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Title: A lecture by Victoria Claflin Woodhull - In the Boston Theater, Boston, U.S.A. October 22, 1876, before 3,000 people. The review of a century; or, the fruit of five thousand years
Author: Woodhull, Victoria Claflin
Language: English
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                               A LECTURE


                       VICTORIA CLAFLIN WOODHULL,
                      (MRS. JOHN BIDDULPH MARTIN.)


                   THE BOSTON THEATRE, BOSTON, U.S.A.

                         _October 22nd, 1876_,

                          BEFORE 3,000 PEOPLE.

                        THE REVIEW OF A CENTURY;


       _Reprinted from the “Boston Times” of October 22nd, 1876._

                            LONDON, ENGLAND.


                        THE REVIEW OF A CENTURY;

Victoria C. Woodhull leaves this country shortly for Europe, and has
prepared a lecture, which will be her farewell utterance. Those who
heard Mrs. Woodhull recently at Paine Hall bear unanimous testimony to
the humanitarian character of her address; she is the advocate of
peculiar, because novel and original, views. A _Times_ reporter has
obtained a full report of her farewell address, and it is so full of
instruction, and presents new social ideas in so fresh and thoroughly
effective a manner, that no apology is needed for submitting it, _in
extenso_, to the public. It is entitled “The Review of a Century; or,
The Fruit of Five Thousand Years,” and is as follows:—

A hundred years ago, in an upper room in Philadelphia, five men were
gathered—men of noble bearing, of brilliant intellects, of undoubted
character. Their faces wore a look of stern determination, as if the
theme of their consideration was of matters of grave import; was of
matters destined to be the beginning of the most important era that had
ever dawned upon the earth. A century and eighty years before, a single
ship-load of men, women and children, had landed on this virgin soil at
Jamestown in Virginia; and a few years later, another one at
Plymouth-Rock in Massachusetts. To these, additions had been made until
the thirteen States then numbered fully three million souls, upon whom
“the king” had imposed onerous taxation, and over whom he had placed
obnoxious rulers. The tea had been destroyed in Boston harbour, and the
people were wrought up to the intensest pitch by their oppressions. They
had come from their native lands to escape from tyranny, and were not
disposed to brook it here. In this wild, free land, they had become
pregnant of liberty, and were even then struggling in the throes of
travail. These five men had met to find a way in which the delivery
might be safely made, so that both the mother and the child should live
to bless the world.

                           THE EARLY FATHERS.

Washington, Adams, Franklin, Rush, Paine—every one of them immortal
names—struggled with the task with which God had entrusted them. They
felt the great responsibility, and their faces, as they looked into each
other’s eyes, spoke their anxiety. Each knew that every other as well as
self had something in his heart that he dared not utter. They looked
inquiringly again and again for some yielding in some face. But they
hesitated all. And well they might; for it was not the fate of three
million people merely that was in their hands, but the future destinies
of the world. One of these men had said but little; but the set features
of his face showed a stern resolve; showed that he was waiting for the
proper time in which to speak. He knew that it would fall to him to
break the way; to say the words which each one felt but dared not speak;
and speak at last he did; and they were the words of mighty import that
came forth from him; words that were to deliver the people who had come
to their full time—a birth that should herald a new race of people to
the world; and they came forth from him as if all his powers were
concentrated in the effort; as if that effort were the last struggle of
the mother to bring forth her child; and the “four” caught up the child
and became god-father to it, and they bore it to the people. The people
recognised it as their own; took it to their hearts, and at once adopted
it. Its name was—Revolution—Independence; and the words rang up and down
the wave-washed shores, and fired the people with their
inspiration—revolution as the means, independence as the end.

One hundred years have come and gone since that eventful day, great with
the future’s destinies. Its hundredth anniversary has passed, and forty
million people have commemorated the work of those five men, of those
three million people:—commemorated it by reaffirming the truths that
then were uttered for the first time in the new world; commemorated them
by brilliant flights of oratory, by firing cannons and profuse displays
of “stars and stripes” harmoniously blended with the flags of almost
every other nation of the globe, whose sons and daughters were
participating in the glory of the day; with feasting, fireworks; with
general rejoicing everywhere. As if with a universal assent, these
swarming millions re-echoed with a will the words that that stern man
had uttered on that never-to-be-forgotten day a hundred years ago.

                       OUR COMMERCIAL GREATNESS.

But those three million people have expanded into forty-four million;
and the thirteen States to thirty-eight, besides ten territories and one
district. The country now, excepting the stretch from the west shore of
Lake Superior, and from the south-west point of Texas westward to the
ocean, has available for commercial purposes, a continuous water-front
of not less than fifteen thousand miles, equal to that of the whole of
Europe. It is five thousand miles from east to west, and four thousand
from north to south. It contains vast ranges of mountains, the longest
river in the world, and the most fertile plains. Its climate is so
varied and extensive that it produces almost everything that is grown
anywhere in the world—the fruits of the tropics as well as of the
latitudes north and south; and it will be the granary from which the
world must ultimately draw its bread. It has all the different forms of
mineral wealth—gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, besides coal, oil and
salt. No other country on the globe can begin to compare with it in the
variety of its products; it combines the utility of them all. It is as
if all others had contributed their choicest seeds, as they have their
peoples, to fill up the variety with which this should be blessed. In
whatever sense it may be regarded, it is the great country of the world.
No other can for a moment enter into comparison with it save in some
single sense—while this combines the greatnesses of them all. Blessed
with such a country—with a land such as God promised to His chosen
people—“a land flowing with milk and honey,” how ought the people to
have returned their gratitude to Him Who gave it? Or rather, how have
they done so?

Having already entered upon a second century, there can be no more
appropriate a time in which to see what use there has been made of the
“ten talents” with which the Great Husbandman has entrusted us; to see
how we have shown our love for Him by that which we have given to our
brethren; to see whether from His bounteous gifts to all, a part has
stolen the inheritance from others, and when His servants have been sent
whether they have been beaten away empty; whether some, having an
abundance, have “shut up their bowels of compassion” though seeing their
brothers had need; whether they have “fought the good fight,” whether
they have “kept the faith” and whether they are entitled to the crown
which St. Paul bespoke for them that love God.


In other words, what is the condition politically, industrially,
socially, religiously? Is it such as will make us rejoice in its review?
Are our centennial fruits such as He would pronounce good, so that we
may rest upon the seventh day from all our labours?

In the first place, what have we done politically? It is to government
that people largely owe their prosperity or adversity—a good government
meaning continuous prosperity; a bad one continuous adversity, or else
alternate seasons of each, in which the latter consume the fruits of the
former; in which the people see-saw, up and down each decade; in which,
like the Israelites, the people journey in the wilderness “forty years”
in search of the promised land, to which God would bring them suddenly,
if they would keep all His commandments, and neither worship nor
sacrifice to the “Golden Calf.”

The last estimates are, that there are forty-four million people now in
the United States. It is by no means, however, to be inferred that these
are all citizens who constitute the “sovereignty;” from whom the
Government has its source, and upon whom it sheds its benignant rays.
For, although the constitution declares that “all persons born or
naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof, are citizens;” and although there are unreversed decisions of
the Supreme Court, which declare that every person in the country
“constitutes a part of the political sovereignty,” and that every such
person is entitled to every right, civil and political, enjoyed by
anyone in the State,—notwithstanding all this authority and law upon the
subject, only a minority of the 44,000,000 are really citizens. For, in
the Dred Scott decision, the law of citizenship was declared to be this:
“To be a citizen is to have the actual possession and enjoyment, or the
perfect right to the acquisition and enjoyment, of an entire equality of
privileges, civil and political.” Dred Scott did not possess or enjoy
these rights; therefore the court held that he was not a citizen. As
this is the law of citizenship now, we must conclude that only those are
citizens who have “the actual possession and enjoyment, or the perfect
right of acquisition and enjoyment, of an entire equality of privileges,
civil and political,” the Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Constitution in the hands of “the few” is a mere toy with the plain
language of which they play, making it to mean anything or nothing as it
suits them now and then. Later we shall see that this was what it was
intended to be; that it was a fraud, a cheat, from the beginning, into
which neither the letter nor spirit of the Declaration of Independence
ever entered.

                           WHO ARE CITIZENS?

But who are citizens? Why, those who possess and enjoy, or who have the
right to acquire and enjoy, an equality of political and civil
privileges. Only certain classes of men possess these rights. These
certain classes having possessed themselves of the machinery of the
Government, tread upon the Constitution and spit upon the declarations
of the Supreme Court. They have stolen the birthright of the “many,”
and, putting their thumbs to their noses, say “Help yourselves if you
can.” The despoiled people are not able to help themselves now, but let
these usurpers be warned that the judgments of God are upon this nation,
and that He will come to help those who cannot help themselves against
such tyranny; come to deliver His people out of the hands of the
“Egyptians,” who have imposed tasks upon them grievous to be borne; come
to send them some “Moses,” who shall cause “Pharaoh” to let the people
go, and who shall bring down from “Sinai’s Mount” a new and better code
of laws.

But who are not citizens, who neither possess or enjoy, nor have the
right to acquire or enjoy, an equality of privileges, civil and
political? There are three classes of these people: Indians, Chinese,
and women, and these constitute by a million more than one-half of all
the people. The political lords have selected nice company for the women
to keep politically, and yet they put on such monstrous airs if they are
told that in this matter they show no respect for their mothers, wives
and daughters. Here is a subject for some Raphael, who should have
reduced it to canvas and exhibited it at the Centennial, in honour of
the mothers and daughters of the land. Upon the one hand there should
have been grouped the women of the country, flanked upon the right and
left by Indians and Chinese, and the subject named—Political Slaves;
while upon the other the citizens should have been grouped, and labelled
Political Sovereigns.


The principles under the inspiration of which this government had its
birth, are set forth in the Declaration of Independence. They were when
realized by the people, when incorporated into the organic law, to give
them independence; and they were thought to be of so much importance
that the people fought a long and bloody war to acquire a right to their
possession and enjoyment. Who can think of Bunker Hill, of Brandy-wine,
of Princeton, of Valley Forge, of Yorktown, think of those long eight
years of alternate hope and despair, and not feel that the price paid
for independence was too great to have it limited to a mere minority of
the people, when it was purchased for the whole; was too great a price
to pay for principles that were to be restricted to fewer than half of
the descendants of those who paid it. Our fathers would have never
fought for the liberty to have a King or an aristocratic ruler of their
own. They endured the hardships and privations of that war for
independence for themselves and their posterity. Nothing less than this
was the inspiration of those years of suffering, nothing less than this
could have given them inspiration to gain their independence.

But this was scarcely more than won, before those from whom this
inspiration came were doomed to see their work robbed of half its value.
At the convention that met to frame a government, there were men whose
minds were too narrow to grasp the significance of the truths which had
been the inspiration of the people; and which had sustained them through
the war. They were men bred and born in English customs. They were not
willing to make a complete departure from the established legal forms of
the mother country, and make the Declaration, the inspiration of the
Constitution, as it had been of the revolution. That inspiration came
from these truths, and they were declared to be self-evident, “that all
men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed.” No trace of any single one of these truths is to be found in
the Constitution as then adopted; nor in any of the Amendments that have
since been added, save in Sec. I., Art. XIV., which the self-constituted
citizens have rendered nugatory.

                        OUR COPYING OF ENGLAND.

Our constitution and laws have nothing specifically American about them.
They are copies from the English, modified in some particulars, which
have been the inducement “to gather the spoils while we may.” The
President is an English king under another name, selected by the
“caucus,” the worst element in politics, and elected by the people,
because, under the vicious methods that are in vogue they have no way to
vote save for one of the two at whom ten thousand papers vie with each
other in throwing mud during the campaign. Many who have come to know
how Presidents are made have abandoned the polls in disgust. The Senate
is a badly abridged edition of the House of Lords, while the House of
Representatives is the same of the House of Commons. In the law of
primogeniture only do our laws differ materially from those of England,
this good feature having been borrowed from another source. Nor have we
any political literature save the Declaration of Independence which has
a distinct national character about it that is purely American, and it
is this that we celebrate year after year; it is this and this only that
calls out the patriotism of the people.

As far as the Constitution is concerned it is Dead Sea fruit. It is an
old and musty English sermon to which we have prefixed a new and vital
text, the text and sermon having no common ground or meaning. The
condition of the people and the country could scarcely have been worse
had we had Kings and Parliaments, instead of Presidents and Congresses.
A tree, let it be called by whatever name, is known by the fruit it
bears. If we are to judge the political tree in this country in this
way, shall we not be forced to say that we have gathered thorns from
grapes and thistles from figs? In purity in the administration of
justice, our Government can stand no comparison with that of England.
Money here is king, and judge and jury also. Then must there not be
something radically wrong somewhere, and what can this be, except the
engrafting of a new political idea into an old political system? This is
what is the matter, and cringe as we may, there can never be a change
greatly for the better until the institutions of the country are
remodelled by the inspiration of that which led to their establishment.

                      OUR LACK OF GREAT STATESMEN.

Had there been any really great men among our statesmen they would have
discovered the cause of the alternate “ups and downs” in the prosperity
of the country, and, at least, have attempted some remedy. But we may
look in vain through the whole list of those who have, one after
another, prominently occupied public attention, for a great mind in the
sense of instituting reforms in government; in replacing vicious by
beneficent legislation. Washington, who will always be deservedly
revered, was in no sense a great man save in goodness. As a general or
statesman he has been excelled by dozens since his time, not one of whom
has left anything behind him that will make his name immortal. To be
immortal in history requires that there shall be some basis for it
living in the Government, or in the industrial habits of the people, or
in their religious faiths or rites. Buddha in India, Confucius in China,
Zoroaster in Persia, Mahomet among Mahomedans, and Jesus amongst
Christians, have immortality. But the religious element, _per se_, never
would have civilized the world. Indeed the nations most under the
influence of religious sentiments have done the least to spread
civilization into unknown countries. It is the warlike and intellectual,
in contradistinction to the religious and æsthetic, nations to whom we
owe the almost world-wide enlightenment of the present, while the latter
have remained shut up within themselves, and are nothing but what their
religion makes them. The contrast between Egypt and India or China is,
in this respect, most striking. Egypt, becoming great at home, pushed
out into the surrounding world. With its immense armies under Sesostris
and its no less potent power emanating from the wise men who made the
Alexandrian library a possibility, it left its impress so fixed upon the
world that, even to this day, there are many things in the habits and
customs of the nations, especially in their literature and philosophies,
that are Egyptian. It was an Egyptian colony which laid the foundation
in Greece at Athens for the splendid civilization that was there
developed; for the glory, the military renown and the arts and sciences
that afterwards made Greece at once the admiration and wonder of the


The Egyptians were also a maritime people who made voyages for
discovery. It was under the instructions of one of its kings—Nechos—that
some skilful Phœnician sailors first sailed round the coast of Africa.
Six hundred years B.C. an attempt was also made to do what the French
engineer Lesseps has since done—to cut a canal across the Isthmus of
Suez. I mention these facts to show how all the really great things that
have done the world most good have had their origin in some one great
mind, who still lives in the immortality of his creations, having
impressed himself inexpungibly upon the descent of the race and on
civilization; and by this showing to call attention to the further fact
that the number of the great who live in the present is extremely small,
and finally to show that this country has not produced even one such
mind outside the purely intellectual plane. The names of Fulton and
Field will live until steam, as a motor power, shall be superseded by
some more potent agent, and until the telegraphic wires shall be no
longer required to transmit the thoughts of one to another at the
antipodes of the earth; but in government the list is blank.

Our basis must, however, be made still broader. Greece was founded upon
principles brought from Egypt; but in that small country a new era was
born. Egyptian achievements were the culmination of an era of
civilization of which Greece was fruit, and became the seed for the
next. Not only did Greece dim the splendour of Egyptian warfare, but she
also surpassed her in intellectual attainment. The names of Plato,
Socrates, Aristotle, Archimedes, Xenophon, will live in philosophy as
long as there is a literature; while Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis,
Platea and Mycale will stand for ever unapproachable in military and
naval glory, conclusive evidence of the power of order and organization
over mere numbers and brute force.

                        THE POWER OF ELOQUENCE.

There was, however, another power behind this one of order which made it
invulnerable, irresistible. Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander
the Great, testified of this power in these words: “The eloquence of
Demosthenes did me more harm than all the armies and fleets of the
Athenians. His harangues are like machines of war, and batteries raised
at a long distance, by which all my projects and enterprises are ruined.
Had I been present and heard that vehement orator declaim, I should have
been the first to conclude that it was necessary to declare war against
me. Nor could I reach him with gold, for in this respect, by which I had
gained so many cities, I found him invulnerable.” Antipater also said of
the same power: “I value not the galleys nor armies of the Athenians.
Demosthenes alone I fear. Without him the Athenians are no better than
the meanest Greeks. It is he who rouses them from their lethargy and
puts arms into their hands almost against their wills. Incessantly
representing the battles of Marathon and Salamis, he transforms them
into new men. Nothing escapes his penetrating eye, nor his consummate
prudence. He foresees all our designs; he countermines all our projects
and disconcerts us in everything. Did the Athenians confide in him and
follow his advice we should be irredeemably undone.”

’Tis true that this was in the days of the declining Grecian glory; but
it is none the less true that it was the same power in others previously
that lifted a whole people to sublime achievements and into grand and
noble character. It was here, also, that patriotism had birth; here that
men devoted their lives to their country for the country’s sake rather
than for private gain or glory. In this respect the character of Grecian
generals and statesmen has never been approached by any other nation. It
was this character that gave the Greeks as a nation, and to the world as
an example, the first code of laws; gave a Constitution as a
conservatory of the people’s rights, and made a Lycurgus possible, the
principles of whose Spartan code are only now beginning to be
appreciated. It is to this code that we must look as the prime source of
political economy, and it has been the inspiration of all the
modifications of laws ever made in the interests of the people. In this
respect, Lycurgus will be known in the future ages as the Spartan
law-giver of the world.

                      LESSONS FROM ROMAN HISTORY.

Roman history is a second edition of Grecian, enlarged in its sphere of
operations, and in its influence over the world. Rome, however, would
never have been possible, had Greece not first been a fact. But Rome was
vitiated in the character of her public men, as compared with those of
Greece, in about the same ratio that she was greater in other respects.
Greece was the admiration of the world, but Rome was its astonishment.
All that she was, sank with her as she went down into the dark ages. The
best of what made Greece, still lives in the people of the world. Greece
was the garden of modern civilization and will remain its inspiration
until three elements of character—the religious, the intellectual and
the social—shall join their powers to construct the future government of
the world.

Charlemagne was the basis of the first great national character that
evolved after the dark ages, and Otho the Great laid the foundation for
the present dominance of Bismarck and Von Moltke in Central Europe.
Cromwell, more than any other, is the inspiration of English character,
modified by its respect for the political rights of women by the
influence of Queen Elizabeth, under whom England reached the acme of its
power and glory. But in French history is to be found the most distinct
evidence of a communication to a whole people of the character of a
single individual that there is to be found anywhere. The French
character, both as a nation and as an individual, may be summed up in
one word—Bonaparte. With the advent of this giant mind came a crisis
over all modern Europe. Under his influence not only did the national
character of the French people change, but the individual character also
underwent many modifications. Nor was this confined to France, for this
man’s genius was felt in every capital in the world. He conquered the
nations and compelled them to change their laws, while to France he gave
an entire new code, to which, more than to anything else, France owes
her position among nations. It was the result of these laws that gave to
France the capacity to rise from the disaster inflicted upon her by
Prussia. Her immense loans came in small sums from the peasantry, and
when paid will remain in France, which will not suffer the double
impoverishment that most nations suffer from a public debt. The
possibility of this was due to the far-reaching statesmanship of
Napoleon Bonaparte, when he changed the laws regarding the inheritance
of property, taking the estate from the deceased and dividing it equally
among all the children—the greatest innovation that had ever been made
upon the old feudal system, and together with other reforms, fixing
France in a position to become more prosperous internally than any other
European nation. Bonaparte also broke down the barriers that divided the
nations and races of Europe, and opened up the way for closer commercial
and literary relations, and performed, during the twenty years that he
was in France, a greater service for the advancement of civilization
than was ever performed by any other person who ever lived. In a sense,
and in a good sense, too, it may be said that he dictated to the world,
because the changes that he instituted and compelled have produced a
modifying influence over the whole world. Taken as a whole, Bonaparte
was the greatest man who ever lived. Certainly he equalled the greatest
generals, and his campaigns, with those of Hannibal and
Scipio-Africanus, will be the textbooks for military students as long as
the art of war remains a study; while as a statesman he stands at the
head of the greatest. He was Lycurgus, Alexander, Hannibal, Talleyrand,
Bismarck combined. He represented, if he did not excel, the greatest of
all ages, save Confucius and Jesus, save Demosthenes and Cicero. He
never taught morality, _per se_, but he believed that a well-governed
and industrially-thrifty people would necessarily be also moral, and he
never made a speech except to point out the enemy to his soldiers. The
treachery of a single man—Grouchy—who permitted Blucher to hurl the
Prussian army unopposed upon his wearied troops after they had defeated
Wellington at Waterloo, changed the whole future destiny of Europe, and
prevented Bonaparte from becoming the beneficent law-giver of the world
as he had been of France. For behind all his ambition in which only he
is known to the world, and, therefore, not known at all, he had an
unalterably fixed purpose to raise the common people of Europe to their
proper position; but this he could do only by first conquering the
rulers who stood in his way.

                        LYCURGUS AND BONAPARTE.

It is, therefore, to Lycurgus and to Bonaparte, more than to any others,
to whom we must look as the master-minds in government; as those who
instituted sweeping changes in the political institutions of the world,
and in this sense they are the greatest of all the great who live in
profane history. Many slight reforms have been effected; but they alone
conceived and reduced to a system the changes that revolutionized and
replaced the old beneficently to the people.

Bonaparte himself recognized that his greatness consisted in this, for,
when he asked his friends to which of his achievements he would owe his
life in history, and they replied, naming some campaign or battle, he
corrected them and said; “I shall go down in history with my _Code
Napoleon_ in my hands.” So it was not Marengo, not Wagram, not
Austerlitz, not Dresden, not any nor all his great victories to which he
looked as his best achievement; but it was the code of laws by which he
made France the happiest country in Europe. It is not to be wondered at
that his name lives in the hearts of the French and moves them as no
other name ever moved a people.

Great as Bismarck may be, he is not great in the true sense of
greatness, for he is building up a power that the next fifty years will
have to overthrow. True greatness works in the direction of and not
against progress, and its works live. Compared with him, Disraeli may
after all, should his intentions toward India have a humanitarian
tendency, turn out to be the greater man.

In this view of greatness, to whom shall we look among our statesmen for
any of its evidences? Beyond the legislation that the abolition of
slavery forced upon us, the homestead act and one recently introduced by
Gen. Banks, enlarging its scope in the interests of the settler, and
some concessions to the people, like the eight hour law, we may search
the legislation of the country through in vain for any evidence of
humanitarian tendencies in our legislators. On the contrary, the
inspiration of the privileged classes, the power and use of wealth will
be found everywhere; ’tis true that we have a Republican Government in
name and form, but it is also true that money rules, that it elects the
officers and controls the legislation. The people who are outside of the
privileged classes, outside of the offices and the press, are powerless
to help themselves. The machinery of the government is in the hands of
those who want things to continue as they are, while the few in power
who are devoted to the public welfare, beat the air in vain attempts to
strike either the causes of, or the remedy for existing evils.

                      NEED OF A NEW CODE OF LAWS.

But they may be summed up in a few words. The causes lie in the
fruitless attempt to run a Republican Government upon an aristocratic
code of laws, and the remedy is to remodel the code by the principles of
the declaration, which should be made the inspiration of every
provision, as well as the key to its construction. I might enumerate the
special evils that have grown out of the error made in the
Constitution—the vicious legislation for which this error laid the
foundation—that the rule of the majority is not a Republican idea; that
“the majority” is another name for the despot; that minorities are
entitled to, and can be represented; I might show that the United States
is, after all, nothing but a confederation of equal and antagonistic
powers, and not a Federal Union; that Washington is more a place in
which representatives from the several States assemble to quarrel over
the spoils of office and to lay the ropes for the succession, than it is
the capital of a free and mighty people; that there is such a
contrariety of laws in the several States upon any given subject, that
it puzzles a Philadelphia lawyer to tell whether a given act is a crime,
a misdemeanour, or whether actionable at all in the different States; if
people be married in one State, whether they are so legally in any
other, or if divorced the same. I might show that taxation is unequal
and oppressive, and the revenue unjust; and if there were need of it,
which there is not, that official patronage is a polite name for public
plunder, and that the public service is a vast system of organized
corruption. Had the original error not been made, had the fountain been
kept pure, none of these baneful things could have been engrafted into
the system. But they have now obtained a root so deep that they can
never be exterminated save by uprooting the system. They are the Canada
thistles in the fertile meadow, that spread themselves until they absorb
the whole vitality of the soil and thrust out the useful harvest. These
thistles have spread and seeded in the government until they have thrust
out every honest servant of the people, and until one who has any care
for his reputation cannot afford to meddle with the government.

                       MUST WE HAVE A REVOLUTION?

How can such a state of things be remedied save by a revolution? The
people may listen to the “outs” who pretend to tell them that it may;
but should they come to the “ins” they would follow in the footsteps of
their predecessors. The machine is running down hill too fast to be now
stopped; the tide of power has set too strongly toward corruption to be
reversed; the political body is too thoroughly impregnated with the
poison to make its purging possible by any change of medicine. The
disease is incurable because it is in the system more than in the
individual men who run it. It has had its youth, its manhood, and is now
in its old and decaying age. No power can save it; and those who think
they can, who think that they can patch it up with tonics for a time,
are only preparing for a worse ruin when the crash shall come.

But the people would not care so much about the government; they would
be willing to let the politicians run it as they please, and enjoy its
spoils as they have for a century; they would even endure, as they have,
uncomplainingly, any extortion that their earnings would permit without
reducing them to the starvation point; but when in addition to the
absorption of all their earnings to pay the debts of official
extravagance and vicious legislation it is threatened to foreclose the
mortgages on the industries and sell them out, and thus take away their
means of livelihood, they have a right, indeed it is their duty, to
object, and they are beginning to do it in real earnest.

                        A WORD TO NON-PRODUCERS.

I do not say this in the interest of the workmen, but speak in appeal to
the non-productive classes, those who live without labour, to show them
that through their servants, the Congress and the administrators of the
laws, they are repeating the folly of the Southern slave-holders, who
could not have found a more effectual way to rid themselves of slavery
than that which they adopted. Looking upon it now, it seems that they
could not have been satisfied with the progress of abolitionism in the
North, under the lead of Garrison, Phillips and Douglass, and therefore
they stirred up the war at home to precipitate the end, and succeeded
admirably. The heartiness with which the Southern members of the St.
Louis Convention recently accepted “the results” is evidence that this
is a proper view to take of it. It is only a wonder that, going so far
as they did, they did not fall into the arms of the Cincinnati
Convention and thank its party for the services rendered them. But this
aside. Had they been content to keep the power they had, they might have
retained their slaves for years to come; but they wanted more! more!
more! Nothing less than the whole country as slave territory would
satisfy their morbidness upon the subject. Perhaps they did not know
what they were doing; but they must have been blind indeed if there were
not among them one sagacious mind who understood it.

But when, through promises from northern doughfaces, they had brought on
the war, then those who had been gradually getting rich, quietly
extending their mortgages, through railroad and other speculative
schemes and exorbitant rates of interest, saw an opportunity to extend,
at a single effort, their grasp over the whole property of the country,
and reduce the masses to servitude for all time to come, as they are
reduced in England. The classes to whom I speak knew that the government
would have to have money; and that it would have to come to them to get
it; and they also knew that the longer the war continued the more money
would be required. So, while the copper-headed bankers of the North gave
the rebels all the encouragement they dared, their English brethren
furnished them with arms and ammunition, and thus the war was prolonged
and made a costly one. The plan was well conceived and nicely executed;
the productive classes were saddled with a debt of $3,000,000,000, for
which the government received little more than half that sum.

                         SOME TELLING FIGURES.

But they who were engaged in this scheme over-reached themselves as the
South had done before them. They over-estimated the vitality and
endurance of the industries, already carrying a debt of $4,000,000,000
in railroad, State, county and municipal bonds, besides paying interest
on individual loans to a still larger amount. They could not bear the
added burden. With gold at par with which the interest was paid on this
enormous debt before the war, they managed to get along; but when the
war had raised the price of gold and had added $3,000,000,000 to the
debt, it was more than they could stand. On this $11,000,000,000 debt,
with the interest on some parts of it at 8, 9, 10 and even 12 and 15 per
cent. per annum, and allowing for the large discounts that were
frequently extorted, and adding to this the premiums paid for gold and
including the dividends on stocks, the industries of the country were,
and still are, taxed $1,300,000,000 every year to pay interest! Think of
it, you who take this interest! Think of the toiling millions who,
beneath the broiling sun, or in the murky mines, or dismal shops, or in
the frozen forests, give up their lives to toil! Think of it! Taxed
$1,300,000,000 annually for interest, part of which goes to enrich
European bankers, and the remainder to those who, in luxurious ease,
idle their lives away at home. Think of it, I repeat again, and then
wonder, if you can, that industry is prostrate beneath the heel of
capital! Say, if you can, whether the wonder is not rather, that there
is a wheel in motion in the country, or that there is a plough moving in
the soil.

The total products amount to but $5,000,000,000 annually. Out of this,
there is first to come the subsistence of the 44,000,000 population. On
an average it cannot be said that it costs less than $100 a year per
capita to support this mass. Some people spend more than that for cigars
in a single month, and others double for wines and other liquors, to say
nothing about establishments costing thousands upon thousands to
maintain; and yet there are so many who live upon less than $100 a year,
that the average cost of subsistence may be placed at that sum. This
would consume $4,400,000,000 of the $5,000,000,000 products, and leave
but $600,000,000 with which to pay the $1,300,000,000 interest. Hence it
is plainly to be seen that the productive interests of the country are
running into debt to the capitalists at the rate of $700,000,000 every
year; that their mortgages on the property of the country are increasing
yearly by that amount. This is a frightful showing, but it is a true
one; it is one that the labouring classes are beginning to understand;
it is one that you who are oppressing them should also understand, for,
by ignoring it, you are challenging swift destruction. The only question
is, how long can these things go on, with the wealth of the country
increasing at the rate of two and a half per cent. per annum; it is a
simple thing to calculate how long it will require for money, increasing
at the rate of 6, 8, 10, and even 15 and 20 per cent. per annum, to
consume the wealth.

                        THE ROOT OF THE TROUBLE.

We come now in logical order to the grand and fundamental error that has
been made which lies at the back of all political fallacies, and to
which are to be primarily attributed all industrial and financial ills
from which we suffer, both as a nation and as individuals, since, let
the Government be as good as it may, with this error lying between it
and the industries, it were impossible that evil should not come upon
the people. Hence, let the Government and the public service be as bad
as they may; let the people suffer from bad legislation as much as they
have; the fault is, after all, more to be charged against the system
than against the individuals who, for the time, are its administrators.
No matter how skilful the engineer may be, nor how watchful the fireman;
if the engine itself be faulty in construction, it will explode; or if
the engine be perfect in itself, but connected with other machinery that
is not fitted to run at the same speed as the engine, then the machinery
will fly in pieces. The same is true of the relations between the
Government—the political organisations of the people—and the wealth
producers—the industrial organisation of the people, as we shall see,
for the Government is a machine constructed after the highest known
principles of political mechanism, while intimately connected with it is
the industrial organisation, running upon the very lowest—the
rudimental—industrial mechanism. Consequently, when the political
machinery runs at a high rate of speed, requiring an extra amount of
fuel and water, the industrial machinery, in its efforts to supply this
demand, and urged on by its connection to keep pace with the rapid
motion, flies in pieces; becomes prostrated and useless, as we see it
everywhere in the country now, when to keep the political machinery
running at the present high rate of speed, it has to draw upon its
accumulated stock of fuel, as it is doing now to the amount of
$700,000,000 annually.

If we go back and examine the evolution of government and industry, all
this will be made clear; so clear that all may understand it. Certain
fixed laws direct and regulate the growth of everything, and they are
the same for all departments in the universe. The statement of the laws
by which the sidereal and solar systems have evolved, will also describe
those which the earth has obeyed, and are the laws of all material,
governmental, industrial, intellectual, social, moral and religious
change. This law as applied to government and industry may be stated in
philosophic terms, thus: The progress of government and industry is a
continuous establishment of physical relations within the community, in
conformity with physical relations arising within the environment,
during which the government, industry and the environment pass from a
state of incoherent homogeneity to a state of coherent heterogeneity;
and, during which, the constitutional units of the government and
industry become ever more distinctly individualized.

If we examine the growth of industry and government, and the relations
that exist between them now, in this country, we shall discover how far
they have advanced from incoherent homogeneity toward coherent
heterogeneity. Looking through the dim vistas of the past into the
pre-historic time, we find a time when there were no aggregations of
individuals larger than the family; that the family was the only
government and the only organization for industry; that its head ruled
with arbitrary sway, having no one to whom he was accountable, each
family having to depend wholly upon itself for subsistence. The people
then were in the same state politically and industrially, and this was
the homogeneous or original state. Afterwards we find that, for
protection or for conquest, two or more families combined in a political
sense and formed tribes, having an absolute head, but remaining in the
rudimentary state industrially; next, tribes came together and built
cities, and cities then coalesced and constituted nations (the rulers of
which still using arbitrary power), until single rulers aspired to the
dominion of the world; and in a sense succeeded. But all this time,
industrially, the people remained in the original state. There had been
no coalescing for the purpose of subsistence as there had been for
government. While politically the people had evolved through several
stages of progression, industrially they were still in the rudimentary

Having arrived at the culmination of growth in the line of absolute
power, one man having controlled the destinies of the world (thus
typifying the future yet to be when the world shall be united under a
humanitarian, in place of a despotic government; under the rule of all
instead of that of one), a new departure was set up in the direction of
this future condition, and the power to which one man aspired began to
redistribute itself in limited and constitutional monarchies, down
through kings and queens, nobility and republics, to the people
generally, in this country advancing so far as to be divided practically
among nearly one-half of the people, and theoretically among the whole.
Evolution on this line will go on till every person in the world shall
form a part of the government. Then the great human family will be a

                          SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS.

But up to the present time, what have the people done industrially?
Almost nothing, save to subsist themselves on the rudimental plane!
Nothing, save to make a few experiments at coalescing. There are a few
illustrations of the first step in progress in this respect, which
correspond to the coming together of families politically. But there are
no industrial cities, to say nothing about nations. There were Brook
Farm, New Harmony, and several other attempts at industrial tribes, and
there are Oneida and a dozen lesser attempts still in existence, besides
numerous cooperative movements. There are the railroad, the telegraph,
insurance companies, banks and other corporations, all evidences that a
real departure is about to be made in industrial organization; that is,
that the people are preparing to depart from the homogeneous state
industrially. The grange movement is the most positive evidence of the
moving of the people generally in this direction, in which to protect
themselves against the rapacity of merchants and railroads, they combine
to purchase from first hands and realize a saving of from twenty to
fifty per cent. This is an illustration of coalescing for protection.
Most of the other illustrations, such as railroads, banks, etc., are for
aggressive purposes; are means by which the people, while being
seemingly accommodated, are really being robbed. Nevertheless, they are
all evidences of progress in the industrial sense, those for aggression
in the end compelling others for protection. That there are so many
forms of coalescings for aggressive purposes, is conclusive evidence
that the time is near when the people will be driven into organizing
themselves into industrial communities, cities and nations, and
eventually into one nation for the whole world. The first departure
having been made, nothing can prevent industry from passing through the
same stages of progress through which government has passed, and
eventually becoming “at one” with government.

Has the evolution of government proved a blessing to the people? Are we,
as a people, in a better condition politically? Are we nearer the
ultimate condition than they were of ancient time, when the family was
the highest form of government? If we are, then we should be equally
improved, industrially, if we were upon the same plane in this respect.
There are no contradictions in natural growth. Like degrees of evolution
bring equal good in all; the same to government, to industry, to
intellect, to morals, to religion. But this development does not mean
for the rich what it is inferred by them to mean, unless, indeed, they
attempt to resist its progress, which if they do, the same fate will
overtake them that came upon those who attempted to stay the tide of
political growth. It means for them just what the development of
government meant for those who held and exercised its power. The
political relations of the monarch and nobility are repeated in the
industrial relations of the capitalists and working men. The “levelling”
politically has not been down but up. Instead of the rulers having been
degraded into serfdom, the serfs have been elevated to the plane of
rulers in this country. In the place of one man ruling over others, all
men rule themselves, at least in theory. In this transformation no one
has been deprived of anything that of right belonged to him; but the
masses have received their natural rights from those who held them from
them by the right of might. When the industries shall rise to the stage
of growth which the government occupies, a like “levelling up” will take
place; a like relinquishment of industrial power will be made in favour
of the toiling masses. None who are independent now will be made
dependent then; but the dependent will rise to independence. Hence the
alarm of the rich is wholly without foundation. Such a move does not
mean the slightest harm for them; it means equal good for all. It does
not mean the taking away of any comfort or luxury from anybody; but the
extension of every comfort and luxury that any have to all—to those who
suffer, be it from hunger, from nakedness, from want of shelter, or
other cause.

                           OUR NATIONAL DEBT.

If this analysis be applied to the present situation we shall see what
is the matter with the industries. When the South rebelled, the North
was compelled to resist, or else permit the national unity to be
destroyed. Let it be borne in mind what stress was put upon the
necessity of preserving the oneness of the people politically. To do
this an army was required. When volunteers ceased to offer in sufficient
numbers to keep the army to its necessary strength, the government,
acting upon the right of a representative of a politically united
people, resorted to drafting to determine which of the members of this
unity should go into the army and jeopardize their lives for its
preservation. This was in perfect harmony with the principles of
government upon which this order rests, and was fully endorsed by the
people. But what did the government do to subsist these men, and to
provide the munitions of war? Did it proceed the same way that it did to
secure the men? Not at all! It borrowed the money from the bankers of
New York, Hamburg and London, and agreed to pay them a rate of interest
double that demanded of any other first class nation, parting with its
bonds to them at “60.” In other words, it borrowed $1,800,000,000, at 10
per cent., and gave $1,200,000,000 in bonds as bonus for making the

Now this was the error that was committed, for, although the people were
industrially upon a lower order of development than they were
politically, nevertheless, since necessity knows no law save that of its
own conditions, the government should have proceeded as if we were upon
the same plane in both respects. When it called for volunteers to raise
an army, and the ranks of industry responded liberally, it should at the
same time have also called for volunteer assistance from the ranks of
wealth, to subsist that army; and as it resorted to drafting to maintain
the necessary number of fighting men when volunteering failed to do it,
so should it have resorted to drafting the means with which to pay their
expenses when volunteer assistance should have failed to do it. Had the
people been one industrially as they were politically; had the
industrial organization of the people been upon the same plane as their
political organization, this would have been done naturally, and there
would have been no bonded debt incurred.

What does this show? This clearly; that, while the government can
command the lives of the working men and put them in jeopardy, even
sacrifice them without stint to maintain itself, it has no power over
the property of the rich to compel them to assist in that maintenance.
Had it been so that the government could not have borrowed any money, it
would have fallen from this disparity between the political and
industrial development. Is not this clear? And if it is, does it not
show a very great and grave defect in the wisdom of our institutions?

But what has been the effect of this error in this instance? The present
prostration of industry, necessarily: and it has come about in this way:
The armies were made up from the ranks of industry; the “rank and file”
were so many men taken away from producing, and, therefore, from adding
to the accumulated wealth; but the maintenance of the army was borrowed
at an exorbitant rate of interest from the accumulated wealth, which was
wholly in the hands of those who never fired a shot in defence of the
country, nor added a dollar to its aggregate wealth by labour. While the
war continued, the men who were left in the ranks of industry were
called upon to pay this interest; and when it was over, those who had
survived the war and returned to productive toil were included with
them. And it is expected that the industrial classes will continue to
pay this interest until the bonds mature, and then the bonds themselves,
as I shall show you that they do hereafter; or what is more to the
point, for the $1,800,000,000 that the government borrowed from the
money-lenders it would compel the people to return them as bonus,
interest and principal, the enormous sum of $5,000,000,000.

                        INDUSTRY OVER-BURDENED.

Hence by this error, made possible by the false relations of government
and industry, the government has not only compelled industry to furnish
the men to fight its battles, win its victories, and maintain its
integrity, but it also compels it to pay all the expenses of the war,
besides to continue adding to the wealth of the rich. The gentlemen in
whose interests it was principally fought, who have sat quietly at home
in luxury, and drawn the life-blood from the poor, now go out of all the
effects of the war with their fortunes trebled by having merely loaned
the government the money it needed to maintain itself in the struggle.

This is a true picture, moderately drawn, of the real facts. While I do
not desire to stir up the wrongs that industry has suffered in this
matter, and drive the weary toilers to seek redress, it is nevertheless
time, when thousands of families are suffering the pangs of hunger as a
consequence of this wrong, to lay it open before the people who have
been its cause and who have profited by it; it is time that the
government should be shown the errors that it has committed and be told
that the people are coming to an understanding of them; time that the
bond-holders should know that the people are aware of the tenure by
which they hold these mortgages on the industries. Let the one protest
as it may and the other plead innocence under the revelations as they
will, I intend to do everything in my power to rouse them to a sense of
the danger in which they stand from the still sleeping masses, who, when
they shall come to a full realization of the impositions that have been
practised upon them, will not hesitate at any means of redress;
especially will they not hesitate when the modern Shylocks, having
relentlessly demanded not only the last “pound of flesh” but their very
life’s blood also, demand likewise the payment of the bonds! The people
already begin to learn that the government has no sympathy for their
sufferings, and that it declares that it has no power to alleviate them,
which they will think is strange enough since it had the power to bring
these evils upon them.

                         WHAT LABOUR WILL SAY.

Under these conditions they will soon come to argue like this:—Was it
not enough to demand of industry that it should fight the battles for
the government? Was it not enough that the working-classes should lay
down their lives by thousands upon a hundred fields of battle? Was it
not enough that mothers and wives should give their sons and husbands to
fill the soldier’s grave that the wealth of the country might remain
inviolate? Was it not enough that we did all this without now being
forced to give our toil year after year to return these rich, who did
nothing, these loans? Is it too much to ask of wealth that it pay the
expenses of the war? Should we not rather demand, in tones of thunder if
lesser ones are insufficient to rouse its holders to a sense of their
duty, that it shall bear its part of the burden? We have looked on
quietly and seen the sufferings to which this people are reduced by the
rapacity of the usurers, until we can no longer hold our peace; and if
it be in our power, we intend that wealth and not industry shall yet be
made to pay what it should have been made to pay at first; that it shall
return to the government the bonds which the toiling masses have
redeemed by the rivers of blood that they have shed, and that the
government shall return the $2,000,000,000 of interest that it has
already filched from industry for interest on this most unjust debt. In
other words, since we gave the lives that it was necessary to sacrifice
to conquer the rebellion from our ranks, we intend that the rich shall
give from what they had when the rebellion broke out, to pay all the
expenses of the war, and we will never rest until this be done.

These, I say, are the arguments to which the suffering labourers will
resort if you permit them to is driven to desperation by hunger from
want of employment. If the rich were wise, they would forestall all
opportunity for such arguments to be used, by coming forward voluntarily
to do them justice. If what I have suggested will be their arguments, is
true, as you know that it is, then wealth should pay the expenses of the
war without any further delay, because it is a gross injustice, not to
say an unwarrantable imposition on good nature, to make the men who did
the fighting also pay this debt, while those for whom it was mostly
fought have done nothing but to speculate out of it. Perhaps you have
never looked at it in this light; but if you have not, then I pray you
look at it so now, before your attention shall be called to it in an
unpleasant way; for, unless relief come soon to those who are suffering
the pangs of hunger, by reason of your blindness, there will be an
imperious demand made of you.

                          THE SILVER QUESTION.

As if they were not yet satisfied with the oppressions already in
operation, some of those whom you have sent to Washington to conduct
your business, and who have got you into all this difficulty, think that
silver is not good enough money in which to pay interest, because it is
not now worth proportionally quite so much as gold. Where has the wisdom
and prudence of this people fled? Have they no care for what _may_ come
upon their families, that they sit by and see indignity after indignity
piled mountain-high upon the people? The lives, the labour, the all of
the poor may be taken for the public good; but your bonds, your money,
your usury must not be touched. They are considered to be of more
consequence than life and toil and everything else that the poor have
got to be taken!—your revenue must be sacred, and the Shylocks must take
their “pound of flesh” from the daily labourer, let it cost whatever
blood it may in the cutting of it; and no wise Portia comes to stay the
hand already dripping with the life of the toilers, for is not the
interest wrenched from their toil, their life! Look at the poor of the
country; millions of them without work and their families either
starving or else on the verge of starvation. Let me read you extracts
from two articles from the _New York Sun_ of the 20th of July, so that
you may see that I am not overdrawing the picture: “Starvation in New
York. The sufferings among the poor are fearful. The sufferers are
chiefly widows and young children, who, for lack of nourishment, are
unable to withstand the intense heat. Instances of actual starvation are
mentioned. A widow and her young daughter and son, who are unable to
find work, had been for some time living on $2 a week. In a garret,
without any other furniture than an old dry goods box for a table and a
broken chair, live a widow and her five young children. In a closet are
a mattress and a blanket, which at night make a bed for the whole
family. An aged woman, who was once in affluent circumstances, was some
time ago found nearly dead with hunger; it was only by careful nursing
that she was saved. A young man, whose family were gradually starving,
was driven to despair and intent on suicide. The child of another died,
and not only was the father unable to bury it, but he was unable to
provide food for the living.” These are only a few of the cases that
come under the observation of a single church relief society. What shall
we say of the great city? The other was entitled “Widespread Destitution
in Brooklyn. At the meeting of the King’s County Charity Commissioners
yesterday, Mr. Bogan said that there was almost as much destitution in
the city now as at midwinter. The families of unemployed men who up to
this time have never asked for a cent of charity, were daily besieging
his office. The system of outdoor relief had been abandoned, and there
was no way to provide for the needy except out of his private purse. The
heads of families were forced into idleness by the hard times, and,
having exhausted all their means were face to face with starvation.” Is
not this a fearful picture of those who have helped to make the wealth
with which the storehouses of the country are loaded? African slavery
was a blessing compared with the condition of thousands of the poor. Let
its evils have been as great as we know that they were, the negroes
never suffered for food; the women and children never died of
starvation; never suffered from cold or went naked. Oh, that some master
mind, some master spirit, might be sent of God to show you the way out
of this desolation and the necessity of deliverance. But I fear you will
not be wise enough to avoid the penalty for neglecting to keep your
industrial institutions on the same plane with your political
organization, which is the only possible remedy for the present evils.
The people must be made as much one industrially as they are
politically. Then there would be harmony and consequent peace and

                         IS CASTE A NECESSITY?

But to this the common objection is raised, that it is impossible to
make industrial interests common, on account of the necessary
differences in labour: that there must be caste in industry. This was
the reply that the king made to the people who wanted a political
republic; of course it will be the reply that the privileged classes
will make to those who want an industrial republic. You know how
fallacious the objection has been politically. The king deprived of his
crown has not been compelled to sleep with the scavenger. It will prove
equally as fallacious industrially. The money and railroad kings will
not have to live with the men who do the rough work of the industrial
public, unless they choose to do so, any more than they do now. The
foundation stones of a house always remain at the bottom, covered up in
the dirt; nevertheless, they are even more important to the safety of
the house than any upper part. So it will be in the industrial structure
when it shall be erected. There will always be Vanderbilts, Stewarts,
Fields and Fultons—the agents of the people industrially, as there are
now presidents, governors and mayors—agents of the people politically.
And do you not see how perfectly this corresponds to the teachings of
Jesus when He said: “Let him who would be greatest among you be the
servant of all,” and with this falls the objection of the aristocrat to
the industrial republic, as utterly untenable.

The real inspiration of this objection, however, springs from quite
another source. Those who make it know that with the coming of
industrial organisation, the power which money has to increase will
fall, and make it impossible for anybody to live without labour. Money
has no rightful power to increase. Its origin and sphere distinctly
forbid the power, as can be clearly shown. The theory that money is
wealth is false. It came to be accepted from the fact that valuable
things have been used as money.

Wealth is the product of labour; is anything that labour produces or
gathers. But the functions of money are representative wholly. Money
takes the place of wealth for the time—stands for it. Here is the
fallacy of a specie basis for money: specie is wealth, and can be made a
basis for the issue of money, but the error consists in making a
distinction against other kinds of wealth which would be equally as
good. Anything that has value may properly be made a basis for the issue
of a currency.

If we trace the origin of money, all this will be made plain. At the
basis of all questions relating to wealth and money, lie the
elements—the land, the water, the air—and these are the free gifts of
God to man. None have the right to dispossess others of their natural
inheritance in these elements. The right to life carries along with it
the right to the use of so much of each of these elements as is
necessary to support it. No one has a natural right to more than this.
Hence, men have no more right to seize upon the land and deprive others
of its use, or part with it to others for a consideration, than they
have to bottle the air for the same purpose. There can be no ownership
of the elements; no ownership of the land any more than of the air or
water. Pretended ownership is another name for a usurpation. But the
elements, unused, are valueless. Labour applied to them yields results,
and these are valuable, consequently wealth; the net results after
subsisting the people are the accumulated wealth of the world, and there
is no other wealth.

                      MONEY THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.

If every person were to produce all the different things he needs or
wants, there would be no use for money, and the people would escape the
curses that follow in its trail, but experience taught labourers that it
was an economy for each to labour in some special way, and to exchange
his surplus products for those of others labouring in different ways.
Besides, the different climates produce different commodities, of each
of which all other climates require a share. Out of these facts came
agencies for effecting exchanges—money, the merchant and commerce. In
their origin and normal functions they are the agents, the servants of
labour; but when from exchanging the products of labour they grew into
speculating in these products, then they assumed abnormal functions, and
became the masters of labour. It must be seen, therefore, that the only
legitimate method by which wealth can increase, is by adding to itself
the net results of labour; indeed that is the only way in which it can
increase. It must also be clear that these results belong _in toto_ to
their producers, since, if nothing were exchanged save equivalents,
these results could never pass from the hands of their producers. But by
permitting the representatives of wealth—money—to have the power to
increase, the makers of money have been able to filch all the net
earnings from labour, and as a result of this, most of the accumulated
wealth of the world is in the hands of the makers of money instead of in
those of the makers of wealth. This may be legal, but can never be made
just. Had the labourers been let alone they would have continued to
produce and exchange their commodities among themselves without any
trouble, and they could have always maintained themselves comfortably.
But the “middlemen”—their agents—conceived, constructed and thrust upon
them a vicious system of money, by which they are forced to pay tribute
on everything that passes from, or is received by them, which tribute
amounts to the total net products of all the industries.

                      THE PRIVATE BANKING SYSTEM.

The system of private or corporate banking is an example in point. Why
do individuals want a gold basis upon which to issue currency? To get
the privilege to levy interest on many times as much currency as they
have capital invested. A bank with an actual capital of $100,000 in gold
could issue $300,000 in currency, all which it could loan out together
with nearly all the deposits that it could secure, which, in some
instances, have been known to amount to ten times the capital. Why
should not a class of men, if the people are blind enough to let them do
it, speculate upon the credulity of the public through the idea that
they are rendering a public service? Why should they not desire to
“bank,” when by banking they can receive interest on $1,000,000, when
otherwise they could collect it upon $100,000 only? The same idea is the
inspiration of national banking, and of those who oppose a national
currency. The banks bought, say $100,000 of United States bonds from the
Government for $60,000. These bonds they deposited with the treasurer,
and the people were required to pay $6000 a year interest on them, while
the banks received from the Government $100,000 in national bank
currency with which they were set afloat. These notes were loaned to the
people, who again paid an interest on the same capital of $6000, or 20
per cent. per annum—$12,000 on $60,000; and yet the bank men have made
the people think that they are offering them great accommodations. “Oh,”
says the National Bank legislator, “we must get rid of these abominable,
depreciated, irredeemable greenbacks, and make room for more national
banknotes.” Do you know for what that legislation is bidding? He wants,
if he has not already got it,—from some national bank man in his
district, or else he has an interest in some bank. What is the security
of national bank notes? United States bonds deposited in the Treasury.
What is the security of the bonds? The public faith of the United
States. What is the security of the greenbacks? The public faith of the
United States. What difference in this respect, then, is there between
national bank notes and greenbacks? None. Then as a currency there is
this difference between the bank notes and greenbacks: If greenbacks
were to take the place of the bank notes, the bank men would not get 20
per cent. interest on their capital, and the privilege of receiving and
loaning the deposits of the people.

But look at it in another light. Suppose the security of the national
bank notes were their own capital instead of the bonds, who would not
prefer to trust the faith of the United States, rather than that of any
individual in these times of Credit Mobilers, Tweed and whiskey rings?
Then, again, why should individuals furnish the circulating medium of
the people, when the people can furnish it themselves and save the
expense? $1,000,000,000 is as small an amount of currency of all kinds
as will transact the business of the country properly. Why should not
the $60,000,000, which the people would have to pay the banks for
interest on this, be paid to the Government for greenbacks? And more!
Why should not all the interest that is now paid to individuals and
banks for private loans, be paid to the Government? It is estimated that
the average amount of private loans for the whole country is not less
than $5,000,000,000 upon which, at even 6 per cent. interest, the people
are taxed $300,000,000. Is there any valid reason why the Government
should not loan this money and receive this interest? Yes, for if it
did, the rich could not live in luxurious idleness, while the poor are
obliged to labour twice the natural time to subsist the world.

                    WHY DO THE PEOPLE PAY INTEREST?

Or still again: why should the people pay any interest at all on loans
from themselves? Why should not their agent—the Government—when amply
secured, freely loan the people all the money that they want for use?
Suppose that the farmers and the manufacturers did not have to pay
interest on the money that they are compelled to have to produce their
crops and goods? Don’t you see that they could compete successfully with
the people of any country in the world, in the production of anything?
Institute free money and there would be no necessity for a tariff for
protection to keep out the cheaper goods of other nations. But on the
contrary, this country would shortly be supplying other nations with the
very things with which they are now supplying us and thereby crippling
our manufactures and productions. Besides, all the people would be
constantly employed, prices would be low, every comfort and even luxury
abundant and in the reach of all, and thrift would replace stagnation
everywhere. Plenty of money, plenty of work and plenty of everything
that the ingenuity and strength of man can make, are the most favourable
conditions for the masses; while just the reverse is true for the
privileged classes. But why, since the former class outnumbers the
latter, as five to one, do not the former have all things their own way
in this country where the majority rule? Ask the masses this, and they
can make no reply. But it is because the superior intelligence and tact
of the minority enable them to concoct schemes by which, without seeming
to do so, they reduce the majority to actual, though mostly unconscious
servitude; making them pay, first, all the interest on the public and
private debts; next, all the expenses of the national, state, county and
municipal governments; and next, obtain their own support and the
increase of their wealth from them. Do you think that I overstate this?
I think I can make it so clear that you cannot doubt it; and if I do,
will you not think differently of the toiling masses than you have
thought of them heretofore? At the beginning of any year take the amount
of real wealth in the hands of the non-producers. During the year the
governments continue, the taxes are gathered and the expenses are paid:
your debts, your expenses and all; the producers have continued to
labour as usual, and at the end of the year find themselves just where
they were at its beginning; but the property of the wealthy classes has
increased about three per cent. for the whole country. And while the
latter class has become fewer in numbers and richer individually, the
former has increased in numbers and become poorer individually. Now
these are the facts, and with them before them who will pretend to say
that the class who have not produced anything have added to the
aggregate wealth? Whence has come this increase of wealth? From the
wealth producers, from the labouring classes and from no other source.
Industry being the sole source of wealth, it could have come from no
other source. Hence let the non-producer get his increase by whatever
strategy, it comes in some channel directly from the producer. This may
be done by interest, by speculation, by sharp trades, by profits; but
let it be by which it may, the producer has to pay the bill. In other
words, every addition that is made to the wealth of non-producers is so
made at the expense of the producers, the former having so much more
than they had which they did not produce, and the latter having so much
less than they did produce. This is self-evident, and all the
sophistical argumentation that can ever be made cannot make it
otherwise. The minority may attempt to explain it away; to show that
this and that are so and so; but here are the facts staring them in the
face, and they will no more down than would Banquo’s ghost for the
guilty Thane. There they stand, an everlasting condemnation of the rule
of the minority and the servitude of the majority. Nothing can be
clearer; nothing truer. And is it not a shame that it is true?

                          A PLEA FOR JUSTICE.

You must not mistake me. I would not take a single comfort; nay, not a
single luxury from those who have the most. I would not deprive anybody
of anything they have or want; but I would so distribute the proceeds of
labour that those who produce the comforts and luxuries should have
their share of them; that they should have everything that the most
favoured now enjoy. In this land of fruitfulness and plenty, if all the
labour there is were constantly employed every man’s home might be a
palace, and want and sorrow be banished from the country. Am I asking
too much for those who have endured long years of toil and suffering to
bring this beautiful country to its present condition? Am I asking what
you are not willing that they shall have? Am I asking anything more than
justice? If you grant them less than justice God Almighty will come some
day, visit you and set the matter right, as he visited the South and
liberated the downtrodden blacks. So if you do not heed my warning,
remember that there is One whom you cannot ignore.

But there is still another way by which the industries are taxed in
favour of the non-producers. The railroads, which ought to be, and
which, managed properly, would be, a great advantage to the industries,
are now at once their blessing and their curse. There are now 75,000
miles of railways in the country, built at a cost of $4,658,208,630:
their earnings are $404,000,000 annually. But here is where the people
are hoodwinked. This sum does not begin to represent the actual amount
paid by the people for fare and freights. Almost the whole of the
freighting is done by “lines”—the Red Line, the Blue Line, the White
Star Line, and a hundred others, all which have special contracts with
the railroads to carry freights at just a living rate, while the lines
charge the people all that they can stand to pay, the difference in
these two sums going into the pockets of the owners of the lines. And
who are they? The owners, managers and officers of the railroads who
resort to this to blind the people’s eyes about the profits of
railroading, which they could not otherwise conceal, because they are
obliged to make annual exhibits. But the lines carry off the profits,
while the operating expenses of the roads, their interests and dividends
are left for the exhibits. If the companies made 20, 30 or 50 per cent.
dividends, the people would not stand it: but the managers play upon
them with their lines and blind their eyes while they pocket the

                          THE RAILROAD SYSTEM.

Then again, there is the system by which the railroads are built, which
is little less than a gigantic swindle. Shrewd persons discover places
where railroads may be built. They obtain charters and the rights of
way, and get the towns along the lines either to issue or endorse bonds
and give them stock in the roads for this. They sell the bonds to
themselves at tremendous discounts and build the roads, themselves
taking the contracts at extravagant prices, and when done begin to
operate them. Of course the earnings are not sufficient to pay the
operating expenses and the interest, to say nothing about dividends to
the stockholders. They were never intended to be. So after a few
defalcations of the interest on the bonds, they come in and foreclose
under the mortgages and sell out the stockholders and buy in the roads
and thus come into their possession built free of cost to themselves.
Can such processes be rightly called anything less than swindles? They
may be called by some other name, but they still have the odour of a
swindle about them. And yet our best men engage in such schemes and call
them honourable. To speak vulgarly, this is one of Uncle Sammy Tilden’s
best holds. Is it any wonder that there is so much knavery and trickery
among the common classes upon a small scale, when they have such
examples set them by the upper classes on gigantic scales? or is it any
wonder that the public morals are at so low an ebb? So, examine where we
may into the schemes for the accommodation of the public, we find them
to be vampires sucking its life.

How long do the railroad men imagine that the people will endure their
exactions? Should they not know that their scheming will have to come to
an end soon? Then why do they not act the part of wise men, and
anticipate its coming in time to save themselves? If they do not, the
people will sooner or later take the roads from them. It may be said
that there is no constitutional or legal way in which this can be done,
and they may rest upon this as secure protection. But I would recall the
words of Charles Sumner, “Anything that is for the public good is
constitutional,” and warn them not to rely upon so slim protection. This
was the argument of King George and of slavery; but it failed them both,
as it will fail every wrong that relies upon it. The people and the
public welfare always triumph in the end; and the longer the triumph is
delayed, the more fearful is the recompense for those who stand in its

                         THE FEAR OF COMMUNISM.

But it may be objected that all this tends towards communism. Only
bigots and the unthinking are frightened by a name or a shadow from an
examination into anything. Perhaps at first it will create surprise when
I tell you that the only really good institutions that we have are
purely communistic. The public highways are a perfect illustration of
communism. They are constructed and maintained at the public expense for
the public benefit. All grades of people meet upon them on an equality,
and yet no one either loses his identity in the mass or is deprived of
any of his private rights, or of any of his personalities. But the
principles upon which the industries are conducted and that govern their
relations to wealth, the poor man who owns no property, would have no
right to use the highways. The same is true of the public schools. The
children of the rich, who, it is falsely pretended, pay the taxes to
support the schools, and the children of the poor there meet upon an
equality. The schools are not a public necessity, they are only a public
good. Who will pretend to say that they are not an improvement on the
old system, of every family conducting its own education, or of a few
families combining to do so? Everybody recognises the public advantage
of a communal basis for the education of all the children; recognises
that the public good demands that the community shall not only provide
school privileges, but shall insist on every child having the benefit of
them, not for the good of the child so much, as for the community’s own
good. Now this is communism. Why are you not frightened at the
communistic tendencies of the public schools? Because, without thinking
them to be communistic, you have adopted them and found them to be good.

Next is the post-office—a still better illustration in an industrial
sense. Here the Government conducts the business of the people. If the
system were maintained wholly instead of partially from the public
treasury, it would be purely communistic. Is there anyone who is
prepared to say that the postal system is not an improvement on the
transmission of letters by private enterprise? And yet nobody is
affrighted at the communistic character of the modern post-office.
Suppose that this system were extended to the transportation of
everything that is interchanged among the people, have we not a right to
assume that the same beneficent results that have followed the
development of the public mails would also follow there? We have not
only the right to assume, but we have the reason to know that it would,
and that the railroad question and railroad wars would be for ever
settled by such an advance towards communism, and an immense stride be
made towards the organization of the industries as a whole; and this is
what we have done industrially.


It is an instructive lesson to analyse the population of the country, to
resolve it into the several classes. First, from the 44,000,000, there
are to be taken the classes that count for nothing—the Indians, the
Chinese, and the women, for though they are permitted to live in the
country, they form no part of the sovereignty. “They are,” as Justice
Carter asserted when endeavouring to prove that women are not entitled
to the ballot, “citizens in whom citizenship is dormant.” In round
numbers these classes are 23,000,000. Of the remaining 21,000,000,
11,000,000 are adults, who are the sovereignty, and who conduct the
Government. Of these 3,000,000 are farmers; 2,000,000 are manufacturers,
mechanics, miners, and lumbermen; 1,000,000 are unskilled labourers;
1,000,000 are merchants of all kinds, including dispensers of leaf and
liquid damnation; 1,000,000 are gentlemen of ease who live by their
wits—their sharpness and shrewdness—bond-holders, money-lenders,
landlords, gamblers, confidence men, etc., etc.; 500,000 are clerks;
250,000 are permanent invalids; 200,000, criminals; 100,000, paupers;
100,000, insane; 100,000, weakminded; 100,000, professional teachers;
100,000, employes of the national Government; 100,000, of the State,
county and municipal Governments; 90,000, physicians; 60,000, ministers;
50,000, lawyers, and 50,000, editors and professional writers and
actors. A large part of the property of the farmers is mortgaged to the
money-lenders, and the same is true of the manufacturers, while the
liabilities of the merchants exceed their assets. So, really, the 5th
class—the gentlemen of ease—either own or else hold mortgages on the
whole property of the country. It is said that the curse of England is
that 3 4ths of its property is owned by forty families. How much less is
true of this country? Can such a state of injustice as this continue?
And if it cannot, what shall take its place? It is time that those who
hold the wealth, should, for their own sake, be asking this question
seriously, unless they would incur the risk of having it answered for
them, as the same was answered in France in ’93. Public injustice,
unless remedied peaceably, always has terminated in revolution; and it
will continue so to terminate as long as it is not remedied in a wiser
way by those who have the power to do it.

                          WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?

If it were to be asked what should be done at once to remedy the present
exigencies of suffering labour, I will answer what I would do had I the
power. I would first abolish legal interest and make it a crime as the
Bible does to take usury in any form. I would stop the payment of
interest of the public debt and use the money to set the unemployed and
starving labourers at work on internal improvements, and should be
justified by the people for doing so; because it would be right to
prevent widespread suffering and revolution at the expense of such a
step; I would build the Pacific railroads north and south for the people
and not give them to individuals, as was the case with those already
built; I would construct immense workshops in every State in which the
skilled labour of both sexes might be utilised when otherwise
unemployed, because every day that any labourer is idle is a loss to the
prospective wealth of the country; which fact is the condemnation of the
policy of throwing men out of employment whenever business is depressed.
Every labourer thus made idle adds to the general distress, because from
being a producer he becomes a consumer; I would abolish pauperism and
crime by giving everybody a chance to work at his chosen occupation; but
if he preferred to starve rather than to work I would let him starve; I
would purge the country of rascals by removing the inducements to
rascality; I would make it impossible for a dishonourable person to live
in a community, by placing everybody upon his honour, and in this way
abolish jails and penitentiaries, criminals and courts and lawyers; I
would remove the protection of the law from debts, and leave them to
stand or fall upon the honour or want of it in the contracting parties,
the result of which would be that a failure to pay once would discredit
one for all future time, and compel honesty as a necessity for
existence, making it to the interests of the people to be honourable in
all things; and this, in turn, would abolish all civil courts and
lawyers with all their _attachés_ and expenses. I would restore to the
public the gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, coal, oil and salt lands
and mines and work them for its benefit, and I would send everybody who
should be found tampering with the public funds to the Dry Tortugus for
life. Yes; had I the power, I would make both compulsory and voluntary
idleness impossible, and wipe out the stain of millions starving idle in
a land of plenty, capable of sustaining a thousand million people; and
hush the wail of suffering that floats upon the winds from every section
of this God-favoured land, but now reeling under the effects of vicious
legislation; I would snatch the people from being pushed headlong into
revolution, and restore to them the equal use of God’s free gifts to all
His children.

                          A LAW-GIVER NEEDED.

This country having fallen into the errors to which I have referred;
into the hands of mediocre and incompetent legislators, without even a
single statesman among them all; into the times of small minds and
smaller measures that do not look beyond the day in which they are
proposed; into industrial, financial and commercial ruin, with one half
the wealth-producing power starving in idleness and no one seeming even
to think what the end of this must be; having fallen into all these
ills, this country needs that a giant mind shall spring into its
councils, or else among its legislators, a captain which shall be able
to grasp the helm of the ship of state now floundering hopelessly in the
trough of the industrial sea, and put her before the wind again; a mind
that shall have the wisdom and the courage to show the puerility of
those who occupy the posts of honour, and, by the mere force of will,
lift them into the right path; show them that beneath the surface of
that which they seem to think is peaceable enough, there is a raging,
seething volcano ready at the slightest occasion to burst forth and
overwhelm everything in its path; a master mind which shall compel
Congress by active measures to guide its powers rather than by inaction
to provoke an eruption. This country needs that God shall send a
law-giver; one who shall understand what has led to the present
situation; what the exigencies of the people demand, and who shall have
the ability to propose and the power to enforce the needed remedies—a
Lycurgus to give a new code of laws that shall be the incarnation of the
principles of the Declaration of Independence, which alone of all
principles have any influence to mould the people, and from which they
draw the characteristics which distinguish them from the other nations
of the earth; and a Bonaparte to sweep out of the way the accumulating
_débris_ of years of vicious legislation and in its place inaugurate
that code; needs a Lycurgus with his code of laws; a Bonaparte with his
genius to command, and, combined with these, the vehement power of a
Demosthenes to rouse the people to a sense of the danger in which they
stand and, whether they will or not, lead them through a peaceable,
rather than permit them to plunge into a bloody, revolution. Let this be
done, no matter in what form this power may come, and a change of
greater magnitude for good to this people than that proposed by Lycurgus
for the Spartans, or that instituted in France by Bonaparte, will be
inaugurated here.

But what has been done socially? Much of which I have not the time to
speak, but this, as to what I would have for the social condition:—

                            WORDS TO WOMEN.

If the evils of industry were removed a great many social ills would
cease. For instance, if women were independent, industrial members of
the community, they would never be forced into distasteful, ill-assorted
or convenient marriages, which are the most fruitful of all the sources
of vice and crime in children, and consequently in the community. But
beyond the industrial and dependent relations of the sexes there are
many purely social ills that as much as those of industry require a
remedy. Marriage is regarded as a too frivolous matter; is rushed into
and out of in a haste that shows utter ignorance or else a total
disregard for its responsibilities, and as if it were an institution
specially designed for the benefit of the selfish wishes and passions of
the sexes. But to look at marriage in this light is to not see it at all
in that of the public good, or ultimately, in that of individual
happiness. Marriages that are based upon selfishness or passion can
never result in anything save misery to all concerned. Men and women who
cannot look above these interests, who do not recognize that these
interests should be secondary; who, after finding that their personal
feelings would lead them to marry, cannot coolly ask themselves, are we
prepared to become God’s architects to create His images, and be
governed by the truthful reply, are not fit to marry. Many have the idea
that I am opposed to marriage, but nothing could be further from the
truth. I am opposed to improper marriages only; to marriages that bring
unhappiness to the married, and misery to their fruits; and such as do
this, had I the power, I would prohibit. I would guard the door by which
this state is entered with all the vigilance with which the young mother
watches her first-born darling babe; I would have no one enter its
precincts save on bended knee and with prayerful heart, as if
approaching the throne of God; as if to enter there were to more than in
any other way to give one’s self to the service of God. So strictly
would I guard it that none who should once enter could ever wish to
retrace their steps. I would make divorces an unknown thing by
abolishing imprudent and ill-assorted marriages. I would make the stigma
so great that woman should find it impossible to confront the world in a
marriage for a home, for position, or for any reason save love alone;
and I would have her who should sell her person to be degraded in
marriage, as culpable, as guilty, as impure at heart, as she is held to
be who sells it otherwise. I would put every influence of the community
against impure relations and selfish purposes, in whatever form they
might exist, and encourage honour, purity, virtue and chastity. I would
take away from marriage the idea that it legally conveys the control of
the person of the wife to the husband, and I would make her as much its
guardian against improper use as she is supposed to be in maidenhood. It
should be her own, sacredly, never to be desecrated by an unwelcome
touch. I would make enforced commerce as much a crime in marriage as it
is now out of it, and unwilling child-bearing a double crime. As the
architects of humanity, I would hold mothers responsible for the
character and perfection of their works; make them realize that they can
make their children what they ought to be, every one of them God’s image
in equality. I would have them come to know that their bodies are the
temples of God, and that within their inner sanctuaries, within “the
holy of holies” God performs his most marvellous creations; that it is
there that God Himself dwells, there that He will make Himself manifest
to man, and that every act that He does not inspire is sacrilege, is
worship of the Evil One, while every other, is an offering of sweet
incense to the Heavenly Father. I would have man so honour woman that an
impure or improper thought, or a self desire other than a wish to bless
her, could never enter in his heart, would have him hold her to be the
holy temple to which God has appointed him to be High Priest, as
elaborately set forth by St. Paul in Hebrews, as the Garden of Eden into
which the Lord God put him, “to dress it and to keep it,” forbidding him
to eat of the fruit of the tree that stands in the midst of the garden;
would have him awake to the consciousness that, by not so regarding her,
he is repeating the sin of Adam, and by not compelling him to so regard
her, she is repeating the sin of Eve; and that by these sins they are
thrust out of the garden, and prevented from eating of the fruit of the
tree of life and living forever; more than this, I would enlarge the
sphere of parental responsibility so that they should be held
accountable for the instruction of their children in all of the
mysteries of sex, so that none could go into marriage in ignorance of
the laws and uses of the reproductive functions. I would rob the subject
of the mawkish sentimentality in which it is submerged, and make it a
common and proper matter for earnest consideration and complete
understanding. Indeed, I would make it a crime to enter marriage in
ignorance of any of its possible duties and responsibilities; and twice
a crime to bear improper children, for they who, to satisfy their own
propensities, bring children into the world marked with the brand of
Cain or Judas, are the worst kind of criminals. I would frown upon
prostitution in every form; and make promiscuousness an abomination in
the sight of man as it is in the sight of God; and I would drive out of
the race the morbid passions that are consuming it. I would stop
marrying until it should be no longer done in ignorance; and
child-bearing until it could be done intelligently, so that every child
might be a son or else a daughter of the living God. And I would have
every woman remember the injunction of St. Paul, “Wives, submit
yourselves unto your own husband as it is fit in the Lord,” but in no
other way; and men, “Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against
them.” And if there be any other things let St. Paul also speak for me
of them. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if
there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.”


LYCURGUS—“considering education to be the most important and the noblest
work of a law-giver, he began at the very beginning and regulated
marriages and the birth of children.... He strengthened the bodies of
the girls by exercise in running, wrestling, and hurling quoits or
javelins, in order that their children might spring from a healthy
source and so grow up strong, and that they themselves might have
strength, so as easily to endure the pains of childbirth. He did away
with all affectation of seclusion and retirement among the women, and
ordained that the girls, no less than the boys, should go naked in
processions, and dance and sing at festivals in the presence of the
young men. The jokes which they made upon each man were sometimes of
great value as reproofs for ill-conduct; while on the other hand, by
reciting verses written in praise of the deserving, they kindled a
wonderful emulation and thirst for distinction in the young men: for he
who had been praised by the maidens for his valour went away
congratulated by his friends; while on the other hand, the raillery
which they used in sport or jest had as keen an edge as a serious
reproof; because the kings and elders were present at these festivals as
well as all the other citizens. This nakedness of the maidens had in it
nothing disgraceful, as it was done modestly, not licentiously (as in
ballet dances and music halls and ball-rooms of the present day),
producing simplicity, and _teaching_ the women to _value good health_,
and to love honour and courage no less than the men. This it was that
made them speak and think as we are told Gorgo, the wife of Leonidas,
did. Some foreign lady, it seems, said to her, ‘You Laconian women are
the only ones that rule men....’ She answered, ‘Yes; for we alone bring
forth men....’ They considered that if a child did not start in
possession of health and strength, it was better for itself and for the
State that it should not live at all.”—_Plutarch’s Life of Lycurgus,
Bohn’s Standard Library._

                  *       *       *       *       *

Lycurgus did not view children as belonging to their parents, but above
all to the state; and therefore he wished his citizens to be born of the
best possible parents; besides the inconsistency and folly which he
noticed in the customs of the rest of mankind, who are willing to pay
money, or use their influence with the owners of well-bred stock, to
obtain a good breed of horses or dogs, while they lock up their women in
seclusion and permit them to have children by none but themselves, even
though they be mad, decrepit, or diseased; just as if the good or bad
qualities of children did not depend entirely upon their parents, and
did not affect their parents more than anyone else.... Adultery was
regarded amongst them as an impossible crime.... The training of the
Spartan youth continued till their manhood. No one was permitted to live
according to his own pleasure, but they lived in the city as if in a
camp, with a fixed diet and public duties, thinking themselves to belong
not to themselves but to their country.... Lycurgus would not entrust
Spartan boys to any _bought_ or _hired servants_ nor was each man
allowed to bring up and educate his son as he chose, but as soon as they
were seven years of age he himself received them from their parents, and
enrolled them in companies. A superintendent of the boys was appointed,
one of the best born and bravest of the state.... The boys were taught
to compress much thought in few words; though Lycurgus made the
iron-money of little value he made their speech have great value. One of
his great reforms was the common dining-table.... In Sparta, as was
natural, lawsuits became extinct, together with money, as the people had
neither excess nor deficiency, but were all equally well off, and
enjoyed abundant leisure by reason of their simple habits.

      Women’s Printing Society, Limited, 66, Whitcomb Street, W.C.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

      YEARS” chapter heading.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 3. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A lecture by Victoria Claflin Woodhull - In the Boston Theater, Boston, U.S.A. October 22, 1876, before 3,000 people. The review of a century; or, the fruit of five thousand years" ***

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