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Centennial Tribute to Kropotkin

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it is true that there was a Library; but my real job was to receive and distribute the weekly paper coming from London, The Commonweal, edited by William Morris, and containing some of his finest writing.

Well, I called one day at the building in which we had our rooms and the janitor told me that a man had been enquiring for us, a stranger, a foreigner evidently. He had left his name and address, — Kropotkin; a Pole or Hungarian or Russian I supposed. The name conveyed nothing to me, but I called at the address, a "Temperance" Hotel in High Street, (High Street had once been artistocratic [sic] but was now just a working-man's rooming-house) and I saw this man Kropotkin. The name meant nothing to me — I had not heard it before, and I cannnot remember that I grasped any of his ideas but I coud see that he was a personality all right — so I went around to some of our most active members and a little party was got up to meet him. Some of them were better informed of our Peter Kropotkin than I was. The party was held at the house of Rev. John Glasse, yes, that's quite right, the Rev. John Glasse! He was the Minister at the old Greyfriars Kirk, one of the old historic Churches of the City. He had been converted by his own reading of Socialism, rather suddenly; and rather suddenly had changed over his sermons from sin and salvation to attacks upon exploitation and a call for brotherhood. That did not suit his highly respectable audience at all! They got together to throw him out — now if he had belonged to the Free Church or the United Presbyterian Church or the Baptists or the Methodists he would have been thrown right out upon his head ; but, on the contrary, he belonged to the Established Kirk of Scotland. (The King you know is an Episcopalian when he is in England, but when he crosses the Tweed he becomes a Presbyterian, a member of the Church of Scotland). Please note: the Church is not the State, no, but it is connected sufficiently with the State, to give its Ministers a certain position. John explained to me long years afterwards, laughing at the affair himself, that his congregation soon found that a Minister of the Established Church could be ejected from his pulpit on one ground only — heresy. Now John was not at all a heretic; he had been a rather naive and simple man who had not thought of heresy so that in the long run it was not John who left the Church, but his congregation, and that did riot matter — his pay come to him anyhow; and his eloquence soon filled the Church to the brim with another congregation much more intelligent. John knew all about Kropotkin evidently. I was present at the party and I remember that there was a good deal of discussion after Kropotkin spoke but I was young and innocent and I couldn't make out what it was all about. Kropotkin went back to London after a week or two, and there you have all my story about our first meeting, save for one episode, which I forgot altogether but which Kropotkin remembered, and brought up to me at our next meeting as you will see when I write about that in my next article.

If you have read his "Memoirs," you will remember that on escaping from Russia he went direct to Granton, one of the two ports of Edinburgh, and that he lived in Edinburgh then for some time. But it could not have been on that occasion when I saw him ; much later. Probably he explained then what he was doing, but if he did I have forgotten. I put two and two together however : Stepnick appeared two are three years later (I found the Hall for him in which he made his first address to an English audience. And much later came Tcherkesoff. Now I remember what Tcherkesoff came for. Edinburgh is a garrison town with a regiment of infantry in the Castle and a regiment of cavalry in one of the outskirts; and among the officers there were always some studying Russian. These were paid a handsome premium when they succeeded. That is what brought Tcherkesoff. I have forgotten whether he was tutoring or examining. Probably all three of them came for that purpose. Former Officers of the Czar's Army would do them no harm if they were known as Prince Kropotkin and Prince Tcherkesoff.

That episode I will tell you about in my next article.


In my last article I told you about meeting. Kropotkin some time in the early Eighties. I met him for the second time in 1890, about seven years later. But these seven years were the years of a young man, and a good deal of water had been flowing under the bridge. When I first met him, as I told you, I understood but little of the discussion that took place; so little, that none of it left any permanent impression on me. I was already an ardent Marxist Propagandist; I became a very


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