- Transcriber's note: Obvious typographical errors have been corrected -
Vol. I. MAY, 1906 No. 3
P. O. Box 217 EMMA GOLDMAN, Publisher 10c. a Copy
Tidings of May 1
Envy WALT WHITMAN 2
Observations and Comments 3
"This Man Gorky" MARGARET GRANT 8
Comrade MAXIM GORKY 17
Alexander Berkman E. G. 22
Poem VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE 25
The White Terror 25
Paternalistic Government THEODORE SCHROEDER 27
Liberty in Common Life BOLTON HALL 34
Statistics H. KELLY 35
Gerhart Hauptmann with the Weavers of Silesia MAX BAGINSKI 38
Disappointed Economists 47
Vital Art ANNY MALI HICKS 48
Kristofer Hansteen VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE 52
Fifty Years of Bad Luck SADAKICHI HARTMANN 56
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Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature Published Every 15th of the Month
EMMA GOLDMAN, Publisher, P. O. Box 217, Madison Square Station, New York, N. Y.
Vol. I MAY, 1906 No. 3
TIDINGS OF MAY.
The month of May is a grinning satire on the mode of living of human beings of the present day.
The May sun, with its magic warmth, gives life to so much beauty, so much value.
The dead, grayish brown of the forest and woods is transformed into a rich, intoxicating, delicate, fragrant green.
Golden sun-rays lure flowers and grass from the soil, and kiss branch and tree into blossom and bloom.
Tillers of the soil are beginning their activity with plough, shovel, rake, breaking the firm grip of grim winter upon the Earth, so that the mild spring warmth may penetrate her breast and coax into growth and maturity the seeds lying in her womb.
A great festival seems at hand for which Mother Earth has adorned herself with garments of the richest and most beautiful hues.
What does civilized humanity do with all this splendor? It speculates with it. Usurers, who gamble with the necessities of life, will take possession of Nature's gifts, of wheat and corn, fruit and flowers, and will carry on a shameless trade with them, while millions of toilers, both in country and city, will be permitted to partake of the earth's riches only in medicinal doses and at exorbitant prices.
May's generous promise to mankind, that they were to receive in abundance, is being broken and undone by the existing arrangements of society.
The Spring sends its glad tidings to man through the jubilant songs that stream from the throats of her feathered messengers. "Behold," they sing, "I have such wealth to give away, but you know not how to take. You count and bargain and weigh and measure, rather than feast at my heavily laden tables. You crawl about on the ground, bent by worry and dread, rather than drink in the free balmy air!"
The irony of May is neither cold nor hard. It contains a mild yet convincing appeal to mankind to finally break the power of the Winter not only in Nature, but in our social life,—to free itself from the hard and fixed traditions of a dead past.
By WALT WHITMAN.
When I peruse the conquered fame of heroes, and the victories of mighty generals, I do not envy the generals, Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in his great house; But when I hear of the brotherhood of lovers, how it was with them, How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging, long and long Through youth, and through middle and old age, how unfaltering, how affectionate and faithful they were, Then I am pensive—I hastily walk away, filled with the bitterest envy.
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS.
A young man had an Ideal which he cherished as the most beautiful and greatest treasure he had on earth. He promised himself never to part with it, come what might.
His surroundings, however, repeated from morn till night that one can not feed on Ideals, and that one must become practical if he wishes to get on in life.
When he attempted the practical, he realized that his Ideal could never become reconciled to it. This, at first, caused him deep suffering, but he soon conceived a pleasant thought: "Why should I expose my precious jewel to the vulgarity, coarseness and filth of a practical life? I will put it into a jewel case and hide it in a secluded spot."
From time to time, especially when business was bad, he stole over to the case containing his Ideal, to delight in its splendor. Indeed, the world was shabby compared with that!
Meanwhile he married and his business began to improve. The members of his party had already begun to discuss the possibility of putting him up as a candidate for Alderman.
He visited his Ideal at longer intervals now. He had made a very unpleasant discovery,—his Ideal had lessened in size and weight in proportion to the practical opulence of his mind. It grew old and full of wrinkles, which aroused his suspicions. After all, the practical people were right in making light of Ideals. Did he not observe with his own eyes how his Ideal had faded?
It had been overlooked for a long time. Once more he stole over to the safety vault containing his Ideal. It was at a time when he had suffered a severe business loss. With great yearning in his breast, he lifted the cover of the case. He was worn from practical life and his heart and head felt heavy. He found the case empty. His Ideal had vanished, evaporated!—It dawned upon him that he had proven false to the Ideal, and not the Ideal to him.
Pity and sympathy have been celebrating a great feast within the last few weeks. When they look into the mirror of public opinion they find their own reflex touchingly beautiful, big, very human. Want was about to commit self-destruction in abolishing poverty, tears and the despair of suffering humanity forever.
The "heart" of New York, the "heart" of the country, the "heart" of the entire world throbs for San Francisco. The press says so, at least.
No doubt a large amount in checks and banknotes was sent to the city of the Golden Gate. Money, in these days, is the criterion of emotions and sentiments; so that the pity of one who gives $10,000 must appear incomparably greater than the pity of one who contributes a small sum which was perhaps intended to buy shoes for the children, or to pay the grocery bill. A large sum is always loud and boastful in the way it appears in the newspapers. The delicate tact and fine taste of the various editors see to it that the names of the donors of large sums be printed in heavy type.
After all, can not one every day and in every large city observe the same phenomenon that has followed the disaster in San Francisco? Surely there were homeless, starved, despaired, wretched beings in San Francisco before the earthquake and the fire, yet the public's pity and sympathy haughtily passed them by; and official sympathy and compassion had nothing but the police station and the workhouse to give them.
And now,—what is really being done now? Humanitarianism is exhibiting itself in a low and vulgar manner, and superficiality and bad taste are stalking about in peacock fashion.
The newspapers are full of praise for the bravery of the militia in their defense of property. A man was instantly shot as he walked out of a saloon with his arms full of champagne bottles, and another was shot for carrying off a sack of coffee, etc. How strange that the "brave boys" of the militia,—who, by the way, had to be severely disciplined because of their beastly drunkenness,—showed so much noble indignation against a few clumsy thieves! During the strikes and labor conflicts it is usually their mission to protect the property of skillful thieves,—legal thieves, of course.
Finally what is going to be the end of the great display of superficial sentimentality for the stricken city? An all-around good deal: Moneyed people, contractors, real estate speculators will make large sums of money. Indeed it is not at all unlikely that within a few months good Christian capitalists will secretly thank their Lord that he sent the earthquake.
As an employer, the United States Government is certainly tolerant and liberal, especially so far as the highly remunerative offices are concerned.
The President, for instance, loves to deliver himself of moral sermons. Recently he spoke of the people who criticise government and society and breed discontent. He considers them dangerous and entertains little regard for them. He ought not be blamed for that, since, as the first clerk of the State, it is his duty to represent its interests and dignity.
The most ordinary business agent, though he may be convinced of the corruption of his firm, will take good care to keep this fact from the public. Business morals demand it.
Besides, no one will expect or desire that the President should become a Revolutionist. This would certainly be no gain of ours, nor would the State suffer harm. Surely there are enough professional politicians who do not lack talent for the calling of doorkeepers on a large scale.
As to the moral sermons against the undesirable and obnoxious element, all that can be said, from a practical standpoint, is, that their originality and wisdom are in no proportion to the salary the sermonizer receives. Competition among preachers of penitence and servility is almost as great as among patent medicine quacks. Four or five thousand a year can easily buy the services of a corpulent, reverend gentleman of some prominence.
The dangers of the first of May, when France was to be ruined by the "mob" of socialists and anarchists, was very fantastically described by the Paris correspondents of the American newspapers. These gentlemen seem to have known everything. They discovered that the cause of the threatened revolution was to be found in the irresponsible good nature and kindness of the French government.
Just show "Satan" Anarchy a finger, and straightway he will seize the entire arm. Especially M. Clemenceau was severely censured as being altogether too good a fellow to make a reliable minister. There he is with France near the abyss of a social revolution! That is the manner in which history is being manufactured for boarding-school young ladies.
The social revolution may come, but surely not because of the kindness or good nature of the government. France needed a newspaper boom for her elections: "The republic is in danger; for goodness' sake give us your vote on election day!"
In order that the citizens might feel the proper horror, trade-union leaders, anarchists and even a few royalistic scare-crows were arrested; at the same time the sympathy and devotion of the government for its people manifested itself in the reign of the military terror in the strike regions.
The real seriousness of the situation, the correspondents failed to grasp. How could they? since they got their wisdom in the ante-chamber of the ministry.
The revolutionary labor organizations care little for the good will or the Jesuit kindness of the authorities. They continue with their work, propagate the idea of direct action, and strengthen the anti-military movement, the result of which is already being felt among the soldiers and officers.
The officer who jumped upon the platform at the Bourse du Travail, expressing his solidarity with the workers and declaring that he would not fire on them, was immediately arrested; but this will only influence others to follow the good example.
In the old fables the lion is described as supreme judge and not the mule or the wether.
In Cleveland things are different. Several weeks ago Olga Nethersole gave a performance of Sappho there. Whereupon the police felt moved to perform an operation on the play, for moral reasons, of course. The staircase scene was ordered to be left out altogether.
Ye poor, depraved artists, how low ye might sink, were the police and Comstock not here to watch over the moral qualities of your productions!
If one observes one of these prosaic fellows on the corner, terribly bored, and with his entire intellect concentrated on his club, and how out of pure ennui he is constantly recapitulating the number of his brass buttons, one can hardly realize that such an individual has been entrusted with the power to decide the fate of an artistic production.
1792 the French people marched through the streets singing:
O, what is it the people cry? They ask for all equality. The poor no more shall be In slavish misery; The idle rich shall flee.
O, what is it the people need? They ask for bread and iron and lead. The iron to win our pay, The lead our foes to slay, The bread our friends to feed.
The soldiers at Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, who were ordered by their superiors to fire into a crowd of strikers and wounded and killed innocent men and women, do not sing the Carmagnole; they sing:
"My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of Liberty!"
If the ruling powers continue to maintain peace and order with iron and blood it may happen that the meaningless national hymn may be drowned by the Carmagnole, pealing forth like thunder from the throats of the masses.
To the credit of human nature be it said, it is not altogether hopeless. Since tyranny has existed, human nature has ever rebelled against it.
Real slavery exists only when the oppressed consider their fate as something normal, something self-evident.
There is greater security for tyranny in slavish thoughts, indifference and pettiness than in cannons and swords.
"THIS MAN GORKY."
By MARGARET GRANT.
THE women of America are aroused as never before. They always are aroused to the defense of their firesides. Even those women who live in flats are awake to the need for defending their radiators or their gas stoves; it is inherent in the nature of woman, it seems.
Most of the women's societies and clubs have spoken in no uncertain terms concerning the outrage that has been put upon the civilization of this great country by the conduct of this man Gorky. And, in fact, it is a thing not to be borne.
As for me, I belong to the Woman's Association for the Regulation of the Morals of Others, a society which is second to none in its activity and usefulness, but which has seen fit to defer its own discussion of this man Gorky's conduct until most of the other women's societies have spoken.
We have just had our meeting, and I think that if this man Gorky should read an account of our proceedings, he would certainly get out of this outraged country with all the celerity of which he is capable. But, of course, he is only a foreigner after all and probably will not comprehend the exquisite purity of our morals.
I want to say that in our meetings we do not slavishly follow those parliamentary rules which men have made for their guidance, but allow ourselves some latitude in discussion. And we do not invite some man to come and do all the talking, as is the case in some women's clubs.
Mrs. Blanderocks was in the chair. We began with an informal discussion of the best way of preventing the common people from dressing so as not to be distinguished from the upper classes, but there was no heart in the talk, for we all felt that it was only preliminary. It was my friend Sarah Warner who changed the subject.
"The Woman's State Republican Association held its annual meeting at Delmonico's yesterday," she said, quietly drawing a newspaper clipping from her pocket-book.
"And had some men there to amuse them and to tell them what to do," said Mrs. Blanderocks with cutting irony.
We all laughed heartily. We meet at Mrs. Blanderocks' house, and she always provides a beautiful luncheon.
"But Mrs. Flint said some things that I would like to read to you," said Sarah. "It won't take long. I cut this out of the 'Times' this morning."
"What is it about?" some one asked.
"Gorky," Sarah answered, closing her eyes in a way to express volumes.
You could hear all the members catch their breath. This was what they had come for. I broke the oppressive silence.
"I foresee," I said, "that in the discussion of this subject there will be said things likely to bring a blush to the cheek of innocence, and I move that all unmarried women under the age of twenty-five be excluded from the meeting for as long as this man is under discussion."
A fierce cry of rage rose from all parts of the crowded room. I did not understand. I could see no one who would be affected by the rule. Mrs. Blanderocks raised her hand to command silence and said coldly:
"The motion is out of order. By a special provision of our constitution it is the inalienable right of all unmarried women to be under twenty-five. We will be as careful in our language as the subject will permit. Mrs. Warner will please read the words of Mrs. Flint."
I was shocked to think I had made such a mistake. Sarah rose and read in a clear, sharp voice from the clipping:
"Should not we as women take some action against this man? People of such character should not be allowed in this country. Of course when he arrived it was not known how he was living, but he came here and expected to be received; and I think he should be deported. Gorky is the embodiment of Socialism."
Everybody applauded violently. I was puzzled and asked a question as soon as I could make myself heard.
"Suppose Gorky is a Socialist," I said; "what has that to do with his morals?"
"Everything," replied Mrs. Blanderocks, haughtily.
"Socialists don't believe in marriage," said Sarah Warner, taking another clipping from her pocket-book and reading: "'Mrs. Cornelia Robinson said: When the question of uniform divorce law is taken up, we shall find that the Socialists are against it as a body. It is not that they are opposed to divorce, but they do not believe in marriage.'"
"And does she know?" I asked.
"Would she say it publicly if it were not true?" demanded Mrs. Blanderocks, glaring disapprovingly at me.
I rose to my feet. I will say for myself that my desire for knowledge is greater even than my shyness, and usually overcomes it.
"I want to make a motion," I said, "that this man Gorky be deported—" (loud applause)—"but before doing so I would like some one to explain in as plain words as the nature of the subject will permit, just what he has been guilty of." Dead silence broken by a voice saying: "He's a foreigner."
"I'll tell you what he has done," cried Sarah Warner; "he came into this country pretending that the woman who was with him was his wife; he allowed her to be registered at the hotel as his wife; he permitted her to sleep under the same roof with pure men and women—"
"I would like to ask Mrs. Warner," said a lady in a remote corner of the room, "if she will vouch for the purity of the men?"
"Perhaps," said Mrs. Blanderocks, gravely, "it will be better if the word men be stricken from the record. Do you object, Mrs. Warner?"
"It was a slip of the tongue," Sarah answered, "and I am grateful to the member who called attention to it; though I will say that I think there are some pure men."
"We are discussing Gorky now," said Mrs. Blanderocks with an indulgent smile.
"True," answered Sarah, beaming back at the chairwoman; "and I was saying that he had subjected the pure women of the hotel to the unspeakable indignity of having to sleep under the same roof with the woman he called his wife."
"I would like to ask," I interposed timidly, "if it is right for a woman to sleep under the same roof with an impure man, or is it only an impure woman who is injurious?"
"A woman has to sleep under some roof," came in the voice of the woman in the corner.
"I think Mrs. Grant would show better taste if she did not press such a question," said another voice. "Will Mrs. Warner be good enough to describe the exact status—I think status is right—of the woman he tried to pass as his wife?"
"She was his——" Sarah had a fit of coughing, "she was not his wife. I do not care to be more explicit."
"Perhaps," I said, groping for light, "it would be better if I made my motion read that she should be deported from the country, since it is her immorality that counts."
"And let those Republican Association women stand for more morality than we do?" cried Mrs. Blanderocks. "No, you cannot make your motion too strong."
"Oh, then," I said, with a sigh of relief, "I will move that Gorky and all other men, immoral in the same way, shall be deported from the country."
"Then who is to take care of us women?" demanded the voice in the corner.
"Do be reasonable, Margaret," said Sarah Warner, "we can't drive all the men out of the country, and don't want to, but we can fix a standard of morals to astonish the world, and there could be no better way than by making an example of this man Gorky. Don't you see that he is a foreigner and can't very well know that our men are just as bad as he is? Besides, isn't he a Socialist? We would have been willing to condone his relations with that woman if only he'd hid them respectably as our men do, but to come here with his free ideas—— Well, I'm willing to let the Russians have all the freedom they want, and I would have given my mite toward stirring up trouble over there, but we have all the freedom we want over here, and a little more, too, if I know anything about it."
"Very well," I replied, "I will withdraw the motion and make one to have a committee appointed to investigate the matter and find out the whole truth about it."
"What is there to find out?" demanded Sarah, aghast.
"Well, you know he insists that she is his wife. Maybe she is by Russian law or custom."
"Perfectly absurd! His own wife and he separated because they couldn't be happy together. Was ever anything more ridiculous?"
"As if happiness had anything to do with marriage!" said the voice from the corner.
Everybody laughed and applauded as if something very funny had been said.
"Well, anyhow," I insisted, for I can be obstinate when a thing isn't clear to me, "if they both thought they were justified in calling themselves man and wife, and if the people in Russia thought so, too, why should we make any fuss about it?"
"Pardon me, Mrs. Grant," said Mrs. Blanderocks, suavely, "if I say that your words are very silly. In the first place, the Russians are barbarians, as we all know; and, in the next place, the law is the law, and the law says that a man may not have two wives. A man who does is a bigamist. A man who has a wife and yet lives with another woman is an adulterer. Pardon me for using such a word, but it was forced from me. Now, this man Gorky, who may be a very great genius for all I know—I never read any of his stuff—but he isn't above the law: not above the moral law anyhow, and the moral law is the same all over the world. He says he and his wife parted because they were unhappy together, which is a very flimsy excuse for immorality. Then he says that his wife is living now with a man she loves and is happy with."
"Which makes a bad matter worse," interposed Sarah Warner. "No one has any business to be happy in immorality."
"What is morality for," demanded the voice from the corner, "if it isn't to make people unhappy?"
Everybody screamed with laughter over that, and Mrs. Blanderocks went so far as to raise her eyebrows at Sarah Warner, who bit her lip to keep from smiling.
"But," said I, for I had been reading the papers, too, "he says the reason they were not divorced was because the Church would not permit it."
"If the laws of his country were opposed to this divorce," said Mrs. Blanderocks, triumphantly, "all the more reason why he should be ashamed of living with this actress in such an open, defiant way."
"The Church has nothing to do with divorces in this country," I said, "yet many of our best people are divorced."
"The law permits it," said Mrs. Blanderocks curtly.
"Who makes the law?" I asked, determined to get at the bottom of the thing if I could.
"The people through the Legislature," was the prompt answer.
"Well," I said, very timidly, not knowing but I was quite in the wrong, "it seems that the people of Russia not being able to make laws nevertheless recognize the separation of a man and his wife as proper, and permit them to take other husbands and wives without loss of standing."
"A law's a law," said Sarah, sternly; "and a law should be sacred. The very idea of anybody pretending to be above the law like this man Gorky! I would like to know what would become of the holy institution of matrimony if it could be trifled with in such a fashion?"
"You want Russia to be free from the rule of the Tsar, don't you?" I asked.
"Certainly, he is a tyrant and an irresponsible weakling, unfit to govern a great people. Of course, we want Russia to be free. The people of Russia are entitled to be free, to govern themselves."
"Do you think they ought to be allowed to make their own laws?" I asked.
"Then, why do you say that Gorky is not properly divorced from his first wife and married to his second? The people of Russia approve."
"Margaret Grant!" cried Sarah, outraged and voicing the horror of the other members, "I sometimes wonder if you have any respect at all for the law. How can you speak as you do? If men and women could dispense with the law in that way what would become of society?"
"But this state used to permit men and women to live together without any ceremony and so become man and wife," I said.
"Well, we don't permit it now," retorted Sarah, grimly.
"If they want to live together now," cried the voice from the corner, "they must pretend they don't, even if everybody knows they do."
Some of the members laughed at that, but Mrs. Blanderocks thought that was going too far and said so in her coldest manner.
"I see nothing funny in that. We cannot change the natures of men, but we can insist upon their hiding their baser conduct and the degraded portions of their lives from our view."
"But," said I, "Gorky evidently considers this woman his wife, and had no idea that anybody would think otherwise."
"The point is," said Sarah Warner, in exasperation, "and I think I voice the sentiments of this organization, that he was not legally divorced from his first wife and that, therefore, he cannot be legally married to this woman. A law is a law, no matter who makes it. The law is sacred and must not be tampered with."
"How about the Supreme Court on divorces in Dakota?" demanded the voice from the corner.
A dead silence fell on the meeting. Some of the members looked at each other and showed signs of hysterics. Mrs. Blanderocks flashed a withering glance at the corner, but rose to the occasion.
"Ladies," she said in a solemn tone, "I deeply regret that this subject has been touched upon in a spirit of levity. It was my intention, at the proper time, to introduce a resolution of sympathy for those ladies who have been so summarily and I may say brutally unmarried by the unfeeling wretches who sit upon the bench of the Supreme Court. It is awful to think that our highly respected sisters, whose wealth alone should have protected them, have been told by the highest court in the land that they have been living in shame all this time, and that their children are not legitimate. Ladies, I call your attention to the fact that many of our own members are thus branded by those judges. It is infamous. It is more than infamous—it is a reason why women should sit on the judicial bench."
"Yes," I said, "it seems impossible for men to comprehend the mental or emotional processes of women."
"True, too true," murmured our President, giving me a look of gratitude. "I remember how the men of this country cried out against us a few years ago because they could not understand why we send flowers and tender letters to a poor, handsome negro who had first outraged and then murdered a woman."
"Yes," I said, "and no doubt they will pretend not to understand our indignation against this man Gorky, who thinks the customs of his own country justify him his terrible conduct. But we must be careful how we word our condemnation of this man lest he should somehow learn of what our Supreme Court has so wickedly done and retort on us that these, our wealthiest and most respected citizens, not being legally divorced and hence not being legally married again, are no better than he and his so-called wife."
The ladies looked at each other in consternation. Evidently the thought had not suggested itself to them. Mrs. X. Y. Z. Asterbilt (nee Clewbel) rose and in a voice choked with emotion said:
"Speaking for myself as well as for some of the other ladies, members of this organization, who are temporarily declassee, so to speak, by this decree of the Supreme Court, I beg that you will do nothing to call undue attention to us, until we have arranged matters so that our wealth will enable us to have that legislation which is necessary to make us respectable women again."
"Is it true," I asked, "that you have sent an invitation to Madame Andreieva to meet you to discuss the steps to be taken to reinstate yourselves?"
"It is true, but the extraordinary creature returned word that as a lady of good standing in her own country she did not feel that she could afford to associate with women whom the courts of this country held to be living in shame."
"Did you ever!" cried Mrs. Blanderocks. "But it shows us that we must be careful. Mrs. Grant, you have had experience in such matters, suppose you retire and draw up a set of resolutions that will not expose us to the ribald and unseemly comments of the light-minded."
Of course I accepted the task, fully realizing its gravity, and following is the resolution I brought back with me:
"Whereas, Maxim Gorky, recognized in the world of letters as a man of genius, and in the world at large as a man of great soul, high purpose and pure nature, having come to this country accompanied by a lady whom he considers and treats as his wife; and
"Whereas, The wealthy, and therefore the better classes, tumbled all over themselves in order to exploit him as a lion; and
"Whereas, He had not the wisdom and craft and sense of puritanical respectability to pretend that he did not know the lady he believed his wife, and to whom he believes himself united by a law higher than that of man; and
"Whereas, He was guileless enough to believe he had come to a free country where purity of motive and of conduct would take precedence of hollow and rotten forms; and
"Whereas, He did not know that the American people practise polygamy secretly, while condemning it in words, and that the United States Senate has been nearly two years in pretending to try to find a polygamist in their midst; and
"Whereas, He was so injudicious as to come here with a defective divorce just at a time when our Supreme Court was making the divorce of some of us, the gilded favorites of fortune, defective; and
"Whereas, He had the audacity to proclaim himself a Socialist, which is the same thing as saying that he is opposed to special privilege, and is in favor of the abolition of property in land and in the tools of labor—in other and plainer words, is against Us; and
"Whereas, He is only a foreigner, anyhow, and no longer available as a toy and plaything for us; therefore be it
"Resolved, That this man, Gorky, be used as a means of proclaiming our extraordinary virtue to the world at large, as a robber cries stop thief in order to direct attention from himself; that accordingly he be treated with the utmost outrageous discourtesy and hounded from hotel to hotel on the ground that such places by no chance harbor men and women unless they have passed through the matrimonial mill; that we withdraw our patronage from the revolution in Russia—not being seriously interested in it anyhow—and that we will show our contempt for revolutionary patriots by entertaining the rottenest grand duke in Russia if only he will come over to us, bringing his whole harem if he wish; that he is a reproach to us while he remains in this country, and that it is the sense of this great organization that he and the lady who is his wife in the highest sense shall be deported."
The resolution was not passed.
I have been expelled from the association.
By MAXIM GORKY.
Translated from the French translation by S. PERSKY, published in "L'Aurore," Paris.
ALL in that city was strange, incomprehensible. Churches in great number pointed their many-tinted steeples toward the sky, in gleaming colors; but the walls and the chimneys of the factories rose still higher, and the temples were crushed between the massive facades of commercial houses, like marvelous flowers sprung up among the ruins, out of the dust. And when the bells called the faithful to prayer, their brazen sounds, sliding along the iron roofs, vanished, leaving no traces in the narrow gaps which separated the houses.
They were always large, and sometimes beautiful, these dwellings. Deformed people, ciphers, ran about like gray mice in the tortuous streets from morning till evening; and their eyes, full of covetousness, looked for bread or for some distraction; other men placed at the crossways watched with a vigilant and ferocious air, that the weak should, without murmuring, submit themselves to the strong. The strong were the rich: everyone believed that money alone gives power and liberty. All wanted power because all were slaves. The luxury of the rich begot the envy and hate of the poor; no one knew any finer music than the ring of gold; that is why each was the enemy of his neighbor, and cruelty reigned mistress.
Sometimes the sun shone over the city, but life therein was always wan, and the people like shadows. At night they lit a mass of joyous lights; and then famishing women went out into the streets to sell their caresses to the highest bidder. Everywhere floated an odor of victuals, and the sullen and voracious look of the people grew. Over the city hovered a groan of misery, stifled, without strength to make itself heard.
Every one led an irksome, unquiet life; a general hostility was the rule. A few citizens only considered themselves just, but these were the most cruel, and their ferocity provoked that of the herd. All wanted to live; and no one knew or could follow freely the pathway of his desires; like an insatiable monster, the Present enveloped in its powerful and vigorous arms the man who marched toward the future, and in that slimy embrace sapped away his strength. Full of anguish and perplexity, the man paused, powerless before the hideous aspect of this life: with its thousands of eyes, infinitely sad in their expression, it looked into his heart, asking him for it knew not what,—and then the radiant images of the future died in his soul; a groan out of the powerlessness of the man mingled in the discordant chorus of lamentations and tears from poor human creatures tormented by life.
Tedium and inquietude reigned everywhere, and sometimes terror. And the dull and somber city, the stone buildings atrociously lined one against the other, shutting in the temples, were for men a prison, rebuffing the rays of the sun. And the music of life was smothered by the cry of suffering and rage, by the whisper of dissimulated hate, by the threatening bark of cruelty, by the voluptuous cry of violence.
In the sullen agitation caused by trial and suffering, in the feverish struggle of misery, in the vile slime of egoism, in the subsoils of the houses wherein vegetated Poverty, the creator of Riches, solitary dreamers full of faith in Man, strangers to all, prophets of seditions, moved about like sparks issued from some far-off hearthstone of justice. Secretly they brought into these wretched holes tiny fertile seeds of a doctrine simple and grand;—and sometimes rudely, with lightnings in their eyes, and sometimes mild and tender, they sowed this clear and burning truth in the sombre hearts of these slaves, transformed into mute, blind instruments by the strength of the rapacious, by the will of the cruel. And these sullen beings, these oppressed ones, listened without much belief to the music of the new words,—the music for which their hearts had long been waiting. Little by little they lifted up their heads, and tore the meshes of the web of lies wherewith their oppressors had enwound them. In their existence, made up of silent and contained rage, in their hearts envenomed by numberless wrongs, in their consciences encumbered by the dupings of the wisdom of the strong, in this dark and laborious life, all penetrated with the bitterness of humiliation, had resounded a simple word:
It was not a new word; they had heard it and pronounced it themselves; but until then it had seemed to them void of sense, like all other words dulled by usage, and which one may forget without losing anything. But now this word, strong and clear, had another sound; a soul was singing in it,—the facets of it shone brilliant as a diamond. The wretched accepted this word, and at first uttered it gently, cradling it in their hearts like a mother rocking her new-born child and admiring it. And the more they searched the luminous soul of the word, the more fascinating it seemed to them.
"Comrade," said they.
And they felt that this word had come to unite the whole world, to lift all men up to the summits of liberty and bind them with new ties, the strong ties of mutual respect, respect for the liberties of others in the name of one's own liberty.
When this word had engraved itself upon the hearts of the slaves, they ceased to be slaves; and one day they announced their transformation to the city in this great human formula:
I WILL NOT.
Then life was suspended, for it is they who are the motor force of life, they and no other. The water supply stopped, the fire went out, the city was plunged in darkness. The masters began to tremble like children. Fear invaded the hearts of the oppressors. Suffocating in the fumes of their own dejection, disconcerted and terrified by the strength of the revolt, they dissimulated the rage which they felt against it.
The phantom of Famine rose up before them, and their children wailed plaintively in the darkness. The houses and the temples, enveloped in shadow, melted into an inanimate chaos of iron and stone; a menacing silence filled the streets with a clamminess as of death; life ceased, for the force which created it had become conscious of itself; and enslaved humanity had found the magic and invincible word to express its will; it had enfranchised itself from the yoke; with its own eyes it had seen its might,—the might of the creator.
These days were days of anguish to the rulers, to those who considered themselves the masters of life; each night was as long as thousands of nights, so thick was the gloom, so timidly shone the few fires scattered through the city. And then the monster city, created by the centuries, gorged with human blood, showed itself in all its shameful weakness; it was but a pitiable mass of stone and wood. The blind windows of the houses looked upon the street with a cold and sullen air, and out on the highway marched with valiant step the real masters of life. They, too, were hungry, more than the others perhaps; but they were used to it, and the suffering of their bodies was not so sharp as the suffering of the old masters of life; it did not extinguish the fire in their souls. They glowed with the consciousness of their own strength, the presentiment of victory sparkled in their eyes. They went about in the streets of the city which had been their narrow and sombre prison, wherein they had been overwhelmed with contempt, wherein their souls had been loaded with abuse, and they saw the great importance of their work, and thus was unveiled to them the sacred right they had to become the masters of life, its creators and its lawgivers.
And the lifegiving word of union presented itself to them with a new face, with a blinding clearness:
There among lying words it rang out boldly, as the joyous harbinger of the time to come, of a new life open to all in the future;—far or near? They felt that it depended upon them whether they advanced towards liberty or themselves deferred its coming.
The prostitute who, but the evening before, was but a hungry beast, sadly waiting on the muddy pavement to be accosted by some one who would buy her caresses, the prostitute, too, heard this word, but was undecided whether to repeat it. A man the like of whom she had never seen till then approached her, laid his hand upon her shoulder and said to her in an affectionate tone, "Comrade." And she gave a little embarrassed smile, ready to cry with the joy her wounded heart experienced for the first time. Tears of pure gaiety shone in her eyes, which, the night before, had looked at the world with a stupid and insolent expression of a starving animal. In all the streets of the city the outcasts celebrated the triumph of their reunion with the great family of workers of the entire world; and the dead eyes of the houses looked on with an air more and more cold and menacing.
The beggar to whom but the night before an obol was thrown, price of the compassion of the well-fed, the beggar also heard this word; and it was the first alms which aroused a feeling of gratitude in his poor heart, gnawed by misery.
A coachman, a great big fellow whose patrons struck him that their blows might be transmitted to his thin-flanked, weary horse, this man imbruted by the noise of wheels upon the pavement, said, smiling, to a passer-by: "Well, Comrade!" He was frightened at his own words. He took the reins in his hands, ready to start, and looked at the passer-by, the joyous smile not yet effaced from his big face. The other cast a friendly glance at him and answered, shaking his head: "Thanks, comrade; I will go on foot; I am not going far."
"Ah, the fine fellow!" exclaimed the coachman enthusiastically; he stirred in his seat, winking his eyes gaily, and started off somewhere with a great clatter.
The people went in groups crowded together on the pavements, and the great word destined to unite the world burst out more and more often among them, like a spark: "Comrade." A policeman, bearded, fierce, and filled with the consciousness of his own importance, approached the crowd surrounding an old orator at the corner of a street, and, after having listened to the discourse, he said slowly: "Assemblages are interdicted ... disperse...." And after a moment's silence, lowering his eyes, he added, in a lower tone, "Comrades."
The pride of young combatants was depicted in the faces of those who carried the word in their hearts, who had given it flesh and blood and the appeal to union; one felt that the strength they so generously poured into this living word was indestructible, inexhaustible.
Here and there blind troops of armed men, dressed in gray, gathered and formed ranks in silence; it was the fury of the oppressors preparing to repulse the wave of justice.
And in the narrow streets of the immense city, between the cold and silent walls raised by the hands of ignored creators, the noble belief in Man and in Fraternity grew and ripened.
"Comrade."—Sometimes in one corner, sometimes in another, the fire burst out. Soon this fire would become the conflagration destined to enkindle the earth with the ardent sentiment of kinship, uniting all its peoples; destined to consume and reduce to ashes the rage, hate and cruelty by which we are mutilated; the conflagration which will embrace all hearts, melt them into one,—the heart of the world, the heart of beings noble and just;—into one united family of workers.
In the streets of the dead city, created by slaves, in the streets of the city where cruelty reigned, faith in humanity and in victory over self and over the evil of the world grew and ripened. And in the vague chaos of a dull and troubled existence, a simple word, profound as the heart, shone like a star, like a light guiding toward the future: COMRADE.
By E. G.
ON the 18th of this month the workhouse at Hoboken, Pa., will open its iron gates for Alexander Berkman. One buried alive for fourteen years will emerge from his tomb. That was not the intention of those who indicted Berkman. In the kindness of their Christian hearts they saw to it that he be sentenced to twenty-one years in the penitentiary and one year in the workhouse, hoping that that would equal a death penalty, only with a slow, refined execution. To achieve the feat of sending a man to a gradual death, the authorities of Pittsburg at the command of Mammon trampled upon their much-beloved laws and the legality of court proceedings. These laws in Pennsylvania called for seven years imprisonment for the attempt to kill, but that did not satisfy the law-abiding citizen H. C. Frick. He saw to it that one indictment was multiplied into six. He knew full well that he would meet with no opposition from petrified injustice and the servile stupidity of the judge and jury before whom Alexander Berkman was tried.
In looking over the events of 1892 and the causes that led up to the act of Alexander Berkman, one beholds Mammon seated upon a throne built of human bodies, without a trace of sympathy on its Gorgon brow for the creatures it controls. These victims, bent and worn, with the reflex of the glow of the steel and iron furnaces in their haggard faces, carry their sacrificial offerings to the ever-insatiable monster, capitalism. In its greed, however, it reaches out for more; it neither sees the gleam of hate in the sunken eyes of its slaves, nor can it hear the murmurs of discontent and rebellion coming forth from their heaving breasts. Yet, discontent continues until one day it raises its mighty voice and demands to be heard:
Human conditions! higher pay! fewer hours in the inferno at Homestead, the stronghold of the "philanthropist" Carnegie!
He was far away, however, enjoying a much needed rest from hard labor, in Scotland, his native country. Besides he knew he had left a worthy representative in H. C. Frick, who could take care that the voice of discontent was strangled in a fitting manner,—and Mr. Carnegie had judged rightly.
Frick, who was quite experienced in the art of disposing of rebellious spirits (he had had a number of them shot in the coke regions in 1890), immediately issued an order for Pinkerton men, the vilest creatures in the human family, who are engaged in the trade of murder for $2 per day.
The strikers declared that they would not permit these men to land, but money and power walk shrewd and cunning paths. The Pinkerton blood-hounds were packed into a boat and were to be smuggled into Homestead by way of water in the stillness of night. The amalgamated steel workers learned of this contemptible trick and prepared to meet the foe. They gathered by the shores of the Monongahela River armed with sticks and stones, but ere they had time for an attack a violent fire was opened from the boat that neared the shore, and within an hour eleven strikers lay dead from the bullets of Frick's hirelings.
Every beast is satisfied when it has devoured its prey,—not so the human beast. After the killing of the strikers H. C. Frick had the families of the dead evicted from their homes, which had been sold to the workingmen on the instalment plan and at the exorbitant prices usual in such cases.
Out of these homes the wives and children of the men struggling for a living wage were thrown into the street and left without shelter. There was one exception only. A woman who had given birth to a baby two days previous and who, regardless of her delicate condition, defended her home and succeeded in driving the sheriff from the house with a poker.
Everyone stood aghast at such brutality, at such inhumanity to man, in this great free republic of ours. It seemed as if the cup of human endurance had been filled to the brim, as if out of the ranks of the outraged masses some one would rise to call those to account who had caused it all.
And some one rose in mighty indignation against the horrors of wealth and power. It was Alexander Berkman!
A youth with a vision of a grand and beautiful world based upon freedom and harmony, and with boundless sympathy for the suffering of the masses. One whose deep, sensitive nature could not endure the barbarisms of our times. Such was the personality of the man who staked his life as a protest against tyranny and iniquity; and such has Alexander Berkman remained all these long, dreary fourteen years.
Nothing was left undone to crush the body and spirit of this man; but sorrow and suffering make for sacred force, and those who have never felt it will fail to realize how it is that Alexander Berkman will return to those who loved and esteemed him, to those whom he loved so well, and still loves so well,—the oppressed and down-trodden millions—with the same intense, sweet spirit and with a clearer and grander vision of a world of human justice and equality.
UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES.
By VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE
(To the Czar, on a woman, a political prisoner, being flogged to death in Siberia.)
How many drops must gather to the skies Before the cloud-burst comes, we may not know; How hot the fires in under hells must glow Ere the volcano's scalding lavas rise, Can none say; but all wot the hour is sure! Who dreams of vengeance has but to endure! He may not say how many blows must fall, How many lives be broken on the wheel, How many corpses stiffen 'neath the pall, How many martyrs fix the blood-red seal; But certain is the harvest time of Hate! And when weak moans, by an indignant world Re-echoed, to a throne are backward hurled, Who listens hears the mutterings of Fate!
THE WHITE TERROR.
I.—The Flogging of a Student.
(BY AN EYE-WITNESS—M. KIRILOV, OF THE "RUSS.")
December 18th. Near the Gorbaty Bridge, Moscow. A group of soldiers of various arms and an officer. Great animation, jokes, cries, gesticulation, contented faces. A student has fallen into their hands.
"Well, boys, make room," says the officer. "The performance begins!"
"Take off your trousers," says the officer, turning to the student. The latter is pale, silent, and does not move.
"Trousers off!" cries the officer, in rage; but the student, without a drop of blood in his face, whiter than the snow, does not move, but only looks around in silence with horrified eyes and meets everywhere the triumphant faces of his tormentors. He drops his head and remains silent as before.
"Well, then, boys, we must assist our dear student; his hands, poor thing, are frost bitten and do not obey."
The voice of the officer changes; it becomes sweet and smooth. He looks at the student with pleasure.
"Take off his dear little trousers!" he orders his soldiers. The latter unbutton and tear down his trousers. The student does not resist. Then he is thrown on the ground.
"Give him beans, boys!"
Two powerfully-built soldiers step forward, holding whips in their hands.
The flogging begins. It lasts a long time, accompanied by loud laughter, jokes and noise. The student is silent all the time and lies with his face buried in the snow. He is constantly being asked whether he feels allright, and is kicked with the boots on his head.
"Halt!" cries the officer at last, when the whole body of the student has been covered with blood. The excited soldiers do not leave off at once, but continue for some time. At last they stop.
"Please, sir, won't you allow us, too, to have a little game?" smilingly ask a couple of artillery soldiers, saluting the officer.
"Well, have a go at him," says the officer kindly.
The second shift gets to work, and turning up their sleeves, takes over the bloody whips and resumes the flogging of the student, who still, as before, is lying in the snow without uttering a word. Only his body still thrills instinctively as the soldiers get more and more excited and the blows become more and more frequent.
"Sir, we, too, want some of the lark," impatiently interfered some of the dragoons, and having received the permission of the officer, substituted themselves for the artillery men and with new force and zeal began to flog the student, who still lay strictly as before, only his body scarcely moving.
"Well, here you are, you got your higher education—all the three faculties!" somebody joked as the flogging at last stopped and the student lay motionless in the snow.
But he was not flogged to death. He was taken to the other side of the river and there shot.
II.—Lieutenant Schmidt, of the Sevastopol Mutiny, after being captured.
(From a letter received by Prof. Miliukov from a lady correspondent who saw Schmidt in the Fortress and had the tale from his own lips.)
....He only remembers how the officers of the "Rostislavl" posted him naked, with a broken leg, between two sentries in their mess-room and approached him in turns, shaking their fists in his face and abusing him in the vilest terms. Schmidt's son, who, for some unaccountable reason, had been kept in fortress for two months, said to me: "I cannot tell you how they abused my father, the terms are unpronounceable." Schmidt himself spoke to me sobbingly of the painful treatment meted out to him by the officers.... For twenty-four hours the two of them, father and son, were kept stark naked and without food, under a fierce electric light, on the open deck. They lay together, pressing against each other so as to warm themselves, and everyone who passed looked at them, and those who wanted, abused them. When Schmidt, being wounded, asked for a drop of water, the senior officer shouted at him: "Silence, or I'll stop your gullet with my fist."
By THEODORE SCHROEDER.
HISTORY serves no purpose to those who cannot, or do not avail themselves of it as a means of learning helpful lessons, for present use. From a few sources not readily accessible to the masses, I have copied a partial summary of paternalistic legislation which even the most devout devotees to mass or ruling class wisdom would now decline to defend.
It is helpful, perhaps, to look back to the persistent fallacious assumption that men can be made frugal and useful members of society by laws and edicts. Every thoughtful student feels sure that future generations will look upon our present efforts to regulate the self-regarding activities of humans with the same cynical leer as that which now flits over our faces as we read the following:—
The earliest sumptuary law was passed 215 B. C., enacted that no woman should own more than half an ounce of gold or wear a dress of different colors, or ride in a carriage in the city or in any town or within a mile of it, unless on occasion of public sacrifices. This law was repealed in twenty years. In 181 B. C. a law was passed limiting the number of guests at entertainments. In 161 B. C. it was provided that at certain festivals named the expense of entertainments should not exceed 100 asses, and on ten other days of each month should not exceed 10 asses. Later on it was allowed that 200 asses, valued at about $300, be spent upon marriage days.
A statute under Julian extended the privileges of extravagance on certain occasions to the equivalent of $10, and $50 upon marriage feasts. Under Tiberius, $100 was made the limit of expense for entertainments. Julius Caesar proposed another law by which actual magistrates, or magistrates elect, should not dine abroad except at certain prescribed places.
Sumptuary laws, that is to say, laws which profess to regulate minutely what people shall eat and drink, what guests they shall entertain, what clothes they shall wear, what armor they shall possess, what limit shall be put to their property, what expense they shall incur at their funerals, were considered by the Early and Middle Ages as absolutely necessary for the proper government of mankind.
Tiberius issued an edict against people kissing each other when they met and against tavern keepers selling pastry. Lycurgus even prohibited finely decorated ceilings and doors. In England the statutes of laborers, reciting the pestilence and scarcity of servants, made it compulsory on every person who had no merchandise, craft or land on which to live, to serve at fixed wages, otherwise to be committed to gaol till he found sureties. At a latter day, all men between twelve and sixty not employed were compelled to hire themselves as servants in husbandry; and unmarried women between twelve and forty were also liable to be hired, otherwise to be imprisoned. All this, of course, was to compel people of modest wealth to remain among the laboring class purely for their own good. (?) But they were quite impartial in enforcing benefits, since the Star Chamber also assumed to fine persons for not accepting knighthood.
Compulsion was also used at the time of the Reformation, to uphold the Protestant faith and keep people in the right way. Refusing to confess or receive the sacrament was first made subject to fine or imprisonment, and a second offense was a felony punishable by death, and involved forfeiture of land and goods. Those who, having no lawful excuse, failed to attend the parish church, in the time of Elizabeth, were fined twelve pence—at that time a considerable sum. This penalty was afterwards altered to twenty pounds a month, but those were exempted who did not obstinately refuse. The penalty on all above sixteen who neglected to go for a month was abjuration of the realm; and to return to the realm thereafter was felony. And two-thirds of the rent of the offender's lands might also be seized till he conformed.
An ordinance of Edward III., in 1336, prohibited any man having more than two courses at any meal. Each mess was to have only two sorts of victuals, and it was prescribed how far one could mix sauce with his pottage, except on feast days, when three courses, at most, were allowable.
The Licinian law limited the quantity of meat to be used. The Orcian law limited the expense of a private entertainment and the number of guests. And for like reasons, the censors degraded a senator because ten pounds weight of silver plate was found in his house. Julius Caesar was almost as good a reformer as our modern Puritans. He restrained certain classes from using litters, embroidered robes and jewels; limited the extent of feasts; enabled bailiffs to break into the houses of rich citizens and snatch the forbidden meats from off the tables. And we are told that the markets swarmed with informers, who profited by proving the guilt of all who bought and sold there. So in Carthage a law was passed to restrain the exorbitant expenses of marriage feasts, it having been found that the great Hanno took occasion of his daughter's marriage to feast and corrupt the Senate and the populace, and gained them over to his designs.
The Vhennic Court established by Charlemagne in Westphalia put every Saxon to death who broke his fast during Lent. James II. of Arragon, in 1234, ordained that his subjects should not have more than two dishes, and each dressed in one way only, unless it was game of his own killing.
The Statute of Diet of 1363 enjoined that servants of lords should have once a day flesh or fish, and remnants of milk, butter and cheese; and above all, ploughmen were to eat moderately. And the proclamations of Edward IV. and Henry VIII. used to restrain excess in eating and drinking. All previous statutes as to abstaining from meat and fasting were repealed in the time of Edward VI. by new enactments, and in order that fishermen might live, all persons were bound under penalty to eat fish on Fridays or Saturdays, or in Lent, the old and the sick excepted. The penalty in Queen Elizabeth's time was no less than three pounds or three months' imprisonment, but at the same time added that whoever preached or taught that eating of fish was necessary for the saving of the soul of man, or was the service of God, was to be punished as a spreader of false news. And care was taken to announce that the eating of fish was enforced not out of superstition, but solely out of respect to the increase of fishermen and mariners. The exemption of the sick from these penalties was abolished by James I., and justices were authorized to enter victualing houses and search and forfeit the meat found there. All these preposterous enactments were swept away in the reign of Victoria.
Of all the petty subjects threatening the cognizance of the law, none seems to have given more trouble to the ancient and mediaeval legislatures than that of dress. * * * Yet views of morality, of repressing luxury and vice, of benefiting manufacturers, of keeping all degrees of mankind in their proper places, have induced the legislature to interfere, where interference, in order to be thorough, would require to be as endless as it would be objectless.
Solon prohibited women from going out of the town with more than three dresses. Zaleucus is said to have invented an ingenious method of circuitously putting down what he thought bad habits, namely, by prohibiting things with an exception, so that the exception should, in the guise of an exemption, really carry out the sting and operate as a deterrent. Thus he forbade a woman to have more than one maid, unless she was drunk; he forbade her to wear jewels or embroidered robes, or go abroad at night, except she was a prostitute; he forbade all but panders to wear gold rings or fine cloth. And it was said that he succeeded admirably in his legislation. The Spartans had such a contempt for cowards that those who fled in battle were compelled to wear a low dress of patches and shape, and, moreover, to wear a long beard half shaved, so that any one meeting them might give them a stroke. The Oppian law of Rome restricted women in their dress and extravagance, and the Roman knights had the privilege of wearing a gold ring. The ancient Babylonians held it to be indecent to wear a walking stick without an apple, a rose, or an eagle engraved on the top of it. The first Inca of Peru is said to have made himself popular by allowing his people to wear ear-rings—a distinction formerly confined to the royal family. By the code of China, the dress of the people was subject to minute regulation, and any transgression was punished by fifty blows of the bamboo. And he who omitted to go into mourning on the death of a relation, or laid it aside too soon, was similarly punished. Don Edward of Portugal, in 1434, passed a law to suppress luxury in dress and diet, and with his nobles set an example. In Florence a like law was passed in 1471. And in Venice, laws regulating nearly all the expenses of families, in table, clothes, gaming and traveling. A law of the Muscovites obliged the people to crop their beards and shorten their clothes. In Zurich a law prohibited all except strangers to use carriages, and in Basle no citizen or inhabitant was allowed to have a servant behind his carriage. About 1292, Philip the Fair, of France, by edict, ordered how many suits of clothes, and at what price, and how many dishes at table should be allowed, and that no woman should keep a cur.
The Irish laws regulated the dress, and even its colors, according to the rank and station of the wearer. And the Brehon laws forbade men to wear brooches so long as to project and be dangerous to those passing near. In Scotland, a statute enacted that women should not come to Kirk or market with their faces covered, and that they should dress according to their estate. In the City of London, in the thirteenth century, women were not allowed to wear, in the highway or the market, a hood furred with other than lamb-skin or rabbit-skin. In the Middle Ages, it was not infrequent to compel prostitutes to wear a particular dress, so that they might not be mistaken for other women. And this was the law in the City of London, as appears from records of 1351 and 1382.
The views and objects of English legislators as to the general subject of dress, however preposterous in our eyes, were grave and serious enough. They were so confident of their ground that it was recited that "wearing inordinate and excessive apparel was a displeasure to God, was an impoverishing of the realm and enriching other strange realms and countries, to the final destruction of the husbandry of the realm, and leading to robberies."
The Statute of Diet and Apparel in 1363, and the later statutes, minutely fixed the proper dress for all classes according to their estate, and the price they were to pay; handicraftsmen were not to wear clothes above forty shillings, and their families were not to wear silk or velvet. And so with gentlemen and esquires, merchants, knights and clergy, according to graduations. Ploughmen were to wear a blanket and a linen girdle. No female belonging to the family of a servant in husbandry was to wear a girdle garnished with silver. Every person beneath a lord was to wear a jacket reaching to his knees, and none but a lord was to wear pikes to his shoes exceeding two inches. (1463.) Nobody but a member of the royal family was to wear cloth of gold or purple silk, and none under a knight to wear velvet, damask or satin, or foreign wool, or fur of sable. It is true, notwithstanding all these restrictions, that a license of the king enabled the licensee to wear anything. For one whose income was under twenty pounds, to wear silk in his night-cap was to incur three months' imprisonment or a fine of ten pounds a day. And all above the age of six, except ladies and gentlemen, were bound to wear on the Sabbath day a cap of knitted wool. These statutes of apparel were not repealed till the reign of James I.
Sometimes, though rarely, a legislature has gone the length of suddenly compelling an entire change of dress among a people, for reasons at the time thought urgent.
In China a law was passed to compel the Tartars to wear Chinese clothes, and to compel the Chinese to cut their hair, with a view to unite the two races. And it was said there were many who preferred martyrdom to obedience.
So late as 1746, a statute was passed to punish with six months' imprisonment, and on a second offense with seven years' transportation, the Scottish Highlanders, men or boys, who wore their national costume or a tartan plaid, it being conceived to be closely associated with a rebellious disposition. After thirty-six years the statute was repealed. While the act was in force it was evaded by people carrying their clothes in a bag over their shoulders. The prohibition was hateful to all, as impeding their agility in scaling the craggy steeps of their native fastnesses. In 1748 the punishment assigned by the act of 1746 was changed into compulsory service in the army.
Plato says it is one of the unwritten laws of nature that a man shall not go naked into the market-place or wear woman's clothes. The Mosaic law forbade men to wear women's clothes, which was thought to be a mode of discountenancing the Assyrian rites of Venus. The early Christians, following a passage of St. Paul (1 Cor. xi.), treated the practice of men and women wearing each other's clothes as confounding the order of nature, and as liable to heavy censure of anathema.
There was formerly rigorous punishment of persons poaching game with blackened faces. Those who hunted in forests with faces disguised were declared to be felons. And as disguises led to crime, and mummers often were pretenders, all who assumed disguise or visors as mummers, and attempted to enter houses or committed assaults in highways, were liable to be arrested and committed to prison for three months, without bail.
The Mosaic law prohibited the practice of using alhenna, or putting an indelible color on the skin, as was done on occasions of mourning, or in resemblance of the dead, or in honor of some idol. And two fashions of wearing the beard and hair were prohibited, as has been supposed, on account of idolatrous association. Even Bacon said he wondered there was no penal law against painting the face.
(To be Continued.)
LIBERTY IN COMMON LIFE.
By BOLTON HALL.
IT seems to me that none of us see how far-reaching freedom will be.
The Socialists have abundantly shown that if only the wastes of production and distribution were saved, two or three hours' labor per day would produce all that we produce now. If, in addition to this saving, the land, including all the resources of nature, were opened to labor, so that all workers would use the best parts of the earth to the best advantage, wealth would be so abundant that interest would disappear.
Even now, with increased production, and notwithstanding the restrictions on the issue of money and our crazy banking system, interest is decreasing so that we find it hard to get 4 per cent. here.
Suppose to-day the mortgages and railroad bonds, which are forms of ownership of land, were taken out of the market, what interest could we get? Certainly not one per cent.
Were the restrictions on production of the tariff, taxes on products of labor, patent monopolies, hindrances to the making of money through franchise privileges done away with, and above all were private appropriation of rent abolished, wealth would not be so abundant and so easy to obtain that it would not be worth anyone's while to keep account of what he had "lent" to another. With the disappearance, at once, of interest and of the fear of poverty the motive for accumulations of more than would be sufficient to provide against disability or old age will disappear, while such small but universal accumulations made available by a system of mutual banking will provide ample capital for all needed enterprises.
Co-operation will spring up as a labor-saving device, and the great abilities of the trust managers will be turned to public service instead of public plunder.
Henry George is wrong in thinking that the increased demand for capital due to free opportunities for labor would increase interest. If it did, it would perpetuate a form of slavery. He omits to notice that the very use of the capital would reproduce wealth and capital so much more abundantly that it would destroy the motive for accumulation.
The time will come—it is even now at hand—when dollars and meals and goods will be given to those who ask these as freely as candies or water or cigars are offered to visitors. If I am wrong in this, then I am wasting my efforts, as far as sincere efforts can be wasted.
If Socialism or Anarchism is needed to insure voluntary communism of goods, then it is for Socialism or Anarchism that we should work; and for me, if I could see, I would turn from single tax to either of them as readily as I would turn down hill if I found that up hill was the wrong road.
At present, hardly any one favors these views—of course, not plutocrats, because the doctrine is dangerous; not Socialists, because they think that its words turn Socialists into land reformers; nor Anarchists, because they regard compulsory payment of a fair price for the land one uses as a form of tax; not even single taxers, as yet, because they are wedded to the theory of Henry George.
My only fear, if there be room for fear, is that the new liberty and leisure will come too soon for the sordid people to make a wise use of it. Yet such a fear is like that of a man who should fear that his jaw would grind so hard as to destroy his teeth.
The world is moved by one Spirit, which everlastingly adjusts action against reaction, so that all is and always must be well.
Do not shy at truth for fear of its logical consequence.
By H. KELLY.
(Special Cable Despatch to "The Sun.")
"LONDON.—The result of the first organized census of the British Empire is issued in a Blue Book. It shows that the empire consists of an approximate area of 11,908,378 square miles, or more than one-fifth of the entire land area of the world.
"The population is about 400,000,000, of whom 54,000,000 are whites. The population is roughly distributed as follows: In Asia, 300,000,000; Africa, 43,000,000; Europe, 42,000,000; America, 7,500,000, and Australasia, 5,000,000.
"The most populous city after London is Calcutta. The highest proportion of married persons is in India, Natal, Cyprus and Canada. The lowest is in the West Indies. Depression in the birth rate is general almost everywhere, but is most remarkable in Australasia. The proportion of insane persons in the colonies is much below that in the United Kingdom. Insanity is markedly decreasing in India, despite consanguineous marriages. Indeed, the theory that such marriages produce mental unsoundness is little supported by these statistics."
To those who read without preconceived notions, the figures given above show how history repeats itself. The British Empire is decaying at the centre, and the census just taken proves it conclusively. The proportion of insane in the colonies, even in poor famine-stricken India, is "much below" that in the United Kingdom. Striking as these figures on insanity are, they convey but a part of the truth as to the real condition of the people of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as all reference to their material well-being (if we were Christians we would add and spiritual, for over one million people in these countries never heard of God) is carefully omitted. Charles Booth, author of that truly great work, "Life and Labor in London," seventeen volumes, estimates that 30 per cent. of the population of the United Kingdom live in a state of poverty, and Seebohm Rowntree, author of "Poverty, A Study of Town Life," puts it at 27.84 per cent. Mr. Rowntree also states that an average of one person in five, or 20 per cent. of the population, die in some public institution, i. e., prison, poor-house, hospital or insane asylum. These statements are depressing enough as they are, but they become worse when we learn that the standard of living upon which they are based are those enjoyed—we use the word advisedly—by poor-house inmates. Think of this, ye Pharisees, Christian and otherwise, 30 per cent. of the population of the British Isles living under such conditions! These are not the idle statements of long-haired reformers or yellow journalists, but of two very estimable Christian gentlemen, both of them manufacturers and successful business men. They are different from the ordinary exploiter only in the sense of being honest and humane enough to recognize that something is radically wrong with modern civilization and make an earnest attempt to remedy it.
In this connection it is worthy of note that when the proprietors of the London "Daily News" had a systematic canvas and investigation made into the housing conditions in London, some six or seven years ago, it was found that 900,000 people, one-fifth of the population, were living in violation of the law. This was the case notwithstanding that the law says 400 cubic feet of air space for each adult and 200 cubic feet for each child must be provided, whereas Professor Huxley, who at one time was a physician in the East End of London, said at least 800 cubic feet for an adult and 400 cubic feet for a child was absolutely necessary to keep the air in a fair state of purity.
It was and is the proud boast of millions of people that they are co-inheritors of this glorious empire, an empire the greatest the world has ever seen: 400,000,000 souls and an area so vast that the sun never sets on all its parts at one time. Pete Curran, the Trade Unionist and Socialist, once remarked he knew parts of the empire upon which the sun never shone, and Pete knew.
Glory and aggrandizement based upon injustice brings its own reward, and when a people subjugate and exploit another, they must inevitably pay the price of their own brutality and injustice. The handwriting is on the wall in the shape of the present census report. Decaying at the centre, the British Empire is rapidly going the way of the Persian, Greek and Roman Empires, and her name will be synonymous with injustice as theirs are. Nations no more than individuals can thrive, expand and develop their best faculties unless their lives are based upon freedom and justice. Not freedom to exploit a weaker person or people, not justice before the law which is a mockery and a sham, but freedom for each to live his own life in his own way, and justice to all in the shape of equal opportunity to the earth and all it may contain.
This lesson applies equally to America, and if any of my countrymen are so blind as not to see it, they deserve pity rather than censure, and it is to be hoped their awakening will not long be delayed.
GERHART HAUPTMANN WITH THE WEAVERS OF SILESIA.
By MAX BAGINSKI.
WHEN I look at the last engraving in the illustrated edition of "Hannele," at the Angel of Death with the impenetrable brow, over whom Hannele passes into the region of beauty, I have the consciousness, that that is Gerhart Hauptmann, such is the inexhaustible wealth of his inner world.
The stress of the life effort and the certainty of death, groping forth from delicate intimacies, ripened the fineness and sweetness of this man's soul. The picture contains transitoriness, finiteness, yet also a vista of new formation, new land.
Of Gerhart Hauptmann one can say, his art has given meaning to the idea of human love, which in this period is looked upon with suspicious eyes as a bad coin, a new impetus, the reality and symbolic depth of which grips the heart. Out of his books one can draw life more than literature. A strong soul-similarity with Tolstoi might be observed, I think, if Hauptmann were a fighting spirit.
I met the poet among the weavers of the Eulengebirge, Silesia, in the districts of greatest human misery, February, 1891, in Langenbielau, the large Silesian weaving village. One evening, on my return from a journey, I was informed that a tall gentleman in black had inquired for me. The name of the stranger was Gerhart Hauptmann, who came to study the conditions of the weaving districts. The visitor had taken lodgings in the "Preussischen Hof," where I called on him the same evening, with joyous expectation. The name of Gerhart Hauptmann in those days seemed to contain a watchword, a battle call: not only against the unimportant thrones of literature at that time but also against social oppression, prejudices and moral crippling. Hauptmann's first drama, "Vor Sonnenaufgang," had just appeared and been produced by the Free Stage in Berlin; and had operated like an explosive. It was followed by a flood of vicious and vile criticism. The literary clique little imagined that the future held great success for such "stuff" both in book form and on the stage.
This lamentable lack of judgment misled the various pot-boiler writers to attack the new tendency with the most repulsive arguments. One leading paper of those days wrote of Hauptmann as an individual of a pronounced criminal physiognomy, of whom one could expect nothing else but dirty, appalling things.
Such literary highway assaults made one feel doubly happy over the fact, that together with Hauptmann were a few splendidly armed fighters, like the aged Fontane, with his great poise and fine exactness.
The first impression of Hauptmann was that he was not a man of easy social carriage, rather discreet, almost shy, and uncommunicative. An absorbed, deep dreamer, yet a keen observer of the human all too human, not easily led astray, not Goethe, rather Hoelderlin.
The guest room of the "Preussischen Hof" contained many empty benches. The keeper thereof had ample time to meditate over the mission of the strange gentleman, in the weaving districts. I learned the next morning that he had quite decided that Hauptmann was some government emissary, intrusted with examining the prevailing distress of the weavers. One thing, however, appeared suspicious, the man associated with the "Reds," who, according to the government newspaper, only exaggerated the need and poverty to incite the people for their own political ends.
Whether or not the misery of the weavers that winter had reached such a point as to warrant an official investigation, had been the topic of discussion for weeks. The State Attorney, too, had taken an active part in the matter. The criticism in the labor paper, "The Proletarian," of which I was the editor, that the exorbitant profit-making methods of the manufacturers, which left the workers nothing to live on, were met with a number of indictments against the paper on the following grounds: "It was indictable to incite the public at the moment when the prevailing poverty was in itself sufficient to arouse the people and cause danger; that this was criminal, and therefore punishable. The distress was thereby officially acknowledged; was that not sufficient? Why then hold the conditions up before the special attention of the people?"
We mapped out a tour through the home-weaving settlements. At Langenbielau, the textile industry had to a large extent been carried on in mills and factories and at a higher wage. Misery was not so appalling and hopeless there, as in the huts of the home weavers.
The following days unrolled a horrible picture before the eyes of the poet. The figures of Baumann and Ansorge from his play "The Weavers" became real.
With mute accusation on their lips, they moved before the human eye in tangible shape; yet one longed to believe they were only phantoms. They lived, but how they lived was a burning shame to civilization. Huts, standing deep in the snow, like whitened sepulchres, and despair staring from every nook, in these days of paternal care, just as at the time of the famine that swept across the district in 1844.
Strewn among the hills and valleys lay bits of industry that had been passed by technical progress, as so many damned, spooklike spots; and yet those, who vegetated, worked and gradually perished here, were compelled to compete with the great productive giants of steel and iron machinery.
The poet entered these homes not with the spirit of a cool observer, nor as a samaritan,—he came as man to man, with no appearance of one stooping to poor Lazarus. Indeed, it seemed as though Hauptmann walked with a much steadier gait in the path of human misery, than on the road of conventionality.
Steinseifersdorf, situated beyond Peterswaldau. A bare snow field, spread about huts of clay, shingles and branches, without a sign of life. Neither a cat, dog nor sparrow, not even chimney smoke, to indicate the activity of the inhabitants. Heated dwellings in this stretch of land are luxuries, difficult of achievement; and how is one to prepare a warm meal out of nothing?
We attempted to enter one of the huts to the right; there was no path leading to it, so that we were compelled to work our way through the deep snow. Was it possible that human beings breathed within? The old weather-worn shanty looked as if the slightest breeze would tumble it over. The few wooden steps, leading to the entrance, creaked underneath our steps, and our knock was met with dead silence. We knocked again, and this time heard a faint step slowly moving toward the door; a heavy wooden bolt was moved aside, and we perceived a human face, with the expression of a wounded, frightened animal. Like a delinquent, caught at the offense, the human being at the door stared at the invaders. Not a ray of hope enlivened the dead expression. No doubt the man had long ceased to expect amelioration of his needs from his fellow beings. The figure was covered with rags, and what rags! Not the kind of rags, that tramps wear and which they throw off when luck strikes them, but eternal rags, that seemed to have grown to the skin, to have mingled with it so long that they had become part of it,—disgustingly filthy, but the only cover he had and that he could not throw away.
The man, about fifty years of age, was silent and led us through a dirty, cold gray entry into a room. In front of the loom we observed the drooping figure of a woman, a cold oven, four dirty, wet walls, at one of them a wooden bunk also covered with rags that served as bedding; nothing else. The man murmured something to the woman, she rose; both had inflamed eyes, water dripping from them with the same monotony as from the walls.
Hauptmann began to speak hesitatingly, depressed by the sight of such misery. He received a few harsh replies. The last piece of cloth had been delivered some time since; there was neither bread, flour, potatoes, coal nor wood in the house; in fact, no food or fuel of any sort. This was said in a subdued, fearful voice, as if they expected severe censure or punishment. Hauptmann gave the woman some money. The thought of going without leaving sufficient for a supply of food at least for the next few days, was agony.
On the widening of the road stood the village inn. The guest room showed little comfort, the innkeeper looked worn and in bad spirits. No trade. Innkeepers of factory towns are better off. They can afford guest rooms of a higher order, since they enjoy the patronage of bookkeepers, clerks and teachers. In Steinseifersdorf one had to depend on the weavers, and that did not bring enough for a square meal, especially in the winter. The wife of the innkeeper assured us that the misery in Kaschbach, a neighboring village, was even greater, even more awful. It was getting late, so we decided to go there the following day.
Our conversation on our ride homeward dwelt on the fate of these unfortunates, condemned by modern industrialism to a life of the Inferno. I asked Hauptmann what an effect an artistic, dramatic representation of such a fate could possibly have. He replied that his inclinations were more for summernight's dreams toward sunny vistas, but that an impelling inner force urged him to use this appalling want as an object of his art. As for the hoped-for effect, human beings are not insensible; even the most satisfied, the most comfortable or rich must be gripped in his innermost depths when pictures of such terrible human wretchedness are being unrolled before him. Every human being is related to another.
My remark that the right of possession has the tendency to blind those who are part of it, Hauptmann would not accept as generally true. He was anxious to bring the sympathies of the wealthy into energetic activity; sympathies that would, of course, bring to the poor real relief from their hideous conditions. He added that the poverty of the masses had at times tortured him to such an extent that he was unable to partake of his meals, which were meager enough, especially during his student life in Zurich; yet he had felt ashamed of partaking of such a luxury as a cup of coffee even. I had to admit that I could not share his hopes of the influence of an artistic portrayal of the sufferings of the weavers upon the people of wealth. Self-satisfied virtue is hard to move. Rather did I believe that a great work of art, treating of the life of the masses, was bound to rouse their consciousness to their own conditions.
At that time, I believe, Hauptmann had already completed his "Weavers." His journey into the weaving district was not to collect material for the structure of that tremendous play, rather than it was devoted to details, localities and landscapes. He had already drawn up the outline for his other play, "College Crampton," portraying a genial and joyous man, of whom narrowness and miserableness of surroundings make a caricature and who is finally wrecked.
Langenbielau, after our journey through the Golgatha of poverty, seemed a place of relief. The mills, with the increasing noise of machines that dulls the ears and racks the nerves, are by no means an elevating sight, but they bring the workingmen together and awaken their feeling and understanding of solidarity and the necessity for concerted action. Here, in spite of sunken chests, great fatigue, poor nourishment, one felt the breeze of the struggling proletarian mind that indicated a new land of regeneration, beyond the misery of our times.
For one of the evenings a gathering of the older weavers was arranged. Hauptmann had a plate set for each one. During the meal a lively discussion developed. There was one weaver, Mathias, very bony, and with a skin like parchment, very poor, but blessed with many children. He related of a bet he had won. The owner of the tavern where we were having our feast had expressed doubt as to the ability of Mathias to consume three pounds of pork at once. He volunteered to do it, if the meat would be paid for and a quantity of beer added to it. A neighbor was intrusted with the preparation of the roast. At the appointed hour Mathias appeared, together with two other men as witnesses of the contest. The prize eating began, when Mathias was confronted by an obstacle: Five children belonging to the neighbor surrounded the table, with their eyes widely opened at the unusual sight of a roast. Their little faces expressed great desire and their mouths began to water. The prize eater felt very uncomfortable before the longing look of the children. He imagined himself a hard-hearted guzzler, only concerned about his own stomach. He forgot the bet, cut up some of the meat and was about to place it before the children, when a howl of protest arose. This was not permitted, if he wanted to win he would have to eat the entire roast himself. Mathias submitted, but dropped his eyes in shame before the children. Time and again he involuntarily passed portions of meat to them, but his attempts were frustrated by renewed protests. He could not continue, however, until the little ones were taken out into the cold. There was no other place, since the only room was taken up by the parties concerned in the contest. They might have been put into the cold, dark garret, but that would have been too cruel and would have made Mathias unable to carry out the feat. The undertaking was finished, but the winner felt quite wretched; he was conscious of having committed a great sin against the simplest of human demands.
The conversation turned to the uprising of the weavers in 1844. Many incidents of those days were related. Various legend-like and fantastic stories told. Also names of people of the neighborhood who had participated in that historic event.
The entire affair was very informal and simple, and not an atom of the oppressive atmosphere one feels in the relations between the members of the upper and lower stations of life.
The next morning we started for Kaschbach. The place looked even more dismal than the one we had visited the day previous. In one of the huts a weaver, with a swollen arm in a sling, led us into a corner of the room. On a bunk covered with straw and rags lay a woman with a little baby near her. Its body was covered with a terrible rash, perfectly bare, almost hidden within the floor rags. The shy father, himself in pain, stood near, the personification of helplessness. If only there were food in the house! The district physician? He would have been compelled to prescribe food, light, warmth and sanitation for every hut he visited, if he did not wish his science to prove a mockery. He could not do that, so he came but rarely. Humanitarianism, thus far your name is impotency! All that could be done was to leave money and hurry out into the air.
The next abode might be considered pleasant compared with the previous one. Two elderly people, not so worn and wan, and not so ragged. The man was weaving, still having some work at times; his wife, very pleasant and amiable, was almost ready to praise the good fortune of their home. "We are better off than our neighbors," she said with some pride. She pointed to a freshly cut loaf of bread, to the fire in the oven, to a table and a real bed—a great fortune, indeed. The walls were covered with some colored prints, representing virtue, patience, endurance to the end. One picture showed the return of the prodigal son, one the ejection of Hagar from the house of Abraham. Our hostess could boast of the luxury of a coffee mill even, and, after she had ground and brewed the coffee, we were invited to partake of it, which we gratefully did. Local and general affairs were talked over; the man, quite talkative, but careful and reticent in his remarks, especially when religious and political questions were approached. His remarks were kept within careful lines so as not to offend. Hauptmann said afterwards that he had noticed such cautiousness in all weavers. No doubt it had grown out of the great poverty that often brought out diffidence and reticence toward strangers.
Hauptmann sat on a low stool, and, while we were sipping our coffee, the woman petted him tenderly on the brow. "Yes, yes, young man, Want, the awfulness of Want, but we cannot complain." At our departure, she pointed to a hut nearby and said: "The people in there are nearly starved." It was not exaggerated. When we entered, we saw a woman in the dismal gray of the room, surrounded by a number of crying children. Two or three of the maturer girls, thin and pale and drawn out by the Procrustean bed of poverty, secretly wiped the last drops of tears from their suffering faces. Hunger reigned supreme within these walls. The woman, in the last stage of pregnancy, suffered the keenest under the lamentations of the younger children, to whom she could give no food. The husband had been gone two days on a begging tramp. He would surely bring home something, though it was very difficult to get anything in this neighborhood. One must tramp a long distance for a piece of bread. Yesterday they could still obtain a few potatoes, but to-day she had nothing more to give, nor did she know what to tell the children. She had implored the minister to let her have something to eat, if only a few morsels, but he had nothing himself, he said. The tightly pressed lips of the older girls trembled violently, every breath of the family was despair. Our presence had silenced the cries of the children with the frost-bitten faces, but when we left, they again would tear the heart of their mother, their weak little voices calling for bread.