The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Arena, Volume 4, No. 21, August, 1891

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Title: The Arena, Volume 4, No. 21, August, 1891

Author: Various

Editor: B. O. Flower

Release date: January 4, 2007 [eBook #20281]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Richard J. Shiffer
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at




No. XXI.

AUGUST, 1891.


August, 1891
The Unity of Germany
Should the Nation Own the Railways?
Where Must Lasting Progress Begin?
My Home Life
The Tyranny of Nationalism
Individuality in Education
The Working-Women of To-day
The Independent Party and Money at Cost
Psychic Experiences
A Decade of Retrogression
Old Hickory’s Ball
The Era of Woman


Elizabeth Cady Stanton (signed "Sincerely yours Elizabeth Cady Stanton")



The Idea Whence Sprang the Fact.”[1]

Since the Great French Revolution of 1789 and its immediate consequence in the military despotism of Bonaparte, nothing has occurred that has so convulsed the Old World and so altered the conditions of men and things, as the establishment of the United German Empire in 1870. The men of our time are obliged to know how this event came about, or remain in ignorance of all that has happened during the twenty years following it—that is, to ignore their own political status.

Now two records of this enormous change in all our destinies exist; as yet there are but two, and modern men are bound in duty to take cognizance of them. One is the famous “History,” written in Germany by Heinrich von Sybel; the other the work of Prof. Lévy Brühl, published in France. Both must be read.[2]

The remarkable book of M. Lévy Brühl on the reconstruction of the German Empire cannot be read by itself or separated from the scarcely less remarkable one of Heinrich von Sybel, the fifth and latest volume of which has just appeared. The two require to be studied together, for though starting from opposite standpoints, they explain each other and distinctly show the impartial reader where to recognize the real raison d’ ètre of German unity. When Sybel speaks, as he constantly does, of the creation of Germanic unity, after the war of 1870, he, as a matter of fact, adopts the French theory, while the independent French writer exposes from a far more German point of view, what258 have been and what are the causes underlying the present formation of the various component parts of Germany into a State. The title of either tells sufficiently its own tale. Sybel proclaims at once the:—

Begründing des Deutschen Reiches durch Wilhelm!” whilst Lévy Brühl announces the progress of the “National Conscience as Developed in a Race.

Sybel’s is the narrative of a past that is doubly ended, the past of a country and of a political system, the past of Prussia as personified by the Hohenzollerns, and of a military and oligarchical absolutism as represented by Prince Bismarck and Marshal Von Moltke. It is the chronicle of an epoch whose glories, from 1700 to 1870, none can dispute, but whose real life was extinct, and whose capacity of future expansion in its original sense was stopped at Sédan, or a few months later, at Versailles. Sybel conceives his history as a thoroughly well-trained functionary must conceive it; he is brought up in traditional conventionalities, and is rather even an official than a “public” servant.

The foreign author, on the contrary, feels what has lurked during long ages in the soul of the innominate throng of the people, and been expressed in the thoughts and impulses of such men as Hagern, Scharnhorst, Gueiseman, and Stein, Germans, patriots who taught Prussia to speak, think, act, and embody the inspirations, passions, and instincts of a whole land; arousing the conscience and vindicating the honor of seemingly divided communities whose hearts were already one.

No sooner had M. Lévy Brühl’s book appeared than the effect was evident; it was felt that it told the true truth (“la verité vraie”) as the French say; that it set forth the real “raison d’ ètre” of the astounding achievement that had taken the world by surprise, puzzling the patented politicians on one bank of the Rhine almost as much as those upon the other.[3]

The public of the whole universe will remember that at the time of the Emperor Frederick’s death the great question259 first arose as to who was the initiator (or inventor) of the “United German Empire,” and from all sides poured forth the declarations of eye and ear witnesses; this was the moment of the Gessellen-incident, and the outbreak of hostility between Prince Bismarck and Baron de Rozzenbach and Gustav Freitag, the novelist, and the celebrated jurisconsult for whose illegal imprisonment the high-handed chancellor had later to atone. But there apparently resulted from all these disputes that, as the glory of “priority of invention” was so eagerly sought for, there must have been an “inventor!” That was in reality the point on which Sybel “spoke,” and he therefore entitled his “history” that of the “Creation of the German United Empire, by William I.”

This it was not; but this was at the same time the view it suited the vanity of the French nation to take of it; accordingly, Sybel’s theory was rapidly accepted, and French public opinion did its utmost to cause the unity of Germany, as recognized in 1871, to be regarded as an accident, the creation of one man, promoted, for that matter ungrudgingly, to the rank of the “greatest European statesman,” but whose work, being that of an individual, and therefore accidental, might quite conceivably be eventually undone. Sybel’s theory, being official and Bismarckian, puts forth in truth the French conception, and is, as a matter of fact, the very opposite of the national German one.

The Germans who agreed with Sybel were the men of the old regime, with far less, be it said, of the “cute” chancellor himself, than of Marshal Moltke, the chancellor being far more distant from the materialism of the “Grand Fritz” with his “big battalions” than were the veterans (however glorious) of the drilled and disciplined Prussian army. Bismarck was divided between two creeds: he knew too much psychology to believe solely in the supremacy of pipeclay, but he was at the same time not averse to the creation of a revived German empire by his own genius.

Hence chiefly the confusion; for men’s minds were confused,—in France determinedly, and even in Germany, (owing to the still enduring force of obsolete opinions and antiquated habits of thought and action) uncertain.

When the war had once clearly shown what its end would be, they were few who could appreciate it. In France where were they who had ever heard the truth about “1806 and260 Jéna”? or who, after the 4th September, ‘70, were capable of realizing that the just retribution for Jéna was Sédan? All glory was given to one man—to Bismarck. For the six long months, till March, ‘71, he was the arch-destroyer—nothing else was taken into account; if he chose to establish a new holy Roman empire, of course he could do it; but it would be the work of his Titanic will, and nothing on earth could resist—since France could not! Thus reasoned French vanity, and if this curious condition of the public mind in France be not understood, the reconstitution of united Germany into a great cohesive state will never be rightly attained as a matter of fact.

France, therefore, continued (and did so until quite lately) to hold to the individual or accidental theory of a military unity achieved by fortuitous victories, to which the constant agitations of a whole people for hundreds of years, were in no sense conducive. Another fact that must also be acknowledged is, that this theory once firmly established, any remorse for the mysterious crimes of Napoleon I. was diminished if not erased. On the contrary, his conquests, his violent despotism, his wonderful supremacy—unjust in every sense, immoral, tyrannical, equally acquired and forfeited by the Corsican Invader, was regarded as an example; when defeat had to be recognized as undeniable, the national delusion soon came to take the form of retrieval, and the notion gained ground that what la chance or the luck of a great statesman had put together, might, from the same cause, be taken to pieces again!

Granted the principle of personal intervention, of the success of either one man or of even a group of two or three leading spirits, who was the original inventor, who the doer of the deed, the framer of the fact that threatened the world with a new master?

This query was not started for eighteen long years; not until the catastrophe that threatened the House of Hohenzollern with the loss of its noblest son, served to recall to the mind of all Europe what a thorough hero and citizen, what a perfect, undeviating German the crown prince had always been.

The first emperor of United Germany, the agent of the illustrious chancellor’s will, had gone to his eternal rest when the German mind began to reflect that only a dying man stood between the late ruler and a boy emperor! But was not261 that dying man the creator (if creator there had been) of the restored Teutonic state? Did not the revived empire spring from the races in which Prussia was incarnate? was it not in good earnest the Hohenzollern line, the descendant of the Great Elector that answered for the regeneration? Thence the dispute between the partisans of Bismarck and those of Frederick III. Supposing a creation according to both Heinrich von Sybel and the chroniclers of French vain-gloriousness, who was the creator? The answer of history was, “No one.” The German nation—or truer still, the thought of all Germany, for long ages, was the genuine source, it was the very soul of the entire people that from the ancient Germania of the Roman, breathed anew in the remnants of its primeval entity and clamored for its old integrity.

But we must not outstrip chronology; the first record of the events of the war of 1870, and of the mighty changes brought on thereby, is that of Sybel, not altogether wrongly entitled an “historical monument.” Professor Sybel’s five volumes do, assuredly, constitute a history founded on documentary evidence, if ever such a one existed, but for that very reason they are, perhaps, somewhat wanting in actual life. They are fashioned after the methods employed and approved of in bygone days, and present rather the character of a register than a record of deeds done by living men. As far as the testimony of hard, dry acts went, it is probably impeachable; but we then come to the question, Is documentary evidence in such a case sufficient to give all that is true? Is not truth, where human impulses and irrationalities are concerned, derived from sources lying higher than the regions sacred to “Blue Books”? Whereas it was to the certificates vouchsafed by state papers, and instruments of such like order, that Sybel’s reliability was chiefly due. Once admit the value of these vouchers (and their corroborative weight none can deny), and it becomes difficult to overrate the importance of Sybel’s still unconcluded “Begründung des Deutschen Reiches.”

The reader who for the first time takes cognizance of the contents of these formidable volumes, is overwhelmed by the amount of attestations they present him with, by his own inability to refute them, or by counter statements substitute a truer appreciation of what did really occur. The dry262 narrative of mere fact is thus, but the impression it should produce as of a fact lived through is wanting.

This history of Professor Sybel’s is a Prussian one; for which it is obvious that such extraordinary materials would not have been furnished him had it not been tacitly understood that his final verdict must be completely favorable to the Emperor Wilhelm I. and his powerful minister.

In the curious and wide-spreading complications, whence eventually resulted the Franco-German war of 1870, there are two distinct parts: the part before hostilities broke out, and the part after the victory of the Germans might be inevitably foreseen: the first period counts in its dramatis personæ all the states and all the statesmen of Europe. From the Crimean War to the cession of Venetia to Italy through France, there is not an event that is not a connecting link in a long serpentine chain. At the moment this may have escaped the eye, but, once fixed in its one perspective of distance, the chain shows unbroken and all is far less than has been supposed,—occasioned by any arts, manœuvres, or intrigues of the chief actors; the vulgar notions of Prince Bismarck’s incessant wiles, or of Louis Napoleon’s base designs against his neighbors may be discarded as relatively subordinate. The incidents that marked the gigantic game of chess played (not in Europe only) from the overthrow of the Orleans dynasty to the death of Friedrich III. and the fall of Bismarck in the winter of last year were neither the outcome of individual Machiavelianism nor entirely attributable to chance; both were all but in equal degree cause and effect. The actors personally in each case replied to the suggestions of circumstances they had but indirectly helped to bring about.

From 1848-50 to 1889-90, observe the rapid succession of so-called “unexpected” events: The rise to the rule of Democracy in France; the restoration to power of the despotic Bonapartist empire, whence issued the revival of the nationalistic theory, leading on one side to revolution, on the other to conservative resistance and the supremacy of a warlike state like Prussia. We need go no further for the determining cause of the two sovereign influences! Cavour and Bismarck, the two men who predominate our half century, spring from a common necessity, and in reality emerge from the conference of 1856, misnamed the “Crimean Race!”263

“I was the egg,” the chancellor was wont to say, “whence my royal master foresaw that unity might perhaps be hatched;” and on Orsini’s scaffold the Piedmontese seer knew full well that the Corsican Carbonaro could not elude the fate lying in wait for him, disguised in the freedom of Italy. You can dissever none of these facts one from the other, and we now approach the “one man principle.” The protagonists stand face to face, rather than side by side, but both are equally the unconscious promoters of that antagonism between Germany and France which, in fact, has shaped, and still shapes, the whole policy of Europe.

From this single grand outline, all the minor lines either start, or towards it tend, indirectly, in convergent curves.

From the vast system formed by the monster-questions—United Germany, the Latin races, the East, the future of catholicism and the papacy, the strife of liberty against despotism—from all these parent problems you can detach none of the smaller incidents of the age; you are obliged to take count of the little Danish Campaign, which taught Prussia those deficiencies, impelling her directly to the attainment of her future military omnipotence, and which, under the abortive attempts of the Saxon minister, M. de Beust,* gave a timid reminder to Germany of what her unity had been and might once again be. Each incident, however local or however remote, formed a feature of the whole; between 1854 and 1870, you cannot ignore the would-be secession of the Southern Confederates, which ended in making “all America” the counterpoise to our older world—neither dare you neglect the Indian meeting whence England issued, clad in moral as in political glory, and gave the noblest sign of the Christian significancy of the Victorian Era; all holds together, men and facts succeed each other in quick alternation; the light that fades on one hand shines with dazzling glare on the other. Cavour dies. Greatest of all, and genuine creator, with his disappearance the equilibrium is endangered. Right ceases to reign, force asserts itself, and Bismarck, ironhanded, invincible, holds sway over a scared, unresisting, one may say a soulless world.

This is the turning-point. The one man theory apparently endures; but physically and morally, the vision of disintegration rises, threatening all; and whence the “New Order” is to come, above all morally, none divine.264

We reach here the close of the preliminary period. Up to the 4th of September, 1870, and for a few years beyond, State policy is the proper name for whatever occurs; we deal to a large extent with mathematical quantities, with impersonal obstructions. Statesmen and statecraft are in their place, and fill it; individuals, however distinguished, are, as it were, sheathed in collective symbols and represented by principles. Documentary evidence suffices now! Treaties, minutes, diplomatic reports, instruments of all descriptions, are really the requisite agents of this inanimate diplomatic narration. State papers are the adequate expression, the exclusive speech of mere states, and of this speech Heinrich v. Sybel is one of the foremost living masters.

It would be next to impossible to find anywhere a loftier, clearer, or more minutely correct record of what preceded and caused the war of ‘70, than in the earlier volumes of Sybel’s “History”; for up to the reverses of France, and the substitution of German for French predominance, we are still—in all connected with Germany,—in presence of the Prussia of the past, of the Prussia whose social conditions were fixed by Frederick the Great. Men are simply pawns upon the board; their fate has no influence on others—the fate of kings, queens, and high chivalric orders, is alone of any import to the constituted realm. Nations obey and question not. They are represented by mouldy, defunct formulæ, and as yet no living popular voice, save that of the revolution of 1789, has been raised to ask where was the underlying life of the innominate crowd? But the revolution spoke too loudly, and like the tragedy queen in Hamlet, “protested too much.”

In external Europe, and mostly in over-drilled Prussia, the élite only spoke, and under strict military surveillance, exercised by privilege of birth, the officer’s uniform remained the sign of all title to pre-eminence.

For these reasons this history must be accepted as the perfect chronicle of the occurrences which marked the time before and immediately after the fall of Sédan.

When later the dormant life that was underneath awoke, breathed, and became manifest, Sybel’s official tone no longer struck the true note; the heart of peoples had begun to beat, and disturbed its vibrations. Humanity was astir everywhere, and setting the barriers of etiquette at defiance.265 Not only were dry registers based on blue books insufficient, but the failure of the vital power that engenders other and further life began to be felt. There was no pulse; the current was stagnant, had no onward flow.

When this moment came, the truth of the narrative ceased. Henceforth, it told of only the things of another age, and told them in the dialect of a bygone tongue. It was the official report of what had taken place in Old Russia written involuntarily under the omnipotent but benumbing inspiration of the spirit of caste.


When the volume of M. Lévy Brühl appeared in September of last year, its name was instantaneously found for it by one of the leaders of historical criticism in France. Ere one week had passed, M. Albert Sorel had christened it “l’ Idée elle Fait,”[4] and the public of Paris had ratified the title by all but universal acclaim.

In those words M. Sorel proclaimed the concrete sense of the book, and no doubt was left as to what was the meaning of the author who had so freely undertaken to investigate the “developments of the German national conscience.”

The pith of the whole lies in Professor Brühl’s own expression: “In German unity,” he says, “the idea precedes everything else, engenders the fact l’est l’Unité nationale d’abord; Unité l’etat ensuite,” and nowhere in any historical phenomenon has the idea had a larger part to claim. But here you have at once to get rid of what, in Sybel’s narrative, rests on mere documentary evidence! All anachronisms have to be set aside. As against the vigor of Lévy Brühl’s living men, the make-believe of the past, with its caste-governed puppets, stares you in the face. After the rout at Sédan, after the startling transmutation of long dormant but still live ideas into overwhelming facts, you realize how entirely the mere Prussian chronicle of events in their official garb deals with what is forever extinct. These dead players have lost their significancy; they but simulate humanity from the outside,—are simply “embroidered vestments stuffed like dolls with bran,” or like the moth-eaten uniforms of the great Frederick in the gallery at Potsdam.266

When Lévy Brühl, alluding to Stein and his searching reforms after the disasters of later years, says: “Il voulait une nation vivante” he wanted a living nation! He unchains the great idea from the bondage where it had lain for centuries, and whence the men of 1813 set it loose; he reinstates the past even to its legendary sources, and evokes memories which were those of heroic ages, and which had still power to inspire the present, and re-create what had once so splendidly lived. This life is in truth the German idea in its utmost truth; it was life and power that these men wanted, the life born in them from their earliest hour and kept sacred through all time by their poetry, their song, their native tongue.

It is all this which is German and not Prussian. The Hohenzollerns have nothing to do with all this idealism,—and it is this which constitutes the peculiar and sovereign spirit of German unity to which the modern philosophy of Frederick II. was so long a stranger, and to which the Iron Chancellor became a hearty convert only at the close; the chivalrous element of the great elector is but a link between what had been the Holy Roman Empire and what is to be the national union after Leipsic and the War of Freedom—culminating in its supreme and inevitable consequence in 1871. The heroes (and they were heroes) of the distant North were as Brandenburgers, “electors,” component parts, be it not forgotten, of a Teutonic whole, “of one great heart,” (as Bunsen wrote long years ago to Lord Houghton),[5] “though we did not know it.”

Perhaps the greatest superiority of Professor Lévy Brühl lies in the unity of description he employs in order to bring home to the reader the unity of the subject he treats. He sees the whole as a whole, as it really is, all being contained in all, and nothing in past or present omitted. This is the truth of the Germanic oneness of species, and the failure to conceive it of most writers of our day is the chief cause of confusion. It is a vast, coherent vision of things taken in by mind and eye from the Niebelungen Lied to the wholesale captivity of the French army, in the autumn of 1870, and when not thus conceived, incomplete. To those who lived in and through the period comprised between the war of the Danish267 Duchies and the re-conquest of Alsace-Lorraine, no item of even prehistoric times can remain absent; the spirit of German unity is everywhere, pervades everything, and those alone who thoroughly master this are capable of painting it to others’ senses.

It is very well to take a Leibniz or Frederick the Great for a starting-point, but it all goes immeasurably farther back than that. Luther and his Bible open one large historic gate. The Bible heads all! In 1813, writes General Clausewitz to the so-called Great Gascon, the prime impetus was a religious one, and his own words are: “If I could only hang a Bible to the equipments of my troopers I could do with them all that Cromwell did with his Ironsides!” Two centuries before, this had been the feeling of Gustavus Adolphus, who fought for Protestant Germany with his Bible at his saddle-bow.

Luther is the one predominant Teuton of the centuries, after the close of the middle ages, and though he ceases to be present in the flesh in 1516, he never dies. The inspiration of the German soul endures and lives in every variety of art or expression. Luther is perpetuated in Handel, and technically, even his “Feste Burg” is the first note of the “Inspirate” in “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth!

It is only the most inattentive of historical students who can afford to ignore this. No modern æsthetician from the Rhine to the Spree affects to dispute the succession of Teutonic thought, in its various forms of passion, from Beethoven to Goethe, from Schiller, Jean Paul, or Weber, or Ravner, or Kleist, or Immermann, down to the latest high priest of the pre-historic cult—down to Richard Wagner himself! It was precisely this that the Emperor Frederick knew as crown prince, and that the chancellor had to learn. With the crown prince all was present. The farthest past was with him; the leaves of the uralte forests had whispered their dream lore in his ears as in those of the Siegfried of the Niebelungen; he had seen Otto von Wittelsbach strike dead his very Kaiser for breach of faith[6] and stood by at the Donnersberg, when mighty Rudolph’s son slew Adolf of Napan for his base attempt at usurpation. He knew it all, legend or chronicle; no secret was hidden268 from him, and the national pulse beat in him with fiery throb from the first hour when the national conscience had been touched. The chancellor was chilled by his own statecraft, and the king, as he then was, had witnessed the Napoleonic wars.

Between the crown prince and Bismarck, however, there existed one point of contact. Each was a Deutsche Student, and there, later on, was to be found the true conversion of the chancellor to national ideas.

As in every genuine lover of his country (and that Prince Bismarck is), there lay latent in the famous “White Cuirassier” the same ideal capacity of warlike action and intellectuality that so distinguished Frederick II. No one understood better the complex son of Carlyle’s roystering barrack hero, no one knew in reality more deeply that the ideas planted by him in men’s minds were those of the majesty of intelligence, of the royalty of humanity’s brain power.

Count Bismarck proved his political foresight by the rapidity with which he seized on the Schleswig-Holstein question as being the axis on which turned the entire evolution (if ever it should be possible!) of the imperial German unity. About that he hesitated not one moment. He adopted the whole theory of Dahlmann, who alone spoke it out in words in 1848-9, but he feared to plunge at one leap into the vortex of his own threatening conclusions and tried for several years to stave off the “pay day.” He was somewhat slower to recognize the identity of feeling through all the Germanic races, to realize the equally strong vibration, the psychologic harmony quivering through heart and soul from North to South, through the mysteriously hidden dramas of fifteen hundred years. He believed himself a narrow Particularist Borussian, a “Pomeranian Giant,” and let a score of years go by before clearly making out by touch that the strange change of tonality, of sound, and significance that superposed the patriotism of the South to that of the North was a mere inharmonic change, and that according to the rotation of the two circles, each, in reality, underlay the other in turn.

It would be a fatal mistake to imagine that M. von Bismarck allowed himself to be led into the Danish campaign. He did nothing to bring it about, but the instant it showed itself on the cards he took advantage of it in the269 most predetermined, authoritative way, leaving his Austrian accomplice and victim no possibility of escape. From the hour when, in 1853, he boarded Count Richberg on the Carlsbad Railroad, and forced his enemy of the Francfort Bund to become his humble servant and carry out all his designs, to the hour when, in 1865, he drove Franz Joseph to sign the Condiminium on what he knew was a mere waste paper, he was resolved to turn to account the extraordinary opportunity offered him by the incredible blindness and insensate terror of revolution of his allies. In the Austrians, the dread of what the smaller States, encouraged by Hungary, might attempt, paralyzed every other consideration, and besides that, the abortive little plans of Count Beust, in Saxony, served to point out to him what other Germans were, in a purely German sense, thinking of, and he decided that the grand historic game thrust upon his perceptions and waited for by all around him, should be played by himself alone. Then he played it, not before seeing at once what it must entail, but by no means assured that he could win.

And then, they who watched him nearest and knew him best, know how he played that game, mindful of every event that filled the long history of the past, living over again all the struggles, all the glories and defeats of all the European nations far or near, finding examples both to imitate or avoid, losing sight of nothing, from Gregory VII. to Gutenberg, from papal obscurantism to the Reformation’s blaze of light; from Wallenstein’s murder to the treaty of Utrecht; from Richelieu to the scaffold of Louis XVI., and while calculating every catastrophe, keeping steadily on his way.

This, the fearful period between the Crimean War, when first Cavour stepped forth to the incident of Ems, when the die was cast, this was the really magnificent passage in the great chancellor’s career, for this was the time of possible doubt when responsibility lay so heavy that to elude it might be called prudence, and which to have survived is already a proof of superiority over common humanity.

And here we assert the true grandeur of the precursor,—of the one whom we have called the inventor, and who undeniably was so—of Cavour! There can be no question that his own intimate familiarity with the details of the Bond of Virtue and the War of Freedom[7] of the glorious270 epoch when modern Germany headed and achieved the victorious movement against the world’s debasement,—brought distinctly to Bismarck’s mental vision the splendor of Cavour’s impossibly unequal contest for Italian freedom! The situations were essentially much alike, but so much grander for the Italian statesman, Italy’s odds being so immeasurably longer! But still the likeness came out, and the future chancellor could in no way aspire to be an initiator. The end was still a gigantic one, and one to which no true, brave patriot dared be false as an ideal,—but how as to the execution? As to the practical means of carrying out conceptions that might daily be doomed to alteration?

There it was again that the figure of Cavour arose supreme; his long, inexhaustible patience, his undying hopes, his sacrifices day by day of the very springs of life for a self-imposed duty,—these were his titles to immortal fame, these constituted his sovereign right to success. But was not the worst probation over when Waterloo was won, and was it not an accepted theory that the Vienna Congress had settled all the vexed questions of ancient Europe? Any further movement, therefore, might seem merely a disturbance. This, for conservative statesmen above all, was a dilemma.

Germany had liberated not Germany only, but the world in 1813, and had already had her Cavours!

There was no denying it: the Cavour of Germany was Stein. But was the work done? Had the Congress of Vienna settled anything, for was that still left to do without which the independence and well-being of forty millions of Germans was unguaranteed, and the peace of all Europe uninsured? If so, what remained to be achieved? to complete what the German Cavour, the Precursor Stein, had begun, to embody and make real the glorious dreams of which Queen Louise had been the symbol, the Joan of Arc?[8]

That, indeed, brought the Hohenzollerns on the scene, and lent to prosaic history its legend, giving to Frederick’s “big battalions” the white-robed heroine who should lead them on.

Whether, through the long years of indecision, during which disorder and revolution seemed the danger to be271 averted, the future “Chancellor of Iron” matured his plans after the manner of Newton, by “forever thinking of them” is still a question to be adequately answered by himself alone. This much is certain that when, in 1863-64, the subject of the Duchies cast its shadow on the path, it revealed its importance to Bismarck, as it had done fourteen years previously to Dahlmann, and stood forth distinctly as the initial syllable of the one mystical word, Unity.

Schleswig-Holstein was, as a matter of fact, and by all its several complications, the German question; it was its sign and portent, and if action of some sort were not taken thereupon, the door set ajar was closed upon the future, for a generation at least. Palmerston’s declaration, than which no unwiser one was ever made, touching the insanity of the man who should seek to understand the enigma of the Danish Duchies, was adopted in England solely from the dense and inconceivable ignorance of the British mind on all German topics, and the equally inexplicable but inborn dislike of all British politicians to grapple with any serious study of them.

It was the problem to which no German of the North could show indifference; and it was the one subject which brought Prussia to the fore, and put her reigning house in the van, forcing the Hohenzollerns into predominance. This was a crucial point, and wondrous to record! the will of Bismarck on that exceedingly curious detail brought the Hapsburgs together with the Hohenzollerns; Frederick with Marie-Therèse, Wallenstein’s camp with Rebels, in an unescapable atmosphere of rank Germanism!

But here again the first step of the forthcoming ruler was taken in obedience to an irresistible, though, perhaps, unavowed, national suggestion. The sense of all that the past had given to German history, to the power of German thought, formed a part of Bismarck’s very nature, and spite of the timidity of his experienced statecraft, he could not disobey the promptings of the German conscience.

When the quick-witted French public applied to Professor Lévy Brühl’s work the title of “The idea whence comes the fact,” they awarded it its permanent signification; it is the development of the German conscience that causes the imperial unity of Germany, and no one is more thoroughly aware of that than the famous chancellor.272

We feel with whomsoever was a witness of the crowning struggle, that nothing can even paint its gigantic character more aptly than the concluding phrase of the now famous French historian:—

… “Thus was formed the virtual German nation,—the nation that willed to be, and for long years could not be because reality refused to bear out practically all its ideals. It was in truth, l’ame qui cherche un corps!”

These words can never be improved upon. The chancellor knows their truth, as the Kronprinz knew it, but the years lying between them threw a certainty of glory into one which the other could not attain to,—and Bismarck, too, was a man of old Prussia, of her ancient traditions and formalities, while the crown prince was modern amongst moderns—a soldier, yes! but pre-eminently a man, a citizen; but though each felt his conviction differently, its strength was one and the same in both.

The unity of Germany was the creation of no individual. German unity and the imperial unity sprang from the whole past of German history and German thought. The State existing now is the outcome of Germany’s own self, of the idea, of the soul of Germany.273



PART II.—The Advantages of National Ownership.

First would be the stability and practical uniformity of rates now impossible, as they are subject to change by hundreds of officials, and are often made for the purpose of enriching such officials. State and federal laws have had the effect of making discriminations less public and less numerous, but it is doubtful if they are less effective in enriching officials and their partners, although it may be necessary to be more careful in covering tracks. That they are continued is within the cognizance of every well-informed shipper, and are made clear by such cases as that of Counselman and Peasley, now before the United States Supreme Court. Counselman and Peasley—one a large shipper and the other a prominent railway official—refused to testify before a United States grand jury upon the plea that to do so might criminate themselves; the federal law making it a criminal offence to make or benefit by discriminating rates. Counselman had been given rates on corn, some five cents less per hundred pounds than others, from Kansas and Nebraska points to Chicago.

The outrageous character of this discrimination will appear when we reflect that five cents per one hundred pounds is an enormous profit on corn that the grower has sold at from eighteen to twenty-two cents per one hundred pounds, and that such a margin would tend to drive every one but the railway officials and their secret partners out of the trade, as has practically been the case on many western roads. Doubtless such rates are sometimes made in order to take the commodity over a certain line, and there is no divide with the officials; but the effect upon the competitors of the favored shipper and the public is none the less injurious, and such practices would not obtain under national274 ownership, when railway users would be treated with honesty and impartiality, which the experience of half a century shows to be impossible with corporate ownership.

Referring to the rate question in their last report, the Interstate Commerce Commission says: “If we go no farther than the railroad managers themselves for information, we shall not find that it is claimed that railroad service, as a whole, is conducted without unjust discriminations.”

“If rates are secretly cut, or if rebates are given to large shippers, the fact of itself shows the rates which are charged to the general public are unreasonable, for they are necessarily made higher than they ought to be in order to provide for the cut or to pay the rebate.”

“If the carrier habitually carries a great number of people free, its regular rates are made the higher to cover the cost; if heavy commissions are paid for obtaining business, the rates are made the higher that the net revenues may not suffer in consequence; if scalpers are directly or indirectly supported by the railroad companies, the general public refunds to the companies what the support costs.”

The Commission quotes a Chicago railway manager as saying: “Rates are absolutely demoralized and neither shippers, passengers, railways, or the public in general make anything by this state of affairs. Take passenger rates for instance; they are very low; but who benefits by the reduction? No one but the scalpers…. In freight matters the case is just the same. Certain shippers are allowed heavy rebates, while others are made to pay full rates…. The management is dishonest on all sides, and there is not a road in the country that can be accused of living up to the interstate law. Of course when some poor devil comes along and wants a pass to save him from starvation, he has several clauses of the interstate act read to him; but when a rich shipper wants a pass, why he gets it at once.”

From years of ineffectual efforts on the part of State and national legislatures and commissions to regulate the rate business, it would appear that the only remedy is national ownership, which would place the rate-making power in one body with no inducement to act otherwise than fairly and impartially, and this would simplify the whole business and relegate an army of traffic managers, general freight agents, soliciting agents, brokers, scalpers, and hordes of traffic275 association officials to more useful callings while relieving the honest user of the railway of intolerable burthens.

Under corporate control, railways and their officials have taken possession of the majority of the mines which furnish the fuel so necessary to domestic and industrial life, and there are but few coalfields where they do not fix the price at which so essential an article shall be sold, and the whole nation is thus forced to pay undue tribute.

Controlling rates and the distribution of cars, railway officials have driven nearly all the mine owners who have not railways or railway officials for partners, to the wall. For instance, in Eastern Kansas, on the line of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Company, were two coal companies, whose plants were of about equal capacity, and several individual shippers. The railway company and its officials became interested in one of the coal companies, and such company was, by the rebate and other processes, given rates which averaged but forty per cent. of the rates charged other shippers, the result being that all the other shippers were driven out of the business, a part of them being hopelessly ruined before giving up the struggle. In addition to gross discriminations in rates this railway company practised worse discriminations in the distribution of cars; for instance, during one period of five hundred and sixty-four days, as was proven in court, they delivered to the Pittsburg Coal Company, 2,371 empty cars to be loaded with coal, although such company had sale for, and capacity to produce and load, during the same period, more than 15,000 cars. During the same time this railway company delivered to the Rogers Coal Company, in which the railway company and C. W. Rogers, its vice-president and general manager, were interested, no less than 15,483 coal cars, while four hundred and fifty-six were delivered to individual shippers. In other words, the coal company owned in large part by the railway and its officials was given eighty-two per cent. of all the facilities to get coal to market, although the other shippers had much greater combined capacity than had the Rogers Coal Company.

During the last four months of the period named, and when the Pittsburg Coal Company had the plant, force, and capacity to load thirty cars per day, they received an average of one and a fourth cars per day, resulting, as was276 intended, in the utter ruin of a prosperous business and the involuntary sale of the property, while the railway coal company, the railway officials, and the accommodating friends who operated the Rogers Coal Company, made vast sums of money; and when all other shippers had thus been driven off the line the price of coal was advanced to the consumer.

On another railway, traversing the same coal-field, the railway or its officials became interested in the Keith & Perry Coal Company—the largest coal company doing business on the line—and here the plan seems to have been, in addition to the manipulation of rates, to starve other mine operators out, and force them to sell their coal to the Keith & Perry Company, by failing to furnish the needed cars to those who did not sell their coal to the Keith & Perry Company at a very low price.

When the Keith & Perry Company had a great demand for coal, such parties as sold the product of their mines to that company were furnished with cars, but for the other operators cars were not to be had, such cars as were brought to the field being assigned to such parties as were loading to the Keith & Perry Company, because that company furnished the coal consumed by the locomotives of the railway.

One operator, after being for years forced in this way to sell his product to the Keith & Perry Company, or see his several plants stand idle, has, in recent months, been obliged to build some seven miles of railway in order to reach four different roads, and thus have a fighting chance for cars, although all these railways are provided with coal mines owned by the corporations or their officials.

In Arkansas, Jay Gould, or his railway company, own coal mines and the coal is transported to the neighboring town at low rates, and there is an ample supply of cars for such mines; but the owners of an adjoining mine are forced to haul their coal some eighteen miles to the same town in wagons, as the rates charged them over Mr. Gould’s railway are so high as to absorb the value of the coal at destination.

Not only are individuals thus oppressed, but for reasons which only the initiated can fathom there are seemingly purposeless discriminations against localities, as shown in the following extract from the Coal Trade Journal of March 25, 1891.277

“Capt. Thomas H. Bates, before the railroad committee of the Colorado Senate, said: The Grand River Coal & Coke Company mine their coal in Garfield County, about fifty miles west of Leadville, and all they sell in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo, has to be hauled through Leadville. At Leadville the individual consumer has to pay $7.00 per ton for this coal, while in Denver, with an additional haul of 150 miles, the coal from the same mines is delivered to the individual consumer for $5.50 per ton. The Colorado Coal & Iron Company produce all the anthracite coal sold in Colorado. It is mined at Crested Butte, which is 150 miles nearer Leadville than Denver, yet this coal is sold in Leadville for $9.00 to the individual consumer, while the same coal is hauled 150 miles farther, and sold to the individual consumer for an advance of twenty-five cents per ton over the Leadville price, and is sold in Denver for $7.10 per ton in carload lots.”

With the government operating the railways, discriminations would cease, as would individual and local oppression; and we may be sure that an instant and absolute divorce would be decreed between railways and their officials on one side, and commercial enterprises of every name and kind on the other.

There are but three countries of any importance where the railways are operated by corporations permitted to fix rates, as in all others the government is the ultimate rate-making power: these are Great Britain, Canada, and the United States; and while the British government exercises a more effective control than we do, there are many and oppressive discriminations, and complaints are loud and frequent, and English farmers find it necessary to unite for the purpose of securing protection from corporate oppression, as is shown by the following from the Liverpool Courier of January 29, 1891.


After the counsel given them yesterday by Mr. A. B. Forwood, of Ormskirk, it may be expected that the Liverpool District Farmers’ Club will be on the watch for tangible evidence of their grievances against the railway companies…. Under certain circumstances competition operates to the advantage of the public, and rival carriers are constrained to convey goods from place to place at moderate charges; but where a company is not held in check, the tendency is for rates to advance. In many278 cases, too, special interests of the companies are promoted at the expense of localities, and even individuals are subjected to the wrong of preferential charges. (There are no complaints in Britain that these discriminations are practised for the purpose of enriching the officials.) Hence the necessity for the Railway Commission to regulate the magnates of the iron road, who when left without restraint pay little regard to interests other than those of their shareholders.

Although Mr. Acworth fails to mention this phase of English railway administration, it would appear that the evils of discrimination are common under corporate management in Great Britain, and that they are inherent to and inseparable from such management; and that the questions of rates, discriminations, and free traffic in fuel can be satisfactorily adjusted only by national ownership, and if for no other reasons such ownership is greatly to be desired.

The failure to furnish equipment to do the business of the tributary country promptly is one of the greater evils of corporate administration, enabling officials to practise most injurious and oppressive forms of discrimination, and is one that neither federal nor State commission pays much attention to. With national ownership a sufficiency of cars would be provided. On many roads the funds that should have been devoted to furnishing the needed equipment, and which the corporations contracted to provide when they accepted their charters, have been divided as construction profits or, as in the case of the Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and many others, diverted to the payment of unearned dividends, while the public suffers from this failure to comply with charter obligations; yet Mr. Dillon informs us that the citizen commits an impertinence when he inquires why contract obligations, which are the express consideration for the exceptional powers granted, are not performed.

Another great advantage which would result from national ownership would be such an adjustment of rates that traffic would take the natural short route, and not, as under corporate management, be sent around by the way of Robin Hood’s barn, when it might reach destination by a route but two thirds as long, and thus saving the unnecessary tax to which the industries of the country are subjected. That traffic can be sent by these round-about routes at the same279 or less rates than is charged by the shorter ones is prima facie evidence that rates are too high. If it costs a given sum to transport a specific amount of merchandise a thousand miles, it is clear that it will cost a greater sum to transport it fifteen hundred; and yet traffic is daily diverted from the thousand mile route to the fifteen hundred one, and carried at the same or lower rates than is charged by the shorter line. It is evident, that if the long route can afford to do the business for the rates charged, that the rates charged by the shorter are excessive in a high degree.

Under government management, traffic would take the direct route, as mail matter now does, and the industries of the country be relieved of the onerous tax imposed by needless hauls. Only those somewhat familiar with the extent of the diversions from direct routes can form any conception of the aggregate saving that would be effected by such change as would result from national ownership, and which may safely be estimated as equal to two and a half per cent. of the entire cost of the railway service, or $25,000,000 per annum.

With the government operating the railways there would be a great reduction in the number of men employed in towns entered by more than one line. For instance, take a town where there are three or more railways, and we find three (or more) full-fledged staffs, three (or more) expensive up-town freight and ticket offices, three (or more) separate sets of all kinds of officials and employees, and three (or more) separate depots and yards to be maintained. Under government control these staffs—except in very large cities—would be reduced to one, and all trains would run into one centrally located depot; freight and passengers be transferred without present cost, annoyance, and friction, and public convenience and comfort subserved, and added to in manner and degree almost inconceivable.

Economies which would be affected by such staff reductions, would more than offset any additions to the force likely to be made at the instance of politicians, thus eliminating that objection; such saving may be estimated at $20,000,000 per annum.

With the nation owning the railways the great number of expensive attorneys now employed, with all the attendant corruption of the fountains of justice, could be dispensed280 with; and there would be no corporations to take from the bench the best legal minds, by offering three or four times the federal salary; nor would there be occasion for a justice of the Supreme Court of Kansas to render a decision that a corporation chartered by Kansas for the sole purpose of building a railway in that State has the right and power under such charter to guarantee the bonds of corporations building railways in Old or New Mexico, and shortly after writing such decision be carted all over the seaboard States in one of the luxurious private cars of such corporation. Under national ownership such judges would pay their travelling expenses in some other way, and be transported in the ordinary manner, and not half as many judges would travel on passes. There are many judges whose decisions any number of passes would not affect; but if passes are not to have any effect upon legislation and litigation, why are congressmen, legislators, judges, and other court officials singled out for this kind of martyrdom? If the men who attain these positions remained private citizens, would passes be thrust upon them?

Although the reports of the Victorian Commissioners show, in detail, all the expenditures of railway administration, yet not one dollar is set down for attorneys’ salaries or for legal expenses, and it is presumed that the ordinary law officers of the government attend to the little legal business arising, and yet judging from reports made by Kansas roads, the expenditures of the corporate owned railways of the United States for attorneys’ salaries and other legal expenses, are at least two per cent. of the entire cost of operating the roads, and yearly aggregate some $14,000,000, all of which is taken directly from railway users, and is a tax which would be saved under national ownership, as United States district attorneys could attend to such legal business as might arise. This expenditure is incurred in endless controversies between the corporations, in wrecking railways, in plundering the shareholders, in contending against State and federal regulation, in manipulating elections and legislation, and in wearing out such citizens as seek legal redress for some of the many outrageous acts of oppression practised by the corporations. Once the government was in control, these lawyers would be relegated to some employment where they would do less harm, even if281 not engaged in a more honorable vocation than that of trying to defeat justice by the use of such questionable means as the control of the vast revenues of the corporations place in their hands.

Is it possible that the railway companies can legitimately use anything like $14,000,000 yearly in protecting their rights in the courts?

The president of the Union Pacific tells us that: “The courts are open to redress all real grievances of the citizen.”

There is probably no man in the United States better aware than is Sidney Dillon that no citizen, unless he has as much wealth as the president of the Union Pacific, can successfully contest a case of any importance in the courts with one of these corporations which make a business, as a warning to other possible plaintiffs, of wearing out the unfortunate plaintiff with the law’s costly delays; and failing this do not hesitate to spirit away the plaintiff’s witnesses, and to pack and buy juries—retaining a special class of attorneys for this work—the command of great corporate revenues enabling them to accomplish their ends, and to utterly ruin nearly every man having the hardihood to seek Mr. Dillon’s lauded legal redress, and when they have accomplished such nefarious object, the entire cost is charged back to the public, and collected in the form of tolls upon traffic. Laws are utterly powerless to restrain the corporations, and Mr. Dillon tells us how easy it is to evade them by pleading compliance, when there has been no compliance, and then having the expert servants of the corporation swear there has been.

With the government operating the railways, every citizen riding would pay fare adding immensely to the revenues. Few have any conception of the proportion who travel free, and half a century’s experience renders it doubtful if the pass evil—so much greater than ever was the franking privilege—can be eliminated otherwise than by national ownership. From the experience of the writer, as an auditor of railway accounts, and as an executive officer issuing passes, he is able to say that fully ten per cent. travel free, the result being that the great mass of railway users are yearly mulcted some $30,000,000 for the benefit of the favored minority; hence it is evident that if all were required to pay for railway services, as they are for mail282 services, the rates might be reduced ten per cent. or more, and the corporate revenues be no less, and the operating expenses no more. In no other country—unless it be under the same system in Canada—are nine tenths of the people taxed to pay the travelling expenses of the other tenth. By what right do the corporations tax the public that members of Congress, legislators, judges, and other court officials and their families may ride free? Why is it that when a legislature is in session passes are as plentiful as leaves in the forest in autumn?

The writer, as an executive officer of a railway company having authority to issue passes, has, during a session of the legislature, signed vast numbers of blank passes at the request of the legislative agents of such company, and under instructions of the president of the corporation to furnish such lobby agents with all the passes they should ask for. No reports of passes issued are made either to State or federal governments, or to confiding shareholders, and should such reports be asked for, by State or nation, in order to measure the extent of this evil, the Sidney Dillons would rush into print and tell us it was a piece of impertinence for any citizen (or the public) to inquire into the extent of or the manner in which the corporations dispensed their favors. The only way to kill this monster is to put the instruments of transportation under such control as only national ownership can give. Laws and agreements between the corporations have been proven, time and again, wholly ineffective even to lessen this great and corrupting evil.

In every conceivable way are the net revenues of the corporations depleted, and needless burthens imposed upon the public, but one of the worst is the system of paying commissions for the diversion of traffic to particular lines, often the least direct. The more common practice is to pay such commissions to agents of connecting lines where it is possible to send the traffic over any one of two or more routes, and the one which may, by the payment of such commission, secure the carrying of the passenger (or merchandise) may be the least desirable, and the one which would never have been taken but for the prevarications of an agent bribed by a commission to make false representations as to the desirableness of the route he selects for the confiding passenger.283

This is but one of many phases of the commission evil, another being that these sums are ultimately paid, not by the corporations, but by the users of the railways, and but for the payment of such commissions the rates might be reduced in like amounts. Aside from commissions paid for diverting passenger traffic great sums are paid for “influencing” and “routing” freight traffic, and these sums, while paid to outsiders, or so-called brokers, are frequently divided with railway officials. When the writer was in charge of the transportation accounts of a railway running east from Chicago, it was a part of his duties to certify to the correctness of the vouchers on which commission payments were made, and he became aware of the fact that one Chicago brokerage firm was being paid a commission of from three to five cents per hundred pounds on nearly all the flour, grain, packing house, and distillery products being shipped out of Chicago over this railway, no matter where such shipments might originate, many of them, in fact, originating on and far west of the Mississippi River; and when he objected to certifying to shipments with which it was clear that the Chicago parties could have had nothing to do, he was told, by the manager, that his duties ended when he had ascertained and certified that such shipments had been made from Chicago station. From investigations instituted by the writer, he soon learned that some one connected with the management was deeply interested in the payment of the largest sums possible as commissions.

The corporations have ineffectually wrestled with the commission evil, and any number of agreements have been entered into to do away with it; but it is so thoroughly entrenched, and so many officials have an interest in its perpetuation, that they are utterly powerless in the presence of a system which imposes great and needless burthens upon their patrons, but which will die the day the government takes possession of the railways, as then there will be no corporations ready to pay for the diversion of traffic. National ownership alone can dispose of an administrative evil that, from such data as is obtainable, appears to cost the public from $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 per annum.

[10]Mr. Meany, in his Sun article, summarizes six causes for the diminution of railway dividends and remarks: “It is284 unnecessary to dwell at any great length upon the first five mentioned reasons, but too much could not be said on the sixth. It is now nearly seven years since James McHenry of London (and New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio Railway litigation fame) openly charged railway managers, in an interview published in the Sun, with criminal collusion in the matter of securing extraordinary privileges and unapproachable contracts with their several corporations for favored fast freight lines, express routes, bridge companies, etc., etc., in all the benefits of which such managers shared to a very great extent. On that occasion Mr. McHenry was promptly cried down. Would he be cried down to-day?”

As a rule, American railways pay the highest salaries in the world for those engaged in directing business operations, but such salaries are not paid because transcendant talents are necessary to conduct the ordinary operations of railway administration, but for the purpose of checkmating the chicanery of corporate competitors. In other words, these exceptionally high salaries are paid for the purpose, and because their recipients are believed to have the ability to hold up their end in unscrupulous corporate warfare where, as one railway president expressed it, “the greatest liar comes out ahead.” With the government operating the railways, there would be no conflicting interests necessitating the employment of such costly officials whose great diplomatic talents might well be dispensed with, while the running of trains, and the conduct of the real work of operating the roads, could be left to the same officials as at moderate salaries now perform such duties, and consolidation of all the conflicting interests in the hands of the government will enable the public to dispense with the services of the high priced managers now almost exclusively engaged in “keeping even with the other fellow,” as well as with the costly staffs assisting such managers in keeping even, and the savings resulting may be estimated at from $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 per year.

Government control will enable railway users to dispense with the services of such high priced umpires as Mr. Aldace F. Walker, as well as of all the other officials of sixty-eight traffic associations, fruitlessly laboring to prevent each of five hundred corporations from getting the start of its fellows, and trying to prevent each of the five hundred from absorbing285 an undue share of the traffic. It appears that each of these costly peace-making attachments has an average of seven corporations to watch.

Referring to traffic associations, and their vain endeavors to keep the corporations within sight of commercial ethics, the Interstate Commerce Commission says: “But the most important provisions of the law have not so often been directly violated as they have been nullified through devices, carefully framed with legal assistance,—here is one of the places where the high-priced lawyer gets in his work—with a view to this very end, and in the belief that when brought to legal test the device hit upon would not be held by the courts to be so distinctly opposed to the terms of the law as to be criminally punishable.” In this connection, it is well to remember what Mr. Dillon tells us of the ease with which the laws can be evaded.

With national ownership the expenditures involved in the maintenance of traffic associations would be saved, and railway users relieved of a tax that, judging from the reports of a limited number of corporations of their contributions towards the support of such organizations, must annually amount to between four and five million dollars.

Of the six hundred corporations operating railways, probably five hundred maintain costly general offices, where president, treasurer, and secretary pass the time surrounded by an expensive staff. The majority of such offices are off the lines of the respective corporations, in the larger cities, where high rents are paid, and great expenses entailed, that proper attention may be given to the bolstering or depressing the price of the corporation’s shares, as the management may be long or short of the market. So far as the utility of the railways is concerned as instruments of anything but speculation, such offices and officers might as well be located in the moon, and their cost saved to the public. The average yearly cost of such offices (and officers) is more than $50,000, and the transfer of the railways to the nation would, in this matter alone, effect an annual saving of more than $25,000,000, as both offices and officials could be dispensed with, and the service be no less efficient.

Moreover, with the nation owning the railways, the indirect but no less onerous tax levied upon the industries of the country, by the thousands of speculators who make day286 hideous on the stock exchanges, would be abrogated, as then there would be neither railway share nor bond for these harpies to make shuttlecocks of, and this would be another economy due to such ownership.

Railways spend enormous sums in advertising, the most of which national ownership would save, as it would be no more necessary to advertise the advantages of any particular line than it is to advertise the advantages of any given mail route. From reports made by railway corporations to some of the Western States, it appears that something over one per cent. of operating expenses are absorbed in advertising, aggregating something like $7,000,000 per year, of which we may assume that but $5,000,000 would be saved, as it would still be desirable to advertise train departures and arrivals.

A still greater expense is involved in the maintenance of freight and passenger offices off the respective lines, for the purpose of securing a portion of the competitive traffic. In this way vast sums are expended in the payment of rents, and the salaries of hordes of agents, solicitors, clerks, etc., etc. Taking the known expenditures, for this purpose, of a given mileage, it is estimated that the aggregate is not less than $15,000,000 yearly, all of which is a tax upon the public, that would be saved did the government operate the railways.

Under government control, discriminations against localities would cease, whereas now localities are discriminated against because managers are interested in real estate elsewhere, or are interested in diverting traffic in certain directions; again, under corporate management, it is for the interest of the company to haul a commodity as far as possible over its own lines (with the government owning all the lines this motive will lose its force), and thus traffic is forced into unnatural channels. For instance: much of the grain from Kansas should find its way to foreign markets via the short route to the Gulf, the distance to tide water by this route being less than half what it is to the Atlantic, yet so opposed to this natural route are the interests of the majority of the corporations controlling the traffic associations, which now dictate to the people what routes their traffic shall take, that the rates to the Gulf are kept so high as to force the traffic to the Lakes and to the Atlantic; and as all287 the railways leading to the Gulf have lines running eastward, the much lauded corporate competition fails to help out the citizens of Kansas, who are subjected to the domination of the new tyrant denominated a “traffic association.” With the nation operating the railways, all this would be changed, and localities favorably located would be able to reap the benefits which such location should give, and should such a condition ever obtain, the farmers of western Iowa will not then ship corn to the drouth-stricken portion of Kansas for fifteen cents per one hundred pounds, while the Kansas corn grower, living within seventy-five miles of the same market, is charged ten cents per one hundred pounds for a haul one eighth as long. By such rates the railways force the hauling of corn from Iowa to western Kansas, and then force the corn grower of central Kansas to send his corn eastward, the result being two long hauls, where one short one would suffice; but then the corporations would have absorbed less of the substance of the people.

Another, and an incalculable benefit, which would result from national ownership, would be the relief of State and national legislation from the pressure and corrupting practices of railway corporations which constitute one of the greatest dangers to which Republicaninstitutions can be subjected. This alone renders the nationalization of the railways most desirable, and at the same time such nationalization would have the effect of emancipating a large part of the press from a galling thraldom to the corporations.

With the nation operating the railways, we may have some hope that rates will be reduced by some system resembling the Hungarian zone which has had the effect of diminishing local passenger rates about forty per cent., resulting in such an increase of traffic as to greatly increase the revenues of the roads; the average of rates by ordinary third-class trains being about three fourths of a cent per mile, and one and a half cents per mile for first-class express trains.

In Victoria, the parcel or express business is done by the government railways, and the rates are not one half what they are with us when farmed out to a second lot of corporations. Space does not permit the discussion or even the statement of the many salutary phases of government control, as developed in the various countries of Europe, and it is288 not necessary, as there are abundant reasons to be found in conditions existing at home, for making the proposed change. By far the most menacing feature of continued corporate ownership is the power over the money markets which it places in the hands of unscrupulous men, any half dozen of whom can, at such a time as that following the failure of the Barings, destroy the welfare of millions, and plunge the country into all the horrors of a money panic. Whether it be true or not, there are many who believe that a small coterie, who had information before the public of the condition of Baring Brothers and that a block of many millions of American railway securities held by that house were being (or soon would be) pressed upon the market, entered into a conspiracy for the purpose of locking up money and thereby depressing prices in order to secure, at low cost, the control of certain coveted railways. The railways were secured, and there is not much doubt that they had been lying in wait for such a critical condition of the money markets to accomplish this purpose, which still further enhances their power for evil. With the railways nationalized, not only would there be no temptation for such nefarious operations, but the power of such men over values would be greatly lessened, if not wholly destroyed, as there would be no railway shares for them to play fast and loose with, and as money, instead of being tied up in loans on chromos representing little but water, would seek investment in bona fide enterprises, their operations would have little influence, and would certainly have no such baleful power over the industries of the country, as their ability to affect the value of railway shares—on which such immense sums are now loaned on call—gives them, they being able by locking up a few millions when the money market is in the condition, which obtained at the time of the Baring collapse, to force the calling of loans and the slaughtering of vast numbers of the shares, carrying the control of the railways they covet. If only for the purpose of divesting “The dangerous wealthy classes” of this frightful power, national ownership would be worth many times its cost, and without such ownership a score of manipulators are soon likely to be complete masters of the republic and all its industrial interests; hence, the question reverts to the form stated in the opening of this paper: Shall the nation accept289 as a master a political party that may be dislodged by the use of the ballot, or shall the republic be dominated by a master in the form of a score of unscrupulous Goulds, Vanderbilts, and Huntingtons, who cannot be dislodged, and who never die?

Assuming that $30,000 per mile is the maximum cost of existing railways—as is shown in The Arena for February,—and that there are 160,000 miles, it would give a total valuation of $4,800,000,000; but that there may be no complaint that the nation is dealing unfairly with the owners of much water, it will be well to add twenty-five per cent. to what will be found to be the outside value of the railways when condemned under the law of eminent domain, and assuming that $6,000,000,000 of three per cent. bonds are issued in order to make payment therefor, and it involves an interest charge of $180,000,000, to which add $670,000,000, as the cost of maintenance and operation, and $50,000,000 as a sinking fund, and we have a total annual cost, for railway service, of $900,000,000 as against a present cost of $1,050,000,000 ($950,000,000 from traffic earnings, and $85,000,000 from other sources of railway revenue) resulting in a net annual saving to the public of $150,000,000 to which must be added the other various savings which it has been estimated would result from government control, and which, for the convenience of the reader, are here recapitulated, namely:—

Saving from consolidation of depots and staffs,$20,000,000
Saving from exclusive use of shortest routes,25,000,000
Saving in attorneys’ salaries and legal expenses,12,000,000
Saving from the abrogation of the pass evil,30,000,000
Saving from the abrogation of the commission system,20,000,000
Saving by dispensing with high priced managers and staffs,4,000,000
Saving by disbanding traffic associations,4,000,000
Saving by dispensing with presidents, etc.,25,000,000
Saying by abolishing (all but local) offices, solicitors, etc.,15,000,000
Saving of five-sevenths of the advertising account,5,000,000
Total savings by reason of better administration,$160,000,000

It would appear that after yearly setting aside $50,000,000 as a sinking fund, that there are the best of reasons for290 believing that the cost of the railway service would be some $310,000,000 less than under corporate management.

That $6,000,000,000 is much more than it would cost to duplicate existing railways, will not be questioned by the disinterested familiar with late reductions in the cost of construction, and that such a valuation is excessive is manifest from the fact that it is much more than the market value of all the railway bonds and shares in existence.

Mr. John P. Meany, in the Railway Review of February 7, 1891, says: “It is safe to assume that the market valuation of the entire $4,500,000,000 of railroad stock in existence, would not average more than $30 per share, or, say $1,350,000,000 in all,” and in his Sun article he states that fully $500,000,000 of this stock is duplicated, so that the “live” stock outstanding is really but $4,000,000,000, which at $30 per share would have an aggregate value of $1,200,000,000. Mr. Meany also states that there are duplications of bond issues amounting to some $300,000,000 leaving the live outstanding bonds at $4,500,000,000 and many corporations failing to pay interest, some issues are selling as low as 12 per cent. of par, making it safe to call the average market value of bonds 90 per cent. of their face value, and their aggregate value would be $4,050,000,000, to which add value of “live” capital stock, $1,200,000,000, and the total market value of bonds and stock is, $5,250,000,000, being at the rate of $32,800 per mile for the 160,000 miles in operation.

After many years of familiarity with the turgid and obscure statements issued by American railway corporations, and which are usually of such a character that the more they are studied the less the shareholder knows of the affairs of the corporation, it is very refreshing to read the report of the Railway Commissioners of any one of the Australasian colonies, where every item of expenditure is made clear, and where words are not used for the purpose of misleading.

The last Victorian report shows this new and sparsely settled country as able to borrow money with which to build national railways, at three and one half per cent. per annum. How many American corporations are able to borrow money at such a rate? This saving in the interest charge directly benefits the public, and is due to national ownership,291 and a like saving will be made by the nationalization of American railways.

This report also shows that while the country is so rugged that in many cases the gradients are as great as one hundred and thirty feet per mile, and the cost of labor and supplies more than here, the roads are operated at less cost, as measured by the expense per train mile, than in the favored regions of the United States. The Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Memphis Railway is, admittedly, one of the best managed and most economically operated railways in the West, and with an abundance of very cheap coal;[11] low gradients and running more trains than do the Victorian railways should be operated much more cheaply, yet the cost of operating this road, as measured by the cost per train mile,—and this is the best possible criterion of economy in operation,—is one third greater than on the government owned railways of Victoria.

An excellent measure of the efficiency of the management is the number of casualties, as proportioned to the number of passengers carried and men employed, which is very great in such countries as Russia, Roumania, and Portugal; but in Victoria, and other Australian colonies, the proportion is far less than in the United States, more attention being given to the adoption of such safety devices as interlocking switches, etc., and all the stations and crossings are provided with gates, and otherwise better guarded than with us, where the corporations are much more intent upon paying dividends than in serving the public, or in saving life and limb, while on the government-operated railways of Victoria, the management devotes its attention—with a due regard to economy,—to the convenience, comfort, and safety of railway users, and employees having no bond or share holders to provide for. In the United States one of the useless traffic associations pays its chief umpire nearly as much as Victoria pays her entire commission.

Those desirous of entering the railway service of Victoria are subjected to such a rigid examination as to qualifications and character, that but little more than one third are able to pass the ordeal, and a high standard of excellence in the personnel of the service results; when these servants292 are disabled or worn out by long service, they are pensioned or given a retiring allowance, and this system tends to reduce the inclination to strike, as a man who has been years in the service will long hesitate before he forfeits his right to a provision of this kind.

All the Australian reports and accounts which have come under the observation of the writer, are models of conciseness and clearness, and show that there is nothing inherent in railway accounts rendering it necessary that they be made obscure and misleading.

Neither in the Australian reports nor in the colonial press is there the least evidence of discriminations against individuals or localities, and this one fact is an argument of greater force in favor of national ownership than all that have ever been advanced against it.293



To the calm observer there is nothing more impressive in society to-day than the varied and multitudinous associations for the amelioration of human poverty, ignorance, and crime; and nothing more depressing than the seeming immense waste of force scattered in these innumerable directions with results so intangible and undefined. From all the discussions we hear in the halls of legislation, and on the popular platform, on the relations of capital and labor, finance, free trade, land monopoly, taxation, individualism, and socialism, the rights of women, children, criminals, and animals, one would think that an entire change must speedily be effected in our theories of government, religion, and social life, and so there would be if a small minority, even, honestly believed in these specific reforms. But alas! our reading minds are yet to be educated into the first principles of social science; they are yet to learn that our present theories of life are all false. The old ideas of caste and class, of rich and poor, educated and uneducated, must pass away, and the many must no longer suffer that the few may shine. Our religion must teach the brotherhood of the race, the essential oneness of humanity, and our government must be based on the broad principles of equal rights to all. A religion that seeks to make the people satisfied in their degraded conditions, and releases them from all responsibility for its continuance, is unworthy our intelligent belief, and a government that holds half its people in slavery, practically chained where they are born, in ignorance, poverty, and vice, is unworthy our intelligent support.

The object of all our specific reforms is to secure equal conditions for the whole human race. The initiative steps to this end are:—

1. Educate our upper classes, our most intelligent people, into the belief that our present civilization is based on false294 principles, and that the ignorance, poverty, and crime we see about us are the legitimate results of our false theories.

2. They must be educated to believe that our present conditions and environments can and will be changed, and that as man is responsible for the miseries of the race, through his own knowledge and wisdom the change must come. To-day, men make their God responsible for all human arrangements, and they quote Scripture to prove that poverty is one of His wise provisions for the development of all the cardinal virtues. I heard a sermon preached, not long ago, from the text: “The poor ye have always with you,” in which the preacher dwelt on the virtues of benevolence and gratitude called out on either side. Poverty, said he, has been the wise schoolmaster, to teach the people industry, economy, self-sacrifice, patience, and humility, all those beautiful virtues that best fit the human soul for the life hereafter. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Thus the lessons of submission and content have been sedulously taught to oppressed classes, in the name of God, with fair promises of heaven to come.

The rich must be taught that they have no right to live in luxury while others starve. The poor must be taught that they, too, have inalienable rights on this green earth, the right to life, liberty, and happiness, and to the fruits of their own industry, and it is the imperative duty of each class to concede the one and demand the other. The apathy and indifference of the masses in their degraded conditions are as culpable as the pride and satisfaction of the upper classes in their superior position.

As the only hope for the lasting progress of the race and a radical reform in social life lie in the right education of children, their birth and development is the vital starting-point for the philosopher. A survey of the various unfortunate classes of society that have hitherto occupied the time and thought of different orders of philanthropists, and the little that has been accomplished in our own lifetime, to go no farther back, gives very little encouragement for this mere surface work that occupies so many noble men and women in each generation. In spite of all our asylums and charities, religious discussion and legislation, the problems of pauperism, intemperance, and crime are no295 nearer a satisfactory solution than when our pilgrim fathers landed on Plymouth Rock, in search of that liberty in thought and action denied in the old world. The gloomy panorama of misery and crime moves on, a dark picture in this young civilization.

If we would use the same common sense in the improvement of mankind that we do in the ordinary affairs of life, we should begin our work at the foundations of society, in family life, in parenthood, the source and centre of all these terrible evils whose branches we are trying to lop off. A family living in an old house, on unhealthy ground, with water in the cellar, a crumbling foundation, the beams like sponge, the roof leaking, the chimney full of cracks, would not spend large sums of money year after year, generation after generation, in patching up the old house on the same old spot, but with ordinary wisdom and economy, they would build anew, on higher ground, with strong foundations, sound timber, substantial chimneys, and solid roofing. True, they would patch up the old at as little cost as possible, merely to afford them a shelter until the new home was built. And all our special reform work to-day is but patching the old, until with a knowledge of the true laws of social science we can begin to build the new aright. There is much surface work we must do in reform, for decency’s sake, but all this patching up of ignorant, diseased, criminal, unfortunate humanity is temporary and transient, effecting no radical improvement anywhere. The real work that will tell on all time and the eternities, is building the new life and character, laying the foundation-stones of future generations in justice, liberty, purity, peace, and love, the work of the rising generation of fathers and mothers at this hour. Those of us who have long since passed the meridian of life, can give you the result of our experience and researches into social science, but with the young men and women of this hour rests the hope of the higher civilization which it is possible for the race to attain through obedience to law. The lovers of science come back to us from every latitude and longitude, from their explorations in the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, from their observations of the planetary world, bearing the same message. “All things are governed by law,” while man himself who holds in his own hand the key to all knowledge296 and power seems never to be in unison with the grandeur and glory of the world in which he lives. The picture of struggling humanity through the long past is not a cheerful one to contemplate. What can be done to mitigate the miseries of the masses? This thought rests heavily and with increasing weight on the hearts of all who love justice, liberty, and equality. The same law of inheritance that hands down the vices of ancestors, hands down their virtues also, and in a greater ratio, for good is positive, active, ever vigilant, its worshippers swim up stream against the current. Could we make all men and women feel their individual responsibility in the chain of influences that tell on all time, we could solemnize in our own day such vows for nobler lives as to make this seeming herculean work light as the wings of angels. If, henceforward, all the thought, the money, the religious enthusiasm dedicated to the regeneration of the race, could be devoted to the generation of our descendants, to the conditions and environments of parents and children, the whole face of society might be changed before we celebrate the next centennial of our national life. Science has vindicated our right to discuss freely whether our ancestors were apes; let it be as free to ask whether our posterity shall be idiots, dwarfs, and knaves, and if not, by what change, if any, in our social institutions, such wretched results may be avoided. Gatton in his work on “Heredity,” says our present civilization is growing too complicated for our best minds even to grasp, and to meet successfully the issues of the hour, humanity must be lifted up a few degrees, as speedily as possible. And where must this radical work begin? The best hope for the progress of the race in political, religious, and social life lies in the right birth, education, and development of our children. Here is the true starting-point for the philosopher.

Let the young man who is indulging in all manner of excesses remember that in considering the effect of the various forms of dissipation on himself, his own happiness or danger, he does not begin to measure the evil of his life. As the high priest at the family altar, his deeds of darkness will inflict untold suffering on generation after generation. One of the most difficult lessons to impress on any mind is the power and extent of individual influence; and parents above all others resist the belief that their children are297 exactly what they make them, no more, no less; like produces like. The origin of ideas was long a disputed point with different schools of philosophers. Locke took the ground that the mind of every child born into the world is like a piece of blank paper; that you may write thereon whatever you will, but science has long since proved that such idealists as Descartes were nearer right, that the human family come into the world with ideas, with marked individual proclivities; that the pre-natal conditions have more influence than all the education that comes after. If family peculiarities are transmitted to the third and fourth generation, the grandson clothed with the same gait, gesture, mode of thought and expression as the grandfather he has never seen, it is evident that each individual may reap some advantage and development from those predecessors whose lives in all matters great and small are governed by law, by a conscientious sense of duty, not by feeling, chance, or appetite.

If there is a class of educators who need special preparation for their high and holy duties, it is those who assume the responsibilities of parents. Shall they give less thought to immortal beings than the artist to his landscape or statue.

We wander through the galleries in the old world, and linger before the works of the great masters, transfixed with the grace and beauty of the ideals that surround us. And with equal preparation, greater than these are possible in living, breathing humanity. Go in imagination from the gallery to the studio of the poor artist, watch him through the restless days, as he struggles with the conception of some grand ideal, and then see how patiently he moulds and remoulds the clay, and when at last, through weary years, the block of marble is transformed into an angel of light, he worships it, and weeps that he cannot breathe into it the breath of life. And lo! by his side are growing up immortal beings to whom he has never given one half the care and thought bestowed on the silent ones that grace his walls. And yet the same devotion to a high ideal of human character, would soon give the world a generation of saints and scholars, of scientists and statesmen, of glorified humanity such as the world has not yet seen. Many good people lose heart in trying to improve their surroundings because they say the influence of one amounts to so little. Remember298 it was by the patient toil of generations through centuries that the Colossus of Rhodes, Diana’s Temple at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Pyramids at Egypt, the Pharos at Alexandria, the Hanging Gardens at Babylon, the Olympian Zeus, the seven wonders of the world, grew day by day into enduring monuments to the greatness of humanity. By individual effort the grand result was at last achieved. So the ideal manhood and womanhood, so earnestly prophesied, will become living realities in the future. Remember it took three hundred years to build an Egyptian pyramid. Allowing four generations to a century we have twelve generations of men who passed their lives in that one achievement. Was not the work of those who first evened the ground and laid the foundation-stones as important as of those who laid the capstones at last? Let us, then, begin in our day by the discussion of these vital principles of social science, to even the ground and lay the foundation-stones for the greatest wonder the world is yet to see,—a man in whom the appetites, the passions, the emotions are all held in allegiance to their rightful sovereign, Reason. The true words and deeds of successive generations will build up this glorified humanity, fairer than any Parian marble, grander than any colossal sculpture of the East, more exalted than spire or dome, boundless in capacity, in aspiration, limitless as space.


Amelia B. Edwards (signed "Amelia B. Edwards")



It has been suggested to me that an article descriptive of my ways and doings at home might be acceptable to readers of this journal; and it has furthermore been proposed that I should write the said article myself. There is a straightforward simplicity of purpose about this proposition which commends it to me. Also, it has the recommendation of being quite novel.

As a rule, the person whose home life is to be made the subject of an article is “interviewed” by a gentleman of the press, who cross-examines the victim like an old Bailey counsel, and proceeds to take an inventory of his furniture, like a bailiff.

Now, it seems to me that the conditions under which such a visit is paid and received are radically unsatisfactory. The person interviewed must be more or less uncomfortably self-conscious, and one cannot help doubting whether the interviewer ever succeeds in seeing his subject and his subject’s surroundings in exactly their normal dishabille. It would ask more than Roman virtue not to make the best of one’s self and one’s house when both were sitting for a portrait; and difficult as it is to look natural and feel natural in front of a photographer’s camera, it is ten times more trying vis-a-vis of a reporter’s note-book. As for the temptation to “pose,” whether consciously or unconsciously, it must be well-nigh irresistible. For my own part, I am but too certain that, instead of receiving such a visitor in my ordinary working costume, and in a room littered with letters and papers, I should have inevitably put on a more becoming gown, and have “tidied up” the library, when the appointed day and hour arrived. Not, however, being put to this test, I will do my best to present myself literally “At Home,” and in my habit as I live.300

Westbury-on-Trym is a village in Gloucestershire separated from Clifton by about a mile and a half of open down, and distant about four miles from Bristol terminus. It lies in a hollow at the foot of two steep hills, one of which is crowned with the woods of Blaise Castle, and the other with a group of buildings consisting of the parish church, a charming little Gothic structure known as “The Hall,” and the national schoolhouse. The church is a fine perpendicular edifice of considerable antiquity, with a square tower surmounted, in true West of England style, by a small turret, having a tiny Gothic spire at one corner. The parishioners are proud of their church, and with justice. It contains some good stained-glass windows, two interesting mediæval monuments, and an exceptionally fine organ. “The Hall” is quite modern, having been built and endowed, in 1867, by a generous parishioner. The large room seats three hundred people, and is fitted up with an organ as large and beautiful as that in the church close by. Village concerts, penny readings, Lent lectures, charity bazaars, and the like are held here. The building also contains a reading-room and a small library for the use of the working classes. My own first attempts at public reading were made on this village platform, twenty years ago.

A little river flows through the valley, and is crossed by a single bridge in the lower part of the village. This is the Trym,—an untidy Trym enough, nowadays,—opaque, muddy, and little better than a ditch. Yet it was a navigable river some centuries ago, and, according to tradition, was not unknown to trout. On leaving the village, it takes a southwesterly course through a pleasant bottom of meadow lands, and thence between wooded slopes and a romantic “Coombe,” much beloved of artists, till it finally empties itself into the Avon, not far from the mouth of that tidal river.

There are still some remains of a building at the foot of Westbury Hill, which in olden times was second only in age and importance to the church,—namely, “The College.” This “College” was a religious house, founded as far back as A.D. 798, and probably rebuilt some five centuries later by that famous merchant and public benefactor, William Canynge, of Bristol, who died there as Dean of the College, and was buried in the church. Twenty-five years ago, when I first made its acquaintance, this “College”301 (a large modernized building with corner turrets) still presented a stately front to the road. At the back was a square bell-tower covered from top to bottom with ivy, and a spacious garden shut in by high walls. It was then a boy’s school, and the big garden used to echo with shouts and laughter on summer evenings. The bell-tower is the most ancient part of the building, and according to local tradition, a subterranean passage leads from the cellarage in the basement to the church on the hillside above. The story is likely enough to be correct; for a passage of some kind there certainly is, and it leads apparently in the direction of the church. A working-man who, with some three or four others, had once tried to explore it, told me several years ago that, beyond the first few yards, the tunnel was completely blocked, and the air so foul that it put the lights out. Whether any subsequent attempt has been made to force a passage, I do not know; but the whole place is sadly changed since the time when I used to cast longing glances at the old green tower from the lane that skirted the garden wall, wishing that I might some day get permission to sit in a corner under a shady tree on the other side of that wall, and sketch the tower. The school has long since broken up for good, and boys and masters have gone their ways. The old house, after standing vacant for years, was bought at last by a little local builder, who ran up a row of smart shops in front of the old turreted façade; let off the house itself in lodgings to poor families; and re-sold the old bell-tower to the village blacksmith. The garden wall being pulled down on that side, the tower now stands at the end of a row of new cottages, forlorn and solitary in the midst of alien surroundings, a forge and anvil in the basement.

As regards the “great houses” of the place, Westbury-on-Trym enjoys a curious monopoly of handsome private mansions. These mansions—spacious, finely built, each standing in its own park-like grounds—were built for the most part by wealthy Bristol merchants during the two last centuries—men of wealth, who needed to reside within an easy drive of the city, and who were content to amass great fortunes without also desiring to become land-owners. The Bristol merchants of the present day no longer care to live so near their business. Railways and steamers enable them to go farther afield; and so the fine old houses of Westbury,302 Henbury, Redland, Shirehampton, Brislington, and other parishes round about the great commercial centre, have gradually passed into the possession of a class of moneyed gentry who, having neither trade nor land, are attracted by the fine climate and beautiful scenery of this part of England. Some few of these old mansions are renowned for the valuable collections of paintings and other works of art which they contain; as, for instance, at Blaise Castle, there is a fine series of specimens of the old masters purchased at the close of the great war during the first quarter of the present century by Mr. Harford, grandfather of the present owner; a series which comprises a fine Guido, several specimens of the Caracci, Salvator Rosa, etc. At Kings-Weston Park, we find the family portraits of the de Cliffords purchased, together with the very fine old house built by Vanbrugh in the time of Charles II., by the late owner, Philip Miles, Esq. At Leigh Court, the gallery, with its famous Leonardo, is known throughout Europe, while many other art treasures are to be found in the possession of private owners round about the neighborhood.

It is not to be supposed that the writer and subject of this present paper resides in semi-royal state in one of these magnificent old houses. On the contrary, she lives, and has lived for more than a quarter of a century, with a very dear friend, in a small, irregularly built house, which together they have from time to time enlarged and improved, according to their pleasure. That friend—now in her eighty-seventh year—used, in days long gone by, to gather round her table many of the wits and celebrities of fifty years ago; but for her, as for myself, our little country home has been as dear for its seclusion as for the charm of its neighborhood.

The Larches stands, with some few other houses of like dimensions, on a space of high-level ground to the eastward of the village. It is approached by a narrow lane, beyond which lie fields and open country. Having at first been quite a small cottage, it has been added to by successive owners, and is, consequently, quite destitute of external or internal uniformity. My own library, and the bedrooms above it, are, for the present, the latest additions to the structure; though I hope some day to build on a little room which I shall not venture to call a museum, but which shall contain my Egyptian antiquities and other collections.303

The little house stands in one acre of ground, closely walled in, and surrounded by high shrubs and lofty larch trees. It is up and down a straight path in the shade of these larch trees that I take my daily exercise; and if I am to enter into such minor particulars as are dear to the writers and readers of “At Home” articles, I may mention that a dial-register is affixed to the wall of a small grape-house at one end of this path, by means of which I measure off my regular half-mile before breakfast, my half mile after breakfast, and the mile or more with which I finish up my pedestrian duties in the late afternoon. To walk these two miles per diem is a Draconian law which I impose upon myself during all seasons of the year. When the snow lies deep in winter, it is our old gardener’s first duty in the morning to sweep “Miss Edwards’ path,” as well as to clear two or three large spaces on the lawn, in which the wild birds may be fed. The wild birds, I should add, are our intimate friends and perennial visitors, for whom we keep an open table d’hôte throughout the year. By feeding them in summer we lose less fruit than our neighbors; and by feeding them in winter we preserve the lives of our little summer friends, whose songs are the delight of ourselves and our neighbors in the springtime. There are dozens of nests every summer in the ivy which clusters thickly around my library windows; and we even carry our hospitality so far as to erect small rows of model lodging-houses for our birds high up under the eaves, which they inhabit in winter, and in which many couples of sparrows and starlings rear their young throughout the summer.

We will now leave the garden, and go into the house, which stands high on a grassy platform facing the sunny west. We enter by a wooden porch, which, as I write, is thickly covered with roses. As soon as the front door is opened, the incoming visitor finds himself in the midst of modern Egypt, the walls of the hall being lined with Damascus tiles and Cairene woodwork, the spoils of some of those Meshrabeeyeh windows which are so fast disappearing both in Alexandria and Cairo. In a recess opposite the door stands a fine old chair inlaid with ivory and various colored woods, which some two hundred years ago was the Episcopal chair of a Coptic bishop. The rest of the hall furniture is of Egyptian inlaid work. Every available inch304 of space on the walls is filled and over-filled with curiosities of all descriptions. On one bracket stand an old Italian ewer and plate in wrought brass work; on another, a Nile “Kulleh” or water bottle, and a pair of cups of unbaked clay; on others again, jars and pots of Indian, Morocco, Japanese, Siût, and Algerian ware. Here also, are a couple of funerary tablets in carved limestone, of ancient Egyptian work; a fragment of limestone cornice from the ruins of Naukratis; and various specimens of Majolica, old Wedgewood, and other ware, as well as framed specimens of Rhodian and Damascus tiles.

If my visitor is admitted at all, which for reasons which I will presently state is extremely doubtful, he passes through the hall, leaving the dining-room to his right and the drawing-room to his left, and is ushered along a passage, also lined with lattice-work, through a little ante-room, and into my library. This is a fair-sized room with a bay of three windows at the upper end facing eastward. My writing-table is placed somewhat near this window; and here I sit with my back to the light facing whomsoever may be shown into the room.

Sitting thus at my desk, the room to me is full of reminiscences of many friends and many places. The walls are lined with glazed bookcases containing the volumes which I have been slowly amassing from the time I was fourteen or fifteen years of age. I cast my eyes round the shelves, and I recognize in their contents the different lines of study which I have pursued at different periods of my life. Like the geological strata in the side of a cliff, they show the deposits of successive periods, and remind me, not only of the changes which my own literary tastes have undergone, but also of the various literary undertakings in which I have been from time to time engaged. The shelves devoted to the British poets carry me back to a time when I read them straight through without a break, from Chaucer to Tennyson. A large number of histories of England and works of British biography are due to a time when I was chiefly occupied in writing the letterpress to “The Photographic Historical Portrait Gallery,”—a very beautiful publication illustrated with photographs of historical miniatures, which never reached a second volume, and is now, I believe, extremely scarce. An equally voluminous series of histories of Greece305 and Rome, and of translations of the Greek and Latin poets, marks the time when I first became deeply interested in classic antiquity. To this phase also belong the beginnings of those archæological works which I have of late years accumulated almost to the exclusion of all other books, as well as my collection of volumes upon Homer, which nearly fill one division of a bookcase. When I left London some six and twenty years ago to settle at Westbury-on-Trym, I also added to my library a large number of works on the fine arts, feeling, as every lover of pictures must do, that it is necessary, in some way or another, to make up for the loss of the National Gallery, the South Kensington Museum, and other delightful places which I was leaving behind. At this time, also, I had a passion for Turner, and eagerly collected his engraved works, of which I believe I possess nearly all. I think I may say the same of Samuel Prout. Of Shakespeare I have almost as many editions as I have translations of Homer; and of European histories, works of reference generally, a writer who lives in the country must, of course, possess a goodly number. Of rare books I do not pretend to have many. A single shelf contains a few good old works, including a fine black-letter Chaucer, the Venetian Dante of 1578, and some fine examples of the Elizabethan period. I soon found, however, that this taste was far too expensive to cultivate. Last of all, in what I may call the upper Egyptological stratum of my books, come those on Egypt and Egyptian archæology, a class of works deeply interesting to those who make Egyptology their study, but profoundly dull to everybody else.

Such are my books. If, however, I were to show my visitor what I consider my choicest treasures, I should take down volumes which have been given to me by friends, some now far distant, others departed. Here, for instance, is the folio edition of Doré’s “Don Quichotte,” on the fly-leaf of which he signs himself as my “ami affectueux;” or some of the works of my dear friend of many years, John Addington Symonds, especially “Many Moods,” which he has dedicated to myself. Or I would take down the first volume of “The Ring and the Book,” containing a delightful inscription from the pen of Robert Browning; or the late Lord Lytton’s version of the Odes of Horace, in which is inserted an interesting letter on the method and spirit of his translation,306 addressed to me at the time of its publication. Next to this stands a presentation copy of Sir Theodore Martin’s translation of the same immortal poems. To most persons these would be more interesting than other and later presentation volumes from various foreign savants—Maspero, Naville, Ebers, Wiedemann, and others.

I am often asked how many books I possess, and I can only reply that I have not the least idea, having lost count of them for many years. Those which are in sight are attired in purple and fine linen, beautiful bindings having once upon a time been one of my hobbies; but behind the beautiful bindings, many of which were executed from my own designs, are other books in modest cloth and paper wrappers; so that the volumes are always two rows, and sometimes even three rows deep. If I had not a tolerably good memory, I should certainly be very much perplexed by this arrangement, the more especially as my only catalogue is in my head.

I fear I am allowing myself to say too much about my books; yet, after all, they represent a large part of myself. My life, since I have lived at The Larches, has been one of ever-increasing seclusion, and my books have for many years been my daily companions, teachers, and friends. Merely to lean back in one’s chair now and then—merely to lean back and look at them—is a pleasure, a stimulus, and in some sense a gain. For, as it seems to me, there is a virtue which goes out from even the backs of one’s books; and though to glance along the shelves without taking down a single volume be but a Barmecide feast, yet the tired brain is consciously refreshed by it.

Although the room is essentially a bookroom, there are other things than books to which one can turn for a momentary change of thought. In yonder corner, for instance, stands an easel, the picture upon which is constantly changed. To-day, it will be a water-color sketch by John Lewis; to-morrow, an etching by Albert Dürer or Seymour Haden; the next day, an oil painting by Elihu Vedder, or perhaps an ancient Egyptian funerary papyrus, with curious pen-and-ink vignettes of gods and genii surmounting the closely written columns of hieroglyphic text.

For, you see, I have no wall space in my library upon which to hang pictures; and yet, I am not happy, and my307 thoughts are not rightly in tune, unless I have a picture or two in sight, somewhere about the room. In the corners, hidden away behind pedestals and curtains, a quick eye may detect stacks of pictures, ready to be brought out and put on the easel when needed. On the pedestals stand plaster casts of busts from antique originals in the Louvre, the Uffizzi Gallery, and the British Museum; and yonder, beside the arched entrance between the ante-room and the library, stands a small white marble torso of a semi-recumbent river god which I picked up years ago from amid the dusty stores of a little curiosity-shop in one of the small by-streets near Soho Square. It is a splendid fragment, so powerfully and learnedly modelled, that no less a critic than the late Charles Blanc once suggested to me that it might be a trial-sketch by a pupil of Michael Angelo, or even by the master himself. Curiously enough, this little masterpiece, which has lost both arms from below the shoulders and both legs from above the knee, was wrecked before its completion; the face, the beard, the hair and the back being little more than blocked out, whereas, the forepart of the trunk is highly finished. On the opposite side of the archway, in an iron tripod, stands a large terra-cotta amphora found in the cellar of a Roman villa discovered in 1872, close behind the Baths of Caracalla.

As I happened to be spending that winter in Rome, I went, of course, to see the new “scavo,” and there were the big jars standing in the cellar, just as in the lifetime of the ancient owner. I need scarcely say that I bought mine on the spot.

It is such associations as these which are the collector’s greatest pleasures. Each object recalls the place and circumstances of its purchase, brings back incidents of foreign travel, and opens up long vistas of delightful memories. For me, every bit of old pottery on the tops of the bookcases has its history. That Majolica jar painted with the Medici arms, and those Montelupo plates, were bought in Florence; those brass salvers with heads of Doges in repoussé work were picked up in a dark old shop on one of the side canals of Venice. The tall jars, yellow, green, white, and brown, with grotesque dragon mouths and twisted handles, are of Gallipoli make, and I got them at a shop in an out-of-the-way court at the top of a blind alley in Stamboul.308

I have said that there are reasons why an intending visitor might, perchance, fail to penetrate as far as this den of books and bric-à-brac, and I might allege a considerable number, but they may all be summed up in the one deplorable fact that there are but twenty-four hours to the day, and seven days to the week. Time is precious to me, and leisure is a thing unknown. If, however, the said visitor is of congenial tastes, has gained admittance, and finds me less busy than usual, he will, perhaps, be let into the secret of certain hidden treasures, the existence of which is unsuspected by the casual caller. For dearer to me than all the rest of my curios are my Egyptian antiquities; and of these, strange to say, though none of them are in sight, I have enough to stock a modest little museum. Stowed away in all kinds of nooks and corners, in upstairs cupboards, in boxes, drawers, and cases innumerable, behind books, and invading the sanctity of glass closets and wardrobes, are hundreds, nay, thousands, of those fascinating objects in bronze and glazed ware, in carved wood and ivory, in glass, and pottery, and sculptured stone, which are the delight of archæologists and collectors. Here, for instance, behind the “Revue Archeologique” packed side by side as closely as figs in a box, are all the gods of Egypt,—fantastic little porcelain figures plumed and horned, bird-headed, animal-headed, and the like. Their reign, it is true, may be over in the Valley of the Nile, but in me they still have a fervent adorer. Were I inclined to worship them with due antique ceremonial, there are two libation tables in one of the attics ready to my hand, carved with semblances of sacrificial meats and drinks; or here, in a tin box behind the “Retrospective Review,” are specimens of actual food offerings deposited three thousand years ago in various tombs at Thebes—shrivelled dates, lentils, nuts, and even a slice of bread. Rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, amulets, mirrors, and toilet objects, once the delight of dusky beauties long since embalmed and forgotten; funerary statuettes, scarabs, rolls of mummy cloth, and the like are laid by “in a sacred gloom” from which they are rarely, if ever, brought forth into the light of day. And there are stranger things than these,—fragments of spiced and bituminized humanity to be shown to visitors who are not nervous, nor given to midnight terrors. Here is a baby’s foot (some mother cried over it once) in the Japanese cabinet in the309 ante-room. There are three mummied hands behind “Allibone’s Dictionary of English Authors,” in the library. There are two arms with hands complete—the one almost black, the other singularly fair,—in a drawer in my dressing-room; and grimmest of all, I have the heads of two ancient Egyptians in a wardrobe in my bedroom, who, perhaps, talk to each other in the watches of the night, when I am sound asleep. As, however, I am not writing a catalogue of my collection, I will only mention that there is a somewhat battered statue of a Prince of Kush standing upright in his packing-case, like a sentry in a sentry-box, in an empty coach-house at the bottom of the garden.

It may, perhaps, be objected to my treatment of this subject that I have described only my “home,” and that, being myself, I have not described Miss Edwards. This is a task which I cannot pretend to perform in a manner satisfactory either to myself or the reader. My personal appearance has, however, been so fully depicted in the columns of some hundreds of newspapers, that I have but to draw upon the descriptions given by my brethren of the press, in order to fill what would otherwise be an inevitable gap in the present article. By one, for instance, I am said to have “coal-black hair and flashing black eyes”; by another, that same hair is said to be “snow-white”; while a third describes it as “iron-gray, and rolled back in a large wave.” On one occasion, as I am informed, I had “a commanding and Cassandra-like presence”; elsewhere, I was “tall, slender, and engaging”; and occasionally I am merely of “middle height” and, alas! “somewhat inclined to embonpoint.” As it is obviously so easy to realize what I am like from the foregoing data, I need say no more on the subject.

With regard to “my manners and customs” and the course of my daily life, there is little or nothing to tell. I am essentially a worker, and a hard worker, and this I have been since my early girlhood. When I am asked what are my working hours, I reply:—“All the time when I am not either sitting at meals, taking exercise, or sleeping”; and this is literally true. I live with the pen in my hand, not only from morning till night, but sometimes from night till morning. I have, in fact, been a night bird ever since I came out of the schoolroom, when I habitually sat up reading till long past midnight. Later on, when I adopted literature as a profession,310 I still found that “To steal a few hours from the night” was to ensure the quietest time, and the pleasantest, for pen and brain work; and, for at least the last twenty-five years, I have rarely put out my lamp before two or three in the morning. Occasionally, when work presses and a manuscript has to be despatched by the earliest morning mail, I remain at my desk the whole night through; and I can with certainty say that the last chapter of every book I have ever written has been finished at early morning. In summertime, it is certainly delightful to draw up the blinds and complete in sunlight a task begun when the lamps were lighted in the evening.

And this reminds me of a little incident—too trivial, perhaps, to be worth recording—which befell me so long ago as 1873. I had visited the Dolomites during the previous summer, not returning to England till close upon Christmastime, and I had been occupied during the greater part of the spring in preparing that account of the journey entitled “Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys.” Time ran somewhat short towards the last, as my publishers were anxious to produce the volume early in June; and when it came to the point of finishing off, I sat up all through one beautiful night in May, till the farewell words were written. At the very moment when, with a sigh of satisfaction, I laid down my pen, a wandering nightingale on the pear-tree outside my library window, burst into such a flood of song as I have never heard before or since. The pear-tree was in full blossom; the sky behind it was blue and cloudless; and as I listened to the unwonted music, I could not help thinking that, had I been a pious scribe of the Middle Ages who had just finished a laboriously written life of some departed saint, I should inevitably have believed that the bird was a ghostly messenger sent by the good saint himself to congratulate me upon the completion of my task.311



It is a somewhat curious task to which I find myself set. To go on with it may be to lay myself open to censure on the part of the “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.” What would have been thought of the famous Davy Crockett, if he had fired his gun after the coon had said, “Don’t shoot, for I will come right down”? But the Rev. Francis Bellamy “comes right down” before anybody is in sight with a gun at all. He argues, indeed, in favor of nationalism; but, before he begins, he whispers to you, confidentially, that he is not much of a nationalist after all. Like Bottom, in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” he is anxious not to scare anybody, and so lets out the secret that he is not a “truly” lion, but is only “taking the part.” In effect he tells the audience that “I will roar you as gently as a sucking dove.”

Let us see, from his own words, how much of a nationalist, and what kind of a one he really is. “It is not without some question, however, that I accept the generous challenge.” (That is, to reply to the editor of The Arena.) “For I am not sure that I myself believe in the military type of socialism which the editor seems continually to have in mind. The book (‘Looking Backward’) which, more than all others combined, has brought socialism before American thought, has also furnished to its opponents a splendidly clear target in its military organization. It cannot be repeated too often, however, that the army type is not conceded by socialists to be an essential, even if nationalistic, socialism.”

Later on, speaking of “the hostile critics,” he says: “They delight to picture the superb riot of corruption, if nationalists could have their way at once. They will never listen, they will never remember, while nationalists declare they would not have their way at once if they could. A catastrophe by312 which nationalistic socialism might be precipitated would be a deplorable disaster to human progress.”

Later still, he brings out the idea that all he seeks is to begin, in a small way, with towns and cities, and see how it works.

And once more he declares, “We certainly want no nationalism that is not an orderly development.” … “Nationalism is only a prophecy. It is too distant to be certainly detailed.” (“For this relief, much thanks!”) … “We may be inspired by it as the end towards which present movements are tending. But each age solves its own problems; and the passage into the promised land is the issue for another generation. A nearer view alone can determine where the passage is, and whether the land is truly desirable….

“Meantime, what our people must vote upon in the present year of grace is whether great private corporations shall control legislatures and city councils, and charge their own unquestioned prices for such public necessities of life as light and transit…. The future is in the hands of evolution.”

This latter paragraph challenges and receives my most unbounded admiration. It is one of the neatest changes of base I ever witnessed. I have seen remarkable feats performed by the prestidigitateur on the stage; but they were clumsy compared with this. I thought it was nationalism I was looking at. But, “presto, change!” I look again, and the only thing visible is the question as to “whether great private corporations shall control legislatures and city councils, and charge their own unquestioned prices for such public necessities as light and transit.” I was looking for the “garden of Eden,” the “kingdom of heaven,” the “promised land,” or, at the very least, the fulfilment of Mr. Edward Bellamy’s dream of a Boston with poverty gone and everybody happy, and lo! I am put off with economical electric lights and cheaper street cars! To be sure, these latter are not to be despised; but when one, like More’s “Peri at the Gate,” has been looking into heaven, even free street lights and street cars are a disappointment!

But however disappointed we may be, let us turn and seriously face the situation. The Rev. Francis Bellamy is not at all sure that he is in favor of his brother’s kind of nationalism. And yet, the kind and method were the only peculiar and distinctive things in his brother’s book. Dreams313 are old and common; but when this book appeared, people shouted “Eureka! We have found the way. This is the fulfilment of our dreams!” Now we are told, on authority, that it is not. And we are just where we were before.

People may suffer from a vague discontent for any number of years, while yet they do no more than complain and wish they were more comfortable. So, for example, the farmers have been doing. But, so long as they go no further, there is no definite “cause” either to uphold or oppose. But, when they call a national convention and construct a platform, announcing definite aims and methods, then there is something to talk about. Now, a man is either for or against “The Farmers’ Alliance.” Of course, he may be profoundly interested in the farmers’ welfare, and yet oppose their aims and methods, because he does not believe that real help can come in the way that they, at present, propose. But, until some plan is proposed, there can hardly be said to be any farmers’ movement at all.

So of nationalism. It does not consist in an indefinite confession that the industrial condition of the world is not all that one could wish, and an equally indefinite dream, or hope, or trust in evolution. If that be nationalism, then, of course, we are all nationalists. The nationalist clubs have platforms, declarations of principles, statements of aims and methods. The one only value of Mr. Edward Bellamy’s book—beyond mere entertainment—was in its clear statement of an end to be reached in certain definite ways. Take this feature away, and there is no nationalism left to even talk about.

As there are many different types of socialism, so, of course, there may be many different kinds of nationalism. But there must be some kind, if the matter is to be intelligently discussed. But the Rev. Francis Bellamy declines to be held to the scheme of Mr. Edward Bellamy; and he does not give us any other in its place. He says he wants nothing “that is not an orderly development”; nationalism is “only a prophecy”; it is “too distant to be certainly detailed”; “we may be inspired by it,” but nobody can yet tell whether we shall want it or not; its sudden coming would be “a deplorable disaster,” etc., etc.

Now I submit to the candid reader as to whether this sort of thing is not too nebulous and tenuous for the uninitiated314 mind to discuss. “An orderly development”—but of nobody knows what nor in what direction—“a prophesy,” an intangible “inspiration”; these may be very fine, but where are we, and what are we talking about? For all I know, up to the present time, I may be in cordial agreement with the Rev. Francis Bellamy’s state of mind—if only I could find out what it is. He does not agree with his brother; nor do I. So far we are in accord. But I cannot tell whether I can take the next step with him, until he tells me what the next step is. But he does not even suggest a definite end, nor hint one definite method. I am heartily with him in being in favor of the millennium; but the practical question is,—which way?

The only definite thing he does suggest is that, as the process of natural evolution goes on, men will be competent to decide what they want; and if they do not want any particular thing, they will not have it. This is all very harmless; but it is so commonplace a truism that it is hardly worth while to get excited over it.

But while he does not define himself, nor tell us what it is, nor how it is to be come at, it is plain, all the way through, that he is a believer in “nationalistic socialism.” Now, we cannot indict a man for cherishing hopes, or for encouraging them in others. But, in the case of the negroes, at the close of the war, it was a real evil for them to be expecting “a mule and forty acres of land” from the government; for it stood in the way of real effort in practical directions. So, while a nobler ideal is of incalculable benefit to a people, it is a real evil for them to be indulging in impractical dreams. They waste effort and divert power from practical ends, and result in that kind of disappointment that discourages the heart and unnerves the arm. Those, then, who talk of nationalism as a solution of our troubles, ought to tell us just what they are after, and what methods they propose. Then we can find out whether the plans will work or not. Otherwise time, enthusiasm, and effort may all be wasted.

But the only definite end this article hints at is the destruction of those monopolies that make light and transportation dear. But it is conceivable that this may be done without a resort to nationalistic socialism. And this, which he says is the first step, may be a step in any one of several different directions. And if what he is after is to come only as the result of a natural evolution, when everybody315 wants it, and not as the result of a social catastrophe, then it would seem to be difficult to tell the difference between it and individualism. “The rounded development of the greatest number of individuals,” he himself sets forth as the motive and end of his kind of nationalism. Now if somebody is going to make me take on a “sounder development,” that is one thing, but if everybody is only going to let me do it, that is quite another thing. Mark Twain’s “Buck Fanshaw” was going to have peace, if he had to “lick every galoot in town” to get it. This may well stand for Edward Bellamy’s military nationalism. But if we are only going to have peace when everybody wants it, and will behave himself, why this seems like the Rev. Francis Bellamy’s nationalism, with the “military” left out. And this, I say, looks to me very much like the kind of individualism which I believe in.

I pass by, completely, the philosophical discussion as to what constitutes “a nation.” This I do, because it does not seem to me relevant to the matter in hand. If my individual liberty is interfered with, I cannot see that it helps me much to reflect that a nation, or “the nation,” is not a “sand-heap,” but is “an organic being.” The oppression is the matter; and I had as lief be oppressed by a sand-heap as by an organic being. What I object to is being oppressed by either of them. And, whatever may be in the future, when men get to be something different from what they are, so far in the history of the world it has been true that all kinds of governments have oppressed the individual. And, so far, the only safety of the individual has been such guarantees of personal rights and liberties as have limited the governmental power. And until some one can give the world assurance that human nature is to be transformed, it will be just as well to maintain the guarantees, instead of putting still more power into the hands of the government—whether it be called one thing or another. While even one wolf is abroad, the wise shepherd will not get rid of his dog.

But, while the Rev. Francis Bellamy has “come down,” to the extent of virtually giving up any kind of nationalism definite enough to fight about, he nevertheless goes on with his arguments against the editor’s positions just as though nothing at all had happened. He stands up for “nationalistic socialism” as though it were something clearly in316 mind. And he argues at length that the state of things covered by this term will not be open to such dangers as have been found to exist under all other forms of government. Either human nature is to be changed—though he does not tell us how—or there is to be some charm in “nationalistic socialism” that is to change the nature of “politics,” disarm prejudice, make philistinism broad-minded, and turn bigotry into tolerance. Wonderful is the power of my particular panacea!

Neither of the brothers Bellamy expect or propose any sudden change in human nature. “Looking Backward” plainly and positively disclaims any such expectation. So we are not only at liberty to deal with social forces and factors as they have been, and as we know them, but we are even compelled to do so. Let us, then, take up some of Mr. Flower’s points against nationalism, and see whether Mr. Bellamy has adequately met them.

Mr. Flower thinks that nationalism would mean governmentalism and paternalism—in the historic sense of those terms—raised to the highest degree; and that these are both bad things. Mr. Bellamy admits that they have been bad things in the past; but claims that something in nationalistic socialism is to change their nature. As, in the millennium, the lion is to “eat straw like the ox,” so, in this coming Edenic condition of affairs, the age-long oppressors of the individual are to lose their man-eating proclivities. The world is open to conviction on this point; but it will take more than words to produce the result. When we see a lion eating grass, while the sheep play about his feet, we will believe in his conversion. For—let the reader take earnest heed—it is not the conscious evil in men that has been oftenest the oppressor of their fellows; almost always the plea for it has been the general good. Church and State both have set this propensity down among the great cardinal virtues. As Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing God service when he persecuted the early Church, so the Church herself sang Te Deums over St. Bartholomew, and believed verily that the groans of the Inquisition and the fires of her autos de fé were for the glory of God and the good of man.

The curse of the whole business is just here—that a set of men should fancy that they know better what their317 brothers ought to think and do than the brothers themselves know. Mr. Bellamy himself lets out, in a most curious way, his own advanced (?) idea of “toleration.” By the way, I would like to know how it happens to be any of his business, for example, to “tolerate” me. Who sets him, or anybody else, up on high to look down with “toleration” on other people?

But let us note his idea of “toleration.” He says, with great emphasis, “A man may prove to me by inductive data, reaching uninterruptedly over ten thousand years”—I did not know he was so old—“that my own nature is intolerant; he may even corroborate his proof by pointing to my occasional acts of thoughtless disregard for another’s opinion; yet all this array does not overwhelm me, for I know [Italics mine] that I am not intolerant.” This superlative confidence in his own goodness makes me think of the congressman of whom it was said, “He is the most distinguished man in Washington. I know he is, for he admits it himself.”

But a little later on creeps out an indication, in the light of which we have a right to interpret this claim. Mr. Flower, in his editorial, had shown how a Christian Scientist had been arrested in Iowa for this offence. In the words of the indictment, “She had practised a cure on one Mrs. George B. Freeman.” After the physicians had pronounced the case hopeless, and had given her up, this criminal woman had actually dared to “cure” her. The heinousness of the offence was admitted. It was not, in the ordinary sense, malpractice; no medicine had been given, no pain was inflicted, no harm done. But she had been presumptuous enough to “cure,” and not after the “regular,” the orthodox way. Now the Rev. Francis Bellamy shows his “tolerance” in regard to this crucial case, by saying, “But it is certainly true that the State has the right to prevent malpractice—a right none of us would wish renounced.” Just what this has to do with an instance where the only malpractice even charged was that she “had practised a cure,” after all the physicians had given her up, is not very plain to the worldly minded. But he goes on,—“And as soon as there are sufficient data to convince an intelligent (sic) public opinion that the theory, with its perilous repudiation of all medical skill, is not fatal to human life, it will receive an ungrudged status.”318

“Here’s richness,” as Mr. Squeers would say. Mr. Bellamy’s “tolerance” then is limited carefully to what has an accepted “status” as judged by “public opinion.” It begins now to be plain as to what “tolerance” is to be in the millennial era of nationalism.

But there is one more hint in Mr. Bellamy’s article, without which this new and improved definition of tolerance would not be complete. He says, “It is hard to discover what individualism is surrendered except bumptiousness.” But who is to decide what is “bumptiousness”? Why, “an intelligent public opinion,” of course. And who is to settle as to what is “an intelligent public opinion,” that has the right to put down “bumptiousness”? Why, the “intelligent” public, of course. So it comes back always to this,—we, the ruling majority, are intelligent, and we have the right to decide as to what shall be and shall not be permitted.

But now to go back a moment to a point that must not be lost sight of; for it involves the whole issue between personal freedom and tyranny, whether of a part of the people or all of them. He says, “as soon as there are sufficient data to convince an intelligent public opinion, etc., etc.” But just how is this “data” to be accumulated, so long as anybody who dares to have a new idea is to be arrested and imprisoned? The very most fatal objection to this universal supervision and control of all individual action by the governing power, which nationalism contemplates and which is of its very essence, is that it would become the tyranny of mediocrity, and would stand in the way of growth.

Two forces, at work freely, are necessary to evolution: heredity and the tendency to vary. The one conserves all the valuable attainments of the past; and the other, like the new sprouts and twigs on a growing tree, has in it all the promise of the future. Such a control of life as nationalism contemplates would suppress the new twigs as “bumptiousness,” or would—while breaking them off as fast as they appeared—ask them to accumulate “sufficient data to convince an intelligent public opinion.”

The “intelligent public opinion” of Europe thought Copernicus, and Bruno, and Galileo, and Luther very bumptious sorts of persons. With “an intelligent public opinion,” such as existed in England and America thirty319 years ago, on the subject of the origin of species, what would have become of Darwin—provided that, at that time, the governing power had assumed and exercised the right to put him to some “useful” occupation, or to suppress ideas popularly believed to be dangerous?

The plain fact of the matter is, that all the persecutions of the past have grown out of just this idea, which Mr. Bellamy endorses, that an “intelligent public opinion” has the right to tell certain individuals what they shall believe and teach. And all the growth of human civilization thus far has been in the direction of the rise of the individual as over against the claim of the majority to control. And there is no safety for the individual, and no sure and swift promise of human advance, until “intelligent public opinion” is taught to mind its own business.

While, then, Mr. Bellamy denies that there is any danger of “governmentalism” or “paternalism” under nationalistic control, he himself admits and defends the principle. This he does while loudly claiming to be tolerant. What, then, may we expect on the part of the great mass of the people whose equal (?) tolerance he does not undertake to guarantee? Is it just possible that his nationalism, which is not of the military type even, is already manifesting some symptoms of the incipient disease?

Five cases of the tyranny of the majority, that had been adduced by Mr. Flower, his antagonist claims to deal with. I have already touched on his treatment of Case II., that of the Christian Scientist. His treatment of only one other is significant enough to call for notice on my part. Case V. is that of one Powell of Pennsylvania. This man had put a large sum of money into the business of manufacturing oleomargarine. He had complied with all the conditions of the law. His product was what it claimed to be, and was stamped as such. Nobody was deceived or injured. But a later legislature—as if there were not already crimes enough in existence—declares this manufacture a crime. The “intelligent public” majority calmly robs him of his property and ruins him, and feels no sort of compunction in the matter. One year it encourages him to start a business; the next it ruins him for starting it.

Mr. Bellamy, however, says this “proves too much. It shows a vested money interest controlling a legislature and320 voting a rival business into outlawry.” And he adds, “This is a kind of instance socialists like to get hold of.” If socialists like to play with dynamite, then I should think they might like such cases; otherwise, not. For it happens precisely not to illustrate what Mr. Bellamy says it does. Instead of its having been a case of “a vested money interest controlling the legislature and voting a rival into outlawry,” it happened to be the “intelligent public opinion” of the farmers, who wanted their butter business protected even though it took robbery to do it. And this is just the kind of justice any new business may expect, under nationalistic control, until it has accumulated “data” enough to satisfy “intelligent public opinion.”

Governmentalism and paternalism have always been evils, Mr. Flower asserts. This Mr. Bellamy admits. For this reason, Mr. Flower thinks the power of government should be minimized, and the individual left more and more free. This would seem to be a most logical inference. But, no, says Mr. Bellamy, for there is something peculiar in nationalism that is going to neutralize all these malign tendencies. He does not make it quite plain to the uninitiated as to how this is to be done. The chief point seems to be that, instead of one man doing it, as in a monarchy, or a few men doing it, as in an aristocracy, everybody is going to do, and whatever everybody does is necessarily going to be all right. Those to whom this appears perfectly plain and satisfactory, of course are “not far from the kingdom of heaven,” as nationalism views it. I, for one, however, would like a few of the “data,” supposed to be so efficacious in other matters.

To sum the matter up, in closing, I wish to state definitely and clearly a few objections to nationalistic socialism that seem to me fatal.

1. The world began in socialism. In the barbaric period the tribe was all and the individual nothing. Every step of human progress has kept pace with the rise of the individual.

2. Military socialism, such as Mr. Edward Bellamy advocates, would be only another name for universal despotism, in which the individual, if not an officer, would only count one in the ranks. It would be the paradise of officialism on the one hand, and helpless subordination on the other.321

3. Nobody is ready to talk definitely about any other kind of nationalism; for nobody has outlined any working method. If it is only what everybody freely wishes done—and this seems to be the Rev. Francis Bellamy’s idea—then it is hard to distinguish it from individualism. At any rate, it is not yet clear enough to be clearly discussed.

4. Nationalism, as commonly understood, could mean nothing else but the tyranny of the commonplace. Democracy, as we know it, is limited in all sorts of ways. It only looks after certain public affairs, while the main part of the life of the individual is free. But suppose the majority undertook to manage all the business of the country, appoint each man his place and keep him in it, determine what should be known, and taught, and done—it fairly stifles one only to think of it! There has never been a time in the history of the world, when the wisest and best things would not have been voted down. For it is always the few who lead in religion, in morals, in art, in literature, in learning, in all high service. But these few now do it, not by despotic power, but only by influence; so all may be free. And there has never been a time in the world’s history when the most important things that were being done were of apparent utility in the eyes of the crowd. Consider Homer and Virgil, Isaiah and Jesus, Dante, Shakespeare, Angelo, Copernicus, Galileo, Goethe, Luther, Servetus, Newton, Darwin, Spencer, Galvani,—had nationalism been dominant in their days, how long would it have been before the “intelligent public opinion” of the governing board of their departments would have had them up to show cause why they should not “go to work for a living”?

The progress of the world, up to the present hour, has always meant the larger and still larger freedom of the individual. This freedom has always had its evils. So all life has its disadvantages. But only a few people, in any generation, believe in suicide as a cure. Nationalism, freely chosen, would be the murder of liberty and social suicide. When people have thought about it enough to comprehend its meaning, they will choose to bear what ills they must, and seek some more helpful method of cure, rather than adopt such an “heroic” treatment as kills the patient in the hope of getting rid of the disease.322



In this day of multiplied facilities for education, a day when training begins with the kindergarten and ends in what is called “higher education” both for men and women, the thoughtful observer is constantly confronted by the question, why are not the people educated? It is quite true that a great many people are; that very many more believe they are; and still more believe the day is coming when they are to be educated in the broad and liberal sense of the word. Our systems, founded upon the old scholastic idea, are generally considered satisfactory, and any failure that may be observed in results is attributed to the fact that, in particular cases, they have not yet had time or opportunity for successful operation. And yet, year after year, we are passing through the mills of our public schools and colleges multitudes of minds that come out like travellers who climb to the top of every high tower in their journey, because they will not come home without being able “to say they have done it.”

Apparently, too many of our students go through their course for no better reason than to say they have done it. There are grand and noble exceptions, but these are generally among those who do not care to SAY anything about it. The great majority, however, come forth in the mental condition of the man, who laboriously climbs step by step of the tower, takes his bird’s-eye view of the field of learning, accepts the impressions made upon his mind by the vast picture and the vast mixture, and comes down to his own level again with no more real knowledge of that at which he has glanced than has the traveller who has taken a glimpse from the heights which he climbed, because the guide-book said this was “the thing to do.”

In every walk of life, among statesmen, men of business, and artisans, exist noble examples of exceptional profundity and reality of knowledge, but in the great average of so-called educated people of our own generation, we find the majority323 possessing very fragmentary interest in any of the subjects which, as students, were supposed to engage their attention. What they would have been without the so-called education we cannot judge, and it might be unfair to infer, but what they are no discriminating person, with a knowledge of what our systems claim, can fail to see. We cannot ignore the fact that for some reason they have failed to attain their natural and possible development.

Our educational theories, on paper and in text-books, are well-nigh perfect; in actual operation why should they fail? Like a great machine, fed with the material of thought, the crank turns, the wheels go round, and the whole world is a-buzz with the work and the noise, but the creature on whom all this power is expended, is only in rare instances a truly educated man or woman. What, then, is the defect? If the machine is right, then the material with which it is fed must be defective. If the material is right, then the machine has every virtue except that of adaptation to the use for which it was intended.

Since the whole end and aim of education is to develop, not the ideal mental constitution, but the real mind just as we find it, the real creature just as he is; and since we cannot change the human mind to make it fit the machine, the effort should be to adapt the educational process to suit the human mind. To what extent they are doing this is one of the great questions for teachers of the present day. To what extent,—admitting that now in some particulars they fail,—it may be possible to modify and adapt methods to the actual and genuine needs of human nature, is certainly a problem worthy of the earnest thought of the broadest and best cultured minds. In attempts at adaptation we have fallen into a process of analyzing the youthful human creature. Having discovered that he possesses mathematical capacity, we have supplied him with mathematical training, and have in this department thrust upon him all, and sometimes more, hard work than he can bear. Having found he possessed religious faculty, we have emptied upon him the theologies and psychologies, and when we have supplied him in these and other directions we look for the educated man. Judge of our disappointment. We find the faculties, we find the modifications produced by the training, but we look in vain for the man. With all our multiplied facilities for producing a324 trained and disciplined nature, what we think we have a right to expect,—but what we do not find,—is a creature conscious of his own great heritage, conscious of his kinship with all humanity, of his kingship over the universe, of his power to grapple with the world outside of himself, and of his rightful dominance over both the life without and the grander life within. Instead, we find men weak where they should be most purposeful and brave. We find him the slave of the body who should be able to make the body the servant of his soul. We find hands untrained to practical uses, minds unequal to grasping the common wants of existence, hearts in which the high ideals of character and strong impulses toward true usefulness are over-swept by that consideration for self that makes one’s own interests seem the very centre of the universe of God.

The day needs giants; it produces pigmies. It needs men to fight; it produces men to run. It needs women with minds broad enough to think and hearts large enough to love. It needs motherhood that, while it bends protectingly over the cradle of its own child, reaches out a mother-heart to all the suffering childhood of the race. It needs the capacity for heroism; it yields the tendency to cowardice. In the midst of learning, ignorance triumphs, vice rules, and sensualism thrives; and all this, not because of education, but in spite of it. And when we consider that our schools in their lower grades, our kindergartens and our primary and Sunday schools, take the infant mind before the tendency to vice has had any chance for development, and that the next higher grades take them on through successive years, without being able to prevent such results as these mentioned above, we naturally feel that, at the very outset, our educational system must be wrong. However it may be suited to the ideal conditions it cannot be adapted to the average human creature, taken exactly as he is. The lack, which begins at the very basis of our so-called intelligent discipline, runs through the whole, in constantly increasing ratio. Brain is stimulated, and heart and soul are left to starve, and nothing is more neglected than the cunning of the hand. Even where some attempt is made at the training of the whole nature, it is done without recognition of the infinite variety in the human mind. Processes ought to be adapted, not only to the universal but to the individual need. It325 does not follow that the universal need is necessarily or invariably unlike the individual need, or that individual needs are always identical, but any system of education that gives, for a great variety of minds, precisely the same course of training, is sure to be, for a majority of those minds, a pitiful and conspicuous failure.

What then? Shall we have a separate school for every child? Shall we have a special teacher for each mind? That would probably be impossible, but we certainly should have so small a number of pupils under each teacher that she (and we are taking it for granted that the teachers of little children will largely be women) may be able to study the whole nature of every little one committed to her care. She should be not only in communication, but in real communion with the mother; should know the child’s mental and moral inheritance, and, in as far as her own watchful care and the help of the family physician may enable her to do so, she should understand its physical constitution. She should acquaint herself with the temperament, the habits, the degree of affection, and the little germs of spiritual insight and inspiration, all of which go to make up the nature of the little creature in her charge. If she be the true teacher, she should combine the threefold duties of mother, instructor, and physician for the young life unfolding in her care. If she has not the heart to love the child and to let the child love her, and so to lay foundation for the larger loving, that, by and by, shall out-reach and take in the whole humanity of God, then we will not say she has mistaken her calling, but her own process of education has been defective and she has much to learn.

Such threefold development for heart, hand, and brain of the little child makes preparation for the next higher steps of educational work. Whatever form the training may assume, the individuality of the human soul should be kept inviolate. That individuality betrays itself in many ways; by emotion and sentiment, by quickness or dullness of perception, and above all, by preferences and dislikes. These minute indications as to just what elements of spirit and mind have entered into the nature of the child, are the little delicate fibres that show the texture of the human soul with which we have to deal. The child learns too soon to draw in and hide the frail, sensitive tendrils that indicate that the life of the soul-plant is feeling its way toward the light of God.326

In the primary school, the teacher (and sometimes in the cradle, the mother, who is, whether she would have it so or not, the child’s first teacher) begins the process of training by which the little one is made to do as others do, to say what others say, and to conceal the fact that it has any inward life or impulses that are not the same as those of other children.

Instead of being able to read the God-given signs as to what the infant nature really requires, we give it instead an arbitrary supply, based upon what we think it ought to need, and then marvel that it does not thrive upon its unnatural diet. We have not supplied what it craved but that which, from our preconceived notion, we thought it ought to want.

This process of applying our rule and line to the mind goes farther and bears harder upon the student with every succeeding year, until, long before the so-called education is completed, three quarters of the students have lost the consciousness that they ever cared, or ever could have cared, for anything except that which the class supplied. To be what the class is, to do what the class does, to be satisfied with knowing what the class knows, to have lost the sense of the value of the thing to be gained, and to measure by false standards, comes to be the rule, until the conceit of knowledge takes the place of the modesty of conscious ignorance, and the student becomes a drop in the annual out-pouring stream of so-called teachers, many of whom, in the highest sense, have never been genuine students at all.

Searching for causes of such results, we cannot fail to see that much of this dead sameness of intellectual character is due to our habit of educating in masses. We make an Arab feast of our knowledge. A dish is prepared that contains something that might be strengthening for each partaker. With hands more or less clean, students select their savory morsels from the sop. As in the Arab family, for old and young, for the babe in arms, and the strong man from his field of toil, the provision is the same, so in all our class-work we have the sameness of provision with almost as great disparity of capacity and need. If, out of the whole mental “mess of pottage” that can be taken which builds the student up in true wisdom and knowledge, it is fortunate; but if nothing is assimilated on which the mind could truly thrive, no fault is found with the provision, nor is resultant ignorance considered to be specially worthy of blame.327

The evil effects of educating in masses, or in classes, is sufficiently apparent to cause us to consider the question whether there is any possible remedy,—whether there could be a substitution of individual for general training, or a combination of the two that would produce a better result. That student is losing ground as an individual who comes to be considered or to consider himself as simply a factor of a class. If the general teaching must be that which is applicable to the entire class, there should also be provision for instruction that could be adapted to the individual need, and as great effort as is made to adapt class work to the general need should be made in the special direction also. But the objection arises that the modern teacher is not able to work in both directions in the time allotted for student life. We are very well aware that we have not yet passed the stage where the value of the teacher’s work is measured by the number of hours in which he is engaged in the classroom. Trustees, as a whole, pay for the professor’s full time, and expect it to be fully employed. Neither are the educators many who would know what to do if simply let loose among students and left free to make their best impressions upon the minds of the young.

To many teachers the mind of youth is, in reality, an unexplored region, and until we have a change in this respect, and learn that the knowledge of books is only the beginning of wisdom, and that the true knowledge must include also that of the living book,—the student entrusted to our care,—we have scarcely learned the alphabet of true education.

The day will come, though it may be long in coming, when every institution of learning will have, besides its technical teachers, its lecturers and its conductors of recitations,—one man or one woman, or as many men and women as are needed, whose special province it will be to study the individual temperament, to discover native tendencies, tastes, and capacities of the mind, and whose knowledge will be true wisdom in the sense that they will know not only how to ascertain, but how to supply real needs.

That cramping and stifling of natural tastes, which is now so marked a feature of school training, will be replaced by the cultivation of every good natural ability, and the suppression of only that which in itself is evil. Quite too often, even in this latter day, the restraint is put upon the natural powers, simply because their development calls for extra328 labor and special trouble, or because these powers indicate training in lines of work not being attempted by the class.

Let the routine work continue to be done, and, if necessary, in the routine fashion, but let every institution have on its Faculty one soul, at least, whose province is not to crush, but to cultivate and develop individual traits of mind and character. Such an instructor must not be ignorant of books, but that intricate book, the human heart, should be his special study, and he should know, not only what human beings are, but should be able to help them to grow into what God meant them to be. Such a man with a large and sympathetic heart that can be hospitable to boyhood as it is, will do more toward the moulding of genuine manhood than can a dozen professors of the ordinary type. One such woman in every institution for the education of girls holds really the future destiny of those girls in her own hand, for her life among them could have but one dominant desire,—that of helping them to be the thing God meant. Practically living out that desire she becomes, not the restraint and destroyer of their natural vitality of thought and feeling, but the guide and director of all their native forces into every beautiful field of learning, and into the highest type of development possible for woman, under present limitations, to attain.

Whether we recognize the fact or not, there is not a phase of our social or national life that is unaffected by the lack of proper development of individuality. The whole tendency of our civilization has been in the direction of making people, as nearly as possible, like other people. Characters of marked individuality are relegated to the class of so-called cranks. To be above the dead level of general sentiment and attainment is to be in decidedly bad form. This work of taking out of people the characteristics placed within them by nature, and making them over into the convenient and conventional types that think as others think, and do what others do, has marked our civilization from its earlier stages, and the more civilized we become the more pronounced are the results. Among these results are great loss of spiritual and mental vitality. It is time to call a halt, to change our methods, or to supplement them by methods of individual training. The beginning of such a work will mark an educational era, the inception of which should not be longer delayed.329



The story of working-women, of those women forced by changes in industrial and social conditions into occupations outside the home, is limited to the last hundred years. The division of labor resulting in the factory system, and the multiplication of trades, has opened many employments hitherto unknown, in which the use of female labor has become almost a necessity. Woman has had her share of work from the beginning, often much more than her share, but it ran usually in the simple lines of household requirements; and if it chanced, here and there, to be of larger scope, this was, after all, mostly tentative. Work with deliberate intent to earn a living is chiefly a fact of the nineteenth century, and any tangible estimate of woman as a competitor of man in the struggle for existence must be based upon the facts of the past hundred years. It is within hardly more than a generation that the importance of the subject has become plain, and now we are all questioning as to what is included in the life of the working-woman; what is her economic and social condition; what are her rights and her wrongs; what bearing have they on society at large, and what concern is it of ours why or how she works, or what wage she receives?

We are well aware that humanity has always had the enforced work of women as an essential part of its development, enforced not by law but by the necessities of life. In any new country, the work of women is a vital factor in its success or failure, in its growth and general prosperity; and in the early days of our own country this was far truer than now. There were then no trades open to women, because the organization of society was much less complex than it now is, and the family represented a union of trades. This had been the case in England and, indeed, in all civilized countries, and is even true of those early days when skins were all that was needed, and thorns were the only needles330 and pins. But from the day of that disastrous experience in the Garden, clothing, and the necessities involved in it, has been the synonym of sorrow for women, and the needle stands as the visible token of disaster, sorrow, and wrong of every order—“the asp upon the breast of the poor.”

Civilization has always in the nature of things meant war. It is only out of the conflict of class with class, interest with interest, that advance comes. “Strife is the father of all things and the king of all things,” was the word of Heraclitus the Wise. “It hath brought forth some as gods and others as men, and hath made some bond and others free. When Homer prayed that strife might depart from amongst gods and men, he wist not that he was cursing the birth of all things, for all things have their birth in war and enmity.”

It is only in this later day that we begin to realize other possibilities, and to wonder if the world has not had enough of wars and tumults, and cannot bring about the desired end without further expenditure of blood and tears. With war has ever been, and ever will be, the forcing of women left with no breadwinner into the ranks of the earners, and only later centuries have given an opportunity beyond domestic service. It is the last fifty years that has suddenly opened up the myriad possibilities in the more than four hundred trades into which women have thronged.

The field is so enormous that one is tempted aside from the real point at issue. What we have to do is to consider work for women as a whole, with all that it involves for womankind. It is not alone the worker herself, but the woman who uses the product of the worker’s labor that should understand what obligation is laid upon her. She is not free from responsibility, for certain conditions which have come to the surface, that form part of the life of the day, and must be dealt with in wiser fashion than heretofore, if we are to attain the “consummation devoutly to be wished.”

In the beginning of our history, women were at as high a premium as they are now in the remote West, but this was a temporary state, and as more and more, Fortune smiled on the struggling colonies, many forms of labor were transferred from male to female hands. Limitations were of the sharpest. That they were often unconscious ones, made them no less grinding. To “better one’s self” was the effort of all. Long before the Declaration of Independence had formulated the331 thought that all men possess certain inalienable rights, amongst which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” this had become the faith of those who, braving the perils of the deep, had settled in an unknown country, that they might enjoy the rights to which they had been born. The largest liberty for the individual consistent with the equal liberty of others was demanded and received, nor did it lessen as time went on. Liberty begat liberty. The ideal was always a growing one. Less limitation, not more, was the order of each fresh day that dawned. To every soul born into the colony, to every descendant of these souls, was a larger hope, a higher ambition. The standard of living altered steadily even in that portion of the country which retained longest the old simplicity, and best knew how to combine “plain living and high thinking,” until in course of time the family remained no longer a colony in itself. Clothing and every necessary, which was formerly of home manufacture, could now be obtained from without, and women found outside the family practicable work to do.

The first factory established in New England, early in the present century, ended the old order or rather was the beginning of the end. But long before machinery had made the factory a necessity, there had been the struggle to break the bonds which held all women save the few who had wealth fast to the household. The same spirit that brought the pilgrim over the sea stirred in his descendants. The kitchen had proved itself a prison no less than now, and women and girls flocked into this new haven and worked with an enthusiasm that nothing could dampen.

“Oh, those blessed factories!” said to me one day, a woman, herself an earnest worker for present factory reform, and who began her literary life as contributor to the Lowell Offering. “You people will never know the emancipation they brought. I loathed the kitchen, and life went by in one. So many New England kitchens were built with no outlook, and ours was one. I used to run round the house to see the sunset over the mountain, and I can hear Aunt Nabby now: ‘There goes that child again! I’d lock her up if she were mine!’ We were all locked up! No chance for more than the commonest education; no money for any other. And then came these blessed factories! You laugh, but that was what they seemed then. We earned in them and saved, and332 in the end got our education, or gave it to our brothers, who were almost as shut in. They have altered—yes; but they were deliverance in the beginning, I can tell you, and in spite of present knowledge, I never see one of the tall chimneys without remembering and being thankful.”

Such has been the story of most of man’s inventions. Beginning as blessing they have in the end shown themselves largely as instruments of oppression. But in this case it is not the factory; it is the principle of competition, carried to an extreme, that has brought in its train child labor and many another perplexing problem. So many changes for the better are also involved; the general standard of living is so much higher, that unless brought into direct relation with workers under the worst conditions, it is impossible to know or realize the iniquities that walk hand in hand with betterment.

To one who has watched these conditions, the question arises, does the general advance keep step with the special? Mental and spiritual bonds are broken for the better class. Does this mean a proportionate enlightenment for the one below? Has the average worker time or thought for self-improvement and larger life? Are hours of labor lessening and possibilities increasing? These questions, and many of the same order, can have no definite answer from the private inquirer, whose field of observation is limited, and who can form no trustworthy estimate till facts from many sources have been set in order, such order, that safe deductions are possible for every intelligent reader.

It is to Massachusetts that we owe the first formal, trustworthy examination into the status of the working-woman, and the remarkable reports of that Bureau of Labor, under the management of Mr. C. D. Wright, have been the model for all later work in the same direction. As the result of a steadily growing interest in the subject, we have now under the same admirable management, the first authoritative statement of conditions as a whole. The fourth annual report of the United States Bureau of Labor, entitled, “Working-women in Large Cities,” gives us the result of some three years’ diligent work in collecting information as to every phase of the working-woman’s life, from the trade itself, with its possibilities and abuses, to the personal characteristics of the woman who had chosen it. It is not only the student of social science who needs to study the volume, but the working-women333 themselves will find here the answer to many questions, and to some of the charges now and then brought against them as a class.

The value of figures like these is seldom at once apparent, since many facts seem isolated and irrelevant. But the fact that they have not been gathered in the interest of a theory but are set down merely as material for deduction, gives them a value, not always attached to figures, and will make them serve as the basis of many a practical reform.

It is women earning a living at manual labor who are meant by working-women, and thus all professional and semi-professional occupations, such as teaching, stenography, typewriting, and telegraphy, with the thousands who are employed in them, are excluded from the report. Outside of these occupations, three hundred and forty-three distinct industries have been investigated. Twenty-two cities have given in returns, all representative as to locality, and ending with San Francisco and San Jose for the Pacific slope. Personal interviews were had by the government agents, with 17,427 women, this being, according to the estimate of the report, from six to seven per cent. of the whole number of women engaged in the class of work coming under observation. I am convinced that this estimate of the United States report is very misleading. The 17,427 women being six per cent. of all those engaged in the three hundred and forty-two industries investigated, the total so employed in the twenty-two cities would be 290,450, which on the face of it appears to be absurd. The New York Commissioner of Labor, in the report of his Bureau for 1885, estimates that there were, in 1884, over 200,000 women employed in the various trades in the city of New York alone. Neither of these reports includes women employed in rougher manual labor, such as scrubbing, washing, and domestic service. If the New York Commissioner’s estimate for New York City is correct, and I confess it seems to me to be nearly so, and if Mr. Wright’s estimate is as much too low in all the other cities as it seems to be in New York, the actual number employed in trades in the twenty-two cities instead of being only 295,450, cannot be far from 1,200,000. With the exception of certain statistics on prostitution, the entire work of the United States report has been done by women appointed by the Bureau, and Mr. Wright bears cordial testimony to the efficiency of each one in a most334 difficult and laborious task, adding: “They have stood on an equality in all respects with the male force of the Department, and have been compensated equally with them. It was considered entirely appropriate in an investigation of this kind, that the main facts should be collected by women. The wisdom of this course has been thoroughly established.”

Here, then, for the first time since labor questions began to attract the attention of students of social science, is an aid to stating definitely certain facts hitherto unknown to the public at large, and only surmised by those interested in the subject. Save for the Massachusetts reports already mentioned, and the valuable one of the New York Commissioner, Mr. Charles H. Peck, for 1885, with that of the first report of the Colorado Bureau of Labor Statistics, for 1887 and 1888, prepared under the very competent and careful supervision of Mr. E. J. Driscoll, there has been no authoritative word as to numbers employed, ages, conditions, average and comparative earnings, hours of labor, nationalities, and the many points most difficult to determine.[13] Few but students, however, are likely to read these volumes, and thus a resumé of their chief points might find place here were I not limited as to space. Having in mind the injunction of the editor of The Arena, to be brief, I shall quote only from the United States report. As all three of the Commissioners named agree in the most important details, except as to numbers employed, the United States report will speak for them all.

In the twenty-two cities investigated by the agents of the United States Bureau, the average age at which girls begin work is found to be fifteen years and four months. Charleston, S. C., gives the highest average, it being there eighteen years and seven months, and Newark the lowest, fourteen years and seven months. The average period during which all had been engaged in their present occupations, is shown to be four years and nine months, while of the total number interviewed 9,540 were engaged in their first attempt to earn a living.

As against the opinion often expressed that foreign workers are in the majority, we find that of the whole number given,335 14,120 were native born. Of the foreign born Ireland is most largely represented, having 926 and Germany next with 775. In the matter of parentage, 12,904 had foreign born fathers, and 12,406 foreign born mothers. The number of single women included in the report is 15,387; 745 were married and 1,038 widowed, from which it is evident that as a rule it is single women who are fighting their industrial fight alone. They are not only supporting themselves, but are giving their earnings largely to the support of others at home. More than half—8,754—do this, and 9,813, besides their occupation, help in the home housekeeping. Of the total number, 14,918 live at home, but only 701 of them receive board from their families. The average number in these families is 525, and each contains 248 workers.

Of those who reported their health condition at the time their work began, 16,360 were in good health, 883 in fair health, and 183 in bad health. A distinct change in health condition is shown by the fact that 14,550 are now in good health, 2,385 in fair health, and 489 in bad health.

Concerning education, church attendance, home and shop conditions, 15,831 reported. Of these, 10,456 were educated in American public schools and 5,375 in other schools; 5,854 attend Protestant churches; 7,769 Catholic, and 367 the Hebrew. A very large percentage, comprehending 2,309 do not attend church at all. In home conditions 12,020 report themselves as comfortable, while 4,693 give the home conditions as poor. “Poor” is, to the ordinary observer, to be interpreted wretched, over-crowding, all the numberless evils of tenement-house life, which is the portion of many. A side light is thrown on personal characteristics of the workers, in the tables of earnings and lost time. Out of 12,822 who reported, 373 earn less than a hundred dollars a year, and this class lost an average of 86.5 for the year covered by the investigation. With the increase of earnings the lost time decreases; the 2,147 who earn from two hundred to two hundred and fifty losing but 37.8, while 398, earning from three hundred to five hundred dollars a year, lost but 18.8 days.

The average weekly earnings by cities is no less suggestive. In Atlanta the wages are the lowest of any of the twenty-two cities, being only $4.05; in San Francisco they are the highest, being $6.91. The wages in the other cities336 vary between these two extremes. In New York the average wage is $5.85; in Boston, $5.64; in Chicago, $5.74; in St. Paul, $6.02; and in New Orleans, $4.31.

These sums represent the earnings of skilled labor. Many women under this head can earn eight and ten dollars a week, but the general average is only $5.24. The large proportion of unskilled workers whose wage does not exceed one hundred dollars a year, include cash girls and the least intelligent class. It is this class that suffer most from the fine system, since punctuality and thoroughness are the result of educated intelligence. The largest number earn from two to two hundred and fifty dollars, and, as has been said, lose an average of thirty days in the year. The highest average wage, $6.91, is little more than subsistence, and the lowest, $4.05, is far less than decent subsistence requires.

Absolute violation of sanitary laws, overcrowding, and a host of other evils are specified as part of the factory system. Deliberate cruelty and injustice are met only now and then, but competition forces the working in as inexpensive a manner as possible, and so makes cruelty and injustice necessary to continued existence of the employer as an industrial factor. Home conditions are seldom beyond tolerable. For the most part, they must be summed up as intolerable. Inspection, the efficiency of which has greatly increased; the demand, by the organized charities, for women inspectors, and the gradual growth of popular interest, are bringing about a few improvements, but the mass at all points are as stated. Ignorance and the vices that go with ignorance, want of thoroughness, unpunctuality, thriftlessness, and improvidence, are all in the count against the poorer order of worker, but for the most part they are living honest, self-respecting, infinitely dreary lives. This fact is emphasized in every Labor Report in which the subject of women wage-workers is treated, and impersonal as figures are usually counted to be, from each one sounds a warning which, if unheeded, must in the end mean the disaster to which these returns point as inevitable. Even in Colorado, a State not included in the government report, where opportunity is larger, it has been said, than at almost any other point in the Union, Mr. Driscoll’s report for that State shows an average wage for women of about six dollars, which, considering the cost of living, is less than the New York rate.337

It is a popular belief that the working class forms a large proportion of the numbers who fill the houses of prostitution, and that “night-walkers” are made up largely from the same class. Nothing could be farther from the truth than the last statement, the falsity of which was demonstrated in the fifteenth annual report of the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor, its testimony being confirmed and repeated in the report we have under consideration. For the first, diligent investigation in fourteen cities showed clearly that a very small proportion among working-women entered this life. The largest number classed by occupations came from the lowest order of workers, those employed in housework and in hotels, and the next largest was found among seamstresses, employees of shirt factories, and cloak makers, both of these industries in which under-pay is proverbial. The great majority receiving not more than five dollars a week, earn it by seldom less than ten hours a day of hard labor, and not only live on this sum, but assist friends, contribute to general household expenses, dress so as to appear fairly well, and have learned every art of doing without. More than this. Since the deepening interest in their lives, and the formation of working-girls’ societies and guilds of many orders, they contribute from this scanty sum enough to rent meeting rooms, pay for instruction in many classes, and provide a relief fund for sick and disabled members. Aids, alleviations, growing interest, all are to-day given to the worker. “Homes” of every order open their doors, some so hedged about by rules that self-respect revolts and refuses to live the life demanded by them. In all of these homes, even the best, lurks always the suspicion of charity, and even when this has no active formulation in the worker’s mind, there is still the underlying sense of the essential injustice of withholding with one hand just pay, and with the other proffering a substitute in a charity, which is to reflect credit on the giver, and demand gratitude from the receiver. Here and there this is recognized, and within a short time has been emphasized by a woman whose name is associated with the work of charity organizations throughout the country,—Mrs. Josephine Shaw Lowell. I doubt if there is any one better fitted by long experience and almost matchless common sense to speak authoritatively. Within a short time she has written: “So far from assuming that the well-to-do portion338 of society have discharged all their obligations to man and God by supporting charitable institutions, I regard just this expenditure as one of the prime causes of the suffering and crime that exist in our midst. I am inclined, in general, to look upon what is called charity as the insult which is added to the injury done to the mass of the people by insufficient payment for work.”

Disguise this fact as we will; bear testimony to the inefficiency and incompetency of the workers; admit every trial and perplexity of employers, every effort to better conditions, yet there remains in the background always this shadow, in which the woman who elects to earn an honest living must walk. No more heroic battle has ever been fought than this daily one, waged silently and uncomplainingly in our midst by these workers. Their lot is all part of the general evolution from disorder, ignorance, and indifference, into the larger life, opening so slowly that impatient spirits demand dynamite to hasten the process, but as surely as the earth marches forever on its round toward that central sun that draws each smallest star of that system we call our universe.

It is certain that this is a transition period; that material conditions born of a phenomenal material progress have deadened the sense as to what constitutes real progress, and that the working-woman of to-day contends not only with visible but invisible obstacles, the nature of which we are but just beginning to discern. Twenty years ago one of the wisest of modern French thinkers, M. Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, wrote of women wage-earners: “From the economic point of view, woman, who has next to no material force, and whose arms are advantageously replaced by the least machine, can have useful place and obtain fair remuneration only by the development of the best qualities of her intelligence. It is the inexorable law of our civilization—the principle and formula even of social progress, that mechanical engines are to accomplish every operation of human labor which does not proceed directly from the mind. The hand of man is each day deprived of a portion of its original task, but this general gain is a loss for the particular and for the classes whose only instrument of labor is a pair of feeble arms.”

Untrained intelligence finds earning a more and more difficult task, and for all of us it has become plain, that in339 the mighty problem given us by a civilization which at so many points fails to civilize, every force must be brought to bear upon its solution. These pale, anæmic, undeveloped girls swarming in factory and shop, are the mothers of a large part of the coming generation, defrauded before birth of all the elements that make strong bodies and teachable souls. It is not alone the present with which we deal. Out of the future comes a demand as instant, and justice to-day bears its fruit in larger life for other days to come. For this must be two awakenings. One for the looker-on in the struggle who has no eyes for what lies still in shadow. The other for the worker, who must join the army already aroused, realizing its limitations, reaching out for training and larger opportunity, and seeking with the eagerness born of hard conditions, some permanent way of escape. And for watcher and worker alike the word is the same:

“Light, light, and light! To break and melt in sunder

All clouds and chains that in one bondage bind

Eyes, hands, and spirits, forged by fear and wonder,

And sleek fierce fraud with hidden knife behind;

There goes no fire from heaven before their thunder,

Nor are the links not malleable that wind

Round the snared limbs and souls that ache thereunder,

The hands are mighty were the head not blind.”




A political revolution is in progress and has attained such proportions as to command attention and repay study. The magnitude of the movement and the definiteness of its aims are not understood and appreciated by those who live far from its field of operation. The reader is asked to lay aside his preconceived notions of the subject, and consider observations made, at short range, by one whose information is gleaned not from partisan newspapers, but from the field of action.

Before passing to an analysis of the platform demands of the new party, let us adjust the perspective; consider the work already done, and the method, motive, and personnel of the party.

Scarcely twelve months have passed since the birth of the party,—one political campaign. In that short period, an organization has been perfected which carries upon its rolls 1,200,000 voters; and an esprit de corps has been created which is worthy of comparison with the enthusiasm of the old parties. It has elected two United States senators and a respectable body of congressmen. It has won its victories in the strongholds of the hitherto dominant party, overcoming in one instance an adverse State majority of 80,000. An army of lecturers has been set at work, most of them well equipped. About a thousand newspapers have been established in the interest of the movement. A national bureau of information has been created which keeps a large force of clerks constantly busy. A committee has been appointed on organization. Under its direction, State after State is being organized, and the prophecy is freely made that, before the snow flies again, an efficient branch of the central body341 will have been established in nearly every hamlet in the nation.

The surprising advance already made by the Independents would not need to concern us, were it not that the national conditions which made it possible, in the first instance, still exist to sustain and accelerate it. If asked to explain this advance, most partisans would say, at once, poor crops, extreme poverty and demagogism; or, as South Dakota campaign speakers were known to say, hot winds and Mr. Loucks. But these are mistaken ideas. Poverty of the people made many listeners and voters who, under other circumstances, would not have deemed it worth their while to leave the plow. An examination, however, of the vote in the counties of one State, from which a United States senator has been elected, shows that the heaviest majorities for the new party were cast in counties where farming is most diversified, and where the people have been blessed with a succession of good crops. In the counties where the people were poorest, they were more effectually under the thumb of money loaners and bankers, who held chattel mortgages over their heads. In such counties a corruption fund had a powerful influence toward keeping voters in line. Extreme poverty is always a menace to the purity of the ballot. In the well to do counties, or rather the counties where good crops had prevailed, and in which the people were reputed well-to-do, and where the heaviest vote was cast for the party, the writer has made a careful study of conditions and finds none that do not exist in most agricultural districts of the United States. The herds of cattle and bursting granaries, years ago, would have been sure indications of competence and contentment.

A little inquiry now, however, reveals discontent and a hand to hand struggle with adversity and against odds. Market values leave no margin for profit. Abundance at harvest time, disappointment on market day. Men can understand the connection between short crops and lean pocket-books, and are easily reconciled to such conditions. They may grumble but they are sensible enough to understand that they must sow again and wait for the heavens to smile. But when great heaps of corn lie in their fields awaiting sale at twelve cents a bushel, when a mighty crop of wheat brings its possessor but fifty cents a bushel, when342 cows are worth but fifteen dollars apiece, and good butter sells for eight cents a pound, while thousands in the land are known to be suffering because of the lack of these things, a leanness of pocket-book results which the farmer may understand, but to which he is not easily reconciled.

His eyes are open. The over-production theory explains nothing to him while the mouths of a multitude go unfed; while the beef that he sold for one and a half and two cents a pound on foot, retails in the eastern market, when dressed, for from ten to eighteen cents a pound; and while his corn and his wheat, at the other end of the line of transportation, brings twice the price he received for it here. He is able to put two and two together. He knows that primarily all wealth comes from the soil, in response to the toil of himself and his fellows. His eyes rest upon the 31,000 millionnaires of the land who roll in wealth. He says, “I helped produce that. How did they get it?” He knows that the money could not be had last fall to handle his grain and that, in consequence, a ridiculously low price was offered him in order to keep it off the market. He knows that a few men take advantage of his necessities and dictate prices just at the time when he must sell. He knows that railroads absorb nearly fifty per cent. of crop values for transportation charges, in order to pay dividends on a capitalization, fifty per cent. of which is fictitious, and that when the laws forbid it the courts of the land step in and declare it “reasonable compensation.”

In a word, it does not take a very sharp farmer to see that although hot winds, or murrain, or hog cholera increase the leanness of his pocket-book, these things do not explain that irresistible and invariable current which bears such a large portion of what he does earn into the plethoric pocket-books of the few rich. The farmer has become, perforce, a student of economics; and, although we may laugh at some of the vagaries in which he indulges, a close study of the situation and of his demands will probably show him to be about as reasonable as those are who champion the present order of things.

If the symptoms of an unnatural and unnecessary agricultural depression were confined to the Dakotas, and Kansas, and Nebraska, the farmer student might be nonplussed in his investigations. He might be led to consider his inexperience343 and extravagance as the source of the disease so deeply fixed upon him. But the farmer of to-day reads and travels. A Dakota farmer, a few weeks since, visited the paternal homestead in Ohio. He found, to his surprise, that his father’s farm, which fifteen years ago lay within three miles of a thriving town of two thousand inhabitants, paying an annual tax of fifteen dollars, and worth a hundred dollars an acre, now pays a tax of seventy-five dollars, and is worth but forty-five dollars an acre, although the neighboring town has increased its population to ten thousand, and is noisy with shops and factories. He found that this was not an isolated case, but a fair example of the depreciation of farm values. He was not surprised to learn that the Ohio farmers were even then gathering to organize a State alliance. A careful survey of the United States, we are sure, will measurably confirm the conclusion of the western farmer, that farming, except in those localities where it has taken on the form of market gardening, or where it yet monopolizes some specialty, is unprofitable and disappointing.

Most farmers are ready to admit that their surroundings are better and their comforts more numerous than in ancestral days, when stoves were unknown, and the women slaved over the hand-loom and spinning-wheel, when medical men bungled and schools were luxuries; but they can see with half an eye that the mighty material advances of the last half century in this country have been made to serve the rich rather than the poor, the strong instead of the weak. They do not object to railroads, and the constantly increasing facilities for travel and transportation; but they do object to laws and customs which make railroads a means of transferring the hard earnings of the farm to the coffers of money kings. The farmer has received comforts at the hands of our civilization, but he has paid a good price for them, not to the genius which created, but to the plutocrat who bought. It is not because the farmer is facing starvation that he moves politically; but because, in the midst of plenty, comparative poverty is his portion. As a legitimate result of the civilization in the presence of which he lives, his tastes have improved, and his desire for education and comfortable living has increased, and with this improvement and increase has come a widening of the distance betwixt his possessions and his desires. In other words, the shadows of contrast in344 social conditions in our country are hourly deepening, and it is at such times that the canker of discontent eats closest. It will serve no purpose for us to spend time in condemning this spirit, and making light of it, because it is a natural result and a political fact that can only be remedied by a removal of the immediate cause. It is not possible or desirable to rid the people entirely of the spirit of discontent, but it can be so minimized that it will be no longer a menace to national life but an incentive to progress.

It is necessary to understand thoroughly the conditions under which the work already described has been done. We have discussed the general social and financial condition of the farmer. How about his intellectual standing? We hear a great deal about the stupid, foolish farmer, easily led by demagogues. It is well to remember in this connection that those States where the Independent party has had greatest influence are the States where the smallest per cent. of illiteracy exists and, by parity of reasoning, the highest per cent. of intelligence. The fact is that the farmer of the West is not the clodhopper, at whose expense the funny man of the modern journal likes to crack jokes. He reads more widely and thinks more deeply than tradesmen or city people do, as a class. Tradesmen wear better clothes, are more urbane, and obtain a certain polish and self-possession which comes only from close contact with one’s fellows in the business and social world; all of which is very useful to them in improving the “main chance” in a competitive struggle, and might be labelled finish and sharpness. They live an intense life, within a limited circle, and have little time and less inclination to weigh questions from the larger world. To this fact may be attributed the slight interest such people take in municipal government and the dominance of slum and saloon influences. It is not so with the farmer. He reads much and widely, and the solitary plow-furrow and the quiet country road conduce to thought. A certain sturdy intelligence follows, which again and again has proven the salt of the world, the re-inforcing element of society, and is to-day the hope of our nation. While the tradesman dwells much on commercial law, trade customs, and the means of attracting trade, the farmer thinks more naturally of the general law of the land, under which he is protected or robbed, prospered or ruined. His sales are345 made at wholesale prices. His eyes, therefore, seek out not so much the local factors in the make up of prices as the world-wide influences which are supposed to determine them. It is a large world in which he lives, and his vision, from necessity, sweeps the whole of it.

The people of the East will never understand the merit and magnitude of the present political movement, until they give the farmer credit for intelligence of a superior order. Those who think of him as the easy prey of demagogues are mistaken. He has been such in the past. We have convincing proof that it is otherwise now. Those who are familiar with the campaign plans of the dominant parties in these days, the shameless misrepresentation of facts by party organs, the open use of large sums of money to keep so-called leaders in line, and the tremendous power of public patronage can understand how much of demagogism in every community the farmers have had to meet and overcome in order to conquer an eighty thousand majority. It has required patriotism, common sense, and a Spartan-like heroism to face their organized foes and come off victorious. To their honor be it said that few Judases have been found among them at the ballot-box, or in the halls of legislation.

The work of the Independent party, so far, has been educational in two directions. It has increased the sum of information and developed a much needed self-confidence among the farmers. The alliance meetings, to which most of us object because of their secret and exclusive nature, are schools of economics and parliamentary tactics. The secrecy of the order, however, is not as objectionable as some of us have been inclined to think. As the leaders say, the veil of secrecy in this order is quite gauzy,—intended to keep out individuals rather than to conceal deliberations and doings. It throws the farmer on his own resources. He becomes a chairman, an investigator, a committee man, and a debater. If it were otherwise, the aggressive members of the professions would frequent the meetings, and naturally assume such functions. We are confident the farmer will come to see that these same ends may be attained by methods less objectionable to the thought and spirit of our people. Justice requires us to say that the secret order of the alliance and the Independent party have no necessary connection, although they are natural allies, and the former346 is the source of the latter. In fact, scores of men belong to the alliance who have not yet committed themselves to the political movement, and many who are bitter in their opposition to it. Political affiliation has nothing to do with membership, and all actual farmers and their families are entitled to it. Freedom in the expression of opinion is courted and strong, ready men are being developed.

The writer has met old farmers, during the last twelve months, who are as well posted in the history of finance as the Shermans and the Allisons of the country, and who read the lessons of that history with as clear a vision. They do not get their facts from demagogical documents, as many suppose. We call to mind a laughable incident in the last campaign. A joint discussion was progressing between a bright member of the legal fraternity, who was advocating the present order and extolling the Republican past, and an uncouth but clever old farmer, who took up the cudgel in behalf of financial reform. The lawyer vociferously declared the demand notes never sold at par with gold. The farmer calmly insisted that they did, and read from an authority. The lawyer demanded the authority. The farmer asked the lawyer if he would read to the audience the name of the authority, if it was shown him. The latter could only say yes. The pamphlet was opened at its title page, and the lawyer read with best grace he could, to an audience that fairly rolled in the chairs with merriment, “Report of the Treasurer of the United States.” The farmers are going to a school where imagination is given small play, and facts are studied, uncolored by party traditions. Shall we not expect from this some good? Have we not reason to believe that the reading, intelligent majorities of the western prairies are to bring us some light and benefit?

It is useless to deny that these farmers have some intense prejudices. What class has not? And these prejudices must necessarily color opinion, and somewhat determine action. The farmer is bound to look at things from the standpoint of the poor man rather than from that of the corporation and the money loaner. The latter have had the thought and service of our statesmen for years past. As a consequence, the account between the rich and the poor is in an abnormal condition. Perhaps it is only right that the selfishness of the laboring classes should have its own347 way for a time, and even things up somewhat, before a new start is made.

But the class prejudice and selfishness of the farmer has been greatly over-estimated by his political enemies. His sub-treasury bill and plan for loaning money on real estate, to be sure, are intended to afford immediate relief to the farmer; but he believes, in his soul, that they would result in great advantage to the whole business world. He says, moreover, that condemnation of his plans comes with bad grace from the men who are even now supporting a financial system which delivers the money of the country over to the few and trusts them to distribute it among the many. His plan may have the same selfish ear-marks, but they are not so deep. We have been trusting a few men to distribute the currency of the nation, and have made it extremely profitable for them to do so. He asks now that this trust be transferred to the many, and gives good assurances, in the nature of things, that the many will touch the remotest needs of our people, and so diffuse currency that competition, if such a principle ever can be effective, will keep interest at a rate where labor can live and prosper.

That the independent movement is not considered a class movement, in a bad sense, but decidedly in the interest of all the middle classes, we have some proof in the citizens’ alliances and the labor unions, which have united forces everywhere with the farmers, brought about by a recognition of the simple fact that where the farmer has money, the tradesmen of his market town have money and industries of all kinds thrive. Here lies the strength of the movement. The farmers are, perhaps, the largest distinctive class of citizens, and can exercise great political influence by themselves; but they are not numerous enough to work radical changes without aid from other classes. As it is, however, in the strictly political movement among the farmers, all who sympathize with their political views are welcomed. The best evidence of this is the election of such men as Rev. J. H. Kyle and editor Peffer to the United States Senate. While the farmer has a great deal to say about the utter absence of farmers from the national halls of legislation, he is not disposed to say that farmers alone should be sent there. He is willing to send the men who are best fitted to do the work that is to be done, but they must be348 worshippers of the common people as distinguished from the bankers and “financiers.”

It is not possible to discuss the platform of the new party at any length within the necessary limits of this article. We shall be content to undeceive, if possible, those of our readers who have been charging that the platform is indefinite.

One of the chief recommendations of the Independent platform, to the voters of the West, was its brevity and definiteness, refreshing qualities in the minds of a people who had been accustomed for years to the platitudes and straddles of the old parties. Most of the Independent county and State platforms could be summed up under three heads, money, transportation, land. They declare in favor of a full legal tender currency to come direct from the government to the people, in volume sufficient to meet the demands of business; the government ownership and control of railroads and homes for the American millions. The main planks were summarized in the flaring posters which announced the great rallies of the party last fall. “Money at Cost! Transportation at Cost!” These were the headlines which everywhere caught the public eye, and drew the crowds. Opponents saw in these advertisements traces of a demagogue’s hand. If it is demagogism to awaken curiosity, arouse thought, and in a terse sentence to express the party faith, then are the Independent leaders guilty of it. But whether guilty or not, these two expressions have awakened echoes that will not cease reverberating until our ideas and systems of finance and transportation are quite revolutionized. As we are not proposing here to discuss the wisdom of the farmer’s demands, we need waste no time on the land and transportation questions. So much has been written on these questions, and the dividing line between disputants is so clearly drawn, and farmers have settled down so decidedly on one side of that line, that they are no longer open to the charge of juggling with words when they declare in favor of “homes” and “transportation at cost.”

With the money question it is different. “Money at cost” is one of those essences of thought which will bear analysis. We desire to show that with the farmer’s party it means but one thing,—that it is a declaration of war349 with the piratical system of the present. “Money at cost” is a sentiment and conviction which has grown up in the minds of the producing and laboring classes of this country out of a deep sense of the injury done them during the last quarter of a century, and a pretty clear conception of the nature of money and the duty of government.

Money, they say, is a medium of exchange necessary in the transaction of business between citizens; that it is the first duty of government to provide this medium for its citizens directly and at the minimum expense; that it should not be considered property in any sense, and that every incentive to the hoarding of it should be removed; that there is no such thing as “cheap money” under a proper system, because only commodities are cheap or dear according to the market price of them, and money is not a commodity; that money can be issued by government or by authority of government, safely and honestly, in but two ways: in return for services rendered, or as a loan on adequate security, and should always represent days of toil or material of value; that the present bank systems by which money is farmed out for private gain, furnishes a fairly reliable currency but an unreliable means of distribution; that loans should be made on lands or imperishable products to the many who have personal need of the money with which to improve homes and develop enterprises, thus giving not only a safe currency but providing also for a wide and safe distribution of it; that government creates money out of anything it chooses; that it should create only the best money, by which is meant a stable, full, legal tender currency; that the curse of an unstable currency is now upon us blighting our people; that an unstable currency is one whose volume is regulated by the owners of private banks, dependent upon the uncertain output of mines, and varying with the caprice of the few who hold and control it; that a material scarce by nature is not fit to receive the stamp of government, because it is sure to vary in supply; that the medium of exchange should be of material so plentiful that blind nature or designing men cannot reduce the supply of it below the government demand for it; that the money so created should be durable, easy of transportation, and difficult of counterfeiting; that paper money is the easiest of transportation, the most difficult to350 be counterfeited, and in a sense the most durable, because so easily replaced when lost; that to base the medium of exchange upon value is as effectual as to stamp it upon value; that out of deference to foreign customs and the necessities of foreign trade, our government should buy up the gold and silver bullion of the country and hold for resale to those who have foreign balances to settle; that the country to-day is suffering from a contracted and contracting currency, on account of which the debtor class has had its burden doubled, to the corresponding advantage of the creditor class; that if contraction has been good for creditors, inflation must be good for debtors; that any measure, therefore, which looks toward an increase of the circulating medium is to be favored; that free silver coinage is to be favored; that instead of flying to the relief of the stall-fed speculators of Wall Street in times of financial stringency, it is time that the government was coming to the relief of the common people; that loans from the government should be made at a merely nominal rate of interest, not to exceed two per cent., because any higher rate is a congestor of wealth and gives capital a leverage over labor; that money-loaning as a business, except on such a basis from the government to its subjects, should go out of fashion, and might be expected to disappear under a proper financial system; that the unemployed capital of the country would then seek investment, labor would then be employed, factories would hum and the credit system might go to the dogs; that rates of interest cannot be satisfactorily regulated by law until we have banks that are national in fact as well as in name, managed by salaried officials of the nation whose duty it shall be to make loans at cost, under wise and conservative rules, to those needing them who can bring themselves within the rules; that the proposed sub-treasury and land loan plans are suggestions in the right direction and calculated, when perfected, to bring the government into touch with the needy citizen, and make of it a distributor as well as a creator of money; that paper in the shape of checks and drafts already transacts ninety-one per cent. of the business of the country, and might be trusted to properly supplement our currency and make supply equal demand, were it not that the great bulk of our people are not known beyond the communities in which they live, and therefore are debarred351 from using checks to any extent in the outside world; and that each piece of national currency, issued as a full legal tender, in the hands of the people, would be in the nature of a certified check, enabling the citizen to do business with despatch anywhere.

Running through the above statement of the independent doctrine of finance, we see that three ideas are most prominent. First, a desire that the government supersede avaricious man and blind nature in the creation and distribution of money, in order that money may be a stable purchasing power. Second, a determination that money shall no longer be a commodity to be bought, and sold, and manipulated, a leech upon labor in the hands of a few, but a convenience of trade, accessible to the many at first cost. Third, a demand that the misnamed national bank system of the present shall have its spirit of greediness exorcised, so that it may hereafter serve the people instead of its management. Are these ideas indefinite? Do they not mean “money at cost”?

We would now call attention to those facts which the western farmer says have opened his eyes, made him indifferent to the sneers of the banking class and its servitors, and fixed him in his purpose to effect a permanent change in the financial system of the country.

He says that the average profits of business enterprises in this country do not exceed three per cent.; that money loaning at six and seven per cent. of necessity congests the wealth of the nation; that eighty cents’ worth of silver, stamped by government as a dollar, or a cent’s worth of paper, bearing the same stamp, buys as much for him in the markets of the country as a gold dollar; that it is easier for him to pay his debts when money is plentiful; that the paper demand notes of ‘62, a full legal tender, stood at par with gold while the greenbacks, repudiated in terms by the very bill which created them, went skyward; that a contraction of currency has preceded every serious financial panic in the history of the country; that prosperity for the laborer, the producer, and the debt-payer has always accompanied currency expansion; that money loaners are strangely interested in keeping money scarce, and for that purpose fought gold in ‘50 when California and Australia threatened to flood us, the greenback in Lincoln’s administration,352 and silver in ‘73, ‘78, and ‘91; that the farmer’s products have been refused a market within a year past because there was not money to handle them; that present rates of interest consume him; and that, with good security to offer, he is obliged to pay exorbitant rates for money and in many cases is refused it altogether.

Let us remember that the last word has not yet been spoken upon the financial question; that the world, even the financial world, has not seen all of truth and wisdom yet; that reason is better than authority, especially if the authority is open to a suspicion of prejudice; and that there may be a financial bigotry as hateful and unprogressive, and as much out of sympathy with this growing age, as is the dry-as-dust ecclesiasticism of the day. Every citizen should give courteous attention to the new voices that come to us from the West, and be careful that his decision, on the whole matter, is not influenced by his position as one of the creditors of the land.353



Introductory Remarks by B. F. Underwood.

The statements in this paper as to what was written in my presence purporting to be communications from “spirits,” and as to the circumstances under which it was written, are scrupulously correct. The “communications,” it is certain, are from an intelligent source. Mrs. Underwood is the person by whose hand they are put in form. That she is not laboring under a mistake in thinking that she is unconscious of the thought expressed until she has read the writing,—if, indeed, such a mistake in a sane mind is possible,—I am certain. Sometimes, owing to the illegibility of the writing, she has to study out sentences. The writing varies in style, not only on different evenings, but on the same evening; it is apparently the writing of not fewer than twenty persons, and generally bearing no resemblance whatever, so far as I can judge, to Mrs. Underwood’s handwriting, which is remarkably uniform. The communications are unlike in the degrees of intelligence, in the quality of thought, and in the disposition which they show. Detailed statements of facts unknown to either of us, but which, weeks afterwards, were learned to be correct, have been written, and repeated again and again, when disbelieved and contradicted by us. All the writing has been done in my presence, but most of it while I have been busily occupied with work which demanded my undivided attention. The views expressed are often different from my own, and quite as frequently, perhaps, opposed to Mrs. Underwood’s views.

Some will, doubtless, interpret these facts as evidence and illustrations of the multiplex character of personality, and will regard these communications, apparently indicating several distinct intelligences, as manifestations of different strata, so to speak, of the same individual consciousness. Knowledge of the facts unknown to our ordinary consciousness was, nevertheless, some will say, in the sub-consciousness of one of us, or perhaps of both. On this theory, of course it must be supposed that the mind has stored away in its depths knowledge acquired in ways unknown. By others all the phenomena related by Mrs. Underwood will be regarded as the work of disembodied, invisible, intelligent beings354 who once dwelt in the flesh and lived on the earth, but who are now in a higher sphere of existence, yet able under certain conditions to make their presence and their thoughts known to us. It is not my intention here to advocate any theory as to the cause of the phenomena described by Mrs. Underwood. I simply testify now to the accuracy of all those statements in her paper in regard to her automatic writing.

B. F. Underwood.

“The known is finite, the unknown is infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land; to add something to the extent and solidity of our possessions.”—Huxley in “Reception of the ‘Origin of Species.’”

Public attention at this time especially is being called to various forms of psychic phenomena measurably through the efforts of the Society for Psychical Research in investigating and sifting the evidence for the stories of apparitions, hallucinations, forewarnings, etc., but more because so many who have heretofore scoffed at and doubted such stories, or who have been foiled in their efforts to obtain for themselves any satisfactory evidence that such phenomena really occur, are now able to testify from their own experience, in one form or another, that such are real facts of our existence.

The questions raised by the class of facts already elicited through this investigation are of supreme importance, and it becomes the duty of every serious-minded enquirer who has had experience of this kind to give the result of his investigations to the public, and thus aid those searching for the underlying cause of all such phenomena. Therefore after considerable hesitation, and with some inward shrinking from an obvious duty, I have concluded to take the consequences of publishing my own recent experience. A word of personal explanation may here be necessary. A sincere believer in Orthodox Christianity until my twentieth year, I have been led by careful study and unfaltering love of truth to give up my belief in Christian dogmas, and have for some years known no other name by which to designate my state of mind in regard to religious belief than that misunderstood and often misapplied term, agnostic. But at no stage in my mental progress have I ever felt sure that I had reached any conclusion which was final, and at no time have I been a believer in spiritualism, or been convinced355 that we survive the present state of being; while always I have felt an interest in every undecided question in science and religion, and earlier have had some “intimations of immortality,” which have caused me to think seriously on the subject and to long for more light. I have decided to lay the simple facts of my most recent experience before the readers of The Arena, and allow them to draw what conclusions they will without offering any theory of my own. More than a year ago my interest in psychic phenomena was awakened by reading the reports of the Society for Psychical Research, but it has been my own personal experience which has created a profound impression on my mind. If any one who reads this will try to imagine in what spirit he would greet an entire stranger or group of strangers, who through the telephone, for instance, should send him genial messages full of commonsense, philosophy, humor, and friendliness, giving him interesting details of a strange land, he can partially understand the state of mind in which, after many months of such intercourse, I find myself. Except on two or three occasions no one has been present but my husband, B. F. Underwood, and myself.

The modus operandi is the simplest possible. As I remembered that Mr. U. was rather averse to the planchette experiments of former years, thinking them unwholesome and deteriorating in their tendency, I at first said nothing to him of my new psychical experiments, though these were made oftenest in his presence in the evening when we both sat at one writing table, near each other, busied with our individual literary work. As I experimented in his absence as well as in his presence, I soon found that I got the most coherent writings when he was present. Indeed I could get nothing coherent, and very frequently nothing at all, when he was away, but when he was present the communications began to grow strangely interesting, and as he was called upon repeatedly, I felt obliged to invite his attention, when the most surprising answers were given, which roused his curiosity and interest. It has been explained that his presence is necessary for me to obtain writing, as “blended power is best.” Two or three times, at the suggestion of this intelligence, we have asked two of our intimate literary friends—non-spiritualists—to356 be present, but each time with comparative failure; afterwards we were informed that the cause of failure was the introduction of persons unused to the conditions, who broke up the harmonious relations necessary to communication; in time they could be of help.

It would take a volume to present all the interesting statements as to an advanced stage of existence, only hidden from us because of the inadequacy of our sense perceptions, and by the conditions imposed upon us at this stage of our progress, which have been given from this source. Explanations have been made why communication through the agency of certain persons, though not through all, are possible. The conditions, it is alleged, are not entirely dependent upon the superior intelligence or morality of the persons with whom the intelligences can become en rapport. These invisibles declare that they are as seriously and anxiously experimenting on their side to discover modes of untrammelled communication with us, as we on our side ought to be, if what they write be true, and if such a thing is possible. “Spirits” they persistently insist upon being called. In this paper I can give only a statement of some things which do not seem explicable on the hypothesis of mind-reading, thought transference, hypnotism, or subconsciousness. In all these experiments I have been in a perfectly normal state. The only physical indication of any outside influence is an occasional slight thrill as of an electric current from my shoulder to the hand which holds the waiting pen. Step by step I have been taught a series of signals to aid me in correctly reading the communications. I have no power to summon at will any individual I wish. I have repeatedly, but in vain, tried to get messages from some near and dear friends. It has been explained that on their side, as on ours, certain “conditions” must exist in order to get in “control.” When “eh?” is written I know that the operator at the other end of the line is ready to communicate. When in the middle of a sentence or a word “gone” or “change” is written, I understand that the connection is broken, and I must not expect the completion of that message. When a line like this ———— is drawn, it is a sign that that sentence is completed or the communication ended. So with other things. Rhymes are often unexpectedly written, especially if the “control” professes to be a poet, and they are dashed off so rapidly that I357 do not understand their import until the close when I can read them over. Impromptu rhyming is a feat utterly impossible to either Mr. U. or myself. Names persistently recur which are unknown to us. Many different handwritings appear, some of them far superior to my own. When I first began to get communications I destroyed, in a day or two after they were written, the slips of paper containing the writing, but as the developments became more interesting, Mr. U. suggested that they be preserved for reference. I acted on this suggestion, and thus in the instances of facts given outside our own knowledge, I am enabled to give the exact wording of each communication. Our questions were asked viva voce, and as they were often suggested by what had been previously written, I either at the time or soon afterward wrote them just above the reply. I am not, therefore, trusting at all to memory in the statements I shall make.

A gentleman of this city (whom I will call John Smith, but whose real name was a more uncommon one) with whom Mr. U. had been acquainted many years, but of whose family relations he knew little, died here more than a year ago. Mr. U. had met him but once in the year previous to his death, he having been away on account of failing health, staying, we understood, with a daughter recently married, whose home was in Florida. The first name of this married daughter, or of any of Mr. Smith’s daughters except one, was unknown to Mr. U. I had met one of his daughters whose name I knew to be Jennie. I also knew that there was another named Violet. I was not sure, however, whether this was the name of the married one, or of another unmarried, but had the impression that Violet was unmarried. One evening, while waiting for automatic writing with no thought of Mr. Smith in my mind, and Mr. U. sitting near me at the table with his thoughts concentrated on an article he was preparing, this was written: “John Smith will now enter into conversation with B. F. Underwood.” I read this to Mr. U. who laid aside his pen, and in order to test the matter, asked if Mr. Smith remembered the last time they met, soon after his return from the South, and a short time previous to his death. There was some delay in the answer, but soon reply came “On Madison St.” “Whereabouts on Madison?” was asked. “Near Washington.” “At what hour?” “About 10 a. m., raining.” As it was358 rarely that Mr. U. was in that part of the city at so early an hour, and especially on a rainy day, I doubted the correctness of this reply, but Mr. U. recalled to my mind the unusual circumstance which made it necessary for him to be in that vicinity on the day and at the hour named, on which he and Mr. Smith, he distinctly remembered, last met. Only a few words passed between them on account of the rain. After this, writing, purporting to be from Mr. Smith, came frequently. Very soon something was written which induced Mr. U. half sportively to inquire whether there was anything which troubled Mr. Smith, anything which he wished he had done but had omitted, before his death. The answer came, “One thing—change deeds on Violet’s account. None of my wife’s are at my daughter’s disposal. All in her own disposal.” Mr. U. asked if it was meant that he had not left his property—for he was a man of some wealth—as he now wished he had. “You are right,” was written, “want all my girls to share alike.” “Which daughter do you refer to?” was asked. “Went away from her in Florida—Violet,” was the answer. I remarked, “Why, I thought Violet was one of the unmarried girls, but it must be that that is the name of the married daughter.” Then Mr. U. was strongly urged to call on Mr. Smith’s married son, James, with whom Mr. U. had a slight acquaintance, and tell him of this communication. “Clearly state my desire that my daughter Violet share equally with her sisters.” Of course this was utterly out of the question. At that time we had no intention of informing any one of our psychic experience, and if we had, Mr. James Smith would have thought us insane or impertinent to come to him with so ridiculous a story, the truth of which we ourselves strongly doubted. Pages were, however, written concerning the matter in so earnest and pleading a manner that I came to feel conscience-stricken at refusing to do what was asked, and to shrink from seeing Mr. Smith’s name appear. Once was written, “Say to James that in my new position, and with my new views of life, I feel that I did wrong to treat his sister Violet as I did. She was not to blame for following out her own convictions, when I had inculcated independent thought and action for all.” This and other sentences of the kind seemed to convey the idea that Violet had in some way incurred his displeasure by doing according359 to her own will in opposition to his. This was puzzling to us, as we knew that in her marriage, at least, the daughter we thought to be Violet had followed her father’s wishes.

A few weeks later, however, came an unlooked-for verification of Mr. Smith’s messages. In a conversation between Mr. U. and a business friend of Mr. Smith, who was well acquainted with all his affairs, regret was expressed that so wealthy a man had left so little for a certain purpose. Mr. U. then inquired as to what disposition had been made of his property, and was told that he had left it mainly to his wife and children—so much to this one, and that. “But Violet,” continued Mr. U.’s informant, “was left only a small amount, as Mr. Smith was angry because she married against his wishes.” “Why,” remarked Mr. U., “I understood that he approved of the match, and the fact that he accompanied herself and husband to Florida, and remained with them some time, would seem to indicate that.” “Oh, you are thinking of Lucy, the eldest girl; her marriage was all right, but Violet, one of the younger daughters, going to Florida with her husband, fell in love with a young man of whom her father did not approve, so she made a runaway marriage, and on account of his displeasure, Mr. Smith left her only a small sum.” The intelligence writing was aware of facts unknown, to either Mr. U. or myself, and no other persons were in the room when these communications were given.

One evening one of us spoke of the frequently false and mischievous statements purporting to come from spirits—predictions which did not come to pass, descriptions which were wholly wrong, and sending credulous believers on wild-goose chases after hidden treasure, etc., the occasion being an untrue statement made to us in regard to the death of a friend who was alive and well. We asked if this unseen intelligence would explain why this was allowed. Reply came promptly, “Rather tough problem. There are certain phases of our existence here which are not explainable to you on your plane, and the test we were obliged to make of your credulity was one of these.” We protested against such tests, and I declared that I would not try to receive communications if they practised deception. “Why do you protest,” was written, “when you already know you are but a tyro in this phase of being? You don’t now willingly360 do the work assigned you, and B. F. U. is still harder to manage.” Thereupon Mr. U. suggested “that without sense organs and a material environment, conditions would be such, perhaps, that they could not be expressed in terms known to us, nor be even conceived by us.” Immediately was written: “Many wish to answer B. F. U.’s clear statement of the difficulties in the way of spirit intercourse with those still in the flesh, but now comes the one soul capable of clear answer. Blessed be they who question—gone.” Next came this—“Boehme wants to reply.” Here I have to confess that never having paid much attention to occult or mystical literature the name Boehme was utterly unknown to me, and at this point I asked Mr. U., “Did you ever hear of anyone by the name of B-o-e-h-m-e?” spelling the word. “Certainly,” he replied, “Jacob Boehme, he was a German thinker who died—” my hand began to move just then, and he paused, and while the following was being written my mind reverted hazily to a German philosophical writer, who had died within a few years, and of whose life one of our friends had written a sketch. His name began with B, and I thought he was the one Mr. U. referred to, as I had forgotten what the full name was. I say this to explain that there could be no thought-transference in this instance from Mr. U.’s mind to mine. This was written rapidly. “Death and life are but two phases of one truth, and when what mankind calls death comes, it is as we experience the change that all our circumscribed relations to banded universalities become clear; but when we try to explain to those not yet beyond man’s sphere we find ourselves at a loss because there is nothing parallel in this state of existence with your knowledge.” Afterwards Mr. U. showed me in the encyclopædia a sketch of him (the name spelled Bohme, and in several other ways) in which it was stated “he had a very fertile imagination, and a remarkable faculty of intuition, and professed to be divinely inspired,” and that he died in 1624. Since then I have found another sketch of his life which says that “owing to the fantastic terminology he thought fit to adopt, his writings are condemned by many as utterly unintelligible.” This may explain the “Banded Universalities,” a phrase I never in my life saw before, and only dimly understand now; I had never to my knowledge read a word of his writings. In my case, as in that of many who361 profess to give spirit messages, frequently names of dead thinkers and heroes are signed. I protested against this, saying I did not believe that these individuals were the ones who communicated, and asked for some explanation. Immediately this answer was written: “Elaine and Guinevere were not real beings but types—so somewhere in our sphere are spirits who embody cleverness in creations of their fancy, and adopt names suited to their ideas.” Since this explanation was given, I have had more patience with the communications signed by great names, since I have imagined that these are types aspired to by the real writers. But their “cleverness in creations of their fancy” extends sometimes to fair imitations of the thought and style of those whose names they borrow. For instance, since Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of my favorite poets, it is not at all strange that her name and that of her husband might be suggested by my own mind; my own mind ought also to suggest the thought of the following, written as from Mrs. Browning, though the phraseology is not mine. “Robert gave me life. He gave me to Love. He and I are but two sides of one individuality. We both understand this, as you understand it.” But then followed without any apparent pause for a word, this:—

“Let your own hearts deeply feel

The sweet songs of older lovers,

So shall song and sense appeal

To all that true emotion covers.”

I never saw these lines anywhere, and I doubt whether anyone has seen them before, while I am confident that I did not compose them. I had not then read Browning’s “One Word More,” but two days later in a magazine article I came across a quotation from that poem in which occurs the phrase “older lovers,” the magazine having been brought to the house that day, and two days after the verse was written. A day or two later at the close of a communication from an entirely different source, and one in no way suggestive of Browning, the words, “One Word More” were rapidly written, followed by this verse:—

“Round goes the world as song-birds go,

There comes an age of overthrow—

Strange dreams come true, yet still we dream

Of deeper depths in Life’s swift stream.”


This I did not compose, nor had I ever heard or seen it before.

One evening it was promised that “Brain workers of philosophical bent” would answer our questions. The first question asked was, “From your standpoint do you consider death the end of conscious existence?”

Ans.—“Death we know only as a phrase used to indicate change of environment.”

Ques.—“Is death expected on your plane as on ours, or do all understand that the next change is progressive?”

Ans.—“Slow are even those on our plane to understand the law of unending evolution.”

Ques.—“But we may apprehend what we do not fully understand or comprehend?”

Ans.—“Comprehension sees farther than understanding. Comprehend means complete understanding.”

Ques.—“Do you mean that comprehension is a word of wider significance than understanding?”

Ans.—“You are right.”

I had never given any thought to the difference between the words “understanding” and “comprehending,” and when this was written was not satisfied in my own mind that comprehend did mean more than understand. On the following day I consulted Worcester’s Unabridged Dictionary and to my surprise, under the word “comprehend” found this note: “Comprehend has a more extensive meaning than understand or apprehend.” So in this case, as in several others I have not time to cite here, the intelligence which moved my hand to write gave me knowledge which I did not myself possess. Very often in place of writing, all I could get from them would be spiral lines. Sometimes a page would be crossed and recrossed with these lines as if with some definite purpose. This suggested to me the possibility that such lines held some meaning unknown to me, and I put the question. The answer was given, “We have different modes of thought from yours—and the spiral signs are most in use with us: Some of our less advanced scientists forget that on your plane our mode of control is not understood by you. Lines are made of such esoteric meaning that, while we understand at a glance, it is impossible for those on your plane to perceive any words.” Mr. Underwood here remarked: “There are numerous spirals—all modifications of the primary straight line.”363

Ans.—“Yes, the spiral is a primal law, simple yet complex, which we who understand life’s manifold ascensions grow to symbolize in our thought, language, and writing.”

I am warned by the length of this paper that I must close without being able to give one tenth part of the many strange and surprising revelations, or statements, philosophical and other, which we have gained from this strange source. I have confined myself to those which show most strongly evidence of an intelligence outside of Mr. U. or myself, the only two persons who have been concerned in obtaining them. To me personally these are not the most wonderful phases of this influence. The reasonable explanations given of the laws governing another state of human existence, but very little different from this except in being a step forward in the direction of Mind—that is to me the most wonderful, but of that I cannot speak here.

I know that my experience at this time is by no means exceptional. Before I had ever said one word to any human being except Mr. U. in regard to it, there came to me a confidential letter from a valued friend in another State, a lady of intellect and culture, confessing that like, but far more varied, phenomena were occurring through her. Like myself her position had been that of an agnostic, and the communications to her are very similar to those I have obtained. I had not heard from her in a year previous to the receipt of this letter. I have been told of two or three other cases, so far unknown to the public, all occurring within the year, and to non-spiritualists. And I judge from magazine articles written by such well-known people as O. B. Frothingham, Elizabeth Phelps Ward, and M. J. Savage, as well as from public utterances of Mrs. Livermore and others, that this wave of communication from some not fully understood source is far more extensive than is generally suspected. It is, therefore, time that all whose opinions may have weight, who have personal knowledge of such phenomena, relate what they have seen or experienced in order that these experiences may be compared, and the real source from which they emanate may be discovered, if possible.

One other strange experience in this line came to me a few years ago at the bedside of a dear friend at the point of death, which, perhaps, may be related in this connection. It was near midnight; death was momentarily expected. All364 the other watchers, exhausted by days of grief and care, were snatching an hour of rest; and I stood alone looking at the unconscious face before me which was distinctly visible, though the light was heavily shaded to keep the glare from the dying eyes. All her life my friend had been a Christian believer, with an unwavering faith in a life beyond this, and for her sake a bitter grief came upon me because, so far as I could see, there were no grounds for that belief. I thought I could more easily let her go out into the unknown if I could but feel that her hope would be realized, and I put into words this feeling. I pleaded that if there were any of her own departed ones present at this supreme moment could they not and would they not give me some least sign that such was the fact, and I would be content. Slowly over the dying one’s face spread a mellow radiant mist—I know no other way to describe it. In a few moments it covered the dying face as with a veil, and spread in a circle of about a foot beyond, over the pillow, the strange yellowish-white light all the more distinct from the partial darkness of the room. Then from the centre of this, immediately over the hidden face, appeared an apparently living face with smiling eyes which looked directly into mine, gazing at me with a look so full of comforting assurance that I could scarcely feel frightened. But it was so real and so strange that I wondered if I were temporarily crazed, and as it disappeared I called a watcher from another room, and went out into the open air for a few moments to recover myself under the midnight stars. When I was sure of myself I returned and took my place again alone. Then I asked that, if that appearance were real and not an hallucination, would it be made once more manifest to me; and again the phenomenon was repeated, and the kind, smiling face looked up at me—a face new to me yet wondrously familiar. Afterwards I recalled my friend’s frequent description of her dead father whom she dearly loved, but whom I had never seen, and I could not help the impression that it was his face I saw the hour that his daughter died.365



During the ten years which ended with 1889, the great metropolis of the western continent added to the assessed valuation of its taxable property almost half a billion dollars.

In all other essential respects save one, the decade was a period of retrogression for New York City. Crime, pauperism, insanity, and suicide increased; repression by brute force personified in an armed police was fostered, while the education of the children of the masses ebbed lower and lower. The standing army of the homeless swelled to twelve thousand nightly lodgers in a single precinct, and forty thousand children were forced to toil for scanty bread.

Prostitution, legalized in the purchase of besmirched foreign titles and forced upon the attention of youth in the corrupting annals of the daily press, was flaunted publicly as never before. Scientists competed for the infamous distinction of inventing appliances for murder by electricity, while in the domain of politics the sale of votes in the closing years of the decade was more notorious than at any period of the city’s history. In a society in which all things are commodities to be had for money, the labor power of stalwart men and tiny children, the innocence of delicately cherished girlhood, the marriage tie, the virtue of the servant, and the manhood of the statesman, it is eminently fitting that the record of progress should be kept officially in dollars and cents.

This is done in all our communities in the report of the disbursing officer who is known in New York City under the title of the Comptroller. His report shows what money the city spends, the sources from which it is derived, and the purposes for which it is used. The following data taken from statement “G” of his report for ‘89, may be readily verified, and will prove, upon examination of the original, to be but few among many conspicuous indications of retrogression.366

Expressed in dollars and cents, then, the growth of pauperism and crime was such in the decade which began with 1880, that we now spend more than a million each year in excess of the sum spent then for the same purposes. If we have grown in population so rapidly that the percentages remain unchanged, the fact cannot be ascertained for want of data. Nor is it important. The weighty fact is this, that pauperism and crime have gained upon us. Riches are greater and poverty is greater.

The moral and social retrogression indicated in this item of the Comptroller’s report is thrown into bold relief by another item, the expenditures for schools. While the paupers and criminals have grown upon us by an annual expenditure of more than a million in excess of the sum needed in 1879, the school children’s share of the public funds has grown by less than a million in excess of the requirements of 1879.

More shameful still is this retrogression when the item of police expenditure is considered, for this exceeds outright the appropriation for the Department of Education, and has grown more rapidly than the expenditure for schools. It appears that, under existing conditions, when property appreciates half a billion in value, it is necessary to have four and one half millions’ worth of police to watch over and protect the half-billions’ increase in assessed value from the ravages of our paupers and criminals.

It seems also that in 1879 our police cost less than our schools, while they now cost more. The problem assumes a still greater aspect when the expenditure for paupers, criminals, and police are taken together, for it then appears that they cost nearly twice as much as the schools.

Thus the community is clearly moving in the direction of more demoralized masses of population kept in check by the brute force of an armed police, since each year the excess grows which is spent for paupers, criminals, and police over the expenditure for education.

One retrogressive influence fails to find positive official expression, and is, therefore, the more worthy of notice. This is the collusion among officials to reduce primary school attendance. The Board of Estimate and Apportionment never approves the full appropriation made for the schools. The Board of Education strives to live well within367 the sum allowed it, and crowds the greatest possible number of children upon each teacher, the regular enrolment being seventy primary pupils per teacher. Then to parry the charge of over-filling schoolrooms, it becomes the duty of the principal to reduce the enrolment per schoolhouse to the lowest point. Therefore, when a zealous Sunday-school teacher finds that one of her little charges has gone to work under age, the offices of the city’s solitary factory inspector being out of the question, she hunts up a truant officer, who takes the child before a magistrate, who, in view of the want of school accommodations, promptly discharges the truant. Behind our local municipal administration lies our whole system of capitalistic production, calling for cheap hands and profit, not humane culture. And the school authorities do but seek to supply the demand of that system for lads who can read the papers enough to vote with the machine, and write and cipher enough to be available as clerks.

Everything beyond this being unprofitable, the great mass of our city children are turned out of school at the ages of ten, eleven, and twelve years, to furnish “cheap” hands for industrial purposes.

The Comptroller’s report is substantiated, moreover, by the concurrent testimony of the State Superintendent of Education, who laments that:—[14]

“There is a large, uneducated class in the State, and our statistics show that it is growing larger. The attendance upon the schools has not kept pace with the advance of population. Recent legislation forbids the employment of children under thirteen years of age in any manufacturing establishment, but no adequate provision is made for gathering them into schools, and the number in the streets grows more rapidly than the number in the schools. Indeed, nothing practical has ever been done in this State by way of compelling attendance upon the schools. The result is sadly apparent and the premonitions are full of warning.”

In 1889 (p. 13) the same official, Mr. Andrew S. Draper, says:—[15]

“The total attendance upon the schools, when compared with the whole number of school age, has grown less and less with strange uniformity.”


The factory inspectors in their report for 1886, say, p. 15:—

“The ignorance is something alarming. Thousands of children born in this country, or who came here in early childhood, are unable to write; almost as many are unable to read, and still other thousands can do little more than write their own name. Possibly one third of the affidavits of the parents examined by us in the factory towns were signed with a crossmark, and it seemed to us that when the children who now require these affidavits grow up and have children of their own about whom to make affidavit, the proportion of crossmarks to the papers will not be decreased.”

“Children born in Europe, and who lately came to this country, are much better informed than the children born and reared in our own State, and this condition of affairs has also been remarked by the factory inspectors of other States. Very few American-born children could tell the year of their birth, State they lived in, or spell the name of their native town.”

In the midst of his gloom, the Commissioner of Labor Statistics courageously endeavors to show that wages have increased for men in the labor organizations. But in so doing, he merely whistles to keep up his courage, for he dare not investigate now, as he did in 1883 and 1884, the employment of women and children, lest he show how much worse their condition has become during the intervening years, and thereby forfeit forever his position of laureate to the powers that be.

The omission of a State census in 1885 was a breach of the Constitution for which no previous decade affords a precedent, and the absence of a school census becomes, year by year, a graver sin of omission as the pressure of economic conditions makes child labor more widespread and more injurious.

In default of the State census and of adequate information from the State Bureau of Labor Statistics, and of efficient factory inspection, an eager welcome awaited the statement touching New York City, published in Mr. Carroll D. Wright’s report of the National Department of Labor upon the working women in twenty cities, whereof the following speaks for itself.

Mr. Carroll D. Wright’s report for 1889:—

“As respects ventilation, a properly regulated workshop is the exception. The average room is either stuffy and close, or hot and close, and even where windows abound they are seldom369 opened. Toilet facilities are generally scant and inadequate, a hundred workers being dependent sometimes on a single closet or sink, and that, too often, out of order.”

“Actual ill-treatment by employers seems to be infrequent; kindness, justice, and cordial relations are the rule.”

It would be interesting to discover the idea entertained at the department as to what constitutes ill-treatment.

“Out of 18,000 women investigated, the largest number, 2,647 earn $200 and under $250 per annum, 2,377 earn from $250 to $300. The concentration, it will be seen by consulting the tables, comes on earnings ranging from $150 per year to $350 per year.”

It is quite clear from the various investigations that have been made, that there is little, if any, improvement in the amount of earnings which a woman can secure by working in the industries open to her; her earnings are not only ridiculously low, but dangerously so.

“The summary by cities, tables xxx, pp. 530 to 531, would seem to indicate that the majority are now in receipt of fair wages when the whole body of working women is considered.”

When such self-contradictory “information” is placed before the public as the fruit of investigation, the question arises whether the Department of Labor is not one more link in that chain of appliances for confusing the voter which embraces a dozen State bureaus of irrelevant reformation created chiefly within the last decade. Certainly in comparison with the first report of Mr. Wright’s Massachusetts incumbency, the present one indicates a retrogression as marked as it is injurious.

Defective as it is, however, this information is the latest that we have, and it indicates terrible poverty among the better situated manual workers.

The average wages of the employed during employment being decidedly less than a dollar a day, it is not strange that homelessness grows and the police department reports:—

“As will be seen, the enormous number of 4,649,660 cheap lodgings were furnished during the year, to which should be added the 150,812 lodgings furnished in the station-houses, making a total of 4,800,472. If tenement-house life leads to immorality and vice, certainly the fifty-eight lodging-houses in the Eleventh Precinct, furnishing 1,243,200 lodgings in one year,370 must have the same or a worse tendency. Reflection upon the figures contained in the above will lead to the conclusion that we have a large population of impecunious people (all males) which ought to be regarded with some concern. It is shown above that an average of 13,152 persons, without homes and the influence of family, lodged nightly in the station-houses, and in these poorly provided dormitories, an army of idlers willing or forced. It is respectfully submitted that social reformers would here find a field for speculation, if not for considerable activity.”

Into whose hands can our half a billion of added wealth have wandered, that it leaves more than twelve thousand human beings homeless throughout the year? And is the growth of such poverty, not retrogression?

It is urged from time to time that New York is no typical study for American conditions because of the immigration that forever flows through it, and the abnormally large proportion of the “unfittest” left as our residuum. But in comparison with the armies of the unfit systematically produced by our industrial system, the stratum of residuum deposited in the metropolis by the flood of immigration rolling westward, is too trivial to disturb the equanimity of candid observers. Only the perverted vision which leads New York’s most famous charitable institutions to imprison beggars and kidnap the children of the very poor in the name of philanthropy, can so confuse cause and effect. If we were civilized, if we were doing the nation’s work in an orderly manner, every recruit would be so much clear gain. It is the disorganization of our moribund industrial system which leaves no welcome for the immigrants save as the tenement-house agent may bleed them, and the sweating contractor “grind their bones to make his bread.” It is this disorganization which turns the source of our finest reinforcement into a means of demoralization and temporary retrogression.

We have seen that in accumulated wealth, the city of New York increased by nearly half a billion dollars in the past ten years. A fair share of this material wealth was doubtless derived from the application of electricity to human uses, for that was pre-eminently the decade of electricity.

Yet, even in this respect the metropolis failed to hold its own. For, while the substitution of electricity for horse power has gone rapidly forward in the small cities of the West and South, New York has suffered an extension of its371 slow, filthy, and pest-breeding horse-car transportation. There can be little doubt that the unspeakable state of the streets contributed largely to the deadliness of the epidemic which raged at the close of 1889.

Nor was the electric lighting of New York more successfully developed than the use of electricity for transportation. The last night of the ten years found the city buried in stygian gloom, because the duty of lighting its streets is still a matter of private profit; and the insolent corporation which fattens upon this franchise surrendered the privilege of murdering its linemen unpunished, only when its poles were cut and its wires torn down. A more classic application of the Vanderbilt motto in action it would be hard to find, or a more thorough demonstration of the inadequacy of capitalism to rule the genii itself has summoned. Characteristic of the low plane of humane feeling in State and city is the substitution of the electrician for the hangman in judicial murder, at a time when the effort is general upon the Eastern Continent to abolish capital punishment.

As the application of electricity rose pre-eminently characteristic of the past decade among the uses of science, so architecture towered above all other arts. Yet, for one problem solved after the magnificent fashion of the Brooklyn bridge and the Dacotahs, hundreds of plans were devised with delicate ingenuity for filling up with bricks and mortar the small remaining air space in the rear of tenement blocks. And this noblest and most humane of all the arts was degraded in the service of millionnaire land-owners and sub-letting agents until the problem of to-day is, how to kennel the greatest mass of human beings upon the least area with smallest allowance of air, and light, and water, without infringing the building laws. One of the simplest solutions is superimposing floor upon floor, so compelling tired women and puny children to mount narrow, dark, and gloomy stairs, and increasing to its maximum the danger of fire. The Egyptian pyramids and the catacombs of Rome centuries ago were not poorer in healthful light and air than were these homes of our fellow-citizens in our own decade of retrogression.

But does this mean that our civilization is a failure, and the prime of life past for the Republic? Far from it. It means, I take it, that capitalism has done its work, and has372 become a hindrance, that the old industrial and social forms are inadequate to the new requirements and must be remodelled, and that promptly. It is now nearly half a century since Karl Marx wrote the following words, but they apply to the New York of to-day, as though he were among us and suffering with us:—

“It is the sad side which produces the movement that makes history by engendering struggle…. From day to day it becomes more clear that the conditions of production under which the capitalist class exists, are not of a homogeneous and simple character, but are two-sided, duplex; and that in the same proportion in which wealth is produced, poverty is produced also; that in the same proportion in which there is development of the productive forces, there is also developed a force that begets repression; that these conditions only generate middle class wealth by continuously destroying the wealth of individual members of that class, and by producing an ever-growing proletariat.”




It was in the year of our Lord 1806; the season, September; in the State of Tennessee, and the tenth year of its age, as a State.

The summer was over, the harvests ripe, the year growing ruddy. Down in the cotton fields the balls had begun to burst, and the “hands,” with their great baskets, to trudge all day down the long rows, singing in that dreamy, dolefully musical way which belongs alone to the tongue of the Southern slaves and to the Southern cotton fields. Across the fields, and the rich, old clover bottoms that formed a part of the Hermitage farm, the buzz of a cotton gin could be distinctly heard, adding its own peculiar note to the music of Southern nature.

A cotton gin! it was a rare possession in those days, and General Jackson’s was known from Nashville to New Orleans. Indeed, the whole of the previous year’s crop had not yet been disposed of. The great bales were heaped about, waiting for the flat-boats that would carry them up the Cumberland, down the Ohio and the Mississippi, and land them at the great New Orleans market. A slow trip for the bulky bales. Could they have foreseen the time when the tedious river’s journey would be shortened to one day’s run over a steel track, what must the big bales have thought! And those gigantic heaps of cotton seed which all the cows in the county could not have consumed, could they have “peered into the future” and found themselves in the lard cans! The old gin would have groaned aloud could it have known that it was buzzing itself into history as surely as was the tall, spare, erect man coming across the field in the late afternoon to see that the day’s work was well done.

What a heroic figure! and a face that even in youth bore the impress of a man marked by destiny for daring deeds. Imperious in temper, majestic in courage, and unyielding in374 will, he was one born to lay hold of fate and bend it to his desires. Yet, there was a timidity in the eye which no danger could make quail. And when down the lane there came the clatter of horses’ hoofs striking the hard, dry earth, and with the horses a vision of long, dark skirts waving like black banners in the breeze made by the hurrying steeds, the owner of the cotton gin stepped within and beyond the vision of the lady visitors.

But they were not to be out-generaled even by a general; and straight up to the gin the horses were headed.

“General Jackson,” one of the ladies—there were but two—called to the timid hero who had run away at her approach. Instantly he appeared. He wore a large, white beaver hat, the broad brim half-shading the clear-cut, strongly outlined features. When he lifted it, even Beauty could not fail to notice the high and noble forehead, the quick, eager eye, and the delicate flush that swept across the patrician features. “General Jackson, I have come in the name of charity. No, no, you need not take out your wallet. We are not asking money.”

A smile played across the strong, thin lips. “How?” said he, “doesn’t charity always mean ‘money’? I was of the impression the terms were synonymous.”

“Then for once own yourself in the wrong,” laughed Beauty. “We have come to ask the privilege of a charity ball at the Hermitage.”

“A what?”

“A charity ball; and at the Hermitage.”

A most comically pleased expression came into the earnest eyes of the master for an instant. Only an instant, and then a heavy frown contracted his forehead. A flash of scorn in the clear eye, and a curl of the proud, sensitive lip, told of the suppressed anger that had suddenly smitten him.

“The Hermitage,” said he, “is the home of my wife. She is its mistress, and to her is confided its honor and the honor of its master. To her belongs, and to her alone, the right to choose its guests, and to open its doors to her friends. I am surprised you should come to me with your request.”

Ah! she was forearmed; how fortunate. Beauty smiled triumphantly. “But your servant who opened the gate, told us that Mrs. Jackson was not at home.”375

“Ah!” the frown instantly vanished, and the hand ever ready to strike for her he loved with such deathless devotion was again lifted to the broad old beaver.

“I think,” said he, “in that case I may answer for Mrs. Jackson, and pledge for her the hospitality of the Hermitage for—charity.”

Again he lifted his hat; across the fields the sound of a whistle had come to him, and a servant waited, with polite patience, near by with the horse that was to carry his master down to the river where the boats were waiting to be inspected—the new boats which, like everything pertaining to the master of the Hermitage, were to have a place in history.

“Ladies,” said he, “charity is not the only voice calling upon the Hermitage farmer. Our country,”—he waved his hand toward the river where the boats were being builded,—“or one who nobly represents her, is calling for those vessels now in the course of construction yonder.”

Will there be war?

How the clear eyes danced and shone beneath that question which over and over again he had put to his own heart,—“Will there be war?”

“We hope so,” he replied. “All the West wishes it, the people demand it, and the time is ripe for it. Already a leader has been chosen for it; those boats were ordered by him.”

“Colonel Burr?”

“Aye, Aaron Burr.”

The night was balmy and deliciously fragrant with the odors of cedar and sweet old pine. Balmy and silent, save for a rebellious mocking-bird that trilled and trolled, and seemed trying to split its musical little throat in a honeysuckle bush before the open window of a little “two-story” log house set back from the road in a tangle of plum trees, wild rose-bushes, and sweet old cedars.

Every window was wide open, and from both windows and doors streamed a flood of light, to guide and welcome the guests who came by twos, and threes, and half dozens to the Hermitage ball. They were not in full-dress array, for most of the guests were equestrians, or equestriennes, and brought their finery in the little leathern band-boxes securely376 buckled to the saddle-horse. Stealthily the fair ones dismounted, and stealthily crept along the low piazza, through the side room, carefully past the pretentious “big room,” and up the stairs, a narrow little wooden concern, each tenderly hugging her precious band-box.

There were but three rooms below, barring the dining-room which was cut off by the low piazza. The stairway went up from Mrs. Jackson’s little bedroom into a duplicate guest-chamber above. Two others, as diminutive, one above and below, were tucked onto these. And this, with the big room, was the Hermitage. A very unpretentious cabin was the first Hermitage; the humble and honored roof of Rachel and Andrew Jackson, the couple standing under the waxen candles in the big room waiting to receive their guests. The master was resplendent, if uncomfortable, in his silken stockings, buckles, and powder, and rich velvet. For, whatever his faults, he was no coxcomb, and the knee breeches and finery had only been assumed for that one occasion, at the “special request” of charity’s fair committee.

The vest of richly embroidered silk was held at the waist with a glittering brilliant, and left open to the throat, as if in deference to the flutes, and frills, and delicate laces of the white shirt bosom. There was a glitter at the knees where the silver buckles caught now and then a gleam from the waxen candles dangling from the low ceiling in a silver and iridescent chandelier, to the imminent peril of the white roll of powdered hair surmounting the tall general’s forehead. At his side, proud, calm, and queenly in her womanly dignity and virtue, stood Rachel, the beloved mistress of the Hermitage. Her dress of stiff and creamy silk could add nothing to the calm serenity of the soul beaming from the gentle eyes, whose glance, tender and fond, strayed now and then to the figure of her husband, and rested for a brief moment upon the strong, gentle face with something akin to reverence in their shadowy depths. Her face, beautiful and beneficent, was not without a shadow: a shadow which grief had set there to mellow, but could not mar, the gentle sweetness of the patient features.

There was the sound of banjo and fiddle, as one by one the dusky musicians from the cabins ranged themselves along the wall of the big room, which had been cleared of its furnishings, and young feet came hurrying in when the377 old Virginia reel sounded through, the low rooms, calling to the dance.

More than one set of ivories shone at door and windows where the slaves gathered to “see the whi’ folks dance.” But prominent and conspicuous, in a suit as nearly resembling his master’s as might be, and in a position at the immediate right hand of the slave who played the bass viol, stood Cæsar, the general’s favorite man-servant. He bore himself with the same courtly dignity, the same dignified courtesy, and had stationed himself beside the viol in order to have a more thorough view of the dancers, and above all of his beloved master. He had faithfully ushered in the last guest, and had hurried to his place in order to see General Jackson step down the long line of dancers and bow to his partner. Not for worlds would he have missed that bow, to him the perfection of grace and dignity.

Two by two the couples entered, crossed to the centre of the room and bowed each other to their places opposite in the long, wall-like line which characterizes the stately reel.

The ladies dropped like drooping lilies for one brief moment in the midst of their silken stiffness, skirts that “stood alone,” and made their courtesies to their swains with proper maiden modesty.

Cæsar saw it all from his post of vantage near the big viol, but he was not interested in the visitors, he knew what they could do. He was waiting to see his master “lay ‘em all in the shade bimeby.” Of course he would open the ball. He wasn’t fond of dancing but it was the custom of the day, and he and Miss Rachel “knew their manners.”

But for once the custom of the day was changed. Cæsar was destined to disappointment. Mrs. Jackson’s rustling silk announced her approach before she appeared, leaning, not upon the arm of the general, but in company with a florid, rather fleshy gentleman, no stranger, however, to the Hermitage hospitality. Much to the negro’s chagrin he led her to the very head of the long lines of bright dresses and gay gallants, and stepped himself, as Cæsar declared, “like a young cock,” into the general’s own place opposite. The master stood at the very foot, the escort of a lady Cæsar had never set eyes upon before, and who for the life of him he could not forgive for being the general’s partner.378

He was grievously disappointed, so that when the florid fat gentleman at the head danced down between the gay columns, and made his manners to the lady at the foot, as gallantly as anyone could have done, Cæsar expressed his opinion loud enough to be heard by the very gentleman himself.

“Mr. Grundy tryin’ step mighty high to-night,” he said.

But it was when “Miss Rachel” danced down in her silken skirts and met the master midway the line, and dropped a low courtesy, her full skirts settling about her like a great white umbrella, and the stately general bowed over his silver buckles like some royal knight of old, that Cæsar’s enthusiasm got the better of his indignation.

“Beat dat, Mr. Grundy!” he said, in a low, if enthusiastic, whisper, “beat dat, sar.” And Mr. Grundy pranced down again to “beat” the master in the “swing with the right” movement of the old-fashioned dance.

Promptly the general followed, meeting “Miss Rachel” half way with a second courtesy over the tips of her fingers, just visible under the lace ruffles at her wrists.

“Try dat, now, Mr. Grundy!” And this time Cæsar forgot his whisper so that a burst of applause followed the challenge, to Mr. Grundy’s extreme chagrin; for he, alas! had forgotten his bow before swinging the lady.

It was then the dancing assumed something of the appearance of real rivalry.

Down the line galloped Mr. Grundy again, stopped, bowed, “swung with the left,” and bowed again.

The general had been outdone, even Cæsar had to admit it, and the dancers laughed aloud and clapped their hands at the pretty little gallantry.

But the master was equal to the emergency. Again the stately figure met “Miss Rachel,” the couple bowed, swung with the left, bowed again, hands still clasped, and then the powdered head of the master dropped for an instant over the lady’s hand, that was lifted to his lips, and the dancers parted.

Amid the spirited confusion of “chasing the fox,” passing under the gates held “high as the sky,” and passing back again into line, Cæsar’s voice could be heard still sounding the challenge:—

“Beat it, if you kin, Mr. Grundy. Chassay to yer best, Mr. Grundy! Back yerse’f to de lead, Mr. Grundy!”379

Clearly, Mr. Grundy was not the favorite. Cæsar’s “backing” had inspired confidence in the general.

However, if Mr. Grundy was, as he said, “a cock,” he was nevertheless a game one. Down the centre he tripped again, flushed and determined, courtesied exceeding low, swung “with both” hands, then dropped for an instant upon one knee while the lady tripped back into line. There was a murmur of quick appreciation and all eyes were turned on Jackson. Would he, could he, think of anything so delightfully graceful?

Cæsar’s mouth stood wide open. His confidence in his beloved and stately master never once faltered. He knew he would never suffer Felix Grundy to outdo him in the simple matter of a bow; but how? What?

Straight on came the general; bowed, extended his arms, when, as ill luck would have it, he set the toe of his shoe upon the front hem of “Miss Rachel’s” silken gown, and, rising from her courtesy, there was nothing to do but drop forward into the arms extended, amid the shouts of the assembled guests, emphasized by Cæsar’s emphatic—


He had done a very awkward thing. One of those happily awkward things which crown a man conqueror more surely than all the tricks of art can do.

Nobody attempted to surpass that feat, and when the couples had each in turn passed their parade, for such is the old Virginia reel, and the dancers filed into the supper room, General Jackson was still, in the judgment of his servant at all events, the master of grace and chivalry.

A sumptuous supper and worthy the mistress who planned it. At the head of the table sat Jackson; at the foot, the young statesman and guest, Mr. Grundy.

When the company had all been seated, the master rose, his right hand resting upon a tiny tumbler of red wine, such as stood at every plate. He motioned Mr. Grundy, and lifted the tumbler. “The man honored by fate, and fostered by fortune. The man chosen and set apart for the service of the nation. A man whose name shall go down the years as the synonym of courage and of honor. The foremost man of the age,”—and the voice ever strong for the friend, absent or near, pronounced the name of one at that moment tottering upon the brink of ignominious destruction and disgrace—“Aaron Burr.”380

There was an instant of intense silence, but not a tumbler was lifted. Insult to the host, or insult to conviction? was the thought which held each guest; when quick into the breach stepped Mr. Grundy. With one palm pressed upon the rim of his tumbler, and with head proudly lifted in a half defiant sternness, wholly belying the careless voice in which he offered the compromise, “No absent heroes,” said he. “In lieu of that I offer Andrew Jackson! the future President of the United States of America.” It was said in jest, yet not one but understood that Mr. Grundy refused to drink to the man with whose name one stinging, startling word was already cautiously whispered,—traitor.

General Jackson’s fine eye flashed; but courtesy could unsheath no sword against a guest. And after all, it was nothing. A mere flash of words. Aye! yet something whispered that the flash carried a meaning, was, indeed, a spark from that mightier flash of arms that would, ere long, blaze out at the very mention of that name.

The ball was over; still wearing their evening finery the master of the Hermitage and his wife sat over the fading embers, smoking their “last pipe” before retiring.

Cæsar had bowed the last guest from the door, and was about to close it for the night, when the sound of galloping hoofs attracted his attention. It was a single horseman, and he was making straight for the Hermitage. The servant waited under the low piazza, curious but not uneasy. The horse stopped at the block, and into the long line of light streaming from the open doorway, came the figure of a man, hurrying as if to reach the door before it should close. He had ridden hard, and had barely arrived in time.

“Is General Jackson at home?” he asked. “I must see him to-night, at once. Tell him so.”

The servant bowed, and silently ushered the late arrival into the deserted banquet room.

His keen eye took in the surroundings with a half-amused, half-bewildered expression. The banquet table, despoiled of its beauty, the half-emptied wine glasses, the broken bits of cake, crumbled by beauty’s fair fingers; the odor of dying roses, smothered in their bloom, mingled with the scent of the undrunk wine; all told the story of revelry and its inevitable destiny.381

The stranger crossed the room to the pillaged sideboard, and with the air of a man thoroughly at home, lifted a decanter and poured a tumbler full of wine, lifted it carelessly to his lips, drained it, and with the emptied vessel still in his hand turned to meet the master of the house.

He still wore the finery in which he had decked himself for the ball. In one hand he carried his pipe, over which he had been dozing with Rachel. But the eye was alive now; the quick, eagle eye. The ball had become a thing of the past. And as he stood for one brief moment in the doorway, himself, in his gala dress, seemed but another illustration of that indomitable grimness which hangs about a forsaken banquet room. At that moment the stranger lifted his face. It was a face stamped with the cunning of a fox, the courage of a lion, the simplicity of a child, the ambition of a god.

The master met the cool, fixed eye, and into his own leaped the smothered fire of outraged dignity. He lifted his hand, as if to curse.

“Do you know, sir, that the world is branding you a traitor? And that Felix Grundy refused to drink your health in my house to-night?”

A sneer flitted across the handsome features, but the low, rich voice only said, “Let him.”

It was the voice of Aaron Burr.382



The constantly broadening sphere of woman’s influence is to me the most hopeful and important sign of our times. The era of woman has dawned, bearing the unmistakable prophecy of a far higher civilization than humanity has ever known. It is an incontestable fact that woman is ethically, infinitely superior to man; her moral perceptions are firmer and stronger, her unselfishness far greater, her spiritual nature deeper and richer than that of her brothers. She is to-day foremost in the great social, philanthropic, humanitarian, and ethical reforms, in which selfishness has no place. In her widening influence, growing liberty, and freedom, I see impearled a prophecy of an altruistic era—a civilization triumphant—rising against to-morrow’s purpling dawn.

In the fields of intellectual and scientific research she has grandly won her way, and that despite the marshalled forces of conservatism, which have stubbornly contested every step that has looked towards a broader, more independent and purposeful life. For centuries relegated to the rear, compelled to take thought second-hand, denied a healthful freedom and the right of a liberal education, so highly prized by man, her marvellous attainments since she has in a measure broken the bonds of conservatism and trampled under foot the baleful heritage of ancient thought, have been so splendid in their reality and so pregnant with prophecies of future triumph, that I confidently expect to find in her the one invincible ally of the forces warring for a higher, purer, more just and humane condition of life. In her epoch-marking victories she has lost none of her old-time charms, the wonderful refinement of sentiment, the delicacy of thought, the rich soul life, the deep emotional nature, the strong moral character, pure as the glistening snow-clad peaks in the midst of the moral degradation which taints manhood. These have remained in their pristine beauty since she has emerged from her age-long retirement into a more influential sphere; in truth they have been strengthened and made more impressive by the fuller development of her nature.

It must not be supposed, however, that her struggles are over. Before she can or will attain an influence commensurate with her work, she must emancipate herself from the bondage of fashion, which as seriously reflects on her good judgment as it wrecks her health and menaces the life and happiness of her offsprings. She must also repudiate the age-hallowed insult dwelt upon in the old Edenic legend of the fall of man, which for centuries has been brandished in her face to teach her humility, and make her feel degraded in the presence of her “lords and masters.” An383 essentially barbarous conception, born of a cowardly and brutal childhood age, and as unworthy of our day and generation as is the hideous, old-time conception of God, in which He was pictured as an angry and jealous Being, counselling the wholesale slaughter of men and little children, and the prostitution of daughters, wives, and mothers, by hordes of brutal invaders, whom He chose to designate his peculiar people.

Again, womanhood must refuse to heed the admonitions of Paul, which have for almost two thousand years been thundered from the pulpit, and persistently preached from the fireside as though they were oracles from heaven, rather than the natural expressions of a mind imbued with Grecian thought and ideals concerning womanhood. There is nothing surprising in Paul’s observations on the sphere of woman; they were the reflex of the conservative and prevailing thought among the civilizations with which he was familiar. But the world has outgrown this ancient conception, and it is worse than folly to attempt to fasten the corpse of the past to the living body of the present. The evolution of society, a growing sense of justice in man, and the exigencies of life are rapidly diminishing the old-time reverence for the Pauline theory of woman’s sphere. This is nowhere more significantly illustrated than in the expressed declaration of tens of thousands of pious, Christian women, and the active participation of a smaller number in public affairs, who would indignantly resent any intimation that they did not accept the plenary inspiration of the Bible.[16] The declarations of Paul, while in harmony with accepted ideas in his day, are absurd, and inapplicable to our age and generation, and as such are being discarded by enlightened public sentiment, as was the old theory of a flat earth finally given up after science fully exposed its falsity. Another duty of woman is to unitedly contend for the right of suffrage for those who wish to exercise it. There may have been a time when there was no pressing duty involved in this question, but that day has passed. Recent statistics show that there are in the United States to-day millions of women who earn a livelihood by their own individual exertions;[17] tens of thousands of these women are working for384 starvation wages, with the awful alternative ever before them “starve or sin.” This condition will remain until women have a voice in the government equal to man’s, and their numbers are so organized as to challenge the consideration of law-makers. The infamous “age of consent laws” which place the age of consent to her own ruin from seven to twelve years for girls could only be enacted in man-governed States. A noteworthy illustration of this is found in the fact that Wyoming, the only State where woman enjoys full franchise, has placed the age of consent at the legal age of majority, eighteen years, while Kansas, the State which more than any other approaches Wyoming in bestowing on women the rights of franchise, and where she exercises a greater influence in politics than any other American commonwealth save her younger sister, has also placed the age of consent at eighteen years. All the other States trail the banner of morality in the dust before the dictates of man’s bestiality.

In the various spheres of activity in which woman has engaged, her influence has been that of a purifying, refining, and ennobling power, and barring rare instances where the spirit of intolerance has flashed forth,[18] her presence in public affairs has been uniformly beneficent.

For womanhood I cherish the deepest love and reverence. Her exaltation means the elevation of the race. A broader liberty and more liberal meed of justice for her mean a higher civilization, and the solution of weighty and fundamental problems which will never be equitably adjusted until we have brought into political and social life more of the splendid spirit of altruism, which is one of her most conspicuous characteristics. I believe that morality, education, practical reform, and enduring progress wait upon her complete emancipation from the bondage of fashion, prejudice, superstition, and conservatism.


  1. “L’Allemagne lepnis, Leibniz. Essai sur le Développement de la Conscience Nationale en Allemagne.” By Prof. Lévy Brühl, Paris. 1 vol. Hachette, 1890. Return to text

  2. “History of the Creation of United Germany.” 5 vols. Heinrich v. Sybel, Berlin, 1890. Return to text

  3. Few events since the deceptions and catastrophes of the war itself ever produced the sudden impression of Lévy Brühl’s boldly outspoken, utterly impartial book. Published in the first days of last September (1890), in one week it was famous throughout all France where serious literature does not reap renown quickly. M. M. Lairesse De Vogüé, Bourdeau, Sorel, all welcomed it as a revelation, in the Débats, Revues des Deux Mondes, and elsewhere, and its real title was awarded it in the Temps, by M. Albert Sorel, whose experience and competence as an historical critic has never been denied, and who unhesitatingly proclaimed it, Le Fuit et l’Idée, namely, the announcement of the ruling national idea whence the fact of German unity was immediately derived. Return to text

  4. Le Temps,” 9th September, 1890. Return to text

  5. Life of Monckton Milnes, first Lord Houghton, by Wemyss Reid. 2 vols. London, 1891. Return to text

  6. The heroic founder of the Bavarian monarchy, Otho of Writtelsbach, was betrayed shamefully by his friend, the Emperor Philip, of Suabia, and slew him for his treachery. This is one of the oldest dramas on the German stage. Return to text

  7. The celebrated victory of the Great Elector, that made Prussia into a kingdom. Return to text

  8. I would recommend every student of history to read attentively the extraordinary article of M. Paleologue in the Revue des Deux Mondes entitled “La Reine Louise de Prusse Comment se Fait une Legende.” It is a poetic but true suite to Professor Lévy Brühl’s magnificent study. Return to text

  9. The first part of this admirable essay appeared in July Arena. Return to text

  10. Mr. John P. Meany, editor of Poor’s Manual of Railroads, in the New York Sun of January 12, 1891. Return to text

  11. Coal on the line named is worth about $1.50 per ton at the mines, while inferior coal is worth $3.75 per ton at the mines in Victoria. Return to text

  12. This article is a reply to “The Tyranny of All the People,” by the Rev. Francis Bellamy, in July Arena. Return to text

  13. The Report of the California Bureau of Labor, 1887-8, Commissioner John J. Tobin, should be included, but came after the above had gone to press. Return to text

  14. Report State Superintendent of Education. Report 1888, p. 12. Return to text

  15. Report State Superintendent of Education. Report 1889, p. 13. Return to text

  16. The hundreds of earnest organizers in the great reform movements of to-day; the sincere and profoundly religious women who preach the Christian gospel every Sunday; the leaders in the great temperance organizations who are also leaders in various Orthodox churches, have, in spite of their prejudices and the old-time faith which is often more a legacy from the past than the result of a many-sided investigation, yielded to the demands of their age, the crying needs of the hour, and in defiance of the dogmatic injunctions of Paul, have entered the vineyard of practical reform, while still maintaining the anomalous position of defending the verbal inspiration of the New Testament. This singularly illogical position, however, is always met with in a transition period, when a larger and more purposeful life is struggling with time-hallowed traditions and the memories and teachings made almost sacred by the childlike acceptation, of loved parents, and teachers who have vanished down the vale. Return to text

  17. It has been variously estimated by careful statisticians that we have from 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 girls and women in the United States who are making their own livings. The Commissioner of Labor, in his report for 1885, estimated that in New York City alone, there are over 200,000 employed in various wage-earning vocations. Mr. Carroll D. Wright’s fourth annual report in the U. S. Bureau of Labor gives the results of statistics gathered from twenty-two cities of women engaged in manual labor, not including the great army engaged in professional and semi-professional vocations, as something near 300,000, but the glaring discrepancy in the figures as they relate to the Empire City, shown by Helen Campbell, discredits the report. Certain it is that in the cities mentioned if one begins at the scrub women and passes through the various occupations, such as boarding-house keepers, millinery, dressmaking, cash girls, clerks, sales-women, stenographers, type-writers, book-keepers, teachers, factory girls, and slaves of the clothing trade, as well as the artists, musicians, actresses, public speakers, physicians, lawyers, and the many other professions or vocations filled by women, that the number would be swelled to the millions. The last census returns for New York City reveal the fact that there are twenty-seven thousand married men in New York who are supported by their wives, who are mainly dressmakers, milliners, boarding-house keepers, artists, teachers, musicians, and actresses. Here we have an army of shiftless, dependent men, more than a quarter of one hundred thousand strong, having each a vote to cast or perchance to sell to the highest bidder, while the real bread-winners, the actual wealth-producers, in this case have no voice in the legislative halls. Return to text

  18. At times woman has shown a spirit of intolerance born of the intensity of her conviction which has led many thoughtful men and women to seriously question whether the right of suffrage might not prove a curse rather than a blessing, ending in repressive legislation and religious persecutions. I do not, however, fear these evils. The intensity of convictions is a compliment to her heart; and her innate love of justice and fair-play, would, I think, in a reasonably short time, expand the intellectual vision which prejudice and ancient thought has long obscured. Let the outcome, however, be it what it may, we have no right to argue on lines of policy, when a question of right or justice is involved. It is simple justice for every woman to exercise the right of franchise who desires to so enjoy it, and this should be sufficient to settle the question in the minds of those who believe in according to others what is demanded for themselves. Return to text

Transcriber’s Note

Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies. The transcriber made the following changes to the text to correct an obvious error by the publisher:

1. p. 263, “attempts of the Saxon minister, M. de Beust,*” original has footnote marker but no footnote text

2. p. 287, “republicaan” changed to “republican”

3. p. 325, “dulness” changed to “dullness”

4. p. 340, “pased” changed to “passed”

5. p. 383, In Footnote 16, “predjudices” changed to “prejudices”