Vol. 1 -- No. 9
MONTHLY; ONE PENNY
FIFTY years more of dust-licking before an out-worn, meaningless superstition, and we are to make our continued want of energy and common sense an occasion of national rejoicing! National self-abasement for our folly would be more to the point.
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What possible meaning has all this cant about loyalty to the poor old German, who for fifty years has allowed herself to wear the cap and bells as Queen of England? Truly our civilisation, from the British Constitution to the women's dress improvers, has grown into such monstrous shapes that it is hard to discover its relation to the reason of mankind.
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When the sovereign of England was a great military leader, like the First and Third Edwards, or the centre of a national idea like Elizabeth, there was some meaning, though there might be little wisdom, in talking of loyalty. But Victoria is simply the most scandalous sinecurist in the land, and yet the workers are badgered or wheedled out of their pence by primrose dames and the like empty headed sentimentalists, to show their loyalty by making her a further present of money. For 68 years they have supported her in luxury, what has she done for them in return?
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Before another fifty years are over and gone the workers of the whole civilised world will be asking some such question in right good earnest; asking it with a determination to get an answer that will set it at rest for ever; asking it not of kings and queens alone, but of ruling men and ruling classes of every sort and condition.
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In the little divertissement in Irish affairs lately caused by the Times, the Irish actors in the comedy at St. Stephens would have played a better part if they had allowed the mud thrown at them to dry and drop off, and a better part still if they had boldly avowed their willingness to be associated in name with the extremists of their party.
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If but for one thing, the present system of legislation should be condemned to die the death, and that is for the way in which it makes rogues of those who might be honest men enough. Amongst the so-called representatives of the people, who is there who is not eating his own words, or stifling the feeble aspirations after freedom and justice of which he was delivered on election platforms?
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What an awkward position that was at St. Austell for a sometime "friend of the poor and champion of economy," to be publicly confronted by the question," Is it true that you refused to accept the office of Secretary to the Local Board until the salary had been raised from £1200 to £1500?"
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The question remained unanswered; and yet it seems the extra £300 had been demanded only because it was feared the lesser sum would be regarded by the agricultural labourers as a slight put upon their special representative! This delicacy of feeling has no doubt been much appreciated. It is possible, however, that the agricultural and all other tax-burdened labourers, may come to contemplate the cropping of their tribunes' salaries with a philosophic calm.
A LESSON OF TO-DAY.
THE PAGNY AFFAIR.
LAST month France and Germany were once more on the brink of war, this time pour les beaux yeux of a French police functionary, who was planning intrigues in Alsace on behalf of his own government.
Ultimately the French Government, which, by the way, has been continually violating "international law" by fraudulently entrapping on French soil deserters who had taken refuge in Switzerland, by banding over political refugees to the Italian and Spanish Governments, and lastly by trying and sentencing foreign subcjects for "crimes" committed on foreign soil, as readers who remember the Anarchist trial at Lyons are well aware--this same French Government succeeded in snatching M. Schnaebele, its agent, from the hands of the "iron Chan-
cellor." By way of a further comparison between "international law" as applied to well-paid State conspirators with that law in its relation to men striving to free themselves and their fellow-sufferers from the state of misery and slavery in which they are kept, we may refer to the case of our comrade Neve, kidnapped on Belgian soil by German detectives and conveyed away into Germany, to be tried for high treason and too probably sentenced to imprisonment almost for life. From these facts it is evident that there are conspirators and conspirators. Governments are indeed deep dyed in conspiracy; but then their members, unlike vulgar conspirators, claim the right to conspire without personally incurring any danger, whilst they expose their subjects to the awful penalty of war.
Under these conditions a little game with the lives and the peace of nations is being carried on in the diplomatic world, which promises just now to have a very tragic end.
In this as in other matters we have progressed. It was once the custom with diplomacy to aim rather at the top than at the bottom of the tree, and kings and ambassadors were chiefly exposed to the venom and dagger of adverse diplomatists. In the diplomatic warfare of our civilised time the heads of the governments are safe, and only the existence, the integrity, the welfare of nations are at stake.
None the less, however, we live in a state of brigandage, conducted in the most refined manner. From General Kaulbars to Commissaire Schnaebele, nay, from the chief conspirator of Europe, Herr Bismark, to his numerous little emulators and rivals in this and other countries, what these diplomats, official and offlcieux, public and secret, male and female, civil and military, princely and royal, are engage in, is a work of destruction, the ruin of the peoples.
By them race-jealousies are evoked, by them civil discord are fostered; in every place each noble cause is sullied by their contact. "Foreign gold," "foreign emissaries" are the taunts with which are met--unhappily, with truth--the demands of people struggling to be free.
If political parties--National, Constitutional, Liberal, Home Rule, etc'.--realised to what an extent they are played with by the intrigues of foreign Governments, their anger at the fact would perhaps cool their enthusiasm, and on due reflection they might even adopt the only course open to men striving for the welfare of the people, rather than to further the aims of their most deadly enemies.
There is one cause which is unanimously opposed by all governments, the cause of International Revolutionary Socialism.
The present moment is ominous, and although the "Pagny affair" may be settled, there is no doubt that we are in face of a very grave situation. It is DO time for half measures, for Parliamentary coquetries, or for drilled and marshalled agitations. We must prepare to fight, either to be crushed in our generation, or to win for ever.
THE END SET BEFORE US.
WHEN the approach of serious revolutionary movements is generally felt, it is very difficult to hold back from trying to raise a corner of the veil which conceals the future,--from trying to foresee what may be the possible issue of the approaching disturbances. Of course, historical forecasts as a rule are exceedingly difficult. We know that the keenest minds who lived, in times past, on the eve of great revolutions, failed to foresee the probable issues of the coming events. Some of their predictions went too far; but some others were rapidly distanced by the revolution. It must be avowed, however, that those forecasts were too often mere expressions of the personal wishes of the prophets; and that they very seldom had the character of really scientific predictions.
These last are always conditional, because science can do no more than to show that, if such and such conditions prevail, their consequences will be so and so.
If we proceed in this way, and analyse the movement which we see growing round about us, and try to divine its probable outcome, we must say--with great regret--that if the Socialist movement continues on the same lines as it goes on now; if no new ideas as to its real aims and possible sphere of action are brought forward, and spread among the toilers of the soil and workshop--its results will be disappointing to those who expect from it a thorough modification of the present conditions of labour.
But, if the danger is perceived; if those who will not fail to perceive it succeed in attracting public attention on this point, both during the
movement and before it begins; if their warnings are understood and penetrate the masses--then the next movement really will result in a deep modification of the present economical conditions, and will be a new departure in economical life, opening a new field for a further developrnent of humanity.
Let us explain our idea. In a preceding article we have insisted upon the necessity of local action for solving the great economical problems which have grown ripe during the present century; and we have pointed out that, if in a given country the workmen place their hopes on an elected body of representatives--however honest and earnest the elected--and wait from this body the great economical revolution which has become a necessity; instead of proceeding themselves, in ea,ch separate locality, to the immediate transformation of the present economical conditions; if they expect some national reform and forget that each locality must proceed by its own example first, to induce the backward parts of the nation to follow suit; then the movement wil1 be a failure. It will not realise one-hundredth of the hopes now set upon it. It will soon discourage the masses, and open the way to the bloody reaction of the White Terror.
Thus, taking this country, we may safely say that there is one idea quite ripe amidst the millions--namely, the idea that some modification of the landed property must be made.
Go to any workmen's meeting, be it convoked by Tories, or Whigs, Radicals or Socialists, and listen to the speakers. Let them speak what they like. They may be supported by the audience or not, but let them, however incidentally, touch the land-question and attack the great landowners,--and immediately a storm of applause will break out in the audience. Go to a meeting of Londoners, and denounce there the owners of the soil of the metropolis; go to the miners and denounce the mining royalties,--and you are sure of finding an echo, however mixed the audience.
Discontent is ripe against the landlords: no doubt of it. To that fact our political stars, fixed or shooting, are indebted for their popularity. To it many a chatterbox is indebted for having the ear of the people. "Something must be done to shake the power of the landed aristocracy"--such is now the current opinion in this country.
But, what does this "somethinp," mean?
For more than fifty years the middle-classes of this country have carried on a regular, sustained, and very well conducted campaign against the privileges of the landed aristocracy. Thousands of speeches were pronounced, millions of pamphlets, tracts, and books, were distributed in order to raise discontent against the privileges of the present landowners. The movement was started by the Radical middle classes, and for fifty years the middle classes have taken a prominent part in the maintenance and leadership of the movement. Recently it has won the support of Socialists and rallied even the moderate Liberals.
We are the first to rejoice when we see that such unanimity exists against, at least, one monopoly--tbe monopoly of land. But we ask further: What is advocated as a means of getting rid of this monopoly?
We have heard much of late about the nationalisation of land. The word "nationalisation" has become quite popular; but we are still at a loss to discover what is the average meaning attached to it. And the more we try to discover it the less we find at the bottom of this now popular watchword.
Does it mean the State ownership of land as it exists--or rather, as it existed until last year--in the case of nearly two-thirds of European Russia, where the State owns the land and lets it to peasant-communities for a relatively low rent, but ruins them at the same time by taxation, so as to force the peasants to abandon their land and to go to the cities in search of labour?
Or, again, is it the United States' system, where the land was owned by the State but has been sold (it might have been rented as well) to land-grabbers, among whom several English lords occupy so prominent a place?
Is it that the State would rent the land to middle-class farmers whose former robberies--the orthodox economists call it thrift--permit them to buy machines and make those improvements in culture which are absolutely inaccessible for the owner of three acres if his whole fortune consists of a half-crown spade?
If all those who describe themselves as members of "Land Nationalisation" and "Land Restoration" Leagues were convoked to a Congress, not only should we hear the most discordant opinions--the same would be true of any party in progress of development--but we are much afraid that we should see at the bottom of all these rival schemes nothing but a means of giving up the land into the hands of the middle-classes, of creating a landed plutocracy in lieu of the landed and nothing more.
In our opinion, the hearty support now given by the middle-classes to the land agitation means only that each manufacturer of turnip-marmalade wishes to have his own castle, and his own hunting-grounds, and that each retired butcher is anxious to partake also of the "unearned increment" of the yearly increasing value of land. "Free trade in land," this watchword of the Financial Reform Association, is at the bottom of the agitation, however sincerely inspired with a wish for more serious changes, may be those Socialist workmen who gather under the banners of the various Land Reform Leagues.
And now we ask ourselves, What are likely to be the results of a like movement if we enter the next revolutionary period without any clearer idea about what is to be done with land, and if, moreover, representatives who have no clearer ideas about it than the masses themselves be entrusted to carry out the reform by laws?
If it is taken into account that Socialist representatives will be
mixed in any revolutionary Parliament with twice or thrice as many people eager to maintain the old state of things; and if the unavoidable limitations are considered which any advanced programme meets with when the attempt is made to bring it into practice.
If new ideas as to what is to be done with land are not brought into circulation and spread during the few years which separate us now from the next revolution.
If the idea does not grow that in each locality people will be compelled to know theinselves beforehand what they wish and what they must try to realise; and if they are not prepared themselves to take the initiative in its practical realisation without caring about what may be the tortoise-work of a national Parliament.
If such conditions prevail, and nothing is done to change them.
Then the immense amount of latent forces now alive amidst the workmen will be spent for no better purpose than the creation of a new landed gentry composed of the middle-classes, which gentry, thanks to the capital it disposes of, will add a new field for the exploitation of the workmen to those of which it is already in possession, the wide field of the machine- agriculture, like that of the Bo-Hnanza farms.
Then the forces and most probably the blood of the workmen will be spent again in increasing the powers of their exploiters.
But, we hope, it will not be so. More definite views as to the issues and duties of the coming movement will spring up, and they will be echoed by the oppressed. We, at least, shall do all that in us lies to bring about that result.
HE possessed everything necessary to render him the scourge of hi, family.
He came into the world healthy and rich-and healthy and rich he remained during the whole of his long life. No offence was ever brought home to him; he committed no fault whatever either in word or in deed.
He was of stainless character. And proud in the consciousness of his character, he pressed with it every one to earth--relations, friends, acquaintances.
His character was to him capital. And with this capital he dealt at usurious interest.
This character gave him the right to be pitiless, and to do nothing beyond the good ordained by law.
And pitiless he was, and did no good. For benevolence prescribed by law is not benevolence.
He never paid the slightest regard to any but his own so perfect person; and he became seriously angry when others were not equally zealous in caring for him.
However, he did not regard himself as an Egoist; and there was nothing he more bitterly condemned and pursued than egoism and egoists. And this was natural, for the egoism of others stood in the way of his own.
Knowing himself to be free from the slightest weakness, he could neither understand nor tolerate the weakness of others. Indeed, he understood nothing and no one, for on all sides, above and below, in front and behind, he was surrounded by his own personality.
He did not even understand what it was to forgive. To himself be had forgiven nothing; why should he need to forgive another?
Before the judgment-seat of his own conscience, before the countenance of his own god, this miracle, this monster of virtue, raised his eyes towards heaven, and with firm, clear voice exclaimed "Yes, verily, I am a worthy and a moral man."
These words he will repeat on his dying bed; and even in the supreme moment nothing will be affected in that heart of stone--in that heart without fault or stain.
0 vileness of self-conscious unbending, cheaply-bought virtue? Artthou not more hateful than the open vileness of vice?
Translated from Tourgenieff's Prose Poems.
We have received from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a pamphlet by C. L. James, entitled 'Anarchy, a Tract for the Times,' which contains an able exposition of the principles of Anarchy. We cannot endorse all conclusions of the author, but we admire the concise and excellent manner in which he summarises the, origins of Government and Capital.
'System of Economical Contradictions,' by P. J. Proudhon, translated from the French by Benj. Tucker. (Proudhon Library, published monthly at Boston). We earnestly recommend the reading of this work to those who know Proudhon only by the bitter pamphlet of Marx. Those who seek in books matter for independent thought surely will find few more suggestive authors than Proudhon.
FROM A PARIS GARRET.-Here, alone, above the house-tops. The eastern sun smiles through the skylight and wakes me to my work, and when I return he is setting across the Seine. All Paris lies beneath, and above is the solemn sky. And in the silence the roar of the city comes up to me in a long, infinite moan. The sound changes like a symphony; now it is sweet, human play of the children in the garden, the careless chatter of ceaseless passers-by, the carol of young girls in drawing-rooms; and then it is the cry of the wretched, the groan of toil, toil, never-ending toil; a living, quickening harmony, it comes like heart-beats, throbbing faster, faster, stronger, stronger, till it stifles me! Is there no stopping the fearful flood? On, on it rushes--this turmoil of human life; blind, passionate, desperate! But--it subsides--a wave of hope sweeps by there, clear pure heights, and sunny valleys. This beautiful earth has cooled from a fiery ball, and from the living chaos too will grow a sublime humanity as varied as the grass-blades, and as glorious as the sky.
THE ENFORCEMENT OF LAW.
[We have received the following from a non-Anarchist correspondent. "We insert it in the belief that the measured and quiet words in which our contributor describes how the ancient customs and sense of mutual responsibility of the English people have been turned in the hands of evil men and ruling classes into an instrument of cruelty and oppression, may stir some of our readers to think for themselves what is the true meaning of that blind subservience to the law, to which they are daily exhorted by their pastors and masters.--ED.]
NOT by argument, but by mere dogged pressure of a class-majority, fighting in its old dull method the fight for its proprietary monopolies, the Jubilee Coercion Bill is being forced through Parliament. But outside of the House the more lissome of the Tories, and their mercenary troops, the politically doomed and desperate band of "Liberal Unionists," make some pretence to their constituents and to the purveyors of public dinners that there is "constitutional" necessity for the Bill. Anarchy, they say in effect, is rampant in Ireland. The first condition of civilised society is the enforcement of "the law." This Bill will enable us to enforce the law, therefore this Bill is necessary for Ireland. Most Tories must know, and some "Liberal Unionists" have even admitted, that, apart from matters relating to the land no charge of lawlessness could be laid against the Irish by the most superstitious of disciplinarians. But this does not prevent the coercionist speakers from appealing, and with some success, to audiences whose ideas on Irish affairs, and the questions really involved in the present struggle, are vague and prejudiced, to support them in their efforts to maintain what they are pleased to call the fundamental principles of civilised society. It is hardly possible for them to attempt to disguise any longer the fact that the real object of the Irish revolt is the expropriation of the landlord class, and they wisely abstain from plunging into argument in justification of the legal claims of that class. For they can see clearly enough from what has passed in England since 'Progress and Poverty' was written that the discussion of this question results in but one opinion among the people. With the audiences to whom they especially appeal it is safe to let the sleeping dog of criticism of the rights of property lie, to take it for granted that a rent-receiving class is part of the necessary order of the universe, and that accordingly machinery for the enforcement of the legal claims of that class is of equally unquestionable necessity.
Socialists are familiar enough with the character which the Times, and the bourgeois press generally, delight to proclaim for the British working man. His special distinction is that he is so law-abiding, and we are continually given to Understand that our cause is hopeless here because the B.W.M. is so enamoured of law and order and the rights of property. We have all of us heard this familiar sophistry applauded, even in workmen's clubs, but we are encouraged by the fact that throughout all history there has never been an instance of a class, having power, and its eyes open, that abstained from changing in its own interest the laws by which it would abide, and defining the rights of property, which it intended to recognise. Least of all is the history of England enouraging for those who trust that the nation which, of the great European peoples, earliest rid itself of monarchic and feudal despotism, will show at this period that it has lost its "political good sense."
The appeal, then, is to the law-loving citizen. The assumption is made (and what an assumption it is, when we remember the "nonresistance" controversies of the eighteenth century!) that the English people acknowledge as a principle, that it is the first duty of the citizen to obey the Law, no matter what the working of the Law may be, and further, so long as any law remains in force, to assist, and if need be to strengthen the hands of the executive, for its enforcement. It is pointed out that the executive in Ireland is powerless to enforce certain existing laws, that witnesses will not give evidence nor juries convict in cases where a conviction would be the triumph of a law abominable to the people affected, a law which is exercised only in the interest of an alien crew of rent-receivers. And it is assumed that it is an obvious necessity that extraordinary powers should be given to this crew for the trepanning of witnesses and the ensuring of convictions.
There is no need to be an Anarchist to see the flimsiness of this. True it is that the Judaism and Clergianity in which this nation has so long been steeped, have created for what was once the Common Law, by reflection from the Jewish Decalogue, something of august and superhuman authority, and have obscured the simplicity of the principles on which it was founded. But the most enamoured student of the law, the most convinced advocate of the concerted regulation of individuals by the community, will be the last man to be imposed on by the current phrases about its majesty, its wisdom, and the civic duty of not resisting it. He will know that the laws of England first took form as the local customs of independent communes, that their authority rested on two main supports, superstition and local convenience; that superstition having evaporated, general convenience remains now as ever the sole admissible apology for law, and that most of the cant which is still common upon the subject is due to the deliberate importation by the clergy and the lawyers of Judaic and Imperialist ideas, for the aggrandisemen of their patrons and the consolidation of the authority of kings. Again and again have the English people repudiated these attempted perversions of their national principles, and their revolts against monarchy and aristocracy have been in one aspect the expression of their insistence that the law liss no authority higher than or apart from the people among whom it lives.
The action of juries and witnesses in Ireland is the action shown by them wherever the jury system exists, under circumstances at all
analogous, as in the West Indies and the Southern States of America. The jury, it is significant, one of the most important survivals of the primitive local machinery of "law," still retains in practice much of its old independence, and in its constant conflicts with the Bench of Judges, has been driven to the illogical expedient of acquitting in the teeth of evidence defendants who by the law would suffer when the jury think they should not. And Constitutionalists and Tories should look back to their simple-minded Saxon ancestry, and should hail with respect the primitive, independence of the Jurymen of Connemara and of Kerry who interpret the public opinion of their society, and who dispense in their several neighbourhood that Justice which makes for public utility, unblinded by the ignorance and superstition which permitted the feudal and regal law of England to be forged into an engine of exploitation and oppression.
A PAINTER OF THE PEOPLE.
AN exhibition of pictures is now taking place in Paris which is of interest to all those whose feeling is one with the masses of the people.
Some Socialists are inclined to look for little sympathy from painters. Some even have tried to set fire to picture galleries, saying like the earlier Nihilists of Russia, that a cobbler, who makes what is useful, is greater than Raphael, who only made what is beautiful. and that when men and women are dying of slow starvation before our eyes, it is idle to think of mixing a pot of colour.
Is this not a mistake? Are not painters as much with us as poets, writers, and even shoemakers? To take Jean Francois -Millet as an example. Born a 1abourer, he learnt to draw in Paris, and then took a cottage some forty miles from town and painted working men and women. He simply drew them as they were, and let them tell their own tale. Women with bent backs gleaning in the burning fields, old men with faces grown imbecile by excessive toil, sharpening a scythe or hoeing the hard ground, little children minding geese. In one picture a labourer rests by the wayside, his heavy load of faggots beside him. Death grasps him by the shoulder, but the man turns to lift again his burden; so deadened is he by ceaseless toil that he does not even feel that he is dying.
Millet painted misery from the bitter experience of his own heart, for he lived miserably, often not having enough money to buy bread. No one understood him; his pictures would not sell. Now he is dead, rich men give untold sums to possess the works of art that portray the social outcone of their own injustice and greed; only like the Persian king to find themselves confroned on their own walls by the sentence of their overthrow. When Millet's pictures are exhibited, all the world flocks to see them, and he has had imitators by the hundred.
The peasant painter, driven by the craving of his genius to spend his life in putting on canvas the story of the sufferings of his fellows, is one of the voices of the spirit of the age. He is one of those entrusted by Nature with the gift of giving expression to voiceless pain and wrong, expression that all the world can feel and see. Through the work of its artists, its painters, its poets, its writers, its musicians, society becomes conscious of itself, and the inner life of men in all its endless variety is revealed to their brethren. The Social Revolution can spare its painters as ill as its poets. From the mystery of Watts' gigantic visions of Life and Death, to the tender pity and truth of Miss Dorothy Tenant's sketches of street life, all art work of true artists is the cry of the deepest needs and yearnings, as well as the highest aspirations of man, and as such it is one of the forces leading up to the coming Revolution.
LAW AND ORDER IN IRELAND.
VIII.--UNDER GOOD QUEEN BESS.
THE news that a small body of Spaniards and Italians had taken possession of the fort of Smerwick on the Kerry coast brought the whole of England's force to bear upon that point. Famine forced the little garrison to surrender. The men were disarmed, and Captain (afterwards Sir) Walter Raleigh superintended the cutting of their throats. For this and similar services Raleigh was rewarded with 40,000 acres of land in county Cork, which he afterwards sold for a goodly sum to Richard, first Earl of Cork.
The illustrious poet, Edmund Spenser, was present at the Srnerwick butchery, but whether he took active part in it or was merely a critical spectator of it we know not. He, however, was presented by his patrons with a piece of land and a fine house, which was in a subsequent revolt burned down. One of his children was accidentally burned with it, and all the cultured class of England execrated this abominable act of Irish barbarity!
If Spenser did no fighting he did some writing in the cause of his masters. The measure for subjugating Ireland as laid down by him outrivals in its heartlessness the policy prescribed by Machiavelli for the general use of princes. He advocated the systematic destruction of the crops and the creation of famine thereby, which would ensure pestilence. He protested that his means would be certain of success, "and that speedily, for although none of them should fall by the sword, nor be slaine by the soldiers, yet thus being kept from manurance and their cattle from running abroad, by this hard restraint they would quietly consume themselves and devoure one another."
This was the course pursued by the government. Munster was ravaged most thoroughly, and Spenser himself tells us of the effects upon the people. "They looked," he says, "like anatomies of death, they spoke like ghosts crying out of their graves. They did eat dead carrion where they did find them--yea, one another soon after, in as much as the very carcases they spared not to scrape out of their graves." The rebels, according to another eye-witness, were brought to so low a condition that three children were seen eating the entrails of their dead mother, upon whose flesh they had fed many days, having roasted it by a slow fire."
A third writer enumerates the amusements of the soldiery, after the suppression of the Desmond rebellion. They collected their chance prisoners and filled houses with them, which they then set on fire, driving back with their spears the, unhappy wretches who strove to escape from the flames. They tossed children from one to another on their spear-heads, excusing themselves when remonstrated with about this unnecessary cruelty by saying they feared the little victims might grow up to popish rebels. Women were to be seen hanging upon trees with the babes they had been suckling strangled in the mother's hair.
Holinshed adds his testimony to the efficacy of Spenser's panacea. "Whoever did travel from one end of Munster to the other would not meet any man, woman, or child saving in towns or cities, and would not see any beasts. The harvest having been burned year after year, famine cleared the land of those who had escaped the sword."
One would imagine the spirit of resistance must have been completely crushed by such a reign of terror. But Elizabeth had to face a revolt more formidable than any preceding ones. It was headed by Hugh O'Neil, a nephew of Shane's, who had been brought up in the English court, caressed by its queen, who fondly
imagined the touch of her withered hands could win the loyalty of the young Irish chief. He was restored to his country and made Earl of Tyrone on the condition that he should introduce English laws and the shire system. But he no sooner found himself master of Ulster than he threw off the mask, and assumed an attitude of defiance. At first the rebels combatted successfully, and the failure of the young Earl of Essex to cope with them was punished with a traitor's death. Lord Mountjoy took the work in hand, and in three years Ireland was declared pacified.
It was the peace, however, of the grave. Her majesty was informed that there was little to reign over but ashes and carcases.
The various reports sent by the officers in command must have been highly gratifying to the English queen. "Touching my manner of proceeding, it is this," writes Sir William Pelham; "I give the rebels no breath to relieve themselves; but by one of your garrisons or the other they may be continually hunted. I keep them from their harvests and have taken great preys of cattle from them, by which it seemeth the poor people, that lived only upon labour and fed by their milch cows, are so distressed as they follow their goods to offer themselves with their wives and children, rather to be slain by the army than to suffer the famine that now beginneth to pinch them." Again famine was found to be the speediest and most effectual means of subjugation. Even in Leinster, where Leland says the peasantry had "lived long without molestation and had cultivated their lands and established an unusual regularity and plenty in their districts," the work of devastation was continued. The soldiers cut down the standing corn with their swords, and the Lord Deputy approved the work as being precautionary if not absolutely needful.
So abominable was the condition of the people after this third revolt, that a captain in Her Majesty's service, one Thomas Lee, was impelled to draw up very carefully in 1594 a memorial for presentation to the Queen. In it he gives a detailed account of the cruelty exercised by the English governors. "The Irish," he says, "who have once offended, live they never so honestly afterwards, if they grow into wealth are sure to be out off by one indirect way or other." An anonymous or pretended accusation sufficed. Some were arraigned for having been merely "present at the killing of notorious well-known traitors by Her Majesty's Servitors," and being condemned as traitors lost their heads, their goods being appropriated by their judges. Others being declared traitors disappointed their accusers by confessing and voluntarily asking pardon, offering at the same time great service to the State, and "being pardoned they gave good sureties for their well behaviour, and their being answerable at all times at assizes and sessions when they should be called," nevertheless, secret commissions were given for their murder. Individual instances of brutal injustice are quoted in the memorial. It tells of one Irishmen living peaceably and thriftily in one of her "Majesty's civil shires," whose landlord thirsting after his wealth entered into practice with the sheriff of the shire to dispatch this simple man and divide his goods between them." He was hanged without the mockery of a trial, his goods being divided beforehand. "This," says Lee, " and the like exemplary justice is ministered to your Majesty's poor subjects there."
But the immediate matter that prompted this memorial was the following: An agreement had been entered into by Governor Sir Nicholas Malby with the Lords of Connaught and others for the protection of their people in return for certain rent and services to the Queen. The same year, 1577, the governor published a proclaniation inviting these country people to a meeting, engaging at the same time for their security, and that no evil was intended. A large number, between three and four hundred, having assembled on the Rathmore, Mullaghmast, they were surrounded by several lines of English horse and foot, fully accoutred, under Colonel Cosbie, by whom they were attacked and cut to pieces, not a man of there escaping. "And this," Lee informed her Majesty, "hath been by the consent and practice of the Lord Deputy."
How paltry such details must have seemed to the Queen, who had gloated over the items of the carnage committed in her name! Contrast with them the report of Ormonde, who states that in assisting to crush the third revolt lie had put to death "SS captains and leaders, with 1,547 notorious traitors and malefactors, and above 4,000 others." Four thousand others!
Truly when princes dance to martial music 'tis the people pay the piper. If the miserable remnant of the nation uttered any prayer for mercy, or besought a respite from the pitiless scourge of sword and gallows, famine and pestilence, they were not hearkened to. Could mercy be expected from such a government? Even the squirearchy and bourgeoisie of England seemed permeated with the principles of Machiavelli, in witness of which we quote the following utterance in a Parliamentary debate on Ireland: "Should we exert ourselves in reducing this country to order and civility, it must soon acquire power, consequence, and riches. The inhabitants will thus be alienated from England, they will cast themselves into the arms of some foreign power, or perhaps erect themselves into a separate State. Let us rather connive at their disorders, for a weak and disordered people never can attempt to detach themselves from the Crown of England."
This sentiment, though not expressed with such frank brutality, is really operating in the minds of those who have framed the Coercion Act of 1887.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM.
THE early days of summer have brought a renewed outbreak of passionate indignation amongst the Belgian miners against the miseries of the life to which they are condemned. Once again the coal basins are the scene of a strike, which bears the character of an insurrection. Bands of miners are marching through the country inciting their comrades to refuse to work, bridges are destroyed, and traitors' houses tumbled about their ears.
Last year when the miners' insurrection was temporarily suppressed, when the more energetic strikers had been shot down, or condemned to long terms of imprisonment, and the order of starvation and despair restored, then certain theorists set with increased good-will about the organisation of a labour party. The courage of the miners had stirred men's hearts throughout the land, and awakened amongst all the working population a burning sense of hardship and wrong, and now the charming utopian scheme of the Social Democrats for ridding Belgian humanity of its oppression by means of universal suffrage and the collection of a fund sufficient to support the whole working population during a general strike, found favour in the eyes of many, especially those of the comparatively well to do mechanics of the towns. They can offord to wait patiently until their leaders shall at last think fit
to announce that the people are sufficiently organised and sufficiently rich to attempt that general strike, which has been the dream of all since the days of the International.
The newly-developed workmen's party is composed partly of Social Democrats, who look upon universal suffrage and co-operation as a safe and easy passage to State Socialism, and partly of Radicals, to whom universal suffrage (political liberty they call it) seems an end on itself. Anseele is the leader of the former section, Defuissaux the latter, which is the more eager and revolutionary, and threatens to part company with its Socialist colleagues on the question of immediate action.
Meanwhile the privileged class, who were seriously frightened by the outbreak of the miners, have hailed the peaceable development of the labour party with delight. Cheap trains were run last August to bring workmen to demonstrate at Brussels in favour of universal suffrage, and when a commission had reported at Lille upon the horrible sufferings and miserable conditions of the miners, and Anseele had been sent to prison for a month or two for expressing himself a little too freely, the bourgeois world settled down into a belief that it might await the general strike and the millenium with equal calmness.
The miners, however, who have to support a family on about 8s. a week, have found waiting not quite so easy. Despite the advice of the delegates of the workmen's party in conference assembled, they have broken once more into open revolt, and once more Belgian capitalists are shaking in their shoes. The popular leaders have ordered the workmen to wait a few weeks--apparently until the troops have had time to garrison the disturbed districts--but the latest reports, as we go to press, announce that the strike is spreading rapidly, and that the miners are being joined by men of other trades.
Several of our comrades have, it is reported, been arrested, and their books and papers seized by the police.
It is to be hoped that the hesitation and delay caused by wire pullers and their formalism may not prove fatal to the movement. However honest may be their intentions, they are practically playing into the enemy's hands.
"Things have already reached such a pitch that whatever hinders the spread of the movement; whatever tends to localise instead of extending it; whatever checks the revolutionary initiative of individuals, will only serve to multiply the powers of the middle-class.
If the middle-class be obliged to break up its forces, to send troops to Verviers as well as to Liege and Brussels as well as to Alans, there will be an insurrection. Otherwise the miners will be crushed--crushed with a violence corresponding to the fear aroused amongst the middle-class."
AUGUST SPIES ON THE CHICAGO MOVEMENT.
WE highly recommend to our readers the perusal of 'August Spies's Autobiography,' just published at Chicago by his wife, Nina Van Zandt. They will find in it a most interesting account of the development of the Eight Hour Movement, the strike of May, 1886, the massacre of the strikers at MacCormick's works, and the Haymarket meeting during which the now historical bomb was thrown. The pamphlet contains moreover some very interesting notes on Spies's conversion to Socialism, his speech before the Court, and several notes on Anarchy.
The following lines about the fourth of May meeting will be read with interest:--
"It was about 10 o'clock when Mr. Fielden began to speak. A few minutes later a dark and threatening cloud moved up from the north. The people, fearing it would rain--or at least two-thirds of them--left the meeting. 'Stay,' said Fielden, 'just a minute longer. I will conclude presently.' There were now not more than 200 persons remaining; one minute later 200 policemen formed into line at the intersection of Randolph Street, and marched upon the little crowd in double quick step.
"Raising his cane in an authoritative way, Captain Ward--directing his words to Fielden--(I was standing just behind Fielden in the waggon)--said: "In the name of the people of Illinois, I command this meeting to disperse.'
"Captain, this is a peaceable meeting!' retorted Mr. Fielden: while the Captain turned around to his men and gave a command which I understood to be 'Charge upon them!' At this juncture I was drawn from the waggon by my brother and several others, and I had just reached the ground when a terrific detonation occurred. 'What is that?' asked my brother. 'A cannon, I believe,' was my reply. In an instant the fusilade of the police began; everybody was running. All this was as unexpected as if suddenly a cloud bad burst. . . . People fell, struck by the bullets, right and left. As I crossed the alley north of Crane's factory, a lot of officers ran into the alley, some of them exclaiming that they were hurt. They had evidently been shot by their own comrades, and sought protection in the alley."
Spies's brother was wounded when grasping the muzzle of a revolver, aimed by a detective in the crowd at his brother's back. "There is no question at all but that detectives had been stationed in the crowd to kill the obnoxious speakers at the instant the police should charge upon the crowd."
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