"For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee."
"A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason, and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions." -PROUDHON.


The Guiteau Experts.

 Dear Liberty:

In your No. 12 there was an article attempting to discredit expert testimony as a means of determining the sanity of a homicide claiming to have been insane, on general principles, and with reference to the Guiteau case in particular. Having been assured that the writer was serious, and not merely showing off (1), I have read and pondered the article not less than six times, and the more I study it, the more clearly I see the assumptions to be as groundless as the reasoning is fallacious.

Since the publication, the verdict has been rendered by a jury more intelligent apparently than juries average, and what has transpired from them tends to show that they would have come to precisely the same conclusion without the expert testimony (2). The first misleading assumption is that all depends upon “the government experts,” when the truth is that the defence were as free to summon expert as the “people” were, and they did so call them, but failed to put some of them on the stand when it was found that they could not testify that they believed Guiteau insane at the time of the murder (3). The question is frantically asked: “Are we to hang a man on mere opinion’s simply because a certain number of superintendents of lunatic asylums believe him sane?” This is sheer assumption. We are to hang a man who deliberately kills his fellow man, if he is found guilty by a jury of his peers, after a fair trial, both the prisoner and the people having brought to the aid of the jury the judgments of those men who know what is known, much or little, of the manifestations which prove the mind to be so affected as to be unable to distinguish right from wrong or know the consequents of actions.

To reject expert testimony on the ground that experts do not or “cannot so communicate the grounds of their opinions as to enable other men to judge of their truth or error” would be absurd in regard to any question involving special training and long experience for its solution, but in a case confessedly the most difficult of all to decide the absurdity becomes gigantic (4). Would a jury of “ordinary men,” unsided by expert testimony, be likely to come to a just decision, if an insane man of little character had killed with great deliberation a popular and beloved public servant? Are we to hang a man in this country on the mere opinion of twelve ordinary men, who “never saw, handled, or examined a human mind, and can only guess at the causes of its mysterious and erratic operations?” (5) So long as murder is punished by hanging after conviction by a jury, assassins must be hanged either with or without expert testimony.

If I had had the misfortune to kill a man in a fit or insanity, I should much prefer to have my condition determined by experts rather than by men utterly ignorant of the insane manifestations of the human mind. If I were only playing insane, I should prefer, with Choate for my lawyer, to dispense with expert testimony, and I think most sane men looking coolly at it will agree with me (6).

I will not occupy your precious space with following up all the assumptions, because they are all of one family. Ex uno disce omnes. But I must examine the utterly unfounded assumption that Guiteau’s act has no explanation, and that “he had no rational prospect of gaining anything by Garfield’s death.” Murderers seldom have any reasonable prospect of gaining anything by the death of their victim, and if no one were to be punished for crime if it could be shown that his expectations of gain were not rational, very few criminals would ever be punished (7).

Guiteau is a man of inordinate vanity and ambition. When he was at Oneida, a traveling phrenologist examined his head and pronounced all his organs large and some very large. (This fact I have from one who was present.) This declaration seemed to aggravate his intolerable egotism and to stimulate his already unbalanced ambition. He considered himself a great lawyer, a theologian second to none, a religions teacher to supplement Christ, and a politician deserving the presidency. He sought a very modest place for such a man, a foreign mission. It was refused, perhaps with scant courtesy, His vanity was wounded, and his is not the first case of wounded self-love leading to crime. He believed there was danger of the disruption of the Republican party, even of civil war. The “removal” of Garfield would save the country and party, would bring his friend Arthur into the chair, and himself prominently before the country. The service rendered would be so great that the party brought into power would protect him from the consequences of his act and reward him handsomely. His own words show this to have been his belief. His vanity and ambition both were to be gratified (8). These motives and expectations, though not reasonable, were reasoned (9), and show no more insanity than always exists when a man deliberately violates the rights of others in hopes to benefit himself.

So long as such men as Guiteau exist, it will not do to allow a man to kill with impunity because he is an eminently pious person and sincerely believes himself to have a mission from God to set things straight at whatever cost to others (10). My own belief is that the fairest way to decide the question of insanity in criminal cases would be by a court of experts with a presiding judge to be selected for their experience, ability, and character, and to be impartial,— not called by one side and the other. The prisoner might be allowed a certain number of peremptory challenges; the question of sanity to be determined before trial by Jury (11).

To sum up the Guiteau case, leaving out the expert testimony, Guiteau’s own evidence, amply corroborated shows that he knew what he was doing,— namely, violating the law; why he was doing it,— namely, to save his party and the country by “removing” Garfield and making Arthur president; and the consequences,— namely, that he would be arrested and tried for murder (12).


[(1) The article referred to appeared in our editorial columns. All of Liberty’s editorials are serious,— that is, except where sarcasm is evident, we mean what we say. “Basis,” as a subscriber, should know this. In insinuating that he needed, assurance to convince him of it, he did not realize that he was offering us an insult which he would afterwards regret.

(2) On the contrary, newspaper interviews reported some of the jurors as asserting that they were finally convinced of the prisoner’s sanity by the expert testimony put in by the prosecution.

(3) It is equally true that the prosecution failed to put upon the stand some of the experts which it had called when it was found that they could not testify that they believed Guiteau sane at the time of the murder.

(4) Absurd or not, it is loss dangerous than to make a human life dependent upon such ex cathedra utterances as are always purchasable in the expert market. Offer all the expert testimony you will, if it way be judged on its merits, but not a word that is not subject to question in the juror’s mind. No juror is justified in taking any man’s say-so in matters of opinion; he must require satisfactory explanation and demonstration of the same, or else disregard it entirely.

(5) Yes, if we are to hang him at all; provided always that it be understood with these twelve men that they are to give the prisoner the benefit of every reasonable doubt, not alone on the question of guilt, but on the question of sanity as well. For of these men it may at least be said that they are as exempt from the influence of corruption as precaution can make them.

(6) The editor of Liberty, on the other hand, would prefer, in any case, to entrust his destiny to the unanimous voice of twelve average mortals chosen by lot. But the matter is not one that can be settled by individual preferences.

(7) Of the violations of law that occur probably nine-tenths never come to public knowledge at all; of the remaining tenth only a certain proportion of the parties guilty of them are ever arrested; and of the latter fraction not all are convicted. If, then, the expectations of criminals are so often realized, how can “Basis” say that they are very seldom rational?

(8) It makes no difference whether his vanity and ambition were to be incidentally gratified or not. The weight of the evidence goes to show that Guiteau was actuated chiefly by patriotic motives and by a love of what seemed to him true and right. That he could frame and act upon so utterly irrational a theory as “Basis” outlines is the strongest proof of his insanity. “Basis” sustains our position better than we can ourselves.

(9) So are those of thousands of inmates of lunatic asylums. It is not claimed that Guiteau is an idiot.

(10) Certainly it will not. Prevent him, then, by all necessary means. But pray don’t cherish the groundless theory that hanging him will prevent other cranks from following Guiteau’s example. There are innumerable respects in which men with “missions” differ, but in one they all agree: they cannot be deterred from attempting to fulfil them by tear of personal injury or even of death.

(11) This is foreign to our argument. We were attacking the present system, not suggesting a new one. “Basis’s” proposition may be wise or unwise; we do not undertake to say.

(12) The question is not whether Guiteau knew all these things, but whether, viewed in connection with his past life, his estimate of the consequences of his act, as outlined by “Basis” in a previous paragraph, was not so altogether out of all reason as to establish the fact of his insanity and render him an unfit subject for the action of the criminal law. The affirmative answer to this question grows louder every day. The New York Graphic begins a recent leader with these words: “The majority of the people of the United States believe that Guiteau is a crazy man;” and at a late meeting of the New York Medico-Legal Society, held on the evening of March 1, all the physicians who spoke, including Doctors W. A. Hammond, George M. Beard, Ralph L. Parsons, E. C. Spitzka, Landon Gray, and others, agreed hat Guiteau is insane, and all but two agreed that he ought no to be hanged. “Basis” should read what these men have to say. Here are some samples:

Dr. Hammond. — On such a statement of facts [the statement embodied in the district attorney’s hypothetical question] and with a knowledge of the manner in which the prisoner conducted himself while being tried for his life, his abuse of his friends who were endeavoring to save him, his praise of judge and jury and opposing counsel at one time, and his fierce denunciation of them at another, his speech in his defence, his entire lack of appreciation of the circumstances surrounding him, his evident misapprehension of prominent persons in his behalf and of his eventual triumph, and the many other indications with which you are all familiar, especially his conduct after sentence was pronounced — I have no hesitation in asserting that Guiteau is the subject of reasoning mania, and hence a lunatic. There is not an asylum under the charge of any one of the medical experts for the prosecution that does not contain patients less insane than he.

Dr. Parsons. — It is said that these cases should be punished for the sake of example, but the sane are not influenced by such examples, and the few insane who might be cognizant of it would not be affected unless the punishment were brought directly to their knowledge. The motive leading to the evil act is incomprehensible to the patient himself. He cannot compare himself with others. But society should be protected. An adequate remedy is proposed - that a special verdict should be given in criminal trials of persons of unsound mind, stating the fact of insanity, and that such a person shall then be permanently confined in a proper house of detention for the insane. But it is not in accordance with my views of justice or public policy to punish the insane like sane criminals.

Dr. Spitzka. — I learned several thing in the Guiteau trial. I learned that a doctor who declines a summons can be forced by an attachment to leave his practice and travel 300 miles for and insufficient fee. I was also under the impression that an expert was a man of profound learning, but I have learned a simple recipe for making experts: Take a doctor whose practice has nothing to do with mental diseases; put him into the limited express for Washington with a lawyer who will coach him all the way; let him meet another lawyer there who will rehearse with him a series of questions and answers; and the expect can go upon the stand and swear there is no such thing as moral insanity. . . . . . I examined Guiteau carefully and found him full of delusions. He wanted a German mission, knowing nothing of the country or language, a French mission, with equal ignorance, and he was sure of success. His egoism and assurance are wonderful. When he mounts the scaffold, it will be in the firm belief and expectation that God Almighty will descend from heaven and cut the rope. . . . . . The most correct term for this case is the German one meaning original insanity. Guiteau was born as much o a lunatic as he is now, and there are the profound defects in his mental make-up of the group of lunatics to which he belongs. His family history is tainted. . . . . . This is a question not of retribution upon a disgusting and revolting wretch, but whether the example will frighten other lunatics. I say no. There have never been so many attempted assassinations of prominent men as in the few months immediately following the fatal 2nd of July. Three days after, McNamara tried to kill Mr. Blaine; three months afterward, a lunatic with a shot-gun attempted to shoot Governor Cornell; and not long ago a man armed with a “divine commission” and a revolver went to Washington to kill President Arthur. He was recognized as insane because he didn’t succeed. Guiteau did, and is therefore sane. This is a question also of national polity. We should have justice, and I ask if a republic cannot do what a monarchy did when Lord Erskine defended Hatfield.

Dr. Beard. — But what ought to be done with this man? His execution would be the greatest disgrace that ever befell this country, speaking from a scientific point of view. Even during his trial there were insane murderers who were not even tried, and others acquitted, with less evidence in their favor. Stickney in Colorado has just been acquitted on this ground, although there was no talk of insanity before, because he had friends and influence. But, as a principle, the hanging of Guiteau would be a return to the barbarism of the Middle Ages. At the time of the trial politicians got together in caucuses and swore he was sane. They knew, if they acknowledged he wasn’t sane, he would have to be acquitted. I was at one of these caucuses, and I know how the things were managed there, but I left it as soon as possible. We can only hang a crazy man by saying he is sane; so they swore his sanity straight through. All the evidence of hit insanity was beautifully marshalled in line, and then adduced to show that he was sane. The whole thing was analogous to the Salem witchcraft trials. There, also, the old dogma about knowing right from wrong prevailed. Insane murderers usually do know right from wrong, and it is because a murder is a terrible act that the insane man commits it. If we carry out the doctrine of condemning every man who knows right from wrong, there is no safety under the law. It will be like the hogcleaning machine in Chicago. The hog can’t stop after he once gets in until he emerges, scalded and cleaned, on the other side. So, if we start with the dogma of knowing right from wrong which Judge Cox announces, there is no stopping; trial must lead to conviction, and trial under such a dogma is conviction.

These man stand at the head of the medical profession. They are real experts in mental diseases, and express their views in language intelligible to the ordinary mind. But the prosecution excluded Dr. Beard from the stand by a technicality, and sought to make light of Dr. Spitzka’s testimony by sneering at him as a “horse-doctor.” We repeat, let “Basis” read these men. After he has done so, he may begin to realize that his is the singular view of this matter, and that Liberty, for once, is with the majority, unless, indeed, he should suspect that these men, too, are not “serious,” but “merely showing off.” — Editor Liberty.]

What We Mean.

 Our purpose is the abolition, not only of all existing States, but of the State itself. Is not this a straight-forward and well-defined purpose? There can be no mistaking it, and it admits of no equivocation. The least that our enemies can say of us is that we stand in the market-place of thought and action with a square protest and a square assertion.

And what is the State? It is not a thing that can be especially defined by Russia, Germany, Great Britain, or Massachusetts. The State is a principle, a philosophical error in social existence. The State is chaos, rioting under the guise of law, order, and morality. The State is a mob, posited on unscientific premises. We propose to supplant the mob by that true social order which is pivoted on the sovereignty of individualities associated for mutual well-being under the law of natural attraction and selection,— Liberty.

Under this formula we do not, in the best sense of the Word, discard government. On the contrary, it is government that we are after. The State is not government, since it denies Liberty. The State becomes impossible the moment you remove from it the element of compulsion. But it is exactly at this point that government begins. Where the State ceases government begins, and, conversely, where the State begins government ceases.

We often hear of a wise parent governing his children by love. Did anyone over hear of a monarch conducting a State by love? Did not the State originate in a distrust of love and natural selection as the true motors of government? Was not the very motive of the first rulers of peoples the abolition of government? Were they not designing conspirators, who saw that, under a system of natural association, there would be universal well-being and a just distribution of natural wealth and the rewards of labor? In order to enrich themselves and gratify their vanity and love of power at the expense of others, they took advantage of the superstitious element in man, and arected their thrones under cover of the divinity. Their purpose was to supplant government by force, and their machine they called the State.

Now, wherever force takes the place of natural selection and associative mutualism founded on consent, there a State is inaugurated. It may be in the church; it may be in the political State; it may be in the league, the club, the lyceum, the labor union, or the household. It is a State, in that it posits authority and supplements it by force, thus denying government and substituting despotism.

We assert that delegated authority assumed to be vested in any titled or elected person, not excepting God himself, is, in the very nature of the case, a lie, a fraud, and, moreover, a scientific impossibility, since the individual is the only source of authority, and, even if he would, could not alienate from his personality the control of himself by contract. Hence we regard all popes, kings, emperors, presidents, and persons in authority everywhere as impostors and usurpers, and the constitutions, “vested rights,” and other lying parchments under which they claim the right to rule as binding only on such as freely give their consent.

When we state as our purpose, then, the abolition of the State, the reader must not have in view a forcible raid upon the palace of some king, or a military expedition against some state house, parliament or arsenal, even though at some later day circumstances should give rise to such incidents in our warfare. What we mean by the abolition of the State is the abolition of a false philosophy, or, rather the overthrow of a gigantic fraud under which people consent to be coerced and restrained from minding their own business. The philosophy of Liberty can be applied everywhere, and he who successfully applies it in his family in the place of avenging Gods, arbitrary codes, threats, commands, and whips may easily have the satisfaction of abolishing at least one State. When we have substituted our philosophy in place of the old, then the palaces, cathedrals, and arsenals will naturally fall to pieces through neglect and the rust that is sure to corrupt tenantless and obsolete structures.

We should like to be able to better elucidate our philosophy in a larger and more frequently issued sheet. We do the best that we can in the little space at our command. Meanwhile, all the signs of times promise well, and we go on with our humble work rejoicing,— conquering and to conquer.

The Priests Playing Trumps.

The no-rent resolve in Ireland, if measured by the increasing uneasiness of Gladstone, Forster, and the landlords, is a glorious card in the nineteenth century.

But Gladstone, Forster, and the landlords are not the only uneasy victims. A nest of designing priests must needs sit in Cincinnati, and, as a result of their dark counsels, issue a pastoral by which to offset the righteous light-spreading of the “Irish World,” as well as fasten their schemes of ecclesiastical plunder and fraud upon the necks of their dupes under the guise of morality.

Priests are the natural enemies of all protests against usury, fraud, and plunder. In fact, these cunning conspirators are nothing but landlords themselves in spirit and vocation, since they return even less for their usurious fees than do the landlords. In league with these rosy-faced spiritual rogues the Irish lawyers and other Irish tribute-takers are generally found. The whole craw are fellow-usurers in one boat.

As usual, it is the Irish workingmen who are doing the glorious work of “no-rent.” But, as success seems more and more distinctly promised, the priests redouble their effort to coax, bribe, and threaten them away from their noble task. They are consistent, and understand their game. But being forced to show their hands and play their trumps, certain it is that hundreds of their dupes are gradually opening their eyes, and quietly parting company with these infamous spiritual rack-renters.


The Red Cross Fund.

We give below another report of the progress made in collecting contributions for the aid of the Russian sufferers in Siberia. During the month to elapse before the next issue of Liberty subscriptions to the fund should pour in with redoubled velocity that the friends of Liberty in Europe may have substantial proof of American solidarity with them. Let all give who can!

Receipts to April 11, 1882.

Previously acknowledged, ... $60.25
John Murray, Hoosick Falls, N.Y, ... .50
Charles Schofield, Chelsea, Mass, ... .60
Nadejda, ... 5.00
Jules M., Chicago, ... 1.00
Benj. F. Cheney, Chicago, ... 1.60
T. Dwight Stow, Fall River, Mass, ... 3.00
Chicago Socialists, forwarded by Aug. Spies (partly the proceeds of a dramatic entertainment), ... 25.60
Ivan Panin, Cambridge, Mass., ... 2.00
J. W. Cooper, Cooper, Colorado, ... 1.00
James P. McLaughlin, Boston, ... .60
Florence Crowley, Boston, ... .80
W. W. Shaw, Boston, ... .60
Paine Memorial Lecture Society, Boston (a collection taken for the purpose). ... 24.03
Reuben Cooley, Jr., Georgia, Vermont, ... 1.00
Dr. Simeon Palmer, Boston, ... 3.00
“No Name,” Philadelphia, ... 1.00
Cash, Boston, ... 6.00
Nathan Block, Providence, R.I., ... .60
A. Strauss, Providence, R.I., ... .50
A Friend, Boston, ... .60
A Fool, Boston, ... .25
Total, ... $137.63

Remitted to Nicolas Tchaikovsky, London.

March 31, Draft for £10, costing ... $49.60
April 5, Draft for £10, costing ... 49.60
April 11, On hand, ... 38.63

The following are the names of the Providence people who gave the seven dollars acknowledged in our last issue:

Wm. Foster, Jr, ... $2.00
L. K. Joslin, ... 1.00
Louis Kranz, ... 1.00
C. Heimberger, ... 1.00
Dr. Wm. Barker, ... 1.00
Henry Appleton, ... 1.00 

Appended are a few of the letters that have accompanied contributions:

From Cooper, Colorado.

Benj. R. Tucker:

Dear Sir,— I enclose one dollar for the Siberian exiles. I very much wish it were ten or a hundred times as much, but it is all that I feel myself able to spare at this time. I am on the shady side of fifty, and have always been in the frost ranks of the reformers. Consequently I have not been engaged to money making. Twenty-eight years ago I saw that traffic in land was equivalent to traffic in man. Sixteen years ago I saw that all external government was an invasion of individual rights; that government by the State, or collectivity, is based on the assumption that the individual is not capable of self government. At that time, and until I commenced reading Liberty, I was not aware of the fact that I had any sympathizers in these views. I had the misfortune (or was it the good fortune?) to be brought up on the frontier, and without any of the advantages of what goes by the name of education. There, most of the time since I came to man’s estate, I have been on the wing, in the Western wilds between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. Consequently my reading and study have been more or less desultory. As a ” kid” of six or seven years I was a sceptic as to the religious notions taught me in “the little log schoolhouse,” and ever since then I have been a rebel to authority.

Fraternally yours,
John W. Cooper.
Cooper, Summit Co., Colorado, March 28, 1882.

From Fall River, Mass.

Benj. R. Tucker:

Dear Friend,— I will try to do something for the very worchy cause. My great regret is that I cannot give hundreds of thousands. Poor Siberian exiles! poor Irish helots! how my heart goes out to them! may human hearts and human purses be opened unto them! I am glad you are delivering sledge-hammer blows at the infernal systems and governments of the day. I think the signs of a not very remote revolution are rapidly multiplying. The awakening of the people, the weight, the expense, and the menace to life and liberty of the standing armies, and their contingent in Europe, are in themselves forces sufficient to destroy the powers that be, ere long, by sapping the vitality of the producers. But thought travels unseen and swiftly, and when the soldiers, and the men who support them, think, bayonets, cannon, and missiles may be turned against thrones and oppressors! God speed the day! Of late my attention has been more than ever turned toward the absurdities of the State. A clergyman in this city has been delivering a series of sermons to young people. This evening he lectured on marriege. I wished to ask him how he reconciled his views of marriage, and his advice to young ladies to make marriage their objective, with his endorsement and support of the State, which confronts the to be, or the already married with laws and customs that menace their success and mar their happiness at every turn. It is no wonder that this State has sixty-five or seventy thousand more marriageable females than males, or that, east of a line drawn perpendicuiarly through the State of New York, from Lake Ontario to the State of Maryland, there are not far from five hundred thousand more females than males. What wonder that, with legislation for the rich and against the poor, men drown care in the flowing bowl, and become degraded and commit crime; or that sickly children are born, or that women prostitute themselves! And the religion of the day,— what is it but a conglomeration of hypocrisy, fraud, and grievous exaction, the sanctimonious pretence of arrant scoundrels? Pardon the expression, but I say, damn the State, damn the religion of the hour! Success to Liberty!

Yours truly,
Dwight Srow.
Fall River, Mass., March 26, 1882.

From Hoosick Falls, N. Y.

Benj. R. Tucker:

Comrade,— Enclosed find fifty cents to help the noble and brave defenders of true Liberty, who have sacrificed their all that the cringing, cowardly helots of to-day may enjoy Liberty to-morrow.

Fraternally yours,
John Murray.
Hoosick Falls, N.Y., March 27, 1882.

On Picket Duty.

    Of the ten Nihilists recently sentenced to death the czar pardoned five in response to the appeal of Victor Hugo. Thereupon the French poet — to his shame be it said! — drank to the health of the czar in the presence of a company of Parisian journalists. This so tickled the czar’s vanity that he straightway pardoned four more of them. What playthings are men in the hands of monarche, their lives dependent upon a passing caprice!

    1. Brown of Boston, aided by other workingmen, has issued an edition of & radical pamphlet, entitled: “Revolution; or, the Reorganization of Our Social System Inevitable,” written by William N. Slocum of San Francisco. Liberty will give it more extended notice hereafter. Meanwhile it may be procured by sending ten cents to H. W. Brown, 7 Kirkland Street, Boston. Special terms will be given for wholesale orders. We hope that the commendable efforts of the publishers will meet with warm encouragement.

The superintendent of the Pacific Mills at Lawrence gets eighty-three dollars a day. The operatives whom he superintends have been getting eighty-three cents a day. The stockholders of the mills have been getting an annual dividend of over twenty per cent, for nearly two decades. In consequent of serious defalcations and mismanagement on the part of the officials the mills are slightly less profitable than they were. The superintendent tells the operatives that, in order to keep the dividends up, they must work for sixty-eight cents a day. The operatives refuse. Thereupon the superintendent sneers at their “ambition to live in luxury,” and priests and parsons are found to upbraid them for being unwilling to work for the same wages paid at other mills. Do such facts as these need comment?

Another era of strikes apparently is upon us. In all trades and in all sections of the country labor is busy with its demands and its protests. Liberty rejoices in them. They give evidence of life and spirit and hope and growing intelligence. They show that the people are beginning to know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain them. Strikes, whenever and wherever inaugurated, deserve encouragement, from all true friends of labor. Not that they can be regarded as a direct instrumentality in obtaining justice. Justice, to be obtained, must first be ascertained, and a strike does little or nothing to ascertain it. But as an indirect instrumentality, as an awakening agent, as an agitating force, the beneficent influence of a strike is immeasurable. Take, for instance, the great strike of 1877. What single event in our history ever did as much to arouse the public to the importance and the urgency of the industrial question? Not one. And this is true, to a greater or less extent, of all strikes. He does not understand the true value of a strike who judges it by its immediate causes, pronouncing this one justifiable and that one inexcusable, this just and that unjust. With our present economic system almost every strike is just. For what is justice in production and distribution ? That labor, which creates all, shall have all. It can ask no more; it can get no more. How, then, can its demands be excessive? As long as a portion of the products of labor are appropriated for the payment of fat salaries to useless officials and big dividends to idle stockholders, labor is entitled to consider itself defrauded, and all just men will sympathize with its protest.

A subscriber sends us his remonstrance against what he terms our “vagueness,” “indefiniteness,” and “looseness of thought.” We should deem his criticism worthier of heed, if the names of the two men whom he charges us to imitate as calm, clear, consistent and close thinkers were other than — heaven save the mark! — Wendell Phillips and Thomas Carlyle.

Well, Cyrus W. Field’s monument to Andre has been blown up, and the millennium is not yet! Freedom of opinion has been struck down at the hands of so-called radicals by the use of dynamite. Upon the explosive which Russians have made holy Americans have committed sacrilege. And our friend Schwab glories in the act, “We have had altogether too much theory,” he says, and so rejoices in a little practice. The real trouble is that we have not had half enough theory. If the true theory of individual Liberty had ever found lodgment in the minds of Mr. Schwab and his friends, the Andre monument would still be standing, and there would be one stain less on the radical record. We are moved by no sentimentalism in this matter, but speak from the standpoint of the severest justice. When extreme measures become necessary, we shall not whine about them; but then they must be serious to be effective, not petty and paltry and childish. If the dynamite policy is ever forced upon American laborers by utterly intolerable trespass upon their rights, it must be used to blow up the Cyrus Fields themselves and not their playthings. But till then, no dynamite at all! We are engaged in serious business, and have no time for child’s play.

Mr. Patrick Ford, editor of the “Irish World,” is in a dilemma. Ho appears not to be aware of it, but his readers are painfully aware of it. We venture to point it out to him. Some weeks ago he announced in large type that, the moment the Catholic church should denounce the doctrines of the “Irish World,” he would renounce them. Since that time a provincial council of the Catholic church has met in Cincinnati, composed of nine bishops and archbishops in five dioceses. That body has issued a pastoral letter to be read from the altar of every Catholic church in five important States. This letter says: ” The “Irish World” is a bad paper, breeding insolence and defiance of authority, teaching communism, assailing the rights of property, and inciting to rebellion that can end but in disaster. We therefore direct pastors to warn their people against this paper, and, as far as in them lies, discourage its circulation among them.” This language is direct and unmistakable, and, unless set aside and rebuked by the pope (as if, is not likely to be), must be considered authoritative. It is the utterance of the power which Mr. Ford acknowledges as the sole source of truth. Now, therefore, he must renounce his faith and condemn his church as a foul instrument of tyranny for the oppression of the many by the few, or he must renounce his reason, keep his pledge, and publicly confess that for the last ten years he has been a servant of the devil. Liberty calls on him to do one or the other, and that promptly, or stand convicted as a hypocrite and time-server. Mr. Ford knows the high estimate which we place upon his services in the past. It is because we value them so highly that we insist that he shall not spoil them.

David Dudley Field has completed his codification of the law of the State of New York, but there is considerable opposition to the adoption of his code. During its discussion before a legislative committee an able lawyer, Mr. Carter, used this language: “What is the common law? Is it contained in any act? No. Is it in any book reports? No. You will find evidences of it there, but the law is not there. Where is it? It rests in those eternal and immutable principles of justice which were enacted before legislators ever sat.” Whereat brother Cyrus W. Field was inexpressibly shocked. To hint even at the existence of justice was horrifying to a man who has heaped up millions by injustice. So, coming to the defence of brother David, he immediately wrote in his organ, the “Mail and Express:” “The wildest Pre-Raphaelite never went so far against the laws of art as Mr. Carter did against the laws of men in this ecstatic and lawless language.” It is admitted, then, by the Fields that, to such as they, justice is an absurdity, love of principle ecstasy and lawlessness, and life a scramble involving no duty but that of trampling on one’s fellows. Is not their own confession a severer condemnation of their lives than that visited upon the class to which they belong in Lysander Spooner’s unanswerable pamphlet on “Natural Law”?

A new number of the revolutionary organ, “Narodnaia Volia,” containing nineteen pages of closely printed matter, is at present in circulation in Russia. The leading article, headed “The Present Position of the Party,” is devoted chiefly to a review of the results which followed tho assassination of a year ago. The writer premises his remarks by the statement that, if only the discontented element of Russian society was able to insist on and obtain the minimum demands put forward by the executive committee, the necessity of resorting to violent measures might be avoided. He then proceeds to review the position of the various parties in Russia, and arrives at the conclusion that there are no elements to be found in Russian society capable of playing historical parts. The national reformers, he says, have hidden their heads in fear and trepidation, lest they should suffer for the actions of the revolutionary party. Our Conservatives find no other weapons of combat than slander, falsehoods, and denunciations, and cherish the hope that something may remain out of the edifice of clay which they are raising. Our Liberals, taken by surprise, are blushing with confusion, and the whole activity of these sorry creatures consists isn plaintively begging for a constitution, and undertaking at the same time to be as obedient as before. The article concludes by referring to the programme of the party and the object it has in view,— the subversion of the present governmental and social order. This object, the writer asserts, the party will pursue, notwithstanding the reprisals of the government. As before, men ready to sacrifice their lives will be forthcoming, and our advice is “Victory or Death.”


An Explanation Called For.

To the Editor of Liberty:
At the close of the National Socialistic Congress at Chicago held in October last a committee was appointed to revise the records of its meetings for publication. I think that A. Spies of the “Arbeiter Zeitung” and P. Peterson, publisher of “Den Nye Tid” and the secretary of the congress, constituted that committee. The formation of a Revolutionary Socialistic Party, as provided for by the congress, depends upon the authoritative announcement of that body’s deliberations. Six months have gone, and that report has not been published. There are those in Boston who desire to form a group, and, I am told, have sent money for copies of the report. As one of the delegates of that congress I ask through Liberty the cause of this unfortunate delay. Grasping monopolies, concentrations of capital, enormous fortunes rapidly increase. The ever-increasing dissatisfaction of the despoiled workers indicates an approaching conflict. It may arrive at any moment. Yet we sleep as did the dwellers on the blooming fruitful slopes of Vesuvius when it belched forth its torrents of molten lava, turning smiling gardens into desolate wastes and overwhelming all with swift and terrible deaths. An eruption of Vesuvius is but a zephyr beside the social tornado that will come if we do not avert it.
Yours for a pacific Social Revolution through the abolition of the State,
J. H. Swain.
Boston, March 24, 1882

The Perils of Prejudice.

To the Editor of Liberty:
I had supposed that your discrimination and judgment would save the readers of Liberty from such vague growls and aimless rhetoric as (I am sorry to say) appeared in your issue, March 4, under the heading, “Nobodies.” I venture to assert that “B,” its writer, is neither an editor nor a lawyer; and no one will assume that his judgment of current affairs in Boston is at all trustworthy. Why? Because his accusations and complaints are too general to be weighty and too indiscriminate to be beneficial. To my mind, no person who considers the progress of civilization can fail to see that reformers today must make specific indictments in order to command attention. And all criticism of present political or social affairs in this State or the Union, if designed to make men reflect and reform, ought to be precise, clear, and at least approximately true. Generalizations like the following, “B’s” opening sentence, ought, I say, to be studiously avoided. He declares, for example, that, “judging from the daily papers, one would infer that the great mass of the people in this community, or in this Commonwealth, are nobodies, and that only a small percentage of our population is of actual account” ask, is that true? Does any one who works for a living and moves about among men believe that it is even comparatively true? I am sure I know of no intelligent, sane person who would be so impressed by reading the daily newspapers, though “B” may have the acquaintance of such.
Then, following that sentence, he declares in the loosest possible way, as to politicians, that “the daily papers are full of their movements, sayings, and doings. When they die, a column or two are devoted to their biographies and obituaries. We are told how ’smart’ they were, and how sumptuously they lived at the public expense.” Further on “B” throws himself into this false and foolish assertion,— that “the death of a prominent man is a real godsend to the newspapers, of which they make the most by spreading it over as much space as possible. Indeed, every incident and every notorious individual are magnified and dilated by the press out of all proportion to its or his importance.”
These quotations will suffice, and, I may say, they fairly show the style of fault-finding too many careless talkers and writers follow as “reformers.” Such disciples, I submit, are not safe guides, and they certainly are not competent critics or reliable teachers.
“B” grumbles because the newspapers had considerable to say recently about Judge Horace Gray when he was named for a very high office, the bench of the supreme court at Washington; but, as long as “B” was not compelled to read the despatches or editorials printed, what ground had he for complaint? If he, “B,” is a “nobody,” whose fault is it but his own in this free country where all men can compete on tolerably fair terms for almost any elective position or any place to be reached by holiest industry? There is a legion of such snarlers as “B” in the country, men either once badly disappointed or soured by fretting over their own lack of popularity and prominence. Such persons ought not to be jealous or hasty about airing their prejudices against men like Judge Gray, who attend steadily to their daily work, and go on to the end free from corruption at least, if they are not men of originating minds and workers in the ranks of what we call reform.
I hope, therefore, that “B” will consider his words next time his indignation rises, and try to be reasonably specific and clear. Truth, equity, and justice demand it, and we cannot have Liberty without reason.

    1. W. B. Wright.
Boston, March 10, 1882.

[Of the substance of the above criticism we shall say nothing. If “B” desires to answer it, he will have no trouble in doing so. But, to save him the annoyance of vindicating his own personality, we may remark that he is an editor, and one of much longer and larger experience than Mr. Wright; that he enjoys an acquaintance with Boston in particular, and with the world and its public men in general, much more intimate and of much longer standing than Mr. Wright’s; that, far from being a soared and disappointed man, he is a most genial and companionable old gentleman, of liberal education, who prefers earnest work in modest retirement to the glare of publicity; and that Mr. Wright, in supposing him to be otherwise, has exhibited the very recklessnees of assumption of which he writes so deploringly. — Editor Liberty.]

The World for its Builders.

With the following earnest and eloquent words John Swinton introduced an oration delivered by him on the evening of March 16 before the largest audience of working-people ever gathered in Philadelphia:

This is a new idea, these great conferences of world-builders in the chief cities of the country to examine the groundwork of things. It is a genuine democratic idea, worthy of the American people.
Outside of political parties, beyond the control of party leaders, looking to other ends than those pursued by the cormorants of office are the men of the new movement. I have observed, in these great conferences at which I have been present in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere, as well as here in Philadelphia, a readiness to take hold of questions from which the pusillanimous parties shrink, but which are advancing inexorably to the front, and which must be grappled with if we are not to succumb to their menaces and dangers.
It is not with foolish audacity, but with due regard to the public safety and welfare, that we confront these great questions — that we demand a hearing for the millions against the millionaires, for man against parties, and establishments, and vested privileges, and corporations, and courts, and customs, and cannon, and capital,— against the false system of land, holding, the wrongful features of trade, the crashing contrivances of legislation, and the ruinous practices of society.
It is not with malice or levity, but with serious mind and purpose, that we approach the fundamental principles that must be properly solved, under penalty of death. We know the powers that are defying the people,— their might and insolence. We behold their ravages and their victims. We can see into what a state they are bringing our beloved country. It is too grave for bitterness, too alarming for charlatanry.
The world-builders, the men who do the world’s work, have a right to take up these questions, and they have the power to settle them. This is the feature of our Democratic-Republican Constitution,— the one about which flourishes all our cheer for the future. To you, men of Pennsylvania, all power is given over all things within your dominion, and yon can fashion everything here according to your judgment of the proper nature of things. Yours is the land of the State, if ye do but know it; yours are its mines of coal and iron, if ye do but take them; yours are all its swelling resources as soon as ye assert your right to them; yours are its institutions, yours its laws and legislature, if ye will but lay hold of them.
The world belongs to its builders. and theirs is the loss if they permit the plunderers to seize it, or the gamblers to cheat them out of it.

Sixteen Deaths for One.

Upon the announcement of the result of the recent Nihilist trials in Russia condemning ten more victims to the gallows the following editorial from the pen of Henri Rochefort appeared in “L’Intransigeant:”

It will be with the death of Alexander II. as with that of Archbishop Darboy. The platoon which shot the latter was composed of twelve men. That is why the councils of war sentenced twenty-eight to the galleys and ten to the gallows as guilty of having fired at him.
So, for two bombs thrown under the carriage of the czar, five Nihilists, of whom one was a woman, have already been hanged. As for Hessy Helfmann, the sixth, who was pregnant, imperial pity was worth to her the privilege of being privately strangled in her prison, she and her child, of whom there has never been any news in spite of the most persistent demands therefor.
Nevertheless, in six condemnations to death for two bombs there was not sufficient food to appease the hunger of the Muscovite ogre. The tribunals of St. Petersburg now offer him ten more victims, of whom this time two are women, who, not being pregnant, will have the opportunity of being publicly suspended from the gallows with their comrades, instead of being secretly choked in their dungeon by an executioner instructed to submit them to torture.
We understand the eagerness of M. Gambetta to sign, the day after his accession to power, decrees for the expulsion of twenty-two Russian refugees, and the haste of M. de Freycinet to honor his signature in the case of the proscribed Lavroff. Evidently the Russian monarchy, to every possessor of power, is the ideal government. When a citizen becomes troublesome, they arrest him without telling him why, and confine him in a casemate dug beneath the level of the Neva. There he dies or goes mad in a very few months; or, should he have the impertinence to endure this freezing process, he is dragged before a court more or less martial, which refuses him the right to summon witnesses or present any other defense.
The public is excluded from the court-room, to which police agents and the servants of the czar are alone admitted, so that no one outside knows what goes on within the four walls from which the accused never emerge except on their way to the scaffold.
And when men rebel against these monstrosities, Messrs. Gambetta and Freycinet have them escorted back to the frontier under the pretext that they are preaching revolution. What the devil would these two cronies have them preach? The status quo perhaps? Then let our government have the courage of their abominable opinion.
If the strangling of pregnant women, the suppression of judicial trials, and the closed-door condemnations of accused parties forbidden to defend themselves seem to them to constitute so superior a political system that they arrest and violently expel Russians guilty of dreaming of another, let them, then, apply to France the Muscovite regime, and no more deafen us with their liberal and progressive declarations.
The day when the cabinet yielded to the executioners’ demands for expulsion, it took sides with them against the executed. Its duty was to answer as England, America, and even Austria would have answered: “We cannot prevent you from making martyrs of your countrymen and sending them to the gallows when they are at home. But, while they remain with us, we shall protect them from the rope which you twist for them.”
After the execution of Sophie Perovskaya, Jeliaboff, and their companions, we are to witness a new massacre, which certainly will be followed by many others.
Well! it is humiliating to have to admit it, but it is the French government which, by the baseness of its attitude toward the executioners, has encouraged them thus to double the number of their victims. They say to each other as they exhibit their gibbets to the crowd: “We are upheld in our little job, not only by monarchical Europe, but by republican France. Of what use is it to interfere with us?”
And at the next slaughter, instead of ten bodies there will be thirty-five.

Soon after the publication of the foregoing article a Russian despatch was sent all over the world announcing that Hessy Helfmann had just died in consequence of her confinement, to which the indomitable Rochefort replied as follows in an article headed “The Confession of the Crime:”

We demanded the other day what had become of Hessy Helfmann, whom first the Russian ministerial organs and then the French ministerial organs pretended had been pardoned by the czar at the solicitation of his gracious spouse.
We who had from an eye-witness the details of the assassination of the condemned, strangled in her prison after tortures which had induced a miscarriage,— we have never ceased to demand during the last six months that this woman said to be still alive and her pretended child be shown to some one capable of identifying them; for the Russian police had surrounded the crime with a series of falsehoods grouped like the characters in one of Dennery’s dramas.
In the first place, the prisoner had had her sentence commuted to hard labor in Siberia, for which she had expressed her warm gratitude toward the emperor. After which she gave birth in due season to a sound and healthy child.
And the sheets which had already denied the horrors of the Bloody Week denied with the same energy those of the dungeons of St. Petersburg. The “Telegraphe” laughed loudly at our accounts of the tortures of the prisoner, and declared that we owed our acquittal in the Roustan case to a bit of the rope with which “Hessy Helfmann was not hanged.”
Unfortunately for the Muscovite police as well as their Parisian champions, not a Siberian exile had Hessy Helfmann in his convoy. Inquiries were vainly instituted in every direction, and the uncle of the child of this tortured woman, having gone boldly to the director of the Third Section to announce his desire not only to see and embrace his nephew, but to take charge of him, was usable to find the new-born babe. Nevertheless, it was greatly for the interest of the Russian government to produce this human document in order to refute the charges of assassination circulated by numerous German, Italian, and French journals, especially by “L’Intransigeant.”
The czar has finally come to see that this comedy could last no longer, and here are the words with which he puts an end to the inconsiderate questionings of public opinion:
Hessy Helfmann, condemned to death and then pardoned because of her pregnancy, died last week at St. Petersburg from the results of her confinement. Her child, who bad been intrusted to a nurse, has been placed in the foundling hospital.
All the gazettes of moderately good breeding printed yesterday this necrological paragraph. Never did murderer, surprised with his knife in the throat of his victim, make more stupid confession of his crime,— the crime in this case being one of which we had been long aware and which we have revealed to our readers in all its details. It was said to the government of all the Russias:
“We accuse you of having executed Hessy in her cell, not having dared to hang her publicly because of the storm of indignation which the execution of a pregnant woman would have provoked. You affirm that you have pardoned her. We call upon you to show her to us pardoned.”
Thus driven to the wall, or rather, to the gibbet, the Russian government replies:
“She died last week at St. Petersburg from the results of her confinement.”
At St. Petersburg? In what part? In her dungeon under the Neva? In that case it was not worth while to save a woman from the gallows for the purpose of keeping her during her confinement in a freezingly cold cave. It was more than evident that that would only change the manner of her death.
In a hospital? Which one? In what ward, in what bed has she been cared for during the six months that these interminable “results of her confinement” have lasted?
As for the child, seeing that it would be going a little too far to make it die on the same day as its mother, the executioners have hit upon the ingenious device of changing this missing body into a boarder at the foundling hospital. Whenever any one shall express a desire for ocular evidence of the truth of this story, he will be shown the first baby he comes to, with the words: “There is the little Helfmann. He is the very picture of his mother.”
We shall see how the sceptics of the cringing press will receive this new yarn, whose enormity certainly passes all bounds. The real stranglers are certainly as cruel as any of the great bandits whose names have been handed down by history. Only they are infinitely more crafty. The Genghis Khans, the Cambyses, and even the Neros brought a certain bluster to the execution of their massacres. They exposed to the light the cruelties of which they willingly boasted. The Neros of to-day commit their crimes with closed doors, and then try to pass themselves off as the benefactors of the people of whom they have got rid in the darkness by means of the dagger or the rope.
It will be admitted that the revolutionists who blew to a height which he never could have expected to attain the csar, Alexander II., made no pretence of having pardoned him.
And yet some people profess astonishment that half of Russia has become Nihilistic. The surprising thing to us is that the other half has yet to become so.

In anticipation of the approaching executions, Vera Zassoulitch and thirty-five other Russian socialists who have sought refuge at Geneva have issued the following eloquent appeal:

Ten more gibbets erected by the executioners in the employ of the crowned coward who hides behind the walls of Gatchina.
Shall we allow all the brave to be hanged, all those who still feel the dignity of life and the pride of thought? Shall there be none left in Russia but judges to condemn the innocent, soldiers to cut off their heads, and dogs to lick up their blood?
European friends, we call you to our aid. Send our condemned comrades a word of enconragement. Let them not die without the knowledge that they will be avenged! For our cause is your cause, and it is the struggle began long ago on your barricades that we continue before the palaces of the Neva. If you abandon us, you deny your fathers, and — mark this well — you also condemn your children to a new slavery!
While the backbones of our governors bend lower before the czar with each crime that he commits, stand ye the stiffer, friends, give us your strong hand to reassure us that we are brothers. Tell your masters what you think of their friend, the hangman of all the Russias!

To these voices have been added the potent one of Victor Hugo, whose words, it is rumored, have frightened the czar into commuting the sentences of five of the condemned, though the truth of this report is yet to be established.

Strangely novel facts are taking place.
Despotism and Nihilism continue their war. Shameless war of evil against evil; a duel of the darkness. At intervals an explosion rends the obscurity; a ray of light appears, and night becomes day. It is horrible. Civilization must intervene.
Here is the situation at this hour: Unlimited obscurity; in the midst of the shadow ten human creatures, two of them women (two women!), are marked for death. And ten others are destined for the Russian cellar, Siberia.
Why this gibbet? Why this dungeon? A group of men has assembled. It has called itself a high tribunal. Who assisted at its sessions? Nobody. No public? No public. Who reported the proceedings. Nobody. No journals. But the accused? They were not present. But who spoke? No one knows. But the lawyers? There were no lawyers. But what code was cited? None at all. On what law did they base their decisions? On all and on none. And what is the result?
Ten condemned to death. And the others.
Let the Russian government beware!
It is a regular government. It has nothing to fear from a regular government; it has nothing to fear from a free nation, nothing to fear from an army, nothing to fear from a legal State, nothing to fear from a correct power, nothing to fear from a political force. It has everything to fear from the firstcomer, from a passer-by, from any voice whatsoever.
Any voice whatsoever is nobody, is everybody, is the anonymous immensity. That voice will be heard; it will cry: Mercy! I cry mercy in the shadow. Mercy below is mercy above. I ask the emperor to spare the people; if he does not, I ask God to spare the emperor.

To these exposures of Russian horrors past and present may be fitly added the following revelation of one still more frightful that perhaps is yet to come. Again we quote from “L’Intransigeant,” this time under the head of “A Russian St. Bartholomew:”

Let our friends, the revolutionists of Russia, who struggle with so much courage and perseverance for Liberty, be on their guard: at this very hour, in the palace of the czar, a plot is being hatched against them for the extermination of all Russians who have committed the unpardonable sin of not considering the despotism of the czars as the ideal of governments.
This plot a mere chance, an extraordinary circumstance, has revealed to us. The information that follows reaches us from the most reliable source, and we can certify to its absolute accuracy. We get it, in fact, from the czar’s own household.
Here is what happened but a few days ago at the imperial palace:
The ministers were gathered in council. Alexander III. was present at the sitting. The discussion bore on the rapid and instant progress of Nihilism and the measures to be adopted for the suppression of the impending revolution.
Several ministers inclined to the opinion that the establishment liberal regime, the concession of a constitution, could alone restrain the revolutionary movement. And one of them, whom we could name, said that in his view a general amnesty was not only necessary but absolutely indispensable to the extinction of the hatreds aroused by bitter persecution and the re-establishment of peace in Russia.
General Ignatieff remained silent while his colleagues spoke. When all had expressed their opinion, he arose, and very oddly addressed the council in substance as follows:
“There is a better course than a constitution and an amnesty. Let the government promise both; let it officially announce its indention of allowing the return of the exiled revolutionists and of setting at liberty those now detained in Siberia or in prisons; in short, let it permit the establishment for a few weeks of a regime of tolerance.”
“The Nihilists will grow bolder; this intangible Executive Committee which the Third Section bat pursued in vain for several years will uncover itself; many revolutionists now in hiding will reappear under the broad day; of those in foreign countries a large number will come back to Russia. And then, knowing its enemies and having them in hand, the government of the czar can take advantage of their unsuspecting weakness to wipe them out at one swoop, at the same time crushing the Revolution.”
Such are almost the exact words of the wicked proposition made by General Ignatieff a few days ago to the emperor, Alexander III., which the latter — we affirm it in the most positive manner — has accepted.
But the Muscovite plan is not novel in its bloodiness. It was conceived, in its general outline as well as in the details of its execution, by Catherine de Medicis a little more than three hundred years ago. Then as now the problem was to draw into an abominable trap people whose presence was embarrassing; consequently General Ignatieff has not found it necessary to draw heavily on his imagination. The means which succeeded in 1572 seem to him as good as ever in 1882: a feigned reconciliation, promises of amnesty, liberty, and general pacification,— will not these suffice to put to sleep the vigilance of the Russian revolutionists?
The Russian government thinks so, and, we repeat, it has adopted the plan of General Ignatieff, at once so simple and so monstrous.
This plan might have succeeded, but only on condition of nothing leaking out, of no warning coming to put the Nihilists on the alert.
Now our friends in Geneva and London are warned, and certainly not one of them will put his foot in the trap.