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Title: The Arena - Volume 4, No. 20, July, 1891
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Arena - Volume 4, No. 20, July, 1891" ***

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No. XX.

JULY, 1891.

[Illustration: (signed) Very truly Yours, Oliver Wendell Holmes.]



To the year 1809, the world is very much indebted for a band of
notable recruits to the ranks of literature and science, statesmanship
and military renown. One need mention only a few names to establish
that fact, and grand names they are, for the list includes Darwin,
Gladstone, Erastus Wilson, John Hill Burton, Manteuffel, Count Beust,
Lord Houghton, Alfred Tennyson, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Each of
these has played an important part in the world's history, and
impressed the age with a genius that marks an epoch in the great
department of human activity and progress. The year was pretty well
advanced, and the month of August had reached its 29th day, when the
wife of Dr. Abiel Holmes presented the author of "The American Annals"
with a son who was destined to take his place in the front line of
poets, thinkers, and essayists. The babe was born at Cambridge,
Massachusetts, in the centre of a Puritan civilization, which could
scarcely have been in touch and harmony with the emphasized
Unitarianism emanating from Harvard. But Abiel Holmes was a genial,
generous-hearted man, and despite the severity of his religious
belief, contrived to live on terms of a most agreeable character with
his neighbors. A Yale man himself, and the firm friend of his old
professor, the president of that institution, who had given him his
daughter Mary to wed (she died five years after her marriage), we may
readily believe that for a time, Harvard University, then strongly
under the sway of the Unitarians, had little fascination for him. But
his kindly nature conquered the repugnance he may have felt, and he
soon got on well with all classes of the little community which
surrounded him. By his first wife he had no children. But five, three
daughters and two sons, blessed his union with Sarah Wendell, the
accomplished daughter of the Hon. John Wendell, of Boston. We may pass
briefly over the early years of Oliver Wendell Holmes. He was educated
at the Phillips Academy at Exeter, and subsequently entered Harvard
University, where he was graduated, with high honors, in 1829, and
belonged to that class of young fellows who, in after life, greatly
distinguished themselves. Some of his noblest poems were written in
memory of that class, such as "Bill and Joe," "A Song of Twenty-nine,"
"The Old Man Dreams," "Our Sweet Singer," and "Our Banker," all of
them breathing love and respect for the boys with whom the poet
studied and matriculated. Young Holmes was destined for the law, but
Chitty and Blackstone apparently had little charm for him, for after a
year's trial, he abandoned the field and took up medicine. His mind
could not have been much impressed with statutes, for all the time
that he was supposed to be conning over abstruse points in
jurisprudence, he was sending to the printers some of the cleverest
and most waggish contributions which have fallen from his pen. The
_Collegian_,--the university journal of those days,--published most of
these, and though no name was attached to the screeds, it was fairly
well known that Holmes was the author. The companion writers in the
_Collegian_ were Simmons, who wrote over the signature of "Lockfast";
John O. Sargent, poet and essayist, whose _nom de plume_ was "Charles
Sherry"; Robert Habersham, the "Mr. Airy" of the group; and that
clever young trifler, Theodore Snow, who delighted the readers of the
periodical with the works of "Geoffrey La Touche." Of these, of
course, Holmes was the life and soul, and though sixty years have
passed away since he enriched the columns of the _Collegian_ with the
fruits of his muse, more than half of the pieces survive, and are
deemed good enough to hold a place beside his maturer productions.
"Evening of a Sailor," "The Meeting of the Dryads," and "The Spectre
Pig,"--the latter in the vein of Tom Hood at his best,--will be
remembered as among those in the collection which may be read to-day
with the zest, appreciation, and delight which they inspired more
than half a century ago. Holmes' connection with the _Collegian_ had a
most inspiriting effect on his fellow contributors, who found their
wits sharpened by contact with a mind that was forever buoyant and
overflowing with humor and good nature. In friendly rivalry, those
kindred intellects vied with one another, and no more brilliant
college paper was ever published than the _Collegian_, and this is
more remarkable still, when we come to consider the fact, that at that
time, literature in America was practically in its infancy. Nine years
before, Sydney Smith had asked his famous question, "Who reads an
American book? who goes to an American play?" And to that query there
was really no answer. Six numbers of the _Collegian_ were issued, and
they must have proved a revelation to the men and women of that day,
whose reading, hitherto, had almost been confined to the imported
article from beyond the seas, for Washington Irving wrote with the pen
of an English gentleman, Bryant and Dana had not yet made their mark
in distinctively American authorship, and Cooper's "Prairie" was just
becoming to be understood by the critics and people.

Shaking the dust of the law office from his shoes, Oliver Wendell
Holmes, abandoning literature for a time, plunged boldly into the
study of a profession for which he had always evinced a strong
predilection. The art and practice of medical science had ever a
fascination for him, and he made rapid progress at the university.
Once or twice he yielded to impulse, and wrote a few bright things,
anonymously, for the _Harbinger_,--the paper which Epes Sargent and
Park Benjamin published for the benefit of a charitable institution,
and dedicated as a May gift to the ladies who had aided the New
England Institution for the Education of the Blind. In 1833, Holmes
sailed for Paris, where he studied medicine and surgery, and walked
the hospitals. Three years were spent abroad, and then the young
student returned to Cambridge to take his medical degree at Harvard,
and to deliver his metrical Essay on Poetry, before the Phi-Beta-Kappa
Society. In this year too, 1836, he published his first acknowledged
book of poems,--a duodecimo volume of less than two hundred pages. In
this collection his Essay on Poetry appeared. It describes the art in
four stages, _viz._, the Pastoral or Bucolic, the Martial, the Epic,
and the Dramatic. In illustration of his views, he furnished
exemplars from his own prolific muse, and his striking poem of "Old
Ironsides" was printed for the first time, and sprang at a bound into
national esteem. And in this first book, there was included that
little poem, "The Last Leaf," better work than which Holmes has never
done. It is in a vein which he has developed much since then. Grace,
humor, pathos, and happiness of phrase and idea, are all to be found
in its delicious stanzas:--

    I saw him once before,
    As he passed by the door,
            And again
    The pavement stones resound,
    As he totters o'er the ground
            With his cane.

    They say that in his prime,
    Ere the pruning-knife of Time
            Cut him down,
    Not a better man was found
    By the Crier on his round
            Through the town.

    But now he walks the streets,
    And he looks at all he meets,
            Sad and wan;
    And he shakes his feeble head,
    That it seems as if he said,
            "They are gone!"

    The mossy marbles rest
    On the lips that he has prest
            In their bloom,
    And the names he loved to hear
    Have been carved for many a year
            On the tomb.

    My grandmamma has said--
    Poor old lady, she is dead
            Long ago--
    That he had a Roman nose,
    And his cheek was like a rose
            In the snow.

    But now his nose is thin,
    And it rests upon his chin
            Like a staff;
    And a crook is in his back,
    And a melancholy crack
            In his laugh.

    I know it is a sin
    For me to sit and grin
            At him here;
    But the old three-cornered hat,
    And the breeches, and all that,
            Are so queer!

    And if I should live to be
    The last leaf upon the tree
            In the spring,
    Let them smile as I do now,
    At the old forsaken bough
            Where I cling.

In 1838, Doctor Holmes accepted his first professorial position, and
became professor of anatomy and physiology at Dartmouth. Two years
later, he married, and took up the practice of medicine in Boston. In
1847, he returned to his old love, accepting the Parkman professorship
of anatomy and physiology, in the Medical School at Harvard. While
engaged in teaching, he prepared for publication several important
books and reports relating to his profession, and his papers in the
various medical journals attracted great attention by their freshness,
clearness, and originality. But it is not as a medical man that Doctor
Holmes may be discussed in this paper. We have to deal altogether with
his literary career,--a career, which for its brilliancy has not been
surpassed on this side of the Atlantic.

As a poet he differs much from his contemporaries, but the standard he
has reached is as high as that which has been attained by Lowell and
Longfellow. In lofty verse he is strong and unconventional, writing
always with a firm grasp on his subject, and emphasizing his perfect
knowledge of melody and metre. As a writer of occasional verse he has
not had an equal in our time, and his pen for threescore years has
been put to frequent use in celebration of all sorts of events,
whether military, literary, or scientific. Bayard Taylor said, "He
lifted the 'occasional' into the 'classic'," and the phrase happily
expresses the truth. The vivacious character of his nature readily
lends itself to work of this sort, and though the printed page gives
the reader the sparkling epigram and the graceful lines, clear-cut
always and full of soul, the pleasure is not quite the same as seeing
and hearing him recite his own poems, in the company of congenial
friends. His songs are full of sunshine and heart, and his literary
manner wins by its simplicity and tenderness. Years ago, Miss Mitford
said that she knew no one so thoroughly original. For him she could
find no living prototype. And so she went back to the time of John
Dryden to find a man to whom she might compare him. And Lowell in his
"Fable for Critics," describes Holmes as

    "A Leyden-jar full-charged, from which flit
    The electrical tingles, of hit after hit."

His lyrical pieces are among the best of his compositions, and his
ballads, too few in number, betray that love which he has always felt
for the melodious minstrelsy of the ancient bards. Whittier thought
that the "Chambered Nautilus" was "booked for immortality." In the
same list may be put the "One-Hoss Shay," "Contentment,"
"Destination," "How the Old Horse Won the Bet," "The Broomstick
Train," and that lovely family portrait, "Dorothy Q----," a poem with
a history. Dorothy Quincy's picture, cold and hard, painted by an
unknown artist, hangs on the wall of the poet's home in Beacon Street.
A hole in the canvas marks the spot where one of King George's
soldiers thrust his bayonet. The lady was Dr. Holmes' grandmother's
mother, and she is represented as being about thirteen years of age,

    Girlish bust, but womanly air;
    Smooth, square forehead, with uprolled hair;
    Lips that lover has never kissed;
    Taper fingers and slender wrist;
    Hanging sleeves of stiff brocade;
    So they painted the little maid.

And the poet goes on:--

    What if a hundred years ago
    Those close-shut lips had answered no,
    When forth the tremulous question came
    That cost the maiden her Norman name,
    And under the folds that look so still,
    The bodice swelled with the bosom's thrill!
    Should I be I, or would it be
    One tenth another, to nine tenths me?

    Soft is the breath of a maiden's yes,
    Not the light gossamer stirs with less;
    But never a cable that holds so fast
    Through all the battles of wave and blast,
    And never an echo of speech or song
    That lives in the babbling air so long!
    There were tones in the voice that whispered then,
    You may hear to-day in a hundred men.

    O lady and lover, how faint and far
    Your images hover, and here we are,
    Solid and stirring in flesh and bone,
    Edward's and Dorothy's--all their own,
    A goodly record for time to show
    Of a syllable spoken so long ago!
    Shall I bless you, Dorothy, or forgive
    For the tender whisper that bade me live?

    It shall be a blessing, my little maid!
    I will heal the stab of the red-coat's blade,
    And freshen the gold of the tarnished frame,
    And gild with a rhyme your household name;
    So you shall smile on us brave and bright,
    As first you greeted the morning's light,
    And live untroubled by woes and fears
    Through a second youth of a hundred years.

Dr. Holmes' coloring is invariably artistic. Nothing in his verse
offends the eye or grates unpleasantly on the ear. He is a true
musician, and his story, joke, or passing fancy is always joined to a
measure which never halts. "The Voiceless," perhaps, as well as "Under
the Violets," ought to be mentioned among the more tender verses which
we have from his pen, in his higher mood.

His novels are object lessons, each one having been written with a
well-defined purpose in view. But unlike most novels with a purpose,
the three which he has written are nowise dull. The first of the set
is "The Professor's Story; or, Elsie Venner," the second is "The
Guardian Angel," written when the author was in his prime, and the
third is "A Mortal Antipathy," written only a few years ago. In no
sense are these works commonplace. Their art is very superb, and while
they amuse, they afford the reader much opportunity for reflection.
Elsie Venner is a romance of destiny, and a strange physiological
condition furnishes the key-note and marrow of the tale. It is Holmes'
snake story, the taint of the serpent appearing in the daughter, whose
mother was bitten by a rattle-snake before her babe was born. The
traits inherited by this unfortunate offspring from the reptile, find
rapid development. She becomes a creature of impulse, and her life
spent in a New England village, at a ladies' academy, with its social
and religious surroundings, is described and worked out with rare
analytical skill, and by a hand accustomed to deal with curious
scientific phenomena. The character drawing is admirable, the episodes
are striking and original, and the scenery, carefully elaborated, is
managed with fine judgment. Despite the idea, which to some may at
first blush appear revolting and startling, there is nothing
sensational in the book. The reader observes only the growth and
movement of the poison in the girl's system, its effect on her way of
life, and its remarkable power over her mind. Horror or disgust at her
condition is not for one moment evoked. The style is pure and
ennobling, and while our sympathies may be touched, we are at the same
time fascinated and entertained, from the first page to the last. Of
quite different texture is "The Guardian Angel," a perhaps more
readable story, so far as form is concerned, much lighter in
character, and less of a study. There is more plot, but the range is
not so lofty. It is less philosophical in tone than "Elsie Venner,"
and the events move quicker. The scene of "The Guardian Angel" is also
laid in an ordinary New England village, and the object of the
Doctor-Novelist was to write a tale in which the peculiarities and
laws of hysteria should find expression and development. In carrying
out his plan, Dr. Holmes has achieved a genuine success. He has taught
a lesson, and at the same time has told a deeply interesting story,
lightened up here and there with characteristic humor and wit. The
characters of Myrtle Hazard and Byles Gridley are drawn with nice
discrimination, while the sketch of the village poet, Mr. Gifted
Hopkins, is so life-like and realistic, that he has only to be named
to be instantly recognized. He is a type of the poet who haunts the
newspaper office, and belongs to every town and hamlet. His lady-love
is Miss Susan Posey, a delicious creation in Dr. Holmes' best manner.
These two prove excellent foils for the stronger personages of the
story, and afford much amusement. "A Mortal Antipathy" is less of a
romance than the others. The reader will be interested in the
description of a boat race which is exquisitely done.

In biographical writing, we have two books from Dr. Holmes, one a
short life of Emerson, and the other a memoir of Motley. Though
capable of writing a great biography like Trevelyan's Macaulay or
Lockhart's Scott, the doctor has not yet done so. Of the two which he
has written, the Motley is the better one. In neither, however, has
the author arrived at his own standard of what a biography should be.

Mechanism in thought and morals,--a Phi-Beta-Kappa address, delivered
at Harvard in 1870,--is one of Dr. Holmes' most luminous contributions
to popular science. It is ample in the way of suggestion and the
presentation of facts, and though scientific in treatment, the
captivating style of the essayist relieves the paper of all heaviness.
A brief extract from this fine, thoughtful work may be given here:--

     "We wish to remember something in the course of
     conversation. No effort of the will can reach it; but we
     say, 'wait a minute, and it will come to me,' and go on
     talking. Presently, perhaps some minutes later, the idea we
     are in search of comes all at once into the mind, delivered
     like a prepaid bundle, laid at the door of consciousness
     like a foundling in a basket. How it came there we know not.
     The mind must have been at work groping and feeling for it
     in the dark; it cannot have come of itself. Yet all the
     while, our consciousness was busy with other thoughts."

The literary reputation of Dr. Holmes will rest on the three great
books which have made his name famous on two continents. Thackeray had
passed his fortieth year before he produced his magnificent novel.
Holmes, too, was more than forty when he began that unique and
original book, "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," one of the most
thoughtful, graceful, and able investigations into philosophy and
culture ever written. We have the author in every mood, playful and
pathetic, witty and wise. Who can ever forget the young fellow
called John, our Benjamin Franklin, the Divinity student, the
school-mistress, the landlady's daughter, and the poor relation? What
characterization is there here! The delightful talk of the autocrat,
his humor, always infectious, his logic, his strong common sense,
illumine every page. When he began to write, Dr. Holmes had no settled
plan in his head. In November, 1831, he sent an article to the _New
England Magazine_, published by Buckingham in Boston, followed by
another paper in February, 1832. The idea next occurred to the author
in 1857,--a quarter of a century afterwards, when the editors of the
_Atlantic Monthly_, then starting on its career, begged him to write
something for its pages. He thought of "The Autocrat," and resolved,
as he says, "to shake the same bough again, and see if the ripe fruit
were better or worse than the early windfalls." At a bound "The
Autocrat" leaped into popular favor. The reading public could hardly
wait for the numbers. All sorts of topics are touched upon from nature
to mankind. There is the talk about the trees, which one may read a
dozen times and feel the better for it. And then comes that charming
account of the walk with the school-mistress, when the lovers looked
at the elms, and the roses came and went on the maiden's cheeks. And
here is a paragraph or two which makes men think:

     "Our brains are seventy-year clocks. The angel of life winds
     them up once for all, then closes the case, and gives the
     key into the hand of the Angel of the Resurrection. Tic-tac!
     tic-tac! go the wheels of thought; our will cannot stop
     them; they cannot stop themselves; sleep cannot still them;
     madness only makes them go faster; death alone can break
     into the case, and seizing the ever-swinging pendulum, which
     we call the heart, silence at last the clicking of the
     terrible escapement we have carried so long beneath our
     wrinkled foreheads.

     "If we could only get at them, as we lie on our pillows and
     count the dead beats of thought after thought, and image
     after image, jarring through the overtired organ! Will
     nobody block those wheels, uncouple that pinion, cut the
     string that holds those weights, blow up the infernal
     machine with gun-powder? What a passion comes over us
     sometimes for silence and rest!--that this dreadful
     mechanism, unwinding the endless tapestry of time,
     embroidered with spectral figures of life and death, could
     have but one brief holiday! Who can wonder that men swing
     themselves off from beams in hempen lassos?--that they jump
     off from parapets into the swift and gurgling waters
     beneath?--that they take counsel of the grim friend who has
     but to utter his one peremptory monosyllable and the
     restless machine is shivered as a vase that is dashed upon a
     marble floor? Under that building which we pass every day
     there are strong dungeons, where neither hook, nor bar, nor
     bed-cord, nor drinking vessel from which a sharp fragment
     may be shattered, shall by any chance be seen. There is
     nothing for it, when the brain is on fire with the whirling
     of its wheels, but to spring against the stone wall and
     silence them with one crash. Ah, they remembered that,--the
     kind city fathers,--and the walls are nicely padded, so that
     one can take such exercise as he likes without damaging
     himself on the very plain and serviceable upholstery. If
     anybody would only contrive some kind of a lever that one
     could thrust in among the works of this horrid automaton and
     check them, or alter their rate of going, what would the
     world give for the discovery?"

"The Autocrat" was followed by "The Professor at the Breakfast
Table,"--a book in every way equal to the first one, though, to be
sure, there are critics who pretend to see diminished power in the
author's pen. It is, however, full of the same gentle humor and keen
analyses of the follies and foibles of human kind. It is a trifle
graver, though some of the characters belonging to "The Autocrat" come
to the front again. It is in this book that we find that lovely story
of Iris,--a masterpiece in itself and one of the sweetest things that
has come to us for a hundred years, rivalling to a degree the
delicious manner and style of Goldsmith and Lamb. In 1873 the last of
the series appeared, and "The Poet" came upon the scene to gladden the
breakfasters. Every chapter sparkles with originality. "I have," says
Dr. Holmes, "unburdened myself in this book, and in some other pages,
of what I was born to say. Many things that I have said in my riper
days have been aching in my soul since I was a mere child. I say
aching, because they conflicted with many of my inherited beliefs, or
rather traditions. I did not know then that two strains of blood were
striving in me for the mastery--two! twenty, perhaps, twenty thousand,
for aught I know--but represented to me by two--paternal and maternal.
But I do know this: I have struck a good many chords, first and last,
in the consciousness of other people. I confess to a tender feeling
for my little brood of thoughts. When they have been welcomed and
praised, it has pleased me, and if at any time they have been rudely
handled and despitefully treated, it has cost me a little worry. I
don't despise reputation, and I should like to be remembered as having
said something worth lasting well enough to last."

There is much philosophy in "The Poet," and if it is less humorous
than "The Autocrat," it is more profound than either of its fellows in
the great trio. In it the doctor has said enough to make the
reputations of half a dozen authors.

"One Hundred Days in Europe," if written by anyone else save Dr.
Holmes, would, perhaps, go begging for a publisher. But he journeyed
to the old land with his heart upon his sleeve. He met nearly every
man and woman worth knowing, and the Court, Science, and Literature
received him with open arms. He had not seen England for half a
century. Fifty years before, he was an obscure young man, studying
medicine, and known by scarcely half a dozen persons. He returned in
1886, a man of world-wide fame, and every hand was stretched out to do
him honor, and to pay him homage. Lord Houghton,--the famous breakfast
giver of his time, certainly, the most successful since the princely
Rogers,--had met him in Boston years before, and had begged him again
and again to cross the ocean. Letters failing to move the poet,
Houghton tried verse upon him, and sent these graceful lines:--

    "When genius from the furthest West,
       Sierra's Wilds and Poker Flat,
     Can seek our shores with filial zest,
       Why not the genial Autocrat?

    "Why is this burden on us laid,
       That friendly London never greets
     The peer of Locker, Moore, and Praed
       From Boston's almost neighbor streets?

    "His earlier and maturer powers
       His own dear land might well engage;
     We only ask a few kind hours
       Of his serene and vigorous age.

    "Oh, for a glimpse of glorious Poe!
       His raven grimly answers 'never!'
     Will Holmes's milder muse say 'no,'
       And keep our hands apart forever?"

But he was not destined to see his friend. When Holmes arrived in
England, Lord Houghton was in his grave, and so was Dean Stanley,
whose sweetness of disposition had so charmed the autocrat, when the
two men had met in Boston a few years before. Ruskin he failed to meet
also, for the distinguished word-painter was ill. At a dinner,
however, at Arch-Deacon Farrar's, he spent some time with Sir John
Millais and Prof. John Tyndall. Of course, he saw Gladstone, Tennyson,
Robert Browning, Chief Justice Coleridge, Du Maurier, the illustrator
of _Punch_, Prof. James Bryce who wrote "The American Commonwealth,"
"Lord Wolseley," Britain's "Only General," "His Grace of Argyll,"
"Lord Lorne and the Princess Louise,"--one of the best amateur
painters and sculptors in England,--and many others. Of all these
noted ones, he has something bright and entertaining to say. The
universities laid their highest honors at his feet. Edinburgh gave him
the degree of LL.D., Cambridge that of Doctor of Letters, and Oxford
conferred upon him her D. C. L., his companion on the last occasion
being John Bright. It was at Oxford that he met Vice-Chancellor
Benjamin Jowett, the Master of Balliol College, Prof. Max Müller, Lord
and Lady Herschell, and Prof. James Russell Lowell, his old and
unvarying friend. The account of his visit to Europe is told with most
engaging directness and simplicity, and though the book has no
permanent value, it affords much entertainment for the time.

The reader will experience a feeling of sadness, when he takes up Dr.
Holmes' last book, "Over the Tea-cups," for there are indications in
the work which warn the public that the genial pen will write
hereafter less frequently than usual. It is a witty and delightful
book, recalling the Autocrat, the Professor, and the Poet, and yet
presenting features not to be found in either. The author dwells on
his advancing years, but this he does not do in a querulous fashion.
He speaks of his contemporaries, and compares the ages of old trees,
and over the tea-cups a thousand quaint, curious, and splendid things
are said. The work takes a wide range, but there is more sunshine than
anything else, and that indefinable charm, peculiar to the author,
enriches every page. One might wish that he would never grow old. As
Lowell said, a few years ago, in a birthday verse to the doctor:--

    "You keep your youth as yon Scotch firs,
       Whose gaunt line my horizon hems,
     Though twilight all the lowland blurs,
       Hold sunset in their ruddy stems.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Master alike in speech and song
       Of fame's great anti-septic--style,
     You with the classic few belong
       Who tempered wisdom with a smile.

     Outlive us all! Who else like you
       Could sift the seed corn from our chaff,
     And make us, with the pen we knew,
       Deathless at least in epitaph?"



Let us imagine that a foreigner has entered a New York ball-room for
the first time, and let us make that foreigner not merely an
Englishman, but an Englishman of title. He would soon be charmed by
the women who beamed on every side of him. Their refinement of manner
would be obvious, though in some cases they might shock him by a
shrillness and nasal harshness when speaking, while in other cases
both their tone and accent might repel him through extreme affectation
of "elegance." But for the most part he would pronounce these women
bright, cultivated, and often remarkably handsome. They would not
require to be amused or even entertained after the manner of his own
countrywomen; they would appear before him amply capable of yielding
rather than exacting diversion, and often through the mediums of
nimble wit, engaging humor, or an audacity at once daring and
picturesque. But after a little more time our titled stranger would
begin to perceive that behind all this feminine sparkle and freshness,
lurked a positive transport of humility. He would discover that he had
swiftly become with these fashionable ladies an object of idolatry,
and that all the single ones were thrilled with the idea of marrying
him, while all the married ones felt pierced by the sad realization
that destiny had disqualified them for so golden a bit of luck. He
would find himself assailed by questions about his precise English
rank and standing. Had he any other title besides the one by which he
was currently known? How long ago was it since his family had been
elevated to the peerage? Did he personally know the Queen or the
Prince of Wales? Was his mother "Lady" anybody before she married his
father? Did he own several places in the country, and if so, what was
the name of each?

The men would naturally be less inquisitive; but then the men all
would have their Burke or DeBrett to consult at their clubs, and could
"look him up" there as if he had been an unfamiliar word in the
dictionary. And these male followers of fashion would, for the most
part, distress and perplex him. He would be confronted with a mournful
fact in our social life: the men who "go out" are nearly all silly
striplings who, on reaching a sensible age, discreetly remain at home.

He would soon begin to perceive that New York society is a blending of
the ludicrous and pathetic. The really charming women have two
terrible faults, one which their fathers, husbands, and brothers have
taught them, and one which they have apparently contracted without
extraneous aid. The first is their worship of wealth, their devout
genuflection before it as the sole choicest gift which fate can
bestow, and the second is their merciless and metallic snobbery. They
have made a god of caste, and in a country where, of all other cults,
that of caste is the most preposterous. The men (the real grown-up
men, who may hate the big balls, but are nevertheless a great deal in
the movement as regards other gay pastimes) watch them with quiet
approbation. Many a New York husband is quite willing that his wife
shall cut her own grandmother if that relative be not "desirable." The
men have not time to preen their social plumes quite so strenuously;
they are too busy in money-getting, and of a sort which nearly always
concerns the hazard of the Wall Street die. And yet quite a number of
the men are arrant snobs, refusing to associate with, often even to
notice, others whose dollars count fewer than their own. This form of
plutocratic self-adulation is relatively modern. It is called by some
people a very inferior state of things to that which existed in "the
good old Knickerbocker days." But the truth is, odious though the
millionnaire's ascendancy may be at present, that of the Knickerbocker
was once hardly less so. Vulgar, brassy, and intolerable the
"I'm-better-than-you" strut and swagger of plutocracy surely is; but
in the smug, pert provincialism of those former New York autocrats who
defined as "family" their descent of two or three generations from raw
Dutch immigrants, there was very little comfort indeed. The present
writer has seen something of this element; in the decade from 1865 to
1875 it was still extremely active. Society was then governed by the
Knickerbocker, as it is now governed by the plutocrat, and in either
instance the rule has been wholly deplorable. Indeed, for one cogent
reason, if no other, poor New York stands to-day as the least
fortunate of all great cities. Her society, from the time she ceased
to admit herself a village up to the date at which these lines are
written, has never been even faintly worthy of the name. A few years
ago the "old residents," with their ridiculous claims to pedigree, had
everything their own way. A New York drawing-room was, in those days,
parochial as a Boston or Philadelphia tea-party. There were modish
metropolitan details, it is true, but the petty reign of the immigrant
Hollanders' descendants would have put to shame the laborious freaks
and foibles of a tiny German principality. Now, having changed all
that, and having forced the Knickerbockers from their old places of
vantage, the plutocrats reign supreme. To a mind capable of being
saddened by human materialism, pretension, braggadocio, it is all very
much the same sort of affair. Our republic should be ashamed of an
aristocracy founded on either money or birth, and that thousands of
its citizens are not only unashamed of such systems, but really glory
in them, is merely another proof of how this country has broken almost
every democratic promise which she once made to the Old World.

It is easy to sneer away statements like these. It is easy to laugh
them off as "mere pessimism," and to talk of persons with "green
spectacles" and "disordered livers." We have learned to know the glad
ring of the optimist's patriotic voice. If we all believed this voice,
we should all believe that America is the ideal polity of the world.
And one never so keenly realizes that this is not true as when he
watches the creeds and character of society in New York. Of Londoners
we are apt to assert that they grovel obsequiously before their
prince, with his attendant throng of dukes, earls, and minor
gentlemen. This may be fact, but it is very far from being the whole
fact. In London there is a large class of ladies and gentlemen who
form a localized and centralized body, and whose assemblages are
haunts of intelligence, refinement, and good taste. In a certain sense
these are "mixed," but all noteworthy gatherings must be that, and the
"smart" and "swagger" sets of every great European city are nowadays
but a small, even a contemptible factor in its festivities.

Not long ago the present writer inquired of a well-known Englishman
whether people of literary and artistic note were not always bidden to
large and important London receptions. "In nearly all cases, yes," he
replied. "It has been the aim of my sister to invite, on such
occasions, authors, artists, and actors of talent and distinction.
They come, and are welcomed when they come." He did not mention the
name of his sister, knowing, doubtless, that I knew it. She was an
English duchess, magnificently housed in London, a beauty, and a star
of fashion.

But our New York brummagem "duchesses" of yesterday are less liberal
in their condescensions. An attractive New York woman once said to me:
"I told a man the other day that I was tired of meeting him
incessantly at dinner, and that we met each other so often in this way
as to make conversation a bore." Could any remark have more pungently
expressed the unhappy narrowness of New York reunions? How many times
has the dainty Mr. Amsterdam or Mrs. Manhattan ever met men and women
of literary or artistic gifts at a fashionable dinner in Fifth or
Madison Avenue? How many times has he or she met any such person at a
"patriarchs' ball" or an "assembly?" Has he or she _ever_ met an actor
of note _anywhere_, except in two or three exceptional instances?
True, men and women of intellectual fame shrink from contact with our
noble Four Hundred. But that they should so shrink is in itself a
scorching comment. They encounter patronage at such places, and
getting patronage from one's inferiors can never be a pleasant mode of
passing one's time. That delicate homage which is the due of mental
merit they scarcely ever receive. Now and then you hear of a
portrait-painter, who has made himself the rage of the town, being
asked to dine and to sup. But he is seldom really held to be _des
nôtres_, as the haughty elect ones would phrase it, and his
popularity, based upon insolent patronage, often quickly crumbles. The
solid devotion is all saved for the solid millionnaires. Frederick the
Great, if I recall rightly, said that an army was like a snake, and
moved on its stomach. Of New York society this might also be asserted,
though with a meaning much more luxurious. To be a great leader is to
be a great feeder. You must dispense terrapin, and canvas-back ducks,
and rare brands of champagne, in lordly dining-halls, or your place is
certain to be secondary. You may, if a man, have the manners of a
Chesterfield and the wit of a Balzac; you may, if a woman, be
beautiful as Mary Stuart and brilliant as DeStaël, and yet, powerless
to "entertain," you can fill no lofty pedestal. "Position" in New York
means a corpulent purse whose strings work as flexibly as the dorsal
muscles of a professional toady. And this kind of toady has an
exquisite _flair_ for your greatness and dignity the moment he becomes
quite sure of your pecuniary willingness to back both. New York is at
present the paradise of parvenus, and these occasionally commit
grotesque mistakes in the distribution of civilities. Because you
chose to "stay in" for a season or two, they will take for granted, if
suddenly brought in contact with you, that you have never "been out"
and could not go if you tried. Of course, to feel hurt by such cheap
hauteur proves that you are in a manner worthy of it; but even though
you are not in the least hurt, you cannot refrain from a thrill of
annoyance that a country which has boasted in so loud-mouthed a way to
Europe of having begun its national life by a wholesome scorn of all
class distinction, should contain citizens cursed by a spirit of such
tawdry pride. At least the aristocracies of other lands, vicious and
reprehensible as they have always been, are yet an evil with a certain
malign consistency for their support. Like those monarchies of which
they have formed a piteous adjunct, they have always been the
outgrowths of a perfectly natural ignorance. Though distinct clogs to
civilization, their existence remains pathetically legitimate.
Nuisances, they are still nuisances with a hereditary hold on history.
Their chief modern claim for continuance is the fact that they were
once authorized by that very "divine right" which is now the scorn and
jest of philosophy, and that the communities which they still infest
are yet unprepared for the shock of their extirpation. It is clear
that they will one day be sloughed off like a mass of dead animal
tissue, even if they are not amputated like a living limb that has
grown hopelessly diseased. They are as surely doomed by the slow
threat of evolution as is the failure to establish trial by jury in
Russia. They are tolerated by progress for the simple reason that
progress is not yet ready to destroy them. Hence are all imitations of
their permitted and perpetuated folly in wofully bad taste. They are
more; they are an insult, when practised in such a land as ours, to
republican energies, motives, and ideals. Heaven knows, we are a
country with sorry enough substantiality behind her vaunts. We call
ourselves freemen, and our mines and factories are swarming with
haggard slaves. We declare that to be President of the United States
is the most honorable office a man can hold, and our elected
candidates (except when they have the splendid self-abnegating courage
of a Cleveland!) wade to Washington through a perfect bog of venal
promises. We prate of our democratic institutions, and forget that
free trade is one of the first proofs of a free people, and that
protected industries are the feudalism of manufacture. We sneer at the
corruption of a Jeffreys or a Marlborough in the past, and concede
that bribery riots in our capital, and that the infernal political
grist-mill in New York has to-day almost as much nefarious grinding to
get through with annually as it had when Tweed and Sweeny stood the
boss millers that fed its voracious maw. And after all, the
abominations of New York's politics are only a few degrees more
repellent than the cruelties and pusillanimities of her self-styled
patrician horde. The highest duty of rich people is to be charitable;
in New York the rich people make for themselves two highest duties, to
be fashionable and to be richer--if they can. Charity of a certain
sort does exist among them, and it would be unfair to say that it is
all of the pompous public sort. Much of it, indeed, is private, and
when incomes, as in a few individual cases, reach enormous figures,
the unpretentious donations are of no slight weight. But charity is a
virtue that counts for nothing unless meekness, philanthropy,
altruism, is each its acolyte. How can we expect that beings who busy
themselves with affairs of such poignant importance as whether they
shall give Jones a full nod or Brown a quarter of a nod when they next
meet him; as whether the Moneypennys are really quite _lancés_ enough
for them to encounter the great Gilt-edges or no, at a prospective
dinner-party; as whether the latest Parisian tidings about bonnets are
really authentic or the contrary; as whether His Royal Highness has or
has not actually appeared at one of his imperial mamma's drawing-rooms
in a Newmarket cutaway,--how, it is asked, can we expect that beings
of this bent may properly heed those ghastly and incessant wants which
are forever making of humanity the forlorn tragi-comedy it is? The
yawp of socialism is excusably despised by plutocracy. Socialism is
not merely a cry of pain; if it were only that its plaints might have
proved more effectual. It is a cry of avarice, of jealousy, and very
often of extreme laziness as well. Every socialistic theory that we
have yet heard of is self-damning. Each real thinker, whether he be
Croesus or pauper, comprehends that to empower the executive with
greater responsibility than it already possesses would mean to tempt
national ruin, and that until mankind has become a race of angels the
hideous problem of human suffering can never be solved by vesting
private property-rights in the hands of public functionaries. But the
note of anguish in that voice of desperation and revolt need not, for
all this, be confused with its madder strains. The claim of poverty
upon riches is to-day a tremendously ethical one. Help--and help wise,
earnest, persistent--is the inflexible moral tax levied by life itself
on all who have an overplus of wealth wherewith to relieve deserving
misery. The occasional careless signing of a cheque, or even a visit
now and then among the filthy slums of Bayard and Hester Streets,
cannot cancel these mighty obligations. And there are better ways of
schooling the soul to recognize the magnitude and insistence of such
obligations than by organizing ultra-select dancing-classes at
Sherry's; giving "pink luncheons" to a bevy of simpering female snobs;
uncorking eight-dollar bottles of Clos de Vougeot for a fastidious
dinner company of men-about-town; squandering three thousand dollars
on a Delmonico ball, or purchasing at vast prices the gowns and jewels
of a deposed foreign empress. Yes, there are better ways. And for
people who are solely pleasure-seekers to call themselves Christian
is, from their own points of view, blasphemy unspeakable; since
whatever we agnostics may say and believe about the alleged "divinity"
of Christ, _they_ hold that the Galilean was the son of God, and that
in such miraculous character he spoke when saying: "Leave all and
follow me."

The American snob is a type at once the most anomalous and the most
vulgar. Why he is anomalous need not be explained, but the essence of
his vulgarity lies in his entire absence of a sanctioning background.
It is not, when all is said, so strange a matter that anyone reared in
an atmosphere of historic ceremonial and precedent should betray an
inherent leaning toward shams and vanities. But if there is anything
that we Americans, as a race, are forever volubly extolling, it is our
immunity from all such drawbacks. And yet I will venture to state that
in every large city of our land snobbery and plutocracy reign as twin
evils, while in every small town, from Salem to some Pacific-slope
settlement, the beginnings of the same social curse are manifest. Of
course New York towers in bad eminence over the entire country. Abroad
they are finding out the absurd shallowness of our professions. Nearly
seven years ago an able literary man said to me in London: "I am
wearied, here, by the necessity of continual aristocratic patronage.
Especially true is this," he added, "regarding all new dramatic
productions. Lord This and Lady That are more thought of as
potentially occupying stalls or boxes at a first performance than is
the presence of the most sapient judges." And then again, after a
slight pause, he proceeded: "But I hear it is very much the same thing
with you. I have often longed to go to America, just for the sake of
that social emancipation which it has seemed to promise. But they tell
me that in your big cities a good deal of the same humbug prevails." I
assured him that he was fatally right; but I did not proceed to say,
as I might have done, that our "aristocracy" rarely patronizes first
nights at theatres, holding most ladies, and gentlemen connected with
the stage in a position somewhere between their scullions and their
head footmen.

London laughs and sneers at New York when she thinks of her at all,
which is, on the whole, not very often. If London esteemed New York of
greater importance than she does esteem her, the derisive laughter
might be keener and hence more salutary. Imagine America separated by
only a narrow channel from Europe, and imagine her to contain in her
chief metropolis, as she does at present, the amazing contradictions
and refutations of the democratic idea which are to be noted now. What
food for English, French, and German sarcasm would our pigmy Four
Hundred then become! In those remote realms they have already shrank
aghast at the licentious tyrannies of our newspapers. England has
freedom of the press, but she also has a law of libel which is not a
cipher. Our law of libel is so horribly effete that the purest woman
on our continent may to-morrow be vilely slandered, and yet obtain no
adequate form of redress. This is what our extolled "liberty" has
brought us--a despotism in its way as frightful as anything that
Russia or the Orient can parallel. Is it remarkable that such
relatively minor abuses as those of plutocracy and snobbery should
torment us here in New York when bullets of journalistic scandal are
whizzing about our ears every day of our lives, and those who get
wounds have no healing remedy within their possible reach? Some one of
our clever novelists might take a hint for the plot of a future tale
from this melancholy state of things. He might write a kind of new
Monte Cristo, and make his hero, riddled and stung by assaults of our
unbridled press, find but a single means of vengeance. That means
would be the starting of a great newspaper on his own account, and the
triumphant cannonading of his foes through its columns. More
influential New York editors would doubtless already have forced their
way within the holy bounds of patrician circles, were it not that, in
the first place editors are somewhat hard-worked persons, and that in
the second place they are usually men of brains.

Marriage, among the New York snobs and plutocrats, ordinarily treats
human affection as though it were a trifling optic malady to be cured
by a few drops of corrective lotion. Daughters are trained by their
mothers to leave no efforts untried, short of those absolutely
immoral, in winning wealthy husbands. Usually the daughters are
tractable enough. Rebellion is rare with them; why should it not be?
Almost from infancy (unless when their parents have made fortunes with
prodigious quickness) they are taught that matrimony is a mere hard
bargain, to be driven shrewdly and in a spirit of the coolest
mercantile craft. Sometimes they do really rebel, however, mastered by
pure nature, in one of those tiresome moods where she shows the
insolence of defying bloodless convention. Yet nearly always
capitulation follows. And then what follows later on? Perhaps
heart-broken resignation, perhaps masked adultery, perhaps the
degradation of public divorce. But usually it is no worse than a
silent disgusted slavery, for the American woman is notoriously cold
in all sense of passion, and when reared to respect "society" she is a
snob to the core. Some commentators aver that it is the climate which
makes her so pulseless and prudent. This is possible. But one deeply
familiar with the glacial theories of the fashionable New York mother
might find an explanation no less frigid than comprehensive for all
her traits of acquiescence and decorum. How many of these fashionable
mothers ask more than a single question of the bridegrooms they desire
for their daughters? That one question is simply: "What amount of
money do you control?" But constantly this kind of interrogation is
needless. A male "match" and "catch" finds that his income is known to
the last dollar long before he has been graduated from the senior
class at Columbia or Harvard. Society, like a genial feminine
Briaræus, opens to him its myriad rosy and dimpled arms. He has only
to let a certain selected pair of these clutch him tight, if he is
rich enough to make his personality a luring prize. Often his morals
are unsavory, but these prove no impediment. The great point with
plutocracy and snobbery is to perpetuate themselves--to go on
producing scions who will uphold for them future generations of
selfishness and arrogance. One sees the same sort of procreative
tendency in certain of our hardiest and coarsest weeds. Sometimes a
gardener comes along, with hoe, spade, and a strong uprooting animus.
In human life that kind of gardener goes by the ugly name of
Revolution. But we are dealing with neither parables nor allegories.
Those are for the modish clergymen of the select and exclusive
churches, and are administered in the form of dainty little religious
pills which these gentlemen have great art in knowing how to palatably




When the paper published in the February ARENA, entitled "The Farmer,
the Investor, and the Railway," was written, the writer was not ready
to accept national ownership as a solution of the railway problem; but
the occurrences attending the flurries of last autumn in the money
markets, when half a dozen men, in order to obtain control of certain
railways, entered into a conspiracy that came near wrecking the entire
industrial and commercial interests of the country, having shed a
lurid light upon the enormous and baleful power which the corporate
control of the railways places in the hands of what Theodore Roosevelt
aptly termed "the dangerous wealthy classes," has had the effect of
converting to the advocacy of national ownership not only the writer
but vast numbers of conservative people of the central, western, and
southern States to whom the question now assumes this form: "Which is
to be preferred: a master in the shape of a political party that it is
possible to dislodge by the use of the ballot, or one in the shape of
ten or twenty Goulds, Vanderbilts, Huntingtons, Rockefellers, Sages,
Dillons, and Brices who never die and whom it will be impossible to
dislodge by the use of the ballot?" The particular Gould or Vanderbilt
may die, as did that Vanderbilt to whom was ascribed the aphorism "The
public be damned," but the spirit and power of the Goulds and
Vanderbilts never dies.


The objections to national ownership are many; that most frequently
advanced and having the most force being the possibility that, by
reason of its control of a vastly increased number of civil servants,
the party in possession of the federal administration at the time
such ownership was assumed would be able to perpetuate its power
indefinitely. As there are more than 700,000 people employed by the
railways, this objection would seem to be well taken; and it indicates
serious and far-reaching results _unless_ some way can be devised to
neutralize the political power of such a vast addition to the official

In the military service we have a body of men that exerts little or no
political power, as the moment a citizen enters the army he divests
himself of political functions; and it is not hazardous to say that
700,000 capable and efficient men can be found who, for the sake of
employment, to be continued so long as they are capable and
well-behaved, will forego the right to take part in political affairs.
If a sufficient number of such men can be found, this objection would,
by proper legislation, be divested of all its force. At all events no
trouble from such a source has been experienced since Australian
railways were placed under control of non-partisan commissions, such a
commission, having had charge of the Victorian railways since
February, 1884, or a little more than one term, they being appointed
for seven years instead of for life, as stated by Mr. W. M. Acworth in
his argument against government control.

The second objection is that there would be constant political
pressure to make places for the strikers of the party in power, thus
adding a vast number of useless men to the force, and rendering it
progressively more difficult to effect a change in the political
complexion of the administration.

That this objection has much less force than is claimed is clear from
the conduct of the postal department which is, unquestionably, a
political adjunct of the administration; yet but few useless men are
employed, while its conduct of the mail service is a model of
efficiency after which the corporate managed railways might well
pattern. Moreover, if the railways are put under non-partisan control,
this objection will lose nearly if not quite all its force.

A third objection is that the service would be less efficient and cost
more than with continued corporate ownership.

This appears to be bare assertion, as from the very nature of the case
there can be no data outside that furnished by the government-owned
railways of the British colonies, and such data negatives these
assertions; and the advocates of national ownership are justified in
asserting that such ownership would materially lessen the cost, as any
expert can readily point out many ways in which the enormous costs of
corporate management would be lessened. With those familiar with
present methods, and not interested in their perpetuation, this
objection has no force whatever.

The fourth objection is that with constant political pressure
unnecessary lines would be built for political ends.

This is also bare assertion, although it is not impossible that such
results would follow; yet such has not been the case in the British
colonies where the governments have had control of construction. On
the other hand, it is notorious that under corporate ownership, and
solely to reap the profits to be made out of construction, the United
States have been burthened with useless parallel roads, and such
corporations as the Santa Fe have paralleled their own lines for such
profits. It is quite safe to say that when the nation owns the
railways there will be no nickel-plating, nor will such an unnecessary
expenditure be made as was involved in the construction of the "West
Shore"; nor will the feat of Gould and the Santa Fe be repeated of
each building two hundred and forty miles, side by side, for
construction profits, much of which is located in the arid portion of
Kansas where there is never likely to be traffic for even one railway.
Much of the republic is covered with closely parallel lines which
would never have been built under national ownership, and this process
will continue as long as the manipulators can make vast sums out of

A fifth objection is that with the amount of red-tape that will be in
use, it will be impossible to secure the building of needed lines.

While such objection is inconsistent with the fourth it may have some
force; but as the greater part of the country is already provided with
all the railways that will be needed for a generation, it is not a
very serious objection even if it is as difficult as asserted to
procure the building of new lines. It is not probable, however, that
the government would refuse to build any line that would clearly
subserve public convenience, the conduct of the postal service
negativing such a supposition; and for party purposes the
administration would certainly favor the construction of such lines as
were clearly needed, and it is high time that only such should be
built; and what instrumentality so fit to determine this as a
non-partisan commission acting as the agent of the whole people?

The sixth objection is that lines built by the government would cost
much more than if built by corporations.

Possibly this would be true, but they would be much better built and
cost far less for maintenance and "betterments," and would represent
no more than actual cost; and such lines as the Kansas Midland,
costing but $10,200 per mile, would not, as now, be capitalized at
$53,024 per mile; nor would the President of the Union Pacific (as
does Sidney Dillon, in the _North American Review_ for April,) say
that "A citizen, simply as a citizen, commits an impertinence when he
questions the right of a corporation to capitalize its properties at
any sum whatever," as then there would be no Sidney Dillons who would
be presidents of corporations, pretending to own railways built wholly
from government moneys and lands, and who have never invested a dollar
in the construction of a property which they have now capitalized at
the modest sum of $106,000 per mile. After such an achievement, in
making much out of nothing, it is no wonder that Mr. Dillon is a
multi-millionnaire and thinks it an impertinence when a citizen asks
how he has discharged his trust in relation to a railway built wholly
with public funds, no part of which Mr. Dillon and his associates seem
in haste to pay back; their indebtedness to the government, with many
years of unpaid interest, amounting to more than $50,000,000, which is
more than the cash cost of the railway upon which these men have been
so sharp as to induce the government, after furnishing all the money
expended in its construction, to accept a second mortgage, and now ask
the same accommodating government to reduce the rate of
interest--which they make no pretence of paying--to a nominal figure,
and to wait another hundred years for both principal and interest. To
make sure that the government's second mortgage shall be no more
valuable than second mortgages usually are, and to make it more
comfortable for the manipulators, Messrs. Gould and Dillon now propose
to put a blanket first mortgage of $250,000,000 on this property,
built wholly from funds derived from the sale of government lands and
bonds, and to pay the interest on which bonds the people are yearly
taxed, although Mr. Dillon and his associates contracted to pay such
interest. In his conception of the relations of railway corporations
to the public, Mr. Dillon is clearly not in accord with the higher
tribunals which hold, in substance, that railways are public rather
than private property, and that the shareholders _are entitled to but
a reasonable compensation for the capital actually expended in
construction_ and a limited control of the property; and in this
connection it may be well to quote briefly from decisions of the
United States Supreme Court, which, in the case of Wabash Railway
_vs._ Illinois, uses this language: "The highways in a State are the
highways of the State. The highways are not of private but of public
institution and regulation. In modern times, it is true, government is
in the habit, in some countries, of letting out the construction of
important highways, requiring a large expenditure of capital, to
agents, generally corporate bodies created for the purpose, and giving
them the right of taxing those who travel or transport goods thereon
as a means of obtaining compensation for their outlay; but a
superintending power over the highways, and the charges imposed upon
the public for their use, always remains in the government." Again, in
Olcott _vs._ the Supervisors, it is held that: "Whether the use of a
railway is a public or private one depends in no measure upon the
question who constructed it or who owns it. It has never been
considered of any importance that the road was built by the agency of
a private corporation. No matter who is the agent, the function
performed is that of the State."

Mr. Justice Bradley says: "When a railroad is chartered it is for the
purpose of performing a duty which belongs to the State itself.... It
is the duty and prerogative of the State to provide means of
intercommunication between one part of its territory and another."

If, as appears, such is the duty of the State (nation) why should not
the State resume the discharge of this duty when the corporate agents
to which it has delegated it are found to be using the delegated power
for the purpose of oppressing and plundering a public which it is the
duty of the government to protect?

The abilities of the man who cannot become a multi-millionnaire with
the free use, for twenty-five years, of $33,000,000 of government
funds, must be of a very low order, and it is no wonder, that after
having for so many years had the use of such a sum without payment of
interest, Mr. Dillon and his associates are very wealthy, and, like
others who are retaining what does not belong to them, think it an
impertinence when the owner inquires what use they are making of
property to which they have no right. Had the nation built the Union
Pacific there would have been no "Credit-Mobilier" and its unsavory
scandal, and it is safe to say that the road would not now be made to
represent an expenditure of $106,000 per mile, and that Mr. Dillon and
some others would not have so much money as to warrant them in putting
on such insufferable airs. When it is remembered what use Oakes Ames
and the Union Pacific crew made of issues of stock, it is not at all
surprising that the president of the Union Pacific should think it an
impertinence for a citizen to question the amount of capitalization or
the use to which a part of such issues have been put, some of which
are within the knowledge of the writer, so far as relates to issues of
that part of the Union Pacific lying in Kansas and built by Samuel
Hallett, who told the writer that he gave a member of the then federal
cabinet several thousand shares of the capital stock of the "Union
Pacific Railway, Eastern Division,"--now the Kansas Division of the
Union Pacific--to secure the acceptance of sections of the road which
were not built in accordance with the requirements of the act of
Congress, which provided that a given amount of government bonds per
mile should be delivered to the railway company when certain officials
should accept the road; and it was a quarrel with the chief engineer
of the road in relation to a letter written by such engineer to
President Lincoln, informing him of the defective construction of this
road, that caused Samuel Hallett to be shot down in the streets of
Wyandotte, Kansas, by engineer Talcott. It is within the knowledge of
the writer that the member of the cabinet to whom Mr. Hallett said he
gave several thousand shares of stock, held an amount of Union Pacific
shares years afterwards, and that many years after he left the cabinet
he continued to draw a large salary from the Union Pacific Company.
Mr. Hallett also told the writer what were the arguments applied to
congressmen to induce them to change the government lien from a first
to a second mortgage of the Pacific Railway lines, and what was his
contribution in dollars to the fund used to enable congressmen to see
the force of the arguments. When issues of railway shares are used for
corrupt purposes it is certainly an impertinence for a citizen to make
inquiries or offer any remarks in relation thereto.

The seventh objection to State owned railways is that they are
incapable of as progressive improvement as are corporate owned ones,
and will not keep pace with the progress of the nation in other
respects; and in his _Forum_ article Mr. Acworth lays great stress
upon this phase of the question, and argues that as a result the
service would be far less satisfactory.

There may be force in this objection, but the evidence points to an
opposite conclusion. When the nation owns the railways, trains will
run into union depots, the equipment will become uniform and of the
best character, and so sufficient that the traffic of no part of the
country would have to wait while the worthless locomotives of some
bankrupt corporation were being patched up, nor would there be the
present difficulties in obtaining freight cars, growing out of the
poverty of corporations which have been plundered by the manipulators,
and improvements would not be hindered by the diverse ideas of the
managers of various lines in relation to the adoption of devices
intended to render life more secure or to add to the public
convenience. That such is one of the evils of corporate management is
demonstrated daily, and is shown by the following from the _Railway
Review_ of March 7, 1891: "It is stated that a bill will be introduced
in the Illinois Legislature, at the suggestion of the railroad and
warehouse commissioners, governing the placing of interlocking plants
at railway grade crossings. It sometimes happens that one of the
companies concerned is anxious to put in such a plant and the other
objects. At present there is no law to govern the matter, and the
enterprising company is forced to abide the time of the other."
Instead of national ownership being a hindrance to improvement and
enterprise, the results in Australia prove the contrary, as in
Victoria the government railways are already provided with
interlocking plants at all grade crossings, and one line does not have
to wait the motion of another, but all are governed by an active and
enlightened policy which adopts all beneficial improvements,
appliances or modes of administration that will add either to the
public safety, comfort, or convenience. It is safe to say that had
the nation been operating the railways, there would have been no
Fourth Avenue tunnel horror; and Chauncey Depew and associates would
not now be under indictment, as the government would not have
continued the use of the death-dealing stove on nearly half the
railways in the country in order to save money for the shareholders.

Existing evidence all negatives Mr. Acworth's postulate "that State
railway systems are incapable of vigorous life."

An objection to national ownership, which the writer has not seen
advanced, is that States, counties, cities, townships, and
school-districts would lose some $27,000,000 of revenue derived from
taxes upon railways.

While this would be a serious loss to some communities, there would be
compensating advantages for the public, as the cost of transportation
would be lessened in like measure.

Many believe stringent laws, enforced by commissions having judicial
powers, will serve the desired end, and the writer was long hopeful of
the efficacy of regulation by State and national commissions; but
close observation of their endeavors and of the constant efforts--too
often successful--of the corporations to place their tools on such
commissions, and to evade all laws and regulations, have convinced him
that such control is and must continue to be ineffective, and that the
only hope of just and impartial treatment for railway users is to
exercise the "right of eminent domain," condemn the railways, and pay
their owners what it would cost to duplicate them; and in this
connection it may be well to state what valuations some of the
corporations place upon their properties.

Some years since the "Santa Fe" filed in the counties on its line a
statement showing that at the then price of labor and materials--rails
were double the present price--that their road could be duplicated for
$9,685 per mile, and the materials being much worn the actual cash
value of the road did not exceed $7,725 per mile.

In 1885 the superintendent of the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Railway,
before the Arkansas State board of assessors, swore that he could
duplicate such railway for $11,000 per mile, and yet Mr. Gould has
managed to float its securities, notwithstanding a capitalization of
five times that amount.

                 (_Concluded next month_.)




      [1] Translated by G. H. A. Meyer and J. Henry Wiggin,
          from the manuscript of Camille Flammarion.

The human soul would seem to be a spiritual substance, endowed with
psychical force, capable of acting outside bodily limits. This force,
like all others, may be transmissible into the form of electricity or
heat, or may be capable of bringing into activity certain latent
energies while it yet remains intimately united with our mental being.

We propound questions to the table, already impressed with our nervous
impetus, on subjects interesting to ourselves; and then we ourselves
unconsciously inspire the responses. The table speaks to us in our own
language, giving back our own ideas, within the limits of our own
knowledge, conversing with us about our opinions and views, as we
might discuss them with ourselves. This is absolutely the
reflection--direct or remote, precise or vague--of our own feelings
and thoughts. All my efforts to establish the identity of a stranger
spirit, unknown to the persons present, have failed.

On the other hand, attentive examination of different communications
leads us toward a conclusion as to their origin. When amidst the
Marquis de Mirville's revelations, one is in the full swing of Roman
Catholic diabolism--demons, spirits, purgatory, miracles,
prayers,--nothing is lacking. With the Count de Gasparin, we are in
the bosom of Rational Protestantism, which is absolutely the opposite
of the other. Here are no present miracles, no devils, but simply a
physical agency, a fluid obedient to volition. In the experiences of
Eugene Nus's circle, we find the language of Fourier discoursing about
the phalanstery, about racial solidarity, and socialistic religion.
Therein are found earthly music chanted in space,--songs of Saturn and
Jupiter dictated under the influence of Alyre Bureau, who was the
musician for the spiritualist society of Allan-Kardec. Here we have
disembodied spirits of all ranks, and this is the apostolate of their

In the United States, on the contrary, the moving tables declare that
the hypothesis of reincarnation is absurd and misleading; and it may
be assumed that none of the persons present, especially the ladies,
would for one moment admit the possibility of being some day
reincarnated beneath the skin of a negro. A brilliant imagination,
like that of Sardou, will picture to us Jupiter's castles; a musician
may receive the revelation of a musical composition, more or less
charming; an astronomer may be favored with astronomical
communications. Is this physical auto-suggestion? Not absolutely,
since the force goes outside of ourselves, in order to act. It is
rather _mental_ suggestion; yet an idea cannot be suggested to a piece
of wood. This is, therefore, the direct action of the mind. I cannot
find a better name for it than _psychical force_, a term, as already
stated, which I have used since 1865, and which has since become the

The action of mind, outside the body, has other testimony, however.
Magnetism, hypnotism, suggestion, telepathy prove this every day. It
cannot be disputed that here also we encounter many illusions.

Some ten years ago a learned physician at Nice, Doctor Barety, the
author of "La Force Neurique Rayonnante et Circulante" (The Radiation
and Circulation of Nervous Force) devoted himself to ingenious
experiments in the distant transmission of thought as observable in a
magnetized person. In these experiments, in which I assisted, it
seemed to me that the subject's sense of hearing amply sufficed to
explain the results.

Take one case. The subject began to count aloud, while the magnetizer
was in an adjoining room, the door standing open between them. At a
certain moment the doctor, with all his energy, projected his "nervous
fluid" from his hands, and the magnetized subject forthwith ceased
counting; yet the doctor's linen cuffs made enough noise to indicate
what he commanded, though no word was spoken. During the experiments
at Salpétrière and at Ivry, to which Doctor Luys was kind enough to
invite me, I thought I observed that a previous knowledge of the
sequence of the experiments furnished a wide margin for the exercise
of the personal faculties of the young women upon whom the experiments
were made. These suspicions, however, did not prevent certain facts in
regard to mental suggestion from being absolutely incontestable.

Here is one among others:--

Doctor Ochorowiez was attending a lady troubled with long-standing
hysterio-epilepsy, aggravated by a maniacal inclination to suicide.
Madame M. was twenty-seven years of age, and had a vigorous
constitution. She appeared to be in excellent health. Her active and
gay temperament was united with extreme moral sensibility. Her
character was specially truthful. Her profound goodness was tinctured
with a tendency toward self-sacrifice. Her intelligence was
remarkable. Her talents were many, and her perceptive faculties were
good. At times she would display a lack of willpower, and an element
of painful indecision; while at other times she showed exceptional
firmness. The slightest moral fatigue, any unexpected impression,
though of trifling importance, whether agreeable or otherwise,
reacted, although slowly and imperceptibly, upon her vaso-motor
nerves, and brought on convulsive attacks and a nervous swoon. Writes
Dr. Ochorowiez in his work on Mental Suggestion:

     One day, or rather one night, her attack being over
     (including a phase of delirium), the patient fell quietly
     asleep. Awaking suddenly, and seeing us (one of her female
     friends and myself) still near her, she begged us to go
     away, and not to tire ourselves needlessly on her account.
     She was so persistent that, fearing a nervous crisis, we
     departed. I went slowly downstairs, for she resided on the
     fourth story, and I paused several times to listen
     attentively, troubled by an evil presentiment; for she had
     wounded herself several times a few days before. I had
     already reached the courtyard, when I paused again, asking
     myself whether or not I ought to go away.

     All at once her window opened with a slam, and I saw the
     sick woman leaning out with a rapid motion. I rushed to the
     spot where she might fall; and mechanically, without
     attaching any great importance to the impulse, I
     concentrated all my will in one great desire to oppose her

     The patient was influenced, however, though already leaning
     far out, and retreated slowly and spasmodically from the
     window. The same movements were repeated five times in
     succession, until the patient, seemingly fatigued, at last
     remained motionless, her back leaning against the casement
     of the window, which was still open.

     She could not see me, as I was in the shadow far below, and
     it was night. At that moment, her friend, Mademoiselle X.,
     ran in, and caught madame in her arms. I heard them
     struggling together, and hastened up the stairs to
     mademoiselle's assistance. I found the invalid in a frenzy
     of excitement. She did not recognize us, but mistook us for
     robbers. I could only draw her away from the window by using
     violence enough to throw her upon her knees. Several times
     she tried to bite me; but after much trouble, I succeeded in
     replacing the poor lady in her bed. While maintaining my
     grasp with one hand, I induced a contraction of her arms,
     and finally put her to sleep.

     When again in a somnambulistic state, her first words were:

     Then she told me that she positively intended to throw
     herself out of the window, but that each time she felt as if
     she were "stayed from below."

     "How so?"

     "I do not know."

     "Did you have any suspicion of my presence?"

     "No! it was precisely because I believed you away, that I
     proposed to carry out my design. However, it seemed to me at
     times that you were near me, or behind me, and that you did
     not want me to fall."

Here is another experiment still more striking. Pierre Janet,
Professor of Philosophy in the Havre Lycée, and Monsieur Gibert, a
physician, selected as a subject for their observation a certain
woman, a native of Brittany. She was fifty years old, robust, and
moderately sensitive to hypnotic influences. On October 10, 1885, they
agreed upon the following command:

     To-morrow, at noon, lock the doors of your house.

This suggestion Dr. Janet inscribed upon a sheet of paper, which he
carried about in his pocket, not communicating its purport to anybody.
Dr. Gibert made the suggestion by placing his forehead against the
woman's, while she was in a lethargic slumber; and for a few moments
he concentrated his mind upon the mental command he was giving.

Writes Janet concerning this incident:

     On the morrow we went to the house, at fifteen minutes
     before twelve, and found the entrance barricaded and the
     doors locked. Inquiry proved that madame herself had closed
     them. When I asked her, next day, why she had done such a
     strange thing, she replied: "I felt very tired, and did not
     want you to come in and put me to sleep."

     She was greatly agitated at the time. She continually
     wandered about the garden, and I saw her pluck a rose, and
     go towards the letter-box, which was near the gate. These
     actions were of no importance; but it is curious to note
     that these last actions were precisely those the day before
     we had thought of ordering her to perform, though we
     afterwards decided upon a different suggestion, namely, that
     of locking the doors. Undoubtedly his first suggestion
     occupied Gibert's mind while he was giving the second, and
     had a corresponding influence over the woman.

Here is still another experiment, related by Doctor Dusart:

     Every day, before leaving a certain young patient, I
     commanded her to sleep until a specified hour the next day.
     Once I came away, forgetting this precaution, and I was
     seven hundred yards away before I thought of it. Being
     unable to retrace my steps, I said to myself that my wish
     might perhaps be felt, notwithstanding the distance, since a
     silent suggestion was sometimes obeyed at an interval of one
     or two yards. I therefore formulated my command that she
     should sleep until eight o'clock the next morning, and then
     kept on my way. The next day I called again, at half-past
     seven, and found my patient still asleep.

     "How happens it that you are still asleep?"

     "Why, Monsieur, I am obeying your orders."

     "You are mistaken. I went away without giving any such

     "That is so! but five minutes later I distinctly heard you
     tell me to sleep until eight o'clock."

     As it was not yet eight, and as eight was the hour I usually
     indicated, the possibility suggested itself that her
     awakening was the result of an illusion, arising from habit,
     and perhaps, after all, this was a case of simple
     coincidence. In order to make a clean breast of it, and
     leave no room for doubt, I ordered the invalid to sleep
     until she should receive a command to awake.

     During the day, having a few spare moments, I resolved to
     complete the experiment. On leaving my house, seven
     kilometers away, I mentally gave the order for her to wake
     up. I noticed that it was two o'clock. On reaching the house
     I found her awake. Her parents, following my advice, had
     noted the precise time of her awakening. It was the very
     hour at which I gave the command.

     This experiment was repeated several times, at different
     hours, and always with kindred results.

This is really very interesting; but here is something which appears
more extraordinary.

     On the first of January I discontinued my visits, and my
     relations to the family ceased. I had not even heard them
     spoken of; yet on January 12, as I was making some visits in
     an opposite direction, ten kilometers away from my former
     patient, I found myself wondering if it was still possible
     to make her hear my mental commands, despite the distance
     separating us, despite the cessation of my relations to the
     family, and despite the intervention of a third party, the
     father himself, who was magnetizing his daughter. I
     therefore bade the patient not fall asleep. Half an hour
     later, reflecting that if, by some extraordinary chance, my
     command was obeyed, this might prejudice the mind of the
     unfortunate girl against me, I withdrew my prohibition, and
     dismissed it from my thoughts. On the following morning, at
     six o'clock, I was greatly surprised by the arrival of a
     messenger, bringing me a letter from the father of the young
     lady, in which he informed me that on the day before,
     January 12, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, he was unable to
     put his daughter to sleep, except by a prolonged and
     disagreeable struggle. When she at last fell asleep she
     declared that if she had resisted, it was because of my
     command, and that she finally fell asleep only because I
     permitted it.

     These declarations had been made before witnesses, whom the
     father had asked to countersign his report. I have preserved
     this letter, and have added a few circumstantial details

     It is, therefore, probable that, with an exact knowledge or
     phenomenal conditions, we may eventually be able to mentally
     transmit entire thoughts to distant points, as is done now
     by telephone.

Independently of magnetism, it is difficult not to believe that two
persons, mutually dear to each other, although separated by certain
circumstances, may remain united by their thoughts, with a tenacity
which nothing can disturb, especially if the circumstances are grave.
The thoughts of the one react upon the mind of the other, as if the
beatings of one heart could transmit themselves to another heart.
There is a certain psychical tie between the two; and at the time when
one especially concentrates his voluntary force upon the other, it is
not unusual for the latter to feel the reaction, and be plunged into a
revery even more intense. The transmission of thought--or, to speak
more exactly, _suggestion_,--is, under these conditions, a matter for
observation, which might frequently be applied.

I shall not here consider the phenomena of telepathy or ghosts.
Readers of THE ARENA have been favored with Mr. Wallace's excellent
articles on this point, and it would be superfluous to reconsider it.
No doubt our readers are also acquainted with the examples reported in
my work called Urania, and have long been aware that I believe in the
possibility of communications between invisible beings and ourselves.
In the point of view at which I have placed myself in this technical
and essentially scientific outline, I have taken care to carefully
distinguish the things seen by myself from those which I have not

I do not belong to the same class with those who say: "We have not
seen it, and therefore it cannot be." There are honest people
everywhere. There are, perhaps, few exact observers, capable of
reporting facts, without changing anything in their recitals; but
there are witnesses we cannot well gainsay.

Here, for example, is a letter among many recently addressed to me,
relative to certain extraordinary facts.

     Your work, Urania, has prompted me to bring to your
     knowledge an event which I heard related by the very person
     to whom it happened,-a Danish physician, named Vogler,
     residing at Gudum, near Alborg, in Jutland.

     Vogler is a man of robust health, both in mind and body. He
     has an upright and positive disposition, without the least
     tendency (but quite the contrary) to nervous excitability.

     He related to me the following story, which I have often
     heard confirmed by others as the unadorned and exact truth.

     When a young man, studying medicine, he travelled in Germany
     with Count Schimmuelmann, a noted name among the nobility of
     Holstein, who was about his own age. They hired a small
     house in a German university town where they proposed to
     stay for sometime. The Count lived in the apartments on the
     ground floor, while Vogler occupied the next story; and the
     street door, as well as the stairway, were used by
     themselves alone. One night, when Mr. Vogler was reading in
     bed, he suddenly heard the door at the foot of the stairs
     open and shut; but he did not pay any attention to it,
     believing the Count had just come in. A few moments later he
     heard slow and tired footsteps ascend the stairs, and stop
     at his chamber door. He saw the door open, but nobody
     appeared. The footsteps did not cease, however, for he heard
     them on the floor, advancing from the door to the bed. He
     could see absolutely nothing, although the light was
     continuously burning; and he could not understand the
     affair, not recognizing the footsteps. When the steps had
     drawn very near the bed, he heard a great sigh, which he at
     once recognized as that of his grandmother, whom he had left
     in good health at their home in Denmark. At the same instant
     he also recognized the step, which was, indeed, the halting
     and aged step of his grandmother. Looking at his watch,
     which he had placed under his pillow, Vogler noted the exact
     hour, and made a memorandum of it, for he at once surmised
     that his grandmother might be dying at the very instant. At
     a later day he received a letter from the paternal home,
     announcing the sudden death of his grandmother, who
     particularly cherished him above the other grandchildren.
     This established the fact that her death occurred at the
     very hour indicated. In this manner did the venerable woman
     take leave of her grandson, who did not even know of her

                                             EDWARD HAMBRO,
       _Counselor-at-law, and Secretary of Public Works
                                     in the City of Christiana._

Here, as may be seen, is a fact, observed as precisely as a scientific
experiment; and it might be added to those I have published in Urania.

I will adduce one more fact, which was observed very long ago, in
1784, by my great-grandfather, on my mother's side.

It occurred in Illand, a little village in the county of Bar, which
to-day belongs to the Department of Haute-Marne, not far from the
native place of both my maternal grandfather and myself. In childhood
I spent all my vacations there among the vine-planted hills, face to
face with gracious landscapes, amid forests alive with bird songs. The
house yet stands in which the incident happened. It is at the entrance
of the village, on the right, and is called the Chateau. One evening
my great-grandmother, on returning from her work in the fields,
perceived, by the huge chimney-corner (which can still be seen), her
brother, who had been dead several months. He was seated, and seemed
to be warming himself. "My God!" she exclaimed in affright, "it's our
dead Rolet!" and then she ran away. Her husband, entering in his turn,
also saw his brother-in-law sitting by the fireplace. At that critical
moment one of the farm hands uttered an oath, and the apparition

I give this narrative as it was related to me. No misgivings as to the
reality of the vision existed in the minds of the personages in my
grandmother's household.

Allow me to mention another illustration. In February, 1889, I
received from H. Van der Kerkhare the following communication,
relating to an article I had published about this class of phenomena.

     While in Texas, on August 25, 1874, towards sunset, I was
     smoking my after-dinner pipe in a room on the ground floor
     of the house I occupied. I was facing the wall, with a door
     on my right opening towards the northwest. Here is a diagram
     of the scene.


     Suddenly I saw my old grandfather in the doorway. I was in
     that semi-conscious state of well-being and quietude natural
     to a man with a good appetite who has dined satisfactorily.
     I was not at all astonished to see my grandfather there. In
     fact, I was vegetating just then, thinking of nothing in
     particular. Nevertheless, I said to myself:--"It is droll
     that the rays of the setting sun should pour gold and purple
     through the least folds of my grandfather's garments and
     face." In fact, the setting sun was red, and threw its last
     horizontal rays diagonally athwart the doorway. Grandfather
     had a beneficent countenance. He smiled and seemed happy.
     All at once he disappeared along with the vanishing sun, and
     I roused myself as from a dream, but with the conviction
     that I had seen an apparition. Six weeks afterwards I was
     apprised by letter that my grandfather had died on the night
     of August 25 and 26 between one and two o'clock. Well, there
     is a difference of five and one-half hours between the
     longitude of Belgium, where my grandfather died, and the
     longitude of Texas where I was, and where the sun set at
     about seven o'clock.

It would be easy to cite a large number of similar cases. Let me end
this section with the following conclusion of Ch. Richet, the learned
editor of the _Revue Scientifique_:--

     Unless we discredit the value of all human testimony, these
     stories are veritable and accurate. Whenever kindred
     incidents are reproduced by experiment, telepathy will no
     longer be disputed, but admitted as a natural phenomenon, as
     well proven as the rotation of the earth, or as the
     contagion of tuberculosis. To-day's audacious theories will,
     in a few years, seem almost like infantile truisms.

We have now come to the closing section of this already long
essay,--namely, to the explanation of such phenomena as table-tipping,
spirit rapping and dictation, and distant transmission of thought. Let
us confess that it is much easier to unfold and discuss such facts,
than to determine their _modus operandi_. I will add that, even if in
the present state of our knowledge, it is impossible to explain these
facts, there is no shadow of a reason for rejecting them.

The theory with which we conclude has been anticipated by the
preceding sections.

What is the universe? What is nature? What are beings? What are

From astronomy to physiology, everything constrains us to allow the
existence of at least two elements--force and matter.

The order and laws of the universe, together with human thought and
consciousness, lead us to admit (besides force and matter) a third
element--intelligence; for speaking only of the constituency of our
planet, no chemical combination whatever has ever been known to
produce an idea.

Force directs. Matter obeys.

Force is invisible and so is matter.

All matter whatsoever is composed of atoms, too infinitesimal for our
perception, and even invisible beneath the most powerful microscope
but whose existence is demonstrated by chemistry, as well as by
physics. The molecules of iron, gold, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, appear
to be groups of atoms. Even if we deny the existence of atoms, and
admit only the existence of molecules, they also are invisible.

Matter, therefore, in its very essence, is invisible. Our eyes behold
only motion and transitory forms. Our hands touch only appearances.
Hardness and softness, heat and cold, weight and lightness, are
relative, not absolute conditions.

What we call matter is only an effect produced upon our senses by the
motion of atoms,--that is to say, by our unceasing receptivity to

The universe is a dynamic conglomerate. Atoms are in perpetual motion,
caused by forces. All is movement. Heat, light, electricity,
terrestrial magnetism, do not exist as independent agents. They are
but modes of motion. That which actually exists is force. It is force
that sustains the universe. It is force that projects the earth into
space. It is force that constitutes living creatures.

The human soul is a principle of force. Thought is a dynamic act.
Psychical force acts upon the matter composing our bodies, and
actuates all our members to fulfil their tasks. Like all forces,
psychical force can transform itself, can become electricity, heat,
light, motion; for these are all modes of motion. Psychical force is
itself in motion.

It can act outside the limits of the human organism, and can
temporarily animate a table. I place my hands on a round table, with a
firm desire to see it obey my will. I communicate to it a certain
heat, a certain electricity, a certain polarization, or a certain
other something we have not yet discovered. The stand becomes, so to
speak, an extension of my body, and submits to the influence of my
will. I look at a person. I take his hand. I thus act upon him.

More than this. If the brain of another person vibrates in unison with
mine, or has at one in harmony with the keynote of my own brain, I can
act upon him, even from a distance.

If I emit a sound a few yards from a piano, those piano-strings which
are in harmony with my utterance will vibrate, and themselves send
forth a kindred sound, easily distinguishable.

A telegraph wire transmits a despatch: A neighboring wire is
influenced by induction; and it has been possible, by the aid of this
second and separate wire, to read messages sent over the first.

There is still more to be said. The principle of the transformation of
force to-day opens to us new views which might well be called
marvellous. We every day make use of the telephone, without thinking
that it is, in itself, more astonishing than all the occult facts
considered in this paper.

You speak. Your voice is transmitted ten or twenty thousand
kilometers, from Paris to Marseilles, and even farther away. You think
it is your own voice which is heard and recognized at the other end of
the wire; but it is not; your voice has not made the journey. Sound of
itself, in its ordinary state, is not transmitted with anything like
the rapidity attending this flight over the copper wire. If it were
otherwise, we should have to wait seven hours and twenty-four seconds
for a response, whereas there is no appreciable delay in the
telephonic passage of sound. The usual vocal velocity becomes electric
velocity, and the interval between the terminal stations of the wire
is traversed instantaneously. On reaching its destination, the current
again transforms itself into sound through its encounter with a
medial, an environment like that at its starting-point.

Is the conductive wire indispensable? By no means! Is there a
connecting wire between the sun and the earth? Yet the spots on the
sun occasion rebounds in the variations of terrestrial magnetism. In
the photophone the conductive wire has already been dispensed with,
and a ray of light is used in its place. You speak behind a mirror,
and thus cause it to vibrate. These vibrations modify the reflection
of light from the vibrating mirror, which thus bears along your voice,
with which it becomes charged. Selenium, the chemical element used in
the operation, transmits the sound to the telephone, and your spoken
word is reproduced.

The principal of the transformation of forces is undoubtedly one of
the most prolific in modern physics. Heat can be transformed into
mechanical motion; mechanical motion may be transformed into heat.
Electricity is transformable into magnetism; and, reciprocally,
magnetism may change into electricity, into light. The motion of the
mill-wheel serves to illuminate your house. From Paris you can light a
lamp in Brussels. When you act from afar upon another mind, it is not
your thought which travels, as a mental condition; but your thought
traverses the intervening ether through a series of vibrations as yet
unknown to us, and only becomes thought again when brought into
contact with another brain, because the last transference brings the
impulse into a medium akin to that from which it started. It is
therefore necessary that this second brain should be in sympathy with
yours; that is to say, using one of Doctor Ochorowiez's expressions,
that "the dynamic tone" of the receiver should be in accord with your
own. It is, moreover, noticeable that there are periods when veritable
thought-currents affect thousands of brains at the same moment. At the
bottom of all this there is but one principle, and that is identical
with the relation existing between the magnet and the iron, between
the sun and the earth,--namely, the transmission and transformation of
motion. Herbert Spencer has said:--

     The discovery that matter, so simple in appearance, is
     wonderfully complicated in its vital structure,--and that
     other discovery, that its molecules, oscillating with a
     rapidity almost infinite, convey their impressions to the
     surrounding ether, which, in turn, transmits them over
     inconceivable distances, in an inconceivably short space of
     time,--these discoveries lead us to the even more marvellous
     discovery, that any kind of molecules are affected in a
     special manner by molecules of the same kind, though
     situated in the most distant regions of space.

It requires but one step more for the admission that psychical
communications may be established between an inhabitant of Mars and an
inhabitant of the earth.

We are often asked what all these studies amount to. That is still
unknown. If they should end in a scientific proof of the existence and
immortality of the soul, these investigations would forthwith surpass
in value all other human sciences put together, without a single

It must be acknowledged that this reason is a sufficient authorization
for us not to despise this class of researches. But this argument is
needless. These investigations relate to the unknown, and that reason
is all-sufficient.

Did Galvani in examining the convulsions of his frogs, have any idea
of the immense, the prodigious, the universal part which electric
science was to perform in less than a century? Denis Papin and Robert
Fulton, Benjamin Franklin and James Watts, Jouffroy and Daguerre,--all
the inventors, all the searchers after truth,--were they wrong in
losing themselves in their pursuit of the unknown? It is such men who
cause the advance of humanity. It is to them mankind owes its

If it were proved, we say, that there exists outside of us, and even
within us, an immaterial and spiritual force, which eludes the known
processes of nature, and the acknowledged laws of life,--and which
reveals itself by other processes and other laws, which do not
supplant the first, but take an equal place beside them, this new
knowledge might enlighten somewhat the shadows which now conceal the
great secret of the origin and destiny of such poor beings as

First of all, let us seek the truth. To be sure, Taine has written
very wittily: "I never thought that a truth could be of any practical
use!" but we may not be of the same mind, and may think, on the
contrary, that the search for truth is the prime object of men's
intellectual existence.



The study of federalism, as a system of government, has in recent
times become a favorite subject for constitutional writers. At present
the United States and the Dominion of Canada on this continent, the
newly constituted Australian Commonwealth at the Antipodes, and in
Europe the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Swiss
Confederation are all examples of the application of the federal
principle in its various phases. What makes all researches into this
branch of political learning particularly difficult, and perhaps for
that reason also exceptionally fascinating, is the fact that federated
states seem forever oscillating between the two extremes of complete
centralization and decentralization. The two forces, centripetal and
centrifugal, seem to be always pulling against each other, and
producing a new resultant which varies according to their
proportionate intensity. One is almost tempted to say that there must
be an ideal state somewhere between these two extremes, some point of
perfect balance, from which no nation can ever depart very far without
either falling apart into anarchy or being consolidated into
despotism. Whatever, therefore, can throw light upon these obscure
forces is certainly entitled to our deepest interest.

But not all the different states mentioned above as representatives of
federalism, possess an equal value for us in our search after
improvements in the art of self-government. The study of the
constitutions of the German and Austro-Hungarian empires can only be
of secondary importance to us Americans, because these states are
founded upon monarchical principles, quite foreign to our body
politic. To a limited extent, the same objection may be made to the
Canadian and Australian constitutions, since the connection of those
countries with the monarchical mother country has not been
constitutionally severed. But there is another federated state in
existence, until lately almost ignored by writers on political
subjects, whose example can in reality be of the utmost use to us, for
its general organization more nearly resembles our own in miniature
than any other. This country is Switzerland. In her quiet fashion the
unobtrusive little Confederation is working out some of the great
modern problems, and her citizens, with their natural aptitude for
self-government, are presenting object lessons which we especially in
America cannot afford to overlook. It is true that political analogies
are sometimes a little perilous, for identical situations can never be
reproduced in different countries, but if there be any virtue at all
in the study of comparative politics, a comparison between the Federal
constitutions of Switzerland and the United States ought to throw into
relief some features which can be of service to us.

To be perfectly frank, the Swiss constitution, when placed side by
side with our own, at first shows certain decided short-comings. The
Constitution of the United States is an eminently logical,
well-balanced document, in which a masterly distinction is made
between the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of
government, and between matters which belong by nature to organic law,
and those which may safely be left to the statute law. In the Swiss
constitution, however, the line which separates these departments is
not as clearly drawn, so that, in fact, a certain amount of confusion
in their treatment becomes apparent. In the primitive leagues which
were concluded between the early Confederates no attempt was made to
draw up regular constitutions, and the one now in force dates only
from 1848, with amendments made in 1874, 1879, and 1885, an instrument
still somewhat imperfect, perhaps, but none the less suggestive to the

There are two institutions in the Swiss state which bear a very strong
likeness to corresponding ones in our own. Both countries have a
legislative system consisting of two houses, one representing the
people numerically, and the other the Cantons or States of which the
Union is composed, and both possess a Supreme Court, which in
Switzerland goes by the name of the Federal Tribunal. It is generally
conceded that the Swiss consciously imitated these American
institutions, but in doing so they certainly took care to adapt them
to their own particular needs, so that the two sets of institutions
are by no means identical. The Swiss National Council and Council of
States, forming together the Federal Assembly, are equal, co-ordinate
bodies, performing the same functions, whereas our House of
Representatives and Senate have particular duties assigned to each,
and the former occupies in a measure a subordinate position to the
latter. The Swiss Houses meet twice a year in regular sessions, on the
first Monday in June and the first Monday in December, and for extra
sessions if there is special unfinished business to transact. The
National Council is composed at present of 147 members, one
representative to every 20,000 inhabitants. Every citizen of
twenty-one is a voter; and every voter not a clergyman is eligible to
this National Council--the exclusion of the clergy is due to dread of
religious quarrels, with which the pages of Swiss history have been
only too frequently stained. A general election takes place every
three years. The salary of the representatives is four dollars a day,
which is forfeited by non-attendance, and about five cents a mile for
travelling expenses. On the other hand, the Council of States is
composed of forty-four members, two for each of the twenty-two
Cantons. The length of their terms of office is left entirely to the
discretion of the Cantons which elect them, and in the same manner
their salaries are paid out of the Cantonal treasuries. There are
certain special occasions when the two houses meet together and act in
concert: first, for the election of the Federal Council, which
corresponds in a general way to our President and his Cabinet;
secondly, for the election of the Federal Tribunal; thirdly, for that
of the Chancellor of the Confederation, an official whose duties seem
to be those of a secretary to the Federal Council and Federal
Assembly, and fourthly, for that of the Commander-in-Chief in case of
war. The attributes of the Swiss Federal Tribunal, though closely
resembling those of our Supreme Court, are not identical with them,
for the Swiss conception of the sovereignty of the people is quite
different from our own. Their Federal Assembly is the repository of
the national sovereignty, and, therefore, no other body can override
its decisions. The Supreme Court of the United States tests the
constitutionality of laws passed by Congress which may be submitted to
it for examination, thus placing itself as arbiter over the
representatives of the people; but the Federal Tribunal must accept as
final all laws which have passed through the usual channels, so that
its duty consists merely in applying them to particular cases without
questioning their constitutionality.

If there is a certain resemblance between the Federal Assembly and our
Congress, and between the Federal Tribunal and our Supreme Court,
there is on the other hand a striking difference between the Federal
Council and our presidential office.

The Swiss Constitution does not intrust the executive power to one
man, as our own does, but to a Federal Council of seven members,
acting as a sort of Board of Administration. These seven men are
elected for a fixed term of three years, out of the ranks of the whole
body of voters throughout the country, by the two Houses, united in
joint session. Every year they also designate, from the seven members
of the Federal Council, the two persons who shall act as President and
Vice-President of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss President is,
therefore, only the chairman of an executive board, and presents a
complete contrast to the President of the United States, who is
virtually a monarch, elected for a short reign. Sir Henry Maine says
in his book on "Popular Government," that somewhat exasperating but
always instructive arraignment of democracy: "On the face of the
Constitution of the United States, the resemblance of the President of
the United States to the European king, and especially to the King of
Great Britain, is too obvious to mistake. The President has, in
various degrees, a number of powers which those who know something of
kingship in its general history recognize at once as peculiarly
associated with it and with no other institution." In truth he is
vested with all the attributes of sovereignty during his term of
office. He holds in his hand the whole executive power of the
government; he is Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy; possesses a
suspensory veto upon legislation and the privilege of pardoning
offences against Federal law, and finally is intrusted with an
appointing power unparalleled in any free country. With all this
authority he is still a partisan by reason of the manner of his
election, so that he cannot possibly administer his office
impartially, and must, from the necessity of the case, forward the
interests of one political party at the expense of the rest. It is
certainly worthy of consideration whether the Swiss Federal Council
does not contain valuable suggestions for reformers who desire to
hasten the triumph of absolute democracy in the United States.

The institution of the Referendum has no counterpart in our own
country, unless we except the somewhat unwieldy provisions in various
States for the revisions of their constitutions by popular vote. It is
undoubtedly the most successful experiment in applying the principles
of direct government which has been made in modern times. Having
already written more fully upon this subject in the March number of
THE ARENA, the writer will here confine himself to reminding the
readers of this review that the referendum is an institution by means
of which laws framed by the representatives are submitted to the
people for rejection or approval. It is significant of the interest
which the referendum is already exciting in this country that a
committee of gentlemen recently presented themselves at the State
House to urge the adoption of this principle in local matters.

There are, besides, a host of minor differences between the Swiss and
American Constitutions, of more or less interest to students of
politics and economics.

The central government in Switzerland maintains a university, the
Polytechnic at Zürich, and by virtue of the constitution also exerts
an influence over education throughout the Confederation. Article 27
prescribes that the Cantons shall provide compulsory primary
instruction to be placed in charge of the civil authorities and to be
gratuitous in all public schools. In practice these provisions have
been found difficult to enforce where the spirit of the population was
opposed to them, as in Uri, the most illiterate of the Cantons, where
the writer found educational matters entirely in the hands of the
priesthood. Fortunately, however, the Swiss people at large have a
very keen appreciation of the value of education, so that illiteracy,
as we have it in this country, among the negroes and the poor whites
of the South, as well as amongst certain classes of our immigrants, is
really unknown in Switzerland. Someone has jestingly said that there
"the primary business of the state is to keep school," and really, in
travelling through the country which gave birth to Pestalozzi, one is
continually impressed with the size and comparative splendor of the
schoolhouses; in every village and hamlet they have the appearance of
being the very best which the community by scrimping and saving can
possibly put up. On the subject of import duties, the Constitution
lays down in Article 29 as general rules to guide the conduct of
legislators, that "materials which are necessary to the industries and
agriculture of the country shall be taxed as low as possible; the same
rule shall be observed in regard to the necessaries of life. Articles
of luxury shall be subjected to the highest taxes." From this set of
principles it will be seen that Switzerland levies her duties for
revenue only, as the phrase is, although it must be confessed that
there is a perceptible tendency now manifested to raise the duties in
consequence of the high protectionist wave which is sweeping over the
continent of Europe at the present moment. When the statistics of
Switzerland's general trade, including all goods in transit, which, of
course, make a considerable portion of the whole, are compared with
those of other European states, it is found that she possesses a
greater amount of general trade per head of population than any other
country, more even than England. The telegraph and telephone systems
are managed by the central government, as well as the post office,
with excellent results. Not only are these departments conducted in an
exemplary manner upon cheap terms, but a respectable revenue is also
derived from them which makes a good showing in the annual budget.
Everything which is connected with the army, from the selection of the
recruits to the election of the Commander-in-Chief, also possesses
exceptional interest, because Switzerland is the only country in the
world which has so far succeeded in maintaining an efficient militia
without the vestige of a standing army. An attempt was made in 1885 to
deal with the evils of intemperance, by establishing a state monopoly
of the manufacture and sale of spirituous liquors, the Revenue thus
derived being apportioned amongst the Cantons according to population,
with the proviso that ten per cent. of it be used by them to combat
the causes and effects of alcoholism in their midst. It is too early
to speak of the final results of this legislation, but for the moment
there seems to be a decided falling off in the consumption of the
cruder and more injurious qualities. Amongst other matters which the
Federal authorities have brought under their supervision, are the
forests, river improvements, ordinary roads, and railroads, and
bridges, etc., not managing them all directly, but reserving the right
to regulate them at will. Even hunting and fishing come within the
jurisdiction of the central government, this constitutional power
having been used to preserve the chamois in certain mountain ranges
where they were threatening to disappear completely, but where, thanks
to timely interference, they are now actually on the increase.

Apart from these constitutional provisions, the general drift of
legislative action seems to have set in very strongly towards a mild
form of state socialism, somewhat after the form of the Prussian
system, but with this difference, that in the case of Switzerland it
is the people who unite to delegate certain powers to the state, while
in the latter country this policy is imposed upon the people from
above by the ruling authorities. The altogether exceptional clauses in
the Swiss Constitution referring to the exclusion of the Jesuits, a
survival of the war of 1848, to the so-called Heimatlosen, or those
who have no commune of origin, and to the police appointed to control
the movements of foreign agitators seeking the asylum of the country,
all these have a purely local interest, and need not be especially

What, then, is the peculiar mark and symbol of the Swiss Constitution,
taken as a whole? When all has been said and done, the most
characteristic provisions are those which introduce forms of direct
government or of pure democracy, as the technical expression is. The
supremacy of the legislative branch, as representing the people, the
peculiar make-up of the Federal Council, the limited powers of the
Federal Tribunal, and above all the institution of the referendum, are
all evidences of this tendency toward direct government. In the
Cantonal governments the same quality is still more apparent, for it
is from them that the Swiss Federal Constitution has borrowed the
principles which underlie these characteristic provisions. In point of
fact, representative democracy has never felt quite at home in
Switzerland; there has always been an effort to revert to simpler,
more straightforward methods; to reduce the distance which separates
the people from the exercise of their sovereignty; and to constitute
them into a court of final appeal.

In view of the marvellous stability which the pure democracy of
Switzerland has displayed, there is something comical in the horror of
all forms of direct government expressed by most constitutional
writers. De Tocqueville, whom we honor for his appreciation of our own
Constitution, declares "that they all tend to render the government of
the people irregular in its action, precipitate in its resolutions,
and tyrannical in its acts." Mr. George Grote also condemns the
referendum, and of course one cannot expect pure democracy to be
praised by Sir Henry Maine, who believes that "the progress of mankind
has hitherto been effected by the rise and fall of aristocracies." On
the other hand it is refreshing to hear Mr. Freeman and Mr. Dicey
actually discussing the practicability of introducing the referendum
into the English political system.

After all, is not this very quality of directness a great
recommendation, when we consider the rubbish which at present clogs
the wheels of our political machinery, the complications which confuse
the voter and hide the real issues from his comprehension? The very
epithets pure and direct satisfy at once our best aspirations and our
common sense. If monarchy is the government of one, oligarchy that of
a few, and democracy that of many, surely there will some day arise
the rule of all. The United States seems to be standing at the parting
of two ways, one of which leads back in a vicious circle to plutocracy
and despotism, while the other advances towards a genuine pure
democracy. No nation can stand still. Which way shall it be?



Dr. Whewell observed that the acceptance of every new idea passed
through three stages: 1. It is absurd; 2. It is contrary to the Bible;
3. We always believed it. Change the second stage to, It is
unscientific, and the diagram may apply to socialism. We have
certainly emerged from the period when it was considered a valid
argument to call socialism somebody's dream. It is now treated with a
scientific earnestness which betrays its progress in general thought.
This serious grappling with the subject is noted in the recent "Plea
for Liberty," by some of Mr. Herbert Spencer's disciples, for which
Mr. Spencer himself has written an elaborate introduction.

The same earnestness is felt in the masterly editorial, "Is Socialism
Desirable?" in THE ARENA for May. This is a solid contribution to the
permanent literature of the subject. It is not a surprise that it has
commanded such wide attention. Its deep thoughtfulness, its strategic
selection of only vital points for its attack, and, not the least, its
kindliness and chivalry, mark it as a notable production. I truly
appreciate the honor of being chosen by this knightly antagonist to
face the attack on his own sands.

It is not without some question, however, that I accept the generous
challenge. For I am not sure that I myself believe in the military
type of socialism which the editor seems continually to have in mind.
The book, which more than all others combined has brought socialism
before American thought, has also furnished to its opponents a
splendidly clear target in its military organization. It cannot be
repeated too often, however, that the army type is not conceded by
socialists to be an essential, even, of nationalistic socialism.
Democratic socialism differs considerably from military socialism, and
may be fully as national in its reach. In so far as Mr. Flower's
arguments apply to democratic socialism, the following paragraphs may
be taken as a rejoinder.

To bring the chief counts of the editor's indictment again clearly
before the readers, it will be well to summarize them:--

(1) National socialism means governmentalism, which is tyranny over
the individual.

(2) National socialism means paternalism, which, exercised by all the
people, is the most hopeless kind of tyranny.

(3) National socialism means the arrest of progress, because the
majority will surely tyrannize over the small "vanguard of human

(4) National socialism will be needless when the people are educated
to the fraternalism which alone could temper the inevitable despotism
of the majority.

There is a period in every agitation of a new idea when the most
prosperous weapon against it is a thumping epithet. The name must be
apt enough to stick. Furthermore, no matter how misleading, it must be
suggestive of sinister things.

"Governmentalism" is such a word. In its etymology it is harmless
enough. Governmental is the adjective of government, and means
"exercising the powers of government." Governmentalism, therefore,
means the exercise of the powers of government considered as a
principle. But the word when made the bogy of socialism is supposed to
mean the principle of the exercise of the powers of government raised
to the _nth_ degree, and separated from the people. It suggests a
shadowy somewhat of officialdom; a Corliss engine of functionaryism;
all of which is thought of as apart from the people, yet pressing upon
the people. In other words, the name "governmentalism," while intended
as a word of opprobrium for socialism, really indicates the amazing
misconception which the critics have of the nation itself, and of the
relation of the nation's life to its self-direction.

The nation is not an aggregate of the Smiths, and Joneses, and
Robinsons. It is a favorite formula with the opponents of the new
school that the nation is but a multitude of individuals. So is a
sand-heap. But in the nation the individual atoms are linked by mutual
obligations. They are members one of another. No individual can claim
isolation and independency. Let him make the most of his
individuality; yet, as Aristotle said, "Man is a political animal;"
his nature apart from the nation is incomplete; sundered from that to
which he belongs he seems a freak.

The nation, then, is not an artificial binding of units; it is a
natural relationship. The ideal nation is not entered as a result of
reflection and choice. A man is born into the nation as into the
family. To belong to the English nation when born an Englishman is not
usually considered so "greatly to his credit," except in the case of
Mr. Gilbert's naval hero. The very term "naturalize," with which we
denote the initiation of a foreigner, is a confession that the nation
is not a social contract but a natural relation. It is this natural
relation which makes the nation worth dying for; it is fatherland.

Still further, the nation is an organic being. The scattered atoms of
a sand-heap are as perfect as before they were dislodged; not so an
amputated arm. When the nation is disunited, the detached segment
becomes a different kind of body. "The man without a country" begins
to be another sort of man. The nation is not a mass of independent
individuals, but of related individuals, who, moreover, are so closely
related that they make together an indivisible organism; this organism
develops according to orderly laws; this organism has perpetuity,
never disjoining itself either from its past or future; and this
organism has also self-consciousness and moral personality. This is
the nation in which we live, and move, and have our being.

When we look this high conception of the nation squarely in the eye,
much of the talk about governmentalism seems at once irrelevant. For
government in America must ever mean the nation directing itself. Here
are no hereditary governing machines; no bureaucracies created by a
power apart from the people. In Europe, government is fastened on the
people. But in America, if government is not of the people, by the
people, and for the people, it is their own fault. The worst abuses of
power in a government actually emanating from the people, do not put
it beyond their reach. It is still the nation governing itself. It
will one day become conscious of its strength, and will direct its
efforts more wisely. But so long as it is the living, organic nation
governing itself, no mere multiplication of functions, no
straightforward increase of powers, are a discrowning of the people.

Socialists believe in the fearless extension of government because
they have a clear and high idea of the nation as an organic
relationship, apart from which the individual cannot realize himself.
As the nation becomes more self-conscious, it perceives more clearly
its own responsibility for the development of each individual. The
self-governing nation extends its governmental powers solely to give a
better chance for development to the largest number of individuals.
"All individualism," says Mr. Flower, "would be surrendered to that
mysterious thing called government." But there is nothing mysterious
in the expression the nation makes of its own will; and it is hard to
discover what individualism is surrendered, except bumptiousness, when
the rounded development of the greatest number of individuals is the
nation's motive for extending its governmental functions.

There is also another kind of reason for being undismayed at the
threat of governmentalism. Nationalism is but the very distant
consummation of local socialism.

I suppose it is not strange that the hostile critics occupy themselves
almost entirely with this keystone of the arch, since that has given
the name to the whole tendency. They delight to picture the superb
riot of corruption if nationalists could have their way at once. They
will never listen, they will never remember, while nationalists
declare they would not have their way at once if they could. A
catastrophe by which nationalistic socialism might be precipitated
would be a deplorable disaster to human progress.

Socialism properly begins with the municipality; or more properly
still, with the town-meeting. The Hon. Joseph Chamberlain is a
practical State socialist; and he outlines in the _North American
Review_ for May how English cities are laying the foundation of more
general socialism. The popular representative government of the
municipality, he says, "unlike the imperial legislature, is very near
to the poor, and can deal with details, and with special conditions.
It is subject to the criticism and direct control both of those who
find the money, and of those who are chiefly interested in its
expenditure. In England, at any rate," he continues, "it has been free
from the suspicion of personal corruption, and has always been able to
secure the services of the ablest and most disinterested members of
the community." The practical socialism of Birmingham, and other
cities of Great Britain, enthusiastically supported by multitudes of
citizens who do not call themselves socialists, is an example of the
first numbers on the socialistic programme. The intellectual leaders
of socialism are in no hurry. They have all the time there is. It may
take years to persuade American cities that they are business
corporations themselves, whose aim is the well-being of all the
members. The extension of municipal control over all natural
monopolies may be decades off. No matter; there is no use in being
hot-headed because hearts are hot at the miseries of the poor.
Municipalization ought to precede nationalization. The members of the
community must learn to trust each other before the East and the West
will trust one another. It must be proved in American cities, as it
has been already in English cities, that the extension of municipal
powers is itself a force to drive out corruption and purify politics,
before the nation as a whole will deem it safe to make great
enlargements of the civil service.

As that day approaches, it will be found that nationalism is a much
simpler thing than it now seems. Nationalism does not begin in a paper
constitution and work downwards. During the upheavals of the French
Revolution Abbè Siéges is always coming forward with a new
constitution. But in America institutions are rather an evolution. The
last numbers on the social programme may safely be left blank.
Nationalism is neither a city let down, of a sudden, four-square from
heaven, nor are its working plans yet to be found in any architect's
office on earth. We certainly want no nationalism which is not an
orderly development. We may agree with Mr. Spencer that the course of
political evolution is full of surprises. It is quite possible that
the nationalism which seems so full of menace as a military despotism
may turn out to be but a simple federation of industrial and
commercial interests which find they require a single head.

In other words, it seems to me, nationalism is only a prophecy. It is
too distant to be certainly detailed. Present day accounts of it will
one day be, as Horace Greeley said of something else, "mighty
interesting reading." We may be inspired by it as the end towards
which present movements are tending. But each age solves its own
problems; and the passage into that promised land is the issue for
another generation. A nearer view alone can determine where the
passage is, and whether the land is truly desirable. We may justly put
some faith in the common sense, as well as in the political ingenuity
of those who come after us. If military socialism, whatever it is,
should ever be the issue, this American people can be trusted to vote
against it if it is undesirable. Meantime, what our people must vote
upon in the present year of grace, is whether great private
corporations shall control legislatures and city councils, and charge
their own unquestioned prices for such public necessities of life as
light and transit. There is an issue between tyranny and liberty which
is to the point. The future is in the hands of evolution.

Another opprobrious epithet is "paternalism." This is the most
familiar of the titles of reproach. It suggests an idea of government
made pestiferous by old abuse. The most atrocious despotisms both of
king and church have planted themselves _in loco parentis_. The
welfare of the people has been the hoary excuse for the cruelest
outrages of history. Mr. Flower goes a step further and avers that,
with the good of the people for a pretext, tyranny has always been in
exact proportion to power and authority.

Without stopping to query as to this last rather sweeping statement,
it will be enough to check ourselves while the editor leaps to his
induction; namely, that because the monarchical and ecclesiastical
governments have tyrannized in proportion to their power, nothing less
is to be expected if our Republic becomes affected with a greater
sense of governmental responsibility for the welfare of her citizens.
If our nation, it is claimed, allows this specious excuse to commit it
to the doctrine of State interference, we are drifted into the
despotic paternalisms of the old world.

But a paternalism must have a parent, a royal sire, or a priestly
grandmother. In the antique paternalisms there is invariably this
parental personality at the top; down beneath it are the puppet
children. "My soldiers are my children," says Napoleon; and he orders
a charge for their benefit; an hour afterwards the dying address him
as Sire as he walks over the field. "The German people are my
children," says Emperor William; and he issues the edict for the
compulsory life-insurance of workingmen; an undoubted blessing. Both
are instances of paternalism; and the principle in one case is as
obnoxious as in the other. The principle of paternalism is an
irresponsible authority above the people, mastering the people, with
their welfare as a pretext.

But this essential of paternalism must be lacking in the republic.
Whatever powers democracy may assume, it recognizes no authority
outside itself. Democratic government, however socialistic it may
become, is nothing but democracy expressing its own will. If the
individual is led to surrender certain of his freedoms for the good of
all, he surrenders to a paternalism of all the people. That were
better called, once for all, a fraternalism.

It is not enough, however, to show that the title is in our case a
grave misnomer. The editor adduces several recent instances which he
considers exhibitions of the increasing tyranny of all the people. He
believes the tyranny of all the people, if they are as selfish as they
are now, would be more hopeless than the despotism of an individual;
for the single tyrant is after all amenable to revolution, while the
whole nation as a tyrant is accountable to nothing. To his view,
indeed, the occurrences I am about to repeat prove the new tyrant is
already created. They exhibit a "tyranny which shows that persecutions
are only limited by the power vested in the State."

Let us examine the data for this astonishing conclusion. My limits
will not allow more than a bare reference to the incidents which are
fully described in the May editorial.

Case I. is the incarceration in Tennessee of a Seventh-day Adventist
for working on Sunday. Of this it may be remarked that had it happened
two centuries ago it would have been symptomatic; to-day it is a

Case II. is the arrest of a Christian Scientist in Iowa for practising
contrary to the rules of the State. I presume this cannot be fairly
disposed of by suggesting that there has been some aggravated occasion
for such stringency. But it is certainly true that the State has the
right to prevent malpractice--a right none of us would wish renounced.
And as soon as there are sufficient data to convince an intelligent
public opinion that the theory, with its perilous repudiation of all
medical skill, is not fatal to human life, it will receive an
ungrudged status.

Case III. is the arrest of a minister, of pure life and unquestioned
standing, for sending obscene literature through the mail. The sole
charge was the publication of an earnest and chastely worded article
on marital purity; but the real cause was supposed to be his severe
criticism of the Society for the Prevention of Vice nearly a year
afterward. If these facts are verifiable this is a monstrous outrage.
But unhappily it is not the first instance where revenge has been
taken on the innocent by due process of law. Without doubt the people
ought to be more aroused by it than they are. Yet such a sporadic
instance of miscarried justice is scarcely a reason why the State
should cease its efforts to check by law the present alarming increase
of lascivious printing.

Case IV. is an election bill in California which prohibits independent
nominations except upon petition of five per cent. of the voters, and
thus disfranchises four per cent. of the voting population. If this
mad device proves anything, it proves that the leaders of the old
parties are in such consternation at the uneasiness of the people that
they have lost their heads. It proves no more than the denial of the
right of petition in Congress during anti-slavery days; and it proves
as much as that attempt to ignore the voice of reform. Earthquakes are
not far off when such things happen.

Case V. is the suit for damages which one Powell brings against
Pennsylvania. Under a statute authorizing the manufacture of
oleomargarine, he had undertaken the business, to find himself ruined
by a later legislature making its manufacture a misdemeanor. This is
very noteworthy, for it proves too much. It shows a vested money
interest controlling legislature and voting a rival business into
outlawry. This is a kind of instance socialists like to get hold of.

Yet these instances are used to illustrate "a growing spirit of
intolerance" in our country; they are said to exhibit a State tyranny
which is already blossoming under paternalistic legislation; they
emphasize, it is claimed, the fact,--"That all the majority wishes is
the sanction of law to make its crimes against the minority assume a
show of respectability. All that retards persecution is the limit of
the sanction of law; and I submit that, in the light of history, and
in the face of the wrongs of the present, all increase in governmental
power menaces the liberty, the happiness, and the growth of the

This is a pretty large indictment to hang on such debatable evidence.
Its audaciousness fairly takes one's breath away. Our heaviest battery
is turned against ourselves. Every cherished dream of the good time
coming goes up at a blast. Instead of freedom at last to do that for
which we are made, and to fit into the niche where we belong, we are
shown a State's-prison. Instead of an age of joy and of elastic step,
we are pointed to an iron rule of repression and cheerlessness.
Instead of leisure to ripen, of a full summing of our powers, of the
exhilaration of new truth, we have disclosed to us a stunted
individuality treading a dull and monotonous round of existence. And
all this, because if the people are trusted with more power they will
tyrannize life down to this paralyzing reaction.

The logic of this bold pessimism is:--Human nature is tyrannical; the
majority have always tyrannized in proportion to their power; increase
their power and they will increase their tyranny. This is the
syllogism which has dignified the foregoing collection of occurrences
into grave symptoms of an increase of popular despotism.

It might be fair to meet dogmatic pessimism with dogmatic optimism.
Or, it would be legitimate to follow the logic to its end in a general
abandoning of all the powers of government which, it seems, has only
hurt when it tried to help humanity; to go back honestly to Jefferson,
and beyond him, to

    The very best government of all,
    That which governs not at all.

This is the pandemonium of anarchy. Mr. Flower believes that there is
not enough of the golden rule in society to-day to make socialism
tolerable. But we have only to imagine our present society, with its
current quantity of golden rule, thrown into the chaos where
government has ceased to govern, where the political majority has lost
all its power, but where the majority of brute strength awakes to find
itself with no laws to molest or make it afraid.

But this doctrine of the inevitable despotism of the political
majority lies so at the bottom of the whole impeachment, that it ought
to be carefully examined in itself.

In the first place, both premises are without support. Human nature,
even in irresponsible multitudes, is not essentially tyrannical. Let
us admit frankly all the degraded sweeps of intolerance in the past;
yet has not human nature during recent generations been growing in the
tolerant spirit? Look straight at the intelligent society around us;
look within ourselves most of all, and let us ask if we see any such
intolerance of spirit as would bloom into tyranny if we only had the
chance. A man may prove to me by inductive data, reaching
uninterruptedly over ten thousand years, that my own nature is
intolerant; he may even corroborate his proof by pointing to my
occasional acts of thoughtless disregard for another's opinion, yet
all this array does not overwhelm me, for I know I am not intolerant.
Our society to-day, as a whole, knows it is not intolerant;--even
though it be proved as conclusively as ever Puritan divine proved
God's hatred for man, and man's incapacity for a single good act. The
logic works well; only there are some omitted factors. Human nature
has made some progress. Hospitality to new ideas, and patience with
divergent ones, are two of the surest fruits of later civilization.

Again, the majority have not always tyrannized in proportion to their
power. They did not, in the Dutch Republic, when William of Orange
followed the hideous persecutions of Phillip II. with the
establishment of religious liberty. The Church of England was in the
majority when it abandoned its acts of tyranny. Congregationalism was
still in the ascendancy when it ceased to banish Baptists and to whip
Quakers. The Rhode Island Baptists had plenty of majority when they
pioneered the empire of religious freedom in America. And the Maryland
Roman Catholics had things their own way, when in an age of
persecution they resolved to be hospitable to other beliefs. Indeed,
in our American life especially, the generosity and long-suffering of
majorities are among the most notable features. On the other hand it
may with truth be said that the worst tyrannies have been on the part
of minorities. In the old world the oppressive minorities have usually
been hereditary or ecclesiastical interests. In our country the ruling
minorities have been determined, and self-assertive classes who would
not brook the wisdom or the sense of justice of the majority. It was
the regnant minority which rushed the South into secession. It was
that same minority which had for half a century before over-ridden the
whole nation. It was the Tammany minority which ruled the Democracy.
It is the minority of syndicates, corporations, and vested interests
which crowned itself in our Billion Congress, and is spreading itself
in our legislatures. Are the very occurrences, of which so much has
been made exhibitions, of the tyranny of all the people; or, are they
not rather, with one exception, instances where a graceless minority
has resolved either slyly or boldly to ignore the people? In short,
the charge in the phrase "tyranny of the majority" has but the least
justification in the course of government. There has been in history
no power which has tyrannized less than the political majority. In
modern times, at least, the most violent acts of despotic outrage have
been the attempts to ride down the will of the political majority. "In
the light of history, and in the face of the wrongs of the present,"
to use the editor's words, it might be well to consider some means for
the protection of majorities.

For after all, in spite of the English sneers at government by count
of noses, from Carlyle and Sir Henry Maine to the latest utterances,
there is nothing so safe for humanity's interests as the political
majority. It is perfectly true that "the vanguard of human progress
must ever be in the minority." But the hope of this minority lies in
one day becoming the majority. As Disraeli said, that is the
minority's business. The minorities of hereditary privilege, of
priesthood, of monied classes, can perpetuate themselves and their
power. But the majority of voters is always changing and always losing
its power. The minority of radicals is always becoming the majority of
conservatives,--the steadfast power to which progress has tied itself.

Is socialism necessary to the progress of the race? Will not a
perfected fraternalism make the strong hand of socialism needless?
Both questions are to be answered, yes. The perfect state is
undoubtedly pictured in Rousseau's ideal, where every man remains
perfectly free, so that when he obeys the State he obeys only himself.
This is the deep and eternal truth of the law of brotherhood, which is
also the law of liberty. Love is the fulfilling of all law; no laws
will be needed when love is the protection of the weak. Belief in that
coming government of Love is the real religion.

But the practical politics of the present deal with a society where a
strong arm is needed to protect the weak from the tyranny of the
giants. To talk about the principles of brotherhood fully prevailing
in our present conditions, is to treat the laws of Christ with
flippancy. Nine-tenths of the maxims of our modern business system
contradict the law of love. In our present environment it is
impossible for business people or working people to obey the Sermon on
the Mount and not starve. Perhaps a few sacrifices of this kind are
needed to teach us how abhorrent the present selfish system is to the
Christianity of Christ. "I suppose I ought to be thankful to get the
work at all, for they told other women they had no work left for
them," said a woman to me who was making men's pantaloons for two
dollars a dozen. She was part of the system; she was competing with
other less fortunate women as truly as her employer with other firms;
she drank her tea at the expense of her less lucky sister, who had no
work and no tea. What chance does this system afford for perfect
fraternalism, or even for decent fraternalism, among those who have to

Socialism aims to produce an environment where not only the Golden
Rule but the Law of Love will have a living chance. As such an agent
it has its proper political place in the development of mankind.




If we agree that all men are born free and equal, with certain
inalienable rights,--life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,--let
us legislate to enforce our belief. All men are _not_ born equal, if
one is born with power to live without toil; power to control the
movements of a hundred thousand of his _unequal_ fellow-citizens;
power to bribe legislatures; power to hire a pretorian guard of
laborers, writers, editors, clergymen, and even soldiers or police to
do his bidding and to sing his praise, and to threaten those who wish
to establish a real republic. It was thought we had abolished
hereditary inequality; but in a land where our democratic lords can
each hire fifty thousand men and equip an army if need be,--where a
democratic American lord can buy a dozen of the puny lords of
Europe,--the social equality dreamed of in '76 does not exist. We have
abolished the useless title but not the lord.

We should not object to that inequality which is natural--to the
superior ability and superior virtue which place one man far above his
fellows; but we should object to an immense inequality, _which is not
natural_, and which sometimes places the superior man at the mercy and
in the service of one who has no ability whatever,--who is simply born
to rule by means of _hereditary wealth_. This is just as great a
social inequality as that which Jefferson saw in Europe, and which he
thought was to be excluded from America.

It is a condition that is demoralizing in a hundred ways, and is
fraught with peril to the republic, peril to society, and peril to all
the interests of humanity; and therefore as I would assert,--and _who
would deny_ the supreme right and power of the people to protect the
republic from any impending calamity by any just means, _but not by
any unjust means_--I would claim that it is our right and duty to say
that this grand hereditary inequality shall not be perpetual, and that
_the past shall not rule the present--the graveyard shall not contain
our legislature_,--but that each generation shall be a law unto
itself, and shall establish the conditions of justice and safety
without regard to the follies of the dead and the ancient laws of
inheritance when they conflict with justice.

Justice and safety to the republic demand that men shall _not be born
as rulers, nor born as serfs_. The serf is the person who is born in
poverty, with no right to a standing place, and whom society has left
to the education of the street or of the coal mine, growing up without
knowledge, without industrial skill--knowing nothing but to sell
unskilled labor in a market crowded by a million others like himself
or herself, and thus forced into that wretched life seen in all the
great cities of America and Europe, the description of which is enough
to make us cry out in despair, How long, O Lord, how long? Wherein
does this white slavery differ from African slavery, except that the
master cares nothing for the slave, is not bound by self-interest to
take care of him, and cannot flog him though he can punish him in
other ways, and on shipboard he can flog him also, and the horrors of
nautical brutality have not even produced a society for its abolition?

Such is the serf, which our democracy allows its citizens to
become,--men to whom the right of suffrage sometimes seems a worthless
rag which they would gladly sell,--men on whose weak shoulders the
republic cannot stand.

To abolish that class, every boy and girl should be guaranteed a solid
intellectual and industrial education, making a permanent guarantee
against pauperism and serfdom, a permanent guarantee that women shall
not be enslaved by lust, but shall be enabled to rear an offspring of
manly citizens. These are the most important things that a true
nationalism should accomplish at present, and mainly by the gospel of
industrial education, which the writer has long been urging with all
his power.

Public sentiment has advanced so far on this question, that there will
be very little opposition to abolishing the serf by industrial
education; out with all our industrial education, our disorganized
competition makes employment terribly uncertain, and impoverishes the
industrious by enforced idleness, because there is no science, no
social system to regulate the demand and supply of labor in different

Hence, until we can do better, there must be at all times a vast
number of idle men walking about in search of work, losing all their
savings in times of enforced idleness, their days of gloom and

They are our brothers, and we cannot say with Cain, "Am I my brother's
keeper?" _We are_ our brothers' keepers, for they are partners in this
republic, and brothers in the family of God, and they help to make the
social atmosphere in which we live, and they help the republic to sink
or swim. We simply cannot afford to deny our brotherhood, and if we do
we are the devil's own fools.

Action on this matter is demanded now as it never was before, for we
are advancing blindly to a crisis which our political economists and
statesmen have not foreseen, and do not yet recognize. The genius that
increases by invention the productive power of labor ought to increase
the rewards of labor, but it does not. Labor is demanded only to
supply what is consumed; and if at present a million laborers are
employed to produce the food, clothing, fuel, furniture, and houses
required, but in a few years invention enables half a million to
produce the same, what is to become of the half million no longer
needed? Will wages advance so that the million may still be employed,
working for half a day instead of a day. That would be just, but
instead, it produces a glut in the labor market, which by competition
puts down wages, and starts a fierce contest between laborers and
employers, and among laborers themselves. The fall in prices produced
by competition in a crowded market makes the employer unwilling to
advance wages, and an angry contest is inevitable. The multitude
dislodged by invention is increased by the inevitable multitude
arising from irregular demand and supply in fluctuating markets, and
thus families by the hundred thousand are driven to the verge of
immediate starvation, and this becomes our chronic condition, which
must be rectified,--a chronic condition which bears most heavily on
woman, and through her debases future generations.

We are bound to see that every honest citizen, male or female, has a
fair chance in the battle of life, has a fair preparation at the
start, and a fair field. To insure this,--to insure that the
productive power of the nation is not wasted,--is a larger question
than our statesmen have ever yet considered. It requires that the
government shall have a DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVE LABOR, in which
honest men and women, when jostled out of their industrial positions,
may enlist.[2] This department should be managed by the ablest and
most benevolent business men of the Peter Cooper class, who understand
all productive industries, and who, seeing what is permanently and
largely needed for human consumption and not abundantly supplied, or
what new industries can be started which will benefit the nation, what
new productions can be acclimatized, shall take charge of all the
laborers who wish to enlist in governmental employ for eight hours a
day, with such pay and rations as will be satisfactory and fair; and
if rightly managed, not only will their labor pay all costs of the
department, but it may be made to teach the country great industrial
lessons in agriculture and manufactures, by improvements which
scientific combined labor on a large scale may introduce; and if we
are anxious to make our country independent in all things, and
superior in manufactures, this is the very method in which it can be
done, by the instruction in the national establishments, which may be
the means of starting all manufactures that we need, far better than
the protective tariff which forces an unnatural growth _at an enormous
cost to the people_.

      [2] Thousands of the women toiling in the cities on
          starving wages, might be given in the Southern States
          pleasant employment in fruit culture, and other light
          agricultural labors.

There will then be no tramps, no paupers, no women compelled to sell
their persons; and as poverty, gloom, and hardship are the chief
sources of intemperance, we may anticipate, as another consequence, an
immense diminution of the liquor traffic, when the Department of
Productive Labor shall have gotten into full operation. Moral gloom
and the bad passions impel men to intemperance, and when they acquire
the happy and gentle temperament of woman they will also acquire her

Mr. Bellamy's idea of the nation as the employer may not be
practicable, but the Department of Productive Labor is an obvious
method of initiating the principle of national co-operation, which an
urgent necessity has compelled the British government to initiate in
Ireland. But we cannot safely wait, like England, until famine is

The pauperization of labor depends on the monopoly of land combined
with the monopoly of machinery. It cannot occur in a new country, but
must develop when all the land is monopolized and worth a hundred
dollars an acre. The independence of the laborer owing to cheap vacant
land is more than restored by a Department of Productive Labor which
establishes a minimum of wages below which they cannot be forced, and
gives a standing ground on which exaction can be resisted permanently
by the laborer.

The Department of Productive Labor may be made a charming feature of
the government, on which philanthropists may expend their skill; and
its beautiful plantations, especially in the highlands of the
Carolinas and Georgia, and in California, may be looked to as a haven
of repose by all who are disappointed in life, who may find in these
rural homes something more attractive than the co-operative societies
to which some are rushing now. The voice of the red flag anarchist
will be quieted, and the agitators who endeavor to stir up dissension
will find most of their grievances redressed when the laborer has an
assured home.

There is no obstructive limit to the achievements of the army of
labor. Aside from agriculture and manufactures, there are roads to be
built, buildings to be erected, improvements of many kinds, and there
are about a thousand million acres of arid land, needing irrigation,
the necessary works for which could employ more than would probably
apply, for the wages should not be such as to attract men from
profitable employments. The army of labor may not at first be wisely
managed, but anything is better than the vast national losses by
_enforced idleness_. It is not extravagant to anticipate an _ultimate_
governmental administration of railroads, mines, manufactures, and
government farms that may employ many hundred thousands. There is no
apparent hindrance to the extension of the Department of Productive
Labor until it shall embrace all who desire the comfort and security
it gives, while those who prefer the strife of competition can remain
outside of the experiment, and thus the governmental and the
individual systems be fairly tried in competition with each other.
Thus far no formidable difficulty appears in abolishing pauperism, but
we find a more difficult task when we propose the abolition of
Plutocracy, by what may be called a REVOLUTIONARY MEASURE.

Having thus gotten rid of the increasing army of paupers and tramps,
providing, as it seems, a sound basis for a republic, we have the
other problem of getting rid of the growing aristocracy--the
plutocratic princes, the syndicates and trusts, who constitute the
other great danger,--of whom we may say we must either master them or
they will master us by managing our senators, governors, and
presidents. They have already swallowed some such legislatures as we
have been able to elect, with such facility as to show that it will
not be long before they can swallow the entire government, and when it
has been swallowed it may not be as fortunate as Jonah in getting out
again, for there is some very important legislation necessary to this
republic which the plutocracy may be expected to resist with all its
power, and when the conflict comes it will be a grand one.

They will probably combat with all their might the doctrine which must
sometime be presented, that the nation must rule itself on democratic
principles, and that the dead shall not rule the living by entail,
mortmain, or will. When a child is born it must become a member of the
republic on conditions compatible with the safety of that republic. It
cannot be allowed to come in as the born master of a hundred thousand
fellow-citizens equally competent to serve the republic. Our young
citizens approach us from a generation that has passed away.

It sleeps in the graveyard, or it leads a better life in the better
world. It has left vast masses of wealth, surrounded by wretched areas
of desolate poverty. Was it wise or just to do so,--to ignore
brotherhood of man, and to perpetuate all possible inequality? No, a
thousand times no. There is not one, perhaps, of the millionnaire
dwellers in the better world who does not regret and mourn his earthly
selfishness, and who would not order a more just and generous
distribution of his estate if his voice could be heard.

But we need not ask them. _We know what is just_ and we will correct
the mistakes of the departed. We know that this hoarding in families
is unjust to the republic and unjust to the Brotherhood of
Humanity,--an injury to all, a benefit to none. Therefore it must not
be permitted.

Already the law is beginning to recognize this principle, which is
destined to revolutionize all the world; but we are not the leaders in
this democracy, because our plutocracy is too strong. Switzerland in
its mountain homes carries the banner of democracy, and has gone
farther than any other country in asserting the rights of the
commonwealth over inherited wealth. New York has ordained a little
infinitesimal inheritance tax which, according to the _Herald_, in
1886 produced $60,000, in 1887 $500,000, in 1888 over a million. That
will be enough to build schoolhouses for the 20,000 children kept out
of school in the city of New York for want of room. The proposition is
under discussion in Massachusetts, and if we do our duty Massachusetts
may set the example of the greatest social revolution ever
accomplished by law. If Boston received the benefit of such a tax on
its own population, it might be adjusted to raise from one million to
more than ten millions a year; at any rate a succession tax might
produce more than all other taxes produce at present, and it would
bring about such radical changes that it would be expedient to make
the change gradual, and gradual it must be, for it will meet
determined opposition, and we must enforce our principle by every
argument of justice and expediency, for it is both just and expedient.
_What right have the millionnaires to say how the world shall be
managed after they have left it?_ What right to say that when they
have established a dangerous inequality, posterity shall be compelled
to make it perpetual. The robber barons established inequality by the
sword, and by the same power made it perpetual. The posterity of kings
and barons, however worthless, corrupt, criminal, or imbecile,
continue to occupy the saddle upon the public donkey. But inherited
royalty is going, and inherited aristocracy must also go. We who
survive are the responsible parties, and (as the Romans charged their
rulers in times of danger) we must see that the republic does not
suffer, and that aristocracy shall not be its permanent master.

What right has the millionnaire to direct from the grave, that the
wealth which he has left shall be used in the manner most dangerous
and most injurious to society. He has no such right. He has no right
in the matter, but what we in our justice or in our good-nature may
give him. If these views are just, they must in time rule the world,
but they are not yet asserted by those to whom the world looks for

      [3] A year after this was written, the following
          advanced sentiment was uttered by Rabbi Schindler:
          "Have the dead the right of imposing laws upon the
          living, of making contracts of which future generations
          ought to bear the burden?"

The sacred right of the living citizen in that which his industry has
created, has no application here. It is a totally different case. It
is the question what right has he to rule the world after he has
enjoyed his full share and more, and gone away. We do not ask whether
he got his wealth by fraud, or robbery, or industry. _He has left it;
he is done with it; he is dead in fact and ought to be dead in law!_
The law has no jurisdiction over him now, and he has no possible
interest in what is done, nor any power to rectify his mistakes. To
perpetuate his fictitious personality, and make the opinions which he
has left in writing an authority like the acts of a living man, is a
tremendous stretch of the imagination, much like the old superstitions
which made a law by the preface "thus saith the Lord."

I know the claim will be made that the wealth which the millionnaires
could not carry away was truly theirs, and therefore that while they
lived they had a right to dispose of it. But I deny it. In the highest
sense of justice, _it was not theirs_, and even if it was, it was
justly forfeited by their treason to humanity; for I hold that neither
genius nor the business capacity that produces wealth ever releases a
man from his obligations to society. In time of war to defend the city
or State, we take every man's property, so far as needed, and require
him, in addition, to offer his life in battle to protect the
community; and surely in the grand battle which every republic has to
meet against its foes,--on the one hand oligarchy and despotism, and
on the other social disorder and convulsions between capital and
impoverished labor,--in this battle, I say, every man may be required
to defend the republic with his money, his honor, and his life, if
need be, and he should think himself very lightly released if society
demands only to become his legatee, after he has provided for his
family. He thus relinquishes what is nothing to him but everything to

Wealth is the product of the nation--of all its work of brain and
muscle. No one man by himself ever accumulated wealth. But in the
entangled social co-operation, struggle, and battle, wealth is
scattered strangely and gathered in heaps like the money at a gaming
table. One man seizes a gold mine, another seizes for a trifle a piece
of parchment giving the title to land where a million are going to
settle, and both become millionnaire princes at the expense of the
commonwealth. There would be very few rich men if the real production
of each was all that he could hold. To seize by a legal fiction a mine
that yields a million annually is simply a robbery of the
commonwealth. The robbery of the commonwealth and the toiler is our
chronic condition. The urban population, strong in capital and skilful
in combination and chicanery, has drained the agricultural regions,
until agriculture,[4] toil, and poverty, are closely associated,
while urban wealth displays its ostentatious ease, and farmers are
driven by the million into a desperate political struggle for

      [4] It is necessary to illustrate this by a few decisive
          facts which have not been made familiar to the
          majority of readers, as farmers' interests have
          received very little consideration in the East. The
          financial policy of the general government ever
          controlled by capital against labor, has been the most
          gigantic imposition by financial jugglery that history
          has recorded, and has been effected chiefly by
          manipulation and contraction of the currency to make
          debts more oppressive, and during the war by
          depreciating the people's money. After the war when
          $500,000,000 were needed to compensate the destruction
          of confederate money, a criminal contraction of
          $500,000,000 dealt a crushing blow to the South, and to
          the whole country. Let us look at it from the
          standpoint of the largest body of laborers, the
          farmers. A very intelligent Illinois farmer, Bert
          Stewart, presents the case as follows, and if his data
          are all correct, he has demonstrated a wholesale
          robbery: The national debt at the end of the war was
          about $2,800,000,000. What would it then have cost the
          farmers to pay this debt? He estimates that it could
          have been paid by 996,000,000 bushels of wheat; or
          1,380,000,000 bushels of corn; or 10,000,000 bales of
          cotton. But financial legislation has increased the
          value of money (magnifying the debt), and decreased the
          value of the products of labor, so that practically,
          the debt has been increasing faster than it has been
          paid; and, after paying nearly $2,000,000,000 of the
          principal, and over $2,000,000,000 of interest, it will
          cost more to pay the remaining third of the debt than
          to have paid the whole at first. It would require
          to-day, instead of 1,380,000,000, over 4,000,000,000
          bushels of corn to pay the remaining third. This being
          the case, it would seem that the payment of about four
          thousand millions during the last twenty-six years,
          leaving the debt substantially unpaid, was virtually a
          _robbery of the commonwealth_ by corrupt or ignorant
          legislation. Mr. Stewart mentions also, that in one
          year the binding twine trust, by raising prices, drew
          $21,000,000 "from the farmers of the West to the
          sharpers of the East." The reports of the State Board
          of Agriculture of Illinois show (what is a fair
          statement for the whole country) that during the last
          thirty years the corn crops of Illinois have for more
          than half the time brought less than the cost of their
          production; and taking the entire thirty years
          together, the losses so nearly balanced the profits
          that the average net profit of the thirty years has not
          exceeded seventeen cents an acre for each year, in the
          cultivation of over six millions of acres of corn. In
          the official report of Iowa also, it is stated "the
          general range of farm products have sold below cost of
          production, since 1885." The official "Farm Statistics
          of Michigan," just issued, tell the same sad story. It
          shows that the wheat crop of 1889 cost more than it
          sold for, the loss being $1,471,515. The entire loss on
          wheat, corn, and oats amounted to $9,226,510. Thus is
          agricultural labor crushed that millionnaires may grow.
          Hence it is that farmers are sinking under their
          burdens of mortgage indebtedness, paying seven per
          cent. or more, losing their farms, and often compelled
          to mortgage crops, tools, and stock. In the single
          year, 1887, 35,334 farm mortgages were recorded in
          Illinois, amounting to $37,040,770, and "nine million
          mortgaged homes" is the war-cry of the Farmers'

          Thus the independent farmer is disappearing, and
          although there was scarcely a tenant farmer in Illinois
          in 1840, there are more than 110,000 tenant farmers
          now; and we have a vast increase of large farms. But
          while the farmer sinks into poverty, those who handle
          his products grow rich. The Chicago Stock Yard that was
          started with a million of capital has grown so
          prosperously that its stock now amounts to $23,000,000.
          The monetary interests control all things, and Mr.
          Stewart forcibly says: "The time has come, gentlemen,
          when the government must run the railroads, or the
          railroads will run the government. In Pennsylvania
          to-day two roads own the State, its legislature, its
          governor, its courts, its people, own them body and
          soul, and stole the money from the people to buy them
          with. You elect men to positions and pay them salaries,
          and then the railroads buy them and make you pay for
          bribing your own officers, in the freight rates they
          charge you. The net income of the railroads of the
          United States is three times that of the entire revenue
          of the government."

The great mass of accumulated wealth was all unearned. It was the
donation of absurd law to monopolists,--to men who procured the titles
to lands. Their value came from the entire community, created by the
people, and when that amount is rescued from landlordism, the millions
vanish and society reclaims its own. Thus do I assert the ownership of
the community in millionnaire hoards. And when the tenant for life has
gone, to whom the law has been by far too generous, and left his
hoards, out of which he has already squandered more than he was
entitled to--the commonwealth from which this wealth was gathered may
rightly step in and reclaim it.

It is but a waif on the ocean of commerce--the jetsam and flotsam, of
which the law must direct the disposal. The heirs, as they have been
called, may come in to the wreck that lies on the shores of time,
after the soul has gone to eternity--but law must decide whether these
wreckers are entitled to the cargo,--to goods which they did not
produce, and whether it is safe and patriotic to allow them to carry
off what is substantially in the majority of cases morally and justly
the property of the commonwealth. There may be some exceptions to
these general statements as to property, but when we recollect how
land monopoly and other monopolies have robbed the commonwealth, I
hold that the commonwealth is bound to reclaim the stolen wealth
wherever it can find it, and certainly wherever the commonwealth can
find it abandoned by the claimant, the action of trover should come in
when the tenant for life has ceased to exist.

Perhaps the devotees of precedent may be bold enough to call this
robbery, but it is simply reclamation of that which has too long been
lost or stolen. For the chief foundations of large fortunes, the chief
source of the great flood of accumulated wealth, has been the taxation
of the people by the monopoly of land and monopoly of mines--the
monopoly by private individuals of what justly belonged to the
commonwealth, but was captured by the sword or by law--aided by
cunning financial operations which stand on no higher plane than
gambling or fraud.

The British peerage draw an annual rental from their lands of
$66,000,000, and the American princes draw far more, but I have not
had time to find the statistics.[5] It will not be long before foreign
landlords shall draw $50,000,000 annually from the United States, if
they do not already, for they hold more than 20,000,000 acres, and on
these they may practise the eviction of tenants in the Irish fashion.
The wrongs of Irish tenants elicit universal sympathy, but they are
far surpassed now in America without outcry or comment. About
twenty-four thousand evictions occurred last year in the city of New
York, and this indicated more than a hundred thousand human beings
turned homeless into the streets, generally in a penniless condition!
The distressing evictions of the great cities, and the selling out of
thousands of western farmers under foreclosing mortgages, are
preparing a terrible mass of discontented population to whom a social
convulsion would not be alarming. Those who live under the pressure of
a terrible social system will not be sorry if it is overthrown by

      [5] Parker Pillsbury mentions a Governor of Maine, who
          owns in Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota,
          and Canada, 691,000 acres.

A large portion of the city of New York is held at values ($50 a foot)
which would make its annual ground rental over $100,000 a year for a
single acre. When we think of the vast sums which have been
accumulating for centuries in the form of rent--say, for example, the
land rents of England, which, outside of mines, amount to $330,000,000
a year,--it will be apparent that the grand flood-tide of wealth,
which has passed into the possession of private individuals who have
been fortunate enough to acquire land titles long ago, and their
successors, exceeds by more than a hundred times all the wealth that
has not been squandered and remains in sight to-day.

But it is gone--squandered--and we never can reclaim it; and there is
another mountain mass of wealth not quite expended yet, which came
from corrupt financial monopoly, which has sometimes generated
financial lords more rapidly than land monopoly. Upon questions of
finance and political economy, our people have been as blind as they
have upon the land question, and our entire financial legislation has
been but a trap to catch the commonwealth and rob it, and the
commonwealth has been caught, and robbed of far more than two thousand

      [6] As a single specimen of this, I would mention that
          those eminent politicians, John C. New, and Wm. H.
          English, of Indiana, under the laws engineered by
          cunning and accepted by ignorance, invested $200,000 in
          a national bank scheme when greenbacks had been knocked
          down to forty cents, and in thirteen years from 1864 to
          1877 they made a clear profit of $2,133,000--more than
          ten for one of their investment. But this is very
          moderate in comparison with land speculation. The
          Elyton Land Company at Birmingham, Alabama, with a cash
          capital of $100,000, has declared in five years, ending
          in 1888, dividends amounting to $5,570,000, and is
          believed to own property still that will amount to
          $5,000,000, a return of more than a hundred dollars for
          every one invested--a clear profit absorbed of over ten
          millions--_the gift of law to monopoly_. Will this ever
          return to the commonwealth? The robbery of the
          commonwealth goes on in every direction. Shall we
          continue the present system under which, while the
          nation is losing its inheritance daily, one man in
          Chicago tied up the wheat crop of the United States,
          and one man also tied up or cornered pork, and both
          levied millions on the people?

The follies and crimes of the past cannot be readjusted--but its
legacy of robbery to the present must submit to the arbitration of
justice, and the demands of philanthropy. The millions exacted from
the tenants of England and Ireland by the descendants of the robber
barons and brigand soldiers, who took the soil by the sword, still cry
aloud for justice.

If we grant that an individual may by his own exertions justly acquire
a hundred thousand dollars, which is an ample competence, and that as
an encouragement and reward for his industry, society may justly allow
him to dispose of it by will, which I think is a liberal concession, I
see no sufficient reason for extending his authority beyond that
amount. All above that amount, I hold, should belong to the
commonwealth in justice, for two reasons--first, because it was taken
from the commonwealth, and second, because the commonwealth suffers
from two dangerous classes, which ought not to exist,[7]--the tramps
becoming demoralized and desperate, and the idlers, becoming
demoralized and worthless, who think themselves a privileged class,
born with a right to live in everlasting idleness upon the toil of
those who are not thus well born. This division into the aristocracy,
the proletariat, and the middle class struggling to become the
aristocracy, does not make a republic. It is an ancient falsehood and
injustice established by absurd laws of inheritance (as absurd as the
Hindoo castes), which have cursed the world, and will continue to
curse it until America shall establish democratic justice. Yet as
experience shows that men's opinions in all things are swayed by their
interests, there must be but few of the patrician class who can
perceive these truths, and we must rely for their appreciation upon
the vast majority who are not born to wealth.

      [7] To save the nation _we must reform_ and stop the
          production of 60,000 boy tramps and the half million of
          paupers and criminals which our horrible system has
          produced, which at the present rate of increase will,
          in fifty years, be a million and a quarter, and in a
          hundred years will probably exceed FOUR MILLIONS. I see
          no measures but those I propose that will save us from
          this terrible condition. They will not be adopted in
          time to prevent civil war, but they must be adopted

What policy the commonwealth may observe,--whether it shall allow the
millionnaire to dispose of ten, twenty, or fifty per cent. as an
encouragement and reward for his accumulations,--is a debatable
question. To give him post-mortem control of fifty per cent. would be,
it seems to me, an act of prodigal generosity to millionnaire heirs.
That a dead man of a hundred millions should be allowed to keep fifty
millions hoarded in private possession appears to me an extravagant
claim, for even ten per cent. of that amount would be enough to spoil
his children and unfit them for good citizenship. I believe it would
be better for society if all inheritance of wealth were forbidden, and
every boy and girl required to begin life with a few hundred dollars,
and gain the position they deserved by their own abilities alone.

This reclamation of millionnaire estates by the commonwealth would not
be so necessary but for the fact that the world has been ruled by
false principles, and in all past ages millionnaires have, with few
exceptions, regarded their vast possessions as something on which the
public had no claim in justice, as being the true sources of
wealth--something on which the brotherhood of humanity had no
claim--something which was not a sacred trust for the benefit of
mankind--something which they should clutch with an iron grasp, as
long as possible, to keep it intact and unbroken, and still speaking
from the grave, hold it protected from all the claims of humanity, to
magnify their own names in their descendants, and keep their offspring
the lords dominant of society,--thus making it really a curse instead
of a blessing; and as neither the moralists nor the clergy have ever
taught them anything else, such is still their tendency, with a few
such exceptions as Peter Cooper and George Peabody. But when society
substitutes rational ethics and simple justice for old traditions and
debasing customs, the destruction of wealth will be _recognized as a
crime_, no matter how it was obtained; and such profligates as the
Prince of Wales, who spends half a million yearly, and then calls upon
his avaricious mother for one or two millions to silence the clamor of
creditors whom he has defrauded, will be no longer feasted, admired,
and imitated, for justice will be embodied in law and the race of
profligates will have been exterminated.

If any owner of these hoards, when he is compelled to give them up,
politely throws out five per cent. or even two per cent. for something
that he considers worthy, it is received with great laudation as
something not to have been expected. A Cleveland millionnaire was
lauded for a petty donation, less than he had expended on his old
wife's laces. As philanthropists millionnaires are generally great
failures. They did not study the public welfare through life, and they
do not know how to promote it; their benefactions generally go to
institutions that perpetuate the old order of mediæval conservatism,
and delay the progress of humanity. They are incompetent as trustees.
One man with the wealth of an Astor or a Rockefeller, and the
overflowing love guided by the wisdom of intuition (so conspicuous in
Jesus that men have worshipped him as a God, and elevated their own
natures by the worship), could accomplish more than all that American
wealth has ever done upon this continent.

Therefore by that right of eminent domain which is good over lands
occupied by the living, and far better over estates abandoned by the
dead, it becomes the duty of society to maintain the republic, to
assert the supreme law of justice, and thereby teach the doctrine so
long forgotten by followers of Christianity, that all our powers and
resources beyond our own necessities belong to our brothers. Such are
the principles of every real Christian. Such was the sentiment of John
Wesley; and his expression, if I recollect rightly, was that he would
consider himself a thief if he died with more than ten pounds in his

These doctrines are not entirely strange--the world is beginning to
look in this direction already. The _heirship of the state_ is an idea
already broached in France, sustained by Clemenceau, Pelletan, and
many other distinguished citizens, and discussed in the Chamber of
Deputies. The proposition was to limit the law of inheritance, and
substitute the heirship of the state for all collateral heirs. That
eminent and practical philanthropist, M. Godin, whose name has been
immortalized by the Industrial Palace at Guise, warmly espoused this
idea in all its breadth, and said:--

     "When an individual dies, society has then the right to take
     to itself what he leaves, for it has been the chief aid of
     the deceased. Without its aid, without its institutions, he
     could never have been able to amass the riches of which he
     is at his death the holder. Society inherits wealth, then,
     to use for the same work of social progress already
     accomplished; that is to say to allow others, the surviving
     in general (not the privileged strangers to the creation of
     the existing riches), to continue their labor and
     co-operation in the common social work. The heredity of the
     State is then just, both in principle and in fact."

The two measures which are necessary now are the Department of
Productive Labor and the law of inheritance by the commonwealth, which
limits the transmission of estates above a hundred thousand dollars,
giving the commonwealth a share, rising from one to ninety-nine per
cent. according to the magnitude of the estate--or _some other form_
of taxation (if there be a better) producing equivalent results.

I do not propose these measures as THE REMEDY _par excellence_ for our
unhappy social condition. Not at all. They are merely the gigantic
blows from the right arm of the commonwealth, by which the curses
established in the dark and bloody past, crushing man and woman to the
earth, shall be hurled into oblivion. The true, absolute, and complete
REMEDY is that industrial, intellectual, hygienic, and ethical
training of all, which I have published as the "New Education" which
will make new men. These are bold and revolutionary measures,[8] but
the surgery of the knife is sometimes what humanity demands. The mad
riot of rivalry and selfishness must be restrained before it brings
the republic to ruin. The power of land monopoly must be broken by a
land tax, and the post-mortem despotism which perpetuates accumulated
evils must be thrown off by just and practicable legislation.

      [8] Succession and income taxes are now beginning to be
          considered. Two very feeble propositions have been
          brought forward. The Massachusetts Legislative
          Committee, on probate, reported a bill well adapted to
          be worthless--to discourage benevolence and keep
          property in the family by imposing a tax of five per
          cent. on property left by will, except when going to
          relatives or connections. Congressman Hall, of
          Minnesota, introduced a bill in the last Congress for
          an income tax, a fourth of one per cent. on incomes
          between two and three thousand rising gradually to one
          per cent. on incomes over $10,000. This very small
          business is not what was demanded by "The Farmers'
          Alliance and Industrial Union" in the Ocala convention,
          which demanded the abolition of national banks and "the
          passage of _a graduated income tax law_." These demands
          were reiterated by the last legislature of Missouri, in
          a resolution calling upon Congress to act upon them,
          and pledging the legislature to enforce the farmers'
          demand as far as in their power. North Carolina, too,
          has adopted the Alliance principles. The income tax
          will probably be a growing one--one per cent. will not
          be its maximum. The British income tax under Mr.
          Gladstone in 1885 was three and a third per cent. But
          this is mere child's play, being about equivalent to a
          property tax of one seventh of one per cent. When
          seriously considered, the question will be between
          five, ten, twenty, and thirty per cent.

We must act upon the undisguised truth that individual humanity is not
yet properly educated, and not yet qualified to exercise its
trusteeship of wealth, for the hard struggles against the oppressive
power of poverty, sickness, robbery, fraud, and sudden calamity have
made the self-protective faculties predominant, and the sharp rivalry
and competition of business has so increased their predominance that
the thought of public welfare is never paramount, and is but an
occasional glimmer, and the death-bed surrender of wealth, if it
considers the welfare of society at all, considers it so blindly that
a large proportion of the benevolent endowments are of little real

It is, therefore, necessary that the outcry of suffering and the
warning of danger should rouse the public conscience to nobler
principles, and that society in its maximum wisdom, which embraces a
few earnest philanthropists, many capable financiers and economists,
very many tender-hearted women who will not consent to suffering, and
who are destined to participate in government, as well as a great many
who are personally conscious of wrongs that need rectifying, should
assume the administration of the SUPERFLUOUS WEALTH abnormally

The change proposed is so great that its realization may be far off,
and the evolution of law may be rivalled by the evolution of evasive
ingenuity, so that the commonwealth may be compelled to prohibit
evasive ante-mortem donations, and to reinforce the succession tax by
more stringent measures, from which there can be no escape, and which
will control plutocracy as effectively as any succession tax, and thus
render the latter of less importance; but it is none the less
important that the principle should be asserted, that the dead shall
not rule the living.

There are two obvious measures, and _one of them is sure to be adopted
soon_, without waiting for the abolition of unlimited inheritance. The
income tax is made almost necessary by the last Congress, which
emptied the treasury, and the income tax, if made accumulative,
increasing its rates with the increase of income, will be as
effective a control over plutocracy as the people wish to make it. The
_increasing rate_ of taxation upon superfluous wealth, is a sacred
principle for which every reformer should contend.

But even this is not fortified against evasion, and we need the most
efficient tax of all--the progressively accumulating tax on wealth,
which will gather a large rental from all the _superfluous_ millions,
compelling the holders to use them profitably. A three per cent. tax
on all over ten millions would not only enrich the commonwealth, but
stimulate industry in millionnaires. How long will the millionnaires
be able to defeat such legislation?

_These are the coming taxes._ They are not untried theories, for
Switzerland, the foremost nation in democracy, enjoys both the income
tax and the progressively accumulating tax, which falls most heavily
on the largest properties.

It is to be hoped that political corruption and intrigue will not
delay many years this assertion of the sovereignty of the commonwealth
by taxation, which will give the republic a solid foundation, and that
the power of the commonwealth thus enlarged will, through the
Department of Productive Labor, and by educational progress, give us a
true and a happy republic. These suggestions are not farther in
advance of public opinion to-day, than was the nationalization of the
land, when I urged it in 1847. They will find fit champions in a few

To what extent the Department of Productive Labor should be fostered
by every State, and to what extent it may be authorized by the federal
constitution, we need not yet consider, for it is apparent that the
due administration of the national domain and development of the arid
region by irrigation, will furnish ample employment, if we adopt as a
sacred principle, the demand of justice, that _not another acre of the
national domain shall ever be sold_. Let us give settlers the easiest
possible terms, but never surrender to monopoly the land of the



Some months ago an article with the above heading appeared in THE
ARENA. It was written by Rev. C. H. Kidder, and was intended as a
reply to one written by myself, on the eternal punishment.

It appears that a friend of Mr. Kidder, a physician "of great
ability," on reading my article was caused great disquietude. "He felt
that if all the statements contained in the article were accurate, his
religious instructors had been either knaves or fools--knaves, if they
taught what they did not believe, and fools, if they believed what
they taught," p. 101. I have only to say that the statements of my
article are, in all important respects, accurate, explain the rest as
he may; nor has Mr. Kidder shown that they are not accurate, except in
one particular, not affecting the main question. This will be noticed
in the proper place.

It is often true that men "of great ability" are men of hasty
judgment, especially when they are "much disquieted"; and the doctor
is certainly mistaken in supposing that his instructors were either
knaves or fools. The men who teach eternal punishment are in the main
honest, and of fair intelligence. The doctrine came into the church in
a dark age; and for centuries it was dangerous to believe or teach
anything else. When the human mind was set free, and it was no longer
dangerous to teach what one believed, the doctrine had become so
firmly established by a false system of interpretation, that it was a
long time before much impression could be made toward its removal. But
the Gospel leaven has been working in all these ages since the
reformation to the present century; so that now there is little faith
of that kind in the Orthodox church and none out of it.

I have not intended to admit that all the teachers of eternal
punishment in the church have been honest. Some have been dishonest,
in order, as they claimed, to do the more good. There was a class of
ministers in the ancient church who had two sets of opinions, one set
for the congregation, and another for the private circle. Dr. Edward
Beecher mentions several venerable men, who preached eternal misery,
but who had not a particle of faith in the doctrine, as he believes.
They are Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzus, Athanasius, and Basil the
Great. See Historical Retribution, p. 273. These were great men; but a
greater than these had taught that it is right to lie for the good of
mankind, namely, Plato. Who will say there have been no others since
that day? For the honor of humanity, I trust not many.

I would say here that all Mr. Kidder has advanced, may be admitted,
without the least detriment to the main purpose of my article. The
greater part of his paper is devoted to incidental topics that are not
essential to the main subject, and what he says on the main point
utterly fails to invalidate my argument, as the reader will clearly
perceive before I get through.

So far as our version favors eternal punishment, the fact is due
chiefly to a wrong translation; and it is difficult to suppress the
conviction that the translators, in much of their work of this kind,
were perfectly conscious of the wrong they were doing. The word _hell_
in every place where it is found (with one or two exceptions, where
the heathen hell is referred to) is the rendering of a word that has
no such meaning. The word _everlasting_ combines a wrong rendering and
a wrong exegesis. These are the main points. They are the Jachin and
Boaz of the orthodox temple. But the translators have sought to favor
their doctrines in other ways; sometimes by supplying words not found
in the text, and sometimes by rejecting words that are there.

My article was devoted chiefly to these last, particularly a wrong use
of the Greek article, and the rejection of an important word, when it
conflicted with their views, though they often employ it at other

I say with the fullest confidence that the doctrine of eternal
punishment is not in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. It came into the
church chiefly with converts who had believed it before their
conversion, and continued to believe it by a misconstruction of the


By not paying particular attention to what I said, my critic has
misrepresented me in an important particular; and has repeated the
idea a number of times, namely, that I deny the sonship of Jesus
Christ. I simply refer to some passages to show the importance of the
Greek article, and some of these have the expression, "the Son of
God," when they ought to have been rendered "a Son of God," or "a Son
of a God" not only because the article is omitted in the Greek, but it
is the language of Satan, and of the heathen, and therefore more
characteristic than the words _the_ Son of God. The sonship of our
Lord has evidence enough, without that of Satan and the heathen,
especially as the evangelists have represented them as giving no such

The reference in my article to insanity and suicide was incidental;
and whether strictly correct or not, the thousand that have been
ruined in this way is a picture sufficiently frightful, and shows that
the Christian religion has been greatly misapprehended; for in its
purity, it never has, and never can, produce a single case of either
insanity or suicide.


Of the six theological seminaries, which I referred to, on the
authority of Dr. Edward Beecher, as existing in the early days of the
church, I find on further reading that two were not theological
seminaries, but "schools of thought," as the doctor afterwards calls
them. One of these was in Asia Minor; and there, the annihilation of
the wicked was believed and taught. The other was in North Africa; and
here, endless punishment was the prevailing belief on the subject of
future destiny. The four others were real seminaries, in which the
doctrine of the final holiness and happiness of all intelligent
beings, after future disciplinary punishment, was inculcated by men as
much distinguished for piety and virtue and missionary zeal, as any in
the whole church.

The four schools were located at Alexandria, in Egypt, Cesarea in
Palestine, Antioch in Syria, and Edessa or Nisibis. This last school
was held at the one or the other of these places, in Eastern Syria.
When persecution drove it out of one of these cities, it held its
sessions in the other. All these four schools were numerously
attended, often having hundreds of scholars at one time. Mr. Kidder
thinks there must have been more than this number; but as it is a mere
conjecture with him, his opinion can have but little weight against
the statement of a man who has thoroughly investigated the subject. It
will not do to judge them after our little schools, at the present
day, when the church is divided into scores of little communities,
each having its insignificant seminary or seminaries. The church was
then one body, though each school varied slightly from the rest.


Dr. Beecher points out and refutes the statements of Professor Shedd,
and some others, on the prevalence of certain doctrines in the early

Professor Shedd, in his history of Christian doctrine, Vol. II. p.
414, says, "The punishment inflicted upon the lost was regarded by the
fathers of the ancient church, with very few exceptions, as endless."
"The only exception to the belief in the eternity of future
punishment, in the ancient church, appears in the Alexandrian school."
"The views of Origen concerning future retribution were almost wholly
confined to their schools."

Dr. Beecher makes the following reply. "This statement somewhat
transcends the limits set by Lecky, to the doctrine of the
restoration. It is not confined to two individuals, but it is confined
to one school,--the school of Alexandria. What then shall be said of
Diodore, of Tarsus, not of the school of Alexandria, the eminent
teacher of Chrysostom, and a decided advocate of universal
restoration? What shall be said of his disciple, Theodore of
Mopsuestia, that earnest defender of the same doctrine, of whom Dorner
says that he was the climax and crown of the school of Antioch? What
shall be said of the great Eastern school of Edessa and Nisibis, in
which the scriptural exposition of Theodore of Mopsuestia, was a
supreme authority and text-book? Was Theodore of the school of
Alexandria? Not at all. He was of the school of Antioch.... And yet he
not only taught the doctrine of universal restoration on his own
basis, but even introduced it into the liturgy of the Nestorian
Church, in Eastern Asia. What, too, shall we say of the two great
theological schools, in which he had a place of such honor and
influence?... Dr. Shedd would have called to mind a statement in
Guericke's Church History, _as translated by himself_, "It is
noticeable that the exegetico-grammatical school of Antioch, as well
as the allegorizing Alexandrian, adopted and maintained the doctrine
of restoration, p. 349, note 1." Then it should be added that Origen
was not the only one of the Alexandrian school, who taught this
doctrine. Clemens, who preceded Origen, taught it; and Didymus who
succeeded him. The whole period of the presidency of these men over
the school must have been a century or more. And yet the great body of
Christians, as Professor Shedd would have us believe, were believers
in eternal punishment; but they neither turned these men out, nor
established any other school to counteract their influence. They must
have been a trifle different from believers in the doctrine now. And
what is very remarkable, we hear of no books or essays written against
the doctrine of the Alexandrian school, as if it were a pernicious

Church historians in modern times impose on their readers by quoting
passages from ancient Christian writers, that employ the word
_everlasting_ in connection with punishment, leaving the impression
that these words were understood then as they are now, when in fact
believers in limited punishment, as well as those who thought
punishment endless, employed the term _everlasting (ai[=o]nios_) to
denote its duration. Origen and Clemens speak of everlasting
punishment, though they believed it would end in reformation and
salvation. Justin Martyr and Irenæus warn men of everlasting
punishment, though they believed in the annihilation of the wicked.


In some instances the resurrection is used in the same way as the new
birth, to denote conversion. Such is John v. 21-29. The change thus
indicated is commonly called a moral resurrection. My critic would
have the last two verses refer to the general resurrection at the end
of the world; while he seems to admit that all the rest relates to a
moral resurrection, two things as unlike as they possibly could be.
Such is not our Lord's mode of teaching. I understand the whole
passage as confined to one subject, the moral resurrection. He divides
the subject into two parts, to be sure, but it is the same subject in
both parts--first, the moral resurrection then in progress; and
second, the moral resurrection "coming" on a more extensive scale,
even embracing all men. Jesus changes one word only, using
_graves_,--more properly _tombs_,--instead of _death_. But coming out
of death into life, and coming out of the tombs into life, are
essentially the same thing. Both are figurative expressions. I insist
that where Jesus says, "The hour is coming and now is," he conveys
the impression that the then present process was in its nature the
same as the coming one, only that the latter would be more extended,
even universal.


That Trinitarians should translate this expression, The Word was God,
in John i. 1, might be expected; but by the rules of translating the
Greek language into English, the expression should be, The Word was a
god. The rule of Middleton that the article must not be used in the
predicate of a sentence may hold good, when it conflicts with no
superior rule; but if taken absolutely, it has many exceptions. I
suppose the renowned Origen understood the Greek language. He
interprets the passage before us as I do. "Origen uses [Greek: theos]
(god), not in our modern sense, as a proper name, but as a common
name. This use of the term, _which was common to him with his
contemporaries_, and continued to be common after his time, is
illustrated by his remarks on the passage, 'and the Logos was God'; in
which he contended, that the Logos was god, in an inferior sense;--not
as we would say God, but _a god_, not _the_ divine being, but _a_
divine being. (Opp. iv. p. 48, reqq.)." See Norton's Statement of
Reasons, p. 120, note.

The quotation from the Athanasian creed had better been omitted; for
many will read it, who had not before known that it contained any such
absurdity; and will have less respect for the Trinity than they would
wish to have. The quotation is, "The Father is God, the Son is God,
and the Holy Spirit is God; and yet they (?) are not three Gods, but
one God." I am accused of following an "uncritical principle," in not
reasoning in the same way. If it is "uncritical," I plead guilty, and
beg that my sentence may be as mild as possible. But before the
sentence is pronounced may it not be well to apply the reasoning to
some other subject,--to Peter, James, and John, for instance? Each of
these is a man; but they are not three men but one man!


I complained that the translators and revisors left out this word,
apparently for the reason that it conflicts with their theology. It
makes certain things to be near at hand, which they regarded as far in
the future. My critic says, "The Greek _mell[=o]_ frequently has the
meaning assigned to it by Dr. Manley, but it is not shut up to that
meaning," p. 106. It probably has that meaning twenty times, where it
has any other meaning once. In the passages from which it is excluded,
if it has any other meaning, why did they not retain it, and render it
according to its true import, and not throw it out? Mr. Kidder does
not meet the case, when he shows that the word does sometimes have
another meaning. His business is to show that _it has no meaning_, in
the passages from which it is excluded. It will then be in order to
show why the writers put such a word in these passages. When the
translators recognize the word, they seldom fail to give it a meaning
corresponding to the sense I assign to it.

It is conceded that the wrath to come (Matt. iii. 7; Luke iii. 7.),
should probably be the wrath _about_ to come, meaning the destruction
soon to fall on the Jewish State. This word _mell[=o]_ (about) takes
the passage out of the hands of those who would apply it to a far-off
eternal punishment. The word in other passages would have been alike
opposed to the common construction; and, therefore, it was left out.
This is the plain common-sense view of the case; and I shall hold the
translators and revisers guilty of a base fraud, till some good reason
can be given for their conduct. This probably cannot be done.

AI[=O]N, AI[=O]NIOS. That the expression, "end of the world," where
the original for _world_ is _ai[=o]n_, ever has the meaning of end of
this material universe cannot be proved. Where Jesus promises to be
with his disciples to the end of the world (_ai[=o]n_) is the most
favorable instance. But in the sense here intended, namely, enabling
them to perform miracles, he was with them, only to the end of the
Jewish age. By that time the Gospel was so well established, as no
longer to need miraculous interposition. In what sense Jesus was with
the disciples, is explained by the closing words of Mark's Gospel.
"And they went forth, preaching everywhere, the Lord working with
them, and confirming the word, by the signs that followed. Amen."

My critic says of _ai[=o]n_, p. 107: "It may at times refer to the
Jewish dispensation, with its limit fixed at the judgment executed
upon the holy city, and the destruction of the temple." Then it _may
mean_ this, in Matt. xiii. 38, 39, 49, and xxiv. 3. "It does not
always mean age; for this meaning is inadequate for the _worlds_,
_ai[=o]nos_, of Heb. i. 2, xi. 3." It does not seem so; for God
created the ages and dispensations of time, as much as he did the
material worlds. _Constituted_ may be better than _created_. God is
the author of both creations. Aion is a term that always implies time,
or duration, and not material substance. De Quincey says that
everything has its aion. The _ai[=o]n_ of an individual man is about
seventy years. The aion of the human race would probably be some
millions of years. It would follow from this reasoning that the
_ai[=o]n_ of God would be eternal, past, and to come. De Quincey does
not, I believe, carry his reasoning to this result; and I had never
seen the argument stated before, as it is in the passages produced by
Mr. K., from Aristotle and Plato. But the same reasoning that makes
the _ai[=o]n_ of God eternal, makes every other limited. It would be
illogical, and appear so at once, if one should argue, God is eternal;
and, therefore, punishment is eternal.

The rule generally accepted for understanding _ai[=o]nios_, is to
modify the meaning according to the nature of the noun which it
qualifies. If it denote duration, the amount of duration will depend
on the noun qualified. This rule forbids that eternal punishment
should be of as long duration as eternal life. Punishment is a means
to an end, and in itself is undesirable. Life or happiness is an end;
the longer continued the better; for it is desirable in itself. It is
that which we seek by means of punishment. The less we have of
punishment, the better. The more we have of life, the better.

My critic ought to have pondered the words of Dr. Taylor Lewis, before
he entered on this discussion. His words are, "The preacher, in
contending with the Universalist and the Restorationist, would commit
an error, and it may be, suffer a failure in his argument, should he
lay the whole stress of it on the etymological or historical
significance of the words, _ai[=o]n_, _ai[=o]nios_, and attempt to
prove that of themselves they necessarily carry the meaning of endless
duration." Lange's Eccl. p. 48. Beecher's "Retribution," p. 154. Prof.
Lewis says that _ai[=o]nios_ means _pertaining to the age or world to
come_. The only fault this definition has, is the addition of the
words _to come_. Jesus says, "These shall go away into the punishment
of the age, and the righteous into the life of the age." The age
referred to, is the Christian age or dispensation, that has already
come. It is the same as has all along been called, "the age to come,"
or about to come. It was to follow the Jewish age, which was soon to
end. Both together are referred to as "this age and that which is
about to come." But when the parable of the sheep and goats begins,
the age is already come.

The form here given by Taylor Lewis is the same as Jesus himself used,
if he spoke the Aramaic, as my critic says he did, and I agree with
him. He did not say, "These shall go away into _ai[=o]nion_
punishment," etc., which is the unwarranted Greek form. But his words
are, "These shall go away into the punishment of the age (or
pertaining to the age), and the righteous into the life of the age (or
pertaining to the age)." It is the same form in the Peshito-Syriac
version, made in the days of the Apostles. It is the same in the
Hebrew New Testament, translated by the Bible society, to circulate
among the modern Jews.

I have in my possession over a hundred passages, from classic Greek
authors, in which _ai[=o]n_ is used in a limited sense, generally
denoting human life, or the age of man. It is used, in a few
instances, to denote an endless age, by attaching to it another word
for _endless_. The adjective _ai[=o]nios_ is used very little by these
authors, and not at all, I think, by the more ancient ones. No lexicon
gives it the definition of eternal, till long after the time of
Christ; and the remark is added, when thus defined, that it is so
understood by the _theologians_.

But the principal help for understanding the Greek of the New
Testament, is the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint.
The words we are discussing are found in that version not far from
four hundred times, three fourths of them probably in a limited sense.
The Hebrew form, "the statutes of the age," are rendered into Greek,
everlasting or _ai[=o]nion_ statutes; "the covenant of the age," the
_ai[=o]nion_ covenant, etc. These terms have sixteen different
renderings. They are, _everlasting_, _forever_, _forevermore_,
_perpetual_, _ever_, _never_ (when joined with a negative particle),
_old_, _ancient_, _long_, _always_, _world_, _lasting_, _eternal_,
_continuance_, _at any time_, _Elam_. The last word stands for the
Hebrew _olam_, the word answering to _ai[=o]n_ in the Greek. With
these definitions in view (a number of them being limited terms), it
would be folly to claim that this word has an unlimited meaning when
applied to punishment. The punishment which God inflicts is limited.
Heb. 12.

Great stress is placed on the circumstance, that in Matt. xxv. 46,
the punishment and the life are spoken of near together, even in the
same verse. Tertullian, and later Augustine, urged this fact as proof
that both must be of the same duration. The late Albert Barns thought
the argument sound. Of course, no large man ever rode a large horse,
without being of the same size. Perhaps an illustration from Scripture
will be more satisfactory. "And the eternal mountains were scattered;
the everlasting hills did bow; his ways are everlasting." Hab. iii. 6.
For the last sentence, see the margin, Revised Edition. Are there to
be no ways of God, after the mountains and hills are gone? Besides,
this whole parable has its fulfilment, not in eternity, but in the
Christian dispensation. It began to be fulfilled at the coming of
Christ, when some were living, who had heard him, during his ministry,
nearly forty years before. Matt. xvi. 27, 28. No fixed rewards and
punishments are possible under the circumstances, for men are
changing. The rendering "pertaining to the age," has no objection of
this kind. If it be claimed that a man, "once a Christian, always a
Christian," no one can doubt, that a man, not a Christian, may become
one, and so change his condition--a proof that his condition is not

I will close this article by a few words on the apocalypse. The
dramatic representation of Eichhorn is correct, save the added clause,
"the eternal felicity of the future life described." The holy city is
not heaven; it came down from God _out of heaven_. It does not denote
a final and fixed condition. It is four-square, and has three gates on
each side; and all of them open continually, to admit those who wish
to enter; and the invitation is sounded without ceasing, to the
outsiders from within, to "come and partake of the waters of life
freely." Neither in the New Jerusalem, nor the lake of fire, is there
any allusion to the eternal world of fixed and changeless conditions.

In those days, when books were not printed, but transcribed by the
hand, it was customary for the author to make a strong appeal to the
copyist or transcriber, not to make any alteration in the book, with
certain penalties, fictitious or otherwise. Hence the Revelation
closes with this admonition,--not to add to, nor take from, the book
(xxii. 18, 19.), the penalty being sufficiently severe, to which I
would commend the late revisers of the New Testament.



In the discussion of the so-called "Negro Problem," there is, as a
rule, a great deal of the sentimental and still more of the
sensational. By a series of _non sequitur_ arguments the average
disputant succeeds admirably in proving what is foreign to the
subject. This is true of writers of both sections of our
country--North as well as South--but especially true of those of the

The recent symposium of Southern writers in the _Independent_ on the
Negro Question, as interesting as it was for novelty and variety of
view, is no exception to the rule. If the negro could be induced to
believe for a moment that he was thus actually destitute of all the
elements that go to make up a rational creature, his life would be
miserable beyond endurance. But he has not reached that point nor does
he care to reach it. Others may exclaim:--

    "O wad some power the giftie gi'e us
    To see oursel's as ithers see us;"

but not the negro, if the vision must always be so distorted. The
black man is naturally of a sanguine temperament, as has so often been
said; and the facts in the case bear him out in entertaining a hopeful
view of his own future and his ability to carve it out. I am sure that
they do not warrant even our Southern friends in taking such a
pessimistic view of the situation, so far as the negro himself is
concerned. But facts are of little account nowadays. There is a
tendency to ignore them and appeal to the prejudices and passions of
men, and that, too, when it is well known that such methods of
procedure prolong rather than settle the question at issue. This is
the work of the alarmist--to keep things stirred up and always in an
unsettled state.

I think it may be justly inferred that the average white man does not
understand the black man, and that he is still an unknown quantity to
many of the white people of the country, even to those who profess to
know him best. Admitting this, then, it is but natural that much of
their deliberation and many of their conclusions should be wide of the
mark. The negro does not censure the white man for his conclusions as
they are the logical consequence of his premises, but he _does_ object
to his premises. Our white friends make their mistake in seeming by
all their movements to insist that there is but one standpoint from
which to view this question, the white man's; but there is another and
the negro is viewing it from that side, not selfishly but in a
friendly and brotherly spirit.

Senator George was right when he said that the solution of this
question should be left to time, but wrong when he further added, "and
to the sound judgment of the Southern people." The recent
disfranchisement of the negroes of his native State shows very plainly
to the thoughtful citizen that the South is not yet capable of justly
handling this question, notwithstanding that they are the people "who
have the trouble before them every day." This is Mississippi's fatal
mistake and one that places the State in the rear of her Southern
sisters, and for the present, at least, lessens the value of any
suggestion from that quarter.

It is well understood that the sentiment of the American people is
that enough has been done for the negro; that the country is under no
obligations to look further after his interest, and that he must act
for himself. Survival of the fittest is now the watchword. There is no
objection to this provided the blacks are _allowed_ to do for
themselves,--to survive as the fittest, if it be possible,--but this
they are not allowed to do. They are certainly anxious to work out
their own destiny. They are tired of sentiment and are therefore
impatient. They desire to show to the world that they are not only
misunderstood but misjudged. They are willing to unite with either
North or South in the adjustment of present difficulties.

Unlike the Indians they are sincere--neither treacherous nor
deceitful. They are simple, frank, and open-hearted, and are as
desirous of good government as are the most honored citizens of the
land. Let alone, they will give neither the State nor the nation any
trouble. They feel themselves a part and parcel of the nation and as
such have an interest in its prosperity as deep as those who are
allowed to exercise, untrammelled, the rights of citizenship.

To keep the blacks submissive there is need of neither army nor navy.
Though at the foot of the ladder they are contented to remain there,
until by virtue of their own efforts they may rise to higher planes.
The negro has never sought, does not now, nor will he seek to step
beyond his limit. "Social equality," "Negro domination," and "Negro
supremacy," are meaningless terms to him so far as his own aspirations
are concerned. The social side of this question will regulate itself.
It has always done so, in all ages and all climes, despite coercion,
despite law. This is the least of the negro's cares. His demand for
civil rights is no demand for "social equality." This is a mistaken
view of the subject. It is this dread of social equality, this fear of
social contact with the negro that precludes many well-meaning people
from securing accurate information in regard to the aims, and
purposes, and capabilities of those whom they desire to help. But
there is light ahead, dark as at times it now may seem, and erroneous
as are the views in regard to the negro's relation to the American

Congressman Herbert, in his effort to show the negro's incapacity for
self-government by calling attention to the defalcations,
embezzlements, and petty larcenies, etc., of reconstruction times,
forgets that if this is to be taken as the gauge of capacity for
self-government, the same rule will apply to bank and railroad
wreckers of the present day,--to every defaulter and embezzler of
State and private funds, and to every absconding clerk. Now we must
remember that this class of citizens is enormously large, and that
they are all white, as a rule. Every daily paper that one picks up
devotes considerable space to this class of citizens who, according to
Mr. Herbert, has shown its "incapacity for self-government," as well
as the incapacity of others "who alone have acquired such a capacity"
as is claimed by Congressman Barnes. Queer logic is it not? The latter
should say so, for it is he who claims that "the Anglo-Saxon is the
only member of the human family who has yet shown evidence of a
capacity for self-government."

Again, it is said that the negro cannot attain high and rigid
scholarship, and even those who have succeeded in becoming educated
"if left to themselves would relapse into barbarism." Now, I cannot
believe that any such statement as this can be made with sincerity. In
the light of the facts it is preposterous. Flipper, while at West
Point, demonstrated beyond controversy the fallacy of such a position
as the first; and there is hardly a college commencement in which some
negro in some way does not continue to show its falsity by
distinguishing himself by his extraordinary attainments. Even while I
write, a letter lies before me from a young colored student, a
graduate of Brown University, who is now taking a post-graduate course
at the American School for Classical Studies, at Athens, Greece. From
all reports, he is making an excellent record, and will present a
thesis in March on "The Demes of Athens." As to relapsing into
barbarism, were the negro removed from white influence, the mere
mention of the negro scholar, Dr. Edward Blyden, born on the island of
St. Thomas, educated and reared in Africa away from the slightest
social contact with people of Anglo-Saxon extraction, is sufficient
proof that such a conclusion is not a correct one.

What a leading journal has said in regard to the Indians may be
repeated here as applicable to the negro: "The most crying need in
Indian [negro] affairs is its disentanglement from politics and
political manipulations."

Here is an opportunity for the Church, but the Church has shown itself
wholly inadequate to meet the case, and because of its tendency to
shirk its duty, may be said to be to blame for many of the troubles
growing out of the presence of the negro on this continent. I have
noted that there is more prejudice in the Church, as a rule, than
there is in the State. If, as is asserted by some, neither Church nor
State can settle this question, then there is nothing to be done but
to leave it to time and the combined patience and forbearance of the
American people,--black as well as white.



Lucretia Burns had never been handsome, even in her days of early
girlhood, and now she was middle aged, distorted with work and
child-bearing, and looking faded and worn as one of the boulders that
lay beside the pasture fence near where she sat milking a large white

She had no shawl or hat and no shoes, for it was still muddy in the
little yard, where the cattle stood patiently fighting the flies and
mosquitoes swarming into their skins already wet with blood. The
evening was oppressive with its heat, and a ring of just-seen
thunder-heads gave premonitions of an approaching storm.

An observer seeing Lucretia Burns as she rose from the cow's side, and
taking her pails of foaming milk staggered toward the gate, would have
been made weak with sympathetic pain. The two pails hung from her lean
arms, her bare feet slipped on the filthy ground, her greasy and faded
calico dress showed her tired, swollen ankles, and the mosquitoes
swarmed mercilessly on her neck and bedded themselves in her colorless

The children were quarrelling at the well and the sound of blows could
be heard. Calves were querulously calling for their milk, and little
turkeys lost in the tangle of grass were piping plaintively.

The sun just setting struck through a long, low rift like a boy
peeping beneath the eaves of a huge roof. Its light brought out
Lucretia's face as she leaned her sallow forehead on the top bar of
the gate and looked towards the west.

It was a pitifully worn, almost tragic face,--long, thin, sallow,
hollow-eyed. The mouth had long since lost the power to shape itself
into a kiss, and had a droop at the corners which seemed to announce a
breaking down at any moment into a despairing wail. The collarless
neck and sharp shoulders showed painfully.

She felt vaguely that the night was beautiful, the setting sun, the
noise of frogs, the nocturnal insects beginning to pipe--all in some
way called her girlhood back to her, though there was little in her
girlhood to give her pleasure. Her large gray eyes (her only
interesting feature) grew round, deep, and wistful as she saw the
illimitable craggy clouds grow crimson, roll slowly up, and fire at
the top. A childish scream recalled her.

"Oh my soul!" she half groaned, half swore, as she lifted her milk and
hurried to the well. Arriving there, she cuffed the children right and
left with all her remaining strength, saying in justification:--

"My soul! can't you--you young 'uns give me a minute's peace? Land
knows, I'm almost gone up--washin' an' milkin' six cows, and tendin'
you and cookin' f'r _him_, ought'o be enough f'r one day! Sadie, you
let him drink now'r I'll slap your head off, you hateful thing! Why
can't you behave, when you know I'm jest about dead." She was weeping
now, with nervous weakness. "Where's y'r pa?" she asked after a
moment, wiping her eyes with her apron.

One of the group, the one cuffed last, sniffled out, in rage and

"He's in the cornfield,--where'd ye s'pose he was?"

"Good land! why don't the man work all night? Sile, you put that
dipper in that milk agin, an' I'll whack you till your head'll swim!
Sadie, le' go Pet, an' go 'n get them turkeys out of the grass 'fore
it gits dark! Bob, you go tell y'r dad if he wants the rest o' them
cows milked, he's got 'o do it himself. I jest can't, and what's more
I _won't_," she ended rebelliously.

Having strained the milk and fed the children, she took some skimmed
milk from the cans and started to feed the calves bawling strenuously
behind the barn. The eager and unruly brutes pushed and struggled to
get into the pails all at once, and in consequence spilt nearly all of
the milk on the ground. This was the last trial,--the woman fell down
on the damp grass and moaned and sobbed like a crazed thing. The
children stood around like little partridges, looking at her in
silence, till at last the little one began to wail. Then the mother
rose wearily to her feet, and walked slowly back towards the house.

She heard Burns threshing his team at the well, with the sound of
oaths. He was tired, hungry, and ill-tempered, but she was too
desperate to care. His poor, overworked team did not move quick enough
for him, and his extra long turn in the corn had made him dangerous.
His eyes gleamed from his dust-laid face.

"Supper ready?" he growled.

"Yes, two hours ago."

"Well, I can't help it! That devilish corn is getting too tall to plow
again, and I've got 'o go through it to-morrow or not at all. Cows

"Part of 'em."

"How many?"


"Hell! Which three?"

"Spot, and Brin, and Cherry."

"_Of_ course! kept the three worst ones. I'll be damned if I milk 'm
to-night. I don't see why you play out jest the nights I need ye
most--" here he kicked a child out of the way. "Git out 'o that! Haint
ye got no sense? I'll learn ye--"

"Stop that, Sim Burns!" cried the woman, snatching up the child.
"You're a reg'lar ol' hyeny,--that's what you are--" she added
defiantly, roused at last from her lethargy.

"You're a--beauty, that's what _you_ are," he said, pitilessly. "Keep
your brats out f'um under my feet;" and he strode off to the barn
after his team, leaving her with a fierce hate in her heart. She heard
him yelling at his team in their stalls.

The children had had their supper so she took them to bed. She was
unusually tender to them for she wanted to make up in some way for her
harshness. The ferocity of her husband had shown up her own petulant
temper hideously, and she sat and sobbed in the darkness a long time
beside the cradle where the little Pet slept.

She heard Burns come growling in and tramp about,--the supper was on
the table, he could wait on himself. There was an awful feeling at her
heart as she sat there and the house grew quiet. She thought of
suicide in a vague way; of somehow taking her children in her arms and
sinking into a lake somewhere, where she would never more be troubled,
where she could sleep forever, without toil or hunger.

Then she thought of the little turkeys wandering in the grass, of the
children sleeping at last, of the quiet, wonderful stars. Then she
thought of the cows left unmilked, and listened to them stirring
uneasily in the yard. She rose, at last, and stole forth. She could
not rid herself of the thought that they would suffer. She knew what
the dull ache in the full breasts of a mother was, and she could not
let them stand at the bars all night moaning for relief.

The mosquitoes had gone, but the frogs and katy-dids still sang, while
over in the west Venus shone. She was a long time milking the cows;
her hands were so tired she had often to stop and rest them, while the
tears fell unheeded into the pail. She saw and felt little of the
external as she sat there. She thought of how sweet it seemed the
first time Sim came to see her, of the many rides to town with him
when he was an accepted lover, of the few things he had given her, a
coral breastpin and a ring.

She felt no shame at her present miserable appearance, she was past
that; she hardly felt as if the tall, strong girl, attractive with
health and hope, could be the same soul as the woman who now sat in
utter despair listening to the heavy breathing of the happy cows,
grateful for the relief from their burden of milk.

She contrasted her lot with that of two or three women that she knew,
not a very high standard, who "kept hired help," and who had "fine
houses of four or five rooms." Even the neighbors were better off than
she, for they didn't have such quarrels. But she wasn't to blame--Sim
didn't--then her mind changed to a vague resentment against "things;"
everything seemed against her.

She rose at last and carried her second load of milk to the well,
strained it, washed out the pails, and after bathing her tired feet in
a tub that stood there, she put on a pair of horrible shoes without
stockings, and crept stealthily into the house. Sim did not hear her
as she slipped up the stairs to the little low, unfinished chamber
beside her oldest children,--she could not bear to sleep near _him_
that night,--she wanted a chance to sob herself to quiet.

As for Sim, he was a little disturbed but would as soon have cut off
his head as acknowledge himself in the wrong, but he yelled as he went
to bed, and found her still away:--

"Say, ol' woman, aint ye comin' to bed?" and upon receiving no answer
he rolled his aching body into the creaking bed. "Do as ye damn please
about it. If ye wan' to sulk y' can." And in such wise the family grew
quiet in sleep, while the moist, warm air pulsed with the ceaseless
chime of the crickets.


When Sim Burns woke the next morning he felt a sharper twinge of
remorse. It was not a broad or well-defined feeling, just a sense that
he'd been unduly irritable, not that on the whole he was not in the
right. Little Pet lay with the warm June sunshine filling his baby
eyes, curiously content in striking at flies that buzzed around his
little mouth.

The man thrust his dirty naked feet into his huge boots, and, without
washing his face or combing his hair, went out to the barn to do his

He was a type of the prairie farmer and his whole surrounding was
typical. He had a quarter-section of fine level land, mortgaged, of
course, but his house was a little box-like structure, costing,
perhaps, five hundred dollars. It had three rooms and the ever-present
"summer kitchen" attached to the back. It was unpainted and had no
touch of beauty, a mere box.

His stable was built of slabs and banked and covered with straw. It
looked like a den, was low and long, and had but one door in the end.
The cow-yard held ten or fifteen cattle of various kinds, while a few
calves were bawling from a pen near by. Behind the barn on the west
and north was a fringe of willows forming a "wind-break." A few broken
and discouraged fruit trees standing here and there among the weeds
formed the garden. In short, he was spoken of by his neighbors as "a
hard-working cuss, and tollably well fixed."

No grace had come or ever _could_ come into his life. Back of him were
generations of men like himself, whose main' business had been to work
hard, live miserably, and beget children to take their places after
they died. He was a product.

His courtship had been delayed so long on account of poverty that it
brought little of humanizing emotion into his life. He never
mentioned it now, or if he did, it was only to sneer obscenely at it.
He had long since ceased to kiss his wife or even speak kindly to her.
There was no longer any sanctity to life or love. He chewed tobacco
and toiled on from year to year without any very clearly defined idea
of the future.

He was tall, dark, and strong, in a flat-chested, slouching sort of
way, and had grown neglectful of even decency in his dress. He wore
the American farmer's customary outfit of rough brown pants, hickory
shirt, and greasy white hat. It differed from his neighbors, mainly in
being a little dirtier and more ragged. His grimy hands were broad and
strong as the clutch of a bear, and he "was a turrible feller to turn
off work," as Council said. "I druther have Sim Burns work for me one
day than some men three. He's a linger." He worked with unusual speed
this morning, and ended by milking all the cows himself as a sort of
savage penance for his misdeeds the previous evening, muttering in

"Seems 's if ever' cussid thing piles on to me at once. That corn, the
road-tax, and hayin' comin' on, and now _she_ gits her back up--"

When he went back to the well he sloshed himself thoroughly in the
horse-trough and went to the house. He found breakfast ready but his
wife was not in sight. The older children were clamoring around the
uninviting breakfast table, spread with cheap plates and with boiled
potatoes and fried salt pork as the principal dish.

"Where's y'r ma?" he asked, with a threatening note in his voice, as
he sat down by the table.

"She's in the bedroom."

He rose and pushed open the door. The mother sat with the babe in her
lap, looking out of the window down across the superb field of
timothy, moving like a lake. She did not look round. She only grew
rigid. Her thin neck throbbed with the pulsing of blood to her head.

"What's got into you, _now_?" he said brutally; "don't be a fool. Come
out and eat breakfast with me, an' take care o' y'r young ones."

She neither moved nor made a sound. With an oath he turned on his heel
and went out to the table. Eating his breakfast in his usual wolfish
fashion, he went out into the hot sun with his team and ridding
plow, not a little disturbed by this new phase of his wife's
"cantankerousness." He plowed steadily and sullenly all the forenoon,
in the terrific heat and dust. The air was full of tempestuous
threats, still and sultry, one of those days when work is a
punishment. When he came in at noon he found things the same,--dinner
on the table, but his wife out in the garden with the youngest child.

"I c'n stand it as long as _she_ can," he said to himself, in the
hearing of the children. When he finished the field of corn it was
after sundown, and he came up to the house, hot, dusty, his shirt
wringing wet with sweat, and his neck aching with the work of looking
down all day at the cornrows. His mood was still stern. The
multitudinous lift, and stir, and sheen of the wide green field had
been lost upon him.

"I wonder if she's milked them cows," he muttered to himself. He gave
a sigh of relief to find she had. But she had done so not for his
sake, but for the sake of the poor, patient, dumb brutes.

When he went to the bedroom after supper, he found that the cradle and
his wife's few little boxes and parcels--poor pathetic properties--had
been removed to the garret which they called a chamber, and he knew he
was to sleep alone again.

"She'll git over it, I guess." He was very tired but he didn't feel
quite comfortable enough to sleep. The air was oppressive. His shirt
wet in places, and stiff with dust in other places, oppressed him more
than usual, so he rose and removed it, getting a clean one out of a
drawer. This was an unusual thing for him, for he usually slept in the
same shirt which he wore in his day's work, but it was Saturday night,
and he felt justified in the extravagance.

In the meanwhile poor Lucretia was brooding over her life in a most
dangerous fashion. All she had done and suffered for Simeon Burns came
back to her till she wondered how she had endured it all. All day long
in the midst of the glorious summer landscape she brooded.

"I hate him," she thought with a fierce blazing up through the murk of
her musing, "I hate t' live. But they aint no hope. I'm tied down. I
can't leave the children, and I aint got no money. I couldn't make a
living out in the world. I aint never seen anything an' don't know

She was too simple and too unknowing to speculate on the loss of her
beauty, which would have brought her competency once,--if sold in the
right market. As she lay in her little attic bed, she was still
sullenly thinking, wearily thinking of her life. She thought of a poor
old horse which Sim had bought once, years before, and put to the
plough when it was too old and weak to work. She could see her again
as in a vision, that poor old mare, with sad head drooping, toiling,
toiling, till at last she could no longer move, and lying down under
the harness in the furrow, groaned under the whip--and died.

Then she wondered if her own numbness and despair meant death, and she
held her breath to think harder upon it. She concluded at last,
grimly, that she didn't care--only for the children.

The air was frightfully close in the little attic, and she heard the
low mutter of the rising storm in the west. She forgot her troubles a
little, listening to the far-off gigantic footsteps of the tempest.

_Boom, boom, boom_, it broke nearer and nearer as if a vast cordon of
cannon was being drawn around the horizon. Yet she was conscious only
of pleasure. She had no fear. At last came the sweep of cool, fragrant
storm-wind, a short and sudden dash of rain, and then in the cool,
sweet hush which followed, the worn and weary woman fell into a deep

When she woke the younger children were playing about on the floor in
their night-clothes, and little Pet was sitting in a square of
sunshine intent on one of his shoes. He was too young to know how poor
and squalid his surroundings were, the patch of sunshine flung on the
floor glorified it all. He (little animal) was happy.

The poor of the western prairies lie almost as unhealthily close
together as do the poor of the city tenements. In the small hut of the
peasant there is as little chance to escape close and tainting contact
as in the coops and dens of the North End of proud Boston. In the
midst of oceans of land, floods of sunshine and gulfs of verdure, the
farmer lives in two or three small rooms. Poverty's eternal cordon is
ever round the poor.

"Ma, why didn't you sleep with pap last night?" asked Bob, the
seven-year old, when he saw she was awake at last. She flushed a dull

"Sh! Because--I--it was too warm--and there was a storm comin'. You
never mind askin' such questions. Is he gone out?"

"Yup. I heerd him callin' the pigs. It's Sunday, aint it, ma?"

"Why, yes, so it is! Wal! Now Sadie, you jump up an' dress quick's y'
can, an' Bob an' Sile, you run down an' bring s'm water," she
commanded, in nervous haste beginning to dress. In the middle of the
room there was scarce space to stand beneath the rafters.

When Sim came in for his breakfast he found it on the table but his
wife was absent.

"Where's y'r ma?" he asked with a little less of the growl in his

"She's upstairs with Pet."

The man ate his breakfast in dead silence, till at last Bob ventured
to say,

"What makes ma ac' so?"

"Shut up!" was the brutal reply. The children began to take sides with
the mother--all but the oldest girl who was ten years old. To her the
father turned now for certain things to be done, treating her in his
rough fashion as a housekeeper, and the girl felt flattered and docile

They were pitiably clad; like most farm-children, indeed, they could
hardly be said to be clad at all. Sadie had on but two garments, a
sort of undershirt of cotton and a faded calico dress, out of which
her bare, yellow little legs protruded, lamentably dirty and covered
with scratches.

The boys also had two garments, a hickory shirt and a pair of pants
like their father's, made out of brown denims by the mother's
never-resting hands,--hands that in sleep still sewed, and skimmed,
and baked, and churned. The boys had gone to bed without washing their
feet, which now looked like toads, calloused, brown, and chapped.

Part of this the mother saw with her dull eyes as she came down, after
seeing the departure of Sim up the road with the cows. It was a
beautiful Sunday morning, and the woman might have sung like a bird if
men were only as kind to her as Nature. But she looked dully on the
seas of ripe grasses, tangled and flashing with dew, out of which the
bobolinks and larks sprang. The glorious winds brought her no melody,
no perfume, no respite from toil and care.

She thought of the children she saw in the town. Children of the
merchant and banker, clean as little dolls, the boys in knickerbocker
suits, the girls in dainty white dresses, and a bitterness sprang into
her heart. She soon put the dishes away, but felt too tired and
listless to do more.

"Taw-bay-wies! Pet want ta-aw-bay-wies!" cried the little one, tugging
at her dress.

Listlessly, mechanically she took him in her arms, and went out into
the garden which was fragrant and sweet with dew and sun. After
picking some berries for him, she sat down on the grass under the row
of cotton-woods, and sank into a kind of lethargy. A kingbird
chattered and shrieked overhead, the grasshoppers buzzed in the
grasses, strange insects with ventriloquistic voices sang all about
her,--she could not tell where.

"Ma, can't I put on my clean dress?" insisted Sadie.

"I don't care," said the brooding woman darkly. "Leave me alone."

Oh, if she could only lie here forever, escaping all pain and
weariness! The wind sang in her ears, the great clouds, beautiful as
heavenly ships, floated far above in the vast dazzling deeps of blue
sky, the birds rustled and chirped around her, leaping-insects buzzed
and clattered in the grass and in the vines and bushes. The goodness
and glory of God was in the very air, the bitterness and oppression of
man in every line of her face.

But her quiet was broken by Sadie who came leaping like a fawn down
through the grass.

"O ma, Aunt Maria and Uncle William are coming. They've jest turned

"I don't care if they be!" she answered in the same dully-irritated
way. "What're they comin' here to-day for, I wan' to know." She stayed
there immovably, till Mrs. Council came down to see her, piloted by
two or three of the children. Mrs. Council, a jolly, large-framed
woman, smiled brightly, and greeted her in a loud, jovial voice. She
made the mistake of taking the whole matter lightly; her tone amounted
to ridicule.

"Sim says you've been having a tantrum, Creeshy. Don't know what for,
he says."

"He don't," said the wife with a sullen flash in the eyes. "_He_
don't know why! Well, then, you just tell him what I say. I've lived
in hell long enough. I'm done. I've slaved here day in and day out f'r
twelve years without pay--not even a decent word. I've worked like no
nigger ever worked 'r could work and live. I've given him all I had,
'r ever expect to have. I'm wore out. My strength is gone, my patience
is gone. I'm done with it--that's a _part_ of what's the matter."

"My sakes, Lucreeshy! You mustn't talk that way."

"But I _will_," said the woman, as she supported herself on one palm
and raised the other. "I've _got_ to talk that way." She was ripe for
an explosion like this. She seized upon it with eagerness. "They aint
no use o' livin' this way, anyway. I'd take poison if it want f'r the
young ones."

"Lucreeshy Burns!"

"Oh, I mean it."

"Land sakes alive, I b'leeve you're goin' crazy!"

"I shouldn't wonder if I was. I've had enough t' drive an Indian
crazy. Now you jest go off an' leave me 'lone. I aint in mind to
visit--they aint no way out of it, an' I'm tired o' tryin' to _find_ a
way. Go off an' let me be."

Her tone was so bitterly hopeless that the great jolly face of Mrs.
Council stiffened into a look of horror such as she had not worn for
years. The children, in two separate groups, could be heard rioting.
Bees were humming around the clover in the grass, and the kingbird
chattered ceaselessly from the Lombardy poplar-tip. Both women felt
all this peace and beauty of the morning, dimly, and it disturbed Mrs.
Council because the other was so impassive under it all. At last,
after a long and thoughtful pause, Mrs. Council asked a question whose
answer she knew would decide it all,--asked it very kindly and

"Creeshy, are you comin' in?"

"No," was the short and sullenly decisive answer. Mrs. Council knew
that was the end, and so rose with a sigh and went away.

"Wal, good by," she said simply.

Looking back she saw Lucretia lying at length with closed eyes and
hollow cheeks. She seemed to be sleeping, half-buried in the grass.
She did not look up nor reply to her sister-in-law. Her life also was
one of toil and trouble, but not so hard and hapless as Lucretia's.
By contrast with most of her neighbors she seemed comfortable.

"Sim Burns, what you ben doin' to that woman?" she burst out as she
waddled up to where the two men were sitting under a cotton-wood tree,
talking and whittling after the manner of farmers.

"Nawthin' 's fur 's I know," answered Burns, not quite honestly, and
looking uneasy.

"You needn't try t' git out of it like that, Sim Burns," replied his
sister. "That woman never got into that fit f'r _nawthin'_."

"Wal, if you know more about it than I do, whadgy ask _me_ fur," he
replied angrily.

"Tut, tut!" put in Council, always a peacemaker, "hold y'r horses!
Don't git on y'r ear, childern! Keep cool, and don't spile y'r shirts.
Most likely yer all t' blame. Keep cool an' swear less."

"Wal, I'll bet Sim's more to blame than she is. Why they aint a
harder-workin' woman in the hull State of Ioway than she is--"

"Except Marm Council."

"Except nobody. Look at her, jest skin and bones."

Council chuckled in his vast way. "That's so, mother, measured in that
way she leads over you. You git fat on it."

She smiled a little, her indignation oozing away; she never "_could_
stay mad," her children were accustomed to tell her. Burns refused to
talk any more about the matter, and the visitors gave it up, and got
out their team and started for home, Mrs. Council firing this parting

"The best thing you can do to-day is t' let her alone. Mebbe the
childern 'll bring her round again. If she does come round, you see 't
you treat her a little more 's y' did when you was a-courtin' her."

"This way," roared Council, putting his arm around his wife's waist.
She boxed his ears while he guffawed and clucked at his team.

Burns took a measure of salt and went out into the pasture to salt the
cows. On the sunlit slope of the field, where the cattle came running
and bawling to meet him, he threw down the salt in handfuls, and then
lay down to watch them as they eagerly licked it up, even gnawing a
bare spot in the sod in their eagerness to get it all.

Burns was not a drinking man; was hard-working, frugal, in fact, he
had no extravagances except his tobacco. His clothes he wore until
they all but dropped from him; and he worked in rain and mud, as well
as dust and sun. It was this suffering and toiling all to no purpose
that made him sour and irritable. He didn't see why he should have so
little after so much hard work.

He was puzzled to account for it all. His mind (the average mind) was
weary with trying to solve an insoluble problem. His neighbors, who
had got along a little better than himself, were free with advice and
suggestion as to the cause of his persistent poverty.

Old man Bacon, the hardest-working man in the county, laid it to
Burns' lack of management. Jim Butler, who owned a dozen farms (which
he had taken on mortgages), and who had got rich by buying land at
government price and holding for a rise, laid all such cases as Burns
to "lack of enterprise, foresight."

But the larger number feeling themselves "in the same boat" with
Burns, said:--

"I'd know. Seems as if things got worse an' worse. Corn an' wheat
gittin' cheaper 'n' cheaper. Machinery eatin' up profits--got to
_have_ machinery to harvest the cheap grain, an' then the machinery
eats up profits. Taxes goin' up. Devil to pay all round; I'd know what
'n thunder _is_ the matter."

The democrats said protection was killing the farmers, the republicans
said no. The grangers growled about the middle-men, the green-backers
said there wasn't circulating medium enough, and in the midst of it
all, hard-working discouraged farmers, like Simeon Burns, worked on,
unable to find out what really was the matter.

And there on this beautiful Sabbath morning, Sim sat and thought and
thought, till he rose with an oath, and gave it up.


It was hot and brilliant again the next morning as Douglass Radbourn
drove up the road with Lily Graham, the teacher of the school in the
little white schoolhouse. It was blazing hot, even though not yet nine
o'clock, and the young farmers plowing beside the fence looked
longingly and somewhat bitterly at Radbourn seated in a fine
top-buggy beside a beautiful creature in lace and cambric.

Very beautiful the town-bred "schoolma'am" looked to those grimy,
sweaty fellows, superb fellows physically, too, with bare red arms and
leather-colored faces. She was as if builded of the pink and white
clouds soaring far up there in the morning sky. So cool, and sweet,
and dainty.

As she came in sight, their dusty and sweaty shirts grew biting as the
poisoned shirt of the Norse myth, their bare feet in the brown dirt
grew distressingly flat and hoof-like, and their huge, dirty, brown,
chapped, and swollen hands grew so repulsive that the mere remote
possibility of some time in the far future "standing a chance" of
having an introduction to her, caused them to wipe them on their
trousers' leg stealthily.

Lycurgus Banks, "Ly" Banks, swore when he saw Radbourn. "That cuss
thinks he's ol' hell this morning. He don't earn his living. But he's
jest the kind of cuss to get holt of all the purty girls."

Others gazed with simple, sad wistfulness upon the slender figure,
pale, sweet face, and dark eyes of the young girl, feeling that to
have talk with such a fairy-like creature was a happiness too great to
ever be their lot. And when she had passed they went back to work with
a sigh and feeling of loss.

As for Lily, she felt a pang of pity for these people. She looked at
this peculiar form of poverty and hardship much as the fragile, tender
girl of the city looks upon the men laying a gas-main in the streets.
She felt (sympathetically) the heat and grime, and though but the
faintest idea of what it meant to wear such clothing came to her, she
shuddered. Her eyes had been opened to these things by Radbourn, who
was a well-known radical,--a law student in Rock River.

"Poor fellows!" sighed Lily, almost unconsciously. "I hate to see them
working there in the dirt and hot sun. It seems a hopeless sort of
life, doesn't it?"

"Oh, but this is the most beautiful part of the year," said Radbourn.
"Think of them in the mud, in the sleet; think of them husking corn in
the snow, a bitter wind blowing; think of them a month later in the
harvest; think of them imprisoned here in winter!"

"Yes, it's dreadful! But I never felt it so keenly before. You have
opened my eyes to it."

"Writers and orators have lied so long about 'the idyllic' in farm
life, and said so much about the 'independent American farmer' that he
himself has remained blind to the fact that he's one of the
hardest-working and poorest-paid men in America. See the houses they
live in,--hovels."

"Yes, yes, I know," said Lily; a look of deeper pain swept over her
face. "And the fate of the poor women, oh, the fate of the women!"

"Yes, it's a matter of statistics," went on Radbourn, pitilessly,
"that the wives of the American farmers fill our insane asylums. See
what a life they lead, most of them; no music, no books. Seventeen
hours a day in a couple of small rooms--dens. Now there's Sim Burns!
what a travesty of a home! Yet there are a dozen just as bad in sight.
He works like a fiend,--so does his wife,--and what is their reward?
Simply a hole to hibernate in and to sleep and eat in in summer. A
dreary present and a well-nigh hopeless future. No, they have a
future, if they knew it, and we must tell them."

"I know Mrs. Burns; she sends several children to my school. Poor,
pathetic little things, half-clad and wistful-eyed. They make my heart
ache; they are so hungry for love, and so quick to learn."

As they passed the Burns farm, they looked for the wife but she was
not to be seen. The children had evidently gone up to the little white
schoolhouse at the head of the lane. Radbourn let the reins fall slack
as he talked on. He did not look at the girl, his eyebrows were drawn
into a look of gloomy pain.

"It aint so much the grime that I abhor, nor the labor that crooks
their backs and makes their hands bludgeons. It's the horrible waste
of life involved in it all. I don't believe God intended a man to be
bent to plow-handles like that, but that aint the worst of it. The
worst of it is, these people live lives approaching automata. They
become machines to serve others more lucky or more unscrupulous than
themselves. What is the world of art, of music, of literature, to
these poor devils--to Sim Burns and his wife there, for example? Or
even to the best of these farmers?"

The girl looked away over the shimmering lake of yellow-green corn, a
choking came into her throat. Her gloved hand trembled.

"What is such a life worth? It's all very comfortable for us to say,
'they don't feel it.' How do we know what they feel? What do we know
of their capacity for enjoyment of art and music? They never have
leisure or opportunity. The master is very glad to be taught by
preacher, and lawyer, and novelist, that his slaves are contented and
never feel any longings for a higher life. These people live lives but
little higher than their cattle,--are _forced_ to live so. Their hopes
and aspirations are crushed out, their souls are twisted and deformed
just as toil twists and deforms their bodies. They are on the same
level as the city laborer. It makes me wild to think of it. The very
religion they hear is a soporific. They are taught to be content here
that they may be happy hereafter. Suppose there isn't any hereafter?"

"Oh, don't say that, please!" Lily cried.

"But I don't _know_ that there is," looking up at her pitilessly, "and
I do know that these people are being robbed of something more than
money, of all that makes life worth living. The promise of milk and
honey in Canaan is all very well, but I prefer to have mine here, then
I'm sure of it."

"What can we do?" murmured the girl.

"Do? Rouse these people for one thing; preach _discontent_, a noble

"It will only make them unhappy."

"No, it won't, not if you show them the way out. If it does, it's
better to be unhappy striving for higher things, like a man, than to
be content in a wallow like swine."

"But what _is_ the way out?"

This was sufficient to set Radbourn upon his hobby-horse. He outlined
his plan of action, the abolition of all indirect taxes. The State
control of all privileges, the private ownership of which interfered
with the equal rights of all. He would utterly destroy speculative
holdings of the earth. He would have land everywhere brought to its
best use, by appropriating all ground rents to the use of the State,
etc., etc., to which the girl listened with eager interest but with
only partial comprehension.

As they neared the little schoolhouse, a swarm of midgets in pink
dresses, pink sun-bonnets, and brown legs, came rushing to meet their
teacher, with that peculiar devotion the children in the country
develop for a refined teacher.

Radbourn helped Lily out into the midst of the eager little scholars,
who swarmed upon her like bees on a lump of sugar, till even
Radbourn's gravity gave way, and he smiled into her lifted eyes--an
unusual smile, that strangely enough stopped the smile on her own
lips, filling her face with a wistful shadow, and her breath came hard
for a moment and she trembled.

She loved that cold, stern face, oh, so much! and to have him smile
was a pleasure that made her heart leap till she suffered a smothering
pain. She turned to him to say:--

"I am very thankful, Mr. Radbourn, for another pleasant ride," adding
in a lower tone, "It was a very great pleasure; you always give me so
much. I feel stronger and more hopeful."

"I'm glad you feel so. I was afraid I was prosy with my

"Oh no! Indeed no! You have given me a new hope; I am exalted with the
thought; I shall try to think it all out and apply it."

And so they parted, the children looking on and slyly whispering among
themselves. Radbourn looked back after awhile but the bare little hive
had absorbed its little group, and was standing bleak as a tombstone
and hot as a furnace on the naked plain in the blazing sun.

"America's pitiful boast!" said the young radical looking back at it.
"Only a miserable hint of what it might be."

All that forenoon as Lily faced her little group of barefoot children,
she was thinking of Radbourn, of his almost fierce sympathy for these
poor supine farmers, hopeless, and in some cases content in their
narrow lives. The children almost worshipped the beautiful girl who
came to them as a revelation of exquisite neatness and taste,--whose
very voice and intonation awed them.

They noted (unconsciously, of course,) every detail. Snowy linen,
touches of soft color, graceful lines of bust and side--the slender
fingers that could almost speak, so beautifully flexile were they.
Lily herself sometimes, when she shook the calloused, knotted,
stiffened hands of the women, shuddered with sympathetic pain, to
think that the crowning wonder and beauty of God's world should be so
maimed and distorted from its true purpose.

Even in the children before her she could see the inherited results
of fruitless labor--and more pitiful yet in the bent shoulders of the
older ones she could see the beginnings of deformity that would soon
be permanent. And as these things came to her, she clasped the poor
wondering things to her side with a convulsive wish to make life a
little brighter for them.

"How is your mother, Sadie?" she asked of Sadie Burns, as she was
eating her luncheon on the drab-colored table near the open window.

"Purty well," said Sadie in a hesitating way.

Lily was looking out, and listening to the gophers whistling as they
raced to and fro. She could see Bob Burns lying at length on the grass
in the pasture over the fence, his heels waving in the air, his hands
holding a string which formed a snare. Bob was "death on gophers." It
was like fishing to young Izaak Walton.

It was very still and hot and the cheep and trill of the gophers, and
the chatter of the kingbirds alone broke the silence. A cloud of
butterflies were fluttering about a pool near, a couple of big flies
buzzed and mumbled on the pane.

"What ails your mother?" Lily asked, recovering herself and looking at
Sadie who was distinctly ill at ease.

"Oh, I dunno," Sadie replied, putting one bare foot across the other.

Lily insisted.

"She 'n' pa's had an awful row--"

"Sadie!" said the teacher warningly, "what language!"

"I mean they quarrelled, an' she don't speak to him any more."

"Why, how dreadful!"

"An' pa he's awful cross,--and she won't eat when he does, an' I haf
to wait on table."

"I believe I'll go down and see her this noon," said Lily to herself,
as she divined a little of the state of affairs in the Burns family.

Sim was mending the pasture fence as Lily came down the road toward
him. He had delayed going to dinner to finish his task and was just
about ready to go when Lily spoke to him.

"Good-morning, Mr. Burns. I am just going down to see Mrs. Burns. It
must be time to go to dinner--aren't you ready to go? I want to talk
with you."

Ordinarily he would have been delighted with the idea of walking down
the road with the schoolma'am, but there was something in her look
which seemed to tell him that she knew all about his trouble, and
beside he was not in good humor.

"Yes, in a minnit,--soon's I fix up this hole. Them shoats, I b'leeve,
would go through a keyhole, if they could once git their snoots in."

He expanded on this idea as he nailed away, anxious to gain time. He
foresaw trouble for himself. He couldn't be rude to this sweet and
fragile girl. If a _man_ had dared to attack him on his domestic
shortcomings, he could have fought. The girl stood waiting for him,
her large, steady eyes full of thought, gazing down at him from the
shadow of her broad-brimmed hat.

"The world is so full of misery anyway, that we ought to do the best
we can to make it less," she said at last in a musing tone, as if her
thoughts had unconsciously taken on speech. She had always appealed to
him strongly, and never more so than in this softly uttered
abstraction,--that it was an abstraction added to its power with him.

He could find no words for reply, but picked up his hammer and
nail-box, and slouched along the road by her side, listening without a
word to her talk.

"Christ was patient, and bore with his enemies, surely we ought to
bear with our--friends." She went on adapting her steps to his. He
took off his torn straw hat and wiped his face on his sleeve, being
much embarrassed and ashamed. Not knowing how to meet such argument,
he kept silent.

"How _is_ Mrs. Burns?" said Lily at length, determined to make him
speak. The delicate meaning in the emphasis laid on _is_ did not
escape him.

"Oh, she's all right,--I mean she's done her work jest the same as
ever. I don't see her much--"

"I didn't know--I was afraid she was sick. Sadie said she was acting

"No, she's well enough--but,--"

"But what is the trouble? Won't you let me help you, _won't_ you?"

"Can't anybody help us. We've got 'o fight it out, I s'pose," he
replied, a gloomy note of resentment creeping into his voice. "She's
ben in a devil of a temper f'r a week."

"Haven't you been in the same kind of a temper too?" demanded Lily,
firmly, but kindly. "I think most troubles of this kind come from bad
temper on both sides. Don't you? Have you done your share at being
kind and patient?"

They had reached the gate now, and she laid her hand on his arm to
stop him. He looked down at the slender gloved hand on his arm feeling
as if a giant had grasped him, then he raised his eyes to her face,
flushing a purplish red as he remembered his grossness. It seemed
monstrous in the presence of this girl-advocate. Her face was like
silver, her eyes seemed pools of tears.

"I don't s'pose I have," he said at last pushing by her. He couldn't
have stood her glance another moment. His whole air conveyed the
impression of destructive admission. Lily did not comprehend the
extent of her advantage or she would have pursued it further. As it
was she felt a little hurt as she entered the house. The table was
set, but Mrs. Burns was nowhere to be seen. Calling her softly, the
young girl passed through the shabby little living room to the
oven-like bedroom which opened off it, but no one was about. She stood
for a moment shuddering at the wretchedness of the room.

Going back to the kitchen she found Sim about beginning on his dinner;
little Pet was with him, the rest of the children were at the

"Where is she?"

"I d' know. Out in the garden I expect. She don't eat with me now. I
never see her. She don't come near _me_. I aint seen her since

Lily was shocked inexpressibly and began to see clearer the magnitude
of the task she had set herself to do. But it must be done; she felt
that a tragedy was not far off. It must be averted.

"Mr. Burns, what have you done? What _have_ you done?" she asked in
terror and horror.

"Don't lay it all to _me_! She hain't done nawthin' but complain f'r
ten years. I couldn't do nothin' to suit her. She was always naggin'

"I don't think Lucretia Burns would nag anybody. I don't say you're
_all_ to blame, but I'm afraid you haven't acknowledged you were any
to blame. I'm afraid you've not been patient with her. I'm going out
to bring her in. If she comes will you say you were _part_ to blame?
You needn't beg her pardon, just say you'll try to be better. Will you
do it? Think how much she has done for you! Will you?"

He remained silent, and looked discouragingly rude. His sweaty, dirty
shirt was open at the neck, his arms were bare, his scraggly teeth
were yellow with tobacco, and his uncombed hair lay tumbled about on
his high, narrow head. His clumsy, unsteady hands played with the
dishes on the table. His pride was struggling with his sense of
justice; he knew he ought to consent, and yet it was so hard to
acknowledge himself to blame. The girl went on in a voice piercingly
sweet, trembling with pity and pleading.

"What word can I carry to her from you? I'm going to go and see her.
If I could take a word from _you_, I know she would come back to the
table. Shall I tell her you feel to blame?"

The answer was a long time coming; at last the man nodded an assent,
the sweat pouring from his purple face. She had set him thinking, her
victory was sure.

Lily almost ran out into the garden and to the strawberry patch, where
she found Lucretia in her familiar, colorless, shapeless dress,
picking berries in the hot sun, the mosquitoes biting her neck and

"Poor, pathetic, dumb sufferer," the girl thought as she ran up to

She dropped her dish as she heard Lily coming, and gazed up into the
tender, pitying face. Not a word was spoken, but something she saw
there made her eyes fill with tears, and her throat swell. It was pure
sympathy. She put her arms around the girl's neck and sobbed for the
first time since Friday night. Then they sat down on the grass under
the hedge and she told her story, interspersed with Lily's horrified

When it was all told the girl still sat listening. She heard
Radbourn's calm, slow voice again. It helped her not to hate Burns; it
helped her to pity and understand him.

"You must remember that such toil brutalizes a man; it makes him
callous, selfish, unfeeling necessarily. A fine nature must either
adapt itself to its hard surroundings or die. Men who toil terribly in
filthy garments day after day and year after year cannot easily keep
gentle; the frost and grime, the heat and cold will sooner or later
enter into their souls. The case is not all in favor of the suffering
wives, and against the brutal husbands. If the farmer's wife is dulled
and crazed by her routine, the farmer himself is degraded and
brutalized. They are both products of a social system, victims of a
land system, which produces tenement houses in the city, and pushes
the farmer into a semi-solitude--victims of land laws that are relics
of feudalism, made in the interest of the man who holds a special
privilege in the earth. Free America has set up on its soil the
systems of land-owning which produces the lord and the tenant; that
glorifies speculation in the earth, and gives the priceless riches of
the hills and forests into a few hands. But this will not continue--it
can't continue. The awakening understanding of America cries out
against it."

As well as she could Lily explained all this to the woman who lay with
her face buried in the girl's lap. Lily's arms were about her thin
shoulders in an agony of pity.

"It's hard, Lucretia, I know, more than you can bear, but you mustn't
forget what Sim endures, too. He goes out in the storms and in the
heat and dust. His boots are hard, and see how his hands are all
bruised and broken by his work! He was tired and hungry when he said
that--he didn't really mean it."

The wife remained silent.

"Mr. Radbourn says work as things go now _does_ degrade a man in spite
of himself. He says men get coarse and violent in spite of themselves
just as women do when everything goes wrong in the house,--when the
flies are thick, and the fire won't burn, and the irons stick to the
clothes. You see, you both suffer. Don't lay up this fit of temper
against Sim--will you?"

The wife lifted her head and looked away. Her face was full of
hopeless weariness.

"It aint this once. It aint that 't all. It's having no let up. Just
goin' the same thing right over 'n' over--no hope of anything better."

"If you had a hope of another world--"

"Don't talk that--that's rich man's doctrine. I don't want that kind
o' comfert. I want a decent chance here. I want 'o rest an' be happy
_now_--then I'm sure of it."

Lily's big eyes were streaming with tears. What should she say to the
desperate woman?

"What's the use? We might jest as well die--all of us."

The woman's livid face appalled the beautiful girl. She was gaunt,
heavy-eyed, nerveless. Her faded dress settled down over her limbs
showing the swollen knees and thin calves, her hands with distorted
joints protruded painfully from her sleeves. And all about was the
ever-recurring wealth and cheer of nature that knows no fear or favor.
The bees and flies buzzing in the sun, the jay and kingbird in the
poplars, the smell of strawberries, the motion of lush grass, the
shimmer of corn blades tossed gayly as banners in a conquering army.

Like a flash of keener light a sentence shot across the girl's mind.
"Nature knows no title-deed. The bounty of her mighty hands falls as
the sunlight falls, copious, impartial; her seas carry all ships, her
air is for all lips, her lands for all feet."

"Poverty and suffering such as yours will not last." There was
something in the girl's voice that roused the woman. She turned her
dull eyes upon her face.

Lily took her hand in both hers as if by a caress she could impart her
own faith.

"Look up, dear. When Nature is so good and generous, man must come to
be better, surely. Come, go in the house again. Sim is there, he
expects you, he told me to tell you he was sorry." Lucretia's face
twitched a little at that, but her head was bent. "Come, you can't
live this way. There isn't any other place to go to."

No, that was the bitterest truth. Where on this wide earth with its
forth-shooting fruits and grains, its fragrant lands and shining seas,
could this dwarfed, bent, broken, middle-aged woman go? Nobody wanted
her, nobody cared for her. But the wind kissed her drawn lips as
readily as those of the girl, and the blooms of clover nodded to her
as if to a queen.

Lily had said all she could. Her heart ached with unspeakable pity and
a sort of terror.

"Don't give up, Lucretia. This may be the worst hour of your life.
Live and bear with it all for Christ's sake--for your children's
sake. Sim told me to tell you he was to blame. If you will only see
that you are both to blame and yet neither to blame, then you can rise
above it. Try, dear!"

The wife pulled herself together, rose silently, and started toward
the house. Her face was rigid but no longer sullen. Lily followed her
slowly, wonderingly.

As she neared the kitchen door, she saw Sim still sitting at the
table; his face was unusually grave and soft. She saw him start and
shove back his chair,--saw Lucretia go to the stove and lift the
tea-pot, and heard her say, as she took her seat beside the baby,--

"Want some more tea?"

She had become a wife and mother again, but in what spirit the puzzled
girl could not say.



A movement destined, I think, to be in a degree epoch-marking in the
dramatic annals of the American stage, was inaugurated by Mr. James A.
Herne, on the fourth of May, in Boston, in the production of his
remarkable realistic drama, "Margaret Fleming," at Chickering Hall.
The play is a bold innovation, so much so that no theatre in the city
would produce it, although the various managers who examined it
declared it to be as strong as and no less powerful than any American
drama yet written. The character of the audience was as striking as
the play was brave and original. It was, indeed, a strange sight to
see such well-known and thoughtful men and women as Mr. William Dean
Howells, Rev. Minot J. Savage, Rabbi Solomon Schindler, Rev. Edward A.
Horton, Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, Hamlin Garland, and a score or
more of persons almost as well known in literary, religious, and
thoughtful circles, assembled on the first night of a dramatic
production. Nor was the character of the audience less remarkable
during the fortnight it was played. Men and women who are rarely seen
at theatres attended two, three, and even four performances. The
superb acting of Mr. and Mrs. Herne contributed much to the success of
the play; curiosity also doubtless attracted many, yet beyond and
above this was the deep appreciation of a thoughtful and intelligent
constituency, who saw in this drama the marvellous possibilities of
the stage for improvement as well as entertainment. They also saw real
life depicted. The absence of empty lines and stilted phrases so
common in conventional drama was refreshing and interesting to those
who believe that the drama has a mission other than merely to amuse.
"Margaret Fleming" is nothing if not artistic from the standpoint of
the realist. Its fidelity to life as we find it--to existing
conditions and types of society,--is wonderful. Its dramatic strength
is none the less marked. But aside from and above all this, for me it
has a far greater merit--utility. I have no sympathy with the
flippant, effeminate, and senile cry, "Art for art's sake"; that is
the echo of a decaying civilization, the voice of Greece and Rome in
their decline. It is the shibboleth of a people drunken with pleasure;
of a popular conscience anæsthetized; the cry of sensualism and
selfishness popular with shallow minds and bloodless hearts; the
incarnation of that fatal effeminacy that springs from a union of
wealth and superficial intellectuality; the voice of a human automaton
without a soul. Victor Hugo has made no utterances more grandly true
than when he pleads for the beautiful being made the servant of
progress as voiced in the following sentiment:

     "Be of some service. Do not be fastidious when so much
     depends upon being efficient and good. Art for art's sake
     may be very fine, but art for _progress_ is finer still.
     Ah! you must think? Then think of making man better.
     Courage! Let us consecrate ourselves. Let us devote
     ourselves to the good, to the true, to the just; it is well
     for us to do so. Some pure lovers of art, moved by a
     solicitude which is not without its dignity, discard the
     formula, 'Art for Progress,' the Beautiful Useful, fearing
     lest the useful should deform the beautiful. They tremble to
     see the drudge's hand attached to the muse's arm. According
     to them, the ideal may become perverted by too much contact
     with _reality_. They are solicitous for the sublime, if it
     descends as far as to humanity. They are in error. The
     useful, far from circumscribing the sublime, enlarges it.
     But critics protest: To undertake the cure of social evils;
     to amend the codes; to impeach law in the court of right to
     utter those hideous words, 'penitentiary,' 'convict-keeper,'
     'galley-slave,' 'girl of the town'; to inspect the police
     registers; to contract the business of dispensaries; to
     study the questions of wages and want of work; to taste the
     black bread of the poor; to seek labor for the
     working-woman; to confront fashionable idleness with ragged
     sloth; to throw down the partition of ignorance; to open
     schools; to teach little children how to read; to attack
     shame, infamy, error, vice, crime, want of conscience; to
     preach the multiplication of spelling-books; to improve the
     food of intellects and of hearts; to give meat and drink; to
     demand solutions for problems and shoes for naked
     feet,--these things they declare are not the business of the
     azure. Art is the azure. Yes, art is the azure; but the
     azure from above, whence falls the ray which swells the
     wheat, yellows the maize, rounds the apple, gilds the
     orange, sweetens the grape. Again I say, a further service
     is an added beauty. At all events, where is the diminution?
     To ripen the beet-root, to water the potato, to increase the
     yield of lucern, of clover, or of hay; to be a
     fellow-workman with the ploughman, the vinedresser, and the
     gardener,--this does not deprive the heavens of one star.
     _Immensity does not despise utility_,--and what does it lose
     by it? Does the vast vital fluid that we call magnetic or
     electric flash through the cloud-masses with less splendor
     because it consents to perform the office of pilot to a
     bark, and to keep constant to the north the little needle
     intrusted to it, the gigantic guide? Yet the critics insist
     that to compose social poetry, human poetry, popular poetry;
     to grumble against the evil and laud the good, to be the
     spokesman of public wrath, to insult despots, to make knaves
     despair, to emancipate man before he is of age, to push
     souls forward and darkness backward, to know that there are
     thieves and tyrants, to clean penal cells, to flush the
     sewer of public uncleanness,--is not the function of art!
     Why not? Homer was the geographer and historian of his time,
     Moses the legislator of his, Juvenal the judge of his, Dante
     the theologian of his, Shakespeare the moralist of his,
     Voltaire the philosopher of his. No region, in speculation
     or in fact, is shut to the mind. Here a horizon, there
     wings; freedom for all to soar. To sing the ideal, to love
     humanity, to believe in progress, to pray toward the
     infinite. To be the servant of God in the task of progress,
     and the apostle of God to the people,--such is the law which
     regulates growth. All power is duty. Should this power enter
     into repose in our age? Should duty shut its eyes? And is
     the moment come for art to disarm? Less than ever. Thanks to
     1789, the human caravan has reached a high plateau; and, the
     horizon being vaster, art has more to do. This is all. To
     every widening of the horizon, an enlargement of conscience
     corresponds. We have not reached the goal. Concord condensed
     into felicity, civilization summed up in harmony,--that is
     yet far off. The theatre is a crucible of civilization. It
     is a place of human communion. All its phases need to be
     studied. It is in the theatre that the public soul is

The theatre may be made the most potent engine for progress and
reform. We are living in the midst of the most splendid age which has
dawned since humanity first fronted the morning, dimly conscious of
its innate power and the possibilities that lay imbedded in its being;
an era of life, growth, warfare. On the one hand are ancient thought
and prejudice, on the other the inspiration of greater liberty and a
nobler manhood. On the one hand selfishness, sensuality, vulgar
ostentation, avarice, luxury, and moral effeminacy crying, "Art for
art's sake," demanding amusements that will aid in dissipating any
moral strength or deep thought that still lingers in the mind, and
literature that shall enable one to kill time without the slightest
suspicion of intellectual exertion; physical, mental, and moral ennui,
with an assumed lofty contempt for utility. On the other hand we have
the gathering forces of the dawn, demanding "art for progress,"
declaring that beauty must be the handmaid of duty; that art must wait
on justice, liberty, fraternity, nobility, morality, and intellectual
honesty,--in a word the forces in league with light must compel the
beautiful to make radiant the pathway of the future. In the union of
art and utility lies the supreme excellence of "Margaret Fleming," it
deals with one of the most pressing problems of our present
civilization; it is the most powerful plea for an equal standard of
morals for men and women that I have ever heard. This thought, it is
true, like the entire drama, is anything but conventional; it breathes
the spirit of the coming day. The subtile bondage and servility of
woman, a vestige of the barbarous past, still taints our civilization.
Far more is demanded by society of her than of man, and when
heretofore she has raised her voice against this inequity she has been
silenced by unworthy imputations. It is the shame of our age that
woman is not accorded a higher meed of justice. She has a right to
demand that the man who marries her be every whit as pure and moral as
herself, and until she makes this demand, and holds herself from the
contamination of moral lepers, no substantial progress for higher
morals and purer life will be made. Unless woman checks the increasing
degradation of manhood, man will sooner or later drag her to his
deplorable level. "Margaret Fleming" shows this truth and points to
the woman of to-day her stern and inexorable duty.

Unless woman assumes an aggressive stand and ostracizes the libertine,
refusing his society, his attention, and most of all the proffer of
his leprous love, the moral outlook for society will soon be as gloomy
as was Rome's future when Epictetus was banished from her streets
because he mercilessly assailed the moral degradation of his day.


The rapid spread of heresy throughout the churches is creating genuine
dismay in many quarters. When such ripe scholars and representative
thinkers as Rev. Heber Newton, Dr. C. A. Briggs, and Rev. Dr.
Bridgman, representing three of the most powerful Protestant
communions, freely preach doctrines at variance with conventional
orthodox views, and express a grander hope and broader faith than that
cherished by conservative theologians, it is by no means strange that
the current of old-time thought should be stirred. If, however, these
scholarly minds stood alone in their convictions, there would be no
warrant for such widespread apprehension as is manifest. The serious
character of the present theological revolution, however, lies in the
fact that the pulpit and the people are honey-combed with the peculiar
heresy which rejects the verbal inspiration of the Bible and the dogma
of eternal damnation.[9] The general uneasiness occasioned by the
present epidemic of heresy, and the bitter strictures which it has
called forth, are perfectly natural, while it is equally true that the
present liberal attitude of so many of the foremost thinkers in the
various orthodox churches is the legitimate outcome of numerous
agencies which have been silently working for generations.

      [9] The _United Presbyterian_ in a recent issue says,
          "It appears that Dr. Briggs does not stand alone in the
          theological seminaries of the Presbyterian Church as a
          teacher of dangerous views of inspiration. Four of the
          professors of Lane Seminary have declared themselves as
          equally radical." The _Interior_ says, "The paper of
          Prof. Smith, of Lane, published in a pamphlet with that
          of Prof. Evans, goes much beyond anything that has
          appeared on the subject from Presbyterian authorship in
          this country."

          At the meeting of the Alumni of the Union Theological
          Seminary, on the eighteenth of May, the newly elected
          professor of systematic theology, the brilliant Rev.
          Henry J. Van Dyke, D. D. (since deceased) made the
          following bold remark while defending Dr. Briggs: "_If
          we cannot have orthodoxy and liberty, let orthodoxy go
          and let us have liberty. Liberty has always produced

          In his sermon on May the 24th, Rev. Thomas Dixon, one
          of the Baptist clergymen of New York City, said: The
          heresy trial is a record of barbarism, a relic of
          savagery. It belongs to the crudeness, and ignorance,
          and superstition of barbaric times. It smells of
          roasting flesh.

          On the same Sunday the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst,
          of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, of New York,
          quoted the ringing words given above by Dr. Van Dyke,
          with his cordial indorsement. He continued to thus
          severely arraign the Orthodox brethren in the
          Presbyterian Church:

          "This question of inerrancy is not new. Calvin, Luther,
          and many others did not believe in the Bible's
          inerrancy. If this is not according to the confession
          of faith--I don't know whether it is or not--we had
          better square the confession with the truth rather than
          the truth with the confession. Let those who would
          prove that there are no mistakes in the Bible produce a
          cud-chewing coney, and then we will consider the
          question of inerrancy.

          If the Church is to go on in the way that some are
          trying to persuade us it ought to go, the sooner it
          gives up the ghost the better, to save the medical

At various era-marking periods in the annals of history, the
multitudes have been thus disturbed. They have felt that the old-time
beliefs of their fathers, the tradition of ages, the oracles, which
from early infancy they have learned to revere and hold most sacred,
were being demolished. This naturally aroused bitter antagonism in
their souls. They believed they were carrying out God's wishes when
like Saul of Tarsus, they aided in slaying heretics. Thus when the
great Nazarene taught a higher, sweeter, and nobler code of ethics
than the ancient Jewish law-givers and teachers, he was persecuted and
slain because the Jews believed he sought to overthrow their revered
and sacred truths. In a like manner Paul and the early advocates of
Christianity, when they proclaimed their religion in Gentile lands
frequently aroused the bitterest antagonism. At a later date Galileo's
demonstrations and Sir Isaac Newton's discovery occasioned precisely
the game dismay, and called forth bitter and pronounced opposition,
because it was felt that in one case the authority of the Bible was
impeached, and in the other that God was to be taken out of the
universe. When Luther and the Reformation broke the dead calm of
centuries of growing corruption and externalization in the religious
life of Europe, Christendom felt a thrill of dismay. New disturbing
elements had entered the fields. The general uneasiness on the part of
tens of thousands of people who believed they were sincere worshippers
of God, was succeeded by an intense desire to crush out this dangerous
heresy with fire and torture, if necessary. The terrible days, months,
and years that followed the dawn of the Reformation, bear melancholy
testimony to the innate ferocity of man's nature, and the relentless
character of religious warfare. Nevertheless, in spite of persecution,
the new truth spread. A broader horizon opened to man's view. That
conflict marked the birth of one of the grandest epochs in humanity's
onward march. Thus has it ever been. To-day stones the prophet,
to-morrow tearfully rears a monument and treasures his lofty

Yet with every transition period comes the old-time struggle, the
apprehension and anguish of spirit, _the night of doubt_. It is,
therefore, not surprising that the oppression of fear weighs on the
minds of all those who believe that God has spoken His last word; that
in the twilight of the past alone lies the hope of humanity.

On the other hand, the theological revolt now manifest is a legitimate
result of multitudinous agencies, which have for generations been
silently and subtly influencing the mind of man, among which may be
mentioned the spread of popular education, and the growth of the
newspaper. As long as people knew not how to read or were unable to
procure any medium of information which brought them in rapport with
the vast growing world of thought and action, they naturally turned to
their priest or clergyman for intellectual as well as religious food,
and from him as a rule received instruction with the docility and
confidence exhibited by little children seeking for truth. With the
appearance of schoolhouses in every hamlet, and the establishment of
cheap and popular newspapers, however, came a change as marked as it
was wonderful. People began to reason and think for themselves. They
demanded credentials for the various dogmas and ideas discussed in
every department of thought. It is true, that religion was approached
much more reluctantly and reverently than other subjects, but the
growth of knowledge, the opportunity to hear all sides of problems
discussed, and the broader conception of life which a world knowledge
gave, exerted a positive and ever-increasing influence on their minds
in this department of thought. The great inventions of the past
hundred years, which have bound together as one family almost the
whole world, have also brought to light the great religions of other
races and ages. Gradually it dawned on the public mind that almost
every people had a clearly defined system of theology; containing much
that was beautiful, elevating, and inspiring, more or less hidden
among superstitious traditions natural to childhood and credulous
ages. This led many to ask whether Jesus might not have had a larger
thought in his mind than mankind had dreamed when he said, "Other
sheep have I which are not of this fold"; and whether there might not
be a wider significance than had been given to the idea, that God had
in sundry times and in divers ways spoken to His children on earth.
Another lever of progressive thought was the marvellous strides taken
in physical science, which followed the Reformation. Discoveries in
astronomy, in geology and biology have completely overthrown many
time-honored and revered traditions and fables regarded for ages as
divine truth. The critical spirit of the age, the inquiring condition
of human thought, which instead of being discouraging is distinctly a
mark of human growth, stands in bold antithesis to the dark ages, when
speculation and progress were outlawed in many fields of research, and
spirituality suffered an eclipse behind the pomp, form, and show of
theology, when to a great degree mental stagnation prevailed. Yet this
critical spirit has been one of the most potent factors in
liberalizing thought. Another cause for the radical change of views
among Bible scholars is found in the rich results of archæological
research during the past generation. This with a critical, or
scientific study of the Bible, the early church, and profane history,
contemporaneous with the rise of Christianity, has led thousands of
the most profound and sincere religious thinkers into broader fields,
giving to them a loftier view of life, eternity and God than was
possible under the old conceptions. What diligent research on the part
of scholarship has effected among critical students, the recent
revision of the Bible has accomplished among the people. The old-time
reverence for the letter of the law, or what is commonly known as
verbal inspiration, is disappearing as mist before the sunshine,
owing, in this latter case, to the people becoming acquainted for the
first time with the fact that there are passages in the Bible
confessed by the most orthodox scholars to be spurious. They found in
the revised scriptures passages in some instances containing many
consecutive verses enclosed in brackets, as, for example, the story of
the woman taken in sin in the Gospel of John from vii. 53 to viii. 11
inclusive. Consulting the foot-note they found that these passages
were spurious or added by a later hand. I well remember the
explanation made by a scholarly and devout professor in theology,
while at the Kentucky University, regarding the passage referred to
above. "The incident doubtless occurred much as it appears," asserted
the professor, "but while omitted from the earlier copies, was handed
down by tradition, and at a later day incorporated into the text."
Such explanations in the very nature of things, however, were by no
means calculated to satisfy the doubts which had been raised in the
minds of those who had from infancy been taught to believe in the
verbal inspiration of the Bible. Naturally the question arose in the
minds of the thinking masses, if one _passage_ is proved to be
spurious, and the world possesses no original manuscripts, what
guarantee that anything approaching the original teachings of Jesus is
preserved. If the stream of inspiration is proved to be muddy in some
places, is it not possible that what at first was pure as the melting
snow on the mountain tops, after passing through the hands of various
human authors and copyists, may have become as turbid with the cast of
human thought as the mountain stream which, pure at the source, is
heavy with mud at the base? It is impossible to estimate how much
influence this discovery on the part of the people has exerted in
behalf of a broader and more liberal interpretation of the Bible.
Another factor which is usually overlooked, but which has had a marked
effect on the thought which to-day is in open rebellion against the
old standards, is found in the influence exerted by a galaxy of great
and godly lives, which came on the stage of existence early in the
present century, and whose thoughts have unconsciously broadened the
minds, refined the sentiment, and ennobled the lives of every one who
has read their works. In this country Longfellow, Bryant, Whittier,
Lowell, Hawthorne, Emerson, Channing, Parker, Clarke, and other
illuminated souls, gave all who came under the magic of their words a
broader view of life, a truer conception of the universe, and a
loftier inspiration than aught that had touched them before. It is
doubtful if the great thinkers dreamed that on the current of their
thoughts tens of thousands of earnest lives were to be carried into a
larger hope, a more intelligent, humane appreciation of the mysteries
of creation, and a grander idea of God. Thus we see in the present
religious revolution nothing strange in the bitter opposition of
conservative thought, nothing remarkable in the persistent and earnest
attitude of those who stand for the higher criticism. It is the old
feud; the past struggling with the future; departing night battling
with the dawn. Of the issue none who have faith in the ultimate
triumph of truth, wisdom, and progress can doubt.


The vote of the New York Presbytery on the twelfth of May, to present
the case of Prof. Charles A. Briggs[10] before the synod will probably
prove one of the most momentous moves made in recent years in the
theological world. It is a positive challenge thrown before
Presbyterians who hold views popularly termed "Higher Criticism." It
is a declaration of war to the knife on the part of those who oppose
the revision of the Westminster Confession, and who cherish ancient
thought. Nor is the opposition led by Dr. Briggs disposed to yield
what is believed to be the only truth consistent with an intelligent
conception of a just, loving, and wise God. The immediate cause of
this determined conflict is found in Professor Briggs' recent address
on the authority of the Holy Scriptures, delivered at his inaugural as
Professor of Biblical Theology in the Union Theological Seminary of
New York. In this notable address he maintained that there were three
great fountains of divine authority, the Bible, the Church, and
Reason, any one of which was capable of leading persons to God. He
instanced the following cases: Cardinal Newman was led to God through
the Church of Rome; Spurgeon, through the Bible, and the philosopher
Martineau through Reason. He further asserted "that no one could get
at the Bible unless he forced his way through human obstacles, which
he tabulated as follows: (1) Superstitious reverence for the book
itself. (2) The belief in the verbal inspiration of the Bible. (3) The
authenticity of the Scriptures. Traditions from the dead church assign
authors to all the books of the Bible, but higher criticism pronounces
these traditions fallacies and follies. (4) The doctrine of the
inerrancy of the Bible. Historical criticism again pronounces that
there are errors in the Bible, but they are in circumstantials, not in
essentials. (5) The miracles are in violation of the laws of nature,
and keep men away from the Bible. (6) The failure of minute prophecy."
Dr. Briggs further expressed belief in the ultimate salvation of
mankind, declaring that redemption was not limited to this world, but
continued through the vast period of time preceding the resurrection.

     [10] Dr. Philip Schaff, than whom there is no abler or
          more renowned biblical scholar in the New World, has in
          a recent paper in the New York _Herald_ defended Dr.
          Briggs. That journal aptly says: In his paper, he
          defines in the most trenchant language, the apparent
          inconsistency of the New York Presbytery in practically
          avowing, eighteen months ago, the same principle for
          which Dr. Briggs, it declares, must now stand trial. He
          declares that the American Presbyterian Church has
          herself materially changed the Westminster Confession
          of a hundred years ago, and that this spirit of
          revision pervades the whole Christian world. Finally,
          he asserts that, as the theory of verbal inspiration of
          the Scriptures is not in the Westminster Confession of
          Faith, it cannot be demanded from any Presbyterian
          minister or professor, and warns churchmen that any
          attempt by the General Assembly to enforce an extra
          Scriptural and extra Confessional theory upon the
          Church will create a split worse than that of 1837. The
          _Herald_ observes that:--

          "Dr. Schaff's international fame as a church historian
          and theologian will compel the greatest respect from
          not alone the ministers of the Presbyterian church, but
          also from the clergy of all Christian churches.

          As early as 1845, he was tried for heresy in this
          country, and acquitted. In 1854, he represented the
          American German churches at the Ecclesiastical Diet at
          Frankfort, and received the degree of D. D. from the
          University at Berlin. In 1870, he accepted the chair of
          sacred literature in the Union Theological Seminary of
          this city. He is a member of the Leipsic Historical,
          the Netherland, and other historical and literary
          societies in this country and in Europe, and is one of
          the founders and honorary secretary of the American
          Branch of the Evangelical Alliance. In 1871, he was one
          of the Alliance delegates to the Emperor of Russia to
          plead for the religious liberty of his subjects in the
          Baltic Provinces.

          He was president of the American Bible Revision
          Committee, which was appointed in 1871 at the request
          of the English committee, and in 1875 was sent to
          England to arrange for the co-operation and publication
          of the Anglo-American edition. The same year he
          attended officially the conferences of the Old
          Catholics, Greeks and Protestants at Bonn, to promote
          Christian unity.

          Dr. Schaff was first president of the American Society
          of Church History, and is the author of a great number
          of historical and exegetical works, both in English and
          German, the latter having been translated into

On page 55 of his revised address, he observes:

     The Biblical redemption is a redemption of our race and of
     universal nature. As the ancient Jews limited redemption to
     Israel and overlooked the nations, so the Church limited
     redemption to those who were baptized, and excluded the
     heathen and unbaptized. The Presbyterians have too often
     limited redemption by their doctrine of election; the Bible
     knows no such limitation. The Bible teaches election, but an
     election of love. Loving only the elect, is earthly, human
     teaching. Electing men to salvation by the touch of Divine
     love--that is heavenly doctrine. The salvation of the world
     can only mean the world as a whole, compared with which the
     unredeemed will be so few and insignificant and evidently
     beyond the reach of redemption by their own act of rejecting
     it and hardening themselves against it, and by descending
     into such depths of demoniacal depravity that they will
     vanish from sight.

In the appendix to his address, published about the middle of May, in
speaking of _inerrancy_, Dr. Briggs further observes:--

     It is agreed that there are a large number of errors in the
     best MSS. of the Bible; it is the theory of modern
     dogmaticians, that they were not in the original MSS. We can
     never have them, and it is idle to speculate as to their
     contents. When the Lower or Textual Criticism has done its
     best, and secured the best possible text, dogmaticians
     discredit the best text when they speculate as to what was
     in the original text. If the reactionary dogmaticians may
     speculate to remove errors from the text, the rationalistic
     critics may also speculate with regard to the original text
     in a way that would make havoc with scholastic theology.
     Even Mohammed was willing to accept the original text of the
     Law and the Gospel, which he claimed had been falsified by
     Jews and Christians.

     I said, "It is not a pleasant task to point out errors in
     the Sacred Scriptures." In "Biblical Study," and "Whither?"
     I limited myself to two errors of citation. I have not taken
     a brief to prove the errancy of Scripture. _Conservative men
     should hesitate before they force the critics in
     self-defence to make a catalogue of errors in the Bible._
     The errors are in the only texts we have, and every one is
     forced to recognize them.

     It is well known that the great reformers, Calvin and
     Luther, recognized errors in the Scriptures, that Baxter and
     Rutherford of the second Reformation were not disturbed by
     them, and that the choicest spirits of modern times--such as
     Van Oosterzee, Tholuck, Neander, Stier, Lange, and
     Dorner--have not hesitated to point out numerous errors in
     Holy Scripture. This view is maintained by Sanday, Driver,
     Cheyne, Davidson, Bruce, Gore, Marcus Dods, Blaikie, and
     numerous others in Great Britain; by Fisher, Thayer, Smythe,
     Evans, H. B. Smith, W. R. Harper, and hosts of others in
     this country."

One can easily see how dangerously heretical such bold declarations
would sound to patriarchs of conservatism like Rev. Dr. Shedd, the
well-known author of Dogmatic Theology, which embraces thirteen
hundred pages, but in the index of which one looks in vain for
"forgiveness of sin" or "pardon of sin." A work which devotes
eighty-six pages to hell and only four to heaven. Dr. Briggs, however,
claims that theologians like Dr. Shedd, whose teachings have been
chiefly on the damnation of men not competent to judge him, and gauged
by our present civilization he is doubtless correct, but by the
standard of the theologians who framed the Westminster Confession, I
have less confidence in his accuracy. It must be remembered, however,
that Professor Briggs has exhaustively studied the lives and
teachings of the framers of the Confession, and he may have been able
at times to catch them at their best, when in moments of spiritual
exaltation they have uttered grand prophetic and divinely loving
utterances which were foreign to their usual habits of thought or the
religious conviction of the age in which they lived. And in that event
he may be able to maintain his position when his case is called before
the synod, even against the popular impression as to the real meaning
of the Confession. Failing in this, the only alternative will be
recantation or withdrawal from the Presbyterian Communion. From the
stand already taken it is impossible to imagine the professor
stultifying himself and teaching what he does not believe; while his
withdrawal will unquestionably mean the greatest schism that
Presbyterianism has yet suffered. I think it highly probable that the
majority of his brother ministers to-day will condemn[11] the bold,
brave man whom his communion in the near future will revere as a man
who, prophet-like, saw beyond the sect to which he belonged; whose
noble, loving, and holy nature drew him into intimate relationship
with the Divine life, which is the essence of Love.

     [11] Since writing the above the Assembly at Detroit has
          voted against the confirmation of Dr. Briggs by 440
          against 59; thus, from a numerical point of view, Dr.
          Briggs is in the minority. This is by no means
          surprising, and I regard it greatly to the credit of
          the Assembly that, while they hold to the severe
          doctrines popularly known as Calvinism, they repudiate
          all the great liberal scholars who refuse to believe
          and teach conceptions of God which were unquestioningly
          accepted in a former age, but which the enlightenment
          of the present century shrinks from with unutterable
          horror. Unless Dr. Briggs proves a dishonest man and
          recants he must leave Union Theological Seminary, if
          that institution remains in the Presbyterian

[Transcriber's Note: A macron diacritical mark, a straight line above
a letter, is found on several words in the original text. These letters
are indicated here by the coding [=x] for a macron above any letter x.
For example, the word "aionios" with a macron above the first letter
"o" will appear as "ai[=o]nios" in the text.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Arena - Volume 4, No. 20, July, 1891" ***

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