Newspaper Page Text
Prof Richard T Elv
Johns Hopkins University wobkmefs ADVOCATE. gifih gear, i?o. 35 IUw ovU aud Saw tavcu, .Satutaavj, -Aujjust 31, 1889 Mxict 3 tuts 1 t 4i FERDINAND FERDINAND LASSALLE. Brief Sketch of the Life of the Immor tal Thinker. Ferdinand Lassalle, though the son of a modest silk merchant, nevertheless, led a life of the greatest public activity. He was horn at Breslau, April 11, 1825, and bis parents naturally intended that he -should become a merchant also; and the wealth at his disposal, together with the opportunity of succeeding to a well established business, certainly would have had attraction for a less brilliant character. But Lassalle began early to interest himself in the classics, and Heine's works hid a peculiar fascination for him. He dreamed of becoming a great poet, and the democratic ideas of Heine were his models. His parents reluctantly listened to his importunities for a higher education, and finally, at the age of eighteen, sent him to the Breslau University, which he soon ex changed for the University of Berlin, where he industriously studied philol ogy and philosophy. His restless spirit was not satisfied with learning only; he must work; and although he had not yet given up the idea of becoming an author of prominence, he could not suc ceed in his efforts in this direction. His manner of living was luxurious, and his family paid the bills, though they strongly objected to his extravagance. After finishing his studies at Berlin in 1844 he went to Diisseldorf, and then to Paris, in both of which places he still pursued his favorite studies. In Paris he made the personal acquaintance of Heinrich Heine, who, skeptical as he was, acknowledged his admiration for Lassalle with wonder. He once wrote him: "You have a right to be bold. In comparison with you, I am but a modest fly. I love you much; not to would be impossible, for you tease "one till he loves you." Heine welcomed Lassalle as a fortunate acquisition of 1 contemporary time. On ending his studies in Paris he again went to Ber lin to.settle down as a private tutor and lecturer to students at the University, where he enjoyed the friendship of such important personages as Alexander von Humboldt, the naturalist, and Boekh, the philologist. It was at this time that he became acquainted with the luckless Duchess llatzfeldt, whose husband treated, her with such cruelty, and which led to the celebrated case before eo many courts, in which Lassalle vig- ' orously defended the sorely persecuted woman who was forcibly parted from her children. This connection led to many persecutions of the young lawyer v m LASSALLE. himself, and his servant was bribed to forswear himself and accuse his em ployer of advising friends to commit theft.' It was in his defense of himself and friends that Lassalle made the great speech which attracted the at tention of all Europe, after which he was declared not guilty, ar.d carried to freedom amid the applause of the mul titude. During the memorable year of 1848, Lassalle once more entered political life. It was at this time that Freiligrath wrote his famous poem, "The Dead and the Living," for which he was arrested August 28, 1848. But Lassalle was at work among the people, and such a public sentiment in favor of the im prisoned poet was engendered that it influenced the jury, and on October 3 the great poet was liberated. The authorities, however, feared the bold tribune, and sought to put him out of the way. So on the 22d of November he was arrested on the charge of "per suading the citizens to arm themselves against the king." The trial was pur posely lengthened, new charges added, and finally, after a year of prison and court-room life Lassalle was allowed to go free in the winter of 1850-51. Then he continued the great case of the Baron ess Hatzfeldt until victory crowned his efforts. His client never deserted him, and they lived together in Diisseldorf. Lassalle, however, with new means at hand, played spendthrift in his private life. Finally he made Berlin his home, and for a number of years there was rest for him so far as active politics was concerned. He continued to work, how ever, and his ideas were already ripen ing into socialism, for he had long been acquainted with the writings of Marx and Engek About this time he com pleted his principal literary workr "The System of Acquired Rights" Das Sys tem der erworbenen Rechte), in which he attacked the principle that the existing social order, with the rights and laws which find their source in it, must be sacred for all future time; holding, on the contrary, that every period had the right to decide, not being under the denomination of the past, and, conse quently, not bound to recognize as right anything which antagonized its conception of right. In 1862 he wrote a philippic, abounding in withering criti cism, against Julian Schmidt, the liter ary historian. In this year, also, he again mounted the rostrum to address the people during the constitutional campaign then agitating Prussia. The two great political parties looked upon him' a a dangerous enemy, and he crit icised them unmercifully, paying espe cial attention to the Progressists, whom he attacked in his pamphlet, "Might and Right," in which he held that they had no right to speak of rights, since they accepted wrongs without oppo sition; rights were only to be found in true democracy. In connection with Lassalle's activity in these years, the last November's num ber of Neue Zeit, published in Stuttgart, printed a valuable contribution anent the establishment of the Socialist Party in Germany. It is in the form of a let ter, written by Lassalle to Dr. M. Hess at Paris, and dated August 17, 1863. In it he said: lassalle's letter. "You know how I fared in the move ment and how it came about. It is not a theoretical one, nor the consequence of a theoretical wort, but a practical agita tion. Had I written a theoretical, eco nomic book I would have proceded quite differently and advanced further. I was about to begin such a book when the possibility for practical work came to me foni Leipzig. I almost hesi tated to improve the opportunity, in view of the objective attractiveness of a systematic economic work, which I clearly saw would be forever withdrawn from me by the agitation. But then I said to myself: How much has been written and proved already, and still almost forgotten by the world ! Through such a book another advance in science, a nourishment of thought, would be achieved in from thirty to fifty years. Here, on the contrary, was the incen tive to a mighty action affecting the whole nation. It meant that while the German slow-coaches a la Scfrhlze-De-litsch believed every socialist thought dead and buried, they should suddenly see socialism arise as if by magic in the form of a political party, and that was the cause of their great astonishment. "A theoretical movement and a prac tical movement differ in this: The for mer, to be of value, must prove the consequences of a principle, and to the last stage if possible; and the more a book fulfills this demand, the better it is. In the case of a practical movement, however, one must throw himself upon the immediate sequence the first prac tical, jMssible step, in which the whole principle is embraced, involving a de cided accentuation and a sharp theo retical exhibition of the same. In this way the masses are proffered something definable and tangible on the one hand, while, on the other hand, many good natured people with only partial in sight are won. At any rate, something practical and possible is set up as a goal, exciting more intense opposition than if one made demands carrying more ex tensive consequences which do not for the moment threaten danger. "Since I went to work on this idea, I think I have achieved the great success which is now part of the history of our movement. For, no matter what our numerical strength, such a success is not to be wiped out by denial. It exists in the unparalleled excitement which has seized all Germany. "Without desiring to belittle the mer its of Marx and the Neue Rheiniscte Zeitung, I think I may presume to say that now, for the first time, a socialist party exists in Germany, which has a political significance and represents a mass." And it was this practical side of Las salle's activity which has contributed so materially to the importance of the Socialist movement in Germany. It was the presentation of a precise pro gram, a goal possible of attainment, which left out of account for the nonce mere numerical strength, which made success possible, nay, sure. It was the fact that a socialist party had entered the political field which constituted the success, not the number of votes cast. It was the fact of successful political organization which laid the foundation for future action, and, finally, after years of irractical endeavor, made the political movement of the German Social-Democracy what it is. For us in America there is little doubt as to what Lassalle's position would be were he among us in the vigor of life. Of Lassalle's private life it is of no particular advantage to speak, and it offers no practical suggestions in the line of our movement. His loves and passions and his social predilections were matters concerning which there can be no positively correct opinion formed What little has been given to the world would show him to have been erratic and, from a prosaic standpoint, even silly. It was a love affair which led to his death A duel with a rival, who succeeded by intrigue in obtaining the hand of a lady with whom Lassalle imagined he was in love. The duel took place near Geneva, and Lassalle was mortally wounded on first tire, though he lived two days afler the affair. His remains were buried in the Hebrew Cemetery at Breslau. The grave is marked with u modest stone, upon which Is inscribed: "Hern roHtK what was mortul nf "Fkhdinanh Lakkallk, "The Thinker and Warrior." He lived not in vain, nor did the great movement which received the impetus of his activity end with his life. The socialist workmen honor his mem ory, and on each anniversary of his death bedeck his grave with garlands. CHICAGO. A well attended meeting of the American Section was held last Sunday afternoon at Waverly. Hall. Comrade Morgan opened the meeting by reading the report of our delegate to the Paris Congress that was published in last week's Advocate. A paper containing an article headed, "Progress of Social ism" was also ordered to be read by the speaker. MrB. Woodman then gave her contri bution to the meeting. She went on to show to the audience that the principle underlying our present system of soci ety is "Either kill or be killed." She asked whether men have a right to abol ish such a murder-breeding system and to put a better, a more just system in its place or not. Men themselves are not bad, it is the system that produces this falsehood and all these various evils and crimes. Change conditions, and you have changed the people from bad into good. Comrade Adams, one of the most ac tive members of our Party, said that nowadays the people claim to have so much self reliance. "I pity them," he continued; "they ought to use the proper name for it and call it selfish ness.'i ...iv , , , . . There are some regular attendants at our meetings, a few spies and boodlers of the old parties, who claim that there is no people on earth that possess such an amount of freedom and independ ence as the American people. "Be proud, you poor devils, of your personal independence!" remarked Comrade Or chardson, referring to them; "how many are now in this hall who can say 'I am independent?' Not one. Our modern independence is to be found by the man possessing the greatest bank account; he also possesses all virtues, whether the whole amount of this money was stolen from the poor or not " Then the main subject before the meeting: "Politics and Starvation in the Coal Mines." came up for discussion. Comrade Morgan remarked that the "democratic" boodler, Frank Lawler, had stated some time ago that now was the time to look into the causes of the troubles of the strike in the coal mines; the strikers wanted bread, and that's all. Now the same rascal is making speeches before the hungry miners anil their families, teaching them that free trade is tle remedy for all these troubles. "I have just read in the pa per," the speaker continued, "that in Hyde Park, London, in the free trade country, there was teld a meeting of 100.0(H) strikers and unemployed to pro test against the tyrannical oppression of their capitalist masters. Take our 'glorious America, or that great and mighty England, and you will rind that the poor wageworker has to suffer in either country. There are a number of so-called socialistic 'democrats' and 're publicans' in our city whose only pur pose is to destroy the straight socialist movement. Let me call attention to two of these: Mr. Hunt and Mr. Cook. They are agents of the 'democratic' party, who try to convince the working people of the necessity of joining their ranks. For this purpose they have their own organizations, called 'Inde pendent Club' and 'Social Reform Club.' Last Sunday they acted very much in the manner of cranks at our public meeting, and if they should attempt to interrupt our meetings and to dentroy our agitation, we shall know how to get them out of the hall." STRAIGHT SOCIALIST POLITICS. After the public meeting a joint meet ing of both Sections was held. It was unanimously decided to participate in the coming fall election, and to nomin ate our own ticket. A ratification meeting will be held on the second Sat urday in September. By the way, comrades, don't forget to be present at the Lassalle Memorial at Turner Hall to-night (Aug. 31). H. NOBILITY. "My gracious, Fmulein, you don't seem to realize that I belong to the old est nobility. Do you know what that means?" "Oh, yes, quite well. It means that it is a very long time since any one of your family has done anything worth doing." Ex. "AIMING HIGH." A Lecture by John It. Adams at Wav erly Hall, Chicago. The sympathies of the Chicago Social ists were profoundly touched by the miseries of the Brnidwood miners, who were under the painful alternative of starvation wages ami hard work, or no work and no wages. In either case they had to suffer, and preferred to strike. Certain politicians saw an op portunity for making themselves prom inent before the public by taking ad vantage of their sympathies in this case, and addressed meetings in favor of the strikers, aud incidentally advanced their own political hobbies. The Chicago Socialists, as is their wont, subjected the whole matter to public criticism, and Comrade John H. Adams took a hand in the debate last Sunday, de livering the following lecture. He said: "At the mass meeting held in favor of the striking miners on Sunday even ing last, the chairman, Mr. R. II. Co w drey, said that the great lesson to be learned from the Btrikes and lock-outs at the mines was that if the present proprietors of the mines could not run them so as to pay their men fair wages, the State should take the property and operate it in the interest of the people. "Congressman Lawler, among oilier things, said: 'I do hope that the news papers will stop this cry of politics. If they want to shoot high in politics let them shoot the corporations. Let us serve notice on the mine owners now that there is a limit to all things, and that that limit has been reached by the miners.' "The sentiments quoted above are good so far as they go, but they do not go far enough. Mr. Lawler believes in aiming high in politics. There he is right. I believe in aiming high in every thing, especially in politics. But Mr. Lawler aims far too low when he aims only at the corporations. He should direct his blows at the competitive sys tem, that 'old man of the sea,' who has fastened himself upon the shoulders of our people. "In grappling with the corporation and trust we should emulate the oyster, which transforms the sand which an nos it into a pearl. We should not allow the trust to become our master, We should convert it into our servant and fiiend. "The trust, by a series of object les sons, is teaching the people an entirely new set of ideas. It is teaching them how to conduct their own business. "The small business everywhere is fast being driven to the wall. For in stance, the boot and shoe retailer is forced to divide his small-sized store room with the hatter. Each occupies one side and one window only of the shop or basement. In like manner the bookseller and stationer is compelled to divide his apartment with the bar ter, and so on indefinitely. "Life under existing conditions is a mere scrub race, in which to secure success one must blindfold the man on his right and trip up the man on his left. The horrors endured by society to-day are worse than those of the 'Black Hole of Calcutta.' In that case 150 English prisoners were shut up in a room containing not enough air to support 15 persons. These unfortunates were brave soldiers; comrades who had long fought and suffered side by side, and were deeply endeared to each other. But as they became agonized by suffo cation they forgot all else in a hideous struggle, each one for himself and against all others, to force a way to one of the small apertures of the prison, at which alone it was possible to get a breath of air. But few of these poor prisoners survivtd. These maddened men, tearing and trampling one another in the struggle to win a place at the breathing holes is a type of the society of to-day. However, it is but a feeble type. In the 'Calcutta Black Hole' there were no tender women, no little children and old men and women, no cripples. Those who suffered were at least all strong men. To-day God knows how men dare to be fathers. The gentlest creatures are fierce when defending their young. In our wolfish society the fight for bread borrows des peration from the tenderest sentiment' i. For the sake of those dependent on him, a man must plunge into the foul tight, cheat, overreach, supplant, defraud, buy below worth and sell above, break down the business by which his neighbor feeds his children, tempt men to buy what they ought not, and to sell what they should not, grind his laborers, sweat his debtors, and cozen his credit ors. He can only earn a living for him self and his family by piessing in some weaker rival and taking the bread out of his mouth. "However, a crisis is approaching. As surelv as the direction taken by a straw indicates the quarter from which the wind blows, the signs of the times un mistakably point to a great change in our social and political status. All bust ness is rapidly being absorbed by the large monopolies. There is now scarcely any opportunity for individual enter prise unless backed by a great capital. Small businesses will Boon be reduced to the condition of rats and mice living in holes and corners and counting on evad ing notice for the enjoyment of exist ence. The railroads are going on com bining at such a rate that soon a few great syndicates will control every rail road in the land. In manufactories every important staple is quickly teing grabbed up by the syndicates. Pools and trusts are fixing prices and crush ing out all competition. The great city fair will soon be wiping out its country rival with branch stores; and is already absorbing its smaller rivals at such a rate that in some cases even now nearly every branch of business is couducted under one roof, with hundreds of em ployes, many of them former proprie tors of stores, etc. "Socialism is stronger to-day in every civilized country thun many of its oppo nents think it is. It would be well for the press of onr hnd to recognize this fact. It cannot ignore this truth much longer. It must either accept socialism, or meet it m fair, manly argument. Why will the press continue to lead public opinion in the same way that a wheelbarrow leads the man who is pushing it ? Can the press not see that under the name of Nationalism and other titles thousands are becoming so cialists? That many of the most ad vanced thinkers and writers are advo cating socialism? Among its many late converts are, Dr. McUlynn, Dr. Barry, Howard Crosby, and Dr. Beecher, brother of the late Henry Ward Beecher. Listen to the following words from a sermon recently delivered by the Rev. Mr. Allen, a prominent Southern minister: " 'The social system under which we are living is extremely anti-Christian; the competitive idea, which is the for mative idea of the nineteenth century society, not only leads, but even drives men to the most extreme selfishness and a self -centered life which is the quin tescence of sin; the greed to get and the intensity of the grip to hold charac terizes the social system of the present day on all sides as mammon worship.' "If this is not Socialism, what is it? "Mr. Cowdrey should not have stopped at advising the State to take the coal mines and run them in the in terest or the people. He should have said that the people, through their gov ernment, ought to take possession and control of all their mines, their lands, railroads, telegraphs, and all means of communication; shipping and all means of transportation; alt waterways, and, in a word, all public property. When this is done and the trusts have gone on comoining until lurther combination is impossible, the people will assume the conduct of their Own htiHinpNH. lnsfc nn. upwards of one hundred years ago, mey iihnuuiuu me conuuet ot tneir own government, aud we will have Social ism." SYRACUSE. At the last meeting of the Syracuse Section, S. L. P., it was decided to or der a thousand copies of the leaflet pub lished by the National Executive Com mittee, entitled "A Shorter Workday," for distribution at the Labor Day parade by the Trades Assembly. It was also resolved to fittingly observe the twenty fifth anniversary, of Lassalle's death, and the Liberty Dramatic Club, which, by the way, conmsts wholly of members of our Party, has offered to present the play entitled, "Der Staatsstreieh von Galgenhausen," while the Workmen's Singing Society has volunteered to ren der A few annmnridfn miner Pnmrolo - -1 i ' i rv" v C. Voss will make the address. Thus the affair promises to be a success. We may also report that "Schwanz 2H)litik" is in the flower of its glory in was resolved by the Trades Assembly at a recent meeting to invite the "friend of the workingman," Governor Hill, to make a speech at the Assembly's picnic on Labor Day. Truly, a pretty tough joke 1 But what can we expect from such "leaders" (and the so-called "leaders" only are meant) who are noth ing better than "democratic" wire pul lers who have got a small office, or hope to get one. A fine crew I The surpris ing thing about it is that the level headed men in the unions allow them selves to be led by the nose, instead of kicking such demagogues out. DE PROFUNDIS. It is said that mermaids tie up their hair with a marine band. N. Y. Her ald. It is quite as reasonable to sup pose that they make their houses of ships' logs and rock their little ones in the cradle of the deep. IiinghanUon Republican. And just as probable to surmise that they smoke sea weed on the sly. Boston lost. Yes, and sport with the great swells of the ocean or the little coves in shore. Boxton Commer cial Bulletin. Undoubtedly their lullaby is "Shells of Ocean." Call But they were always a scaly set. This is of -fish-all. 6'. F. Star. Look at address label on this paper.