Vol II – No. 11. New York, Saturday, September 17, 1887
Price Five Cents
THE UNITED LABOR PARTY PREPARING FOR VIGOROUS WORK.
Matthew Couzens for State Engineer — The Formal Opening of the Campaign — Quarrels and Contests Among the Old Parties — The State Workingmen’s Assembly — The Labor People are Honeycombing the Democratic Party
The state committee of the united labor party has completed the state ticket by nominating Matthew Couzens of Yonkers for state engineer, instead of Mr. Sweet. The committee is busily engaged in mapping out the campaign, and has arranged for 200 meetings, at each of which at least two leading speakers will be present. It will be a canvass marked by the fire and vigor that characterized the municipal campaign in this city last year, and there is no reason to doubt that it will carry conviction to thousands of minds that have thus far not so much as considered the principles of the new party.
The campaign will be formally opened by the great ratification meeting in this city, at Union square, on Saturday evening, Sept. 17, and from that time until election day the people’s slogan will sound every day or night throughout the state and in this city and Brooklyn.
The leaders of the united labor party are not worrying themselves about the socialists. Conscious of their own party’s strength, they will enter the canvass to win, and without any fear but that the arguments of their speakers will vindicate the claims of their party to the votes of all true workingmen and of wealth producers of all sorts. The socialists are having a good time, and receiving more consideration at the hands of the press than ever bcfore. This fact, taken together with the venomous attacks by their own organs on the chosen leaders of the united labor party, shows clearly that the only object of these angry people is to prevent the triumph of the labor party, and hence the noisier they are now the weaker they will become by election day. When the canvass really warms up and the workingmen of New York keep step and touch elbows in the great procession, it will not be a difficult task to bring all who are not animated solely by revenge for personal grievances into line. It is of course natural that opposition newspapers should exaggerate the importance of what they call the great split in labor’s ranks, but it is rather amusing to find papers that attacked the united labor party last year because the socialists were in its ranks, now sympathizing with the socialists because they have been expelled from the party.
In Brooklyn there is more work to do than in New York, because the party’s organization here has never been allowed to fall away. The work across the river is proceeding admirably, and the party is becoming a compact organization that expects to cast a vote that will create consternation among the machine politicians and bosses who rule both old parties there as here. The pernicious activity of the mercenaries calling themselves the union labor party is apparently dying away, since no man can any longer shut his eyes to the fact that that party is here a myth, and the consequence is that the working men of Brooklyn are flocking in great numbers to the only political organization that has any chance of doing anything toward the overthrow of monopoly in this part of the country.
The socialists have determined to lay aside mere propaganda and go into politics. It is a pity that they have laid aside their true name, “the socialistic labor party,” and decided to call themselves the progressive labor party. It is doubtful if by any other name they will smell more sweet in the nostrils of the ordinary American workingman, with his strong sentiment in favor of individual liberty. They have also greatly crippled freedom of speech among themselves by determining to conduct their discussions in the English language. The educational influence of this effort cannot fail in the long run to be very salutary. Had it begun a few years ago there would probably be no socialistic party in this country today. The determination of the socialists to stand up and be counted will enable themselves, as well as everybody else, to form a true estimate of their strength. The only thing to be regretted about their whole movement is that this party formed last week has permitted an English speaking lawyer to mislead it into making an absurd and thoroughly dishonest claim that it is entitled to the inspectors1 granted by law to the united labor party. This attempt to play into the hands of the democrats, who seek to create a confusion that may enable them to obtain three out of five inspectors, is not creditable to the claims to honesty made by the new party, and suggests the suspicion that the determination to conduct the party’s proceedings in English has been already used to mislead honest but mistaken men into very dirty political trickery.
The old parties are beginning to wake up, and lively contests and quarrels have broken out in many districts. Such contentions are customary, however, in parties held together by no higher aim than mere greed for office. It has been settled apparently that Tammany and the county democracy will again pull together; but the real difficulty of forming the union will be as to the division of the offices. However, as neither of them can any longer have even the faintest hope of getting anything by acting alone, terms of agreement must be made by the bosses, and those still remaining faithful to the two machines will fall in. The number still remaining faithful is the unknown quantity in united democracy’s problem.
Of course, no political party possessing the strength of the united labor party in this city can fail to number in its ranks some soured and disappointed men. Such men now find ready mouthpieces in a number of newspapers that miss no chance to create the impression that this or that assembly district is fairly torn to pieces with dissensions. The Seventh, which is probably as well organized and harmonious as any district ever was, has been the special object of such an attack on the part of a few men who have ceased to be members of the organization. The Seventh is all right, and expects to more than double its last year’s vote. This is what troubles its enemies and detractors and gains for irresponsible slanderers so ready an access to the columns of hostile papers.
The state workingmen’s assembly that recently met at Rochester was simply the remnant of a movement that has been practically abandoned. A few years ago the plan of organized labor for influencing legislation was to appoint a body that should scrutinize legislation and commend or condemn in the interest of labor specific measures and individuals. It is an admitted fact that the plan did not work well, largely on account of the unwise intimacy it created between the labor delegates and the politicians. Since the organization of the united labor party many strong labor organizations have ceased to send representatives to the state assembly, and that body has practically fallen into “innocuous desuetude.” The estimates made by the newspapers of the number of workmen represented in it are simply absurd, and its disposition to defend Governor Hill’s appointments of factory inspectors is simply an evidence of the tendency that has caused so many labor organizations to lose confidence in it. The old notion that the cause of labor can be advanced by securing under one of the old parties the largest possible number of fat offices for workingmen who straightway cease to work has been completely exploded. The Hill incident, however, caused the governor’s organs to reach the conclusion that the Rochester gathering was the real simon pure representative labor convention.
That the state assembly should manifest a disposition to approve the governor’s appointments of factory inspectors is not to be wondered at in view of the fact that the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle prints in the list of those participating in its proceedings the names of the following officials: Factory inspector James Connolly, deputy factory inspector John Franey, deputy factory inspector Francis M. Coe, deputy factory inspector Johnson Beers, arbitration commissioner Florian F. Donovan, prison-labor-reform commissioner George Blair.
It was given out in plain terms early in the week from Tom Platt’s office that Fred Grant was to head the republican state ticket, and on Wednesday last Mr. Platt’s convention at Saratoga dutifully executed the decree. The Tribune naively remarks on “the practical unity of the convention.” Very small currents sometimes swim a man into a political candidacy. When the republican senate declined to confirm Governor Hill’s nomination of Colonel Grant to office last winter, many democratic newspapers had much commendation for the son of his great father. The republican literary bureau has three scrap books full of good democratic opinions of the colonel. They will be fed back to the democrats in the course of the campaign.
“Boss” Platt is not looking well. He is thinning down and getting a stoop with age. He is now at the pinnacle of power among the republicans of this state. He seems to have reached the conclusion that caucus movements cannot be kept as party secrets, and he talks freely to many people. He thinks the labor people are honey-combing the democratic party of this state. He reckons on a small prohibition vote. He refuses to talk about next year’s presidential contest, as he believes that if the republicans do not carry New York this fall they can have no hope of success in ’88.
The United Labor Party in Missouri.
The Kansas City News publishes in full the call recently issued for the Missouri state convention of the united labor party to be held in Kansas City on Nov. 16. The call is signed by F. G. Johnson, chairman, and P. P. Milhail, secretary, and all who believe in the following principles are invited to choose delegates to it:
1. That the land of this country belongs in usufruct to the living and that the right of every man to such a portion of it as his necessities require is indisputable and alienable, and that such changes should be made in the laws as will secure to all men this right.
2. That all monopolies, such as the telephone, telegraph and all means of transportation, now in the hands of individuals or corporations, should be taken, and, like our postal system, run by the government, for and in the interest of the people.
The secretary’s address is No. 1902 East Eleventh street, Kansas City.
A Clergyman in Lewiston, Me., Speaks Out.
Lewiston, Me., Sept. 11.—The work here is progressing, and the people are thinking. Today we had the pleasure of listening to an eloquent sermon on the “Brotherhood of Man,” by Rev. W. S. Perkins, pastor of the Bates Street Universalist church, of this city. Mr. Perkins handled the question in an able manner, and proved conclusively that the only true solution of the labor problem must come through the brotherhood of man. The audience manifested much interest, and while this is the pioneer sermon on the vital question in this city, we feel sure that it will not
be the last. C. W. Shaw, A. P. S.
Telegraphers and Linemen Buckling on Their Armor,
The telegraphers and linemen are mustering for organized action in the campaign, and will hold a mass meeting in the Masonic temple, Twenty-third street and Sixth avenue, on Sunday, 18th inst., at 2:30 p.m., to consider what shape their efforts shall take. The meeting will be addressed by Dr. McGlynn, Henry George and Louis F. Post. A large attendance is expected of telegraphers, linemen and others engaged in electrical pursuits in New York, Jersey City, Brooklyn and the vicinity.
Booming Things in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn, N. Y.—Henry George and other speakers will address the Citizens of Brooklyn under the auspices of the Kings county Henry George land club at the Academy of Music, on Montague street, on Sunday evening, Sept. 18. A few seats will be reserved at twenty-five cents each, but general admission will be free.
George J. Klingler, Secretary.
Not long ago I heard a warm-hearted minister address a meeting of workingmen. He was deeply impressed by the evident wrongs which the poor suffer. Tenement houses (with which he was familiar) were a shocking offense to him. He clearly sympathized with the poor. His voice was full of tears as he expressed sympathy. It was manifestly genuine.
At the close of his speech he said that he was not familiar with the land tax doctrine, which had been expounded before he spoke, and had never interested himself definitely in the labor movement, because, being a minister, a pastor of a church, he was necessarily prosecuting a different work; he was engaged in a different mission.
The man was perfectly sincere. It had never occurred to him that there was any organic relation between the gospel of Christ and the new crusade. He did not know what the new crusade is. He made the declaration above referred to with the guilelessness of a child. “Workingmen, I sympathize with you; I deplore your condition, but it is my especial business to preach the gospel, and I have never investigated the philosophy of your movement, nor entered upon its practical agitation. My duty lies elsewhere.”
I have sent this good man, for such I believe him, a copy of “Progress and Poverty” and The Standard for six weeks in the hope that after reading them carefully, which he promised to do, he will come to believe, as I do, that the doctrine represented by that book and this paper is the gospel of Christ for society today.
The difference between that minister and me is that I am profoundly interested in the new crusade because I am a preacher of the gospel and shall fail in my mission if I preach not the “good tidings of great joy,” which shall yet result in “peace on earth, good will toward men.”
The gospel of Christ will never fall with power from the lips of men who are defenders of a social system which some of their hearers know to be based upon injustices and daubed with the untempered mortar of that “devil take the hindmost” creed.
Every century or so God raises up a man with the knowledge and courage of the truth essential for his day. Abraham, Moses, Socrates, Jesus, Atharasius, Luther, Garrison were such men. The counterpart of them; the epoch-making war; the speaker of the pivotal truth upon which civilization will shortly turn and start in a new direction; the adapter of the principles of the truth-seeker, Jesus, to social science, to the present and through that the future welfare of men, is Henry George, who will pardon me for thus using his name before he is dead, and in the columns of The Standard. These lines are written for other eyes than his.
Paul, the greatest of the apostles, gave direction to Christianity in the first century. Henry George is giving direction to it in this century. And whether ministers agree with the doctrine of the new crusade or not, they can hardly be excused if they do not at least study it until they understand it. If, understanding it, they also believe it, they can hardly be excused if, now that the battle is open, they do not proclaim it; not as a side issue, but as the gospel of Christ for society today. Hugh O. Pentecost.
THE ANTI-POVERTY FAIR.
Women in Politics — Eager to Help the United Labor Party.
A great fair and festival, under the auspices of the Anti-poverty society, will be held in Madison square garden, New York, commencing on Monday, Sept. 26, and closing on Monday evening, Oct. 10. Madison square garden occupies the whole block between Fourth and Madison avenues and Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh streets, and it will easily hold from ten to twelve thousands of people. The hiring of such a structure for its fair indicates that the Anti-poverty society has perfect faith in the response of the public to its venture.
Two meetings of ladies have been held and between three and four hundred are already at work making collections of money and merchandise for the fair. The Standard is authorized to say on their behalf that they will cordially welcome the assistance in any way of the members of the Anti-poverty societies of Brooklyn, Jersey City, Philadelphia, Paterson, Troy, Toronto and other cities. Any of these societies near enough can have tables on application. All letters on the subject can be sent directly to the Anti-poverty society, room 30, Cooper union, New York.
The second day of the fair will be the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Rev Edward McGlynn, D. D., the president of the society, and he is expected to be present on that occasion to give a general reception to his tens of thousands of friends. It is proposed that Henry George, Dr. McGlynn and other leaders of the new crusade shall take part in the formal opening ceremonies, and be present from time to time during the fair.
The attractions will not, however, be entirely intellectual. In addition to the usual features of a fair and festival there will be many forms of amusement. Punch and Judy will be on hand to delight the children, there will be a horse race that Mr. Bergh cannot interfere with, some remarkable scientific apparatus, and it is pretty broadly hinted that the young people who feel inspired by the music to try a little dancing will even find opportunity for that form of amusement. All of the details are not yet planned, but there is no doubt that the united labor party will have a jolly time for two weeks before entering on the most active period of the campaign.
The enthusiasm with which the ladies have taken hold of the project is exhilarating. They have entirely gone into politics, and they are becoming experts at applause. At their two meetings every mention of the name of the united labor party or its leaders elicited a hearty round of applause, and they came near cheering when Dr. McGlynn proposed that the ladies should personally undertake the work of folding the five million tickets2 that must be distributed throughout the state.
The first suggestion, that the Anti-poverty society should undertake an enterprise that would enable it to make a handsome contribution to the campaign fund of the united labor party, was received with hearty approval, and the great fair finally determined on is the outcome of that proposal. The ladies concerned have had experience in such matters, and they talk confidently of making from $10,000 to $20,000.
A Plea for the Nineteenth Century Nicodemus
Brooklyn, N. Y.—I see that Mr. Robertson James and The Standard are somewhat disturbed because some men — like the attorney Mr. James refers to — prefer to aid the cause without openly avowing themselves as champions or disciples. In common with all men I cannot help paying homage to the aggressive and lion-like Peters and Luthers who lead all great human movements, yet I confess to a sympathy with the more timid souls — the Nicodemuses3 who come to the Master by night. You remember it is said Charles Lamb sympathized with the foolish virgins, and the man who wrapped his single talent in a napkin, and the architect who built upon the sand, probably because he feared that in like circumstances he might do likewise. Well, that is just my predicament. Barring that I am not a ruler in Israel, I am a Nicodemus myself, and I know several who believe in the movement you lead as one in which the force that carries it forward is the will of God to secure to all men what Christ came for — justice and peace on this earth and good will — who cannot yet declare themselves openly, some for one reason and some for others.
I am sure the Rev. Mr. Pentecost must know many ministers who are convinced of the righteousness of this cause who yet hesitate to declare for it openly out of pure dread of seeing their children brought down to ragged backs and pinched bellies, and I am also persuaded that Father McGlynn must know of several — perhaps many — Catholic clergymen who believe as he does, yet for reasons of their own withhold the open avowal of their faith. Some of their reasons he may not respect, but I venture to say he will regard some of them with a tender pity or compassion, and much as the Master felt for Nicodemus, as is evident from the pains He took to enlighten him, and yet He let him go without requiring any open declaration of discipleship.
Moreover, why do you favor the secret ballot and in your platform urge the adoption of the Australian system of voting if it be not for just the same reason, viz.: protection to the timid Nicodemus?
No, no, do not chide too severely the timid spirits. In the end they will not only come out openly, but will bring with them, as Nicodemus did, their hundred pounds of precious spices.
In making this plea for men of my class, I wish to say to them we must do all we can, according to our ability in our own way, and for myself I inclose $150; $100 is for the campaign fund and the $50 is for the recruiting fund. And it is my wish that the whole of this shall be used to pay for sending The Standard for six weeks to as many clergymen of any denomination as this sum will pay for, beginning the list with any in Brooklyn to whom The Standard is not now sent. This movement glows with the love and truth of Jesus Christ, and ministers and churches must be brought to its warmth and light. Nicodemus.
Cannot Calmly and Indifferently Stand Aside while the Battle is Being Waged
C. D. Jennings, of 220 Tompkins avenue, Brooklyn, has sent in a letter of resignation from the Twenty-first ward republican association of that city, in which he says: “Seeing the complete failure of the old political organizations to honestly and fearlessly take up the cudgels against the menacings of the people’s liberties and prosperity, I hereafter cast my all in with the new political force now known as the united labor party. The stage in our development has arrived when all men must range themselves on the side of justice or injustice to the masses of men.
“Impressed with the great importance of the approaching struggle for the emancipation of all men who earn their daily bread by labor of muscle or brain, and believing that the hour calls for every citizen to give expression to his sympathies with men as against monopolies, I cannot calmly and indifferently stand aside and see the battle being waged without taking part in it.”
It Is All Taken Up Now.
Under the management of President Colby the Wisconsin central road has acquired an extensive holding of property on the Gogebic iron range, which has been a large source of freight revenue. Mr. Colby says that the road has taken 300,000 tons of ore out of that region this year. In talking about other lines of railroad pushing into Northern Michigan and Wisconsin which might become competitive, he said, with a laughing contentment: “I don’t know what they expect to do in the iron region. There is no business for them there. It is all taken up now. There was a time when other roads could have bought properties and developed business as we did, but that day has gone by.”
Jamestown, N. Y.—The Chautauqua Democrat, the leading farmers’ paper in this region, recently published an editorial article on the land question favorable to our cause, the first article that has appeared in that paper on that question. We have another paper here called Every Saturday, that in every issue has something in behalf of the Henry George land principles. All the “land men” here are pulling together, and are bound to win over this district sooner or later. If the land was made for all, then I say we have not only a right, but are in duty bound to see to it that the land is rightly used and utilized for the equal benefit of all. F. G. Anderson.
Tennessee Coming Over to Help Us.
Jackson, Tenn.—After a long trial it is my pleasure to announce that we have at last got a united labor club on foot, with thirteen members. We held our first meeting yesterday afternoon. It is our intention to put a notice in the papers calling for funds to help you in the New York election. Of course we will also do what we can individually. W. A. Johnson.
Appealing to the Intelligence of Brooklyn Voters.
A temporary organization in the Twenty-third ward in Brooklyn, George J. Klingler, chairman, has sent by mail to every voter in the ward a printed explanation of the principles of the united labor party. A permanent organization will soon supplant the temporary one, and still more active business will be taken.
PRESS AND PARTY.
VARIOUS PROPHECIES AND COMMENTS ON THE COMING STRUGGLE.
Deserting the Democracy for the Party of United Labor — Honest Words from a Brooklyn Paper — From Which Wing of the Pro-Poverty Party Will the United Labor Party Draw Most Support?
As might be expected, the aggressive entrance of the united labor party into the arena of state politics is mightily puzzling the press of both the old parties. The general tone of comment might be truthfully expressed in a single sentence: “Confound the united labor party!” The republican journals incline to rejoice with a joy largely mixed with fear, as they contemplate the possibility of a reduced democratic vote, and yet — and yet — there is now and then a republican deserter who finds his way into the emancipation camp, and who can tell what moment a stampede may come? Neither party will admit for a moment that there is any absolute handwriting on the wall as yet, but there is an uneasy consciousness that the hand and pen are ready and the wall is there to be written on.
The Putnam county (Ind.) Democrat was an ardent advocate of the restoration of the democratic party to power, but it now declares that those who voted for that restoration under the supposition that they were thereby advancing the laboring men’s interests are forced to hang their heads in shame. It says:
The democratic party has now and for the past fifteen years has had undisputed possession of the popular branch of congress. Has it lessened the laboring man’s burdens? Has it cut down expenditures? Has it reduced the tariff tax? Has it stopped the accumulation of the treasury surplus? On the contrary, has it not steadily and repeatedly voted down every proposition to consider — not pass, mind you — but even consider, measures of reform? In short, has it not sold itself to the money power and forfeited all claims to the support of laboring men?
The Democrat, in view of this unsavory record, abandons the party and gives its support to the labor movement in politics.
The Oneida Dispatch, a republican organ, is very indignant over Mr. Powderly’s declaration that the railways and national banks control the United States senate. Our innocent Oneida contemporary never heard of such a thing before, and thinks that overwork is upsetting Mr. Powderly’s mind.
The Rochester Post-Express thinks that “unless the Henry George movement collapses it will hurt the democratic party more than the prohibitionist movement has hurt the republican party,” and under the circumstances considers “the republican canvass is very far from being a forlorn hope.” The Post-Express can safely assume that what it calls “the Henry George movement” will not “collapse” and that, on the contrary, it will soon be the only political movement that will free the republican party in the final struggle of the people against monopoly.
Because the labor party is disposed to await the action of its opponents before nominating the candidates that are to be elected in New York city this fall the Albany Times accuses it of a desire to make a deal with the republicans, and invites the workingmen to rally once more under the banner of the so-called democracy. “Will you walk into my parlor?” etc. The workingmen of New York city will make no deal with anybody still less will they give their votes again to the party that has so often betrayed their interests.
The work of perfecting the organization of the united labor party in Brooklyn goes on vigorously, and the papers of the city are watching it with eager interest. The Standard-Union declares that the united labor men are very much in earnest, and warns its own party that the new movement is sweeping many republicans into its ranks. Speaking of the last meeting of the Kings county general meeting, the Standard-Union says:
Every ward was represented when the roll was called, and there were several sharp contests for seats in the committee. Delegates from wards whose local organizations were not properly formed, or who sought to represent skeleton organizations, were promptly refused admittance, and arrangements made for proper representation. There is every evidence of honesty and earnestness about the movement, and if it is not captured by the politicians the result will inevitably be the formation of a third party which cannot fail to greatly influence the next presidential election.
The same paper makes a good point against the democratic leaders in this city, who are still pretending that their party represents the interests of the working people, by calling attention to the impudent dishonesty of their attempt to steal from the united labor party. It says:
The act authorizing the appointment of a fifth inspector was passed at the request of the united labor party representatives, and everybody knew at the time that it was so, because it was discussed in the press and elsewhere publicly with that understanding, and because neither Irving hall nor any other organization but that of the labor party asked for the act. The intention of the legislature was clear at the time, and is just as clear now, that the fifth-inspector should represent the labor party and no other. Irving hall is only a faction of the democracy of New York city, and, except in name, differs in no essential respect from any other faction there; and if it could overwhelm Tammany hall and the county democracy at the polls, it would be and would claim to be the democratic party of that city, and would be so recognized by the commissioners who appoint the inspectors, in which case it would get the two inspectors which the law requires shall be appointed for that party. To give it now the fifth inspector would be to set aside the intent of the law, which is that the two great parties shall be equally represented in the election machinery. There is, however, little likelihood that this impudent attempt of the democratic leaders to wrest from the labor party the prepresentation which of right belongs to it under the law will succeed. The labor party will probably carry the question to the courts in case the appointing authorities are dishonest enough to accede to the democratic leaders’ demands.
Mr. Benedict, editor of the Ellenville Press, discoursed recently in his journal on “the pretended formation of a ‘great labor party’ in the state of New York with a platform of ‘glittering generalities.’” The Middletown Advance thus replies:
So the formation of a “great labor party” is pretended, is it, and has a platform of “glittering generalities?” The facts are these: Mr. Benedict, together with the majority of the old party scribes, knows only this of the united labor party, that its growth means the destruction of one or both of the old political bodies, and as to its platform and principles, he and his brother editors are so enveloped in the dark clouds of political superstition and prejudice that they could not if they would, nor would not if they could, understand their meaning.
In response to a declaration by the Ellenville paper that the new movement was called into being because of the desperate strait in which the republican party finds itself, the Advance truthfully says:
So far as the members of the united labor party are concerned, they care not at all which party is “in a desperate strait.” What we propose to do is to go right ahead regardless of any temporary victory it may give to either democrats or republicans and indifferent to the fate of either or both of those old wornout and rotten parties.
The Albany Argus regards the situation as “full of peril to agricultural interests, unless a united effort is made to stamp out this new form of locust,” the locust in question being the united labor party. The Argus admits that the farmer is mightily overtaxed at present, but lays the whole trouble to those naughty republicans, and sweetly suggests that if the good democrats are brought into power they will make the farmer rich by increasing the taxes on personal property — in other words, by making the farmer pay an extra fine every time he buys a herd-book cow, or builds a new barn, or in fact does anything but let his farm run to waste.
Dr. McGlynn at Miner’s Theatre.
Dr. McGlynn will speak on Sunday, September 18, under the auspices of the Thirteenth assembly district organization, at Miner’s theatre, on Eighth avenue, between Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth streets. A portion of Miss Munier’s Concordia chorus will be in attendance to furnish ringing anti-poverty music. Particulars of the meeting appear in our advertising columns. The sale of reserved seats has already been very large, and the prospects are that the seating capacity of the theatre will be taxed to the utmost.
A Congratulation and a Promise.
New York.—I desire to congratulate the united labor party on the results of the late Syracuse convention. As an American wage earner I have always been friendly to your cause, but could not conscientiously range myself in the ranks as long as there was the least taint of socialism in the party. Now, as you have done your duty, and done it nobly, I propose to do mine, and pledge myself to work with all my might from now until the close of the polls on November 8, when we shall have won a well-earned victory. Jay Powell.
Pushing the Cause on Staten Island.
Tompkinsville, Staten Island.—The united labor party in this county is doing nobly, and the principles contained in “Progress and Poverty” and advocated by so many noblehearted men who are striving to obtain justice for all their fellow creatures as well as for themselves, are meeting with general approval. Mr. D. W. Clegg has fired the first shot into the camp of the enemy, and we propose to continue the fusillade until all men acknowledge the truth.
Wm. F. Esterbrook
The Henry George Land Club of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn, N. Y.—The Henry George land club held its third public meeting in the Criterion theatre last Sunday night. J. P. Kohler, the president of the club, presided, and speeches were made to a large audience by Victor A. Wilder and Louis F. Post. The fourth meeting will be held in the Academy of Music Sunday, Sept. 18, at 8 o’clock, when Henry George will speak.
Tailors Coming to the Front.
The tailor’s union is imitating the good example set by the printers. Members of the union have issued a call for the formation of a tailors’ legion, to send at their own expense one or more speakers through the state to proclaim and expound the principles of the united labor party.
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.
PRACTICAL WORK AND DOCTRINAL TEACHINGS.
Dr. McGlynn Outlines the Work of the Campaign — The Coming Anti-Poverty Fair, Its Purposes and its Needs — A Glowing Sermon on the Religion in the New Crusade — Speeches from James P. Archibald and William Blakeney — A Few Words from Henry George
The Academy of Music never held a larger nor a more enthusiastic audience than the one which packed it from pit to dome at the twentieth meeting of the Anti-poverty society last Sunday night. Precisely at 8 o’clock Miss Munier’s choir sang, “Unfold, ye Portals,” from Gounod’s “Redemption,” so acceptably that the audience demanded a repetition. Dr. McGlynn, in the absence of the chairman of the executive committee, introduced James P. Archibald of the paper hanger’s union as the chairman of the evening.
After briefly adverting to his own feeling of diffidence in addressing so vast a gathering, and commenting upon the wonderful growth of the society during the brief period of its existence, Mr. Archibald went on:
The Anti-poverty society is to the united labor party a tower of strength. It has given to that party a stimulus that could have been obtained in no other way.
It has planted seeds which are about yielding fruit. We are on the eve of a great epoch in the history of the Anti-poverty society and of the united labor party. On next Saturday evening the first ratification meeting of this fall’s campaign will be held (applause), and there, under the canopy of heaven, in Union square, will be demonstrated the power and the enthusiasm of the united labor party. (Applause.) It is intended that that meeting shall be the first gun of the campaign, and we trust that the report of it may be so loud and so long that it shall reverberate from end to end of this great continent. (Applause.)
Too many years have some of the people of this country permitted other people to rule them. Too long have they been simply passive observers of men and things without considering the effect of their apathy. But now they have at last aroused themselves and determined to do their own business. They have at last declared that this country shall be run by all the people (applause), that it shall be run for all the people and in their interest only. No longer shall tricksters and knaves hold the reins of government and so grind down the helpless poor as to make their lives intolerable. (Applause.)
We have sown the seed of the land question, and have brought it to the front as the question of the hour. It is through the settlement of that question that the turmoil and strife and sufferings of the toiling millions of this country shall be made to cease. (Applause.) It is by the simple placing of a single tax on the unearned increment of that which God gave for the common benefit of all, that we shall do away with the nefarious robbery of labor. It is that we may have a just, a rightful share in what we produce that we are determined on this action. We want to be in a position to live decently and respectably without begging any man’s permission to live, without asking permission from those who have no right to give it.
The Anti-poverty society has undertaken a tremendous work — a work which, as you are all aware, entails an enormous expenditure of money; and as the expenses are constantly increasing, I am obliged to request you tonight to increase your contributions (applause), so that we may be put beyond the possibility of want. We want enough to carry on this great work; and unless we are helped by money we cannot go ahead.
Anketell’s “Marching to Victory” was sung while the collection was being taken up; after which Signor De Cenci gave a fine tenor solo, which was heartily encored. Chairman Archibald then announced Dr. McGlynn as the orator of the evening.
Dr. McGlynn spoke as follows:
Before beginning this evening’s — shall I call it sermon? (Cries of, “Yes, yes!) — I have some practical matters to talk of, of so peculiarly practical and homely a kind that I think it better not to make them a part of the — lecture. (Laughter.)
In the absence of the chairman of our executive committee, Mr. Croasdale, it devolves upon me to make several practical statements concerning the work that we have immediately in hand. On last Sunday evening it was announced here that the executive committee of the Anti-poverty society, after due deliberation, had decided to hold a fair and festival in order to increase the society’s funds; but I believe the representatives of the committee took the audience into their confidence and told them the secret purpose for which the increased funds are desired; and if the secret has not been told to a number sufficiently large to keep it, I desire now, in the strictest confidence (laughter), to communicate it to this audience and also through the gentlemen of the press to those who are not here. The ill-concealed object for which we want to increase to the amount of twenty-five, thirty, forty, fifty thousand dollars the funds in the treasury of the Anti-poverty society is to do all that we can to aid the united labor party (tremendous applause) in the great campaign just about to begin, which it is our desire, and their desire, to make a magnificent preliminary battle for the great contest that shall have no end until we shall have achieved the perfect victory. (Applause.)
It is the determination of the State committee of the united labor party, of which I have the honor to be one (applause), to make an extraordinary canvass of the whole state, to send out as many speakers as we can to every city and town, and, I might almost say, every village. It has been decided to have on the average four meetings each in some sixty places outside of the cities of New York and Brooklyn, taking in all places of 5,000 inhabitants, and even some of smaller population that, in spite of their smaller population, are, for any reason, of special importance.
So you see that, in a rough way, we may say that there will be 240 meetings in about sixty places. And it is the purpose of the united labor party to send to each of those meetings two speakers, so that they must provide for the party, outside of the cities of New York and Brooklyn, some four hundred speakers. (Applause.) My arithmetic is sometimes a little rusty, but I think twice 240 makes 480.
Mr. Henry George (deafening applause), in spite of his many cares and responsibilities, has consented to place himself almost entirely in the hands of the committee, so that for several weeks he will be constantly speaking throughout the state five evenings in the week, reserving only Saturdays and Sundays; and you may be sure that the Saturdays and Sundays will perhaps be the busiest days of all for him. For when we have him back here in New York city we shall surely find much work for him to do on the Saturdays, and you will make not a little work for him on the Sundays. (Applause).
There is a friend of mine, a priest (great applause), a priest, although he has been suspended and, I am told, also excommunicated (laughter), who, not having so much to do just now in the way ot preaching and saying mass and hearing confession, in fact having nothing to do in that line, has been requested by the committee to undertake pretty much the same kind of work as Mr. Henry George. (Great applause.) I am happy to be able to inform you, on the highest authority (laughter), that that priest has cheerfully consented to undertake the work, cost him what it may. (Great applause.) I think it is hardly necessary for me to tell you the first letters of that priest’s name. (Laughter and applause.) Modesty forbids me to say anything about his merit and his ability, but I can cheerfully say for him that he is entirely in earnest and that he devotes his whole time and good will to the cause. (Applause.)
And I think that we have an extraordinary piece of good news to communicate to the united labor party and this its twin society, in the statement that Judge Maguire of San Francisco (great applause) has, at the request of Mr. George, sent us word by telegraph that he will devote the whole month of October to our service. (Applause.) And I can assure you that Judge Maguire, in giving us his services, is bringing a tower of strength to the cause of the united labor party in New York state.
Rev. Mr. Pentecost (tremendous applause) will give several days each week, as many as he can spare, I believe three days at least each week during the campaign, to the canvass throughout the state. (Applause.)
The Rev. Mr. Lincoln4 of Painesville, Ohio, (applause) also admirably equipped, will engage in the same holy war. (Applause.) Mr. Victor A. Wilder (applause), a taste of whose admirable quality you have had on this platform recently, and who is our candidate for comptroller of the state, will also be entirely at the service of the committee, and will canvass the whole state. (Applause.)
There are several of the great leading trades that are so much in earnest in this work that I believe it is as good as settled that they will each send out two or more representative men from their own ranks, and at their own expense. (Applause.) This, I believe, is the decision of the great Typographical No. 6 (applause) and also of the Brotherhood of Telegraphers (applause). There are other names that will be added to the list besides the great array of local talent in the various cities and towns in which these meetings will be held.
You see we have not been idle, and that the plan of campaign has already been pretty satisfactorily mapped out. But this campaign, like every other, needs what has well been called the sinews of war — namely, the means to pay the expenses. Most of these speakers, though poor men, are willing to give their time for nothing and do the best they can, trusting in the mercy of God; but it would be too much to expect poor men to pay their traveling expenses and the hiring of halls. The state committee is naturally expected to devise means to raise the necessary funds.
Now, this is a poor man’s party. It is a party composed of men poor, but respectable and honest. (Applause and laughter.) It is very literally a workingman’s party. (Applause.) It is a part of the injustice of our present system that those that really do the work are not getting their fair share of what is produced by their labor. And when I say workingmen I would have it understood, as has been explained more than once, that we do not mean merely men who work with their hands at hard and rough manual labor, but men who work honestly whether with their hands or their heads, in manufacturing things, in producing things, or in facilitating the exchange of things — for exchange is but another form of production, a most valuable form, without which we should scarcely have anything and be simply in a barbarous condition. And again, those who seem not directly to be producing are often the hardest workers. The teachers, for instance — the word production can hardly be applied to the results of their work; but we may well boast that there is no community in which the teacher is so cheerfully recognized by both high and low as among the noblest of workers, as in this favored land of ours. (Applause.) And so with the journalist.
So I repeat it, and I stick to it, and I stand here to vindicate my assertion, that this is a workingman’s party (great applause); and being a workingman’s party in the sense I have described, it is almost necessarily, under our present circumstances, a poor man’s party; and it is also an honest man’s party. (Applause.) The candidates are almost necessarily poor men, and they could not pay any assessment if we should assess them, and we would not assess them if they could. And we have no office holders who, out of a lively sense of gratitude for favors to come (laughter and applause), might contribute unsolicited their checks of $2,000 or $5,000 to the funds of our party.
This is an original party. It is a unique kind of a party. It is a family party. (Applause.) It is a kind of a church party. (Laughter.) Mr. George introduced into the campaign last year the interesting feature of taking up a collection at every meeting; and in that respect he assimilated the movement of the party wonderfully to a church gathering.
You probably know the story of the two sailors shipwrecked in a small boat in the middle of the ocean, when they saw that death was imminent. They were tossed about by the waves, and felt that there was hardly any hope of escape, though of course they must have escaped somehow, or I shouldn’t be able to tell what happened. (Laughter.) But feeling that they were in imminent danger of being swallowed up by the waves of the ocean, one said to the other: “Well, Jack, there is evidently no hope of escaping with our lives, and don’t you think it is time for us to pray?” “I don’t know how to pray myself, but won’t you please lead in prayer?” Jack used some emphatic phrase — “blast me” or “blow me if I know how to pray.” “Well, then,” said the other, “we must do something religious; take off your hat and take up a collection.” (Great laughter.)
So we have introduced that religious feature into our meetings, and we intend to keep up that religious character of the meetings by always taking up a collection. But that is hardly enough. We must do something more. And so we have adopted another characteristic feature of church societies and church parties, namely, a fair and festival, including the ice cream, and the pin cushions, and the stuffed baby, and the flower stands, and all the multitudinous and multifarious arts by which people at church fairs manage, apparently, with perfectly clear consciences, to rob people. We are going to take a leaf from the experience of these good people, and we are going to show them that we can have a political party just as goody goody as any of them. (Laughter.)
I don’t mean to hint that there is any unfamiliarity on the part of this audience with the Lord’s prayer — it is to be hoped that every man and woman here has heard the Lord’s prayer once or twice before — but somebody in Mr. George’s paper remarked some months ago that it was an entirely unique thing to have an audience rise up and shout their applause at the recitation of the Lord’s prayer. (Applause.) I think that most of you remember where that happened. It was at the first meeting of this Anti-poverty society, of which we are happily going through with the exercises of the twentieth meeting. (Applause.) It was the meeting at Chickering hall. And so, we may say it playfully, we can also say it with great seriousness and earnestness, there is a good deal of the church about this Anti-poverty society and about the united labor party, in this sense that we found our doctrine and square our actions upon and by the eternal law of justice; and to most of us that law must find its ideal, its source and sanction in the bosom of the eternal God. (Tremendous applause.)
And so we are going to have a kind of a holy fair and festival, patterned after the most religious kind of church fair and festival, for the benefit of the united labor party. (Applause.) And here is another feature that is a little novel. We expect the women to do nearly the whole of the work, the hardest work, the most difficult and painful work — of collecting the money for this great campaign. Isn’t that something new and refreshing in politics? (Applause.) We expect the women to do nearly all the work of the fair and of the preliminary collecting for the fair; and the men will have simply the pleasant and easy task of emptying their pocket books. (Laughter.) That is nothing. (Laughter.)
Well, we need about twenty-five or thirty thousand dollars to pay all these expenses. It needs a great deal of money to conduct a political campaign. Some of these expenses are caused by the present unjust and unreasonable laws concerning elections. And if you will study the Syracuse platform you will see that one of the evils we desire to remedy is that which leads to the throwing upon private generosity or upon those whose contributions are likely to be merely the swelling of a corruption fund the very great expenses of an election. The election is a public work, and a large part of the expenses should be defrayed by the public for and in whose interests the elections are held, but we expect the necessary expenses to be very much diminished.
Take, for instance, the printing of the ballots. The Australian system of voting (applause), which we declare in our platform to be the desirable one, requires that the ballots shall be printed at the expense of the government. The printing of the ballots costs several thousand dollars. It is, I am told, necessary to print some five times as many as there are voters in the whole state, so as to make allowance for waste, wear and tear, loss and the like, to permit the distribution of ballots as remembrancers and advertisements. It may seem a small matter to print a ballot; but when you have five million of them to fold and distribute, it becomes something colossal. The mere folding of the ballots costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
So we need a great deal of money for what are called the legitimate expenses of the campaign. Money is but a representative of labor, and it is absolutely necessary that we should have money in order to carry out the great work that we have, I think very happily, planned for this campaign.
To continue in this practical talk — you see I could not refrain from injecting a little of the sermon even in a practical talk — but to continue the practical talk, the fair is announced to begin on the 26th of September, and it will last for two weeks, ending either on Saturday, the 8th of October, or on Monday, the l0th of October. We have not yet been able to decide where the fair shall be held, but we desire to hold it in some large hall, the most suitable that can be found, and we hope soon to announce the final decision in that respect. There was a meeting of a hundred or more ladies in Cooper union last Tuesday evening in response to the call from this stage; and at the meeting of the Anti-poverty society in Irving hall last Thursday evening the members unanimously approved of the project, and many more ladies signified their willingness to co-operate in the good work. There will be another meeting on Tuesday evening next at the large meeting room at Cooper union. The practical work will begin by ladies and gentlemen taking books and going about taking subscriptions for the fair. Any object having money value is suitable for a fair. So we will cheerfully accept donations of every kind, from papers of pins and pin cushions up to live elephants, or stuffed tigers, or houses and lots (laughter), or steam engines, or railroad cars, or anything you please. (Laughter.) We may not possibly get all the things into the hall, but if we acquire the ownership of them, we shall get the value of them, somehow.
There need be no limit to the contributions. We are willing to accept any amount, no matter how large. (Applause.) You see there is nothing mean about this society. (Laughter.) There is nothing small about us; and it would be a strange stultification of ourselves if we should admit anything small into this business since we have started out at the very beginning by saying we want the earth. (Applause.) And we will never be satisfied with less. Suppose we could get a thousand ladies and gentlemen to take books to collect. That wouldn’t be so many. There are fifteen hundred members of the Anti-poverty society. I should say that nearly every member should take a book. Suppose that each of these collectors should get ten dollars on an average. That would be a very respectable sum immediately. Some would perhaps get a hundred to compensate for the inability of others who could not get quite so much. You see that by distributing and systematizing this work we hope to produce great results in a simple and straightforward manner, putting to shame the trickery and rascality and bribery and corruption that so largely enter into the accumulation of the election funds of the older parties. (Applause.)
We have thought that this fair and festival may also serve an educational purpose. I remember that when I was pastor of a church (applause) I started out from absolute necessity, at a very early day, with a fair; and I tried to persuade myself and my hearers that a fair was not only an excellent means of raising money, but would also have a very great value totally distinct from its pecuniary results; that it would make the pastor better acquainted with his people, and the people with their pastor, and the members of the congregation with one another.
Human nature is human nature; and did you ever observe that there is a good deal of human nature in most people? (Laughter.) If you have never observed that fact I am willing to give you the benefit of that original observation of mine. Now, I am beginning to think that this fair of the Anti-poverty society will have all sorts of beneficial effects, besides the large amount of money it will produce. It will make the members of the Anti-poverty society better acquainted with one another; and it will lead to that beautiful brotherly and sisterly feeling that we desire to cultivate among members.
And then another object of our proposed fair is that we shall be able, in a quiet way, to do a little stroke of political work by having some anti-poverty speeches there — perhaps every night during the fair; and they will only be thinly disguised campaign speeches. Altogether, therefore, we have worked ourselves up to an enthusiastic feeling that this fair is just the thing that we most need. (Applause.)
And, in all seriousness, I think that we shall have a very pleasant time. I think that it will be pleasant for us to go there and talk to one another. I do firmly believe that there is more capacity for love than for hate in the human heart. (Applause.) A large part of the trouble is that people do not get together enough; that they are all the time misunderstanding one another. All that is necessary is for them to come together and look one another in the face and take one another by the hand, and then they will understand each other, and a large part of the misapprehension will vanish. (Applause.) And I really do believe that there will be unusual harmony at the fair of this Anti-poverty society, because it is a matter of actual experience that the doctrine that has seized upon the minds and hearts of the members, which is, as we have so often said, but the essence and core of all religion, has struck men with new force and has touched and softened their hearts. It has given them a new enthusiasm. It has made them understand better than ever before how good and sweet and blessed a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. So I think we can anticipate very happy reunions, love feasts and most fraternal gatherings at that Anti-poverty society fair.
Now I think I have said nearly all that I have to say about this practical part of our work. I told you that I would say that first before beginning the sermon or lecture of the evening. I have already, I think, anticipated a little of the sermon by the religion that, in spite of myself, I was compelled to inject even into the talk about the holding of the fair. And now what shall I say? How much more time have I (turning to the chairman)? Put on your church faces now and get ready for the sermon. There are a good many friends here that recognize in this little talk of mine an old, familiar tone. They have heard similar talks, sometimes even in St. Stephen’s church; for churches will not build themselves, and the poor pastor is compelled to talk about financial matters and fairs and things, even from the altar. And now what shall be the subject of this evening’s sermon?
The same old thing — the object of this society. What else should we talk about? What is the subject of the countless sermons that are preached throughout the world, and have been preached for a thousand years and more? If they are worthy of the name, if they are not a desecration of the sacred places, if the man who delivers the speech that is called a sermon is not rather worthy of the censure of the Master in the stinging rebuke that he administered to those whom He called hirelings, I am compelled to say that substantially the subject of a sermon everywhere and always can be but one — the eternal supremacy of justice, the eternal sanctity and beauty of holiness, the eternal, unchangeable relations between the supreme God and every one of His children. The essence and the core, as we love so often to say, of all religion is the supreme truth that God is God, the infinite and eternal truth and goodness and beauty, and that we are made in His image to know that truth, to love that goodness, to enjoy that beauty. (Applause.)
And because we are all equally made in that same blessed image, therefore are we all equally children of the one Father, and therefore members of one family; and therefore our one reason for being is to love God supremely, because He is infinitely lovable; to desire Him supremely because he is infinitely desirable, to enjoy Him supremely when hereafter we may have unfolded to us the vision of the Father’s face, that we now see through a glass darkly; to love the Father supremely by loving His holy will; in being diligent in running His errands of justice or of mercy. (Applause.) And is there not in all this theme enough for the minds of seraphs? Is there not subject sufficient to inspire the eloquence of the highest angels that are nearest the throne of God, if they could take human flesh and human brain and speak with a human tongue? Is there not theme enough in the infinite goodness and truth and beauty of God; in the perfect unity of justice, truth and holiness, which are all but one and the self-same thing under a different name?
The great Cardinal Wiseman, as he lay dying, at the moment when he was supposed by his friends already to have passed beyond the sound and vision of earthly things, was discovered to be discussing with himself the awful mystery of eternity, as if his soul were hesitating before making the mysterious plunge out of the reach of time, and as if he were consoling himself in the mysterious passage by saying: “Does one ever tire of the stars?” And is there any danger that our minds shall ever tire of the infinite variety of the one eternal truth? Is there any danger that our hearts shall ever be cloyed or sated? This appetite, ever new and ever fresh, shall be eternally filled with the perfect good. Is there any fear that in the infinite beauty of God, in his perfect unity, our fancy, our affections, shall ever be cloyed or dulled or sated?
All the wondrous charm that we find in the beauties of nature, all the thrill that comes to us when we stand in some place from which we can take in a larger vista of the works of God, all the wondrous delight that comes to us from art, from music, from paintings, from sculpture, from architecture, from poetry or oratory — what are all these things but faint remembrances, reminiscences of a more perfect truth and goodness and beauty that exist in the wondrous works of God? It is not without a peculiar reason and significance that the saints and sages and prophets and poets tell us of the harmony of the heavens, of the music of the spheres. We may well say that this wondrous art, that in its various moods can nerve men to deeds of heroism on battle fields, or move them to shed tears like the weakest woman, is a remembrancer and a forecast of that perfect union with the true and beautiful and good in which we shall not only hear but shall see the harmonies.
That simple law of force that causes the pin to fall to the ground is the same law that holds the mighty spheres in their places, that balances the suns and causes all the auxiliary planets to revolve in due order and measure. So this law of justice that God has made to be the foundation of human society, is the simple remedy for all our social ills. It is the one law by the perfect doing of which men shall be here so schooled and disciplined and cultivated, so educated, refined and elevated, that upon this earth, in God’s good time, God’s will shall be done even as it is in heaven. (Applause.)
Here is it that we of the anti-poverty church differ from those men who believe that a blind law of force controls society as rigidly as the law of gravitation controls the solar system. Such an idea is a blasphemy against the sacred dignity of man. I say advisedly, a blasphemy, since it is a denial of God’s image in man, the making of which we may reverently say is the one object for which all other visible things of this world of ours were made. (Applause.) It is the belief of this Anti-poverty society that men and women can do something of their own will; that they have the freedom to choose between good and evil; that they have the power given to them by their Father to rise out of their baser selves, to deny their lower selves, to become, by their own deliberate choice, by their own self-denial, by their own labors, more and more like God. (Applause.)
It is the fashion with men who do not believe in God, and therefore cannot believe in His fatherhood, and consequently have no logical basis for asserting the brotherhood of man, even if they dared to assert it — it is the fashion for them to lapse into a kind of despair, to believe that it were idle for them, even though they see a great wrong, to arouse themselves and go out in the spirit of the crusaders of old to invite others to aid them to beat down the wrong and help up the right. (Applause.)
I may as well say just here that this same opinion largely gives color to the minds and to the views of some of our brethren who unfortunately are not with us today. Even while telling us they aspire to a more perfect social state, while seeing the wrongs of our present social state, they yet have not the same sanguine hope as we, have not the same religious enthusiasm, have not the same strong faith in the usefulness of being up and doing. They believe the remedy must be the result of a slow process of evolution which they can do but little either to promote or retard.
Now, we of this society do believe in the magnificent potency of individual human effort. We believe that it is in the power of man to counteract that law of gravitation that would, as if by a brute force, drag down the angel to the lowest depths of the animal; that it is within the power of the will of each man to disimprison the angel and compel the brute to keep his proper place. (Great applause.)
How delightful it were if this — not dream, not poetic vision, but prophecy and desire of the mind and the heart of the Christ — were realized here today, if the will of the Father were done on earth as it is in heaven, if the magnificent significance of the “our Father” were realized among men; if the great truth that it teaches should so take hold of the minds and hearts of men as to become their evangel — not merely their daily prayer, but their daily love and daily practice. “Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Our Father: give us this day our daily bread; lead us not into temptation.” “Our Father” — not merely my father — Thy will be done throughout the whole world. Make me what Thou wilt, even thine instrument to help in the perfect doing of Thy will on earth even as it is in heaven. (Applause.)5
It is no idle fancy, no poetic dream. It is the teaching of Him whom we revere as our Lord and Master that this should be our ideal, these should be our aspirations. Surely He, least of all, would teach us to pray to God with a lie upon our lips, and to voice a desire that came not from the depths of our hearts. When He taught us to pray, He taught us to utter the deepest convictions of our minds, the desire that was nearest in our hearts, like little children crying in the night.
And this is the hope, the object of the Anti-poverty society. It is to make good the Savior’s prophecy. It is to hasten the day the coming of which shall gratify the wish of the Savior’s heart, when men shall recognize in all other men their equal brethren; when men shall anticipate the wants and wishes of their brethren; when men shall be readier to serve than to oppress, shall feel it to be more blessed to give than to receive, shall feel it better to minister than to be ministered to; when literally they shall seek the lowest place in order that they may have the glory of serving their brethren.
All this might seem a rhapsody if it were not the clear teaching of the very gospel of Christ. And if the Christian teaching, if this Lord’s prayer that you were taught to lisp on your mother’s knee, and that you have taught to your lisping children as it was taught to you — if this Lord’s prayer seems to come to some of us as if it were something new, that very fact itself is full of significance. It shows that it is necessary to be baptized, as it were, with a new baptism of fire, that we must stimulate our minds, quicken our fancies, and touch our hearts so that they shall be more responsive to these great truths, so that it may no longer be our fault that a truth which should have regenerated the world a thousand years ago must still be taught as something new to the great majority of mankind. (Applause.)
We have said — and it may not be amiss to repeat it — that nothing can be further from the hearts of the members of this society than to start a new church. And yet it is strangely significant that we seem to feel inspired with more enthusiasm, with more feeling, with a deeper conception of the meaning of that fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man that we have always known to be the very essence of religion. (Applause.) Because of the weakness, the one-sidedness and the insufficiency of our poor natures, we are prone to conserve what at one time may have served an excellent purpose, but in the course of time may have become a hindrance or obstacle where previously it was an aid.6 And the tendency of institutions everywhere is to this conservatism, to this case hardening, to the appealing to the past as a sufficient justification for the present. And a certain change at times becomes necessary. So, I say it with my heart on my lips, I find it not a small compensation for whatsoever change has come to me in the past year, that I am freer to go wheresoever I will, and to speak with more fullness and force than I was able to speak before of this essence of all religion. (Deafening applause.)
I have been wonderfully struck and touched by a little poem that I accidentally chanced upon in a collection of poetry by a woman not a member of the Catholic church — Mrs. Browning — Mrs. Browning in her little poem, having, as I imagine, witnessed a peculiar scene on the Roman campagna when that dead level was covered with mist and the mist was surging to and fro like a stormy ocean, while above the mist rose the dome of St. Peter’s, as if tossing on that ocean of mist. And she imagines the ship of the church so heaving on a stormy ocean, and apostrophizes Peter thus:
Peter, Peter, if such be thy name,
Now leave the ship for another to steer,
And, proving thy faith evermore the same,
Come forth, tread out through the dark and drear,
Since He who walks on the sea is here.
Peter, Peter! He does not speak —
He is not as rash as in old Galilee.
Safer a ship, though it toss and leak,
Than a reeling foot on a rolling sea!
And he’s got to be round in the girth, thinks he.
Peter! Peter! He does not stir;
His nets are heavy with silver fish,
He reckons his gains and is keen to infer —
“The broil on the shore, if the horde should wish,
But the sturgeon goes to the Caesar’s dish.”
Peter, Peter, thou fisher of men,
Fisher of fish wouldst thou live instead?
Haggling for pence with the other ten.
Cheating the market at so much a head,
Gripping the bag of the traitor dead?
Here is a woman, an English woman, and you know the strong masculine woman she was, not a Catholic, nor having peculiar fancy for ritualism, but giving the strongest testimony of the consciousness in her heart that it rests with the ecclesiastical machine to limber itself, to leave nine-tenths of its lumber behind it and go out to conquer, as it never conquered before — the whole world. (Deafening and long continued applause.)
And mark you, I say this while saying most solemnly that I would be the last man to wish to take away one tittle from the Christian creed or diminish the reverence of any child of God for any one of the sacraments. I believe it is in the power of the Christian church to go out in the world to preach as Christ preached of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, of the beauty of holiness, of the magnificent opportunities of making God’s kingdom here on earth, to break down barriers, to teach men to come together, in spite of differences, under the one magnificent dome of the universal church, and make it possible that Christ’s will be done on earth even as it is in heaven. (Applause.) We have some little foretaste of that time in these unique meetings of the Anti-poverty society on the blessed Sabbath evenings. Here come Hebrews, Protestants, Catholics, men of all creeds and races; here men of all religions and of no religion congregate. And they confess that their minds have been quickened, that their hearts have been touched and softened by the preaching of the essence of justice. (Great applause.) And I have received testimony from many of these men bidding me to go on and entreating me to make no departure, to continue to preach the old truths, the old gospel, the old sacraments, in language that shall be understood of the people (great applause); to translate them into language that may show men how politics, and art, and science, and the mills and fields, and markets, and the courts of justice, and all society — all things everywhere — are full of religion. (Applause.)
In teaching science, in teaching politics, in teaching festive gatherings, in teaching all the interests of men, to find their benediction, and sanction, and their highest joy and pleasure in the smiling approval of the Father’s face; in seeking to elevate our brethren because they are brethren, children of the one common Father, created for the same common destiny, we are but fulfilling the magnificent plan of God and becoming the conscious instruments with which the master hand of the Father is painting wondrous pictures that throughout eternity shall adorn His gallery beyond the skies.
And I thank God, who in His mysterious way permits our trials and tribulations to result in the greater good of His cause, that though not permitted to preach from His altars what is the very essence of religion, we can preach from the stage of this theater (long continued applause) as we have never preached before, of God, of heaven, of eternity, of the thorny path of justice. And I bless God that during the sultry evenings of the long summer we have been able here to reach men and women by the thousands who are hungering as they hungered of old for the word of God. (Applause.)
A newspaper, describing the speech I made at Oriental grove on the day of our excursion, when the heavens so smiled upon us that I felt it was a day of paradise, said that twice during my discourse I compared myself to Christ. (Cries of “Oh! oh!” from the audience.) The reason for that remark was that looking at the blue sky above us, and the clouds and waters and hillsides around us, I asked if it did not remind you of similar scenes eighteen hundred years ago, when our Savior and Master mingled with His disciples and invited them to forget for a while all their cares and business, and rest a little and make merry and rejoice in the presence of their Father. So far from meaning to compare myself to Christ, I but sought to enroll myself as the humblest of the children gathered around Him and looking to heaven, thankful for the privilege of sitting at His feet. Our Father, our Savior, is so admirable a workman that he can do perfect work even with indifferent instruments, and He may choose me, He may choose you, He has chosen me, He has chosen every one of you, to be His blessed instruments in the consummation of His all perfect work. And being thus chosen, with much to be thankful for, but nothing to be proud of, we must be careful lest through any misapprehension of our duty, through any false modesty, or, worst of all, through indolence, or self indulgence, or fear of consequences, we should be recreant to His command and fail to speak His message to men. When the duty is put upon us we should acknowledge His providence and reverently obey His holy will. (Applause.)
Take heart of hope. The angels of God are fighting for us. The stars in their courses are foretelling our victory. We have justice, truth, humanity, brotherhood, God on our side; and every child, every weakest woman, every man can safely say, with all reverence, God and I are more than a match for all the powers of nature, for all the powers of perverted human will, for all the powers of hell. (Applause.) Let us rejoice in God our Savior. Let us feel what a blessed thing it is to be alive in God’s world. Let us be thankful for the sweet habit of existence, and beware lest we put ourselves to shame by making base use of that most precious gift.
This Anti-poverty society, as has been well said by your chairman, is destined to make an epoch in the world. It is destined to bring on a mighty peaceful revolution that shall be the harbinger of the coming of the prince of peace. Let us do what we can to be worthy of so glorious a cause. Let us realize the shortness of time, the preciousness of it, that every possible moment shall be spent in helping this cause. Let us miss no opportunity of enlightening our brethren.
It is rather a pitiful business for any man to answer petty cavilings and misapprehensions and willful mispresentations; but when such a duty is thrust upon us, let us try to perform it in the spirit of Him who said as they did Him to death: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Applause.) It is no new thing for men oppressed to be foremost in the ranks of the defenders of oppression.
There are good men employed on the journals — and I know whereof I speak — who are actually asked to sacrifice their consciences in order to misrepresent our meetings. (Applause.) They are deliberately instructed to sneer. One managing editor gave instructions that henceforth the united labor party should never be called by that name (hisses), and insisted that it should always be sneeringly called, in the reports of meetings and the like, the “Henry George party.”7 Don’t you see how the devil always overreaches himself? (Applause.) That kind of a thing always does us good. The men that I pity most are the unfortunates who have to obey such mandates or risk their bread and butter by defying them. But in the meanwhile the devil overreaches himself, and helps us. We can afford to smile when we hear this united labor party called the “Henry George party.” For it means that this united labor party is committed to the cardinal doctrine of the land for the people. (Great applause.) And when we hear that kind of thing it actually puts fat upon us. (Laughter.)
Now, the sermon ended about five minutes ago (laughter), and this is a little after-talk similar to the practical talk that preceded the sermon. And I know that you are going to have the pleasure of hearing from a distinguished gentleman before the meeting is over. Therefore, I shall abruptly terminate this little after-talk of mine by bidding you good evening. (Great applause.)
Mr. Blakeney, chairman of the state committee of the united labor party, after an introduction by the chairman and when the applause with which his name was greeted had subsided, said:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen — It gives me much pleasure to be here tonight, and I esteem it a great honor to receive this introduction to such a magnificent assemblage. I do not expect to say anything that will much interest you, for I am a very new and a very humble worker in the great cause we have entered upon. I never made but one speech in my life and that was made but a few weeks ago. Perhaps under different circumstances, is a smaller field, it might be possible for me to say something that would interest you, not that I have any great ability, but because I feel, as hundreds of others are feeling throughout the land today, an inspiration that compels me to throw aside timidity, the consciousness of want of experience, and come before the people to say something to them in propagating the great principles that we are now preaching and presenting to the people of this country. Perhaps it will be possible for some others who have been impelled into this cause to meet with me on some future occasion and say something of great interest. I must ask you, however, to excuse me with a very few remarks this evening. But I will say that we are doing what we can in the country districts to further the good work. These meetings here of yours are filling the people through the country with amazement. Friends and foes alike are amazed. The people are beginning to think for themselves. When you started this movement, twenty weeks ago, your warmest friends and most enthusiastic workers dared not hope that you would continue these Anti-poverty meetings in this most remarkable and splendid manner. While we are astonished and delighted with your success, our opponents are correspondingly bewildered and confused. This fills us with courage and hope.
Now, one word with reference to public sentiment in the rural districts. While the fact was that, on account of the hostility aroused against us by misrepresentation a few weeks ago, the people would not listen to us very much on this subject, yet now it is different. Since the Syracuse convention was held a marked change has come over public sentiment throughout the rural districts (a voice, “More will come over it by and by!”), and we are now frequently asked about this new movement; people are beginning to suspect that it has not been presented to them fairly in their papers; they are asking us for our views and they listen attentively to us when we give them. They are not going to vote with us this fall, of course; we cannot expect that, but we are getting their attention; we are getting their enlightened consideration of what we are trying to accomplish, and that is what we want to do at the present time, and I suppose that is all we can expect to do. That, however, is a great deal.
I will not say anything further; it would almost be a mockery for me to attempt to interest you by mentioning this gratifying result. (A voice, “It is mighty interesting!”) I will put it off until after the election and come down here and aid you to celebrate the election of our state ticket and then try to make you a speech.
Mr. George, who arrived late and was sitting in one of the boxes, was spied by some of the audience, and their cries of “George! George!” were quickly taken up by thousands. He was received with great applause as he appeared upon the platform. He spoke as follows:
Thank you. I know you all are anxiously waiting to hear Miss Munier and her choir. It is too late to make a speech tonight; but I can say this with reference to what the chairman of our state committee has said. I say, “Me, too.” (Great applause and uproarious laughter.) I hope, God sparing my life, to come here after the election and to take part in the greatest glorification meeting we have ever heard of (great applause), the glorification of a great political victory, the glorification of the first great triumph of a principle destined to conquer the world, the glorification in the vindication by the people of the right, in their justification of truth and courage and duty and justice. (Great applause.)
The collection brought in $209.87, including the fees of twenty-two new members. A gentleman on the platform, a Kentuckian, sent a note to the chairman, saying that he would be one of one hundred, each to contribute $100 to the campaign fund.
A Song of Freedom.
(Air — “Red, White and Blue.”)
The despot may prate of protection, and fear that the people are too free;
But the shrine of our heart’s best affection, we dedicate, sweet Liberty, to thee!
On the shores we are sailing to discover, thy smile opens heaven to our view;
And the reign will be over, when labor can toil and think, too!
Then, hurrah for the reign of the true! Take your stand!
Land and trade shall their freedom have, too! There we stand!
For the reign of fell poverty is over, with free trade and free land in view!
Let the church thunder forth comminations! Through the curse-smoke, our God, He sends His light!
And the blasts of excommunication can never drive a free soul from the right!
‘Tis the voice of our Father God that’s calling, to follow the brave and the true;
And the ramparts of tyranny are falling, when men learn to toil and to think, too!
Oh, land of our heart’s adoration, our lives here we consecrate to thee!
For the hope of the whole world’s salvation, hangs all upon America, the free!
And we swear that our truth, it shall not sever till the stars in the welkin-dome, so blue,
Light a land that is free to all, forever, in the reign of the brave and the true!
A Saint Who Would Not Go to Rome.
New York City.—At the retreat given to the priests of New York at Troy last week, the Jesuit who directed the exercises narrated the following historical event. When St. Liguori was in Naples directing the labors of his newly established Order of the Redeemer, a certain Signor Leggio was in charge of a branch of the order in the vicinity of Rome. This Leggio was noted for his ostentatious professions of loyalty to authority, and even wrote pamphlets urging the doctrine of the pope’s infallibility, before the church declared it to be so. He was full of pride and ambition, entirely devoted to selfish interests, and wholly devoid of principle. He accused St. Liguori of meddling in politics, charging him with intrigues at the court of Naples, and as being hostile and disrespectful to the holy see.
All this was brought to the notice of the saint, and he was strongly and frequently urged to go to Rome and justify himself before the pope. “Go to Rome, go to Rome,” was constantly dinned in his ears, even by his friends. But he persistently refused to take the slightest measures of self-justification. If the pope was so unjust as to condemn him on partisan and malicious representations, without knowledge of the real state of facts, surely that placed the responsibility upon the holy father, and the injustice must be atoned for by those who wrought it. And so the saint died under the criminal imputations of his unscrupulous enemies, and under the condemnation of the pope.
When, later, Pius VI learned the true state of the whole question, all he had to say was, “Alas! I have unjustly condemned a saint of God; may the Lord pardon me.”
It was remarkable, last week, with what unanimity the ninety-five priests applied this narrative to the similar treatment of Dr. McGlynn.
One of Them
QUERIES AND ANSWERS.
It is a favorite notion of the pro-poverty press and platform that the land value tax will never be accepted by farmers or small home owners. If that tax were what its ignorant opponents describe it these classes would be hostile; but when the farmer and rural home owner learn what the tax is, as those of New York state will in the political campaign this fall, they will be even more eager to adopt it than the artisan classes of the city have been.
W. T. Hopkins of Enterprise, Kan., forwards a clipping from a paper of his state which gives a fair idea of the way the land value tax is misrepresented to farmers. After a long statement of what he supposes the land value tax to be and how it would affect the interests of farmers, the editor says: “This is a plain and simple statement of the Georgian land tax theory, put in the vernacular of the common people.” It would be better English and nearer the truth to say that it is a statement of the Georgean land tax theory, put into the vernacular of an ignorant editor.
According to this Kansas quill, “under the George regime, the lawyer, the doctor, the merchant, the manufacturer — men of every trade and profession who own no land and who only represent billions of dollars’ worth of personal property — will escape all taxation, and the whole burden will be thrown upon the farmer and home owner, except where business men carry on enterprises in their own stores and mills.” There is more ignorance to the thousand ems8 in this quotation than there are puns in the funniest of Tom Hood’s jingles.9
Until we raise up a class of lawyers, doctors, merchants and manufacturers who can live without land, we shall have no man of either class who, under the land value tax, can escape his share of public burdens. They all pay a land value tax now and to the full annual value of the land they use; but it goes into the pockets of landlords instead of going into the public treasury.
This Kansas editor seems to think that a man who did not own the land he used would be untaxed. It is true he would not pay any more for the land than he pays now, but he now pays all he ought to pay. The trouble is that he pays the wrong man. He would pay no less under a land value tax except as the land he used fell in value, but so long as that land had a value he could not escape taxation. And he ought not to pay for anything but the land value he appropriates. That, and that alone, of his wealth is produced by the community, and belongs to the community; his personal property and land improvements being of his own production, the community has no right to take them. When the community compels him to pay for the land value he appropriates it takes only what belongs to it; but when it compels him to give up to it of the products of his labor one penny over and above the land value he has appropriated it robs him.
It is not true, however, that lawyers, merchants, manufacturers and doctors represent billions of dollars’ worth of personal property. What the astute Kansas editor means by personal property may be itemized as railroad stock, corporation and government bonds, and so on. Of the value of this class of property, very little is a property value at all. So much of corporation stock and bonds as represents actual labor products, like rolling stock, rails and stations, is property value, and ought to be free of taxes; first, because the community did not produce these things, and second, to encourage the production of more. But so much of such stock and bonds as represents special privileges and “water” is a mere device of robbery, bearing a relation to the industry of our time similar to what pirate ships bore to commerce a few generations ago.
When we propose to exempt labor products from taxation, we mean labor products. As for public franchises that are special privileges, we would abolish them altogether.
And how about the whole burden of taxation being thrown upon the farmer and home owner?
The Kansas editor will certainly exclude tenant farmers. It is strange that he does not classify tenant farmers with “men of every trade and profession who own no land;” for surely if doctors are to escape taxation tenant farmers will too. The truth is that tenant farmers, like doctors, will pay the same ground tax that they do now, except as it falls in consequence of the fall of land values, and that what they pay will find its way into the public treasury instead of settling, as it does now, in the coffers of landlords.
And why does not the Kansas editor classify mortgaged farmers with doctors, lawyers and merchants? The mortgaged farmer is, to the extent of his mortgage, a tenant farmer.
That the whole burden of taxation will be thrown upon farm owners and home owners is false upon the face of it. How about mine owners? How about factory owners? How about store owners? How about water front owners? How about the owners of vacant lots?
The burden of taxation that house owners will have to bear will depend upon the value of the land upon which their homes are built. If they build on the most desirable land in the community — as poor home owners never do, by the way — they will have a high tax to pay; if they build on the least desirable land in the community — as poor home owners are now compelled to do — they will have little or no tax to pay; and according to the desirableness of the land upon which they build, from the least to the most desirable, so will their taxes be graduated. If they adorn their grounds, embellish their houses, enlarge their living accommodations, or otherwise improve their homes, their taxes will be no more than if they let their homes run down to the level of pig sties.
Which is better for the home owner — to be taxed on every improvement he makes as he is now, or to be taxed only for the special privilege by way of location that he enjoys and to be left free to improve to the extent of his desire?
The burden of taxation that farmers will have to bear will depend, like that of the home owner, on the value of the bare land they appropriate. Farmers are now taxed on the value of their land, their buildings, their fences, their drainage, their stock and their produce. Let our brilliant Kansas editor submit to the farmers of his acquaintance the alternative of a tax on all these values or on the value of the land alone, and see which they will choose.
When the average working farmer appraises the value of his buildings, fences, drainage, stock and produce in one class and the value of his bare land in another, he will find that the totals are about as four to one. The total of the first class it is proposed to exempt; but under the present system the total of both classes is taxed.
And this is not all. When taxes are imposed solely on land values, so much land that is now held out of use for speculation will seek a market that the value of all land will fall; and as it falls the farmers’ tax will recede. It is probable, if the speculative value of land were eliminated, as it would be under the land value tax, that the value of the average working farmers’ improvements, stock and produce, compared to the value of his bare land, would be as ten to one. In many cases it would be as the whole is to nothing.
Nor yet is this all. In addition to the direct taxes that a farmer now pays on his improvements and stock, he pays an indirect tax on nearly everything he consumes. This is the customs and internal revenue tax, which, as our Kansas editor says correctly for once, would be abolished.
Whether any farmer would deplore the abolition of the tariff, I am not prepared to say, for even farmers sometimes do very stupid things; but if he did, it would be on the ground that home industry ought to be protected, and not on the ground that farmers like to pay high prices for what they buy.
Very well; we will defer any discussion of the question of protection. It is enough to be able to agree, as undoubtedly we shall, that if domestic industry ought to be protected, a bounty will protect it much more securely and distribute the protection much more equitably than a tariff. Suppose that sugar can be produced abroad for five cents a pound, while it cannot be done for less than ten cents at home. Now, if we wish to protect the sugar industry, we would, under the tariff system, impose a tax of five cents a pound on foreign sugar, and then the farmer, the mechanic, the clerk, and all other consumers of sugar would have to pay a tax of five cents whenever they bought a pound of sugar. But under the bounty system, the manufacturer would receive from the government five cents for every pound of sugar he manufactured, and the consumer would get his sugar for five cents a pound instead of ten.
But where is the money to come from to pay these bounties? From the value of land. From the value of the farmers’ land? Yes, in part; but the farmer would have no more to pay than if there were no bounties, for his tax could never exceed the annual value of his bare land. It would come chiefly from the value of mines and exceptionally desirable city lots, in which every one has by natural right an equal interest. And if the manufacturer did not distribute the bounty among his employees, but put it into his own pocket, as he now puts the tariff bounty, he would be brought to book very speedily and effectually.
Home owners and farmers now bear the burden of taxes, and the land value tax would emancipate them. When we consider the special privileges that the wealthy classes enjoy, their taxes are exceedingly light compared to those of the house owner and the farmer, whose special privileges are meager. The only special privilege that the average home owner and working farmer enjoys is the exclusive right to a piece of land, the value of which relatively to the value of the wealth he produces is a trifle; but there are mine owners, city lot owners, railroad owners, telegraph owners and currency makers whose special privileges relatively to the wealth they produce are in value close on to a hundred times. Owners of coal mines, for example, get 35 cents a ton for all coal mined; how much wealth do they produce? None. Under the land value tax, which bears only upon special privileges, they, and such as they, and not the home owner or the farmer, would bear the burden of taxation, and it is in the interest of beneficiaries of these special privileges that the farmer is appealed to to defeat the land value tax.
Thus far of the farmer who owns his farm and the head of a family who owns his home. But what of the tenant farmer and the tenant house holder, two constantly growing classes? They must now pay annually to a landlord all that their land is worth and an indirect tax on what they consume, as well as direct taxes. Under the land value tax they would pay no more for the land than they do now; indeed, they would pay less, for land values would fall with the increase of the market supply of land. They would pay no more for the improvements than they do now, but less; for with the increase of production and reduction of land values both parties to an exchange would get more with less work. And they would pay no taxes on what they consumed, nor any other tax except what they paid to the landlord in the form of ground rent.
But the sum total of benefits to the farmer and the home owner is not yet reached. The average farmer and the average home owner are workingmen. I have considered, so far, only the benefits they will enjoy as consumers; their benefits as producers are yet to be seen. We have already observed that their interests as capital owners and laborers are greater than their interests as land owners; therefore a tax that exempts their interests as capital owners and laborers, even though it wholly absorbs their interests as land owners, must be beneficial to them. And so it is. The wages of their labor will rise with wages generally.
Stating the proposition in the terms of political economy, the land value tax will raise the margin of production,10 and as wages rise with the rise of the margin of production wages will rise with the imposition of the land value tax. In terms more familiar to the Kansas editor, the land value tax will abolish the value of all land not especially desirable. Any land that is not in demand for use will bear no rent; and land that is not more desirable, even though in use, will also be free of rent. Consequently, occupiers of such land will have no tax to pay. Now, there is a great deal of just such land, but because it is held out of use for speculation users of land must take up with less desirable locations, and as wages are regulated by the produce of the least desirable land in use wages are lower now than they will be when the more desirable locations are to be had free of rent or purchase price.
By wages is meant, of course, the return for one’s labor, whether paid by an employer as in factories, or directly out of his produce as in the case of farmers. Hence, the condition of a working farmer in his capacity of producer, as well as in that of consumer, must improve under the land value tax, as will that of the small home owner, whatever be his vocation.
It is curious that men like the Kansas editor should insist that Jay Gould, the Vanderbilts, the Huntingtons and the Mackeys would escape all taxation under the land value tax, in spite of the fact that those worthies, who never exhibit any disposition to pay any more taxes than they can help, utterly refuse to have anything to do with the land value tax, and get as mad as hornets at the mere possibility of its adoption. Gould and his confreres know their business better than the Kansas editor does.
One of the difficulties in the way of a clear understanding of the effect of the land value tax upon farmers is a confusion of terms. Rent is so commonly used to designate annual payments for the use of real estate, including improvements with the land, that it is difficult at times to confine the term to its economic meaning. In this connection John Simmons of the Grangers’ league of Bradford county, Pennsylvania, who declares himself in hearty sympathy with our movement, makes this apt illustration:
“If on a given piece of land $300 worth of labor will yield $300 of product, such land will be free, and we can cultivate it without paying taxes; but if on a piece of land of equal area $300 worth of labor will yield $700 of product, $400 will be the rent of that land, and if the tax be fully imposed, will go into the public treasury, thus leaving to the farmer the same income for the same work on the poorer as on the better land.”
This is a good illustration provided it be always remembered that the tax will cause the abandonment of so much land now held for speculation that the value of labor will rise and that of land will fall. Thus: there may be so much unappropriated land that will yield $700 to given labor, that land which yields less to the same labor will not be used. In that case the labor that was before worth only $300 will be worth $700, and land yielding $700 to that labor will be free, while land yielding $800 will rent for $100.
And if Philip Bausch of New York will carefully consider this illustration he can answer his question for himself. He wants to know “what would become of those vast tracts of land that have no value, which have been taken by railroad magnates, foreign syndicates,” etc., and inquires whether [“]they would still remain in the hands of the robbers or be confiscated for the rightful use of all men.” It would make no difference if they were left in the hands of the robbers. So long as the robbers exacted nothing for the use of them no taxes would be required; but when the robbers put a price or rent upon them they would have to pay taxes according to the price. After the robbers discovered that there was no profit for mere landlords, they would abandon the lands, which would then be as common as a hotel hat rack to the umbrellas of the guests.
The question of Hugo Belgram is perhaps pertinent here. He asks whether taxes laid generally on real estate — that is, upon the value of land and improvements taken together — affect the value of the bare land. Yes, they have that tendency. So much of a real estate tax as falls on the improvements tends to increase their value by discouraging improvements in the same line; but so much of it as falls upon the bare land tends to diminish the land value by making it more expensive to hold land out of use and thus making a larger market supply of land than there would be if the tax were wholly on improvements.
A case relating to farmers is put by “Ansonia.” It is as follows: A working farmer owns seventy acres of land in Wayne county, Pa.; forty acres are scrub land and thirty are under grain culture. The land is ten miles from a railroad station, and the market price for grain is not sufficient to enable the farmer to hire help; taxes are only $10.80 per year. And now “Ansonia” asks how the land value tax will help that farmer.
In the first place the land would not be worth anything, and the farmer would pay no tax; that would save him $10.80 a year. In the next place, a better market for his grain would be produced; that would increase his income. In the next place, he would have no indirect taxes to pay on what he consumed; that would increase his savings. Finally, there would be so much better land than his to be had for nothing that he would lose no time in turning his back on the scrubs and going where he could make a better living with less work.
But here comes Philip Bausch with another question. He has heard so much about land being made free by the land value tax, that he is curious to know from what source government will derive its revenues.
Government will derive its revenues from land that is not free. Labor naturally goes to the best land that is accessible to it. If there is so much of the best land that, after all who want it are supplied, there is still some left, then even the best land will be free. But when all of the best is occupied, the second best is taken up, and the best has a value, while all below it has none. When the second best is all occupied, the third best is taken up, and the second best has a value, while the first best has a higher value, and all below the second best is free. And so on from grade to grade. That quality of land of which part is still unappropriated, as well as all of a lower grade, is free, while all of higher grades has value. It is from these higher grades that government will derive its revenue, and to the highest of the lower grades that labor will resort for free opportunities.
Here is an Ohio editor who sees the evil of speculative land holdings, but frowns upon the land value tax as one that would compel the user of land to pay all taxes while letting railroads, mills, factories and banks go free. I have passed through Ohio, but it was on an express train that went so fast that I had no opportunity to see any of those wonderful railroads, mills, factories and banks which, according to this Ohio editor, are not attached to the land. And, candidly, I do not believe there are any such railroads, mills, factories and banks, even in Ohio. To me it seems that the editor has thoughtlessly expressed himself; and it is from such an editor that one might expect such a proposition for abolishing speculation in land as he makes. He proposes to so change the form of deeds as to make occupancy accompanied with toil a condition of the grant. “This,” he says, “would be a positive death blow to holding for rental purposes, and no man could have a title to land that he did not occupy and cultivate.” But who would determine what constituted occupancy, and how would he determine it? If a man covers a piece of ground with a building he may be said to occupy the ground, but how about his yard, and how about the occupancy of ground that is fenced in? And who shall determine what is toil on a piece of ground, and how shall it be determined? It requires toil to raise a cucumber, and also to raise a thousand acres of wheat. Would the toil in one case as in the other secure title to the same area of land? And though a man could not rent out his land, what would prevent him from hiring men to work it? And, pray, where is the essential difference?
It is curious to note how anxious some people are to substitute cumbersome, ineffectual, unscientific, impracticable and complex schemes for remedying the evils of landlordism for the simple, scientific, effective and just method of making every one pay to the public the value of any special privilege in land he may enjoy and allowing him to keep intact the product of his own labor.
It is a similar kind of half thought on the subject that fails to realize the remedial completeness of the land value tax. Here is Smart Alexander of Okobojo, Dakota (a signature which I presume has been evolved from the familiar “Smart Alec”), who inquires whether it would not be necessary “to supplement the land value tax by a law limiting the amount of land a person can own.” Of course not. The tax itself, when fully imposed, would do that better than any limitation law could. One might as well ask whether a prohibitory tax on dogs ought not to be supplemented by a law limiting the number of dogs any family might keep. When a man has to pay the full annual value of the land he appropriates he will not appropriate more than he can use profitably, and that will leave plenty for everyone in every community.
The idea of limiting the area of land a man might hold dominated the land reform movement of forty years ago; and among the survivors of that agitation are men who still oppose the land value tax. They agree that God made the land for all His children, a principle that lies at the base of the tax reform, but chiefly for that very reason oppose the tax. To tax land, they claim, is to put a money value on a divine creation. They would have all land free, which is a simple impossibility. Their opposition to the land value tax is founded on a misconception. It is not proposed to tax land, the divine creation; but land values, a communal creation.
Of these old land reformers, Mr. Ingalls and Professor Robert W. Hume, are the most prominent survivors. Until recently Professor Hume was misled by overlooking the essential distinction between land and land value as a subject of taxation; but in a careful re-examination of the whole subject this distinction has presented itself clearly to his mind, and writing from Long Island City, he says:
As an old land reformer I have long ventured to dispute the propriety, or even the right, of mankind to place any money values on the land. But after a careful examination of the subject, I am free to admit that I see no other way in which the real freedom of the land can be established than in that proposed by Mr. George.
Many of us who for years have advocated the doctrine that the admission of man’s claim to the ownership of land is an impious and economical error, have seen no way in which the evil could be eradicated save by the enactment of a law decreeing that individual ownership of land should cease with the demise of its present possessors.
If such a law were passed, however, it would not be sufficient to meet the case. A owns a house and lot in New York city: the house is worth $5,000, the lot $10,000. A dies, after such a law has been enacted, and his son B succeeds him in the possession of that house. Twenty years pass; the house is certainly worth less, but what is to prevent B from obtaining $20,000 for it, the $5,000 added being what is called the ‘unearned increment’ of the land?
But, if I rightly understand. Mr. George’s proposition, it is that the community which has been the means of causing or producing that “unearned increment” shall, by taxation, recover it into the possession of those who have produced it, who are all represented in the state. This is simply justice. But, as I deny man’s right to place money values on god-created and god-given wealth in any form whatever, I shall not term Mr. George’s proposition “the taxation of the land,” but what it really is — “the taxation of the unearned increment on the land,” a human increase which man is rightfully justified in placing a money value on, and taxing at his pleasure.
Professor Hume is perfectly right in declining to call Mr. George’s proposition “the taxation of the land,” and in terming it “the taxation of the unearned increment on the land,” or as we have been in the habit of putting it, “the taxation of land values.” Men like Professor Hume, whose life has been devoted to the work of recovering the land for its rightful owners, are welcome additions to the growing host that is now gathering behind the cross of the new crusade.
H. G. S., Middletown, Ct — You are entitled to naturalization as soon as you shall have been five years in this country. If you were under eighteen years of age when you came here you need not take out first papers; but if you were older than eighteen when you came, you must take out first papers two years before applying for naturalization. First and second papers are issued by any court of record. The expense is slight.
M. L. Anderson, Pasadina.—Read the chapter on interest and the law of interest in “Progress and Poverty;” also the chapter on the correlation of the laws of wages, interest and rent.
Michael B. Clapp, Haverhill, Mass.—(1) It is not the so-called “wage workers” alone who have produced all wealth, but workers generally. If artificial means of production had been produced once for all, and could not be destroyed, worn out, reproduced, increased or diminished, there would be some point to your alleged analogy; but as all wealth and all artificial means of production are fleeting things which labor must constantly reproduce, there is no parallel between them and natural means of production, which were created once for all, which do not wear out and which cannot be reproduced, increased or diminished. The difference is analogous to that between barrels of oil and an oil well, or pails of coal and a coal mine. — (2) When land is common the laborer will not be obliged to give part of his wages in the shape of profits to idle people. — (3) It is not proposed to tax land owners according to the land they use, but according to the land values they appropriate. Therefore the farmer who works on twenty acres of land will not pay twenty times as much as the manufacturer who uses only one acre, unless both use land of the same value per acre. — (Mem.) Your ideas of what the land value tax is are derived, not from its advocates, but from its enemies. Read “’Progress and Poverty” instead of editorials in the pro-poverty press.
An Anti-poverty Lady, New York.— If Mr. Murphy and his friend owned two adjoining lots of equal value, and Mr. Murphy, having only $500, put up a house worth $500, and his friend, having $5,000, put up a house worth $5,000, Mr. Murphy would pay as high a tax as his friend. This would be just, for each would appropriate the same value of common property. Two things make it, at first blush, seem unequal: One is the habit we have acquired of wrongfully regarding land as private property, and the other is the assumption that because Mr. Murphy has only $500 he cannot build a house worth more than $500. As to the ownership of land, we may suppose that Mr. Murphy will agree that land is of right common property, and as to his assumption that he could build only to the extent of his ready money, you should advise him that free land, by emancipating labor, will make an unlimited market for his labor, so that if he does not build as good a house as his neighbor it will be not because he has less ready capital, but because such a house is such a place would be unprofitable, or because he is not willing to work as hard or intelligently as his neighbor. (2) The lady who owns a house on ground owned by the Stuyvesants, to whom she pays $800 a year ground rent, would pay no tax at all, unless the land were worth more than $800 a year, in which case she would pay, in lieu of all other taxes, the difference between $800 and the annual value of the bare land.
Henry T. Morris, Philadelphia. Pa.—The extract from Professor Harris’s Forum article, which some of your friends think a poser, goes to show that they are as ignorant of the subject as Professor Harris is. It is not true that the rate of assessment for taxes in usually fixed at two-thirds of the market value; it is nearer one-half for improved land, one-quarter for unimproved, and unimproved is often appraised as low as eighteen percent. No trustworthy estimate of the land rents of the country has ever been made; but it has been shown that the ground rents for that part of Manhattan island which lies below Forty-second street is at the very lowest $100,000,000 a year. Is it likely then that the ground rents of the whole country are only $100,000,000, as Professor Harris estimates. When Professor Harris argues that ground rents would not improve the condition of workers, he exposes his ignorance of the subject. Benefits will flow from the appropriation of ground rents to public use; but the greater, the incalculable, the unlimited, benefits of the single tax will be due to the making of all non-valuable land free, and to so raising the margin of production that great quantities of productive land in every community will be non-valuable. Wages will not be raised merely by dividing ground rents, but by the unlimited demand for labor that will result from making it unprofitable to keep productive land out of use.
John McCabe, Philadelphia. Pa.— (1) Enough revenue could be collected from land values to meet all public expenses. Estimate the land values of your community, and compare them with your present taxes. Consider also the immense saving in public expense that would be made if taxes were derived from a single source. (2) To put all taxes on land values would be true free trade; but it would not necessarily do away with what you call protection. If “protection” were needed it could be accomplished more completely, with less expense and less waste, by a system of bounties than by a tariff. If a manufacturer received a bounty and did not share it with his workmen, every one would know it; but now that he receives bounties indirectly in the form of a tariff on foreign products he closes his books when his men want higher wages, and loudly proclaims that it is nobody’s business how much he makes. Workingmen might be benefited by bounties; but they cannot be by a tariff, as the enslaved and starving workmen of your coal regions well know. (3) The land value tax would make it so that not only the poor man, but no man could own land. How many poor men own land now? (4) We have not more houses than we can occupy, nor is it possible to make more goods than we can use. What your friends call “over production” is a result of making it difficult for producer and consumer to get together, and would disappear if the land were restored to the people. (5) All the questions you refer to are answered in advance in “Progress and Poverty.” Master that and you can meet any of your opponents, even if you are but a boy and they old men. As you read the book prove its arguments chapter by chapter by comparing them with the conditions of social and business life that are familiar to you. For collateral reading take up “Social Problems,” “Protection or Free Trade,” “The Land Question,” and The Standard. Louis F. Post
Page 4 – Editorial
HENRY GEORGE, Editor and Proprietor.
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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 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.
To Our Friends Throughout the State.
The Standard invites correspondence from its friends throughout tbe state relating to the progress of the campaign, and giving facts which may illustrate or bear upon the principles advocated by the united labor party. Such correspondence should be brief, and confined to the recital of facts, to avoid undue pressure upon our columns.
THE CONSTANT FACTOR.
That was a significant cable dispatch from London which appeared in the Evening Sun on Monday of this week. It announced a translation from the Russian of an article supposed to be from the pen of Stepniak,11 which reviews the tendencies of the labor movement throughout the world, and claims that in nearly every country where discontent is rife among the masses less attention is being paid than formerly to what is technically known as “the wages question,” and more to the relations of the people to the land. The land question is now in fact, so runs the article, the “constant factor” in the labor agitation of the world, whatever local variation there may be as to additional questions. The nihilists of Russia are pushing it to the front; among the socialists of Germany the theory that the distress of the people is largely due to the fact that their rights in the land have been usurped is assuming importance; and the trades congress of Great Britain has recently demanded a tax on land which would finally result in the people owning it. That the writer of the article in question, whether he be Stepniak or not, is no superficial observer, is evident from his view of the land question in Ireland. On the surface it would appear that Ireland is in the van, but this writer looks below the surface and declares what is the truth, that the Irish land movement is not on natural lines. The present land agitation in Ireland only proposes a change of landlords, not a restoration of the land to the people.
And in still another respect the writer of the article exhibits clearness of mental vision by attributing great importance to the land movement in this country, and recognizing that the chief fault of former schemes of common ownership of land is avoided by the system of taxation of rental values, as proposed by the American agitators.
This Russian article is important and significant. Important in that it is evidently the work of a critical observer of events, and significant in that it shows that even in a country where oppression has fullest sway and the masses are most degraded, the great truth that freedom of natural opportunities is the first firm step in the direction of perfect liberty and higher civilization, is gaining recognition.
It is, indeed, true that the land question has become the “constant factor” in all real democratic agitation the world over, whatever may be the minor demands here and there advanced. It has become and must remain the chief stone of the corner in the social edifice. With the land restored and man thereby freed, the advance of civilization will be easy and rapid, and in its benefits all may share. Then monopoly will raise its head only to lose its head; the conflict between laborers and capitalists will cease, because laborers can become capitalists and capitalists must be laborers; political independence will revive where industrial dependence has strangled it, and develop where absolutism has until now held sway; the Word will no longer bow to the purse; and it will be possible — if it be desirable — to make the dream of co-operation a reality.
LABORERS CAN LEAVE THE STATE.
The Star, in an amusingly weak attempt to controvert the first plank in the Syracuse platform, shows how little attention many editors pay to the subjects they attempt to discuss. The declaration in question is, word for word, the famous Clarendon hall platform on which the great fight of the united labor party was made last year; and yet the Star evidently never heard of it before, and treats it as an entirely new utterance. In the course of its article the Star says:
No laborer is by New York law deprived of “natural opportunities for employment.” He can leave the state if he wishes.
This is surely frank enough. If the workingmen of New York find existing conditions unsatisfactory, they can get out and leave the state to those satisfied with matters as they are. This is the response to labor’s just complaint by a newspaper that claims to be the only “organ” of the democratic party published in this city. How do workingmen like such democracy?
They will answer this question for themselves at the polls this fall. They cherish the idea that they have just as good a right to live and thrive in the state of New York as any one else can have, and they propose, instead of submitting to be driven out to seek in vain for better conditions elsewhere, to use the power that is in their hands to establish here conditions that will enable them to enjoy the full fruits of their toil, and to thereby assure to the whole people of this state an era of such prosperity that people will be drawn to New York instead of being driven away.
The state of New York is big enough and rich enough to afford to every man, woman and child within its limits, and to many millions more, a comfortable living. All that is necessary to assure this is that every able-bodied and industrious man within the commonwealth should have continuous opportunity to exert his productive powers for his own benefit, and full power to exchange on equal terms the product of his own labor for the product of the labor of others. The difficulty is that such a state of affairs has come about that a large number of men cannot find continuous opportunity to produce the wealth that they would gladly create, and that those who do work fail to receive their full earnings and are therefore unable to gratify those wants that would, if gratified, keep our tradesmen busy. This is just as true of every other part of this country as it is of New York, and the thinking people of this state have set about remedying the evil right here at home. They see clearly that if the vast sum now exacted by a few individuals from the whole people in the shape of ground rent were turned into the public treasury, where it equitably belongs, all other taxes could be remitted; that land now held for speculation would be brought into use, and that the public funds would be so swelled that many things could be easily done for the general benefit that cannot be attempted with the funds raised by the present burdensome system of taxation, which retards industry and taxes enterprise and thrift.
Seeing this, the people of New York propose to remedy the evils under which they suffer, and having accomplished this, they will continue to live here and enjoy the fruits of their own patriotic work; and they regard as presumptuous and impudent to the last degree the suggestion that if they are not satisfied with existing conditions they can leave the state. It is quite natural, however, so long as a comparatively few people are allowed to imagine that they are the true owners of the great state of New York, that a newspaper seeking to represent their views should talk in this high handed way of evicting the great mass of men who are denied their natural right in the soil on which they live.
The pro-poverty press is getting a little temporary amusement out of the notion that farmers will have nothing to do with the proposition to tax land values. The fun of the thing is in the supposition that such a tax would increase the burdens that now fall on farmers. But next week the state campaign will open, and the pro-poverty press will have a first class excuse for laughing on the other side of its mouth. The fun of the thing will then be in the fact, which the farmers will learn, that a tax on land values exclusively, falls with less severity on farmers than on any other class, and will be to them an actual reduction of taxation. Farmers never have complained of measures that reduce their taxes, and they are not likely to begin now.
The least valuable land is farming land, while the most valuable is city land and mining land. A tax on land values, therefore, will fall with greatest weight on owners of city lots and mines.
But it is not proposed merely to tax land values; it is proposed at the same time to exempt all other values. The principal value of most farms is the value of improvements, which will go untaxed; but the principal value of mines and of a large proportion of city lots is not the value of improvements, but the value of natural opportunity and advantageous location, which will be taxed. An exemption of improvement value, therefore, will exempt the farmer in greater proportion than any other proprietor.
It may be as the pro-poverty press intimates, that farmers carry a good deal of wax in their ears; but they do not carry so much that it cannot be picked out to make room for a solid chunk of truth. And when the misrepresentations as to the nature of the land value tax are brushed away, it will not take the farmer long to understand that this form of tax is in great degree, as to him, a measure to abolish taxes.
It is a curious fact that the socialists take up with this view of the pro-poverty press. They profess to believe that labor creates all wealth — though what they mean it is difficult to understand, since land, which labor can no more create than it can create ichthyosauri, is by them classified as wealth; that labor is robbed of its fruits; and that labor is one in interest. And yet they look upon the farmer with suspicion, and have no confidence in the possibility of bringing him into a labor movement that contemplates the making of land common property. Their opinion of the American farmer is perhaps well grounded. He would probably be the last man to consent to a scheme of land tenure that made him a tenant, and dependent on the state; but he will be in the lead in demanding a system of taxation that will free him from all taxes on what he raises and what he buys, and offer him access to the land of his choice on no other condition than that he shall pay a tax equal to its annual value as bare land, which, as he well knows, will in most cases be less than he pays now, and in many cases be nothing at all.
Whether it is lack of sense, lack of logic or lack of honesty that is responsible for the occasional insinuations that public ownership of railroads is as socialistic as public ownership of machinery, makes little difference; the truth is that the two propositions are radically different in principle. To make machinery public property is to interfere with the liberty of the individual. It may be a wholesome interference, or not; that need not now be discussed. It is enough that it is an interference. But to make railroads public property is not an interference with the liberty of the individual; it is a restoration to the public of one of its functions.
Any one competent to make machinery can do so without a franchise, provided he is not denied his natural right of access to natural opportunities; but no one can make and manage a railroad without permission of the community with whose individual rights it may to a greater or less extent interfere. The maintenance of public highways is a public function which individuals cannot perform without a public franchise; the manufacture and use of machinery is a private function which any one may perform, unless he is prohibited. Therefore, to require railroads to be publicly owned and operated is to insist that the state shall not delegate its functions to individuals; while to require that machinery shall be owned and managed by individuals is to insist that the public shall not interfere with individual freedom.
In a recent issue of the Journal of United Labor Mr. Powderly relates an incident that occurred on a railroad train. Mr. Powderly, in talking with a group of six men, took a paper from his pocket and read a paragraph beginning, “We hold these truths to be self-evident — that all men are created equal.” etc. One of the group exclaimed: “The man who wrote that was a d—d agitator. It is just such stuff as that that is turning the heads of the honest laboring men of the country.” But one of the remaining five men smiled, thus indicating a knowledge that the passage denounced was a part of the Declaration of Independence. With one exception, they were employers of labor, and one of them is a director in a national bank in New York.
This incident illustrates one of the gravest dangers that the labor movement has to encounter, and that is the almost hopeless ignorance of those who claim to be the educated class. A great educational work has been carried on in the trades unions and Knights of Labor assemblies, by which men have become familiar with the political history of our country and with many theories of political economy. Meanwhile, the employers of these very men, entirely occupied with schemes of gain and plans for pleasure, have stood still, and are now called upon to face, without a particle of mental preparation, a problem from which there is no escape. There was a time when such men knew more than the ordinary workmen of such subjects, but that time has long since passed, and we greatly doubt if six English speaking men could be found in the ranks of organized labor, five of whom would not recognize a passage from the Declaration of Independence if read in their presence, while we are sure that not one could be found who would denounce the sentiments of that great proclamation of freedom.
The work of education is still going on among the workingmen. Lecturers, stump speakers, journalists and tract writers find everywhere thousands of toilers ready to listen and eager to learn, and right before our eyes we see forming that consensus of public opinion that will finally make the declared principles of the united labor party in this state the platform of thoughtful and conservative workingmen throughout the country; but meanwhile nothing is doing to enlighten the great body of business and professional men who foolishly suppose that they “know it all” without study and who denounce as revolutionary the fundamental principles of democratic government. Such people look to the newspapers for information, but unhappily many editorial writers are ignorant or prejudiced, while the news gatherers, whose task is to amuse rather than to inform, think expositions of doctrine dull reading. Clearly we need, as a part of the great labor movement, a society for the propagation of the gospel among the so-called educated class, with kindergarten attachments for the instruction of bankers, manufacturers and editors.
The excitement of the Cincinnati Times-Star over the action of the union labor party in that city indicates a fear that, having already sent the democratic party to the rear, the new party will now beat the republican party. The line of attack appears to be that adopted by the New York papers a year ago, and that is to charge the labor party with socialistic and anarchical tendencies. How utterly insincere that attack was is illustrated by the present attempt of the same papers to pet the socialists and exaggerate their strength, in the hope that the united labor party here may thereby be weakened. The truth is that these papers and the party organs in Cincinnati are more alarmed over the danger threatened to the political machines they represent than over any danger to society. If the union labor party of Cincinnati will substitute a clear and logical declaration on the land question for its present vague and indefinite land plank, it will not lack allies in the work of shaking up the politicians of the whole country as thoroughly as it is now shaking up the old party bosses in Cincinnati.
The article entitled, “Taxing Land Values,” by Henry George, published in last week’s Standard, will be republished in tract form in the land and labor library. It is now in press, and will be issued next week.
Among the various agencies for spreading the anti-poverty doctrine and demonstrating the all-sufficient justice of the single tax on land values, the tracts of the “Land and labor library” hold a high place. Carefully selected, well written, terse in their statements, clear and convincing in their logic, these little leaflets have carried conviction to many a man and woman on whom mere verbal argument might have been wasted. The work they have already done is great; the work that they are capable of doing is greater still.
Especially in New York during the coming campaign should the friends of industrial emancipation see to it that these tracts are given the widest possible distribution. For a well written tract is a crystalized argument; it asserts and reasserts persistently; it compels an attempt to answer; and he who once deliberately attempts to really answer the claim of the equal right of all men to share in the bounties of nature is a sure and certain convert. Like the seed of the sower, these tracts need but to fall upon good ground to spring up and bring forth fruit; some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
Friends of the cause, be active in sowing the seed. Circulate the tracts. Inclose them with your letters, distribute them among your neighbors and wherever men are gathered together. They will do good work for the party and the principle.
Don’t Be Too Sure.
Albany Weekly Times.
The republican farmers are, of course, against any possible lift for George’s land tax proposition. To silence all such communistic propositions forever will be their chief issue in this campaign. Thousands of them will vote direct for the democratic candidates, to make sure of George’s defeat, and to emphasize the opposition to him by increasing the vote which his followers seem most anxious to reduce.
Matthew K. Couzens, the candidate of the united labor party for state engineer and surveyor, was seen by a Standard reporter in his office, on Warburton avenue, Yonkers, and in the course of conversation, gave the following facts, which are of interest to the voters of this state.
Mr. Couzens, who is now 61 years of age, and hardly looks 50, is of American parentage and family, his father, who died recently at 86 years of age, having been born in New York city, while his great-grandfather was a settler in Rhode Island. He has been a civil engineer for thirty-nine years.
For a long time previous to the war he had taken active part in the abolition movement and was one of the organizers of the wide awakes12 and a leading republican in the early days of that party. He has for over twenty years lived in Yonkers, but previously resided at Dobb’s Ferry, five miles further up the river. Here it was that he held the positions of justice of the peace for four years and president of the board of education for ten years, the latter position without pay. Just before the opening of the rebellion he resided in the south, and employed his leisure time in mapping out the high plateau region comprising parts of Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and West Virginia, which his observations showed him was inhabited by loyal people, and which region he knew it would be important for the northern armies to know thoroughly when the war, which he saw impending, should come. This work was the probable cause of an attack of blindness with which he was for two years afflicted. His map was sent to Lincoln, and used by him; but he himself was unable to bear arms during the war.
In 1864 he was appointed revenue inspector by the general government; this was when the income tax was in vogue, and he found that in his district the assessors under him were not assessing more than one-tenth of the personal property. He made it pretty lively for them during his incumbency of the inspectorship.
Later on, in 1868, prominent republicans asked him to stand for the same office for which he is now nominated by the united labor party — state engineer and surveyor. At that time the office included the duties of railway supervision. When it got out, however, that if he were elected he proposed to discharge his duties faithfully, no matter whose head might be cut off in doing so, some of the “workers” concluded that he was not the man for them, and asked him not to seek the nomination. His answer was that he had never sought the nomination, but that they had come to him. Another man was put up and elected.
In 1878 ‘9 Mr. Couzens prepared a detailed report on taxation, assessments, etc., covering the towns and villages in his own county, and also comparing the various districts of the state. In the preparation of this report, which required much labor and time, Mr. Couzens became thoroughly familiar with the injustice and difficulties of our present system of fining industry and encouraging speculation and perjury. When he read Mr. George’s works later on, he at once acknowledged the truth and justice of the remedy proposed. He has been a strong upholder of the single tax theory since he read “Progress and Poverty,” and the point which the daily papers bring out, that he is not a “member of the united labor party,” means only that he never entered his name in the party register. As far as voting and working for the party is concerned, he is as much a member as anybody.
The nomination was entirely unsought for and a complete surprise to him, but he accepts it gladly and will do his best to help the ticket. Although a most interesting conversationalist, Mr. Couzens is not a public speaker, and will do most of his work quietly among his many friends throughout the state. Some of the latter — republicans formerly — have already signified that “Couzens and his ticket are good enough for them,” and that they will support the united labor party this fall.
There has been an organized labor movement in Yonkers for several years back. Two years ago Mr. Sutherland, who is one of the leading men in the united labor party there, stood for assembly on a labor ticket. He received 900 votes out of a total of about 3,000. Mr. Couzens does not doubt that this 900 will be largely increased this year.
No Poverty, Indeed!
Pittsburg, Pa.—The Times of this city says:
Mr. George calls for men to advocate anti-poverty principles. We have a good many in Pittsburg, very able ones, we think, and eminently successful. There were some fifteen or twenty thousand of them marching through our streets Saturday last — the workers in our mills and shops, receiving good pay for their labor, and generally laying up some part of it. In this way poverty, if it ever existed, is being rapidly abolished throughout all these parts. One day with one of these men is worth a thousand with George. . . As for poverty, why the whole thing is an immense sarcasm.”
The Times needs only to go through the square from its own building to the office of the poor society to see that if poverty is an “immense sarcasm” it is likewise an immense reality. The “yellow van” on Second avenue, the absolute suffering along all the river streets from Plum creek to Davis island, and from Braddock to Painter’s mill is an immense sarcasm — on the progress of Pittsburg and the Christianity of the present day.
Oh, no, there is no poverty in Pittsburg. It is a good town walled in by a high tariff where everybody makes ample wages and lives in comfort.
There is no poverty in Pittsburg, but an army of women — somebody’s daughters, somebody’s sisters — are selling their souls — gaining a livelihood by prostitution; no poverty, yet as an employing foreman I have turned away many an anxious seeker for work, because the ranks were full; no poverty, but there is a terrible proportion of children who wear rags. What a queer condition of things if we are without poverty! B. H. Butler.
Still Another Clergyman to the Front.
Princess Anne, Md. —I am a constant reader of The Standard, and have also read your “Social Problems.” Think its conclusions are irresistible. Haven’t seen an honest answer ever attempted. I had the pleasure of hearing Brother Pentecost a few weeks ago. Was much pleased. His speech made a good many converts. I wish I were in New York this fall. I would do my level best in the new interest. I bid you a hearty God speed. (Rev.) Robert Watt.
Dr. McGlynn and Henry George at Lowville.
At Lowville, Wednesday last, Henry George and Dr. McGlynn addressed 7,000 persons who were in attendance at the Lewis county agricultural fair. For several days there had been heavy rains, and on Wednesday morning the weather was bad enough to keep people away from the grounds. It was not until noon that the sun came out brightly and the great crowd that so soon afterward assembled testified by its presence to a deep interest in the mission or the speakers.
At 2 o’clock the grand stand, which holds nearly 1,500 people, was crowded, the audience also covering the quarter stretch of the half-mile track in front. Both Mr. George and Dr. McGlynn received a hearty welcome, and were listened to with rapt attention, the crowd remaining as great at the close as it had been in the beginning. Dr. McGlynn and Mr. George were entertained at dinner by ex-Railroad Commissioner O’Donnell, where they were met by a number of the clergy and other prominent citizens.
The New York Campaign.
The campaign of the united labor party will formally begin with a great ratification meeting in Union square, on the evening of Saturday, 17th. Meetings will be held during the next week as follows:
Dr. McGlynn and Everett Glackin, president of Typographical union No. 6, will speak at Stapleton, Staten island, on the 19th, Yonkers on the 20th, Peekskill on the 22d, Poughkeepsie on the 23d. Dr. McGlynn will also speak at Greenpoint, L. I., on the 21st, and Mr. Glackin at Kingston on the 24th.
Henry George will speak at Nyack on Monday, Sept. 19; at Newburg on the 20th; Middletown, 21; Port Jervis. 22; Marathon, 23 (afternoon); Binghamton, 23 (evening).
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost will speak at Albany, Sept. 19; Utica, Sept. 21.
Louis F. Post will speak at Buffalo on Sept. 19; Lockport, 20; Rochester, 21; Canandaigua, 22; Geneva, 23; Ithaca, 24.
Judge James G. Maguire of San Francisco leaves on Sept. 24, to take part in the New York campaign. He will commence speaking in this state about October 1st, and will continue until the last gun is fired.
The “Labor Party” Convention In Boston.
The convention of delegates from trade and labor organizations, as well as from the union labor and greenback parties, which met at Boston, Sept. 10, adopted a platform, in which the following planks are prominent:
Resolved, That all men have equal right to the earth and its natural resources; that no men have the right to tax their fellows for the privilege of life by virtue of their private appropriation of these gifts. To the end that each citizen shall have his just share, we demand that wherever land, apart from improvements and labor-created value, has a rental value, that is, a value for use in excess of the land which is open and free, the said rental value shall be collected and expended by the state, as the corporate body of citizen shareholders or tenants in common, in the same manner as taxes are now levied, collected and expended.
The control by the people of gas and water works, railways, telegraph and other agencies of public service which are at present the subjects of private monopoly.
A system of secret ballot which will effectually guard the voter from intimidation, and which will make the open purchase of votes impossible.
Other planks demand the dissolution of pools and trusts, the abolition of the national bank system, the extension of the suffrage to women, and the reduction of working hours. It was decided to call the new organization the “labor party.”
To Fight the Evil, Not to Feed It
Cincinnati, O.—Mr. Miller thinks it would be a grand idea to spare a little money for the poor of New York. Then, too, kind heart, we could spare some shillings to send to the 729,000 paupers of England and Wales, so that a few noblemen might enlarge their deer parks and crowd more wretches into the towns. But the Anti-poverty society proposes to fight this monstrous evil, not to feed it. C. H. Fitch.
The Dr. McGlynn Fund.
The publisher of The Standard acknowledges the receipt of the following sums, which have beeu handed to Dr. McGlynn: J. W. Mitchell. $3; ’ammer, ’ammer, ’ammer, $1; and George Wilson, New York, $2.
There Isn’t Much Fear That the “Tribune” Will do any Damage.
Chicago.—Inclosed find $1 for the campaign fund. I hope every friend of the cause throughout the country will see the necessity of contributing something toward the election expenses, as a large vote in New York state will have a wonderful effect in stimulating action in other states.
If each one of The Standard’s 40,000 subscribers were to give but a dime each week for the six weeks preceding the election, the sum of $24,000 would be realized.
I shall send all I can each week until the campaign closes.
The movement is gaining ground here daily, and an Anti-poverty society is to be formed next week, and unless the Tribune succeeds in convincing the “deluded followers of Henry George” that the scheme is “absurd” and “impracticable,” it will be a great success.
C. L. McKenna.
A Newsdealer’s Experience With “The Standard.”
Dayton, O.—I send you inclosed $1 for the New York campaign fund. It is from a member of the free land club of Dayton, who pave it to me to forward. I wish it was a thousand dollars instead of one, but more will probably be sent later on. The free land club grows steadily and is doing pood service in giving out tracts and copies of The Standard. When I began keeping The Standard for sale I could dispose of but six copies; now I get upward of forty each week. Your many friends here are watching the contest in New York with interest and wish you success. M. W. Kile.
The Producer and the Railroad.
Beaumont, Texas, Free Speech.
Suppose a splendid macadam road were built from Jasper to Beaumont — no matter whether by private capital or by the voluntary labor of the citizens of Jasper and Jefferson counties — and after it were built a company were chartered for the purpose of taxing every passenger and every pound of freight that went over it, and suppose this tax on the freight were equal to the profit that would be received from its sale, what material benefit would the road be to the people? Yet a railroad is just as much a public road as the macadam. The grain merchants of Beaumont buy grain in Sherman, Tex. Say it is corn. They pay to the farmer at Sherman twenty-five cents per bushel. It must then be carried to Beaumont. For this carrying the railroad demands thirty-five cents per bushel. The merchant wants five cents per bushel for handling the corn, so the man that consumes the corn pays sixty-five cents per bushel for it. Now, this would not matter so much, provided he could sell his produce, his lumber, back to the farmer at a profit that both could live at. The farmer must have the lumber, so he comes to Beaumont and gets it at $8, say $10 per thousand feet, but he must have it carried to Sherman at a cost of, say, $10 per thousand feet that the railroad company demands. Hence the farmer loses all the profit he made on the sale of his corn and the lumber producer has made but a trifle on the sale of his produce, and has paid this trifle for the bushel of corn he ate. Thus it is with all other produce. We get it cheaper than under
the old regime, it is true, but we have lost our earnings proportionally in doing so. We can travel cheaper, it is true again, but we have less money to travel on.
IMBEDDED IN THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION
The Common Right of the People to the Usufruct of Land Has Been Acknowledged by British Law from the Remotest Times — Even Now, Though Nullified, it is Not Denied.
Glasgow, Scotland.—The newspapers here are drawing attention to the law empowering aliens to acquire land in Britain, in view of the fact that the Scotch-American capitalist, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, intends, it is said, to buy an estate in his native country. The peculiarity about this — and every other statutory fetter relating to the land — is that they all proceed on the assumption that the land belongs to the people. No matter how far they may violate this principle, ignore its demands and nullify its practice, they are, nevertheless, professedly presented to the unprivileged many by the privileged few as “strictly defined and subordinate rights, subject to conditions from time to time by the community.” This is the unwilling homage paid by the organized hypocrisy of the classes — the extorted obeisance of the political vice to the political virtue firmly entrenched in the British constitution by the Celtic aborigenes of Britain. The British constitution declares the British soil to be the property of the British people. The so-called landlords are declared by it to be the tenants of the nation. But the nation is a most indulgent landlord. It takes no rent from its tenants, though it permits these tenants to squeeze the last farthing from their sub-tenants, who, notwithstanding, are a portion of the very people who, in their collective aggregate, constitute the nation and the state that is confessed to be the owners of all the land in the kingdom.
It may be stated, as one of the various proofs of this assertion, that the ancient Scots did not recognize their kings as kings of the country, but as kings of the people. He was not king of Scotland, but king of the Scots. This limiting conception of the kingly office prevailed among the primitive Teutons, also. “The ideas of the king of a country,” remarks Mr. Freeman, “would have been hardly intelligible to our forefathers. Every king is king of a people.”
Even during the densest period of its feudal midnight the Scottish people never absolutely lost sight of the truth that the land belonged to the people and not to the sovereign.
The reader need be at no trouble to find out the origin of the doctrine which constitutes the foundation of the property law of Scotland. Here it is, in the words of Mr. Kinnear:
“There is no such thing in our systems as an absolute right of property in land; the state alone is vested with that right, and concedes to the individual possessor only a strictly defined and subordinate right, subject to conditions from time to tune enacted by the community.”
So, too, a leading English authority, Mr. Williams, instructs tbe student that the first thing he has got to do “is to get rid of the idea of absolute ownership. Such an idea is quite unknown to the English law. No man is in law the absolute owner of lands. He can only hold an estate in trust.”
Your readers must now perceive that the radical land gospel is not a notion of yesterday, but that it has been the fundamental doctrine of British property law for generations. All that is needed is to reduce it to practice.
The platform of the land renters of Great Britain may be summed up in three propositions:
First — Nature equitably belongs to the community, because every one absolutely needs it, and no one made it.
Second — The value imparted to nature by the presence, the multiplication and the energy of the community occupying that portion equitably belongs to the community, because the community made it.
Third — The value imparted to any portion of nature by the energy of the individual occupying that portion equitably belongs to him, because he made it.M. Gass.
A Texas Landlord Who Prefers Justice to “Mud”
Mart, Tex.—I have read all your books except “Protection or Free Trade,” and have sent for that, and have read every copy of The Standard. To say I am a thorough convert is to express it very mildly. I have got my neighborhood all afire on the question.
Inclosed find postal order ($5), for which send the inclosed listed order, embracing some 700 tracts and twelve copies of The Standard for the “six weeks’ recruiting.” You will see I am sending most of them to our Methodist preachers. When they become fully indoctrinated things will move sure enough. I think I will be able to send you a hundred subscribers in the next thirty days. Some of my friends think because I own several thousand dollars worth of the richest kind of “mud” in Texas that I do not need an anti-poverty society to help me out, but I know a thing or two, one of which is that riches sometimes take wings. Besides, I do not want riches — it would be too troublesome. I only want “opportunity,” justice — a condition of society where riches will not be sought or needed, and where we can walk the happy, blooming, bountiful earth under the guidance of our common Father with our universal brethren; when our hearts may continuously burn within us as the “Master talks with us by the way and opens to us ths scriptures.”
I rejoice that our talented lawyer, H. L. Ring, has come out so boldly and manly for “the land to the people.” He will be a power in our ranks. I am very hopeful of ultimate success. I also rejoice that Dr. Funk agrees to interchange opinions with Mr. George through the Voice and The Standard. It will be a battle between the giants. I shall subscribe for the Voice when the controversy begins. J. L. Caldwell.
The Confiscation Bugbear.
New York City. — In discussions about land value taxation, which occur pretty often, I am met with the “confiscation” bugbear. “Oh, yes, you mean confiscation” — this sometimes sincerely, sometimes derisively, but generally as if the term covers an all-sufficient answer.
“Very well,” I say, “call it confiscation if you will; but what are taxes, anyhow, but confiscation? What difference does the name make to those who pay taxes, whether it is called taxes or rent or confiscation?
“If it is so mortally offensive to you for the state to be supported by a confiscating tax on the value of land, what makes it so much better that you call it “protection” and glory in it, when the government confiscates nearly half the value of every ship load of goods that is brought to this country from abroad?”
The state must be supported. It has control over the land by right of eminent domain. Why is it not, then, pre-eminently proper that this support shall be derived directly from taxing or renting the land, instead of exacting it in grievously unjust proportion from the processes of industrial production?
Ought the state, directly or indirectly, to tax a man for wearing shoes?
Ought the state to tax one set of men for making hats or clothes or any other articles of wearing apparel? Or another set of men for buying and using them?
Ought the state to tax some men for making bricks or lumber or glass or other materials used in building houses? Or other men for buying these materials and constructing houses with them? If not, why should the state, except as rent for the land on which houses stand, tax men for living in them?
The common council has just confirmed the tax levy for this year, amounting to about $31,000,000. The largest part of this sum falls upon land that has improvements upon it, and nearly the whole of this largest part comes out of the tenants — those who occupy the premises. The taxing value of these improved premises, the land and buildings together, is generally set down on the tax books at about two-thirds the market value; but the taxing value of vacant land is rarely, if ever, put down at more than one-third, and often not more than one-fifth the market value. This unjust distinction is said to be “because these vacant lots are not producing anything” because the owners have no tenants on whom to shift the taxes!
Nearly one-half the area of the city of New York is vacant land. Some of the most eligible for building purposes lies along and north of the Harlem river. It is provided with water, gas and police service. Most, if not all, of this vacant land is taxed on an assessed value of not more than one-fifth the value put on it by the owners. If this year’s tax levy was based on land value only, and this the marketable value, or the value set upon it by those who hold it, there is but little reason to doubt that $31,000,000 could be raised without increasing the percentage rate fixed for this year, and this without any disturbance whatever of title to ownership.
Abraham L. Earle.
OUR BEAUTIFUL SUBURBS.
There is a certain class of New York merchants and professional men who are never tired of telling about “our beautiful suburbs.” They are the men who reside in those charming little towns convenient to the city which have grown into prominence within the past few years. All about New York they may be found — in Long island, Staten island, out in New Jersey and along the banks of the Hudson. To the unaccustomed eye of the city resident their broad avenues, shaded by magnificent trees, and their elegant estates might almost suggest pleasure parks. Perhaps an ordinarily thoughtful mind acquainted with their history would be able to discover in them also some of the usual results of land speculation. Let us see:
Several years ago, the enormous figures at which property was held and rented in New York induced a large number of persons, whose business necessitated that they should reside in or near the city, to look for homes without its limits. The little towns along the railroads in the places which have been mentioned afforded just the opportunity that these people desired. The country was beautiful and healthful, land was cheap, and it was a matter of only an hour’s ride to reach their offices each morning. So they purchased their property, built their houses and went to reside in the country. Many others followed the example of these pioneers, and in the course of a very few years the sleepy country villages grew into active, enterprising towns of considerable population.
Then that old crony of material progress, land speculation, made his appearance. Lots that might have been purchased but a little while before for $200 and upward were held at $1,000, $2,000, and even much higher. Rent also increased in proportion, and the poor began to feel the burden. Gradually they have been driven from more to less desirable situations, until now many of them are compelled to inhabit the swamps and marshes roundabout, where vapors charged with fever arise during the summer, and deadly colds and other diseases can scarcely be escaped in winter.
Not that the land is all occupied in the most desirable portions of these towns. There are acres upon acres of it, beautiful to look at, lying unused, and almost certain to continue in that condition for years. But speculation in land has effectually closed them up; and the poor may reside in what some appreciative joker has named the “fever and ague13 district.” Indeed, it is a common circumstance for land owners, in recommending their property, to remark that it will be found free from the disagreeable consequences of having neighbors of the “lower class.” So it happens that in the midst of the abundance of nature’s fields and hills and valleys men and women and children drag out a miserable existence among the bogs that are full of sickness and disease. Land monopoly is at work in “our beautiful suburbs,” and, as usual, it is bearing heaviest upon the poor, the very poor, “whom we have always with us.”
And Charles O’Conor Knew Something About Law, Too.
New York City.—Some years since, while reading a pamphlet on “Democracy,” by the late Charles O’Conor, a pamphlet characterized throughout by the acute intelligence and noble patriotism of that great democrat, I was particularly struck by the stress which he laid upon the necessity of a direct form of taxation as a means of causing our voters to feel the responsibilities of citizenship.
This would appear to me, aside from the high principles of equity and justice involved, a powerful argument in favor of the tax upon land values you so eloquently advocate; indeed, I think no tax could be devised that might be at once so equitably and so directly distributed.
To our present complicated and largely indirect system of taxation I attribute, in great extent, the irresponsible use which even intelligent citizens make of their suffrage. This results in the selection of unprincipled adventurers and political tricksters to enact and administer our laws; men who scruple not to sacrifice the interest of the people to party aims or private ends. Our system, happily free from the cumbersome forms of monarchy or communism, ought certainly to be the simplest in the world, and I observe with pleasure that the present agitation has already had a wholesome influence in forming public opinion and arousing our citizens to a more thoughtful use of the ballot. J. C. Mettam.
From a Railway Employee In Illinois.
Peoria, Ill., Aug. 29.—The Chicago Tribune makes my blood boil by its misrepresentations. Every copy of the Tribune seems to have some unfounded assertions in it. I do not buy the paper, as I will not assist any such sheet that much.
The Standard reaches me regularly. The doctrine of “the land for the people” makes converts of nearly every one I talk to. God grant that you win in New York this fall. I will soon send you a little money to help along the good cause. A. W.
Wytheville, Va. — I am trying to do good work with the surplus papers I get. I am distributing them in the country, and it is opening up discussion. The results, as far as I can learn, are in favor of your principles, particularly among the clergy. As to the election in New York, God grant the cause a handsome victory. All eyes are on the result of that election. It will be the corner stone of the emancipation of slave wage earners. D. B. Ferrell.
GOING TO THE ROOT.
The Original Grant on Which Land Titles In the Carolinas and Tennessee Rest.
Washington, D. C.—I saw in The Standard some weeks ago a statement of what was deemed an extravagant royal grant of territory in New England or New York, and a protest against the absurdity of deriving titles from such a source. But the grant referred to was a mere bagatelle compared with that made by Charles II to Edward, earl of Clarendon and others in the year of grace, 1663.
The previous grant by Queen Elizabeth to Walter Raleigh, esquire, in the year 1584, though supposed to cover the same territory, is so vague in terms as not to deserve particular mention. Moreover, grants made to Raleigh were forfeited by his conviction and execution for alleged high treason, albeit the world now adjudges him to have been a better man than his judges and than King James I, who signed his death warrant.
But to the charter of Carolina, as follows:
Charles II, by the grace of God king of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, etc.
To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:
1. Whereas, our right trusty and right well beloved cousins and counselors, Edward, earl of Clarendon, our high chancellor of England, and George, duke of Albemarle, master of our horse and captain general of all our forces; our right trusty and well beloved William, Lord Craven, John, Lord Berkley, our right trusty and well beloved counselor, Anthony, Lord Ashley, chancellor of our exchequer; Sir George Carteret, knight and baronet, vice chamberlain of our household, and our trusty and well beloved Sir William Berkley, knight, and Sir John Colleton, knight and baronet, being excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith and the enlargement of our empire and dominions have humbly besought leave of us, by their industry and charge, to transport and make an ample colony of our subjects, natives of our kingdom of England, and elsewhere within our dominions, unto a certain country hereafter described in the parts of America not yet cultivated or planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous people, who have no knowledge of Almighty God.
2. And whereas, the said Edward, earl of Clarendon, (and the rest) have humbly besought us to give, grant and confirm unto them and their heirs, the said country, with privileges and jurisdictions requisite for the good government and safety thereof. Know ye, therefore, that we, favoring the pious and noble purpose of the said Edward, earl of Clarendon, (and the rest) of our special grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, have given, granted and confirmed, and by this, our present charter, for us, our heirs and successors, do give, grant and confirm unto the said Edward, earl of Clarendon, (and the rest) their heirs and assigns, all that territory or tract of ground situate, lying and being within our dominions of America, extending from the north end of the island called Lucke island, which lieth in the southern Virginia seas, and within six-and-thirty degrees of the northern latitude, and to the west as far as the south seas (Pacific ocean), and so southerly as far as the river St. Matthias, which bordereth upon the coast of Florida, and within one-and-thirty degrees of northern latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the south seas aforesaid; together with all and singular ports, harbors, bays, rivers, isles and islets belonging to the country aforesaid; and also all the soil, lands, fields, woods, mountains, lakes, rivers, bays and islets, situate or being within the bounds or limits aforesaid, with the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales, sturgeons and all other royal fishes in the sea, bays, islets and rivers within the premises, and the fish therein taken; and, moreover, all veins, mines, quarries, as well discovered as not discovered, of gold, silver, gems, precious stones and all other whatsoever, be it of stones, metals, or any other thing whatsoever, found or to be found within the countries, isles and limits aforesaid.
3. And, furthermore, the patronage and advowsons of all the churches and chapels, etc., etc., etc.
Two years later his majesty, “as a special mark of our royal favor,” enlarged the grant by extending the southern boundary to latitude twenty-nine.
There was nothing small or mean about the men of that age, when the king of the little island of Britain granted empires forty times as large as his kingdom to his courtiers. Sir William Berkley was governor of Virginia, but, as will be seen, he was more interested in enlarging the domain of Carolina than that of the Old Dominion which he governed. And it was doubtless through the information given by him and his influence with his partners in the grant that its limits were extended.
In 1720, the grantees or their heirs and assigns, except the descendants of Sir George Carteret, sold out to the crown. John Carteret (Earl Granville) surrendered to the crown with the rest his right of eminent domain or right to govern the country, but retained a fee simple in the greater part of North Carolina, which included the northern portion of that state and of Tennessee. And Tennessee, until after the inauguration of Washington, was a part of North Carolina. This charter of Charles II is the root to which all land titles are traced.
Although the grantees had an equal right to all Arkansas, the Indian territory, the greater parts of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, the whole of Arizona, and to southern California, the title was never reduced to possession, but it was because they had never heard of them, or because the government under which they lived withheld from them the means or the power of reaching the distant and unexplored possessions. Have they not an equitable right to indemnity? One would naturally think so, if the original title was good, and all modern titles have their root in the original grant of Charles II. Daniel R. Goodloe.
Don’t Be Alarmed — It Is Always Safe to Do Right.
South Cleveland, O.— Dr. McGlynn (as I believe) is seeking to relieve the Catholic church from its political machinery and irreligious and un-Christian like power that of late has been shown to be fast creeping into the church. Did it never occur to you that the means by which he is expecting to do it are the most effectual ones of adding to the power that perpetrates the wrong that Dr. McGlynn is trying to correct? It seems so to me; and my reasons are as follows: This country is governed by the majority. Now, if placing all taxes on land values is going to bring about greater benefit and equal justice to the laboring class (and I hope and believe it will), there will certainly be a greater flow of laborers to this country than ever before. The whole world will want to come here to get a home and better their condition, and who can blame them?
From what I can learn I believe a very large percentage of those who come to America are in religion Roman Catholic, and in a few years that denomination would be in the majority and could vote the Roman Catholic machine into power, and then this government would be run by the same machine that Dr. McGlynn is now striving to break up. In short, won’t your tax system lead to an evil worse than our present mode of taxation?
I feel sure that the land value tax would offer such an inducement that a very large portion of those who come to our land would be of that class who follow without asking why, and would come faster than we could educate or convince them that they were being lead by cunning and selfish persons. It’s hard to purify a stream where the fountain head is foul and impure. I would be pleased to get your views on the subject, and hope you can show me that my ideas are erroneous.
George E. Kirtland.
The strictest economy and the utmost self-denial on the part of the whole family for so long a time that it seemed for always had at last raised the money for Patsy’s passage to America — that land of golden dreams to so many poor toilers on the other side of the ocean; to so many whose only hope, whose every thought, is to escape the old world poverty and hunger, and get to that land where all are free. And so one day Patsy parted from his loved home and friends and in less than a fortnight was in the streets of New York.
At once he began to look for work. He was going to save his wages and send them back to help pay the rent, buy a little tea for the mother and some better clothes for his sisters, and may be help one of them to come over, too. Patsy had worked at the painter’s trade in Ireland; so wherever he saw a painter’s sign he solicited a job. But “More men than we want,” “Too many hands now,” was the reply everywhere. So Patsy began to look for any kind of a job. But whatever he looked for, wherever he solicited work, it was always the same. There seemed to be too many men in the new world as well as the old.
Then Patsy wandered away out of the city and on into the country and it seemed to him as though he was back across the water. He saw great houses, with their wide, velvety lawns, like those of the “quality” in the old dart, and the shabby houses of the poor, strangely contrasting with the mansions near them.
Patsy trudged northward along the great river, seeking work and never finding it. Always the same answer, “More help than we want,” “Too many hands now,” “Been a dozen here for work already.” On, on, his little stock of money going grudgingly for food, until at last it was all gone, and faint and sick he trudged along afoot. Not ten days in America and a tramp! On, on, ever inquiring for a job, ever seeking employment, until at last, one afternoon he walked into Albany and began again the task of looking for a job. Poor fellow! There were only too many doing the same thing.
On a hot summer night, when the rest of the city went to sleep, Patsy kept tramping about to keep awake. A policeman walking on his beat saw a reeling figure, and stepping forward grasped it by the shoulder. The figure tottered and fell to the ground, writhing in a fit. The officer knelt, smelled his breath, and satisfied that he was not drunk, rapped for assistance.
A little while later two blue-coated officers carried a limp figure into one of the wards of the Albany hospital. A physician made a hasty examination of the patient and startled those who stood by with an exclamation of horror:
“Good God! the boy is starving!”
Willing hands prepared nourishment, the doctors administered remedies, and toward morning Patsy had recovered consciousness, and though weak was able to give an account of himself. He had been four days without food. He had wandered on by fields of waving grain, by fields unused, by orchards and gardens, by stores and shops filled with all that would satisfy his hunger — past vacant lot after vacant lot in country, village and city, held for a rise in values, and the opportunity to work denied. He had tramped by thousands of acres of unused land, which would have furnished employment for labor and produced food for thousands if it were not for the dogs in the manger. He had dropped exhausted at last, starving to death, because he could not find a job in a state that would, if its land were used, require three times as many men to work it as find work now.
As Patsy recovered he proved his willingness to work by helping the nurses in every possible way. By borrowing pencil and paper he showed his skill in lettering, and at last, when cured, friends found him a job, and Patsy passed out of sight.
“Too many men already,” ‘‘More help than we need,” was the answer to Patsy’s applications for employment. Is the state of New York actually overcrowded, or is it because some men who own the land neither use it nor permit others to do so?
If men were prevented from withholding land from use, would there be a single unemployed man in the state? With an increased demand for labor, would not wages be higher? With higher wages, would not the merchant, the manufacturer, the producer of all kinds be better off because the consumer would be better able to pay? Would not placing all taxes upon land values make it unprofitable for any one to hold land and not use it? W. C. Wood, M. D.
Gloversville, N. Y., Sept. 7.
Dr. Nagle Does Not Explain How Giving People Less Land to Live on will Prevent Their Crowding
Dr. James T. Nagle of the health department of this city has been refuting some statistics as to the density of New York’s population. The most densely populated part of the city is the Tenth ward, where there are 433 residents to the acre. The Fourteenth, Nineteenth, Eleventh and Thirteenth wards have over 300 to the acre; the Fourth ward and Seventh, 253 to the acre; the Sixth ward, 335; the Eighth, 197; the Twentieth, 194, the Sixteenth, Fifteenth, Twenty-first and Ninth, more than 150 to the acre. The lowest rate is in the Twenty-fourth ward, in the annexed district, where they have but two residents to the acre, and the Twenty-third, where there are but seven to the acre. Dr. Nagle expressed the opinion that there should not be more than 200 persons to the acre.
Dr. Nagle proposes to reduce the density of population by taking part of the land in crowded districts and turning it into small parks.
A Real Estate Dealer Is Agreeably Surprised at the Aims of the United Labor Party.
Garfield, N. J.—Since reading the platform of principles of the united labor party in The Standard, I confess that I have been agreeably surprised at the aims of this new organization, which appears to be frightening the old democratic party leaders, especially the Tammany hall and county democracy, out of their senses. Also the republican party begins to see the “handwriting on the wall.”
Now that the “united labor party” has been organized, I trust that the sons of toil will rally to the support of its standard bearers in every state in the American Union.
What is needed to insure success, is that the people be educated as to the aims and principles of the new organization. The platform of the party being based upon the “self evident truths of the Declaration of Independence written by the immortal Jefferson,” requires no proof to establish its correctness, for it proves itself by reading it. While men are but the creatures of a day, principles are eternal. They never die. S. B. Benson.
A Newspaper Reader to the Newspaper Owners.
The old party journals are now condescending
To warn us, to coax us, and even to praise —
From their lofty and frigid indifference bending
To save us from treading in “dangerous” ways.
The Sun has abandoned its trick so transparent
Of laughing the party of labor to scorn;
It would like to revile us, but, really, it daren’t,
But our “cussedness” makes old “Seawanaka” mourn.
It is curious, too, when you give it reflection,
To think that the World should our enemy be,
When its quiver each day bristles with a collection
Of shafts to let fly at old Mo-no-po-lee.
Why, even the Star often sagely concedes us
Some grounds for revolt and some cause to rebel.
And the long-tailed Tribune a long homily reads us
To prove we need nothing, and do very well
The Times is enraged at our insolent daring,
And bids us “Avast!” from the helm of the state;
But we’re going to give the old ship a repairing,
And show the old mugwump we can navigate.
Oh! men of the press, cease cajoling and scolding —
You’ve tricked us full often, we know, in the past;
In your bold game of bluff very weak cards you’re holding —
Our trumps are the ballots that labor will cast! Charles White.
The Class of Voters New York Is Raising.
Factory Inspector James Connolly and Deputy Inspector John Franey of this state, have published their first report. They reached the following conclusion from what they saw:
The ignorance is actually alarming. Thousands of children born in this country, or who came here in early childhood, are unable to write, almost as many are unable to read, and still other thousands can do little more than write their own names. Possibly one-third of the affidavits of the parents examined by us in the factory towns were signed with a cross mark, and it seemed to us that when the children who now require these affidavits grow up and have children of their own about whom to make affidavit, the proportion of cross marks to the papers will not be decreased. Children born in Europe and who lately came to this country, are much better informed than the children born and reared in our own state, and this condition of affairs has also been remarked by the factory inspectors of other states.
In the Harmony mills, in Cohoes, there were found 1,200 children under sixteen years old. The inspectors estimate that 150,000 females under twenty-one and minors of both sexes under eighteen years old are employed in the factories of this state. About 8,000 children under thirteen have been excluded from the factories by the operation of the act.
Thinks “The Standard” a Pretty Good Paper on the Whole, but Its Principles are Outside Practical Politics.
Cincinnati, O.—I do not renew my subscription. Your style is incomparable; your theory has truth, not the whole truth, nor all truth. Its presentation, from the standpoint of the doctrinaire is well — its injection into practical politics is inopportune in this country. It is impossible, it is outside of practical politics, and its intrusion into them is as a disturbing force, postponing indefinitely relief to the poor. Grand theoretical reconstructions are alien to Anglo-Saxon genius. Our business is to prune, to regulate, to do the doable, not essay the chimerical.
The pressing duties of the hour are: Limitation of land ownership in the public domains, the complete control of corporate power, especially as related to banks, railroads, etc.; the repeal, as soon as may be without disturbance, of tariff, succession and income taxes. Here is the possible, the attainable.
You see vividly a special grievance; you magnify it; you do not see the whole. As a doctrinaire you are a success. In practical politics you are a nuisance. W. M. D.
A Farmer Who Sees Things.
Dunn County, Wis.—American farmers will be greatly benefited by the success of the united labor party. The price of their produce is fixed by the foreign markets, minus transportation, commission and warehouse rents. The price of most goods they buy is also fixed by the price in foreign countries plus tariff, transportation, commission and rents of warehouses and retail stores. Thus the farmer who owns his land pays much of the rents of wholesale warehouses and retail stores, besides his own taxes.
The single tax on land, even if as bad as its opponents represent it, could not make Wisconsin farmers much worse off than they now are. In Dunn county about 600 pieces of land and town lots are annually sold for non-payment of taxes, and every county paper has its list of foreclosure of mortgages and sheriff sales. Land syndicates are quietly buying them, as well as the mineral and free lands. If this is not stopped, most of the farmers of the next generation will be renters, or will work till they are wrinkled and gray before their land is paid for.
Apply the inclosed $1 as you think best to help the good work along. H. B.
Dr. B. M. Lawrence of this city has recently published a book entitled “Land and Labor Songs,” in regard to which the following protest has been sent us. We find, on examining the volume, that several poems by the signers of the protest, which first appeared in The Standard, have been slightly altered and inserted, not only without credit to the author, but as original poems from Dr. Lawrence’s own pen:
The undersigned, whose hymns and songs have been altered and travestied in a little pamphlet, entitled “Land and Labor Songs, by B. M. Lawrence, M. D.,” take this opportunity to declare that they have been published in this altered form without their knowledge and consent, and that they are not entitled to the thanks “for valuable assistance,” which have been so generously accorded to them in the author’s (!) preface.
Colorado Has Started In the Right Direction, Anyhow.
Canon City, Col.—Colorado has a law on her statute books declaring the water of the state the property of the people. As land here is practically worthless without water, is not this virtually recognizing the justice of the principles you are setting forth? Talk of confiscation — we don’t consider the water confiscated!
I am watching the campaign in New York with interest, We shall soon have a land and labor club organized here. Frank S. Blake, M. D.
The Feeling in Sullivan County.
Monticello, N. Y.—This is a county seat in a purely agricultural district. The impression is that the democratic party will be completely disrupted by the labor party.
The average man imagines that the labor party wants to confiscate and cut up land, and take it away from the farmers.
Labor day is not recognized excepting by the bank.
The local debating club has mildly discussed the land question.
The labor party is thought to be a party of anarchists, but with a good, moral man at the head.
The Republican Watchman (democratic) has published a number of short articles for and against the labor party and land question. W. J. Bryan.
Well Done, Cleveland.
Cleveland. O.—Several of us “land cranks” met a few evenings since, and organized a society to study the new idea. Some of us have talked in its favor for some time past, and now we propose to become aggressive. We are going to spread the news. I am surprised at the ignorance manifested by most of our opponents. In this matter they let others think for them. It is nothing more nor less with them than hearsay. It will, no doubt, be encouraging to you to hear of this from Cleveland, as ours is the only organization of the kind here. Frank L. Carter.
STRAWS WHICH SHOW THE WIND.
We like the united labor platform for its brevity and clearness of purpose. — [Wichita, Kan., Union Labor Press.
The united labor party’s strength in New York state will be developed in November, and the result, no doubt, will be a great surprise to the politicians and “wire pullers.” — [East Oregonian.
The land question, simmered down, is this: Did the Creator intend that all the children of His creation should have a footing upon the earth, or did He bequeath it to a few that they might levy tribute upon the balance of the people at will? — [Omaha Truth.
A true revival of religion can only be brought about by preaching the new gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and by restoring to the poorest of God’s children his inalienable right to a share in the heritage of the earth which God provided for all. — [Cresco, Neb., Times.
Of the 365,000 acres of land in Marin county, Cal., 220,000 are owned by ten men in tracts ranging from 74,000 down to 4,000 acres. There are but 102 land owners in the county, exclusive of owners of town lots. And still we go to the old world for examples of land monopoly! — [Vincennes, Ind., News.
In Canada the absorbing question of the immediate future will be commercial union with the states; but of infinitely greater importance, involving far greater interests, is the question, “Whose is the land?’ The time for consideration has arrived. Study the question, reflect upon it, and form your own conclusions. — [Bobcaygeon, Can., Independent.
The vested rights doctrines of the railroads and other corporations are an injustice to the great body of the people, and cannot be maintained. The corporation democrats will go over to the republicans, and the laboring men now in that party will come to the labor party. There will not be room or place for three parties. — [Pensacola, Fla., Commercial.
The common has been stolen from the goose for years, and the government has done everything in its power, not only to shield the criminal, but to assist him in stealing to his heart’s content. The greatest wonder is that the geese do not become aware of this fact and effect a radical change by means of the ballot. — [Davenport, Ia., Times.
The man who votes against his own interests year after year, without knowing it, or without trying to know, ought to have his ears made longer, for he is an ass of the most stupid kind, and ought not to grumble if other people ride him, which they will. Set that down, republican and democratic knights, trades unionists and what not. — [Dayton Workman.
We are of the opinion that the united labor party is eminently able to take care of itself. It has already given evidence of its prudence and foresight in its refusal to admit socialism to a share in its councils. It is proceeding, so far, in a spirit of moderation and self restraint that gives good omen of future steadiness and calm, conservative action. — [Albany Press and Knickerbocker.
It makes one very tired to hear of a farmer struggling under high taxes and a big mortgage opposing the single land tax, which would lift from his shoulders nearly all his present taxation and at the same time double his earnings. Of all others farmers have the most to gain and nothing to lose by an honest system of taxation, but it is hard to convince them of it. — [Enterprise, Kansas Anti-Monopolist.
We have not seen in any of the public journals a single unfavorable criticism of the manner in which the recent convention at Syracuse was conducted. Every one speaks freely of the manly character of its proceedings. It certainly was not manipulated in the exclusive interests of the few. It was notably a gathering where all were accorded the right of free speech. — [Oyster Bay Pilot.
Certain services for society require an agent for their performance. To meet the expenses of these things, funds have to be raised. To raise them by taxation of land values rather than by any other form of taxation would, the People thinks, minimize the discouragement to industry, inevitable from taxation in any form. This is why the People favors taxation of land values. — [Providence People.
When the boom breaks, as break it will, and leaves the great majority of the people landless, moneyless and helpless, as land gambling always does, the effect will do more than twenty years of argument to hasten the reform which will put a stop forever to corners and gambles in the land which the people need for homes. On with the boom! Let land gambling be extinguished with the loudest possible crash. On, boomers, on! — [San Francisco Star.
Landlordism and the coercion bill in Ireland is a twin brother to the landlordism and the Merritt conspiracy bill in Illinois. The people of both countries are compelled to give up their every natural right so that the aristocrats may be enabled to eat the substance out of the hungering children, who are born into the world only to find that they are not wanted on this God’s footstool, that has been purloined by the land sharks. — [Iron Mountain, Mich., Labor’s Voice.
What is most strikingly singular is that no one as yet has attempted to controvert the principles set forth in the platform. There is evidently a mistake somewhere. Henry George and Dr. McGlynn have been denounced as attempting to disrupt the very foundations of society and civil government, but we fail to perceive any such purpose in the platform of principles. On the contrary, they deny any such purpose, and enunciate a code of principles that must command the attention, if not the respect, of the whole civilized world. — [Wilkesbarre Telephone.
It cannot be denied that the wage workers, producers and taxpayers of the state have interests in common. Good government, wholesome laws, equitable taxation, cheap transportation and protection of industrial interests, are objects to be sought by all. With united effort the people who value these boons rather than old party supremacy can obtain them by retiring from the halls of legislation this fall the monopolistic tools that for years past have misrepresented them. Will you do it? You say you will, but election day will tell. — [Albany Independent Citizen.
THE COMMON SENSE OF TAXATION.
North American Review.
It may scorn like a truism to assert that the only fund upon which taxation can draw is that made up by the produce of the community, and that to multiply the places at which it is tapped is not to increase its capacity to yield. Yet the manner in which taxation, under our system, is spread over a multitude of subjects, and new subjects are still sought for, suggests the belief of that chief of the eunuchs who thought the weight of an obnoxious poll tax might be lessened, and his master’s revenues at the same time increased, by substituting for the tax on heads a tax upon fingers and toes.
But it is probable that the disposition to tax everything susceptible of taxation does not spring so much from the notion that more may thus be obtained, as from the notion that as a matter of justice everything should be taxed. That all species of property shall be equally taxed, is enjoined by many of our state constitutions, and that it should be so, at least so far as direct taxation is concerned, is regarded by most of our people as a self-evident truth — the idea being that every one should contribute to public expenses in proportion to his means, or, as it is sometimes phrased, that all property, being equally protected by the State, should equally contribute to the expenses of the state.
But under no system that any of our legislatures have yet been able to devise is all property equally taxed; nor can it be equally taxed. And if it were possible to even approximate to the equal taxation of all property, this would not be to secure that equality which justice demands. For, as is evident in the case of mortgages, etc., to equally tax all property would infallibly be to levy a higher rate of taxation upon some than upon others; and even if the same proportion could be taken from the means of every member of the community, that would no more conform to the dictates of equality than would the levy upon each of an equal sum; for, as the demand for a sum which would not be felt by the rich man would fall with crushing weight on the poor man, so to take the same proportion of their means would be a very different thing to him who has barely enough, and to him who has a large surplus.
Quite as fallacious is the idea that all property should be equally taxed because equally protected. The fact is that all property is not equally protected, cannot be equally protected, and ought not to be equally protected, if by protection anything more is meant than the mere preservation of the peace. The protection of property is not the end, it is only one of the incidents, of government. As John Stuart Mill says: “The ends of government are as comprehensive as those of the social union. They consist of all the good and all the immunity from evil which the existence of government can be made, either directly or indirectly, to bestow.” And to say that government should impartially protect and equally tax all property is like saying that the farmer should bestow the same care upon everything he may find growing in his fields, whether weeds or grain.
That there is no obligation to equally tax all property is fully realized in regard to property brought from abroad. No one contends for a tariff which should equally tax all such property. The protectionists assert that the leading idea in determining what should be taxed and what not taxed, and the different rates which various imports should bear, ought to be the promotion of the general good by the encouragement and protection of industry. Their opponents, on the other hand, do not deny the propriety of such exemptions and discriminations. They merely deny that industry can be protected and encouraged by the endeavor to shield certain classes of producers from foreign competition; and, in the enactment of a purely revenue tariff, they would make the same kind of exemptions and discriminations, with a view to the collection of the revenue with the smallest cost and least interference with trade. Both parties equally recognize the general good as the true guiding principal in taxation of this kind.
Even in internal taxation the same principle is largely recognized. On certain businesses and certain manufactures we impose taxes not imposed upon others, on the ground that it is for the public good that such businesses and manufactures should be restricted. With similar regard to the public good we exempt certain species of property from taxation, as cotton factories in Georgia, growing crops in California, property devoted to religious and charitable uses in New York, the bonds of the United States by federal law. etc.
Evidently this regard for the general good is the true principle of taxation. The more it is examined the more clearly it will be seen that there is no valid reason why we should, in any case, attempt to tax all property. That equality should be the rule and aim of taxation is true, and this for the reason given in the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal.” But equality does not require that all men should be taxed alike. It merely requires that whatever taxes are imposed shall be equally imposed upon the persons or things in like conditions or situations; it merely requires that no citizen shall be given an advantage, or put at a disadvantage, as compared with other citizens.
The true purposes of government are well stated in the preamble of the constitution of the United States, as they are in the Declaration of Independence. To insure the general peace, to promote the general welfare, to secure to each individual the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — these are the proper ends of government, and are therefore the ends which in every scheme of taxation should be kept in mind.
As to amount of taxation, there is no principle which imposes any arbitrary limit. Heavy taxation is better for any community than light taxation, if the increased revenue be used in doing by public agencies things which could not be done, or could not be as well and economically done, by private agencies. Taxes could be lightened in the city of New York by dispensing with street lamps and disbanding the police force. But would a reduction in taxation gained in this way be for the benefit of the people of New York and make New York a more desirable place to live in? Or if it should be found that heat and light could be conducted through the streets at public expense and supplied to each house at but a small fraction of the cost of supplying them by individual effort, or that the city railroads could be run at public expense so as to give every one transportation at very much less than it now costs the average resident, the increased taxation necessary for these purposes would not be an increased burden, and in spite of the larger taxation required, New York would become a more desirable place to live in. It is a mistake to condemn taxation as bad merely because it is high; it is a mistake to impose by constitutional provision, as in many of our states has been advocated, and in some of our states has been done, any restriction upon the amount of taxation. A restriction upon the incurring of public indebtedness is another matter. In nothing is the far-reaching statesmanship of Jefferson more clearly shown than in his proposition that all public obligations should be deemed void after a certain brief term — a proposition which he grounds upon the self-evident truth that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living, and that the dead have no control over it, and can give no title to any part of it. But restriction upon public debts is a very different thing from restriction upon the power of taxation, and reasons which urge the one do not apply to the other. Nor is increased taxation necessarily proof of governmental extravagance. Increase in taxation is in the order of social development, for the reason that social development tends to the doing of things collectively that in a ruder state are done individually, to the giving to government of new functions and the imposing of new duties. Our public schools and libraries and parks, our signal service and fish commissions and agricultural bureaus and grasshopper investigations, are evidences of this.
But while no limit can be properly fixed for the amount of taxation, the method of taxation is of supreme importance. A horse may be anchored by fastening to his bridle a weight which be will not feel when carried in a buggy behind him. The best ship may be made utterly unseaworthy by the bad stowage of a cargo which, properly placed would make her the more weatherly. So enterprise may be palsied, industry crushed, accumulation prevented and a prosperous country turned into a desert, by taxation which, rightly levied, would hardly be felt.
Now discarding all idea that there rests upon us any obligation to equally tax all kinds of property and assuming for our guidance the true rule, that taxation should be levied with a view to the promotion of the general prosperity, the securing of substantial equality, and the recognition of inalienable rights, let us consider upon what species of property it may be best laid.
To consider what is included in the category of property is to see the absurdity of saying that all property should be equally taxed. For not to speak of minor differences that arise from application and use, there are commonly included under this term things of essentially different nature. Whatever is recognized by municipal law as subject to ownership is property. But between things thus classed together are wide differences. In the first place, there are certain of them which have in themselves no value, but are merely the representatives or doubles of property in itself valuable. Such are stocks, bonds, mortgages, promissory notes of all kinds, whether made by individuals or issued by governments to serve as money, solvent debts, book accounts, etc. These things may be to the individual valuable property, and are correctly included in any estimate of his wealth. But they are no part of the wealth of the community. Their increase does not make the community a whit the richer; and they may be utterly destroyed without the community becoming a whit the poorer. If I buy a horse, giving my note for the amount, the result of the transaction (supposing me to be solvent) is that the seller gets property to the value of the horse, while I get the horse. But there has been no increase in wealth. To the seller, my note may be quite as good as the horse, and in estimating his wealth it may be as properly included as the horse; but if the note be destroyed, the community is nothing the poorer, while if the horse break his neck, there is a lessening of the general wealth by one horse. And so the issuance of bonds by a government, or the watering of stock by a corporation, can in no wise increase the general sum of wealth, nor will any diminution either in the amount or in the selling price of such bonds or stock reduce it. If all the governments of the world were to repudiate their debts tomorrow, an immense amount of property, now carefully guarded, would become waste paper, and thousands of people now rich would be made poor, but the wealth of the human race would not be diminished one iota.
These are truisms. Yet so widespread and persistent is the notion that all property should be taxed that they are generally ignored. Nothing is clearer than that when a farmer who wants more capital puts a mortgage on his farm, no new value is thereby created. Yet, in most of our states, both the farm and the mortgage are taxed; though so obvious is the double taxation that in some of them the clumsy expedient of making an exemption to the debtor is resorted to.
But it is manifest that property of this kind is not a fit subject for taxation, and ought not to be considered in making up the assessment rolls. It has in itself no value. It is merely the representative, or token, of value — the certificate of ownership, or the obligation to pay value. It either represents other property, or property yet to be brought into existence. And, as nothing real can be drawn from that which is not real, taxation upon property of this kind must ultimately fall, either upon the property represented, in which case there is double taxation, or upon those whose obligations it expresses, in which case men are taxed, not upon what they own, but upon what they owe; and all cumbrous devices to prevent the unjust effects of such taxation, like other complications of the revenue system, simply give to the stronger and more unscrupulous, opportunities of throwing the burden upon the weaker and more conscientious. Property of this kind ought not to be taxed at all. Property in itself valuable is clearly that with which any wise scheme of taxation should alone deal.
To consider the nature of property of this kind is again to see a clear distinction. This distinction is not, as the lawyers have it, between personal property and real estate. The true distinction is between property which is, and property which is not, the result of human labor; or, to use the terms of political economy, between land and wealth. For, in any precise use of the term, land is not wealth, any more than labor is wealth. Land and labor are the factors of production. Wealth is such result of their union as retains the capacity of ministering to human desire. A lot and the house which stands upon it are alike property, alike have a tangible value, and are alike classed as real estate. But there are between them the most essential differences. The one is the free gift of nature, the other the result of human exertion; the one exists from generation to generation, while men come and go; the other is constantly tending to decay, and can only be preserved by continual exertion. To the one, the right of exclusive possession, which makes it individual property, can, like the right of property in slaves, be traced to nothing but municipal law; to the other, the right of exclusive property springs clearly from those natural relations which are among the primary perceptions of the human mind. Nor are these mere abstract distinctions. They are distinctions of the first importance in determining what should and what should not be taxed.
For, keeping in mind the fact that all wealth is the result of human exertion, it is clearly seen that, having in view the promotion of the general prosperity, it is the height of absurdity to tax wealth for purposes of revenue, while there remains, unexhausted by taxation, any value attaching to land. We may tax land values as much as we please, without in the slightest degree lessening the amount of land, or the capabilities of land, or the inducement to use land. But we cannot tax wealth without lessening the inducement to the production of wealth, and decreasing the amount of wealth. We might take the whole value of land in taxation, so as to make the ownership of land worth nothing, and the land would still remain, and be as useful as before. The effect would be to throw land open to users free of price, and thus to increase its capabilities, which are brought out by increased population. But impose anything like such taxation upon wealth, and the inducement to the production of wealth would be gone. Movable wealth would be hidden or carried off, immovable wealth would be suffered to go to decay, and where was prosperity would soon be the silence of desolation.
And the reason of this difference is clear. The possession of wealth is the inducement to the exertion necessary to the production and maintenance of wealth. Men do not work for the pleasure of working, but to get the things their work will give them. And to tax the things that are produced by exertion is to lessen the inducement to exertion. But over and above the benefit to the possessor, which is the stimulating motive to the production of wealth, there is a benefit to the community, for no matter how selfish he may be, it is utterly impossible for any one to entirely keep to himself the benefit of any desirable thing he may possess. These diffused benefits when localized give value to land, and this may be taxed without in any wise diminishing the incentive to production.
To illustrate: A man builds a fine house or large factory in a poorly improved neighborhood. To tax this building and its adjuncts is to make him pay for his enterprise and expenditure — to take from him part of his natural reward. But the improvement thus made has given new beauty or life to the neighborhood, making it a more desirable place than before for the erection of other houses or factories, and additional value is given to land all about. Now to tax improvements is not only to deprive of his proper reward the man who has made the improvement, but it is to deter others from making similar improvements. But instead of taxing improvements, to tax these land values is to leave the natural inducement to further improvement in full force, and at the same time to keep down an obstacle to further improvement, which under the present system improvement itself tends to raise. For the advance of land values which follows improvement, and even the expectation of improvement, makes further improvement more costly.
See how unjust and short-sighted is this system. Here is a man who, gathering what little capital he can, and taking his family, starts west to find a place where he can make himself a home. He must travel long distances; for, though he will pass plenty of land nobody is using, it is held at prices too high for him. Finally he will go no further, and selects a place where, since the creation of the world, the soil, so far as we know, has never felt a plowshare. But here, too, in nine cases out of ten, he will find the speculator has been ahead of him, for the speculator moves quicker, and has superior means of information to the emigrant. Before he can put this land to the use for which nature intended it, and to which it is for the general good that it should be put, he must make terms with some man who in all probability never saw the land, and never dreamed of using it, and who, it may be, resides in some city thousands of miles away. In order to get permission to use this land, he must give up a large part of the little capital which is seed-wheat to him, and, perhaps, in addition, mortgage his future labor for years. Still he goes to work; he works himself, and his wife works, and his children work — work like horses, and live in the hardest and dreariest manner. Such a man deserves encouragement, not discouragement; but on him taxation falls with peculiar severity. Almost everything that he has to buy — groceries, clothing, tools — is largely raised in price by a system of tariff taxation which cannot add to the price of the grain or hogs or cattle that he has to sell. And when the assessor comes around he is taxed on the improvements he has made, although these improvements have added not only to the value of surrounding land, but even to the value of land in distant commercial centers. Not merely this, but, as a general rule, his land, irrespective of the improvements, will be assessed at a higher rate than unimproved land around it, on the ground that “productive property” ought to pay more than “unproductive property” — a principle just the reverse of the correct one; for the man who makes land productive adds to the general prosperity, while the man who keeps land unproductive stands in the way of the general prosperity, is but a dog-in-the-manger, who prevents others from using what he will not use himself.
Or, take the case of the railroads. That railroads are a public benefit no one will dispute. We want more railroads, and want them to reduce their fares and freight. Why then should we tax them? for taxes upon railroads deter from railroad building, and compel higher charges. Instead of taxing the railroads, is it not clear that we should tax the increased value which they give to land? To tax railroads is to check railroad building, to reduce profits, and compel higher rates; to tax the value they give to land is to increase railroad business and permit lower rates. The elevated railroads, for instance, have opened to the overcrowded population of New York the wide, vacant spaces of the upper part of the island. But this great public benefit is neutralized by the rise in land values. Because these vacant lots can be reached more cheaply and quickly, their owners demand more for them, and so the public gain in one way is offset in another, while the roads lose the business they would get were not building checked by the high prices demanded for lots. The increase of land values which the elevated roads have caused is not merely no advantage to them — it is an injury; it is clearly a public injury. The elevated railroads ought not to be taxed. The more profit they make, with the better conscience can they be asked to still further reduce fares. It is the increased land values which they have created that ought to be taxed, for taxing them will give the public the full benefit of cheap fares.
So with railroads everywhere. And so not alone with railroads, but with all industrial enterprises. So long as we consider that community most prosperous which increases most rapidly in wealth, so long is it the height of absurdity for us to tax wealth in any of its beneficial forms. We should tax what we want to repress, not what we want to encourage. We should tax that which results from the general prosperity, not that which conduces to it. It is the increase of population, the extension of cultivation, the manufacture of goods, the building of houses and ships and railroads, the accumulation of capital, and the growth of commerce, that add to the value of land — not the increase in the value of land that induces the increase of population and increase of wealth. It is not that the land of Manhattan island is now worth hundreds of millions where, in the time of the early Dutch settlers, it was only worth dollars, that there are on it so many more people and so much more wealth. It is because of the increase of population and the increase of wealth that the value of the land has so much increased. Increase of land values tends of itself to repel population and prevent improvement. And thus the taxation of land values, unlike taxation of other property, does not tend to prevent the increase of wealth, but rather to stimulate it. It is the taking of the golden egg, not the choking of the goose that lays it.
Every consideration of policy and ethics squares with this conclusion. The tax upon land values is the most economically perfect of all taxes. It does not raise prices; it may be collected at least cost, and with the utmost ease and certainty; it leaves in full strength all the springs of production; and, above all, it consorts with the truest equality and the highest justice. For, to take for the common purposes of the community that value which results from the growth of the community, and to free industry and enterprise and thrift from burden and restraint, is to leave to each that which he fairly earns, and to assert the first and most comprehensive of equal rights — the equal right of all to the land on which, and from which, all must live.
Thus it is that the scheme of taxation which conduces to the greatest production is also that which conduces to the fairest distribution, and that in the proper adjustment of taxation lies not merely the possibility of enormously increasing the general wealth, but the solution of these pressing social and political problems which spring from unnatural inequality in the distribution of wealth.
“There is,” says M. de Laveleye, in concluding that work in which he shows that the first perceptions of mankind have everywhere recognized a most vital distinction between property in land and property which results from labor — “there is in human affairs one system which is the best; it is not that system which always exists, otherwise why should we desire to change it; but it is that system which should exist for the greatest good of humanity. God knows it, and wills it; man’s duty it is to discover and establish it.” Henry George.
Thus Is It Ever.
Ever at labor the sledge hammer swinging,
Constantly ringing the music of steel;
Deprived of his birthright, a slave, like his neighbor,
To a master whose bosom no pity can feel.
No time for culture — thus is it ever —
Toiling for ever; no hope shall he see
Until he proclaim, in his majesty peerless,
Dauntless and fearless: The land shall be free.
Toiling in sorrow, whate’er be his calling,
Yet is he falling to lower degree.
No gains come to him, though he toil for the morrow,
His but to submit to the “powers that be.”
Deluded and cheated — thus is it ever —
Swindled forever, no hope shall he see
Until he proclaim, in his majesty peerless,
Dauntless and fearless: The land shall be free.
His home is a hovel, his masters’ a palace;
What wonder the gallows should loom into view;
His wife and his children in misery grovel,
While theirs live in grandeur, with nothing to do.
Justice denied him — thus is it ever —
Denied him forever; no hope shall he see
Until he proclaim, in his majesty peerless,
Dauntless and fearless: The land shall be free.
Newark. N. J.
Find Out Why Jack Didn’t Eat His Supper and You’ll Know Why the “Globe-Democrat” Gave You No Answer.
St. Louis, Mo.—I have sent two successive copies of the following letter to the editor of the Globe-Democrat of this city:
Editor Globe-Democrat: I notice in today’s issue of the Globe-Democrat, in an editorial headed “The Labor Party ” the statement that “Henry George’s land theories have been exploded,” and that “They have been shown to be only empty boasts of unrealizable promises.” A month ago you stated that “several noted writers had written works exposing the fallacies of Mr. George’s land theories.” It is the titles of these works and the names of their authors that I desire and that I think will be in great demand when they are made public.
I have read Mr. George’s works bearing on the land question, and especially his “Progress and Poverty,” and I must admit that from a bitter opponent of what I had believed to be his theories I am now a staunch defender, since I have read his works myself, and I think I understand them. But if his theories are wrong, and based on injustice and inequality, instead of absolute justice and equity; if I have been inveigled into believing and advocating putting into effect a theory that is fundamentally wrong, that will injure instead of benefit my fellow men, it is high time that I should know it, that I may use my influence in an opposite direction.
I am always open to conviction; but a simple assertion that Mr. George is wrong is not sufficient to convince me that he is in error, and the seemingly studied neglect of newspaper editors to “make public” the names of these “fallacy exposers” is significant; and may seem to some a cowardly attack on a known truth.
K. Perry Alexander,
Cor. Seventh and Haven sts., St. Louis, Mo.
I inclosed a stamp with each copy of my letter, but up to this time have received no answer, either by mail or through the columns of the paper. Can you suggest any means of obtaining the desired information? K. P. A.
An Illustration from St. Louis.
St. Louis New Order.
The value of the “unearned increment” of land is beautifully illustrated in the property of tumble down shanties owned by Liggett & Myers, on Washington avenue, between Tenth and Eleventh streets. In 1824 the whole of this block was purchased by John D. Daggett from the estate of Jeremiah Connor. The purchase was made by Mr. Daggett for the purpose of converting it into a Masonic burial ground, the block at that time being beyond the city limits. Mr. Daggett transferred the ground to Edward Bates and Archibald Gamble, trustees, the consideration being $400. Subsequent to the purchase it was discovered the ground was unfit for burial purposes, and in 1831, Judge Peter Ferguson purchased the property for $750. When the judge died he left the property to his son, who sold it to Liggett & Myers. It is now valued at $1,200 a foot. In fifty years the increase of population had added such a value to the land that without any improvements being made on it today one foot14 is worth nearly double what the whole property sold for.
Principles, Not Men.
Albany Press and Knickerbocker.
The proceedings of the convention of the united labor party demonstrated the fact, clearly and distinctly, that it was determined to set out alone — that it would receive in its fold no other political party or organization whatever. But this, of course, does not debar democrats, republicans, prohibitionists, greenbackers, union laborites, or even socialists and communists, from voting for its candidates. The barn burners and free soilers of this state, the slavery abolitionists, the greenbackers, the prohibitionists, and even the present republican party, which first took the field in 1856, did the same thing. Whoever voted for their candidates voted for their principles, not for the “spoils.” So with the united labor party, as we understand it. They will accept most gladly all votes, but only as indorsing their principles. And we also understand it that they are simply giving the masses an opportunity to vote, as they always should, in behalf of their own interests. It is for this they hold the right to vote
HOW JOHN’S FATHER SAW THE LIGHT.
“Father,” said John Gray, “I have an idea that Henry George is right.”
If John had declared himself a convert to Mormonism, and announced his intention to take half a dozen wives, he could hardly have created a greater sensation. Mr. Gray set down his coffee cup untasted, and fairly gasped. Mrs. Gray looked grieved; and John’s little sister, seeing by the old folks’s expression that John had said something very dreadful, puckered up her mouth for a cry.
“So you want to have me divide up my land, that I bought and paid for, with, a– a– with James here, for instance,” said the farmer, finally, looking toward the hired man as he spoke.
This interpretation of the united labor platform seemed rather to commend itself to James, whose face wrinkled into a broad smile; but the smile died away as John explained that that was by no means what Henry George proposed. “All he wants,” said John, “is to put all taxes upon land values.”
“Oh! that’s all, is it!” said Mr. Gray, sarcastically. “Nothing more, eh? Don’t want my land; oh no! Wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole — give me two or three more farms — beg me to take them, and ship ’em by express with a present in every lot; throw in a gas stove, tin horn and a chromo, I suppose. All he wants is to put all the taxes on the land, is it? Well, you are a fool.”
John seized the opportunity while his father was taking breath to explain that all improvements would be exempted.
“Don’t see how that would better matters,” said his father. “There’d be just as much money wanted, and the rate would rise, of course!”
John admitted that the rate per cent would be raised until it equaled the rental value of the bare land.
This was as a red rag to a bull, and John received a rather profuse explanation of his father’s opinion of socialists, communists and fools, with a gentle intimation that John was of the latter persuasion.
John waited till the old man ran down, and then ventured the statement that the rate couldn’t be over four percent, because any quantity of money could be hired for that on absolute security, no tax and long time; government bonds, for instance.
This raised another storm, but Mr. Gray finally admitted that four percent would take the full rental value.
“Now,” said John, “that would lower the farmer’s taxes.”
The farmer and the hired man stared at him in silence, while his mother ventured the query: “How?”
“Why, don’t you see,” said John, “the farmer thinks he is a big land owner, because he owns a hundred acres, maybe. So he is, by area; but he’s not much of a one by value. By value he is very little of a land owner and a good deal of a capitalist and laborer. Why, there are men in the city who own an acre of land, vacant and idle, that would sell for the value of fifty or sixty farms, improvements and all.
“You pay more rent every year than the rental value of your farm amounts to. Every bushel of grain you sell, every bit of merchandise you buy, must pass through the cities, the centers of exchange, and, resting for awhile in storehouse, wholesale store, or mill, is taxed to pay its rent. You have to sell your grain for less, and you must pay more for what you buy, in order that the dealers in the city may get enough larger profit with which to pay their rents. Take off the value of the improvements on your farm and the land value that is left, if turned into money and invested at four percent, would not yield a sum equal to one-fifteenth of your annual income from this farm. In other words, you are fourteen times as much laborer and capitalist as you are land holder.
“The holder of a city lot worth fifty times as much as your whole farm, can hold on to his lot, waiting for a rise in value, which is sure to come, and he can tax your products to provide the money for his rent, and laugh in his sleeve as he appeals to you to oppose the united labor party, and tells you they want to tax the farmer to death. He is the one who profits by the monopoly of land, not the farmer.
“That’s what’s the matter with you today. You are taxed on your labor and your capital, by government taxes, by railroad monopoly charges and by land monopoly. The united labor party want to lessen your taxes for you. Give them a hearing anyway.
“If the tax is taken off from the improvements and put upon the land values, you will pay but little, even though you are charged the full rental value of your land — all that its use is worth.”
Mr. Gray scratched his head reflectively. “Well,” he said at length, “if you can prove that to me, I will admit that I have been a fool not to look it up instead of believing all the newspapers said against it. But here is the question: My farm is highly improved; my neighbor’s is not, although the land is as good and the farm as well situated as mine; yet you make him pay the same taxes as me, proportionately, of course, to the size of the farms.”
“Well,” answered John, “do you think he ought to pay less taxes because he is lazy and you are industrious? Would you like to put a premium upon shiftlessness and fine a man for being industrious? Do you think that because he won’t make good use of an opportunity, he ought to pay less for the opportunity?
“But let us go back to the main question, and see if our plan of taxation would not lower the farmer’s taxes.
“Your farm of a hundred acres you would not sell for a cent less than ninety dollars an acre, or nine thousand dollars in all. That is a good price; but it is improved property — good buildings, good house, good fences, wells, orchard and so on. And you pay on this farm about sixty-five dollars taxes.
“Now what are improvement values on a nine thousand dollar farm?
“You have about four miles of fences, or 1,380 rods, worth, on the average, say, $1.30 a rod. The first item to be subtracted from the total value of the farm is, therefore, $1,664.
There is a good house, a little old fashioned, perhaps, but roomy, cheerful and comfortable. Improvements have made it conform more nearly to modern requirements, and it looks from cellar to garret, inside and out, a home. It is, at all events, equal to the average house of a $90 an acre farm, and is worth at least $1,800. The two wells, with stone linings, curbs, good pumps, are worth $175. The five acre orchard of good fruit bearing trees adds $400. Great barn, horse barns, cow stable under great barn, sheep barns, pens and sheds, all add to the improvement value of this farm at least $1,300 more. The cost of pulling stumps, draining, picking stone, etc., have also to be deducted, as well as the value of the land used for highway purposes; and for all this we may fairly allow $25 an acre more.
“Adding these items we find the value of the improvements on our $9,000 farm to be $7,839 or, in round numbers, $7,800, leaving the land value of the farm $1,200, and on this latter sum the George system proposes to tax the farmer up to its full rental value. You would pay, therefore, on your farm a land value tax of four percent on $1,200, or $48 in all. You now pay sixty-five.
“Allowing for local variations, the farmer will pay about from five to thirty percent less taxes than he does now. If that is oppressing the farmer, you can tyrannize over him by the bushel and he will grow fat under it.”
“Well, that seems to be so,” replied Mr. Gray, with an increasing respect for his son’s logic; “but how about the holders of really valuable vacant lots in the villages and cities? It seems to me they could not afford to keep them.”
“Unimproved, no! But when they did improve them they would not pay a cent more for their enterprise. They would be compelled to use them or allow others to take them who would. In that case labor would be employed to improve, and the great army of unemployed labor set to work. At the same time that still greater army of men who work only part of the time — on short hours, or a portion of the year — would find the increased demand for their products giving them work to do all the time, and they would be able to buy more and more of the farmer’s produce, thus extending his market.”
At this point James, the hired man, began to feel as though the matter under discussion had a practical interest for him, as well as his employer, and he asked:
“But wouldn’t there be a lot of over production?”
John laughed. “How could we have over production,” said he, “when the wants of men are never satisfied? Comparatively rich as father is, he is always wanting more, buying more and using more. Every man will do the same thing if he can, and does do it as far as he can. Give men more work, give them better wages, because of the increased demand for their services, and they will use more. Before we could have over production every man woman and child would have to be supplied with all they wanted of both the necessaries and the comforts of life. Food until all who are hungry are fed, clothes till all are comfortably and neatly dressed, shoes for bare feet, hats for bare heads, books for hungry minds, and pictures for eager eyes, musical instruments for thirsty ears, houses and furniture to fill them for the homeless — all these and much more must be furnished before we can have over production. And to supply the makers of all these the farmer’s wheat must grow.
“There is no such thing as over production, but there is, and should not be, an inequality of distribution, which this system of taxation will remedy. For by exempting improvements you leave to each all his labor produces, and by taxing land up to its full rental value you give to all what is the result of the growth, the labor and capital of the community. Put the unemployed men on the idle land, father, and they will produce and consume, and then their poverty will cease. There will be no more poor.”
“But,” said Mrs. Gray, “does not the Bible say, ‘The poor ye have always with you?’”
“To be sure it does; not as a prophecy, but as a statement of an existing fact. Besides, it does not say, ‘Ye must not endeavor to relieve poverty,’ or, ‘The unnecessarily poor ye shall have always with you.’ And I hold that so long as men are poor for want of work, and the value they could produce by their labor, they are unnecessarily poor; because the idle land held out of use for speculative purposes, all about them, would give them work and bread. If a man can work, can get a chance to work and won’t work, let him starve.”
“Root hog, or die,” suggested James.
“Exactly. But supposing some of the hogs should build a fence about the rooting ground, and keep the rest of the pigs off; a good many pigs would be pretty poor, would they not? And if the more pigs there were who wanted to root, the more they had to pay for the privilege, it would get worse and worse. You would find in regard to pigs — as you do in regard to men — that poor pigs were thicker than fat ones.”
John’s father sat long after breakfast that morning, over his pipe and newspaper; but he did not read much. He was thinking of what John had said about the idle lot and the idle men, and wondering if putting the two together would not help to abolish poverty. W. C. Wood, M.D.
Gloversville, N. Y.
The Printers on Deck.
The printers’ legion of the united labor party held their second meeting at 10 Stanton street on Friday evening, Sept. 9. The secretary reported that there were over 150 members on the roll. It was decided to address a circular letter to all the typographical unions in the United States and Canada, calling on them to assist, morally and financially, in the campaign in this state. Twenty thousand copies of Mr. Glackin’s speech at the Anti-poverty society were ordered. They will be
sent to all the typographical unions in this state. It is intended that a representative of this union shall go through the state in the interests of the united labor party. The legion will hold its next meeting on Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock, at l0 Stanton street.
What the Single Tax Would Do for the Farmer.
Correspondence Webster, Mass., Times
When a farmer hears that it is proposed to tax land up to its full rental value and take the taxes off everything else, he thinks it a scheme that would be sure to ruin him. What! lay all the taxes on the farmer and let every one else off scot-free? he ejaculates. The truth is that all other industries depend on the use of land as much as farming; and the effect of the change would be to tax farmers less proportionally than those in other industries, because the farmer uses the cheap land. Not a merchant or manufacturer in the city of Worcester, of the smallest description, whether occupying a room on the first floor or the fourth or sixth, who does not pay a ground rent equal to the annual value of several acres of land in Oxford. Many a merchant there undoubtedly pays to his landlord, over and above a fair rent for the building he occupies, a ground rent equal to the annual value of the land belonging to ten of the best farms in Oxford.
In the article which the Times kindly printed last week, I showed that the annual value of all the land in Oxford, minus improvements, is about $20,000, or $9 a year for each inhabitant. Oxford has some small mills, but it may pass for a farming town, while New York is a great commercial and manufacturing city. The ground rents in the city of New York, by the best estimates, amount to over one hundred million dollars annually, to say nothing of the worth of the horse railroad and elevated railroad franchises, and the gas, the telegraph and telephone monopolies, which have mostly been stolen from the people. The population of New York is about 1,500,000; if the rental value of the land is $100,000,000, that would be over $66 per annum for each inhabitant. Does a system of taxation that takes from the commercial and manufacturing city of New York $66 a year for every man, woman and child in it, and from the farming town of Oxford only $9 a year for every man, woman and child in it, promise to bear unequally on the farming towns and ruin the agricultural interest? Of the 800 or more taxpayers in Oxford there are not over fifty who would not actually be benefited pecuniarily by the change the very first year, while all would quickly profit from the burst of industrial, mental and moral activity that would come from changing our millionaire and pauper producing laws into harmony with the law of nature, of justice and of God.
San Francisco, Sept. 1.—Twenty years ago, while living in a territorial mining town, I learned a practical lesson or two in the laws of trade that have ever since done me good service. Our community had irregular and uncertain freight connection with “the states.” For its supplies it depended upon that primitive means of transportation, the prairie schooner drawn by a team of oxen. The nearest railroad shipping point was more than a thousand miles away from us, across plains and over mountains. The wagons were moved in trains of twenty to forty or more. Heavy rains, deep snow in the mountains, hostile Indians and stampedes of the “bulls” during the night herd often served to halt and belate the trains. As a consequence, a month occasionally elapsed between the arrival of one train and another at our lively and populous camp. In the meantime, many articles of consumption — mainly food supplies and clothing — would run short. A customer, on going to his grocer’s of a morning, would be informed by his obliging friend behind the counter that there was danger of a famine, for the freight line had not brought any goods to town in a long time. And, to prevent the people from wasting things, the grocer had put up prices. A week later further developments would be brought to light, for some of the things in the grocer’s store would be held at almost prohibitory figures, while others would not be comparatively dear. The advance for each commodity would, in fact, be gauged according to its scarcity, its perishability and the needs of the buyer. For example, sugar that had been selling at fifteen cents a pound would advance to twenty-five, thirty, and even fifty cents, as the supply in the grocer’s hands decreased. Flour, salt and coffee, too, would be held extremely high. Shoes and working clothes would go up, but not in so great a degree as food supplies. Fine clothing and household articles not indispensable would stand nearly still.
A week more would bring about a new situation. A few store keepers of the town would discover that they held all the stock that was left of certain kinds of goods, and prices for them would go at once to the top point at which people would buy. The actual dearth would be supplemented by an artificial one. With small sales the store keepers would reap a harvest. But when, at last, the wagon train arrived, prices tumbled.
The practice of “cornering” came to an end in time. All the store keepers learned to keep in stock an abundance of such staple articles as might be rendered scarce through a non-arrival of freight trains. Thus was lost the chance of famine prices. What was the loss of a few, however, was their neighbors’ gain, inasmuch as all the store keepers shared in the fairly good prices prevailing in seasons of comparative scarcity, while buyers were no longer plucked through a monopoly price. Speculative prevision, when it became general, benefited the community.
The simple principles affecting buyer and seller in that isolated town run through trade everywhere. Prices depend on supply and demand. Moreover, they are forever being manipulated by buyers and sellers. The latter class hold back from selling as much as possible in order to get good prices. The others hold back from buying when they can go without. Abnormally high prices for any article produced by labor bring about a steady supply of it for a long time afterward, which prevents such high prices being again attained. This is all true when competition is free and the sources of supply generally open.
There was another feature in the political economy taught by events in our town that made upon me an ineffaceable impression. Nearly all the houses stood on mining claims. A claim, be it understood, is not only the few square feet of ground at the opening of a shaft. It is an area, for instance, sufficient to command the possible trend of a quartz vein for a long distance underground, or, in a surface mining camp, it is an area large enough to promise pay to the force working it. These indefinite potentialities gradually became reduced to figures in the early days of mining in this country, and the proportions fixed then by miners, somewhat modified, have been embodied in the United States mining laws. The amount of land legally to be occupied by miners taking up a claim is proportioned, in a general way, to the amount of labor to be expended in a stated time upon the mine. Today, after the mining laws have been subjected to innumerable changes, the old notion that value must be given before ownership can be acquired still survives in the provision that title can be had only after a considerable expenditure of money or labor upon a claim.
Our town was mainly built on mining claims. The result was that no fee simple could for a good while be given to real estate purchasers. Men bought improvements, but only quit claims to land. So there were no corners in town lots. Had it been possible our smart storekeepers, accustomed to making the most of seasons of scarcity, would have speedily reduced the supply of building lots by seizing and holding off all land adjacent to town. It was a good thing for the people in general that this could not be done. One man took building ground on the same terms as another, and it did him little good to take more than he needed. I remember speaking of the effects of that peculiar land tenure as phenomenal as compared with the absolute ownership of land. There was no mere thought of speculating in land in that town than there was of speculating in the air pumped down to the men in the drifts.
There was in our camp a prosperous Irish mine owner who was gifted with a lively imagination. One day when the Irish question was up before the after-dinner gathering of boarders in front of the Inter-Ocean hotel, he was asked to tell what the Irish wanted — to state the Irish trouble in plain terms. He did. He pointed down Argent gulch to the engine shed at the mouth of the Bullion’s one shaft. Down in the heart of the earth there, he said, were two hundred men digging away. In the engine shed was one man who had charge of the “cage’” (the elevator) and the air driver. That engineer had temporarily the power to confine the men in the mine by not sending the cage down to bring them up. He had also the power to let them suffer for fresh air and food. What, he asked, would be the effect if that engineer were given such powers permanently? The miners below ground would give him all they made if he would give them life. And he would give them life so that they might continue working for him. That was the Irish question. The landlord had his Irish tenants down deep in a hole. Land was as necessary to them as cool air and food to the miners at work in a drift where the thermometer marked 125 degrees. The more the Irish worked, the more the landlord took from them. The moral was that he who holds in his possession what is essential to another’s life commands selling figures limited only by the producing power of the buyer, less sufficient for him to live upon.
I think of that old-time mining town often nowadays when I contemplate California’s land boom. The boom fever has penetrated almost every county of our vast state. Where-ever men gather and converse —on the street, in the cars, by the hearthstone, in hotel lobbies — the topic uppermost is the boom. Every class of society is affected. The sporting fraternity, who look on a boom simply as a betting panic, find their ranks swelling so as to embrace citizens of every degree. The poor see in it a chance — possibly the only chance they will ever have — to risk their all for fortune’s smile. Business men are taking more “paper” to go into real estate. Experienced adventurers are calculating when the turn of the tide will come.
Some of the far-seeing have been saying for several years that real estate in the southern counties of California was too cheap in proportion to the income it yielded. At length, early this year, their opinions prevailed with residents down the coast and speculators throughout the state. The boom was started at Los Angeles, and was soon flourishing there. In a brief period it had reached Santa Ana, Anaheim and San Diego. Thence it spread to Santa Barbara, and, running north along the new coast line railroad, creating paper towns in its way, in time wakened up San Jose. If this old town, with its real property mostly in the hands of residents for a generation, could count up its scores of real estate transfers every week, why should livelier places not try the game? Thus real estate men reasoned. And soon Oakland and San Francisco itself were at it. The former is parceling out even its swamps: the latter is staking off its suburban sand dunes, and both are finding excited purchasers.
The newspapers are performing noble service in sending the boom gayly along. The dailies are running a boom column, in which are printed dispatches from the most prominent scenes of activity. Here is the Call, in a single day, publishing boom specials from San Jose, Sausilito, Los Gatos, Hollister, Livermore, San Buenaventura, Gilroy, Santa Barbara, Sacramento,Willows, Oroville and Santa Rosa. At all these points booms are raging. “Our city is full of strangers;” “eastern capitalists are here representing two million dollars;” “more sales this week than during all last year;” “a syndicate regards our town as inferior to none on the coast for investment;” “it is rumored that a large hotel is to be built;” “a strong and healthy demand for realty;” “work begun on a site for a new town;” “an electric railroad to the beach is talked of;” “city lots going at increased prices;” “land doubled in price in four weeks.” These are the phraseological pearls the correspondents are sending to glitter in our metropolitan pages. The Examiner a few days ago issued a twenty-eight page edition, almost entirely given to boom matter. One real estate firm had a full page advertisement in it. Every page contained cuts portraying men and things relating to real estate. Column after column was given up to the “conservative pioneers” who never sold their ranches until they brought town lot prices, to the “wide awake firms” that cut up the ranches into town lots, to the “enterprising business men” who first bought the lots from the lively real estate dealers and sold them a month later at fifty percent profit, to the eastern capitalists who next bought them, and to the men who are now to come from away off somewhere to buy and risk and build and work.
To the unspeculative eye some of the Examiner’s pictures convey notions far different from those intended. Here is Cahuenga. Cahuenga gets four big pictures in the Examiner. But as yet it is only a town on paper. A syndicate is to lay it out, to build a railroad to it, and to put up a hotel on an eminence commanding a fine view. When one remembers how much of all this is as yet simply projected and then looks on the Examiner’s pictures, his inference is, if he is in his sober senses, that he should steer clear of Cahuenga. Long Beach, “the undisputed Newport of southern California,” judged by the bird’s eye view of it printed in the Examiner, is a great bare plain, perhaps checker boarded into city squares by the map maker, but in reality still, in large measure, the home of the untrimmed cactus and the undisturbed horned toad. Nor is the Examiner alone in its unfortunate illustrations. Looking over the pamphlets being sent out by “boom promoters,” one cannot refrain from the thought, on seeing the pictures of some of the “cities,” that they are fine places to stay away from. What is usually shown is nothing more than a few small straggling frame houses in a rough country. The imagination must supply what the brilliant future is to bring.
Yes, yes. California has gone money mad once more. This season of its insanity presents to us professional boom starters, advertised examples of men snatched from the depths of poverty and set up as princes of rent-compelling piles of dirt, the spectacle of auctioning off unstaked lots to the music of brass bands, free rides for possibly intending buyers, and hordes of real estate agents whose chief capital is their talk. And what does it all amount to? What is it all but staking money on the probable yield of workingmen and working capital yet to come?
I have the testimony of two workingmen who sought employment here at their trades this summer. Both found it. They obtained wages which, taking everything into consideration, were not so good as wages in Chicago. Both said their luck was better than the average new comer’s. Both had seen troops of anxious men moving about the country seeking employment. The boom has not as yet generally got down to a general demand for labor. It is only at the stage where people with some capital to invest are sought by it.
Need I say these two workingmen I speak of are intelligent? My experience is that the western workingman is the peer of his employer. One of them said that, after looking closely at the boom in several places, he believed that ninety-nine one hundredths of all the lots and lands sold are bought by speculators, and accomplices and abettors of the real estate agents. I asked some questions. Have wages gone up with the boom? So many people are making money now one would think they would be generous with it. Yes, was the reply, wages were going up just as they are put up by the capitalists who make money in protected industries. The working people of the coast can increase wages if they can corner the labor market. But, somehow, boom or no boom, there is never a prolonged dearth of laboring men.
The land boom craze is possible because our laws permit landowners to withhold a supply of something that other men must obtain in order to live. The laws of trade governing whatever can be competed for freely are inoperative as regards land. It is limited in quantity; superior opportunities for money-gathering attach themselves to it in some places; the better the opportunity the higher the price. In order to live people must develop those opportunities. The greater the flood of immigration here the further away will be the masses from ever holding those opportunities as their own. The vast majority must go where our Irish mine owner said the working people of Ireland were — deep down in a hole, with a landlord on top.
Getting Down to Work.
Brooklyn, Sept. 10.—The Twenty-second ward association of the united labor party of Kings county is in line for individual reform and the adoption of the single tax. W. H. M.
The Printer’s Angel.
The editor sat in his anxious seat,
And scowled with a savage will;
He warned the laboring men to pause,
And stabbed the anti-poverty cause
With a bitter, acidulous quill.
He gave it space in his column of deaths,
And thought he had sealed its doom;
With words emphatic and underscored
He wrote it down as a blooming fraud,
And tried to pluck off the bloom.
But the seals he broke in his morning’s mail
Let out the questions again,
For here were people who wished to know
Of anti-poverty thus and so.
And asked the knight of the pen.
“What maggot has entered the nation’s brain?
This malady must be stayed;
Of course the people must be content,
With the old-established custom of rent.
And the operations of trade.
“The cattle have common rights in the land
Save where it is fenced. Ah then
Shall men turn cattle and pride disown,
And throw their civilized fences down,
And share blessings with fellow men?
“If the earth belonged to the hired man,
‘Twere surely vulgar and evil,
For pray what would our society do;
I might as well own when this comes true,
My office belongs to the devil.”
When devils are spoken about they come,
And while he smiled at his joke,
It seems the devil was listening, too,
The printer’s devil appeared to view
And to the editor spoke.
“How long have you scratched at your dingy desk?
And how much for your work have you got?
Is labor worth but a beggar’s song?
Or does this office in truth belong
To the lord of the vacant lot?
“You have boomed him up; he has taxed you down;
You may go his way, if you like,
In debt, like one of a flock of sheep —
First sheared for wool and then killed for keep —
But I would go on a strike!
“You work, but mortgages earn the cash,
And the lord of the lot takes care;
The fruit of the editor’s toil — his pay —
My lord absorbs in a clever way
We call commercially fair.”
The light broke, then, on the editor’s mind;
“By hokey,” he cried, “’tis true;
These wage-fund pirates don’t treat us right —
I’ll take the other side in the fight,
And I’ll see this business through.”
So he ran along by the pirate craft,
And he poured a broadside in;
He challenged the lord of the vacant lot,
And he made the campaign piping hot,
And argued the case to win.
The editor sat in his easy chair,
In the time when the earth was free,
And the printer’s angel came softly in
For copy which was not stained with sin,
Since devils no more could be.
Then the editor looked with mirthful eyes —
“I was just now thinking,” he said,
“How the old-time editors used to mock
Till we polled that mighty vote in New York,
And fairly wakened the dead.
Our case came up in the grand assize;
We plead in the people’s court,
And the judgment came in a mighty shout,
And the thief and the pauper were voted out,
And the good cause won the fort.
Charles H. Fitch.
An Indorsement from Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, N. J., Sept. 1.—At a regular meeting of land and labor club, No. 3, of Elizabeth, N. J., the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, the united labor party of New York, in convention assembled, has preserved intact its thoroughly American principles by refusing an alliance with foreign socialism; and,
Whereas, said party has adopted a platform which declares for the destruction of existing monopolies in land, transportation and currency, and which is, in short, but a reiteration of the principles of Jeffersonian democracy; be it therefore
Resolved, that we, the members of Jefferson land and labor club of Elizabeth, N. J., are firmly impressed with the conviction that the action of the united labor party in refusing to the socialists participation in the proceedings of the convention was purely a matter of principle, and as such we cordially indorse it.
Resolved, that we cordially indorse the principles enunciated in the platform adopted at Syracuse, and pledge to them our hearty and undivided support.
Eugene Gibney, Frank F. Mills,
John W. Feehan, Committee
That’s the Way With All of Them — Nobody Really Denies the Anti-Poverty Principle.
Toronto, Canada.—An amusing incident occurred at the meeting of our anti-poverty society last evening. One of the members read the following newspaper extract, and then invited those present to guess the writer’s name:
I have no agrarian tendencies, but when men in a new country keep out of cultivation large tracts of land, and at the same time injuriously disturb the course of settlement merely for the purpose of levying a toll on the settler, while they do absolutely nothing, either for the land or for the province, I think their holdings are as proper subjects of stringent legislation as any private property can be.
The members declared this to be good Henry George doctrine, and expressed the opinion that it was probably written by some prominent member of the united labor party. When it was announced that the extract was made from Mr. Goldwin Smith’s recent letter on Manitoba, the suggestion was made amid laughter that the writer should be elected a member of the anti-poverty society. Mr. Goldwin Smith, it should be remarked, is one of the most earnest opponents of the anti-poverty doctrine to be found in the dominion.
Not Much Trouble to Convert This Man.
New York, Sept. 12.—I have been assigned to the duty of converting a citizen of this town — one of the “hoi polloi” — a tenement house dweller. I haven’t got fairly at him yet, but when I do I propose to refer him at once to his own case, which is somewhat as follows: He lived a short time ago in Astoria, L. I., where he paid five dollars a month rent for comfortable quarters. That was when the boats ran at long intervals, and when the fare was five cents to the city, each way. Lately the company concluded to send boats more frequently, and the fare was reduced to three cents. As a result my friend’s landlord doubled his rent, and as he couldn’t afford the fares and extra rent, he had to leave his home and come to a dingy tenement in this city. I don’t expect much trouble in making a convert of this man. C. G. O.
TRUE DEMOCRACY — ITS SUCCESS ASSURED.
New York Hotel, Sept. 10.—Those who are calculating on the want of sagacity or the crass ignorance in the ranks of the new party will find themselves wonderfully mistaken at an early day. The World, Jovian as its owners consider it, scarcely appreciates the situation when commenting on the alleged ignorance of, or willful misrepresentation by, Henry Watterson in his forecast of the democratic prospects.15 The World asserts that New York and Indiana are hopelessly lost if this new movement continues, and virtually says that Mr. Watterson writes himself down an ass, ignoring the existence of facts which thousands of others see and understand. The World also admits that three quarters of the men supporting Mr. George were democrats, and then with asinine stupidity equal to that of Mr. Watterson, this would-be important journal discusses the policy of nominating a candidate acceptable to the labor masses, who have openly and distinctly declared that they will never again affiliate with the old parties, and that they have formed a new organization pledged to support distinctly formulated ideas and to bring again to the front the Jeffersonian democracy which has so long been lost sight of during the many years of machine rule by corrupt and venal politicians. The World can be compared to the ostrich, which buries its head in the sand in the vain hope that the hunter will fail to see the broad expanse of waving plumes at the rump. The new party is out on a hunt for bear with the guns loaded to the muzzle searching for the game anywhere, whether republican or democratic. And the impression is that the laggard which will be bagged first is the democratic machine, and then the hunters will press onward and shoot down the other monopolistic, oligarchic machine.
It is a vast error to imagine that these men do not understand what they search for. For the first time a party is formed on distinct principles, in support of which the individuals are homogeneous and a unit. The discordant elements have been invited out, and nobody can be recognized except after repudiation of allegiance to all other organizations politically. This very harmony and unity gives a vast strength. It might easily be figured up on the present basis what this new party will do.
In 1877, in canvassing Maine, Ohio and Pennsylvania, I assumed that nothing could be accomplished for true benefit to the masses without a reorganization of parties; and that so long as the two old machines existed under the leadership of men who only retained power by exciting the low prejudices and passions of the masses, supplemented by patent fraud in counting out at the south, and open bribery and purchase of votes, like hogs in the market, elsewhere — there was no hope for statesmanship or patriotism. My opinion as then expressed was that the democratic machine would ultimately be the first to be smashed; after that it would be easy work to pulverize the republican cohorts, augmented by their affiliating brethren, formerly professing to be democrats.
Revolutions go fast in this progressive age. A monarchy is overthrown in a day now, when a century ago the consideracy required months for cultivation. So this new crusade, in which is enlisted the enthusiasm of men and women in far more practical shape than that of the early and bloody wars, knows no abatement, and will run its course to complete fruition and success. When? Perhaps in New York next November by the election of Henry George and his colleagues and a complete sweep of New York city. Practical minds analyze current events. The best informed place the present support of George in New York city at 80,000 and 200,000 in the state. Others declare that the vote will reach 105,000 in the city and over 300,000 in the state. These last named base their estimate, not only upon the numerous accessions to be secured after thorough discussion and understanding of the politico-economical questions, but upon the knowledge of human nature. The old machines are mere ropes of sand — the cohesive power being public plunder and mutual antagonism. Once demonstrated to the democratic masses that their nominees are hopelessly defeated, and a large element will instantly support Mr. George as the exponent of the Jeffersonian principles. On the other hand, thousands of republicans, who only support their nominees from fear of machine democratic success, will at once dissolve their partisan ties and support Mr. George also. This experience has been shown to the writer several times — once when he formed an organization in Louisville against the democratic machine with 14,000 majority in 1876, which on a week’s canvass was defeated by a labor majority of 4,600. Again, in Toledo, on a few weeks’ organization, the party based on the same views as those of the united labor, cast 100 more votes in Lucas county than were received for both the old party tickets. The advice given them in a speech to a vast crowd was followed, and could be wisely adopted in New York — that in order not to give a preponderance to either of the old parties, such republicans or democrats as might be restrained from that motive could easily arrange to go to the polls arm in arm and virtually pair off by both voting for the new party. Now the “handwriting is on the wall” for those who will receive its interpretation.
Last Saturday the democratic executive committee of Cincinnati informed the republican committee that the city was lost to the old parties, and requested the formation of a democratic-republican ticket. In Milwaukee such a combination was made, and the labor congressman was elected by 1,500; and it was duplicated four months afterward in the municipal election. As the World admits, the democratic party was driven out of the field in Chicago. And here today, in New York city, daily conferences are going on between machine leaders looking to a coalition, at any rate, upon the entire judicial ticket. The united labor ticket will be elected — combine or no combine; and of the best material, too. The clearest minded men of this city perceive the purity of the new party and the vast benefits to result from its success. And instead of inferior men for judicial positions, their nominees will challenge either of the old parties to produce peers of the new judges whom they propose to elect in November — outside of politicians, and yet prepared and ready to discharge their duties to the full satisfaction of the people.
Mr. Cleveland will not permit his name to be used for president again. He is too sagacious, and has virtually said so in the interview published by the World, whose owner vainly imagines that a way has been paved thereby for restoration to favor in administration circles, and an ultimate assertion that the great factor in New York nestles under the cherub wings of the enlightened and saintly World.
The prohibition party leaders claim 60,000 votes. They analyze the elements to be 2-5 democratic, 3-5 republican. Take these figures and 200,000 labor votes only, on the World’s basis of ¾ democratic, and see what would result:
Peckham’s majority — 7,000
2-5 democratic, 3-5 republican, of 60,000 24,000 — 38,000
3-4 democratic, 1-4 republican, of 200,000 150,000 — 50,000
174,000 — 83,000
Democratic minority, 81,000
Concede that this is an over-estimate; and take the figures supplied by democratic or republican politicians — New York city, 50,000, Kings, 20,000. Balance of state, 50,000. Take the sanguine claims of the most zealous democrats that 80,000 will vote prohibition, and figure up on that basis:
Peckham — 7,000
2-5 democratic. 3-5 republican, 80,000 32,000 — 48,000
3-4 democratic, 1-4 republican, 120,000 92,000 — 30,000
122,000 — 85,000
Democratic minority, 37,000
For all practical purposes, will not 37,000 defeat be as bad as 137,000? As Mercutio says, “It’s not as wide as a house, nor deep as a well,” but is just as fatal a wound.
Sensible men should adapt themselves to circumstances as they exist; and true journalists should tell the truth, so that their readers may know what is best for them to do. If this new party does not deserve success, if its principles can be controverted or proven to be vicious or deleterious, let the people understand that in the coming election the republican element will surely win against the democratic party, and therefore no harm can result. If, on the other hand, republican success is fatal to the prosperity of the country, and destructive of the interests of the masses, and the democratic machine is powerless to stop its onward course, let the masses so understand, that they may choose between radical-oligarchic-monopoly and true Jeffersonian democracy and wise political economy. Blanton Duncan.
The Anti-Poverty Society of Maryland.
Baltimore, Sept. 11.—A permanent organization of the Anti-poverty society of Maryland was affected last evening at a meeting of a committee appointed for the purpose, under the auspices of the united labor party. The object of the society was declared to be the same as that of the New York society. Prof. F. M. Gartside, of Mt. Winans, was elected president; William J. Ogden, 1838 Saratoga street, Baltimore, vice-president; William N. Hill, M. D., 1438 East Baltimore street, secretary; Samuel W. Pierce, 548 Fulton avenue, treasurer. We intend to push along the movement by just such methods as those adopted so successfully by the New York society, and we expect in a short time to attract many followers to the cause of the new crusade.
Wm. N. Hill.
Should Such Monopolists Have the Power to Ruin a Town?
Rush City, Minn., Post.
The St. Paul and Duluth folks are making extensive improvements at Rock Creek, as well as elsewhere on the line, but at this point the grade through the town past the depot is being raised some ten feet. This will undoubtedly necessitate the moving of the depot a few rods north on to higher ground. We understand there is a movement on foot to have the change of the location of the Rock Creek station to the place known as Long’s spur, about a mile this side of its present location, where the company has plenty of side track ground. If this is done it will be largely owing to the niggardly disposition of Judge Edgerton, who owns the principal portion of the land around the present site, and has placed St. Paul values on his real estate to such an extent that even the town cannot purchase a roadway to the depot and now uses the company’s right of way for a roadway. We are informed a couple of young men wanting to start in business at Rock Creek this spring were asked by Mr. Edgerton $200 for simply land enough to place a store on, and of course that stopped the new enterprise. Such miserly monopolists have ruined many a town before now, and if the company remove the depot he will be one of the causes.
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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.
No. 33. “Socialism — Its Truth and Its Error.” Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 34. “Horse Sense.” W. C. Woods. 2 pages.
No. 35. The Syracuse Platform. 2 pages.
No. 36. “Citycus and Rusticus.” Tudor B. Jenks. 4 pages.
No. 37. “Taxing Land Values.” Henry George. 8 pp.
No. 38. “God Wills It” Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 39. “What We Want.” Everett Glackin, president, Typographical Union No. 6. 2 pages.
No. 40. “Protection or Free Trade.” Henry George.
No. 41. The Syracuse Platform. (German.) 2 pages.
No. 42. “Socialism — Its Truth and Its Error.” (German.) Henry George. 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.
“Why do you persist in giving the names of your correspondents?” writes a friend in central New York; and then he goes on to say:
I can’t tell you how much annoyance I have had to endure since my letter came out in “Publisher’s Notes.” Our local paper got on to it and printed it with a heading; “Would Mr. —– talk this way if he had a home of his own?” and ever since I have had a regular deuce of a time. My employer spoke to me about it — said he never liked to interfere with a man’s politics; but politics was one thing and these communistic ideas of dividing up property were quite another. When I meet two or three of my friends they commence with “George — George — Henry George,” and altogether I can assure you I don’t have a very pleasant time. I am naturally of a retiring disposition, and it really is awful to find myself thrust forward in this way. I am willing enough to suffer for the cause, but it seems to me that by starting all this ridicule you really injure the cause more than you help it.
Here comes another friend who objects to our publishing his name on altogether different grounds. He writes:
I was surprised to see the valuable space taken up in The Standard with one of my communications, and I must insist right here that I do not wish it to occur again; not from any fears of being personally persecuted, but simply because I would not have the charge even hinted at that my persistent advocacy of the cause and constant distribution of tracts is for the purpose of getting my name published in the columns of The Standard.
And lastly comes a clerk in the internal revenue department in a western city, who sends $5 for subscriptions and tracts, and says:
I will get around this week and do all I can to get subscriptions. You must win in New York this fall, if possible.
Do not publish this letter. If I were alone in the world, I could live on ten cents a day with The Standard thrown in every week; but having a sick wife and two small children, I can’t afford to be discharged, as I would be if it were known that I sympathize with the cause of land reform.
Now, if the first two correspondents whose letters we quote will read the third letter, they will understand at least one of the reasons why we printed their names.
The spirit of persecution is as rampant today as it was in the times of Torquemada or bloody Mary; and the priest of St. Stephen’s is not the only man who is being called upon to suffer for conscience sake. Civilization no longer permits the burning of men and women at the stake, but it has invented other forms of torture scarcely less terrible. It flogs its victims with the lash of poverty, and threatens them with want if they dare obey the dictates of their consciences. And the quickest and surest way to put an end to this is for every soldier of the new crusade, who by any possibility can do so, to stand forward and avow his principles like a man. When once the persecutors see that they are likely to be visited with the scorn and odium of honest men, they’ll mighty soon cease persecuting.
There are two facts that ought never to be forgotten. First, that there are scores of thousands of men and women in this country who would come out and declare themselves in favor of the abolition of poverty tomorrow if they were not restrained by the fear, in most cases unacknowledged even to themselves, of incurring open persecution or quiet ridicule. And second, that there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who won’t take the trouble to consider or even to listen to the anti-poverty doctrine, because they have a vague idea that it is something utterly unpractical — the dream of a few enthusiasts. To overcome the inertia of those two classes is absolutely all we have to do. There are no arguments to be met. People don’t argue against the truth that God made the earth for men to live in, any more than they argue against the multiplication table. All that needs to be done is to get them to look and see; and when once they see those whom they know and respect looking and seeing, they will look and see, too.
Our friend in central New York, when he describes his sufferings, is really telling of good work done for the cause. He is winning votes for the united labor party. Hundreds who might otherwise never have thought of the subject at all, will want to find out for themselves what this new idea is that people are making such a fuss about. Ridicule may kill error; but it only invigorates the sturdy plant of truth.
Standard readers, there is a lesson for every one of you in the letters we quote above. Stand out before your neighbors and testify to your belief. Make anti-poverty fashionable.
Here are some letters about newsdealers and from newsdealers:
Salineville, O.—I feel it a duty to say something in your paper to make known to your readers the interest taken in The Standard here.
A short, time ago I started with two copies, and today I am selling twelve, and could have sold twenty-five of last week’s issue. It seems to me the people are ready for the change.
Your doctrine is not a new thing to some of us here. We were long since educated in your ideas through the Irish World.
I have been looking over your recruiting fund letters. What grand words there are there. I have started today to make a penny collection for the fund, and will forward the money when I get through. New York city and state must be captured; this done, the first great battle is won. Think of it!
I suggest that all over this country, wherever The Standard is read, every man and woman that feels an interest in the cause should go to work and raise a penny collection to help the recruiting fund along.
Chairman County Committee Union Labor
Cheyenne, Wyo.—I have ordered two extra copies of The Standard through the newsdealer which, if not sold, I purchase. The dealer suggested that cheap circulars be sent to newsdealers and by them distributed. There are many here who do not know that The Standard is Henry George’s paper.
While at Laramie City last week I was delighted to learn that the K. of L. are taking hold of the land question, especially at the Union Pacific machine and repair shops. The mechanics are anxious for light on the subject. For this to Mr. Breitenstein, manager of the cooperative store, most credit is due. He will do some work for The Standard, as he has already done. Mr. Dresser, editor of the Rock Springs Independent, is another good worker.
Although Wyoming is the youngest of territories, she will not take a back seat in the new crusade. So look sharp, New York and other eastern states, or you’ll “get left.”
The first $5 I get will go to the campaign fund of New York. A. G. Groh.
Germantown, Pa.—Inclosed find $10 for eight six-months subscriptions to The Standard. My husband has taken The Standard from the first number, and he has got a good many more to take it. We should not like to be without it, if it cost five times the amount it does. We have been getting the paper through a newsdealer, but we cannot always depend on him to furnish the full quantity we want, and then we have to go seeking all around for it. Mary Brimfield.
Exeter, Neb.—I feel proud of the convention. What a glorious platform!
I inclose money for “Progress and Poverty” and recruit subscriptions. Please also send two copies of The Standard to our newsdealer, whose address I inclose. If he doesn’t keep The Standard for sale hereafter, I will distribute it around here myself. Edward Costello
We have said it many a time before, but it is a fact that will bear repeating at least once a week: there is scarcely any class of men who can do better work for the cause we all have at heart than the newsdealers. Standard readers, cultivate your newsdealers. Those of you who can do nothing more can at least do this. Try to bring them to see the truth, to realize that the battle we are fighting is one in which they have a living interest. If your dealer keeps no Standards for sale, get him to order one or two and guarantee to take them off his hands if he fails to sell them. If he is already selling a few, get him to increase his order on the same terms. See that The Standard is displayed on his stall, and send to us for a showcard. All this will take you but little time, but it will quadruple the circulation of the paper in your neighborhood. Do it, and do it now.
There are two excellent suggestions in this letter:
Detroit, Mich.—If you are open to suggestions for the good cause, I will mention something that I have tried with good effect.
I have been supplying the barber shop I patronize with a copy of The Standard every week, giving the barber to understand that I should expect him to look after the paper and see that it was not destroyed or carried off. I find they create a good deal of comment and discussion.
Now, if every soldier in our cause who has occasion to visit a barber shop will see that it is supplied with a copy of The Standard every week, and take the pains to look after it and call attention to its most interesting articles, etc., he will find he is doing humanity a good deal more than five cents’worth of good work, and may rest assured that he is adding a spoke to our wheel that cannot but strengthen it.
Another thing I have done, is to have printed the inclosed ward meeting call, with the platform as adopted at Syracuse printed on the back. I keep a supply in my pocket, and when I see any one in the street cars or else where who looks as if he wanted something to read, I hand him one of those, ask him if he has seen the new party platform yet, and I have the satisfaction of seeing them carefully read and carefully put away nine times out of ten. I think my barber shop suggestion is worth calling the brothers’ attention to. S. G. Howe.
The following is the circular inclosed by Mr. Howe:
Take notice—Meeting. Tenth ward land and labor club No. 1. What is it? A political organization with something besides the spoils to fight over. It designs to shift the taxes from labor and enterprise to land values, which are created by the people, belong to the people, and should be taken by the people for municipal, state and general government expenses. They are now taken by land speculators who, after taking what they neither create nor earn, shift the great volume of their just proportion of taxation on to the laboring classes. You don’t believe it! Well, attend these meetings and tell us why you do not and learn why we do. Well, how will a land value tax benefit me, anyway?
1. If you are a laborer, it will take forty-six percent tariff tax off of everything you eat, drink, wear or live under: it will open up all vacant land to those who wish to use it by their simply paying the land value tax on it, or will compel the dogs in the manger to pay that tax for keeping you off, which they will not do a great while, simply because they cannot, and will relieve the labor market and make it possible for you to receive in wages what you earn by your labor.
2. If you are a merchant, it will cheapen goods, rent and money, so that you can buy and sell more, and so make your profit on the volume of trade rather than the volume of price, and every man will be the gainer.
3. If you are a manufacturer, it will cheapen your plant, rent, material and exchange, in fact, everything but your labor; that it will probably advance by equalizing the supply and demand; but by releasing you from all taxation on your buildings, tools, stock and enterprise and largely increasing the consumption of your wares, it will more than offset the increases in wages, which will be the laborer’s gain and not your loss.
If you doubt these assertions, come and tell us why and learn why we believe them. In a nutshell, we propose to take what society creates for society expenses in lieu of all other taxes; to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, but to take for the people the things that are theirs, even at the land speculator’s expense.
Come! join the club and help us.
Meeting at No. ___
Date —-, 188_. Time, ____.
On the back of the circular is printed the Syracuse platform.
Both of Mr. Howe’s suggestions are excellent. The first any Standard reader can put in practice without difficulty. To aid in carrying out the second, we have arranged to print a number of copies of Mr. Howe’s circular, inserting the words “united labor party” instead of “land and labor club,” and leaving proper blanks for writing in the place of meeting and the date and time. These we can furnish at $4.25 for 5,000 copies, or $7.50 for 10,000; and we urge our friends, particularly here in New York, to make immediate and plentiful use of them. They can be distributed after Mr. Howe’s plan, sent by mail or handed from house to house; and they will enable many and many an earnest friend of the cause to satisfy his longing for active work.
Here are three letters, fair samples of dozens that reach us daily, telling how earnest men are working for the cause of humanity here in New York state:
Roland, Herkimer Co., N. Y.—The Standard is my most welcome visitor in this quiet country village. I read it and lend it. Have distributed all the tracts I bought, and those you gave me. This is a farming district, and the farmers are hard to convince; yet I talk in season and, perhaps, “out of season.”
The inclosed check is to pay for The Standard to be sent for six weeks to the addresses on the list I send herewith. After paying for the subscriptions there will remain a balance of $2, which is to be applied as you think wisest.
I had to attend a yearly meeting on the date of the anti-poverty picnic; am not sure that I should have chosen the better part in joining the picnic.
I wish for myself an extra copy of The Standard to send to some clerical brethren in England.
Please believe that I shall ever be a devoted disciple. M. A. Brennen,
Pastor Baptist church.
Oswego, N. Y.—For the inclosed check send The Standard to the addresses given and also the books named on list.
I wish I could say something grand to express my hearty approval of your efforts in behalf of the “wage working slaves;” but I belong to the class of men who can only see and explain things when they are put into a word picture by others. So I content myself with saying that if I had the wealth of a Croesus and the eloquence of a Demosthenes, I would expend both in the advocacy of your cause.
I am amazed, now that I see the light, that the masses, the producers of all wealth, should have tolerated the land injustice so long. I can’t conceive how the socialists cannot see that when once the land is freed — the source from which all wealth comes — all other matters will be easily adjusted.
I wish I could send more than I do, but a workingman under the present system can’t do much. Yet if all would do their little, the aggregate would be great.Alexander Skillin,
M. W. L. A. 6,389.
East Aurora, N. Y.—Inclosed find remittance for four three-months’ subscriptions to The Standard. I am well pleased with the platform. By cutting loose from socialism we shall gain five votes for every one we lose. We have no organization here, but with good speakers and lots of work we will poll forty percent of the votes.
I am a butcher, and there ain’t many within six to ten miles but what I have sounded, and two out of every three are tenants or laborers. I am going to work for The Standard from now on, and as soon as they get woke up I will send you at least fifty subscribers. Everything looks favorable.
A minister of the gospel, a wage worker, a tradesman. Is not a cause sure of victory that thus finds ardent champions among men of widely diverse callings?
John Smith is waking up. The recruiting fund is growing more vigorously; the contributions for the campaign are swelling. The letters which we print below show how earnest men and women are proving the faith that is in them by personal sacrifices for the cause. These letters speak more powerfully than any words we could utter; for between the lines of each may be read a story of self denial, of earnest purpose, of unwavering faith. Read them you who are as yet resting idle. Bethink you that the ranks are forming for the battle, that the bugles will soon be blowing to the charge, that the host opposing us is already arrayed, rank upon rank, an apparently resistless body, equipped with all that wealth and power can supply. That we have your good wishes is not enough. We need your active help — your tongue, your pen, your time, your money, whatever you have that can be used to advantage in the fight. Read these letters, see what your brothers and sisters are doing, and for the sake of your own peace of mind come out and help the cause in the hour of its need.
Athens, Pa.—Dear Sir: I realize that we have all got to put our shoulders to the wheel and work hard in order to accomplish much in this great movement. I have begun by buying five copies of The Standard every week, and giving them where they will be likely to do the most good.
Inclosed please find two dollars. Put my name down as a member of the Anti-poverty society. With the other dollar do as you like. I shall send two dollars every month until the fall election, besides distributing The Standard and other land tax literature. This is an old and peculiarly conservative community, but I think I can stir them up a little. A. L. Pierce.
Stockton, Cal.—Now comes the tug of war. Money you must have to put in motion the forces. I send inclosed $15 for my share. By your power of logic you can reach the brain of every intelligent man, but a large share of mankind know the right but do the wrong, hence your success depends on the stimulation of the religious instinct, conscience, by such persons as McGlynn, Pentecost and Miss Munier. You are fighting for capital as well as labor, but you will have capitalists against you. You are fighting for temperance, and will have both liquor and prohibition against you.
I regret the attitude of the prohibitionists toward you. They are certainly working for the right, so far as they see the light. I think you ought to give them the assurance that so soon as the equality of natural opportunities is secured to mankind, that alcohol will be banished from the drunkard’s mouth — by prohibition if necessary.
In time your cause must win; may I live to see it. D. A. Learned.
Cooksport. Pa.—I had intended $1 for recruit subscriptions, but will not throw money at the voters of this monopoly ridden state. The battle for all states and the world at large is to be fought in New York this fall, so expend it on New York voters in the way you think best, and wish you success. O. C. Stewart, A. P. S. No. 1114.
Springfield, Ill. —We inclose $5 — $2 being for membership in the Anti-poverty society and the other three for the recruiting fund. We inclose one address, to which please send The Standard for six weeks.
Wishing the right all success and regretting that we cannot do more for the coming of the kingdom of God upon earth, we are yours truly, J. J. E. H. Payne,
A. S. Payne.
New Haven, Conn.—Hurrah for the new party! Hurrah for real justice, real truth and real religion! I am a mechanic, and have to work hard for a living, but must spare something for this great movement. Have read all numbers of The Standard and “Progress and Poverty” with care. Have thought much on the theory of taxing land values and can see its far reaching effects. It is based on natural justice. It is true. I am sure of it. I have no questions to ask. We buy four Standards every week at our house and send them to friends, and I talk to my shopmates as well as I can on the subject of the land for the people. I inclose $5 for the recruiting fund, to be used in New York, and will send something for the campaign fund soon. John C. Hofer.
Trenton, N. J.—Please find inclosed $5; $1 to make me a member of the Anti-poverty society, the remainder to be used as you deem best for the spread of the glorious light. I work in a factory. I have a wife and three children. Through toil, thrift and temperance I managed to save in three years $160, with which I bought a lot in the outskirts of this city. My tax on this lot was $1 per year. I thought that by putting a small house upon this lot I would be able to save something in rent. I borrowed $900 at six percent to put the house up. Now I am taxed, or fined $9.25, for making this improvement. I am surrounded by vacant lots that are held for speculation: the price is going up at the rate of $75 per year. There are land associations on the outskirts of this town with ground enough plotted out for 30,000 people to build homes upon.
Now workingmen are between the devil and the deep sea, so to speak. When they wish to make themselves a home, they must either pay the rent that is asked of the landlord or pay the speculator what he demands, and then be fined for making the improvements. Where is justice?
That the Giver of all good things may give you health and strength to stand all the tortures that you have undertaken to go through, and that you may be kicked by the moral courage of the masses of New York in this great battle for right, is the sincere wish of Henry R. Mathews.
Ottumwa, Iowa.—Please find draft for $5 to be used as you think best. Hope I will be able to send more soon.
I have a set of your books on this great question, and am fully alive to its great truths, and why ministers of the gospel can say it is not expedient I can’t for the life of me understand.Geo. W. Thayer.
East Rindge, N. H.—I inclose $5, which ap-ply to the recruiting fund. C. K. Jewett.
Indianapolis, Ind.—Inclosed find $5, for which send The Standard for six weeks to the addresses given below and the balance use in forwarding the work, in the canvass this fall in New York state. I will send you some more money next week, to be used the same way. The cause is doing finely in our place. We will organize an anti-poverty society here very soon. The union labor movement has about spent its force and the united labor platform is coming to the front. The land doctrine can’t help but prevail; it goes right to a man’s heart and makes him feel like he could not do enough to help the cause. I will put the addresses on another sheet of paper.
Cincinnati, O.—Inclosed please find check for five dollars, to be used as you think best in the anti-poverty and pro-justice cause. I am sorry it is not more, but I am not overburdened with riches. Jonathan Edwards told of searching the papers of his day for any sign of the progress of the kingdom of Christ, and rejoicing in every discovery of the kind. It is with the like avidity that I search for every token of the progress of the land for the people, for I consider it the practical gospel of the day. As a minister of the gospel I am interested in such themes as “How shall the church reach the masses,” and I am convinced that the answer to the problem cannot be found until justice is done in the land question. The rich churches may maintain their mission stations among the poor of the great cities, but no amount of casting of the crumbs of the bread of life, or even whole loaves of it to the dogs under the table will convert them into children. The child must have the rights of a child before it can be trained to act as a child. God speed our modern John the Baptist, who comes crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” E. P. Foster.
——- N. Y.—Inclosed please find $10 for good objects, as follows: Recruiting fund, $3; campaign fund, $3; “Soggarth Aroon” fund, Anti-poverty society, $1; total, $10.
Let the pro-poverty press seek to incite prejudice because The Standard is self-supporting. Let the same press now give mock sympathy to brave John Swinton after his noble work is temporarily ended, when not long ago it was almost decided to arrest him for his brave words. Let’s gather the gold of truth from all the legions who are marching to a common goal — humanity!
‘‘Learn to labor, learn to wait!” “Industry is courage!” God speed your glorious work. Ajax.
Dayton, O.— Inclosed find $1 for recruit fund. If every voter in New York was put on a list of The Standard for six weeks it wouldn’t take a prophet to tell which way the state would go next November. J C.
The recruiting fund now stands:
Previously acknowledged $662 31
Rev. M. A. Brennan, Poland, N. Y 2 00
E. H. and A. S. Payne, Springfield, Ill. 5 00
Ajax 3 00
J. G. Wright, Berkeley, Cal. 5 00
Nicodemus 50 00
Kate Kennedy16 5 50
Ed Reddin 3 20
F. Cambensy, New York 2 50
William Geddes 1 50
O. C. Stewart, Cooksport, Pa. 1 12
G. Siebert, Indianapolis 3 00
James E. Mills 15
‘Ammer, ’ammer, ‘ammer 1 00
J. S. C., Rutland 65
J. C., Dayton, O 1 00
Rev. E. P. Foster, Cincinnati 5 00
R. C. 1 75
H. H. 1 00
W. H. Hart, Connersville, Ind 5 00
C. M., New York 80
Robert Cartwright, New Fort. Can 6 00
Anti-poverty society No. 1396 1 00
C. R. Jewett, East Rindge, N. H 5 00
Cash (with $11.53 for Anti-poverty society) 1 00
John C. Hofer. New Haven, Ct. 5 00
Jesse C. Hoffer 65
H. R. Mathews, Chambersburg, Pa. 4 00
George W. Thayer, Ottumwa, Iowa 5 00
O. C. Stewart, A. P. S. 1114, Cookport, Pa. 1 12
A. R. Wynn, Toledo, O 2 75
D. A. Learned, Stockton, Cal 15 00
C. P. Cooper 1 70
No. 1338 A. P. S 5 00
C. H. S 5 00
Phil Granier, New York 1 00
Montgomery, Ala 1 26
A. L. Pierce, Athens, Pa 1 00
G. C. 5 50
A Granger, Long Branch 1 00
Total to date 826 45
In announcing the forthcoming German tracts, we should have mentioned that the idea was first suggested some months ago by Mr. H. A. Littmann of this city, in an earnest letter which we published at the time. Mr. Littmann proposed the formation of an “international enlightening fund,” and started it with a subscription of one dollar. He has since made a second contribution of two dollars for the same purpose.
The German tracts have great possibilities of good in them. Are there no other readers of The Standard who will help to spread the gospel of anti-poverty among our German speaking fellow citizens in this manner?
THE CAMPAIGN FUND.
It will be seen from the list of contributors to the campaign fund this week that friends of the cause outside of New York state are beginning to realize the great importance of giving prompt financial aid during this campaign. This is the political arena in which natural right is warring against vested wrong, and the struggle will be a desperate one, for our adversary is well skilled in the arts of war and fully equipped with all that wealth and power can provide. Victory here will give hope and strength to our brothers all over the continent as nothing else could.
Land and labor clubs, Knights of Labor assemblies, workingmen’s associations and other bodies, as well as individuals, in sympathy with this movement to establish a condition of things in which involuntary poverty shall not exist, should all send what money they can, no matter how small the amount, and strengthen the hands of the party which is fighting their fight.
And they should send their money at once, for there are ballots to print and meetings to hold, and many other expenses which our costly elective system entails, to be met, and all these things must be done very soon.
This is what some of our contributors say:
Iuka, Miss.—Inclosed find money order for $2. Apply it where it will do the most good in the fight in New York. I and all the other members of land and labor club No. 2 with whom I have conversed on the subject recognize that the battle field upon which we can render the most efficient service just now is in New York. If the party can carry that state this fall it will at once come before the rest of the country as a power, and the difficulty of spreading the doctrine in other sections will be greatly diminished. God speed the good work! R. G. Brown.
Philadelphia.—Inclosed find $2 for the campaign fund.
We are strongly in favor of the plan of sending money from the other states for the expenses of the canvass this fall, and believe that the quick dollar is better than the slow eagle at this moment. Success to the cause. Charles McA.,
John A. S.
Boston.—I inclose six dollars from friends in this chapel. It has diminished somewhat on account of the expenses on the boys attending our own celebration of labor day. But if the wishes that go with the dollars could do as much good as the dollars themselves Henry George “would be elected hands down.” Charles Lynch,
For Boston Herald chapel.
Mansfield Center, Conn.—Wishing to do something to forward the new crusade I inclose $5, to be applied to the campaign fund in New York. Standard Reader.
Sharon, Conn., Sept. 9.—Inclosed please find check on Bank of the Metropolis, N. Y., for eleven dollars. This is a contribution from the anti-povertyites at Webotuck Farm to the campaign fund in New York. J. L. Dunham.
Montgomery, Ala.—I inclose a mite for use in New York campaign. It is not much, but it is the best I can do at present. Phew! but don’t I wish I could increase it a hundredfold!
I firmly believe that I shall live to see the triumph of the cause of justice, as comprehended in the platform of the united labor party, not only in America, but throughout the civilized world.
L. V. L.
[This $3 of last week is acknowledged with a like sum in the list of contributors below.—
The following contributions to the fund this week have been turned over to the treasurer of the state committee:
Boston Herald chapel (second contribution) $13 75
H. P. H. and others, Newark. N. J 10 00
Allen Frew, Carbonate, Dakota 2 00
Warren Cooper, Manhattan, Kan 2 00
L. V. L., Montgomery, Ala 1 25
W. W. Kile. Dayton, O. l 00
G. H. B., River Falls, Wis 1 00
J. C. Williams, Richmond, Mo 1 00
Geo. T. Alpheus, Defiance, O 3 50
J. W. Mitchell 5 00
Anti-povertyites, Webotuck farm, Sharon, Conn. 11 00
R. G. Brown, Iuka, Miss 2 00
Chas. Mc A. and John A. S., Philadelphia 2 00
Standard reader, Mansfield Center, Conn. 5 00
D. H. Flynn, Greenleafton, Minn. 2 00
G. B. Rounswell 1 00
John Scott, Duluth, Minn 10 00
No. 1153 New York Anti-poverty society 1 00
Boston Post chapel 6 00
Boston Herald chapel (third contribution) 6 00
A few Hartford greenbackers 10 00
Benj. Adams, Charleston, S. C. 11 25
John Wagner, New York 5 00
Samuel Russell, Cleveland 5 00
Nicodemus 100 00
George Wilson, New York 8 00
The “Standard” for the Campaign.
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.
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.
Sunday, Sept. 11, 1887, by the Rev. John Anketell. A. M., Emil Huber of Hanover and Miss Mathilde Amman of the Austrian Tyrol.