Proprietor: Benj. R. Tucker, 502 Sixth Ave., New York City
|Vol. XVI - No. 4
||Whole Number 400
ON PICKET DUTY
There are not a few who think that "A Degenerate's View of Nordau" (the review of Nordau's "Degeneration" which appeared in Liberty a dozen years ago) is quite the finest bit of work that Bernard Shaw ever did, and there are very few indeed who would venture to dispute the declaration of the "New Age," of London, that it is the most important letter ever communicated by Mr. Shaw to the newspaper or periodical press. To its admirers it has long been a source of regret that it has never been published in book form. Naturally, then, they will be highly pleased to hear that, when I was in London last summer, I persuaded Mr. Shaw to allow me to bring it out, and that he has written for it a vivacious and valuable preface, telling how he came to prepare the essay. It will appear at an early date, simultaneously here and in England, -- perhaps before the November number of Liberty is printed. Should it be delayed somewhat, I hope at least to be able to state in the November number in what form and at what price the essay will be published. At present I can only say that the number of pages will somewhat exceed one hundred.
I call especial attention to John Henry Mackay's announcement on the outside cover page. It is extremely doubtful if there will be another opportunity to obtain so nearly complete a file of Liberty as that which he offers for sale, and he is quite warranted in his refusal to accept any bid of less than fifty dollars. At that price it would be a bargain indeed. The bidding undoubtedly will be stimulated by the fact that Mr. Mackay will devote the money to developing propaganda of Anarchism in Germany which he has so well begun. He has already caused to be published in German the following four essays from my pen: "Staatssozialismus und Anarchismus," "Sind Anarchisten Moerder?" "Der Staat in seiner Beziehung zum Individuum," and "Was ist Sozialismus?" as well as "Die Frauenfrage," the discussion of marriage between Victor Yarros and Sarah E. Holmes ("Zelm") that once appeared in Liberty ; and it is his intention to add to this list as fast as he can command the means. I may add, by the way, that all the German pamphlets just mentioned are to be had at my book-shop, 502 Sixth avenue.
E. Armand, the kindly editor of "L'Ere nouvelle," is in jail, charged with issuing counterfeit money. The charge is supported, as I hear, by a "suspiciously obscure denunciation" and the discovery of a single counterfeit coin when Armand's apartments were searched in his absence. "The clearest thing in the case," as Armand expressively says, is the fact that the police have seized all his letters and a great many books, files of newspapers, etc. The less clear it is how his books and files of papers are connected with the charge of counterfeiting, the more clearly this seizure does seem to throw light on the puzzling features of the case. Apparently, as long as he devoted himself to the interests and experiments in Communism, nothing happened to him : but, now that he has become an active propagandist of the refusal of military service, he gets into jail, and his library is seized under the plea that he uses bad money.
"National sovereignty is to be upheld in so far as it means the sovereignty of the people used for the real and ultimate good of the people; and State's rights are to be upheld in so far as they mean the people's rights." Now, isn't that luminous? Could anything be more trenchant and decisive? Do you know who said it? Of course you do, for there is only one man in the world that could have said it, -- Theodore Roosevelt.
The case of a Prussian immigrant woman's baby, physically born in an infant asylum on shore in Boston, but "legally born on steamship Ivernia under English flag," the mother not yet being permitted to land, is said to have tangled up "about one hundred immigration regulations," since it is the first baby born to a detained immigrant under the new law. The question what its nationality is, and the question whether the steamship company must pay the tax on this baby as an immigrant, are a mere beginning of the problems started. The local commissioner of immigration wants to get the baby admitted to this country if possible, because, when the baby has selected Boston as a birthplace, it would be a blight on Boston patriotism to turn it away. Perhaps he can secure its admission on the ground that the baby is an instructor in political common sense, and is therefore admissible under that clause of the contract labor law which permits the importation of workmen in trades at which the United States has not yet a sufficient supply of skilled hands.
One of Liberty's oldest friends, Mr. Horace Carr, of Cleveland, Ohio, writes: "I want to congratulate you on the excellence of Liberty. It has the freshness and tang that one gets nowhere else. The present form is ideal. I can drop it in a pocket when I go to lunch or on a car-trip, and it binds conveniently. I believe it to be the most influential periodical, circulation considered, on the globe."
At the International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart, Bebel declared that the Haywood trial "has shown all the world that in the United States liberty, law, and justice exist only on paper." I go further than Bebel, and declare that in the United States liberty and justice do not exist even on paper (barring perhaps the paper on which Liberty is printed), but I do not feel that my view received striking confirmation from the Haywood trial. Does Bebel mean to insinuate that Haywood was guilty?
Prof. Brander Matthews explains the vogue of the individualistic Ibsen in Germany and his lack of vogue in the United States by the fact that the United States is individualistic while Germany is Socialistic. It appears, then, that a writer is popular only where his ideas are unpopular. The apostle of simplified spelling should take a course in simplified thinking.
Those authors and publishers who are actively engaged in the promotion, extension, and prolongation of the copyright monopoly are continually trying to move us to tears by dwelling on the poverty of the widow and orphans that an author leaves behind him, and on the unfair distinction that is made between the heirs of the owners of literary property and the heirs of the owners of other forms of property. Light has lately been thrown upon the animus that prompts their enterprise by their proposal, now put forth in France, to tax the works of dead authors in order to lessen the competition that living authors have to meet. Of course this tax goes into the public treasury, not the dead author's family. But that makes no difference to the monopolists, for their real end will be gained. They have suddenly forgotten the widow and the orphan ; they have ceased to shed their crocodile tears. Hey, Mark Twain?
It is the view of all conscious egoists that principles of conduct should be used as instruments in the achievement of successful life, but should not be made objects of idolatry, sacred and inviolable. But it is the view of the moralists that principles of conduct are absolute, and that from them there should never be the least deviation in practice. It is always interesting, therefore, to observe the situation of the moralist when his view is put to the test in his own life. Tolstoi, for instance, stoutly asseverates that it is morally wrong to resist evil by force. But the other day, when a band of armed peasants opened fire on his house, he, after the second volley, "consented" to call on the rural constabulary for assistance. It is a very fine thing for a non-resistant to be the husband and father of a family of resistants. They make convenient scapegoats. When assailed, you refuse to call the police, but, after protest, you "allow" the others to do so. However, it is to be said to the credit of Tolstoi's character, though not to that of his intelligence, that it took two volleys of musketry to frighten him out of his morals. Most non-resistants would have succumbed after one.
In the recent flurry over the domestic affairs of Ferdinand P. Earle it seems to have been the endeavor of almost all the participants, including the principal himself, to make asses of themselves. One knows not whether to be most disgusted with the mob, the newspapers, or the artist. An honorable exception is found in the artist's mother, who spoke the only sensible word. "My son," she said, " was a fool to tell all his affairs. He talked too much." It appears, however, that her son talked as a matter of principle. "I have thought," he declared, "and I am still of the same way of thinking, that the public had a right to know the true state of affairs." Unquestionably Earle, the Socialist, is true in this to the Socialistic doctrine. But what, then, are we to think of George S. Viereck, who telegraphed to Earle: "I admire your noble and courageous attitude. The moment the mob attacked you, you became the bearer of a great message"? If the mob has a right to know, has it not a right to judge? And, if it has a right to judge, has it not a right to punish? What, then, is the "great message"? The great message is that they are meddlers, all -- mob, newspapers, Viereck, and especially Earle himself, who proclaims the right to meddle.
The following advertisement appears in "L'Organe International des Hoteliers" :
Hotel --- (situated in a mountainous region very much frequented at present, very cosmopolitan). House of the first order ; modern comforts ; central heating ; exquisite French cuisine; superb view ; large gardens ; delightful terrace. The proprietor fixes no prices, either for rooms or meals. The visitors have only to call at the office before their departure, and pay according to their judgment, their conscience, and their sense of equity. The new system will be tried for one year..
Either this astonishing landlord is a Communist, or else he has learned from his waiters that tips are preferable to wages. I wonder if he has also learned that there are different ways to "speed the parting guest."
Mr. Arnold Daly having announced his intention of running a theatre without advertising in the newspapers or supplying free seats to the critics, the New York "Times" administers the following editorial warning:
The newspapers will not worry about Mr. Daly's advertisements, and the critics, if they find his plays worth while, will see them and write fluently about them, whether seats cost $2 or $20. But Mr. Daly must remember the sad failure of the so-called Theatre of Arts and Letters which pursued the exclusive plan to which he has committed himself.
In other words, the "Times" serves notice on Mr. Daly that, in the absence of the customary favors, it will systematically write down his plays, regardless of their merits. Is blackmail too impolite a term for the characterization of this sort of thing?
Says the New York "Sun":
The madness for bad money which was the nucleus of Bryanism, is older than the constitution, older than the Confederation. In colony, State, or nation it has raged again and again ; and it will not cease until debt, poverty, ignorance, and demagogy have had their quietus.
I suppose the "Sun" remembers how this madness raged in 1849, when a certain Charles A. Dana said:
Specie money, from being a convenient medium of circulation, has become the tyrant of both the production and consumption of the world. By means of this tyranny labor is kept in subjection ; financial speculations, stock-jobbing, and usury are perpetrated ; and interest is maintained at a ruinous rate in every country. Destroy it, and a monopoly even more unjust and penurious than the monopoly of the soil is destroyed, and society is relieved of scores of parasites, who go back to useful occupations, since they are no longer able to live on the industry of others.
The recent death of George Allen, Ruskin's publisher, reminds me of the time, thirty-three years ago, when I, visiting London for the first time, started in search of an edition of Ruskin. That author had just started a rebellion against the publishers and booksellers, publishing his own books, selling at a fixed price to all and sundry (whether in the trade or out), and engaging one of his trusted draughtsmen, Mr. George Allen, to conduct the business. Consequently the trade was vigorously boycotting the new enterprise, and every bookseller that I visited not only had nothing of Ruskin in stock, but was averse to giving information as to the method by which the desired books could be obtained. Finally one of them, however, gruffly told me that he believed they were published "somewhere down in Kent." With this as a clue, I soon obtained the correct address, and forthwith took a train for Orpington, where I found Publisher Allen working in his garden. He received me very kindly, and, when he found that I was a young American especially interested in Ruskin's economic writings, he exerted himself most actively to satisfy my wants, saying that Mr. Ruskin, who was then in Italy, would be greatly pleased. For the more worn plates in "Modern Painters" he substituted artists' proofs, and, when he delivered to me as complete a set of Ruskin as he could make, he said that it was one of the best sets that could be found anywhere, and would soon double in value. In addition, he gave me a large portrait of Ruskin, an autograph letter of Ruskin, a delicate etching done by Ruskin, and two pencil sketches made by Turner's own hand, all of which are now among my most precious possessions. needless to say, I went away a very happy and a very grateful boy. The set of books increased in value as Mr. Allen promised. A few years later he offered me for the set a much larger sum than I paid him for it. His business became great and prosperous, and yielded Mr. Ruskin a handsome fortune. But those obituaries of Mr. Allen which state that he won the battle with the booksellers are not strictly correct. It is probably true that before Mr. Allen relaxed the stringency of his terms most of the dealers relaxed the stringency of their boycott. But years ago he returned to the practice of allowing a discount to the book trade.
About a year ago M. A. Benzinger, a well-known artist, conceived the idea of painting portraits of McKinley and Roosevelt that he might sell them in Europe. He has just returned, with the portraits still on his hands. What wretched taste these foreigners have!
At the international conference of liberal religious denominations lately held in Boston Rev. Charles F. Dole, president of the Twentieth Century Club, offered the following resolution, which was favorably received:
That this conference sitting in Boston, while numerous guests are assembled here from other countries takes this occasion to petition the congress of the United States through our president and secretary that the questions submitted to foreign travellers coming to our country as to whether they are Anarchist or polygamists be discontinued on the ground that they are useless for the exclusion of the unworthy and the unscrupulous, and that they seem singularly obnoxious to be asked of people who are the guests of American citizens, and that they tend to throw needless ridicule upon our laws.
Let us hope that this suggestion will now command more attention at Washington than it did when proffered by Liberty nearly two years ago.
ROOSEVELT AND DIOCLETIAN
Wise provision is made that the trees shall not grow into the sky, says Goethe. It would seem that this holds good politically as well as botanically.
A few months ago I heard from a relative of Mr. Bellamy Storer that Roosevelt was on the verge of nervous collapse, and that the symptoms of this were quite apparent to those who saw him near at hand. The statement did not come to me with any very cogent authentication ; but it set me thinking, because it suggested a standpoint from which to consider the daily news. Roosevelt is not acting now just as he did when he became president. He is the same man to be sure ; but there is a change in the intensity of some of his qualities . One would expect to see more over-hastiness in a beginner than in a functionary of several years' experience ; instead, Roosevelt's conspicuously over-hasty actions have (if I am not mistaken ) come mostly in the latter part of his administration. His sensationalism has increased. The frequency with which somebody gets called a liar has increased ; I belive the Ananias Club was not even formed till he had been some years in office. He is less and less capable of letting anything alone.
Now, if these things are true (and I speak only of his public record ; if I am mistaken, everybody who reads the papers has the opportunity to correct me from his own knowledge), they are the signs of a man suffering from nervous fatigue. I have been tired myself, and I know how it works. I do not need to inquire whether the signs of overstrain are visible on his face, if I can read them in his actions.
These considerations derive most of their weight from the fact that Roosevelt's is not an isolated case. On the contrary, Roosevelt's case would be an isolated one if he did not show any signs of breaking down. Ever since the civil war, if not longer, a term as president of the United States has been enough to cut a large piece out of any man's health and efficiency. It is not for nothing that the list of living ex-presidents is all the time so notoriously short. It is not for nothing that every president who is shot dies, while other people often recover when they are shot. It is not for nothing that Grant and Cleveland were so much less successful in their second administrations than in their first.
I make bold to say that the United States has grown too big for anybody to administer. This is not only the reason why men break down trying to administer it, but also the reason why it doesn't get administered. What has Uncle Sam succeeded in doing, at any time since the resumption of specie payment, that has evinced statesmanship? He has altered his tariff two or three times in such a way as not to do even temporary good, the general tendency being, on the contrary, to make the tariff worse and worse. The voters have made up their mind on the tariff, and hammer it at every election in which the politicians permit the tariff issue to show its head ; but, though both the voters and the economists are against the tariff, it is maintained. He has amended his currency system by measures understood to be unsound in principle, which he safeguarded by arranging that they should be incapable of producing any radical effect ; then, when there began to be too much inconvenience in resisting the tendency of the new laws to become effective, he repealed them. (He continues now to do business under a currency system which all attentive people, from the most revered conservative to the most despised radical, condemn as unpractical and pernicious.) He has reduced letter postage thirty-three per cent. (keeping it still so high that nothing but the post-office's artificial monopoly can maintain the rate), has made a beginning toward imitating the European practice of rural free delivery, and has made the second-class postal service a somewhat efficient agent of censorship and a decidedly efficient agent for provoking discontent among the most diverse kind of periodicals. He has passed laws to prevent the immigration of sick people, poor people, men who have got a job, Anarchist, and other undesirable classes. He has consented to put an end to the tribal relation among certain Indian tribes. He has made a law against polygamy among Mormons, and then admitted the Mormons as States so that his law ceases to have practical effect. He has taken charge of western irrigation, for fear others should. He has extensively developed government by injunction, has evoked the proposition of numerous measures against it which have not been put into effect, and has just now put into effect against it a measure that has not been proposed, -- to wit, that the administration should decline to enforce the findings of a court if their tendency does not harmonize with the administration's policy. He has enacted a pure food law in prompt obsequy to the abundantly-justified strictures of a very yellow Socialist novelist. He has enacted sundry laws to repress combinations in restraint of trade, but has not yet shown any hospitality to the reiterated suggestion of his most trusted advisers that he should repeal or suspend his own restraints upon trade when these are found to be auxiliary to the combinations he is repressing. He has created the public impression that, when congress makes such laws, the executive will not enforce them ; but he has now got an executive who declares that something must be done, something shall be done, and who, after trying his hand at enforcing these laws, reports that with the present laws he expects to be able to make an imperfect sort of a beginning, and that, as soon as we find out just what new laws we need, and get them enacted, there is no telling what great things we shall do. Uncle Sam has furthermore discovered that the constitution does not follow the flag. He has sent soldiers to help revolutionists make such a show of force that their revolution should be bloodless ; he then started to railroad the successful revolutionists into annexation by a snap treaty, but, upon finding that he had broken international law by sending his troops, he balked and proposed to make up for it by sending more troops to reinstate the very objectionable old government ; then, finding that the old government would not promise to refrain from inflicting the customary punishment on the revolutionists, he balked again, did nothing, and later annexed the country because it was thought to be advantageous for a war he was conducting. He was pitchforked into the said war by the act of a foreign fool in Havana harbor ; having won this war by the efficiency of the men who were not in high office, he paid $20,000,000 for the privilege of subduing an insurgent archipelago, and posed as the liberator of almost everybody. The main agent of victory, and the only one in which high officers got any praise, was the navy ; Heart's "Cosmopolitan" says that since then the efficiency of the American navy has been destroyed with surprising speed by perverse reorganization ; at least the public knows that disastrous accidents to American vessels of war have suddenly grown frequent. He has proposed to dig an isthmian canal, has found a South American republic holding him up for a few millions as the price of permission to do so, and has very frankly abetted revolutionists in seceding from this avaricious republic that he might have the opportunity to dig; he has then begun digging, and produced a perhaps unprecedented crop of resignations of eminent engineers who refused to remain in charge after they had seen the job from an inside standpoint; but the work is (and constantly has been) officially reported to be making satisfactory progress. He has made the Monroe Doctrine apply to all belligerency in which territory might be seized. He has asked for the open door in China, and has received it. He has been a busy promoter of Hague arbitration, and, having found that the Hague tribunal as now constituted is a dishonest court unwilling to give an impartial judgment, is busily trying to get it revised and improved. And he is said to have refused to patronize an inventor with a military airship. Now, if the foregoing list does not include Uncle Sam's most prominent evidences of having had statesmanship within eight-and-twenty years, I hope somebody will fill the gaps I have left. I have been looking in a school history, and find that therein the record of this period (barring the Spanish war) is mostly filled with the actions of private persons and State governments, -- pretty clear evidence that the Federal government has not been doing much that was constructive.
Let it not be said that I am an unpatriotic belittler of home institutions. I am willing to talk in the same way about other overgrown masses of governmental tissue. Britain is always supposed to present the world's foremost model of the statesmanlike administration of a vast empire. Well, if this be so, what is the world's foremost model like? How long is it since a visibly statesmanlike thing has been done by the government of King Edward or Queen Victoria? Perhaps the latest instance was when, in the case of Canada, they established the policy of allowing much self-government to their English-speaking colonies. To be sure, they have since then done a service to the cause of statesmanship by establishing an active and instructive experiment-station in Socialism, known as the London County Council; but it was a sheer fluke. If the parliament and the ministers had known how much the powers of the L. C. C. would amount to in practice, would they have granted it those powers? I trow not. They thought they were merely hitching a new horse to a small wagon to take part of the load along in the same ruts that the big wagon was in.
No novelist could invent a more telling instance of the operation of this law of inefficiency than is given by the present British administration. Every circumstance of its start was a plain invitation to statesmanship of the great school. It had a big majority in the commons, and the country at its back ready to return a second big majority if appealed to. it had a field in which several issues of great importance were clamoring for attention, and in which the essentials of proper treatment for some of these issues were not merely obvious, but notorious. It had as its prime reason for existence the fact that the country was indignantly demanding the immediate abolition of a particularly exasperating piece of oppression newly introduced by the opposition party during its recent lease of power. What has this administration done? Why speak of the way it has muddled its opportunity in Ireland, or its opportunity with the house of lords, when it-has-not-even-efficiency-enough-to-repeal-the-Education Act-that it was elected to repeal!
I am not confining my discussions to the Anglo-Saxon countries because they manage great empires worse than others, but because they manage them better.
Nobody looks upon Russia or China as a fine example of the advantages of a single administration over a great country. The German empire is a big administration which is not yet old enough to have got rusty, as I was lately saying, and bears as yet a good reputation for efficiency; but they are certainly making a bad mess with their subject races in Poland and Africa and elsewhere, and they are playing a very questionable game with their Socialists ; and, while they continue to boast of the German patriots who lifted their nation from under Napoleon's heel by their concerted work in the development of Manhood, the imperial government is steadily counteracting this work both by making its populace helots to the officers of the army and by making the individual yield his initiative to the central machine. The difference between men in a free country and men in a bureaucratic country is well illustrated by an anecdote of Mackay of Uganda. Before he went out as a missionary, he was in Berlin to complete his education as an engineer, and boarded at the same table with some German engineers of his own age, one of whom asked him: "How is it, Herr Mackay, that while the German engineers are undeniably superior to the British in scientific training, the British continue to surpass them in practical achievement?" "The first necessity for a good engineer," replied the young Scotchman, "is Vorsicht (prudence), the second is das Probieren, (experimentation), and the third is Mut (courage). In these the British engineers are superior, and hence they accomplish greater things." Germany was developing Vorsicht, Probieren, and Mut till Bismark intervened.
The fact is that, when an administration of any sort gets too big for a man or group of men to handle, there is a loss of efficiency. Improved methods of organization widen the limit, but do not abolish it. I have always thought time would show that this law of nature is a check to the permanent dominance of trusts, but I am content not to argue that point till time has shown. Great governments, however, are a much bigger proposition to handle than any trust, and their impracticability was recognized a millennium and a half ago. When the Roman Empire was visibly falling into decay, a succession of long-headed emperors , and particularly Diocletian, gave it a new lease of life by dividing it into sections and making an emperor for each section, so as to get more administrative efficiency by permitting more attention. There were reactions now and then, but on the whole the plan commended itself by the way it worked. But it has for half a century been unfashionable to learn political lessons from Greek and Roman history.
As for Roosevelt, I think him entirely justified in his unwillingness to run again. If he is wise, he will stick to this resolution rigidly, and refuse the nomination even if tendered to him. And not only this, but, when his term is up, he will not accept a seat in the senate or governorship in the Philippines or a managership over the Panama canal. Instead, he will use the last months of his term in having the navy department organize an Arctic exploring expedition to sail March 5, 1909, with plenty of provisions, for an old-fashioned long campaign with the ice ; he will quietly get himself a berth in this party, and will make his political friends promise to use all their influence to prevent the sending of any rescue party before 1913. Then he could come back and go into politics again. An absolute vacation of this length would probably not fit him for another term as president, but it would enable him to go into the senate and do better than the average senator.
As for Congressman Bartholdt, of St. Louis, who has got a foothold toward the establishment of Tennyson's "Parliament of men, the Federation of the world," I felt nervous about him for a while. I said to myself, "At present the world does not know Congressman Bartholdt's name. In thirty years the whole planet will be extolling him as the greatest and most beneficent statesman of the age. In three hundred years he will be execrated all over the planet for having done mankind such harm as few men ever did." But on further reflection I think it not necessary to spend so much anxiety on Bartholdt. Before Bartholdt and the Anarchists ever heard of each other, wise provision was made that the trees should not grow into the sky.
Steven T. Byington.
I belive that the diplomats of the Hague would establish on earth, instantly and forever, the peace that all reasonable people desire by voting the following little article:
"After each war the commander-in-chief of the conquered army shall be shot."
Then sovereigns would look twice before rushing into the adventure. I am well aware that my proposal is revolutionary, but is not war itself the worst of revolutions? And is there any means of getting rid of it that is not legitimate? -- J. Cornély in Le Siècle.
The punishment of Ibsen's feminism - if it deserved any - must have been the veritable flood of misunderstood women who threatened his peace. His heirs have found heaps of letters from women along his papers. And his widow says that, at the master's desire, she threw away even more, including photographs. Those that were saved were human documents. Ibsen made use of them, without so much as answering them, with the tranquil egoism of genius. -- L' Aurore.
||Thoughts compelled from out the hidden
Frequently are inexact;
But the thought that comes unbidden
Is the one that fits the fact.
- Rabbi Ben Gessing.
From Professor Oscar Lovell Triggs, once an instructor in English at the University of Chicago, have emanated many of the best thoughts which the reflective faculties of men have enabled them to produce. Before he severed his connection with the Standard Oil knowledge-works, Professor Triggs had already detached the idea that Mr. Rockefeller is the Shakspere of this period. Another intellectual triumph of Professor Triggs, if my memory has not gone back on me, was thinking up the "To-Morrow Magazine," which endures to this day, a monument to his altitude as a thinker. There will be no higher thinking that "To-Morrow" is doing until airships are an accomplished and available fact, and men of thought go up in them whenever they feel that they have another think coming. Triggs has also developed along social lines, until, as a witness said in the divorce case which resulted form his experiments in this department, he "does not regard the institution of marriage as in anywise a solemn or sacred institution, or one conducive to the best interests of morals or progress of the human race." As though that were an indictment, in view of morals and the direction the human race is progressing in! This witness, whose testimony must have influenced the court adversely to defendant Triggs, bears, by the irony of fate, the name of a writer whose contributions, embellished with his picture, have frequently appeared in "To-Morrow." But to dismiss all this and return to the thoughts of Professor Triggs. "I believe," he says, "I believe that love makes some of us wise, but it makes most of us foolish." There spoke the thinker, and more than the thinker. There was heard the voice of the bold investigator who dared give to the world the fruits of his research. "That love makes most of us foolish," is more than a thought; it is a discovery.
We accept the dictum that love makes us foolish ; because, if it isn't that, what is it?
One not infected by the frenzy of the mob and of the courts and the law might raise the inquiry how far such frenzy is responsible for the murders that have attended the constupration of women and girls. The penalty for rape is so near like the punishment for murder that what the assailant adds to his sentence by killing his victim is small in proportion to the added security against identification which he gets by killing her. Were robbery punished with death or life-imprisonment in all cases, it is certain that, while an equal number would be robbed, more of them would be killed to put them out of the way as complaining witnesses. Whether just or not, the community punishes the violator not so much for the physical injury he does the women as for the injury and suffering of a social and mental nature which society itself thereafter inflicts upon her. The woman who escapes the ravisher with her life and health is socially dead, being slain by society, the accessory after the fact. Now, it seems to me that the "fiend," in doing his part, and society, in doing its part to expose the woman to hurt and damnification, as well as the frenzied mob that pursues him, are acting under the same stimulus. That the man gratifies his lust, the crowd its thirst for blood, and society its jealousy of distinction, does not change the fact that the impulse is in each case sexually awakened. If you consider the comparative nobility of the various motives, that of the original offender seems not to be the meanest. Such is my theory. If the facts are otherwise, I can only express my regret.
Most clearly do the opponents of the "higher law" prove their point. They have buried the act under such a heap of odium as no man with clean hands or mind would care to dig through for purposes of a resurrection. The unwritten law is so unspeakable that nothing in the way of law anywhere equals it except some laws that have been written, read, passed, engrossed, printed, and enforced by the constituted authorities. Or, if the written laws are less atrocious, they make up the demnition total by being more numerous. A new one went into "effect" in New York on September first, punishing adultery by imprisonment in a penitentiary or county jail for not more than six months or by a fine of not more than $250, or by both fine and imprisonment.
Now, the higher law on this point is "Go, and sin no more." Years ago a man of Nazareth, a Jew on his mother's side, was made referee in the case of a woman taken in the act contemplated by the above statute. The account reads that he said to the lady's accusers: "Let him that is without sin among you first cast a stone at her." While waiting for the execution of the sentence, the referee amused himself by punching holes in the sand with his umbrella. When he looked up from this diversion, there was no body in sight, but the accused, whereat it is to be assumed that he chuckled. "I judge," he observed to her, "that not any of those gentlemen believed himself qualified to throw stones under the conditions." She answered with some scorn: "Apparently none was so accoutred of virtue" ; "Neither am I"; and both went their way - whether the same way the narrative does not disclose. I make only the obvious comment on this case when I say that, if the man had been a member of the New York legislature, like Senator McCarren, for example, with his "spittin' image" riding around in the Brooklyn trolley cars in care of a mother who is the wife of another man than the senator, he might not have enriched the higher jurisprudence with a principle which his followers will be the last to adopt.
That every being, brute or human, is "right" in acting out his nature, whether social or anti-social, is a conclusion from which reason opens no avenue of escape ; and therefore I never bother myself to inculcate lessons of right or wrong in those over whom no fault but my own and Mrs. Macdonald's has given me authority. I cannot see how it enlightens anyone, especially a young person, to inform him that an act is wrong. Unless it means that he will be whipped if he commits the act, he does not tumble - or tremble. I have read in the history of a Cape Horn mission, conducted by a Christian fanatic, with what futility the missionary sought to impress the Terra del Fuegans with a consciousness of wrong when they appropriated the idle property of another to their own use, or when they went about unclothed, or declined to work at the tasks he set them, or offered to their guests a hospitality so simple and generous that it included their women. The mission, unfortunately, had the backing of the British Admiralty office, so that the fanatic who controlled it could enforce his notions of right and wrong, with the result that, by compelling the Fuegans to wear clothes, dig cellars, and sleep in cabins with closed doors, he so rapidly enfeebled the tribe that from a people numbering three thousand he soon reduced them to three hundred. And it is not likely that the last Indian of them ever came really to belive it was wrong for him to stand in the open and let the snowflakes fall on his greased and naked hide, or to loaf when his stomach was full, to make common use of property, or to prolong that other respectable custom of his fathers I have mentioned. The missionary at this station described in his reports how he had broken to the Fuegans the glad tidings of their ransom through Jesus Christ and expounded to their edification the distinction between the law and the gospel. There would be more survivors of the tribe now if he had confined himself to that sort of exegesis, and had allowed them to discover for themselves their errors of conduct. This is the mission to which Charles Darwin contributed five pounds a year for a while, to his subsequent regret.
When a person announced his rejection of common methods of suasion, moral or otherwise, he is expected to propose a substitute. I may remark there fore, that, where I might have said "that is not right" or "that is wrong," I have instead successfully insinuated the query whether conduct meriting reproach could be defended as "fair" or "prudent," or even polite. For the youngest of individuals have fixed ideas about right, or no ideas at all, and many don't care ; but a reputation for fairness or wisdom or good manners if more frequently deemed worth thinking about. If an appeal to such senses as these has any effect at all, we may as well employ it, for the right and wrong argument has none whatever so far as I have observed.
The doctrine of inherent rights must be affirmed without reflection or not at all. I held to that doctrine for many years, but, as soon as I turned to examine it, I discovered that it was a spectre, and thenceforth fared on -
||Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on
And turns no more his head,
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.
That "fiend" was the realization that I had no "rights."
"Have you ever seen a spirit?" inquires Stirner. "'No, not I, but my grandmother.' Now, you see," Stirner proceeds, "it's just so with me too ; I myself haven't seen any, but my grandmother had them running between her feet all sorts of ways, and out of confidence in our grandmothers' honesty we belive in the existence of spirits."
Have we ever been conscious of possessing rights? No, but our grandfathers were, and out of respect for their judgment we believe in the existence of rights. If I have rights, so has another man, and, if he should define one of his rights as that of controlling me, I do not know how I should refute him. And, if he granted me equal rights, the concession would only lead to a scrapping match to determine which should control the other ; and that must be settled by might. The advantage in claiming rights, natural or other, is that you have the affirmative of the proposition, which takes best with the crowd. We have all the rights we can demonstrate, and I leave demonstration to the other fellow, subject to my dissent, provided I can maintain my right to dissent. If I am ever caught talking about my rights or the rights of another, I want to be understood as I would be should I say that the sun rises - not as affirming as fact contrary to the order of phenomena, but as using a convenient phrase adapted to the hearer's order of thought.
Both religion and morals as well as the "frenzied mob" must feel some concern at the news that in Travers City, Michigan, Sister Mary, a beautiful nun, was "kidnapped at the gate of the convent." But let us forget our apprehensions ; maybe that was what she was at the gate for.
In these days, after the so-termed rights of women have reached their high tide and man has become mere, it is natural that there should be some backwash, leaving woman with fewer rights, in certain respects, than she had before. Not in all instances will she protest, but I imagine she will come pretty near registering her strongest kick when the right to be kidnapped, if she wants to be, is wrested from her keeping, or its exercise visited with such notoriety as to take all the fun out of it.
The precepts of economy which youth may follow without detriment turn to folly when practised by the aged. Having to walk once the mile or more between the steamboat landing and the railroad depot at Portland, Me., I gave my valise and ten cents to a man who was going my way with an express wagon. But a thin old man about seventy years old, who had attached himself to me, not only carried his own freight, but rebuked me for wasting a dime. In self-defence I said I could recover an equal amount when I got back on my job in New York; and, to prove myself as reckless in one way as another, I offered to carry his satchel to the train if he lacked a dime to pay for transportation. "Young man," he replied, "I have more dimes than I could count in a year if my property was turned into ten-cent pieces. It's the principle of economy I am talking about," and he shifted his heavy grip from his right hand to his left. "But you are spending your strength," I said; "got lots of it to spare, I suppose; more than you could use up carrying trunks in a hundred years." The thought penetrated his mind. "No," he signed, "mighty little. I'm not at all sure it will last till I get this carpet-bag to the depot." "but you will get it all back, maybe," I told him. He shook his head. "I don't feel as strong come another day at my age as I did the day before." "But richer?" "Yes." "Then you are practising economy by holding on to what you can get back, and spending what is gone from you forever?" "Oh, aye, I suppose so; but, young man, it's the principle."
There are whole communities like this man in a slightly different way. They hang on to the precepts they are too old to use profitably, are sparing of change, and save laws too numerous to count, while prodigal of their liberties, though these are the only things of any importance to them, and once gone are past recovery. What good does it do us to get superior enlightenment, intelligence, improved notions of life, and so on, if we are restrained in the use of them, and are to lose all the benefits due us through having attained them, by laws made for barbarians, savages, and fools? It is the boast of the law that it knows no difference between the high and the low. Shucks! The same brag could be made for a donkey, and would only confirm his identity with the ass. There are a good many precepts and rules of conduct that are like big game. You follow them for a while and find it fun; then they turn and follow you, which furnishes the occasion when, in my view, they can profitably be dropped behind.
With the intent, perhaps, to discover and extrude polygamists, there was inserted among the questions asked in a circular sent out to postmasters of the country, in the preparation of the Government Blue Book, this:
"What are your marital relations?"
The compiler of the list, one Merrit O. Chance, chief clerk of the post-office department, declares that the question was put to find out whether the postmasters are "married or single, widowed or divorced" ; but that excuse is a little too thin. Anyway it doesn't elicit the information the chief clerk pretends that he wants. For instance, one incumbent filled in the blank space with the word "Hell." How can the post-office department, or any other mob of experts, determine from that answer whether the party who suffers hell is married or single, widowed or divorced, or a polygamist?
If Liberty can consent to become yellow for one number, it might evoke the judgment of its constituents on the significance of that postmaster's answer. This is the formula: "Reader, what is your opinion?"
NO EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
When the skiff is on the water and is loaded to the rail,
And the most judicious handling is required to make her float,
It's a rule, the wise ones tell us, which was never known to fail,
That in these said circumstances 'tis the fool who rocks the boat.
If the craft we call the nation bore our commerce in her hold, -
George E. MacDonald.
Being freighted with a cargo she was never built to tote,-
And was dipping gunwales under every time she pitched or rolled,
Would you call it an exception when 'twas Teddy rocked the boat?
THE FARCICAL SUCCESSION
So Roosevelt is to efface himself, after all, at the end of his present term. The Provincetown speech, with its eighteen-months programme of "defiant" law-enforcement against "rich malefactors," and the Taft candidacy and chase after delegates, seem to preclude a third term. "Seem," of course; for with Roosevelt all rules fail, and what is impossible to-day may be indispensable next year. But the probabilities, at any rate, point to the elimination of Roosevelt.
And Taft in his candidate, the ticketed and stamped and guaranteed representative of Roosevelt's policies. He is of the approved "type," and the reactionaries ought to tremble.
But, curiously enough, they are quite complacent. Rockefeller has indorsed Taft; the Wall street organs at bottom find him more than acceptable, though the "Sun" affects disappointment at his servility and fidelity to the terribly destructive Roosevelt. Now, what is Taft? What does his record suggest?
His speeches may be dismissed as buncombe. They are dull and heavy buncombe, and wanting in skill. Nothing could be more clumsy than the attempt to deal with the Southern question. The negroes should be good ; Booker T. Washington is their true prophet ; they should be treated with justice, and without discrimination ; the Southern whites should do what is right by them ; the Fifteenth amendment does not say that every negro should have a vote ; property and other qualifications, provided they are uniform and fair. After such brilliant statesmanship Taft could well afford to avow "optimism" on the race question. As for the disenfranchisement acts already in force and the other anti-negro amendments that are pending at this time ; as to the violations of the Fifteenth amendment, the protests of the negroes who have not been put to sleep by the Booker T. Washington "industrial" formula ; as to the demand of aggressive Republicans for reduction of Southern representation in congress, - why touch upon such unpleasant things? Why make a fat humbug uncomfortable?
On the railroad question Taft is as bold as a lion. Regulate? Of course he would regulate; but it pains him to know that Bryan is advocating a valuation of the property of the railroads. That is needless and useless ; it would only annoy the managers and directors. What has the value of a railroad's property to do with its rates? Not all roads are paying dividends; some are even bankrupt; and this conclusively shows that valuation could give us no light on the reasonableness of rates. It is competition that determines rates - where there's any. Where competition has been eliminated by mergers and agreements, the ability to pay (what the traffic will bear) is the determinator. But suppose shippers complain of certain rates as excessive, and it becomes necessary to determine whether they are reasonable or not; what would be the courts' test? Would not the value of the property, the amount invested in it, as distinguished from water and wind, etc., be material and decidedly relevant evidence? Oh, Taft is opposed to stock inflation and stock gambling; he would even prohibit such things by an amendment to the rate act. But please excuse him for favoring valuation.
Swollen fortunes are very bad for the republic; but since the government needs no additional revenue (robbing the people so adroitly that it has a large surplus in spite of pensions, huge naval programmes, canal schemes, steals, and waste), Taft would not impose any inheritance or income taxes. Let the States discourage swollen fortunes (what! irrespective of revenue needs?); the federal government should wait until its present taxes proved insufficient. The reduction of taxes on incomes that are not swollen Taft has not thought of as at all proper. The question how swollen fortunes are accumulated, and whether it is not possible to prevent dishonest and iniquitous "piles" instead of taxing them a little afterwards, Taft cannot be expected so much as to recognize.
Taft's earnestness as a tariff reformer I pass over. Where he shines particularly as a radical is in connection with the injunction business. He very solemnly advised the Oklahomans to vote down the proposed State constitution, and his greatest objection to tat hell-born instrument, that tissue of intolerable tricks and wrongs, is based on its injunction paragraphs. I read in a press summary of the Oklahoma speech:
Mr. Taft commented at length on the necessity of maintaining the power of the courts, and condemned the requirements that jury trial should intervene between an order of injunction and punishment for its violation. He said that the write of injunction was one of the most beneficial writs that a court could have, and that it is just as useful in defence of the poor as in the defence of the rich; and any weakening of it as an instrument for remedying wrongs would operate in favor of the rich malefactor.
Mind, the Oklahoma constitution does not forbid the issuance of injunctions; it merely provides that, where contempt of an injunction is charged, the judge shall not have the power arbitrarily to send men to prison. No, says Taft, the reformer, we can't allow this ; the injunction is a beneficent instrument, and, if the poor man knew what was good for him, he would cry for more injunctions. It's the rich malefactor who should dread them.
Strange, isn't it, that the rich malefactors have not lifted a finger to fight injunctions! The corporations send lawyers to Washington to oppose and defeat every effort to limit the use of the injunction, but perhaps labor and the rest of us misunderstand them ; perhaps they are anxious that the rich malefactors should receive no benefit from any weakening of that noble instrument.
I wonder if Taft went on to demonstrate that jail sentences for contempt, without jury trials, are also necessary and beneficial to the poor. If not, his "argument" is incomplete and beside the point. Or is that too obvious to need demonstration? Will Taft name the rich malefactors that have been sent to jail for contempt in violating injunctions obtained against them by the poor?
But enough about Taft's reform spirit. Roosevelt, the radical, the bête noire of Wall street, the august protector of Socialists and Anarchists (according to Harvey), guarantees Taft's progressiveness. What more does the country need?
Seriously, is Taft humbugging Roosevelt, is the latter humbugging the dear people, or himself, or both? What a farce we are witnessing! This is a mad world, my masters.
THE PHILOSOPHERS OF UNREPENTANCE
[Benjamin De Casseres in the New York "Sun"]
Against Dante and his panoramic hell I should like to pit the great philosophers of unrepentance, - Goethe, Nietzsche, Emerson, Walt Whitman, and especially Spinoza. He whom Dante troubles let him read Spinoza - Spinoza the remorseless and the daring, the master non-moralist, the first philosophic Overman, from whose spiritual loins sprang the Olympian Goethe and that Viking of modern free thought, Friedrich Nietzsche.
Spinoza, from the other side of "good" and "evil," watched the puppies playing on the hearth of mother earth and dissected their paltry, soul-enslaving emotions and beliefs with surgeon-like precision. To him "good" and "evil" were relative terms; they mean nothing to the brain that sees beyond the immediate effect of each act. There is only necessity, which is to say that two and two make four in the moral world as well as on a school blackboard. What is the ultimate outcome of each act, Spinoza asked. Our "sins" may breed in time's mighty tangle immemorial virtues, and our finest thought and most virtuous act may in time bring forth pain.
Sin and pain and evil never troubled Spinoza. He had too much faith. He asked the world to come with him into the beyond world of the intellect and understanding, and from that height to behold ourselves and our serio-comic virtues and transgressions as his immovable, placid, passion-dry God saw them. The doctrine of human responsibility was held by this great Jew of Amsterdam to be a necessary lie. Historically society is an evolving illusion, and it thrives on poisons, like the daughter of Rappacini in Hawthorne's tale. To Spinoza the doctrine of free will was a blasphemy. Any other will but God's, he asked, and he smiled the mocking smile of all wisdom. The fox is caught in the gin; the star is sentenced to the law of its orbit, and the souls of men are matrixed in their destinies.
From his eyes Benedict Spinoza brushed roughly away theological invention - the slime-matted seaweed of human illusion. He swam to the point where all latitudes converge and escaped into the unarithmetical spaces, the point from which all things are seen to be transitory, vain, relative, illusive, except that point of insight which perceives and notes the transitory and relative. That is absolute; and it was at that hypothetical point Spinoza set up his everlasting rest. He called it God.
Spinoza's philosophy is as superior to Dante's as his life was sublimer at every point.
Henry Murger, author of "Vie de Bohême," summering once in Chambon, at the house of Villemessant, the founder of "Le Figaro," went frog-fishing, his host accompanying him. Several hours passed without the capture of a single frog, in spite of the appetizing worms which he fastened to his hook.
"You will get nothing that way," said Villemessant. "To catch frogs you must have a scarlet bait. I am going to look for a bit of red rag for you."
"Oh! don't trouble yourself," said Murger; "I have just the thing."
And, pulling the ribbon of the Legion of Honor from his buttonhole, he attached it to his line, adding:
"They will bite at that; everybody does."
TOLSTOI IN 1861
The tenth volume of Proudhon's correspondence contains a letter dated April 7, 1861, in which occurs the following curious passage relative to Tolstoi: "All Russia is in a state of joy. In accord with the nobles, and after consulting everybody, the czar has issued this emancipation proclamation. You should see the pride of these nobles thereat. A very learned man, M. Tolstoi, with whom I had a conversation lately, said to me: 'Now there is an emancipation worthy of the name. We do not send away our serfs empty-handed; with liberty we give them property!'"
MR. DOOLEY NO LAW-AND-ORDER-FAKIR
[New York "Times"]
If I had to bring up a flock iv wild childher in Ar-rchey Road, I wudden't much care what they larned about th' thrue habits iv th' elk or th' chambok, but I'd teach thim what I cud iv th' habits, th' lairs, an' th' bite iv th' polisman on th' beat.
WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH GRAFT?
How deep must every righteous soul
Which starts at cunning, greed, and craft
Deplore in public life the rule
Of that which bears the name of Graft!
The instincts of all honest gents
Repel, dispraise, condemn, and flout it,
And yet we know that governments
Could never get along without it.
What is't that bids our able men
Their private walks to abdicate,
To drop the plough, the plane, the pen
And grasp the wabbling helm of State?
'Tis Graft's persuasive voice that calls
These saviours of a menaced nation
To boost in legislative halls
The flag and an appropriation.
And, when the trump of war is blown,
'Tis futile as a rifted lute
Till, to evoke its mighty tone,
We raise the wind that makes it toot.
Lean bank accounts must own the draft -
"A tax" the strenuous patriots phrase it;
But that's a euphemy for Graft,
And grafters, hence, are they who raise it.
Love's god might find his business slow,
And launch in vain his feeble shaft,
But oft the arrow from his bow
By Cupid aimed is sped by Graft.
And no man incompletely broke
Though blind and deaf and propped on crutches,
Need miss in person, home, or poke
"Those undefinable feminine touches."
When public spirit hunts its hole,
When patriotism's ardor cools
When charity keeps back its dole,
And duty's tasks are left to fools;
Who then the Statehouse shall erect?
Our jails, so useful, who will build them?
Why, grafters! Whom could you expect
Except the men who should have filled them?
Philanthropy's bright cause may fail
And human helpfulness be flown,
While Altruism, sick and pale,
Turns to the Ego and His Own.
All this may be when men have quaffed
The drink that Apathy is brewing;
But raise once more the horn of Graft,
And straightway there'll be something doing.
George E. Macdonald.
An eminent surgeon, travelling through the valley of Saint-Béat in the Pyrenees, learned from the inhabitants of a poor village that there was no doctor in the neighborhood.
"What!" said he, "not a single practitioner of the medical art! How, then, do you get along?"
"The best we can," answered the old man; "we die ourselves." - Gil Blas.
JUST THE CITY FOR THE ALTRURIANS*
A friend writes us from Vienna that the authorities in charge of public modesty in that charming city are showing a disagreeable excess of zeal. They are forbidding booksellers to display the nude in their windows, not excepting the most famous masterpieces. Who is the Austrian functionary who has sworn thus to surpass our vicomte de La Rochefoucauld, of chaste memory? Modesty is a delightful virtue in a woman; in an administration it loses much of its charm. The intentions of the Viennese censors are the most laudable in the world; unhappily, they overstep the permitted limits. And here we have Rubens absolutely convicted of pornography!
For the picture-dealers have been forbidden to exhibit reproductions of the Antwerp master's celebrated picture, "The Daughters of Leucippus." The late vicomte Sosthène himself would not have dared to go so far. From the point of view of healthy domestic morality it is evident that the Dioscuri were guilty of a blameworthy act in carrying off those two young ladies. And their conduct was aggravated by the fact that for the commission of this rape they chose the very day when the Messenian princesses were united in legitimate wedlock to their two sweethearts (verlobte). Viennese authority undoubtedly intends to place upon Castor and Pollux the mark of its disapprobation. On this score we have no reproaches to offer it. Only it is deplorable that the counter-stroke should fall upon Rubens. He does not figure in the act himself. His role is confined to a relation, in the most loyal fashion possible, of this regrettable assault upon morals. The utmost with which we could reproach him is his plea of extenuating circumstances for the divine ravishers, by the way in which he has exposed the body of the offence. When one finds himself before the masterpiece, it is certain that, the first moment of indignation over, one surprises oneself in the act of finding vague excuses for the two Olympian Apaches. Such indeed seems to have been the feeling of Rubens. The master had a wonderful knowledge of old fables: he had learned from the Jesuit fathers to read Ovid in the original. He knew that the Leucippedes, after an honorable resistance, resigned themselves to their fate. he chose the moment when this resistance is spending its last energies. For being translated into abandoned postures, it is none the less as meritorious as graceful. After all, this adventure terminated in a mythical double marriage. The Viennese authorities should not forget that.
Not only are their scruples excessive; we fear that they are ineffective as well. Let us waive the picture of the "Daughters of Leucippus." This sample of the joyous Flemish paganism belongs to the Munich museum. By prohibiting the display of its reproductions Austrian authority may flatter itself that it is protecting the bourgeois of the Prater, when attending a wedding ceremony, from the temptation to imitate the Dioscuri. But is not that a thoroughly bureaucratic candor which prevents the vulgarization of another masterpiece of Rubens, - "The Little Pelisse"? The Viennese have only to enter the Vienna museum to look with all their eyes at the painting itself, quite otherwise suggestive than its translations into black and white. Then what?
Contempt of ridicule is an incomparable civic virtue. To prosecute Rubens and Hélène Fourment for the offence of immodesty is to push this virtue to the point of heroism. If there was ever a soul free from ugliness, it was that of the great and ingenuous adorer of all the spectacles of life. Such was the candor of this pagan of the North and such his faith in the innocence of the beautiful that it never occurred to him that he showed any lack of respect for his dear and gentle Hélène in painting her as a goddess or a nymph. To this tranquilly unconscious frankness he added all the delicacies of the tenderest husband, at once indiscreet painter and irreproachable spouse. Moreover, the most scantily clad portraits of Hélène Fourment betray no embarrassment in the model; the beautiful and happy creature does not seem to suffer at being exposed to the admiration of the centuries. Posterity would pursue a graceless course in searching for sin where the wife of Rubens scorned to see any.
In his last years, already seized with the malady that was destined to carry him off, martyrized by gout, surprised in his triumphant happiness by that unexpected visitor, melancholy, the man of joy defied sadness by multiplying the public avowals of the beauty of Hélène. One of the last royal clients of Rubens was Phillip IV of Spain, a prince so mad over painting that he was not content with the possession of Vélasquez. The king, morose and pious, - let it be told in the circles of Viennese clericalism, - was not afraid of mythological nudities. He had ordered of the Antwerp master a series of paintings, according to the "Metamorphoses," for his hunting pavilion at Torre de la Parada. The king's own brother, governor of the Spanish Netherlands, was charged with looking after the work and hastening its completion. The cardinal-infante, Don Fernando, did not know much about painting; that soldier, as little of a scholar as possible, preferred war and the chase to the arts. He did his best to convey to the artist the requirements of the royal client, but, he wrote to his brother, "in these matters this Rubens is more competent than I." After receiving twenty-five pictures, "Philip IV called for eighteen more. The marvel of this second collection sent from Antwerp to Madrid was "The Judgment of Paris." Don Fernando wrote to the king: "All the painters say that it is undoubtedly Rubens's best work. I reproach him with only one fault, regarding which I have not been able to obtain satisfaction, - namely, the excessive nudity of the three goddesses; the artist's answer is that precisely in this lies the merit of the painting." And the cardinal added, with no thought of malice: "The Venus placed in the centre is a striking likeness of the painter's wife, the most beautiful lady of Antwerp." May this indulgence of a prince of the church appease the conscientious scruples of Viennese censors!
It is true that Don Fernando, although a cardinal from the age of fourteen, had a license to return to the world and take a wife if he saw fit. There was even talk of a marriage with the excellent Mademoiselle de Montpensier, the perpetually unmarried. She would not have said no, in the first place because she never said no, and then because this dashing soldier of the church was highly pleasing to her. "He had," she says, "a very good figure, although small, and as handsome a face as a perfectly honest man can have." What a pity that this marriage did not take place! Frankly, Don Fernando was better than Lauzun; Mademoiselle would have known, in addition to conjugal bliss, the joy of being painted by Rubens. And we, posterity, should be in a position to judge whether she abuses our credulity when she declares in her "Memoirs" : "I have a trim leg and a shapely foot."
*: Translated from "Le Temps.". Return.
A small reception-room in a grand hotel of Marienbad. - Furniture of a small reception-room in a grand hotel. - The pieces of furniture have the air of saying to each other: "Let us not forget that the eyes of Europe are upon us."
His Majesty the King of England
The Prime Minister of France
"Then, my dear president, you have drunk your water?"
"It has had its effect?"
"Alas! no, Sire. I have had to wait nearly three weeks to obtain a really satisfactory result."
"Of course. That is always the way with the stomach. But things are going well now?"
"Very well, Sire."
"So much the better, so much the better!"
"May I venture, Sire, in my turn, to ask you if you are satisfied with your cure?"
"Why, yes, my dear president."
"It is for the benefit of your kidneys, I believe, that Your Majesty takes these annual cures?"
"Yes, my dear president."
"Has Your Majesty taken your water regularly?"
"Certainly. It was not amusing, but I took it."
"And the effect?"
"From the start, Sire?"
"Oh, no! These matters do not go so fast. Not for several days did I get a satisfactory result."
"I am really glad to hear it, Sire."
The Head Waiter. - "His Majesty is served."
The king of England and the prime minister of France had a very cordial interview, en tête à tête, before breakfast. They considered the questions now uppermost in the public mind, and it is thought that their interview will do much to strengthen the entente cordiale.
The indefinite prolongation of literary property would be the actual disinheritance of the property whose creation the writer, or the thinker had specially in view. For whom does the writer really worth of the name toil? Let us have the courage to say it without fear of ridicule : he works for posterity, for glory, to spread opinions that seem to him just. Now, a sincere Christian inheriting property in those works of Eugeène Sue that are about to fall into the public domain would be able to suppress them; and, from his point of view, he would be right in doing so. Likewise some modest creature might annihilate the verses of Musset, thinking them corrupting in their influence and burning with an ardor too profane. - Edouard Dumont, in "La Libre Parole."
The Judge, to the prisoner at the bar. - "The officers caught you in the act of taking from this unfortunate man his watch and chain, his pocket-book - everything that he had."
The Prisoner. - "I was making a trial of the income tax." - Le Figaro.
"THE SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM"
The attractive essay to which Oscar Wilde gave the above title has done not a little mischief by encouraging people in the error that the goal, liberty, may be reached by the route of authority. For this reason I give the same title, in quotation marks, to the following powerful portrayal (rendered in English from the French) of the effect that Socialism has had upon the soul of man thus far. The picture is the more telling because painted by a man whose bias is in favor of the Socialistic solution of economic problems, M. Saint-Georges de Bouhelier. It appeared in "L' Aurore" during the Stuttgart congress.
Stuttgart is at present the seat of solemn assizes, where one may observe the method of laying the foundations of a creed. It is strange that, at the moment when Catholic discipline is failing into dissolution, another discipline is taking shape, equally minute and equally atrabilarious. For even more than at Amsterdam and at the previous Socialist congresses there is to be seen at Stuttgart a cavilling and well-nigh frantic passion for subjection. Not all who wish are welcome, and one is worthy of admission only if one is unified. Already there have been abundant exclusions from which there is no appeal, and heresy threatens everybody. . . . .
These processes are not very sympathetic. Even to those who, like myself, see in Socialism, and especially, let us confess it, in the prolétariat, the most abundant reserve of the future our unified are making their party not very attractive.
By taking away even the right to think they can hardly hope to please those who find their glory in thought. Their first step in expropriation is the seizure of intelligence. I doubt if, as a result, talent will gravitate in their direction . . . . . It does not seem to me that any of value will be desirous of having his inner liberty absorbed by the mass.
For there is one thing certain: here no one can ever pretend to prevail. No man has any importance if he thinks for himself; he soon finds himself completely alone; originality attracts suspicion, strips off power, annihilates. If you do not wish to act with the crowd, you will be taxed with infamy. For there is no truth save that approved by the federations or committees , national or other. Notice, moreover, that in this party the chiefs themselves are under universal control, and that they lead you less than you lead them. You, the numerous mass, the enormous anonymity, the variable and floating mystery of the wrangling-halls, you have the mastery of Juarès or Bebel, and, instead of the wise man thinking for the ignorant, the innumerable absurdity of the fanatical and illiterate multitude substitutes itself for the wise man and imposes itself upon him. Is there a more deplorable sight, one that inspires greater pain, than that of such minds in a condition of servitude? The recantations of Jaurès obliged by a vote to tract his faith and to practise principles contrary to his own must be a source of humiliation to this magnificent lyric poet. Is not a man's holiest liberty outraged then? And to what tyranny have you then submitted yourselves that you must thus abdicate your own royal spiritual gift and lower yourself to such postures of solemn adjuration! . . . .
In the narrow circle of the federations no one keeps his will intact; no individual has the power to intervene according to his own conception. When he is on the point of rising to express his wish, the frightful and obscure party spirit seizes him, so to speak, by the arm, and nine times out of ten he is forced to keep his seat under the threat of heresy. The "changing infallibility" of the doctrine admits no initiative and no escape; at the present moment you must act so and so, and the sole decision to be taken is a matter of edict. Indeed, it is needless to discuss with oneself this affair or that; examine the resolutions of the last congress; there you will find your orders, and you will follow them. Accept them without any ifs or buts; that is the only orthodox course - until the next congress.
Next year it may be detestable or unworthy to accept them; what is taught to-day as peremptory is not absolute. What say you? That you are a patriot? And until when? As yet the party is patriotic. But let it cease, by an official vote, to be so, and no longer can you be patriotic either. . . . .
On points still under discussion you can follow your own tendency; but, so soon as the doctrine of the congress is formulated, you will have no right to act upon any other. However, there is nothing irremediable; as the party changes its opinion on all subjects, each one is permitted to hope that chance may effect a reconciliation. But for the moment you are to obey. Whoso bends to the regnant idea is never wrong, and one is a right-thinking man if, instead of guiding himself in his own fashion, he conforms to the party. In all matters the party substitutes itself for you. On the subject of God or country; for the daily or the extraordinary; on matters of a private nature and of domestic life ; on the subject of wages, labor contracts, and affairs national or international, - on all these the party has its own ideas which it imposes upon us, and its principles lone are good. Outside the party all is wickedness and abomination. That is the general sentiment among the unified.
I know very well, however, what they say: we do not wish to enslave the individual, but, on the contrary, to free him. Meantime you take away his prime possession, - his liberty to think. The mystic magnificent, inexhaustible treasure; that which neither persecutions or miseries or the worst misfortunes diminish; that which makes of the dirty and wretched beggar, if he is conscious of his intellectual wealth, a noble hero and the most royal king - this you filch from everyone who joins you. And no one withdraws save at his peril. I see in this a great human danger. You have created a new authority, and, with fine phrases about healthy liberation on your lips, you organize the basest of servitudes; under pretext of liberating yourselves, you being a course of opposition to the State, but under orders of a party more hostile to the individual than any State. In favor of our desires for freedom you labor to reestablish obscurantism. You complain of tyrannies and oppressions and religions, and, with the versatile errors of your crowds, you establish your active and mobile dogmatism. Is it from the wisdom of the great man that you derive your conceptions and your principles? No, it is from the Consensium Omnium. With you individuals are objects of suspicion. Among you intelligence is ill at ease; it inspires apprehension, and suffers therefrom. Be sure that real talent will less and less go toward you in sincerity. For your whole organization is hostile to it; your committees and your congresses plot its ruin; you want fanatical slaves, not frank and free thinkers.
To be completed soon...
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