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Title: The Complete Works of Brann, the Iconoclast — Volume 10
Author: Brann, William Cowper
Language: English
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The dispatches state that during the three weeks George Gould was
lazing and luxuriating in a foreign land "the business revival
added at least $15,000,000 to the value of the Gold securities."
Gadzooks! how sweet idleness must be when sugared with more than
$714,000 per day! I'm willing to loaf for half the lucre. How
refreshing it is to contemplate our plutocrats lying beside their
nectar like a job lot of Olympian gods--"careless of

 "--they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands,
Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery
Clanging fights and flaming towns, and sinking ships and praying

 One of Mr. Gould's employees, who was toiling at risk of life
and limb for about $2 a day while his imperial master was doing
the dolce far niente act for $714,000 per diem and his board,
comments as follows in a letter to the ICONOCLAST:

 "W. C. BRANN: It might be pertinent for you to find out how the
festive George, of yacht-racing, Waler-hob-nobbing fame, has
managed to reap such pronounced benefits from the revival in
business. It is notorious among railroad men that one of the
first moves of Superintendent Trice, who succeeded Tim Campbell
as manager of the I. & G. N., was to inaugurate a series of
'reforms,' the chief feature of which was the cutting salaries of
from 20 to 40 per cent, especially among the office men, and at
the same time covering it by swapping the men around as much as
possible. Forces were reduced by compelling the half-starved
employees to do overtime at less pay, and the poor devils can
only grin and bear it. Suppose you write down, and get the true
data from the various places where the I. & G. N. touches, and
then show the true source, or the real 'revival' that has given
the festive George such a boost in his cash box."

In the first place, "the business revival" has not "added
$15,000,000 to the value of the Gould securities"--it is a
political falsehood which George can be depended upon to promptly
repudiate when the tax assessor calls around to tender
congratulations. It is eleven to seven that Georgie assures him
that the Gould estate is in a very bad way, that only by the most
heroic self-sacrifices in this period of business depression can
he succeed in remaining solvent; that there was a slight advance
in railway values while crops were moving, only to be succeeded
by a doleful slump, caused by the high tariff, which cuts so
dreadfully into tonnage. If he refrains from putting up some such
game of talk as that I'll take up a collection among the
bootblacks of Texas to help pay his taxes. Fifteen millions in
three weeks! Oh my! Since "Count" Castellane pulled one leg off
the estate it is no larger than it was when old Jay went to
He-aven. Now Jay was an honorable man--at least he wouldn't steal
the buttons off your undershirt while you had it on, and hotel
keepers; did not take the precaution to chain his knife and fork
to the table; but in his palmiest days he paid taxes on but
$75,000 worth of personal property--railway securities and
"sich." Heavy crops, for which Providence and the industry of the
American people are alone responsible, have added somewhat to the
present earning power of railway properties, but it is doubtful,
if the total mileage and equipment owned by the Goulds would sell
for as much actual cash as before the election of McKinley. The
great bulk of the boasted advance in Gould securities consists of
wind pumped in by the "pulls"; but just the same the American
people will be bled to pay dividends on this speculative
boodle--both patrons and employees will suffer that interest
may be collected on "invested capital" which never had an
existence. But even were the dispatches true, what must be said
of a "business revival" that reduces wages, that adds enormously
to the wealth of the plutocrats while making economic conditions
harder for the great mass of the American people? The general
trend of wages is downward, while the cost of living is enhanced
by the Dingley tariff and the advance in flour caused by foreign
crop failures. Why? Because, despite the pumping of the
Republican press about the "return of prosperity," the country is
full of idle men, and the inevitable tendency of the gold
standard and high tariff is to increase their number and further
lower wages by the pressure of these people for employment.
Railway securities have advanced a little despite the repressive
effect of Republican policy, have beaten up somewhat against the
adverse winds, impelled by speculators whose vis vitalis was the
crops of the country--the great bulk of which were produced by
men who voted for Bryan. The necessary sequence of an
appreciating standard of value is depreciation in the selling
price of property, whether such property be Gould securities or
Irish potatoes; while a high tariff inevitably reduces tonnage
below what it would otherwise be--chisels a yawning hiatus into
the revenues of every American railroad. This fact is so
self-evident that it may seem unnecessary to say more on the
subject--that arguing the matter were like wasting time proving
that water is wet; but as a number of Republican papers are
having a serious of violent epeliptoid convulsions because I
recently asserted that a nation can only be paid for its exports
with its imports, it may not be amiss to make a few remarks
adapted to the understanding of the kindergarten class. Trade,
whether between the people of this republic, or those of Europe
and America, is, when reduced to the last analysis, nothing more
than an exchange of commodities. It may happen that we sell
largely to a country of which we buy but little; but the nations
that purchase of our debtor pay for our products. Our exports
usually exceed our imports, and for the simple reason that we owe
vast sums abroad, the surplus being employed in the payment of
interest and the discharge of our foreign indebtedness. When we
become a great creditor nation like England, our imports will
exceed our exports--we will begin to absorb the labor products of
foreign lands. If America received foreign gold for all her
exports it would be nothing more than a commodity weighed to her
at so much per ounce and which she might exchange at her good
pleasure for foreign goods, just as she does her cotton and corn.
Some gold crosses the sea; but it goes and comes just as go other
commodities--seeks the most advantageous market. A tariff wall,
by keeping foreign products OUT keep American products IN,
thereby narrowing our market and limiting production. If the
workman does not produce he cannot consume, and production
and consumption are the basis of railway business. But why, it
may be asked, would the railway corporations cut their own
throats by helping elect McKinley? Surely they understand their
business much better than does a Texas maverick-brander who
writes economic editorials while astride a mustang. Possibly so;
but it were well to remember that while it is evidently to the
interests of the stockholders of such a corporation that it
should prosper, the bond-owner, who is a kind of wholesale
pawnbroker and flourishes best during periods of business
depression, also has something to say. Whether the former
receives any dividends or not the latter must have his interest,
and the more of labor products required to pay it the more he is
enriched. The railway bondholder is usually the party who holds a
$500 mortgage on a $10,000 farm. Crops may fail, the hogs get the
cholera and the poultry die of the pips; cotton may go down and
cloth go up; but the sorrows of others cause him to lose no
sleep. As I have hitherto pointed out, we have it on the
authority of Mark Hanna's newspaper organ "lower wages are
certainly a feature of the new prosperity"--that the American
workman need not hope for permanent employment until willing to
accept the same wages paid "the pauper labor of Europe," from
whose disastrous competition the Republicans solemnly promised
him protection. If Supt. Trice is reducing wages and overworking
his men it may be accepted as certain that he is compelled
thereto by a higher power--that the edict has gone forth that the
employees of the I. & G. N. must work longer hours for less money
that interest be paid on the $15,000,000 which the blessed
"business revival" added to the value of Mr. Gould's securities
while he was idling about Europe.

 * * *

 The daily press announces that there is to be another Cleveland
baby. It is to make its debut some time this month. "Mrs.
Cleveland has been sewing dainty garments all summer." "Presents
of beautiful baby clothes are arriving from friends and
relatives." Same old gush, gush, gush! slop, slop, slop! that has
set the nation retching three times already. Good Lord! will it
never end? The fecundity of that family is becoming an American
nightmare. Will the time ever come when a married woman of social
prominence can get into "a delicate condition" without having the
fact heralded over the country as brazenly as though she had
committed a crime? There being little hope that the daily
press--"public educator," "guardian of morality," etc.--will
suffer a renascence of decency, we can only appeal to Grover not
to let it happen again. He certainly owes it to the nation to
apply the soft pedal to himself. In no other way can he protect a
long-suffering nation from seasickness, or his estimable wife
from the unclean harpies of the press. I do not believe that Mrs.
Cleveland is particeps criminis in these pre-natal proclamations
to which the h'upper suckkles of New York are so shockingly
addicted. I do not believe that she cares to have the public
contemplating her profile portrait just previous to a
confinement. Of course it will be urged that a woman of much
native delicacy could never have married so crass an animal as
Grover Cleveland, have taken him fresh from the embraces of an
old harlot like Widow Halpin; but these forget that he held the
most exalted position of any man on earth, and his $50,000 per
annum had been touched by the genie-wand jobbery--forget that

 "--pomp and power alone are woman's care And where these are
light Eros finds a feere; Maidens like moths, are eer caught by
glare, And Mammon wins his way where Seraphs might despair."

Probably she has regretted a thousand times that she bartered
her youth and beauty for life companionship with a tub of tallow,
mistaken at the time for a god by a purblind public, but even
though it be true, as often asserted, that the old boor gets
drunk and beats her, a woman could scarce apply for divorce from
a man who has twice been president. Furthermore, association with
such a man will lower the noblest woman to his level. Every
physiognomist who saw Frances Folsom's bright face, its
spirituelle beauty, and who looks upon it now and notes it
stolid, almost sodden expression, must recall those lines of

 "As the husband is the wife is; thou art mated with a clown,
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee
Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule,
Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten'd forehead of the

 Last month it was announced with typographical and pictorial
trumpet blasts that Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney was about to present
her gilded dudelet with a family edition de luxe, and the Duchess
of Marlborough to find an heir to that proud title whose
foundation was laid with a sister's shame, the capstone placed by
the pander's betrayal of his rightful prince; and now before the
world can recover from its nausea, flaming headlines announce
that the Clevelands are about to refill the family cradle. Hold
our head, please, until we puke! Lord, Lord, is there nothing
sacred about motherhood any more? Is a married woman no better
than a brood-mare, her condition fair subject for comment by
vulgar stable-boys? We thank thee, O God, that the South has not
kept pace with New York's super-estheticism--that when our women
find themselves in an "interesting condition" they seek the
seclusion of the home instead of telephoning for a reporter and a
chalk artist and exploiting their intumescence in the public

 . . .

Thomas M. Harris, who claims to be 84 years old, has writ a
little yellow pamphlet entitled, "Rome's Responsibility for the
Assassination of Abraham Lincoln." I have expended almost 5
minutes glancing over Mr. Harris labored lucubations, and must
confess that I have in that time acquired more information--of
its kind--than I ever did in 5 hours before. Of the reliability
of his statements there can be no question, as most of them are
grounded on the testimony of "Father" Chiniquy--conceded to be
the most accomplished liar since Ananias gave up the ghost. It
was Chiniquy who first started the story that the Pope was
responsible for the assassination of President Lincoln, and I am
expecting him to prove that Guiteau who gave the death-wound to
Garfield, was a Jesuit in disguise and acted on orders received
from Rome. Harris says that agents of the Confederacy in
Canada--whom he admits were not Catholics--employed Booth and his
accomplices to do the bloody business; that John Wilkes Booth was
a Catholic; that the priests were all Southern sympathizers; that
but 144,000 Irishmen enlisted in the Federal army, of whom
104,000 deserted; that the cellars of Catholic cathedrals are
filled with munitions of war to be used against the government,
that Catholics hold the bulk of the offices and dominate the
American press. Harris says other things equally awful and
interesting. I much fear that he got to thinking how many of his
A. P. Apes have broken into the penitentiary, and dreamed a bad

 . . .

I once mentioned a little saweiety sheet, published in New York,
under the title of Town Topics, because it afforded me a kind of
languid pleasure to kick the feculent sewer-rat back into the
foul cloaca from which it had crawled to beslime the ICONOCLAST.
I must beg the patient reader's pardon for again soiling my
sandal-shoon with what should only be touched with a shovel. I
have been receiving through the mails for some time past, both
from disgusted Northerners and indignant Southerners, a paragraph
clipped from its epecine columns where in some mental misfit
eager to do the Smart Alex act begs to be informed what right
Mrs. Jefferson Davis had "to address a peculiar letter to the
Queen Regent of Spain, demanding the release of a party accused
of a serious crime," then adds: "If Miss Cisneros is released it
will be because she is innocent, and not because her case has
been meddled with by a party of irresponsible old freaks." I
sometimes wish the ICONOCLAST had no lady readers, that I might
freely express my opinion of such pestiferous pole-cats. I dearly
love the ladies, but they are awfully in the way when only
full-grown adjectives will do a subject justice. If the Tee-Tee
editor had half the gumption of a Kansas Gopher he would know
that neither Mrs. Davis nor any other American woman made
such "demand." Perhaps he did not know it,--if it be possible for
the editor of such a quintessential extract of utter idiocy to
know anything--but couldn't resist the boorish impulse to insult
an aged woman, because he's built that way. The case of Senorita
Cisneros appealed to the sympathy of every manly man and noble
woman throughout the world--to every living creature within whose
hide there pulses one drop of human blood unblended with that of
unclean breasts. Mrs. John A. Logan, Mrs. Jefferson Davis and
other magnificent types of American womanhood, HUMBLY PETITIONED
the Queen Regent of Spain in behalf of the Cuban heroine. And
these noble women, whose names are respected in the very brothels
and boozing kens of Boiler Avenue, are referred to by this foul
parody on God's masterpiece as "a party of irresponsible old
freaks." Christ! is it possible that aught born of woman--that
any animal that can learn to walk on its hinder legs--should sink
to such infamous depths of degradation! Yet this is the fellow
who was so concerned for the feelings of certain sawciety she-
males who personated French prostitutes at the Bradley-Martin
debauch, that when I criticized their brazen bid for "business"
he came near having hydrophobia. Did the Tee-Tee trogolodyte
contain within his anthropodial diaphragm a single diatom of
decency he would have applauded Mrs. Davis' womanly act, else
blocked the yawning hole in his prognathic head with a flat-car
load of compost. If Mrs. Davis is permitted to petition the King
of Kings to have mercy on the miserable journalistic
piano-pounder for Gotham's high-toned honk-a-tonks, certainly she
may with propriety appeal to the substitute sovereign of a nation
of bankrupt assassins to spare Senorita Cisneros.

 . . .

Lawd Chelmsfold, now inspecting the Canadian border to ascertain
what resistance it could offer in case of a brush with Uncle Sam,
is out with an interview in which he says one great element of
John Bull's strength is to be found in the fact that our
Anglomaniacs could never be convinced "of the justice of any war
that might spring up between America and Britain." Lawd
Chelmsford, like most Englishmen, is a large, juicy chump. Of
course our Anglomaniacs are all traitors in posse, as their Tory
forbears were in esse, and would sympathize with "deah old
England, dontcherknow," should war be precipitated by her burning
all our coast cities without provocation; but as Chimmie Fadden
would say, "Dat cuts no ice." They are but a few thousand in
number, and in the whole caboodle there's not a chappie who would
fight should a Digger Indian fill his ear with a bushel of
buffalo chips, squirt tobacco juice on his twousahs and throw
alkali dust in his optics. Lawd Chelmsford has suffered himself
to be deceived by the bloodless hermaphrodites employed on such
papers as Josef Phewlitzer's Verrult and Belo's double-barreled
Benedict Arnold. Still it is just as well to know that John Bull
considers that he can depend upon the sympathy and assistance of
our Anglomaniacs in case of war with this country. While these
fellows are slobbering over "the mother country," the leading
papers of London are sneering at the United States as "a
fourth-class power" and proclaiming that if it doesn't conduct
itself more to John Bull's liking, "it will soon feel the iron
hand beneath the velvet glove." Turn loose your "iron hand," you
old he-bawd--and you'll soon stick it further under your own
coat-tails than you did at Yorktown. . . .

The New York Wail and Distress approves the scheme of Spain,
Italy and Germany, to establish a penal colony for anarchists.
Yes, yes, granny dear; but would it not be much better to alter
those conditions that produce anarchists. Anarchy is simply a
protest against oppression. When enough people in a revolt
against tyranny it becomes a successful revolution and its
promoters are enshrined in history as worthy patriots. When a few
men strike blindly but desperately at the hydra and are over-
powered, they are traitors or anarchists, rebels or rioters. The
Wail and Distress was once edited by a party who, according to
his father-in-law, "could be more kinds of a d--n fool than any
other man in the country," and it is evidently maintaining its
old-time reputation.

 . . .

It is reported that a British company is about to secure control
of the Panama Canal. If it does so, John Bull will practically
have Uncle Sam surrounded, and it is worthy of remark that,
despite his tearful protestations of friendship, he fortifies
every strategical point regardless of expense. What does he want
with such Gibraltars as those at Van Couver, Halifax, Bermuda,
St. Lucia and half a dozen other points if he loves us so dearly
as Anglomaniacs would have us imagine? It costs hundreds of
millions to construct and equip these fortifications, yet they
are not worth a dollar to him except in case of war with this
country. The fact is that he expects another tussle with the
Western Titan--intends to precipitate it in his own good
time--when India is quieted and he has naught to fear from the
continental powers of Europe. Arbitration is the soothing lullaby
which Anglomaniacs are to sing to his unsuspecting "cousin" until
he gets his "iron hand" in order--weaves about him an
anaconda-coil of cannon. Despite all the milk-sick drivel anent
"ties of blood, language and literature," "community of interest
of the ger-ate and gal-orious Anglo-Saxon race, ad
infinitum, ad nauseam, the cold facts of history prove that for
more than a century, England has been our implacable enemy. Why?
Wounded pride in the first place, commercial rivalry in the
second; but the chief reason is that England desires to
perpetuate its supremacy as a world power, and sees growing up
here a giant who will sooner or later, as Napoleon said, "clip
the lion's claws." The best thing this nation can do is to
quietly "fix" itself, and then at the first provocation compel J.
B. to pull his freight completely out of the Western world. Uncle
Sam is an idiot to go practically unarmed while British guns are
pointing at his head from all directions. Arbitration the devil!
Dismantle that cordon of forts which you have built for our
benefit, and we may take some stock in your Pecksniffian
professions of friendship. "Actions speak louder than words,"
says the old adage; and while J. B.'s words are those of Achates,
his acts are those of an enemy. The voice is the voice of Jacob,
but the hand is the hand of Esau.

 . . .

If the dispatches from Hogansville, Ga. be correct, the present
federal administration is depriving American citizens of their
rights to an extent that suggests the impudence of Germany's
swell-head emperor or the petty tyranny of the Turk. It appears
that a nigger postmaster was appointed at that place who was
persona non grata, and the people employed at their own expense
the ex-postmaster to receive their mail for them from the moke.
Although a man has an inalienable right to appoint what agent he
pleases to receive his money or his mail, the ex-p. m. is to be
prosecuted for "conducting a post-office." They then ordered
their mail to an adjacent town and sent a private messenger for
it, but this was prohibited on the plea that a only government
has the right to establish a mail route." To crown the infamy the
people were not permitted to mail their letters on postal cars.
Here are three flagrant violations of the rights of American
citizens, and to compel them to patronize a nigger Republican
postmaster. The first agent employed by the people was no more
"conducting a post-office" than is the ICONOCLAST, which receives
and distributes the mail of a dozen or more people. The messenger
sent to the adjacent town was no more running a mail route than
is the farmer who brings to town the letters written by his
neighbors and carries back those intended for them. The postal
department has discharged its entire function when it receives
mail, by whosoever presented, and delivers it to those for whom
it is intended or to those duly authorized to receive it, and the
postmaster-general who permits the department to exceed that
simple duty and intermeddle with the rights of the people should
not only be impeached and removed from office in one time and two
motions, but taken by the slack of the pantalettes and pitched
headlong into the penitentiary. It appears that the indignant
people assaulted the nigger postmaster. That is indeed to be
regretted; still I can but wonder that they do not shoot the
whole umbilicus out of every impudent tool of a petty tyranny who
attempts to prevent them mailing letters on postal cars while
that right is freely accorded to others. The whole affair serves
to accentuate the contention of the ICONOCLAST that postmasters
should not be appointed by successful politicians, but elected by
the people. If the latter can be trusted to choose presidents,
congressmen, etc. they can certainly be trusted to select
competent men to lick stamps and shuffle postal cards. As matters
now stand the wishes of the people, who "pay the freight," are in
no wise respected--the pie is shoveled out to a horde of hungry
political heelers, not because of services rendered their
country, but as payment for their pernicious activity in
promoting the interests of a corrupt and conscienceless party.
Thus it happens that in about half the cases federal officials
are regarded with aversion by the people they are supposed to
serve. It is to be hoped that every Southern white man who
hereafter votes the Republican ticket will have his billets de
amour clapper-clawed and liberally scented by some big fat coon.

 . . .

The Buffalo (N.Y.) Distress, commenting on the acquittal of a
negro near Barton, Ark., who killed another negro for having
criminally assaulted a woman of their own race, wants to know if
the law of justification would have held good had the rapist been
a white man. Had the Distress but paused to reflect that the
white men of Arkansas are free silver Democrats, it would not
have indulged in a supposition so far-fetched and foolish. Now in
Buffalo, which gave Cleveland to the country, and permits a
nigger-loving lazar like the editor of the Distress to run at
large, almost anything in petticoats, from old Sycorax to a
malodorous coon, might be in some danger of assault by so-called

 . . .

There's every indication that another gigantic prize fight fake
will soon make a swipe for the long green of the cibarious
sucker. Were it not a violation of the law of the land and the
canons of the Baptist church to wager money that we should give
to the missionaries, I'd risk six-bits that Corbett and
Fitzsimmons get together within a year and that the gamblers who
are on the inside "make a killing." For six months or more before
their last mill these two worthies chewed the rag, making
everybody believe that the battle was to be for berlud. The odds
were on Corbett, and he got lost in the shuffle as a matter of
course--just as Fitz did when he mixed it with Sharkey. Now the
rag-chewing has begun over again, and Bob is doing the lordly
contempt act just as Jeems did before the late unpleasantness. He
has "retired"--wants Corbett to "go get er repertashun"--says
"Corbett quit in the last go like er cowardly cur." It will take
time to work the thing up, to resuscitate the old excitement, to
set fools to betting wildly on their favorite; but when the
pippin's ripe it will be pulled. There's not the slightest reason
for the existence of any personal ill will between these
pugs--it's all in the play, and being bad actors they overdo the
part of Termagant, do protest too much. It is quite noticeable
that in the "big fights" nowadays nobody gets seriously bruised.
It's easy enough to start the claret, and an ounce o' blood well
smeared satisfies the crowd as well as a barrel. The result of
the "fight" will be determined beforehand--as soon as the
managers learn how they can scoop the most money. The best thing
you can do with your ducats is to send them to me with
instructions to bet them even that Bill McKinley's job will soon
fit Bryan. The man who bets on the result of a prize-fight ought
to have a guardian appointed.

 . . .

A Los Angeles, Cal., correspondent informs me that the editor of
the Times of that town, who I trimmed up last month for
permitting impudent coons to insult Southern white women through
his columns, is named "Col." H. G. Otis, and that during the war
he commanded a negro company. He also sends me the following
extract from the alleged newspaper published by the ex-captain of
the Darktown Paladins:

 In considering the crimes of which some negroes are frequently
guilty it should not be forgotten that these traits of violent
sensuality are undoubtedly inherited from mothers and
grandmothers who were subjected to the lust of their masters
under the slavery system. In other words, the sins of the fathers
are being visited upon their children to the third and fourth

 That is a vast improvement over the original statement published
by Coon-Captain Otis to the effect that Southern white women seek
black paramours, and that most lynchings are caused by the guilty
parties getting caught. It is a matter of utter indifference to
the ex-slaveholders what this calumnious little fice says about
them, if he will but refrain from voiding his fetid rheum upon
their families. Doubtless some slaveholders were degraded
sensualists, but such were exceptions to the rule. Not one yaller
nigger in a hundred is the child of its mother's old master.
There were comparatively few mulattoes in the South before the
war, most of these were the offspring of white overseers--and it
is a notorious fact that a majority of our professional
"nigger-drivers" were from the North. This is no reflection on
the character of the Northern people--these fellows were simply
the feculent scum, the excrementitious offscourings of
civilization. And now I remember that a second-cousin of mine in
Kentucky has an overseer from Ohio named Otis. A very thrifty and
choleric man was my cousin, and considering a yaller nigger less
valuable than a black one, he threatened to subject his overseer
to a surgical operation if another half-breed pickaninny appeared
on the place. I do wonder if this "Col." Otis--who knew so much
about the management of coons that he was placed in command of a
colored company--can be the same fellow; also what was the result
of my relative's ultimatum? Can anybody in Los Angeles tell me
what state this "Col." Otis came from, or send me a good picture
of the ex-commander of coons?

 . . .

While the preachers were hustling out of the fever infected
districts of Louisiana, the Sisters of Charity were hurrying in
from points as far distant as San Francisco. And what were the A.
P. Apes doing? They were standing afar off, pointing the finger
of scorn at these angels of mercy and calling them "prostitutes
of the priesthood." In this land every man has a perfect right to
entertain such religious views as he likes; but those who defame
women who cheerfully risk their lives for others' sake should be
promptly shot. "By their fruits ye shall know them," says the
Good Book; and while the Church of Rome is producing Good
Samaritans to wrestle with the plague, the A. P. Ape is filling
the penitentiaries. I care nothing for the apostolic pretensions
of the Pope or the dogmas of the Priesthood; but I'm strongly
tempted to make a few off-hand observations with a six-shooter
should these papaphobes speak disrespectfully of the Sisters of
Charity in my presence.

 . . .

Justice Van Fleet of the supreme court of California recently
rendered an opinion which indicates the utter emptiness of our
boast that in this land all men are equal before the law. Because
of the confusion or ignorance of a new motorman, the young child
of a plumber, playing upon the track, was killed by an electric
car. The parents sued the company and were awarded damages in the
sum of six thousand dollars. Defendant took an appeal, which the
supreme court sustained, and the cause was remanded on the ground
that the damages awarded were excessive--that the boy would
probably have followed his father's occupation, and an embryo
workman is not, in Justice Van Fleet's opinion, worth so much
money! Measured by this standard, what would have been the
average "value" of American presidents when they were boys? Now
that Justice Van Fleet is measuring human life solely by the gold
standard, perhaps he can tell us what a juvenile Shakespeare or
Webster is "worth." I have held to the opinion heretofore that
blood could not be measured by boodle, that the children of the
common people were of as much importance in the eye of the law as
the progeny of the plutocrat--that the anguish of parents did not
depend on the length of the purse; but Justice Van Fleet seems to
agree with Kernan's weeping Canuck, that the more siller one has
the more deeply he feels the loss of a son. He seems to need a
powerful cardac for his heart and a hot mush poultice for his
head, being as fine a combination of knave and fool, as one can
easily find. Had the supreme court declared that the plaintiffs
in the case were not entitled to a dollar I would heartily
approve the opinion; but to measure the "value" of a son by the
gain-getting capacity of its sire is simply monstrous. A statute
should be enforced impartially, without regard to persons; but I
should like to see the law so amended that people could not trade
upon their tears, could not coin the blood of their relatives to
fill their pockets. A child should not be considered a piece of
property for which the accidental destroyer must PAY, just as a
railway company must cough up the cash value of the cow it kills.
As not one child in a thousand ever returns to its parents the
cost of its rearing it cannot be urged that the plaintiffs in
this case were pecuniarily damaged one penny. All they had to
sell was "mental anguish," and that should never be made a
merchantable commodity. We have criminal courts to deal with
those who, through criminal negligence or otherwise occasion
death. It may be argued that when the party killed has dependants
for whom he or she is providing, the slayer should be compelled
to make good the damage in so far as money can do it. I say
NO--that if there be blood guiltiness let the offender be
punished in accordance with our criminal code; if there be none
then is he blameless, and to deprive a person of his property
because of a harmless act is a crime. "But the dependants should
be provided for." Certainly they should; but not through rank
injustice to others. We are carrying entirely too far the theory
that the principal is responsible for the acts of his agents. If
the agent is guilty of criminal negligence he is punished by one
law and his principal by another; if the agent blunders he is
found not guilty and discharged, yet his principal is punished
for being a co-partner in his innocence. It should not be
forgotten that the agent of a private company is also a
representative of that larger and more powerful corporation which
we call the state. The private company can do no more than
outline his duty and discharge him for dereliction; the public
corporation not only prescribes his duty but imprisons or hangs
him for neglect; the private company is itself but a creation of
the state which exercises over it autocratic power while shirking
responsibility. If I loosen a rail on the "Katy" road and cause
the destruction of $100,000 worth of property the company must
pocket the loss, notwithstanding the fact that it is paying the
state for protection. If a dozen people are killed in the wreck
the relatives of the last one of them will sue for damages and
the state compel it to pay for its own failure to afford that
protection to which it is clearly entitled. What then? Let the
state issue life insurance at cost and compel every person who
has dependants to carry a policy payable on the annual
installment plan. For 5 or 6 cents a day it can, without loss,
issue a policy to every man in America that will provide his
family with the necessaries of life for at least ten years after
his death, and the man who cannot pay that premium is worth
precious little to anybody considered purely from an economic
standpoint. If the state wants to bring damage suits for the
slaughter of its citizens, well and good; but for God's sake let
us get rid of the degrading spectacle of people hawking the
corpses of their relatives through the courts.


I sometimes rejoice with an exceeding great joy and take
something on myself that the ICONOCLAST is read by a million
truth-loving Americans, as I am thereby enabled not only to make
it uncomfortable for frauds and fakes, but to hold an occasional
bypedal puppy up by the subsequent end that Scorn may sight him
and stick her cold and clammy finger so far through his miserable
carcass that Goliah might hang his helmet on the protruding
point. Sometime ago I found America's meanest man in
Massachusetts: I have just discovered the most contemptible of
all God's creatures in Kansas City. Some may suppose that the
first discovery excludes the last; but such forget that there is
the same difference between cussedness and contemptibility that
exists between the leopard and the louse, between a Cuban
hurricane and the crapulous eructations of a chronic hoodlum. I
want the world to take an attentive look at one Walter S.
Halliwell, to make a labored perscrutation of this priorient
social pewee, this arbiter eligantarium of corn-fed aristocracy,
this Beau Brummel of the border, for though Argus had a compound
microscope glued to his every eye he might never look upon the
like again. He resembles a pigmy statue of Priapus carved out of
a guano bed with a muck rake and smells like a maison d'joie
after an Orange Society celebration of the Battle of the Boyne.
Mr. Halliwell evidently has an idea rumbling round in his
otherwise tenantless attic room that he's a Brahmin of the
Brahmins, an aristocrat dead right, a goo-goo for your Klondyke
galways, a Lady Vere de Vere in plug hat and "pants." He's the
Ward McAllister of Kay-See, the model of the chappies, and traces
his haughty lineage back in an unbroken line to the primordial
anthropoid swinging by his prehensile tail to a limb of the Ash
tree Ygdrasyl and playfully scratching the back of the hungry
behemoth with the jawbone of an erstwhile ichthyosaurian. Walter
S. Halliwell was born when quite young, where or why deponent
saith not, and had gotten thus far on life's tow-path, absorbing
such provender as he could come at, before I chanced to hear of
him. As there be tides in the affairs of men which taken at the
flood lead on to fortune, so there be waves which straddled at
the proper time will bear a Halliwell on their niveous crest to
the dizzy heights of fame, quicker'n the nictitation of a
thomas-cat. Walter made connection with the climbing wave, and
here he is, bumping the macrencephalic end of himself against the
milky-way and affrighting the gibbous moon. His opportunity to
make an immortal ass of himself, to earn catasterism and be
placed among the stars as an equine udder, thus happened to hap:
Kay-See was to have a "Karnival" modeled upon the pinchbeck rake
with which Waco worked the gullible country folk once upon a
time--when she so far forgot herself as to trade on womanly
beauty to make it a bunco-steerer for her stores. The chief
attraction wass to be a "Kween Karnation" and her maids of honor,
the latter consisting of the most beautiful young ladies of the
various Missouri towns. I presume that these fair blossoms were
(or will be, for I know not the date of the brummagen blowout)
paraded through the streets bedized in royal frippery to make a
hoodlum holiday while the megalophanous huckster worked the
perspiring mob with peanuts and soda pop, and the thrifty
merchant marked his shopworn wares up 60 per cent, and sold them
to confiding country men "at a tremendous sacrifice." I infer
from the dispatches that Halliwell was made lord high executioner
of the "Karnival"--at least accorded ample space in which to
wildly wave his asinine ears. Miss Edna Whitney, described as
being "one of the most beautiful young ladies of Chillicothe,"
was put forward by her friends as a candidate for the honor of
representing that city at the royal court of "Kween Karnation,"
the citizens to determine the matter by a voting contest. Now
Miss Whitney, while dowered with great beauty, popular and of
good repute, is a working girl instead of a fashionable
butterfly, being employed in a cigar factory. When it appeared
certain that she would bear off the honor, the snobocracy of
Chillicothe, furious at being "trun down" by a working girl,
appealed to Halliwell to exclude her from the contest, and this
miserable parody of God's masterpiece promptly wired that her
business occupation was an insuperable barrier. How's that for a
country boasting of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity"--its press
and politicians ever prating of "the dignity of labor"! The
contest, I'm told, was open to all "respectable young women"; but
a working girl, though pure as the lily and fair as the rose, is
not considered "respectable" by the would-be patricians of
Corncob Corners and the grand panjandrum of the Kay-See Karnival!
Working girls must not presume to be pretty or popular or enter
into contests for holiday honors with the high-born daughters of
successful swindlers, but will be kindly permitted by the lordly
Halliwell to stand on the curb and see beauts who are only by the
grace of boodle, roll by like triumphant Sylla on Fortune's bike.
During the Saturnalia in ancient Rome the master acknowledged the
brotherhood of man by ministering to his slave; but Kansas City,
thanks to the omnipotent Halliwell, has cut the working class off
from mankind--the hewers of wood and drawers of water are no
longer considered human! Surely we are making rapid
"progress"--are nearing that point in time when the working
people will enter a protest against insult added to injury by
tying a few bow-knots in the rubber necks of presumptuous
parvenues. If it be a disgrace for a woman to work then is this
nation in a very bad way, for few of us are the sons or daughters
"of an hundred earls"--can go back more than a generation or two
without finding a maternal ancestor blithely swinging the useful
sad-iron or taking a vigorous fall out of the wash-tub. The
parents of some of the wealthiest people of Kansas City, the
bon-ton of the town, smelled of laundry soap, the curry-comb or
night-soil cart. Some made themselves useful as hash- slingers in
cheap boarding houses or chambermaids in livery stables, nursery
maids or barbers, while others kept gambling dens, boozing-kens
or even run variety dives. There is now a bright young woman
working for a wealthy man in Kansas City for six dollars a week.
The wife of her employer was once her mother's servant and
laundered her infantile linen. The ex-servant, scarce able to
read or write, ugly by nature and gross by instinct, is now a
glorious star in Fashion's galaxy, while the child whose diapers
she used to deodorize, compelled by poverty to accept employment,
is socially ostracized. People of gentle blood--those who for
many generations back have been educated men and cultured women,
do not act as do Halliwell and the snobocrats of Chillicothe.
These are giving a very exact imitation of people who lately came
up from the social gutter, and it were interesting to know how
far we would have to trace their "genealogical tree" before
finding something much worse than a working woman. It is said
that "three generations make a gentleman"; and if that be true
there is some hope of Halliwell's great-grandsons--granting, of
course, that the pusillanimous prig is not too epicene to provide
himself with posterity. Day by day it becomes more evident that
the purse-proud snobocracy of New York's old rat- catchers and
sprat peddlers is fast getting a foothold in the West, that the
social gulf between the House of Have and that of Have-Not, is
steadily widening and deepening--that we have reached that point
in national decay where gold suffices to "gild the straitened
forehead of the fool," where WEALTH instead of WORTH" makes the
man and want of it the fellow." Of course it is not to be
expected that working girls, however worthy, will be generally
carried on the visiting list of wealthy women, that their society
will be sought by the followers of Fashion. None expect this, and
few desire it. King Cophetua's beggar maid would have cut a sorry
figure at court ere his favor raised her to fortune. For
Cinderella to attend the Bradley-Martin ball clothed in rags
would be embarrassing both to herself and the company. The woman
who must work for a living has little time for the diversions of
the wealthy; and is usually too proud to accept costly social
courtesies which she cannot repay in kind. Society divides
naturally into classes, dilettantism and pococurantism
dawdling luxuriously here, labor at hand-grip with Destiny there.
"Birds of a feather flock together," say the old copy-books, and
Fortune gives to each such plumage as she pleases. Still, boodle
does not map out all the social metes and bounds. It was said of
old that every door opens to a golden key, but this is not
altogether true. The honest working girl shuns the society of the
wealthy wanton, and the stupid ignoramus, whatsoever his fortune,
is accorded no seat at the symposiac--is blackballed by the
brotherhood of brains. Imagine Goethe giving Richter the "marble
heart" or Byron snubbing Burns because of his lowly birth! The
world would be quick to rebuke their arrogance, would assure them
that a singer was not esteemed for his siller, but for his song.
In the carnival case it was a question of beauty not of boodle,
of popularity instead of purses, and to exclude from the contest
a candidate of the working class was to acknowledge her
superiority and avenge defeat with brutal insult that would shame
the crassest boor. The King of Syracuse was not ashamed to
contend with the humblest for Olympian honors, nor the Emperor of
Rome to measure swords with Thracian gladiators to prove his
skill at arms. Ever does genius sympathize with folly and the
truly learned with the unlettered; but Mammon "least erect of all
the angelic host that fell from heaven," puts the mark of the
beast on the brazen foreheads of all who bow down to his
abominations. When working-girls are treated thus, what wonder
that some of them become imbittered, discouraged, and go
head-long to the devil--affording the wretched pharisees whose
brutality wrought their ruin, an opportunity to "rescue" them and
pose before the world as Christian philanthropists! What
inducement has a young and beautiful woman to toil early and late
for an honest livelihood when by so doing she forfeits the right
to be called respectable--is flouted by even the paltry
plutocracy of a country town and proclaimed a social pariah by
such a headless phthirius pubis as Halliwell! If labor be no
longer respectable wherein are our thousands of virtuous working
girls superior to prostitutes? Clearly if the dictum of Halliwell
be correct it were better for the daughter of poverty to regard
her face as her fortune and hasten to sell herself--with approval
of law and blessings of holy church--to some old duffer with
ducats and be welcomed by the "hupper sukkle" as a bright and
shining ornament. Or if no beducated old duffer can be come at,
she might marry the first shiftless he-thing that offers itself
and pick up a luxurious livelihood for her family among her
gentlemen friends, as so many enterprising society women now do,
and be "respectable" to her heart's content--even a devout church
member and prominent in "rescue" work among fallen women. Somehow
I cannot help wondering whether Halliwell's respectability be not
due to some ancestor who was too lazy to work and too cowardly to
steal. To the grand army of working women I would say, Be not
discouraged by such gross affronts, prompted by splenetic hearts
and spewed forth by empty heads. You may be flouted on the one
hand by a few purse-proud parvenues and pitied on the other hand
by bedizened prostitutes, but the great world, which learned long
ago that the reptile as well as the eagle can reach the apex of
the pyramid, estimates you at your true worth and binds upon your
pure brows the victor's wreath, while ringing ever in your ears
like a heavenly anthem are the words of Israel's wisest--"A good
name is more precious than fine gold."

 P.S.--Since the foregoing was put in print I have received
Kansas City papers giving a fuller account of the affair, and it
is in every way more miserable than I had imagined. Halliwell,
who is bossee of the whole business, says he sent the telegram at
the request of the board of lady managers of the flower
parade--in other words, that, at the solicitation of a lot of
snobby old females, he made even a greater ass of himself than
nature had originally intended. Mrs. J. K. Cravens, chairman of
the aforesaid board, denies that the ladies had anything to do
with the matter, then flies into a towering passion "cusses out"
the newspapers, figuratively speaking, rips her silk lingerie to
ribbons, and otherwise conducts herself like a woman educated in
a logging camp. I shall not attempt to decide the question of
veracity between Halliwell and Mrs. Cravens, but that one is a
mental vacuum and the other a ripsnortin' old virago is
established beyond the peradventure of a doubt. Everybody
connected with the Karnival is doing the Artful Dodger act to
escape the withering storm of indignation which the pitiful
episode called forth from the American people. The most
encouraging feature of the whole affair is the withdrawal of
several of Chillicothe's society girls from the contest because
of the gratuitous insult tendered Miss Whitney in the Halliwell
telegram, thus indicating that the old town's upper ten is not
composed exclusively of pudding heads and parvenues.

 * * *

Puck is what the erstwhile Artemous Ward would call a "yewmerous"
paper, and is published solely for the benefit of bad barbers.
When you take your seat in the butcher's shambles he provides you
with a copy of Puck because its jokes are so excruciatingly
painful that it pulls your piligerous annex out with a
stump-extractor and rubbed aqua fortis into your face with a bath
brick, the physical ill would be forgotten in the mental agony. I
never saw anybody but a barber purchase a copy of Puck not any
son of Adam reading it outside a "tonsorial parlor." Should the
Populists carry the country and barbers be tabooed Puck's mission
on earth would be ended--unless it could persuade dentists to
adopts it as an anaesthetic, and sheriffs to read it to condemned
criminals to make them yearn for death. The last time I was
shaved the razor pulled so dreadfully that I sought refuge in
this pictorial pain-killer's editorial page. I there learned,
much to my surprise, that the rise in the price of wheat had
killed the silver cause; also that W. J. Bryan had "said, in that
pose of easy omniscience for which he became remarkable, that 'a
bushel of wheat and an ounce of silver were ordained by nature to
become equal each to the other'--'wheat cannot rise unless silver
rises.' " If W. J. Bryan said that, even in his salad days, he's
a hopeless damphool, unfit to be pound-master, much less
president; but I'll pay two-bits for incontestable evidence that
he ever made such an idiotic remark. My private opinion is that
the malice of Puck's mendacity is equalled only by its
awkwardness. It is possible that its editor mistakes falsehood
for fun. Or he may have heard somewhere the statement he parrots
and really supposed it true, for a man capable of conducting so
jejune a journal might easily believe anything. Another article
in his paper says that Cardinal Wolsey managed all "Bluff King
Hal" divorce business, while the fact is that his hostility to
that feculent old tub of tallow's matrimonial crimes was the
efficient cause of his downfall. As a historian Puck is about as
reliable as Mark Twain's acerbic old sea captain; hence his
asservations anent Bryan's utterances should be taken with
considerable chloride of sodium. Every man who knows as much
about political economy as a terrapin does of the Talmud is well
aware that a rise in the price of one commodity simultaneous with
the decline in price of another commodity has nothing whatever to
do with the currency question. Those who cackle about a rise in
wheat synchronously with the fall of silver make a very indecent
exposure of their own ignorance. If I had a ten-year old boy who
was such a hopeless idiot I'd drown him as not worth honest grub,
then seek a surgeon and make sure that I'd never again inflict
the world with progeny cursed with cretinism. Wheat went up and
silver down, as Mr. Bryan recently explained to the satisfaction
of every man possessing an ounce of brains, simply because the
demand for the one was increased by foreign crop failures, the
demand for the other decreased by Anglo-Cleveland skull-duggery.
"Law of supply and demand," bawls Puck and all the other
journalistic puppets of an impudent plutocracy. You miserable
little hiccius doctius, do you expect to deceive an intelligent
people with that kind of howl, while the trade in wheat is left
untrammeled and the demand for silver arbitrarily limited by law?
Suppose that while the world's wheat fields were producing
abundantly the leading nations should prohibit their people
purchasing any more of that cereal for food production; would any
macrocephalous donkey ascribe the decline in the price of wheat
to "the immutable law of supply and demand?" When silver is
placed on an equality with all other commodities; when the people
are permitted to freely employ it as they please, then will the
natural law of supply and demand apply to the white metal, and
New York editors cease to jabber financial nonsense with the
stupid persistence of a poll-parrot praising its own personal
pulchritude. The editor of Puck should avoid political economy as
a subject a trifle too large for the knot on the end of his neck,
and confine himself to his threadbare specialty, that of
belittling the Jews with his watery wit and atribilarious art.
The only funny thing I find in his paper is its solemn "notice to
publishers" that all its raccous rot is copyrighted, that
infringement will be "promptly and vigorously prosecuted." The
editor who would steal from Puck would walk through
Stringfellow's fruit farm to crib a wilted cabbage leaf from a
blind cow. The best things in Puck scarce rise to the dignity of
Slob Snots' milk-sick drivel in the Gal-Dal, while Texas has a
hundred country editors pulling a Washington hand press and
building stallion poster, who could write brighter things if they
were drunk--or dead. "Promptly and vigorously prosecuted" O the
devil! Why don't you say that you'll have any fool who attempts
to father your hand-made yermer sent to an insane asylum to be
treated for prolapsus of the intellect?

* * *

Hon. Chas. P. Johnson has written for the Globe-Democrat an
article that will doubtless receive the careful consideration of
every sociologist, for he therein assumes that man's instincts
are as brutal and bloody to-day as in those far times when, clad
only in his "thick natural fell," and armed with a stone, he
struggled for food with the wild beasts of the forest--that the
prevalence of lynchings is not due to incompetency of our
criminal courts, but to an alarming revival of savagery in man
himself. He declares that our courts are more effective than ever
before, but that Judge Lynch continues active without other cause
than the inability of the people to restrain their murderous
proclivities. He assures us that the entire suppression of the
savage instinct is impossible by any civilization whatever, and
adds that "its control and regulation is as difficult to-day as
it has been at any period since the historical birth of man." Why
this is so he does not directly say, but the following paragraph
is significant:

 "Perhaps the statesmanship which looks solely to the development
of our material resources and the accumulation of wealth is
overlooking the growth and development of many social vices which
may yet engulf us in a vortex of anarchical passion or
governmental revolution."

Thus Mr. Johnson endorses the position of the ICONOCLAST that
the getting of gain should not constitute the sole aim of man;
that society cannot long exist with self- interest for "sole
nexus," as the French physiocrats would say--that the worship of
Mammon is dragging us back to barbarism. It is quite true that
man's savage instincts cannot be wholly eradicated; and it is
likewise true that could you drain all the Berserker out of his
blood he would sink to the level of an emasculated simian. A man
in whom there's no latent savagery were equivalent to mint julep
in which buttermilk were used as a succedaneum for bourbon. Life,
we are told, is "a battle and a march," and an indispensable
prerequisite for such stubborn work, call it by what name you
will, is but a refinement of the barbaric gust for blood. Whether
he be poet or philosopher, priest or prophet, it is the combative
man--the man who would find a wild fierce joy in a bayonet
charge--who wins new territory from the powers of Darkness and
the Devil. Man IS a savage, and civilization but a cloak with
which he covers his ferocity as best he can. If the cloak be
scant--as with the Turk--or frayed by time--as with the
Spaniard--we may expect to catch frequent and shocking glimpses
of the predacious animal. But Mr. Johnson is mistaken in
supposing that the lynchings of which he complains evidence an
abnormal thirst for blood on the part of the American people. He

"As the masses of ancient Rome enjoyed the carnage of the
amphi-theater; as the populace of Paris crowded with eager
avidity around the guillotine to see the blood gush from the
heads and trunks of the victims of the revolutionary tribunal; as
the Spaniard in holiday attire followed over the plaza the
procession and rapturously looked upon the execution of the
wretches of the auto da fe; as in all ages the spirit of savagery
has made men to enjoy scenes of suffering, brutality and
death--so does the modern mob look with frenzied delight upon
like exhibitions to-day."

For a man so erudite and earnest, Mr. Johnson comes painfully
near being ridiculous. The evidence is ample that never since the
first settlement of this country have the people found LESS
pleasure in the effusion of blood and scenes of brutality.
Instead of the savage instinct becoming dominant, we are fairly
open to the charge of effeminacy, of super-estheticism. Our very
sports are becoming namby pamby as those of the Bengalese, the
element of danger which gave zest to them in auld lang syne being
all but eliminated. Bear-baiting, cocking- mains, shin-kicking,
bulldog-fighting, etc., all greatly enjoyed by the general public
a generation or so ago, are now quite generally tabood. Many of
us can remember when pugilism was practiced with bare-knuckles
and every fight to a finish; it is practiced now with feather
pillows "for points," and under police supervision. About the
only game left us that is more dangerous than playing
Presbyterian billards with an old maid from Boston is college
football, and even that will soon be stripped of its vigor on the
plea that it is barbarous. When our fathers quarreled they took a
pot-shot at each other at ten paces; now disagreements involving
even family honor are carried into the courts--the bloody Code
Duello has been relegated to "innocuous desuetude." Texas is
supposed by our Northern neighbors to be the "wurst ever," the
most bloodthirsty place this side the Ottoman Empire; yet the
Houston Post, leading paper of Harris county, is crying its poor
self sick because some peripatetic Ananias intimated to an
Eastern reporter that our wildest and wooliest cowboys would even
think of shooting the pigtail off a Chinaman bowling along on a
bike. Our governor earned the title of "heroic young Christian"
by calling a special session of the legislature to prevent Prof.
Fitzsimmons giving it to Prof. Corbett "in de slats" with a buggy
cushion--was re-elected on the proposition that a boxing- match
is "brutal"--which proves that our people are not ahunger and
athirst for gore, do not yearn for the sickening scenes of the
Roman amphitheatre, where holy virgins by turning their thumbs up
or down, decided questions of life and death. "Bloodthirsty?"
Good Lord! The average American would grow sick at the stomach if
required to slaughter a pullet with which to regale the palate of
his favorite preacher. During the past two decades we have
practically become Quakers, and now suffer foreign powers to vent
their rheum upon us and rub it in, because to maintain our
dignity might precipitate a war, and bloodshed is so very brutal.
Mr. Johnson seems to imagine that the usual method of procedure
in Judge Lynch's court is for the mob to trample its victim to
death, bray him in a mortar, kerosene him and set him on fire,
then dance the carmagnole around his flaming carcass. This, I am
pleased to remark, is simply a mid-day nightmare which should be
subjected to hydropathic treatment, reinforced with cracked ice
and bromo-seltzer. As a rule lynchings are conducted in quite as
orderly and humane a manner as legal esecutions. It is true that
cases have occurred, when the public patience had become
exhausted by repeated offenses, or the crime committed was
peculiarly atrocious, wherein respectable God-fearing men were
seized with a murderous frenzy, and whole communities noted for
their culture, united in torturing or burning at the state the
object of their displeasure; but these were usually instances
where failure to enforce the law was notorious, or it did not
provide an adequate penalty. The courts imprison the man who
steals a mule, or even a loaf of bread to feed a starving family.
They hang the man who in a fit of rage of jealousy or drunken
frenzy commits a homicide: they can do no more to the brutal buck
negro who ravishes and murders a white babe--so Judge Lynch takes
cognizance of his case and builds for him a beautiful bonfire;
but the average lynching appeals no more strongly to the savage
instincts of man than does a hanging by the sheriff. Then, it may
be asked, why do lynchings occur. I have treated this subject at
considerable length in former issues of the ICONOCLAST, hence
will but recapitulate here and add a few observations suggested
by Mr. Johnson's very able but sadly mistaken article. Lynchings
occur because, whatsoever be the efficiency of our courts, they
are a trifle shy of public confidence; because there are some
offenses for which the statutes do not provide adequate
penalties; because the people insist that when a heinous crime is
committed punishment follow fast upon the offense instead of
being delayed by a costly circumlocution office and perhaps
altogether defeated by skillful attorneys--men ready to put their
eloquence and tears on tap in the interest of worse criminals. I
will not take issue with so distinguished an authority as Mr.
Johnson regarding the competency of our courts to deal with
criminals in accordance with the laws of the land; but the people
see that despite the vigilance of officers, the erudition of
judges and the industries of juries, murders multiply, rapes
increase and portable property remains at the mercy of the
marauder. If my memory of statistics does not mislead me, we have
in the United States something like 10,000 homicides per annum,
while every newspaper teems with accounts of robbery and rape.
When we consider this in connection with the further fact that
the courts continue to increase in cost--are already a veritable
Old Man of the Sea about the neck of the Industrial Sinbad--can
we wonder at the impatience of the people? But there is another
feature which Mr. Johnson has quite overlooked in his vision of a
brutal mob drunk with blood--like most lawyers, he stands too
close to his subject to see more than one side, views it from
beneath rather than from above. We set a higher value on human
life than did our ancestors of the old dueling days. This may be
called the Age of Woman--the era of her apothesis. She occupies a
higher intellectual, social and political level than ever before
in human history, and as she increases in importance crimes
against her person assume more gravity. A generation ago such a
thing as the criminal assault of a white woman by a negro was
almost unknown, but now it is of every day occurrence; thus as
womanhood becomes more sacred in our eyes it is subjected to
fouler insult. Nor is this all: The American people are becoming
every year more mercurial. The whole trend of our
civilization--of our education, our business, even our
religion--is to make us neurotic, excitable, impatient. In our
cooler moments we enact laws expressive of mistaken mercy rather
than of unflinching justice. Some of the states have even
abolished capital punishment and in but one can a brute be tied
up and whipped for the cowardly crime of wife-beating. We
establish courts rather to acquit than to convict by
disqualifying intelligence for jury service and enforcing the
stupid unit rule. We provide convicts with comforts unknown to
millions of honest working men and regard them as poor
unfortunates to be "reformed rather than as malefactors to be
punished. And when our misguided mercy has borne its legitimate
fruit we take fire, curse the laws and the courts, seize and hang
the offender, and have the satisfaction of knowing that there's
one less monster alive in the land. Mr. Johnson suggests no
remedy for what he regards as the evil of the age, and is
therefore like unto the doctor who volunteers the entirely
superfluous information that you "have a misery in your innards,"
but provides neither pill nor poultice. As Judge Lynch probably
makes fewer mistakes than do the courts; as those he hangs
usually deserve hemp and he renders no bill of costs to the
country; and as the people are the creators and not the creatures
of the courts, I am not particularly interested in his
suppression, notwithstanding the fact that he seriously
interferes with the material welfare of the professional juror
and my lawyer friends. But were I duly ordained to perform that
duty I would not begin by creating new deputies or calling out
local militia companies to shoot down their neighbors and
friends, to protect the miserable carcass of a rape-fiend. I
would wipe out our entire penal code and frame a new one in which
there would be no comfortable penitentiaries. If a man were found
guilty of rape or homicide I'd promptly hang him, if of a less
heinous offense I'd give him stripes proportionate to his crime
and turn him loose to earn a livelihood and thus prevent his
family becoming a public burden. For the second offense in crimes
like forgery, perjury, theft, arson, etc., I'd resort to the
rope. I would abolish fines in misdemeanor cases, thereby putting
the rich and poor on a parity, and set the offenders in the
stocks. I'd get rid of the costly delays which are the chief
cause of lynchings, by elective jurors and the majority rule, by
appointing one man well learned in the law to see that all the
evidence was properly placed before the court, and advise the
rest of the legal fraternity now making heaven and earth resound
with their eloquence and weeping crocodile tears at so much per
wope, that it were better to make two fat shoats flourish where
one hazel- splitter pined in the hitherto, than to employ their
talents and energies securing the conviction of the innocent and
the aquittal of the guilty. By such a system almost any criminal
case could be fairly tried in a couple of hours. If the defendant
desired to appeal from the sentence of the court, instead of
sending the case up to a higher tribunal thereby entailing heavy
cost and vexatious delay, I would empanel a new jury then and
there, composed of reputable citizens of the community, retry the
case, and if the first verdict was confirmed, the sentence should
be executed within the hour. The quicker the courts "get action"
on an offender the more terror they inspire in the criminal
classes and the better they please the people. If a murderer or
rape-fiend captured at daylight could be fairly tried and
executed by sundown Judge Lynch would speedily find himself
without an occupation.

 * * *

Galveston, Tex., August 12, 1897.

In your editorial on the "Henry George Hoodoo," which appears in
the August number of the ICONOCLAST, the following passage
occurs: "It seems to me that I have treated the Single Taxers as
fairly as they could ask, and if I now proceed to state a few
plain truths about them and their faith they will have no just
cause to complain." From the tone and tenor of these words it is
fair to assume that in the editorial referred to you have
discharged against the Single Taxers and their faith the heaviest
broadsides of which your ordnance is capable. If, notwithstanding
all the time you have wasted "crucifying the economic mooncalf"
which has played such sad havoc with the wits of Single Taxers,
it should turn out that the monstrous concept, far from being
crucified, annihilated, or even "dying of its own accord," only
gathers strength, energy, and renewed activity from the healthful
exercise with which you provide it, must it not seem the part of
prudence for you, even if occasion of regret for us, that you
should abandon the war and leave the calf to his fate? Your
belated and apparently desperate resolve to "tell some plain
truths" about us, Single Taxers, justifies the inquiry, what were
you telling before? The fact that it seems to yourself that you
have treated Single Taxers fairly is not absolutely irrefragible
proof that they have been so treated at least it has not brought
conviction of the fact to them. That the offer of your space to
Mr. George was courteously declined affords no just ground for
refusing it to those "whose matin hymn and vesper prayer reads,
there is no God but George," etc. I'll warrant you that if you
and the Single Taxers had access on equal terms to a journal
which neither controlled, and whose space both were bound to
respect, you would not have to go outside the limits of your own
state to find a dozen foemen worthy of your steel, and I'd stake
my life on it that you'd find not a few to unhorse you. This is
not claiming that any one of them, or all of them together, can
come anywhere near you in the artistic manipulation of words or
the construction of ear-tickling phrases; but it is claiming, and
that without any false pretense of modesty, that they have yet
seen no reason to fear you in rigidly logical argument when the
Single Tax is the question at issue. Their cause is so palpably
just, its underlying principle so transparently simple and
elementary, its practical application so direct, feasible and
efficient that no mere wizardry of words, no thimble-riggery or
language, can by any possibility obscure the principle--or
confuse the advocates. Of course there are among Single Taxers,
as among other enthusiasts, men who indiscreetly use abuse for
argument, and of these you may have some reason to complain; but
should not your great talents and the immense advantages which
the undisputed control of your own journal give you, enable you
to rise above their abuse, to ignore it completely, and to
grapple with only those who present you with argument? I have no
right to expect from you more consideration than has been meted
out to better men; still, you can but refuse this rejoinder to
your August editorial, which is respectfully offered for
publication in your journal. If you are quite sure of your
ground, you can only gain strength from exposing my weakness, but
even if you are not sure of it, both the requirements of simple
justice and the amende honorable to Single Taxers would still
plead for the publication of this article.

You say that Mr. George has obtained no standing of consequence
in either politics or economics "because his teachings are
violative of the public concept of truth." Do you really believe
that the fact that he has obtained no standing of consequence in
politics is in any way derogatory to his character or his
teaching? Do you not know full well that a Bill Sykes, a Jonas
Chuzzlewit, or a Mr. Montague Tigg would have a hundred chances
to attain that distinction to-day to the one chance that Henry
George, Vincent de Paul or even Jesus Christ would have? Don't
you know this well, and if you do, why do you use it as an
argument against Henry George? As to his standing in economics,
that, I submit, is a matter of opinion. You think he has no
standing of consequence; I think his teaching is the most active
ferment in the economic thought of to-day. We may be both
mistaken, but whether we are or not cuts no figure in the truth
or falsity of the Single Tax. But it is worth while to point out
that the reason you have given for his lack of "standing" lends
neither weight nor force to your argument. "Because," you say,
"his teachings are violative of the public concept of truth."
When did the public concept of truth become the standard by which
to test it? The public concept of the best form of money is, and
has been for thousands of years, gold and silver coins. I am much
mistaken if that be your concept. By the way, why did you not say
"violative of truth," instead of "violative of the public
concept," etc.? I guess you had an inward consciousness that a
thing is not true or false by public concept, but by being
inherently so. What Henry George taught was inherently true or
false before he ever taught it, and would be so still if he had
been never born. The only difference would be that so many of us
who now bask in the blessed light of inward, if not of outward,
freedom would, in that event, be still barking with the great
blind multitude over every false trail along which blinder
teachers might be leading them and us.

You admit that Mr. George is a polemic without a peer, and you
say that "no other living man could have made so absurd a theory
appear so plausible, deceived hundreds of abler men than
himself." Surely there is something very faulty in the position
you assume here. If what you say be so, how do you know that you
are not yourself the victim of deception at the hands of some
inferior? Or is it only men who have "gone daft on Single Tax"
that possess the extraordinary power of leading abler men than
themselves by the nose? Surely that were too much honor for an
antagonist to concede to them. More surely still, if a man's
intelligence is not proof against deception by inferiors in
argument, he can never reach finality in a process of reasoning,
and logical proof for him there is none.

"He mistakes the plausible for the actual and by his sophistry
deceives himself." O pshaw! We all say things sometimes that just
do for talk, but this hasn't even that poor excuse. I might just
as well say, "He takes the conceivable for the supposable and by
his logic enlightens himself. One statement would be as valuable
as the other and neither would be worth a pinch of snuff. Come,
let us argue with dignity and composure, like honest men
sincerely searching after truth, and eager to lend a hand in
abolishing this social Inferno of legalized robbery which fairly
threatens to consume us all.

There is, you'll admit, such a thing as land value, i. e. value
attaching to land irrespective of improvements made in or on it
by private industry. This value arises from the presence of a
community and can never actually exist without it. If the
exclusive creator or producer of a thing is its rightful owner,
land belongs to the community that creates or produces it, and
can never, in the first instance, rightly belong to any other
owner. The Single Tax is the taking of this value for this
community. Is it just? The highest homage, the highest act of
faith which the human mind and heart can offer to God is to say
that He could not be God and pronounce the Single Tax unjust!
Here now is a gage of battle cast at the feet of whoever wishes
to take it up, be the same logician, metaphysician or theologian.
(Pardon me, Mr. Brann, for momentarily turning aside from you.)

The justice of the Single Tax is beyond all question of
refutation. What about its efficiency for the cure of social
ills? Here, I think, is where we are widest apart. You say, "the
unearned increment is already taken for public use under our
present system of taxation." If by "unearned increment" you mean
what I have defined as land value (and I think you do) your
statement is the wildest and most astounding I ever heard or read
from a sane man making an argument. Is it possible you have not
learned that where all the land value is taken in taxation there
can be no selling value? And where is the land to-day with a
community settled upon it that has not selling value? If land
value is already absorbed by taxation, what is it that goes to
maintain landlordism? Perhaps you'll contend that landlordism
doesn't exist. What value is it that a man pays for when he buys
an unimproved lot in the heart of a city? What is it that the
boomer booms and the land speculator gambles on when he adds acre
to acre and lot to lot without any intention of productive use?
What, if not the community value which he expects to attach to
his land as a result of increase of population? And what
advantage to him as a speculator would this community value be
if, as you claim, it is now being absorbed in taxation and should
continue to be so absorbed as fast as it arises? Do landlords in
cities and towns retain for themselves only the rent of buildings
and hand over to the government the full amount of their ground
rents as tax? I know an old eye-sore of a building in this city
not worth $150, whose occupant pays $100 a month rent. Do you
seriously believe that all of this $1,200 a year which does not
go to the city and state in taxes is rent on the old $150
rat-warren? Why, the thing is too childish for serious
discussion; and to have discussed it with you without having been
driven to it by yourself, I should have regarded as in the nature
of a slight on your intelligence. If what you claim as a fact
were true, we would have the Single Tax in full swing now and
would be fretting ourselves to fiddle-strings, not to bring it
about, but to get rid of it for its evil fruit.

As to whether the Single Tax, in full force, would provide enough
revenue for municipal, county, state and federal governments, we,
Single Taxers, are not greatly concerned. We have our own
opinions on that question and can give better reasons for them
than our opponents can give for theirs. But the question is not
essential to our argument. What we hold to is that until land
values fully taxed prove inadequate for the expenses of
government economically administered, not one cent should be
levied on labor products, no matter in whose possession found.
This, however, belongs to the fiscal side of our reform. Of
infinitely more importance is the social side. Here our end and
aim is to secure to all the sons of Adam an equal right to life,
liberty and pursuit of happiness by securing to them an equal
right in the bounties of nature--and passing strange it certainly
is that men who would not dream of denying this right in the
abstract are ever ready to anathematize it in the concrete.

With the Single Tax in force, that is, with the plain behest of
nature observed and respected, no man will hold land out of use
when, whether he uses it or not, he must pay to the community its
annual value for the privilege of monopolizing it. No man will
hold land for a rise in community value when that value is taken
from him for the use of the community as fast as it arises. No
man will need to mortgage his home and the earnings of his
most vigorous years to a boomer or speculator for the privilege
of living on the earth for there will be no boomer or speculator
to sell him the privilege, and the privilege itself will have
ceased to be such and become an indefeasible right.

"He (Mr. George) is a well-intentioned man who confidently
believes he can make the poverty-stricken millions prosperous by
revoking the taxes of the rich and increasing the burthens of the
poor." Fie, fie! What is to be gained by such transparent,
palpable misrepresentation as this? Do you verily believe that
land values, which Mr. George proposes to tax, are mainly in
possession of the poor? Did you not see--of course you did--a
diagrammatic exhibit made not long ago by the New York Herald of
the holdings of twenty New York real estate owners? Let me quote
a passage from an article in the New York Journal on this

 "The reason 170 families own half of Manhattan Island, as stated
in the Herald, and that 1,800,000 out of the two million
residents of Manhattan Island, until very recently, had no
interest whatever, except as renters, in this superb property, is
because, until the last few years, it required a fortune to own
the smallest separate parcel of this great estate. Only the rich
could participate in its ownership, its income, its profits."

 Now is it your view that all this is but clumsy lying, and that
in reality it is the poor people of New York as of other large
cities that own the bulk of its land values? Again you say, "He
would equalize the conditions of Dives and Lazarus by removing
the tax from the palace of the one and laying it upon the potato
patch of the other." This statement is much more artistic than
the preceding one. It wears a jaunty semblance of truth. Indeed
it is true in a sense as far as it goes. But it is vague and
incomplete, and for that reason as deceptive and misleading as
half truths always are. With your permission I will fill it out
in parenthesis and convert it into an honest whole truth: "He
would equalize the conditions of (both freedom and justice for)
Dives and Lazarus by removing the tax from the palace of the one
(and from the labor products of the other) and laying it upon
(the community value of the land occupied by the palace and) the
potato patch of the other." Now, if the potato patches of the
poor occupy, as a rule, more valuable land than the palaces of
the rich, there might be some apparent ground for your
contention. It would be only apparent, however, for in such a
case the potato patch would be as much out of place as a public
school on a wharf front. To devote highly valuable land to
ordinary potato culture would be about as sensible as to print
the Sunday edition of the Galveston News on costly linen paper.
One of the virtues of the Single Tax is its potency to prevent
such stupid waste of opportunity. Your way of stating the case,
however, has this virtue that it is a welcome variation of the
old wearisome chestnut about the poor widow owning a valuable
lot, etc.

You believe Progress and Poverty inspired by the plutocracy,
"250,000 of whom own 80 per cent. of the taxable wealth of the
country, while the land is largely in possession of the great
middle class." Passing over the source of the inspiration, you
have come pretty close to the truth here! Unfortunately for you,
however, the statement has no value in the argument. Single
Taxers do not need to deny that the great middle class largely
own the land, but they do claim, and you won't have the hardihood
to deny it, that the plutocracy own the vast bulk of the land
values. You will perceive the distinction when you reflect that
the land is nearly all out in the country, while the land values
are nearly all in the cities and towns. To tax land according to
area is the bug-a-boo you are putting up your guards to; to tax
it according to community value is what we invite you to smash if
you can. You "cannot understand how a man possessed of common
sense could fail to see that removing taxation from the class of
property chiefly in the hands of the rich and placing it
altogether on property chiefly in the hands of the comparatively
poor, could fail to benefit the millionaire at the expense of the
working man." Neither can I, if you tax it according to quantity,
but that is not the Single Tax and it is time you knew it. Let me
tell you now something that I can't understand--why a man who has
the means and the ability to strike giant blows for the cause of
the blind, stupid, plundered humanity prefers to waste his time,
his talents, his opportunities making himself a straw man and,
with that silly-looking thing for antagonist, belaboring all
about him like a bull in a china shop. You sincerest
well-wishers, of whom I claim to be one, earnestly hope you will
soon change your tactics.

You ask some practical questions which it may be well to answer:
"How will you prevent the Standard Oil Company forcing weaker
concerns to the wall by the simple expedient of selling below
cost of production?" The Standard Oil trust is maintained (1) by
monopoly of oil lands; (2) by monopoly of pipe lines; (3) by
collusion with railroads. The Single Tax and its corollaries
would absolutely destroy each of these advantages; (1) by
throwing unused oil lands open to all on equal terms; (2) by
government ownership or complete control of pipe lines to all
distributing points, such lines being open for use to all oil
producers on equal terms; (3) by exactly analogous treatment of
railroads. With the three-fold monopoly of oil lands, pipe line,
and railroad abolished, the Standard Oil trust would find no wall
against which to crush weaker concerns. As to the trust, we hope
that the abolishment of the thieves' compact, i.e. the protective
tariff, will make the trusts sick unto death. Absolute free
trade, a necessary concomitant of the Single Tax, will leave 99
per cent. of the trusts stranded. If any survive it will not be
the fault of the Single Tax. Be it remembered that the evils
which the Single Tax is guaranteed to cure are, primarily, land
monopoly, and, secondarily, all the other monopolies based upon
it; as those of the coal, iron and lumber trust, the Standard Oil
trust, etc.

"With coal fields leased to the operators by Uncle Sam, how would
you prevent Hanna organizing a pool, limiting production, raising
prices and reducing wages?" Coal fields are included in the
economic term, land. When unused land is free for occupancy,
unused coal fields will also be free. If Mark sought to limit
production by shutting down his mines, one of two things would
happen. Either somebody else would start in to mine coal, or
Mark's tax would be raised till the wisdom of either letting go
or resuming would dawn on his fat wits. Unless he owned or
controlled the coal fields he could not limit production, raise
prices, or cut down wages. "How will you prevent the Standard Oil
company forcing weaker concerns to the wall by the simple
expedient of selling below cost of production?" We wouldn't
prevent them. But if they afterwards tried to recoup their losses
by raising prices as they do now, we might get after them with a
tax commensurate with their asinine generosity, and keep after
them till other concerns got well on their feet. If they became
too refractory, what's to prevent the government from taking hold
itself and working the oil wells for the benefit of the whole
people? Remember the government is theoretically the people's
servant, and it could be actually so if the people only had a
little intelligence and moral courage.

You very needlessly tell your Ft. Hamilton friend that land is
the primal source of all wealth; that it does not produce wealth,
but simply affords man an opportunity to produce it; you forgot
to add--provided the landlord doesn't prevent him. You say in
another place, "Figure it as you will, adjust it as you may, a
tax is a fine on industry and will so remain until you get blood
from turnips," etc. This very objection in protean form is
continually being raised by a class of shallow-thinking men with
whom the editor of the ICONOCLAST should not be proud to herd.
"What difference docs it make," they say, "whether I pay rent to
the government or to a landlord when I've got to pay it anyhow?
And what difference does it make whether taxes are levied on my
land or my improvements, or both, so long as I've got to pay them
with the products of my labor?"

Now, it is quite true that all taxes of whatever nature are paid
out of the products of labor. But must they be for that reason a
tax on labor products. Let us see. I suppose you won't deny that
a unit of labor applies to different kinds of land will give very
different results. Suppose that a unit of labor produces on A's
land 4, on B's 3, on C's 2 and on D's 1. A's land is the most,
and D's is the least, productive land in use in the community to
which they belong. B's and C's represent intermediate grades.
Suppose each occupies the best land that was open to him when he
entered into possession. Now, B, and C, and D have just as good a
right to the use of the best land as A had. Manifestly then, if
this be the whole story, there cannot be equality of opportunity
where a unit of labor produces such different results, all other
things being equal except the land. How is this equality to be
secured? There is but one possible way. Each must surrender for
the common use of all, himself included, whatever advantages
accrues to him from the possession of land superior to that which
falls to the lot of him who occupies the poorest. In the case
stated, what the unit of labor produces for D, is what it should
produce for A, B and C, if these are not to have an advantage of
natural opportunity over D. Hence equity is secured when A pays
3, D, 2 and C, 1 into a common fund for the common use of all--to
be expended, say in digging a well, making a road or bridge,
building a school, or other public utility. Is it not manifest
that here the tax which A, B and C pay into a common fund, and
from which D is exempt, is not a tax on their labor products
(though paid out of them) but a tax on the superior advantage
which they enjoy over D, and to which D has just as good a right
as any of them. The result of this arrangement is that each takes
up as much of the best land open to him as he can put to gainful
use, and what he cannot so use he leaves open for the next.
Moreover, he is at no disadvantage with the rest who have come in
ahead of him, for they provide for him, in proportion to their
respective advantages, those public utilities which invariably
arise wherever men live in communities. Of course he will in turn
hold to those who come later the same relation that those who
came earlier held to him. Suppose now that taxes had been levied
on labor products instead of land; all that any land-holder would
have to do to avoid the tax is to produce little or nothing. He
could just squat on his land, neither using it himself nor
letting others use it, but he would not stop at this, for he
would grab to the last acre all that he could possibly get hold
of. Each of the others would do the same in turn, with the sure
result that by and by, E, F and G would find no land left for
them on which they might make a living. So they would have to
hire their labor to those who had already monopolized the land,
or else buy or rent a piece of land from them. Behold now the
devil of landlordism getting his hoof on God's handiwork! Exit
justice, freedom, social peace and plenty. Enter robbery,
slavery, social discontent, consuming grief, riotous but unearned
wealth, degrading pauperism, crime breeding, want, the beggar's
whine, and the tyrant's iron heel. And how did it all come about?
By the simple expedient of taxing labor products in order that
precious landlordism might laugh and grow fat on the bovine
stupidity of the community that contributes its own land values
toward its own enslavement! And yet men vacuously ask, "What
difference does it make?" O tempora! O mores! To be as plain as
is necessary, it makes this four-fold difference. First, it robs
the community of its land values; second, it robs labor of its
wages in the name of taxation; third, it sustains and fosters
landlordism, a most conspicuously damnable difference; fourth, it
exhibits willing workers in enforced idleness; beholding their
families in want on the one hand, and unused land that would
yield them abundance on the other. This last is a difference that
cries to heaven for vengeance, and if it does not always cry in
vain, will W. C. Brann be able to draw his robe close around him
and with a good conscience exclaim, "It's none of my fault; I am
not my brother's keeper."

It will not do, my dear friend; you must think again on the
Single Tax, even though, in doing so, you might make men suspect
that you are not infallible. The sublimest act it will ever be
given you to perform is to candidly confess to your grand and
ever-growing constituency that you were mistaken in your estimate
of the Single Taxers and their faith. "Government must compel
each to pay toll in proportion the amount of wealth it has
produced--and this is the only equitable law of taxation." Just
reflect for a moment what a monstrous conclusion flows from these
premises. Labor applied to land produces all wealth. Landlordism
as such produces nothing. Therefore labor should bear the whole
burden of taxation, while landlordism and all other forms of
monopoly should go scot free. The iniquity of our present system
of taxation is that a portion of it is levied on land instead of
being all levied on labor products, like the tariff! To be
strictly just, we must quit taxing land and exact no royalty from
owners of coal mines and oil wells! That your view?

"There is every indication that his cult has had its day and is
rapidly going to join the many other isms, political and
religious, that have been swallowed up like cast off clothes and
other exuviae by the great mother of dead dogs." This is fine,
incontestably fine! Also forcible, impressibly forcible--with the
force of a squirt of tobacco juice. If "the Single Tax party will
not long survive its creator," perhaps it is because it has not
as much attraction for the great sovereign voter as the blessed
protective tariff, which, to use your own fantastic expression,
you should "cosset on your heaving brisket" for its splendid
success as a survivor of its primogenitors. Look at the pinnacle
of political success to which the McKinley bill has brought Bill
McKinley (excuse the paltry little pun) and sound money (saving
your presence) brought Grover Cleveland, and then contemplate the
ignominy and obscurity has brought George and free silver has
brought Bryan. Evidently George isn't a mouse to McKinley, while
Bryan is but a brindle pup compared to the great and only Grover.
Yes, the "public concept of truth" makes it plain that protection
is all right and Single Tax all wrong. "George is a reformer who
can't reform because he took issue with the wisdom of the world,"
just like the man who said that the earth was round and that the
sun didn't go round it every twenty-four hours, contrary to what
the wisdom of the world had long ago decided.

You are not mistaken in saying that "Mr. George was unable to
keep one of these expounders of his doctrine (a S.T. paper) from
running on the financial rocks." It is a very logical deduction
to draw from this fact that the teachings of the paper were
worthless. Why should anybody teach what does not, in the
teaching, promote his financial prosperity? See what fools
Professors Bemis and Andrews have made of themselves. Because
they did not have due regard for the "public concept of the
truth" they are cashiered; and it serves them right, for the
truth must be vindicated--if it pays. On the other hand, see what
splendid financial successes the ICONOCLAST, the Galveston News
and the so-called yellow journalism of New York all are.
"Deserve, in order to command success," the old copy-book
headline used to say, from which it follows as mud does rain,
that whatever succeeds deserves it, and whatever doesn't,
doesn't. It doesn't take much besides capital to succeed,
however, "where the conditions for the propagation of empiricism
are more favorable than ever before." All you have to do is to
propagate and expound the "public concept of truth" and let the
truth itself alone. The Single Taxers respectfully solicit some
more plain truths on the "Mumbojumboism of George." THOMAS

 . . .

Ever since the appearance of my first courteous critique of the
Single Tax theory the followers of that faith have been pouring
in vigorous "replies"; but as my articles were directed to Mr.
George and not to his disciples, I saw no occasion for the latter
to intermeddle in the matter, and the tide of economic wisdom
went to waste. Although a publisher is supposed to be privileged
to select his own contributors, and Mr. George had been requested
to make reply at my expense, the Single Taxers raised a terrible
hue and cry that the ICONOCLAST was unfair in that it "permitted
one side to be presented." In order to cast a little kerosene
upon the troubled waters I decided that they should be heard, and
selected Dr. Flavin as their spokesman, believing him to be the
ablest of those who have followed this particular economic
rainbow into the bogs. So much by way of prolegomenon; now for
the doctor.

My very dear sir, I shall heed your advice to "rise above" the
abuse of those who mistake impudence for argument, and ignore the
discourteous remarks with which you have so liberally interlarded
your discourse. Doubtless you include yourself among that
numerous tribe of Texas titans who can "unhorse" me as easily as
turning a hen over; and having accorded you unlimited space in
which to acquire momentum, I would certainly dread the shock were
I cursed with an atom of polemical pride. Frankly, I wish you
success--trust that you can demonstrate beyond a peradventure of
a doubt that all my objections to the Single Tax are fallacious,
that it is indeed the correct solution of that sphinx riddle
which we must soon answer or be destroyed. At a time when the
industrial problem is pressing upon us with ever increasing
power, it is discouraging to hear grown Americans prattling of
"unhorsing" economic adversaries--priding themselves on polemical
fence, like shyster lawyers, and seeking victory through
sophistry rather than truth by honest inquiry. That is not
patriotism, but a picayune partisanship which I profoundly pity.

Regarding "the public concept of truth" which seems to irritate
you sorely, I will simply say that the people are slow to accept
new and startling truths like those promulgated by Galileo,
Newton and Harvey; but a truth, howsoever strange, GROWS year by
year and age by age, while a falsehood creates more or less
flurry at its birth, then fades into the everlasting night of
utter nothingness. That Mr. George's theory, after several
years of discussion, is declining in popular favor, and has never
made a convert among the careful students of political economy,
is strong presumptive evidence that it is not founded on fact.
The more you hammer truth the brighter it glows; the more you
hammer Georgeism the paler it gets. It is not for me to prove the
fallacy of the Single Tax theory--the onus probandi rests with
its apostles, and they but saltate from mistaken premises to
ridiculous conclusions. Like the German metaphysicians, they are
abstract reasoners who do not trouble themselves about
conditions. It is not well to sneer at "the great blind
multitude" because it fails to see the beauty or wisdom in the
Single Tax, for many a great man before Lincoln's time had
profound respect for the judgment of the common people. "Truth,"
say the Italians, "is lost by too much controversy;" and while
the Georges and Flavins split hairs and spute and spout
themselves into error, the hard- headed farmer and mechanic,
exercising their practical common-sense, arrive at correct
conclusions. In saying that Mr. George has, by his sophistry,
"deceived hundreds of abler men than himself," I simply
accredited him with a feat that has been a thousand times
performed. Carliostro was an ignoramus and possessed very
ordinary intellect, yet for several years he succeeded in
deceiving some of the wisest men of his day with his Egyptian
Masonry idiocy. Thousands of fairly intelligent people believed
poor looney Francis Schlatter a kind of second Messiah, some of
the ablest men of Europe were misled by half-crazy Martin
Luther--and Dr. Flavin regards Henry George's economic
absurdities as omniscience. The latter has "mistaken the
plausible for the actual," has deceived himself with his own
sophistry, else he and his few score noisy followers are wiser
than all the rest of the world, or, for the sake of gain or cheap
notoriety, he's peddling what he knows to be arrant nonsense. You
may take as many "pinches of snuff" on that proposition as you

All your remarks about land values, their origin and rightful
ownership--the tiresome old piece de resistance of every Single
Tax discourse--I answered fully in my two former articles on this
subject, wherein I also explained how the "unearned increment" is
at present appropriated by the public, and I cannot afford to
rethresh old straw for the benefit of Single Taxers who WILL
write and WON'T read. I will remark en passant, however, that by
"unearned increment" I mean exactly what I suppose Mr. George to
mean--increase in the market value of land for which the
proprietor is not responsible. This, I have explained, is already
appropriated by the public, because the total annual increase in
land values in this country--barring betterments of course--does
not exceed the total annual tax levied upon the land. There's
always a boom in land values here and there; but hundreds of
millions of acres, urban and suburban, have not increased a penny
in selling price during the past decade. The owners are reaping
no unearned increment, but they are paying taxes regularly into
the public till. "The exclusive creator or producer of a thing is
the rightful owner," says Dr. Flavin. Quite true; and as the only
thing the community creates for the land owner is the unearned
increment, it has no moral right to take anything more. The
Single Taxers persist in ignoring the fact that there is an
EARNED as well as an UNEARNED increment, and that the former is
as much the property of the individual as the barn he builds or
the calf he breeds. Of this earned increment more anon.

"The highest homage, the highest act of faith which the human
mind and heart can offer to God is to say he could not be God and
pronounce the Single Tax to be unjust!" O hell! That's not
argument, but simply empty declamation intended to tickle the
ears of the groundlings--to raise a whoop among the gallery gods.
As you have suggested, "Come, let us argue with dignity and
composure," instead of emitting fanatical screeches like fresh
converts at a Methodist campmeeting, let's see about this God of
Justice business: About 200 years ago a party whom we will call
Brann, as that happened to be his name "cleared" a farm in the
wilds of Virginia, enduring all the hardships and dangers of the
frontier. He built roads and bridges, drained swamps,
exterminated Indians and wild animals. His descendants helped
drive out the British butchers, some of them being scalped alive
by John Bull's red allies, while their wives and children were
tomahawked. They contributed in their humble way to secure the
blessings of free government which the present inhabitants of
Virginia enjoyed. They helped support schools, churches and
charities and otherwise make the district desirable as a place of
residence. Finally railways were built and stores opened, not to
enrich these people, but to be enriched by them. These
conveniences added to the value of the land, but were paid for at
a good round price, as such things ever are by the users. The
land is now worth about $30.00 an acre, and while this value is
unquestionably due to the presence of populatoin,{sic} it is fair
to assume that in two centuries the estate has yielded that much
in the shape of taxes. As the present owner, I ask, has the Old
Dominion against that property for unearned increment? I say it
has not; that the $30.00 an acre represents the savings of seven
generations of my ancestors; that while the community created the
land value, said value has been duly purchased and paid for--that
it represents EARNED increment. Unearned increment is not what
Dr. Elavin is after; he would confiscate the RENT of my
patrimony; he would deprive me of the VALUES created by my
people--would allow me no larger share therein than he accords to
the newly arrived immigrant from that damned island we call
England. If our God says THAT is just, then I want no angelic
wings--prefer to associate with Satan. Has the son a just right
to wealth created and solemnly bequeathed him by his sire? That
land is as much mine as the gold would be mine, had my people
their savings in that shape, and the rent is mine as justly as
the interest on the gold would be. It is quite true that none of
my clan CREATED that land; it is true that I cannot show a title
to it signed by God Almighty and counter- signed by the Savior,
any more than I can show a title from the same high source to the
watch I hold in my hand; but I have a title to all the rights,
conveniences and profits appertaining to control of the land,
issued by their creator, the community, for value received. I
have the same title to the land that I have to the watch; not to
the material made by the Almighty, but to whatsoever has been
added of desirability thereto by the action of man. The community
has been settled with up-to-date for both the land and the watch,
but has a continuing claim against them so long as it enables me
to employ them advantageously than I could without its
assistance. If I sell my land the purchaser receives in return
for his money all those advantages which it required so many
years of toil and danger to win--he pays for the sacrifices made
by others in preference to going into the wilderness and making
them himself. The market value of my land is a "labor product,"
just as my watch is a labor product, hence all this prattle about
relieving industry of governmental burdens by any economic
thaumaturgy whatsoever is the merest moonshine.

It is quite true that "the great middle class" does not own the
most valuable lots in New York and London; but I have the
"chilled steel" hardihood to affirm that not only the bulk of the
land but of the land values are in the possession of people who
are poor as compared with the occupants of those sumptuous
palaces which the George conspiracy for the further enrichment if
Dives and the starvation of Lazaras would exempt from taxation.
The total wealth of this nation is not far from 75 billions,
while all the land, exclusive of improvements, would not sell for
more than 20 billion. The naked land of our 5 million farms is
estimated at about 10 billion, so that leaves but about 10
billion for urban lands--less than one-seventh of the total
value. I have no reliable statistics at hand showing what
proportion of urban inhabitants own their homes; but we may
safely assume that one-half do so. Now, if this be true, we may
also assume that the land values held by the very wealthy--the
people whom the Single Taxers profess to be after,--do not exceed
one-fourth of all land values, or one-fifteenth of total property
values. Hence you see it is quite possible for 250,000 to own 80
per cent of ALL values, while the bulk of the LAND values remain
with the common people. And it is these common people that the
Single Tax will crush for the benefit of these 250,000
plutocrats, the bulk of whose wealth is in personal property.

Sit down and think it over, doctor; you are really too bright a
man to be led astray by the razzle-dazzle of Single Tax
sophistry. You do your enviable reputation for intelligence a
rank injustice by mistaking poor old George for an economic
Messiah, and if you are not careful somebody will try to sell you
a gold-brick or stock in a Klondike company. Suppose that you and
Hon. Walter Gresham occupy residence lots worth $1,000 each, but
that you inhabit a $1,500 cottage and he a $150,000 mansion; and
suppose that your income is $2,000 a year while his is $20,000:
Do you think there is any necessity for tearing your balbriggan
undershirt because not compelled to put up as much for the
maintenance of government as your wealthy neighbor? Is it at all
probable that Gresham will become discouraged, refuse to longer
serve the corporations and sit in the woodshed and sulk, even
jump off the bridge, because taxed in proportion to the property
in his possession rather than according to the land he occupies?
If Col. Moody builds a million dollar cotton mill on suburban
land worth but $500 why should you refuse to sleep o' nights
because not required to pay double the taxes of that old duffer?
As a worthy disciple of Aesculapius you should know that too
heavy a burden on your own back is liable to make you bow-legged.

I suspected all along that the Single Tax would require several
able-bodied "corollaries" to enable it to effect much of a
reformation, to usher in the Golden Age. It were very nice to
throw unused coal and oil lands "open to all on equal terms,"
have the government pipe off all their products for equal pay,
then compel operators by piling on taxes to maintain high prices
to consumers "till other companies got well on their feet"--and a
combination was effected. If Rockefeller, Hanna, Carnegie, et id
genes omnes tried any of their old tricks "we might get after
them"--just as we HAVE long been doing. These plutocrats are so
afraid of our politicians that there is danger of their dying of
neuropathy. If the coal, iron and oil operators advance prices
we'll advance their taxes--for the people to pay. And I suppose
that when the whiskey trust get gay, the doctor will raise the
rent of corn land, when the cotton-seed oil trust becomes too
smooth, he'll knock it on the head by adding a dollar an acre to
cotton land, and so on until we get the cormorant fairly by the
goozle. It's all dead easy when you understand it--works as
smoothly as an "iridescent dream" on a toboggan slide! We are
continually discovering new coal, iron and oil districts, and
these are "open to all on equal terms"--I can acquire them just
as cheaply as can Rockefeller or Carnegie. Then what's the
matter? I lack the capital to properly develop them, to produce
so cheaply as my wealthy competitors. Or if able to become a
thorn in the side of the great corporations they either lower
prices and freeze me out or make it to my advantage to enter the
syndicate. When Rockefeller lowers the price of oil he lowers his
rent; when I am either crushed by competition or taken in out of
the cold, he advances the price of oil. His rent is regulated by
competition for the use of oil lands--you cannot make him pay
more than the market price. When you raise his rent you raise
that of all the other operators in proportion, and the same is
the same as an increase of the excise on whisky--the people get a
meaner grade of goods at a higher price. If an ordinary man
cooked up such a scheme as that for the benefit of the people,
I'd feel justified in calling him a "crank," and I cannot
conceive how a man like Dr. Slavin can tack his signature to such
tommy-rot. Before we can make the Single Tax "a go" we've got to
have government ownership of telegraphs, railways, pipe-lines,
etc., etc., and use the taxing power to regulate prices just as
the Republicans do the tariff--and for what? To humble the
haughty landlord? Oh no; to knock the stuffing out of capital--so
long wept over by Single Taxers as a fellow sufferer with toil.
Why not call the George system Communism?--"a rose by any other
name," etc.

When the doctor get matters arranged it will really make no
difference whether a farmer is located in the black-waxy
district, or on the arid cactus-cursed lands of the trans-Pecos
country, as he will have to surrender to the public all he
produces in excess of what the poorest land in use will yield. He
will have no incentive to study the capabilities of his land and
bring to bear upon it exceptional industry, for he will be
deprived of all the increase he can make it yield by such
methods. A will be placed on a parity with D because he took the
best land he could get instead of the poorest he could find.
Intelligence and enterprise are to have no reward under the new
regime. You can squat on a sand-bank or pile of rocks in any
community and be on a financial parity with the man whose black
soil reaches to the axis of the earth--no need to bundle the old
woman into a covered wagon, tie the brindled cow to the feed-box
and head for a country where better land is to be had. There will
be no temptation to carve out a home in the wilderness, for later
immigrants will set at naught your toil and sacrifices and
deprive your children of their patrimony--the best situated
merchant in Waco will have no advantage of the keeper of a tent
store on a side street of Yuba Dam or Tombstone. A tax will not
longer be "a fine on industry"--it will be a fine on fools.

My Galveston friend should not work himself into a fit of
hysteria because I declared that the George doctrine has had its
day, it being sheer folly to quarrel with a self-evident fact.
When Henry George first flamed forth he made a great deal of
money out of his writings, and has thus far shown no more
aversion to the silver than has your humble servant. His paper
was doubtless launched with a view of promoting his financial and
political fortunes, for he did not go broke publishing it "for
the good of the cause," but promptly rung off when he found that
it did not PAY, hence I fail to see that he is entitled to any
more credit than Col. Belo or myself. I called attention to the
failure of his paper, not in a spirit of rejoicing over its
downfall, but simply to accentuate the fact, after giving
some years to consideration of his rather pretty platitudes, that
people condemned them--that his heroic attempt to reclothe with
living flesh the bones of the impot unique had proven a dismal
failure. Now, my dear doctor, I have not undertaken in this hasty
article to fully expose this Single Tax fallacy, having attended
to that heretofore, but simply to answer a few of your arguments
which I had not hitherto heard. Let's drop the subject--let the
dead go bury its dead, while we devote our energies to LIVING

* * *

I note with unfeigned pleasure that, according to claims of
Baylor University, it opens the present season with a larger
contingent of students, male and female, than ever before. This
proves that Texas Baptists are determined to support it at any
sacrifice--that they believe it better that their daughters
should be exposed to its historic dangers and their sons
condemned to grow up in ignorance than that this manufactory of
ministers and Magdalenes should be permitted to perish. It is to
be devoutly hoped that the recent expose of Baylor's criminal
carelessness will have a beneficial effort--that hence forth
orphan girls will not be ravished on the premises of its
president, and that fewer young lady students will be sent home
enciente. The ICONOCLAST would like to see Baylor University, so
called, become an honor to Texas instead of an educational
eye-sore, would like to hear it spoken of with reverence instead
of sneeringly referred to by men about town as worse than a
harem. Probably Baylor has never been so bad as many imagined,
that the joint-keepers in the Reservation have been mistaken in
regarding it as a rival, that the number of female students sent
away to conceal their shame has been exaggerated; still I imagine
that both its morale and educational advantages are susceptible
of considerable improvement. The ICONOCLAST desires to see Baylor
a veritable pantechnicon of learning--at least a place where the
careful student may acquire something really worth
remembering--instead of a Dotheboys (and girls) hall, a
Squeeritic graft to relieve simple Baptist folk of their
hard-earned boodle by beludaling the brains of their bairns with
mis-called education. Unfortunately there is more brazen
quackery in our sectarian colleges than was every dreamed of by
Cagliostro. The faculty of such institutions is usually composed
of superficially educated people who know even less than is
contained in the text-books. As a rule they are employed because
they will serve at a beggarly price, but sometimes because their
employers are themselves too ignorant to properly pass upon the
qualifications of others. You cannot estimate a man's intellect
by the length of his purse, by the amount of money he has made
and saved; but it is quite safe to judge a man's skill in his
vocation by the salary he can command. I am informed that there
has never been a time when the salary of the president of Baylor
University exceeded $2,000 per annum--about half that of a good
whisky salesman or advertising solicitor for a second-class
newspaper. If such be the salary of the president, what must be
those of the "professors"? I imagine their salaries run from $40
a month up to that of a second assistant book-keeper in a
fashionable livery-stable. Judging by the salaries which they are
compelled to accept, I doubt if there be a member of the Baylor
faculty, including the president, who could obtain the position
of principal of any public high school in the state. People
cannot impart information which they do not possess; hence it is
that the graduates of Baylor have not been really educated, but
rather what the erstwhile Mr. Shakespeare would call
"clapper-clawed." There is no reason, however, why the
institution should be in the future so intellectually and morally
unprofitable as in the past. Change is the order of the universe,
and as Baylor cannot very well become worse it must of
necessity become better. It will have the unswerving support
of the ICONOCLAST in every effort to place itself upon a higher
educational plane, to honestly earn the money it pockets as
tuition fees. I am even willing to conduct a night school free of
charge during three months in the year for the instruction of its
faculty if each member thereof will give bond not to seek a
better paying situation elsewhere as soon as he learns something.
In any event, when Baylor can send me a valedictorian fresh from
its walls who is better informed than the average graduate of our
public schools, I'll give it a thousand dollars as evidence of my
regard, and half as much annually thereafter to encourage it in
the pursuit of common sense.

 . . .

I greatly regret that my Baptist brethren, Drs. Hayden and
Cranfill, Burleson and Carroll, should have gotten into a
spiteful and un-Christian snarl over so pitiful a thing as
Baylor's $2,000 presidency--that they should give to the world
such a flagrant imitation of a lot of cut-throat unregenerates
out for the long green. If one-half that Hayden and Cranfill are
saying about each other in their respective papers be true--that
I presume that it is--then both ought to be in the penitientiary.
Brethren, please to remember that ye are posing as guardians of
morals, as examples for mankind--as people out of whom the
original sin has been soaked in the Baptist pool and whose paps
are filled to the bursting point with the milk of human kindness.
If you must fight and scratch like a brace of Kilkenny cats, why
the hell don't you sneak quietly into the woods and fight it out
instead of exhibiting your blatant jackasserie to the simple
people of Dallas and McLennan counties and thereby bringing our
blessed church into contempt! Gadzooks! if you splenetic-hearted
old duffers don't sand your hands and take a fresh grip on your
Christian charity I'll resign my position as chief priest of the
Baptist church and become a Mormon elder. I'll just be
cofferdamned if I propose to remain at the head of a church whose
educators, preachers and editors are forever hacking away at each
other's goozle with a hand-ax and slinging slime like a lot of
colored courtesans.

 . . .

Our little boiler-plate contemporary, the Austin Statesman,
prints a court docket containing 69 divorce cases--side by side
with 12 church notices. Which is cause and which effect I will
not assume to say; but Austin is headquarters for
camp-meetings--and every neurologists endorsed the ICONOCLAST'S
theory that emotional religion is a terrible strain on the
Seventh Commandment.

 . . .

"Our heroic young," etc., etc., announces himself a candidate for
the United States Senate to succeed Roger Q. Mills. The young
man's modesty is really monumental. Having succeeded by all
manner of petty chicanery in capturing the governorship, I am
surprised that he isn't seeking the job of Jehovah. Displacing
Mills with Culberson were much like substituting a Chinese joss
for the Apollo Belvedere or an itch bacillus for a bull-elephant.
I really cannot consent that the little fellow be sent to
Washington lest some hurdy gurdy man should swipe him. Chawles
says: "Next spring and summer I shall canvas the state
thoroughly, presenting my views of public questions to the
people." Which is to say that while we are paying him a good
stiff salary for doing his little best to discharge the duties of
one office, he will "canvas the state thoroughly" chasing
another. If he attempts to perpetuate such a brazen swindle on
the tax-payers of Texas, I'll camp on his trail to some extent,
and see that he has a hot time in at least a few old towns. I
cannot afford to trail him at my own expense all spring and
summer, while he's cavorting around on free passes and drawing
$11 a day from the public purse for unrendered services; but I'll
trump his card in all the large Texas towns as quick as it
strikes the table. I'm getting dead rotten tired of helping pay
the salaries of Texas officials for time devoted to
fence-building, and it will afford me considerable SATISFACTION
to place this cold-blooded little ward on the body politic
properly before the people. The duties of the governor's office
were supposed to be so onerous that a board of pardons was
created at the tax-payers' expense to lighten his labors; yet Mr.
Culberson proposed to spend the spring and summer, not in a
reasonable effort to earn his salary, but in explaining why he
should be sent to the senate. Coming before us thus
self-evidently unfaithful over a few things, this "heroic young
Christian" poker-player and red-light habitue has the supernal
gall to ask us to make him lord over many things,--to accord him
political promotion for dereliction of duty! In the name of
Balaam's she-ass, does this snub-nosed little snipe suppose that
we are all hopeless idiots? You are the state's hired hand,
Charlie boy--duly employed to remain at Austin and display your
anserine ignorance in the governor's office. The people don't
care two whoops in hades what your "opinions" may be on any
subject within the purview of the United States Senate. If you
want to spend the "spring and summer" rainbow chasing, a proper
sense of duty to your employers, even a slight conception of
commercial honor, would induce you to resign your present
position. If you are destitute of both honor and decency you will
probably campaign at our expense as you have promised; but I
opine that I can pour enough hot shot under your little
shirt-tails in a few engagements to drive you back to your duty,
and that you will go in a gallop. What the devil do you suppose
that Texans want with a two- faced little icicle like yourself in
the United States Senate? What taxpayer has asked you to become a
candidate? Despite all your wire-pulling, your trading and
self-seeking, and the further fact that you are employing the
state machinery to strengthen your pull, you really stand no more
show of succeeding Roger Q. Mills than you do of succeeding the
Czar of Russia. You have managed to get thus far, not on your own
merits, but solely because you are "Old Dave" Culberson's son.
Yours is simply a case of magni nominis umbra, and the umbra is
getting deuced thin at the edges, is no longer capable of
concealing the ass. For many years past we have been paying men
fat salaries for gadding about the country exploiting their
supposed "opinions." It is high time we put an end to such
idiocy, and I have selected you, as probably the worst specimen
of these political malefactors, of which to make an example in
the interest of honesty.

 . . .

A correspondent writes me from Nacogdoches, Texas: "The Baptists
of this town have forced your agent to promise to discontinue
selling the ICONOCLAST under penalty of expulsion from the
church." That's all right; having purchased and paid for a
Baptist ticket to the heavenly henceforth, he doesn't want to be
bounced from the boat. Being thrown overboard in a canal two feet
wide and four feet deep is not so bad by itself considered, but
contumacious recalcitrants are invariable boycotted in business
by the hydrocephalous sect which boasts that it was the first to
establish liberty of conscience and freedom of speech in this
country, yet which has been striving desperately for a hundred
years to banish the last vestige of individuality and transform
this nation into a pharisaical theocracy with some priorient
hypocrite as its heierach. The ICONOCLAST is in its seventh
volume and has never yet been caught in a falsehood or published
an unclean advertisement. I am proud to say that no honest man or
virtuous woman was ever its enemy, but that holy hypocrites and
sanctified harlots regard it with the same aversion that a
pickpocket does a policeman. Yes; the action of the Baptists of
Nacogdoches was perfectly natural. What they want is a paper that
will afford them a charming mixture of camp-meeting notices and
syphilitic nostrums, prayer-meetings and abortion pills,
Prohibition rallies and lost manhood restorers. I cheerfully
recommend the Baptist Standard to their kindly consideration.

 . . .

When J. S. Hogg was governor of Texas he compelled the Southern
Pacific road to move a train-load of Coxey-ites, whom it had,
carried in from California and side tracked west of San Antonio
to starve. As counsel for that impudent corporation--whose
officials seem to have been formed of the quintessential extract
of the exerementitious matter of the whole earth--he now makes a
"compromise" with the Culberson crew whereby it is some $975,000
IN and the state that much OUT. James Stephen can scarce be
blamed for securing every possible advantage for his client, even
tho' it be such a notorious criminal as the "Sunset"; but had he
been attorney for the state instead of for the corporation there
would have been no compounding of a felony "for the good of the
people," no sacrifice of both dignity and dollars. It is amusing
to see Culberson and Crane making a house of refuge of the coat
tails of Reagan. "He approved it! he approved it!" Of course he
approved it--Attorney General Crane "not having time during his
term of office to prosecute all the cases." But he'll "have time"
just as hard to spend half of next year chasing the governorship
on time paid for by the people. Reagan was compelled to accept
the compromise because the Culbersonian crew were too busy
office-chasing to prosecute the corporation. If the Culbersonian
crowd lined their pockets by that compromise they are a set of
thieves; if they didn't line their pockets they simply suffered
the corporation to play 'em for a pack of damphools. As neither a
thief nor a fool is fit to hold a public office, I move that we
build a large zinc-lined political coffin and bury the whole

 . . .

The St. Louis Mirror, the brightest weekly in the world, recently
had a remarkably interesting article on Texas politics; but
somehow it suggested to my mind that German metaphysician who,
having never seen a lion or read a description of one, undertook
to evolve a correct idea of the king of beasts from his own inner

. . .

It were interesting to know what kind of a swindle W. L. Moody &
Co. have in soak this season for the guileless cotton grower. I
have provided this office with a car-load of nickel-plated
tear-jugs for the benefit of cotton men who will call later to
tell me their troubles. My idea is to build a condenser, start a
wholesale salt store and supply Baptist dipping-tanks with water
free of wiggletails. Say! There's millions in it. Col. Mulberry
Seller's eye-water enterprise were as nothing to my graft when I
get it agoing.

 . . .

I note that the Wrong-Reverend E. H. Harman, formerly presiding
elder of the Methodist church at Brenham, but given the grand
bounce for getting too gay at Galveston, where, in company with
another sanctified ministerial hypocrite named Wimberly, he had
"a hot time in the old town," with hacks, harlots and
barrel-house booze, has been converted to the Christian (or
Campbellite) faith and proposes to preach. Possibly his
conversion is genuine; but it is worthy of remark that he saw
nothing attractive in the Christian cult until no longer allowed
to occupy a Methodist pulpit--until reduced to the necessity of
either seeking a job in a new corner of the Lord's vineyard or
taking a fall out of the lowly cotton patch. He ought to make an
excellent running mate for the "Rev." Granville Jones, the poorty
preacher who puts his picture on his evangelical guttersnipes to
show the people how a holy man of God looks after confessing to
having forged a letter derogatory to a poor motherless working
girl's reputation. As my father is a Christian preacher I feel I
have a right to protest against his being placed on a clerical
parity with bilkers of hack bills and crapulous associates of
two-for-a-penny prostitutes. If Harman attempts to defile the
Christian pulpit with his presence, I hope to the good Lord that
the decent members of that denomination will tie him across a
nine-rail fence and enhance the torridity of his rear elevation
with a vigorous application of pine plank.

* * *

F. L. Lewis writes from San Antonio to an obscure sheet called
the Railway Age, that Brann is not an Englishman as the Age
editor in one of his elephantine efforts to be humorous seems to
have suggested, and that "all Englishmen in this country
repudiate his every utterance." Thanks, awfully; that's the
highest compliment ever paid an American sovereign by a British
subject. When I next visit San Antonio I'll testify my gratitude
by giving Lewis 50 cents instead of the usual two-bits for toting
my grip from the "Sap" depot to the Menger hotel. I once said,
"There are some very decent and brainy Englishmen;" but as all
Englishmen in this country repudiate the soft impeachment, I
hasten to acknowledge my error. As the editor of the Age is quite
anxious to ascertain my nationality he probably suspects that I
may be his father.

 . . .

The Independent, which I infer from the date-line of a letter
calling attention to its existence, is published at Pomeroy,
Wash., proposes, bumbye, to "give a history of the robberies
committed by Brann during the war." H----;! I can do that myself.
Attired in a triangular strip of birds-eye linen and emitting
savage yells, I repeatedly stormed and captured the most
magnificent breast-works ever built in Kentucky and ravenously
appropriated whatsoever I found therein without so much as a
thankee mum. Yes sirree, I was a robber dead-right in those old
days; but the Independent editor is safe: he's got nothing but a
shirt-tail full o' pied type and a card of membership in the
A.P.A.--Aggregation of Pusillanimous Asses. I have no use for his
"plant," and God knows I would not be caught dead in a Chinese
opium den with his certificate of infamy concealed in my clothes.

 . . .

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch of August 20, contains a half-page
puff of one John Morrissey, who seems to be a peripatetic
iconoclast who has started out with a Bible in one hand, and a
free lunch in the other to abolish preachers. According to
Morrissey he was a Roman Catholic until he learned better, a
drunkard until "the Spirit of God entered his heart" and caused
his reformation, and used to write sermons for St. Louis
preachers who palmed them off as their own. I don't know about
that; but I know that of the interview he gave the Pee-Dee a
column was cribbed without credit from the article on "Charity"
in "Brann's Scrap-Book." "The Spirit of God" may have done much
for Morrissey, but it hasn't cured him of the thieving habit, and
I would advise people to keep a sharp eyes on their portable
property until this religious reformer succeeds in breaking into
the penitentiary.

 . . .

The Texas Republican, which appears semi-occasionally at
Greenville, Tex., denounces in what Dorenus was wont to term
"livid language," my statement to the effect that a nation pays
for its imports with its exports. He says it is all "iconoclastic
foolishness," declares that a nation does nothing of the kind,
and proceeds to animadvert in an unchristian spirit on the
density of my economic ignorance. My contemporary's criticism is
clearly unconstitutional in that it is cruel and unusual
punishment. Now that its editor has annihilated my poor little
theory, it is his duty as a great public educator and charter
member of the Markhanna Illuminati, to inform me what the hades a
nation DOES pay for its imports with, instead of
permitting me, as he seems inclined, to "burst in ignorance." You
have the floor, my sweet little man, and the shades of all the
standard economists from Smith to Walker are waiting to see you
raise one of their favorite dogmas over the ropes. Call Prof.
Jevons a jackass, give Ricardo a tremendous rap, have no mercy on
John Stuart Mill, make old Adam Smith's bones to rattle, take a
terrible fall out of Turgot--then flap your ears and bray until
the welkin rings again. That's the way to settle a political
adversary who goes galivanting off after false economic gods. In
the meantime it might be a good idea to take your brains out,
brush the cobwebs off its cogs and apply a little kerosene with a

 . . .

It is seldom indeed that I give any attention to insulting
letters, but I cannot refrain from paying my respects to one
Byron Jassack Wales, who, with gray goose-quill for Pelian spear,
charges down on the ICONOCLAST as blithely as a gay moss-trooper
making an English swine-herd hard to catch. Such insults usually
come unsigned--are simply crass insolence which their cowardly
authors fear to father; but Byron sets down all the dreaful
things he thinks of Brann, boldly signs his name and adds an
ornamental flourish of defiance. The possibility of some long-
legged, slouch-hatted, wire-moustached cowboy ambling into his
august presence armed with a shooting iron carrying iron bullets
as big as goose-eggs and hurling him with a flash and whoop into
the problematical hitherto, does not shake to its base the heroic
fortitude of the man whose mother named him for the most
notorious chippy-chaser known to history. Byron proposed to
express his opinion, to say what he dad-burned pleases, though
the redoubtable Lieutenant-Colonel Rienzi Miltiades Johnsing, of
Houston, who does all the ICONOCLAST'S fighting under yearly
contract, should swoop down upon him like a double-barreled besom
of destruction,

 "With death-shot glowing in his fiery hand And eye that
scorcheth all it looks upon."

 Byron is offended because I saw fit to criticize New York's
priorient parvenues for exploiting the pregnancy of their wives
in the public-prints, and he lets me know where he can be found
in case his remarks offend, by daringly dating his letter "New
York." True, he refrains from giving his street and number--even
tears the printed headings off the letter paper he employs; but
that does not matter, as in a little village like New York a
Texan with a hair-trigger temper has only to inquire of the first
man he meets to be directed to the one he wants. Byron insists
that I print his letter to show people what a desperate
dare-devil he is; but I refrain lest it scare all the cattle off
the range and cause Bill Fewell and Doc Yandell of EL Paso to
move over into Mexico. Among other dreadful things he promises to
have my paper suppressed by the postal authorities if I speak of
him disrespectfully, which proves that he has a tremendous
political pull concealed about his person. I guess I'm safe so
far as he is concerned for a careful inspection of his letter
makes apparent the utter impossibility of speaking of Lord Byron
Jassack Wales disrespectfully--indicates that it were fulsome
flattery to refer to him as a blind pile on the body politic, a
suppurating sore on the hedonistic society of Sodom.

 . . .

T. Shelley Sutton, of Boise City, Idaho, has "writ a pome"
entitled "That Man Brann," and the proud author sends me an
A.P.A. paper containing his production. It is an excellent
composition--of its kind; and I am gratified to learn that it has
at least gravitated to its proper level. Some six months ago a
commercial traveller sent me substantially the same thing, saying
that he had copied from the walls of a water closet in a Kentucky
hotel. It appears that it was too foul to harmonize with the
place in which it was composed, so it was stolen by a thieving
yahoo in search of carrion and puked into the putrid columns of
an A.P.A. paper. T. Shelley Sutton can probably find more
"original poetry" in the same place.

 . . .

"Rev." Bill Homan, who conducts a little pecasmman paper
somewhere in North Texas for the long green and the misguidance
of three or four hundred fork-o'-the-creek Campbellites, devotes
two more columns of his raucous tommyrot and brainless balderdash
to the Howell-Jones imbroglio. Although he manages to tell at
least three deliberate lies in his idiotic eructation, he dares
not deny that the trial committee, of which he was a member,
permitted Jones to continue belching his fetid bile in the
Christian pulpit after being cornered and compelled to confess to
a cowardly crime which should be rewarded with a rope. Until this
corticiferous little cur explains why he is defending a
fourth-class preacher who confesses to having foully insulted, by
a base forgery, a motherless young girl committed to his care,
the ICONOCLAST must, for the sake of its own self-respect,
decline further controversy.

* * *


I have just been enjoying the first holiday I have had in fifteen
years. Owing to circumstances entirely beyond my control, I
devoted the major part of the past month to digesting a couple of
installments of Saving Grace presented by my Baptist brethren,
and carefully rubbed in with revolvers and ropes, loaded canes
and miscellaneous cudgels--with almost any old thing calculated
to make a sinner reflect upon the status of his soul. That
explains the short-comings of the present issue of the
ICONOCLAST. One cannot write philosophic essays while dallying
with the Baptist faith. It were too much like mixing Websterian
dignity with a cataleptoid convulsion, or sitting on a red ant
hill and trying to look unconcerned. Here in Waco our religious
zeal registers 600 in the shade, and when we hold a love-feast
you can hear the unctuous echoes of our hosannahs from Tadmor in
the Wilderness to the Pillars of Hercules. We believe with St.
Paul that faith without works is dead; hence we gird up our loins
with the sweet cestus of love, grab our guns and go whooping
forth to "capture the world for Christ." When we find a
contumacious sinner we waste no time in theological controversy
or moral suasion, but promptly round him up with a rope and bump
his head, and we bump it hard. Why consume our energies
"agonizing with an emissary of Satan," explaining his error and
striving by honeyed phrases to lead him into the light, when it
is so much easier to seize him by the pompadour and pantelettes
and drag him bodily from the abyss? Some may complain that our
Christian charity carries a razor edge, that we skim the cream
off our milk of human kindness then put the can under an alkali
pump before serving it to our customers as a prime article; but
bless God! they can scarce expect to

 ". . . be carried to the skies
 On flowery beds of ease,
 Whilst others fight to win the prize
 And sail through bloody seas."

My Baptist brethren desired to send me as a missionary to
foreign lands, and their invitation was so urgent, their
expressions of regard so fervent that I am now wearing my head in
a sling and trying to write with my left hand. Although they
declared that I had an imperative "call" to go, and would tempt
Providence by loitering longer than one short day, I concluded to
remain in Waco and preach them a few more of my popular sermons
from that favorite text, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." It is quite
possible that a few heathen will go to hell whom I might enable
to find the river route to heaven, but I believe in doing the
duty that lies next my hand--in first saving the heathen right
here at home.

But enough of persiflage; now for cold facts. In all candor, I
would cheerfully ignore the recent disgraceful occurrences in
this city could I do so in justice to the South in general and to
Texas in particular. I have no revenge to gratify, no more
feeling in the matter than though the assaults had been made upon
an utter stranger. It is quite true that for a time I was eager
to call my assailants out one by one and settle the affair after
the manner of our fathers; but being creditably informed that
instead of honoring a cartel, they would make it the basis of a
legal complaint and send me to the penitentiary, and having no
desire to enact the role of the street assassin, I became once
more a law-abiding citizen. Truth to tell, there's not one of the
whole cowardly tribe who's worth a charge of buckshot, who
deserves so much honor as being sent to hell by a white man's
hand. If Socrates was poisoned and Christ was crucified for
telling unpalatable truths to the splenetic-hearted hypocrites of
their time, it would ill become me to complain of a milder
martyrdom for a like offense. It may be urged that having been
twice accused of the heinous crime of slandering young ladies,
and twice beset on that pretext by armed thugs, I owe it to
myself to make some explanation satisfactory to the public. Not
at all; from my youth up noble womanhood has been the very god of
my idolatry; and now that I have reached the noon of life, if the
reputation which I have honestly earned as a faithful defender of
the vestal fires can be blown adown the wind by the rank breath
of lying rascals, I would not put forth a hand to check its
flight. If old scars received while defending woman's name and
fame in paths of peril which my traducers dare not tread, fail to
speak for me, then to hell with the world, and let its harlot
tongue wag howsoever it will. Never but once did I stoop to
refute a cowardly falsehood circulated about myself. I was
younger then--had not learned that public opinion is a notorious
bawd, that "nailing a lie" but accentuates its circulation.
Unfortunately, the recent assaults upon me are not altogether my
private concern. They were armed protests against a fundamental
principle of this Republic--freedom of the press. They are being
citied by ill advised or malicious persons as evidence of
"Southern Savagery." They are calculated, if suffered to go
unexplained, to cast reproach upon revealed religion. They were
futile but brutal attempts in the last decade of the Nineteenth
century to suppress truth by terror, to conceal the iniquities of
a sectarian college by beating to death the only journalist who
dared to raise his voice in protest. They were appeals to Judge
Lynch to strangle exposure, hence it is imperative that the blame
be placed where it properly belongs; not upon the South, which
unqualifiedly condemns it; not upon the Baptist church, which
indignantly repudiates it; but upon a little coterie of
white-livered black-hearted hypocrites, any of whom could look
thro' a keyhole with both eyes at once, a majority of whom are
either avowed sympathizers with or active members of that
unamerican organization known to infamy as the A.P.A. The same
old God-forsaken gang of moral perverts and intellectual misfits
who more than two years ago brought a Canadian courtesan and an
unfrocked priest to Waco to lecture on A.P.A'ism, and who
threatened at one of these buzzard-feasts to mob me for calling
the latter a cowardly liar, were responsible for my being dragged
with a rope by several hundreds hoodlums up and down a Baptist
college campus in this city Oct. 2, and for the brutal assault
upon me five days later by a pack of would-be assassins who had
waited until my back was unsuspectingly turned before they had
the nerve to get out their guns. I can overlook the assault made
by the college students, although most of them were grown men,
because they were encouraged thereto by their elders. I have
positively refused to prosecute them; but the last assault was
led by a shyster lawyer of middle-age, a so-called "judge," a
member of the board of managers of Baylor. I am seeking no
trouble with any of them--they are perfectly safe in so far as I
am concerned; still if the latter gang are not satisfied with
their cowardly crime, if they regret that they were beaten off
ere they quite succeeded in sending me to Kingdom Come, they have
only to notify me where and when they can be found alone, and
I'll give the whole accursed mob a show for their money. I'm too
slight for a slugger--cannot lick a herd of steers with one pair
o' hands; but I can make a shot-gun sing Come to Christ. I am
credibly informed that "at least half a dozen" of my meek and
lowly Baptist brethren are but awaiting an opportunity to
assassinate me, and that if successful they will plead in
extenuation that I "have slandered Southern women." I walk the
streets of Waco day by day, and I walk them alone. Let these
cur-ristians shoot me in the back if they dare, then plead that
damning lie as excuse for their craven cowardice. If the decent
people of this community fail to chase them to their holes and
feed their viscera to the dogs, then 'd rather be dead and in
hades forever than alive in Waco a single day.

The claim set up by my assailants that I had slandered the female
students of Baylor University is a malicious calumny, that was
but made a lying pretext for the attacks. That my article in the
October ICONOCLAST did NOT impeach the character of the Baylor
girls is amply evidenced by the fact that my offer to leave the
matter to the decision of a committee of reputable business men,
to abjectly apologize and donate $500 to any charity these
gentlemen might name in case the decision was against me, was
flatly refused. "The honor of young ladies is not a proper
subject for arbitration," I was told. Quite true; but the proper
construction of an article which is made a pretext for mob
violence, IS a proper matter for cool-headed and disinterested
parties to pass upon. The Baylorians insisted upon being judge,
jury and executioner--proof positive that they well knew the
article would not stand the arbitrary construction they had
placed upon it. After the first outbreak the Baylor bullies of
the lost manhood stripe and their milk-sick apologists held a
windy powwow in a Baptist church, and there bipedal brutes with
beards, creatures who have thus far succeeded in dodging the
insane asylum, whom an inscrutable Providence has kept out of the
penitentiary to ornament the amen-corner--many of whom do not
pretend to pay their bills--some of whom owe me for the very meat
upon the bones of their scorbutic brats--branded me as a
falsifier while solemnly protesting that they had never read a
line of my paper. They proclaimed in stentor tones and
pigeon-English that would have broken the heart of Lindley
Murray, that I was a defamer of womanhood--while confessing that
they didn't know whether I had ever mentioned a female. They
howled that they "were willing to sign Brann's death-
warrant"--on mere hearsay. These intellectual eunuchs, who
couldn't father an idea if cast bodily into the womb of the
goddess of wisdom, declared positively that I would be permitted
to print nothing more about their beloved Baylor--and that
without knowing whether I had advertised it over two continents
as an oasis in a moral Sahara or a snakehole in the Dismal Swamp.
It was a beautiful, a refreshing sight, this practical approval
of mob violence by unfledged ministers on the campus of a Baptist
college, this raucous tommyrot about death-warrants and ropes,
this sawing of the air and chewing of the rag by people so d----d
ignorant that they couldn't find either end of themselves in the
dark, this chortling over the fact that one desk-emaciated
welter-weight had been caught unawares and trampled upon by a
sanctified mob--a refreshing sight, I say, in a temple
consecrated to that Christ who forgave even his enemies from the
cross. But every man at that meeting who said he never read the
ICONOCLAST deliberately lied. The Baptists all read it. Some
subscribe and pay for it like gentlemen, some buy it, some borrow
it, and the rest steal it from the newsstands. The greatest
trouble I have is to prevent, Baptist preachers spoiling my local
sale by telling everybody in town what the ICONOCLAST contains
before the revised proof-sheets are read. It is but fair to say,
however, that the Baptists were not alone to blame. Much of the
noise was made by a lot of tickey-tailed little politicians who
have no more religion than a rabbit, but who were trying to open
a popular jack-pot with a jimmy. Some of the brawlers were
self-seeking business men, willing to coin blood into boodle,
ready to slander Deity for a plugged dime, anxious to avert a
Baptist boycott by emitting a deal of stinking breath. These
bloated financial ducks in a provincial mud-puddle have had
entirely too much to say. When the present lecture season is
over; when I get the Baptist mob thoroughly cowed; when I can
walk the streets without expecting every moment to get shot from
a stairway or double-banked by the meek and lowly followers of
the Messiah; when I have time to amuse myself with trifles, I'll
sue this brace of Smart Alecs for $20,000 each for deliberate
defamation of character, and if I recover the money I'll use it
to make a partial payment on the grocery bills of the rest of the
gang. Intellectual pigmies who accumulate much cash by trading in
cash or tripe in a country town are quite apt to become too big
for their britches and require to be taken down a peg or two, to
be taught their place. They sometimes have the nickel-plated
nerve to play Rhadamanthus to the purveyors of brains--swell up
like unclean toads and conceive themselves to be in "select
society." Some of them actually imagine themselves of more
importance to this community than Judge Gerald and Waller Baker;
yet you could scrape enough intellect from under Gerald's
toe-nails to build the crew, while Baker forgets more every
fifteen minutes than they have learned since they were born. The
meeting held at the Baptist church to ratify the outrage was
composed of a lot of self-seekers and whining hypocrites, half of
whom would sell their souls for a copper cent and throw in their
risen Lord as lagniappe. It was a mob that writhed and wriggled
in its own putridity like so many maggots, while the local press
cowered before its impotent wrath like young skye-terriers
before a skunk. If I couldn't beget better men with the help of a
digger Indian harem I'd take to the woods and never again look
upon the face of woman. It was a glorious sight to see these
"pore mizzuble wurrums of the dust" spraining their yarn galluses
trying to hurl the writhen bolts of Olympian Jove--and now
bellyaching because hit in the umbilicus with their own
boomerang. The second assault, more brutal and cowardly than the
first, followed as the logical sequence of that powwow of
pietists, peddlers and politicians. The utterances of that
congregation of unclean adders, the resolutions adopted by that
sanctified body of dead-beats in the sanctum sanctorum of the
Baptists, was a bid for blood-injected the idea into the warty
heads of a trio of thugs that by way-laying and beating me to
death they would pass into history as heroes. Then the real
manhood of Waco rose en masse and laid down the law in no
uncertain language to the hungry hypocrites and their Baylorian
hoodlums. They declared that religious intolerance would no
longer be permitted to terrorize this town. Fearing just
retribution at the hands of the citizens, Baylor called out its
three military companies and mounted guard with rifles furnished
by the government, while the very girls in whose name they had
dragged me around the college campus with a rope, laughed them to
scorn and sent me flowers--and the password of the bold sojer
boys. One young lady writes: "The password for the night is
'Napoleon.' Our bold soldiers halted a milk wagon at daylight
this morning. Probably they thought Brann was concealed in one of
the cans with his bowie-knife." Half a dozen men armed with
cannon-crackers could have chased the brave mellish into the
Brazos and danced with the Baylor girls till daybreak--and I
suspect that the latter would have enjoyed the lark. For a third
of a century the bigotry of a lot of water moccasins had been the
supreme law of this land. To obtain an office the politician had
to crawl to it on his marrow bones and slavishly obey its
behests. To obtain trade the merchant had to sneeze whenever it
took snuff. To obtain patronage the local publisher had to make
it the absolute dictator of his policy. Like Jehushran, it "waxed
fat and kicked"--until it got its legs tide in a double bow knot
about its OWN neck. Its tyranny became insupportable, murderous,
there was a new declaration of American independence, and now
this J. Caesar that erstwhile did bestride Central Texas like a
colossus, is more humble than Uriah Heep. And what were the
A.P.Apes of Waco doing while honest men were raising the standard
of revolt and chasing the Baptist hierarchy into its hole? Were
they in the front rank shouting their war-cry of "no union of
church and state"--the "little red school-house" rampant on their
orange-colored rag? Not exactly. They had sneaked off to some bat
cave to plot against the whites, to protest against the
proceedings of their fellow citizens. Had a Baptist editor been
mobbed on the campus of a Catholic college they would have howled
a lung out about Popish tyrannys stood on their heads and fanned
themselves with their own shirt-tails.

The faculty of Baylor protest that they did all in their power to
prevent the brutal outbreak. They confess, however, that it had
been brewing all day, yet they neglected to notify either myself
or the sheriff. Before me is a Lake Charles, La. paper, in which
a letter from one of the scabs who participated in the first
attack is published. He says: "The faculty did not say do it, or
not do it." And that's about the size of it. That the students
were encouraged by one or more members of the board of trustees
can be demonstrated beyond the peradventure of a doubt. All the
stale bath water in all the Baptist tanks this side Perdition
cannot wash the conviction from the public mind that the Baylor
management was behind that howling mob. The second assault was
led by a trustee, a member of the board of managers; and this
after I had stated positively in the local press that I meant no
disparagement of the young ladies--that it was the administration
of the University I was after. In the October ICONOCLAST I
expressed the fervent hope that no more young ladies would be
debauched at Baylor. That constituted the ostensible casus
belli.. Do the trustees of Baylor dare deny that such things HAVE
occurred at that "storm center of misinformation" and ministerial
manufactory? If so, they are a precious long time putting me to
the proof in the courts of this country. Texas has an iron-clad
criminal libel law, and I suspect that I could pay a judgment for
damages in any reasonable sum without spraining my credit or
bankrupting the ICONOCLAST. If they have not the chilled-steel
hardihood to deny that girls have been debauched at Baylor--if by
their resounding silence anent this matter they mean to give
assent--what then? Do they hope that more girls WILL be ruined
there? They may take either horn of the dilemma they like, but I
beg to state that the issue here raised cannot be obscured by
dragging me around with a rope. When Jonah was caught in a scheme
of vindictive rascality he thought he "did well to be angry." The
best thing the Baylorites can do is to 'fess up and reform--it's
too late in the century to suppress truth with six-shooters. I
have heard of no "deplorable accidents" at Add-Ran, the Christian
college, consequently it has no complaints to file against the
ICONOCLAST. The Convent of the Sacred Heart gets along somehow
without "mishaps," and even Paul Quinn, the colored college, is
graduating no "missionaries" for Hungry Hill. Because some girls
go wrong at an institution for the promotion of ignorance, it by
no means follows that all, or any considerable number thereof are
deficient in morality. I doubt not that a vast number of the
female students of Baylor, past and present, are pure as the
flowers that bloom above the green glacier; but some have fallen,
and the conclusion is inevitable that they were not properly
protected from the wiles of the world. I care not how
noble-minded, how pure of heart a girl may be, if she is
committed when young and inexperienced to a college where both
sexes are received, it becomes the imperative duty of the
management to render one false step impossible. When the
president of a pretentious sectarian institute must plead with
the public that he had "wept and prayed over" a 14-year old girl,
but was powerless to prevent her rushing headlong to ruin; when
at a grand rally of the faithful to condemn a well-meant
criticism and encourage mob violence, an old he-goat who couldn't
get trusted at the corner grocery for a pound of soap, confesses
to more than the ICONOCLAST had charged, by saying that some
ACCIDENTS had occurred at the college, it were well for mothers
to look carefully to its management and note its discipline
before entrusting it with their young daughters. "Accidents,"
indeed! Criminal negligence would be a more appropriate name. A
university consecrated to the Baptist Christ, whose trustees lead
cowardly assaults upon law-abiding citizens and beat them with
bludgeons after they are insensible; whose faculty know that mob
violence is contemplated yet fail to report it to the police;
whose students enter the home of a man for the purpose of
dragging him by force and with drawn pistols from the presence of
his family (the Baylor thugs had the impudence to invade my home
in search of me before finding me in the city)--such an
institution, I say, is not a proper guardian for any youth whose
father doesn't desire to see him land in the Baptist pulpit or
the penitenitary. I have been publicly warned on pain of death,
and heaven alone knows what hereafter, not to speak
"disrespectful" of Baylor; but I feel in duty bound to caution
parents against committing their children to such a pestiferous
plague-spot, such a running sore upon the body social.

 . . .

Not only has Baylor demonstrated its unworthiness to be the
custodian of young people of either sex, but such unworthiness
has been proclaimed in the public prints by Dr. Rufus C.
Burleson, who served as its president for almost half a century.
I insisted that the salaries paid the faculty at Baylor were
insufficient to command the services of first class educators,
and that those entrusted with the duty of selecting teachers were
incapable of correctly estimating the educational qualifications
of others Dr. Burleson goes far beyond that, expressly declaring
in the Dallas News that a majority of the present board of
managers are not college educated, that for them to properly
administer discipline and make wise selection of teachers "is
simply impossible." What, in God's name, can be expected of an
institution containing several hundred young people of both
sexes, if it be deficient in dissipline? Of what earthly use is a
University if it be not provided with a wisely selected faculty?
It now remains to be seen whether the Baptist brethren will mob
Dr. Burleson--or sneak up behind him with an assortment of clubs
and six-shooters! But that is not the worst that Dr. Burleson
says. In a published letter of his now before me he denounces Dr.
B. H. Carroll, chairman of the board of trustees and present high
muck-a-muck of Baylor, as an ingrate, a self-seeker, a mischief
maker and an irremediable liar! Now if Burleson is telling the
truth--and I am not prepared to dispute his statements--what can
we expect of a University managed by such a man? I am frank to
confess that I did not suspect Bro. Carroll to be quite so bad. I
knew that he was an intellectual dugout spreading the canvas of a
seventy-four, that there was precious little to him but gab and
gall; but I did not suppose that he was an habitual falsifier and
guilty of base ingratitude. I really hope that Dr. Burleson may
be mistaken--that the new boss of Baylor has not contracted such
a habit of lying that it is utterly impossible for him to tell
the truth. I should dislike to believe all that is said about
each other by the two factions of my Baptist brethren now
struggling for the control of Baylor. According to Carroll, Dr.
Burleson, president emeritus, ought to be in the penitentiary;
according to Burleson, Carroll is not a fit associate for a
brindle cow. "Speak disrespectfully of Baylor and die!" Good
Lord! were I to repeat one-half the Baylor factions are saying
about each other I'd wreck the state. Time was when the faculty
of Baylor was the pride of the South. Those were the days when
many of the noblest men and women of Texas were educated within
its walls. They love their alma mater, not for what she is, but
for what she was. The old professors are gone, have been
supplanted in great part by a lot of priorient little preachers,
selected by a board of trustees, half of whom couldn't tell a
Greek root from a rutabaga, pons asinorum from Balaam's ass. Dr.
Burleson seems to be of the opinion that a majority of the
Baylorian managers were educated in a mule-pen and dismissed
without a diploma--couldn't tell whether a man were construing
Catullus into Sanskrit or pronouncing in Piute a panegeric on a
baked pup. Were I not persona non grata I would like to witness
the classroom performances of these young professors--chosen with
owlish gravity by men who cannot write deer sur without the
expenditure of enough nervo-muscular energy to raise a cotton
crop, chewing off the tips of their tongues and blotting the
paper with their proboscides. Yet for offering to open a night
school for the benefit of the Baylorian faculty I was mobbed; for
intimating that the hoard of managers had not socked with old
Socrates and ripped with old Euripides I was assaulted by one of
their number and his brave body guard and beaten with
six-shooters and bludgeons until I was insensible.

 . . .

It is not my present purpose to drag forth all the grisly
skeletons of Baylor and make them dance for the amusement of the
multitude. I have yielded to the urgent appeals of my friends to
let the institution down easy, to cast a little kerosene on the
troubled waters, to hold out the olive branch to Baylor. Besides,
I already have more holes in my head than nature intended, and am
not particularly anxious to increase the assortment. Let what is
hidden from public ken so remain until that great incubator of
Christian charity, that ganglion of brotherly love, attempts to
redeem its long-standing promise to land me in the penitentiary
for criminal libel. It could serve no good purpose at present to
trace out here the history of those "accidents" so feelingly
referred to at the ratification of the Brann round-up--would but
cause cheeks to flame and hearts to break. I would not destroy
Baylor; I would make it better. I would deprive the ignorant and
vicious of control. I would expel all the hoodlums whose
brutality and cowardice have disgraced it. I would place at its
head a thorough educator and strict disciplinarian, a man of
broad views and who sets a good example by paying his bills. I
would make its diplomas badges of honor as in the old days,
instead of certificates of illiteracy at which public school
children laugh. No, I do not want the presidency--there are
enough perspiring Christians for revenue only quarreling and
lying about each other because of that beggarly plum already. For
months past it has given every Baptist journal in the state a
hot-box, has filled every little preacher's head with all the
petty intrigues of peanut politics. If one-half that the leaders
of the factions, now warring over this $5 per diem bone, say
about each other be true--and I have no evidence to the
contrary--they would disgrace a boozing ken on Boiler avenue. I
do not mean to say that all Texas Baptists are bad; at least 50
per cent. of them are broad-gauge, tolerant, intelligent; the
remainder are small-bore bigots upon whom nature put heads, as
Dean Swift would say, "Solely for the sake of conformity."

 . . .

Baylor and the Baptists complain that the ICONOCLAST has
"persecuted them until it has become unbearable." Bless God! who
began this thing? Before the ICONOCLAST was three days old it was
boycotted by the hydrocephalous sect. As it grew fat on that kind
of fodder, ex-Priest Slattery and his ex-nun wife were brought
hither to lecture on A.P.Aism, and incidentally make the town too
caloric for my comfort. The Baptists took their wives and
daughters to listen to Slattery's foul lies about the convents
and the confessional, the Pope and "his Waco Apostle," and his
most infamous utterances were applauded to the echo. They sent
their wives and daughters to hear the Slattery female defame
women who had given up the pleasures of the world and were
devoting their lives to the reclamation of such unclean creatures
as herself. Slattery's last harangue was delivered to men only
and the house was packed with Baptists and Baylorites at
half-a-dollar a head. The so-called lecture was the foulest thing
that ever fell from the lips of mortal man, yet his audience
gloated over it and rolled his putrid falsehoods as sweet morsels
under its tongue.[1] Unable to restrain my indignation, I arose
and denounced his every utterance as a malicious lie. Immediately
the audience yelled, "Throw him out! Down with him! Smash him!" I
chanced to have my back near the side-wall, and that's why I
wasn't mobbed--the cowardly crew couldn't get BEHIND me. They
suspected that I'd make an angel of the first sanctified galoot
who attempted to place his paws upon me, and none cared to draw
on his celestial bank account. That's the identical gang which
has the immaculate gall to accuse me of defaming virtuous
women--the same gang which applauded Slattery for calling
convents priestly harems wants me killed for expressing the hope
that no more young girls will be debauched at Baylor.

 [1] Brann's reply to Slattery appears in Vol. XII.

 . . .

Scarce had Baylor's applause of Slattery and his woman died
away, scarce had it ceased to gloat over the "iniquities" of
convent schools and priestly harems, scarce had it ceased
chuckling over the crimes of "the Scarlet Woman," ere the police
discovered that the duly ordained "ward of the Baptist church,"
who was being educated at Baylor University for missionary work
among the heathen Catholics of Brazil, was in a dreadfully
"delicate condition." She was brought from Brazil at the tender
age of 11 years by a returning missionary, she was formally
adopted by the Baptist church, she was consecrated to the
salvation of souls and placed at Baylor to be educated. She was
under the special supervision of the president and was a member
of his household--yet at 14 years of age she became enciente. Did
Baylor pity and protect her? Did it strive to secure the
punishment of her seducer? Not exactly. It fired her out and made
no complaint to the police. When the latter discovered her and
she was required by the court to account for her condition, she
stated that she had been forcibly despoiled by a young man about
town on the premises of Baylor's president. It chanced that this
young man was brother to the president's son-in-law, and the
whole influence of Baylor was brought to bear to clear the
accused! The son-in-law, who is a Baptist preacher and editor (as
well as other things not necessary to mention) strove to make her
confess that her guilty paramour was a pickaninny--wanted the
world to believe that orphan girls committed to the care of that
great Baptist college might become enciente by coons! Yet the
Baylor students didn't mob him--none of its trustees laid in wait
for him and slammed him over the head with a six-shooter. The
girl soon put a white babe in evidence--a pretty little 2-pound
Baylorian diploma. The doctors declared that she had been raped
and the case looked ugly for the accused. The child died. The
ignorant little mother wanted money to go to Memphis--and first
thing we knew she had signed a "retraction" and had a ticket to
Mike Conolly's town. Who bought it--and why! Damfino. The
defendant was acquitted of the charge of rape--the age of consent
in Texas being 12 years at that time; but whether she was raped
or seduced, the infamy occurred at Baylor University. That's ONE
of the "deplorable accidents"; but it is not the only one you
will please not forget to remember. Reads like a fairy story,
doesn't it? But the law doesn't permit Texas editors to tell
fairy tales of that type. No doubt the man who has the audacity
to breathe a hope that no more girls will be debauched at Baylor
deserves to die. Dr. Burleson, in the fullness of his Baptist
charity, branded the unfortunate girl as a natural bawd. I don't
know about that; but I do know that after she got beyond
Baylorian influences she married and began leading a respectable

 . . .

Defamer of womanhood? Get the sawlogs out of your own eyes,
brethren, before howling over the micrococci in the optics of
others. For three years past Baptist preachers all over the land
of Christ have been telling their congregations that the
ICONOCLAST is read only by depraved people,--chiefly criminals
and courtesans--and that despite the fact that the names of
thousands of the noblest men and women of America are on its
subscription books. During the past three years the ICONOCLAST
has had upon its books the names of more than a thousand
ministers, representing every denomination. Are these men
criminals and their wives courtesans? Has any busy little Baptist
parson been rounded up with a rope for proclaiming them as such
from the pulpit? When a deserted babe was found in the street and
carried by the Sisters into the convent, was Jehovah Boanerges
Cranfill--organ-grinder for the Baylor bosses--mobbed by the
Catholics for saying that it probably came OUT of the convent?
Now, you people keep down the narrative of your nether garment
and apply a hot mush poultice to your impudence. The ICONOCLAST
is only tickling you with snipe-shot now; but don't forget for
one moment that it has buck a-plenty in its belt.

 . . .

 A word to the lady students of Baylor: Young ladies, this
controversy does not in the least concern you. The ICONOCLAST has
never questioned your good character. You are young, however, and
mischievous people have led some of you to believe that it has
done so. If you so believe, I am as much in duty bound to
apologize as though I had really and intentionally wronged you. A
gentleman should ever hasten to apologize to ladies who feel
aggrieved; hence I sincerely crave your pardon for having printed
the article which gave you offense. Upon learning that you read
into it a meaning which I did not intend, I stopped the presses
and curtailed the circulation of the October number as much as
possible, proving my sincerity by a pecuniary sacrifice. I would
not for the wealth of this world either do you a wilful
injustice, or have you believe me capable of such a crime. May
you prosper in your studies, graduate with honor and bestow your
hands upon men worthy of noble women.

 . . .

 P.S. In looking over the foregoing since it was put in type, I
suspect that I have been a trifle too hard on some of those who
met to ratify the action of the first mob and publicly brand me
as a defamer of women. I would not do my deadliest enemy an
injustice. Two wrongs do not make a right; hence I concede that
perhaps half of those present pay their debts and make a
reasonable effort to be decent. If God neglected to bless them
with brains that is their misfortune instead of their fault. Let
it go at that. They have had their say, I've had mine, and right
here I drop the subject until another attempt is made to run me
out of town. I make this concession, not that Baylor deserves it,
but at the earnest request of the law-abiding element of this

 * * *

A correspondent seizes his typewriter (the machine, not the maid)
with both hands, and peremptorily demands to be informed why I
"don't jump on that fake called Spiritualism." O I don't know,
unless it's because more corporeal things than spooks continue to
jump on me. It seems a waste of energy to criticize disembodied
spirits who do no worse than "revisit the pale glimpses of the
moon." I have never heard of a ghost robbing other than its own
grave. They are not addicted to despoiling widows and orphans,
then putting up long-winded prayers. They do not sing "Jesus
lover of my soul" on Sunday, then sell that same soul to the
devil for six-bits on Monday. No ghost, so far as I know, was
ever accused of lying about his neighbor, fracturing the Seventh
Commandment or beating his butcher-bills. They appear to be quite
harmless creatures, therefore not legitimate game for the
ICONOCLAST. Furthermore, I am not fully convinced that
Spiritualism is a "fake." There appears to be as good biblical
and natural reasons for belief in Spiritualism as for belief in
the Immaculate Conception or the efficacy of baptism. Doubtless
some of the professors are frauds, but as much can be said for
the professors of all other faiths. I confess that I haven't much
confidence in "mejums," who find employment for the shades of G.
Washington, J. Caesar, and others of that ilk, at table-tipping,
slate-writing and such unproductive enterprises; nor in the class
of spooks who "materialize" in dark rooms, come prancing out of
"cabinets" and other uncanny corporeal incubators for no other
apparent purpose than to enable their mundane manipulators to
realize two dollars in the coin of the realm. I opine that a
ghost who must retire to a "cabinet" to pull himself together is
no honest ghost; that those who consent to tip tables and indulge
in crude telegraphy for the entertainment of a lot of long-haired
hemales and credulous females must find time hang very heavy on
their hands in the great henceforth, and heartily wish themselves
back here wrestling with Republican prosperity, doctor bills and
other blessings. It seems to me that were I a ghost I would float
about on cloud banks and bathe in the splendors of the morning,
instead of hiding in bat-caves all day and snooping about all
night seeking an unsalaried situation at some dark-lantern
seance. When America's greatest lexicographer writes me an
ungrammatical message on a double-barreled slate, signs it "noeh
webstur," and instructs his terrestial to deliver it to me on
payment of one cart-wheel dollar, I suspect that there's
something sphacelated in the psychological Denmark. Of course
they may have the phonetic system of orthography in Elysium, but
in dealing with mortals I scarce think the old man would
discredit his own dictionary. A spook manipulator once solemnly
assured me that the spirit of Tecumseh was my guardian angel,
that the old Shawnee chief was ever at my elbow. I don't believe
it; had he been there on recent occasions he would have hit
sundry and various Baptists on the head with his tomahawk. If old
Tecum is trailing me around I want to give him a pointer right
here that as a guardian angel he's utterly no good in a clime

   "Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
   Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime,"

and he had best cast his aegis over some Boston editor. It by no
means follows, however, that because many professional fakirs and
intellectual fuzziewuzzies have "gone in for Spiritualism," it is
all a fraud. If the morad floating in a sunbeam be
indestructible, existing in some shape from everlasting to
everlasting, it is inconceivable that mind, the lord of matter,
should perish utterly--should fade like an echo into the great
inane. That were a reversal of the law of the survival of the
fittest--casting away a priceless jewel while preserving its
tawdry setting. That the lesser should survive the greater; that
the case of Anaxarchus should continue and Anaxarchus' proud self
become nonexistent, were to leave matter without law and wreck
the universe, for law itself presupposes prescience. "Natural
law," so called, must either be an act of intelligence compelling
order, or a freak of nescience entailing chaos; hence if order be
eternal mind must necessarily be immortal, for it is an axiom of
science that "Nature wastes nothing." What becomes of the mighty
life-force of a Milton? If it be utterly extinguished; if it
becomes a forceless shade on Acheron's shore, or an "angel"
withdrawn from active influence in the universe, it is certainly
wasted, in so far as what we call nature is concerned. In his
lecture on "Evolution," Henry Ward Beecher said: "I believe there
is a universal and imminent constant influence flowing directly
from the bosom of God, and that is the inspiration of the human
race." Is God continually giving out this "influence," this
life-force, this vis vitalis, to the people of this planet, and
with each death withdrawing a portion thereof and either casting
it into the waste-basket of Perdition or cording it up, like
back- number newspapers, in the New Jerusalem, never to be again
employed? If it "flows directly from the bosom of God" is it not
God? And if Nature waste nothing can Nature's Prince be such a
prodigal? Is he not rather the great psychological heart of the
universe through which the same life-current, the same intellect
flows back and forth forever? But here! We are drifting into
metempsychosis--are in a fair way to get ourselves
excommunicated. Furthermore, we are actually predicating a
probability that the editor of the Chicago Inter-Ocean is a
reincarnation of Balaam's ass. I am not prepared to assert that
Spiritualism is all brazen charlantry or foolish self-deception.
It may be that the "inspiration" of which Beecher speaks as an
emanation from God himself, is but a higher wisdom taught the
longing heart by those it has loved and lost. The souls of the
dead scratch no messages on greasy slates for stupid eyes, shout
none across the Styx that can be heard by vulgar ears; but there
be men who can hear in the silent watches of the night the music
of lips long mute. There be those for whom the veil that
separates the two eternities is no black inpenetrable pall, but
an Arachne's web, a sacred shadow through which comes sweeping,
not the roar of myriad voiced hosannahs and the rustle of
countless wings of dazzling white beating the everlasting blue;
but the soft incense of love, bringing healing to broken hearts,
calm to rebellious souls. These seek no thaumaturgic incantations
to secure messages from the other shore, for they are coming
continually. They do but listen, and interpret as best they may
to their dull-eared brethren, the celestial wisdom. The latter
protest that they "inspired," and the trumpet Fame casts upon
them her purple robe. It is not the peripatetic "mediums," but
the poets and prophets who "call up the spirits" and bid them
speak to us; those who find all the dead Past living in the
Present; who are themselves so spirituelle that they can
understand Nature's finer tones--who realize that

 "Life is but a dome of many-colored glass
 That stains the white radiance of eternity."

 All truly great men are spiritualists--even mystics. A
materialist may be a logician, a mathematician, in a limited way;
but never an orator nor a poet. He is of the earth earthly; an
intellectual Antaeus--the moment his feet leave the sodden clay
he is strangled by the gods. For him there is no Fount of Castaly
whose sweet waters make men mad. Parnassus is but an Egyptian
pyramid to be scaled with ladders, and by the aid of guides who
serve for salary. Fancy has no wings to waft him among the stars.
He sees in the Bible only its errors, never its wild beauty. For
him Villon was only a sot and Anacreon a libertine. In his cosmos
there's neither Garden of the God, nor Groves of Daphne. He can
understand neither the platonic love of Petrarch nor the
psychological ferocity of Rousseau.

 "The Apostle of affliction, he who threw
 Enchantment over passion, and from
 Woe wrung overwhelming eloquence."

For him all, all is clay--even the laughter of childhood is a
cunning mechanism, and the Uranian Venus but a lump of animated
earth. The flowers bring him messages only from the muck in which
their roots are buried, the "concord of sweet sounds" is but a
disturbance of the atmosphere. Such men do not live; they merely
exist. They do not enjoy life; they do not even suffer its pangs.
They know naught of that sweetness "for which Love is indebted to
Sorrow." God pity them.

 * * *

The gang of mutton-heads whose duty it was to select twelve poets
whose names should be commemorated in the new congressional
library, excluded that of Tom Moore on the plea that he wasn't
much of a poet, and now the Irish-Americans are fairly seething
with indignation. Take it easy; Tom Moore doesn't need a memorial
tablet. He will be read and honored centuries after the library
building with its poet's corner has perished of old age. He is
the poet of the people, and has more readers than any ten of
those honored by the committee.

 * * *

If it is gold that has appreciated, as the silverites claim,
aren't the farmers now getting two dollars a bushel for their
wheat?--Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser.

 The foregoing is irrefutable evidence that the fool-killer is
enacting the role of cunctator. Only a gold-bug editor could
insult the people of Alabama with such an exhibition of idiocy. I
am heartily tired of this whole currency question; but the
Advertiser has been fairly stinking for attention a long
time--its Smart Alecism has become simply insupportable.
Politically considered, the Advertiser has been all things to all
men and "nothing to nobody." It is a journalistic George Clark,
mistaking political treachery for diplomacy and impudence for
intellect. As Clark cannot interview himself to the extent of
half a column for the Morning Bazoo without getting his goozle
entangled in the skein of his own intorted argument, so the
Advertiser cannot grind out an editorial of equal length without
getting hoist with its own logical sequence, split from vermiform
appendix to occipitofrontalis by the recoil of its own
syllogisms. The Advertiser is unreliable as Proteus; the base
vulpine instinct serves it in lieu of brains; the clink of cash
in the counting room is the keeper of its conscience. At least
such is the pen-portrait drawn of it by the best men in Alabama.
Its allusion to $2 wheat is a trick that would disgrace the
sophists who practice in our municipal courts with drunks and
courtesans for clients. Such a horse-play for the benefit of the
political gallery gods would be contemptuously ignored by the
ICONOCLAST were not the Advertiser's betters indulging in the
same unmitigated bosh. Our Alabama contemporary is but an anile
echo of the New York Tribune, a faint adumbration of the Chicago
Inter-Ocean. The bigwigs cut out the work for the journalistic
wiggletails. They pitch the tune and all the intellectual eunuchs
come in on the chorus. The editorials of all such sheets as the
Advertiser are but a stale re-hash of Eastern utterances. They
pick up these things and "work 'em over," just as the Herald of
Astoria, Ore., revamps articles from the ICONOCLAST and runs them
as original. The farmer IS now receiving $2 a bushel for his
wheat. That is to say, the dollar with which he is paid has
double the purchasing power of the dollar two decades ago. He is
exactly as well off as though he received two old-time
dollars--if he chances to be out of debt. If he is not out of
debt, if he must discharge old scores with these 200-cent
dollars, he is being deprived of his adventitious good fortune
resulting from foreign crop failures. It makes no earthly
difference what the measure of value may be if it is immutable.
The purchasing power of the dollar might be safely increased or
decreased 90 per cent. were the whole business of this country on
a cash basis. Under such conditions we might contract our volume
of money to a million dollars or expand it to five billions, and
harm nobody; but it seems to me that any fool on earth--even the
editor of the Advertiser could comprehend the following
unequivocal facts: (1) that a majority of the American people owe
money; (2) that an enhancement of the purchasing power of the
dollar must work grievous injury to the debtor; (3) that unless
the volume of money keeps pace with the increase in the money
work to be done the unit of value must inevitably appreciate. Let
us state the case in kindergarten language for the benefit of
intellectual infants; while the demand for money is increasing in
a ratio of geometrical progression we have eliminated one great
source of supply--have cast upon gold alone the money work which
from time immemorial had been done by two metals. The gold
product has not kept pace with the growth of the world's
business; the law of supply and demand is irrevocable; ergo, gold
HAS appreciated and the debtor HAS been despoiled. The temporary
rise in price of one or two or a score of American products in
obedience to the laws of trade cannot obscure these
PRICE OF LABOR HAS DECLINED. The wage-worker now receives LESS
than formerly, while it costs him MORE to feed his family. And
this is what the Republican press and its mugwump echo call
prosperity! The wheat-growers, numerically unimportant, are
prospering despite the gold standard, just as the placer-miner
who washes out ten dollars each day and gives up five of it
nightly to cut-throat gamblers; but in this prosperity the great
body of the American people have neither lot nor part. Texas is
selling middling cotton at 5 1/2 and paying $3 for flour. Adult
male operatives are working in Massachusetts cotton mills for 50
cents a day, and their families doing without flour. Pennsylvania
miners are braving subterranean dangers for 90 cents a day and
living on potatoes and point. Although this is the busiest season
of the year--the time when the Republican tidal wave of
prosperity is supposed to buss the very clouds--there is scarce a
town or city in the United States where able-bodied men are not
begging for employment. If you don't think so put a 3-line "ad"
in your morning paper that you want to employ a man for any
purpose, and offer ONE-HALF the salary that such service would
have commanded before the demonetization of silver, and see how
quickly your office will be jammed! Texas has probably suffered
less than any other American state from hard times, Waco less
than any other Texas city, for here we can subsist on climate and
sanctification. Waco is a city of but 30,000 souls--conceding
that the Baptists are supplied with that immortal annex; yet when
it was reported the other day that the ICONOCLAST needed another
book- keeper applications were filed before night by a score of
men competent in the craft. Men apply a month ahead for
employment on mailing day, because at that time a dozen or so
extras can each earn a dollar. I have in hand an article by one
of the brightest journalists of Chicago, who states that
reporters are paid $10 to $25, editorial writers $25 to $35 per
week, and that a man who offends the newspaper trust can get no
further employment in the town. Twenty years ago a scribe who
could turn a bright editorial paragraph or manufacture an
interesting falsehood was worth $50 to $75 a week in Chicago, and
if lost one situation he'd find two more before he got half-
sober--but that was before Markhanna and his peon took charge of
this country's prosperity. Will the Advertiser or any other
mugwump organ, kindly explain why it is, if the gold standard is
making this country to flourish like a green-bay horse, the idle
money of Europe and New England continues to pour across the
state of Texas, ignoring its matchless resources, to find
employment in free-silver Mexico! Why wages are slowly but
steadily rising in that country and are steadily declining in
this? Why is it that when a man cannot obtain employment here he
turns his face to "the Land of God and Liberty" if he has the
price of passage, feeling assured that there he has but to ask
for a job to obtain it? Why is that above all this cackle about
prosperity can be heard the stentor tones of Markhanna's organ
advising American workmen that they must come squarely down to
the European wage level before they can hope for permanent
employment? Perhaps I could find answers to these questions
myself had not my Baptist brethren lately pounded my head to a
pulp. As it is, I humbly ask for information, beseech the
Advertiser to uncork its omniscience. Will the millions of
Americans who can barely make a living of it during the busy
season, thank God and the gold-buggers for manifold mercies when
the fall trade is over and the crops are all in?

 * * *


It is worth a man's life in Chicago to state his unbiased opinion
of Chicago. The city is filled with dirt and vanity. Its
population is the most complex in the world. It has more than
300,000 people who do not speak, read or write the English
language. In certain of its west side districts a sound of the
mother tongue is not heard from year's end to year's end. The
number of bodies within its limits closely approximates
1,500,000. It will be noticed that I do not say "souls." Not a
daily paper published in the city has a bonafide circulation of
100,000 copies, which is, in itself, a striking commentary upon
the character of the people who live in the largest town of Cook
county. A circulation of that size is not thought to be a thing
to be bragged about in New York. In Chicago, its attainment is
the ambition and heart's desire of every newspaper publisher in
the town.

A traveling man who was not from St. Louis, once summarized
Chicago as "a big, dirty, noisy roaring bluff." He was a fellow
who had a just appreciation of the value of adjectives. That is
what it is. It is said of the merchants that in the summer time
they load wagons with empty barrels and drive them about the
streets to simulate business. I don't doubt it. If they haven't
done it, they forgot it. There is no shady trick of commercial
competition that they will not stoop to, nothing short of a
penitentiary offense that they will balk at. Sometimes they do
not stop there.

Chicago has been called "the representative American city." It
is. It represents the America of to-day, because more than any
other municipality, its life is wrapped in the pursuit of the
dollar. A man in Chicago is weighed by dollars. The attractions
of his wife and daughters are judged by dollars. His value as a
citizen, his worthiness as an American, his fitness for public
service, his chances of heaven are measured by the standard of
the dollar.

There is a merchant prince in Chicago whose private life contains
a scandal that is absolutely unprintable. He is looked up to by
men and admired by women. His name is often upon the lips of the
good, although I cannot learn that he gives freely to charity, or
to the city's advancement. He is held up as a model for young men
struggling in the race of life. He is pointed out to girls as an
epitome of brainy American manhood. It cost him $500,000 to hush
up this scandal, or rather to keep it out of print. It is known
to thousands of course, because a matter of this kind can no more
be stilled than the winds and the waves can be stilled. But the
dollars did the work they were designed to do. Not a paper of the
newspaper trust contained a line in reference to it. The man
advertises, you see.

There is another man high in Chicago financial circles. Men tip
their hats to him on the streets. His name appears on the
prospectuses and in the lists of directors in many powerful
institutions. He is a prominent figure at many social functions.
His hair is white with age, but he still has a lust for tender
maidenhood. This man has served a term in the penitentiary for
stealing from his government. As a result of that theft he has
many dollars.

When a man hears of Chicago he is pretty apt to hear of Yerkes.
Yerkes owns all of the north side street railways and is a
dictator in a dozen enormous enterprises. It is the fashion to
regard Yerkes as an octopus who has Chicago grasped in his
strangling arms. It is the custom to hurl abuse at Yerkes and
hold Yerkes responsible for all the many ills of the city. In the
popular mind Yerkes is the Chicago exemplar of the grasping,
soulless, blood-sucking monopolist. This is because the newspaper
trust does not like Yerkes. He began fighting it a long time ago,
holding war to be cheaper than tribute. Up to date Yerkes has a
long way the best of the contest. He has a thick skin. Abuse
glides off him like water off an oiled board. Yerkes, too, is a
jail bird. He has served, it is said, a term in a Pennsylvania
penitentiary. Yerkes went to the penitentiary, it is further
said, because he would not betray his fellow robbers. He took his
punishment, but he kept his mouth shut. In other words, he "did
not peach on his pals." It will be seen that there is a good deal
of a man in Yerkes--much more, in fact than is to be found in any
one of his newspaper publishing traducers; but even his fondest
intimates have never denied that he is a rascal.

There are women high in the society of Chicago who know more
about the services of unscrupulous midwives than they would care
to tell. There are girls still wearing their maiden names whose
white arms and throats flash with the ransoms of princes who will
feel no blush stealing over neck, cheek and chin when they lie
waiting in the bridal bed. Three are mothers of children--many of
them--who have "graduated" from Dwight and whose breaths still
reek with the fumes of whiskey. There are wives whose annual
flitting to the summer resorts means six weeks of unrestrained
lechery. Meanwhile the old man, who is left in the city to
wrestle for some more of the dollars, is not overlooking any
bets. It is possible that he knows his wife is unchaste.
Certainly he makes no pretensions to chastity himself.

Things have reached this pass in "the representative American
city": A youth born, reared and educated there believes that it
is his mission and his duty to get dollars and has no other idea.
A girl born and reared there thinks it her mission and her duty
to marry dollars. If her parents are poor, if she is compelled to
"work out" as stenographer, typewriter, shop-lady, or whatnot,
and if she keeps her virtue, she is a phenomenon. The vaudeville
stage is recruited from her ranks. The bawdy houses are recruited
from her ranks. The fetid river's yearly burden of corpses is
recruited from her ranks.

What is to become of it? What is the natural fruit of such a
tree? What is the legitimate of a million and a half of such
humanity cooped into one space and boiling and seething with ten
million different aims and passions? What part in the drama of
the future is to be played by the 300,000 non-English speaking
residents, many of whom are voters? Men say that the signs of the
times point to revolution. Men behind the scenes say that this
country was dangerously near it in 1896. It needs no prophet to
foresee trouble when the rich are becoming richer, through
scoundrelism, and the poor are becoming poorer, through
drunkenness, idleness, dirt and all viciousness. Of that
revolution when it comes Chicago will be the fountain and the
center. I dare to say that if there are 5,000 open anarchists in
Chicago to-day there are 50,000 anarchists unconfessed. The
trouble is that their indictment against the wealthy ruling
classes contain true counts. They are not worth the powder and
lead necessary to their execution, but are those who sit in the
high places any better?

Preachers on fat salaries may preach in rich churches, scrolled
and cavern and mullion-windowed, then form laisons with
choir-singers; hired writers may write of the goodness of the
times, then pose in beer-joints and denounce God and the
universe. Christian Endeavorers and all the other bands of inane
asses may shout their mawkish hymns, but facts are facts. The
city of the dollar is in a bad way, and it is the "representative
American city."

More men to tell the truth are needed. More men willing to lead
clean lives. One object lesson is worth a hundred told from
books. More women are wanted who will hold their virtue as
God-given and a priceless gem. Such men and such women would be
laughed at for a while as oddities in Chicago, but even the
modern Gomorrah would be affected by them in time. Missionary
boards are spending thousands every year in endeavors to induce
highly moral Chinamen to become immoral Christians; but right
before their eyes in the county of Cook, state of Illinois, is a
more fruitful field than they have ever plowed, a field that is
lying fallow, although there are ministers enough camped on it,
God knows. It is the fashion of the snug missionary board,
however, to see only those things which are far off. It has been
so since missionary boards first tortured savages whose chief
offense was that they worshipped God in their own way, and it
will continue to be so until the last missionary has taken up his
last collection and laid in his winter's coal therewith. The
ICONOCLAST has done its level best to snatch the Chicago brand
from the burning and now and then some Chicago man walks straight
for a little way under the influence of its teaching, but one
journal cannot do the work of a hundred, nor is the whole of
heathendom to be saved by one preacher. Until the great sweeping
time comes around and Chicago is purified in the most cleansing
of all liquids, though each quart of it means a human life, the
money changers will sit in the temple and the bawds and lovers of
bawds drink in the sanctuary.

 . . .

Not long ago Chicago had a celebration. It placed a statue to
"Black Jack Logan" on the lake front. This statue, which is by
St. Gaudens, represents a large-moustached man on a slimly-built
horse that has his right hoof elevated to his ear, apparently
endeavoring to paw a fly therefrom. Of course, it is understood
that any natural horse which stood in that way, would fall down
and skin his pasterns and hocks and stifles and barrel and
withers and other parts of him known to the veterinarians. I am
no horse doctor.

The large-moustached man has on cavalry boots which are dug into
the stirrups and his legs are very stiff and calm. He holds a
flag in his right hand--holds it far up and away and its folds
are blown by the wind. Every child knows that a United States
flag and staff weigh only two ounces and a man on horse-back can
swing it around as if it were a feather. These things do not
enter into the rapt dream of St. Gaudens. Nothing enters into his
dream save poetry to be expressed in bronze and the dollars that
are to come therefrom. The statue is well enough in its way. Let
it go at that.

 . . .

There was a celebration. Troops came and marched from many
states. Veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic tramped along
and the people cheered them. I suppose that one quarter of the
heroes who are drawing $160,000,000 a year in pensions from the
government were on hand. I have been unable to find out anything
that "Black Jack" did, other than the fact that he came back from
the front in 1863, and legged for Abraham Lincoln, thereby
getting into politics and staying in until he died. Also he
scoured the country carefully and found everybody that was
connected with him by blood or marriage and put him or her into
office. At one time Logan and family were drawing enough money
from Uncle Sam to draw a respectable navy. As the orators were
orating and the cannon were barking and the sweating people on
the sidewalks were shouting, they knew not and cared not for
what, I thought of some lines which opened a Washington letter in
the Boston Globe many years ago, when John A. Logan was in the
United States Senate. There was a tariff discussion on and he
took a part. These were the lines: "Pranced there in, on the
arena of the great debate, like a trick mule in a circus or a
spavined nightmare on the track of a beautiful dream, Logan of
Illinois." They fitted him.

A part of that celebration consisted of fireworks which were
given at the Coliseum, a large building which stands in the
southern part of the city and is used as a place of
entertainment. John T. Dickinson, formerly of Texas, and now of
the earth, is the president of the Coliseum Company, and
engineered the display. It takes money to have fireworks and the
company of "big-bugs" who bossed the entire marksman's contest,
told him so. With that hustle which made him a marked man in
Austin and other large cities in which he lived before he broke
into Chicago, Dickinson rushed out and raised the money. He got
subscriptions from prominent merchants, collected the funds and
turned them over to William R. Harper, who was chairman of the
committee on arrangements and committee on glory and pretty
nearly everything else. The fireworks were touched off and fizzed
and banked and spluttered, and the people cheered some more.

The fellows who furnished the Catherine wheels and sky rockets
and so forth, sent in their bills, which were audited and marked
correct and Harper was requested to settle. He refused. The
fireworks were not a success, he said. The fireworks men
represented to him that whether the display was a success or a
heart-breaking failure sawed no frozen water whatever. They were
not entrusted with the management of the affair. They had
furnished the goods and wanted their money. Harper refused.
Dickinson jumped in once more and carried to Harper testimonials
from the men who had furnished the money, saying that there never
had been any fireworks so good as those fireworks. Harper
refused. Harper was then bombarded with orders from the
subscribers directing him to pay out the $2,500 which he held to
their credit. He refused.

So the matter stands. The fire-cracker men are desolate.
Dickinson has lost thirty of his 250 pounds. Harper has the
money. Chicago has the scandal of a lot of unpaid workmen and
manufacturers who helped to celebrate the unveiling of the pawing
horse and big moustache out on the lake front-the bronze memorial
of "Black Jack" Logan, who never did anything but wed a smart
woman and hold office and beget a son who married money in Ohio.

 . . .

These are the components of the Chicago newspaper trust, of which
many people have heard: The Tribune, the Record, the
Times-Herald, the Chronicle, the Post, the Journal and the News.
The object of the trust is to advance the interests of the
proprietors and swell their bank accounts at the expense of
individuals and the public in general. It is an offensive
alliance against decency and fair play. It is powerful. Such
enterprises as it elects to boom are boomed. Such as it elects to
destroy are destroyed. Such men as it cares to advance are
advanced. Such men as it cares to attack are viciously lampooned
day after day and week after week and month after month. It does
not lampoon anyone who pays it. In each of these papers the
editorial room is utterly and thoroughly dominated by the
counting room. It gets its order day by day from the business
counter and it obeys them with a slavish servility. The merchant
with a display advertisement in their columns is safe from
attack, no matter what his crime. From end to end it is one man
journalism, and each of the papers is run for the benefit of the
one man who is its proprietor. The Tribune is owned by Joe
Medill, the Times-Herald and Post are owned by H. H. Kohlsast,
the Record and News are owned by Victor Lawson, the Journal is
owned by the McRae- Scripps league and the Chronicle is owned by
John R. Walsh, a banker.

The effects of the newspaper trust upon the public are so well
known that they need not be further enumerated. Its effects upon
the individual worker in journalism are damnable.

The Chicago journalist belongs to the man who hires him, or he
moves away, or he starves. That is all there is to it. If
discharged by one, he cannot be hired by another. He is
blacklisted until the man who discharges him chooses to reinstate
him. If employed by one paper and does exceptional work, he
cannot go to another one at an increase of salary. This is one of
the strongest rules of the trust. His only chance to get
approximately what his work is worth is to resign and risk being
hired elsewhere, and he will be hired elsewhere in Chicago only
if his former owner does not object. He can, too, go to another
paper at the same wages and take his chance of a raise.

The result of this is not only to peon men, but to pay them
merely living wages. There has never been a time in the history
of America when the pay of a competent newspaper man was so low
as it is in Chicago. Reporters run from $10 to $25 a week, copy
readers get $25 on morning papers, telegraph editors about the
same, editorial writers and paragraphers are paid from $30 to
$35. Wages in other parts of the business "up-stairs" are formed
on a like model. These wages are from one-third to one-half of
what are paid in New York. There is no newspaper trust in New
York. As it is, the list of unemployed newspaper men in Chicago
numbers more than 200. Any one of them would be glad to take a
place at starvation wages if he could get it.

There is one gleam of hope for the Chicago newspaper man. It is
rumored that W. R. Hearst of the New York Journal intends to
start a morning paper there. I do not believe that he will, but
if he does he will force some of the trust members to publish
newspapers or get out of the business. Hearst is called a "yellow
journalist," and what not, and may be he is, but he is a boon to
the workers. There can be no manner of doubt about that. Chicago,
October 15.

 * * *
31.--Editor, ICONOCLAST: Will you please inform me who was the
father of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry the Eighth, giving
citations. JOHN D. BOHLING.

Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Henry VIII. of England, and Lady
Boleyn. This is so well known to every student of history that
"giving citations" seems superfluous; but of the first that comes
to my mind I'll furnish a few: Dr. Bayley ("Life of Bishop
Fisher") says that before the wedding of King Henry to Anne
occurred, Lady Boleyn addressed to the former these words: "Sir,
for the reverence of God, take heed what you do in marrying my
daughter, for, if you record your own conscience well, she is
your own daughter as well as mine"; to which the king replied:
"Whose daughter soever she is, she shall be my wife." Dr. Sander
("Anglican Schism") says that Henry VIII. was the father of his
second wife, Anne Boleyn. Dr. D. Lewis, in his introduction to
the book, says that both Lady Boleyn and her daughter Mary were
King Henry's mistresses, and adds: "Nothing remains but to accept
the fearful story told, not by Dr. Sander only, nor by him before
all others, and say that, at least by the confession of the King
and both Houses of Parliament, Anne Boleyn was Henry's child."
Van Ortroy (Vic de B. Martyr Jean Fisher") says that Anne was the
daughter of Henry, and that the fact was so generally known that
it was the subject of ribald songs in continental capitals.
William Cobbett ("History of the Protestant Reformation") says
that Anne Boleyn became first the mistress and then the wife of
her father. Gasquet, in his notes on that work, endorses the
statement. By act of Parliament (28 Henry VIII C. 7) Elizabeth,
daughter of Henry and Anne, was declared a bastard; that "certain
just and lawful impediments" were unknown to the King when the
marriage occurred, but had since been officially "confessed by
the said Lady Anne." Archbishop Cranmer, who divorced Henry from
Catherine, also divorced him from Anne, declaring in his latter
decree "in the name of Christ and for the honor of God, the
marriage was and always had been null and void." This sentence
was signed by both houses of Convocation. It was approved by
Parliament. Yet Cranmer, the Convocation and Parliament
recognized Henry's divorce from Catherine as valid. According to
English law, both religious and secular, Henry had no other wife
when he married Anne, she no other husband. The only "lawful
impediments" to the marriage were those stated by Anne's mother.
They were positively known before Anne's marriage to Henry, the
first official head of the Church of England, and who formulated
and enforced its first body of doctrine, and there is every
reason to believe that they were known at that time to Cranmer,
the first archbishop of the parent of Episcopalianism, the
sweet-scented author of the "Book of Common Prayer."

 * * *
Dr. Rufus C. Burleson is not a perfect man. He has not always
treated the ICONOCLAST either with Christian charity or courtesy;
but as men go, he's far above the average. While he was president
of Baylor University its students did not get drunk. They were
not encouraged to arm themselves and commit lawless acts of
violence. All the good that is in Baylor University is due to his
untiring efforts and self-sacrifice. There would be no Baylor
University to-day but for Dr. Burleson; yet after nearly half a
century of service, he has been pitched out and humiliated and
lied about by creatures who are not worthy to breathe the same
atmosphere. The Baptist fight is none of mine; but I am the
champion of fair play; and I say here that even in his so-called
"dotage," Dr. Burleson has more brains, more good morals, more
manhood, than have Carroll, Cranfill, and all their scurvy crew.
If the enemies of Burleson triumph at the coming state
convention, then the Baptist sect ought to perish from the earth.
Shake, Doctor; Baylor has treated you a damned sight worse than
it has treated me.

 * * *


Men are the only things worth while, in this world, and I purpose
to write briefly of a man, who, though living in these, our own,
so-called, degenerate days, would have found a perfect setting in
"the spacious times of great Elizabeth." He would have been a
worthy companion of Raleigh, half-pirate and half-poet. He had in
his time but one soul-kinsman, and that man was at once England's
shame and glory, embalmed forever in the ominous work, Khartoum.

Sir Richard Burton was the last of the English "gentleman
adventurers." He came late into the world, but he had in him the
large, strong qualities that have made England master of the
world. He was a Gypsy genius, though his utmost research could
never find more clew to a Romany ancestry than the fact that
there was a Gypsy family of the same name. He looked the Gypsy in
ever feature, and he had upon him such an urging restlessness as
no man ever had, save, perhaps, the Wandering Jew. His life was
an epic of thought, of investigation and of adventure. The track
of his wanderings laced the globe. He loved "the antres vast and
deserts idle," and he had the FLAIR, the houndscent, as it were,
to find the hearts of strange peoples. His "Life," by his wife,
is the most interesting biography since that of Boswell, and
strangely enough, it is, like the famous "Johnson," as
interesting for its revelation of the biographer as for its
portrayal of the subject. Burton's wife was the loving-est slave
that ever wedded with an idol. The story of the courtship is
ridiculous almost to the verge of tragic. As a girl, a gypsy
woman named Burton, told Isabel Arundell that she would marry one
of the palmist's name, would travel much, and receive much honor.

One day, at Boulogne, she was on the ramparts, with companions,
when she saw Burton. She describes him raptuously; tall, thin,
muscular, very dark hair, black, clearly-defined, sagacious
eye-brows, a brown weather-beaten complexion, straight Arab
features, a determined looking mouth and chin. And then she
quotes a clever friend's description, "That he had the brow of a
God, the jaw of a Devil."

His eyes "pierced you through and through." When he smiled, he
did so "as though it hurt him." He had a "fierce proud melancholy
expression," and he "looked with contempt at things generally."
He stared at her, and his eyes looked her through and through.
She turned to a friend and said in a whisper, "That man will
marry ME." The next day they walked again. This time this man
wrote on the wall, "May I speak to you?" She picked up the chalk
and scrawled, "No, mother will be angry." A few days later they
met in formal manner, and were introduced. She started at the
name, Burton. Her naif rhapsodies on the meeting are refreshing.
One night he danced with her. She kept the sash and the gloves
she wore that night as sacred mementoes. Six years passed before
she saw her Fate again. He had been in the world though, and she
had kept track of his actions. In 1856 she met him in the
Botanical Gardens "walking with the gorgeous creature of
Boulogne--then married." They talked of things, particularly of
Disraeli's "Tancred." He asked her if she came to the Gardens
often. She said that she and her cousin came there every morning.
He was there next morning, composing poetry to send to
Monkton-Milnes. They walked and talked and did it again and
again. "I trod on air," wrote the lady in her old, old age. Why
not? She was one woman who had found a real hero. He asked her if
she could dream of giving up civilization, and of going to live
there if he could obtain the Consulate of Damascus. He told her
to think it over. She said, "I don't WANT to think it over--I've
been thinking it over for six years, ever since I first saw you,
at Boulogne, on the ramparts. I have prayed for you every day,
morning and night. I have followed all your career minutely. I
have read every word you ever wrote, and I would rather have a
crust and a tent with YOU than to be Queen of all the world. And
so I say now, yes, yes, yes." She lived up to this to the day of
his death, and long after it.

In 1859 she was thinking of becoming a Sister of Charity. She had
not heard from Burton in a long time. He had left her without
much ceremony to search for the sources of the Nile with Speke.
Speke had returned alone, Burton remained at Zenzibar, and she
says, "I was very sore "because Burton, according to report, was
not thinking of coming home, to his love, but of going for the
source of the Nile once more. She called on a friend. The friend
was out. She waited, and while waiting Burton popped in upon her.
He had come to see the friend to get her address. Her description
of the meeting is a pitifully exact reproduction of her emotions
over the reunion. He was weakened by African fevers. Her family,
ardent Catholics, opposed the idea of marriage. The lovers used
to meet in the Botanical Gardens, whence she often had to escort
him fainting, to the house of sympathetic friends, in a cab. He
was poor. He was out of favor with the government. Speke had
pre-empted the honors of the expedition. But she was happy.

Then one day, in April, 1860, she was walking with some friends
when "a tightning of the heart" came over her, that "she had not
known before." She went home, and said to his sister, "I am not
going to see Richard for some time." Her sister re-assured her.
"No, I shall not," she said, "I don't know what is the matter." A
tap came at the door, and a note was put in her hand. Burton was
off on a journey to Salt Lake City, to investigate Mormonism. He
would be gone nine months and then he was to come back, to see if
she would marry him. He returned about Christmas, 1860. In the
later part of January they were married, the details of the
affair being appropriately unconventional, not to say exciting.
The marriage was, practically, an elopement. Lady Burton's
description of the event, and of every event in their lives, ever
after, discloses an idolatry of the man that was almost an
insanity. She reveals herself as a help-mate, with no will but
her husband's, no thought that was not for, and of, him. She
annihilated herself as an individual, and she has left in her own
papers a set of "Rules For a Wife," that will make many wives,
who are regarded as models of devotion, smile contemptuously at
her. She was utterly happy in complete submission to his will.
She described how she served him almost like an Indian squaw. She
packed his trunks, was his amanuensis, attended to the details of
publishing his books, came, or went, as he bade, suffered long
absence in silence, or accompanied him on long journeys of
exploration, uncomplainingly, was proud when he hypnotized her
for the amusement of his friends. One can but feel deeply sorry
for her, for with all her servility, she was a woman of the finer
order of mind. The pity of her worship grows, as the reader of
his life, and hers, realizes how little return in demonstrative
affection she received as the reward for her vast, and continuous
lavishment of love. She strikes me, in this, as a strange blend
of the comic and the tragic. The world neglected Burton. He
almost deserved it; so great a sacrifice as his wife consecrated
of her life to him would compensate for the loss of anything. You
admire it; but you catch yourself suspecting that this
consecration must have been, at times, an awful bore to him. He
was unfaithful to her, it is said, with ethnological intent, in
all the tribes of the earth. He had no morals to speak of. He had
no religion, having studied all. He was a pagan beyond
redemption, though his wife maintained that he was a Catholic.
Unfortunately, for her, his masterpiece refutes her
overwhelmingly. He wrote the most remarkable poem of the last
forty years, one that is to be classed only with Tennyson's "In
Memoriam" and the "Rubaiyat" of Omar Khayyam. By this poem, and,
probably, by the revelation of the love he excited in one woman,
he will live. This poem expresses himself, and his conclusion,
after years spent in wandering, fighting, studying languages,
customs and religions. To understand the man and his poem, we
must understand what he did, and since the time of the Old
Romance, no man surpassed him in "deeds of derring-do." He was a
modern, a very modern, Knight of the Round Table. He was the
possessor of innumerable abstruse, and outlandish
accomplishments. He was a scientist, a linguist, a poet, a
geographer, a roughly clever diplomat, a fighter, a man with a
polyhedric personality, that caught and gave, something from and
to every one. And he died dissatisfied, at Trieste, in 1890, at
the age of sixty-nine, and Swinburne sang a dirge for him that
was almost worth dying for.

What he did is hard to condense into an article. I can do no more
than skim over his career, and make out a feature here and there.
He was an unstudious youth. He was not disciplined. He grew as he
might, and he absorbed information at haphazard from any book he
found to his liking, but he was a sort of intellectual Ishmael.
He studied things not in the curriculum. He plunged into Arabic
and Hindustani, and was "rusticated." He cared nothing for the
classics, yet he left a redaction of Catullus that is a splendid
exposition of that singer's fearful corruption, and with all of
his art. He entered the Indian Army, and he became so powerful,
though a subordinate, that he was repressed. His superiors
feared, that in him, they would find another Clive or Hastings.
Then he joined the Catholic church, but he joined many a church
thereafter to find its hidden meaning. He was trusted to a
limited extent by Sir Charles Napier, and he so insinuated
himself with the natives, that he was one of them, and sharer of
their mysterious powers. Kipling has pictured him under the name
of "Strickland" as an occultly powerful personage in several of
his stories. He was close to the Sikh war, and he mingled with
the hostile natives in disguise, until he knew their very hearts.
His pilgrimage to Mecca was a feat that startled the world. He
was the first "infidel" to kiss the Kaabba. To do this he had to
become a Mohammedan, and to perform almost hourly minute
ceremonials, in which, had he failed of perfection, he would have
been torn to pieces. His book on this journey is a narration that
displays the deadly cold quality of his courage, and indeed a
stupendous consciencelessness in the interest of science. Next we
find him in the Crimea in the thick of things, and always in
trouble. He said that all his friends got into trouble, and
Burton was, usually, "agin the government." It was after the
Crimea that he met the lady who became his remarkable wife, in
the remarkable manner I have sketched. Then he went off to
discover the sources of the Nile, and with Speke navigated Lake
Tanganyika. He knew that he had not discovered the source, and he
wanted to try again, but he and Speke quarreled, and
pamphleteered against each other in the press. Burton, deficient
in money, and in sycophancy, was discredited for a time, although
now his name is immortal in geography as a pioneer of African
travel. We have seen how he left his betrothed to study the
Mormons, and he studied them more closely than his wife's book
intimates, for she everything extenuated and ignored for her
God-like Richard.

After his experiences of marriage in Mormondom, undertaken it now
seems, in a desire to ascertain if polygamy were not better for
him than monogamy, he returned to London, and was married despite
the objections of Isabel Arundell's Catholic family. The lot of
the couple was poverty, although now and then, thoughtful friends
invited them to visit, and they accepted to save money. After a
long wait he was appointed Consul at Fernando Po, on the West
African coast. This was a miserable place, but Burton made it
lively; he disciplined the negroes, and he made the sea captains
fulfill their contracts under threat of guns. He went home, and
then went back to Fernando Po, and undertook delicate dealings
with the king of Dahomey, and explored the west coast. He went to
Ireland, but Ireland was too quiet for him, but he found there
were Burtons there, which accounted to himself for much of
himself. After that he went to Brazil as Consul at Santos, Sao
Pablo, another "Jumping off place." He explored. He found rubies,
and he obtained a concession for a lead mine for others. He met
there the Tichborne Claimant, and invented a Carbine pistol. He
visited Argentina. All this time he was writing upon many things,
or having his wife take his dictation. She went into the wilds,
down into the mines, everywhere with him. Next he was transferred
to Damascus, where his honesty got him into trouble, and his
wife's Catholicity aroused great sentiment against him. He went
into Syria, and he created consternation among the corrupt office
holders in Asia Minor. One can scarcely follow his career without
dizziness. By way of obliging a friend, who wanted a report on a
mine, he went to Iceland, and came back to take the Consulship at
Trieste. He went back to India and into Egypt, and then returned
to Trieste to die. He wrote pamphlets, monographs, letters and
books about everything he saw, and every place he visited. He had
information exact, and from the fountain head about innumerable
things; religions, races, ruins, customs, languages, tribal
genealogies, plants, geology, archaeology paleontology, botany,
politics, morals, almost everything that was of human interest
and value, and besides all this, he was familiar with Chaucer's
vocabulary, with recondite learning about Latin colloquialisms,
and read with avidity everything from the Confessions of Saint
Augustine to the newspapers. He wrote a "Book of the Sword," that
is the standard book on that implement for the carving of the
world. His translations of the "Arabian Nights" is a Titanic
work, invaluable for its light upon Oriental folk lore, and
literal to a degree that will keep it forever a sealed book to
the Young Person. His translations of Camoens is said to be a
wonderful rendition of the spirit of the Portuguese Homer. His
Catullus is familiar to students, but not edifying. He wrote a
curious volume on Falconry in India, and a manual of bayonet
exercise. He collated a strange volume of African folk-lore. He
translated several Brazilian tales. He translated Apulius'
"Golden Ass." And he had notes for a book on the Gypsies, on the
Greek Anthology, and Ausonius. The Burton bibliography looks like
the catalogue of a small library. All the world knows about his
book, "The Scented Garden," which he translated from the Persian,
and which, after his death, his wife burned rather than permit
the publication of its naked naturalism. It was in the same vein
as his "Arabian Nights," and contained much curious comment upon
many things that we Anglo Saxons do not talk about, save in
medical society meetings, and dog Latin.

When such a man sat down to write a poem, embodying his view of
"the Higher Law," what could have been expected but a notable
manuscript. With his poem, "the Kasidah," we shall now concern
ourselves. It purports to be a translation from the Arabic of
Haji Abdu El Yezdi. Its style is like that of the Rubaiyat. It is
erude, but subtile. It is brutal in its anti-theism, and yet it
has a certain tender grace of melancholy, deeper than Omar's own.
It is devoid of Omar's mysticism and epicureanism, and
appallingly synthetic. It will not capture the sentimentalists,
like the Rubaiyat, but, when it shall be known, it will divide
honors with the now universally popular Persian poem. Burton's
"Kasidah" is miserably printed in his "Life," but Mr. Thomas
Mosher, of Portland, Maine, has issued it in beautiful and chaste
form, for the edification of his clientele of searchers for the
literature that is always almost, but never quite completely
forgotten. The "Kasidah" was written in 1853, and it is, in its
opening, much like Fitz Gerald's Rubaiyat, though Burton never
saw that gem of philosophy and song, until eight years after.
"The Kasidah" was not printed until 1880. It is difficult to
interpret, because it so clearly interprets itself. It must be
read. It cannot be "explained."

The Kasidah consists of about 300 couplets of remarkable vigor in
condensation. It reviews all the explanations of "the sorry
scheme of things" that man has contrived, and it holds forth the
writer's own view. He maintains that happiness and misery are
equally divided, and distributed in this world. Self cultivation
is, in his view, the sole sufficient object of human life, with
due regard for others. The affections, the sympathies, and "the
divine gift of Pity" are man's highest enjoyments. He advocates
suspension of judgment, with a proper suspicion of "Facts, the
idlest of superstitions." This is pure agnosticism. There runs
all through the poem a sad note that heightens the courage with
which the writer faces his own bleak conclusion, and, "the
tinkling of the camel bell" is heard faint and far in the surge
of his investive, or below the deepest deep of his despair. In
Arabia, Death rides a camel, instead of a white horse, as our
occidental myth has it, and the camel's bell is the music to
which all life is attuned. Burton reverts from time to time to
this terrifying tintinnabulation, but he blends it with the
suggested glamour of evening, until the terror merges into
tenderness. The recurrence of this minor chord, in the savage
sweep of Burton's protest against the irony of existence, is a
fascination that the "Kasidah" has in common with every great
poem of the world. The materialism of the book is peculiar in
that it is Oriental, and Orientalism is peculiarly mystical. The
verse is blunt, and almost coarse in places, but here and there
are gentler touches, softer tones, that search out the sorrow at
the heart of things. It is worthy, in its power, of the praise of
Browning, Swinburne, Theodore Watts, Gerald Massey. It is Edward
Fitz Gerald minus the vine and the rose, and ali Persian
silkiness. The problem he sets out to solve, and he solves it by
a petitio principii, is

 Why must we meet, why must we part, why must we bear this yoke
of Must,
Without our leave or ask or given, by tyrant Fate on victim

 The impermanence of things oppresses him, for he says in an

 . . . Haply some day we meet again; Yet ne'er the self-same man
shall meet; the years shall make us other men.

 He crams into one couplet after another, philosophy after
philosophy, creed after creed, Stoic, Epicurean, Hebraic,
Persian, Christian, and puts his finger on the flaw in them all.
Man comes to life as to "the Feast unbid," and finds "the
gorgeous table spread with fair-seeming Sodom-fruit, with stones
that bear the shape of bread."

There is an echo of Koleleth in his contempt for the divinity of
the body. It is unclean without, impure within. The vanity of
vanity is proclaimed with piteous indignation.

 "And still the weaver plies his loom, whose warp and woof is
wretched Man,
Weaving the unpattern'd, dark design, so dark we doubt it owns a
 Dost not, O Maker, blush to hear, amid the storm of tears and
 Man say thy mercy made what is, and saw the made and said 'twas

 And then he sings:

 Cease Man to mourn, to weep, to wail; enjoy the shining hour of
 We dance along Death's icy brink, but is the dance less full of

 In sweeping away the old philosophies and religions, he is at
his best as a scorner, but he has "the scorn of scorn" and some
of "the love of love" which, Tennyson declares, is the poet's
dower. His lament for the Greek paganism runs:

 And when at length, "Great Pan is dead" uprose the loud and
dolorous cry,
 A glamour wither'd on the ground, a splendor faded in the sky.
Yes, Pan is dead, the Nazarene came and seized his seat beneath
the sun,
The votary of the Riddle-god, whose one is three, whose three is
one. . . .

Then the lank Arab, foul with sweat, the drainer of the camel's
Gorged with his leek-green, lizard's meat, clad in his filmy rag
and rug,
Bore his fierce Allah o'er his sands
Where, he asks, are all the creeds and crowns and scepters, "the
holy grail of high Jamshid?"
 Gone, gone where I and thou must go, borne by the winnowing
wings of Death,
 The Horror brooding over life, and nearer brought with every
 Their fame hath filled the Seven Climes, they rose and reigned,
they fought and fell,
 As swells and swoons across the wold the tinkling of the camel's

For him "there is no good, there is no bad; these be the whims of
mortal will." They change with place, they shift with race. "Each
Vice has borne a Virtue's crown, all Good was banned as Sin or
Crime." He takes up the history of the world, as we reconstruct
it for the period before history, from geology, astronomy and
other sciences. He accepts the murderousness of all processes of
life and change. All the cruelty of things

"Builds up a world for better use; to general Good bends special
And thus the race of Being runs, till haply in the time to be
Earth shifts her pole and Mushtari-men another falling star shall
Shall see it fall and fade from sight, whence come, where gone,
no Thought can tell,--
Drink of yon mirage-stream and chase the tinkling of the
Yet follow not the unwisdom path, cleave not to this and that
Believe in all that man believes; here all and naught are both
the same.
Enough to think that Truth can be; come sit me where the roses
Indeed he knows not how to know who knows not also
 how to unknow.

He denies the Soul and wants to know where it was when Man was a
savage beast in Primeval forests, what shape it had, what
dwelling place, what part in nature's plan it played. "What men
are pleased to call the Soul was in the hog and dog begun."

 Life is a ladder infinite-stepped that hides its rungs from
human eyes:
 Planted its foot in chaos-gloom, its head soars high above the

 The evolution theory he applies to the development of reason
from instinct. He protests against the revulsion from materialism
by saying that "the sordider the stuff, the cunninger the
workman's hand," and therefore the Maker may have made the world
from matter. He maintains that "the hands of Destiny ever deal,
in fixed and equal parts their shares of joy and sorrow, woe and
weal" to all that breathe our upper air. The problem of
predestination he holds in scorn. The unequality of life exists
and "that settles it" for him. He accepts one bowl with scant
delight but he says "who drains the score must ne'er expect to
rue the headache in the morn." Disputing about creeds is
"mumbling rotten bones." His creed is this:

 Do what thy manhood bids thee do, from none but self expect
 He noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps his
self-made laws.
 All other Life is living Death, a world where none but Phanton's
 A breath, a wind, a soul, a voice, a tinkling of the Camel's

 He appreciates to the full the hedonism of Omar but he casts it
aside as emptiness. He tried the religion of pleasure and beauty.
His rules of life are many and first is "eternal war with
Ignorance." He says: "Thine ignorance of thine ignorance is thy
fiercest foe, thy deadliest bane. The Atom must fight the unequal
fray against a myriad giants. The end is to "learn the noblest
lore, to know that all we know is naught." Self-approval is
enough reward. The whole duty of man is to himself, but he must
"hold Humanity one man" and, looking back at what he was,
determine not to be again that thing. "Abjure the Why and seek
the How." The gods are silent. The indivisible puny Now in the
length of infinite time is Man's all to make the best of. The Law
may have a Giver but let be, let be!

 Thus I may find a future life, a nobler copy of our own, Where
every riddle shall be ree'd, where every knowledge shall be
 Where 'twill be man's to see the whole of what on earth he sees
a part;
 Where change shall ne'er surcharge the thought; nor hope
deferred shall hurt the heart.
 But--faded flower and fallen leaf no more shall deck the parent
 A man once dropt by Tree of Life, what hope of other life has
 The shattered bowl shall know repair; the riven lute shall sound
once more;
 But who shall mend the clay of man, the stolen breath to man
 The shivered clock again shall strike, the broken reed
 shall pipe again;
 But we, we die and Death is one, the doom of brutes, the doom of
 Then, if Nirvana round our life with nothingness, 'tis haply
 Thy toils and troubles, want and woe at length have won
 their guerdon--Rest.
 Cease, Abou, cease! My song is sung, nor think the gain the
singer's prize
 Till men hold Ignorance deadly sin till Man deserves his title,
 In days to come, Days slow to dawn, when Wisdom deigns to dwell
with men,
 These echoes of a voice long stilled haply shall wake responsive
 Wend now thy way with brow serene, fear not thy humble tale to
 The whispers of the Desert wind: the tinkling of the Camel's

 So ends the song. The notes appended thereto by Burton are a
demonstration of his learning and his polemic power. The poem is
his life of quest, of struggle, of disappointment coined into
song more or less savage. It seems to me that he overlooked one
thing near to him that would have lighted the darkness of his
view, while looking To Reason for balm for the wounds of
existence. He ignored his wife's love which, silly and absurd as
it seems at times, in the records she has left us, is a sweeter
poem than this potent plaint and protest he has left us. He
explored all lands but the one in which he lived
unconsciously--the Land of Tenderness. This is the pity of his
life and it is also its indignity. He was crueler than "the
Cruelty of Things." He "threw away a pearl richer than all his
tribe"--a woman's heart. But--how we argue in a circle!--that he,
with his fine vision could not see this, is perhaps, a
justification of his poem's bitterness. Even her service went for
naught, seeing it brought no return of love from its object.

Burton was a great man, though a failure. His wife's life was one
continuous act of love for him that he ignores and her life was a
failure, too, since she never succeeded in making the world
worship him as she did. Still "the failures of some the
infinities beyond the successes of others" and all success is
failure in the end. Still again, it is better to have loved in
vain than never to have loved at all, and fine and bold and brave
as was Richard Francis Burton, his wife, with her "strong power
called weakness," was the greater of the two. She wrote no
"Kasidah" of complaint, but suffered and was strong. St. Louis,
August 16th, 1897.

* * *


Charles Goodwin, editor Salt Lake Tribune, puts into the mouth of
a figurative John Bull, who is lecturing his children, the
following sentence:

 "Why, ours is an old family. One of our ancestors was knighted
by Henry VII for stealing cattle from the Scotch some time in the
fifteenth century. I am tracing up the lineage, and I believe we
are all barons. I expect to get the title confirmed, and then
each one of you boys must sell himself to a beautiful American
girl for from 75,000 to 250,000 pounds. Under the rose, it will
help the stock damnably, for your mother was a barmaid. Things
are working all right, my lads. Our conquest of the United States
still goes on."

Apropos of a snub given the Prince of Wales by an American girl,
Lillian Russell--even our much-married Lillian--raises her voice
in protest at international marriages, and incidentally American

What is marriage? as we see it. The veneered vulgarity of the
international marriage goes on merrily notwithstanding public
opinion freely expressed. We bury the individuality and
personality of our daughters and give them as so much chatel to
the physically and financially anaemic nobility across the water,
to infuse into its diseased and impoverished veins pure blood and
into its depleted exchequer pure gold. And this we call marriage.
The weak-minded chattel and fatuous mother should be promptly
chloroformed without benefit of clergy. But they are instead
solemnly consecrated by their clergy, their church and their
Fifth Avenue Christ.

And yet, to go back to first principles, is it not that the time
are out of joint, and the America herself is responsible for her
daughters' shame? America has blinded her eyes with avarice and
glutted her brain with greed. She has starved her intellect and
gorged her ambition. She has bartered her birthright of nobility
and sold her soul to crawling sycophants. She has prostituted her
sceptre of power to trusts for tinsel and cowers under the lash
of corporations because they bind her brow with a cap of bells
that tinkle an empty song of "Freedom." In the mad rush for gain,
America has forgotten its greatness, and in their blind struggle
for gold Americans forget what is grand. We have sold our freedom
to Britain, we have sold our pride, our individuality, our
independence, our self-respect, our power, our dignity and our

The gods have given us brains to make of our country a brawny
one, and we have used our talent to corrupt what was once
equality into the unequal factions of power and poverty. The gods
have given us genius to soften the crudities of the early century
and to brighten our homes and our lives, and instead the
inventions and the creations but serve to gild the mansions of
the monopolist and to gird the iron more tightly on the wrist of
the toiler. We are avaricious, we are vulgar, and we are base. We
have lost the dignity of Nature that gave to a fragile lily a
royalty before which Solomon's grandeur paled. We have piled
stone and brick where the forest oak towered, and voice our
strident city cries where the imperious roar of the forest king
once startled the echoes. We have turned the oil and filth of our
refineries into the streams that once crept purling and laughing
through the wild-flowers and grasses, and the black smoke of our
factories has silenced the plaintive note of the thrush and
strangled the wondrous song of the nightingale. Our grandeur is
ostentation and our dignity a dead-letter. The greatness that
once longed for new worlds to conquer has degenerated into
yellow-fingered grasping for ginger-bread display. The powerful
figure of the pioneer could swing its mighty as into the forest
root, but in the rythm of labor there was time to pause and rest
and listen where "soft music ripples along shore, as the lake
breathes." In the stillness Nature's god speaks, and in the
patient face of the woman, shading her eyes where she watches him
from the cabin door, is sweeter and nobler dreaming than ever
finds resting place in the sharpened and querulous features of
our modern rushed society woman.

In English homes are the friendships of generations and beneath
their spreading trees their lives epitomise the lotus eater's
religion--"There is no joy but calm." Our women know neither the
one nor the other. Our social creed and dogma know nothing of
friendship, and calm to them is as Greek papyri in a
kindergarten. Thus have we grown avaricious and vulgar and in
their weariness of things as they are, have our women grown base.
They know that their lives miss something, they know that their
fierce rivalry and feverish straining for precedence bring them
no nearer the Mecca that closes its austere gates to their aching
eyes. And for the dignity and pride their lives have lacked, they
give their fortunes and sell their bodies and exchange, for a
title, the name of which they have grown ashamed. They perhaps
shrink, in physical repulsion, from the man who they feel
despises while he endures them. They perhaps hunger, with all the
woman- nature their pitiful lives have left them, for other lips
murmuring in slumber beside them. But over their burning eyes
they press the metal circle for which they have crushed their
hearts and outraged their sex, and around the delicate limbs they
draw the ermines that cannot hide their shame, and in all their
poor, empty glory they only read in the cold eyes of the
patrician women around them the chill contempt that stamps them
as among, but not of their order. "I sometimes think it wisest
not to think," and this warped and twisted human nature has a
pathos in all its chasing after a gilded butterfly that has
always a grinning skull peering through the gold of its wings.
The hunger that finds but Apples of Sodom, the life-labor that
wins but the gold of Midas, the ambition that crushes its toy
baloon--"and man plods his way through thorns to ashes."

America freed her blacks but rests her social aegis on barter far
more hideous. Optimists prate of the world growing better, with
their eyes on the mountain tops, but when one reads of frail Lais
fined ten dollars in the court- room for earning her daily bread
in the only manner possible to a nature in which sin has been
bred in the bone by generations of ancestors, and then pictures
Dr. Brown of exclusive St. Thomas', New York, murmuring
"Benedicite!" over an international marriage ceremony, his
handsome face and melodious voice and aristocratic bearing doing
full justice to the grandeur of the occasion--it is a contrast in
which there is a bitter humor, a farce in which there is
something horrible, a comedy that smells of the charnel house.

Is there plan and purpose in all the meaningless mystery and
misery? Is "heaven but the vision of fulfilled desire, hell the
shadow of a soul on fire?" And are we both? Are we improving?
Look on life within its gates. Are we retrograding? Strip the
curtains from the hearts of men and women. And marriage, the
great pivot upon which swings life itself, what is it? Is it
covenant with deity, or contract with the devil? Boise, Ida.,
October 1.

* * *

My attention has been several times called by the citizens of
Nevada, Ia., to a series of articles appearing in a little
boiler-plate paper published at that place by an old plug named
Payne and his idiot son. The articles purport to have been
written by one G. W. Bailey, from West Point, Columbus, McComb,
Magnolia, and other places in Mississippi, and are the most
brutally slanderous of the South and the Southern people of
anything yet put in print. As the writer is too grossly ignorant
and hopelesly imbecile to concoct a falsehood to deceive a
diapered pickaninny, I should pay no attention to his screeds,
but for the indignant protests of the Iowa people. One gentleman
sends me some excerpts from the articles and says: "Do not
imagine us big enough fools to be deceived by this lying
scoundrel. He would, if necessary to get his name in print,
defame his own parents. Bailey is an intellectual bawd with an
abnormal itch for notoriety. The paper in which his screeds
appear has a very limited circulation. I have never detected
anybody in the crime of reading it, hence it can do no harm. I
was in the federal army and know something about the South. I
learned it at Pittsburg Landing. Some mischief-making,
blatherskites ought to have their d----d tongues cut out."
Another gentleman writes from Iowa: "It seems that this fellow
Bailey once got a small Federal appointment to some place in
China. He remained their long enough to pick up a few curios,
contract the opium habit and the name of 'Tankkee.' He returned
and began lecturing on China, but the dope was too much for his
little encephalon. He took the Keeley cure for the opium habit,
but he's as great a liar as ever. You know what Macaulay says
about Bertrand Barere? Well, this fellow can outlie the 'Witling
of Terror' and not half try. I think if he should accidentally
tell the truth about anything he'd drop dead.

Now for Christ's sake don't judge Iowa people by this peripatetic
Ananias. Where he was born I don't know; neither do I care a
d--n; but I suspect that he was begotten in some back yard during
the dark of the moon, spawned in a dry goods box and raised on
bones." So Bailey is "Tank-Kee." If I mistake not there was a
Tank-kee trotting around Texas some years ago beating
school-children of the small towns out of their pennies by
dressing like a Chinese joss with a double-barrelled jag and
exhibiting a lot of old junk. It is my impression that he's a
half-breed of some kind, but whether half Chinese or coon I
cannot with certainty say. If he is hacking around from town to
town in Mississippi he is doubtless working a fake of some
kind-swindling the people while defaming them. If the
Mississippians can locate G. W. Bailey they had best hold him and
wire me for copies of his articles in my possession. One thing is
cock-sure--"Tank-kee" had best keep out of Texas.

 . . .

The suspicion is growing that Dr. Gutieras, the government
expert, has a pint of yellow fever baccilli in his cerebrum. He
carries the plague with him, just as a man suffering with mania a
potu carries his cargo of monkeys. Had he been called to see
Simon's wife's mother, he would have declared that she had a case
of Yellow Jack and spread a panic through all Judea. Should he
find a man suffering with katzenjammer he would pronounce him a
"suspect." As Barney Gibbs says, all the yellow fever patients
Gutieras discovered during his tour of South Texas were up
"hunting either a drink or a job" ere this peripatetic expert was
well out of town. I'll gamble four dollars that there is not in
the United States to-day a genuine case of Yellow Jack. There's
every indication that the cases at Mobile, New Orleans and Biloxi
are identical with the disease discovered by Gutieras at
Galveston--nothing under heaven but the dengue. Who the devil
ever heard of the mortality in a yellow fever epidemic averaging
only about 6 per cent.? Why la grippe will beat that as an
angel-maker and beat it blind. When good old- fashioned yellow
fever reaches for people they begin to sing "Heaven is my home,"
I'd rather have the "plague" now rioting in New Orleans than to
contract the buck ague or the itch. These "experts" make my soul
aweary. An insanity expert thinks everybody crazy but himself,
while a yellow fever expert would isolate a case o' cucumber
colic. What the South needs to do is to quarantine against these
special doctors.

A few American newspapers and magazines of the genus mugwump,
enemies of Cuban liberty and apologists for the Weylerian
butcheries and brutalities, are now busily engaged in belittling
those who enabled Senorita Cisneros to escape from her captors,
are heaping their feculence upon Mesdames Jefferson Davis, Jno.
A. Logan and the other "old women" who had the temerity to appeal
to the Spanish Queen Regent in behalf of the young heroine--are
even repeating the stale lies of Weyler's understrappers
reflecting upon her chastity. What brave American journalists!
How proud of such sons Columbia should be! It is quite possible
the New York Journal undertook the young lady's rescue for
advertising purposes only; but just the same, she is on American
soil, and she can well afford to ignore the petty malice of
emasculated mugwump editors, knowing as she must, that the
chivalry of this country is with her to the last man. I do not
believe the statement of the Spanish official whom Senorita
Cisneros accused of insulting her, and who retorted that she had
thrown herself at his head. A gentleman could not make such an
assertion even though it were true, for a woman's illicit favors
set upon the lips of the recipient the seal of eternal silence.
The defamer of Senorita Cisneros is but another Don Matthias de
Silvae of Le Sage. . . .

The coon seems to be forging rapidly to the front in some
portions of this country. On October 2, Mrs. W. E. D. Stokes, a
wealthy white woman and owner of one of the largest stock farms
in Kentucky, gave a ball and banquet near Lexington to 300
colored people and filled 'em full of beer. Whether Mrs. Stokes
danced with the bucks the dispatches do not state. . . .

My attention has been several times called to one W. D. McKinstry
of Watertown, N. Y., by people of that place. They plead with me
that he is really spoiling for a "roast." McKinstry is publishing
a little paper which somewhat resembles an over-ripe dish-rag, or
an unlaundered sheet from the bed of a colored baby; but I have
no idea why he is so unpopular. It may be because he possesses
the physique of a bull elephant and the brains of a doodle-bug.
It may be that the appearance of such an animal outside a dime
museum, or a pig sty, angers the people. I can see nothing in his
editorials at which to take offense. Reading them were like
drinking the froth out of a pop-bottle or filling one's belly
with the east wind. McKinstry is trying to settle the "negro
problem" for the South; but that has so long been a favorite
occupation of Smart Alec editors who never saw a cotton patch
that no one minds it any more. Waco has the coon and Watertown
has McKinstry, hence it is in order for the two towns to mingle
their tears instead of animadverting each upon the other's
misfortune. If I might advise the mighty McKinstry I would
suggest that he change his occupation. As an editor he is a
dismal failure, but he would be a dazzling success as ballast for
a canal boat. . . .

A correspondent notes that the New York World devotes two
illustrated pages to the Vanderbilt-Marlborough brat, and wants
to know what I think about it? Why, I think that old Josef
Phewlitzer has succeeded in elongating the Vanderbilt leg. No
editor ever publishes such tommyrot unless paid therefor, because
he knows that no sane person will read it. It was an
advertisement, ordered and paid for by somebody, probably
Consuelo's rather gay mother, who, albeit divorced from her first
husband for cause, has the distinguished honor to be gran'dam to
an incipient duke, who will probably grow up to be as utterly
worthless as his daddy. . . .

Jno. H. Holmes, editor of the Boston Herald, writing on the "New
Journalism." says: "Huge circulation is extremely profitable. It
produced revenue from the sale of the paper, and a still greater
revenue from the volume of advertising." In other words, the
average "great daily" is simply a mercenary advertising graft. It
may "produce revenue," but seldom profit from circulation, for
the price to agents is frequently below the cost of white paper
and expressage. The subscription price is usually placed below
the profit line, and extra inducements offered in the way of
"premiums." Somehow, a circulation, bona fide or fake, must be
worked up as an excuse for elongating the business man's leg. And
he is a "dead easy mark." The yap who purchases checks of
strangers and bets on monte is no more gullible than the average
victim of the advertising grafter. A sucker is said to be born
every minute; and strange to say, most of them are produced in
the cities. The business man who makes an advertising contract
without investigating the circulation claims of the publisher,
would invest in confederate bonds or buy gold bricks. If he
suffered the loss it would not much matter--would be simply
another case of the fool and his money soon parted; but it is
shifted to the consumer. The people must pay the merchant's
advertising bills, just as they pay his rent and insurance; and
the amount of which they are annually fleeced to pay for what has
no actual existence, would meet all expenses of government and
leave a tremendous surplus in the treasury. This nation wastes
annually for worthless fake advertising more than it pays for
education. . . .

A Galveston traveling man writes me as follows:

 "I have been for two years past gathering up scraps of your
history, and now have the honor to advise you that according to
the testimony of many very pious people, among whom are not a few
preachers, you are an avowed anarchist who was suspected of being
concerned in the Haymarket massacre; that you served two terms in
the penitentiary before you were born; that you are a renegade
Jew and an Italian Jesuit, that for 30 years you were a Baptist
preacher, but were bounced out of the ministry for drunkenness
and immorality; that you have been a blasphemous Atheist from
your youth up; that you deserted from the federal army in the
same year that you were four years old; that you have been
discharged from all the Texas dailies for incompetency, and are
the author of editorials in the Chicago Inter-Ocean slandering
the South; that you are a big over-grown bully who abuses weaker
people, and a miserable little poltroon who has been kicked by
every cripple between New York and Denver. All this is doubtless
correct as far as it goes; now will you please inform me whether
you have been guilty of anything else?"

 This is a fairly correct list of my crimes thus far; but being
still a young man, I may reasonably hope to add to it
considerably if not shut off by the sheriff. The greatest
drawback to my career as a criminal is my inability to lie so
consistently as some of my dear brethren in Christ. . . .

The ICONOCLAST'S recent comments on Dean Hart of Denver, provoked
the following poetic outburst on the part of a singer of that

 Do you mind him as he walks the street,
 The Dean?
 With his highly elevated nose,
 The Dean.
 And his old imported hat
 And his time worn black cravat,
 Any one could tell that
 He's the Dean.

 He is "furnist" this country,
 Is the Dean,
 "It's nothing like old Hingland,"
 Says the Dean.
 In language somewhat torrid,
 With a countenance quite florid,
 He says our schools are "orrid,"
 Does the Dean.

 To many it's a mystery why
 The Dean
 Doesn't leave us and for England hie away;
 No doubt he can explain it,
 In England he's not "in it,"
 But in this "blooming" country
 He's a Dean. . . .

All the sycophantic little sassiety sheets are now engaged in the
delectable task of belittling Miss Edna Whitney, selected by
Chillicothe, Mo., as maid of honor to the Kween of the Kansas
City Karnival, but objected to by the snob management on the
ground that she was a working girl. The sheets aforesaid have
discovered that since that event brought her into public notice
Miss Whitney has accepted $500 from a cigarette firm for the use
of her photo, and are now industriously arguing that a young
woman who will permit her portrait to be so employed is not a
proper person to be brought for a moment into contract with the
eminently respectable sassietyest. Rats! ditto rodents. The
Karnival was not a "social function," but a commercial scheme
gotten up by the merchants of Kansas City to draw trade to that
enterprising town. It was a blowout for everybody; the world was
invited--the gates thrown open to the Canary in his Canaryism as
well as to Sir Alymer in his Alymerism. Lady Vere de Vere and the
chambermaid in the dollar-a-day hotel were alike invited to make
themselves at home, enjoy the show and spend their siller.
Unfortunately, the management of the affair was committed to an
incorrigible snob, and he decided that a young lady who earned
her own living was not a fit theatrical associate for the
patrician daughters of successful soap-boilers and pork-packers,
thereby offering an unforgettable and unforgivable affront to all
the legions of labor. I do not approve of Miss Whitney's sale of
her photo to a cigarette firm; but I do say that the act is
infinitely more excusable than the practice among high-fly
society women of paying for the publication of decollete
portraits and sickening "write-ups" of themselves. Miss Whitney
is poor and, I am told, supports a widowed mother. To a girl so
situated $500 is a great sum. She could scarce be expected to
have the fine aesthetic feelings of a highly educated woman
reared in the lap of luxury. Her portrait had already been hawked
about in the daily papers,--like those of the swell society
set--and, like the latter, freely commented upon by bummers and
bawds. She has the excuse of necessity for the sale of her
picture, while her sisters in society are driven solely by a
prurient itch for notoriety to exploit themselves in the public
prints. It does not necessarily follow, as the sassiety sheets
would have us believe, that every woman is unchaste whose
portrait is found in a cigarette package--I have seen Queen
Victoria's, Mrs. Cleveland's and the Princess of Wales' in the
same place. These pitiful sheets, which are belittling Miss
Whitney to ingratiate themselves with the snobocracy of Kansas
City, are entirely destitute of shame. Their editors are, in most
instances, a cross between Jeames de la Pluche and Caliban. Their
presence at "social functions" is tolerated for the same reason
that nigger waiters are admitted. They are used by the parvenues
and heartily despised by the very people whom they so
obsequiously serve. . . .

MR. BRANN: You state in a recent issue of the ICONOCLAST that
McKinley's popular plurality "represents the votes of niggers and
the scavangers of Europe's back alleys." I denounce that
statement as a falsehood. The votes of native-born Americans
elected Mr. McKinley. AMERICUS. Waco, Texas, September 10.

My correspondent is indeed "A Merry Kuss" else he could find no
pleasure in calling a man a liar in an anonymous letter. To call
that creature a cur who flings an insult which he fears to
father, were a damning libel on every decent dog in Christendom.
My correspondent is probably a mongrel cross between a male hyena
and a gila monster, begotten in a nigger grave-yard, suckled by a
sow and educated by an idiot. But, perhaps, being familiar with
his own birth and breeding he will consider this a compliment.
McKinley coralled more than 90 per cent. of the nigger vote and
carried every state in which foreign-born people exceeds 21 per
cent. of the entire population. He received his largest
majorities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota,
Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey,
one-third of whose people, collectively considered, are of
foreign birth; his smallest majorities in Kentucky, Indiana, West
Virginia and Maryland, where those of foreign birth amount to
about 8 per cent. of the entire population. Virginia, North and
South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas,
Missouri, Kansas constituted Bryan's strongholds and their people
collectively considered, show a foreign birth of less than 5 per
cent. Colorado is the only state having a considerable foreign-
birth population that stands in the Democratic columns, all the
others having gone for McKinley. While it is true that thousands
of our foreign-born citizens are intelligent, honest and
patriotic--a credit to the land of their adoption--it is likewise
true that following in their wake we find Huns, Pollocks,
Sicillians, "Souwegian" and other undesirable offscourings of the
old world, imported by Mark Hanna and other "industrial
cannibals" to degrade our labor and debauch our politics. It is
the vote of this latter class, and the scarcely less corrupt and
ignorant "coons" which constitute McKinley's popular plurality.
McKinley was the candidate of the assisted immigrant and the
Ethiopian, Bryan of the native-born Americans; and I submit it to
a candid world which of these two parties was likely to have the
good of this country most at heart, or know best how to promote
it. . . .

I am obliged to my friends for divers and surdry scraps of
information regarding the cur-ristian trustee of Baylor who led
the last assault upon me in the name of a long-suffering Savior.
It would make interesting reading for Waco Baptists no doubt, but
I can put these columns to better use than rehashing ancient
history. Those who are anxious to learn what kind of an animal
this member of Baylor's board of managers actually is, are
referred to the Galveston News of July 26th, 1883. Any one can
secure access to the files of that paper for the asking. I cannot
afford to "damn to everlasting fame" every backwoods hypocrite
who raises a howl. The ICONOCLAST leaves such cattle to the bill
collectors. . . .

I would like to have a flash-light photo of W. S. Densickr of
Lebanon, Ind. Ter., not for publication, but to add to my private
gallery of hypocritical rogues. Densickr wants to build a temple
of pure gold twelve miles square and 60,000 high for some
backwoods congregation, but of what denomination he has evidently
not yet discovered. He insists, however, that the Redeemer
demands such a temple, and that the general public should be
forthcoming with the necessary cash. He is working what he calls
a "church chain"--all for Christ. He writes you a letter asking
you to contribute 5 cents to the cause and thereby obtain the
blessing of God. He requests also that you send an exact copy of
his letter to three of your friends whom you deem most likely to
invest their small change in heavenly grace. The "chain" of
letters runs from 1 to 100, and a Cleburne gentleman who was
"touched" figures it out that the 25th No. means more than 282
billion letters and more than 21 millions of money if every
sucker bites at the bait. If the "chain" doesn't break before the
100th number is played it will corral all the wealth of this
world. Mr. Densickr hath a great head. He's a church financier
for your galways. Still I opine that the man who complies with
his apparently modest request is one large piebald ass who ought
to be saddled, bridled and ridden around the block, then turned
loose to do the Nebuchadnezzer act.



For the giant spoils of Greater New York three contestants are in
the field. They are the regular Republican organization, Tammany
and the "Citizens' Union." The regular Republican organization is
headed by United States Senator Thomas C. Platt, and its active,
or rather its most visible manager, is ex-Representative Lemuel
Eli Quigg. Tammany still has John Croker for its boss, although
John C. Shenan is its official head. The "Citizens' Union" is
composed of the truly good and every man is its chief. It has for
its candidate Seth Low, president of Columbia University.

This organization is one of the results of a long continued era
of official corruption that has no parallel in modern municipal
history. Until times quite recent Tammany has had things all its
own way in the Eastern metropolis. The extent of corruption was
not suspected until the Lexow investigating committee brought it
to light. It is certain that not even the committee itself
conceived the vastness of the system of thuggery and blackmail.
Having begun its labors, evidence poured in upon it in a
constantly increasing stream. It could do no less than go ahead.
Its prosecuting attorney, John C. Goff, who not so many years ago
was a counter jumper in a big New York store, and is now the city
recorder at a salary of $12,000 a year and perquisites, woke to
find himself famous. The Lexow committee was indirectly a result
of the Parkhurst crusade and the Parkhurst crusade was made
necessary by an unheard of state of public immorality. Of
Parkhurst and Lexow the "Citizens' Union" is the child and more
than the child. It stands for purity in politics and the rights
of the honest citizen. It objects to high salaries and little
work. It desires economy in public places. It wants each vote
counted once and only once. It believes in the civil service. It
swears by Teddy Roosevelt. It thinks that the workingman is able
to judge for himself. It does not think that the world is
governed enough. It is certain that it has in its ranks young men
of vigor and intellect who would draw salary and serve the public
in a manner hitherto never approached. It boasts that it is "the
better element." It does not know the alphabet of politics. It is
virtuously theoretical and practically impotent. It cannot be
brought to understand that successful politics demands a
"machine." Each of its individual members is a boss. They have
been derisively termed "goo-goos," which is a contraction of
"goody-goods." They are youthful, sanguine, patriotic,
impertinent, impractical and self-sufficient. Their idea of
conducting a campaign is nebulous. They believe that a number of
voluble young men, clad irreproachably in evening dress and
touring the city in carts after nightfall, stopping on corners
and haranguing the multitude, cannot fail to command success.
They have a large campaign fund, which will go to the printing of
esoteric literature and the hire of carts. There is good in them
and any amount of energy. Recognizing this, the leader of the
regular Republican organization asked them for a conference. They
bouncingly refused. It was explained to them that the best effort
of every honest man in Greater New York was needed to defeat
Tammany and that a divided front meant defeat, but they would
have none of it. "Come into our camp," they said, and be soldiers
under us. Accept our commands. Do as we say, work as we direct,
spend as we decide, or go to the devil." This being so, the
veterans of the regular Republicans, men who have fought through
dozens of campaigns and know the meaning both of victory and
defeat, naturally decided to go to the devil.

Mr. Low, the candidate of the "Citizens' Union," is a good man.
He is a kind man. He is a gentleman and a scholar. He is an
educator. Columbia University loves him. All through the campaign
its students will give their college yell for him with vigor and
much satisfaction to themselves. He has friends who believe in
the massive strength of their own influence. But it is to be
feared that he will be butchered to make a tiger's holiday. His
personal characteristics are all that they should be. His morals
could not be improved, but he will know more in November than he
knows now. It is to be doubted that the New York voter will rush
to the polls and plump ballots for him with the frenzied
enthusiasm of which he has been told. The New York voter is a low
animal at best, much lower than the Chicago voter, and he
enthuses only when filled with beef and beer. Tammany understands
him. Thomas C. Platt understands him. Tammany and Thomas C. Platt
are not saying a word. They are sitting still and watching the
inception of the meteoric canvass of Low.

Integrally the "Citizens' Union" is all right. The trouble lies
in the fact that it believes that no good men can come out of
Nazareth. There is but one right way, and it has that way. It is
purse-proud, bull-headed and inexperienced. It will hold daily
conferences with Mr. Low. It will fill him with vain hopes and
longings and it will send out the young men on the carts. Also it
will publish essays on the dignity of the American ballot. These
essays will be written by its own scribes, who will joy to see
themselves in print, and they will be scattered broadcast through
the city. They will serve to wrap up butter pats and as tails to
small boys kites. They will not be read, of course, for who, in
the hurly-burly of a city campaign, has time or inclination to
read tracts?

The Citizens' Union will not make a house-to-house canvass; it
will not make and keep a record of the name, business and
preference of every voter; it will not have trained proselyters
at work; it will not organize clubs; it will not descend to the
brutish level of the torchlight procession; it will not employ
the agonizing brass bands; it will not send out men on election
day whose business it is to see that every voter gets to the
polls at least once, and more times if necessary.

The regular Republican organization ought to win, but it entered
the contest heavily handicapped. If the tiger of Tammany again
inserts a paw into the public treasury and converts the humblest
office into a reward for rascality, the responsibility will rest
directly upon the "Citizens' Union"--whose self constituted
mission is to purify politics and elevate the ballot box.

The success of Tammany would be deplorable--calamitous. It would
mean the restoration of the old era of trickery, jobbery and
blackmail in a richer and wider area. But, owing to the split
among those who ought to know better, it has never in its history
had a better opportunity, nor has it ever fought for so grand a
prize. "Greater New York" is composed of the original city,
Brooklyn, which by the census of 1890 contained more than 900,000
people, several Long Island towns, suburban to Brooklyn, and a
large part of Westchester county, lying north of the city proper.
The total population will approach 4,000,000. The taxable wealth
is enormous. The number of salaried place holders is close to
25,000. The salary list that is disbursed monthly runs far into
the millions. Once in possession of this enormous power, Tammany
would build up a machine to pale the records made by the
administration of Boss Tweed. There was never any reason for the
formation of "Greater New York" other than the fear that Chicago
would oustrip the old town in the race for pre-eminence among
American cities. There were grave reasons against it, chief among
them being the acquisition of an enormous debt and the affording
of an opportunity for plunder at the hands of the organization
that now threatens. It is certain that the citizens of older New
York have carried their pigs to a bad market. If history teaches
anything, they will live to regret that they allowed urban pride
to run away with common sense.

The methods of Tammany are well known. It is preeminently the
American representative and practitioner of the low and effective
in politics. It is the oldest and most powerful political society
this country has ever known, and possibly ever will know. It is
twofold. There is the Tammany general committee, to which any
citizen of the city who is a Democrat, may belong. It numbers
some 100,000 members. There is a wheel within a wheel, called the
Society of Tammany. This is a secret concern, whose lodge-room is
in the hall on Fourteenth street, near Third avenue. All of the
leading Tammanyites belong to it. From its ranks the executive
committee is chosen. It keeps the rolls and the records, makes
the assessments, appoints the captains of the various election
precincts, holds them responsible for the discipline of their
men, rewards faithful service and punishes treachery. The society
makes no special pretensions to purity. Its motto is to the
victors belong the spoils. While Democratic in politics and of
large influence in the national councils of the Democracy, it has
never hesitated to sacrifice a national candidate for local gain.
It is of and for New York City first, last and all the time.
Occasionally it is loyal to a presidential candidate, but more
often it is disloyal. Trades are always possible. For instance,
it was true to Mr. Cleveland in 1884 and untrue in 1888. It was
true again in 1892, and there is no doubt that at the last
general election its members were told to knife Mr. Bryan
whenever they wished.

It is the most persistent and thoroughly equipped warrior in our
political lists. There is not a square foot of New York City that
it does not know. On the day before election it is able always to
tell within a fraction the number of votes it will poll. Every
member is forced to go to his voting place and deposit his
ballot. The political preference of every man in every precinct
of every ward is known. Its agents are everywhere and always at
work. It spends money like water. It is quick to reward and
fierce to punish. It has no sentiment. It battles for so much
place, so much power and the handling of so many dollars. If it
wins, its spoils are promptly and equitably divided. Against such
a machine, so intelligently and mercilessly handled, a divided
enemy is almost certain beaten. The Republican party of New York
and the respectability of New York are able to defeat Tammany
when they go hand in hand, but only when they go hand in hand. It
is to be feared that the chasm between them in the present
campaign is not to be bridged. Their active and unscrupulous
foeman may be trusted to leave no stone unturned and no device
untried. Chicago, Ill., October 1.

 * * *

The man whom poor dead Billy Florence used to make the dominant,
laughter-breeding memory-haunting figure in "The Almighty
Dollar," is with us still. He infests Washington for many months
of each year. He saves the country with persistency. I purpose to
tell of him as I have known him. A residence of three years in
the Capital City and a daily converse with its legislators has
convinced me that nearly all congressmen are Bardwell Slotes,
more or less. It is a fact that to a dweller in the District of
Columbia there are no great men. Washington people are valets to
these heroes. They get to know them with their rouge and corsets
off. The sight is not pretty, but it is instructive. Sometimes it
fills a man with despair of the future of this country. It
convinces him that the greatest republic of history cannot hold
together for another century. It makes him think that
statesmanship is dead, never to resurge, and that its place is
taken by narrow foul politics. But generally mirth comes as a
relief. There is so much of the ridiculous in the modern American
Cicero or Catiline that one's visions of his shortcomings is
blurred by the tears that laughter brings.

In nine cases out of ten the man sent to Washington to represent
his people is uneducated. In the tenth case he is ill-bred. I
once showed to twenty congressmen the following stanza, asking
them to translate it.

 "Le bruit est pour le fat,
 La painte est pour le sot,
 L'honnete homme s'eloigne trompe,
 Et ne dit pas mot."

 It is the simplest of French doggerel and means, freely
translated, that while the fat-headed and the weakly foolish do a
great deal of jawing when mistreated by the powerful, the
sensible man picks himself up and totes himself far from the
neighborhood wherein he is unwelcome and never says a word. Of my
twenty congressmen but one offered a translation. That was the
dead William H. Crane, of Texas. The men were taken at random,
and I may say that I did not expect any translations when I
started out. Most frequently a man gets to congress through a
practically acquired knowledge of dirty politics backed by the
ability to make a stump speech, to tell a smutty story, and to
plead for his job with a slavish lickspittleism that would
disgust a Digger Indian. The ordinary congressional candidate
when smitten upon one cheek will turn the other, and when smitten
upon the other will hoist his coat-tail and request the honor of
a kick.

It is but natural that a job which is obtained by eating filth
and drinking filth and sleeping in filth is held to with a
tenacity that rises superior to all manliness and all decency.
The congressman knows but one God--the people who elected him. He
has but one object--to pleasure those people and get a
renomination. He does not represent the United States of America.
He represents his district. His idea of statesmanship is to get
as many federal jobs for the voters of his District and as many
and large federal appropriations for his District as he can. That
is all of it. Any individual Congressman, if he had his way would
fill the government places entirely from his District and erect a
Federal post-office and custom house at every cross roads in his
Districts. If he could do these things, he thinks he would be
certain of reelection, and he is right. Federal patronage is a
fanged whip that hangs ever above his shoulders and occasionally
it falls. The recipient of the blow cringes, cowers and howls
like a beaten hound, but he does not resent. When Grover
Cleveland called the Fifty-third congress into extraordinary
session, the object being to repeal the Sherman act and utterly
demonetize silver, thus completing the vast robbery of 1873, he
knew that there was a pro-silver majority against him, but he
knew also that he held the handle of the patronage whip in his
fat beer-swelled hand and that his slaves would troup to do his
will at the first crack of its lash. The result justified his
confidence. The Democratic party had a majority of nearly 100 in
the house of representatives, but that majority voted directly
against its convictions. It was told that it would get no jobs
for constitutents until it had surrendered its honesty. American
history contains no such pitiful instance of cowardice and
grovelling meanness. Instead of one Benedict Arnold selling his
soul for temporary gain, we had fifty. It did the soul of me good
to read the returns of the next Congressional election and to
know that the truckling, craven disgusting majority was wiped out
as a boy rubs a wet sponge across a slate.

The Hon. Bardwell Slote is a large man at home and a giant to his
wife. In his first term he comes to Washington a month ahead of
the date set for the assembling of Congress, because he wants the
Capital to get used to him gradually. He hires a couple of rooms
in a hotel. His wife puts some flowers on the mantel piece in the
sitting-room and wears her best dress all the time while she is
waiting for the president's consort and the cabinet ladies to
call. They do not call. The Hon. Slote is shocked almost to
dumbness to discover that the Capital does not know that he is on
earth. Beyond a two-line "personal" in the morning paper, jammed
among the "hotel arrivals," no mention is made of his coming. He
has bills in his trunk providing for a public building at
Bungtown and a deep water harbor at Squashville and a light house
on Jim Ned creek and the establishment of a federal court at Eden
and a governmental survey of the bad lands around Dogtown, and
the Bungtown Bazoo and the Squashville Cresset and the Eden Echoe
and the Dogtown Democrat have all stated that he intended to make
speeches on every one of them, but the general public does not
seem to take much interest in these foreshadowed cataclysmal
events. Posing on the sidewalk in front of his hotel, with his
legs wide apart, his hands behind him and his breast well out, a
couple of small boys passing remark that he is "de new jay f'on
Injyanny," and that is all the notice he gets. The attitude was
very effective at home, but it does not seem to excite awe in the
District of Columbia.

Once in his seat on the floor of the House he discovers that he
is merely a unit in the majority or the minority. Nobody asks his
advice about anything. The tally clerk calls his name in a
careless manner. He cannot catch the speaker's eye. He bobs up
half a dozen times in the first hour with intent to make a motion
about something and sinks back limply. The voice, face and manner
that were wont to still the conventions at home are no good. The
newspaper men in the gallery over the speaker's head point at him
and whisper to each other and then they laugh. It makes him
uncomfortable. The next day the clipping bureau sends him thirty
or forty paragraphs like this:

 "The Hon. Bardwell Slote, of the Cohosh district, Indiana, made
his first appearance on the floor yesterday. He experienced some
difficulty in delivering his half dozen speeches on the various
manuscripts in his trunks. The speaker was savagely oblivious.
The Hon. Slote will add much to the gaiety of nations. The
distinctive articles of his attire were a red cravat, a coat of
the vintage of '49, a tobacco-stained shirt-front and a whisp of
oakum- colored chin beard. As a bit of bric-a-brac, or a curio
from one of the oldest portions of the unhallowed west, he will
be of value in the interior decoration of the Capitol, but it is
to be feared that his oratorical vent has been choked up for some
time to come."

As time goes on the Hon. Slote finds his uses. He visits the
departments with persistency. He is followed by a trail of
officeseekers from home. He finds that he must wait like a
servant in the ante-rooms of the secretaries. He does not wield
much influence. His party leaders realize the value of his vote
and order him to cast it when they want it. The qualities of the
man bring him forward. He has been a heeler in the small politics
of his own county and he becomes a wrestler with two or three
hundred heelers from other parts of the republic. The
professional widow, clad in the sable habiliments of woe, takes
him into a quiet corner and leans against him hard. The Hon.
Slote becomes wildly excited and promises to leg for her bill. He
legs for it until it passes and goes up to the court of claims.
Then the widow knows him no more. A young lady, with freshly
colored cheeks and golden hair streaming down her back, looks at
him tenderly in the House restaurant. He follows her outside the
Capitol and boards a car with her and scrapes acquaintance with
her, and goes back to his lean but fiery wife some time that
night, looking and feeling like a dissipated tom cat stealing
homeward over the roofs in the gray of a chilly morning. He is
introduced to the poker game at Chamberlin's and finds that he
can hold more big hands and get more of them beaten than in any
place he ever saw in his life. He discovers that the whisky sold
in the Capitol is sudden death at a distance of 150 yards against
the wind. He draws his first month's wage of $416 and finds that
his resolution to save $316 of it might as well not have been
made. His mileage money has been spent long before. The fact is
borne in on him that it is necessary only that he answer to his
name at 12 o'clock roll call. He will not be allowed to make
speeches anyhow and can, if he chooses, fill in his time talking
to the professional widow and the young lady of the restaurant.

At the end of the two years' term he returns to his home a wiser
man. He encourages the idea that in order to get good results it
is necessary to return a congressman for many sessions. He has
had a taste of the fleshpots. He is sent back. At the next
session he is an "old member." His capacity for chicanery has
been increased by experience. Having little morals to start with,
he is now as utterly conscienceless as it is possible for a man
to be and keep out of jail. He gets his bills through by "fine
work." He prefers to be known as a mole that works under ground.
He has formed an ability to add materially to his income. He
would get rich, but for the fact that his expenses have increased
with his earnings. He has from one to four female employes of the
government "on his staff." He seeks constantly for youthful
typewriters. He has learned to dress in a manner that does not
shock the populace. His voice takes on an unctuous greasy timbre.
He has become something of an authority on canvas-back and wines.
His head is full of "schemes" and the pre-requisite of them all
is governmental appropriation. In return for his vote in favor of
several more or less iniquitous measures, grabs and steals, he
has obtained appropriations for the federal building at Bungtown
and the light house at Jim Ned creek. The money for the deep
water harbor at Squashville is carried in the general rivers and
harbors bill and he has hopes that the federal court will sit at
Eden the next year. He is more solid with his constituents. Many
of them have been made postmasters and railway postal clerks and
inspectors of various kinds. One of them has even been given a
consulate at Demerara and writes many letters home bearing
strange looking stamps. The Hon. Slote at this period is puffy
under the eyes. Three Turkish baths a week keep him going. His
wife has learned not to question him too closely, and, possible,
has found consolations of her own.

So he goes on from year to year. He does not sink any lower in
the scale of morality, because already he is about as low as he
can get. When a man reaches a stage where he depends for his
living altogether on public office and to obtain that office is
compelled to fight politicians with their own weapons, not much
more need be said than a simple statement of the case. When the
day of his decapitation arrives--and it comes to him soon or
late--he is apt to develop into a lobbyist. Having been a
congressman gives him the right to the floor of the House or
Senate. He will be found later on championing any bill that has
money in it, no matter how patent the steal.

This description of the Hon. Bardwell Slote, of Cohosh, is not in
any way overdrawn. It is, in fact, conservative, If an exact
portraiture of him were given, the ICONOCLAST would be
unmailable. There are some men in the American House of
Representatives who are ornaments to the Republic. They are
honest, patriotic and intelligent. But they are woefully few.
Slote may stand for the ruck of them. They are immoral and
pestiferous demagogues, robbing the public whose pay they draw,
and willing to go any length to maintain their seats. Washington
is notoriously a rotten city, sexually and politically, and the
representatives in Congress, more than any other component of the
body civic, help to make it so.

This state of affairs will continue until men are chosen by the
people distinctly for merit and past services, and for these
things only. There are in the state of Texas to-day, and in every
other state of the Union, for that matter, a hundred demagogues
who are known to be demagogues. They have fed like buzzards upon
the rotting offal of politics and the people continue to vote for
them. Every now and then the ICONOCLAST reaches out and whacks
one of them a fell blow upon his sconce, but, having tied up his
head, he once again returns to his business of craving alms at
the hands of his fellows.

If I wanted to send a daughter of mine to perdition, I would
leave her in Washington dependent upon the influence of some
congressman on the wrong side of forty. If I wished to insure for
my son a liberal and eternal dose of hell-fire, I would set
before him any one of two hundred representatives and tell him to
follow their example in all things. The girl might land as a
leader in low-necked bare-armed and swell-busted society or in a
bagnio and the boy might land in Congress or in the penitentiary.
Washington, D. C., November 23, 1897.



Once upon a time in the city of Detroit there lived a society
woman who was very wealthy. Her home was one of the most regal of
the Woodward avenue mansions. Her aristocratic limbs were clothed
in the softest of silks, her delicate hands were weighed down
with costliest jewels, her retinue of servants were worthy the
princely hospitalities she extended to those of her august order,
and her charities--upon occasion--were as munificent as the gifts
of gods.

This woman was very fair to look upon, and her life seemed a path
of rose leaves upon which all the graces smiled. But there was a
canker at the heart of all this loveliness, the deadly breath of
the Upas tree sometimes pierced its incense, the hidden head of a
coiled asp now and then stirred the laces nestling at her breast.
And the tiny asp that slept on her heart was Rumor, that she
could not kill, yet whose sting meant death. And when it moved,
her lips whitened with fear, but she soothed it back to the
warmth of slumber and strewed lavish gifts on the altar of
charity. And then for awhile, the asp slept. And so it was that
upon one of these occasions the asp moved restlessly, through the
soft music of the cultured voices around her there crept an
ominous hiss as the little green head parted the perfumed

And the woman knew that her frailties were many and the hiss was
Truth, and that all her loveliness was but a whited sepulcher
that hid the ghastly bones of a murdered womanhood.

So with her jeweled hand she soothed the asp and gathered about
her the women of her kind and told them that as the man of
Nazarath had walked among the fallen so ought they. And these
women arranged that they should go to the Magdalens of their city
and teach them the error of their way and lead them gently into
the treadmill of factory and sweat-shop to earn their daily bread
and butter and olives.

So in a holy band of six they sought the gilded haunt of sin and
asked Madame R----if they might talk for a while with
her-er-young ladies. The former smilingly acquiesced and they
were courteously ushered into a stately drawing-room, where a
number of the-er-young ladies listened with equally smiling
interest to their dissertations on the beauties of a moral life.
She of the asp moved to the rear of the drawing-room, where a
woman with a delicate, refined face was sitting at a grand piano.
Her eyes had a touch of tragedy and a great weariness in their
depths, but as they rested gravely on her guest there was the
faintest soupcon of amusement under their drooping lids. "My
dear," quoth the grande dame, very gently, "forgive me if I
intrude on delicate ground, but I want to ask--to know--that
is--," very regretfully, "just tell me why do you lead a sinful

The other woman was silent for a moment, then she spoke with
equal gentleness:

"Madame, I was deserted when a girl-wife with a little child to
support. I led this sinful life to support my baby and myself.
And now, may I ask in return what is your reason?"

Here the chronicle ended, but the incident is still fresh in the
memories of the City of the Straits' most exclusive 150. It is
reluctantly admitted by those who labor sincerely among the
world's unfortunates that the reformation of a fallen woman is
more difficult than the twelve labors of Hercules. They are of
two classes--the naturally depraved and the victim of
circumstances. The former is utterly hopeless because her nature
is too coarse-fibred to even realize, let alone heed, her own
infamy. The latter is equally hopeless because she realizes too
much. And how reform the half-world when society leads so gaily?
"We dance along Death's icy brink, but is the dance less fun?" If
morals are lax for sheer amusement, among those of the purple,
what wonder if Moses' tablet grew dim to the people! Did the
glorious and glittering sin of the French patricians teach the
grisette patience with her lowly lot? Or did not her frantic
fingers twist in the soft, perfumed tresses of proud heads, with
shrieks for the guillotine the more fierce because of the
toil-worn hands?

But she of the monde draws her costly laces over the little asps
and gives with the dainty hand of a pictured Lady Bountiful,
while her word smiles approval. And she of the half-world, who
realizes too much!--what she is, who gave heart and soul and body
to a supreme self-abnegation only to be struck back from the
blaze of her heaven with the brazen clamor of its closing gates
clashing through her stunted brain--she gathers the rags of her
life around her and flies, a haunted and a hunted thing to the
blackest depths, that can strangle thought and memory and brain.
She laughs, too, over her whited sepulchre, but it is a laugh
with painted lips and a merriment whose end is madness. We do not
ask her for charity,--when we remember her at all, it is to
clutch her wages of sin from her grasp to add to the city's tax.
And it is not the green asp of Rumor that sleeps in her breast,
covered by jewelled fingers, but under her thin hand burns the
flame of Vathek, eating always with its crimson torment till
heart and reason are charred and black and dead.

We cannot forgive her, so we fine her. Her name is in the Black
List, not the Blue Book. She sins and suffers, while the other
sins and smiles, and we lash the woman while we laud the wanton.

Of what avail are our home and refuge and retreat--empty shells
of stiff formula and strict red tape? Hospitals to the coarse
class, perhaps, but is it there a racked soul would turn while in
her tottering brain the armed hosts of heaven and hell wage war?

Of what avail are creed and dogma and ritual, when we ourselves
"bow the knee to pomp that loves to varnish guilt"? Of what avail
our benevolence that offers, not the Christ-touch of pity and
understanding, but the bitter bread of craven servitude and
Pharisaical condescension, that says "thou art vile and lost for
all time?"

We laud the wanton because she has wealth and power. She buys our
favor with her wines and feasts, and blinds our willing eyes with
her gifts and charities, and we only murmur with pensive
gentleness "who shall judge!"

We are such cultured black-mailers, such refined bribe-seekers,
such sensitive sycophants, while she obeys the eleventh
commandment and is properly discreet she feeds us epicurean
favors as she feeds her English pug bon-bons. And we are careful
that the face of the dog shall express the greater intelligence.

And the woman with the flame in her heart? From her we have
nothing to gain so--what would you? Her nature was too great to
be discreet. She sinned grandly, but the height of her sin made
deeper the depths of her soul abasement and her self-torment was
too horrible to clothe itself in the tawdry draperies of
diplomacy. She bared herself to the whips of the avenging furies,
she cowered before the wrath of outraged God, and to her there
was no guerdon possible for the shattered chrystal of her
girlhood. When her heaven thrust her out, to her there was only
left the world's hell of lost souls. And we in our wisdom accept
her own sentence and our lips are silent. We feast the wanton who
is wise and bracket Marguerite with Messalina. We kiss the one
and curse the other, because the one is a hypocrite in the halls
of splendor and the other honest in the haunts of shame. We hover
around the one with flatteries and soft courtesies, and we hound
down the other with pitiless vengeance, human and divine.

And in all this does our world show its shallowness and its
immeasurable stupidity. How dare woman say to her sister woman,
"I am better than thou!" In how much has she been tried and
tempted? How much does she know of life and its hideous tests?
How much does she know woman's love that is at once her glory and
her shame, her crown and her crucifix, her heaven and her
Calvary? How dare she judge? Has she ever faced the uphill battle
where her two hands alone fought the ravenous wolves of Want and
Hunger? Has she ever slipped her bared arm thro' the iron staples
and held it there, while they howled in fury outside, and this
iron cut and bruised and tore flesh and nerve,--till her teeth
sank through tongue and lips and her eyes grew misty and dim with
torture worse than death? Has she ever done all this--while her
strength reeled and failed and through it all she cursed God for
the white fear in the faces of those who loved and lived upon
her? Has she ever felt that sickening GIVE, as the hell-hounds
swept her back and down, and in her blind despair she would
clutch at aid though it were steeped in all the infamies from
here to hades? Has she ever known all this?--she who would draw
her silken shirts aside? Then if she have not, let her strip her
heart of its stainless selfishness and her limbs of their
ignorant ease; let her go out into the world where women live and
strive and suffer, and let her humbly crawl to the feet of those
women whose toil worn hands and weary faces and scarred hearts
and souls shame her shallow usefulness, and let her lay her mouth
in the dust and cry "Peccavi!"

How dare she judge! Who is she, with her pitiless eyes and
useless hands and ignorant heart and narrow life,--who is she to
question lives that in all their ruins are as grand, compared to
hers, as a ruined temple compared to a child's painted toy. Would
she write of Rome with the pearl and gold bauble on her dainty,
inlaid desk? Would she measure the Pantheon with the little
yardstick of her own intellect? Would she weigh Caesar's life and
motives on the jeweled letter-scales of her own experience? Would
she gauge Jove by the character of her curate?

If she can do this, then is she competent to voice her judgment
on the most profound of all mysteries--human life. Boise City,
Idaho, November 12.



One of the best books issued this year is the thin pamphlet, you
might call it, which contains Mr. John Morley's lecture on
Machiavelli. It will repay any reader from what standpoint soever
he may approach the character. "The veering gusts of public
judgment have carried incessantly along, from country to country,
and from generation to generation, with countless mutations of
aspect and of inuendo, the sinister renown of Machiavelli."

Truly this man of all men, since Judas, has attained an
immortality of infamy. Long was it thought that the common
domestic title of the devil, "Old Nick," was an abbreviation of
Machiavelli's Christian name. Hudibras fathered that myth, but
now we know, Mr. Morley says, that the familiar appellation of
the Evil One is a remnant of Norse mythology, deriving from Nyke,
the water- goblin.

For three centuries all the evils of all political systems and
policies have been attributed to the evils of Machiavelli's
logic. Church and State alike have claimed he was the champion of
the other's cause. He was Jesuit and atheist as it suited the
turn of any vituperative polemist. He was Reformer and "Romanist"
as the advocates of Rome or Reformation happened to interpret
him. His is, certainly, an unique greatness. There has been in
his work, as in all great works, something for all men; but that
something has been always, for three centuries, something bad. It
is no wonder, therefore, that there prevailed once, a belief that
the Devil himself had written his chief book. I have always had
an idea that Goethe in drawing Mephistopheles, glanced from the
tail of his mind's eye at Machiavelli for a model. Machiaveli
appears to come nearer than any human being to realizing the
Goethe conception of Intellectual Evil.

The man, still, may be infamous, but--he is intensely human. The
baseness of him has its basal strength in his founding upon man.
He is the only realist philosopher. Besides him Bacon is a
dreamer. Machiavelli was and is the master misanthrope, and,--God
help us!--we must admit that his misanthropy only too well is
founded on fact. He seems to have been the most perfect
incarnation of that "accomplished and infamous Italy," which
gave us the Borgias and the terrible Elizabethan plays of
Tourneur, Webster and Ford, with their plots of incest and
murder, that Italy which was a veritable Hell out of which rose
the Renaissance. He was the philosophy of that Italy. He first
said, in effect, that nothing succeeds like success. He first
cast aside Plato and his dreaming and Aristotle and his elements.
He was the father of the philosophy of "practical politics."
Francis Bacon learned of Machiavelli, who "wrote what men do and
not what they ought to do." This is the philosophy of fact. He
dealt with men as he found them. He was a sublime, almost a
diabolical opportunist I have often thought Benjamin Franklin,
with his "honesty is the best policy," is another Machiavelli,
only touched a little with the pharisaism of the Puritan. With
the Italian anything that would win is the best policy, and this
is his honest estimate of men. The best policy was the policy
adopted, after looking the facts of life and of human nature
squarely in the face and finding that the end was to be attained
easiest either by honesty or dishonesty. To "get there," as we
say, was the faith of Machiavelli.

Idea and ideal meant nothing to the author of "The Prince." What
we know as "moral forces" this Italian ignored. He judged
humanity by its lowest average of motive or intelligence. There
was but one general law, for him, and that was that it was right
to deceive, if force were of dubious effect, in affairs of State.
It were well to be honest, if one could, as a ruler of the State,
but it was his duty to rule and triumph by any means between the
extremes of simple lying on the one hand, and poisons or other
assassination on the other.

Machiavelli was born in 1469. He was a governmental secretary in
Florence and met many of the strangely fine and fiendish
characters of that time. He went on four missions to the King of
France; was an intimate of Caesar Borgia; was an emissary of the
Florentine republic to Pope Julius II, and was with Maximilian to
Innsbruck. Those were stormy times, and Machiavelli studied the
storms. He belonged to the popular party--and his masterpiece is
a manual for tyrants. After 1512, with the return of the Medici,
he lost his place, was imprisoned, was put to the torture, was
amnestied by Leo X and withdrew to San Casciano, where he lived a
life almost idyllic in its manner, to judge by a description from
his own pen which Mr. Morley has incorporated in his lecture. It
was there he wrote the book "The Prince," at forty- five,
dedicating it to Lorenzo the Magnificent. The dedication was a
bit of palaver to the tyrant who had destroyed Florentine
freedom. It was several years before he was rewarded by a small
employment and then he was commissioned to write the history of
Florence which he finished and dedicated to Leo X, in 1527. Here,
also, it is supposed, he wrote a comedy, much praised and
unremembered. He was a shrewd man, as his writings aver, yet he
made a failure of his own life, to a large extent. He was
cheerful in his ill-fortune, however, and he "clung to public
things," and, after his comedy, wrote the dialogues of the "Art
of War," to induce his countrymen to substitute for mercenary
armies a national militia--to-day one of the organic ideas of
the European system. Just as Machiavelli entered public life
Savonarola had gone to the stake for an idea. The spirit of Dante
touched him not at all. He was a man of his time, but not of the
very best of his time. And yet he wrote that he loved his country
with his whole soul. Mr. Morley says, "and one view of
Machiavelli is that he was always the lion masquerading in the
fox's skin, an impassioned patriot, under all his craft and jest
and bitter mockery. Even Mazzini, who explained the ruin of Italy
by the fact that Machiavelli prevailed over Dante, admits that he
had 'a profoundly heart.' " Machiavelli died in 1527.

He was a man of affairs. He had read the ancients who dealt with
politics, and he assimilated what he read, Mr. Morley says that
it was as true of Florence in the Sixteenth Century as of Athens,
Corinth, Corcyra in the Fifth Century before Christ, as set forth
in Thucydides, that it was a prey to intestine faction and the
ruinous invocation of foreign aid. "These terrible calamities,"
says Thucydides, "always have been and always will be, while
human nature remains the same. Words cease to have the same
relations to things, and their meanings are changed to suit the
ingenuities of enterprise and the atrocities of revenge. Frantic
energy is the quality most valued, and the man of violence is
always trusted. That simplicity which is a chief ingredient of a
noble nature is laughed to scorn. Inferior intellects succeed
best. Revenge becomes dearer than self-preservation, and men even
have a sweeter pleasure in the revenge that goes with perfidy
than if it were open." If any reader of the ICONOCLAST desires a
splendid picture of this Italy, I refer him to Vernon Lee's
"Euphorion," which pictures the land as an inferno. Mr. Morley,
too, gives a vivid picture of the time, saying that Italy of that
date "presents some peculiarities that shed over her civilization
a curious and deadly irridescence." How one thinks of Ingalls and
his "honesty in politics is an iridescent dream." To resume our
Morley. "Passions moved it in strange orbits. Private depravity
and political debasement went with one of the most brilliant
intellectual awakenings in the history of the western world.
Another dark element is the association of merciless selfishness,
violence, craft and corruption with the administration of sacred
things. If politics were divorced from morals, so was theology."
Hired crime, stealthy assassination, especially by poison,
prevailed. Contempt of human life, the fury of private revenge
and the spirit of atrocious perfidy were characteristic of the
luxurious Italian renaissance. Genius, according to John
Addington Symonds, it was assumed, "released man from the
shackles of ordinary mortality." These Italian tyrants were
touched with the Neronian malady. They were mad with power, with
luxury, with ennui. Flowers of Evil bloomed profusely. In Italy,
fair as it was, with the poets singing everlastingly of Spring,
it seemed God has forgotten the world. The demonaic fascination
of the land, then, is something the reader finds difficult to
shake off. You move among and hold converse with splendid
cultured monsters. The church alone kept alive purity, though it
did not escape corruption. I think Dante and Michael Angelo
proved that the pure religious spirit was not dead in a time when
it was proclaimed that "it is best to sleep and be of stone, not
to see and not to feel, while such misery and shame endure."
There was a spirit recognizing the "misery and shame," and that
spirit was in the church. Mr. Morley admits that Michael Angelo
was such a spirit and Dante wrote in "La Vita Nuova" the first,
pure, spiritual love-poem of the world.

Environed thus, and with a peculiarly Italian morbidezza, or
plasticity we find Machiavelli. Others before had written of
politics, but Machiavelli "had the better talent of writing." He
wrote to tell things clearly. Imagination he had none, as an
historian, and his comedy is in Limbo. He is all intellectual
strength, but the moral influence is missing. He is, says Mr.
Morley, simple, unaffected, direct, vivid, rational. He is as
literal as a woman. His literal statement is his finest effect of
irony. Mr. Morley's analysis of the Machiavellian style is itself
a masterpiece of serene expression, rising with a solemn sense of
the fearful absence of all principle, as we understand it, in the
work, to a richly eloquent, and even tender, tribute to the moral
beauty of life. I wish I might transcribe it and I hope that many
will read it. It is rarer than anything you may remember of
Macaulay's essay upon the everlastingly execrable Florentine.

"Men are a little breed" might have been Machiavelli's motto. Or
he might have said "the more I see of men the better I like
dogs." He is remorseless in seeing only that men are ungrateful,
fickle, deceivers, greedy of gain, run-aways before peril,
readier to pay back injury than kindness. "Worst of all they take
middle paths." Upon these, his observations, he proceeds to tell
a story of a State and he tells it icily. He lays bare the
foulness of man. He doesn't lecture, he does not preach, he never
laughs, never scolds, is never surprised. He shows, says Mr.
Morley about "as good a heart as can be made out of brains." In
my opinion, that sentence is the most terrible indictment in the
book. It marks him as a monster worse than Frankenstein.

Machiavelli has no opinion to argue about; nothing but men's
passions as they were and are. He is alive, always and
everywhere, because he shows us men. He maintains, according to
Mr. Morley, that the world grows no better and no worse. There is
for him no "one far-off, divine event to which the whole creation
moves." Nothing for him but Power. Good and evil concern him not.
He recited what we call a crime as impassively as he recited a
virtue. So-and-so did such and such. This followed. That is all.
He is a fatalist with no more sound philosophy than this: "It is
better to be adventurous than cautious, for Fortune is a woman,
and to be mastered must be boldly handled. He was a republican,
but he believed that strength was the secret of
government--strength in itself and in mastery of those who make
up the State. No half-measures for him. The State is his idol, if
he have one. The State must be supreme in will, in vigor, in
intelligence; unflinching, unsparing, remorseless. The humility
of Christ has no part in his scheme. He knows no mercy and no
justice. One almost can admire his inhuman disregard of men. He
cared as little for them as Napoleon. He scorns all gentleness.
And yet he thought well of the people, of their prudence and
stability. He deemed them liable to err as to generalities but
apt to be right as to particulars. Our experience, I dare say, is
otherwise--no matter how we stand on the financial question.
"Better far," he repeats an hundred times, "than any number of
fortunes is not to be hated by your people." Not to be hated!
That was as near as he could come to love. He is opposed to
dictators and he speaks out plainly enough, in his discourses,
about the unwisdom of slaying fellow-citizens, betraying friends,
being without mercy, without religion. He is conventional enough
in all this. When he comes to describe the Prince, who is to save
the divided State, he does so in lines that make a picture at
once to fascinate and affright mankind.

The Prince must save the State. He must be as good as he can be;
at least, he must have no vices that will hurt the State, i. e.
endanger his government. There are but two ways to govern, by law
or force. The Prince must rule by one or the other, as necessity
may dictate. He must mingle the lion and the fox. A Prince cannot
keep faith, if keeping faith will hurt the State. Why? Because
others will not keep faith with him. "It is frequently
necessary--and here is the sentence that has done so much to damn
its writer--for the upholding of the State, to go to work against
faith, against Charity, against humanity, against religion; and a
new Prince cannot observe all the things for which men are
reckoned good." Reason of State is the only universal test for an
action. Anything that may preserve the State is right. I wonder
what Professor Felix Adler would think of this, with his proposal
to make the State "take the place of the personal deity that is
passing out of men's lives. Machiavelli was a fetich worshipper
of the State. Preserve the State, say Machiavelli regardless of
justice, or pity, or honor! As Diderot, quoted by Mr. Morley,
said of this, it is an argument which should be headed, "The
Circumstances under which it is right for a Prince to be a

Caesar Borgia, the fiend, was Machiavelli's model, a man who
rivalled all the atrocities of the worst Roman emperors. But
Borgia failed. That matters not to Machiavelli. His failure was
"due to the extreme malignity of fortune." Mr. Morley's rapid
sketch of Caesar Borgia, ferocious, lustful in insane ways,
treacherous, splendidly vile, is a glance into the Hell that was
Italy. Machiavelli was in this man's train and frankly admired
him and his methods. All the men of the times seemed to be wild
beasts, and Borgia was as courageous, supple and sly as those
with whom he dealt. Machiavelli, to do him justice, thought that
Caesar Borgia and his father, the Pope, had design to pacify and
to unify Italy. They worked with the material and with the tools
to hand. Men did not shudder at treachery and assassination in
those days. We must judge men by their surroundings. And it is
difficult, even now, vide Turkey and Greece, "to govern the world
by paternosters." As Mr. Morley says, "It is well to take care
lest in blaming Machiavelli for openly prescribing hypocrisy, men
do not slip unperceived into something like hypocrisy of their
own. Each age has its own hypocrisy. Mr. Morley traces the
influences of Machiavelli, and finds them strong in William the
Silent, Henry of Navarre, and Good Queen Bess. All these rulers
dallied with creeds and were diplomats to the Machiavellian limit
of duplicity. They burned and hanged and tortured on the plea of
the strong State. Frederick, the Great, too, Mr. Morley classes
as a pupil of Machiavelli, though, once, the "crank" on tall
grenadiers threatened to write a refutation of "The Prince" and
thereby drew from Arouet de Voltaire a characteristic mot.
Napoleon, with his "reasons of State," was Machiavellian.
Machiavelli presided at the shooting of D'Engheim. It was one of
the last things which showed "what reason of State may come to,
in any age, in the hands of a logician with a knife in his

From the influence of Machiavelli upon the Absolutists, Mr.
Morley comes down to his influence in the Republican camp.
Mazzini, he says "could not curse the dagger" and yet Mazzini was
"in some respects the loftiest moral genius of the century." Mr.
Morley does not believe that Machiavellism has pervaded party
politics in Europe or America. I wonder if this be not a sample
of Mr. Morley's Machiavellism--a reason of state at this time. If
not Machiavellism, what, in God's name, are our platform
straddles, our expediency candidates, our deals and dickers in
tariff-bills, our endeavors to catch all kinds of votes from all
kinds of "interests." I am not a silverite, but the regular
Democrats made and out-and-out platform and did not hedge. I am a
Democrat and glad that, though it "split us wide open," we fought
out the issue just as we fought out the slavery issue. True
Democrats, gold or silver, despise only the Machiavellists who
talk of compromise. Machiavelli seems to have seen but one side
of life--the worse. He knew but one kind of men--Italians of the
sixteenth century. They were not normal. It is true that Nature
is not moral, but if Machiavelli be right it were just as well
that we should return to the conditions of life in Stanley
Waterloo's "Story of Ab." Whether Nature be moral or not, at
least men are. We must look at the facts. We have civilized our
code of warfare. The greatest living diplomat is Leo XIII, and no
one deems that he succeeds by deceit. Bismark says there is no
success in lying, in diplomacy. Reasons of State are not, in the
common consent of mankind, good reasons per se. "Talleyrand was
false to every one but true to France." He was an avatar of
Machiavelli, and he is despised, universally.

The Roman State has passed away. The Venetian and the Florentine
States have passed. All the supreme States have vanished and they
begun to fade just as soon as the Machiavellian idea began to
prevail. The State is not the end of the existence of people. The
State must grow broader and broader until, let us hope, we shall
see "the parliament of man, the federation of the world." Our
sympathy with Cuba, with the Armenians, with Ireland, with
Poland, rises up to refute Machiavelli and his right of the State
to crush for mere pleasure of power. "If Machiavelli had been at
Jerusalem two thousand years ago, he would have found nobody of
importance save Pontius Pilate and the Roman legionaries," says
Mr. Morley. He forgot the moral force of the world. Machiavelli's
fault is the Renaissance fault. The Renaissance turned to the
past to reconstruct everything, and it copied, save in its
architecture, only Antiquity's faults. It became diseased, trying
to adjust itself to dead things. Life itself became corrupted;
the Renaissance was to a large extent a birth out of

Machiavelli was a scientist--a vivisectionist I should say. He
preached, with a vengeance, the survival of the fittest. He is
vital in his books today because he stands for the vitality of
men's passions. He saw them and studied them and knew them. But
upon passions nothing ever was builded. They shift and change.
They cannot give a foundation of permanency to a State. They were
the essence of that chaos out of which he thought to bring order
in anarchic Italy, working on them and on them alone. Cunning,
jealousy, perfidy, ingratitude, dupery were the instruments with
which he would fashion out a State. And he knew that the State so
wrought could not last, for he said the world grew no better;
what made his State destroyed it, inevitably. Machiavelli ignored
charity, which is in itself, justice, fidelity, gratitude,
honesty and all the virtues. He was a man without hope and a man
without love. What a great sad mad man he was, indeed. St. Louis,
November 15.

 * * *

The country appears to be overrun at present with amateur
editors. When a man learns by sad experience that he hasn't
sufficient sense to successfully steer a blind mule through a
cotton patch, where the rows are a rod apart, he exchanges his
double-shovel plot for the editorial tripod and begins "moulding
public opinion" and industriously exchanging advertising acreage
for something to eat. When Will Carleton's old farmer discovered
that his son Jim was good for nothing else on God's earth he
concluded to "be makin' an editor outen o' him." That practice
prevails throughout the country to a very considerable extent
to-day--the sanctum divides with the pulpit and the stage those
incompetents who aspire to mount above the plow, yet lack the
necessary brains to succeed in business, in medicine or at the
bar. When a man fails at everything else he is apt to be seized
with a yearning ambition to become an editor. He gets trusted for
a shirt-tail full o' pied type, a pre-Raphaelite press, lays in a
job-lot of editorial "we's" and a sawdust cuspidore, girds up his
loins and begins to commence. His first task is to reform the
currency system and instruct the universe in the esoteric science
of economics. He may not be able to successfully float a
butcher's bill, but he writes of finance with all the assurance
of Alexander Hamilton. He may not know whether Adam Smith or
Tommy Watson wrote the "Wealth of Nations"; but he doesn't
hesitate to take issue with every economist from Quesnay to
Walter--to utilize his paste-pot for arc light and play at
Liberty Enlightening the World. These amateur editors are the
curse of the country. They Guldensuppe John Stuart Mill and play
Leutgert to Lindley Murray. It is some consolation, however, to
reflect that they seldom last long. They unfold their wing-like
ears and make a frantic flutter at the sun, only to come down
beam first on some rocky islet in the Icarian sea. Their
creditors do not have even the mournful satisfaction of
contemplating the hole--the amateur editor invariably pulls it in
after him. But until his first notes fall due he is an iridescent
glory. He adores himself with a long-tailed hand-me-down Albert
Edward and carries the universe in his arms. He pokes his
meddlesome proboscis into everything and gives oodles of advice,
unasked. He may not have as much principle as a tomcat in
rutting time, but he poses before all men as a "guardian of
public morals." When he places the awful seal of his disapproval
upon a fellow mortal he expects to see him shrivel ups like a fat
angle-worm on a sea-coal fire. He's a modern Balaam, peddling
God's blessings and curses--for the long green. He imagines that
an eager multitude sit up every night to catch the first dank
copy of his little matutinal mistake--to see what he's got to
SAY. He's garrulous as a toothless gran dam at a sewing circle,
as busy as a canine eunuch when his kind do congregate. He
discourses of everything, from the creation of the universe to
Farmer Brown's visit to Bugleville. He fairly riots in editorial
"leaders." He gives his "moral support"--and nothing else--to
those local enterprises whose promoters jack him up with gobs of
taffy on the mistaken hypotheses that his "flooence" may be
useful. He has an idea that his miserable little journalistic
misfit is "making the town" and is entitled to great wads of
gratitude--that should his towline break the whole community
would go awhooping to hades, the bottom would fall out of realty
values and the streets be overgrown with Johnson grass. So he
toils and sweats and stinks--imagines that he is roosting on the
top rung of the journalistic ladder when he hasn't even learned
his trade. Finally he falls through the bosom of his pantalettes.
The sheriff levies on his stock of editorial "we's" the paste
sours, the office cat starves, spiders festoon the sawdust
cuspidore and the dust settles like a pall on his collection of
worn type and wood-base railway cuts. The second-hand engine
ceases to snort, the rat printers disperse and the wheezy old
cylinder press no longer alarms the neighborhood. But in a little
while another yap scraps up $40 in cash, catches a sucker to
endorse his note and there's a renascence of the old plant. It is
from shyster lawyers without clients, quack doctors without
patients and peanut politicians without pulls that the ranks of
amateur journalism are constantly recruited. Such people always
imagine it dead easy to "run" a paper--that it is only necessary
to grab the editorial stylus and pour forth their inexhaustible
fund of misinformation to set the woods on fire. Such papers
usually manage to wiggle through the fall and winter, for they
can then sell advertising space at a dollar an acre, take pay in
soft-soap and second-hand sad-irons and still make a reasonable
profit--the time of their manipulators being worth nothing a
week; but when the long dull summer dawns they go "up agin it"
with a dull hollow groan. Every town between Sunrise and Last
Chance has had experience galore with the amateur editor. He is
one of those unhung idiots who rush in where angels fear to
tread. He is an incorrigible but an unabateable nuisance. He
never succeeds in making money for himself; he always manages to
lose it for somebody else. You may mark this; The quack cannot
achieve permanent success in any profession, in journalism least
of all, for there his shortcomings cannot be concealed. To become
a successful newspaper man one must begin at the bottom and climb
by pure strength through long days of labor and nights of agony.
It is the most exacting profession in the world today. It is true
that some so-called yellow journals succeed in making money; but
while they employ perverts they have no use for Smart Alecs and
amateurs. Amateur journalists, like dog-fennel and jimson weeds,
usually blossom in Jayville. Most Southern towns have suffered
from their reckless depredations and will hail their excoriation
with delight; still it is a wicked waste of nervo-muscular
energy--the amateur journalist, like the poor, and the
megalophanous jackass, we have ever with us.

 * * *

The ICONOCLAST receives thousands of letters to which it is
impossible for me personally to reply. Many of them refer to the
attempts made to forcibly suppress the ICONOCLAST, and to the
terrible tragedy resulting from those attacks. I take this
opportunity of thanking my friends for their kindly interest, and
to assure them that I have stood from the first solely upon the
defensive. I have made a decent attempt to set an example of
Christian forbearance for my religious brethren. To the kindly
offers of other cities to afford the ICONOCLAST an asylum and
protect its editor from outrage, I will simply say that I do not
consider either my property or person in the slightest danger. A
majority of the Texas people are both broad gauged and
law-abiding. We probably have our proportion of intolerant bigots
and splenetic-hearted little blatherskites who preach mob
violence from the pulpit; but such people are not dangerous so
long as they are well watched. My forbears helped make Texas a
republic; they helped make it a state of the American union. I
like the climate, and most of the people, and am in no hurry to
move. I may have to seek a better distributing point for my
publications, as they are already too extensive to be properly
handled from any Texas town; but I shall not pull my tent stakes
for a day or two. If I do move--sometime within the next
twelve-month--it will be bruited throughout the universe that I
was driven out of Waco,--just as my brethren in Christ say I was
driven out of San Antonio; but that won't worry my soul a cent's
worth. I've been lied about so d----n much, that I feel ill at
ease and neglected unless the target of vindictive mendacity by
tearful souls who fail to pay their debts. I've been kept so
badly frightened all month by threats to drag me out of my home
and hang me, or otherwise measure me up for a crop of angelic
pin-feathers that I've been unable to write anything worth
reading. But as soon as I can swallow my heart and quit shivering
I will grab the English language by the butt-end and make it
crack like a new bull-whip about the ears of hypocrites and
humbugs. Meanwhile I desire to state that there is nothing the
matter with the ICONOCLAST's contributors. They are a bouquet
of pansy blossoms of whom any publisher might well be proud.
Should the editor chance to swallow too much water the next time
he is baptized, they can be depended upon to keep the flag of the
ICONOCLAST afloat until the red headed heir-apparent learns to
write with one hand and shoot with the other. Let it go at that.

 . . .

Princeton, N. J., is dreadfully disappointed because the "Stuffed
Prophet" didn't call his kid Grover Cleveland. It is really
pitiful to contemplate the agony of Princeton; but the average
tax-payer is likely to conclude that one Grover Cleveland is
quite enough in any country. It is to be hoped that the son will
not resemble the sire--that he will not have the beefy mug of the
booze-sodden old beast who disgraced the presidency by playing
that high office for his personal profit. Let it never be
forgotten that G. Cleveland was the only man to enter the
presidency a pauper and leave it a plutocrat. And he managed to
do this at a time when millions of better men were going hungry
to bed.



 How small of all that human hearts endure
 That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
Still to ourselves in every place consigned,
 Our own felicity we make or find.--Dr. Samuel Johnson.

There is something admirably rugged and encouragingly practical
in the sentiments and philosophies of the older writers that acts
on the mind as a potent tonic when wearied and weakened by the
monotonous and anaemic outpourings of the so-called
philanthropists of the present day. There is something
energizing, thew-developing. This is the age of pulling
literature, of crocodile tears, of simulated tenderness, of
counterfeit sympathy, of cry and clamor and plaint and protest.
In politics we call this practice calamity-howling, whether in
tornado-swept Kansas, blizzard-bitten Iowa or boss-ridden New
York. in literature it is mere charlatanry, mere scagliola, made
for sale. Hamlin Garland makes imaginary journeys over "Traveled
Roads" to tell us of the utter and intolerable miseries of the
Western farmers who live in sod houses. Raising dollar wheat is
not so bad, even in a sod house. George Cable and Albion Tourges
write sentimental lies about the Southern negroes. Those at all
familiar with the facts know that no people on earth are happier
than the Southern negroes. Arthur Morrison writes about "The
Child of the Jago" and draws tears from our eyes. Those who have
seen the children of the Jago fight and play, romp and riot would
probably be willing to trade health and peace of mind with any of
them. The list is too long or it might be interesting to name
others who write for the purpose of making people discontented,
to inflame jealousy or arouse envy. It will be no trouble to
recall a host of others. The politician seeks to "remove the
inequalities of life by wise and salutary laws," meaning that he
wants office. The "literary feller" seeks "to educate the public
mind and raise the public conscience to a higher plane," meaning
that he wants to do the educating, incidentally, and to sell his
books, objectively. To complain that life is "often more than sad
enough, with its inequalities confronting us, its gilded prizes
and its squalors side by side, its burdens and its trivialties
pressing in upon the soul," as does Marguerite Merington in a
late and otherwise excellent magazine article, is to strike a
popular chord, but the note is false and scabrous, the philosophy
less than commendable. Men are but children of a larger growth
and, like children of a smaller growth, they like to be petted
and pitied and told that the world is not treating them fairly.
No man, rich or poor, is contented, and he enjoys being told that
his failure to reach the goal of his ambitions and fill to the
brim his cup of pleasure is because of the great impersonal
world, or untoward and oppugning circumstances have prevented
him. He enjoys this sort of thing so much that he will pay
handsomely for it and the charlatan finds a market for his wares.
He does not like the plain truth bluntly stated. No one does. We
do not admire those who wrestle and strive with us. Nevertheless,
they alone strengthen our muscles and, hence--

 . . .

Verily I say: "Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of
fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantom of hope--who expect
that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the
deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow,"
need not attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia,
except for the passing pleasure of the reading, because the story
can be told in fewer words, to wit: Happiness is a personal
equation--"what is one man's meat is another man's poison."
Rasselas found the Happy Valley irksome and intolerable. There
never has been a Happy Valley since that could furnish continuous
content to any one. The nearest approach to happiness comes with
juxtaposition to one's tastes and aspirations. The simpler the
tastes and the less discursive the aspirations, the nearer
happiness comes and the longer it remains. Happiness does not
come from conditions or surroundings, nor are these conditions or
surroundings always understood. Actual conditions do not reveal
themselves to perspicacity much less to casual observation.
The multi-millionaire in his mansion or the king on his throne,
surrounded by all the comforts and conveniences, all the
marvelous treasures, all that is pleasing to the eye and to the
senses, may not be happy--may be unhappy. The rustic who follows
the plow through furrowed fields, unkempt, clownish,
toil-stained, weary and overworked, may brawl raucous roundelay
at even-tide and enjoy the fullness of earthly bliss. His
neighbor similarly situated may suffer agonies because his tastes
and ambitions are higher. Those who imagine "plow hands" have no
ambitions to gratify know little of life. Sometimes they aspire
to be presidents, and sometimes they gratify those aspirations,
but they never know happiness. They may be as wise as a dozen
Solons, but they can not provide happiness by legislation. They
may reach the summit of earthly glory and strive to seize the
fulgurant prize that lured them on, only to find a penumbra--the
shadow of a shade. And if conditions are actually known they
prove nothing, generally. Each case must be specialized. Children
and grown people, for that matter, are subjected to involuntary
fasts and oftimes go hungry, in fact are always hungry, but they
suffer less and are healthier than those who are stuffed and
pampered and sated. The joy of eating when food comes compensates
for the previous scantiness of the fare. There are deaths from
insufficient alimentation; ten to one are the deaths traceable to
over-feeding. There is suffering for lack of food. There is ten
to one more suffering by gouty and dyspeptic gourmands. The
beggar shivers in the cold for lack of clothing; there is ten to
one more suffering from over-swathing. For pain, actual,
excrutiating; for pain invincible, somber and unutterable, one
proud woman reduced to a last season's frock suffers more than
twenty arrayed in customary rags and tatters. God tempers the
wind to the shorn lamb, but not to the dowdy woman. The occupant
of the cottage or cabin as he hurries home on Saturday night with
his hard-earned store perhaps envies the occupant of the mansion
where lights burn brightly and music fills the air, but the
master of the mansion may be driven to the verge of insanity in
an unequal contest to keep up appearances and a style of living
that is grinding his heart into dust. Gladly, he thinks, he would
court the modest shelter of the cottage or cabin but, alas!
sorrow and suffering, want and wickedness might follow him there.
From natal bed to mortuary box happiness escapes us--the faster,
the more we pursue it.

We mistake appearances for realities and misbestow our sympathy.
Had some of the more tender-hearted met Audubon when he returned
from one of his trips in the forests, his clothing in shreds, his
shoes gone, travel- stained and unkempt, alms would have been
unhesitatingly bestowed. And how amused would the great man have
been! He was too great to have been irritated. If, as it is
claimed, human happiness is the aim and object of
philanthropists, they seek the unattainable and destroy that
which they would save. A sudden wrenching from the one condition
to another is misery. The eagle would rather starve in his native
forests than feast in a cage. The Indian maiden who graduates at
Carlisle and who captures all the medals, returns to her blanket
and the dirt, dogs and squalor of her tribe as soon as she
reaches the reservation. There is a strain of the Huckleberry
Finn in all natures that resents a too sudden metamorphosis and
which will return to its rags, its back alley and empty cask.
Charlatans of the law and of literature inculcate the idea that a
change in conditions means the acquisition of unqualified bliss,
and they assume that the poor are necessarily unhappy and
endeavor to convince them--not a difficult task, that it is the
fault of someone else that they are not rich! Folly! The
hod-carrier and helot who works from dawn to dusk, who goes in
rags, who fares on coarsest food, whose wife and children live in
squalor, may be considered unhappy, but they never experience
real suffering, acute, unasuageable, poignant grief, until they
become possessed of money and mansions and modern grandeur, only
to find themselves coldly isolated. Sudden wealth has made them
too grand for their former friends, it cannot secure them
entrance into the society which they would affect, or, if it
does, they find themselves ill at ease, out of place, miserable.
Those who imagine that all bliss comes from lucre or legislation
know little and are "ignorant of their own ignorance." They do
not know that "our own felicity we make is final, and that
through the cultivation of individual inherency and personal
sufficiency. They listen to the charlatans who, on the plea of
bringing balm, inflict incurable wounds; who would bring
happiness by sowing the dragon's teeth of discontent. "Coal-Oil
Johnny," who threw away hundreds of thousands of suddenly
acquired dollars, was a philosopher. The money put him out of
harmony with himself. It was to him a curse. And he wisely rid
himself of it. There is peace and pleasure in the jangling
discord and in the pains of effort, a peace which, otherwise, the
world can not give, a pleasure found nowhere else; and this peace
and pleasure are not to be sought by effort; are not to be
attained by effort; but are found in the effort itself. There is
pleasure in dressing a field or in painting a house, but not in
the dressed field or in the painted house. In other words, there
is pleasure in individual assertiveness and not in inertia. No
doubt either Calypso or Circe was more attractive than Penelope,
but Ulysses was not content. He had to continue his wanderings
even to his own home, and when he had killed of all the suitors
and was restored to his diplomatic spouse, there were doubtless
days when he wished himself back with the enchantress on the
lovely isle--days when he would have changed places with his
father, Sisyphus, and rolled the ever returning stone with will
and energy. Ease and passivity were a torture to him.

A picture of life is painted by that wonderful artist, Gabrielle
d'Annunzio, in "The Triumph of Death." Yes, I hear the hurtling
of such missles as "decadent," "obscene," "vulgar," "impious."
Nevertheless d'Annunzio is one of the great masters. His pigments
may be mud or muck. His brush is the brush of an Angelo. His
finished product is life itself, breathing, pulsing life, through
which the blood rushes loud enough to be heard. Life in all its
phases, from the loftiest to the lowliest. Demetrius, wealthy,
scholarly, meditative, one would suppose needed no legislation or
literature to make him happy. He possessed all the world had to
give. "A mild, meditative man, with a face full of virile
melancholy, and a single white curl in the center of his forehead
among the black hair, giving him an old appearance." He sought
earnestly and sedulously for the secret meaning of life. He tried
to reach and unravel its symbols and allegories; he tried to
interpret the furtive gestures which he beheld in the shadows,
and he passed into deeper shadows and more oppressive
silences through the ghastly gates of suicide, while his idiotic
sister remained to chatter and grimace. Jaconda remained
gibbering and pleased with the world and with herself. George saw
this and he saw many other things which he could not understand.
He saw "Oreste of Chapelles" firing the simple minds of the
people to fanaticism as he went up and down like a fury. He saw
the pilgrims at the sanctuary and the beggars and cripples on his
return from the sanctuary to Cassalbordino--horrible monsters,
not fashioned, or scarce fashioned in God's image, and he saw
that they had their families and their belongings with them, that
they piteously plead for alms and that they danced and sung,
cursed and caroused, made merry over the deformities of each
other, and presented a phase of life wholly incomprehensible.
Laws or literature could not increase their happiness. Their
apparent miseries were not real. He saw Colas, ignorant, stupid,
superstitious, but content. He saw Candia, proud of her
fecundity, slaving, singing. He saw Favetta, the young singer
with the falcon-like eyes, the idol of her friends, simple,
modest, happy. He saw the peasants in their mysterious rites
"consecrating the nativity of bread" in the harvest field. They
needed neither laws nor literature to improve their condition.
They were the happiest of mortals. And he saw the dark tragedies
of this remote world. Liberata carrying her dead child on her
head to the burial place. No laws or literature for her, poor
woman: her baby was dead and her reason was gone. He saw
Riccangela, the widow, on the beach, with her large rough hands,
pouring forth her heart in a wild monody over the remains of her
puny boy, who was drowned, while the homicidal sea chanted a
lugubrious accompaniment or mocked the agony of the song. George
sought the meaning and the key to life's mysteries and found them
not. Subjective study and spiritual contemplation drove him mad.
They had driven his uncle Demetrious mad. He recoiled from them
and plunged into life as he found it, endeavoring to extract from
it the honey of happiness, or at least, immunity from misery. If
carnalism could furnish content, one would think George would
have found it. Rich to opulence, young, idle, he met Hippolyte,
"a compound of pale amber and dull gold in which were mingled
perhaps a few tints of faded roses." He won her and subjected
her, "the bloodless, wounded creature who used to submit with
profound astonishment, the ignorant and frightened creature who
had given him that fierce and divine spectacle--the agony of
modesty felled by vicious passion." He idolized her and idealized
her in the struggle for perfect bliss. He took her to the
deserted abbey and placed on "the summit of the high marble
candelabra which had not heard the voice of the light for
centuries," where she burned before his eye in the
inextinguishable and silent flame of her love, and, as he
believed, illuminating the meditations of his soul. Folly! His
apotheosis was a farce. She developed, but not spiritually. What
he supposed was a pure flame of love proved to be a base erotic
fever. The bloom of pudicity was brushed off. She acquired a
strange power over him; she, the once innocent and frightened
creature. "She possessed the infallible science and knew her
lover's most secret and subtle sensibilities and knew how to move
them with a marvelous intuition of the physical conditions that
depend on them and their corresponding sensations and their
association and their alternatives." And from the thing of beauty
and light, seen with enraptured eyes as she stood "on the summit
of the marble candelabra which had not heard the voice of the
light for centuries, she became a loved and hated thing, "the
flower of concupiscence," "an instrument of low lasciviousness."
The union of these two, perfect in all outward appearances,
blessed with love and leisure, beauty and youth, and all that
wealth could buy, was a mocking and a delusion because lacking in
spirituality, because unsanctified and unholy. It was a
monstrous tragedy, this union, presented on a stage of ashes
over a volcano. (Unions in polite society, where forms are
observed, laws obeyed and customs followed, but where the moving
impulse is sordid, where the marriage is for money or for
social position, do they, too, not drift toward mutual hate and
abhorrence, to divorce or death? I only ask the question. There
may be more Georges and Hippolytes in the world than we care to
admit). When at last he discovered his true condition, when he
realized that he was in her power that he could not live with her
or without her, that she obstructed his way of life and his way
to death, he caught her in his arms and hurled both over the
precipice upon the rocks below, making a ghastly ending for a
ghastly tragedy. No law or literature could have brought
happiness to him. He sought it in the various ways, in every way
but the one, simple and only right way--the effort to confer
happiness on others. Frantic intoxications, the culminations of
carnal pleasures, which amount to unspeakable ecstasies, are mere
temporations which are followed by lassitude, exhaustion and
disgust, and these soon turn to a fiercely implacable hate. The
search for happiness, when carried to the extreme, becomes a
torture. The desire for happiness is selfish, and selfishness is
never happy. Happiness dispensed is like bread cast upon the
water, and will return after many days. Those who seek it stray
from it. All laws and all literature that arouse the spirit of
discontent, of selfishness and of desire for happiness, are
vicious because they defeat the very object which they seek to
accomplish, and make people more miserable than they were by
increasing their capacity for suffering without a coexistent
power to gratify the desires aroused. What is this George Eliot
puts into the mouth of the radical, Felix Holt? "This world is
not a very fine place for a good many of the people in it. But
I've made up my mind it shan't be the worse for me if I can help
it. They tell me I can't alter the world--that there must be a
certain number of sneaks and robbers in it, and if I don't lie
and filch somebody else will. Well, then, somebody else shall,
for I won't--I will never be one of the sleeks dogs--I would
never choose to withdraw myself from the labor and common burden
of the world; but I do choose to withdraw myself from the rush
and scramble for money and position. Any man is at liberty to
call me a fool, and say that mankind are benefitted by the push
and scramble in the long run, but I care for the people who are
alive now and will not be living when the long run comes. I
prefer to go shares with the unlucky."

Irrefragible philosophy! The true and the wise proceed not to
stir up the lees of passion and greed and avarice and ambition.
They remain with the world, go with it in its devious ways and
through its torturous windings, removing the thorns and briars
from before naked feet, shielding the weak, sheltering the naked,
encouraging and dispensing light and hope and love. The true and
wise who love their fellows avoid strife and carnage, and
conflict with the ineluctable, but they meet the inevitable
calmly and courageously. They are superior to laws and
literature. They are supremely blest. Memphis. Tenn., November

 * * *

Somebody whom I have never harmed sends me an A. P. A. tract
entitled "A Good Catholic," and issued by Tommy Watson, who once
tried to run for vice-president on the Middle-of-the-Muck
ticket--for the purpose of turning back the reform tide and
electing the humble peon of the gold-buggers, high-tariffites and
trusts. Tommie's Ape tract is simply an "ad." for a weekly paper
which he seems to be getting out all by his little self somewhere
in Gooberdom. On the front elevation of this bombshell with which
he expects to blow the Vatican across the yellow Tiber, the
statement is made in display type that, for the trifling sum of
one dollar in hand paid, "You can read the brilliant, patriotic
editorials of Hon. Thos. E. Watson" for an entire year--granting,
of course, that their Promethean brilliancy fail to set your
shirt-tail afire in the meantime. There is no provision for the
return of your money in case Tommie's exhuberant patriotism
should overpower you. We are then assured that "no Roman Pope or
American Cardinal can coerce" the architect of the "brilliant and
patriotic editorials" aforesaid. Now that's the kind of a man I
admire! Hang a Georgia editor, say I, who sells himself to the
Pope of Rome for six bits, or rushed around to an American
Cardinal every morning before breakfast with the proof-sheets of
his labored lucubrations, humbly asking permission to print. The
brilliant and patriotic editor of a Georgia paper having a paid
circulation of 710 copies can not be too independent. It is his
solemn duty to keep watch and ward over this country and promptly
put a kibosh on every conspiracy of the Pope. Like most brilliant
patriots, Tommie has sacrificed a very great deal for conscience
sake. When he tried to save the country by playing second tail to
the Bryan kite for the purpose of dividing the reform forces and
electing a Republican president, the Pope and all his "priest-led
citizens" straddled his collar, rode him into an open grave and
piled a cathedral on top of him to hold him down--at least I
suppose they did from the way in which this raucous little Buzfuz
is chewing the rag. Had he been "A Good Catholic" he would have
been elected with votes to burn; for did not Dick Bland have to
hide out in the Ozark hills to escape the presidential nomination
the moment it was rumored that his wife was a "Romanist"? Did not
Generals Sherman and Sheridan have to insulate themselves to
avoid the presidential lightnings which played around them
continuously because they were Catholics? Sure! Tommie is
doubtless correct in his assertion that the Pope controls
American politics and dictates every act of congress. That is
amply proven by the fact that after all these years the Catholics
have a representative in the president's cabinet. That all
Catholics are sworn enemies of this republic and peons of the
Pope is demonstrated by the fact that the "Romish"
attorney-general refused to permit his people to erect at their
own expense a chapel on government ground at West Point--the
general public being taxed meanwhile to maintain an Episcopal
clergyman at that place. Tommy protests that he is both a Baptist
and devoid of bigotry. If he can make this claim good I will
undertake to secure for him an engagement at $1,000 a day in a
dime museum as the greatest curio ever seen in this country.
Doubtless there are many good people who are Baptists but God's
sunlight never fell upon one who was not a bigot. The man who
concedes that it is possible for one to reach heaven except he be
soused bodily into some sacred slop-tub is not a Baptist. If he
thinks he is, he has made a faulty diagnosis of his disease. The
Baptist church breeds bigotry just as a dead mule does magots. It
dominates politics wherever it is strong enough to do so. It
boycotts every publisher who dares suggest that it doesn't
hold the one only key to heaven. It is the sworn foe of
Catholicism, yet not one of its members in a million has the
remotest idea what Catholicism means. It assumes that the great
body of Catholics are ignorant clowns, while itself absorbing 60
per cent. of the illiterates of this land. The more ignorant an
animal is the more bigoted Baptist it is likely to be. I cannot
at present think of a single American of distinction who was a
member of that denomination. I have passed in mental review the
great American statesmen, soldiers, authors and inventors, and
find only one among them who was web-footed. Garfield was a
Campbellite--and had he not been murdered no one would have
suspected that he was a great man. If any of the immortelles was
of the Baptist persuasion he was probably ashamed of that fact,
as he kept it concealed. It is possible that in soaking the
original sin out of a fellow any latent germs of genius he
possesses may be extracted also. Tommie solemnly assures us that
Catholics dare not read a book or paper that has not been
formally approved by the Pope. What a foolish falsehood!
I'll wager a pint of peanuts that Watson cannot name half a dozen
American books, papers or magazines that bear the Papal
imprimatur, and another pint of the same luscious circus fruit
that even his own rabid A.P.A. rot has never been placed in the
index prohibitorius. If it is not there every Catholic in this
country is privileged to read it without consulting Rome. Of the
most bigoted sect of pseudo- religious fanatics that ever cursed
this country the Hon. Tommie Watson is perhaps the most
intolerant and narrow-brained little blatherskite. And the worst
of it all is that while in religion he's a fool, in politics he's
a knave. While pretending that the cause of the common people was
the apple of his eye, he lent himself to a scheme to defeat their
tribune and elect a ligneous-headed hiccius-doctius owned soul
and body by Mark Hanna, the "industrial cannibal." Bryan would be
president to-day but for this busy little blabster whom accident
placed in a position where he could betray the people. Avaunt!
thou contumacious little coyote, thou pestiferous pole-cat.
Benedict Arnold was a gentleman when compared to you, for his
treason was open and avowed, while you stabbed the cause of the
people in a friendly embrace, struck in the back. You have had no
parallel since Judas Iscariot conspired with the plutocracy to
betray the idol of the people--and even Judas had decency enough
to hang himself as expiation for his infamy. Shut up, thou
hatchet-faced, splenetic-hearted, narrow-headed little hypocrite,
for verily the world is aweary of Tommie Watson. His "brilliant
and patriotic editorials" are used only to underlay carpets,
paper pantry shelvest and for purposes less polite. I cheerfully
risk my reputation as a prophet on the prediction that in less
than two years his windy little "reform" paper will go to the
bone-pile. Tommie, you are the pin-worm of American politics--a
more aggravating little parasite than even Miltonius Park. Take a
gentleman's advice and apply the soft pedal to your wheezy
calliope--get off the political stage in time to avoid the coming
cataclysm of sphacelated cabbage and has-been cats. The day of
your destiny's over and the star of your fate is in the
mullagatawny. You are simply a fragment of worthless political
seaweed cast with flabby jelly fish and dead sting rays upon an
inhospitable shore, there to rot and befoul the atmosphere. You
have "a very ancient and fishlike smell, a smell not of the
newest." You may howl a lung out, but will only evoke laughter or
disgust. Occasionally some lonely Middle-of-the-Roader, dragging
his No. 12's painfully through the dust may turn to look at you,
perhaps toss you a dime; but you are politically dead. You may
play the Baptist racket for all it is worth; but the brethren
while long on zeal are shy on boodle. Even Jehovah Boanerges
Cranfill, the champion leg elongator of the universe, finds it
hard work to keep fat in the Baptist field--must add professional
beggary to his schemes of predacity. You may tie your abortive
little paper to the tail of the "Ape," but that animal is too
weak in the hinder legs to pull it out of a financial hole. Go
plug yourself. Shuck your long-tailed hand-me-down Albert
Edward, trade your paper for a double-shovel plow, gird up your
yarn galluses and make a reasonable effort to earn an honest
living. Had you expended half the nervo-muscular energy in the
cotton patch that you have wasted in working your jaw-bone you
would have money to burn. Mene mene tekel upharsim--which means
that you are entirely too light at both ends.


My attention has been called by several disgusted doctors to one
Jay Jay Lawrence who tacks A.M., M.D. to his patronymic,
evidently as an anchor to hold it to the earth. Jay Jay and his
vestibule-train title are conducting a sickly concern at St.
Louis, sporting the euphonious cognomen of The Medical Brief, a
monthly devoted to patent medicine and politics, blue ointment
and economics, vermifuge and philosophy. Although Jay Jay finds
it necessary to mix display ads with his reading matter to make
the latter palatable, he declares that his painful monthly
emission has "the largest circulation of any medical magazine in
the world"--thereby indicating that while his mentality may be
atrophied, his imagination is intumescent. I have long noticed
that journals having large bonafide circulations do little
tooting of their own horns on the house-tops--they don't have to.
It is a species of journalistic quackery which every
thorough-bred publisher regards with contemptuous pity. Brains
win, in the journalistic world as elsewhere, and "blowing" a
circulation were equivalent to employing a brass band to call
attention to the abnormal size of the editorial encephalon. Still
I wouldn't be without Jay Jay's truly remarkable magazine for ten
times the money. I haven't a very high opinion of it as a medical
authority, as it has "Cagliostro" written on it from cover to
cover; but as a humorous journal it is 'way ahead of anything
since the "Wax Wurx" of Artemus Ward. When I weary of the
professional fun-makers, when I tire of laughing at Brer.
Rockefeller's heroic attempt to suppress the ICONOCLAST by
excluding it from his little gate-system railroad; when the
senatorial candidacy of Chollie-Boy Culberson becomes a weariness
to the spirit, and the Texas Baptist convention, with its stage
accessories of snuffles and snot develops into nux vomica, I can
turn to Jay Jay's flamboyant cyclopedia of misinformation and
observe with ever increasing interest the attempts of ye able
editor to diagnose the disease of the body politic and steer it
clear of the funeral director. Jay Jay is evidently not a
progressive practitioner, for he is trying to save the country
exactly as Gulliver's Lagado Galen tried to cure a dog of
wind-colic. I note with unalloyed pleasure that the Brief has
contributors to its medical department, at Purdon, Cove and
Dilworth, Texas, Jones, Switch and Burnsville, Ala., Nassawadox,
Va., Salt Springs, Mo., Claypool, Ky. and other great centers of
therapeutical information indicating that it spares no pains to
give its patrons the worth of their money without adding any
tea-store chromos or electric belly-bands by way of rebate. But
it is not the startling discoveries of these doctors, not the
sophomoric essays of new-fledged Hippocrati now struggling
manfully with buck-ague, snake bite and new babies at Nassawadox,
Jones' Switch and elsewhere that constitute the chief charm of
Jay Jay's versatile journal. The feature of most interest to the
lay reader is the political homilies of the editor himself. Not
only are they deeply interesting to the hoi polloi, but
invaluable from a therapeutical standpoint, being successfully
employed in cases of itch, smallpox, etc. as a counter irritant.
I opine that one of these read in a loud voice to an Egyptian
mummy would result in its immediate resurrection. If it had the
faintest conception of humor it would wake up long enough to
laugh, and if it hadn't it would come to life for the express
purpose of hitting Jay Jay Lawrence, A.M., M.D., across the
sterno cleidomastoidens with a well-seasoned obelisk. It is
impossible to reproduce the flavor of this intellectual
hippocampus' politico-economic emulsions, they being evidently
compounded with thaumaturgis incantations while he is surrounded
with jars of jalap, pile remedies, aphrodisiacs and patent liver
pills. They should be labelled allopathic purgatives and kept
tightly corked. In the copy before me Jay Jay assured his
readers--who are supposed to be numerous as the sands of the sea,
but are probably confined to himself and his country
contributors--that there is a Russo-Franco-Germanic alliance
against England and that it is the sacred duty of America to come
to the rescue of her muchly-beloved "mother country," lest the
'orrid bawbawians make 'way with the old woman, overturn the
civilization of all the centuries and rip human liberty up by the
roots. What my contemporary seems to need is a mild cathartic
that will move his brain--say about a tablespoonful of Theodorus'
Anticyrian hellebore. The continental powers will not harm
England so long as the old harlot behaves herself, but there's no
denying that they are becoming dead-tired of her predacity and
impudence. If the senescent old British lion attempts any funny
business with the Russian bear it is liable to lose its
umbilicus, and the surgical operation will be performed without
the use of anaesthetics. If John Bull gets his proboscis
ingloriously bumped it will be none of Uncle Sam's
business--unless the gentleman in the Star-spangled cut-a-way
happens to be the party of the first part in the bumping
business. Just why we should expend blood and treasure fighting
the battles of the old buccaneer only an Anglomaniacal doctor
enervated by his own dope could possibly imagine. Russia has ever
been our friend, England our foe. The sympathies of Russia are
with Republican France, with Republican America--the hand of
England has ever been against the world. She has ruthlessly
despoiled wherever and whenever she possessed the power, while
slavishly obsequious when confronted by equal force. "Human
liberty," your gran-dam! How long has it been since England
repealed the Test Act?--since she granted political equality to
Jews?--to Catholics? In this respect she even legged behind the
Ottoman Empire. She is the only "Christian" nation on earth
to-day that sanctions human slavery. There are still fools extant
who imagine that all the liberties enjoyed by Americans were
inherited from "dear old England"; while the fact remains that in
the matter of liberty England has been following 50 to 75 years
behind the United States ever since the Flag o' Freedom first
adorned the atmosphere. But it is when Jay Jay ribs himself up
with a powerful nervine and tackles government by injunction that
he really rises into the realm of pure humor--becomes serious, so
to speak. He inadvertently leaks the information that labor
organizations "are animated by anarchistic impulses, their chief
desire is to force property owners to divide with them or lose
their property"; and naively adds: "the injunction is really a
guarantee of individual liberty."  Sure! It guarantees to
employers the right to combine to lower wages below the
starvation point, while preventing those who are thus despoiled
seeking the cooperation of their fellows in an attempt to right
the wrong by the simple expedient of taking leave of their tools.
It guarantees to workmen the liberty to be shot down like dogs
for peaceably assembling and walking unarmed on the public
highway--for asking other men to cease work until there is a
better adjustment of wages. Of course a man who isn't willing to
work in a coal mine for 90 cents a day, who lays down his pick
and asks better pay, is an anarchist who is trying to drive other
people to divide with him their property. Jay Jay is so much
wiser than all the labor organizations in the land, than the
framers of our fundamental law, than a majority of the American
judiciary, a--veritable Daniel come to judgment. Give him a crown
as large as that of King Midas, which was designed to hide the
ears of an ass. It is, however, when he assails W. J. Bryan that
he becomes intensely interesting. According to this learned
Theban, Bryan is a Populist and Populists are people who do not
pay their doctor bills. They call the M.D. out of his comfortable
bed at 2 g.m., and after he has frozen his nose and toes to puke
or purge 'em they refuse to even haul him a cord o' slippery-elm
firewood or a load o' pumpkins in payment, but, accuse him of
incompetence! 'Ow 'orrible! Jay Jay must have obtained his
information from those forks of the creek medicos who constitute
the chief contributors to his columns--and who would probably
encounter fewer charges of incompetence if they expended less
time in scribbling "rot" and more in careful reading. Still I can
scarce refrain from weeping over such a tale o' woe. In the
terse vernacular of the "mother country," hit touches me
'eart--so much so that I hereby authorize anybody to whom W. J.
Bryan owes a doctor bill to draw on me for the amount. If he
doesn't owe anybody a doctor bill it follows, according to Jay
Jay's diagnosis, that he is not a Populist--may be a
dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. Classing Bryan and his followers as
Populists, then denouncing all Populists as chronic dead-beats,
must be very soothing to a majority of the medical men of the
West and South, but it is about what might be expected of a man
so infamously ignorant that he calls England our mother country,
so idiotic that he would have us take up arms for the
international pirate in the name of human liberty. The best thing
Jay Jay Lawrence, A.M., M.D., can do is to apply a ten-horse
power poultice to his head and see if he cannot draw a few brains
into that resounding hollow. In the meantime he should eschew
politics and confine himself to the publication of essays by
village doctors and the exploitation of patent medicines. When he
next feels an impulse creeping on to invade the realm of
economics he should chloroform it, or hit it with a club.

 * * *


Col. Robert Ingersoll once said of the city of St. Louis that, as
to Missouri, it was "a diamond pin in a dirty shirt." I will not
maintain the immaculateness of the shirt; but the diamond has
flaws, and is, in some respects, as a gem not far removed from
the "phony."

They call St. Louis "the solid city." It is solid. Also stolid.
It's a little Chinese. It regards the stranger as the enemy. In
St. Louis they don't gather in the stranger and skin him, as they
do in Chicago; but if he happens to have four dollars to invest
he is regarded as having designs upon the coagulated capital of a
select assortment of "stiffs," known as leading citizens. If he
have brains, they dicker with him and let him in on their deals
for a share in his. St. Louis is a close corporation. Less than
twenty men run it. Jim Campbell, Dave Francis, Geo. A. Madill,
Sam Kennard, Ed. Butler, Charlie Maffit, John Sculin, Edwards
Wittaker, Thomas H. West, Julius S. Walsh, George E. Leighton and
a few more own the town. They dare do anything. They control the
banks, the trust companies, the street railroads, the gas works,
the telephone franchises and the newspapers. Almost all the
ability in the town is engaged in their service. They gather it
in as it develops, and the multitude is made vassal to them. They
own everything in St. Louis worth owning. They are the local
nobility. They can crush anyone who ventures to oppose their
desires. When they war among themselves they manage that no
interloper shall come in for a share of the spoils. They unite
against the newcomer and crucify him. They control municipal
legislation. They buy aldermen like cattle. The city is at their
mercy. They are all religious and moral men; their crookedness is
purely commercial and political. Their different monopolies
oppress the town, and the press is their tool. Most newspaper
warfares upon them are mere "blinds" to draw off public attention
to one quarter, while they gobble up something valuable in

St. Louis has had a reputation for a long time, for public
spirit. It's there all right, but it is public spirit for private
gain. Take the exposition. A job. Public money built the
structure. The city gave the ground, right in the heart of the
business-district-to-be. All the subscribers are frozen out but a
few shrewd ones own the whole business. They have a piece of
property worth at least eight million dollars. It is untaxed.
They rake in the coin accruing from the exposition. They work the
public up into supporting the venture, and three or four men in
large retail stores get all the benefit. They advertise their
private business by their public spirit, in capturing an
enterprise that in its inception was somewhat communal in

St. Louis boasts of her fine Planters Hotel. Well, eight or ten
men have confidenced the public out of that property, and its
stupendous increment. Once there was subscribed $600,000 for what
are known as the Fall Festivities. There were illuminations for a
few years, and the Veiled Prophet pageant still survives; but
there has been no accounting for the $600,000 that anyone has
been able to understand. It is a legend in St. Louis that a large
wad of the $600,000 was invested in the Planters Hotel, in the
names of the individuals who made up the Fall Festivities
Association. They are drawing from the splendid institution the
earning upon money raised by miscellaneous public subscription.
No paper dare take up these matters and discuss them. If one were
to do so, it would not have five advertisements of the leading
retail dealers in anything in the whole city. Col. Charles H.
Jones, when editor of the Post-Dispatch, once criticized Mr. Sam
Kennard for something, and forthwith Barr, Nugent, Crawford,
Scruggs, Vandervoort and Barney, and the other big dealers
withdrew their patronage in order to prevent his making the sum
of money each year prescribed in his contract with Joseph
Pulitzer as the sine qua non to his retention of his place. They
drove him out of journalism finally. You've got to stand in with
all this gang, or go to the wall. The only person who gets
anything from them is the person who will do their work.

You go to the city hall in St. Louis, the old one, which looks
like a rickety tobacco warehouse, or the new one, which is a
realization in material of a bad dream consequent upon too much
rarebit, and you might as well be in Berlin. You are lost without
an interpreter. You must talk German or a Joe Emmet dialect, to
make yourself understood. Money only doesn't have to talk German
at the city hall. That is transferred without being translated.
The mayor of the town talks, in his public addresses, a lingo
that would make the fortune of a vaudeville comedian of the Dutch
Daly stripe; and his son, who is his secretary, has the
physiognomical symptoms of intellectuality that you might expect
in a dude who eats with his knife, or any Brummel of "the bad
lands." The lower branch of the municipal legislature is a
bedlam. Its sessions are eruptions of obscenity. Talk is indulged
in that would cause the ejectment of the talker from a bawdy-
house parlor. The august body never rouses into activity save
over some measure with "stuff" in it. The combine will take as
low as twenty-five dollars to beat or pass a bill. They introduce
bills to induce the franchise holding syndicates to put up money
to kill them, and business is at its best when two or three
street railroad bosses can be led into bidding against each other
for the passage or defeat of some measure. The St. Louis house of
delegates is as fine a gang of rapacious ruffians as ever invited
mob law in an American city.

Politics in St. Louis is practiced by the pimps and pothouse
habitues, just as in other cities. Two of the best known office
holders in the city have been accused publicly of stealing $1,200
that was given them to support a measure for capitol removal at
the last general election. They got the money to divide among the
members of the city committee, and no member of that body ever
saw a copper of it. The check was cashed, however. The governor
appointed to their present offices the men who got the money.

It costs more to conduct the city government of St. Louis than it
costs proportionately to govern New York. The town is overrun
with an army of men drawing salaries, and few sober breaths, but
doing nothing else. The present head of government when he left
the office of city collector, lost or destroyed his books, that
they might tell no tale of the monstrous malfeasance of his
administration. Corporations were held up for sums that never
appeared on the books. Instead of paying licenses and taxes,
merchants, manufacturers, saloon keepers, brewers and others paid
tribute to the then subordinates of the present mayor. Corruption
is rampant all through the city government. Every one knows it;
but no one feels like expressing it for the reason that such
exposures are "chestnuts" to the St. Louisan. There have been
reform waves in every large city in the Union, now and then. In
St. Louis, never. The syndicate of snappers that holds the
franchises won't have it. Reform doesn't go. They want the old
gang they have been dealing with, in power. No matter which gang
dominates, Democrat or Republican, the syndicate owns them. It
doesn't like the prospect of dealing with strangers. It likes to
buy over and over again the same old crowd to enact or defeat
certain bills. When the gang in power is Democratic, Ed Butler
does the buying. When the gang is Republican, Chauncey I. Filley
takes the money and dictates what his creatures shall do. Butler
disgorges something; Filley nothing. Butler deals with Filley
when Filley has fooled the people into electing his men, and vice
versa. It is Croker and Platt over again on a smaller scale.
These two men have all the corporations by their throats. They
are both men of genius in their line, commanding an insane
devotion among the slums and a certain amount of admiration and
awe, from among the wealthy, if not the respectable, of that

The St. Louis police force is demoralized by politics. Robberies
and burglaries multiply. Purse-snatching from women by white and
black ruffians is sunk to a mere commonplace in the daily
newspaper reports. Thieves flourish, and are protected by petty
politicians. Real estate dealers work the police department about
once a year to chase the prostitutes out of one section of town
into another. It's all a job. The prostitutes pay big rents, $60
per month for a house that would rent to decent people for $25.
One crowd of agents gets the upper hand and starts an agitation
to get the "girls" out of the district they occupy into another,
in which the agents interested have a great many empty houses.
After a time another real estate combination is made, and the
poor bawds have to move again. Result of this? Many of the women
open assignation houses in the West End, or go "living decent"
under some man's care in that quarter, make the acquaintance of
good women, and innocent girls, and collect a "maiden tribute"
from among the latter for numerous old rakes who prefer the
sexually initiative to the referendum in the case of women in the
territory known as "tamale town." Kept women, the mistresses of
men driven from downtown, have been known to ingratiate
themselves, in the West End, with women moving in the very best
society. And all this to enable a few real estate men to rent at
exorbitant figures a few ramshackle houses to the women who must
stay "on the town."

St. Louis society is not so bad and vulgar as society in some
other cities. The city is so much like a village that no
opportunity is afforded for intrigue or depravity among the swell
set. Every one in St. Louis knows the business of every one else.
A woman cannot "go wrong" without being discovered. Most of the
details that you hear about the corruption of St. Louis society
are imagination wholly. There is a great deal of excessive
drinking at functions among women, but it is said that this is
notable rather because of the amount the girls can stand without
showing it than because of its prompting them to ribald
Terpsichorean evolutions. The world outside the swell set hears
occasionally of some girl who patronizes the punch bowl until she
falls into hysterics, but as a rule the up-to-date St. Louis girl
can "carry a load" with much dignity and grace.

St. Louis society is cheap and garish in spots. Some of the newly
rich are unbearably snobbish. The Granite Mountain set carries
its nose in the air most heinously and its chief female
representative is celebrated for her absurd malapropisms. There
is but one "fast" set in the town and that "fast" set is looked
down upon quite generally and quite sincerely. It is composed of
gay young married women who affect the Bohemian by drinking
cocktails in public and cutting up at the Jockey Club. One of the
members of this last set is the daughter-in-law of a Missouri
senator and a very pretty woman. Another of this set is the woman
who was voted the best dressed woman at the horse show in a
newspaper scheme. Her father is a millionaire doctor and her
husband is a thoroughbred. It cannot be said even of this set,
however, that it is fast in the immoral sense in which that word
usually is employed. It is gay and the women are only unfortunate
in having nothing to do and in dispelling weariness by silly and
flashy pranks in a social way.

There are some awfully funny society people in St. Louis. For
instance, I am told that one of the women who has recently
blossomed into the society columns is the wife of a millionaire
lumber man who lives in a swell place and whose stinginess is
peculiar in that it applies to everything but the feeing of the
reporters who write up his wife and daughter. There is another
woman whose burst into society has occasioned a great deal of
comment of late. She is the wife of a cattleman and certainly not
well trained in the graces, but she has her name in the papers
continually by virtue of presents of such things as bolts of silk
to society editresses. The wife of one of the police
commissioners, who used to be the widow of a former mayor, is a
fearful and wonderful matron in her methods of attaining
distinction. She dresses gorgeously at all public occasions and
has more color than a spectacular show at the theater. St. Louis
society is dull and unintellectual. As a rule, however, it does
not mask any corruption. There are not enough men in society to
give opportunity for corruption. Nowhere in the country are there
so many pretty girls without admirers. They have to go to the
theaters with their own fathers and brothers. The few men in
society are a lot of "cheap skates" who can not repay their
social obligations in the fashion supposed to prevail among them.
The St. Louis society belle has no good time of it. She doesn't
get rushed to any great extent at any time, and this is the more
remarkable because the wealthy girls are as much neglected as the
poor but pretty ones. St. Louis is the finest field in the world
for a man with nothing who wants to marry money. St. Louis
society doesn't patronize the theaters extensively. It is not
appreciative of music. It doesn't care for art. It is hopelessly
unaesthetical as a whole. The picture dealers, music dealers and
book sellers declare that their patrons come mostly from the
people who are not in the swell set. A peculiarity of St. Louis
society is that its members are as a rule procreative. There is
no suppression of increase and multiplication such as prevail in
the swell mob in other cities. A woman in St. Louis is not
disgraced by having three or four babies. As a rule also St.
Louis society women are not disposed to set up a rigid standard
of exclusiveness. They have taken up recently the wife of a young
man who was a singer with the Bostonians and it is the fad at
present to rave over her. The whole world knows, of course, that
a St. Louis girl insulted the Prince of Wales by refusing to meet
him, when he never had asked to have her presented. That,
however, was the most glaring effort ever made by a St. Louis
girl to get a lot of newspaper notoriety and at a cheap rate. To
the credit of the local high society it must be said that it does
not cultivate the newspaper habit of exploitation. It tolerates
the journalistic abuses of papers and write-ups. To be perfectly
just to society in St. Louis, about all that can be said of it is
that it is dull, principally, because it is decent. A man who is
an authority upon such matters tells me that there is not in real
society in St. Louis one woman of whom there has ever been any
scandal. The very highest society in St. Louis--the old families
are all Catholics, and very strict Catholics at that, and so
there is not the taint of animalism about it that you find else
where in the realm of the high flyers.

St. Louis cannot be said to be a moral city. It is as immoral as
any in the country. I am told that the professional Social Evil
in St. Louis is an unprofitable occupation "because of amateur
competition." I am quoting a gentleman who is interested in
sociological questions very largely. From what he said I deduce
the conclusion that the daughters of the poor are preyed upon by
the men so successfully as to account for the prevalence of
virtue in the wealthier circles. Fearful stories are current of
the immorality of the working girls, but these, I suppose, may be
discounted to a certain extent. I hesitate to tell you some
things I have heard about the tribute exacted of the girls in
some of the big dry goods emporiums. Suffice it to say that these
stories are told of three of the great merchant princes. One of
them is said to make it a rule that no girl shall be employed who
fails to understand that she is liable to his advances. Another
merchant prince, portly and domineering, who gained unenviable
notoriety because of his attempt at political coercion of his
employes, had a bad reputation in this same line. Still another
merchant prince who runs a strictly cash store, had one of his
girls arrested for stealing goods and refused to prosecute her
when she threatened to tell all she knew about how girls held
their places in his establishment. As I say, these stories should
be discounted, in all probability, but where there is smoke there
is fire and most of the stories come from the girls in the big

The city of St. Louis is hopelessly monotonous. It is a big
place. A great business is carried on there, but it seems to be
done by people somnambulistically. The soporific atmosphere that
the readers feel when perusing the "Globe-Democrat" or "Republic"
is characteristic of the town. The great majority of the people
seem unable to arouse themselves to any action, even of
viciousness. The crowd just lives as if it were soaked and sodden
in the city's vast beer output. It is content to let a few men
and a few big concerns monopolize all the business. It scarcely
has energy enough to try to amuse itself. It goes to bed at half
past nine, and never thoroughly wakes up. The town is sleepy,
notwithstanding its size and its boasted progress. It grows
because it can't help itself. The people appear to be good
because they've not energy enough to be otherwise. St. Louis,
Mo., November 10.

 * * *


Here and there in the big and little towns of America cranks are
busily working for the elevation of the stage. Every 2 x 4
newspaper man who thinks he has a mission, every preacher who
desires to make a sensation in the pulpit, every maiden novelist
whose feminine mind battens in pruriency, every old maid who has
missed her opportunity to be manhandled and wishes to reform a
race she has done nothing to increase, every two-for-a-quarter
evangelist between Bangor and Los Angeles is talking a lung out
for the public on the subject of making the stage higher and
better. When Col. Hercules, not of Herculaneum, viewed the Augean
stables he may have thought that he had a considerable job on
hand, but he tackled it with a man's strength and brain. By the
help of his good right arm and a river or two he got rid of some
thousands of tons of filth which went to enrich the levels lower
down. Col. Hercules died in time to save his reputation. If
required to cleanse the modern stage, he would pull his beaver
over his brows and sneak out of town. Col. Hercules was a man who
knew when he was over-weighted. He entered the ring only with
such opponents as he stood a chance to best.

Once upon a time I boarded in a little German hotel in this city.
Near it was the great Madison Square Garden. In consequence, the
little hotel, which was very German--that is to say, clean and
cheap,--was patronized by many actors and actresses. They had
little rooms upstairs, got their morning coffee in the little
restaurant and after the evening's performance sat in the little
apartment off the bar, where the floor was sanded and drank beer
until the small hours. These men were representatives of their
profession so far as America is concerned. There were no stars
among them and none of the lowest stratum. They were of the
middle class of the people of the footlights. Nearly all of them
were married and a few of them had children. They had the small
ambitions and the small amusements of their class.

At that time I worked upon one of New York's yellow journals. I
reached the hotel each morning between 12 and 1 o'clock, and
always found the theatrical symposium in full blast. I was with
these people for three months for an hour or two each night and
think that I formed a fair idea of what the American stage is
like. In those months I heard just two general subjects
discussed--grease-paint and copulation. That was all of it. No
science, no literature, no art in its higher sense, no news of
the day, no politics, no sports, no history, no travel, not
anything that goes to make up the intellectual life of the
ordinary man. From first to last it was the business of acting,
the demerits of some actor not present, the merits of those
present, the pursuit of woman and the unholy pleasures of
indiscriminate sexual lust. The dominating passion of these
people was a petty jealousy. I never heard from them a good word
for a successful brother artist. I never heard them breathe one
generous hope that other men or women would grow happy and
prosperous. I never heard them speak a kindly sentence for one of
their ranks who had fallen upon evil days. They were selfish,
they were brutally abusive, they were ridiculously conceited,
they were all geniuses held down by a conspiracy of managers,
they were card and dice sharpers, they were willing at any time
to act the part of procurer or procuress for a consideration of
drinks and suppers. I was rejoiced at the opportunity to study a
type that was new to me, and when I got enough of it I moved out.

I have met these people and their kind many times since then. I
have seen them in Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Chicago, New
Orleans and San Francisco. They are everywhere the same. They do
not differ in any degree. On the road they are slightly more
restrained, for fear of corporal punishment or jail, but the
impulse of gluttony and lechery is always there. Any keeper of a
second or third-class hotel in a town that is on one of the big
circuits is apt to grow eloquent upon the subject of theatrical
folk if given the chance. They are noted for a brazen effrontery
in demanding everything that is in sight and the laxity with
which they regard a debt incurred. I have no doubt that the first
man to let his valise down from the second-story window of a
hotel, slide down the rope himself and thus square his bill was
the leading comedian of that sterling bit of humor, "Hot Times in
the Tenderloin." Meantime his soubrette, who was another man's
wife, was waiting for him outside, and they went away together.

I do not know that the baleful fire of unchaste amour runs more
fiercely in the veins of stage people. I only know that they give
it more of a free field. You sometimes hear some bar-room
comedian and booze recitationist, who draws a hamfatter's salary
in a continuous vaudeville, declare to half drunken listeners
that there are good women on the stage. So there are--some. But
they are so rare that when they are found they shine like the
jewel in the Ethiop's ear. It would be within the bounds of truth
to say that for every virtuous woman behind the foot-lights there
are ten prostitutes. Even those who try to keep their feet from
the mire and succeed are given no credit for chastity by their
fellow professionals. One night, in my never to be forgotten
German hotel, I was assured in a thing in loud-patterned trousers
and a snow-white overcoat with deep black collar and cuffs, that
he knew Emma Abbott, then dead, was unfaithful to her husband,
Eugene Wetherell, also dead. This was spoken of "honest little
Emma." A purer woman never lived. I knew that he was lying and
told him so, but he was ready with a tale of time, place and
circumstance and brazened it out. In like manner I have been told
tales of Mary Anderson and Modjeska and Viola Allen--all of them
lies. They were the tributes which my gentle friends, male and
female, paid to success in their beautiful but risky profession.

It is not to be wondered that women who go on the stage lose
their virtue. The wonder is that some of them preserve it, in
spite of the life they lead and the company they are forced to
keep. The very talents they possess render them susceptible to
adulation and applause. They keep late hours. They are thrown
constantly with conscienceless males. They breathe an atmosphere
of excitement. If they display unusual capabilities, they are
intoxicated nightly with the deep, rich, moving roar of high
acclaim. Their nerves need bracing and they take to late suppers
and champagne with absinthe in the mornings. From the woman who
drinks to the woman who falls is not a far cry. I once asked
Lizzie Annandale, the contralto, to tell me why so many stage
girls surrendered their most precious possession within a year
after their first night behind the scenes. She was a frank old
party, willing to talk to a friend:

 "Aw," she said, "that's easy. Women are only human. The girls
are cut off from association with decent people. They have to
live with stage folks. Society is barred to them. Stage men marry
only when they can't help it. The girl must have somebody to look
after her, some man to see that her trunks are checked, that she
gets a decent seat in a crowded train, that she doesn't get the
worst of it all around. A man expects pay of some kind and she
hasn't anything to give except herself. That is what he wants.
Take our own company, for instance. We are carrying twenty chorus
girls. We are bound for the southern circuit. After we play New
Orleans we play Texas. After we leave Texas we make a jump
straight across the continent to 'Frisco. The girls don't get
wages enough to enable them to take berths in the sleepers. They
will be forced to herd day and night in the other coaches with
the men. You will see the chorus people, male and female, asleep
two and two on the seats. The exhausted woman's head rests on the
shoulder of her companion, the man's arm around her to hold her
steady. What do you suppose happens when a thing like that is
kept up for awhile? Aw! W'at t'ell."

 Despite the constant efforts of the classes mentioned in the
opening paragraph of this story, the American stage is not being
elevated to any extent. It is steadily sinking lower. Year after
year its plays grow worse, its players more reckless and debased.
This, it has been said, is the fault of the public and, to a
great extent, this is so. The managers are in the business for
money. They give the people that which the people will pay to
see. Nobody cares anything for tragedy any longer. Stage classics
have become stage stalenesses. Shakespeare is out of date. "The
Gaiety Girls," "In Gay New York," "The Merry World," Hoyt's
buffooneries, "Problem Plays," social eraticisms have become the
rage. Translations from the French, with all of the French
immorality reduced to English grossness, pack the theaters. In
New York a manager named Doris put on a pantomime which
represented the scene in a bridal chamber. The police closed it
up after half the bald-headed men and nearly all the boys in town
had seen it. That pantomime, I understand, is now drawing crowded
houses in Chicago, having been introduced to the citizens of the
western metropolis by Sam Jack of "Adamless Eden" game.
Continuous performances are proving mines of gold for their
conductors and in the continuous performance the vulgar song and
ribald jest meet with readiest applause. Your wife or your
daughter, who goes down town for her morning shopping, gets lunch
with a glass of absinthe, drops into the continuous show for an
hour and comes home with memories in her little head of a song
which should be interdicted by law, or of a dialogue that ought
to land the speakers in jail, or of Hope Booth, posing in
imitation nudity as Venus Aphrodite, or some beefy actor, also an
imitation nude, as Ajax defying the lightning, or Antinous,
facing the audience full front without a stitch of clothing on
him. This is pleasant for the wife and daughter, but how about
you? You do not look anything like Ajax and your daughter's
brothers bear no resemblance to Antinous.

Thousands of men and women are actors and actresses, but they do
not differ in type. They are to be recognized anywhere in any
crowd. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are invested in the
business, and it is the business of the owners to make them pay.
The public wants filth and it gets it. The plays given to patrons
have only the purpose to make money. They are not written to
educate, to uplift, to ennoble. The men who make them look only
to the collection of their royalties. The best play of the year
is Gillette's "Secret Service." It is trifling. It does not teach
anything. It inculcates no moral. It does not deviate in any way
from the well known "war play." In these days there is always
some snipe of a federal lieutenant, who gets shot in the heel, or
under his coat tail, or somewhere behind, and is quartered on the
family of a southern planter, and the daughter falls in love with
him, and her brother is in the Confederate army, and there is a
whole lot of trouble and everything comes out all right in the
end. Gillette's hero is a Federal spy instead of a lieutenant,
but that is about the only difference. I imagine that he must
have been many times to see Bronson Howard's "Shenandoah," whose
favorite novelist in turn, I think, must have been E. P. Roe, of
"Barriers Burned Away." The next success, it is supposed, will be
something in the line of Mr. Howard's "Aristocracy." This play,
its author assures us, was written to demonstrate the danger that
lies in an American girl marrying an European nobleman. Instead,
it administers a solar plexus blow to American womanhood. The
heroine marries a German prince, merely because he is a Prince,
discarding her honest and true lover in a scoundrelly fashion,
while her beautiful stepmother comes within an ace of
surrendering her person to her son- in-law, and is prevented only
by the inopportune arrival of her idiotic husband. It is all very
"elevating," and a good thing to take your wife and daughter to

We arrive at this formula: The American stage is debasing;
American stage people are dead beats and women of scarlet. There
are exceptions, but they prove the rule. The business is
Jew-ridden. They do not act, but they handle the dollars.
Everybody knows that your Jew drummer and your Jew theatrical
manager are incapable of anything sexually wrong. The big
syndicate which has its home in this city and is endeavoring to
control the theatrical business of more than half the country is
composed of Jews. One of them is an undersized Silenus named
Erlanger, who used to be a pensioner upon the personal and mental
abilities of the ill-fated Louise Balfe and repaid her for her
bread and favors by brutally assaulting her in Arkansas.

Yes, Brother Iconoclast, the 2 x 4 newspaper men and the
sensational preachers and the prurient prudes who write novels
and the unfructified old maids and the narrow-beamed
self-elected evangelists are talking, but they do not elevate the
American stage to any great extent. It bids fair to remain the
same excellent school of preparation for the penitentiary and the
bagnio. New York, November 20, 1897.



If one may judge by the effect it has produced in arousing a
storm of criticism, the book of the year is undoubtedly "The
Christian," by Hall Caine. Not only the book of the year,
perhaps, but of more years than one cares to count, for of books
worth reading or remembering, there has been the fewest number
within these latter days. And it must be conceded, in the
beginning, that Hall Caine has written a book--a live book--and
that no one will dissect it without finding blood on his rapier's

As for the critics themselves, they have had much to say, after
their fashions, and have wasted vast quantities of good ink in
giving the author of "The Christian" meanings which he never
meant. One of them has found that John Storm was intended to
represent Christ himself, come back to earth in this most
unbelieving Nineteenth century; a construction which seems to
have been as far as possible from anything that was in the
novelist's thought. Another finds the plot weak and the motif--it
is the custom to use French in this connection--strained; and can
endure nothing in the book but Glory, who is "altogether
delightful." Still another is furious because of the "nurses'
ball," and thinks it is reflection upon the whole sisterhood of
trained nurses; and there are others who cannot recover from that
still further insult to the sisterhood conveyed in the fact that
Polly was a nurse.

I have read the criticisms--all I could find--with weariness of
spirit, and have felt that the real meaning of the author lay
deeper than any of these shallow comments could reach. What
difference does it make whether Polly was or was not a trained
nurse? The real thing at issue was this--that she was a woman,
ruined and played with and tossed aside. For this book is, above
all, an earnest book, with bitter protest and lofty purpose
running through it, and in such a light as this the paltry errors
sink into nothingness. Hall Caine has had something to say to the
world, and has said it. The world has waited long enough for a
writer with a message. When it comes, let the space-writers and
all the horde of small spirits retire for a little while, or go
on sounding the praises of this or that "society novel" by Mrs.
Van Kortland Van Kordtland, or other of that ilk.

And while there may be lay-figures in the book, as has been
charged, the people around whom the interest centers are so
terribly real that they cannot stay in the book. They come out of
it, and become part of our lives. Glory is a vivid creature, with
her moods and fancies, her dual nature, with the one side of her
in love with John Storm and his work, and the other side--and so
much the stronger side, alas! in love with the world, and filled
with merry, buoyant life. One follows her through every step of
her course, and feels the moral deterioration coming upon her so
gradually and yet so surely. Splendid, wholesome, Glory,
pure-eyed and frank-hearted, going through the wild rout of
music-halls and theatrical successes, suggestive songs, Derby
days and midnight suppers; one follows her with dread as though
she were the child of a loved friend, and finds the smell of fire
gathering upon her garments. Nothing could so show Hall Caine's
art as this. If he had written nothing else worth reading, Glory
should make him immortal, for this sweet, wild nature is more a
living being to us than many whom we meet every day.

But the real character of the book is John Storm, one of the
finest portrayals that the English language has yet given to
fiction; a Christian, but not Christ. Nothing could be more human
than this man, full of faults, and yet so earnest, so brave, so
intense. His love for Glory is the dominant feeling that leads
him into many strange paths, for he loves as intensely as he
works; but above even this he is a Christian, and trying to do
the work of Christ. How natural it is that a man like this,
filled with enthusiasm and eager to begin work among the poor and
the suffering, should find the shallow hypocrisies and shams of a
fashionable church abhorrent to his soul. And the asceticism of
the Brotherhood was as far from the possibilities of this man as
long-faced and comfortable hypocrisy would have been. It was the
fall of poor, ignorant Polly that gave him his life-work; and the
discharge of the girl from her position in the hospital, while
the man who had accomplished her ruin remained a member of the
Board which presided over the destinies of that same hospital.

And Hall Caine could have given no more conclusive proof of his
courage and his earnestness of purpose than in selecting as the
motif of this book that outrage upon justice, that travesty on
morality; the condemnation of woman for a crime that is readily
ignored or as readily forgiven in man. It is really such an
outworn theme that the very mention of it is greeted with smiles
or supercilious shrugs, and even lovers of their kind have grown
apologetic about it. If any man like John Storm, fired with the
best and truest principles of Christianity, steady of eye and
bold of heart and fearless of speech, dared to utter such
principles as his in any social circle of any one of our cities,
what a consternation he would create; and here as in London he
would be called a madman and avoided as an outcast. Yet what was
his creed? "Let him that is without sin amongst you cast the
first stone at her." We have heard it before, have we not?--but
in leaving it out of our Revised Version we have taken care to
leave it out of our practice as well, and are very busy casting
stones, though in truth not one of us is without sin.

The author of "The Christian" has loosed many a shaft that will
surely pierce between the joints of the armor; and not the least
of these is the story of a young girl's marriage to the abandoned
young lord, the man who had dragged Polly to ruin which ended in
suicide. We see such things every day, and it is not polite to
call them by their names. For that is the bitterness of it; that
ruin and disgrace and the swift downward road to hell are set by
society before the feet of the woman who errs, while for the man
who was at least her equal partner in crime, there are cordial
greetings, and a thousand doors, opened by women, alas!--and he
may have some pure girl for a wife, if he likes, and go serenely
every evening to a happy home, untroubled by remorse. Is it any
wonder, with the scales so unevenly balanced as this, with a
premium put on corruption among men, that new and ever new
recruits from womanhood are marching down into the infected
quarter of our cities, and that the wretched army grows and will

True, there are good women, here and there, making earnest effort
to "rescue" some of this miserable horde; and here and there one
is gathered into some house of refuge, and is helped to give up
her evil life. But even there, are the hopes held out before them
such brilliant hopes? One goes back to her old home and her
mother, and is thenceforward a marked creature among all the
people who have known her, doomed to cold avoidance or impudent
familiarity. One succeeds in getting work, of some menial kind,
and must live a life of utter subjection of self and utter
abnegation of pleasure, or will be suspected that she has a
secret longing for the old life. Many hide themselves in convent
walls, knowing what kind of welcome the world would have for them
if they went forth. If they could look over those walls, and
could be gifted with some far-seeing vision, they could see the
men who helped them to become criminals, abroad and at ease,
riding or driving in the free sunlight, bending over jeweled
fingers or whispering pretty nothings into dainty ears, as much
approved by all the world as though their records were as pure as
snow. Servitude or convent walls for one, even after she has
repented; the world and its gaieties for the other, to whom
remorse is unknown. No doubt the woman should be punished, and
her punishment should be as great as her sin has been; but one
would like to see the man who was guilty, equally with her, at
least avoided a little; at least made to know that there were
circles of society sufficiently refined to shut him out.

"The first stone." Many of these women have fallen through their
adoring love for men, for whom they would willingly have given
life itself, and would have counted it well lost. Wretched,
sinful women, no doubt, but is that any less a prostitution which
leads a woman to marry a man she does not love, whose very
presence is repulsive to her? Yet that is done every day, to the
music of the wedding march, with all the world there to see. If
there be any justice in heaven, the unfortunate who falls through
love is less a criminal than is the silk-robed bride who became a
prostitute under the holy cloak of marriage.

The first stone! The workers of all our large cities have among
them hundreds of girls who are doing their faithful best to earn
an honest living; who work long hours and endure fatigue, and
wear poor clothes, and surrender all girlish pleasures for the
simple right to exist. Once in a while comes a lull in business,
and scores of these girls are turned off. The employer makes no
effort to learn how they will live, meanwhile. "Am I my brother's
keeper?"--the old cry, many times repeated in these latter days.
How subtle, how alluring are the temptations that come in the
weeks and months of idleness; how inexorable seems the choice
held out to these helpless working girls--starvation or infamy.
It takes so long to starve, and life, after all, is sweet; so
they make their choice, shirking from death while age is still so
far away, and hope is bounding in the pulses; and having so
chosen are shut out from hope forever more. Yet there are items
in the society columns of the morning papers only too often,
which, if the truth could stand out through the flattering lines,
would tell how this or that fashionable girl has sold herself for
money, her mother standing by well-pleased, and all her five
hundred friends sending presents to commemorate the occasion.
There was no bitter hunger urging her to the sacrifice--there was
not the slightest excuse or necessity for it in any way. Which
was the greater prostitution?

And yet, women who have sinned these gilded sins of society, or
who have at least condoned the offense in their friends and
intimates, unite in shutting the fallen unfortunate away from
light and hope; and women of blameless life and pure name stretch
welcoming hands to men who have helped to recruit the army of the
fallen and make them outcasts and pariahs in the earth.

An outworn theme, doubtless; but there is enough in it still to
thrill the heart and bring tears to the eyes. It is well for the
world that a Christian, even in a book, has stood up among men
and told them of their crimes, and has told it face to face, in
the old Apostolic way; for we have come upon a Christianity, in
these latter days, which is silent when the Magdalene is brought
out for stoning if it casts no stones itself. New Orleans, La.,
November 14.

 * * *

Bishop Wilyum Doane hath an abiding place at Albany, N. Y., a
village on the Hudson where the peons of the political bosses
most do congregate to leg for bribes. In his recent annual
address to the clergy the Bish. lamented bitterly that the
American "jingo" was provoking dear patient Christian England to
put on her war-paint. "The English press," quoth he, "has been
most patient." Yea, it hath--in the optic of ye animal yclept the
hog. For two years past nearly every English paper, large and
small, has systematically insulted Uncle Sam--has belched upon
him all the feculent bile it could rake from its putrid bowels,
all the moldy mucus it could snort from its beefy brain. Even the
press of Canada--that Christ-forsaken land of bow-legged
half-breeds which continues to lick the No. 7 goloshes of old
Gilly Brown's leavings because it lacks sufficient sand to set up
for itself--barks across the border like a mangy fleabitten fice
yawping at a St. Bernard. But Doane would have America swallow it
all--just as the Thibetans swallow pastiles made of the excrement
of their Dalai Lama. The Bish. evidently has John Bull's
trademark branded on the rear elevation of his architecture. So
Hingland is growing blawsted tired of our Hawmewikan himpudence.
Aw! Vewy likely, don-cherknow. But we shoved it down the old
harlot's throat twice with the business end of a bayonet, and
we'll fill her pod again with the same provender whenever she
passes her plate. Doane ought to amputate his ears and send them
to the British monarch to be used as door-mats.

 . . .

My old friend, Major-General Whistletrigger Vanderhurst, of the
Amazonian Guard, minister plenipotentiary of the Gal-Dal News,
has just run a superb "scoop" on all his contemporaries. He
rustled out one morning all by his lone self and discovered that
prosperity had arrived--that every Texan afflicted with chronic
hustle hath greenbacks to burn, and blue yarn socks galore
stuffed to the bursting point with "yellow boys," while ye farmer
simply slings the silver dollar of our sires at marauding
blackbirds. Whistletrigger turns up his patrician nose at all
"pessimists" and broadly intimates that the man who hasn't a new
silk cady, seventeen pair o' tailor-made "pants," a silken
nightshirt and sufficient provender in his pantry to run a
Methodist camp-meeting for a month, would starve to death in a
Paradise whose springs run Pomery Sec, and whose trees grew
pumpkin pies, hot weinerwurst and pate de foie gras. Texas,
according to this Columbus of prosperity, is a veritable Klondyke
bowered with roses instead of imbedded in snowbanks--a place
where every financial prospect pleases and only the popocrat is
vile. But I note with pained surprise that the farmers are still
selling middling cotton below six cents, buying bacon and wearing
pea-green patches on the bust of their blue jeans two-dollar
hand-me-downs; that I can hire all the common labor I want at 75
cents a day despite the advance in flour; that scores of
mechanics are idle; that there is no longer a wage rate in any
trade; that the streets are full of able-bodied beggers, while
merchants offer me 2 per cent a month for the use of a little
money. I note that in every Texas city realty is being cast upon
the bargain counter, while great newspapers are cutting down the
pay of their employees. There's prosperity and prosperity.
Perhaps Whistletrigger has been talking to the agent of some
mortgage company or to Colonel Hogg--who's making so much money
compromising railroad cases with the Chollie Boy Culberson
administration and suppressing prize-fights for $2,500 fees that
he really cannot afford to serve Texas in the United States

 . . .

Now that Henry George is dead, those papers and politicians that
were wont to abuse and misrepresent him most brutally are fairly
falling over each other to do him honor. The post-mortem gush is
sickening because of its insincerity. If Henry George was not a
great man living he is not a great man dead. If his economic
views were fatuous while he was among us they are folly
forevermore. I am not of those jackasses that delight in kicking
dead lions; I insist that simple justice be done a man while he
is in the land of the living--that we should not hound him to the
grave with gross misrepresentation then try to make restitution
by placing him among the stars. Henry George was a good man, but
he was not great. He was an advocate, not an originator. He
created no new epoch; he added nothing of importance to the
world's knowledge; but he did stimulate most wonderfully economic
investigation. He was a thought-compeller. He brushed the mold of
prejudice and the cobwebs of partisanship from many a brain. By
so doing he rendered the world invaluable service and is entitled
to its profoundest gratitude. So long as men can be induced to
THINK there is hope for the race. Although his Single Tax theorem
will perish, it has served a good purpose.

 . . .

A Denver party wants to know if I would KNEEL if given an
audience by the Pope of Rome. I would be pretty apt to do so if
such action on my part was expected. I would ascertain beforehand
what conduct was required, then prove myself a gentlemen by
either observing the proprieties or declining the audience. What
would the Denver man do? Waltz up to the august head of the
Catholic church, slap him on the back and offer to shake him for
the drinks? Novalis says: "There is but one temple in the world
and that is the body of man. Nothing is holier than this form.
Bending before men is a reverence done to this revelation in the
flesh." We, whose ancestors for so many centuries bowed, not only
to the Pope, but to 2 x 4 kings and petty princelings, should not
unduly exalt our Ebenezer--should not become so stiff in the
joints that we prove ourselves boors by declining when in Rome to
do as the Romans do. Were I to seek the presence of Queen
Victoria I would observe all the court etiquette.

 . . .

It is said that Miss Rebecca Merlindy Johnson, editress of the
Houston Post, and winner of the ICONOCLAST'S $500 prize as the
most beautiful woman in the world, will be a candidate for the
office of lieutenant-governor. If this be true she can depend on
the unswerving support of the ICONOCLAST. If there be
constitutional objections to her holding the office with both
lily-white hands we will amend that remarkable instrument. I will
take it upon myself to elect Rebecca and ask no other reward than
the privilege of dancing with her at the inaugural ball. She was
my first, if not my only love; and although she threw me over for
Pinkie Hill, by whose effulgent aurora borealis she was
hypnotized, and took to wearing pantaloons in public despite my
protest, she has since repented and given all her maidenly heart
to me; hence it will be my duty and my pleasure to manage her
campaign. Rebecca may safely consider herself elected and
discount her salary whenever the Post gets into a pinch. I am
willing to do anything for Rebecca except pay off the mortgage on
her paper.

 . . .

Because a young man was killed while playing football, the lower
house of the Georgia legislature passed a bill prohibiting that
game under severe penalties. To be consistent the same body
should now prohibit swimming because some boys are drowned, and
possum hunting because some nocturnal sportsmen are killed.
Georgia appears to take it for granted that nature makes no
mistake--when she finds a man who's good for nothing else in the
universe she sends him to the legislature to make laws. There's
an element of danger in foot-ball as in all other athletic
exercises; but that is no reason why we should confine the
youngsters to croquet, mumble-peg and finger-billiards, and allow
the race to degenerate into a lobeliaceous aggregation of
lollipops. That Georgia legislature is full o' goobers and red

 . . .

I am rejoiced to learn that the two factions of Texas Baptists,
after having for months past denounced each other in language
that smelled of sulphur and would have disgraced opposing parties
of Parisian gamins--after resorting to all the petty meanness of
peanut politics to control the flesh-pots--have kissed and
hugged, slobbered and boohooed each on the other's brisket. "How
sweet it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" That's
whatever. I'm glad the ruction is over, for it was becoming a
rank stench in the nostrils of the Protestant religion. It was
enough to drive an intelligent man to Atheism, to make him not
only suspicious of religion but ashamed of his race. It seems to
me that the ICONOCLAST should have had a reserved seat at the
love-feast--should have been forguv and slobbered over with the
rest of the sinners, for it had not said nearly as hard things
about its dear brethren in Christ as they had urged against each
other. It might at least have been permitted to collect the tears
of the penitents. That flood of brine, if carefully evaporated,
would have supplied Scholtz's Garden with beer salt for a
century. And it all went to waste! Doc Hayden and myself were the
only Baptist parsons who didn't get hugged. Hayden was made a
scape-goat for the sins of both factions and sent to wander in
the wilderness, and it was decided to no longer recognize the
ICONOCLAST as the official organ of the Baptist faith. It looks
as though Hayden and I would have to start a little Baptist hell
of our own.

 . . .

J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska, one of those "village Hampdens"
whom G. Cleveland discovered when raking the country with a
fine-tooth comb in a frantic search for intellectual insects even
smaller than himself, says the Bryan Democracy is composed of
fanatics, bigots and idiots. He must have seen that brilliant bon
mot in the Chicago Inter-Ocean. Poor J. Sterling Morton. Not
being born great, nor having the ability to achieve greatness, it
was his misfortune to have it driven into him with a maul. And
he's never gotten over it. Had Cleveland done naught else evil he
would have damned himself everlastingly by pulling this
intumescent jay out of a Nebraska turnip- patch to make him a
cabinet clerk. I say cabinet-clerk, for the so-called secretaries
of the Cleveland regime were merely stool-pigeons for the
Stuffed-Prophet. And now this erstwhile seneschal of the Buffalo
Beast, this pitiful stool-hopper for the d--est fool that ever
disgraced the presidency, turns up his beefy proboscis at the
intellectuality of the Bryanites. If J. Sterling Morton would
only shave his head he could get four dollars a day for playing
What-Is-It in a dime museum. As an anthropological curio
Oofty-Gofty or the Wild Man of Borneo wouldn't be "in it."

 . . .

The committee sent to Europe by McKinley to talk a little twaddle
about international bi-metallism has completed its alleged
labors, and the net product is nothing--just as the people knew
it would be when saddled with the expense of this high-fly
junketing trip to enable the administration to make a pretense of
redeeming the kangaroo promise of the Republican platform. The
silver problem is not at present the burthen of my song--I simply
rise to remark that the American people have been buncoed by this
commission business. It was sent abroad at great outlay of boodle
to ascertain what is perfectly well-known to every man outside
the insane asylum, viz.: that England, being a creditor nation,
would not consent to the remonetization of silver. Now let us
send a commission to Europe to see if the water over there is
wet. O Lord! how long will Uncle Sam consent to enact the role of
a long-eared, pie-bald ass?

 . . .

I wonder, O I wonder who that "prominent lawyer and sound money
Democrat" was who got drunk at Charlie Cortizio's in Austin the
other day and toasted Chollie Boy Culberson as "Texas' most
distinguished son, the man who has done most to distinguish his
state abroad"--just a bummy little boost for Chollie Boy's
anaemic senatorial boom? I cannot imagine who he may be, but I
was pleased to see his toast followed in my pet daily by an "ad"
for a tansy compound warranted to "give relief from painful and
irregular periods regardless of cause." I hope that the "sound
money Democrat" aforesaid did not overlook the "ad," as he was
evidently having a painful period and much in need of relief. I
sincerely hope that he doesn't get that way often. It is a trifle
difficult to determine whether he was pregnant with a great idea
or full o' prunes--whether he needed a tansy compound or a
cathartic. Poor Chollie Boy! His senatorial boom must indeed be
in a bad way when he must fill old boozers with beer to induce
them to boost it. But it is quite true he has been heard of
outside the state--the ICONOCLAST has mentioned him several

 . . .

I noticed in one of the local papers that "Dallas wants Baylor,"
$50,000 to $75,000 worth. Doubtless I'm a hopeless heretic, but I
don't believe a d--n word of it. If anybody thinks that Dallas
will put up $25,000 cash to secure the removal thither of Baylor,
he can find a man about these premises who will make him a 2 to 1
game that his believer is 'way of his base. Dallas doesn't want
Baylor even a little bit. There isn't a town in this world that
wants it except Waco. It is simply another Frankenstein monster
that has destroyed its architect. Baylor spends no money here
worth mentioning. Its students are chiefly forks-of-the-creek
yaps who curry horses or run errands for their board and wear the
same undershirt the year round. They take but two baths during
their lifetime--one when they are born, the other when they are
baptized. The institution is worth less than nothing to any town.
It is what Ingersoll would call a storm-center of misinformation.
It is the Alma Mater of mob violence. It is a chronic breeder of
bigotry and bile. As a small Waco property owner, I will give it
$1,000 any time to move to Dallas, and double that amount if it
will go to Honolulu or hell. There is no bitterness in this, no
desire to offend; it is simply a business proposition by a
business man who realizes that Baylor is a disgrace to the
community, is playing Old Man of the Sea to Waco's Sinbad. The
town could well afford to give it $100,000 to "pull its freight."

 * * *

A correspondent calls my attention to the recommendation of a
commission appointed by the governor of Massachusetts, to the
effect that "all taxes on intangible property be abolished." He
adds that, "as much of the wealth of Massachusetts is in stocks,
bonds and mortgages this would relieve the rich at the expense of
the poor." I could recommend that my correspondent be placed in a
well-padded cell in a lunatic asylum and fed on Ladies Home
Journal literature. The idea that what he calls "intangible
property" should be taxed is quite prevalent among the ignorant
and a perfect hobby with the half-educated. No writer
distinguished for economic erudition recommends laying a tax on
notes, stocks, bonds and other such evidence of wealth. Such a
tax should never be laid by a government guaranteeing equal
right. It is class legislation--it is DOUBLE TAXATION. This
statement may not be at all palatable to the West and South, but
the proposition is impregnable. It taxes both the lender and the
borrower on the same property and the latter has to pay for both.
It must be remembered that such securities are not wealth per se,
any more than a cook-book is a square meal--they are merely
evidences of ownership. Let us say that I hold $10,000 worth of
stock in the Illinois Central railroad: The road is my property
to the extent of my stock--I am a small partner in the
enterprise. It pays taxes to the State of Illinois and to every
county and municipality through which it passes. Having paid
taxes upon my property in Illinois, where it is located, must I
pay taxes upon it again in Texas, where it has no existence? If I
must pay taxes upon my railway property, then pay it again upon
the certificate that I own it and am entitled to its usufruct,
why not compel me to pay taxes on my business block, then pay it
again on the deed thereto in my possession. My certificate of
railway ownership and my certificate of realty ownership are on
an exact parity from an economic standpoint. Each is evidence
that I possess tangible property upon which I am paying taxes,
and I emphatically object to a double dose. Exactly the same
principle applies to promissory notes and bonds. A bond is
nothing more nor less than a note. Suppose that I hold Illinois
Central bonds to the extent of $10,000 instead of stock: The
corporation has borrowed the money of me and invested it. It is
paying taxes as well as interest on my property in consideration
of use. As the corporation is using the property it must earn all
the taxes, by whosoever directly paid, for I can earn nothing
with property not in my possession. If I am taxed on my bonds, I
must "put it in the bill," just as the merchant puts rent,
interest and insurance. If Massachusetts owns ten million dollars
of Texas securities she has simply transferred that much tangible
wealth to this state for us to tax. If the paper evidence that
this property is located here be taxed in Massachusetts, Texas
must pay the piper. Let it never be forgotten that a tax is but a
toll and can only be taken of something tangible. You cannot get
blood out of a ghost or wealth out of a paper evidence of
property. The blood must come from real veins and the tax must be
drawn from something tangible. It is a contravention of justice
and a violation of economic law to tax this man's property once
and that man's twice. That the one is rich and the other poor
does not mitigate the infamy--it is a fundamental principle of
this republic that all men shall be equal before the law. Some
years ago a howl was raised that reached high heaven that Jay
Gould was worth 50 millions and paid taxes on but 75 thousand.
Economic idiots gnawed a file because the ex-house-trap maker
objected to paying his taxes twice, and charging his patrons on
both the amount and the cost of collection. There are many
abnormal fortunes in this country, but confiscation through
taxation is not the proper remedy. If the government toll be an
ounce in the pound let it BE an ounce in the pound, whether the
citizen possess ten pounds or ten million. Let every citizen
contribute to the support of government in exact proportion to
his means. To exempt the man who makes $500 a year and place the
entire burden upon the man who earns $1,000 a year and upwards is
to make of the first a political pauper. The graduated income
tax, so-called is wrong to one class of citizens and an insult to
the other. Let us tax all property once and only once; but let us
see to it that unctuous old hypocrites like Rockefeller are not
permitted to rob the public--that they do not build collegiate
monuments to their own memory with other people's money.

 * * *

Sometime ago a correspondent sent the ICONOCLAST a newspaper
report of the "jubilee sermon" of a Rev. Mr. Reed, rector of a
Protestant Episcopal church, and inquired if the statements
contained therein were true. The clipping has been mislaid, and I
do not now remember where Rector Reed is located; but I do know
that his statements, so far as I have investigated them, are
arrant falsehoods. He affirms that the American Republic is the
handiwork of Episcopalian patriots; that more than two-thirds of
the signers of the Declaration of Independence and an equal
proportion of our generals, statesmen and presidents have been
members of that denomination. As the sources of information
regarding the religious views of most prominent Americans are
shamefully meagre, I was inclined to regard Rector Reed's sermon
as a historical document of inestimable value. Being prone,
however, to act upon the advice of St. Paul and "prove all
things," I began a cursory investigation. Rector Reed neglected
to give the source of his information, and to save me I could
find but seven presidents, including Washington, who were
Episcopalians, and now Col. Patrick Ford, of the Irish World
calls my attention to Jared Spark's statement that the Father of
his country "withdrew himself from the communion service."
Jefferson, whom Rector Reed claims as an Episcopalian, was, as
every school-boy knows, an avowed free-thinker. The Adamses were
Unitarians, Garfield was a Campbellite, Jackson, Buchanan,
Cleveland and Ben Harrison were Presbyterians, Lincoln was
non-sectrian, Grant and Hayes were Methodists, as is McKinley,
while the religion of several others is unknown. Rector Reed's
other statements stand examination as poorly as that relating to
the presidents. It is pretty safe to judge a church by its
clergy, and the clergy of the Anglo-American or Episcopal church
were tory almost to a man. As I have made this statement before,
and it has been flatly denied in the Chicago press by an
Episcopalian bishop, it may be well to quote a few paragraphs
from an article by Rev. Chas. Inglis, entitled "State of the
Anglo-American Church in 1776." Inglish was at the time Rector of
Trinity Church, New York, and afterwards bishop of Nova Scotia.
His article may be found in Vol. 3, O'Callaghan's "Documentary
History of the State of New York." Inglis says under date of
October 31st, 1776:

Reverend Sir: The confusions which have prevailed in North
America for some time past must have necessarily interrupted the
correspondence of the missionaries with the society. A short
authentic account of them, and of the Church of England in
general, in this and the adjacent colonies, may be acceptable to
the society at this most critical period. The success of his
majesty's arms in reducing the city, and driving out the rebels,
the 15th of last month, affords me an opportunity of doing this,
as packets are now again established between this port and
England. I have the pleasure to assure you that all the society's
missionaries, without excepting one, in New Jersey, New York,
Connecticut, and, so far as I can learn, in the other New England
colonies, have proved themselves faithful, loyal subjects in
these trying times; and have to the uttermost of their power
opposed the spirit of disaffection and rebellion which has
involved this continent in the greatest calamities. I must add
that all the other clergy of our church in the above colonies,
though not in the society's service, have observed the same line
of conduct; and although their joint endeavors could not wholly
prevent the rebellion, yet they checked it considerably for some
time, and prevented many thousands from plunging into it who
otherwise would certainly have done so. . . . The present
rebellion is certainly one of the most causeless, unprovoked and
unnatural that ever disgraced any country; a rebellion marked
with peculiarly aggravated circumstances of guilt and
ingratitude. . . . About the middle of April, Mr.
Washington--commander-in-chief of the rebel forces, came to town
with a large reinforcement. Animated by his presences, and I
suppose, encouraged by him, the rebel committees very much
harassed the loyal inhabitants here on Long Island. Soon after
Washington's arrival he attended our church; but on the Sunday
morning, before divine services began, one of the rebel generals
called at the rector's house (supposing the latter was in town)
and, not finding him, left word that he came to inform the rector
that "General Washington would be at church, and would be glad if
the violent prayers for the king and royal family were omitted."
This message was brought to me, and, as you may suppose, I paid
no regard to it. Things being thus situated, I shut up the
churches. Even this was attended with great hazard; for it was
declaring, in the strongest manner, our disapprobation of
independency, and that under the eye of Washington and his army.
I have not a doubt but, with the blessing of Providence, his
majesty's arms will be successful and finally crush this
unnatural rebellion."

The ICONOCLAST is indebted to Col. Patrick Ford for a transcript
of Rev. Inglis' ebulition. It fully substantiates the statement
made by this journal some time ago that the Episcopal churches
were, during the revolution, "nests of tories and traitors."

 * * *


A few seasons ago when Audrey Beardsleyism was the rage and Oscar
Wilde a lion in "sassiety" gay plaid stockings in Persian or
Audrey Beardsley designs sold as high as $7.50 a pair, enough I
should say to enable a poor devil like me to live a week. But
this is not all. For spring or June brides of the "swell London
sassiety set," fine white silk stockings cost $22.50 a pair must
go with a wedding gown and trousseau equally as extravagant, the
climax of fashion's freakish ways being the rose-made garter worn
over said stockings. Parisian society which smells to heaven in
fashionable odors has now originated garters made of primroses,
harebells, narcissus, violets and lillies, the same being worn by
the ladies at balls and receptions in Paris. Knots of blossoms
are caught among the thick flouncings and ruches of the
petticoats; and even the embroidered corset has its little bouquet
attachment. The inside flounce of the most delicate evening gowns
is made entirely of flowers, and the newest garter is simply made
to conform to the general harmony of fragrance and color.

The appropriateness of a flower for garter-wearing purposes is
considered according to the degree and strength of its perfume,
the most highly perfumed being the most highly appropriate.
Violets are in great favor, and are used for garters worn with
lilac, lavander, delicate green or white costumes. Again, as
American women love to ape the fashionable society of gay Paris
it may not be very long before in the great cities of the country
we may not only have the American morphine fiend and
cologne-drinker, but also the perfume faddist. Not long ago a
Paris druggist communicated to a few French "sassiety" women the
plan of perfuming the skin by means of hypodermic injections. The
favorite distilled odors are violet and lavender. I know not how
true it is, but I heard that this fashion is already being taken
up by some of New York city's fashionable freaks of "sassiety"

I have recently been engaged in reading two very interesting
histories, the one of the rose, the other of perfume, in reading
which I was deeply impressed with the fact that all the
civilizations of the past, previous to their downfall, had their
rose fetes, their festivals of flowers where luxury and license
ruled, where effeminacy ruled supreme, their perfumed halls and
extravagant balls and soirees. Before the fall of the Roman
Empire, the wealthy abandoned themselves to pleasure, luxury and
licentiousness and such expressions as "living in the midst of
roses," and "sleeping on roses" had a deep and tragic meaning.
Seneca speaks of Smyndiride who could not sleep if one of the
rose petals with which his bed was spread happened to be curled.
Cicero alludes to the then prevailing custom among the Romans of
reclining at the table on couches covered with roses. Ah, my
jeweled buddies, there were Adonises in those days!

When Cleopatra, the perfumed serpent of the Nile, went into
Cilicia to meet Mark Antony, she gave him for several days a
festival such as the gods themselves would not blush to
participate in. She had placed in the banqueting hall twelve
couches large enough to hold three guests. Purple tapestry
interwoven with gold covered the walls, golden vases admirably
executed and enriched with precious stones stood on a magnificent
gold floor. On the fourth day the queen carried her sumptuousness
so far as to pay a talent ($600.00 in our money) for a quantity
of roses, with which she caused the floor of the hall to be
covered to a depth of eighteen inches. These flowers were
retained in a very fine net, to allow the guests to walk over
them. According to Suetonius, Nero (the fiddler of burning Rome
and the tyrant par excellence of the ancient day) gave a fete at
one time on the Gulf of Baiae when inns were established on the
banks, and ladies of noble blood played hostesses to the
occasion, the roses alone costing more than four million of
sesterces, or $100,000. As the hag Tofana was the inventor of a
new and deadly poison, so Lucius Aurelius Verus was the inventor
of a new species of luxury. He had a most magnificent couch made,
on which four raised cushions closed in on all sides by a very
thin net, and made of leaves of roses. Heliogabalus, celebrated
for every kind of vice and luxury, caused roses to be crushed
with the kernels of the pine (pinus maritima) in order to
increase the perfume. Roses were, by the order of this same
emperor, scattered over the couches, halls and even the
portierres of the palaces were decorated with the same. A
profusion of flowers of every kind, lilies, violets, hyacinths,
narcissus, etc., filled great quantities of space. Gallien,
another cruel and luxurious princeling, lay under arbors of roses
sometimes varying the performance by reclining on beds of roses.
Before her downfall Rome could spend millions on her royal
tables, support the dignity of a single senator at $80,000 a
year, employ courts of sycophants and flatterers, impose taxes at
the pleasure of her ruler, declare any complaint treason, marry
her daughters for money and title, employ notaries to attest the
fatness of her banquet fowls, punish a servant for disobedience
and trivial offenses with death, while letting the monied thief
and murderer go free with a mild reprimand, and making slaves and
menials of the profoundest philosophers. The dancer and the
buffoon received the homage and the adoration which in the golden
age of Greece under the reign of Pericles only scholars,
philosophers and artists received. Poverty in those days was
crime, so in ours! Augustine of Rome was utterly ignored. "In
exact proportion to the sum of money a man keeps in his chest,"
says Juvenal, "is the credit given to his oath." Verily, reader,
these days at the end of the nineteenth century are greatly
similar to those last days of Rome. Yvette Gilbert, the
songstress of the vile, the recitationist of the vulgar, and Le
Loie Fuller, the dancer of the serpentine, live off the fat of
the land every day. The songstress and the kickeress get their
thousands of dollars per week, while "the poor devil of a
workingman" must be satisfied with a dollar a day cash and
barrels of unlimited confidence. Caligula's horse wore a collar
of pearls and drank from an ivory trough. Nero fiddled while Rome
was burning. Cleveland when president drank his morning coffee
from a cup worth $100 at least, and went fishing at Buzzard's Bay
while the ship of state was plunging among the rocks and breakers
of bonded indebtedness. Conde spent three thousand crowns to deck
his palace at Chantilly. The Duke of Albuquerque had forty silver
ladders. The expression then, as now, was often heard, "the rich
are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer." San Pedro,
Cal., November 11.

* * *
BY H. S. C.

The McKinley administration has been in power long enough to show
that the only material distinction between it and the Cleveland
administration lies in the fact that it is slightly more
extravagant. That is the characteristic of the Republican party
and no one is surprised. In addition to being the party of
violence, bigotry and fraud, it is also the party of gay
liberality with other people's money. In the matter of directing
the destinies of this country towards a higher and better
national existence, there is really nothing to choose between
Republicanism and Democracy. Both are equally unwilling and
incompetent, both, despite the prating of civil service snobs and
snivellers are dominated by spoils, and the managers of both
regard a campaign not as a battle for the betterment of America
but as a battle for boodle. The McKinley administration has
appointed some Negro postmasters in the South. This the
Democratic administration would not have done. The McKinley
administration has played openly into the hands of the trust.
This the Democratic administration would have done secretly. The
McKinley administration enacted a tariff law which robs the
people openly for the benefit of a few. This the Democratic
administration would have done in sly paragraphs here and there,
in the meanwhile declaiming loudly against the unrighteousness of
tariff barons. The McKinley administration has based its
contracted currency solely upon the gold product. This the
Democratic administration would have based, with almost equal
fatuity, upon the silver product. McKinleyism and the Democracy
with which the country has been cursed on two occasions since the
war, are six of one and half a dozen of the other. Practically
considered, the main difference between Republicanism and
Democracy, is the difference between the highwayman and the sneak
thief. This being so, the question naturally arises: What are we
going to do about it? Nothing. That is, not yet. The time may
come when the people will choose public servants for fitness, and
will demand that they keep the pledges made as a condition
precedent to election, but it is far from us. In many of the
years to come we will continue to build up an office- holding
class that is now so utterly idle, incompetent, impudent and
corrupt that the history of the world can show nothing like it.
This will be always so with universal suffrage. A government
which permits the ballot of a man who has not a dollar's interest
in the good conduct of the government, who can neither read nor
write, who cannot speak the English language, who is permitted to
vote merely upon the declaration that he intends at some time to
become a citizen, will continue to be a rotten government. The
wonder is not that the United States has had war internecine and
otherwise, but that it has existed at all. It carries within
itself the elements of its own damnation. It has within itself
the seeds of decay. Unless they are dug out, that which is now
one of the worst governments under the sun will be no government
at all.

 * * *

The ICONOCLAST receives frequent complaints from laboring people
in the lumber districts of Texas and Louisiana, that their
employers are robbing them by compelling them to accept orders on
mill stores, where they are charged exorbitant prices for all
they purchase. I have been unable to visit the lumber districts
and make personal investigation of these complaints, while
letters of inquiry have elicited conflicted evidence. The
following statement by a disinterested party, a gentleman of
unusual intelligence who has traveled extensively in the lumber
districts of the two states, is doubtless a fairly correct

The system of issuing checks to saw-mill employees, as practiced
in some places, is, in my opinion, an advantage to the laborer.
Each mill has a pay-day, monthly, and the checks issued at
intervals between pay-days, redeemable in merchandise, pass
current among merchants at par. You can buy a big glass of beer
for a 5-cent check as you can for a nickel, and buy it anywhere
it is sold. You can, in fact, buy anything at any place in these
towns for mill checks. The merchants either use them in trading
at the mill stores, which are large and complete, or sell them,
at a discount of 5 per cent. to parties who engage in building
and who use them in paying for lumber, which is sold at the same
price for checks as for cash. No one is required to take these
checks, which are merely in the nature of an advance payment on
wages. Each employee can wait until pay-day and get all that is
due him in cash. Many of the mills are large concerns with A1
credit, and being able to buy as cheaply as anybody, can, and I
believe do, sell as cheaply. Such is the case with the Beaumont
mills and the mills on the Sabine and East Texas road owned by
Beaumont parties; but as much cannot be said for saw-mills at
some other points. There are some saw-mills in Texas that never
have a pay-day; they issue checks on the commissary and charge
enormous profits, so that the people who work at these mills are
virtually peons. A party told me some time ago that on the H. E.
& W. T. railway mill checks of reputable institutions can be
bought for 20 cents, 30 cents and 40 cents on the dollar. I do
not know that this is so, but I believe it. As for the mills at
Orange and Lake Charles, they have no commissaries attached, but
I have been told that certain merchants in those towns pay the
mill owners 10 per cent. on all orders sent them, and the mills
go so far as to turn in each evening to the merchant the time
made by each employee to govern them in giving credit. This looks
like a fraud on the employee and it is wrong for the employer to
pocket money which should rightfully go to his employee. But he
reasons that he has an established pay-day, and if his employees
will insist on demanding money or its equivalent every evening,
and thus force him to retain an extra man to attend to the
check-issuing business it is right that the employees should bear
that expense. I believe the mills at Westlake have commissaries,
but I know the mill-owners and do not believe they practice any
extortion. They pay off in checks. They have a monthly pay-day,
and if, like railway employees, these should wait until the first
Saturday after the 5th or 10th of each month they could draw
their wages in cash. No mill at either place mentioned pays off
in checks. You might roast such mills as those on the H. E. & W.
T. referred to, as they rob not only their employees, but, by
thus being able to manufacture lumber cheaper than those who pay
wages, force down the price in the open market and compel the
honest manufacturer to meet it."

 * * *

Seymour, Texas, Nov. 4, 1897.

MR. BRANN: Will you please answer the following question and
thereby settle a dispute in Seymour: Is love intoxicating? CHAS.

My correspondent neglects to state whether Seymour is a
Prohibition town. Of course if it is and love is listed as an
intoxicant, the blind god will be expatriated for the benefit of
the makers of Peruna, Hostetter's Bitters and and other palate
ticklers, popular only at blind tigers. Why the deuce didn't the
Seymourites set to work and settle this vexatious problem for
themselves? Must I undertake a system of scientific experiments
in order to obtain this information for the citizens of Seymour?
Suppose that I do so, find that love makes drunk come, and am run
in by the patrol wagon while supercharged with the tender
passion: don't you see that this would militate against my
usefulness as a Baptist minister? How the hell could I explain to
my congregation that I was full of love instead of licker?
Clearly I cannot afford to offer myself as a sacrifice upon the
altar of science. Should I proceed to fall in love just to see if
it would go to my head, and should it do so, my Dulcina del
Toboso might marry me before I recovered my mental equipoise, and
I would awaken to find my liberty a has-been and my night-key non
est. Of course I should mind it ever so little, but it would be
awfully hard on the lady. I have been baptized just to see if it
would soak out any original sin; I've gone up in a balloon and
down in a coal mine in the interest of science; I've ridden on
the pilot of a locomotive for the sake of the sensation; I've
permitted myself to be inoculated with the virus of Christian
charity just to see if it would "take"; I've tampered with almost
every known intoxicant, from the insidious mescal of the
erstwhile Montezumas to the mountain nectar of Eastern Tennessee,
but I draw the line at love. Will it intoxicate? Prithee, good
sirs, I positively decline to experiment. However, if hearsay
evidence be admissible I'm willing to take the stand. To the best
of my knowledge and belief love will pick a man up quicker and
throw him down harder than even the double-distilled brand of
prohibition busthead. Like champagne at 2 a.m., it is good to
look upon and pleasant to the palate; but at last it biteth like
a serpent and stingeth like an able-bodied bumble-bee in a pair
of blue-jean pants. Like alcoholism, love lies in wait for the
young and unwary--approaches the victim so insidiously that ere
he is aware of danger he's a gone sucker. The young man goeth
forth in the early evening and his patent leathers. His coat-tail
pockets bulge with caramels and his one silk handkerchief,
perfumed with attar of roses, reposeth with studied negligence in
his bosom. He saith unto himself, "I will sip the nectar of the
blind deity but I will not become drunken, for verily I know when
to ring myself down." He calleth upon the innocent damosel with
soft eyes and lips like unto a cleft cherry when purple with its
own sweetness, and she singeth unto him with a voice that hath
the low sweet melody of an aeolian harp, and squozeth his hand in
the gloaming, sigheth just a wee sigh that endeth in a blush. And
behold it cometh to pass that when the gay young man doth stagger
down the door-steps of her dear father's domicile he knoweth not
whether he is hoofing it to Klondyke or riding an erratic mustang
into Mexico. He is drunken with the sweetness of it all and glad
of it. And she? Oh she lets him down easy--sends him an engraved
invitation to her marriage with some guy with oodles of the long
green whom her parent on her mother's side has corraled at the
matrimonial bargain counter. Then the young man has a case of
what we Chermans call Katzenjammer, and swears an almighty swore
never to do so any more. But he does. When a man once contracts
the habit of being in love there's no help for him. It is a
strange stimulant which acts upon the blood like the oenanthic of
old wine, upon the soul like the perfume of jasmine buds. He has
felt its mighty spell, more potent than the poppy's juice or the
distillation of yellow corn that has waved its golden bannerets
on Kentucky's sun-kissed hills--more strangely sweet than music
heard at minight across a moonlit lake or the soul-sensuous dream
of the lotus eaters' land. For the spell of the poppy's dreamy
drug and the charm of the yellow corn whose spirit breeds
dangerous lightnings in the blood, the skill of man has provided
a panacea; but "love is strong as death," says David's wisest
son. Will love intoxicate? Rather! I should say that Solomon was
drunk with love when he wrote the Canticles:

 "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for thy love is
better than wine."

When a man is drunken he sees strange varieties of serpents.
That's what ailed Adam and Eve. They kept intoxicated with their
own primordial sweetness until they got the jimmies and saw a
talking snake prancing around the evergreen aisles of Eden with
legs like unto a prima donna. At least I suppose the Edenic
serpent was built that way, for the Lord cursed it and compelled
it to go on its belly all the days of its life. Hence the Lord
must have pulled its leg. So to speak, or words to that effect.
As an intoxicant love affects one differently from liquor. A man
drunk on bourbon wants to trail his coat-tails down the middle of
the plank turnpike and advise the natives that he is in town. The
man drunk on love yearns to hide away from the busy haunts of men
and write poetry for the magazines. The one is sentenced to ten
days in the bat-cave and the other to pay some woman's board.
Verily the way of the transgressor is hard. Some people manage to
worry through life without ever becoming drunken on either liquor
or love. They marry for money, or to secure housekeepers, and
drink pink lemonade and iced buttermilk until there's clabber in
their blood. They "like" their mates, but do not love them, and
their watery babes grow up and become Baptists. Their affections
are to the real article what dengue is to yellow fever.
Temperance is a good thing in its way; but the man who is
temperate in love is not to be trusted. The true man or woman can
no more love moderately than a powder magazine can explode on the
installment plan. When the cup once touches their lips it is
drained to the very dregs. The chalice is not passed by human
hands--the gods give and the gods withhold. Hence it is that we
ever find Love's bacchanals beating against the social bars. We
laugh at the man who flushed with wine disregards the peace and
dignity of the state; but we frown upon the woman who drunk with
love sins against our social laws. Man's brewed enchantments may
be set aside by acts of human will; but the wine of love creeps
like a subtle perfume through all the senses whether we will or
no, filling the brain with madness, the heart with fire.

 * * *

A correspondent asks "whether the great nations owe most to the
sword or the cross." That were much like asking whether the
usefulness of a watch be due most to the case or the works.
Religion has ever been the heart of the body social, the dynamics
of civilization. A great nation of Atheists is a practical
impossibility, because the basic principle of such a society must
needs be selfishness, and from such a foundation no mighty
superstructure can ever rise. "Ye cannot gather grapes of thorns
nor figs of thistles." War is but an incident in the history of a
nation, while religion is its very life. In the latter it moves
and breathes and has its being. From the standpoint of a
statesman it makes little difference what the religion of a
people may be so long as most of them believe it. History
abundantly demonstrates that when a nation begins to doubt its
gods, it begins to lose its glory. Without religion the contract
social is simply a rope of sand. "No union of church and state"
is simply a protest against the union of body and soul. The
greatest rulers of ancient and modern times regarded religion as
the palladium of national power. True it is that religion has
time and again strengthened the hands of the tyrant and stoned
the prophets of progress; but every good gift bequeathed to man
has been at times abused. The sword has been wielded by the
assassin; it has been employed to enslave and despoil the people;
yet we dare not break the blade. Men of narrow minds, seeing many
warring cults, imagine them to be disturbing factors in the human
brotherhood--that if they could be eliminated, the body politic
would have peace. They cannot understand that the discords of the
finite make the harmony of the infinite. They fail to see that
these warring creeds are but the necessary differentiations of a
common faith. Lay the winds, still the tides, and old ocean, that
perennial fount of health, becomes a stagnant pool of
putrefaction--a malodorous "mother of dead dogs." Force
presupposes friction. Let the sectaries fight, each doing valiant
battle for his own dogma, for when they all agree religion will
be dead and progress at an end. It is not necessary that you and
I should stand close enough to be stifled with the dust of
conflict, to taste all the bitterness of sectarian
controversy--we may mount above it all and watch it beat like the
convolutions of a mighty brain. We may take refuge in the
philosophy of religion and say that all are right in conception
and wrong in expression; we may call it blind superstition if we
will; but if we mount high enough to obtain a clear vision we
must confess that religion has ever been the dominant factor in
the forging of mighty peoples. Were I required to give a reason
for this fact I would say it is because man is not altogether a
machine--because he is not content to eat and sleep and propagate
his kind like the lower animals. Despite his thick veneer of
selfishness, man is at heart a creature of sentiment, and
religion is the poetry of the common people. Crude it may be, but
its tendency is toward the stars, while all else in man is
animalistic and of the earth. Strike the religion, the poetry,
out of a people, and you reduce them to the level of educated
animals. Annul the power that draws them upward and they must
sink back to primordial savagery. The individual may accept logic
as a substitute for sentiment, but a nation cannot do so. The
masses are not swayed through the head, but through the heart.
Sentiment is the divine perfume of the soul. Of sentiment was
born the dream of immortality. It is the efficient cause of every
sacrifice which man makes for his fellow man. It is the parent
duty, and duty pre-supposes the Divine. Could the materialists
inaugurate their belauded age of reason, sentiment would perish
utterly in that pitiless atmosphere, and the world be reduced to
a basis of brute selfishness. The word duty would disappear, for
why should man die for man in a world whose one sole god was the
dollar. Why should a Damien sacrifice himself if selfish ease be
the only divinity? If there be no Fatherhood of God there can be
no Brotherhood of Man--we are but accidents, spawn of the sun and
slime, each an Ishmel considering only himself. Atheism means
universal anarchy. It means a kingdom without a king, laws
without a legislator, a machine without a master. An Atheist is a
public enemy. He would not only destroy the state but wreck
society. He would render life not worth the living. He would rob
us of our garden roses and fill our hands with artificial
flowers. And why? Because, forsooth, he finds that some articles
of religious faith are impossible fables. He sits down with a
microscope to examine the tables of the law for tracks of the
finger of him whose sentences are astral fire. He finds a foolish
contradiction in some so-called sacred book and imagines that he
has proven either that man's a fool or God's a fraud. "By
geometric scale he takes the measure of pots of ale." He calls
himself a "liberal," while fanatically intolerant of the honest
opinions of others. He is forever mistaking shadow for substance,
the accidental for the essential. He "disproves" religion without
in the least comprehending it. He hammers away at the Immaculate
Conception and the miracles with a vigor that amuses those who
realize that cults and creeds are but ephemeral, while faith in
the Almighty endures forever. And of all the Atheists and
Agnostics Bob Ingersoll is the most insupportable. He is but a
mouthful of sweetened wind, a painted echo, an oratorical
hurdy-gurdy that plays the music of others. He's as innocent of
original ideas as a Mexican fice of feathers. He gets down on the
muddy pave and wrangles with the "locus" preachers. He's a
theological shyster lawyer who takes advantage of technicalities.
He is not a philosopher--he's emphatically "a critic fly." He
examines the Christian cult inch by inch, just as Gulliver did
the cuticle of the Brobdingnagian maid who sat him astride her
nipple. He never contemplates the tout ensemble. He learns
absolutely nothing from the cumulative wisdom of the world. He
doesn't even appreciate the fact that the dominant religions of
the world to-day are couched in the language of oriental poetry.
He wastes his nervo-muscular energy demolishing the miracles.
When he gets through with the Bible I presume that he'll take a
fall out of aesop's Fables. He doesn't understand that the soul
of man has never learned a language--that all sacred books are
but an outward evidence of an inward grace. He doesn't know that
religion, like love, cannot be analyzed. Because the orient
pearls are imbedded in ocean slime he denies their existence.
Ingersoll and the "plenary inspiration" people are welcome to
fight it out--it's none of my funeral. You may prove Zoroaster a
myth, Moses a mountebank, Gautama a priestly grafter and Christ
the prototype of Francis Schlatter and other half-witted frauds;
but adoration of a superior power will remain a living, pulsing
thing in the hearts of the people. It is this poetry, this
sentiment, this sense of duty, which transcends the dollar that
constitutes the adhesive principle of society and makes
civilization possible.


There are times when language seems made, as Talleyrand would
say, to conceal thought; times when in no known tongue can one
body forth his indignation or express a tithe of his contempt--he
gropes in vain for invectives that bear upon their sulphurous
wings an adumbration of his anger. One must sometimes stand
speechless before a subject, else burn his lips with blasphemy or
befoul them with billingsgate. Two months ago my attention was
called to a precious pair of attorneys at San Antonio, Texas, who
seem to have not only touched the profoundest depths of
subter-brutish degradation, but to have wallowed there like swine
in an open sewer, proud of their own dishonor, infatuated with
their rank disgrace. Time and again I have been requested to hold
them up to the scorn of human-kind, and time and again I have
essayed the subject only to find the product of my pen
unprintable--it would have melted the type and burned a hole in
an asbestos mailbag. But indignation cools as the days run,
philosophy asserts itself, and perchance I can speak of these
offenders in language sufficiently polite to escape the attention
of the police. The facts may be summarized as follows: A modest,
well-behaved German girl named Wulff was brutally assaulted and
raped on a lonely road by a negro named Robinson, who decoyed her
to the place of her undoing by telling her mother that he had
been commissioned by a reputable white woman to secure a
serving-maid. His victim dragged herself back to her mother's
door, and, half dead with grief and fright, related the awful
story of her despoilment. The lying coon was apprehended and
tried for his hellish crime. There could not be the slightest
doubt regarding his guilt. He was fully identified. His general
bad character was amply proven. The doctors declared that the
child had been forcibly despoiled. The neighbors testified that
she had returned to her home with torn and muddy clothing, half
strangled and crying. The good character of plaintiff was
demonstrated beyond peradventure of a doubt. Yet in San Antonio,
that Mecca of Southern chivalry, there stood forth two
white-skinned lawyers to defend the lecher. These were McAnderson
and E. D. Henry. Do not forget these names--they represent the
sum and crown of infamy. They are names with which to conjure
evil spirits. By one shameful act they have been "damned to
everlasting fame." Henceforth when babes are naughty their
mothers will affright them with these foul bogey-men. In almighty
Milton's catalogue of unclean demons there is naught so damnable.
These two champions of a rape-fiend first attempted to establish
an alibi, to prove that the girl was lying about their
sweet-scented protege--that she was laying claim to a sexual
distinction which she did not deserve. That having failed
miserably, the attorneys changed their tactics. They knew that
their client was guilty, yet were anxious to turn the black son
of Perdition loose upon society. They admitted that he had
debauched the girl, but insisted that it was with her
consent--that this modest little German maid was the black
brute's mistress. They scared up a brace of worthless brutes who
testified to having seen plaintiff bathing naked in a creek with
the prisoner at the bar. It was quickly demonstrated that these
fellows were guilty of deliberate falsehood. The perjured
witnesses were impeached. To say that defendant's attorneys did
not know when they placed these witnesses on the stand that they
would exploit a foul calumny cooked up for the occasion, were to
brand them as hopeless fools. If they did know it they were
knaves--and they are welcome to impale themselves on either horn
of the dilemma they like. They next attempted to badger and
browbeat the poor girl into an admission that she had made an
assignation with the Senegambian. The local papers in reporting
the case said the language used by these chivalrous (?) Southern
gentlemen to the plaintiff was unprintable. They secured no
admission of guilt--not one word that could be distorted to her
discredit; but they did succeed in driving the child into
hysterics with their brutal insults and damnable innuendos.
Remember that this was not Muckle-Mouth Meg who was thus publicly
accused of criminal intimacy with a coon, but a 16-year old maid
of respectable family who was seeking a situation as housemaid to
assist her mother. But the foul-mouthed and foul-minded creatures
who had undertaken to save the neck of the ravisher cared naught
for a young girl's reputation. The villain Robinson was given a
life-term in the penitentiary--and his attorneys expressed
themselves as "satisfied with the verdict." Why were they
satisfied? Because they knew that their client deserved to hang
like a sheep-stealing hound. It was a brutal confession that in
questioning the good name of Miss Wulff, in branding her as the
mistress of a black, they were guilty of a more heinous crime
than the beast who defiled her body. And this actually happened
in San Antonio, a city whose very name thrills every fibre of
American manhood--a city from whose turrets the flags of five
nations have proudly fluttered--a city whose every foot of soil
has been time and again baptised with the blood of the brave--a
city that twice within the century has put Thermopylae to shame!
Yet I am told that these unclean birds, who befoul so fair a nest
are allowed to live in San Antonio, to walk her streets, to elbow
her proud sons and look her proud daughters in the face! How have
the mighty fallen! There was a time when to have breathed a word
against the good name of an honest girl, howsoever humble, would
have meant the bowie-knife's fearful plunge and a dead face
staring at the stars. It were curious to reflect what would have
happened had the victim of Ethiopian lust been Lady Vere de Vere
instead of a scullery maid! What would have happened? Why, the
brute would have been torn limb from limb and his carcass fed to
the buzzards, while any man who dared hint that she was his
paramour would have been hanged higher than Haman. "The trail of
the serpent is over us all," the golden calf has become our
supreme god, and even in the South it now matters much whether a
woman seeking justice be clothed in gowns of Worth or

I once discovered in Massachusetts what I considered to be the
world's meanest man. It was Rev. Spenser B. Meeser, engineer of a
Worcester gospel-mill. He was a beggar's brat who had been
clothed, fed and educated by old Stephen Girard's bounty, but
when he grew to manhood--or doghood--he puked on the grave of his
benefactor because the latter elected to be an Atheist instead of
a bigoted Baptist. I could not at the time conceive of anything
meaner wearing the name of man, of a crime blacker than base
ingratitude, of aught more damnable than calumniation of the
honored dead; but Massachusetts will have to surrender the
pennant of infamy to the South. Texas has succeeded in producing
two men, either of whom is infinitely meaner than Meeser. The
latter did no more than insult the memory of the man whose bread
he had broken, and he did this as an excuse for not contributing
a little money towards building him a monument. The meanness of
Meeser was solely mercenary--he found it easier to slander the
dead than to give up a dollar. The San Antonio lawyers sought to
turn a black rape-fiend loose to defile the women of the South,
to endanger their own daughters; and to perpetrate this crime
strove with tooth and nail to commit one even more damnable.

Fifty years ago Macaulay wrote of Bertrand Barere: "When we put
everything together, poltroonery, baseness, effrontery,
mendacity, barbarity, the result is something which in a novel we
should condemn as caricature, and to which, we venture to say, no
parallel can be found in history." It is indeed a pity the great
essayist did not live to contemplate this pair of Texas
attorneys. He would have learned, doubtless to his surprise, that
"the Anacreon of the guillotine" was a pretty decent fellow--by
comparison. Barere was a monster born of a reign of blood. He
gave the friends of his youth to the guillotine. So terrible was
his savagery that he became known as "the Witling of Terror." He
was an able-bodied and enterprising liar who never told the truth
unless by accident; but in his most demoniac moods it did not
occur to him to prove recreant to his race, to torture children
that he might enjoy their agony, to brand innocent girls, who
could scarce look upon their own budding bosoms without a blush,
as the depraved paramours of syphilitic Senegambians. Ah
Macaulay! from thy Seventh Heaven, reserved for the lords of
intellect--the children of genius, who needs must be the
favorites of Omniscience--shake down a drop of cold water upon
the blistered lips of Bertrand Barere, for they did not frame the
supreme falsehood--nor did he strive to unchain a black lecher
that he might imperil the honor of the ladies of his native land.
Despite all his sin and shame, he would have looked upon that
dishonored daughter of the Caucasian race and cried for

Carlyle, greatest of critics, the supreme lord of
literature--that Scottish Arcturus before whom even Shakespeare's
glorious star pals its ineffectual fires--awards the palm of
correlated cussedness to Cagliostro; yet the "count" was merely a
successful swindler and professional pander. He plucked rich
dupes, but I find not in his long catalogue of crime that he
slandered youthful serving maids--for a consideration. He was
advocate for many an unclean thing, but it is not recorded that
he ever took a fee from a negro rape-fiend--that he ever defended
a lecherous son of Ham who had dared raise his wolfish eyes to
the fair face of Japhet's humblest daughter. Even when put on
trial for his own worthless life he did not seek to save himself
by the perjured testimony of the sons of slaves.

Cagliostro, Barere and Meeser--the positive, comparative and
superlative of infamy hitherto! but we must turn to "Grand old
Texas" to find unblushing effrontry and irremediable rascality.
Some months ago a creature named Otis, who conducts somewhere in
Southern California a putrid abortion miscalled a newspaper,
declared in his columns that Southern women are often paramours
of black bucks, and that the frequent lynching of so-called
rape-fiends are due to discovery of these unnatural liaisons. But
as Otis commanded a company of coons during the war--a job which
no gentleman would have accepted to save his immortal soul--and
as he has a head shaped like a gourd and a face strongly
suggestive of a degenerate simian, his foolish lies only produced
a general laugh; yet here are two alleged Southern gentlemen,
certifying in open court that Otis' cowardly falsehoods have a
broad foundation of fact! In the whole world's history there is
but one other instance of such shameless infamy, and that too
belongs to Texas. When the 14-year old "ward of the Baptist
church" was debauched at its chief storm center of bigotry and
bile, Baylor University, the sweet scented son-in-law of
President Burleson tried to make it appear that she was enciente
by a Senegambian--that young and innocent girls committed to its
care were so poorly guarded that it was possible for them to have
nigger babies!--Yet this defamer of Baptist womanhood has not yet
been introduced to a rope by the male students, attacked from the
rear by Baylor trustees, or told to leave town! Fortunately the
young lady was able to refute this slander of the University and
its inmates by putting a white baby in evidence--the pickaninny
specialty having been reserved by Providence for the manager of
the Baptist missionary board.

One cannot help asking if Miss Wulff has no male relatives, or if
gunpowder is no longer sold in the Alamo City. As I understand
it, her people are late from the Fatherland--have yet to learn
that in some cases society expects a man to overlook the law, to
kill as unclean curs those who thus defame a female member of
their family. It is possible that there are other shyster lawyers
as mean, other bipedal coyotes as contemptible as those under
consideration; but if so they have not yet been called to the
attention of the ICONOCLAST. True it is, however, that the
average attorney cares more for victory than for virtue.
Howsoever honest and upright he may be in private life, the
moment he enters the court-room he becomes an unnatural monster,
willing to accept the devil as client and win his case at any
cost. It is likewise true that the courts allow too large a
liberty to lawyers in the examination of witnesses for the
opposition, permitting them to call in question the honor of men
of well-known probity and cast suspicion on the character of
women full as good as their wives in order to make an impression
on the jury that will redound to the interest of cut-throat
clients. It has come to such a pass in this so-called chivalrous
country that sensitive women will submit to almost any wrong
rather than seek redress in our courts of law, where they are
liable to be subjected to studied insult by unconscionable
shysters. It were well for the people to take this matter in hand
and make it plain to all concerned that courts do not exist for
the express purpose of enabling blackguard lawyers to pocket fat
fees for aiding professional criminals to escape the legitimate
consequence of their crimes, but to secure even and exact
justice--to insist that henceforth these legal parasites be
compelled to treat them with common courtesy. It might be well
for the South to vary the program by lynching fewer rape-fiends
and more shysters lawyers.

 * * *

Some months ago the ICONOCLAST paid its respects to the old line
insurance companies. It demonstrated beyond the peradventure of a
doubt that they are but so many cut-throat gambling concerns. It
proved that they are consuming the substance of the people by
returning in satisfaction of matured policies about one-third
what they collect in premiums. Of course, the expose aroused the
ban-dogs of Dives, and they made the welkin ring from Tadmor in
the wilderness to Yuba Dam. The ICONOCLAST became a target for
oodles of cheap wit and barrels of black-guardism by the
journalistic organ-grinders for the insurance buccaneers; but as
yet none of the megalophanous-mouthed micrococci have attempted
to answer its arguments or to demonstrate that the indictment was
too drastic. A gentleman who has made an exhaustive study of the
insurance problem sends me some valuable data which I propose to
draw upon from time to time, not with the expectation of making
high-toned thieves ashamed of themselves and thereby effecting
their reformation, but to keep their newspaper panders and
potwallopers snarling and snapping until general attention is
attracted to the consummate meanness of their masters and thereby
curtail somewhat their powers of despoilation. The old line life
insurance fake is the most colossal scheme of predacity known to
human history. Enough money is annually filched from the people
to clothe every pauper like unto Solomon in all his glory and
feed him upon the fat of the land. Millions of Americans are
today denying themselves creature comforts to pay premiums on
policies that will never yield their dependents one penny. The
old line fraud flourishes simply because, in the language of the
erstwhile P. T. Barnum, the American people love to be hood-dooed
and humbugged. I do not by this mean to reflect upon the
commercial integrity of all men soliciting old line insurance.
Many of them are elegant gentlemen who have engaged, quite
unconsciously, in very bad business. The Deity should forgive
them for they know not what they do. They really believe that
they are engaged in a work of philanthropy, while devoting their
best energies to the promotion of a fraud. The average
policy-holder knows little or nothing about life- insurance. He
desires to provide for his dependants; but being unable to
accumulate much property, he scrapes and saves and pays to some
remorseless robber all his surplus money. He wants to be doubly
sure that the company is solvent and will remain so, hence he
selects one boasting enormous "assets." It does not once occur to
him that the aforesaid assets have been accumulated in a very few
years by bumping the heads of other suckers. He pays the rate
prescribed without considering whether it be high enough to keep
the company solvent or low enough to stamp his investment as
commercial sanity. He is little concerned about "dividends," but
wants to be assured that at the time of his death his heirs will
be paid a certain number of dollars. So he goes up against a
mammoth slot-machine which absorbs dollars while it rolls out
dimes. He knows that the widow so-and-so was paid so much
insurance, and takes it for granted that it is a good thing. He
sees the little pile of coin poured into her lap, but he does not
see the greedy hands of the corporation despoiling a hundred
pockets to make up treble the amount. He hears much about what
the Flim- Flam Life Insurance Co. has paid on policies, but
nothing about what it has collected in premiums. So he makes his
old threadbare coat do for another decade, lets his wife go
without a new gown, feeds his children on slapjacks and sop and
surrenders for life insurance the surplus thus saved. No "cheap
insurance" for him!--he wants to get into a "time-tried"
financial Gibralter. He is told by the agent of an old liner of
its enormous "legal reserve," and innocently supposes this to be
a portion of its available assets--the one thing which makes it
"solid." He contemplates a long array of figures and assumes that
Old Mortality might sweep the land with War or pestilence without
affecting the solvency of his patron saint. The agent neglects to
inform him that the "legal reserve," which looms up like a
seventy four in a fog, cannot be utilized in the discharge of
death-claims, that insofar as the average policy holder is
concerned it is simply a beautiful legend on an advertising
blotter. When I was editor of the San Antonio Express the
philanthropic proprietor gave me a block of land in the city of
Laredo in lieu of a raise of salary, but neglected to supply me
with a deed to same. The land is mine, all right enough, but is
no part of my available assets--it's my "legal reserve." Like its
insurance namesake, it's a liability to the exact extent that
it's an asset. It is an awfully nice thing to have, but adds
never a cent to my solvency. My correspondent points out that it
costs policy holders in old line companies more to maintain the
legal reserve than it does to provide for losses by death, and
adds that this is proven by the fact that all such companies
doing business in the State of New York must have on hand in
cash, or in invested assets approved by the insurance department,
the reserve belonging to all the policies which they have in
force. This means that they must retain or keep invested a sum
equal to about two-thirds of all the premiums paid on all
existing policies. The moment they part with any portion of this
reserve for any purpose whatsoever, they are declared insolvent
and wound up by a receiver. In other words, the corporation is
d----d if it does and the policy holder is d----d if it doesn't.
That the latter gets the sulphur bath goes without saying. The
four largest old system companies doing business in New York had,
on Jan. 1, 1893, $48,265,798 more in legal reserve than the total
amount which they have paid in death losses and endowments during
their entire existence! With this fact before him, how in the
name of heaven any sane man can be induced by an old system
company to enact the role of sucker surpasses my comprehension.
Five years ago the net assets of the largest old line life
insurance company in the world amounted to $165,000,000, of which
more than $158,000,000 was legal reserve. Had a shrinkage of 10
per cent occurred in the value of its investments its reserve
would have been impaired and the corporation declared insolvent.
So long ago as 1878 the Union Mutual Life Insurance Co.
acknowledged over the signatures of its general officers that it
had collected from its policy holders more than $45,000,000
"beyond the necessities of our business." It felt so badly about
this that it proceeded to raise the cost of management from $5 to
$11.57 on the $1,000 and shove up the premium something more than
20 per cent! It is believed that the gutta percha conscience of
the general officers is now reasonably easy--that "the
necessities of our business" are not on a parity with the ability
of the corporation to yank the legs of the guileless yap. In 1873
this company paid in dividends $29 on each $1,000 insurance in
force; in 1895 it paid--despite the increased cost of
premiums--but $2.16. All the old line companies, so far as I
know, have been increasing premiums and cost of management while
decreasing dividends. "Loading" is another scheme by which all
old line or legal reserve companies rob the people. "Loading"
means simply the placing of a sufficient burden on the patron to
freeze him out before maturity of his policy and enable the
company to pocket all he has paid in premiums. The idea of the
old liners is to squeeze a victim dry and get rid of him--to
"load" him until his financial back is broken. That the system is
proven by the fact that only one policy in seven is ever paid.
Six out of every seven people who insure in the old line
companies pay heavy premiums for a longer or shorter period and
never receive back a cent. They lie down under their "load." By
such methods these systematic blood-suckers acquire those vast
assets that make them so "solvent." By such practices they are
enabled to pay $75,000 salaries to their presidents while the
chief magistrate of the Republic must worry along on less money.
By the pernicious system of "loading" a patron is charged four
times as much for operating expenses at 60 years of age as he is
charged at 25, although it costs the same to collect his premiums
and furnish a receipt therefor. The idea is that the older he
grows the more likely he is to prove a loss to the company,
hence his burden is made too grievous to be borne. Life insurance
should be a public blessing instead of a bane. Properly applied
it would well-nigh eliminate pauperism. As matters now stand it
is too often a promoter of poverty instead of a preventative. To
shelter one family the old line companies turn two or more into
the street. To feed the few they starve the many. They coldly
speculate in the holiest affections of the human heart. They
remorselessly coin blood into boodle. They wring the last
farthing from the thin purse of labor for their own enrichment.
They obtain patronage of the ignorant by false pretenses. They
permit the people to regard their legal reserve as available for
all purposes. They parade eight and nine-figure assets as things
to be proud of, when they are in reality the fruits of shameless
despoiliation of the poor. They pose as benevolent institutions
while the land is filled with those whom they have robbed and
wrecked. The government should suppress these eminently
respectable gambling games. They have caused more sorrow,
destitution and crime than all the cards and dice this side of
the dark dominion of the devil. The horse-leech's daughters
should be pulled off the body politic. Not only should the
government suppress these shameless skin games which collect gold
and distribute copper, but it should supply life insurance to
heads of families at cost and make it compulsory. It should be an
offense against the law, punishable by imprisonment for a man to
bring a child into the world without first providing for its
support in case of his death or disability, and in no other way
can the poor so easily make such provision as by a system of life
insurance conducted for the benefit of the many instead of the
enrichment of the few.


All the fools are not confined to any one political party or
religious cult. As a rule the Catholic clergy, while
ultra-dogmatic, are thoroughly decent. While standing up stiffly
for all the claims of their creed, they treat their Protestant
neighbors with courteous toleration. There are exceptions to most
rules, hence it does not infallibly follow that a man is a
gentleman because he is a priest of the Church of Rome. The
unworthy are usually discovered and weeded out, but their
dismissal does not entirely repair the damage done by criminal or
foolish utterance. It is seldom indeed that the Mother-Church
permits a small-bore bigot or brainless blatherskite to rise to
the dignity of an archbishop, but one such has evidently escaped
her watchful eye. Archbishop Cleary, of Kingston, Can., recently
distinguished himself by an ebullition of unchristian bile that
will long be used as an excuse for the existence of the A.P.A.
His utterances were a disgrace to his office. They were beneath
the dignity of the humblest neophite of the Church of Rome. They
remind one of the old Puritanical tongue-borers and witch-
burners. They suggest the Star Chamber of England and the
Inquisition of Spain. The brutality staggers the brain and chills
the blood. They compel those who have ever felt kindly towards
Catholicism to pause and consider. Although the voice of the
Vatican is strangely at variance with the astounding mandate of
the Archbishop, the latter has been pounced upon and exploited by
the "Apes" as an official utterance of the Pope. It appears that
a Catholic young lady officiated as bridesmaid for a friend who
was married in a Protestant church and according to the rites of
that religion. Therefore his reverence proceeded to have a
cataleptoid convulsion and cut fantastic capers before high
heaven. It was entirely within his sacerdotal province to
administer a reprimand. He could, without transcending the
proprieties have advised the Catholics of his diocese to refrain
from officiating at Protestant marriages in future. He did
neither the one nor the other, but proceeded to issue a mandate
which, reduced to the last analysis, means simply that a marriage
not consummated by the Catholic church is no marriage at all, but
simply concubinage born of lust and wickedly sanctioned by human
law. He forbade Catholics, under pain of his dire displeasure,
even witnessing Protestant marriages or attending as mere
spectators at Protestant funerals. Archbishop Cleary has
flagrantly insulted every non-Catholic wife in the world. He cast
the baleful bar-sinister on the escutcheon of every child born of
non-Catholic parents. With all due respect to his holy office,
Archbishop Cleary is one ass. He is a brute who should be taken
out and bastinadoed. Of course due allowance must be made for the
fact that he is a Canuck. Canada is but half-civilized. It is
still "loil" to old England, the strumpet of nations, the
governmental harlot of history. It continues to take its manners
and customs from the old country. It is to the Queen's apron
strings like an idiot's scalp to the belt of an Apache squaw.
Whenever John Bull whistles it comes a running like a half-grown
spaniel at the call of a stable-boy. It has never mustered up
sufficient sense and sand to set up for itself. It is the red
bandana upon which Britannia blows her protrusive bugle. It is
the cuspidore into which she voids her royal rheum. We could not
expect much even from a Catholic archbishop in such a country. In
fact, the Canadian Catholics, like the Canadian Protestants, are
so narrow between the eyes that they can look through a key-hole
with both eyes at once. Their heads are small and ill-furnished.
The winters are so long that the sap cannot rise to the top--it
stops at the belly-band and there coagulates. Canadians of any
faith are scarce so broad in the religious beam as Texas
Baptists, who believe that unless a man be treated to a
sanctified plunge- bath by some acephalous shouter he is headed
direct for hell. Still it is something of a shock to hear even a
Canadian archbishop branding four-fifths of the people of this
world as bastards. It makes one ashamed of the genus homo to hear
him forbidding Catholics attending the funerals of their
Protestant friends. One cannot help asking, What of marriage and
motherhood during the long ages before St. Peter became Pope? Was
Eve a concubine and Sara a slut? Has Archbishop Cleary an hundred
generations of harlotry behind him? I am seeking no controversy
with Catholicism. With its peculiar ideas of marriage and divorce
I have nothing at present to do. I am simply tying a few
bow-knots in the ears of an ass. I deny, however, that it is
within the power of any church to add to the sanctity of a
marriage ceremony. Marriage is nothing more or less than formal
notification to the world that a man and woman have already
become husband and wife. It matters not how this announcement is
made, so long as due respect is shown the established customs of
the country, so long as it is generally accepted as sufficient.
"What God hath put together, let no man put asunder," cried the
Archbishop as he contemplates the possible annulment of a
non-Catholic marriage contract. What God hath put together no man
CAN put asunder. Even the almighty hand of death cannot break
that sacred bond. But how does God join people together?--how
does he make a man and woman husband and wife? Is it by the
mumbled formula of priests or magistrates? If so, then is a
MARIAGE DE CONVENIANCE AS SACRED as the mating of Cupid and
Psyche. Then is the union of a snub-nosed American parvenu with
an idiotic European "nobleman" whom she has bought with her
daddy's dollars as holy in the sight of heaven as that of old
Isaac's son with Laban's beauteous daughter. God joins man and
woman together only with the golden links of love. When they are
joined thus they are bone of one bone and flesh of one flesh.
Were they alone in the world no marriage ceremony would be
needful; but being a portion of society they must obtain its
sanction. When they are joined together by church or state and
love is lacking the union is not of heaven, but of hell. The
woman is no true wife, but a kept mistress, and every child born
unto her is a bastard. She has sold herself, and the priest or
preacher who knowingly sets the seal of his approval upon her sin
becomes an accomplice in a subterbrutish crime. But neither
church nor state can read a woman's heart--all it can do is to
announce to the world, "This woman elects to be that man's wife."
There's naught more sacrosanct in the act of church or state in
so far as the marriage ceremony is concerned than in the
newspaper notice of its consummation. A few years ago a young and
cultured woman, a woman beautiful as the dawn and with a
suggestion of the Madonna in her fair young face, was persuaded
by an ambitious mother to marry an old Silenus whom the political
ocean in its madness had scooped out of the ooze and thrown among
the stars. Three children have been born to her, and if current
report may be credited, all are semi-idiots. Her gross husband is
so repulsive to her that her babies are conceived as in some
devil's dream and brought forth in despair. Thank heaven this
ill-mated couple are not Catholics. But had they been: does
Archbishop Cleary mean to tell me that all the power of the
Church of Rome could have rendered their union holy? It is quite
likely that Archbishop Cleary will not have to wait very long for
a letter from Rome. When it comes I opine that it will contain a
friendly tip from the Pope not to talk too much. His Holiness is
a man of great good sense, and it will naturally occur to him
that while reasonable church discipline is desirable it may be
enforced without flagrantly insulting the millions of very worthy
people who decline to accept his dogma.

 * * *

This year's crop of Christmas accidents appears to be up to the
average. As an angel-maker Christmas outclasses St. Patrick's day
and is almost equal to the Fourth of July. The North celebrates
the birth of our dear Lord by stuffing itself to the bursting
point with plum budding, while the South manifests its
appreciation of God's mercy by blowing itself to pieces with
gunpowder. Dozens of people were killed, hundreds lost more or
less important portions of their anatomy while a great army of
new-made dyspeptics goes marching onward to the grave. I cannot
understand what either plumpudding or gunpowder has to do with
saving grace. The man must be very gross who can celebrate with
gluttony and drunkenness the birth of the Redeemer. Why should
anyone desire to transform the world into a murderous pandemonium
because of the arrival of the Prince of Peace? Truth to tell,
Christmas has become a secular holiday rather than a day for
religious rejoicing, and Deists, Atheists and Agnostics take as
much interest in its observation as do those who believe in the
divinity of the Babe of Bethlehem. More people get drunk on
Christmas than on any other day in the year. It is a time of
violence and blood, rather than of "peace on earth, good will to
men." I move that we switch, and instead of celebrating the
nativity of Christ, observe the birth of Bacchus. We will then be
privileged to drink until we are drunken. We can then stuff
ourselves with the good things of earth and be consistent. We can
then explode cannon-crackers, fire anvils and yoop with our
mouths open without being guilty of the slightest disrespect to
our God. But what must Christ Jesus think as he looks over the
jasper walls, of this high revel, supposedly held as a sacrament?
Surely he must be sorry he was ever born of woman. But gluttony,
and drunkenness and fireworks are not the full extent of a
so-called Christian world's offering. We have perverted the
communistic doctrine of Christ in our practice of giving
Christian presents. So long as custom confines gifts to immediate
relatives and dependents it was well enough, for the largesse was
usually selected with discretion and prompted by love; but it has
now become the practice to send gifts to pretty much the entire
circle of one's acquaintances. The result is the expenditure of
tens of millions of money annually in the purchase of useless
plunder. And the worst of it is that presents are usually given
on the reciprocity plan--the custom has well nigh left the realm
of sentiment and degenerated into social tyranny or brute
selfishness. The homes of this land are littered to-day with
trash which the recipients did not want and cannot use. And half
the people who incurred this foolish expense are suffering the
inconvenience of poverty. On the day after Christmas a lady
shoved me her presents. They made a truly imposing pile. "There's
not a solitary thing in the entire load," said she, "for which I
have the slightest use. I cannot retain much of the stuff as
keepsakes because of the bulk, and I am neither privileged to
sell it or to give it away. I would have appreciated a rose or a
ribbon from one I love more than all this trumpery from the
people who are for the most part mere acquaintances. And I? Oh I
adhered to the custom--went broke buying a lot of useless truck
with which to encumber others. And now that Christmas is over and
we contemplate our thin purses and impossible presents, we all
wonder why 'that monster custom' doesn't permit us to exercise a
little common sense. Christmas is becoming ever more and more a
nightmare to me. The dinners are simply dreadful. The housewife
begins a month in advance to plot against the stomachs of her
people. I never ate but one Christmas dinner for which I did not
feel like apologizing to my doctor, and that was not eaten in
strictly religious company. It was a regular Bohemian lunch
partaken of on a Pullman by myself, a newspaper man and two other
sinners. The everlasting roast turkey, the pudding, pies and all
the rest of the greasy, indigestible mass was missing. We had
tongue sandwiches and Budweiser, deviled ham and more beer. I
remarked that we were awfully wicked, but the newspaper man
consoled me by saying the Christ was something of a Bohemian
himself. We take an infinite deal of pains and spend an awful
sight of money just to make ourselves miserable." One great
trouble with the American people is that they do not have nearly
enough holidays. In fact, Christmas is the only one really worthy
of the name, for on New Year's, and July Fourth, we do not cease
business until noon, while on Thanksgiving we forget to chase the
nimble nickel merely long enough to feed. Next to gain-getting,
eating seems to be the important business of the Universe. It is
the manner in which a semi-civilized people express pleasure.
Ouida has called attention to this fact somewhere. If a general
wins an important battle, if a poet writes an immortal epic, if a
Columbus discovers a new world, or if a God becomes incarnate
we--eat! Yet there be sentimentalists who say that soul and
stomach are not synonymous! It appears that the heart cannot
feel, that the brain cannot enjoy unless we're shovelling a
varied assortment of provender into the belly. That humble but
useful organ seems to be the seat of all joy, as it is the source
of most sorrow.

 . . .

 The American custom of "treating" is receiving some severe
criticism from the European press. It deserves it. It is one of
the most ridiculous and hurtful that ever cursed mankind. It is
responsible for the bulk of the crime and pauperism usually
accredited to John Barleycorn. Where there is no treating there's
usually little intemperance. When a man steps into a "resort" for
a glass of beer he's pretty apt to find a party lined up at the
bar. He wants to pay for his beer, drink it and take his
departure. But this is not permitted. He may have no more than a
passing acquaintance with any of those present, but he must drink
with the crowd, and having done so feels obligated to ask the
crowd to drink with him. It does so, and he's "out" from one to
three dollars. Having drunk with Tom he must drink with Dick and
with Harry, and when he departs he's more than half drunk. The
chances are that he could ill afford the expense incurred--that
if left to himself he would have taken one drink instead of a
dozen. "Treating" is a foolish custom that should be abolished in
the interest of sobriety. It is good neither for the saloon nor
for society. It is not good for the saloon because it occasions
drunkenness and disorder and causes it to be avoided by thousands
of otherwise good paying patrons. It is not good for society
because weak men waste their substance, and a drunken man is an
unsafe citizen. But the treating habit has too strong a grip on
the American people to be eliminated by magazine essays--it must
be made a misdemeanor. I am told that in Germany it matters NOT
how friendly the members of a symposiac may be, everybody is
expected to order and pay for his own booze. The result is that
the German drinking place is respectable as the average
restaurant and is patronized by almost the entire people.
Temperance is the rule--stimulants are freely used but seldom
abused. The treating habit is born of the American desire to
"splurge." It means an enormous waste of money. It likewise means
a sinful waste of good wine, for when a crowd of men belly a bar
and pour stimulants into themselves as swine absorb swill it
really matters little whether they drink Pomeroy See or
barrel-house booze. They do not enjoy their potations--their only
desire is to make drunk come. The treating habit is making of us
a swinish people and strengthening the hands of the
Prohibitionists. . . .

The "Rev." Sam Jones of Jawgy has broken loose again. This time
he sets his cornstalk spear in rest and charges full tilt at the
public school system and pretty much everything else in sight.
His pathway is strewn with a gruesome wreck of the English
grammar. Sam discussing the merits of education suggest a brindle
mule criticising the Venus de Milo or a scavenger expatiating on
the odors of Araby. His reverence (?) has become imbued with the
idea that it spoils a boy to educate him, which goes to prove
that the less a man knows the more he despises knowledge. But we
can scarce blame Sam for railing at education. He is but obeying
the law of self-preservation. When the people learn to
distinguish between a hawk and a heron-saw they will drive this
putrid-mouth little blatherskite from the pulpit. . . .

The New York Press wants all niggers holding federal offices in
the South "armed to the teeth" for their own protection. It has
an idea that the South is peopled only by "white savages" whose
favorite sport is the shooting of nigger officer-holders from
ambush. Like the erstwhile Artemus Ward's monkey, the editor of
the Press is "a most amusin kuss." The South never gets angry at
that kind of an animal. Occasionally a corrupt Republican
administration appoints some ignorant Ethiopian to office who
becomes insufferably insolent to his white neighbors and is
called down with a six-shooter; but for every negro office-holder
"assassinated by Southern savages" at least five white women are
dragged from their homes by Northern white-caps and brutally
abused. Who says so? I do; and I stand ready to prove it by the
files of the leading Republican paper of this nation for ten
years past. I refer, of course, to the St. Louis Globe- Democrat,
the best all-around newspaper in the world. The South has very
little affection for nigger office- holders, but they are full as
safe as any other class of citizens so long as they behave
themselves. The black man is not to blame for accepting an
office, it is the Republican administration that deserves censure
in thus making him the political superior of his white brethern.
It is not the nigger who deserves killing, but the meddlesome
Yankee editors who encourage him to be insolent.

 . . .

 According to press report a fashionable New York society female
has dismissed her maid and engaged a valet. Well, if the dear
creature enjoys having a man dress and undress her, comb her hair
and lace her corsets why should an envious world stand on its
hinder legs and carp? New York fashionables must have some
antidote for ennui. If it be proper for ladies to have valets I
presume that it is permissible for men to have maids. What is
sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. Verily "the
world do move."

 . . .

In the morning Mr. Logan wore a doeskin box coat with pearl
buttons nearly as large as alarm clocks in two rows on it. His
spats were old-gold color to match. In the afternoon he wore a
dark plaid coat and trousers and a saffron-colored vest. The vest
was garnished with maroon-colored inch-and-a-quarter checks. He
wore an Ascot scarf, dark blue, with lavender polka dots. His
scarfpin was a gold whip four inches long and set with a
half-inch turqoise in the middle. He wore ox-blood shoes in the
morning and ox-blood gloves and in the afternoon his shoes and
gloves were buff colored. In the evening he wore full
dress.--Chicago Times-Herald.

 And still we wonder at the increase of crime! Could any
self-respecting Texan with a six-shooter concealed about his
person be expected to meet such a gorgeous bird o' paradise and
suffer it to escape? I wonder if Mr. Logan scrapes his tongue,
manicures his toes and puts his moustache on curl papers? And I
wonder what the devil old "Black Jack" would say could he wake up
long enough to take survey of his clothes-horn of a son? And I
wonder what the deuce the woman who married it will do with it?
And I wonder why the hades his ma doesn't lead the little man out
into the woodshed, remove his panties, lay him across the
maternal knee and hit him 'steen times across the rear elevation
with a green cypress shingle? Think of a featherless he animal
playing peacock--no mission in God's world but to dress and
undress itself three times a day. . . .

The New York Medical Record says that "a custom prevails in this
country that ministers should be considered as free from
pecuniary obligation to the doctor for service rendered." The
Record then proceeds to file a very vigorous kick because of the
aforesaid custom, broadly intimating that sky-pilots in general
are long on gall and short on gratitude. There is certainly no
reason why the preacher, who usually receives a good salary,
should not pay for his poultices and pills. When he relieves
cases of soul-sickness he does so "for the glory of God" and the
long green. He expects to be paid twice for his services--once
here and again in heaven. The doctor of medicine is not
infrequently poorer in this world's goods than the preacher, and
he looks forward to but one fee. He should not be deprived of
that by men who sweetly sing:

 "I would not live always, I ask not to stay."

 If the doctors treat the dominies gratis it follows as a matter
of course that they must recoup themselves by adding to the bills
of their lay brethren, just as railway companies which carry
preachers at half-rate must saddle the loss upon their other

 . . .

Mintonville, Ky., not only sticks to its gods, but insists on
clinging with a death grip to its good old orthodox devil, horns,
hoofs and tail. The Rev. Gilham of the Christian church of that
city, who has doubtless discovered recently that that unimportant
portion of the world which moves and has its being outside of
Mintonville had several centuries back diplomatically dropped the
devil question, undertook to inform his flock that he, too had
arrived at the conclusion that his Satanic Majesty was a myth, a
delusion and a snare, a howling farce. The reverend gentleman's
intentions were good, but he had reckoned without his
congregation. They had always had a devil who was responsible for
their pecadilloes; he was a convenient little institution to have
around when the pecadilloes were a little more numerous than was
compatible with the moral standard of Mintonville, and they
realized that if the devil were removed from the Mintonville
directory they would have to reform or shoulder their own
shortcomings. Either course was quite too sad to contemplate. In
fact the Mintonvillians positively would not contemplate them.
Give them their devil and they could safely straddle between the
horns of their dilemma. Remove their devil and they were undone.
But Parson Gilham asserted that there was no devil. Mintonville
had consequently to choose between their devil and their parson.
The world could furnish more parsons but it couldn't furnish more
devils. It was the parson and the devil for it and the red downed
the black--the parson had to go. The reverend gentleman was
ejected from his sacred office with scorn and contumely and
likewise a number of pistol shots. It is to be supposed that the
devil now reigns triumphant in Mintonville, while Gilham smooths
down his clerical coat-tails from the horizontal to the proper
perpendicular and wonders if he has not, like the proverbial
parrot, talked too damned much.

 * * *

In the December ICONOCLAST there appeared a tirade on "The Stage
and Stage Degenerates" that was as sweeping in its assertions as
it was narrow in its views. The writer revels in reminiscences of
his newspaper associations with the cheap beer-drinking,
sand-floor class, swings their vices and vulgarities before the
public, describes them as garbed in "loud patterned" trousers and
snow- white overcoats and epitomizes the whole thing as an Augean
stable, impure, impossible, vile, vulgar and bad. He then tells
us calmly that "these are the representatives of their
profession, so far as America is concerned," and he gives them to
us as the "middle class of the people of the footlights."

If these are the "middle class," what is the next grade below?
Where does he place the dividing line? Does he make no
distinction between the vaudeville, continuous performance
buffoons and the thousands who are "not stars," but working well
and perhaps hoping? Does he call our scullery-maids and
stable-boys "representative American middle class?" Does he call
Mable Strickland and other dainty little hard-workers in minor
parts typical of the hideous coarseness and vice he has
described? Does he bracket THEM with his beer-drunk, easy-virtue
"chorus-girls?" Does he realize all he means when he says of
those he depicts "there were no stars among them, and none of the
lower stratum?" Briefly, did he know what he was writing about?

When a man sits down on a curb stone with his feet in the gutter
to "study life" and imagines himself a philosopher, while he
moralizes on the muddy feet that pass him, he would probably feel
grieved if the strong hand of some clear-headed individual lifted
him up out of the gutter's filth and he was informed that much
depended upon one's view being from a level, not an incline. We
do not Judge our middle-class citizens by our cooks, and it is
apt to suggest unwisdom, to express it very mildly, to gauge the
men and women workers of the stage by beer-hall habitues and
fleshling courtesans.

This an age of work and a generation of workers. The times, the
conditions, the needs of the century are driving women out into
the world as never before in the world's history. They must work
to live and to help others live and in every line of work
possible is woman found. The stage gives employment to thousands
of women eminently fitted to entertain and amuse the public.
Under ordinary conditions the great army of players find its lot
a not unpleasant one. Women bears its harness lightly, to whom
manual labor would be a mental and physical crucifixion. It is a
labor of brain as well as body, of the soul as well as the
senses, of the artistic as well as the prosaic. Its temptations
are many and its pitfalls are many, but they are little, if any,
more than are the temptations in many other fields of
self-support for women. And notwithstanding the gentleman's
profound deductions, there are a number of good women on the
American stage even if they are not "given credit for being so by
their fellow professionals"--and iconoclastic writers. And by
these I do not mean the weary females described by Lizzie
Annandale as reclining on the shoulders of their men companions,
in mal-adorous day coaches on cross-continent "jumps." These
women, if he will pardon the contradiction, are not the
"representative middle class of the American stage." They are
the scullery-maid class, for they are on the lowest rung of the
professional ladder and few ever ascend from that lowest rung. It
is their native element.

But these women who are neither "stars or the lower stratum," who
study and labor, even though the labor be light through being one
of love for their profession, who give a refinement and a
sweetness to the many little dramas that appeal to critique and
common folk alike, who speak to us of wife and sister and mother
and sweetheart, and whose voices are as sweet and gestures as
gentle and personalities as refined as are those of our own home
women nestling safe in the firelight of our ingle-nook--these
women are not immoral in a ratio of "ten to one." And with them,
as with our home women, it is not their sense of morality that is
their greatest safe-guard. It is their sense of refinement. It is
a mistake to think that only Christian and moral women are
virtuous. "Passion leaps o'er cold decree," and Christian
precepts and moral teaching are cold and distant things when the
blood leaps like molton lava through heart and brain. With
Marguerite telling her beads, the prayers become but a babble of
empty sound on her lips when the sweet poison of her lover's
teachings crept through ear and heart and opened to her
wondering, frightened dreams a Paradise of sense and sound and
sweetness and dreamy, swooning loveliness before which her
pictured pearl and golden heaven waxed chill and distant and
austere. Prayers did not save Francesca from the sweet torment of
her Passion and her Purgatory. Prayers save but rarely, for they
are to darkness and to mystery that give back only the awful
weight of silence--silence under which the frantic heart
struggles and stifles as beneath a pall. Prayers reach out to an
infinity that is shrouded always, but the lover's lips are sweet
and the caress is close and the arms are warm and human. What
wonder if the brain forgets when the heart thirsts and pleads?
What wonder if the reason waver and faint when the winged god
nestles close in the breast? What woman if the woman wake and
thrill and "answers to the touch of one musician's hand" as an
instrument that is silent till the master touch sweep the
strings? What wonder if the marble warm and waken and throb to
quick life beneath the passion of Pygmalion's kiss? What wonder
if women love with an answering love if their God have so
created? And what wonder if their prayer to him faint on their
lips beneath the surging diapason of the waking heart beneath? If
he so created, what then? If he "saw them made and said 'twas
good," what then? If he made love chief, to deity and then
destroy, its ecstacy blending with agony "as swells and swoons,
across the wold the tinkling of the camel's bell," what then? If
he made the greatest thing in the world and life speaks to life
as a magnet to the pole, what then? Can you break that strong,
silent current by a breathed invocation? Did not the Man cry from
the cross in his exquisite agony, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!"
And if his divine faith fainted on the threshold of his kingdom,
is it strange if human faith sink beneath life's crucifixion and
the babble of priest grow poor and harsh before the sweetness of
"a little laughter and a little love"--the only hyssop in the
sponge of vinegar? And we wander so far to find so little!

In Jean Paul's cry "How lonely is everyone in this wide charnal
of the universe!"--is the explanation of--much.

We are as we are. And Allah is great.

And because we are as we are, it is fallacy to think that the
good women, in the accepted sense of the term, are the only
virtuous ones. Women of the stage and of the world ponder little
on Moses and the prophets. Their lives are too full of grinding
fact to reck much of unsubstantial fancies. And Prayer and Priest
save women from little if Personality be not there. Teachings of
virtue and morality are lip service and things of air. But when a
woman's self rises to defend her honor--an honor that is a sacred
thing in its own worth, not a question that will but win her
reward in other life, then does true morality speak and then does
woman find her greatest safeguard. A woman is but a weak thing
who must cower behind the skirts of her religion to guard her
purity. And these women of the stage who are its "middle class"
are also its gentlewomen. For unfortunately its "stars" many of
them but rival the other "stratum" in lawless infamy. In that,
did the writer in December make his supreme mistake.

Temptation in the footlight world is strong, but a woman's pride
is stronger. Under temptation's test, her religion might was dim,
but her refinement would rise as a battlement in defense. Her
church and creed might waver and sink, but that undefinable
innocence which we call womanhood, would lead her, a Dian,
through the fires of hell. In society and the slums a large
percentage of women are courtesans by choice. The one has a
refinement that is but a veneer, and the other has no refinement
at all. And as with the world, so with the stage. In the middle
class are found the truer gentlewomen. Women of the drama must of
necessity be gentlewomen, the refinement must be innate, or they
would fail utterly. An actress who is a gentlewoman can with her
art stoop to portray sin, but an actress who is a common woman
cannot rise to portray a refinement of which her coarse nature
has no conception. Mrs. Kendal a woman who is as the wife of
Caesar, can become a "Second Mrs. Tanguery" before the
footlights. But Lizzie Annadale's chorus girl could never enact
the role of a Mrs. Kendal on or off the stage. The former is a
comparatively light task. The latter is an impossibility. And
because they are refined women, though not necessarily "good"
women, are they as a class virtuous women. Their instinctive
womanhood would shrink from an impure life as quickly as they
would lift their skirts from the mire of the gutter. The deadly
chill of physical repulsion would be as strong in one case as in
the other. In individual cases they have "sinned" as we term it,
but qui voulez vous! The ratio on the stage is little larger than
that of the world's middle class and not at all larger than that
of the world's society women. I also object to those wild
fanatics who would "elevate the stage," not because it would be
Herculean labor, but because the aforesaid fanatics would find
larger and more fruitful fields for their efforts in the shadow
of their own church spire. Let them leave the women of the
footlights alone and turn their attention to the women in the
boxes. It would give a bored public relief and be distinctly and
beautifully amusing--as an experiment. Waco, Texas, December 11,

 * * *

In an old book store I found the other day, a little book that
should not have been forgotten. It was written almost
twenty-eight years ago by a man named Jenkins, an Englishman,
born in India, and educated in part, in the United States. The
name of the book is "Ginx's Baby; His Birth and Other

With the remarkable growth of altruism or humanitarianism in the
last thirty years, with the application of sincere sympathy as
one of the possible solvents of the mystery of misery, it is
strange that this book should have passed from the minds of men.
The book is a true satire. That is to say its irony is excited
for the benefit of mankind. The pessimism of the story, its note
of despair, is in reality, a summons to man to do better by his
brother. Underlying its bitterness there is such a gentleness of
heart as must uplift the reader's own.

The author has the great gift of humor, which all true pessimists
possess, and none more than Schopenhauer. He loves humanity
though he scourges it. He loves, above all, the little children
whom Christ loved, as typifying the heart perfect in innocence.

Somewhat the quality of Dickens is in his method of thought, and
his turns of expression; but he is not the evident artist that
Dickens is. He does not seek opportunity to revel in mere
rhetoric. He goes for the heart of his subject and his literary
charms are displayed quite incidentally to his progress thereto.
His stylism does not clog his story or cumber his argument. The
result is that he produced a tract of the Church of Man which is
a powerful argument for a realization in Man of the Church of
God. His book is superbly human and "Ginx's Baby" deserves
immortality with other dream- children of good men's hearts and
minds in story and in song.

Room for Ginx's Baby in the gallery of undying children; with
Marjorie Fleming, Sir Walter's "Bonnie, Wee Coodlin' Doo," with
Pater's "Child in the House," with Ouida's "Bebe," with Mrs.
Burnett's "Fauntleroy," with Barrie's "Sentimental Tommy," with
all the little ones in the books of Dickens and the poems and
stories of Eugene Field.

The child in literature is something new, comparatively. We need
more of the effort to understand the child mind, the child heart,
the child point of view. It will aid us to develop the child, if
once we can enter his world and come into sympathy with his
impression. It will purify ourselves, this fresh, new, beautiful
world of the child's; its clear, pure air will wash clean our
souls; its innocence of doom will revive our hope. The child is a
soul fresh from God's mint. If only we could study it more we
might re-gain, from the contemplation, some of our own lost
innocence, and, when we come to die, go to our Maker, like
Thackery's immortal Col. Newcombe, with our hearts "as a little

But "Ginx's Baby" is not an idyl. It is a tragedy. It breathes
the spirit of Malthus, only the spirit is transformed into one of
pity for the victim of life rather than one of preservation of
the nation. We are not, in this book, the victim of the baby. The
baby is our victim. His story will illustrate the philosophy
better than any attempt at interpretation, and the humor of the
telling only intensifies the tragedy. "The name of the father of
Ginx's Baby was Ginx. By a not unexceptional coincidence, its
mother was Mrs. Ginx. The gender of Ginx's Baby was masculine."
That is the first paragraph of the book, and there you have a
hint of the flippant flavor; also a very strong suggestion of Mr.
Charles Dickens. The hero of the book was a thirteenth child.
Ominously humorous! The mother previously had distinguished
herself. On October 25th, one year after marriage, Mrs. Ginx was
safely delivered of a girl. No announcement of this appeared in
the papers. On April 10th, following, "the whole neighborhood,
including Great Smith Street, Marsham Street, Great and Little
Peter Street, Regent Street, Horseferry Road, and Strutton
Ground, was convulsed by the report a woman named Ginx had given
birth to "a triplet, consisting of two girls and a boy." The
Queen heard of it, as this birth got into the papers, and sent
the mother three pounds. Protecting infant industry! And
protection, it seems, resulted in over-production for, in a
twelvemonth, there were triplets again, two sons and a daughter.
Her Majesty sent four pounds. The neighbors protested and began
to manifest their displeasure uncouthly, so the Ginx family
removed into Rosemary Street, where the tale of Mrs. Ginx's
offspring reached one dozen. Then Ginx mildly entered protest. If
there were any more, singles, twins or triplets, he would drown
him, her or them, in the water-butt. This was immediately after
the arrival of Number 12.

Here, under the chapter-heading of "Home, Sweet Home," the
author, still reminiscent of Dickens, but delightfully compact
and laconic, describes the miserable dwelling of the Ginx's with
a bitterness of humor that mocks the sentiment of Howard Payne's
song. As a specimen of clean realism, this description is more
effective than anything of Zola's; for Zola's realism is idealism
gone mad. The squalor of the slum is heightened by the
associations that cling to the name Rosemary. A bit of
sermonizing upon the responsibilities of landlords for the souls
in that slum, and the author reverts to Ginx and his family.

"Ginx had an animal affection for his wife, that preserved her
from unkindness even in his cups." You thank the author for not
succumbing to realism and making Ginx a brute. Ginx worked hard
and gave his wife his earnings, less sixpence, with which sum he
retreated, on Sundays, from his twelve children, to the ale-house
to listen sleepily while ale-house demagogues prescribed remedies
for State abuses. He was ignorant of policies and issues; simply
one of a million victims of the theories upon which statesmen
experiment in legislation and taxation. He was one of the many
dumb and almost unfeeling "chaotic fragments of humanity" to be
hewn into shape in one of two ways; either by "coarse artists
seeking only petty profit, unhandy, immeasurably impudent," or by
instruction to be made "civic corner-stone polished after the
similitude of a palace." He was appalled by the many mouths he
had to feed. He was touched by his wife's continuous heroism of
sacrifice for the children, and he felt, in a dim fashion,
something of an intuition of "her unsatisfied cravings and the
dense motherly horrors that sometimes brooded over her" as she
nursed her infants. She believed that God sends food to fill the
mouths He sends. She had been able to get along. She would be
able to get along.

Ginx, feeling another infant straw would break his back.
determined to drown the straw. Mrs. Ginx, clinging to No. Twelve,
listened aghast. The stream of her affections, though divided
into twelve rills, would not have been exhausted in twenty-four,
and her soul, forecasting its sorrows, yearned after that
nonentity Number Thirteen. Ginx sought to comfort her by the
suggestion that she could not have any more. But she knew better.

After eighteen months the baby was born. Ginx thought it all out
before the event. "He wouldn't go on the parish. He couldn't keep
another youngster to save his life. He would not take charity.
There was nothing to do but drown the baby." He must have talked
his intentions at the ale-house, for the people in the
neighborhood watched her "time" with interest. Going home one
afternoon, he saws signs of excitement around his door. He
entered. He took up the little stranger and bore it from the
room. "His wife would have arisen but a strong power called
weakness held her back." Out on the street, with the crowd
following him, Ginx stopped to consider. "It is all very well to
talk about drowning your baby, but to do it you need two
things--water and opportunity. He turned toward Vauxhall Bridge.
The crowd cried "Murder!"

"Leave me alone nabors," shouted Ginx; "this is my own baby and
I'll do wot I likes with it. I kent keep it an' if I've got
anythin' I can't keep, it's best to get rid of it, ain't it? This
child's goining over Vauxhall Bridge."

The women clung to his arms and coat-tails. A man happened along.
"A foundling? Confound the place, the very stones produce

"It weren't found at all. It's Ginx's baby," cried the crowd.

"Ginx's baby. Who's Ginx?'

"I am," said Ginx.



"He's going to drown it!" came the chorus.

"Going to drown it? Nonsense!" said the officer.

"I am," said Ginx.

"But, bless my heart, that's murder!"

"No, 'tain't," said Ginx. "I've twelve already at home.
Starvashon's shure to kill this 'un. Best save it the trouble."

The officer declares this is quite contrary to law and he recites
the law, but that doesn't affect Ginx. He fails utterly to see
why, if Parliament will not let him abandon the child, Parliament
does not provide for the child; for all the other twelve. The
officer declares that the parish has enough to do to take care of
foundlings and children of parents who can't or won't work. Says
Ginx: "Jest so. You'll bring up bastards and beggars' pups but
you won't help an honest man keep his head above water. This
child's head is goin' under water anyhow!" and he dashed for the
bridge, with the screaming crowd at his heels.

A philosopher interposes at this stage with a query as to how
Ginx came to have so many children. Of course Ginx had to laugh.
The philosopher urges that Ginx had no right to bring children
into the world unless he could feed, clothe and educate them, and
Ginx replies that he's like to know how he could help it, as a
married man. The philosopher goes over the old, old tale of
rationalism in life. Ginx should not have married a poor woman,
should not have gone on sub-dividing his resources by the
increase of what must be a degenerate offspring, should not have
married at all.

"Ginx's face grew dark. He was thinking of 'all those years' and
the poor creature that, from morning to night and Sunday to
Sunday, in calm and storm, had clung to his rough affections; and
the bright eyes and the winding arms so often trellised over his
tremendous form, and the coy tricks and laughter that had cheered
so many tired hours. He may have been much of a brute, but he
felt that, after all, that sort of thing was denied to dogs and

The philosopher could not answer these thoughts nor the rejoinder
question to his own: what is a man or woman to do that doesn't

And so the argument proceeds, the philosopher losing ground all
the time because his rationality is based upon changing man's
nature, not on making something out of "what's nateral to human
beings." The act of parliament idea of solving the problem is
riddled effectively by a stonemason, who points out that the
head-citizen is not so worthy as the heart-citizen. In brief, the
philosopher is routed by the doctrine that love is better than

Ginx proceeds to the river again, but is stopped by a nun who
asks for the child. She uncovers the queer ruby face and kisses
it. After this Ginx could not have touched a hair of the child's
head. His purpose dies but his perplexity is alive. The nun takes
the child, and Ginx, in gratitude for her assurance that the
child shall not be sent back to him, stands treat for the crowd.
The child's life in the convent is material for some good satiric
writing upon the question of his salvation. The picture is
absurdly over-drawn so far as its effectiveness against
conventional charity is concerned, but it touches the question of
religious bigotry surely and strongly. Indeed the method of
treatment here verges closely upon the Rabelaisian, as where the
sisters want to make the sign of the cross upon Mrs. Ginx's
breasts before allowing the baby to suck. Mrs. Ginx refused "the
Papish idolaters" and the Protestant Detectoral Association is
brought to the rescue of the child from superstition.

A little man with a keen Roman nose--he could scent Jesuits a
mile off--took up the cause of the child and it got into court.
The matter became a cause celebre. London was in a turmoil over
"the Papal abduction." The author sketches it all graphically
with a convincing fidelity of caricature. The "Sisters of Misery"
triumphed. They retained the baby. Then after attempting to
sanctify the baby--a ceremony wholly imaginary and described with
a smutch of revolting coarseness--the sisters send the baby
packing back to the Protestant Detectoral Association.

The Protestants had him, but the Dissenters protested against his
being given to an Anglican refuge. The scene at the mass-meeting
to celebrate young Ginx's rescue from the incubus of a delusive
superstition is described with rare appreciation of the foibles
of character. The bombast, the cant, the flapdoodle and flubdub,
the silly unction of different kinds of preachers are "done to a
hair." Five hours the meeting raged, and at last a resolution
that the Metropolitan pulpit should take up the subject, and the
churches take up a collection for the Baby on the next Sunday
having been passed, the meeting adjourned--forgetting all about
the Baby. A strange woman took the Baby "for the sake of the
cause." He had been provided with a splendid layette by an
enthusiastic Protestant Duchess.

"Some hours later Ginx's Baby, stripped of the Duchess' beautiful
robes was found by a policeman, lying on a door step in one of
the narrow streets not a hundred yards" from the meeting place.
"By an ironical chance he was wrapped in a copy of the largest
daily paper in the world."

"The Baby was recovered, the preachers "praught." The collections
and the donations and subscriptions amounted to thirteen hundred
and sixty pounds, ten shillings, and three and one-half pence.
How the money was spent is shown in a deliciously absurd
balance-sheet. Not quite 100 pounds were spent upon the Baby. The
other money was wasted in various forms and styles of "guff." "In
an age of luxury," says the Baby's biographer, "we are grown so
luxurious as to be content to pay agents to do our good deeds,
but they charge us three hundred per cent. for the privilege."

How the police found and treated the Baby is a chapter full of
subtle sarcasm, leading up to the still more sarcastic portrayal
of the way the Baby fared in the hands of the Committee appointed
to take care of him. He was likely to be torn to pieces between
contending divines. The debates in Committee are illuminating
expositions of different varieties of bigotry. His body was
almost forgotten, while the philanthropists were trying to decide
what to do with his soul. Few of the reverend gentlemen "would be
content unless they could seize him when his young nature was
plastic and try to imprint on immortal clay the trade-mark of
some human invention."

Twenty-three meetings of the Committee were held and unity was as
far of at the last as at the first. The Secretary asked the
Committee to provide money to meet the Baby's liabilities, but
the Committee instantly adjourned and no effort afterwards could
get a quorum together. The persons who had charge of the
foundling began to dun the Secretary and to neglect the child,
now thirteen months old. They sold his clothes and absconded from
the place where they had been "framing him for Protestantism." As
a Protestant question Ginx's Baby vanished from the world.

Wrapped in a potato sack, the baby was found one night, on the
pavement exactly over a line dividing two parishes. The finder
was a business man. He noted the exact spot where the child lay
and took it to--the other parish. He would not be taxed for its
support. The parish guardians would not accept the child. As the
man who found the child was a guardian of the other parish, he
was trying to foist a bastard,--perhaps his own--upon their
parish. A motion was made to "get rid of the brat." "A church
warden, who happened to be a gentleman," suggested the services
of a lawyer. The brutality of the guardians as they examined and
discussed the child is depicted with terrible power. The lawyer
says the Board will have to take the Baby, pro tem, or "create an
unhappy impression on the minds of the public."

"Damn the public!" said Mr. Stink, a dog-breeder member of the
Board, thus antecedently plagiarizing an American millionaire.
The parish accepts the Baby under protest, and a formal written
protest addressed to the Baby, name unknown, is pinned on the
potato sack. The two parishes go to law about the child. Neither
wishes to take care of it. At Saint Bartemeus's workhouse, a
notice was posted forbidding the officials, assistants and
servants to enter the Baby's room, pendente lite, or to render it
any service or assistance on pain of dismissal. The Baby was nigh
starvation. The master of the work-house stealthily fed him on
pap, saying in a loud voice as he did so, "Now youngster, this is
without prejudice, remember! I give you due notice--without

The Baby became ill. A nobleman discovered him and laid his case
before a magistrate. The papers made a sensation on the Baby's
case. There was a terrific hullabaloo. An inquiry was held. The
guardians became furious. "The reports of their proceedings read
like the vagaries of a lunatic asylum or the deliberations of the
American Senate." They discharged the kindly master. The Baby was
locked in a room. Food was passed to him on a stick. The inquiry
was denounced and the bewildered public gnashed its teeth at
everybody who had anything to do with, or say of, Ginx's Baby.
"At last St. Bartemeus' parish had to keep him and the guardians,
keeping carefully within the law, neglected nothing that could
sap little Ginx's vitality, deaden his instincts, derange moral
action, cause hope to die within his infant breast almost as soon
as it was born." Every pauper was to them an obnoxious charge to
be reduced to a MINIMUM or NIL. The Baby's constitution alone
prevented his reduction to NIL.

The bill of costs against St. Bartemeus was 1,600 pounds. Just as
it was taxed, one of the persons who had deserted Ginx's Baby was
arrested for theft. The Baby's clothes, given by the Duchess,
were found in this person's possession. She confessed all about
the Baby, and so the guardians traced the Baby's father and
delivered to Ginx, through an agent, the famous child, with the
benediction--"There he is; damn him!"

Mrs. Ginx couldn't recognize the Baby. His brothers and sisters
would have nothing to do with him. Ginx took the Baby out one
night, left it on the steps of a large building in Pall Mall, and
slunk away out of the pages of "this strange, eventful history."
The Baby piped. The door of the house, a club, opened and the
baby was taken in. It was the Radical Club, but it was as
conservative as it could be in its reception of the waif, and it
was only in perfunctory kindness that the Club gave him shelter.
The Fogey Club heard of the Baby and bethought itself of making
campaign material of him. The Fogies instructed their "organs" to
dilate upon the disgraceful apathy of the Radicals toward the
foundling. The Fogies kidnapped the Baby; the Radicals stole him
back. The Baby was again a great "question." However, other
questions supervened, although it was understood that Sir Charles
Sterling was "to get a night" to bring up the case of Ginx's Baby
in Parliament. Associations were formed in the metropolis for
disposing of Ginx's Baby by expatriation or otherwise. A peer
suddenly sprung the matter by proposing to send the Baby to the
Antipodes at the expense of the nation. The question was debated
with elaborate stilted stultitude and the noble lord withdrew his

The Baby tired of life at the clubs. He borrowed some clothes,
some forks, some spoons, without leave, and then took his leave.
No attempt was made to recover him. He was fifteen. "He pitted
his wits against starvation." He found the world terribly full
everywhere he went. He went through a career of penury, of honest
and dishonest callings, of 'scapes and captures, imprisonments
and other punishments.

Midnight on Vauxhall Bridge! The form of a man emerged from the
dark and outlined itself against the haze of sky. There was a
dull flash of a face in the gloom. The shadow leaped far out into
the night. Splash! "Society, which, in the sacred names of Law
and Charity, forbade the father to throw his child over Vauxhall
Bridge, at a time when he was alike unconscious of life and
death, has at last driven him over the parapet into the greedy

The questions of the book I have condensed here are as alive
to-day as are thousands of other Ginx's Babies in all our big
cities. While philanthropists and politicians, priests and
preachers, men and women theorize about the questions, the
questions grow "more insoluble." What is to be done? is the first
question. How is it to be done is a question which is secondary
and its discussion is useless until the first is settled. Too
much State drove Ginx's Baby into the Thames. What's everybody's
business is nobody's business. If the uncountable babies of
innumerable Ginx's are to be aided, some one must aid them for
the mere pleasure there is in loving-kindness.

A baby is a human being, not a problem. A baby can't be explained
away by pure reason, because he didn't come by that route. Love
brought him here and only Love can nourish him to the fullness of
growth in soul and mind. True many come who, seemingly, were
better drowned like surplus puppies or kittens. But who shall
select those to survive? Grecian wisdom once attempted to improve
on "natural selection" and Greece is the ghost of a vanished
glory. Why shouldn't Ginx have drowned his Baby--or himself
before the multiplication in the result of which the Baby was a

I don't know why, unless because there is, in every life, even
the most successful, apparently, enough of unhappiness and
failure and emptiness to justify, at a given moment, a "leap in
the dark." This logic of suicide would annihilate the race. The
unwelcome Baby may be the best. Life must try us all. Those who
do not stand the test disappear. Their own weakness eliminate
them. Myriads must fail that a few may succeed a very little.

Ginx at least owed his Baby reparation for bringing about the
first misfortune, his birth. Ginx was a sophist. His mercy of
murder for the child was regard for himself. His reasoning was
right. His heart was full of self and, ergo, wrong. Ginx
surrendered before the fight was fought. So did the Baby. There
is nothing for it, my good masters, but a fight to a finish. Yes,
even though Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane, still must we fight,
like Macbeth, and all the more valiantly for that we know our
sins are heavy upon our heads and hearts. "Courage, my comrades,
the devil is dead," said Denys of Burgundy. But there is a
greater courage, my comrades: it is fighting the devil who never
dies until the devil in us all shall die. This is not the courage
of despair, but of hope and faith that by conquest of ourselves
shall Evil be slain, though only in a fair, far time, and by
scores of deaths of us and of our kind. That is why the book
"Ginx's Baby" is false in its demonstration that it had been
better if the "hero" had been thrown off the bridge at first. Its
philosophy is the philosophy of the "quitter." The only courage
is to endure.

And what shall we do for the Ginx's Babies so multitudinous in
their misery? These, too, we must endure. It were well to love
them a little, as babies, and not to discuss them so much as
"questions." It were well if there were a little more individual
charity; a good deal less of the kind described by Boyle O'Reilly
as conducted "in the name of a cautious statistical Christ." If
every one would do a little good for the poor, the unfortunate,
the afflicted, the sum of all our doing would be a great deal of
good. Take a penny from every person in the United States and
give it to one man and he has seven hundred thousand dollars.
Every Ginx's Baby in any land can be helped somewhat, and Ginx
himself must do his share, to the full limit of his capacity for
doing. We cannot save them all; cannot make their lives
successes. Success is the sum of many failures. A million seeds
must die that one rose may bloom. You or I may be the means, in
part, of saving one child from the plunge of Vauxhall Bridge or
through the gallows-trap. And one is worth while. That is the way
to "look out for number one." Individual effort for individuals
is the true humanitarianism. Lift up the person nearest you, who
needs assistance. Bend to him and feel your own statue increase
by so much as you uplift him. Et voila tout. St. Louis, December
16th, 1897.

 * * *

The art of politics in Missouri is not more depraved than in most
other states, I imagine; but it seems that in Missouri the
practitioners of that art are somewhat coarser-grained and
smaller-minded than men in the like charlatanry elsewhere. I
think I may write of them and their methods in the capacity of
critic, without obtruding my prejudices as a gold-bug.

Missouri, like every other Western State, took kindly to the
silver theory; indeed, possessing, as one of its chief citizens,
Mr. Bland, a champion of silver for thirty years, Missouri was as
ready for 16 to 1 as any silver producing State. "Coin's" book
found welcome wide and warm when it appeared among a people who
admired Mr. Bland, and who had equally admired "Farmer" Hatch.

But while the people of Missouri were for silver it was only
partly in deference to popular opinion that the Democratic party
declared for that doctrine.

When Col. Chas. H. Jones became editor of the Republic, coming
from Jacksonville, Florida, he was taken up by the then Governor
David R. Francis, a grain merchant, or speculator, a very rich
man and an aristocrat. The two were fast friends until, Col.
Jones having married, the wife of the governor, for reasons
sufficient to herself, refused to receive Mrs. Jones. Out of this
social episode grew a feud. As the first result of that feud Col.
Jones was forced out of the Republic. He went to the New York
World. Ad interim, however, he managed to defeat the plan of
President Cleveland to name Mr. Francis as a member of his
cabinet in 1893. When Col. Jones fell out with Mr. Francis, the
editor made an alliance with Mr. Joel Stone, who succeeded Mr.
Francis as governor of Missouri.

In course of time Col. Jones was sent West to take charge of the
Post-Dispatch. When he arrived in St. Louis he conferred with
Governor Stone. Col. Jones wanted to destroy Francis, who had
control of the Democratic party machinery. Francis had been
"mentioned" for president. He was the brilliant, if chilly,
leader of the party. He had wealth and he and his friends could
"take care of" the visiting rural committeeman. Col. Jones
scented the silver sentiment in the State. That sentiment
suggested, naturally, antipathy to wealthy bosses and "grain
gamblers." Col. Jones declared that the way to destroy Francis
was by "taking up silver." And Col. Jones "took it up" with a
vengeance. The sentiment had been lurking among the people all
the time. For years the party committees warned the speakers to
"steer clear of the money question." Col. Jones in print and
Governor Stone on the stump, appealed to the people on the very
thing the old rulers of the party had hedged on, and the battle
was on.

Mr. Francis evaded the fight. He wanted harmony. He was suave and
clammy but non-committal. He did not wish to come out for silver.
He did not wish to oppose the silver people. Once or twice he
threatened to fight and then he threw up his hands. Missouri
declared for silver at 16 to 1, without a dissenting voice in the
convention. The State committee was enlarged to render Mr.
Francis' friends innocuous. Col. Jones and Governor Stone voted
to support Bland for President at the Chicago convention and the
National battle was precipitated. When Missouri declared for
silver, with a candidate who represented the silver issue wholly
and whose character endeared him especially to the bucolics
everywhere, the silver sentiment became a political force to
reckon with the stampede that ended with the nomination of Mr.
Bryan was started.

So it seems to me that if Mrs. Francis had swallowed her
prejudices and received Mrs. Jones there might have been a great
deal of different history. Mrs. Jones was the Helen of the Siege
of Wall Street. This incident is important only as showing, once
again, how trifling things affect the destinies of Nations.

Had Mr. Francis and Col. Jones never disagreed, Col. Jones never
would have left the "Republic." Col. Jones would have stood by
Francis' interests as a banker and monied man. Col. Jones never
would have obtained control of the "Post-Dispatch." Silver
sentiment would have been smothered by the politicians of
Missouri and Bland never would have been a candidate. There would
have been no Missouri alliance with Mr. Altgeld and the
combination of peculiar political ability that was attracted to
Stone. Jones and Altgeld never would have dominated the Chicago
convention as wholly as they did. To resent an affront to Mrs.
Jones the Democratic party was rent asunder. Mr. Bland was taken
up to destroy Mr. Francis and was himself destroyed in due time.
The senators from Missouri, Messrs. Vest and Cockrell, were
forced into the anti-Francis movement under threat of defeat by
the men who had identified themselves with the popular feeling
for their own purposes.

The late Mr. McCullagh of the Globe-Democrat, told me, when Vest
became a silver champion that it was because he had to do so to
retain his seat, and that Mr. McCullagh was a friend and
extravagant admirer of Mr. Vest and his abilities.

Whatever one may think of silver he must admit that the turning
down of Mr. Francis was a good thing. Mr. Francis represented the
dodging Democracy. He stood for the evasion of a great issue; for
intellectual and moral cowardice, for nauseous neutralism. Mr.
Francis was the impersonation of political insincerity. He
thought of the party--of keeping the party together, with himself
on top--and his stand for what the opponents of silver call
"sound money" was a very perfunctory performance. He never
declared himself against the Chicago platform until he was
offered the Secretaryship of the Interior, vice Hoke Smith,

In this we have a picture of the man whom I saw alluded to the
other day as "the leader of the sound money forces in Missouri."
A leader! Why, he couldn't be induced to come within the borders
of the State, during the fight, nor did he come until he came
home to vote, when, under the inspiration of a stupendous sound
money parade, he declared himself.

When silver was the cry every spoilsman took it up, and the fact
is that some of the loudest shouting was done by men who cared
not at all for the doctrine. All the politicians got on the
popular side. Every fellow that wanted an office became a
shrieker for silver. All the men who had truckled to Francis
while he was in power left him and went with the crowd. The party
in Missouri had been in power for years and the same old gang had
controlled the offices. They stayed together and they still
retained their grip upon the offices. The gang got together on
silver as upon everything else. The elimination of Francis
carried out of the party no politicians of note. They remained.
The corporation "attorneys" or lobbyists stood by the regulars.
The fine workers of the Missouri Pacific, the 'Frisco, the
Burlington roads were hand in glove with the party which was
making war on corporations, with its mouth. Some of the railroads
contributed to the support of the men who were "denouncing them
in unmeasured terms." No one was more regular than "Bill" Phelps,
the Missouri Pacific lobbyist, against whom Governor Stone and
Col. Jones made war in connection with the enactment of a
fellow-servant law. Col. Spencer of the Burlington was with the
regulars too. All the party hacks, the caucus bosses, the
township and country and congressional district leaders who had
made the ticket for years fell in line. There was made no real
change in party management. Mr. Francis and his lieutenant, Mr.
Maffitt, were turned down, but the crowd that had trained with
them went over to the opposition. I am not aspersing the silver
cause. I mean to say only that the gang that ran things joined
the silver cause in order to stay in power. There were no
politicians at all in the ranks of the Missouri Gold Democrats.
The politicians seized upon silver, which represented a general
desire for change, in order to fasten themselves more thoroughly
upon the party.

The result was that the nominations for State offices went to the
same old crowd. Mr. Sesueur was nominated for Secretary of State.
Mr. Siebert, who had been auditor, was nominated again. Frank
Pitts, an ex-Confederate, who had been a candidate for a dozen
things, but who, when defeated, never had done aught but "take
his medicine," was nominated for Treasurer. Mr. Lon V. Stephens,
who had been Treasurer was nominated for Governor and elected. He
had been appointed Treasurer by Francis after the Noland
defalcation, had been elected and had changed his allegiance from
Francis to Stone. Mr. Stone, a man with somewhat of the scholarly
taint to him, inclined to think, but prone to machination,
ambitious, vindictive, able, elusive, made Stephens the nominee,
and has been "sore at himself" ever since.

Stephens is a National banker. His family is wealthy and his
wife's family is said to be the wealthiest in the State. It was
the belief that when he was nominated he would "cough up" large
"chunks of dough." But he didn't. The necessity for "dough" was
evident to the managers of the party. There was no hope for funds
from the interests that feared free silver. They wanted an
"angel" candidate. Stephens failed to contribute. As an "angel"
he was a "frost."

This National banker made a campaign of extreme rabidity. When
Debs was managing the big Chicago strike this man wrote a letter
to the Mirror in which he advocated Gatling guns for the
suppression of Debs and his like. When he wanted to be
Comptroller of the Currency under Cleveland he declared in an
interview that Cleveland was "the greatest man since Jesus
Christ." He denied that he was a National banker with his name on
the bank's stationery. He denounced Cleveland for calling out the
troops to suppress Debs. And while in the country he was posing
as the enemy of the plutocrats, he was "tipping" them the wink in
the cities, that they needn't be afraid he would hurt their
interests. This candidate, who was proclaiming honesty had to
suppress in Col. Jones' paper, a sensation dealing with his own
alleged irregularities in the settlement of his father's estate.
This personal-liberty Democrat had written a letter in favor of
Prohibition. Mr. Stephens proclaimed that he was going to purify
politics. When elected he appointed as Election Commissioner a
man against whom there was a tremendous protest upon the part of
the best element of the party. This man was accused of taking
$1,200 from Ed Butler, the St. Louis "boss," to give to the
members of the St. Louis city committee to boom the charter
amendment providing for capital removal, and of putting the money
in his own pocket. Ed. Butler entered suit for the money against
this man Brady and his friend Higgins, appointed Excise
Commissioner by Stephens. The suit was dismissed at Brady's
expense. Then the capital movers at Sedalia sued for the money on
the ground that the contract was against public polity. In other
words he took the money to do something illegal, and, therefore,
was entitled to keep it after failing to do the wrong. As a
result of my comment upon this, Mr. Brady and I had a passage at
fisticuffs on the street the other day, and the day following the
Circuit Court here decided that the contract was valid and the
suit for $1,200 would have to be tried on the issue of fact.

Mr. Brady was appointed Election Commissioner at the instigation
of Mr. Louis C. Nelson, a St. Louis banker, brother-in-law of
Governor Stephens. Mr. Brady is interested in a wholesale liquor
store. His company rents a building from Mr. Nelson. Mr. Nelson
is said to be interested in the company.

Mr. Higgins, the Excise Commissioner, was appointed at Mr.
Nelson's instigation. The Excise Commissioner has charge of the
issuance of all saloon licenses in St. Louis, Mr. Higgins is a
good friend of Brady's and a protege of Nelson. A whisky drummer
told me, and it is a common report around St. Louis, that the
relationship of the man controlling the saloon licenses to Brady
and Nelson is taken advantage of by the saloon men to ingratiate
themselves by buying supplies at Brady's liquor store. I am not
adding a word of color to the aspect of the case. The saloons are
under tribute to Stephens' brother-in-law and his appointees.
These people may not hold up the saloons, but the saloonists know
that it is good policy to stand in with "the powers that be." A
daily paper, the "Star," asserts that one of the Police
Commissioners, a brewer, uses his position as controller of
the police to protect dive-keepers who sell his beer. The paper
has not been sued for libel. All this has been done in the name
of silver and friendship for the people.

A brother of "Silver Dick" Bland was nominated for Judge of the
Court of Appeals. The Populists had nominated a candidate named
North for the same place. It is in evidence in Mr. Bland's own
letters that he gave $1,000 to the Chairman of the Democratic
State Central Committee to get North of the track. North
withdrew. Afterwards he was reported reporter of the Court of
Judge Bland. He denied that he had received $1,000. The Chairman
of the State Democratic Committee then said he gave the money to
the chairman of the Populist committee. The chairman of the
populist committee denies that he got the $1,000. And so the
matter stands. The Judge bought off the Populist candidate. The
$1,000 is unaccounted for. The $1,000 does not appear in the
Judge's statement of expenses as required by law. This "boodle"
deal evokes the query whether if a candidate for Judge will buy
his election he will not sell his justice. This deal, too, was
consummated in the name of the masses.

I am told that the Governor has given the best places within his
gift to his relatives, or the men selected by his relatives. I
know that he appointed a man manager of the Nevada asylum on
condition that he would vote out the Superintendent. The
Superintendent showed the manager a letter from the Governor in
which he declared that the Superintendent's retention was his
dearest wish. The manager voted for the retention of the
Superintendent and the Governor promptly removed the manager.
This illustrates the gubernatorial character beautifully. The
Governor of Missouri was receiver of the Fifth National Bank of
St. Louis. He gave out that the bank would not pay more than 50
cents on the dollar in all. Therefore, his brother-in-law and
other relatives bought up outstanding claims at that figure and
below it. They bought up at least $30,000 worth. The bank paid 50
per cent. in sixty days. It has paid ninety-six per cent. in ten
years. The question is, how could a receiver say a bank, that was
in position to pay 50 per cent. in sixty days, would only pay
that much in all? The receiver's relatives made 46 per cent. on
their speculation. This is one of the performances characteristic
of this kind of "friends of the people." The popular cause of
silver, with all its generous enthusiasm for the rights of the
poor, all its just resentment against oligarchies, political
bosses, gangs of "grafters," combinations of the few for the
plucking of the many, was taken charge of, in Missouri, by
politicians of the type which can be imagined from what I have
stated here of simple fact and conservative deduction. The cause
of silver may be my "pet aversion" as a political theory, but I
have all respect for the honest multitude who espoused it. I am
convinced that what there is of good in that theory of reform of
our evils is not advanced toward embodiment in our law by the
character of the men who make the Chicago platform an excuse to
get the public confidence and carry out schemes of public
plunder, political corruption and miscellaneous incivism.

A few days ago Judge Klein in our Circuit Court uncovered what we
call "a graft" in the matter of building association
receiverships. It was discovered that politics stepped into these
affairs to get for certain political lawyers, good fees. There
was a ring in the receiverships of these concerns. The
commissioner in one case would be attorney in another. The
attorney in one case would be receiver in another with the
commissioner as attorney and receiver as Commissioner. There were
fees for all. No duty in connection with winding up the
associations, to which there attached any compensation, was ever
given outside the "charmed circle." Political attorneys got large
fees for only going into court and asking that building
associations be wound up. All these fees came out of the money of
the poor people, which happened to be left after the looting or
failure of the concerns. Those whose savings were invested in the
concerns had little coming to them after the failures. The fees
of the ring left little of that. All this "grinding of the faces
of the poor" is being accomplished by those politicians who were
most vocal in proclaiming their allegiance to the Chicago
platform as a new "Magna Charta of Mankind."

These facts have nothing to do with the righteousness or
wrongfulness of the Chicago platform. The suggestion that a good
cause may be advanced by bad men and mean methods, it may be
retorted that such men are calculated rather to injure the cause
by their prominence than to help it by their unique idea of
practical politics. People are apt to believe that the New
Democracy is the outgrowth of such men, or that such men are the
outgrowth of New Democracy, when, in fact, the men have attached
themselves to the movement only for their own selfishness. When
we think that the men who are doing the things I have pictured
are engaged in an effort to make Stephens the next Senator from
Missouri, it is plain that the character of the organization and
its purpose will react dangerously against whatever there may be
of genuine merit in the propositions of the Chicago

And all this is being done in Missouri and the rural press
connives at it. To criticize the administration is sacrilege. The
papers are slavering over the Governor. They declare that he is
"the champion of the people" next to Bryan. They identify him
with the ideal that Mr. Bryan gave voice for in his Chicago
speech. Nothing is to be said of any administration peccadilloes
or crookedness, for fear of hurting the party and delaying the
triumph of the great cause. All the political corruption of the
party when it was dominated by plutocrats is condoned because its
perpetrators shout "sixteen to one!" The administration, at a
breath of criticism, has its subsidized organs--subsidized by
anything from two to ten dollars--declare that the critic is a
traitor to the cause, that he is a gold-bug or a republican in
disguise. The people seem to respond to all this and the honest
country editor dares not express himself for fear of losing
subscribers or advertisers. The party cry drowns the criticism of
acts that impeach the party. Submission to the party fetich makes
every and any deed acceptable because it is done by the party's
men. Nepotism, falsity to pledges, the plundering of the poor,
the squeezing of the saloon interests, the "skinning" of
depositors in banks, the records of violation of trust,--all
these things are jammed down the throats of the Democracy of
Missouri, and if the faithful dare to gag at the dose they are
told "You traitor, you don't believe in Bryan, or 16 to 1!" And
they swallow it all. The papers are slaves of the administration.
They vie with each other in printing stomach-turning gush about
these leaders. The country editors are forced into a conspiracy
of silence and of support of a "machine" as vile as ever was
worked under plutocratic auspices. The gang cries "silver,
silver, silver," and so their jobs and schemes of personal profit
are allowed to go on uncriticized. They have the faith. Damn the
good works! The "push" in control of things in Missouri are
Silver men, with about the same exalted purpose as Chilo, the
Greek charlatan in "Quo Vadis" had in aligning himself with the
Christians. It is a combination that is ready at any time to
desert the cause of silver. It has been stated in Missouri time
and again that the administration wants to "heal the breach" with
the gold Democrats, that Governor Stephens has made overtures to
ex-Governor Francis who, fortunately, is not much more of a gold
bug than Stephens is a silver Democrat. The new party faith means
nothing to the men in power and warfare upon them is not, in any
sense, a warfare upon the principles they profess to represent,
unless it may happen that the character of the men shall become
confused with the principles. But these men were "in the push"
before the Chicago platform was an issue. They are what they were
before. The new principles have made them no better. They are
worse because they plot their infamy in the name of a political
purification and a humanizing of economy.

In view of the almost unparalleled lack of independence in the
Missouri rural press there does not seem much hope of reaching
the people with a statement of the truth about conditions. The
country editor in Missouri insults his subscribers by taking for
granted that they are so prejudiced they will not take a paper
that criticizes the man who sneaked into power as a bogus silver
man. By keeping their readers in ignorance of the deeds of their
officers and servants, by suppressing all unfavorable comment,
the newspapers block the way to reform. There is no way to reach
the people. They are kept in ignorance. They are fed upon "plate"
fake puffs of the administration prepared by the Governor's
"literary bureau." Whatever he prepares is printed, and nothing
else. The people are stuffed upon "taffy" and the men in power
are thus enabled to deceive the people and strengthen themselves
for the tightening of their grip upon the offices. The
subserviency of the rural press in Missouri is something slavish
beyond imagination heretofore. The papers, in the main, are
edited by the political machine. The press, that engine of
enlightenment, is industriously engaged in clouding the
intelligence of the people and identifying a cause which in its
abstract intention is good, with the selfishness of bad men.
Reform cannot come from the politicians. It cannot come from the
people kept in ignorance of the need of it by prostitutes of the

The matter with Missouri is that there is too much idolization of
the party. There is no partisan independence. There is no courage
in the Democratic press. The truth is suppressed rather than the
evil about which a truth is told. The worship of party goes to
the extreme of worship of all the moral ugliness of partisanism.
The men who know what is wrong, who know that the leaders of the
New Democracy are in harmony with it only for their own ends, who
know that in the name of political purity and economic honesty a
lot of political jobbers and crooks are continuing the evils of
the old political regime, remain silent. The St. Louis Republic
shifts and shuffles and maintains a neutral attitude. It is
suspected of gold bugism and it dares not criticize the Governor
that it scourged in cartoon and comment. The Post-Dispatch, that
was the greatest silver daily and is owned by the millionaire
Pulitzer, is now suspected of gold bugism. It makes war upon the
Governor, but its position robs its criticism of effectiveness.
The Kansas City Times scores the Governor but its opposition is
believed to be based upon the refusal of the Governor to appoint
its owners' candidate to a position of importance. My criticism
is denounced as the criticism of a gold-bug. But I am not
criticizing the party policy s I am writing here about the men.
They would disgrace any principles they might profess. I am not
opposing anyone because he was for Bryan. I am pointing out
conditions and circumstances that are matters of public record,
of common talk among silver men, of wide-open notoriety, that are
flourishing in Missouri, under the cloak of a bogus devotion to
Mr. Bryan and the Chicago platform. These things are true. If the
people knew them, if the fact of the existence of these things
were not suppressed, the fact that the men who are working the
evil are silver shouters would not save them from the popular

"O Liberty," said Madam Roland on the steps of the
guillotine,"what crimes are committed in thy name!" In the name
of Silver, too, crimes are committed and the criminals flourish
as prophets of a new and better time. Silver will have a better
chance when the crooks who have identified themselves with it, in
Missouri and other States, are repudiated. If free coinage be a
good thing, it will never be believed while bad men conspicuously
stand for it. If education will develop the mind to the
destruction of our political and economic miseries, a gagged
press is not the means to such education. How can a press be
trusted in its assaults on the old order when it suppresses the
truth that the men and methods of the old regime are flourishing
to the profit of the former under the new? What use is any
platform, however noble in its aspirations or purposes, if the
men who attain to power upon it continue all the meanness and
nefariousness of the men who flourished under the old domination
of the bosses, the corporations and the trusts?

The altruism of the Chicago platform--which I think mistaken--is
admirable in so far as so many millions of people honestly
believe its principles are for the benefit of the oppressed and
unfortunate of the earth. This altruism is knocked and blasphemed
by being made the means to the entrenchment in power in Missouri,
of self- and-pelf seekers. The people are deceived. The press
keeps them deceived. The Chicago principles are betrayed into the
hands of men who have no principle but profit. A reform movement
is turned over to the men against whom the movement is directed.
The cause of free coinage is committed to a national banker. The
cause of honest elections is committed to the care of a
professional ballot- eater. The cause of the people is made the
means to build up a machine. The liberty of the press is
advocated by paper subsidized by political pap. The "friends of
the people" in Missouri, are "grafters." The "foes of the
corporations" are the tools of these institutions. The "enemies
of corruption" are themselves corruptionists. The people are kept
ignorant of all this under a false impression that the
eradication of evil will injure the cause of Silver, under cover
of which these men grasped power.

And that's what's the matter with Missouri. St. Louis, December
16, 1897.

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