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The Labor enquirer. [volume] (Denver, Colo.) 1882-1888, February 09, 1884, Image 1

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Into the Origin of the Condition
of Society Which Per
The Rich to Monopolize all the
Benefits and Beauties of
And Why Do the Eich Get Richer
and the Poor Continually
Poorer ?
Workers and Idlers.
It then becomes pertinent and impor
tant to inquire into the origin of this
condition of society; to know by what
rights the rich monopolize all the bene
fits and beauties of life, and leave to the
poor the drudgeries and the' miseries;
and why is it that society seems inevita
bly to drift into this condition of unequal
distribution ; and whether this is a rem
edy for it For we cannot conscientiously
call ourselves an enlightened people if
we remain longer ignorant upon this
question; and we should not call our
selves civilized or human if we should
remain inactive after a remedy shall
have been found. < .
On first thought, it would seem that
the remedy would be simple and easy ,
that the blessings and burdens of life
need only be properly divided ; that he
who has too much should yield up all
but his proper share ; and he who has
less than his share should have it made
up to him.
But if this were put in practice, and an
equal distribution made, it would not
remedy the difficulty ; for we would soon
find that the shrewder or more fqrtunate
were again getting more than their share
of blessings, and carrying less than
their share of the burdens; and that the
indolent and unfortunate were again get
ting less than their share of the burdens.
And, in the course of time, the condition
of unequal distribution would be re
A second per capita distribution would
be equally as inefficient to remedy the
evil as the first. And besides, the lazy
and indolent would in time be encour
aged in their shiftlessness by the fact
that they would get their snares without
working for them ; while the industrious
and frugal would be discouraged from
working and saving because the fruits of
their labor would be taken from them
and distributed among the whole com
munity ; and society would soon suffer
for want of the absolute necessaries of
life. . i
And it will not do to say that the one
class deserves to be rich, and the
other class deserve to be poor; for that
would bring us no remedy. We are now
seeking a reason and a remedy- for the
misery of the world. And we must take
it as a fact that, if men are left alone,
under the present system, owing to the
different capacities and traits, and the
difference in their surroundings, there
will eventually be an unequal distribu
tion of wealth. And it is also true that,
as society grows older, the rich continu
ally get richer and the poor get poorer,
until the equilibrium of society is de
stroyed, and the bad results before stated
are attained.
It has also been suggested that the
property of a rich man should be taken
at his death by the government; and that
this would prevent the growth of im
mense fortunes. But such a law could
scarcely be called just; and could, be
easily evaded by the rich man disposing
of his property before death, or secreting
it so that his heirs, and no one else, could
find it. To enforce such a law, there
would be required an inquisitorial sys
of government which no free people
would tolerate. And, too, the world
would soon be full of people whose sole
occupation would be waiting for nch
people to dip.
It has also been insisted that the state,
instead of the landlords, should collect
rent from landed property; in otheiv
words, that rent should be “confiscated
by the state.” This system would
scarcely accomplish the result desired,
nor even change the present condition.
The state already owns the land by right
of eminent domain; and practically
leases it from year to year ; for no one
can hold land who does not pay a yearly
rent or tax to the state. If he fails to
pay, he is ousted, and the land goes to
some one else who will pay more
This new system proposes to leave the
present owners in with the
same rights as at present, except the
payment of a tax equivalent to the pres
ent tax and the rent combined. There
is no suggestion that the man who owns
a large tract of land, a part of which he
may now rent, would be prevented from
exercising his right over all his land to
cultivate it himself or permit others to
cultivate it It is not proposed that the
tenant shall be allowed to remain in*pos-
Bession of the land which he has hereto
fore rented, without fiitft obtaining per
mission from the owner'; for that would
be practically robbing the owner, and
giving the land to the tenant The land
lord or owger would still have the right
to say whether he should übo the land
himself, or let others use it. And if he
shall let the tenant use the land upon
barely paying the double tax, or tax and
previous rent, the landlord will receive
no benefit and it will be equivalent to
giving the land outright to the tenant.
So that the effect of such a system would
be that the owner would require the ten
ant to' pay the double tax and a rent
besides; and the double tax and the rent
would all have to be earned and paid by
the man who cultivates the soil.
And where tho owner cultivates his
own land, his property must be taxed
like all the rest; and it would be difficult
to imagine him as a very contented indi
vidual, if his tax should be increased
The present tax is, say, 1 per cent on
the real value. The present net rent
which an owner ordinarily receives from
farming land is, say, 7 per cent. If this
7 per cent is to be “confiscated,” and
added to the tax, there would then be a
tax of 8 per cent. The present tax of 1
per cent is sufficient for all the purposes
of the government. Now, what will the
government do with this immense addi
tional sum —seven times as large as its
present revenues —which it will annually
receive ? Of what use is it to the state ?
It has been paid, not by the landlords,
but by the tenants and farmers of the
land. What will be done with it? Shall
it be distributed equally every year
among the people ? or among the poor ?
If so, it would encourage the indolence
at the expense of the industrv of the
people. If a man is annually to receive
a bounty from the state, he will have
less incentive to work. If a farmer shall
see the product of his labor distributed
among those who have not earned it, he
will be discouraged in his industry, and
tempted to become a pauper with the
rest. Then who will do the labor of so
ciety ? If the money be used to estab
lish and support great charitable institu
tions, the effect will be the same; for the
more charity we have, the less work ;
and the less honest, sweat-producing
labor we have, the more need of charity.
The principle and motive of charity are
the finest part of our nature; but the
effect in great communities is most per
There is to-day a national proprietor
ship of land ; and the people pay rent in
the form of a tax therefor; so that A
movement which has for its object a na
tional proprietorship of land, could effect
And if, as has often been suggested,
there should be an equal division of land
among the people, the result, if beneficial
for a time, could not be lasting. In the
first place, the men from whom land
would be taken would have to be robbed
or paid. And then, in half a century, or
even less, the indolent and unfortunate
would have lost their shares to the
shrewd, the industrious and the fortu
nate ; and there would be the same old
condition of landlord and landless.
What then is the true solution of the
question ? And why do the rich get
richer, and the poor get poorer, until the
end, which is always chaos ? And how
can men be prevented from getting more
than they need, and thereby depriving
others of what they need? How can
the pleasures and burdens of life be
properly apportioned, without discour
aging industry and frugality; and with
out encouraging indolence and prodigal
ity ? How may we preserve that equal
ity among men in respect to the means
for the enjoyment of life, which is only
found in ■ new communities, and then
soon lost, but which is absolutely essen
tial to the well-being of society and to
the strength and perpetuity of the na
tion ?
The true remedy should be one which
would explain and rectify all the social
and political agitations of our time.
The Nihilist in his struggle for a consti
tution ; the Communist in his struggle
for equal distribution ; the Fenian in his
struggle against landlordism; the Labor
unipns in their struggle against capital;
the poor in their terrible struggle for ex
istence —all should feel their grievances
removed ami their wrongs redressed,
The true remedy would relieve the
poor and not wrong the rich. The la
borer who toils ten or twelve hours a day
to gain the bare means of existence,
would be relieved of part of his burden,
and given a chance for recreation and
education. The rich who are absolutely
suffering and going to seed from a lack of
healthful occupation, whose appetites
and tastes are alike becoming depraved,
would be given a chance to become con
scientious and worthy members of soci
ety. And the old combats of slave against
master, of servant against employer, of
tenant against landlord, of the poor
against the rich, would be forever ended.
The whole trouble originates in a very
simple source. The world has thus far
permitted a man to make whatever use
he has chosen tQ make of his money or
propertv. It has permitted him to loan
money on condition that the borrower,
meanwhile, shall give a certain portion
of the product of his labor toward the
support of a leader; and to that extent
the borrower is the servant and slave of
the lender. ItJbas permitted a man, be
sides providing himself with a home, to
expend his money in other houses and
lands, and to loan or rent them on con
dition of the tenants giving him a certain
portion of the product of their labor;
and to that extent are they his servants
or his slaves. And ifr-is because men are
thus enabled to make their money take
their places in the field of labor, and
earn money for them, that society is
In other words, instead of a man him
self working to produce something which
[Continued on Page 4.J
' t' t
The Matter-Of-Fact Don Says
a Few Sharp-Pointed
Amid the Quietness of Country
Life He Hears the Por
Rumblings of the Approaching
Engines of a Terrible
From John Swinton’s Paper.
I have not forgotten my promise to
write you, at odd intervals, on the topics
that agitate the public mind, to use the
phraseology of the stump. But I have
been getting in my ice—huge blocks
from the Mac-o-chee, clear as crystal and
brittle as glass. Should you visit me
next summer I can mix you a mink julep
such as you never tasted before. I shall
have the ice, and from the grave of a
Virginia ancestor there grows the deli
cate mint, while the whisky is a present
from a cousin of mine in Boone county,
Kentucky. You see I have all under
my roof to make life content, if not
I have been thinking a good deal over
our latest talk, at New York, and I must
say lam more firm in what you call my
cynicism than before.
Human progress is to me a humbug.
I believe man to be now precisely what
he was six thousand years ago, and will
be as many thousands hence. The Chris
tian plan of salvation makes the devel
opment of man into something better
the work of another and better world.
I don’t know how that is. I have not
been there. I have never met with a
man who had, and I find rumors and
revelations very unsatisfying. But this
new doctrine of evolution is the dryest
husk of knowledge ever cribbed. Spen
cer’s apothegm of “a survival of the
fittest” is stuff enough for me, as it is for
and stock-breeder. Animals left to them
selves barely hold their own, if indeed
they do not deteriorate. Among the
males the stronger destroys the weaker
—but the stronger, thus left master,
breeds weaklings from excess.
The wild horse of the plains, for ex
ample, escaped animals from the Span
iards, once regarded as superb specimens,
are now ponies. And so it is with any
other species, left to itself.
I need not illustrate. As I have said,
every horse or animal breeder knows
this. The Durham of England and the
racehorse of Kentucky are what they
are, not through natural selection and
the survival of the fittest, left to the
brutal instincts of the animal, but from
careful selection of the master, man.
If the human race could be subjected
to the same control from the will of a
master, we should doubtless have a lik£
result. At least, there would be an im
provement physically. As for the mental
and moral nature, that is further along.
We are a nation of phrase feeders. A
few words, condensed inio sentence,
make up our brain food, and let the facts
be what they may, we go on contentedly
swallowing the canned information,
Of this sort is the cry that with free
speech, free press, free schools, a free
church, everything save free trade, we
have a republican form of government-
The fact is that, with all these things
free, we live under a cast-iron despotism,
more hopelessly despotic than any under
the sun.
We broke up individual tyranny to
substitute that of class, precisely as we
destroyed individual slavery to have a
worse form in that of class, again, where
labor is called free because it is left free
to starve.
The fathers —old hook-nosed, shad
belly aristocrats—assured us that in de"
stroying entail of property we would
have no fears from wealth, for the sons
would scatter all the fathers accumu
This did not touch the evil, for if greed
and cunning are not only left uncon
trolled, but, as with us, are stimulated
by protective statutes, it is no comfort to
the poor and honest to say the class is
continually changing, for the class re
The worn fact, however, that pulver
izes the choice phrase is found in the cor
poration that lives, unchanged, forever.
Oar so-called free government, to-day,
seems to have but one duty, and that is
to found, foster.and stimulate greed. It
is called encouraging enterprise.
Under this system all business has
come to be gambling, all propertv, theft,
and all official life, corruption.
Our prosperity is shown in the growth
of millionaires and the. distress of labor.
In all business where cash is handled,
we have tin plates, punches and checks.
When we elect a man to office we com
mission a thief.
More than half the time of our con
gress is given to what is pleased to call
protection to American labor. Of course
it is a lie, or congress would not be so
busy at it. Now, seven-tenths of the la
bor of this country is agricultural. Nine
tenths of the labor lies outside this
scheme of protection—and the remain
ing tenth is opposed by it.
Let me, however, call your attention,
John Swintou.to my class. I am a
farmer. I have 500 acres of the bdst
land in Ohio. I lose money forming it.
and, why ?
All that I produce to sell goes to Eu
rope for a market. Take wheat, for ex
ample. My wheat, at Liverpool, comes
in competition with that of the Baltic,
where the worst form of pauper labor is
found—the laborer working for eighteen,
dollars a year and a goat-skin coat—or it
competes with the wheat of Egypt where
slavery yet exists. This is what happens
to all I sell. J
All that I purchase is protected, and
has the price augmented to double of
what it should be if not protected.
The result is, that I sell under free
trade, and purchase under protection.
The farmers, however, are in no worse
condition than the very class these laws
claim to protect.
Labor, in Europe, is of two sorts —com-
mon or, as it is called, and
skilled labor. Now, skilled labor is bet
ter paid abroad than it id here. That is
while wages are less in amount, the
cheapness in living more than makes up
the difference. .
The reason why skilled labor abroad is
better compensated, is found in the feet
that it is not so abundant as here. It is
only one man out of a hundred, in Eu
rope, who can be, after a long training,
converted into a skilled laborer. The
American is more apt. His hand turns
instinctively, almost without training, to
the work demanding skill.
As for the so-called pauper labor, in
stead of protecting our workmen from
it, thousands on thousands are brought
to our shores, under contract or natural
ization, to compete with labor at home.
In yoqr latest issue you show,
how the contract system works.
I happened once,'to be present at a
dinner where the late President Garfield,
then a member of congresss, was amus
ing himself bv nagging the Hon. Pig-iron
Kelly. Garfield was much given to this
sort of thing with Kelly
“I say, Kelly,” he cried, "I am a con
vert to your high protection of American
industry ; but I’ve been thinking about
it, Kelly, and I don’t see that you go far
“How so, Garfield?” asked old Pig
“Why,old fellow, while you prohibit,
through your high duties, the imp rta
tion of goods made by pauper labor 111
Europe, vou not only leave our ports
open, but invite that verv labor to come
here and crowd out our workmen. Now,
I have a bill I am going to introduce to
put a tremendous high duty on living
“My God, Garfield,” fairly screamed
old Pig-iron, “you would close every
manufacture and mine in the country.
We are driven to Europe for our labor to
make protection practical. We must
have cheap material and labor at a rea
sonable figure. You see, after our infant
industries are established, we can then
pay for material and labor the highest
figures,” said the old man, continuing
until the groups rose in wrath, and told
him to go on with that old tariff speech
at his peril.
Well, what is the remedy? Let me
repeat it. It is a rather unpleasant one,
but it is called violence. Nature reas
serts herself through that process. When'
the air gets too heavy with malaria for
life a storm comes rushing along, carried
by fierce winds and garnished with light
ning, and much damage is done, but after
the sunshine drops, like a blessing, on
the desolate places, the air is purifying
and life goes on. Yours sincerely,
Donn Piatt.
Mac-a-cheek, Ohio, January, 1884.
Salvation Army.
Since the advent of the Salvation Army in
our midst it has seldom fallen to the lot of
metropolitan listeners to be treated to a more
soul-inspiring and spirit-reviving harangue
than that of last evening at a meeting held
in Abingdon square.
He was a- low-sized, stoutly built young
man of about thirty years, bearing all the
outward semblance of a hard-working me
chanio, fresh from the place of his daily
labors. As he made his way through the
crowd of anxious listeners that surrounded
the evangelists, in response to the call for sin
ners to approach and be saved, his fine eyes
were dilated with fiery enthusiasm and his
muscular frame quivered with suppressed
piety and zeal. Having gained the center of
the expectant throng, he launched forth in
impassioned language, the tones of which
held all listeners transfixed as he vividly pic
tured the trials and temptations of the toil
ing masses, and in most soul-stirring and
heart-moving language Informing the as
sembled multitude that their only hope of
salvation, either in this world or the one to
come, lay in instantly “boycotting the Tri
bune.” The advent of two stalwart police
men with uplitted clubs brought the enthusi
ast’s harangue to an abrupt close. —New
York Standard.
— —— ♦—*— •
We often hear of mean employers, but the
Howe Sewing Machine company, of Bridge
port, Connecticut, can resort to the most con
temptible way of defrauding their employes
of any that we hare heard of yet. They
will pay their employes but once a month,
and it amounts to very little when it does
come. Should any of them need money be
fore the regular pay day, they can get it, but
3 per cent is deducted from their small earn
ings for the use of the money that belongs
to themselves. Such a company is not de
serving of recognition from any honest man
or woman. They should be boycotted.—Cin
cinnati Unionist
What is a minority? The chosen heroes
of this earth have been in a minority. There
is not a social, religious or political privilege
that you enjoy to-day that was not bought
for you by the blood and tears and patient
suffering of the minority. It is the minority
that have vindicated humanity in every strug
gle. It is the minority that have stood in the
van In every moral conflict, and achieved all
that is noble in the history of the world.—
John B. Gough.
Words of the Great Scientist
and Humanitarian,
Pure Scienee Will Yield Fruit
for the Future Gener
. i '
The Day Not Far Off When This
Will he Understood With
i Socialism.
_ . j|l; . . . ' •\ ‘
■■ ’ 1'.... - - - -J, .
Translated from the French by [Miss] Le
Compte, “Proletaire,” especially for the San
Francisco Truth: republished in The Eh
dtrißEE by special permission.
Finally, you, young artist, sculptor,
painter, poet, musician, have you not no
ticed that the sacred fire which inspired
some of your predecessors is lackingin you
and yours, that art is now commonplace’
that mediocrity reigns?
And could it be otherwise ? The joy
of having refound the ancient world, of
being resteeped in the springs of Nature,
which made the masterpieces of the Ren
naissance does not exist for contempo
rary art; the revolutionary idea has left
it cold up to the present, and having no
idea, it believes it has found one in real
ism. So it exerts itself to-dav to photo
graph in colors the dewdrop on the leaf
of a plant, to imitate the buttocks of a
cow, and to paint minutely in prose and
verse the suffocating mire of sewer—the
boudoir of a fast woman.
“But if it is thus, what to do ?” you
ask. If your sacred fire is but a “smok
ing wick,” then you will oontinue to do
as you havß been doing, and your art
will very soon degenerate to the trade of
decorator to the shopkeepers’ drawing
rooms, to that of the purveyor of libretti,
to the bouffgs, and of feuilletons to M.
de Girardin. The most of you are al
ready going headlong on this downward
But if really your heart beats ih uni
son with that of humanity, if, like a true
poet, you have an ear for the heartbeat
of life, then in presence of this sea of
suffering, the waves of which are beat
ing abdot you, in presence of these peo
ple, dying of hunger, of thefce heaps of
dead bodies in mines, and of the piles
of mutilated corpses lying at the feet of
barricades,'of these convoys of exiles on
their way to be buried in the snows of
Siberia and to die on fever flats of tropi
cal isles, in the presence of this Supreme
Struggle which is raging, of the agon
ized cries of the vanquished, of the
orgies of the vanquishers, of heroism
against cowardice, of nobleness against
baseness, you will not be able to remain
neuter ; you will come to range yourself
on the side of the oppressed, for you
will know that the true, the sublime—in
short, Life itself—are on the side of
those who struggle for the Light, for
Humanity, for Justice,
You stop me at last. “The devil,” you
sav. “But if abstract science is a luxury
and the practice of medicine a cheat;
if the law is an injustice and technical
discovery an instrument of exploitation;
if the school, with its practical wisdom,
is sure to be vanquished, and art with
out the revolutionary idea cannot but
degenerate, what remains, then, for me
to do ?”
I will tell you. An immense work, a
work attractive in the highest degree, a
work in which your acta will be in com
plete accord with your conscience, a
work to command the most noble and
vigorous natures.
What work ?
I am going to tell you.
The analysis we have made leads to
this: That one will either compromise
awhile with his conscience and finish by
saying, “Perish Humanity, provided I
can have all the pleasures and profits
that the people are stupid enough to let
me ;” or, he will join the ranks of the
Socialists, to work with them for the
complete transformation of society.
Notwithstanding the result of bour
geoise education, opinion of interested
parties and the sophisms of society,
every intelligent being will be logically
brought to the conclusion if he but rea
sons on what is going on about him.
Having made the decision of an hon
est mind, the question, “What to do?”
presents itself.
1 The answer is easy :
Only go out of the situation in which
you are placed, where it is the custom to
speak of the people as brutes, come to
wards this people, and the answer will
arise of itself.
You will see that everywhere, in
France as in Germany, in Italy as in the
United States, wherever there is a privi
leged class and an oppressed class, there
is a gigantic work going on, the object of
which is to break forever the feudalism
of capital, and lay the foundation of So
ciety on Justice and Equity. It is not
enough for the working people of to-day
to pour forth their sorrows and songs of
heart-breaking melody, such as the serfs
of the eighteenth century sang, such as
the Russian peasant sings still—they
work for their freedom and work with a
will and a conscience.
Their thought is constantly exercised
to devine what most be done that life,
insteaAof being a curse to three-fourths
of the human race, may be a pleasure
for all. They undertake the most ar
duous problems of sociology, and try to
resolve them with their good sense>
their habit of observation and their
rude experience. To interchange their
thought with that of others—miserabies
like themselves—they try to group them
selves, to organize themselves; they
form themselves into societies, sustained
with difficulty by their slim contribu
tions ; they try to make themselves un
derstood across frontiers, and better
than all the rhetorical philanthropy
they are ushering in the day when wars
between nations will become impossible.
To learn what their brothers are doing,
to know them better, to elaborate their
ideas and to propagate them, they sus
tain (but at the price of what privation,
of what efforts!)—the Labor Press. At
last, the hour comes; they rise, and, red
dening with their blood the streets and
barricades, they fight for those liberties
which when won the rich and powerful
will corrupt into privileges for them
selves and new forces against them.
What series of continual effort! what
struggle incessant! What work constant
ly begun anew ! Now to fill up the va
cancies which are made by desertion,
by lassitude, by corruption, by legal pro
cesses ; then to reform the ranks reduced
by gun and mettrailluse; again to resume
the studies broken up by extermination
in masses.
The papers of this movement are
made by men who have stolen from so
ciety their fragments of instruction, by
depriving themselves of sleep and of
food ; and are sustained by the cents
taken from the bare necessaries of life
—often from the dry bread—and the
whole agitation is kept up under the con
tinual fear of seeing the family reduced
to the most frightful misery when the
proprietor perceives that his "workman,”
his “slave” is a Socialist.
This is what you will see if you come
among the People.
In this struggle without end well may
the worker, sinking under the weight of
his burdeq, cry, “Where, then, are those
young people that we have fed and
clothed while they studied, for whom —
with our backs bending under the load,
and our bellies empty—wo have built
those mansions, those academies, those
museums; for whom, with grimy faces,
we have printed those beautiful books
which we cannot even read ? Where are
those professors, who, they say, under
stand humanitary science, and for whom
humanity is not worth a rare kind of
catterpillar ? Where are those men who
make speeches about liberty and neyer
defend ours, trampled every day under
foot? Where are the writers, poets,
painters, all this band of hypocrite,
who speak of the people with tears in
their eyes, but are never found among
us helping us in our labors ?
Where are they, indeed ? Some of
them are enjoying themselves with cow
ardly ..indifference ; while others, and
these from the majority —despise “the
mob,” and are readv to rush on it should
it dare to touch one of their priyileges.
Now. and then one and another of
them comes among the people, with
dreams of drums and barricades in their
heads in search of new sensations ; but
they desert the cause when they see that
the way of the barricade is long, the
work arduous, and that the crowns of
laurel they had hoped to gain ate here
mixed with thorns. Oftener still, these
recruits are ambitious, and failing in
their first attempts, remain and try to
capture the suffrages of the people, but
farther along they will be the first to
turn against this people, when it tries to
apply the principles which they them
selves profess, and perhaps will even
level the cannons against it should it
dare to move before they, the chiefs-of
file, have giyen the signal!
Add to this, stupid insult, haughty
contempt and cowardly calumny, and
you will have what the bourgeoise youth
give the people to aid in its Social evo
lution. ,
After that you can ask, “What to do ?”
when all is to do; when whole armies
of young people should find to what to
apply the entire force of their energies,
their intelligence, their talents, to aid
the people in the immense task which it
has undertaken!
Yon, amateurs of pure science, if you
are penetrated by the principles of So
cialism, if yon understand the revolu
tion which is to be, do you not see that
all sciince is to be remade in accord with
the new principles, and that this exceeds
in importance all that has been done in
science up to the eighteenth century ?
Do you not understand that history—to
day a “polite fiction” of the grandeur of
kings, great personages and parliaments
—is all to be recast from the popular
point of view, is all to be rewritten from
the point of view of the work accom
plished by the masses in the evolution
of humanity ? Do you not see that so
cial economy —to-day the consecration
of capitalistic exploitation—is all to he
elaborated anew in its fundamental prin
ciples as well as in its innumerable ap
plications? Do you not know that an
thropology, socioly, ethics are to be com
pletely made over, and that the natural
sciences themselves, looked at from a
new point of view, must undergo a pro
found modification, both as to the man
ner of conceiving natural phenomenon,
and as to the manner of
Well, then, do that. Pat your intelli
gence at the service of this cause. Above
all, come to aid us by your sound logic
to combat secular prejudices, to elaborate
by synthesis the base of a better organ
[Continued on Page 4.]
A Contributor takes One of
Colorado’s Legal Lords
to Task.
j|;./ . ‘ gj
The Magna Chart*, Which is Said
to be a Great and Glorious
Shown to be a Means to Oppression,
Theft and Heartless Perse
• cations.
[Concluded from Last Week.J
Editor Labor Enquirer.
I have dwelt at greater length upon
the uses and abuses of the charter than
I had originally intended, and will now,
with your permission, submit a few re
marks upon another English law—the
law of conspiracy.
Conspiracy at common law, we are
told, is an agreement between two or
more persons to do any unlawful act, or
to do any lawful act by unlawful means.
The whole extent of the crime turns on
the word unlawful. Frederick Harrison,
a London barrister at law, in a very able
article to the London Times, some years
ago, says: “The word, in truth, has not a
little embarrassed lawyers. It undoubt
edly includes everything that is crimi
nal, and a good deal mose that is not."
According to Stephen's edition of Ros
coe’s Digest of Criminal Evidence, con
spiracy is thus defined:
1. A combination to commit any crime
is an indictable conspiracy.
2. A combination to commit a civil in
jury is an indictable conspiracy in many,
though it is impossible to say precisely
in what cases. t
3. Combinations to do acts which the
courts regarded as outrages on morality
and decency, or as dangerous to the pub
lic peace or injurious to the public inter
est, have in many cases been held to be
The vagueness of the second and third
of these propositions is quite transpar
ent, and leaves for the courts to decide
what is morally wrong or dangerous to
the public peace. »
F. Harrison, in the article already re
ferred to, says: “It leaves the real char
acter of conspiracy a thing to be deter
mined by the mind of the judge—as the
old lawyers said, ‘by the length of the
judge’s foot.’ ”
In his annual [address, Judge Stone
says of the law : “Many of its terms and
phases will always jar upon the unlearn
ed ear.”
Had lie left out the word “unlearned”
the statement would have been more
correct, for some of the most learned
men, and among them the ablest lawyers
of the day, hold different views and
draw different conclusions from the same
law, and on that basis, if upon no other,
I consider myself justified in declaring
the existing law a disgrace to the intel
ligence of the nineteenth century.
Some years ago a labor congress at
Leeds, England, denounced in unmis
takable terms the law of conspiracy.
This congress represented 700,000 work
men, principally mechanics, and had
amongst them such men as the late
Alexander McDonald, M. P. and H.
Droadhurst, a stonecutter, at present a
member of parliament. This body of
men, who knew the law as well as Judge
Markham, and who are better acquaint
ed with the administration and working
of it than his honor and good Beqse
would permit him to pretend to be.'pro*
nounced it a fraud and a composition of
“meaningless jargon,” and declared it
as almost invariably administered against
the industrial classes and their progress
ive movements.
„ Commenting still further on the law
of [conspiracy, F. Harrison says: “So
long as it is confined to cases of fraud,
of personal malice, or public disorder,
this vague power is eminently useful.
When it is brought to bear on class and
trade disputes, when it rests on certain
doctrines tibout society, industry and
capital, it is not so just. Open,” he says,
“any one of. the legal controversies re.
lating to trade conspiracies (as in Chief
Justice Erie’s book), and you will find
yourself in a jungle of economic dogmas
which large classes of mankind declare
to be fallacies. Surely an indictable
crime should be defined in language
more like that of a statute and less like
that of an essay.”
And this is one of the laws Judge
Markham points to' in his opening 'Ad
dress before the bar association as being
“so perfect, so sublime” that it is incor
porated into the laws of almost every
state in this union. Then, I say, a
plague on your legislation that would in
corporate such laws. Of the purity of
this English law which shall we believe,
700,000 British workmen, who know and
have experienced the law, or shall we
believe Judge Markham, who has no
experience of it, and, therefore, knows
nothing of it except a paper knowledge?
Put aside the workmen and place the
opinion of the London barrister against
that of the judge, and I leave the public
to decide.
Does Judge Markham know it was
little over a hundred years ago that
slavery was abolished from Ihe British
Isles? Does he know that until 177
the Scotch colliers and salters weurtflf
[Continued on Page 4.] y
jl. Only $10
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