Tuesday, November 28, 2006

William B. Greene to Gen. B. F. Butler, March 1864

William Batchelder Greene served either three or four periods of military service. In his youth, he was a 2nd Lt. in the 7th US Infantry, and served under Gen. Bonneville in the Second Seminole War. When the American Civil War began, he returned from France to take command of the 14th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, later the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He served through late 1862, at which point he resigned his commission. His 14-page resignation letter is an interesting document (and one which I hope to have available online soon), as his resignation came in the midst of a series of struggles and scandals involving some of his subordinates and, he claimed, the political (rather than military) commitments of some of his superiors. Interestingly, one of the superior officers with whom he remained friendly was one considered thoroughly scandalous by many other people, Gen. Benjamin Franklin Butler. Butler had served with Greene in the 1853 Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention, and would later be involved with currency and bank reform politics. Benjamin Tucker opened his "Life" with a quote from Butler. In 1864, Greene served as a Civilian Military Aid to Butler, a position that seems to have involved running errands, looking in on Butler's ailing wife, etc. But Butler seems to have thought that Greene should be serving in a military command capacity. I recently ran across a note from another general officer, declining Butler's offer of Greene as a candidate for an artillery command position. And in March, 1864, Butler himself offered Greene command of a regiment of "galvanized Yankees," prisoners from the Point Lookout POW camp who had sworn a loyalty oath. It appears that Greene never assumed command of the regiment, although he may have been involved with its organization. More on that later, as the pieces come together. However, Greene's response to Butler, reproduced below, is more interesting for the personal details that it gives than for its military significance. There are biographical details and philosophical statements that are not to be found elsewhere. Enjoy!




From William B. Greene to General Butler
JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass., March 16th, 1864
GENERAL: You have had the kindness to offer me the command of a regiment to be composed of transfugees from the rebel army; that is, of men who, being prisoners of war in your hands, have voluntarily taken the oath of allegiance to the U. S., and have also voluntarily enlisted as soldiers of the Union. You were also so good as to assure me that the men appear to be sincere and honest in their professions, inasmuch as they have been placed where many of them might have deserted had they seen fit to do so, and inasmuch as several of them have received certificates of sincerity and good intention from the rebel prisoners themselves by being murdered in the prisoners' camp.

I have the honor to say in reply, that I will with pleasure accept a commission as Colonel of the regiment of transfugees in question whenever it is tendered to me, provided, 1st That the commission dates from the fifth day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty one (July 5, 1861), the date of my old commission and muster into the service of the United States as Colonel of the Mass. 14th. I would suggest, respectfully, that several company officers who served under me have been made Colonels, and that I would not be willing to run the risk of finding myself brigaded under any of them by virtue of the mere date of my commission. I think these officers would themselves prefer to have my commission run from the fifth of July, 1861.

Moreover my men are to fight with ropes around their necks; and if my commission dates back, as I have requested, I shall have more opportunity to protect them from ignominy, since I shall run less risk of being brigaded under young officers who will neglect to take into consideration the exceptional position of my men. They will of course look upon me as a friend and protector, and it is right that I should stipulate for such rank as would give me a chance to do all that a Colonel could do for their welfare. I take the liberty to state furthermore that I was brigaded under Gen. King about the middle of August, 1861, at the time my regiment reported for duty at Washington; that I remained in his brigade for about ten days, when my regiment was transferred to the brigade of Gen. Richardson, where it remained for about three weeks; and that my regiment was assigned on the 14th day of September, 1861, to artillery duty under my own command, and was never, from that day forward, brigaded under any person other than myself until my resignation as Colonel of the Mass. 14th was accepted, which was at some time in the month of October, 1862, or a little more than a year subsequent to the date of the assignment of the regiment to artillery duty. I take the liberty to state further that I was twice placed in command of a brigade composed of several regiments (my own regiment was one of three battalions of 600 men each), and on neither of these occasions by mere accident or to fill a temporary vacancy, since, on each occasion, the brigade was created by the order which placed me in command of it. I have reason to believe that the second of the brigades here mentioned is still in existence.

2nd That my men shall not be exposed, unnecessarily, in the performance of such outpost duty as would render them liable to be taken and hanged in squads of eight or ten, but that the regiment shall have the opportunity to so fight that the men may defend each other, and die, if they must die, of wounds made by projectiles and cutting implements mentioned in the ordinance Manual, and not by the rope, and at the hands of the rebel Provost Marshals, and I respectfully request that such guaranties may be given in this respect as may be consistent with the interests of the service and custom of armies, and such also as may be considered sufficient and satisfactory by Major General Butler. Of course I do not request that any contract of this nature should be made with the men; for soldiers who make terms in their enlistment papers are worse than useless, and fit only to be disbanded. I should also consider it indelicate on my part to ask that any terms should be made with me. I therefore respectfully request that this matter may be arranged in a manner satisfactory to Major General Butler.

3rd. That I shall have an opportunity to examine the officers of the regiment with the liberty to object to such of them as I deem inefficient or incompetent, Major General Butler to take such action on my report as he may deem just, proper, and for the interest of the service; also that I shall have such authority in disciplining my regiment as is guaranteed to me by the articles of war and by the acts of Congress.

I would respectfully recommend that the regiment should be organized as a regiment of two battalions, with authority to add a third—and, if possible a fourth—battalion, as soon

as transfugees to the requisite number have been obtained. After my old regiment was assigned to artillery duty, I was authorized to enlist two new companies, and to organize the whole into three battalions of four companies each—each company to consist (if I remember rightly) of 151 enlisted men: all of which I accomplished without any difficulty. I suppose we can, if this plan pleases you, get good terms from the War Department, and obtain permission to organize battalions as fast as we can have the requisite number of companies, each company being filled to the minimum standard only. It would then be the duty of the Captains, and also their interest, to enlist up to the maximum standard as soon as circumstances might permit. I think the minimum standard is eighty-three enlisted men, and that eight companies must be organized before the Colonel can be mustered in, but am not sure of these figures as I have no present means of verifying them. A captain and two lieutenants suffice for a company of 83 enlisted men; but five company officers and several additional sergeants and corporals are none too many for a company of 150 enlisted men.

I take the liberty to suggest, also, that although military knowledge is always necessary to a military man, good business habits and familiarity with affairs are even more requisite to a Lieutenant Colonel of a regiment of several battalions than information strictly military. There is, I apprehend, no place in the line for the Lieut. Colonel of a regiment of several battalions; and his function is, if I am not mistaken, to replace the Colonel in the case of death or absence of the latter, or in case of the Colonel's presence with the regiment, to render all possible assistance in attending to the accounts and to the incidental business of the regiment. The Lieut. Colonel has, usually, time to prepare himself by observation and experience, and by watching the movement of things, to replace the Colonel in command. The Majors, or battalion commanders ought to be competent military men, and either already conversant with the battalion and brigade drill, or capable of soon becoming so by study.

I would, respectfully suggest that the quarter-master and commissary officer of a regiment ought always to be possessed of considerable capacity, and especially so when the regiment is one of several battalions; also that in the case of this particular regiment the captains should be good judges of human nature, since we shall probably find, in each company, some very bad men, of criminal intentions, who are insincere in their present allegiance, and some men also, who were forced into the rebel army, and are unfit by natural temperament to serve under any colors. It comes to my mind the more naturally to think there may be men in the regt. capable of firing on their officers as soon as the first battle shall have commenced, inasmuch as I once had a gun snapped on me (in Florida) by a man who had been a pirate, and had been convicted as such and pardoned. If there are any such men in the regt., the Captains ought to know how to weed them out, and get them put to work with ball and chain before we go into action.

I apologize to the General for the length of this letter, but I do not know how I could make it shorter. The General will please notice that I put no absolute conditions to my acceptance of the commission except those which are guaranteed to me by the laws of Congress, the invariable custom of armies, and the articles of war, and also the one, special to this particular case, that my commission shall date from the fifth of July, 1861.

You are aware, General, that I have no politics, that I was originally a democrat, that I became a radical anti-slavery man when the fugitive slave-law was passed' and that my democratic and anti-slavery principles have prevented me, for many years past, from voting, and that I shall probably refrain from principle from voting hereafter, so long as slavery is, in any way whatever, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. I think my political record is, if not wise and judicious, at least consistent. Nevertheless I am a subject of the United States, the United States is endeavoring to put down an inexcusable rebellion, the Government of the United States is (with all its faults) the best in the world, and my allegiance is due to that Government. I would not, on any consideration, at the present time, after the experience I have had, volunteer my services; but if my services as a soldier are asked for, I do not feel at liberty to decline serving my country in a military capacity. Nevertheless, General, if anything happens to prevent me from receiving the commission, it will be a matter of rejoicing to me, since I have little to gain and much to lose by re-entering the service. I have bought me a house, with several acres of land around it, am engaged in superintending the education of my children, am now favored by Providence beyond the ordinary lot of men, am happy and contented, and shall be grateful to the country if it will leave me where I am. In the matter of accepting the commission, I will do my absolute duty, and nothing more. I had rather not have it than have it.

But, General, whatever may be the result, I shall always feel grateful for your kindness in remembering me, and in recognizing, as I have always recognized, our friendship of so many years standing. There are many reasons now existing why I should not have considered it my duty—reasons which it is not necessary to state—to accept a commission as Colonel, if that commission had been offered me by any person, now serving in the field, other than yourself. I have the honor to remain, General, very respectfully,
Your obliged friend and servant,
WM. B. GREENE
______________________

From General Butler

Hd., Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, March 20th, 1804
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War

SIR: I have now more than a minimum regiment of repentant Rebels, whom a friend of mine calls "Transfugees," recruited at Point Lookout. They behave exceedingly well, are very quiet, and most of them I am certain are truly loyal, and I believe will make as efficient a regiment as there is in the service.

I should like to organize and arm it at once. I have had some experience with the samc sort of material, in Louisiana, having a regiment composed almost entirely of Rebel deserters.

By organizing the regiment at once I can have one more regiment, who will fight à l'outrance, for the Spring campaign. I have the honor to be very respectfully,

Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg.

Paul Brown, The Radical, I (1834)

When I added Paul Brown's Twelve Months in New Harmony to the Labyrinth, I promised to follow up with some of Brown's other work. Here's a start, the first in a series of thirty-two essays that he wrote under the title The Radical and Advocate of Equality and published in 1834. Subtitled "a series of expostulatory animadversions on the present state of practical politics and morals, with a view to an access of improvement," the essays cover everything from class theory to education, and include Brown's opinions on such topics as fashion and plagiarism. It is clear that Brown had not mellowed much in the years after his New Harmony experiences. His introduction includes the following:
I am my own judge in politics, morals, language, logic and grammar; and ask for no particular instructions on these branches. I shall use my own style, syntax and punctuation. I shall use hisself and theirselves in the nominative instead of himself and themselves, and that for several reasons best known to myself.

In part, he just prefered the sound, and he was never shy about asserting his preferences. In part, it's Brown's boldness that makes him of interest today.





THE RADICAL AND ADVOCATE OF EQUALITY

NUMBER I.

Source of Oppression; and Means of Reform.

Distempers which affect the constitution and which have arrived at depraving the whole machine, the secerning and absorbent systems being empaired, so that the blood as well as all the fluids of the body have become corrupt and vitiated, require remedies that have a tendency to renovate the fluids, and in a great measure the whole of the organs of the animal frame. In case of local aggregation of morbid humors, skillful physicians have recourse to applications calculated not to favor or support it, but to operate against and to diminish it by exciting proportional activity in the impoverished parts, gradually restoring that equilibrium of heat which characterises health.

It is very much the same in the constitutional disorders of society, affecting the body politic, as in those of the animal system. Extreme cases require extreme applications. Radical disorders call for radical remedies. In such a sort of government as ours, if any are aggrieved, and suffer privation, those of the class or classes aggrieved require in the first place to be fairly represented. And how can they be fairly represented, except by persons from their own classes or conditions, who have had experience of such grievance? 'They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.' People are not disposed to change their condition till they are dissatisfied with it. Those who suffer no trouble nor inconvenience in consequence of [8] the existing institutions and arrangements of society, cannot feel the urgency of altering them. The rich cannot fairly represent the poor, if they never have been poor; because they cannot perfectly sympathize with them, having no adequate conception of their troubles from experimental knowledge; neither are they apt to conceive accurately of the sources of those troubles. They are scarcely to be trusted upon their promise to advocate the cause of the poor and oppressed; for they will be wanting in skill and energy to advocate it, if they happen to be sincere. Those who never knew what it was to be hungry without a sure resource to allay their hunger; and those who never knew what it was to be destitute of employment that would yield them a support and, under a necessity of asking others to employ them, to be disappointed rejected. and kept out of work, [or if perchance they ever get it, to be fain to have their kind of work, their number of hours' work, their diet, or their wages or all these, prescribed and bounded by such as hold the means of that employment and command exclusive resources,] do not so much as know that such things are incident to the conditions of any individuals in this country. If they ever believe such instances, they are more likely to ascribe them to false causes than the true. How can they be fit persons to represent, and be deputies for, such as suffer those misfortunes to the end that the constitution of society may be so modified as to remove their causes?

What is the source of the injustice which certain classes and portions of the people suffer? We must look for it in the laws, the regulations, and the established customs of political society: and here we shall assuredly find it. Who makes these laws and regulations, in such a country as this? You will say, "the representatives of the people." Who appoints the representatives? The people. Who ad-[9]-ministers these laws? Those whom the people appoint and choose, to be their agents. What is 'the people,' that appoints these things? Why, to be sure, it is either the whole of the people, or a majority of the whole people, or the majority of part of them. If it is not a majority of all the people that are twenty-one years of age, it is something they have tacitly agreed and consented to call the majority. It is the majority of something. Or. if it is not mathematically this thing, that, nor the other, it is something for any one to guess at. Let this question rest. They are people that make these appointments. But, what rule of estimate and what criterion do the people adopt in selecting these persons to represent them and to administer their laws? They have hitherto been RICH MEN. Rich men then have made the existing laws and regulations. Are they adverse to the welfare of the poor? Then they favor the interest of the rich: For these have partitioned themselves and set their interest in opposition to the interest of the poor. It is hostile to the manifest interest of the poor that there should be any rich, having powers, opportunities and privileges, superior to the poor. It is subversive of utility and justice. A philanthropist will not remain rich if he happens to be so. He is continually diffusing his possessions, according to his skill in applying them to the improving of the condition of society, and raising the fortunes of the poor. These poor and unfortunate, so far forth as they have become sensible of the source of their suffering, feel themselves OPPRESSED AND UNJUSTLY TREATED BY SOCIETY, that they never have had their DUE SHARE OF WEALTH, and that they have not equal opportunities and powers with others; in short, that they are deprived of their RIGHTS.

What now are the desiderata which we who feel ourselves oppressed and circumscribed in our natural rights are in pursuit of when we make efforts to [10] change for the better the arrangements and regulations of society?

We want an equalization of the property of lands and the main resources of subsistence, so that we can have secured to us equal opportunities of access to a comfortable livelihood, both as it respects employment and other means necessary to preserve health and life. And we want assurance of the same access to all useful knowledge that others have; that no set of men may in future have advantage of superior knowledge to cheat us out of any of our rights.

In order to approximate these as near as possibly the present state of civilization will permit, we require, first, the total repeal and abolition of several oppressive laws and regulations, to give place to other and better ones:—Secondly, certain general laws to be established by which all children in these states shall be educated equally, i. e. shall have precisely the same external means of education, at the public expense. Of these I shall speak more particularly, in their order, in future papers.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Great Movements in Limestone

It's really too nice a title to tamper with, even if it doesn't really give a sense of what the piece is about. This is an account from The Present, probably edited by William Henry Channing, of Andreas Bernardus Smolnikar's "Peace Union," from the hand of its originator and prophet. Smolnikar, who was also known as "Andrew Bernard" while in America, was a Catholic heretic who came to think of himself as the prophet of a religion of humanity. He had connections to Owenite socialism and, as this account shows, he was one of the more enthusiastic proponents of J. A. Etzler's "Satellite," a versatile "engine" for various sorts of heavy lifting, digging, etc. in communities. Etzler was a visionary inventor, and a fascinating character. His 1836 The Paradise Within the Reach of All Men, Without Labour, by Powers of Nature and Machinery gives a taste of his ideas. I'll return to both Smolnikar and Etzler again soon.

[The Present, March 1, 1844 (1:9), p. 353.]

GREAT MOVEMENTS IN LIMESTONE,
WARREN COUNTY, PENN.,


Is the heading of an article sent to me by Rev. A. B. Smolnikar, for publication in The Present, which I am obliged to condense, in order to ensure its appearance in this number. Mr. Smolnikar was born of poor parents, in Illyria, and was, from early years, witness of the miseries caused by civil and ecclesiastical oppression. As a Catholic priest, his attention was strongly directed to the prophecies, in which are foretold the coming of the era of UNIVERSAL PEACE, until his whole heart was filled with the hope of aiding in the advancement of the Reign of Heaven on Earth. Under the impulse of a strong conviction, that Providence is working in this generation to introduce the millennial period of Justice, Liberty and Love, and that he was called to minister in this cause, he came to America in 1837; published several volumes exhibiting his views of true Christianity, in which he taught, that they only are Christians, who, in imitation of their Master, are willing to apply all their energies actively, and if necessary, to sacrifice life for the welfare of the human race; and finally, for the purpose of practically manifesting these principles, assembled a band of fellow-workers, and went to settle with them on a tract of 10,000 acres of land in Limestone, Warren County, Penn., eligibly located upon the Alleghany river. The name of this Association is "Friedens-verein," or Peace-Union. They have now, it seems, about twenty active laboring men at work, and are expecting large accessions in the Spring. They are engaged in clearing lands, making roads, completing a saw-mill, erecting buildings, &c. They have constructed a machine on Mr. Etzler's plan, for pulling up trees by the roots, which they intend to apply as soon as the frost is out of the ground, and with highest hopes of success,—though the first experiment with it in October failed, in consequence of using wood in some parts of the machine where iron was needed. This deficiency being supplied, and other improvements added, Mr. Smolnikar seems confident that the "Satellite" will work wonders. They need only a larger investment of capital to ensure their prosperity, and at present are anxious to negotiate a loan, for three months, of $5,000, for which they will give ample security. A writer in the "People's Monitor," Warren, Pa., uses the following language in relation to this Association:—"From the highly respectable character of its founder, as well as of the leading members of the Society, we are highly pleased with the promise of this valuable accession to the population and wealth of our county. We are highly gratified to learn, from one who has just visited the Society, that their prospects were never better than at present. They are well satisfied and in good spirits. A gentleman of considerable means had come on to satisfy himself about the prospects of the Society, and to make arrangements for himself and a number of his neighbors to join in the Spring. Of their success we have not a doubt; and their neighbors need entertain no fear of their dispersing and abandoning the rich domain of which they have become possessed." I wish our noble hearted friends the triumph their heroic efforts deserve, and trust that their means will be at once sufficiently enlarged, to allow them, unperplexed and unincumbered, to carry out their improvements. Peace be with this pioneer band of the great army of Peace.




A B. A. Smolnikar Miscellany:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Josiah Warren, To The Friends Of The Equal Exchange Of Labor In The West

I'm in the process of compiling some communications of Josiah Warren with The Free Enquirer, the continuation of The New-Harmony Gazette which Robert Dale Owen and Francis Wright published in New York. Despite his disillusionment with the elder Owen's experiment at New Harmony, Warren remained friends with Robert Dale. (See George W. Warren's account of his father's life for details of the connections between the Owen and Warren clans. Clark Kimberling's notes are excellent, as are the rest of his pages on New Harmony.)

This first letter is interesting for the criticisms Warren makes of cooperation on the Rochdale model, which still involves profit and competition. I think the tensions within Warren's thought, which seem to be built into the notion of co-operation without combination, and those that naturally arise between that thought and other forms of individualist anarchism, are nicely highlighted in this piece.



[July 17, 1830]

For the Free Examiner.
TO THE FRIENDS
OF THE EQUAL EXCHANGE OF LABOR IN THE WEST.
New York, July 4th, 1830.

In compliance unto your earnest request when I left you, I open this correspondence to inform you, that our previous practice in Cincinnati meets with the most decided approbation of those with whom I have conversed on the subject between that place and this.

Frances Wright and Robert Dale Owen have expressed their unqualified approval of the practice which so beautifully illustrates the principles they have ardently labored to develope, and which clearly demonstrates to the most common capacity the practicability and the superior advantages of such a mode of reform; and I think I do not assume too much in feeling confident of their ready concurrence and co-operation as far as such principles are honestly adhered to.

I have seen a gentleman from England who was actually engaged in co-operative measures in that country; he informs me that there were two hundred and thirty associations formed or forming, but if I rightly understand their plan, I fear they will see the necessity of change, or be defeated. You know that the success and the undisturbed harmony of our proceedings in Cincinnati were the results of the total absence of coercion of any kind, and to the complete personal liberty which every one at all times enjoyed; now this can never be the case where, instead of removing the causes of interference, we attempt rather to counteract each other, and thereby, annihilate all freedom and happiness by becoming aggressors under the authority of the strongest power, whether it be arms, the vote of the majority, or public opinion.

I believe that our friends in England have connected interests by making common stock of the profits on the sales in the stores. This connecting interest involves them in the necessity of carrying their measures by vote of the majority, which we avoided by a total separation of interests;---every one acting in the individual character each taking on himself or herself all the responsibility of his or her conduct.

Besides if I am rightly informed, the rewards of the different kind of labor in these associations still remains unequal; if so, they must retain among them the principle of competition, which of itself must defeat any efforts at reform, however well intended, or perseveringly and honestly pursued.

Would not our friends in that quarter like to open a correspondence with us here in a manner perhaps similar to this? I think we could benefit each other very much by such means. These subjects are new to all of us, we have to feel out a new path through the surrounding darkness, and if any one should stumble upon any thing worth observing, all of us can by such means, benefit by the experience.

When any practical steps are taken here towards arrangements similar to those we had in Cincinnati, I expect to report them to the friends there, according to our previous understanding, through the medium of the Free Enquirer; but our practice is not to promise what we will do, but to speak of what we have done, and let that furnish a criterion by which to judge of the future.

As practical measures have not yet commenced, none of our friends in Ohio are wanted here at present; but when they are they may expect me to make it known. In the mean time if they have business to be transacted here, they may address me, and expect to have it attended to, on the principle of labor for labor.

I can inform J. P. of Cincinnati, Dr. S. U. Of S. H—and others who wanted types, that I can obtain some second hand pica and brevier very good for their purposes; the prime cost will be about 28 cents per pound, and the time employed in packing and shipping will be calculated according to the above principle.

J. W.
P. S. If this should appear to some a novel method of corresponding with distant friends, my excuse is, that the times are novel, and that the subject itself is novel inasmuch as that it is a system of commerce which requires no secrecy or concealment: and moreover, that the unavoidable difference in the human character has taught me to act entirely as an individual, and not to hesitate in doing that which is evidently desirable and beneficial until all others can agree with me in opinion, as to the propriety of doing what is not customary.

J. W.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Redecorating and such

Chatter for a change, while I'm redecorating. There are a few bugs to work out, but the new look for the blog is well on its way to realization. Please let me know if anything has been badly broken in the process.

While I was working up some new graphics, I came up with these alternate images for the Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left more in line with my usual style, all retro tributes to Knappster's original design:




Use any that look good to you.

Finally, a shout-out to a new friend in left-libertarian territory, Mupetblast at Dry Hyphen Olympics. We've crossed paths before, but actually talked first on MySpace. (Yep. I'm on MySpace.) His blog description is priceless: "Did you know socialism was once equated with the free market, and that so called "individualist anarchists" deplored capitalism? Discovering this freaked me all out, and now i write." This is probably the nicest response to this kind of "freaking all out" that I've seen in my time among the mutualist fringe. Check out the blog. There's some good stuff there.

And, I guess, more than finally, I ran across some other familiar faces getting myself settled in at LibraryThing, a social networking site for readers. I'm just getting started on my catalog, but it's fun putting in obscure titles and seeing who else has them listed.

George Jacob Holyoake bibliography

A Descriptive Bibliography of the Writings of George Jacob Holyoake, with a Brief Sketch of His Life, by Charles William Frederick Goss (at Google Books)

Holyoake was one of those amazingly prolific radicals, writing on co-operation, free thought, labor issues, etc. This 1908 limited edition bibliography is not exhaustive, but covers his separate publications nicely and summarizes where his contributions to periodicals took place. The Google Books print seems to be good, so grab a copy for your reference library.

William Van Ornum on mutual banking

I've got a working copy of William Henry Van Ornum's Money, Co-operative Banking and Exchange (1892) available now online. Van Ornum wrote Why Government at All?, one of the few comprehensive attempts at a work of political economy by an anarchist in the U. S, as well as Mating or Marrying, Which? He was a contributer to various periodicals, including The Arena and The Open Court. He was at one time a single-tax enthusiast. Stay tuned for some additional currency reform articles, land reform debate, etc.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jenny d'Hericourt contra Proudhon

Proudhon's anti-feminism is one of those issues that is generally brought up without much understanding of his actual positions. Most of his writings on women and marriage remain untranslated. We are fortunate, however, to have an extensive reply to his works, from the pen of Jenny P. d'Hericourt (1809-1875), much of which takes the form of a "dialogue" with Proudhon and includes extensive selections from his work. That work, A Woman's Philosophy of Woman; or Woman Affranchised. an Answer to Michelet, Proudhon, Girardin, Legouve, Comte, and Other Modern Innovators (1864), first published in 1860 as La Femme affranchie, not only gives us considerable light into Proudhon's thought, but also introduces us to a remarkable 19th century French feminist. For those who can access JSTOR articles, Karen Queen's essay "A Nineteenth-Century French Feminist Rediscovered: Jenny P. D'Héricourt, 1809-1875" is worth a look, particularly as it contains a biographical (or perhaps autobiographical) account of d'Hericourt's life and speculates about her involvement in the Revolution of 1848. (It appeared in Signs, Vol. 13, No. 1, (Autumn, 1987), pp. 144-158.)

I have posted a pdf edition of the section on Proudhon, complete with original page numbers, in the Labyrinth.

Two texts by Blatchly

I've posted pdf image-scans of two of Cornelius Blatchly's essays to the Labyrinth: Some Causes of Popular Poverty and An Essay on Fasting, and on Abstinence, and updated the links in the partial bibliography I posted earlier this week.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Paul Brown, "12 Months in New Harmony" (1827)

Paul Brown's 12 Months in New Harmony is the classic exposé of Robert Owen's American experiment, from the ruins of which a large number of the strains of American socialism and anarchism developed. Josiah Warren broke away from Owen's socialism, as did the "Mutualist of 1826." Paul Brown broke away in a different direction. He was, from all indications, a sincere and serious communist. He was also the author of several more radical works, which I hope to collect for the Libertarian Labyrinth soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Cornelius C. Blatchly miscellany

Notes toward a bibliography of Dr. Cornelius Camden Blatchly, with links and a letter from Thomas Jefferson:

Genealogical info

Letter of Thomas Jefferson To Cornelius Camden Blatchly.
Monticello, October 21, 1822.

SIR

I return thanks for the pamphlet you have been so kind as to send me on the subject of commonwealths. Its moral principles merit entire approbation, its philanthropy especially, and its views of the equal rights of man. That, on the principle of a communion of property, small societies may exist in habits of virtue, order, industry, and peace, and consequently in a state of as much happiness as Heaven has been pleased to deal out to imperfect humanity, I can readily conceive, and indeed, have seen its proofs in various small societies which have been constituted on that principle. But I do not feel authorized to conclude from these that an extended society, like that of the United States, or of an individual State, could be governed happily on the same principle. I look to the diffusion of light and education as the resource most to be relied on for ameliorating the condition, promoting the virtue, and advancing the happiness of man. That every man shall be made virtuous, by any process whatever, is, indeed, no more to be expected, than that every tree shall be made to bear fruit, and every plant nourishment. The brier and bramble can never become the vine and olive; but their asperities may be softened by culture, and their properties improved to usefulness in the order and economy of the world. And I do hope that, in the present spirit of extending to the great mass of mankind the, blessings of instruction, I see a prospect of great advancement in the happiness of the human race; and that this may proceed to an indefinite, although not to an infinite degree. Wishing every success to the views of your society which their hopes can promise, and thanking you most particularly for the kind expressions of your letter towards myself, I salute you with assurances of great esteem and respect.