribe the condition of the working classes of England to free trade. If poverty were found alone there, such a conclusion would remain unquestioned, but while the same scenes of misery are to be found in every nook and corner of America's soil under a protective tariff, the inference he would enforce falls unsustained to the ground. The writer has in two hours seen more of degradation and misery in the city of New York than Mr. Porter has found in all London. And here in the city of Philadelphia the same squalor, the same degree of misery pervade the center of the city, spreading its ramifications in every quarter. — [Journal of United Labor.
EARNEST WORK BY MEN WHO ARE IN EARNEST.
The Great Mass Meeting of Germans at Cooper Union – The Appointment of Inspectors of Election — Irving Hall’s Ridiculous Claim – Possibilities of Democratic-Republican Fusion – The Future Bright with Hope
The campaign of the united labor party will be formally opened by a great ratification meeting in this city on Saturday evening, Sept. 17. On the following Monday, 19th inst., active work will begin, and meetings will thenceforward be held in all parts of the state. It will be an active, vigorous campaign, covering six weeks and it cannot but prove hard work to the speakers and all others engaged in it. The remarkable canvass in this city last year lasted but four weeks, and all engaged in it were well nigh exhausted by election day. The wisdom of the state committee in deciding on a campaign of not more than six weeks this year will therefore be heartily commended before the work is finished.
The state executive committee of the united labor party held a meeting at headquarters on last Saturday evening. A letter was received from P. H. Cummins of Amsterdam formally accepting the nomination for state treasurer. All of the candidates have now accepted except Sylvanus H. Sweet, named for state engineer and surveyor. The executive committee, in view of Mr. Sweet’s failure to answer the notification of his nomination, and because of uncontradicted reports of interviews in which that gentleman professed that “he is and will remain a member of the democratic party,” declared a vacancy on the ticket for the place of state engineer, and called a meeting of the state committee for Friday, Sept. 9, to name a new candidate. Mr. Sweet was nominated at the urgent request of his personal friends, and his backing and filling is not just, either to them or to the party. Lawrence J. McParlin of Lockport was appointed to fill the vacancy on the state committee for the Thirty-third congressional district, and Daniel M. Buckley of Utica was appointed to fill the vacancy for the Twenty-third district. Mr. McParlin was the greenback labor candidate for judge of the court of appeals a year ago, and was recently nominated by the so-called union labor party for attorney general, but declined the nomination.
One of the most interesting and important events in the city campaign was the large mass meeting of German supporters of the unified labor party held at Cooper union on last Saturday evening. The proceedings were conducted in German, and speeches in that language were made by the chairman, August Mayer, John J. Ehrne, Paul Mayer and Hugo Bauer. Henry George and Dr. McGlynn made speeches in English. The Tenth assembly district, under whose auspices the meeting was held, marched into the meeting headed by the Carl Sabin club, and carrying three American and one German flags. The band played American patriotic airs and the audience heartily applauded them. Cheers were also given for the Stars and Stripes. An intense spirit of American patriotism animated the vast throng, and the resolutions supporting the platform and candidates included the following declaration:
We affirm our sincere loyalty to the institutions and flag of the American republic, and indignantly deny the right of those who condemn peaceful political methods and flaunt the red flag to speak for the great body of law-abiding German-Americans.
A small number of noisy socialists, scattered in groups throughout the hall, attempted to interrupt the proceedings, but the police, under command of Captain McCullagh, ejected the most noisy of the riotously disposed, and thenceforth there were no interruptions. The meeting was intensely enthusiastic and was a complete refutation of the claim of the socialists that they represent all or anything like a majority of the German voters of the city. It also answered effectively the socialistic falsehood that the united labor party’s opposition to the socialists is founded on the German nationality of the socialistic party. The united labor party cares nothing for any man's color, creed or nationality, so long as he accepts its principles and is an American at heart.
Most of the daily newspapers treat the German meeting with fairness in their reports, though the Times maintains its reputation by exaggerating the strength and importance of the noisy little band of disturbers, and shows clearly that it is willing to sympathize even with socialists if it can thereby injure the united labor party. The Times appears to imagine it is thus serving the cause of Mr. Cleveland. It is to be said, by way of excuse, that the Times has not had much practice in supporting a democratic candidate, and, therefore, blunders quite naturally in the effort.
The preliminary work for the appointment of inspectors for the united labor party goes steadily on, though the preposterous claim of Irving hall8 is still pressed with a brazen pretense to gravity. It is said that the two republican police commissioners are in favor of giving the new inspectors to the party intended by the law, but that the democratic members of the board are pretending to doubt in the matter. There is no room for even an honest pretense of doubt as to the intent of the legislature in passing the law. The facts in relation to it are clearly stated in the following letter from one of the counsel who took charge of the passing of the act:
Editor of The Standard —Sir: I, with the aid of Abner C. Thomas, drew the bill providing for the appointment of the additional election inspectors.
Our idea was to insert the name of the united labor party, but we finally decided not to do so, for the following reasons:
1. It was possible that the name of the party might be changed before the time for the appointment of inspectors, which might lead to a quibble.
2. It would have been of doubtful constitutionality. The claim would probably have been made that it was “special legislation.”
3. Whether it would have been constitutional or not, the fact remained that vetoes on the plea of special legislation were Gov. Hill’s hobby, and that he would have been only too glad to find some such technical excuse for disapproving of a bill granting us inspectors. We therefore made the bill apply to any political organization other than parties on state issues casting 50,000 or more votes at a preceding municipal election. After it was introduced I appeared before the judiciary committee of the assembly, and argued in favor of the bill. After its passage through the senate I called on the governor and requested his signature. In all the discussions and conversations on the part of the governor, the members of the committee and myself, it was understood that the bill provided for the appointment of election inspectors for the party that had cast 68,000 votes for George. No other party was mentioned. The name of Irving hall was not even breathed. Both in the assembly and the senate, when the bill came up for final passage democrats vied with republicans in protestations of love for the united labor party in particular and the workingman in general; Irving hall was not dreamed of. The politicians of Irving hall themselves had no thought at the time the bill became a law that it applied to them. They sent no representative to Albany to argue in favor of it.
The language of the bill is clear, and it unmistakably means the united labor party. But assuming that its meaning is doubtful, the well established rule of law applies, viz.: The intent of the legislative power must govern the interpretation. The intent of the legislature of New York in this case was that at the ensuing municipal election the united labor party should have inspectors of election.
As is well known, Irving hall is a branch or part of the democratic party. Last fall they regularly indorsed the nomination of Peckham for a state office — that of court of appeals — and bolted the local nominations of Hewitt for mayor, etc. They have also continued their affiliation with the democratic party by sending representatives on its state committee. Therefore they come under the designation of parties “on state issues,” and the following from the amendment to the consolidation act (which amendment constitutes the bill in question), “And the said board of police shall determine that said political party or organization is not entitled to the appointment of at least one of such inspectors to represent it” does not apply to Irving hall, because it, as a part of the democratic party on state issues, is entitled to two inspectors, having cast the majority vote for a state office. How these two are to be divided between the county democracy, Tammany hall and Irving hall does not concern us. F. C. Leubuscher
Of course Mr. Leubuscher is right. There can be no argument worthy of a moment's consideration in support of Irving hall’s dishonest and impudent claim; and it seems incredible that Police Commissioner Fitz-John Porter can be brought by political pressure to even contemplate such injustice. He has felt, in his own person, the cruelty of that venomous partisanship which causes men to shut their eyes to plainly presented truth, and he should be the last man to allow partisanship to cause him to do an unjust thing that he knows to be unjust. General Porter does know that Irving hall is not the party contemplated by this law, for he has said to the writer of this article, since this question has been mooted, that he does not believe that Irving hall, without the labor vote, could have polled 3,000 votes for its own candidates last year. How, then, can General Porter, in his official capacity, pretend to a doubt that renders it necessary to refer this question to the corporation counsel?
The fact that the republican commissioners are said to be united in resisting the impudent claim of Irving hall is not, as some democratic papers insist, an evidence that there is any alliance between them and the united labor party. Unless they are fools, which is not asserted even by their enemies, they cannot fail to understand that this Irving hall claim is made for the express purpose of giving the democrats three of the five inspectors; and, since it is a notorious fact that Irving hall cannot furnish the requisite number of men to fill their places, the real object of the conspiracy is to divide the additional inspectors between Tammany and the county democracy. Under the circumstances it is manifestly to the interest of the republicans to see that the law taking the fifth inspector from a party that is affiliated with neither the democrats nor the republicans shall be strictly enforced.
At the recent meeting of the democratic state committee the general feeling was one of utter despair as to any possibility of carrying the state for their candidates this year. Bets were actually made by members of the committee that their ticket would be beaten by 20,000 majority. The general diffusion of this knowledge among the rank and file of the party cannot fail to swell the united labor vote. The only thing that now keeps democrats and republicans apart is an antipathy born of differences that no longer exist, and when the mass of the democratic party come to understand that the united labor party is the only one that can possibly defeat the republicans, their antipathy to the latter may be depended on to lead them to vote for the united labor candidates.
The scare of the politicians over the labor vote is shown by the undercurrent of talk about fusion between the democrats and republicans on local nominations. The necessity for clear cut lines in the presidential contest of next year will prevent any general fusion, but there has undoubtedly been a recent revival of talk concerning a democratic-republican combination on a judicial ticket. It is more than doubtful, however, if even this will amount to anything. The democratic managers cannot afford to make in advance such a confession of weakness.
So long as the attitude of its opponents remains thus undecided, the united labor party will probably hold back its own nominations for local offices. As a comparative newcomer in the field, it is entitled to await the development of the plans of its opponents. It intends to carry New York city this year, and as it has no patronage and but little money to meet campaign expenses, it needs to watch and wait, so as take advantage of all the blunders its antagonists may make.
The daily press is beginning to gossip about probable nominations for city offices by the united labor party. Names are freely mentioned, and unquestionably those named have friends who will urge their candidacy, but no one can say with any degree of certainty who will be named. Conventions of the united labor party make nominations to suit themselves, and the only use they have for a slate is to smash it. So strong, in fact, is this feeling that a perfectly proper concert of action between the friends of any candidate to secure his nomination would be more likely to injure than to help him.
Encouraging reports come from Brooklyn as to the rapidly growing interest of all classes of people in the united labor party. There are a great many people in our sister city who have for a long time been chafing under the boss rule of both the old parties, and the fact that the new party is clean in its methods and utterly opposed to bossism commends it to such people. The workingmen are also actively at work in bringing the friends of organized labor to see the great opportunity presented to them by the Syracuse convention. The Standard-Union of Monday said:
Delegates from the Central labor union have been visiting the numerous labor organizations in the eastern district with a view to getting them to organize for work in the coming campaign. The unions generally have expressed the intention of complying with the request. The labor organizations of that section of the city are in complete sympathy with the movement to put a full labor ticket, in the field this fall.
The conference of socialists at Webster hall on Sunday does not appear to have settled on any policy. Though many bitter things were said, more than one of the delegates present questioned the propriety of avenging personal grievances by antagonizing the only labor party worth considering as a factor in our politics. The socialists themselves recognized this fact by contemptuously refusing to admit the delegates of the so-called union labor party. This is to their credit, as they would have forfeited all claim to purity of purpose if they had allowed their resentment to lead them into any sort of alliance with these political Hessians. They are to have another conference, but its result cannot be learned in time for announcement in this issue of The Standard.
Ninety Thousand People Spread Over Space Enough to House a Million.
Denver, Col.— The principles advocated by The Standard are making some stir in this as in many other sections of the country. The last number of the Denver Arbitrator contained a very able article, written by J. N. Stevens, chairman of the republican committee of Arapahoe county, in which, from a text taken from an article in the last North American Review, written by Henry George, he very forcibly pointed out that our governments, municipal, state and national, fail in the most essential requisites of good government. Mr. Stevens has been an office holder; he is young and ambitious, and probably, wants to hold office again. Consequently, to him the most flagrant failure of the present system arises from the fact that wealth, which he is not reported to possess, is the only stepping stone to the acquirement of that which he covets. The Hon. John B. Belford, our late representative in congress, is also a writer for the Arbitrator. Both of these gentlemen, as well as other “practical politicians,” would like to place themselves in the lead of the revolt against things as they are if it shows signs of succeeding. We welcome any recruits, of course; but when such men as these aspire to be leaders, they will have to give some proof of their hearty sympathy with the cause before we can consent to trust them. Denver has been enjoying a boom in real estate, and though it has a population of but 90,000 it covers enough ground, on paper, to house a million souls. One of the very serious consequences of this artificial expansion is the enormous unnecessary expense entailed on the taxpayers. A city of 90,000 people has to lay walks, gas and water mains and sewers, and stretch telephone and electric light wires to at least six times the extent really required, and the chief burden of this taxation falls on the improved property of the city. In Denver, for instance, the holders of vacant lots have persistently fought for years the imposition of a sidewalk tax, and the case is still in the courts; and the same with a sewer tax. What might today be the most beautiful city in the United States is disgraced by dangerous sidewalks. And thus, while speculation enhances the price of lots and forces the poorer people to the outskirts of the city, these land owners are not called upon to pay a tax sufficient to pay for sidewalks, and less fortunate people are compelled in winter to tramp through snow or slush. Anti-Povertyite.
A Connecticut Man at Syracuse.
Mr. J. L. Dunham of Sharon, Conn., who attended the Syracuse convention as an onlooker, writes thus to the Hartford Examiner:
It was a remarkable body of men, drawn from all the trades and professions, and the thing that most impressed the looker on was the intense earnestness of all the delegates.
In the debate concerning the contested seats some very good speaking was done, showing what a great educational work the labor organizations are doing among their members. At times the excitement ran high, and too much credit cannot be given to Mr. Louis F. Post, the temporary chairman, for the skillful manner in which he filled that office.
The platform is a most excellent one. While laying down in unmistakable language the fundamental principles of the party, it also arrays the party on the side of those palliative measures which it is to be hoped will relieve, if only slightly, the present burden of the toiling multitudes.
Mr. George's speeches, in which he finally put himself at the service of the party, and especially the one in which he accepted the nomination,9 were very fine. The position he took — as simply the standard bearer of a great party, which was going to bring about by the peaceable and perfectly constitutional method of the ballot the greatest reform that the world has seen, the abolition of industrial slavery — was magnificent.
The misrepresentations of the New York daily press were perfectly astonishing. They represent Mr. George as an office seeker, a man who is trying to lift himself into notice and power on the shoulders of the united labor party. I was a close observer of that convention. I was staying in the same hotel with most of the delegates, and I saw, and I think it was generally seen, that this was not so. Mr. George sees so thoroughly that this land tax is the only way to go at once to the bottom of the whole system of industrial slavery, and is so imbued with the spirit of love for his fellow man, that he cannot bear to see any side steps taken from this straight and narrow path which leads to freedom, and consequently his strong personality must impress itself upon all who, being really in earnest in the work of reform, come in contact with him.
I write you this of what I saw at Syracuse, and the impression it made upon me, because I feel that in every way we must combat the influence which the daily press is bringing to bear upon the public by deliberate misrepresentations and suppressions of the truth to prevent this great idea from getting to the people.
The Coming Parties — Anti-Poverty and Pro-Poverty.
Edgeley, Dak.—Ex-Governor R M. Bishop of Ohio said in an interview at Minneapolis recently:
We can't tell much about political matters in Ohio now because there are so many different elements. At the last election the labor party actually polled more votes in Cincinnati than the democratic party. I understand the labor party intend to put candidates in the field, but I do not think that they will elect them, for I believe that the republican and democratic parties would unite against them if there was any danger of their winning.
Doesn't that place the old parties in their true attitude toward labor?
Finlay A. Grant.
Going to the Root of Things
Alpena, Mich., Labor Journal.
Under the present system people are subjected to an enormous tax that very few ever think about. Let me illustrate: Mr. S moved to this city at an early day and bought a main street lot for $50. As other people began to come in some of them wanted to use that lot, but he refused to sell. Years passed away and finally a man came who wanted the lot so bad that he gave S $5,000 for it and built a store on it and started business. Now, who has to pay that $4,950 which S made without doing anything for it? Most people will say the merchant who bought it. But, let us suppose that merchant had to borrow the money to buy that lot. Would he not have to charge enough more on his goods to pay the interest on that money? This at ten percent would be nearly $500 a year. We may therefore say that the patrons of that merchant are compelled to pay a tax of $500 a year to all time to Mr. S for the use of that lot. Not only that. The merchant buys his goods from a man in Chicago who is doing business on a lot worth $100,000 and he charges the retail merchant his share on the interest on that. Is it any wonder that the producer of the goods gets so little and the consumer pays so much? This state of things will last so long as we allow some men to make vast sums of money for doing nothing; so long as we allow land owners to lay a tax upon us for the use of what is a gift of God. The people pay taxes enough in this way to land owners for doing nothing to pay off the entire war debt every year, and are so stupid as not to know that they are doing it.
WEALTH WITHOUT WORK
Bets that Are Being Made on the Future of Omaha — Money Gained by Buying and Selling the Power to Blackmail Men Who Want to Work and Must Have Land to Work On.
The history of the real estate advance in Omaha would, if it were possible to secure its social influence entire, make a volume as large and almost as interesting as the story of one of the successful mining camps of California, Nevada or Colorado. Property which was practically worthless four or five years ago is selling on the market today at the price of $15,000 an acre. In the meantime it may have passed through a dozen or twenty hands, leaving a portion of its value in each. Whomever it has touched it has enriched. Thousands of men here today are wealthy who were poor in 1880. Then they lived in shabby frame houses — today they are building elegant residences in the latest fashion. Then they were refused credit by the butchers — now the diamond merchant sends his most valuable gems to them, telling them to pay for their selections whenever they feel so disposed. One may select any representative body of men, the city council, the board of education, the board of trade, and find therein conspicuous examples of successful speculation in city lots. One member of the council was in 1883 porter in the Paxton hotel; today he is worth perhaps $50,000. Another is worth perhaps $200,000, all of it cleared from real estate. An ex-member of the council, worth close to a quarter of a million, was a conductor on the Union Pacific till 1882. One of our leading bankers laid out an addition about a year ago from which he will clear over a million dollars. He is a bank president; his cashier has made $150,000 in two years in real estate. These illustrations must not be misconstrued. The banks of Omaha have been exceedingly conservative throughout the boom; the president referred to pre-empted the addition years ago and the cashier made his start in real estate with a few dollars comparatively.
A certain real estate dealer two years ago lived with his wife in a second-class boarding house and walked every morning to his insurance office, where he received a salary of $60 per month. Nowadays nothing is good enough for him. He rides to his office in a carriage driven by a mulatto coachman; he sends his wife to the Atlantic seashore to spend the hot months; his residence is a paragon of display. Most of our millionaires are modest. Thousands of people in Omaha have become well-to-do in three or four years and there is very little shoddy about them, considering the shock of their prosperity.
A certain Omaha banker will, if circumstances are favorable, be glad to tell a casual listener of a strange freak of one of his depositors. This depositor has lived here ten years, a widower. Till 1885 he boarded at first-class hotels or boarding houses, and, having an income of five or six thousand a year, spent it all for comforts and with a rather free hand, and seemed to enjoy himself. When the boom in South Omaha began, something over a year ago, he invested considerable money there. From the moment of this investment his habits changed. It seems probable that his expenditure quite seriously impaired his income for a while, and that he firmly resolved to live within the limits of what remained. At any rate he hired one of the cheapest of cheap rooms on Howard street, furnished it from a second-hand store and took to eating at the most economical restaurant and lunch counters. His raiment suffered a similar change, although in his inferior garments he has always appeared clean and respectable. The venture was, of course, successful; he cleared several hundred percent. But another succeeded it and another and another. Today that man has notes, mortgages, real property and cash worth in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million, but he has become a miser. Several times a week he comes to the bank where he keeps his papers in a cheap tin box and cons them over [sic] and over as greedily as the wretch in the comic opera of the “Chimes of Normandy” counts his coins. He has moved from Howard street south of the tracks and doubt less lives most melancholy. He is nearly 50 years of age.
The real estate boom has formed a grand army of regrets. We hear plenty of marvelous stories regarding fortunes that have been made, but they are as a volume to a library compared with the tales we hear of fortunes that might have been made, nay, that should have been made. Thousands have let “I dare not, wait upon I would.” They came within ten dollars, fifty dollars of making ten thousand. The old settler is especially a “kicker.” He lived here when blocks now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were covered with hazel brush. He saw the sorghum or the “rosin weed” growing where the court house stands today. The soil looks to him, what he can see of it, just about as it did then; why should it be worth such figures? It is said to be hard for a man to see in his grown children the real evidence of mature intelligence and will; it has been equally as hard for the old settler to discover the intrinsic value of the ground his feet have trod. There are, it goes without saying, a number of the pioneers who have become wealthy by holding to their real estate, but they are comparatively few. One old gentleman now walking the streets of Omaha to and from an office that does not pay the best salary in the world, is quite likely to tell you of a time some years ago when, he being in the clothing business, another old settler offered him land now worth over a half million dollars for a few suits of clothes. The land was too near the town and too small for a farm and too far away from the town and too large for town property, so he incontinently flung the bargain over his shoulder.
Traveling just behind the men who have missed fortunes through stubbornness or shortsightedness is a large army composed of men who have sold on the first bulge and who have in a cowardly way, as it seems to them, awarded to some one else the great prizes which they have had within their own grasp. “If I had kept those lots a month longer!” One hears that tearful lament on every corner. A prominent dealer in carpets sold a quarter section near the city for $100 per acre, and a few months afterward it resold at over a thousand. This seems ridiculously horrible to the carpet dealer, and to the uninitiated reader it may appear like an episode from the experiences of Haroun al Raschid. But the story is true and the reason for the advance is simple and logical enough when you understand it. The carpet dealer sold the land by the acre. It was resold in lots and blocks. “Addition and subdivision” is the rule which has placed many an Omaha man over the reach of want.
They tell a strange story of a minister's deal in Omaha dirt. He was located here some years, and purchased forty acres of ground in the neighborhood of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, paying something like $40 per acre. With a minister’s proverbial carelessness he forgot to record the deed, and shortly after the transaction both himself and the man from whom he made the purchase left the city. The latter, in whose name the title vested, left neither friends nor address, and it happened that none of the few intimates of the minister told the story of his speculation. When the boom struck the city a good many enterprising speculators investigated the tract and attempted to ascertain the whereabouts of the supposed owner, but they were unsuccessful to a man. About two months ago the minister, who is a Lutheran, came up from the south to attend a national synod of his denomination held in this city, and, in obedience to the demand of his wife, brought the old deed for record. On the second day after his arrival he gave the deed to the county clerk, and on the third day he sold his forty acres for $50,000. If a real estate dealer had met him before his arrival he might have made the purchase for a tenth.
It is a rare thing to find a piece of real property that has remained in the hands of one man a length of time. One of our bankers, a pioneer, retains a portion of his pre-emption, but by far the greater part has long since passed to other men. An old bachelor, now living in St. Joseph, bought 132 feet square on Douglass and Fifteenth street in 1855 for $125. For thirty-two years he has held it in spite of adversity and temptation. What its value is today it would be hard to say. It would, however, sell readily at a quarter of a million.
A lot of 132 feet square on a prominent corner in Omaha was sold to the New York insurance company for $85,000 six months ago. Six months before that the same property had been offered for sale at $33,000. Now, it is considered to be worth $125,000, at a low estimate, as half as much ground across the street has lately sold for $66,000.
Three blocks further up the same street is a lot 50×132 feet in size for which the owner has been offered $30,000. Seven years ago he bought the lot for $840. He was then a poor man and had difficulty in paying for the lot and building a cottage upon it. Now he finds that his lot will bring a sum of money sufficient to yield him an income larger than his salary.
Across the street is a lot for which $30,000 has been refused, which sold a year ago for $16,500, three months before that for $13,000 and six months prior to that for $8,500.
In 1883 two Omaha men bought 100 acres adjoining the city for $25,000. Next year one of them sold his half interest to the other for $18,000. Next year, 1885, a real estate man bought the property for $100,000, paying only one-tenth cash. He platted the land into lots and sold it out at a profit to himself of $200,000. It is now nearly covered by good houses and pleasant homes.
Six hundred and fifteen acres of land a mile west of Omaha sold for $1,000 an acre three months ago, and the syndicate which bought it expects after completing a rapid transit cable line to it at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars to make a net profit of over a million.
There are young men in Omaha today worth over a hundred thousand dollars who were working on small salaries five years ago.
One young man now engaged in the banking business and worth $150,000 made it all out of real estate since 1881, when he gave up a salaried position in a grocery store.
There is one man in Omaha worth half a million dollars, who has been mayor of the city, and who began life here as a common carpenter, but was a good one.
Another carpenter who used to saw and hammer for daily wages in Omaha now lives in a home worth $100,000.
A certain wealthy citizen, who is an extensive landlord, and whose wealth can be conservatively estimated at a million and a half, played the fiddle at dances when he first came to Omaha. Real estate has made him rich.
Common laborers, without education or early advantages, have in a number of cases become worth from $50,000 to $100,000 by investing their savings in Omaha real estate. One in particular, who is now building a six-story block, which he has rented in advance for $15,000 a year, makes no attempt to look any different or live any differently from the way he looked and lived when he worked for $1.75 per day.
If the “Tribune” Means Business There’ll Be Fun in Chicago.
Not long since the Chicago Tribune remarked editorially that it was about time to stop sneering and meet the united labor party and the Anti-poverty society with honest argument; and it hinted that it felt itself fully equal to the task, and would, in fact, rather enjoy it than otherwise. This has brought out the following letter from land and labor club No. 1 of Chicago:
CHICAGO, Aug. 27. Editor of the Tribune. —On the part of land and labor club No. 1 and of the friends and adherents of Henry George in Chicago, we congratulate you on the bold and manly stand taken in your editorial of today on the "Impotence or Cowardice of the Eastern Press." We take back all the hard things we have said or thought about the Tribune in the past. We have adopted Mr. George’s economic theories because we believe them economically sound and founded on principles of exact justice. If they are not so we want to know why they are not, and if the Tribune can point it out it will do us and others the greatest possible service. The sooner we learn it the better. But, as you suggest, they must be met candidly and squarely. A sneer is no argument. Ideas must be met with reason and logic. We are agreeably surprised at the position of the Tribune. We had not supposed that any daily paper in the country had the courage to adopt it. You are right that “Mr. George is a foeman worthy the steel of any paper in New York or Boston,” and you might have added, in Chicago, too. So—
“Lay on, Macduff, and damned be he who first cries hold, enough.”
“We ne'er bore grudge for manly blow,
Ta'en in fair fight from generous foe.”
W. H. Van Ornum, President.
FRANK PEARSON, Secretary.
J. Z. WHITE, Chairman Ex. Com.
The Chicago Tribune has a chance now to double its circulation.
A Good Point in the Platform.
Real Estate Record and Guide.
One point made in the labor platform is a good one. The Georgeites want to introduce in this country the Australian — that is to say, the present English election machinery. This involves the printing of the tickets by the state and national authorities, and the choice of tickets in the presence of a government inspector when the voting takes place. This will get rid of the “machines” which exist because of the necessity in this country of raising money to get up processions, hire workers, provide polling booths and supplying tickets. There is no excuse for this army of workers in the English system, which, by the way, has been presented very ably to the American public by City Chamberlain Ivins. By all means let us reform our election system. Indeed, we can never have real civil service reform until we do. The "boodle" alderman and the judge and congressman who pay for their nominations are the fruits of our American system.
The inconsistency of Mr. George's position is very striking in that, while he appears in the role of a democrat in the broadest sense of the term, and as a friend of the people and foe to tyrants, he draws his support from monarchical institutions, the feudal system, and the autocratic assumption of powers by a limited sovereignty. No species of land is to be secure from the confiscating hand. The cathedral with long drawn aisle and fretted vault, the meeting-house with whitewashed walls, the house of the aged and the asylum of the orphaned, the mansion of the rich and the hovel of the poor, must recognize by payment of ground rent this economic monster, this political Frankenstein, this governmental landlord.
THE RELIGION IN THE NEW CRUSADE.
The Revival of Wholesome Interpretations of God’s Providence — Workingmen and the Church — A Conversation Overheard at Coney Island.
One afternoon, not many days ago, a small party of gentlemen sat at a table in a Coney island restaurant famous for its fish dinners. The cigars had been passed round, and the era of discussion had opened. In talking about the questions of the day it was quite natural that the Anti-poverty society, the condition of the workingman, and the position of Dr. McGlynn, should come up for review. I overheard this conversation and as, in the case of two persons at least, it was peculiar and interesting, I will give the best portion of it.
A tall, thin, spectacled gentleman who spoke deliberately, and who had the appearance of a philosopher, was the first to give his views.
“The most remarkable thing to my mind,” said he, “about this anti-poverty movement is its religious basis, and the new theology, or rather the new interpretation of the ways of providence, its leaders are giving to the people. There was probably never a time in the history of the world when people, supposed to be radically opposed to each other in religious views and in social aims, gathered together under one banner as they have in this new movement. Their religious motto is the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Now, that is a banner under which every honest man, religious or non-religious, can march, and, mark my word, thousands will march under it in the very near future. The theologians of the new movement, again, have shed new and glorious light on God's providence. Heretofore it seems to have been taught that if people were miserable it was their duty to be merry, and that praises should be sung for being poor. ‘Not so,’ say the anti-poverty people. It is all wrong teaching to say that the Almighty intended you should be poor, or that He wants you to be miserable. The sad condition of affairs in which you live is not of the ordination of the heavenly Father, but is wrought by the selfishness and greed of man. If some men could get a monopoly of the air or the sunlight, they would do it, and hold these necessities as they have held the land, which is certainly an equally free gift from heaven. Now, when you get a man thinking over a simple religious principle, when in silent and distressful hours a still small voice whispers to him that the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man is a true saying, he will accept it as a key to open some of the mysteries of existence, and still and small though the voice may be, the noise of no ecclesiastical machinery will be able to drown it. Give to this man a feeling that he, and millions of the human race, have been deprived of a God-given gift — the most precious of all gifts — and do you wonder that he will grow wild with enthusiasm over the new cause?”
“As a reporter for a New York daily journal,” said the next speaker, “it was my duty to record the proceedings of the senate investigating committee on labor and capital which met some two years ago. Some of the most interesting testimony, that bearing on the relation of the workingmen to the church, never found its way into print. Speaking, I remember, of Protestant church attendance, one witness said that many workmen had ceased attending church and had found a substitute for the religious idea by turning their attention to the remedying of social evils, to the uplifting of their own class and to the righting of injustice sustained by working people. This result was (so the witness said) produced in his mind to some extent by his inability to understand why the theory that is taught in the churches produced the practice that is seen among church members. The workingman did not object to the spirit of religion, but rather to the ecclesiasticism and dogmatism of some church members, and the hypocrisy of others.
“Then, again, the workman did not want to go to church because he wasn’t well dressed. Speaking of the churches in New York, another witness said the workingmen were poor attendants, and that there were plenty of churches where you could put your umbrella, hat and coat in a separate pew and have plenty of room left. The workingmen were getting a more independent spirit, and did not want to go where they would be unfavorably compared with other people. Another witness from Chicago admitted that the majority of Protestant workingmen in that city did not attend church and were probably disbelievers. He had attended different churches, and had seen none in the congregation that he would call mechanics. The Irish workingmen were consistent attendants at the Catholic services because the tenets of the church required them to attend, but many foreign Catholics – Germans, Poles and Bohemians – had drifted into free thinking and atheism. In speaking of workingmen’s organizations, Edward King said that the trades unions were becoming organized on the religious basis, that workingmen had come to the conclusion that the fundamental doctrines of political economy were played out, and that the working classes would soon turn their powerful organizations to the application of religion and morals would boss the concern as they had never done before. Another witness said that the trades union with which he was connected was organized on the principle of the golden rule, and that it was sought to bring Christian influences into actual operation. Now,” continued the speaker, “all this testimony — and I could give you more if necessary — suggests in some degree why there is so much enthusiasm shown for the religious part of the platform in the new Anti-poverty society: it shows that the religious element is needed in a large class of our workingmen, and it suggests that in this new movement their religious sense may be awakened as well as their wrongs vindicated. When, too, did you ever see clergymen of different sects all standing on one platform, all voicing, in perfect accord, the fundamental basis of all religion, the last analysis of the divine law?” George J. Manson.
A Point or Two for Society Saviors
Mr. Medill, if the Hawkeye reports him correctly, makes a statement that would strike an intelligent schoolboy as silly; but Mr. Medill knows that telling the truth is a poor way of satisfying the patrons of his paper. He says he told Dr. McGlynn that he could not convert the Illinois farmers by taxing their land, and that the doctor made no reply to the silly remark. He then asked how he proposed to satisfy 300,000 farmers who own 47,000 square miles of land in the state of New York, by taxing their land. This question was equally silly, and perhaps, as he says, received no answer. If he had read “Progress and Poverty,” he would have known that those 300,000 farmers would be greatly benefitted by such a change as would abolish all taxation on their improvements and personal property of all kinds and taxing the land values alone. The trouble with these wise people is that they will insist on going out among the farmers to ask questions or make suppositions, but cannot for the life of them look at the valuable land of the finest parts of New York, Chicago and other large cities. They don’t want to hear of taxing the value of a lot worth half a million on Wall street or State street, but whine about the “poor farmer” whose farm they say it is proposed by those wicked Georgites to confiscate. Nothing annoys these saviors of society so much as for the farmers to learn the truth concerning the single tax.
THE B. AND O. DEAL
Probably the history of the events that have culminated in the transfer of the control of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and its allied interests into the hands of a syndicate representing the great trunk lines, can be summed up in the declaration that a great property built up by the skill and shrewdness of an unusually able man, fell by inheritance into weak hands, from whose nerveless grasp it has finally dropped.
One effect of the overthrow of the Garrett control of the Baltimore and Ohio will, at least for a time, be highly salutary. The State of Maryland will be released from domination by a corporation of its own creation. For years the B. and O. company has been a powerful factor in Maryland politics. It has dictated state elections and policies, and without concealment maintained a political agent for this express purpose. It has ruled Baltimore city like a conquered province, and the worst feature of the situation is that the professed representatives of the people have welcomed that rule. A few years ago, in furtherance of ambitious plans never realized, the railroad company decided to build an elevated connecting road through the principal street of the city on the water front. There was no pretense that an equally available route through private property could not be had, but it was admitted that such a route would cost a great deal of money, while it was believed that Pratt street, belonging to the people, could be had for nothing. The result was that the company dictated the democratic nominations for mayor and city council and in the face of a formidable revolt its candidates were elected by the lavish use of money, and the city council gave Pratt street to the company as a free gift.
Corruption was not depended on alone to achieve this result. In this and all other controversies affecting the company's interest a successful appeal was made to local pride in support of its claims. It was a great Maryland enterprise, and Baltimore was its eastern terminus. Baltimore and Maryland, it was therefore urged, were bound to stand by the corporation in their own interest, and despite the fact that its managers had, on more than one occasion, notoriously sacrificed Baltimore’s interests to their own personal advantage.
The attempts by the management to secure a terminus at New York have weakened this feeling of local pride and interest, and the passing of the road into the control of men no more closely identified with Maryland than are the managers of the Pennsylvania railroad will probably break it down altogether. Doubtless alliance with the new power will be sought and made by the thoroughly corrupt political bosses who apparently have the state of Maryland firmly in their grasp, but they cannot hereafter hoodwink honest and sensible men into the belief that the business interests of the city and state demand a practical abdication of political power by the people in favor of a corporation created by their representatives.
The new consolidation has moreover a much wider political significance. It is another step in that process of concentration which justifies the attitude of the united labor party toward the transportation problem. Railroads are called into being by the farming out of the people's sovereign power of eminent domain. The only justification under our existing system for such exercise of this power is the assumption that the company to which it is lent is a public agency created to serve the public interests. No attempt has been made to preserve this fiction in the deal by which the control of the Baltimore and Ohio system has been surrendered to its rivals.
A syndicate of home and foreign bankers have secretly raised the money necessary to the consummation of the deal.
This syndicate reserves to itself the absolute right to dictate the management of the company.
It is stipulated that the Baltimore and Ohio Company shall make satisfactory arrangements with the other roads for New York business, which is equivalent to saying that it shall submit to the dictation of the existing pool as to passenger fares and freight charges, and in order that this may be assured beyond doubt, it is made a positive condition of the contract that the Baltimore and Ohio shall “avoid the construction or threat of construction of expensive parallel lines north and east of Philadelphia.”
The strain to which the Garrett management has finally succumbed was that of its effort to secure a new competing line of its own to this city. Though the management was not entitled to set up any claim to an unselfish desire to serve the public interests as the motive of this effort, nevertheless the effect of the entrance of a new and untrammeled competitor for the trade between this city and the west and south would have been beneficial to the business of this city and the country at large. A contract to prevent this beneficial result has been openly made, and it is clearly one against public policy and in defiance of the legislation of the state of New Jersey, whose free railroad law was specifically designed to promote the building of just such competing roads as that, the construction of which is forbidden by this syndicate of American and foreign bankers.
Again the Baltimore and Ohio express has been sold to the United States express company, one of the small number of corporations that have parceled out this great business among themselves by a treaty sanctioned by no law, and yet as binding as if it were made by the plenipotentaries of powerful nations. Nor does the matter end even here. There does not appear to be in any quarter a shadow of doubt that one of the inevitable results of the deal will be the passage of the Baltimore and Ohio telegraph lines into the hands of Jay Gould and the destruction of all rivalry to the Western Union monopoly.
In the matter of railway consolidation the deal is almost equally momentous and far-reaching in its results. The World says:
It puts in close alliance a vast aggregation of railroads extending from New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore in the east, to Chicago and St. Louis in the west, and New Orleans in the south. This splendid combination of interests includes the Pennsylvania railroad company, with its 2,291 miles of road; the Pennsylvania company, with its 3,266 miles of road; the Baltimore and Ohio, with its auxiliary lines comprising about 2,600 miles of road; the Richmond terminal and East Tennessee system, with its 3,800 miles of southern roads; the Philadelphia and Reading, with its l,586 miles of road; and the Jersey central and branches, having a mileage of 650. This combination of railroads, formed by purchase, alliance or mutual interests, comprises a mileage of about 14,200.
That is to say the new arrangement puts under the control of a few men the principal railways of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama, and gives them a strong hold on the railway systems of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. In other words, in a matter of vital necessity under modern conditions of civilization, a small and unknown body of self elected rulers have absolute sway over a territory vastly greater in extent and ten times more populous than the original thirteen states of our Union.
In several of the states named, portions of this combination already absolutely dictate the choice of United States senators, and, acting together, the combination will, if existing conditions are permitted to continue, easily control the election of senators from more than half the states of the Union. Some of these senators will call themselves republicans and some democrats, but every one of them will be a servant of the railway power so long as the American people allow themselves to be deluded into maintaining an idle contest between two parties that represent no vital principle, and both of which are led by subservient tools of monopoly.
In the face of such a situation it is idle to vex the ears of thinking men with twaddle about the dangers of enlarging the sphere and power of government and the increase of an office holding class, not free to vote according to its convictions. The railway managers of the United States are already a part of our government. They select senators, governors and legislators, and in matters far more vital than those at issue between the two old parties they absolutely control the votes of a vast body of employees. They usually take care not to violate the supposed freedom of choice of the electors by interfering in behalf of one political party against the other, but they effectually preclude any freedom of choice in matters vital to their own interests by seeing that their own candidates are nominated by the dominant party, and often by both parties in each locality. All of the power and patronage of our vast railway system are already used in our politics, and used secretly, whereas if the system were under governmental control no greater influence could be used, and in that case it must be exercised by men conscious of the fact that those over them in authority were ultimately responsible to the community, and not to a small body of men, not even known by name to the majority of the voters.
Such consolidations as those now under consideration are not to be regretted by the opponents of monopoly. They are the final and sufficient answer to the worn out pretense that competition can be depended on to guard the interests of the public against the incorporated band of highwaymen who now levy a legalized toll on industry and commerce. They bring the people face to face with the danger of the practical overthrow of free institutions through the transfer of political power to secretly organized syndicates of bankers and millionaires. They demonstrate the ineffectiveness of free railway laws and other defenses against monopoly, while the power to bankrupt any one attempting to use such facilities rests in the hands of those represented in the New York stock exchange. They also show the futility of attempting to control the railway system by interstate commerce laws and Pacific railway commissions, so long as a small body of men can meet in New York and parcel out among themselves the control of nearly half of the states who elect congressmen and senators.
The question in this country for some years has been whether the great monopolies shall control the government or whether the government shall eradicate monopolies. Every recent movement has been a step toward answering that question in favor of the monopolies, and no vote cast for the democratic or the republican parties interposes the slightest obstacle to the steady march of monopoly toward complete dominion over the material interests and political power of our people. The united labor party alone faces this huge and menacing power as young David once faced Goliath. It stands alone as the patriotic organization that would preserve popular government in this land, and it likewise stands alone as the party of true conservatism that opposes a threatening danger in time, and by legal means, instead of waiting for a condition so intolerable, and maintained by a hand so strong, that popular violence would become the only hope of restoring liberty to a robbed and oppressed people.
The charge is made by those who confessedly look to anarchy as the necessary precursor of social reconstruction that the united labor party does not represent the wage workers because it refuses to array them against all other classes of our people. The sufficient answer to this is that the wage workers have always had the power to make the united labor party what they would, and they have wisely chosen to make it an organization that can justly claim the full co-operation of all victims of the growing power of monopoly. Though the wage earners are the chief victims of that power, they are not the only ones, and those of their fellow sufferers who will first feel the effect of this new aggrandizement of the power of the railway kings can now turn with renewed interest and, we hope, with something of gratitude, to the platform of the united labor party, which proposes the only possible remedy for the evils of the present railway system, the only possible escape for trade and industry from the exactions of the modern robber barons, who demand such tribute as their predecessors in the middle ages did not dare to dream of.
The Baltimore and Ohio deal cut off the commerce of New York from its last remaining hope of escape from the clutch of the great railway pool. Fretting and fuming are needless. The time has come for action. There is but one remedy, and that is offered only in the platform of the united labor party, which proclaims that the party aims “at the abolition of a system which makes such beneficent inventions as the railroad and the telegraph a means for the oppression of the people and the aggrandizement of an aristocracy of wealth and power,” and which declares “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, 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.”
What manufacturer or merchant is there who is now awaiting with alarm the new tightening of the screw portended by this latest consolidation of railway power who can refuse to stand on that platform? To what other party except that of united labor can any victim of the monopoly in transportation look for any remedy whatever? If the business men of New York will throw away idle and childish fears, study the platform of the united labor party, and then with all their might and means help that party to win success, they will succeed in striking a blow that will bring the railway magnates to the ground. Wm. T. Croasdale.
The People’s Party.
Albany Press and Knickerbocker.
Both the leading parties have contributed to the dissatisfaction and discontent of the masses — the industrials. They have catered to the interests of monopolistic capital so persistently that the people have become disgusted with both of them. Industrial interests have borne the burden of onerous taxation at the hands of both parties so long and so unjustly that they have, at last, in self-defense, risen to hurl from place and power the representatives of class interests. If the labor party, which is, in fact, the people's party, receives the support its inaugurators hope for this fall its next effort will be to capture the legislature and congress, through the medium of which it will effect the reforms the people have clamored for in vain for years.
It is stated on excellent authority that Archbishop Corrigan declared his intention of resigning if the church authorities at Rome restore the Rev. Dr. McGlynn to his church, and there is little doubt that his example would have been followed by Vicar-General Preston, the ex-Protestant minister who was the main instigator of the attack on the late pastor of St. Stephen's. The Rev. Preston's letter to Joseph O'Donoghue of Tammany hall, just prior to the election in New York last fall, and the circulars which he caused to be distributed at the doors of the Catholic churches on the Sunday before election left no doubt in the public mind as to the political position of the vicar-general.
When the great vote cast for Henry George showed that the influence of “the palace” was not of much account in New York, the archbishop and his vicar general set about getting other indorsements of their position. A petition approving of the archbishop's action in the McGlynn case was submitted for signature to the priests, and a letter was procured from Rome condoling with him for the trials and tribulations to which he had been subjected in the McGlynn matter, and commending him generally in other respects. If the representations which procured that letter from Rome were built on the same general principle as the archbishop's first newspaper statement, the document has not the value it might otherwise possess. As to the petition, many of the priests, and among them some of the highest standing, refused to sign it. The head of one of the great orders in the Catholic church called it “the roll of dishonor,” and said he would submit to be cut to pieces rather than consent to such a use of his name.
Gradually a knowledge of the true state of affairs reached Rome, and it was seen that the archbishop, in his management of the McGlynn case, had, without any sufficient cause except it were a personal one, put a great body of American Catholics in a position of apparent hostility to the church. It was a very bad blunder. Taken in connection with the archbishop's statement that he would resign if Dr. McGlynn were restored to St. Stephen's, which also reached Rome, it was seen that the personal element was at least very strong, if it did not predominate the trouble.
Recent developments seem to confirm that view. The Rev. Dr. Curran some time ago attended a labor party picnic and introduced Dr. McGlynn, who was the principal speaker. Dr. Curran was summoned a few days afterward to the archbishop's “palace,” and directed to sign an apology to the archbishop for having attended the picnic. He did so, and the archbishop then made that fact the occasion of again unbosoming himself to the newspapers. With an indirection that has been a marked feature of the conduct of his side of the controversy, he selected a Father Lavelle, one of the attaches of the “palace,” to put his ideas in the form of an interview. The Rev. Lavelle, speaking for the archbishop, cannot suppress the personal pride and triumph of the latter at the result of his summons to Dr. McGlynn's friend. Dr. Curran, says the Rev. Lavelle, called at the palace, and by signing an apology made the amende honorable to the archbishop. He was not required, be it observed, to express sorrow for having publicly associated with and indorsed views held, as alleged, in opposition to the church, by an excommunicated priest, but only to make the amende honorable to the archbishop. According to the Rev. Lavelle, those who aid or abet Dr. McGlynn — that is to go to his meetings and applaud the system of land taxation he teaches — also incur excommunication.
Now, as Dr. Curran, after being punished for going to one of these meetings, went to another, at which he presided as the representative of Henry George, it follows that he “incurred excommunication.” The Rev. Lavelle admits as much, but says that as the Rev. Doctor made the amende honorable to the archbishop it is all right. Perhaps the Rev. Lavelle reasons that as the archbishop has condemned the land taxation theories of Henry George and the church has not, although in defiance of facts he says it has, it is not necessary that the church should be taken into consideration at all, but only that the amende honorable be made to the archbishop.
In assuming churchly prerogatives not properly belonging to him, however, as his statement through the Rev. Lavelle seems to indicate that he has, there is danger that he will not have the support of Rome; and if he maintains his position in the spirit of insubordination evinced when he said he would resign if Dr. McGlynn were restored, he may get into serious difficulties. The Rev. Dr. Richard L. Burtsell, pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of the Epiphany, New York, who is conceded a theologian of much higher standing in the church than Archbishop Corrigan, has written a series of articles, recently published in a Catholic paper, in which the outgiving of the Rev. Lavelle on the question of excommunication is in effect pronounced to be rank nonsense. It is true that the purpose of the Rev. Lavelle may have been merely to frighten away a class of voters from the labor party, but the fact that he has, in doing so, placed his principal, who is more than suspected of being strongly influenced by personal feeling, in direct opposition to the teachings of the church authorities at Rome, as interpreted by the Rev. Dr. Burtsell, goes to show that the Corrigan-McGlynn controversy has dwindled to the proportions of a personal quarrel, and may result in very unpleasant consequences to the archbishop.
To All Classes Save Monopolists.
For the first time in the history of this country a political party, having a distinctively labor origin, promises to assume national proportions.
Socialism, greenbackism, grangerism, and other similar isms failed to gain the popular ear. They were tentative, mere proofs of the existence of great evils rather than practical efforts at their solution. They were an attempt to lop off the branches of the upas tree, and not to strike at the roots. The American people refuse to give their attention to expedients, just as in the case of slavery they paid little heed to those who aimed at colonizing the blacks.
The Henry George party, however, aims a blow at the root of modern evils. Free trade, free land, the assumption of monopolies by the government in the interest of the people — all to be provided for by the simple expedient of abolishing all taxes but one, and laying that upon land.
For the first time, therefore, the old parties have something to fear from a labor party. And yet, though its first foothold is gained among the wage-workers, its power lies in the fact that, when its principles and their effects are understood, it will no longer be limited to a class, but will win the approval and support of all classes which are not selfishly monopolistic.
The Leeches that Suck the Life Blood of the “New South.”
Birmingham, Ala., Sentinel.
It is a proverbial saying that most men and women can bear adversity as well as they can prosperity, and this saying applies to cities and towns as well as to individuals.
Birmingham is giddy and excited if not drunk with a new issue of prosperity, and nowhere does this crop out to the injury of the city more than in the unbounded greed of landlords. From reasonable to unreasonable and then extortionate has been their programme, and now the last dollar is about to break the camel's back.
Business men have borne the burden until remunerative profits have entirely disappeared. Storerooms once renting for $900 or $1,000 a year have been advanced to $3,000 and $3,500 without any compensating advantages. Signs can now be read on some of the principal streets as follows: “High rents force us to quit business,” “Compelled to retire from business from the extravagant price of rents.”
Buildings in course of erection have no applicants. Many strangers in search of locations for business have been driven from the city by the extravagant demands of landlords. Mechanical associations are retreating to surrounding villages to avoid the exactions of house rents.
Birmingham is no exception to cities under like influences. This has been the modus operandi to destroy the business lives and property values of many cities throughout the south and west. As a proof, we know of one city where land which would once readily sell at $1,000 per acre outside city limits is now begging a purchaser at $200. We know of another city with more railroads than Birmingham and several public institutions whose inhabitants have fallen off 23,000 in eighteen months and property depreciated fully fifty cents on the dollar.
It Reads Like a Fable, but it's a Mighty Solemn Fact.
Ohio Valley Budget.
Some two hundred years ago a profligate king of a country called England gave a large tract of land, which did not belong to him, to a number of men who were going to cross the ocean to settle on that land. Kings in those days seemed to have ideas as magnificent as the Pacific railroad land grabbers or the cattle king of Texas who coolly appropriated 3,000,000 acres of school land, and they gave away whole states.
After one of these men, named William Penn, the great state of Pennsylvania (which he owned) was named. Mr. Penn was not a bad man and has the reputation of being exceptionally honest, because after the said king of England had given him this land and it was his by as holy a title as man could possess, yet he purchased it again from some interloping Indians who had settled upon it unknown to the English king. William Penn bought the land for some cloth, trinkets, etc, and made a treaty with the Indians under an oak tree which became historic for that reason.
The land was resold to settlers for about ten cents an acre. Among others, one Joseph Turner purchased a large tract, and Mr. Turner sold in his turn to a William Allen. Mr. Allen disposed of 300 acres to one Peter Grubb in 1737 for £135, or about $775.
This 300 acres of land purchased for $2.50 per acre contained a number of ore hills whose value at that time was not fully appreciated. But a young Englishman, named Robert Coleman, who had worked in ore mines, came to this country and entered in the employ of Peter Grubb. He obtained contracts from the Continental congress to furnish some arguments [sic] called cannon balls for the American army, and thereupon began to develop the hills. He was in the beginning only an employee of Mr. Grubb's, but before the close of the last century he had acquired the ownership of five-sixths of the estate.
This estate must have grown, for from 300 acres it has increased to 25,000 acres, and there are over 1,000 tenants upon it. It is thirty-four miles from one end of the property to the other end.
It contains great hills of ore, which lie above the surface and extend deep down into the bowels of the earth. Mr. Coleman didn’t put them there, neither did his father before him. Mr. Penn didn’t know anything about them, and it is doubtful whether the king of England, although claiming divine right, ever heard of these ore hills hidden away in the land he had never seen.
But all the same they belong to Mr. Coleman, because of all these real estate operations already recounted!
It is said that a mining expert calculated that the iron ore contained in these ore hills and veins would equal the national debt of the United States in value. In other words, the Coleman estate has a legal franchise in its possession which will give it the power to claim, in course of time, nearly two billion dollars from ore consumers. A writer recently said, in commenting on this estate: “If a thousand furnaces were to blast a thousand years, these hills, which have made millionaires of scores of families, would stand in their inexhaustible greatness to enrich thousands more.”
Will any one pretend that the labor of the original owners made this land valuable? Was the labor expended in proportion to the enormous wealth garnered there in ages past by nature? Was it not society with its urgent needs which gave a value to these lands?
“Labor creates all wealth,” so political economy tells us. But here we have the calculation of a mining expert that the value of the ore beds, converted into iron, would be as great as the national debt.
“Yes,” some one will reply, “but won’t it take labor to dig it and convert it into iron?”
So it will, but it won't be the labor of the owner. Since 1737 the 300 acres containing the ore hills have increased to 25,000 acres and 1,000 tenants, who rejoiced greatly when a son and heir was born to the present manager of the estate.
So you see whatever bargain is made with the labor to do the digging and converting it seems to have a tendency, judging from the past, to enable the estate to absorb more acres and to vastly increase the riches of the land owner. We hope that its labor receives sufficient to maintain itself in comfort, but know that the tendency is for wages to gravitate to a sum not at all in proportion to the value of its services.
These are facts and should have due weight with every thinking man. What is the use of shutting one's eyes and crying out, “Socialism, anarchism, communism, Georgeism?”
Let us think and inquire, and if the system is right it will become so clearly evident that no man will dispute its justice. If it is wrong no bugaboo cry will scare off the conclusion that proper means must be taken to make it right. What those measures are no one can tell, but the more clearly we understand the subject the more practicable will be the remedy suggesting itself.
Atkinson and the Pig.
Edward Atkinson loves figures, and has a sublime faith that they cannot lie. When Mr. Atkinson wishes to prove anything he sits down with a pencil, a ruler and some paper, makes a lot of figures and some heavy black lines, some long and some short, and presto: the thing is proved. It doesn't matter how absurd the conclusion may be, if only he arrives at it by a path bristling with statistics, Mr. Atkinson announces his conclusion as if there were no earthly doubt about it, and evidently sincerely believes it himself.
One of the worst things about these statistics is that the long rows of figures, with the short lines and the long lines, and the complicated diagrams, look so appallingly dry that very few people have the patience to wade through them at all. So it happens that Mr. Atkinson’s conclusions are often accepted on trust. For it does seem as if such a mass of figures ought to prove almost anything.
But we hope our readers will not always throw the Atkinsonian statistics aside just because they look so dry. We assure them that there is much genuine humor concealed behind the long sums.
Mr. Atkinson has for several years been trying to convince the American people that the workingmen have no ground for complaint; that strikes are unprovoked, and such organizations as the knights of labor and the labor unions are useless and foolish. “I have nothing to eat,” says the laborer, who is out of work. “Live more economically then,” says Mr. Atkinson.
ln the August number of the Century Magazine Mr. Atkinson has one of his articles, figures, tables, lines and all. In this article he traces poverty to its cause, and arrives at a far more startling conclusion than Henry George ever dreamed of. Mr. Atkinson proves in black and white that labor's troubles are caused by pork.
There are in corn, among other nourishing elements, large proportions of protein and starch. Now it takes 1,000 pounds of corn, fed to the hogs, to make 200 pounds of pork. “In this conversion,” says Mr. Atkinson, “nearly all the starch and all the protein are wasted.” And but for this waste the working people could pay their rents. All they need to do is to eat all corn and no hog.
Evidently, then, the hogs are the chief cause of labor's troubles. The socialists, who say it is competition, are all wrong. The anarchists, who say it is the law, are wrong. Henry George, who says it is the land ownership, is wrong. The prohibitionists, who say it is intemperance, are wrong. The free traders, who say it is the high tariff, are wrong. Atkinson alone is right. It is the pig.
Down with the pig, then! Let us exterminate this cheater of labor, this defrauder of the landlord, this reckless prodigal of starch and protein, this menace to our national prosperity. We call upon the government to offer head money for the pig. He must go. He is not here, as in Ireland, “the gintleman that pays the rent.” He merely wastes our starch and protein, causing poverty and strikes, and playing the very mischief with things generally. Give us starch and protein or give us death!
Was ever such foolishness put soberly before an intelligent people? Can it be that Mr. Atkinson is intentionally humorous?
If not, will he kindly tell us what part in the production of poverty is taken by the hogs with two legs?
Chattel Slavery and Wage Slavery Compared
Toronto Labor Reformer.
There is another disadvantage which the modern slaveholder has to suffer. They can't take the young slaves into the market and sell them, and thus they can't engage profitably in the stock raising business as the old kind of slaveholders did. Still it is about as broad as it is long, for, if they can't sell at a profit, when they want to get a slave they don't have to buy. He comes to them and begs them for God's sake to take him.
On the whole, I don't see that the wage slaves have much room to brag. I see a good deal of wonder expressed in some quarters because the negroes in the south are joining the Knights of Labor in such numbers. I don’t see the cause for wonder. They were once chattel slaves and when they got their freedom they naturally expected it would mean a bettering of their condition, but experience has shown them that the whole thing has been a good deal of a hollow mockery. They've got to work, if anything, harder than before; their food is no better and their clothes rather worse; if they get sick, why, that’s their outlook; they are no longer as valuable as a horse or a cow. I don't wonder that they think that either freedom is a big humbug or else that they haven't got the real article.
Oh, but I fancy I hear some of our society saviors say: Listen to the demagogue. He’s trying to make the working classes discontented. He dwells on all the real and fancied resemblance between chattel slavery and the wage system, but he don't tell of the great differences. Why don't he admit that under the present system children are not sold away from their mothers as they were in slavery?
Not so fast, friend, I haven't spoken of this difference principally because there isn't any such difference. Children are separated from their mothers under the present system. Where do you suppose the ship loads of children that Dr. Barnardo, Miss Rye, Miss Macpherson and others bring out here come from? True enough, they are mostly gathered in from the slums and purlieus of English cities, but I’ll bet a match they all had mothers. Oh, but their mothers parted with them willingly, did they? Well, I've yet to hear of a negro woman reduced by slavery to such abject misery and degradation that she was glad to get rid of her children.
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PRICE, THIRTY-FIVE CENTS.
Now in press and ready for delivery, September 13
When this book was originally published, in May, 1886, it seemed to me that the tariff would be the first of the economic questions to come into political issue in the United States, and I looked to it as a means by which the underlying land question would be brought into general discussion.
But events then unforeseen are bringing the land question into the discussions of “practical politics” with greater rapidity than I expected, and it now seems likely that it will be an awakening as to the larger question that will lead the masses of our people to consider the smaller.
This gratifying change, however, instead of lessening the interest and usefulness of this book, gives to the matters of which it treats so much more immediate and practical importance as to call for the publication of a popular edition. It has already done much, and is I trust destined to do more, not only to place the tariff question in its true light, but to clear away confusions of thought that obscure the full scope and beauty at the simple measure, which securing equality with regard to natural opportunities, will emancipate labor and give free play to productive forces.
Henry George's Works.
Progress and Poverty, paper. $ .20
" " cloth 1.00
" " half calf or half morocco….2.50
Social Problems, paper .20
" " cloth 1.00
" " half calf or half morocco . 2.50
Protection or Free Trade?, paper .35
" " cloth 1.50
" " half calf or half morocco. 3.00
Property in Land, paper .15
The Land Question, paper .10
For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price.
HENRY GEORGE & CO., 25 Ann street, New York
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 in 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. 11. “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. N. Spencer of Henry, Ill. 4 pages.
No. 19. “My Landlord.” By John Jones. 4 pages.
No. 20. “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” An address of 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. 8 pages.
No. 29. “Tenement House Morality.” Rev. J. O. 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.
To enable readers to select the tracts best suited for use in their neighborhoods a single full set of the Land and Labor library – one copy of each tract – will be sent to any address for 20 cents.
We are receiving a great many letters like the following, which comes from an employee of a large New York corporation:
Please direct me how to be of any service to the united labor party until the close of the campaign. I can and am willing to give without compensation my spare time to the cause. Between 10 a. m. and half-past 2 p. m. I am employed. The balance of the day I am at the command of the party if they can use me. No work can be too severe or too humble, for my whole heart is with the movement.
There is plenty of work for every man, and would be were the workers multiplied a hundred fold.
The task before us is to gain a sufficient number of votes to elect the ticket of the united labor party at the coming election in New York state. Whatever will assist to that end is good and efficient work, and whatever work to that end a man can best do, is the work he ought to do.
Our friend whose letter we quote serves a corporation in whose employ are hundreds of voters. The majority of them will unquestionably give their votes to the united labor party if they understand the platform and principles of that party and the wonderful results that will follow its success. Has he made sure that these men do understand? Can he guarantee that their votes will be cast for emancipation? If not, his task lies ready to his hand. Let him talk, distribute tracts, bring men to meetings, be instant in season and out of season, make himself a center of discussion, if needs be a target for the opposition and scorn of the enemy. He will find men ready enough to listen to him; and many a one who begins by sneering will end by joining hands with him.
Is our friend a member of the party organization in his assembly district and punctual in his attendances? There is work for him there, plenty of it, and it will increase as the weeks roll on.
Has he contributed his mite to aid in the conversion of voters in other parts of the state? Has he no friends outside the city whose ballots can be tried for? A single car fare a day from now to Nov. 8 would enable him to send The Standard for the campaign to eight voters; and eight votes may turn the scale in some election district.
These are some of the things our friend can do to help along the cause. And if he wants more work, we have no doubt the committee at room 28 Cooper union can find plenty for him to do.
London, England.—As a brother journalist, knowing something from personal experience of the United States as well as of Great Britain, let me give you my candid opinion of The Standard. It is, as I observe, my friend Mr. Richard McGee of Glasgow wrote you some time ago, a most “demoralizing paper” for busy men who have their livelihoods to make. When you take it up it is next to impossible to lay it down until you have gone right through it, and for a somewhat slow reader like myself, this is a very serious matter. There is nothing that can be skipped, and the style is no less admirable than the matter. I had often dreamed of such a paper, but never expected to see it on this side of Jordan. The Standard has far more interest for the most reflective minds here than any paper published in London. It is of universal human interest, overleaping every barrier of distance and clime. It is the only truly Christian paper with which I am acquainted. It demonstrates that religion itself, like the Sabbath day, was made for man, and not man for religion. The prospect of achieving, at one blow, not merely the greatest social, but the greatest spiritual revolution the world has ever seen, may well inspire you and such noble coadjutors as Dr. McGlynn and Mr. Pentecost with a faith capable of removing mountains. God speed you all in your beneficent undertaking. The Anti-poverty society is at this moment the sacred band, as The Standard is the oriflamme, of the human race.
The catholicity of The Standard is a feature which you ought not to overlook in the efforts that are made to promote its circulation. We cannot produce such a journal here in Great Britain, but we can readily provide you with thousands of readers if only The Standard could once be brought directly under their notice and efficient steps taken to secure its distribution. In London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Norwich, Hull, Liverpool, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Dublin, Belfast, Cork and other important towns there are many radical clubs and numerous individuals who would be only too glad of an opportunity to enroll themselves as members of the Anti-poverty society and to subscribe to the organ of the new crusade. By the way, does it not appear time that the Anti-poverty society should be undertaking some missionary work in partibus infidelium? Cannot you spare us a month or two of Dr. McGlynn now that he has been excommunicated? I will guarantee that he will not be excommunicated by the “masses” of England and Scotland, whatever the “classes” may do. In every radical center his name is already a household word, and nothing but his presence is required to evoke unbounded enthusiasm. The English and Americans are indeed two nations, but they are only one people, and I trust the time is not so far distant when they will be again a single commonwealth. Only we must come to you, you cannot come to us.
J. Morrison Davidson.
This letter is worth reading, not because it pays a compliment to The Standard — though it is pleasant and encouraging to hear our efforts spoken of in such terms — but because it drives home the truth that the cause we are fighting for has nothing local or petty about it. It is not the cause of the people of a single state, of a single nation, or a single race. It is the cause of all humanity, and being so, it is the cause of God himself. This, friends, is something that you should not, must not, forget. The campaign in New York this fall is a political campaign only in name; in essence and in very truth it is a battle for the right against the powers of evil that too long have dominated the world. Every vote cast for the united labor party is a vote against crime, against unnecessary suffering, against needless death — in a word, against the diabolism of poverty. Every dollar contributed to the funds of the campaign is a dollar given to the cause of Christ. We need help to fight this battle, friends. We need money to enable us to held up the lamp of truth before the eyes of every New York voter who now sits in darkness. You can help us if you will. Will you do it as you can? Look at the figures of the recruiting fund, and think how inadequate that fund is for the work it has to do. Give what you can. Give all you can. And give at once, while the urgent need is on us.
Here is what a business man of Philadelphia writes:
I have just finished reading your book, “The Land Question,” handed me by a friend; and from being a bitter opponent (through ignorance) of your land theory, am convinced it is but right and just in all respects, and only regret that the press misrepresents you and your theory; also that the people have not the opportunity of understanding you better. I shall avail myself of the first chance I have and read your other works, and spread the glorious truth, as I found it to the best of my ability. Accept my thanks for the pleasure your book has given me.W. E. R.
W. E. R’s experience has been that of thousands of other people. Men go about assailing the doctrine of the single tax, talking about its wicked interference with the “sacred rights of property,” denouncing all who adhere to it as foolish theorists, or worse, until some fine day they happen to hear or read what the single tax doctrine really is — that it proposes to take from no man anything that belongs to him, but only to make him pay over to the community what belongs to them — that so far from increasing the weight of taxation it proposes to lighten it immeasurably; and then it is almost amusing to hear them exclaim: “What! is that all? That simple thing? Why, of course I agree to that! A man would be a fool to dispute it.”
So it is, good friends. The truth we are advocating, that the same God who made heaven for the habitation and use of men when they get there, made this earth for the habitation and use of men while they live in it, needs only to be seen to be admitted. In fact, nobody denies it, because nobody can deny it, any more than he can deny that two and two make four. The very men who are most earnest in their opposition to us don’t deny it. They deny something else. They invent or pick up some foolish idea, like that of dividing the land up into little pieces and giving everybody a slice, or that of taking away property from people who have it, and dividing it up among those who haven’t any; and they call that foolish idea the gospel of the Anti-poverty society and knock it into smithereens with immense exultation; but not one of them ever thinks of disputing that all men are equal children of one heavenly Father, or that God made the earth for the use of the men living in it, or that to deprive a man of his share of God’s gifts is a robbery, no matter whether the thing stolen be his share of salvation hereafter or of life here on earth.
Just listen, for example, to this clergyman from Tennessee:
Parsonage, Presbyterian Church,
Blountville, Sullivan Co., Tenn.,
August 30, 1887.
I must again beg you to discontinue my copy of The Standard for the present. The paper is so well put up — I speak as an old editor — that I read it if it comes, and it is just a waste of time for me to do so.
I am now master of your theory. It is destructive, annihilating, more so than the worse kind of communism.
To place the taxes indispensably necessary upon “land” would be a great blessing, would discourage land speculation, would throw open to use great bodies of land and would relieve labor and wealth of taxes that tend to cripple them.
But to confiscate rent is to destroy the value of land, and thus to destroy its usefulness, to waste nature, to corrupt government, to destroy riches and to increase poverty.
If it were your design to lay the necessary taxes on land, all good patriots should help you; but as you seek to confiscate rent, all good men should oppose you.
The liquor traffic causes more poverty than landlordism. It should be fought first.
Your Sabbath political meetings are a curse to our land. The Sabbath of rest proverb is true that says “Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked.”
The Standard has much to say about “unearned increment of land values.” I cannot see for the life of me how an intelligent man who is also honest can talk as The Standard does.
The fact is that nothing we use or have is earned. If you will give me the unearned increments of labor and capital for five years, I think — I have not computed — that I could give you all the land in America.
Please pardon my loquacity.
If you will stop my paper at once I will not trouble you with another long letter.
James B. Converse.
Now isn’t it evident that all this reverend gentleman needs is just to see? He is perfectly honest and thoroughly anxious to do what he thinks is right. He has looked our way, and he thinks he sees, and turns away with scorn. But in reality there is a mist of prejudice before his eyes that has thus far prevented him from seeing anything but a distorted and repulsive caricature of the truth. And he asks us to stop sending him The Standard! No, no, Mr. Converse, The Standard shall go to you regularly until your time is up, and the recruiting fund shall furnish you with a copy of “Progress and Poverty” and a set of tracts. The mist will clear away from before your eyes presently, and you’ll see the truth and acknowledge it, like a true man and minister of Christ. Meantime, brother Converse, we would like an answer from you to this question:
If you had “the unearned increment of labor and capital for five years” — we haven’t the faintest idea what that is, but suppose you had it — and we had all the land in America, and we should say to you, “Hand over all you've got or get out of our Tennessee, and be mighty careful you don’t set foot in any of our other states while you’re doing it!” what would you do? We may be wrong, but we really think that under such circumstances you would preach a pretty good extemporaneous anti-poverty sermon, telling us that the same God who made you made Tennessee for you to live in if you wanted to, and that you proposed to exercise your rights as a child of God and an American citizen, and the “owners” of Tennessee and the rest of the United States to the contrary notwithstanding. And if you think our question presupposes an utterly ridiculous condition of affairs, take this fact along with you: That the man who writes these lines writes them in New Jersey, because, although he was born in New York and brought up in New York and wants to live in New York, the people who “own” New York have ordered him either to pay them a tribute which would take the bread out of the mouths of his children, or to get out of New York, and he has got out accordingly.
Here are three letters that are pleasant reading for American citizens.
The first is from an employee of a wealthy and highly respected trading corporation of this city. He writes:
A prominent clerk in this house said to me last week: “My position here will not permit me to identify myself with any labor movement at present; but a boom is coming, I tell you!” There is a vast army in this city whose mouths would be opened wide and their tongues wag glibly on the engaging themes your theories set before them but for the slavery they are in to bread and butter. Silent sympathy and prayers of many such are following your cause, and it will win. I inclose $5 for the recruiting fund. It means to me more than $5,000,000 would to a Vanderbilt. Write it down to “a friend,” since I have weightier reasons than the modesty of the nabobs why my name cannot appear with it, which I am sure you will respect.
The second is from that attorney in New York state whom we mentioned in a late number as being constrained to avoid any public acknowledgement of his faith in the Anti-poverty doctrine by the fear of losing his position of counsel to a corporation. He sends us $1.50, for which he asks that a copy of “Protection or Free Trade” be sent to a certain newspaper editor, and says:
I see you mention my letter in The Standard. My case is not so bad as that of a railroad foreman that I met on the line of the New York Central railroad while on last convention trip, who told me that he dare not let any one know how he voted for the last five years; that he kept prepared each year a set of tickets, and then received all tickets offered to him and put into the ballot box his own.
You are now in practical politics, and will learn something. I tell you we are fighting a system hoary with age and crime and oppression. Convincing the mind is one thing, inspiring the courage to act according to that conviction is quite another, and I may say the harder thing.
Think of the fortifications around the old parties — money, power, patronage, ignorance, prejudice, pride of opinion, office holders and office seekers and their personal friends and patrons, employer and employed, the dependent forces, the saloon power, even the churches of all denominations, the long, cold winter just after election, the sir oracles, the man gods and the pro-poverty press!
Freedom of speech is a myth! Society prefers a hypocrite to a man of outspoken honesty, for it lauds and honors the former to the breeding of dishonesty, and condemns the latter for daring to tell the truth within him — unless his position and power are such as to make him entirely independent, and such are mostly on the wrong side.
And the third is from a clergyman in Maryland. Listen to it:
I am under many obligations to you and my friend who send me The Standard. I have read it and circulated it where its words will do good. I am thoroughly in sympathy with the efforts of workingmen to effect radical changes in law, in administration of law, in repeal of all class legislation about tariff, monopolies and elections. I trust you will succeed, but just now I am unable to subscribe. Honorable men in the chancel are oppressed by the commercial temper of the day, as much so as the mechanic at his trade. In this letter for your eye only, I can give no reasons, but laboring men here know where my sympathies are. Perhaps you may hear from me again.
—— ——-, Rector of P. E. Church.
Isn’t it a glorious thing to be an American? — a citizen of a country whose government is of the people, by the people and for the people? — where every man is politically the peer of every other man, and the honest toiler has as much to say as the wealthy man who employs him about how the country shall be ruled? Ought we not to be happy that we don’t live in England where the squires tell their tenants how to vote, but in free America where, if we let it be known that we prefer one political party to another, our employers can only discharge us? — only turn us out to hunt for a job, and to starve if we don’t find it — only put a mark upon us to prevent other masters employing us? — only threaten us with the poor house if we venture to oppose their political ideas? Do you find these letters pleasant reading? — or does it make your blood boil, just a little, and your cheek redden, to think that free born American mothers have suckled slaves?
And what shall be said to this clergyman, this vowed servant of Christ, who sees Christ’s younger brothers robbed and killed and trampled in the mire, and dare not speak except anonymously?
Standard readers, many of you are, to some extent, responsible for the suffering and degradation of these men. They fear to speak because you, who might speak without fear, don’t do so. Fling out your banners! Stand up and proclaim your faith! Force men to know and understand what you believe. Make the anti-poverty gospel fashionable, and you will marvel to see how many who now secretly believe and hope, but dare not show themselves, will stand forth into the light of day.
Let us turn to something pleasanter. Here are a few letters from men who are neither afraid to avow their faith nor too indolent to work for it:
New Rochelle, N. Y.—Inclosed find check for $2 for the following recruit subscriptions. I wish I were rich enough to make the check $200 instead of $2, but you must take the good wishes of Are. Huntington and myself for the success of the cause instead.
We are going, with the co-operation of the Rev. Mr. Higbie, an Episcopal clergyman, now absent, but soon to return here, and who is very much interested in the cause, to get up an Anti-poverty society here. H. K. Huntington.
Durham, N. C.—The sample copies of The Standard were duly received. I enjoyed reading them very much, and have handed them round to my friends. I have been visiting several K of L. assemblies lately, and find them thirsty for just such reading matter.
One man, the owner of a small lot in this town, says he likes you very much, but doesn't like your theories, as they will take away all private ownership in land. He has just sold his lot for twice what he paid for it.
I inclose $5, for which send the following tracts, and inclosed list of twelve recruit subscriptions. I shall try and get a land and labor club established here soon. I am thoroughly in earnest. May you have success in the empire state this fall. D. L. Kaufman.
Spirit Lake, Iowa.—I inclose $1, for which please send your paper for six weeks to persons named on inclosed list. I hope to send you another list soon, and will also send list of names of Methodist clergymen in about forty towns in Iowa.
I have concluded to donate at least part of the money I used to spend for tobacco to spreading the gospel of the new crusade. I will be no poorer, will be better off without tobacco, and can thus do some good work for the great cause. Traveler.
New York City.—Inclosed find $2 with my third list of twelve names, to whom please send The Standard for six weeks. The other twenty-four are in good hands, and as far as I have learned three-fourths of them are all our side now. I shall look after the stubborn ones and hurl at them the thunder I found in “Progress and Poverty,” which I have almost committed to memory.
East Newark, N. J —Inclosed find $1 for two recruit subscriptions and tracts as per list herewith. This seems but an ordinary business order, but it is also the expression of a burning desire to do what I can to help spread the light. John Hendry.
San Francisco, Cal.—Here is fifty cents, I don’t want to be one of that 30,000 any longer. Send The Standard to the two addresses below for six weeks. We shall organize an anti-poverty society in this city very shortly. H. D. Wagner.
Concord, N. H. —For inclosed remittance renew the following two subscriptions, and send the five recruit subscriptions inclosed. I also send subscription for one year for _____. He has joined me in my subscription hitherto, and has had the use of my paper, but partnership in a paper is not convenient, especially when that paper is The Standard.
Send me a few sample copies. God bless The Standard and the movement. And God will bless them, for how can he help blessing purity, earnestness and strength? F. C. Thompson.
Dayville, Conn.—On June 18th I attended the great meeting in honor of Dr. McGlynn; I also attended the Anti-poverty meeting in the Academy of Music on the 19th, and gave $1 for initiation into the Anti-poverty society. Inclosed please find $2; use as you think best. I am a poor grocer, working from fourteen to fifteen hours per day, trying to make an honest living.
To say you have my sympathy in this fight without offering some support would be nonsense. Public speaking, the printing and distribution of tracts require both time and intelligence, and to carry on the war money is required. As an old reader of the Irish World it required no great effort on the part of Dr. McGlynn to convert me. What a man! To listen to him is like getting a view of heaven before our time. But to arms and to action! and let us wake into activity the indifferent, and put new life into the hopeless. Would to God I could help you by either voice or pen. Yours until the light is won. In this case P. stands for Patrick.
New York City.—You will find inclosed 50 cents in postage stamps for the purpose of helping you in your noble task of spreading the light of the land and labor question among the working class. Two Watch Case Engravers.
New York City.—Inclosed find check for $3, to be used as follows: One dollar for my initiation fee as a member of the Anti-poverty society, and $2 for Standards, to be sent for six weeks to the following persons.
On second thought I’ll make the check $5, add a few more names and ask you to use the balance in the cause. Sidney Sherwood.
Monmouth.—Find herewith $5 express order, to be used in the way you deem best for the advancement of the great cause of land reform.
My own idea is that all efforts should be concentrated in New York state as the battleground. In the meantime something should be done to organize a movement in Chicago, which next to New York is perhaps the most important point. J. W. Bailey.
Buffalo, N. Y.—I read The Standard regularly, every word of it. The first seven pages show me what ought to be done, and why, and on the eighth page “Publisher’s Notes” are a constant appeal to me to go to work and do it. It was hard for me to stir round among my friends and talk, but I have taken the plunge, and henceforth I am a worker. And do you know, out of ten men I talked to, six were already converted, but hadn’t had the courage to declare themselves. And they all seemed surprised to hear that I was a united labor man. It made me feel ashamed of myself.
I am satisfied that if every man in our party will but come out boldly and declare himself, we shall find we have four or five times as many friends as we think for.
I and my friends have started a car fare savings bank, and each one of us puts in five cents a day for the recruiting fund. We will open it soon, and meantime I send $5 as a sin offering for my long idleness and silence. Harry Beaver.
The spirit truly is willing,
And my faith in the cause is strong,
But a man with scarcely a shilling
Can’t do much to help it along;
But one can do what he can, sir,
And lest I seem on the fence,
To your call for more funds I make answer,
Here’s a note for five hundred cents. F. K.
Cincinnati, O.—Inclosed is $5 to help carry on the ball in New York. I have seen in nearly every town in the state, from Shelter Island to Dunkirk and from Dunkirk to Rouse’s Point. I feel that I know the people of independent thought and action, and I predict a vote on the new principle which will be a regular political landslide. Charles H. Fitch.
Hornellsville, N. Y.— We can win this election if we only fall into line and stand shoulder to shoulder. I inclose $3, which I hope will result in seventeen recruits. Use it all in New York.
Ellenville, N. Y.—Letters of sympathy are blank cartridges, but dollar bills are bullets to kill. This is no time for feux de joie. I send two bullets. Fred J. Howard.
Well, John Smith, are you going to be an idler or a worker? Are you going to shoulder a musket and do some fighting in the ranks of the new crusade, or do you intend to linger in the rear and only come to the front after the victory is won? We can conquer New York this fall if you will do your whole duty; we shall surely be defeated if you don’t.
Think what we are fighting for! Not to provide an office for this man or that man — not to make some trifling change in administration or to divert the spoils of office from one set of men to another — that’s what the old parties are struggling and shrieking over. We are working to save human lives! It is a solemn truth that right here in this city of New York nine thousand human beings will be killed next year if you don’t do your duty now. This isn’t any figure of speech. The board of health doesn’t deal in fairy tales. And the board of health has said that out of every thousand inhabitants in New York city six die every year for no other reason than overcrowding. They are literally squeezed to death — crowded off the earth that God made for them to live on. You can save these nine thousand lives if you want to, or you can have their loss upon your conscience if you like; but you cannot escape blame by saying you don’t care to meddle in politics.
Where is your dollar for the recruiting fund? Where are your recruit subscriptions? Where is your contribution to campaign expenses? Where is your club of subscribers to The Standard? How many tracts have you distributed? How many votes are pledged through your exertions? Where is your bulletin board? John Smith, John Smith, you muster thirty thousand strong and over in these United States, and the wails of little children doomed to die, the moanings of wives that must be widows, the agony of mothers to be bereaved, are rising up to heaven as a testimony against you. Come our, John Smith, and do your duty like a man!
Here is the recruiting fund account. John Smith should turn his back as he reads it, lest men should see him blush for shame.
Previously acknowledged $571 66
J. W. Bailey, Monmouth 5 00
E. H. Payne and A. S. Payne 3 00
G. 1 00
Cash… 5 00
'ammer, 'ammer, ’ammer 1 00
Sidney Sherwood, N. Y 1 80
K. R. C 30 00
Are. A. C. P 10 00
Miss M. P. C 10 00
Helen Weston 5 00
Two watch case engravers 50
P. Gibbons, Dayville. Conn 2 00
Harry Beaver, Buffalo 5 00
Philip Elwood, Hornellsville 3 00
Fred J. Howard, Ellenville 2 00
A Workman . 1 00
John Levis, Springfield, III 1 00
Ajax 3 00
George D., Pittsburg.Pa 1 00
F. Westergard, N. J 1 00
T. J Ford 25
C. M 80
Dr. Edward Fridenburg. N. Y 5 00
F.K 5 00
George V. Wells, Chicago 1 65
Henry Erne, Bowie, Tex…. 1 00
J. F. K 1 00
C. H. Jewett 1 00
Charles H. Filch, Cincinnati 5 00
New York, Sept. 3.—I believe that several months ago some one sent in a sum of money to start what he proposed to call the “International recruiting fund,” the same to be a fund for paying for translations of tracts, etc., into German, French and other foreign languages, so as to reach those to whom English is difficult to understand. Much, indeed, I think most, of the opposition which we meet arises from a misunderstanding of what we want and what the effect of shifting all taxes to land values would be, and this misunderstanding which befogs so many American born people has tended still more to separate from us many honest men among the Germans, French and others. It is in my opinion but necessary to show that the results of the reforms we advocate will be to take away the power of aggregated capital to exact a tribute from labor. I would suggest the publication of such matter as will show that individuals or families under our proposed system, cannot live idly off the interest on their capital, because labor will be so highly remunerated and capital so abundant that labor can accumulate or obtain capital without being forced to support a class of do-nothings.
I inclose $10 for this fund from myself and $10 from a sympathizer whose name I must withhold.
W. B. Scott
Here is another letter on the same subject:
Grand Haven, Mich. — Find, included exchange on New York for $25, which please apply to printing and distribution of anti-poverty literature in some foreign tongue. H. G. D.
We add H. G. D.’s contribution to that of Mr. Scott and his friends’, and shall apply it to the issue of tracts in German. There is an urgent need for the dissemination of tracts among our German fellow citizens, and we trust that further contributions for the same purpose will be forthcoming.
The Standard, beginning with the issue of Sept. 10, will be sent to any five addresses, within the state of New York, up to the end of the campaign, for $1.25.
These campaign subscriptions will afford land and labor clubs, local assemblies, trades unions and other organizations means of doing efficient campaign work, and placing the issues squarely before their neighbors, at a very trifling cost.
THE CAMPAIGN FUND.
Contributions for campaign expenses are coming in fast enough to show that Standard readers appreciate the importance of supplying the sinews of war; but not by any means as rapidly as we want to see them. Here are a few of the letters that come to us from contributors:
New York, Sept 5.—The successful mass meeting in Cooper union on Sept. 3 must have been a surprise to many, for it demonstrates clearly that every intelligent German citizen, guided by common sense, embraces with enthusiasm the sublime principles of truth and justice as enunciated in the platform of the united labor party. Let us hope that the battle of next fall may turn out a gigantic eye-opener to all the world, heralding the advent of a new era where the human mind will shake off the fetters of bigotry and injustice and ascend into a higher state of social development. May all readers of The Standard recognize the importance of a victory. Having divine truth on our side, we can defy a world of ignorance, malice and selfishness. Therefore, fellow crusaders, cease to be lukewarm and show your mettle. Inclosed please find $3 as my mite to the campaign fund. H. A. Littmann.
Reading, Pa., Sept. 3.—Inclosed find $1 for New York campaign fund. I wish I could do a few thousand times better, but every little helps. A Friend.
New York, Sept. 6.—Yesterday, as I stood looking at the great crowds of workingmen streaming along the avenues filling the thoroughfares with earnest, honest hearts, I felt and said to myself, “Praise God, I feel that the night is far spent — the day is at hand.” Inclosed find $2, to be added to the campaign fund. Mary E. Wilson,
Anti-poverty society, 862.
(The following are the contributions received this week. The money has been handed to the state general committee:
Edward Friedenberg, New York $5 00
‘ammer 'ammer 'ammer 1 75
H. A. Littman, New York 3 00
Blanton Duncan 25 00
Mary E. Wilson, New York 2 00
W., New York 2 00
A. Van Dyke, New York 1 00
A Friend 1 00
Friend, Reading, Pa 1 00
Cash 5 00
W. and M. Brimfield, Philadelphia 2 00
WilliamT. Winters 1 00
Mark W. Cross, Boston 10 00
S. R. C. 1 00
W. F. Mason, Erie, Pa 1 00
Ajax 8 00
Previously acknowledged 478 00
Total to date. $542 75