Saturday, March 31, 2007

W. H. Van Ornum, Why Government at All?

It's been a project ten or so years in the making, so I'm very happy to finally have W. H. Van Ornum's Why Government at All? available in electronic form. It's a real indicator of how much easier this has all become that, although the version of this text that I so painstakingly scanned a decade ago has never emerged from the limbo of old Zip discs and the like, I was able to start from scratch and archive this 350+ page volume in a little over a week, while working on several other projects and conferencing with my students. Van Ornum is not one of the names that we remember particularly, but he was one of the more important anarchist voices in the pages of The Twentieth Century, and Why Government at All? deserves its place among the more ambitious works produced by anarchists in the U. S. There is a good deal here to disagree with, but that's to be expected. The anarchist tradition in the U. S. produced lots of articulate writers but very few extended treatments. The ones we have are treasures that ought to be preserved.

Why Government at All?
William Henry Van Ornum

Charles H. Kerr & Co., 1892
issued without copyright

  1. Introduction
  2. Henry George: his Economic Absurdities and Contradictions
  3. The Single Tax: Inadequate, Illogical, Cumbersome, and Unjust
  4. State Socialism: its Origin, Objects, and Methods
  5. State Socialism: its Foundation and Necessary Development
  6. The Fallacies of Karl Marx
  7. The Fallacies of Edward Bellamy
  8. The Fallacies of P. J. Proudhon and his School
  9. Social Palliatives
  10. Reform by Political Methods
  1. The Motive of Human Action
  2. The Object of Human Life
  3. The Purpose and Condition of Human Society
  4. The Development of Individual Character
  5. Human Equality
  6. On Property
  7. Human Liberty
  8. Slavery
  9. The Church and the State
  1. Recapitulation
  2. Government: Its Nature, Origin, and Tendencies
  3. Government: Its Functions
  4. The Real Scope and Functions of Civil Administration
  5. Government: Its Relation to Public Enterprises
  6. Crime: Its Nature and Cause
  7. Crime: Its Treatment
  8. Public Education
  9. How Laws are Made
  10. Summary
  1. The Abolition of the Law
  2. Effect Upon Public Order and Security
  3. Effect Upon the Distribution of Wealth
  4. Effect Upon the Development of Individual Character
  5. Solution of the Woman Question
  6. Solution of the Race Question
  7. Solution of Every Phase of the Social Question
  8. Conclusion

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Other Mutualisms of 1849-50: Albert Brisbane

In early 1850, The Spirit of the Age featured two proposals for a "mutualist township." One, by Joshua King Ingalls, was a practical follow-up to his Method of Transition. The other was by Albert Brisbane, the well-known popularizer of Charles Fourier. Brisbane was also an acquaintance of Proudhon, having visited him in prison in France. In this sense, Brisbane had the most direct connection to the French mutualist tradition of any of the American writers in 1850. Greene would eventually meet Proudhon, later in the 1850s.

What follows is, in a sense, Brisbane's mutualist resumé, including his account of his visits to Proudhon, from his Mental Autobiography, and links to the "mutualist township" proposal from The Spirit of the Age.


Proudhon, one of the boldest and most original thinkers of France, was among the habitués of that time. He was then editing “La Voix du Peuple,” which had a circulation of some 200,000, and endeavoring to convince the upper classes, as well as the masses, that the real cause of the existing troubles was the usurpation and monopoly of the landed property with the capital and credit institutions of the country by the bourgeoisie. He advocated a new theory of political economy: the supremacy of labor, of industrial rights, of justice and equality in the great domain of production, exchange and credit; and, attacking the old system of political economy, he showed the false principles on which it rests, namely: the supremacy of capital (the creation of labor) over labor; the rights of property based on conquest or usurpation, and the sanctioning of the wages system as the normal state of industry. These ideas were very new to the masses of the people, and to the democratic leaders as well. They made their way but slowly. It was Proudhon, however, who really began in France the advocacy of what may be called the political economy of labor—or modem Socialism. He meditated a complete change in the credit system—one of his leading ideas being to reform the Bank of France and render it a national bank, securing credit to ail who could give reliable security.

I knew Proudhon very well, and had frequent conversations with him on the currency question. I used to visit him at Mazas, the prison in which political miscreants were detained at that time. For having written disrespectfully of the conservatives in office, the reactionary government had arraigned Proudhon and condemned him to several months’ imprisonment.

I would like to say just here that the manner of treating political prisoners in France presents a marked contrast with the way in which the same class of offenders are treated in England. The prisoners at Mazas had clean, airy rooms, where their friends were allowed to visit them, and in every respect their treatment differed from that of the ordinary malefactor; whereas, in England no distinction is made between crimes of an intellectual and a moral character—except occasionally where the culprit happens to be a wealthy and influential person. On the occasions of my visits to Mazas I was courteously received by the officials and allowed free intercourse with their prisoner, whom I found located in a large, comfortable room, opening on a pleasant corridor overlooking the court. He received bis meals from outside, and any other thing contributing to bis comfort sent in by bis friend: his punishment, consequently, was scarcely more than forced seclusion.

In this prison I used to discuss the money question with Proudhon by the hour. It is very rarely that one finds a mind capable of handling the complex question of Credit; but when it shall be better understood and scientifically dealt with, governments will bring about more beneficent results in the commercial and industrial life of nations. I was glad to find that Proudhon and I agreed perfectly as to its principles, which in our opinion could be applied practically in various ways, even in the present state of society. Proudhon combined great clearness of insight and intellectual power with firmness of character. He was a man who feared nothing, and who was endowed with immense moral energy. lie endeavored to call the attention of France to economic reforms, but his vigorous propaganda was only dimly comprehended by the people, and did not, consequently exercise any great influence.

Proudhon, The Coming Era of Mutualism

This is a translation of one of Proudhon's earliest discussions of mutualism—"une théorie de MUTUALITÉ," in the original—from the System of Economic Contradictions. It appeared in The Spirit of the Age. I have appended the original French text as well.

Spirit of the Age, I, 7 (August 18, 1849), 107-8.


From the "System of Contradictions in Political Economy," [V. II, 527-9]


If I am not deceived, my readers must be convinced at least of one thing, that Social Truth is not to be looked for either in Utopia or in the Old Routine; that Political Economy is not the Science of Society, and yet that it contains the elements of such a science, even as chaos before creation contained the elements of the universe; and finally, that in order to arrive at the definitive organization which would appear to be the destiny of our race upon this globe, it is only necessary to make a general equation of all our contradictions.

But what shall be the formula of this equation?

Already we have been enabled to perceive, that it must be a Law of Exchange, a theory of Mutualism, a system of Guarantees, which dissolves the old forms of society civil and commercial, and satisfies all the conditions of efficiency, progress and justice, which criticism has pointed out; a Society no longer merely conventional, but real, which substitutes for the present piecemeal divisions of property a scientific distribution; which abolishes the servitude [of] machinery, and prevents the crises engendered by new inventions; which converts competition into a benefit and makes of monopoly a pledge of universal security; which by the power of its principle, instead of demanding credit for capital and protection for the state, subjects both capital and the state to the uses of labor; which by the truthful honesty of the exchanges produces a real solidarity among nations; which without interdicting individual enterprise and without prohibiting domestic expenditure, incessantly restores to society the wealth that private appropriation diverts from it; which by the rapid turning over, the outflux and influx of capital, insures the political and industrial equality of citizens, and by a grand system of public education produces,—while constantly elevating the general level,—an equality of functions and an I equivalence of skill; which regenerating human conscience by justice, well being and virtue, ensures harmony and the equilibrium of generations; a society, in a word, which being at once organized and transitional, avoids what is merely provisional, guarantees all, yet leaves the way open for improvement.

This theory of Mutualism, that is to say of exchange in kind, of which the simplest form is the loan of articles of consumption is, when the collective being of society is regarded, a synthesis of the two ideas of appropriation and of communism; a synthesis as ancient as the elements of which it is composed, inasmuch a as it is only a return of society to its primitive practices, across a labyrinth of inventions and systems, the result of six thousand years of meditation upon this fundamental proposition, A equals A.

All is prepared to day for this solemn restoration; every thing announces that the reign of delusions is ended, and that society is about to return to its natural sincerity. Monopoly has swelled to a world-wide size; and monopoly embracing the world can not remain exclusive; it must either popularize itself or explode and disappear. Hypocrisy, venality, prostitution, robbery, form the very foundations of the public conscience, and unless humanity learns to live upon that which is its bane, we must believe that the era of justice and expiation draws nigh.
Already Socialism. feeling the unsatisfactoriness of Utopian dreams, applies itself to realities and facts; laughs at its own follies in Paris; plunges into discussions in Berlin, Cologne, Leipsic, Breslau; rages in England; thunders from across the Atlantic; stands ready for martyrdom in Poland; makes governmental experiments at Berne and Lausanne. Socialism, penetrating the masses, has become transformed; the people care little for the honor of particular schools; they demand work, knowledge, well-being, equality. Little reck they of sytems, if only the end they seek is gained. When the people have set their will upon a certain good, and the only question is how to obtain it, we have not long to wait before it comes; prepare to see the grand masquerade break up and vanish.—Translated for The Spirit of the Age.


Si je ne me trompe, le lecteur doit être convaincu au moins d’une chose, c’est que la vérité sociale ne peut se trouver ni dans l’utopie, ni dans la routine; que l’économie politique n’est point la science de la société, mais qu’elle contient les matériaux de celle science, de la même manière que le chaos avant la création contenait les éléments de l’univers; c’est que, pour arriver à l’organisation définitive qui parait être la destinée de notre espèce sur le globe, il ne reste plus qu’h faire équation générale de toutes nos contradictions.

Mais quelle sera la formule de cette équation?

Déjà il nous est permis de l’entrevoir: ce doit être une loi d’échange, une théorie de MUTUALITÉ, un système de garanties qui résolve les formes anciennes de nos sociétés civiles et commerciales, et satisfasse à toutes les conditions d’efficacité, de progrès et de justice qu’a signalées la critique; une société non plus seulement conventionnelle, mais réelle; qui change la division parcellaire en instrument de science; qui abolisse la servitude des machines, et prévienne les crises de leur apparition; qui fasse de la concurrence un bénéfice, et du monopole un gage de sécurité pour tous; qui, par la puissance de son principe, au lieu de demander crédit au capital et protection à l’état, soumette au travail le capital et l’état; qui par la sincérité de l’échange crée une véritable solidarité entre les peuples; qui, sans interdire l’initiative individuelle, sans prohiber l’épargne domestique, ramène incessamment à la société les richesses que l’appropriation en détourne; qui, par ce mouvement de sortie et de rentrée des capitaux, assure l’égalité politique et industrielle des citoyens, et par un vaste système d’éducation publique, procure, en élevant toujours leur niveau, l’égalité des fonctions et l’équivalence des aptitudes; qui, par la justice, le bien-être et la vertu, renouvelant la conscience humaine, assure l’harmonie et l’équilibre des générations; une société, en un mot, qui, étant tout à la fois organisation et transition, échappe au provisoire, garantisse tout et n’engage rien

La théorie de la mutualité ou du mutuum, c’est-à-dire de l’échange en nature, dont la forme la plus simple est le prêt de consommation, est, au point de vue l’être collectif, la synthèse des deux idées de propriété et de communauté; synthèse aussi ancienne que les éléments qui la constituent, puisqu’elle n’est autre chose que le retour de la société à sa pratique primitive à travers un dédale d’inventions et de systèmes, le résultat d’une méditation de six mille ans sur cette proposition fondamentale, A égale A.

Tout se prépare aujourd’hui pour cette restauration solennelle; tout annonce que le règne de la fiction est passé, et que la société va rentrer dans la sincérité de sa nature. Le monopole s’est enflé jusqu’à égaler le monde: or, un monopole qui embrasse le monde ne peut demeurer exclusif; il faut qu’il se républicanise ou bien qu’il crève. L’hypocrisie, la vénalité, la prostitution, le vol, forment le fonds de la conscience publique: or, à moins que l’humanité n’apprenne à vivre de ce qui la tue, il faut croire que la justice et l’expiation approchent…..

Déjà le socialisme, sentant faillir ses utopies, s’attache aux réalités et aux faits: il rit de lui-même à Paris; il discute à Berlin, à Cologne, à Leipzig, à Breslau; il frémit en Angle- terre; il tonne de l’autre côté de l’Océan; il se fait tuer en Pologne; il s’essaie au gouvernement à Berne et à Lausanne. Le socialisme, en pénétrant les masses, est devenu tout autre: le peuple s’inquiète peu de l’honneur des écoles; il demande le travail, la science, le bien-être, l’égalité. Peu lui importe le système, pourvu que la chose s’y trouve. Or, quand le peuple veut quelque chose, et qu’il ne s’agit plus pour lui que de savoir comment il pourra l’obtenir, la découverte né se fait point attendre: préparez-vous à voir descendre la grande mascarade…..

Saturday, March 24, 2007

J. K Ingalls' Reminiscences, etc

With someplace friendly to put it, I'm starting to clean out my backlog of material. The second dump to From the Libertarian Library consists of material from the Boston Investigator by Lewis Masquerier and material from Joshua King Ingalls, including the first five chapter of his Reminiscences of an Octogenarian in the Fields of Industrial and Social Reform, with some of the annotations that I'll be including in the in-progress print edition.

UPDATE: All of Ingalls' Reminiscences, except for the Appendix, which consists of a few later writings, is now available online. I think students of mutualism, and of radical movements in general, will find in it a wealth of useful information. The essay on the "Method of Transition," also by Ingalls, is the first of a series of practical proposals, from The Spirit of the Age, which followed his four-part treatment of property rights.

A little rearranging

I've decided, in the interest of going easy on my readers here, and on various feeds and aggregators where this blog is now available (such as the new site), to limit the number of full texts I post. I feel like there is sufficient "market" for the texts in the blogosphere to keep posting them somewhere where they can easily be accessed via an RSS feed, and through Technorati and other search services. But I would like to make this blog and Travelling in Liberty leaner and more readable than they have been. In order to make that happen, In the Libertarian Labyrinth now has a sister blog, From the Libertarian Library, which will function primarily as a text-dump. Full books, full journal issues, misc. texts I want to reference on this or other blogs—the new blog will be a catch-all for all that stuff. It will also function as the first stage of my own editing queue.

Scanned or transcribed works will get a basic proofreading, be posted to From the Libertarian Library, where they will be accessible and relatively accurate. Eventually, all those works will find a more permanent home, either in the Libertarian Labyrinth archive or in some form of print publication, book or pamphlet. I'm wrestling with my own thoughts about archive encoding formats at the moment, so in the short term, development of the main archive site will probably consist of bibliographic and indexing works, with either XHTMLization and/or TEI-ization of key works as a secondary concern. I am currently unable to do very close editing of many of the texts I'm uploading anyway, although I would guess I'm still exceeding the industry standard for full-text archives in most cases.

The first additions to the new blog are from William Henry Van Ornum, who was initially a single-tax radical, but became an anarchist. He was a friend of the Westrups, a regular contributor to The Twentieth Century, and the author of several books. Why Government at All? (Chicago: Charles Kerr, 1892), was probably his most significant work, and it is one I started to transcribe ten years ago. I've posted all of "Part One" of that work:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Samuel Leavitt, Anti-Malthus II (1881)

"A stranger was found yesterday wandering near Behring's Straits, American side, after ten in the morning, without his breakfast—no one having offered him any." This is just one of the shocking future events in the "Millenual Bulletins" contained in Samuel Leavitt's second "Anti-Malthus" essay. Actually, a number of Leavitt's predictions are shocking, and reflect some fairly unpleasant ideas about human beings, progress and the like. I want to do some more with these essays in another post, but, for now, it might be worth comparing them to another vision of the future from J. William Lloyd.

"The Vision is for many days."

IN the PHRENOLOGICAL JOURNAL for last August there was an article entitled,
"Anti-Malthus: Colonize the Whole Earth with Good and Wise People; and thus Fulfill
its Normal Destiny." The points maintained were these:

1: There are thirty-three billion acres of dry land upon our globe, and a billion and a half
of people. Filled with people at the Belgic rate it would contain nearly thirty billions; at the
Saxon rate, twenty-two billions; at the Japanese rate, twelve billions; at the Chinese rate, six
and a half billions.

2. It was shown that Malthus was unreasonable and inconsistent in maintaining that
there is any present danger of over-population of the earth,

3. It was averred that wise and good human creatures are Nature's great disinfectant;
and that the earth will not be thoroughly healthy, and therefore habitable, until it is
completely filled with such people, who will drain its swamps, and by the highest culture
prevent all malaria.

4. After showing how the earth would be prepared for such an immense population,
through the growth of science and art, the following statement w as made in conclusion: "A
thousand or ten thousand years from now a Central Council or a 'Pantarch' will probably
guide the movements and actions of the earth's twenty or thirty billions of inhabitants; just
as the wonderful train-controller, perched high at the north end of the Union depot in New
York, controls, by manipulating rows of buttons connected with the telegraphic instruments,
all the trains of the three great railroads centering there. Whereas now able men control the
distribution of money, produce, goods, etc., over the world, in a way that suits their selfish
aims: so then will the same thing be done by men actuated by pure benevolence. That
Central Council or bureau will be in electric communication with every corner of the earth,
and will be continually sending forth messages of information, warning, and exhortation."
The object of the present article is to furnish illustrations of the probable nature of the
bulletins that will be issued from that central office when the population shall have reached
twenty billions. These illustrations will be given as quotations from the daily official
newspaper organ of the Central Council, and some discussion of each will be added.

"BULLETIN 1.—Population too thick in Van Diemen's Land. Make room for them in

Of course, such an exigency and such an event as are here supposed must seem very
remote, when we consider the sparse population of those countries, and the seeming
undesirableness of Patagonia as a place of residence. But population is already pushing in
there from Buenos Ayres.

"BULLETIN 2.—Too many oranges raised in the world. The Valley of the Amazon must—
for five years raise them only for home consumption."

Here we begin to catch a glimpse of the fact that the long prophesied "Millennium," or
blissful condition of the race, could not possibly be realized until the uses of steam,
electricity, etc., had been discovered. Granted the fact that the earth could not be healthy until
filled with good and wise people; we come next upon the fact that the immense population
proposed could not be kept in harmonious working order without the swift means of
intercommunication furnished by those agencies. Furthermore, that a much higher plane of
morality than any single race has yet displayed would have to be reached by the whole race
before any imaginable external machinery would avail to preserve the peace and prosperity
of such a vast aggregation of nations, which must all yield implicit obedience to the wise
laws and instructions issuing from the sages gathered at the grand center: for otherwise, no
matter how well-intentioned most communities might be, a single inharmonic member in the
family of nations would cause a break in the orchestration—dire confusion, famine,
pestilence, and starvation through a large section of the earth.

Higher morality—loftier manhood and womanhood—is, therefore, the one remaining
need, before "the good time coming" can be ushered in. As the writer stood in the gallery of
Machinery Hall, in the Worlds Fair at Philadelphia, he said: ''Before me here is the physical
basis for the Millennium. But all these fruits of science and art are now monopolized by the
few shrewd and forceful. It remains, therefore, for the masses to be so morally and
intellectually elevated that they will be strong and good and wise enough to enter upon their
rightful inheritance in the elements of production and the means of distribution, including
those results of human genius. The farmers in India, Ireland, Persia, and the "seven years of
(practical) famine in a land of plenty" in this country—1873-80—show how useless it
would be to fill the earth with people until a general high morality makes decent self-government and national government possible.

But this necessary dissertation leaves no room to discuss the orange crop, and this
subject must be passed with a bare allusion to the fact that either the Orinoco or Amazon
basin could feed the present population of the earth.

"BULLETIN 3.—A bad case of coast fever at the mouth of the Congo River Africa. The
authorities must account for this oversight."

[The mouth of the Congo will then be as healthy as our White Mountains are now.]

This, again, seems extravagant to the superficial observer, as it is well known that a white
person can now scarcely live at all in that malaria-soaked region. But what is malaria? It is
simply a noxious gas liberated from abnormally rotting animal or vegetable substances—
when no longer serviceable in their organic shapes. Covering these substances lightly with
dry earth quickly and wonderfully dissolves them into their original elements, and makes
useful fructifying manure of them, without letting any atom escape to poison living
organisms. Think you that there will be malarious fever in any part of beautiful, fertile
Africa when twenty billions of the wise and good inhabit the earth? No, indeed! Why, even
now, in densely-peopled portions of China, the well-instructed peasant carries a basket to
gather from the high way anything of a manurial nature he may observe in passing.

"BULLETIN 4.—The people of France must elevate their spiritual and esthetic tone so
as to bring them to a lower breeding ratio, or prepare to begin, four years from now, to send
annually to Kamschatka their surplus population, to the amount of a million a year. Their
normal limit, at present, is two hundred millions which is now considerably exceeded."

In just such a manner would population need to be regulated and transferred: and the
absolute necessity of a central guidance becomes more apparent as we proceed. France, for
various well-known reasons, is now stationary as to population. Under improved conditions
the country would naturally fill up; and that mercurial race, so hard to control, might then
need the prospect of a large forced emigration from "La Belle France" to the less genial
region mentioned, to induce them to curtail their increase. But, of course, in the universally
bettered conditions of those times, life in Kamschatka would be more enjoyable than it now
is in the most favored regions.

"BULLETIN 5.—Too many foreign airships and air-palaces gather in summer over the
lake regions of Italy, Scotland, and Ireland, over the Yellowstone and other American parks
and resorts around the higher peaks of the Andes in South America, the Himalayas in Asia,
and the Mountains of the Moon in Africa. They obscure the view and are otherwise a

Of course, we all know that the occurrence of such events is only a question of time.
The first steam-lifting balloon was a sure prophecy of the swift-moving, heavy-freighted airpalace.

The clustering of such vehicles about the most attractive places in summer is a
natural event.

"BULLETIN 6.—The State of Virginia, U. S., will be under censure for sparse
population and inferior cultivation of the region once known as The Dismal Swamp,' if
another case of chills and fever occurs there."

O, ye shiverers! beside all malaria-breeding places, does it seem impossible for you to
realize the possibility of such immunity from this poison fiend—this evil "Prince of the
Power of the Air?" Behold how many old-settled regions, once redolent of miasma, are now
even under imperfect care and cultivation, apparently quite free from it. The English
literature of Shakespeare's time abounds with allusions to the ague-smitten people of
districts of Britain now quite exempt from such evils. But what a new departure it would be
to have the officials of States and counties instructed by the higher authorities to bring more
population into them in order to increase their healthfulness! This would present a
refreshing contrast to the methods adopted by soil monopolists in Scotland and Ireland,
who drive the population from whole counties, to turn the land into sheep and cattle ranges
and game preserves. How utterly depressing to the people driven out is the idea that they are
cumberers of the ground." How encouraging, on the other hand, to the people invited, would
be a call for population, when those invited were assured that they could not only prosper in
the new home, but also promote the prosperity of their new neighbors—and even the health
of those neighbors.

How encouraging, by the way, is this call for a twenty-fold peopling of the earth, to the
wretched multitudes of the city tenement-houses; who have, indeed, reason to think that they
are cumberers of the ground. But, alas! how few are "good and wise!"—or have a chance to

"BULLETIN 7.—The Khan of Tartary is notified that if we can't prevent portions of
reclaimed desert from being again denuded of trees and other vegetation, and relaxing into
barrenness steps will be taken to put a better man in his place."

[It will be observed that the perfect '' Millennium " has not yet arrived.]

In the first article considerable space was devoted to the methods by which wastes and
wildernesses and deserts would be reclaimed and made fertile. That process is in progress
in portions of our own country. The so called desert lands, this side of the Rocky
Mountains, are being rapidly reclaimed, and the rain belt is widening as the soil is broken up
and tree-planting progresses. Unfortunately thousands are ruined " in mind, body, and
estate," who, trusting to the lying reports of land and railroad agents, rely too soon upon
these recuperative agencies. But we can not yet begin to see the limits of the improvements
that will accrue in this regard from agricultural chemistry, irrigation, artesian wells, etc.
As to chemistry, for instance, some one has discovered, lately, that vast spaces on Long
Island need only the addition of a certain cheap chemical element to make them yield
bountiful .harvests.

"BULLETIN 8.—A case of miscarriage in the Island of Sumatra is another warning to
women not to spend all night dancing during their last month. Twenty billions of people is
little enough to keep the earth healthy and happy. The nice balances of population can not
be maintained if such mishaps become frequent again."

That seems extravagant, even as a fancy, concerning the good time coming. But who
shall say what is impossible in such directions? We know that there are Indian races
existing, among whom miscarriages are of very rare occurrence, and whose women are
occupied only for a few hours in parturition. The time prophesied will surely come, when "a
man shall be more precious than fine gold"—yea, even an infant. It appears strange, again,
that this preciousness of humanity, this dignity of human nature, should occur when the
earth is full of people, rather than when population is scant. But this seems ordained, and
careful study of all the facts shows that it is natural. Yet how stupendous, how
overwhelmingly glorious the idea, that instead of nations slaughtering each other with all the
enginery of war that diabolical ingenuity can invent; instead of rulers of such "civilized"
nations as England tacitly encouraging famine and starvation in its dependent Indias and
Irelands, as "a means of bringing population down to the proper number;" instead of
infanticide and foeticide being encouraged not only in heathen India and China, but also in
Christian Europe and America; instead of the strong everywhere ruthlessly destroying and
shortening the lives of the weak by forcing them to overwork and hurtful work: a time
should come when human creatures would be so precious that a foeticide occurring in an
island of the Asiatic Seas would be bulletined throughout the twenty billions of the earth s
inhabitants as a rare and shocking event!

"BULLETIN 9.—A stranger was found yesterday wandering near Behring's Straits,
American side, after ten in the morning, without his breakfast—no one having offered him
any. He had missed the morning air-ferry-ship, and had been overlooked. Such occurrences
take the bloom from our boasted New Civilization."

That certainly opens a vista of felicity in the high-noon of our glorious planet, that is
delightful to contemplate. There is nothing impossible about this. Given a world full of wise
and good people, producing abundant food for all—guarding carefully against accidents to
any—and the necessary conditions are obtained. Even now abundance of nourishment for
all living people always exists on the earth. If "man to man would brother be," it would be
properly distributed. Listen to this description of the waste of natural products in South
America, which contains vast unoccupied acres of the most fertile lands in the world.
Col. George Earl Church, of London, in a report to the Governments of Brazil and
Bolivia, says:

"Only the ocean fringe of South America had been, to a limited extent, developed by
modern methods of transit; the Pacific coast represented simply the sharp slope of an
uninterrupted mountain wall from Panama to Patagonia, and neither man nor beast could
travel across the snow-swept barrier, abreast of the head waters of the Amazon in Peru and
Bolivia, without scaling the passes at an elevation in no place lower, and in most of the
passes as high, as the loftiest peak of the Alps; Peru, with a Babel-like ambition, was then
working heavenward with its gigantic railway system, ignoring the fact that its richest and
most extensive lands are on the Atlantic slope. Alone of all the South American States, the
Argentine Republic appeared to appreciate the problem of opening the interior, and, with the
force of its credit and energy, pushed its railways toward the heart of the continent. . . . I
found millions of sheep, llamas, and alpacas, browsing upon the mountain sides, and not a
cargo of wool was exported; vast herds of cattle roamed the plains, and yet an ox-hide was
worth scarcely more than a pound of leather in the European market; hundreds of tons of
the richest coffee in the world were rotting on the bushes, and only about ten tons per
annum were sent abroad as a rare delicacy; abundant crops of sugar in the river districts
were considered a misfortune by the planter, because there was no market; the valleys of
Cochabamba were rich in cereal wealth, unsalable when the crop was too great for home
consumption; not a valley or mountain-side but gave agricultural, medicinal, and other
products, such as commanded ready sale in any foreign market; sixty-five kinds of rare and
beautiful cabinet woods stood untouched by man in the great virgin forests of the north and
east. The mountains were weighed down with silver, copper, tin, and other metals, and the
people gazing upon a wealth sufficient to pay the national debts of the world, and yet
unavailable for lack of means of communication."

"BULLETIN 10.—The Central Office is happy to announce that the Caucasian is now
the only race on the earth. The last specimen of an inferior breed—a mixture of Malay,
Creole, and Esquimaux —died last week in New Zealand."

It is ''all very fine"—humane, brotherly to extol the other races, but the fact remains that
the Caucasian is by far the highest. It seems scarcely possible that the perfect life hoped for
can be realized on this globe until the other races have gradually passed away, as the North
American Indian is now doing. We must be just and generous to these races, and give them
every chance of improvement while they remain; but if it is their fate to pass away we can
not prevent it. It seems apparent, for instance, from the history of South America, that their
intermingling by marriage with us only produces an inferior mongrel, and hinders the
advent of the perfect human being. They must "go."

"BULLETIN 11.—The North Pole Summer Sanitariums and Ice Cures being
inconveniently crowded of late years, large establishments of the sort are rapidly springing
up at the South Pole, on the Asiatic side, with daily air-ship lines to all principal points south
of the Equator."

There is nothing extraordinary about this, when already we find the wealthy yachtsmen
of England taking their summer trips around the North Cape of Sweden, the most northerly
point of Western Europe.

"BULLETIN 12.—The wool crop is getting short. Sheep-raising is not pushed properly
on some of the higher slopes of the Andes, Rocky Mountains, Himalayas, and Balkans."

Thus will the watchful eyes of the Central Sages continually take in the situation on
every rood of terra firma; every rood will be to them a ''holy rood" —to be guarded with
religious care. The resources of our planet—its capacities for making twenty or thirty billion
people comfortable and happy—are immeasurable, when once wisdom and goodness are
permanently assured for the whole race. The Infinite One now, when at length it seems safe
to do so, has opened the eyes of our keenest men to secrets of art and nature, the possession
. of which gives them powers such as our forefathers would have considered ''Divine," or
miraculous. These powers will not long be monopolized by Rothschilds, Goulds,
Vanderbilts, and Bonanza kings.

"BULLETIN 13.—A large part of the people of New Orleans, U. S., turned out on
Wednesday to bid farewell to a woman who had been banished to Nova Zembla, for wasting
a bucket of slops, by emptying it from a steamer into the Mississippi, instead of consigning
it to the proper manurial receptacle."

Well, it must be acknowledged that this is rather straining a point, as to the mass of the
population attending this farewell. But the idea about such a waste being considered
reprehensible in that "Beautiful Hereafter" is "solid." A storm of indignation will soon arise
against the system of agriculture that has sent the virgin soil of so many of our States to
Europe, in the shape of tobacco, cotton, wheat, etc., and so much more of our fertility to the
sea through the sewers of our cities.

"BULLETIN 14.—The Central Council takes pleasure in announcing that apparently as
a result of the solar convulsions of recent years, and the consequent violent, but harmless
perturbations of our planet, several new, warm streams have been for some time pouring
from the Equator to both poles. Those of the Pacific converging at Behring's Straits pour
through into the Arctic region a current so hot that it is hardly endurable as a hot bath The
American Gulf Stream and the Japanese Curo Siwo are much hotter than before. As a
consequence, the climate is so changing in those northern regions that upper British
America, Siberia, and some of the Antarctic lands are becoming quite pleasant and fruitful
regions. If this process continues a few years, we may be able to announce the possibility of
raising the earth's population to twenty-five billions. Other causes, as yet unexplainable,
have produced an increase of direct sun-heat in those regions. P. S. Another fact noticeable
is a diminished heat in the Torrid Zone."

"BULLETIN 15.—The electric light towers of the world generally will have to be more
carefully treated. Complaints come in from various quarters that travelers along very
prominent highways are frequently unable to read their newspapers at night."

"BULLETIN 16.—The people of a village on the banks of the Niger River, Africa, were
horror-struck lately, at observing an odor of decaying, malaria-breeding vegetation, issuing
from the garden of a citizen. Investigation showed a rank undergrowth of rotting weeds. The
man excused himself on the plea that being a poet he had been for a fortnight in a fine
frenzy of imaginative creation, and had neglected his weeds. Excuse not received. He was
sent to the Antarctic Fisheries, where high cultivation of the soil is not called for, and there is
no chance to waste the food-producing gases."

"BULLETIN 17.—A melancholy circumstance is reported from the Bernese Alps. A
lovely maiden of eighteen years told her first, and therefore true, love three years ago that
she believed in long engagements, and did not wish to marry him for at least five years. Not
willing of course, to think of marrying any but his 'own and only one,' fearing that his
admiration for the other sex might overcome his resolution in that unprecedented long
interval, he built himself a stone hut high up in the Alps, and subsists as a goat-herdsman,
and occasionally visits his whimsical betrothed. Girls should be careful how they trifle with
these sacred matters."

The above, soberly considered, must be counted as a legitimate illustration of the fact
that on a paradisaical planet, there will be an absolute lack of tragedies; and incidents that
seem laughably trivial to us, as matters of national consideration, will be the only variations
from the uniform felicity. In that blissful time the first love will be usually the only love. For
all young people will be then thoroughly instructed in physiology, phrenology,
psychometry, hygiene, etc., so that they will guard their hearts until a true mate appears.
Moreover, all then living in associated homes, will have an abundance of young folks to
choose from, and will thus avoid the haphazard marriages that inevitably result from the
isolation of our present modes of life.

"BULLETIN 18.—It has chanced, 'in the whirligig of time,' that Boston, once so proud
of its superiority, is now the most barbarous place on the earth. A middle-aged citizen so far
forgot himself in the heat of argument yesterday, as to call another citizen 'a liar.'"

"BULLETIN 19.—In the present active state of human sympathy, people need to be
careful about making demands upon it. Several air-ships arriving lately at Tobolsk from the
North, containing people who said that they had tasted no strawberries and cream this
year—the people of that place immediately stripped their vines of the delicious berries to
present them to the strangers, and so had none for themselves for a week afterward."

"BULLETIN 20.—On and after the 10th prox. the Society of Sky Painters will present
a series of paintings by the new process upon the zenith on each clear day; passing around
the earth from east to west. They will begin at Siam; and knowing by telegraph how far each
picture is seen, will make them continuous by beginning the next at the farthest point at
which the picture of the previous ray was plainly visible. The panorama will illustrate the
battles of Armageddon—the last great battles between right and wrong, truth and error,
reason and madness, vice and virtue, selfishness and benevolence, religion and atheism order
and disorder. These were fought upon the soil of North America, and their representation
will form very striking pictures."

Now all this will seem very fanciful to some, very absurd to others. But every one of
these ''bulletins" is somewhat founded upon existing facts.
Even if all the fancywork be set aside, the truth remains, that the doctrine concerning the
filling of the earth with good and wise people is incontrovertible.


Samuel Leavitt, Anti-Malthus I (1880)

This is the first of two parts, originally published in The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health, Aug 1880. Vol. 71, Iss. 2, p. 72-76. The author, Samuel Leavitt, was an associate of Joshua King Ingalls and George Jacob Holyoake. His work appeared in various of the Onieda colony publications, and in The Arena. In his Reminiscences, Joshua King Ingalls wrote:

I should apologize perhaps to Mr. Samuel Leavitt, for not mentioning his name before. But he has been met on so many different platforms, I scarce know where to place him, particularly. We were in accord on the land and interest problems: but differed politically on the tariff and the greenback questions, although I acted as treasurer for the Liberty Bell, which he published in the Peter Cooper Presidential campaign. He advocated rational divorce for mismated couples. He has been a newspaper man ever since I knew him. He was the author of "Caliban and Shylock," "Peace Maker Grange," a social romance, and "Our Money War," a most elaborate and exact statement of the history of our money metallic or paper, since the existence of our nation, with a bias in favor of fiat money.

Notice, near the end of this essay, Leavitt's prediction that "a Central Council or a 'Pantarch' will probably guide the movements and actions of the earth's twenty or thirty billion inhabitants." The use of Stephen Pearl Andrews' term is probably not accidental, and the vision here is perhaps not so far off from Andrews' Pantarchy.


This essay is not, as might be supposed, a studied effort to refute the special doctrines
of Malthus. It is simply an effort toward the rebuttal of one of his main propositions,
namely, that great and immediate effort is necessary toward curtailing the natural increase of
the human family, Two simple questions will be discussed in this writing.

1. Is there in the aggregate, or in any large portion of the earth, a real overpopulation?
2 What means shall be used to fill the earth with good and wise people?

As to the first point, the facts concerning the actual population of the various countries
will be at once considered.

The area of dry land upon the globe is in round numbers about 51,590,000 square miles,
equaling 33,000,000,000 square acres.

The human family is now reckoned to number 1,400,000,000 or about one billion and a
half. China, which is so often referred to as over-populated, has 3,742,000 square miles,
much of it waste, and 446,000,000 inhabitants, according to a recent report of Prof. Schem.
This gives the Chinese five acres apiece. Japan has about 150,000 square miles or
96,000,000 acres, say two and five-sevenths acres for each person.

Saxony, in the German Empire, has 3,698,500 acres and 2,556,244 people; or about an
acre and a half apiece. Belgium is said to have one person for each acre.

So then, this globe, filled as to its dry land, with people, would contain about thirty-three
billions if populated at the Belgic rate; twenty-two billions at the Saxon rate; twelve billions
at the Japanese rate, and six and a half billions at the Chinese rate, yet people go snuffling
around, bewailing the swift coming of "the crack of doom," when we have as yet less than a
billion and a half of fellow-creatures around us here; and have no evidence that the number
was ever greater than that,

The greatest evil accruing from this idea is, that it gives hard-hearted people an excuse
for still further hardening their hearts against their poorer fellows, and—as in the case of the
attitude of some European nations toward their foreign dependencies calmly and stolidly
watching the slow starvation of millions of famine-stricken wretches.


As to Malthus, he was not a bad man, and he was a hard-working, careful, patient
student and collector of facts. But he would see nothing except from an aristocratic standpoint:
was quite firmly convinced that ''the many were born ready saddled and bridled that
the few might ride." As to England, for instance, it never occurred to him that millions of
poor workers could comfortably subsist upon the ground wasted by the nobility and gentry
in parks; and that millions more could have a comfortable living in the cities, if the factory
owners would be content with a fair share of the profit upon the labor of their "hands," and
by greatly diminishing the hours of labor give employment to these other millions.

A favorite statement of Malthus is, "Population always increases where the means of
subsistence increases." This might have been a saying of important significance at his time,
when the subsistence of a community was usually gathered from its immediate
neighborhood. Now, however, when the telegraph informs the ends of the earth instantly,
when any species of food becomes scarce at any point, and steamers and rail cars can
speedily supply the need from any region enjoying a surplus, such a statement becomes
quite meaningless.

The main natural checks to population, according to Malthus, are, moral restraints, vice,
and misery. He seemed to put much more reliance upon the latter than upon the former, His
chief critic, the celebrated Godwin, justly remarked that he should have added "bad human
laws and institutions" to his list of existing checks. A specimen of the faulty reasoning of
Malthus is found in his statement concerning the population of Australia. He gets his facts
from Capt. Cooke, with regard to the scarcity of population on that huge island; and sagely

"By what means the inhabitants of this country are reduced to such numbers as it can
subsist, is not perhaps very easy to guess." He thus takes it for granted (forming the
conclusion from the supposed love that he evolved from his inner consciousness) that the
straggling savages who peopled Australia, in his day, numbered exactly so many human
creatures as the island was capable of feeding.

The philosopher is certainly right in the abstract, where he maintains that if human
propagation were maintained at its now usual rate, after the "millennium" had arrived, and
vice, disease, and misery had ceased to check it, there would be danger of a genuine worldwide
overpopulation. We know that in "the good time coming" there will be some new
checks. But we also know that they will be natural, and will in no sense militate against the
welfare of individuals or communities. We already get an inkling of what these checks will
be, in the fact that families of the highest culture and refinement are not as prolific, though
they make no attempt to check propagation, as those in the same nation that are subjected to
all manner of hardship and privation, short of that extreme distress that always effectually
checks population.

We may be sure of one thing—at let those of us who believe in Divine Providence—that as
fast as there is any actual necessity for checks (a necessity never yet really reached), the
good and wise will be shown what checks to use, and will faithfully adopt them. All the talk
of Malthus about the food supply of barbarians and nomads goes for nothing. Following
his absurd "law" that ''population always increases where the means of subsistence
increases," he doubtless gravely decided that the few wandering tribes of Indians on this
continent represented fully the population that it was capable of sustaining. Nomads never
really try to obtain the principal part of the subsistence that even they know to be contained
in the earth beneath their feet.


O that I could send a glad cry of surprise and discovery throughout the nations:
"Increase, multiply, replenish the wide earth! Fill it with wise and good people! It is not yet
one-tenth full. It will never be thoroughly healthy and habitable until it is thoroughly filled
by intelligent and virtuous human creatures, who will remove all nuisances by a wise culture
and drainage of every arable acre."

Here is an idea that is reliable, and is quite opposite to the whole tenor of
Malthusianism: namely, that we should hasten to populate the globe densely, in order to
make it truly habitable. "How horrible! what madness!" exclaim the disciples of this prophet
of despair; "the very day the earth gets full, the people will begin to starve, if not before, in
spite of your millennium."

Our cheerful answer is: "Trust in the Lord (or in Nature, if you prefer), and do good.
Commit thy way unto Him!"

There is now and then a streak of light in the writings of Malthus that relieves the
murkiness of his pictures. The following from his Chapter II. really goes quite against his
main arguments. He says: "It has been observed that many countries at the period of their
greatest degree of populousness have lived in the greatest plenty and have been able to
export grain; . . . . and that, as Lord Kaimes observes, 'A country can not easily become too
populous; because agriculture has the signal property of producing food in proportion to
the number of consumers.'"

This is a practically opposite statement to that previously given, viz.: "Population always
increases where the means of subsistence increases."

Malthus pays a merited tribute to the monasteries of Europe, where, he says, the
agricultural monks have done wonders in fertilizing waste and barren places. Truly here is a
genuine work of use for religious devotees The Romanist monks called Trappists have a
grand enthusiasm in this direction, similar to that of the old Benedictines. Already have they
made many sterile regions blossom like the rose. What a noble work to fertilize the earth for
coming happy generations! If people will insist upon being martyrs, they can not select a
better form of self-sacrifice. But there is really little need for such work while the greater
part of the fertile land is still untilled. Beautiful, smiling wildernesses, the world over, are
fairly crying out for human culture and appreciation, and proffering unbounded sustenance
from their teeming bosoms.

Careful estimates show that the Valley of Orinoco alone, where an acre of bananas will
feed a village, would supply nourishment for the whole population of the world. What
nonsense, then, to raise the alarm about over-population. Rather let those who feel an
interest in the general welfare busy themselves very specially in scattering the multitudes
now gathered in a few regions throughout the unoccupied fertile places.

As the most striking novelty in this writing is the demand that the earth be really filled
with good and wise people as soon as possible, in order that it may be made perfectly
healthy, the substantiation of that theory must be my main object. It seems a strange
statement that: Wise human creatures are Nature's great disinfectant! and this can be
proved; and a very important part of the proof is obtainable from the recently developed
facts concerning what is called the "Dry earth system of treating sewage."

There is nothing more wonderful in modern discovery—or rather re-discovery, for
Moses tried to teach these things to humanity thousands of years ago—than the
disintegrating and disinfecting effect of applying dry earth to animal and vegetable refuse.
The man of philosophic and philanthropic mind, who has used the same earth from six to
ten times in an earth closet, and found the disinfective and disintegrative effect as complete
the last time as the first, has visions rise before him of the future blessedness of our race
and the redemption of the earth under our feet that are quite joyous. Such a man stands
aghast as he beholds the waste going on around him, in the destruction of soils and the
materials that would recuperate them.

I believe that by the help of this system every living creature can be made to give back to
the earth an amount of fertilization, that, added to that derivable from air sunshine and water
will fully equal what it takes from the earth. In this fact, if a fact, we have a solution of
economical and agricultural questions, worth all the libraries that have been written about the
preservation of soils. It explodes also some of the theories of Malthus.


Now as to the methods of distributing the population of the earth, some say that the
poor and foolish can not be organized into successful colonies. Such point to the failure of
Robert Owen. But a colony is not necessarily a socialistic community. Ancient and modern
history are full of accounts of colonies that were successful. Every migration of portions of
tribes has been of that nature. Even socialistic colonies, such as those of Shakers, etc., have
been very successful in our country.

Those who establish harmonious colonies do a work like that of Sisters of Mercy on a
battle-field; the latter move over the field, soothing the wounded, without considering the
nationality of the combatants or the cause of their quarrel. So the founder of a colony need
not consider the politics of the people he removes to an improved situation, nor the politics
of those among whom he puts them. We should remember when we wander through the
miserable slums of a city, that while the inhabitants of these places are half starved, the
humming insects and the singing birds are the sole occupants of millions of fertile acres,
which would afford these suffering humans happy homes and abundant sustenance. Many
will reply that thousands of these people are so shiftless that they would do no better on the
soil than they do in the slum. Here comes in the reorganization of society again, and the
time will come when men who are able financiers and industrial managers will feel
themselves as much bound to exercise their peculiar gifts for human advancement, as a few
clergymen, and also some artists, literary men, etc., now do to exercise their peculiar gifts to
that end.

As the steam-engine, telegraphy, and discoveries and inventions are rapidly making "all
the world akin," the fact of being our brother's keeper is more and more forced upon the
conscience of Christendom. The time will be when men and women who are not wise or
energetic enough to put themselves in fitting surroundings will be persuaded to suffer
themselves to be organized into some sort of association by the wise and good, who will
lead them to the green pastures and beside the still waters of the less populous parts of the
country. Then we shall have such grand work done all over the land as glorious William
Penn did, when he drew a multitude after him to the sylvan land of Pennsylvania and the city
of Brotherly Love, and made it the model city of the world, though that is not saying much.
The possible majesty of an organized colonization movement is seen in the fact that in
1878, when very few European emigrants came to the United States, 800,000 of our people
went west of the Mississippi. Through lack of just those elements that colony migration
would have given them, these isolated settlers endured fearful privations. Thousands, having
lost the savings of a life-time in the universal destruction brought upon us by our rulers,
between 1873 and 1878, had gathered up the wrecks of their fortunes, and some in wagons,
some on foot, pushed for the wilderness—an incoherent multitude. Thousands who had
money enough and brains enough to make very valuable and successful members of
skillfully-organized colonies soon found themselves out of money, health, and hope, living
in holes in the ground. They had staked their last dollar on this great risk, and were now
forced (when past middle age in many cases) to return East and begin life again as "hands"
in factory, shop, and Store. The money they wasted would have taken them, under a true cooperative system, in palace cars to palace homes on the prairies. What a grand work to
organize such, and save them from such destruction! What a blessedness! Let each rich
philanthropic man say: I will be an Industrial Moses! I will stand right here in my lot and
organize my employés in co-operative workshops like Godin's, or lead a multitude, in shape
of a thoroughly-equipped colony, into the new country.


And now to return to the means of getting the whole earth ready for an immense
population. Whoever even admits the truth of the "dry earth" doctrine will see that we have
small occasion as yet to fear over-population. When such means are in thorough use, there
need be no waste, no malaria. All available food material will be used. But the world's
population must be held under very strict control if there is to be at no place either famine or
over-production. Many new expedients will be adopted. The earth will be gathered by great
machines from the vast alluvial deposits, where it is wasted (for instance, from the deltas of
the Amazon, Nile, Ganges), and deposited on the barren plains. This very work was done on
a large scale by the "mound builders," who once peopled this country.

Great discoveries will be made in agricultural chemistry. Many materials now wasted
will be replaced by others that are cheaper and more available. We used to say, "The fire
wood will be used up"—then came the coal; we said, "The whales will all be destroyed"—
then came coal-oil; now we have been saying, "The coal and coal-oil will run out"—and here
comes electricity to take their place.

In the future the world's work will be done, more and more, by machinery; therefore,
human creatures will need much less food than now, as their energies will not be so
exhausted by hard work. All the wildernesses, deserts, and mountains, up to the snow line,
will be turned to use in some way for human sustenance. The waters of the ocean w ill be
ransacked for edible fish, and its inedible monsters will be exterminated (as will be all those
of the land). All inland seas, lakes, ponds, and streams will be stocked with fish, and vast
water spaces will be covered with human habitations, as in China.

A thousand or ten thousand years from now, a Central Council or a 'Pantarch' will
probably guide the movements and actions of the earth's twenty or thirty billion inhabitants,
just as the wonderful train-controller, perched high at the north end of the Union depot in
New York, controls, by manipulating rows of buttons connected with the telegraphic
instruments, all the trains of the three great railroads centering there. Whereas now able men
control the distribution of money, produce, goods, etc., over the world, in a way that suits
their selfish aims, so then will the same thing be done by men actuated by pure benevolence.
That Central Council or Bureau will be in electric communication with every corner of the
earth, and will be continually sending forth messages of information, warning and


Sunday, March 18, 2007

J. K. Ingalls - Relations, Existing and Natural

Progress! I've been working on my scanning process, and have managed to nearly double my speed with a new approach to the OCR work. This should mean, in the long run, much better progress over on Travelling in Liberty, which constantly suffers from my desire to have the texts available when I comment on them. In the short run, it means something of a backlog of texts from The Twentieth Century, including a dozen or so by J. K. Ingalls. Check the Ingalls bibliography for updates and links.

On the hand-transcription front, progress as well. Here is the fourth and final part of Joshua King Ingalls' very early discussion of property rights, from the pages of The Spirit of the Age in 1849. It's a bit long for a blog post, but of sufficient importance that I'll post it here anyway. The three earlier essay, all already posted here, are:

The reader, who has followed us this far in our investigations will be prepared for the reflections which ensue of the question of "labor and capital." Because he will see that capital is by no means confined to what is legitimately property; but embraces, as its chief portions, things that have no relation to human labor, never were, and never can be produced or reproduced by it. The earth, with its vast resources of mineral wealth, its spontaneous productions and its fertile soil, the free gift of God and the common patrimony of mankind, has for long centuries been held in the grasp of one set of oppressors, by right of conquest or right of discovery; and is now held by another, through the right of purchase or inheritance from them. All of man's natural possessions, everything external and passive, has been claimed as property; nor has man himself escaped the insatiate jaws of greed. He too has been, is held as a thing to be bought and sold. This invasion of his rights and possessions has resulted, through many methods of operations, in clothing property with a power to accumulate an income. The moralists and religious teachers of all ages and nations have denounced the principle of "increase," though in vain, because they understood not its basis. The Jewish scriptures are filled with prohibitions and denunciations against this evil; and though less pointed, it cannot be for a moment supposed that the philanthropic system of Jesus was less consistent with natural justice. When the selling all, was enjoined, that the poor might be given means of life and instruction, and when self-sacrifice and benevolent actions was adopted as a test of discipleship, it cannot be thought that any authority was furnished for the monopoly of heaven's bounties, that thereby usance might be exacted, from the unselfish and unfortunate.
"What do I think of interest," said Cato, to a friend who inquired his opinion. "What do I think of murder?"
While the power of wealth is continued by social arrangements, so as to control the man, sever him from his just relations to the soil and the passive agent, make his very existence dependent on the monopolist of the fair earth and all its productions as well as all products of industry, capital will demand a division with labor in all its earnings. It were reasonable to expect any other result. Man cannot serve God and Mammon if he try. It is folly to expect him to allow his brother to cultivate the soil, or in any way help himself, unless he pay him for the privilege. This, of course, is meant, as a general rule. Men, who will give thousands to this or that professedly benevolent object, will exact the last, even to the pound of flesh, where rent or usury is concerned.
Property is restricted to the productions of industry, when by that term, we mean what is properly a subject of traffic, between man and man. One man by labor can never produce any thing which he may justly for another man. This proposition all will admit, except the special advocates of "Patriarchalism." Any social organization recognizing the legality of such transactions, is fundamentally wrong, and must involved itself in derangement and ruin, unless the principle be abandoned. But if the principle be wrong, so must be its results; for it is this way generally that the justice or injustice of any principle is known. By the fruits shall the tree be truly judged. In a word, then, what is the effect of chattel slavery on business, generally? In the first place, it brings the slave in competition with all who labor. This must tend to make labor disreputable, and reduce its award; for why should I pay you a just compensation for your labor, when I can buy a man with my property, who will be compelled to work without remuneration! But then it must be perceived, that in consequence of this power of property, there would be a great demand for its use. Suppose I pay sixty dollars a year interest on the purchase money of my slave? He will earn me two hundred, and I shall be the gainer, in any reasonable contingency, by a hundred dollars at least. Now this must react on what is called free labor, in the same way as the competition is subjected to by the slave labor. Capital is needed to carry on the mechanical, manufacturing or agricultural business, will command higher rates, as the demand for it to purchase slaves shall increase, and as the transaction shall be found to pay. Thus this wrong affects more than the poor victim of oppression; it forces him into competition with other laborers, and while it reduces the products of their labor in value, it also increases the tax they have to pay for the privilege of toiling. Abolish slavery and you would abolish one of the main props of the system, which compensates capital out of the products of labor.
But the feature of our social system, which allows property in man, is only one of the wrongs, by which the existing claims of capital are sustained. The power of property over natural possessions is a still more general cause of its exactions, since its prevalence is almost universal; for while it gives control of one productive agent, also compels the labor of the other, as that cannot be exercised without a place and means, cannot exist indeed, without access to the other. Restore to man the right of person and possession; in other words the right to love and labor, and there would be no more thought of asking usance for land or money, than there would for a "cup of cold water," or for the privilege of looking at the sun. It might be indeed that disorganized trade, would enable the capitalist to make a shift for awhile to exact some trifle in that way; but competition, which they have made work so well in their favor, would destroy their craft, and a better system of commerce would soon sweep away the last vestige of usury. It is hoped that this reflection will be borne constantly in mind. Compensation to capital depends wholly or chiefly on its power to represent the active or the passive agent, the Man or the Soil. If it could not buy the one, nor monopolize the other in such quantities as to bring the rightful inheritor into actual dependence and want, then it must lose its power to increase of itself, or to compel compensations from the labor of society. This suggestion seems called for, since it is so inwrought with all our customs and hereditary modes of thought, that dividends should be made according to capital employed. Was not a large portion of or early arithmetic devoted to the elucidation and examples of rules for calculating interest, simple and compound, Discount, Stock dividends and Brokerage!
It may be inquired, "why battle against the effect, when the eradication of the cause can alone avail anything?" We are not fighting the effects, but only exhibiting the tendencies, that the true nature of the causes themselves may be known. The true cause, is the cupidity, which stimulates the few to invade the natural rights and possessions of others, and the ignorance and disunion of the many, which permits, authorizes, and enforces such wrongs. But it may be asked in return, where is the propriety of opposing slavery, land, monopoly, isolation of capital, and engrossment of commerce, when it is proposed to engraft on the new condition their chief results, the prerogative of capital to divide with labor the products of industry?
But space does not allow the farther pursuit of this train of thought. Some illustrations must be given showing how falsely capital and labor are at present conditioned. Capital should be the product of labor and that alone. How then can products share products? On no ground, but that the elder brother is entitle to more pay than the younger, for the same amount of labor. He must be paid in the first place for his work, and, in the next place, asks to be paid, out of what is due to the younger brother, for having been paid when he did work. It cannot be made nothing more nor less of than this. For if he has performed service in any way, for that he is to be paid. But remuneration to capital presupposes, to that extent, the idleness or uselessness of the capitalist. He is hungry. Industry steps forward to furnish him with bread. Will he repay, with his own labor, the labor necessary to produce this? Will he even give you any of his capital which he claims is the result of labor and skill? Not a whit of either. But then he will pay you, liberally. He will permit you to labor on this free God's earth, and sow and reap as much for yourself as you have given him. Could radicalism ask for anything more? He is naked, and industry steps forward and clothes him. Perhaps, now his purse strings will relax, and he will encroach for once on his principal! How futile the thought! He has a machine or "patent right" for one, bought by his property, or rather use of it, from the poor mechanic or inventor. These you may have? ah no—you may use, until you have made yourself as much as you have furnished him: no longer. He is destitute of the luxuries of other climes. Industry and adventure bring these to his very doors, nay put them up in their places, serve them on his table. Will he not do something for you now? You are again mistaken. He has gold hid away, clutched from its just place, as a measure and representative of value. That, however, he will not part with. He will let you use it for a few days or months, providing you secure him for the return of every farthing, by more than its value in other property. In a thousand ways he needs constantly your assistance. But he will pay you in no other. Labor as you may, with whatever fraternal affection, you shall never find the brother in him; that is, as a capitalist. It is not meant that many can wholly bury up their humane nature beneath this glittering, yet to the soul, corroding metal. Day after day, unless your excessive toil unfit you for thought, you will discover, that in place of being an aid, a creature of labor, as seemed, capital has become your tyrant and enslaver, and you have become a transformed creature and slave or your own productions.
But does not capital, as at present employed, increase the productions of labor, and facilitate exchange? How deluded! Its monopoly is the main obstacle to the success of any legitimate enterprise. You complain that there is not money enough in circulation to do business with. But how is this difficulty to be obviated. Ten thousand dollars, that is deeply needed, are in the possession of the miser. If you will pay him six or seven per cent, he may let you have the use of it. At the end, say of ten years, he has received it all back and ten thousand more, so that in the place of ten, there is twenty thousand withdrawn from circulation. In ten years more there will be forty thousand, and in the fourth period, eighty thousand dollars. A strange remedy truly; for while the isolation of the circulating medium has been going on in a duplicate geometrical ratio, in every period of ten or twelve years, the actual increase has been hardly perceptible. Paper may have been issued, indeed, but there is no addition of value, and in the place of facilitating business, facilitates the isolation of capital some two or three fold.
The same remark holds true with regard to the soil. The monopoly of this follows in the same ration, from the same cause. One farm let out for half its products, will enable the owner in ten years to monopolize another farm of equal value. These two, in ten years, two others. These four in another period four others; these eight, other eight, &c. Thus is forty years, the one farm, by legal and customary rates, has become sixteen, and in sixty year has multiplied to sixty four. But has there been any "increase" of the earth's surface, during these sixty years? not at all, but a relative decrease, inasmuch as, while this has remained stationary, thee has been, in all probability, an increase of the inhabitants of the globe. Can a rational being see any other result than bankruptcy in business, which must return, once in about each period, and utmost depression even to the starvation by millions of the tillers of the soil! While in the interior of the State of New York, a case came to my knowledge, of the actual verification of this proposition. A man when he came of age had inherited two farms, from his father, well furnished. He went to work on one, himself, and let the other to a landless person. In a few years he bought another and another, and last fall, had realized the sixteenth, being now between fifty and sixty years of age. The arrangement, which by the way is common through all the grazing portion of the State, was on of labor and capital, exactly; and the distribution is based on the principle that the results of such association are to be divided according to the amount of labor performed and the capital employed. As one man furnished all the capital for the use of these sixteen families, and they did all the labor, it is very easy to ascertain their virtual relations. The proprietor received as capital's share, three-fifths, the families, as labor's share, two-fifths. As one-fifth would cover all repairs and waste of property, which it is just should have been contributed by labor, the mere fact of possession, is here rewarded, in one individual, and amount equal to what is given to the labor of sixteen families. This perhaps may be regarded as a transition stage from serfdom or slavery towards fraternity and harmony; but one that should not be tarried at long, unless we would bring back the elder tyranny.
Capital now stands in the relation of oppressor and for to labor. Labor may not move its limbs, but at the beck of capital. Not a tithe, but a moiety of its productions must be paid as tax for the use of capital. It would cultivate the soil, but capital will not permit it, except on these conditions. A prohibition, ranging from a "dollar and quarter," to hundreds and even thousands of dollars is place on the cultivation of each acre of land on the globe. Industry would delve for the metals, which are deposited in every mountain, and make of them articles of use labor-saving machines; but capital barricades the way. These have become property. It would build ships for commerce, and bring up the treasures of the vast deep, but capital has engrossed the means, and will allow nothing to be done in any department, except she be allowed to realize, our of it, her "cent per cent." It is the greatest folly to think of emancipating labor by more rapid production. This will only decrease the necessity of capital to employ labor at all, and facilitate the accumulation, which is already crushing the sons of toil into the very dust. Any attempt at compromise is equally futile. Capital does not furnish employment, does not in any way award industry, does not facilitate exchange, but places her ban on all, and only allows them scope when full tribute has been awarded to her. And yet it is not seldom we hear the subject treated as though the accumulations of past labor, or rather of past robbery and slavery, was society's main dependence, and without it the most deplorable condition would be experience by labor. This is a great mistake. If all such ideas of property were abolished at once, should we not still have the soil, productive as ever? Should we not have all the metals and minerals, all the same constructive skill? Industry left free, could soon build itself a temporary residence, and the one half of its products, which it now pas to capital, would, in half a dozen years, reproduce all the essential forms of wealth, which now exist. It would not be found necessary to rebuild the pyramids, nor the penitentiaries, court-houses, kingly or ducal palaces, superceded works of internal improvement, the myriads of sectarian establishment, nor heaven high walls of partition, in a religious, social or practical sense, to separate man from man, and prevent the poor from contemplating the beauties of nature and the possessions of the wealthy. The navy of the world might be left, till "a more convenient season." The munitions of war, could also be dispensed with, until men got time to fight. A princely palace with squalid huts, "to match," might be superceded by a comfortable and airy mansion. The royal stables, (as the active happy life, would be unfavorable to the establishment of hospitals,) might be replaced by cheerful workshops; and after all this was done, materials would still be left. The prince and peasant, now co-laborers, would soon find out what employment was best suited to their talent. The useless and parasital professions and employments, especially the army, nary, the bar, the pulpit, and different kinds of trade and speculation, would greatly reinforce the ranks of labor and hasten the attainment of a condition, in which work would become attractive, because united with study, devotion, recreation, and amusement.
But suppose on the other hand, that labor should become defunct? The simple result must be that your army and navy, your useless professions must yield up the ghost at once. In a year nine tenths of the race would have died of starvation. The next year the other ninth would become extinct also. Can any one surmise how high "rents" would be in Broadway at the end of that time! Is it known, precisely, how much the wild beasts pay for the privilege of making dens of the palaces of Babylon's ancient kings, or what may be the price for cultivating one of the hanging gardens? or how high the price for house lots in Palmyra? It might be serviceable to inquire, how much cannon and bayonets will be worth in a time of peace? Would the crowns and all the paraphernalia of kingcraft and priestcraft, indeed bring more than they cost of actual labor.
To me it is very plain that this idol, capital, is a very phantom and bugbear, an incubus, which has no moving, life giving power, only the power to oppress and keep from moving the half waking, half unconscious form of labor. Wait till the recumbent man shall once open his eyes, or thoroughly stir himself, and the spell is gone, once and for ever. But mark, what horrid contortions, what strangling of the very breath and life circulation, a specter is able to effect! See, oh blinded brothers, what the real cause of your oppression! Not property, no monarchies, no hierarchies, not priestcraft nor kingcraft, but your own disorganization and disregard of each other's rights and possessions. The foes you would fight are but ghosts of the past, and of your own imagination. It is your supineness that has enslaved you, and you have bound upon each other the chains, which only the hand of brotherhood can unloose. Think not by compromise to effect anything, only manly, loving action will answer now. See ye not how the wealth ye have heaped up in this land and in Europe, is constantly used as an engine of oppression to yourselves and brethren over the water, struggling for political freedom! Know ye not, that the gold ye thing to relieve business with, will be sent to Austria and to Russia, as long as they can extort the interest from oppressed millions, by the cannons and bayonets it will furnish them! Know ye not that it will be employed to facilitate a monopoly of the soil, upon which all depend for subsistence, and the title to which is as perfect in you, in every son of toil, as in the "Lord of the manor," even more perfect if you labor upon it and he does not! It will be employed to monopolize the bread you consume, the knowledge you would acquire; to perpetuate the superstitions and sectarian establishments, which have made you foes to each other, and caused you to wade through seas of blood. It will tax in proportion to its increase every moment's labor, every hour's repose. Every thing that you shall eat, drink, wear, see or hear, will be measured, and in addition to the cost of production, there will be added, an impost as capital's dividend. If you employ a teacher of righteousness to break to you the bread of life, you must pay not only for the service, but for the capital that was used, in procuring his education. If you meet to worship your God, you must pay your contribution to greed in the form of rent or interest. If in the defence of a righteous claim you would employ an advocate to secure justice from the laws, you must not only pay him, but a tax as interest on the capital and time employed in preparing him for his vocation. Thus you find the labor of the past, so far from being an aid, it is the main obstacle to your success, and all attempt at progress with this before you will only increase its potency, as the school boy's ball of snow grows larger at every roll, until it becomes immovable; and blocks up his own pathway.

What then, says the timid reformer, shall be done? Capital and labor have becomes strangely inverted by position, but you would not advocate a destruction of one or the other? Certainly not. I would say to the boy, tugging and sweating to move the mountain of his own creation, you can never succeed in that way. If the ball will not allow you to proceed, just step our, though it be into a deep drift and go round it. The exertions, which here are important for good, will soon bring you to a beaten path again. Leave it to the action of the sun and rain, since it will not accompany you. To labor I would say, let capital alone. You can get on without that, that can not go on, cannot preserve its existence for a day without you. To capital I would say, accompany labor in the accomplishment of its destiny, that thereby thy existence may be preserved, it will be better for both, but infinitely better for thee. Do not attempt to ride on his shoulders any longer, however, lest the luxuries his hand is compelled to furnish, ultimately intoxicate thee, and in a moment of fancied security, the desperate Sinbad release himself from thy grasp, and with the first weapon he can find, crush thy dominative head, even though there were no use in it.
The only peace then that should be sought, is a return to natural relations, where the labor of to-day is paid as well as the labor of yesterday, and each man may have what is his own by natural possession or actual creation. Freedom of labor and conservation of wealth, is the only union at all desirable. This is alike just and beneficial to both. It is idle to preach cooperation to capital, as it would be to preach peace to the Czar of Russia. Capital knows, if you do not, my brother, that in isolation, monopoly, engrossment of the passive agent and possession of the human being, lies all its power to accumulate, or even to preserve itself in existence.
Republicanism, the assertion and recognition of human rights, must precede any realization of the true social ideal. An organization, built up on any other foundation, will be liable to be swept away at any moment, by the mighty tides which shall purify the political and social waters, the revolutions and the bankruptcies, which shall continue "unto the end." But shall the socialist, then, become a politician? No, and yes. Not in any party sense, not by attempts to place one set of men or another, in office of power; but by a calm and dignified assertion of principles; and what is more, by the arrangement of their own affairs, after the ultimate ideal truth, as far and as fast, as it can possible be done. One organization, where labor was freed from all tax to wealth, where the capital was strictly preserved, would do more towards abolishing the unequal laws under which we life, than any political system. Because the common mind cannot decide on the working of principles, as well before as after an experiment has been tried. It is the mystification of the close relation between cause and effect, that gives the demagogue his influence over the masses, who have all power in this country, and indeed in all countries.
The chief obstacle in the way of human progress, is the ignorance of the majority, in regard to natural rights and the operation of the varied schemes of government, finance and trade. He shall hasten the New Era, who shall devise a plan of transition, which will present to the sensuous perceptions of mankind, a demonstration of the divine ideal. Still we have society, government, trade, and all things as they are; is there any place which may serve our Archimedes' lever as a fulcrum? If there is not we have done little towards remodeling the world, and our lever itself is well nigh useless. If there is, the whole form of society may be changed, without one drop of human blood. Earth's tyrants of the scepter, of the chain, and of the purse, may be left "alone in their glory," or welcomed to the ranks of labor and of Brotherhood. If no better offer, the present writer will give his own suggestions, in due time, with regard to a method of transition, which shall be simple and just and natural.