The people of Texas do not realize how terrible is the industrial condition of the world to-day—how wide the gulf that separates Dives and Lazarus, how pitiful the poverty of millions of their fellowmen. The Texas merchant complains of dull trade, the farmer of low prices, the mechanic of indifferent wages; yet Texas is the most favored spot on the great round earth to-day. I defy you to find another portion of the globe of equal area and population where the wealth is so well distributed, where so few people go hungry to bed without prospect of breakfast. But the grisly gorgon of Greed and the gaunt specter of Need are coming West and South in the wake of the Star of Empire. Already Texas has begun to breed millionaires and mendicants, sovereigns and slaves. Already we have an aristocracy of money, in which WEALTH makes the man and want of it the fellow, and year by year it becomes easier for Dives to add to his hoard and for Lazarus to starve to death.
We appeal to New York for capital with which to develop our resources; and New York has it in abundance— countless millions she is eager to let out at usury; yet it is estimated that ten thousand children perish in that city every year of the world for lack of food—and how many are kept alive by the bitter bread of a contemptuous charity God only knows. In one year 3,000 children were debarred from the public schools of Chicago because of lack of clothing to cover their nakedness—and Chicago boasts herself "the typical American city." The despised Salvation Army trying to feed a thousand homeless and hungry men on the sandlots of San Francisco proves that already the curse has travelled across the continent.
And people who are not only permitted to run at large, but actually elected to office, prattle of "overproduction" —while people are starving in nakedness; proposes to eliminate pauperism and inaugurate the industrial millennium by placing fiddle-strings on the free-list or increasing the tariff-tax on toothpicks—to relieve the country of the commercial jim-jams by means of the gold cure. And the fool-killer still procrastinates!
. . .
The American citizen is called a sovereign—by those patriots who are preparing to sacrifice themselves on the altar of a nice fat office. And perhaps he is; but I'm free.
We are frequently told that the condition of labor is better to-day than a century ago. That is half a truth, yet wholly a falsehood. A century ago the workman knew naught of many comforts and conveniences he now enjoys —when he happens to have a job; but that was one age, this quite another. Progress gives no man new wants, and the luxuries of one generation become the necessities of the next. To deny this—to limit the laborer to actual necessaries as measured by a former age—were to relegate him back to barbarism, to nomadism and nakedness. If we should be content with what our fathers had, then they should have been satisfied with the comforts enjoyed by THEIR progenitors, and so on back until man digs roots with his finger nails, attires himself in a streak of red paint for winter overcoat and a few freckles for summer ulster. It is by comparison with his fellows and not with his fathers that man determines whether he's fortunate or unfortunate—whether he's receiving his proper proportion of the world's increase of wealth. A century ago there was no such glaring inequality as now exists. There were no fifty million dollar fortunes and no free-soup joints. If the workman's piano was a jews-harp and his Pullman car a spavined cayuse, his employer was not erecting palaces in which to stable his blood stock, nor purchasing dissolute princes for his daughters to play at marriage and divorce with. If the farmer's wife wore linsey-woolsey and went barefoot to save her shoes, her neighbor did not import $5,000 gowns from "Paree" and put jeweled collars on her pet cur. The difference in the condition of Dives and Lazarus is more sharply defined than ever before. It is not so much the pitiful poverty of the many as the enormous wealth of the few that is fostering discontent. Pride dallying with Sin begot Death; willful waste is breeding Anarchy in the Womb of Want. The lords and ladies of the house of Have revel in luxury such as Lucullus never knew, while within sound of their feasting gaunt children fight like famished beasts for that which the breakfast garbage barrels afford. Private fortunes make the famed wealth of Lydia's ancient kings appear but a beggar's patrimony, while brawny giants must beg or steal and starving mothers give the withered breast to dying babes.
Labor now seeks employment, not as a right, but as a privilege. It has come to such a pitiful pass in this "land of liberty," this "refuge of the world's oppressed," that to afford a man an opportunity to employ his strength or skill in the creation of wealth, a portion of which he may retain for his own support, is regarded rather as a privilege than a free contract between American Sovereigns —an act of charity, for which the recipient should be duly grateful.
No man can be a freeman while dependent upon the good will of an other for his bread and butter. He may be a Sovereign dejure, but he's a Slave defacto. And under present conditions the more labor-saving machinery he invents, the tighter he rivets his chains.
We had hoped and believed that human ingenuity was about to lift the curse laid on Adam by his angry Lord; the angel of Intellect to reimparadise the poor slave, place his fetters on nature's tireless forces and declare that never again should bread be eaten in the sweat of the brow; but man proposes—and is sued for breach of promise.
Were a man to declare labor-saving machinery and the general development of the country a curse to the poor, he would be branded as a "moss-back" or budding candidate for Bedlam; yet it is unquestionably true that the further the average individual gets from the so-called blessings of civilization—the less he is affected by our boasted industrial system—the smaller his danger of starving to death.
Many of us can remember when we had little labor- saving machinery in Texas; when railways were scarce as consistent Christians at a colored camp-meeting, goods were carried down from coast on the backs of burros and a full-dress suit consisted chiefly of buckskin breeches and a brace of angel makers. And we remember also that a pauper was a curiosity; that the very cowboys played poker at $10 ante with the sky for limit, the common laborer carried coin in his belt and the merchant had money to burn. Texas has developed wonderfully during the last few decades. We now have improved machinery —and extensive poor-farms; railways—and political rings; a $3,000,000 capitol—and an army of unemployed. We have built fine schools and finer churches, made the black man our political brother and bought his vote. We have exchanged our buckskin for broadcloth, our hair- raising profanity for the hypocrite's whine, straight corn- juice for the champagne-jag and the hip-pocket court for the jackass verdict of the petit jury. But the cowboy now plays penny-ante on credit or shoots craps for small coin; the common laborer carries in his belt only a robust appetite, while the merchant who dodges bankruptcy for a dozen years considers himself the special favorite of fortune.
And what is true of Texas is true in greater or less degree of every State in the Union. Development, so dear to the heart of the patriotic and public-spirited citizen, has a tendency to transform an independent and moderately prosperous people into masters and slaves. But this is not the fault of labor-saving machinery, nor of capital, nor of development by itself considered. The more wealth labor creates, the more it should enjoy. When the reverse is the case distribution is at fault.
The substitution of expensive machinery for hand-labor eliminated the independent artisan. His productive power was multiplied; but his independence—his ability to care for himself without the cooperation of large capital— was gone. The wheelwright could not return to his shop nor the shoemaker to his last and live in comfort. Competition with the iron fingers of the great factory were impossible. Labor must now await the pleasure of capital— the creature has become lord of its creator. The fierce competition of idle armies forces wages down, and slowly but surely the workman is sinking back to the level occupied before the cunning brain of genius harnessed the lightning to his lathe and gave him nerves of steel and muscles of brass with which to fight his battle for bread.
With the improved machinery with which he is provided, the American workman can create as much wealth in a week as he need consume in a month; but he goes down on his knees and thanks God and the plutocracy for an opportunity to toil 300 days in the year for a bare subsistence.
. . .
Unfortunately, I have no catholicon for every industrial ill—but the political drug-stores are full of 'em. All you've got to do is to select your panacea, pull the cork and let peace and plenty overflow a grateful land—so we're told. Instead of the cure-me-quicks prescribed by the economic M.D.'s, I believe that our industrial system has been doped with entirely too many drugs. I'd throw physic to the dogs, exercise a little common-sense and give nature a chance. There's an old story of an Arkansaw doctor who invariably threw his patients into fits because he was master of that complaint; but the economic M.D.'s can't even cure fits. When they attempt it the patient goes into convulsions.
Instead of going to so much trouble to bar out cheap goods by means of tariff walls, I'd bar out cheap men. If you're making monkey-wrenches at $2 a day and some fellow abroad is building 'em for 50 cents, your boss comes to you and says:
"Jim, we've got to have a tariff to keep out the product of pauper labor or our nether garment's ripped from narrative to neck-band. I can't pay you $2 and compete with an employer who pays but 50 cents."
That sounds reasonable and you swing back on the G.O.P. tow-line and lay a tariff-tax on monkey-wrenches that looms up like an old-time Democratic majority in Texas. And while you are burning ratification tar-barrels and trying to shake hands with yourself in the mirror at the Mechanic's Exchange, that 50 cent fellow crosses the briny and robs you of your bench. Your old employer is protected all right, but where do you come in? You don't come in; you simply stand out in the industrial norther. You count the railroad ties from town to town while your wife takes in washing, your daughter goes to work in a factory at two dollars a week and your son grows up an ignorant Arab and gets into ward politics or the penitentiary. You can't compete with the importation, because you've been bred to a higher standard of living. You must have meat three times a day, a newspaper at breakfast and a new book—or the ICONOCLAST —after supper. You must have your plunge bath and spring bed, your clean shave and Sunday shirt. How can you hope to hold your job when a man is bidding for it who takes up his belly-band for breakfast, dines on slum- gullion and sucks his breath for supper; to whom literature is an unknown luxury, a bath a deplorable accident, and a crummy old blanket a comfortable bed? You can't do it, and if you'll take the Apostle's advice you'll quit trying.
No; I wouldn't prevent the immigration of worthy Europeans—men of intelligence, who dignify labor. We have millions such in America, and they are most estimable citizens. Our ancestors were all Europeans, and that man who is not proud of his parentage should have been born a beast. But I'd knock higher than Gilderoy's kite the theory that America should forever be the dumping- ground for foreign filth—that people will be warmly welcomed here whom no other country wants and the devil wouldn't have.
We have made American citizenship entirely too cheap. We permit every creature that can poise on its hind legs and call itself a man, to sway the scepter of American Sovereignty—to become an important factor in the formation of our public polity; and then, with this venal vote on the one hand, eager to be bought, and the plutocrat on the other anxious to buy, we wonder why it is that the invariable tendency of our laws is to make the rich man a prince and the poor man a Populist—why we are "great only in that strange spell, a name."
In this work of reform we've got to begin at the bottom —with the body politic itself. You can't make a silk purse of a sow's ear, nor Sovereigns of men who were born to be Slaves. We've got to grade up or we're gone. Only superior Intelligence is capable of self-government— Ignorance and Tyranny go hand in hand. You may theorize until the Bottomless Pit is transformed into a skating park; you may vote tariffs high or low and money hard or soft; you may inaugurate the Single-Tax or transform the American Republic into a commune, but the condition of the hewers of wood and the drawers of water will never be permanently bettered while Ignorance and Vice have access to the ballot-box.
We have carried the enchanting doctrine of "political equality" entirely too far and are paying the penalty. The rebound from the monstrous doctrine of the divine right of monarchs has hurried us into equal error. Disgusted with the rottenness of the established religion, the French people once crowned a courtesan as Goddess of Reason; maddened by the insolence of hereditary officialism, our fathers placed the rod of power in the hoodlum's reckless hand and bound upon the stupid brow of hopeless nescience Columbia's imperial crown. That the greater must guide the lesser intelligence is nature's immutable law. To deny this were to question our right to rule the beast and God's authority to reign King of all mankind. Self-preservation will yet compel us to guard the sacred privileges of American sovereignty as jealously as did Rome her citizenship.
. . .
Do this, and all other needed reforms will follow as surely and as swiftly as the day-god follows the dawn. Knowledge is power. When those who vote fully understand that every dollar expended by government, federal, state or municipal, must be created by the common people —that first or last, labor must furnish it forth—we'll cease having billion-dollar Congresses. We'll cease paying a hundred and forty millions per annum in federal pensions; we'll cease wasting a King's ransom annually in pretending to "improve" intermittent creeks and impossible harbors solely for political navigation; we'll cease borrowing money in time of peace to bolster up that foolish financial fetich known as the "gold-reserve"; we'll cease making so many needless laws and paying aspiring patriots fat salaries to harass us with their enforcement; we'll cease exempting from taxation the half-million dollar church and laying a heavier mulct on the mechanic's cottage and the widow's cow; we'll cease paying preachers five dollars a minute to stand up in our legislative halls and insult Almighty God with perfunctory prayers; we'll cease building so many palatial prisons where thieves and thugs may be cared for at the expense of honest people, but will divide criminals into classes—those who should be peremptorily hanged, and those who should be whipped and turned loose to hustle their own hash. Nothing knocks the sawdust out of false sentiment so quickly as the realization that it's an expensive luxury and that we must pay the freight.
Billion-dollar Congresses, eh? Do you know what that means? There are less than fifteen million wealth creators in this country, and the last farthing of it comes out of their pockets—something over $66 apiece! If you had it in silver dollars—and I suppose that most of you would accept silver—you couldn't count it in a century. Lay the coins edge to edge and they'll belt the world. Pile them on top of each other and you'll have a silver shaft more than 1,750 miles high. Sand your hands and climb it. Perchance from the top you'll see many things—among others what is oppressing the poor. And while up in that rarefied atmosphere, where the vision is good and thinking probably easy, you will look around for those other pyramids of expense annually erected by state, county and municipal government, then come down firm in the faith that if this isn't a great government it ought to be, considering what it costs. No wonder the workman carries in his pocket only an elegant assortment of holes!
We're governed entirely too much—Officialism is becoming a veritable Old Man of the Sea on the neck of Labor's Sinbad. About every fifth man you meet is a public servant of some sort, and you cannot get married or buried, purchase a drink or own a dog except with a by-your-leave to the all-pervading law of the land. In some states suicide itself is an infraction of the criminal code, and if the police don't cut you down in time to put you in jail the preachers will send you to hell. Every criminal law this state and county and city needs can be printed in a book no larger than the ICONOCLAST, and that so plain that he who runs may read and reading understand. And when so printed and so understood, without the possibility of misconstruction, they could be enforced at one-fifth the cost of the present judicial failure. We have so many laws and so much legal machinery that when you throw a man into the judicial hopper not even an astrologer can tell whether he'll come out a horse-thief or only a homicide —or whether the people will weary of waiting on the circumlocution office and take a change of venue to Judge Lynch.
This can never be a land of religious liberty—the atheist can never be considered as on a political parity with his ultra-orthodox brother—until we compel church property to bear its pro rata of the public burdens.
And right here let me say a word about the "Apostle." I have been accused by people—for whom no cherry-tree blooms or little hatchet is ground—of being a rank atheist and a red-flag anarchist. It has been broadly intimated that I'm trying to rip the Christian religion up by the roots, rob trusting hearts of their hope and deprive the preacher of his daily bread. Now I might just as well confess to you that I'm no angel. If I were I'd fly out of Texas till the bifurcated Democratic party has another "harmony" deal. When you hear people denouncing me as an atheist, just retire to your closet and pray, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." And you might add, that nobody cares. No mortal son of Adam's misery can produce one line I ever wrote, or quote one sentence I ever uttered, disrespectful of ANY religion—and that's more than you can say of most of the ministers.
But it is not right, it is not just that the little holdings of the poor should be relentlessly taxed and costly temples exempted—palatial edifices in which polite society pretends to worship One who broke bread with beggars and slept in the brush. Such an arrangement signifies neither good religion nor good sense. It's the result of sanctified selfishness. I believe in taxing luxuries, and a costly church is not a necessity. At least Christ did not think so, for he never built one.
Congregations that can afford to erect fine churches and export saving grace to the pagans of foreign climes, can afford to pay taxes and thereby help American heathern out of the hole. A million men out of employment, pacing our streets in grim despair; a million children coming up in ignorance and crime; a million women hesitating between the wolf of want and the abundance of infamy, and the church—supposed to be God's ministering angel— crying, "Give, give! If you can't give much, give little. Remember the widow's mite"—so acceptable to a pauper deity.
Give for what? To build fine temples in whose sacred shadows will lurk the gaunt specter of Famine and the grisly gorgon of Crime. To buy grand organs and costly bells to peal praises to One who had nowhere to lay his head. To pay stall-fed preachers five, ten, twenty thousand dollars a year to expound the doctrine of a poor carpenter who couldn't have kept a silver dollar in his jeans a single day while there was poverty and suffering in the world.
While the wealth-producer is robbed to pension millionaires who suffered mental anguish because of the draft, and to administer worse than useless laws, still the amount so unnecessarily abstracted would be but a mere bagatelle if labor was steadily employed and reaped its just reward. With the mighty energies of this nation in full play and the wealth remaining with its producers, we could give even all the candidates an office, with plenty to get and little to do, and still have pie in the pantry and corn in the crib. There is something more the matter than governmental waste—there's something RADICALLY wrong.
. . .
In tracing the causes of panics and periods of business depression, we invariably find our currency more or less at fault. Now don't get frightened. I'm not going to dose you with free silver nor give you the gold cure. This is neither Coin's Financial School nor a gold-bug incubator. The currency question is one you know all about. Everybody does—especially the corner-grocery politician. He understands it from A to Izzard—knows almost as much about it as a hello-girl does of the nature of electricity. Prof. Jevon truly says that "a kind of intellectual vertigo appears to seize people when they talk of money." Perhaps the Goddess of Liberty on the silver dollar has 'em Trilbyized.
We hear a great deal of late about the "science of money." It's supposed to be something very esoteric— something that a fellow can only master by drawing heavily on his gray matter, by working his think-machine up to the limit and sweating blood. Now let me tell you that there is no "science of money," any more than there's a science of harvesting hoop poles or fighting flies. When a man begins to give you an interminable song and dance about the science of money, just you send for the police and have him locked up as a dangerous lunatic.
Here's a ticket good for so many meals at a restaurant —an order for so much wealth; and here's a silver dollar —no 'tisn't; it's a check on a—er—on a "resort"; in fact, on a saloon; an I.O.U. for 11 cents, the price of a cigar—or something—I suppose. "Man should not live by bread alone." Now what's the difference between this ticket and check and the currency issued by the government? Simply this: These are the I.O.U.'s of individual's money, the I.O.U.'s of the entire American people. These are orders for certain kinds of wealth at particular places; money is an order for all kinds of wealth at any place within the jurisdiction of the federal government. This ticket is the check of one American, drawn against his personal wealth and credit; this bill is the check of all Americans, drawn against the collective wealth and credit of the nation. That's all the difference between a cocktail check and a coin, between a meal ticket and a ten dollar bill. Neither is worth a rap unless it can be REDEEMED. Like sanctification caught at a camp-meeting, there must be a hereafter to it or its a humbug. But don't you metallists take that as a premise and jump at conclusions or you're liable to sprain your logical sequence. What kind of redemption did I have in view when I acquired this che—I mean this ticket? I expected that it would be redeemed in something that would expand my surcingle and enable me to cast a shadow—in eggs and oleomargarine, corn-bread and buttermilk. And if so redeemed on demand, is it not a GOOD TICKET—is it not WORTH ITS FACE? What kind of redemption did I expect when I acquired this bill? I expected it to be redeemed in the necessaries of life—or possibly the luxuries. Who issued it? The government. Who's the government? The people. And when the people have given me bread and butter, tobacco and transportation, clothing and cocktails, and afforded me police protection to the extent of my ten dollars hasn't it been REDEEMED in the manner I anticipated—in the only way in which money can be redeemed? If I exchange this bill for a gold eagle what have I got? Another governmental drink-check or meal- ticket that awaits redemption. And there you have the whole "science of money," over which politicians have so long puzzled their brains that their think-tanks have got full of logical wiggletails. A dollar, whether it be made of gold, silver or paper, is simply an order which the people in their official capacity give against all the wealth, actual and potential, of the nation; and unless the holder can get it promptly redeemed in food and clothing, he's in a terribly bad fix.
. . .
Every few years our industrial system gets the jim-jams. Capital flies to cover, factories close and labor goes tramping across the country seeking honest employment and receiving a warm welcome—from militia companies with shotted guns. Cheerful idiots begin to prattle of "over- production," the economic M.D.'s to refurbish all the old remedies, from conjure bags to communism. They all know exactly what caused the "crisis" and what to do for it; but despite the doctors the patient usually—survives. And the M.D. who succeeds in cramming his pet panacea down its throat claims all the credit for the recovery. We are slowly emerging from the crash of '93, and the cuckoos are cock-sure that Cleveland hoodooed with that financial rabbit-foot known as the gold-reserve—that a country fairly bursting with wealth was saved from the demnition bowwows by the blessed expedient of going into debt; that labor found salvation by shouldering an added burden in the shape of interest-bearing bonds. Hereafter when a burro tries to lie down beneath a load that's making him bench-legged, we'll just pile a brick house or two on top of him, and, with ears and tail erect, he'll strike a Nancy Hanks gait and come cavorting down the home stretch. When a statesman can see such things as that while wide awake and perfectly sober, he ought to consult a doctor. No wonder the Democratic party spilt wide open—transformed from an ascendent sun into a bifurcated Biela's comet, wandering the Lord knows whither.
The gold reserve, we are told, is to "protect the credit of our currency." Protect it from whom? You and I are making no assault upon it—wouldn't hurt it for the world. When we get a paper or silver dollar we don't trot around to the treasury to have it "redeemed" in a slug of yellow metal—we make a bee line for the grocery store and have it redeemed in a side o' bacon. Who is it that chisels desolation into the blessed gold reserve—the so- called "bulwarks of our currency?" The fellows who want bonds—the capitalistic, the creditor class; the men who own the mortgages and have millions of dollars corded up in bank—the men who have most to LOSE by any bobble in the credit of our currency. And every time the capitalist tries to hoist himself with his own petard, the administration smothers the blaze with a block of interest- bearing bonds. If he wants to make a sky-rocket of himself, let him kerosene his coat-tails and apply the match. If the gold reserve were really necessary to the credit of our currency, capitalists would no more make war upon it than they would bestride a buzz-saw making a million revolutions a minute. Instead of systematically draining it they would, whenever it struck "the danger-line," gather all the gold they could get and send it on to Washington. The capitalists are not crazy; they've simply got a soft snap in that "bulwark" business and are working it for an it's worth.
Calico is sold by the yard, kerosene by the gallon, coffee by the pound. These measures are immutable, and those who buy and sell by them make their contract in perfect confidence. But suppose they altered from day to day or from year to year,—the yard ranging from 25 to 50 inches, the pound from 10 to 20 ounces; would our exchanges be effected without much friction, think you? Would not such a ridiculous system of weights and measures paralyze exchange and demoralize industry? Would not those who could juggle the system to suit themselves—buying by a long and selling by a short yard— accumulate colossal fortunes at the expense of the common people? Would we not have "panics" in plenty and "depressions" galore? Well, that is exactly what is happening to the dollar, our measure of value, the most important of all our trade tools. And mark you, a change in the purchasing power of the dollar is equivalent to an alteration of every weight and measure employed by commerce. Understand? When the purchasing power of the dollar expands or contracts it has the same effect on exchange as would the expansion or contraction of the yard, the gallon and the pound.
A shifting measure of value is the nigger in our industrial woodpile. We have got to have a measure of value that's as immutable as our measure of quantity; a dollar as reliable as an official pound; a dollar that's the same yesterday, and to-day and forever, before we see the last of these panics and periods of business depression. We have got to have a currency that will adapt itself automatically and infallibly to the requirements of commerce— that will constitute an ever-effective exchange medium— before we can obtain a smooth working industrial machine and the maximum employment of labor.
We know from experience that gold will not supply us with such a currency, that silver will not do it, that bi- metallism will not do it—that greenbackism, as we understand the term, will not come within a mile of it. Then what will do it? That's the problem. Solve it, and you forever put an end to commercial panics in a land of plenty; you deprive capital of its power to oppress labor; you assure industry a constant friend where it has so often found an insidious foe. Solve it and Columbia can furnish happy homes for half the world—homes unhaunted by the wolf of want, but crowned with sweet content and gilded with freedom's glory.
For a century economists have been seeking the solution of this all-important problem. Even conservative old Adam Smith dreamed of the emancipation of the world from the multifarious ills of metallic money; but we still cling with slavish servility to the silver of Abraham and the gold of Solomon.
I do not claim to have found the philosopher's stone, for which so many wiser men have sought in vain; but the currency plan I proposed in 1891—and which was again outlined in the ICONOCLAST for May of this year—has been carefully examined by the ablest financiers of Europe and America, and they have been unable to point out a fundamental fault. It is known as the interconvertible bond-currency plan, by which our circulating media would be bottomed on the entire wealth of the nation instead of upon fragments of metal of fluctuating value; by which the volume of the currency would depend, not upon the fecundity of the mines, the fiat of Congress or the greed of Wall street, but upon the needs of commerce itself. By this plan the proportion between the money-work to be done and the money available to do it is always the same; hence it would afford an immutable measure of value. In studying the plan it is well to bear in mind that our foreign trade—that bogy man of the metallists—has no more to do with our currency than with our pint cups and bushel- baskets—no more than with our language and religion; that we can pay our foreign debts and collect our foreign credits only in commodities; that the prattle indulged in by the metallists anent "money that is good the world over" is mere goose-speech—that there is no such money. We buy and sell with England and France to the extent of tens of millions annually; yet I haven't seen a British guinea or a French franc in fifteen years. And if you had a foreign coin and should go around to a resort, and call for a glass of—er—of buttermilk, and plank the little stranger down on the counter, the party in the white apron and Alaska dazzler would say:
"Wot yer givin' us?"
You'd reply: "I'm givin you gold—money good the world over."
"Wot is it—watch charm? Dis ain't no pawn shop."
"But that's money."
"Money—gold coin that maketh the heart glad."
"Wot kind o' money?"
"It's a British guinea."
"Well, why don't you go to Great Britain to blow yourself?"
"But my dear sir, this is money of final payment. This is value itself. This does not depend on the stamp of government, but circulates throughout the world on its intrinsic merit."
"Well, it don't circulate in this joint. See?"
Slam your THEORIES up against CONDITIONS before you tie to them.
. . .
You all know that in this country there should be no such thing as able-bodied pauperism. You know that until the last arable acre is brought to the highest possible cultivation, every mine developed, every forest made to contribute to the creature comfort of man, there should be remunerative work for all. You know that, with the aid of wealth-creating machinery every laborer should be able to acquire a competence to comfort his declining days. You know that until Need is satisfied and Greed is gorged there can be no such thing as overproduction—that under normal conditions when there's a plethora of necessaries, the surplus energy of the nation turns to the creation of luxuries and the standard of living advances. You know that with such wonderful resources, touched by the magic wand of genius, the golden age of which poets have dreamed and for which philanthropists have prayed, should be even at our doors.
I hope to contribute in some slight degree to the establishment of conditions that will enable us to utilize to the utmost the free gifts of a gracious God; to the proper distribution of wealth; to the emancipation of labor, not by the law of blind force, but enlightened self-interest—not by riotous revolution, but peaceful evolution. I want to see every American Citizen in very truth a Sovereign, to whom life is a joy instead of a curse. I want to see every rag transformed into a royal robe, every hovel into a cultured home. I want to hasten, if by ever so little, the day when we can boast with the proud sons of imperial Rome, that to be an American is greater than to be a king.
And when we so amend industrial conditions that each can find employment at profitable prices, we do more to eliminate crime and foster morality than have all the prophets and preachers, from Melchizedeck the mythical to Talmage the turgid.
No man can be either a patriot or a consistent Christian on an empty stomach—he's merely a savage animal, a dangerous beast. You must get a square meal inside of a man and a clean shirt outside of him before he's fit subject for saving grace. You must give him a bath before he's worth baptizing. And when you get him clean and well clothed, fed and housed as a reward of his own honest industry, he's not far from the Kingdom of God. But if you want to degrade a people beyond redemption; if you want to transform them into contemptible peons and whining hypocrites who encumber the earth like so much unclean vermin, educate them to feed on the crumbs from Dives' banquet-board and accept his cast-off clothing with obsequious thankfulness.
The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and the impoverishment of the common people until it was the bread of charity or the blood of the revolution, has ever been the herald of moral decay and of national death. So passed the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome, and, if we may judge the future by the past, so will perish the greatest republic that ever gleamed like a priceless jewel on the skeleton hand of Time. Self-interest, humanity, patriotism, religion itself, admonish us to weigh well the problem of the hour—a problem born of human progress, forced upon us by the mighty revolution wrought in the industrial world by the giant Steam—and that problem is: Shall the average American Citizen be a Slave or a Sovereign?
Don't imagine for a moment that I'm an anarchist— that I'm going to wind up this seance by unfurling the red flag and throwing a hatful of bombs. I admit that I haven't much respect for law—there's so much of it that when I come to spread my respect over the entire lot it's about as thin as one of Sam Jones's sermons. Still, I don't believe in strikes, and riots and bloodshed. I'm for peace —peace in its most virulent form. I've had a sneaking respect for Cleveland ever since he employed a substitute to put a kibosh on the Southern Confederacy while he remained at home to play pinochle with the pretty girls. He may not be much of a statesman in time of peace, but there's no picnic ants on his judgment in time of war.
It is time that capital and labor realized that their interests are really commutual, as interdependent as the brain and the body; time they ceased their fratricidal strife and, uniting their mighty forces under the flag of Progress, completed the conquest of the world and doomed Poverty, Ignorance and Vice—hell's great triumvirate—to banishment eternal. Unless labor is employed, capital cannot increase—it can only concentrate. Unless property rights are held inviolable and capital thereby encouraged to high enterprise, labor is left without a lever with which to lift itself to perfect life and must sink back to barbarism.
It is time that American citizens of alleged intelligence ceased trailing blindly in the wake of partisan band- wagons and began to seriously consider the public welfare —time they realized that the people were not made for parties, but parties for the people, and refuse to sacrifice their patriotism on the unclean altar of partisan slavery. Blind obedience to party fiat; the division of the people of one great political family into hostile camps; subjection of the public interest to partisan advantage; placing the badge of party servitude above the crown of American sovereignty—the ridiculous oriflamme of foolish division above Old Glory's star-gemmed promise of everlasting unity—have brought the first nation of all world to the very brink of destruction.
. . .
It is difficult for people here in Texas to understand the industrial condition of the American nation today; to appreciate the dangers upon which it is drifting. We are too apt to imagine everybody as prosperous and conservative as ourselves; or if not so, it's because they do not vote the Democratic ticket—that panacea for all the ills that flesh is heir to. Here in Texas we have hung our second providence on the Democratic party—it has become a religion with us. If a man is orthodox in his political faith all things are forgiven him; but if there's any doubt about his Democracy we are inclined to regard him as an alien, if not an anarchist. Most of us enjoy the shadow of our own vine and fig tree—which it is impossible to mortgage. We feed three times a day, have a cocktail every morning, a clean shirt occasionally and even when cotton goes so low it doesn't pay for the paris-green to poison the worms, we blame it on the Lord instead of on our political leaders. But it's different in other sections of the Union.
America contains more than a million as desperate men as ever danced the Carmagnole or shrieked with brutal joy when the blood of French aristocrats reddened the guillotine. The dark alleys and unclean dives of our great cities are crowded with dangerous sans-culotte, and our highways with hungry men eager for bread—though the world blaze for it. Pauperism is rampant, the criminal classes increasing and everywhere the serpent of Socialism is leaving it's empoisoned slime. Suppose that these desperate elements find a determined leader—a modern Marat, who will make the most of his opportunities for evil: how many of that vast contingent now clinging with feeble grasp to the rotten skirts of a doubtful respectability, would be swept into the seething vortex of unbridled villainy? Note the failure of public officials to protect corporate property; the necessity of calling for federal bayonets and batteries to suppress labor riots; the dangerous unrest of the common people; the sympathy of the farmer—that Atlas upon whose broad shoulders rests our political and industrial world—with every quasi-military organization that throws down the gage of battle to the powers that be, then tell me, if you can, where Dives may look for defenders should the rabble rise in its wrath, the bullet supplant the ballot in the irrepressible conflict between the Cormorant and the Commune! And what are we doing to avert the danger? Distributing a little dole and preaching patience to starving people; quarreling about the advisability of "counting a quorum" or coining a little silver seigniorage; wrangling over the "rights" of a mid-Pacific prostitute to rule Celts and Saxons, and trying to so "reform" the tariff that it will yield more revenue with less taxation! We are bowing down before various pie-hunting political gods and electing men to Congress who couldn't tell the Federal Constitution from Calvin's Confession of Faith. We are sending street- corner economists to state and national conventions to evolve from their innate ignorance and gild with their supernal gall political platforms which we are pledged beforehand to accept as the essence of all worldly wisdom. Our patriotism has been supplanted by partisanship, and now all are for a party and none are for the state. On July 4 we shout for the old flag and all the rest of the year we clamor for an appropriation. The man who is kicked by a nightmare while dreaming of the draft demands a pension and every burning patriot wants an office. And while our ship of state is threading with unsteady course the stormy straits between the Scylla of Greed and the Charybdis of Need; its canvas torn by contending winds; its decks swept by angry waves, we boast of the strength of our "free institutions"—as though Republics had never fallen nor revolutions erased from the map of the world proud Empires that imagined themselves immortal.
But before God I do believe this selfish and unpatriotic age will pass, as passed the age of brutish ignorance, as passed the age of tyranny. I believe the day will come— oh blessed dawn!—when the angel of Intellect will banish the devil of Demagogy; when Americans will be in spirit and in truth a band of brothers, the wrongs of one the concern of all; when labor will no longer fear the Cormorant nor capital the Commune—when all men will be equal before the law wherever falls the shadow of our flag.
* * * RAINBOW-CHASERS.
[This is the lecture that Mr. Brann delivered and was to continue on his lecture tour, which was cut short by his death.]
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: There are many things which I very cordially dislike; but my pet aversion is what is known as a "set" lecture—one of those stereotyped affairs that are ground out with studied inflection and practiced gesture and suggest the grinding of Old Hundred on a hurdy- gurdy; hence I shall ask permission to talk to you tonight as informally and as freely as though we were seated in friendly converse around the soda fount of a Kansas drug store; and I want you to feel as free to talk back as though we had gotten into this difficulty by accident instead of design. Ask me all the questions you want to, and if I'm unable to answer offhand I'll look the matter up later and telegraph you—at your expense. With such unbounded liberty there's really no telling whither we will drift, what subjects we may touch upon; but should I inadvertently trample upon any of your social idols or political gods, I trust that you will take no offense—will remember that we may honestly differ, that none of us are altogether infallible. Lest any of you should mistake me for an oratorical clearing-sale or elocutionary bargain- counter, expect a Demosthenic display and be disappointed, I hasten to say that I am no orator as Brutus was, but simply a plain, blunt man, like Mark Antony, who spoke right on and said what he did know, or thought he knew, which was just as satisfactory to himself. He's dead now, poor fellow! Woman in the case, of course. Shakespeare assures us that "men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love." However that may be, Antony's just as dead as though he had died for love—or become a gold-bug "Democrat." Yes, Mark Antony's gone, but we still have Mark Hanna. One threw the world away for Cleopatra's smile, the other threw Columbia's smile away for a seat in the Senate, and so it goes. Of the two Marks, I think Antony was the easiest.
. . .
But let us take a look at our text. The rainbow is a sign, I believe, that the Prohibitionists once carried the country and would have made a complete success of the cold water cure had not the Rum Demon engineered the Ark. Still it does not necessarily follow that a rainbow chaser is a fellow on the hot trail of a blind tiger. He may be one who hopes to raise the wage rate by means of a tariff wall, or expects John Bull to assist Uncle Sam in the remonetization of silver. A rainbow-chaser, in the common acceptance of the term, is a fellow who mistakes shadow for substance and wanders off the plank turnpike into bogs and briar patches. Satan appears to have been the first victim of the rainbow-chasing fad—to have bolted the Chicago convention and run for president on the reform ticket. At a very early age I began to doubt the existence of a personal devil, whereupon my parent on my father's side proceeded to argue the matter in the good old orthodox way, but failed to get more than half the hussy out of my hide. But we will not quarrel about the existence or non-existence of a party who Milton assures us slipped on a political orange peel. We know that frauds and fakes exist, that hypocrites and humbugs abound. Whether this be due to the pernicious activity of a horned monster or to evil inherent in the human heart, I will not assume to say. We may call that power the devil which is forever at war with truth, is the father of falsehood, whether it be an active personality or only a vicious principle.
. . .
Under the direction of this devil, real or abstract, the world has gone rainbow chasing and fallen deep into the Slough of Despond. Conditions have become so desperate that it were well for you and I, who are in the world and of it, to abate somewhat our partisan rancor, our sectarian bitterness, and take serious counsel together. Desperate, I say, meaning thereby not only that it becomes ever more difficult for the workman to win his modicum of bread and butter, to provide his own hemlock coffin in which to go to hades—or elsewhere; but that honor, patriotism, reverence—all things which our fathers esteemed as more precious than pure gold—have well-nigh departed, that the social heart is dead as a salt herring; that all is becoming brummagem and pinch-beck, leather and prunella; that a curse hath fallen upon the womb of the world, and it no longer produces heaven-inspired men but only some pitiful simulacra thereof, some worthless succedona for such, who strive not to do their god-given duty though the world reward them with a gibbet, but to win wages of gold and grub, to obtain idle praise by empty plausibility. They aspire to ride the topmost wave, not of a tempestuous ocean which tries the heart of oak and the hand of iron, but of some pitiful sectarian mud-puddle or political goose pond. Under the guidance of these shallow self-seekers we have abandoned the Ark of the Covenant with its Brotherhood of Man, its solemn duties and sacred responsibilities, and are striving to manage matters mundane on a basis of brute selfishness, with a conscience or a creed of following the foolish rainbow of a fatuous utilitaria and getting even deeper into the bogs.
. . .
I have frequently been called a "chronic kicker," but do not object to the epithet. There's need of good lusty kickers, those whose No. 1 tootsie-wootsies are copper- toed, for the world is lull of devilish things that deserve to die. Lest any should accuse me of the awful sin of using slang, and thereby break my heart, I hasten to say that the Bible twice employs the word "kick" in the same sense that I used it here. In fact, a goodly proportion of our so-called slang is drawn from the same high source, being vinegar to the teeth of pietistical purists, but quite good enough for God. Some complain that I should build instead of tearing down, should preserve and not destroy. The complaint is well founded if it be wrong to attack falsehood, to exterminate the industrial wolves and social rottenness, to destroy the tares sown by the devil and give dollar wheat a chance to arise and hump itself. In determining what should be preserved and what destroyed, we may honestly disagree; but I think all will concede that what is notoriously untrue should be attacked, that we should wage uncompromising war on whatsoever maketh or loveth a lie. I think all will agree that this is pre-eminently an age of artificiality—that there is little genuine left in the land but the complexion of the ladies. Even that has been called in question by certain unchivalrous old bachelors, those unfortunates whom the ladies of Boston propose to expel from politics for dereliction of duty. Somehow an old bachelor always reminds me of a rainbow; not because he looks like one in the least, but rather because he's so utterly useless for all practical purposes. He also reminds me of a rainbow-chaser, because what he is compelled to admire is beyond his reach. When hope deferred hath made him heart-sick he begins to growl at the girls—and for the same reason that a mastiff barks at the moon. You will notice that a mastiff seldom barks much at anything he can get hold of and bite.
. . .
We are solemnly assured that the world is steadily growing better; and I suppose that's so, for in days of old they crucified men head downwards for telling the truth, while now they only hammer them over the head with six-shooters and drag 'em around a Baptist college campus with a rope. All that a reformer now needs is a hard head and a rubber neck. The cheerful idiot, alias the optimist, is forever prating of the world's progress. Progress is a desirable thing only when we make it in the right direction. It may be sure and swift down a soaped plank into wild ocean depths; or it may be with painful steps and slow toward the eternal mountain tops where breaks the great white light of God, and there's no more of darkness and of death. Progress industrial, the productive power of labor multiplied by two, by ten; and with such improved weapons for waging war upon the grisly gorgon of want, nearly nine millions of the industrial army in India alone died upon their shields. Hosannahs mounting in costly churches here, the starving babe tugging at the empty breast of the dead mother there!— and we send to the famine-sufferers many bibles and hymn- books, little bacon and beans. Bibles and hymn-books are excellent things in their ways, but do not possess an absorbing interest for the man with an aching void concealed about his system. Starving people ask a Christian world for grub, and it gives them forty'leven different brands of saving grace—each warranted the only genuine —most of these elixirs of life ladled out by hired missionaries who serve God for the long green, and who are often so deplorably ignorant that they couldn't tell a religious thesis from an ichthyosaurian.
Progress in religion until there's no longer a divine message from on high, no God in Israel; only a fashionable pulpiteering to minister to languid minds, the cultivation of foolish fads and the flaunting of fine feathers— the church becoming a mere Vanity Fair or social clearing- house, a kind of esthetic forecourt to hades instead of the gate to heaven. At the opposite extreme we find blatant blackguardism by so-called evangelists, who were educated in a mule-pen and dismissed without a diploma, yet who set up as instructors of the masses in the profound mysteries of the Almighty. Men who would get shipwrecked in the poetry of Shakespeare, or lost in the philosophy of one of his fools, pretend to interpret the plans of Him who writes his thoughts in flaming words on the papyri of immensity, whose sentences are astral fire.
Progress in science until we learn that the rainbow was not built to allay the fears of the roachin family, but is old as the sun and the sea; that bourbon whisky drills the stomach full o' blow-holes and that the purest spring water is full o' bacteria and we must boil it or switch to beer; that Havana cigars give us tobacco heart, pastry is the hand-maid of dyspepsia, while even the empurpled grape is but a John the Baptist for appendicitis; that a rich thief has kleptomania and should be treated at a fashionable hospital instead of a plebian penitentiary, while even the rosebud of beauty is aswarm with bacilli, warning the sons of men to keep their distance on pain of death. If all the doctors discovered be true then life isn't half worth living—is stale, flat and unprofitable as a Republican nomination in Texas. When the poet declared that men do not die for love, the doctors had not yet learned that a cornfed kiss that cracks like a dynamite gun may be equally dangerous. I think the bolus-builders are chasing rainbows—that if I wait for death until I'm killed with kisses old Methuselah won't be a marker.
Our car of progress, of which we hear so much, has carried us from the Vates' vision of Milton and Dante to Alfred Austin's yaller doggerel—to the raucous twitterings of grown men who aspire to play Persian bulbul instead of planting post-holes, who mistake some spavined mule for Bellerophon's Mount and go chasing metrical rainbows when they should be drawing a fat bacon rind adown the shining blade of a bucksaw; from the flame sighs of Sappho, that breed mutiny in the blood, to the green- sick maunderings of atrabilarious maids who are best qualified to build soft-soap or take a fall out of the corrugated bosom of a washboard. We now have poetry, so-called, everywhere—in books and magazine innumerable, even sandwiched in between reports of camp-meetings, political pow-wows and newspaper ads. for patent liver pills. O, that the featherless jaybirds now trying to twitter in long-primer type would apply the soft pedal unto themselves, would add no more to life's dissonance and despair! Most of our modern poets are bowed down with more than Werterean woe. Their sweethearts are cruel or fate unkind; they've got cirrhosis of the liver or palpitation of the heart, and needs must spill their scalding tears over all humanity. It seems never to have occurred to the average verse architect that not a line of true poetry was ever written by mortal man; that even the song of Solomon and the odes of Anacreon are but as the jingling of sweet bells out of tone, a dissonance in the divine harmony; that you can no more write poetry than you can paint the music of childhood's laughter, or hear the dew-beaded jasmine bud breathing its sensuous perfume to the morning sun. The true poets are those whose hearts are harps of a thousand strings, ever swept by unseen hands—those whose lips are mute because the soul of man hath never learned a language. Those we call master-poets and crown with immortelles but caught and fixed some far off echo of deep calling unto deep—the lines of Byron or a Burns, a Tasso or a Tennyson are but the half-articulate cries of a soul stifling with the splendor of its own imaginings.
But we were speaking of progress when diverted by the discordant clamor of featherless crows. I am no pecterist with my face ever to the past. I realize that there has been no era without its burden of sorrow, no time without its fathomless lake of tears; that the past seems more glorious than the present because the heart casts a glamour over days that are dead. From the dust and glare of the noon of life we cast regretful glances back to the dewy morn, and as eve creeps on the shadows reach further back until they link the cradle and the grave and all is dark. I would not blot from heaven the star of hope, nor mock one earnest effort of mankind; but I would warn this world that its ideals are all wrong, that it's going forward backwards, is chasing foolish rainbows that lead to barbarism. Palaces and gold, fame and power—these by thy gods, O! Israel—mere fly-specked eidolons worthy no man's worship.
. . .
When we have adopted higher ideals; when success is no longer a synonym for vain show; when the man of millions who toils and wails for more is considered mad; when we realize that all the world's wealth cannot equal the splendor of the sunset sky 'neath which the poorest trudge, the astral fire that flames at night's high noon above the meanest hut; that only God's omnipotence can recall one wasted hour, restore the bloom of youth, or bid the loved and lost return to glad our desolate hearts with the lambent light of eyes that haunt all our waking dreams, the music of laughter that has become a wailing cry in memory's desolate halls; when we cease chasing lying rainbows in the empty realm of Make-Believe and learn for a verity that the kendal green of the workman may be more worthy of honor than the purple of the prince —why then the world will have no further need of iconoclasts to frankly rehearse its faults, and my words of censure will be transformed into paeans of praise.
"Sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet And soft as their parting tear."
We have "progressed" from the manly independence and fierce patriotism of our forebears to a namby-pamby foreign policy that compels our citizens abroad to seek protection of the consuls of other countries from the spirit that made our flag respected in every land and honored on every sea, to the anserine cackle of "jingoism" whenever an American manifests a love of country or professes a national pride. What is "jingoism?" It is a word coined by enemies of this country and used by toad-eaters. It is a term which, under various titles, has been applied to every American patriot since our gran'- sires held the British lion up by the caudal appendage and beat the sawdust out of the impudent brute—since they appealed from a crack-brained king to the justice of heaven and wrote the charter of our liberties with the bayonet on the back of Cornwallis' buccaneers. Its synonym was applied to Thomas Paine, the arch-angel of the Revolution, whose pen of fire made independence imperative—who through seven long years of blood and tears fanned Liberty's flickering flames with his deathless faith that the Omnipotent arm of God would uphold the banner of the free. From the brain of that much-maligned and long-suffering man Columbia sprang full-panoplied, like Minerva from the brow of Olympian Jove. And what has been his reward? In life he was bitterly belied by the foes of freedom and the slaves of superstition; in death a mighty wave of calumny rolls above his grave. Greater men have lived and died and been forgotten, but a nobler heart ne'er beat and broke—grander soul ne'er struggled toward the light or bowed before the ever-living God. When the colonists stood debating whether to bear their present ills or fly to other they knew not of, he seized the gage of battle and flung it full and fair in Britain's haughty face. When defeat followed defeat, when the new-born nation was bankrupt and its soldiers starving in the field; when coward lips did from their color fly and men brave as Roman tribunes wept tears of grim despair, his voice rang out again and again like that of some ancient prophet of Israel cheering on the fainting legions of the Lord, and again, and again, and yet again the ragged barefoot Continentals set their breasts against the bayonet, until from the very ashes of defeat dear Liberty arose Phoenix-like, a goddess in her beauty, a titan in her strength.
The term "jingoist;" or its equivalent, was applied to Washington and Henry, to Jefferson and Jackson. It was applied to James G. Blaine, the typical American of his time—a man from beneath whose very toe-nails enough intellect might be scraped to make an hundred Clevelands or McKinleys. All were jingoes in their day and generation, because all preferred the title of sovereign to that of subject; because all believed that Columbia should be mistress of her own fate, the architect of her own fortune, instead of an appendage of England, or political orphan under a European protectorate, because all believed that she should protect her humblest citizen from wrong and outrage wheresoever he may be, though it cost every dollar of the nation's treasure and every drop of the nation's blood—and if that be jingoism then I, too, am a jingo from alpha to omega, from beginning to end.
. . .
Who are those who recalcitrate about jingoism? They are people who have never forgiven Almighty God for suffering them to be born American sovereigns instead of British subjects. They are those whose ideal man is some stupid, forked, radish "stuck o'er with titles, hung 'round with strings," and anxious to board with a wealthy American wife to avoid honest work. They are the people whose god is the dollar, their country the stock exchange, and who suspect that a foreign policy with as much backbone as a scared rabbit would knock some of the wind and water out of their bogus "securities." It is those who would sell their citizenship for a copper cent and throw in their risen Lord as lagniappe, who are forever prating of "jingoism" and pleading for peace at any price. And these unclean harpies of greed and gall have been too long permitted to dominate this government. The result is that the greatest nation known to human history—the sum and crown of things—is an object of general insult. If it be rumored that we contemplate protecting American citizens in Cuba, every European government emits a growl—there's talk of rebuking Uncle Sam's "presumption," of standing him in a corner to cool. If it be suggested that we annex an island—at the earnest request of all its inhabitants worth the hanging—there more minatory caterwauling by the European courts, while even the Mikado of Japan gets his little Ebenezer up, and the Ahkound of Swat, the Nizan of Nowhere and the grand gyasticutus of Jimple- cute intimate that they may send a yaller-legged policeman across the Pacific in a soap-box to pull the tail- feathers out of the bird o' freedom if it doesn't crawl humbly back upon its perch. If a fourth-class power insults our flag we accept a flippant apology. If our citizens are wrongfully imprisoned we wait until they are starved, shot, or perish of blank despair in dungeons so foul that a hog would die therein of a broken heart; then humbly ask permission to investigate, report that they are dead, and feel that we have discharged our duty. Why? Because this nation is dominated by the dollar—is in the hands of those who have no idea of honor unless it will yield somewhat to eat, no use for patriotism unless it can be made to pay. When we concluded to protect our citizens from Weylerian savagery, instead of sending a warship to Havana to read the riot act if need be in villainous saltpetre we had our ambassador crawling about the European courts humbly begging permission of the powers, and as we got no permission we did no protecting. When the church people elect me president of this Republic I'll have ante-mortem investigations when American citizens are held prisoners by foreign powers, and those entitled to Old Glory's protection will get it in one time and two motions if Uncle Sam has to shuck his seer-sucker and fight all Europe to a finish. I shall certainly ask no foreign prince, potentate or power for permission to protect American citizens in the western world. There'll be one plank in my platform as broad as a boulevard and as long as a turnpike, and it will be to the effect that the nation which wrongs an American citizen must either apologize with its nose in the sand or reach for its six-shooter. I'd rather see my country made a desolation forever and a day, its flag torn from the heavens, its name erased from the map of the world and its people sleeping in heroes' sepulchres, than to see it a mark for scorn, an object of contempt.
In continually crying "Peace! Peace!" Uncle Sam is chasing a rainbow that has a dynamite bomb under either end. If history be philosophy teaching by example what is the lesson we have to learn? In little more than a century we've had four wars, and only by the skin of our teeth have we escaped as many more, yet we not only refuse to judge the future by the past, but ignore the solemn admonitions of Washington and Jefferson and stand naked before our enemies. We have no merchant marine to develop these hardy sailors who once made our flag the glory of the sea. We have a little navy, commanded chiefly by political pets who couldn't sail a catboat into New York harbor without getting aground or falling overboard. We have an army, about the size of a comic opera company, officered largely by society swells who cannot even play good poker, are powerful only on dress parade. We have a few militia companies, scattered from Sunrise to Lake Chance, composed chiefly of boys and commanded by home-made colonels, who couldn't hit a flock o' barns with a howitzer loaded to scatter; who show up at state encampments attired in gaudy uniforms that would make Solomon ashamed, and armed with so-called swords that wouldn't cut hot butter or perforate a rubber boot. And that's our immediate fighting force. Uncle Sam is a Philadelphia tenderfoot flourishing a toy pistol at a Mexican fandango. When I succeed Mr. McKinley I'll weed every dude and dancing master out of the army and navy and put on guard old war dogs who can tell the song of a ten-inch shell from the boom-de-aye of a sham battle. I'll call the attention of my Hardshell Baptist Congress to Washington's advice that while avoiding overgrown military establishments, we should be careful to keep this country on a respectable defensive posture, and that if that advice is not heeded, I'll distribute the last slice of federal pie among the female Prohibitionists of Kansas. If this is to be a government of, for and by a lot of nice old ladies, I'll see to it that none of my official grannies grow a beard or wear their bronchos clothespin fashion. And I'll warrant you that were this nation ruled by sure-enough women instead of by a lot of anaemic he-peons of the money-power, Columbia would not be caught unprepared when "the spider's web woven across the cannon's throat shakes its threaded tears in the wind no more."
. . .
To the American patriot familiar with the rapid development of this country it seems that the hour must assuredly come when its lightest wish will be the world's law— when foreign potentates will pay homage to the sovereigns of a new and greater Rome; but let us not be too sanguine, for nations, like individuals, have their youth, their lusty manhood and their decay; and despite the rapid increase in men and money there are startling indications that Uncle Sam has already passed the zenith of his power.
"First freedom, then glory, when that fails, Wealth, vice, corruption—barbarism at last."
Freedom we have won, and glory, yet both have failed— we have become, not the subjects of native Caesars, but the serfs of foreign Shylocks. Wealth we now have, and Oriental vice, and corruption that reaches even from the senate chamber through every stratum of society. That we are approaching barbarism may be inferred from the magnificence of the plutocrat and the poverty of the working people. The first reaps where he has not sown and gathers where he has not strewn, while if the latter protest against this grievous injustice they are branded as noisy Bryanites or lampooned as lippy Populists. To the superficial observer, a nation seems to be forging forward long after it has really begun to retrograde. There's an era of splendor, of Lucullus feasts, of Bradley- Martin balls and Seeley dinners; there's grand parade of soldiery and ships, miles of costly palaces, and wealth poured out like water in foolish pageantry; there's refinement of manners into affectation, dilettantism, epicureanism—but 'tis "the gilded halo hovering 'round decay."
The heart of that nation is dead, its soul hath departed, and no antiseptic known to science will prevent putrefaction. How is it with us? Forty thousand people own one-half of the wealth between two oceans, while 250,000 own more than 80 per cent. of all the values created by the people. What is the result? Money is omnipotent. Power is concentrated in the hands of a little coterie of plutocrats—the people are sovereigns de jure and slaves de facto. A mongrel Anglomaniaism is spreading among our wealthy, like mange in a pack o' lobo wolves. Our plutocrats have become ashamed of their country—probably because it permits them to practice a brutal predacity —and now cultivate foreign customs, ape foreign fashions, and purchase as husbands for their daughters the upper- servants of European potentates—people who earned their titles of nobility by chronic boot-licking or sacrificing their female relatives to the god of infamy. Year after year these titled paupers—these shameless parodies on God's masterpiece—paddle across the pond to barter their tawdy dishonor for boodle, to sell their shame-crested coronets to porcine-souled American parvenues, who if spawned by slaves and born in hell would disgrace their parentage and dishonor their country. Our toadies and title- worshippers now have a society called the "Order of the Crown," composed of puppies who fondly imagine that they have within their royal hides a taint of the impure blood that once coursed through the veins of corrupt and barbarous kings. Perchance these dudelets and dudines will yet discover that they are descended in a direct line from King Adam the First and are heirs to the throne of Eden. Our country is scarce half developed, yet it is already rank with decadence and smells of decay. Our literature is "yellow," our pulpit is jaundiced, our society is rotten to the core and our politics shamefully corrupt —yet people say there's no need of iconoclasts! Perhaps there isn't. The iconoclasts used hammers, while those who purify our social atmosphere and make this once again a government of, for and by the people may have to empty gatling guns and load them with carbolic acid. National decay and racial retrogression may be inferred from the fact that alleged respectable white women have been married to black men by eastern ministers who insist on solving the race problem for God and the South by giving to the typical American of the future the complexion of a new saddle and the perfume of a Republican powwow. When these ethnological experts tire of life, they should— come to Texas. When white people lose their racial pride they've nothing left that justifies the appointment of a receiver. We hear a great deal about "race prejudice," and I want to say right here that there's just enough of it in my composition to inspire an abiding faith that the white man should be, must be, will be, lord paramount of this planet. I promise you that when you elect me to the presidency, nothing that's black, yaller or tan gets an office under my administration. I shall certain not follow Mark Hanna's understudy and fill the departments at Washington with big, fat, saucy blacks, to employ white women as stenographers and white men as messenger boys. There's lots of good in the Senegambian—lots of it; but not in a thousand years will he be fit for American sovereignty. Half the white people are not fit for it, else instead of a wooden-headed hiccius doctius we'd have Billy Bryan in the presidential chair today. Whenever I look at McKinley, I think of Daniel Webster—not because Bill resembles old Dan, but because he doesn't. I like the negro in his place and his place is in the cotton patch, instead of in politics, despite the opinion of those who have studied him only through the rose-tinted lorgnette of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." I also like the Anglomaniac in his place, and that is the geographical center of old England, with John Bull's trade-mark seared with a hot iron on the western elevation of his architecture as he faces the rising sun to lace his shoes. As between the nigger and the Anglomaniac, I much prefer the former. The full-blooded nigger is a fool positive, but the Anglomaniac is an ass superlative. The first is faithful to those who feed him; the latter is a sneaking enemy to the country that has conferred upon him every benefit.
Despite the optimistic cackle anent the march of science, industrial progress, and all that sort o' thing, it appears to be the general consensus of opinion that there's something radically wrong. There's no lack of remedies— the political drug store is full of panaceas, each with the trade-mark of some peculiar school of therapeutics blown in the bottle. Strange that all these catholicons for earthly ills propose to inaugurate the millennium by improving the pecuniary condition of the people—as though the want of money in this or the other pocket were the only evil. Certainly a better distribution of wealth were desirable, but a general dissemination of God's grace were far preferable. Given that, all worthy reforms will follow; without it we will continue to chase foolish rainbows to our fall, Dives becoming more insolent, Lazarus left more and more to the care of the dogs. I do not mean that by acquiring a case of the camp-meeting jerks we will solve the riddle which the Sphinx of Time is propounding to this republic—that we will find the solution of all life's problems in the amen-corner. Not exactly. The average church is about the last place to which we need look for relief. It's too often a lying rainbow painted on the dark mist of ignorance by the devil's own artist. It promises more and performs less than a Republican candidate for Congress. I've noticed that shouting hosannahs has little tendency to make one more truthful —that when a man professes himself the chief of sinners, he may feel obligated to substantiate his statement. I've never known a man to borrow any money of the bank on the unctuosity of his amen, but I have known people who could double-discount Satan himself at dodging an honest debt, to weep real water because I declined to come into their sectarian penfold and be measured for a suit of angelic pin-feathers. There are many church people who will slander you unmercifully for dissenting from their religious dogma, then seize the first opportunity to stick you with a plugged dime or steal your dog. There are worshippers who do not consider in outward rites and specious forms religion satisfied; but these never accumulate vast fortunes. The path to heaven is too steep to be scaled by a man weighted down with seven million dollars. He may be long on hope and faith, but he's short on charity, and without charity religion is as big a fraud as McKinley's international bimetallism. Charity is a word that is awfully misunderstood. If a man's income be $5,000 a year and he gives half of it to the less fortunate, he's a pretty decent fellow, but if he reserves for himself half of a $100,000 income while people are going hungry to bed, he's simply a brute. With a world full of woe and want, what right has any professed follower of Jesus to shove $50,000 a year down his jeans? The true test of a man's charity is the sum which he reserves for himself; hence when Jno. D. Rockefeller—my good Baptist brother who's building collegiate monuments to his own memory with other people's money—reserves tens o' millions in excess of his needs and imagines himself full to the muzzle with the grace of God, he's simply chasing a rainbow that may land him in Malebolge with the dull sudden plunk of a Republican campaign promise hitting the tidal wave of prosperity. Imagine Jesus Christ with John D.'s money—loaning it at 5 per cent. a month! Why if he'd had half so much cash he'd never have been crucified. Those who clamored for his death would have run him for mayor of Jerusalem on the reform ticket and tried to work him for his last dollar.
. . .
If all who call themselves Christians were Christlike, then indeed might there be hope for humanity; but what is there to inspire belief that the church will ever win the world from a foolish quest of rainbows? What hope in Talmage, with his nightmare visions and stertorous dreams, his pilgrimings to Palestine and rummaging among the mummified cats and has-been kings of ancient Egypt for "Scriptural evidence?" What hope for a people so mentally emasculate that they can patiently listen to his jejune wind-jamming, can read and relish his irremediable tommyrot? What hope in Sam Jones and other noisy ignorami of that ilk, with their wild war on dancing and the euchre deck, the drama and decollete? Be these the strongholds of Abriman in his ceaseless war on Oromasdes? Does the Prince of Darkness, who once did fill the wondering cosmos with the clangor of celestial steel, now front the hosts of Heaven armed with a euchre-deck? Is Tara Boom-de-aye the battle-hymn and the theater hat the blazing gonfalon of him who strove with Omnipotence for universal empire? Does Lucifer expect to become lord paramount of all the gleaming worlds that hang like jewels pendant in heaven's imperial concave by persuading some miserable son of Adam to work his toes on Sunday, dance with the girls on Monday or play seven-up for the cigars? O Jonesy, Jonesy! would to heaven that thou and all thy brother blabsters and bubblyjocks would go hang yourselves, for you know naught of the war that rages ever like a sulphurous siroc in the human soul. Ye are but insects that infest great Igdrasyl, the ash tree that upholds the universe. One atheistical Stephen Girard playing Good Samaritan in a plague-swept city while the preachers hit the turnpike; one deistical Tom Paine, braving the guillotine for the rights of man; one Father Damien, freely laying down his life for the miserable lepers of Molokai; one sweet-faced sister of charity bravely battling with the reeking slums of a great city, striving to drag souls from that seething maelstrom of sin, were worth legions of those sanctified lollypops who prate of sacrificing all for their Savior, yet never risk life or gold in the service of their God.
. . .
"Work is worship," said the old monks who carried the cross into the Western wilds despite all hardships, in defiance of all dangers—men for whom life was no Momusmasque, but a battle and a march, men who sacrificed all for other's sake, accepting without a sigh disease and death as worldly reward. Those monks were real men, and real men are ever the world's heroes and its hope. The soul of a real man is never hidden behind the cowardly superficies of policy or expediency—his heart is an open book which he who runs may read. Deceive he cannot, for the lie blooms only on the lips of cowards. Public opinion he may treat with kingly contempt, but self-respect is dearer to him than life, though dowered with a monarch's scepter and all the wealth of Ormus and of Ind. There's something in the words of a woman, spoken during the civil war, which indicates that despite all artificiality and folly, beneath the cheap gilding and showy lacquer of life, the heart of the race still beats steady and strong; that above the infinitude of goose-speech and the trumpeting of tin- horns on the housetops may still be heard "the ever-pealing tones of old Eternity." From out the mad hell of the fight a wounded hero was borne to the hospital. Neither pain nor approaching death could break the courage of that heart of oak, but a prurient little preacher, one of those busy smooth-bore bigots whose mission seems to be to cast a shadow on the very sun, convinced the stricken man that he was an awful sinner, whereupon he began crying out that he was doomed to be damned. The nurse, a muscular woman who believed with the old monks that "work is worship," took the parson by the pendulous 8 x 10 ear, led him aside and sweetly said: "Mr. Goody Two-Shoes, if I catch you in this ward again I'll throw you out of the window." The brimstone peddler felt that he had an urgent "call" to other fields. He stood not upon the order of his going, but hit the dim and shadowy distance like Nancy Hanks. He couldn't even wait to pray for his persecutor or take up a collection. In vain the nurse strove to soothe her patient by telling him that the man who gave his life for his native land cannot miss heaven's mercy—he but wailed the louder that he was lost. "You came to me a hero," she cried, "and you shall not leave me a coward. If you must go to hell, go like a man." If Romans nursed by a she-wolf became demigods, what might not Americans be sprung from the loins of such a lioness! Milton has almost made Satan respectable by endowing him with an infernal heroism, by making him altogether and irremediably bad, instead of a moral mugwump—by giving him a heart for any fate instead of picturing him as willing to wound and yet afraid to strike.
. . .
By God's grace, I mean not the kind you catch at camp- meetings with sand-fleas, wood-ticks and other gifts of the Holy Ghost; but rather an end everlasting to brummagem and make-believe, a return to the Ark of the Covenant, a recognition of that fact that the soul is not the stomach —that a man owes debts to his fellows which cannot be cast up at the end of the month and discharged with a given number of dollars. Man was not made for himself alone, but all were made for each and each for all. The doctrine which now prevails of "every man for himself," is the dogma of the devil. It means universal war, shameful wrong and brutal outrage—the strong become intolerable tyrants, the weak go to the wall. It transforms this beautiful world into a basket of adders, each biting, hissing, striving to get its foolish head above its fellows. If the Christian religion contained naught else of worth, its doctrine of self-sacrifice should earn for it the respect of every Atheist in the universe. Through the fogs of ignorance and the clouds of superstition that enshrouded the Biblical ages that touch of the divine shines like a pilot star.
. . .
That Persian poet who prated of "the sorry scheme of things" would deserve pity were he not beneath contempt. He imagined that there was a screw loose in the universe because his quest of pleasure slipped its trolley-pole and could not make the bubble Joy to dance in Folly's cup.
Millions make continual moan that they are not happy when they ought to be thankful that they are not hanged. They shake their puny hands at heaven because not provided with a terrestrial Paradise, when they ought to be giving thanks that I'm not the party who holds the sea in the hollow of his hand. I'd make good Baptists of the whole caboodle—would hold them under water long enough to soak out the original sin. A man complains because Fortune doesn't empty her cornucopia into the pockets of his pantalettes while he whittles a pine box and talks municipal politics instead of humping himself behind an enterprising mule in the cotton-patch. If his sweetheart jilts him, he's in despair, and if she marries him he wishes he were dead. He has the mulligrubs because he cannot plant himself on a Congressional cushion, or because he finds his wife awake and nursing a curtain lecture to keep it warm when he falls through the front fence at 5 o'clock in the morning. It seems never to have occurred to these Werterian wailers that the happiest existence is that of the lower animals—that the human being of fine brain and keen sensibilities cannot possibly be content. It is this very unrest, this heart-hunger that drives a man on to noble deeds—that lifts him out of the gutter where wallow the dull, dumb beasts and places him among the gods. Of suffering and sorrow were born all life's beauty. The kiss of Pyramus and Thisbe is an ecstasy of pain. The hope of immortality sprang from breaking hearts. Nations rise through a mist of tears. Every great life-work is an agony. Behind every song there lurks a sigh. There's an element of sadness in humor itself. The Virgin Mother is known as Our Lady of Pain. The cult of Christ is hallowed by the blood of self-sacrifice and known as the Religion of Sorrow. The first breath of life and the last gasp are drawn in suffering; and between the cradle and the grave there lies a monster-haunted Sahara. Yet men choose the ignis-fatuus called Happiness, and mourn that they cannot cover it with a No. 6 hat. They should pray the gods to transform them into contented goats and turn them out to grass. People who cannot find happiness here begin to look for it in heaven. Eternal beatitude is another ridiculous rainbow. Nirvana is nonsense. If there be a life beyond the grave, it means continued endeavor, and there can be no endeavor unless there's dissatisfaction. The creature cannot rise superior to its creator—and the universe is the result of God's unrest. Had he been perfectly content he would not have made me.
Carlyle—not Mugwump Carlisle of Kentucky, but Thos. Carlyle of Great Britain-the lord of modern literature— says the hell most dreaded by the English is the hell of not making money. We have imported this English Gehenna, duty free, despite Mr. Dingley, and now the man who doesn't succeed in accumulating dollars is socially damned. How many of this generation can understand the remark of Agassiz that he had no time to make money?—can realize that such occupation is not the sole end of man?— that time expended in the accumulation of wealth beyond the satisfaction of simple wants is worse than wasted? It is so because from our numbered days we have stolen years that should have been devoted to soul-development, filled with the sweets of knowledge; hallowed by the perfume of love, made gracious by noble deeds—because we have blasted life's fair fruitage with the primeval eldest curse. Omar strikes one true chord when he doth sing:
"A book of verses, underneath the bough, A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou Singing beside me in the wilderness— O wilderness were Paradise enow!"
. . .
Diogenes was content with a tub while Alexander sat him down by the ever-moaning sea and wept his red bandanna full of brine because he didn't know that the empire of Czar Reed yet remained unconquered. And now both Diogenes and Alexander have "gone glimmering through the dream of things that were," and little it matters to them or to us whether they fed on honey of Hymettus and wine of Falernus or ate boarding house hash off a pewter plate and guzzled Prohibition busthead out of a gourd. The cynic who housed in a tub and clothed himself with a second-hand carpet is as rich to-day as he that reveled in the spoil of Persia's conquered king and kicked the bucket while enjoying a case of katzenjammer. King and cynic, tub and palace, lantern and scepter—all have perished; and he that butchered thousands to glut his greed for what fools call glory, shines less brightly through the murky shadows of the century than he that made a nobler conquest of himself. The haughty empires one did rear have long since crumbled into dust; the wild goat browses in their deserted capitals, the lizard sleeps upon their broken thrones, and the owl hoots from their forgotten altars and ruined fanes; but the philosophy of the other lives on from age to age, to point the folly of such mad rainbow-chasing as that of him who thought to make the world his monument.
. . .
Know ye not that the poorest beggar is an earth- passenger also, that thy brother, traveling his millions of miles per day?—where, think you? Among the stars. For him as for thee does Aurora gild the morning and Apollo hang the evening sky with banners of burnished gold; for him as for thee doth Selene draw the limpid waters behind her silver car around the rolling world and Bootes lead his hunting dogs afield in their leash of celestial fire. Ten centuries hence the dust of the millionaire will have mingled with that of the mendicant, both long forgotten of men; ten centuries hence the descendants of those now peddling hot wiener-wurst may proudly wear the purple, while the posterity of present monarchs creep through life as paupers. A thousand years are but as one tick of the mighty horologe of time—and the allotted life of man but three score years and ten! And this brief period we expend, not in living, but in providing the means of life; not as creation's lords, but as slaves to our own avarice, the most pitiful passion that ever cursed mankind. If there be a God, be thou his messenger unto men; if there be no God, then have thy unfortunate fellows the more need of thee. Wait not until a man is driven to crime by the iron law of necessity, a woman to dishonor, a child to beggary, then organize some fake relief society for thine own glory, but put forth a helping hand in time to avert the sin and shame. The most pitiful failure in all God's universe is the man who succeeds only in making money. A thieving fox will grow fat by predacity while an honest dog starves in the path of duty. And we have too many sleek Reynards prowling 'round the sheep-pens and dove-cotes of this people, too few faithful Gelerts doing stubborn battle with predaceous beasts.
There's one class of people whom we cannot brand as arrant knaves and put in the pillory, yet who are a curse to any country. These are your Laodiceans in religion and politics, your luke-warms, your namby-pamby milk- and-cider set who are neither cold or hot. These are your eminently proper people, your stereotyped respectables. They accept the Gospel as true, not that they can comprehend it, but rather because they lack sufficient mental vigor to deny it. They join the church and align themselves with that political party to which the local nabobs belong. "What will people say?" is to them the all- important problem. They have followed some old bell weather or lead-gander into the wire-grass pasture of Respectabilia. They observe all the proprieties—at least in outward appearance. These are the animals whose vis inertia perpetuates all the abuses of wealth and power— whatsoever has the approval of two or more generations of infamous rascals is so eminently respectable. These are the people who are so profoundly shocked by the alleged slang of Hugo and vulgarities of Goethe, while compelling their daughters to read the Canticles. They have a conniption fit and fall in it because some shapely danseuse kicks up her rhythmic heels on the vaudeville stage, then organize Trilbys auctions, kissing bees and garter raffles for the glory of God. Their ideal is expediency and their moral law the Eleventh Commandment— Don't get caught. These are the people who stone the prophets of progress. They are to the social organism what a pound of putty would be to the stomach of a dyspeptic. They are a mill-stone slung about the neck of the giant of civilization. "What will people say?" Well, if you tell them a new truth, they will say that you are a demagogue or a blasphemer, an anarchist or a Populist; but when your new truth has been transformed by Time's great alembic into an old falsehood, they will have absorbed it—it will have become respectable—and you couldn't purge it from their soggy brain with Theodorus' Auticyrian hellebore. They said of Galileo, "Imprison him!" because he denied the old falsehood that the world is flat; of Servetus, "Burn him!" because he dissented from the ipse dixit of another heretic; of Socrates, "Poison him!" because he laughed at the too amorous gods of Greece; of Robert Emmett, "Hang him!" because he wasn't a Cleveland-Bayard Anglomaniac; and they said of Jesus Christ, "Crucify him!" because he intimated the fashionable preachers of his time were a set of splenetic-hearted hypocrites. That's what people say; but occasionally there's one to answer that 'tis not in the power of all Xerxes' hosts to bend one thought of his proud heart—"they may destroy the case of Anaxarchus, himself they cannot reach." It is not what foolish sound is shaped by a deal of stinking breath and blown adown the wind to be forgotten like the bray of an asthmatic burro, to perish like the snows of yesteryear, that should be our concern—not what the idle gabble of Mrs. Grundy proclaims us, but what we actually are. Public opinion is an ever-shifting rainbow. The "heretics" of one age are the saints of the next: the "cranks" of our own time may be the philosophers of the future; the despised rebels of a century ago are the men whose graves we bedeck with our garlands. Soon or late, those who court the many- headed monster, who "flatter its rank breath and bow to its idolatries a patient knee," are trampled beneath its iron heel; but those who take duty for guiding star and are strong enough to withstand the gibes of malice and the jeers of ignorance will find that the years are seldom unjust. It has been well said that one eternity waited for us to be born, that another waits to see what we will do now that we are here. Do what thou canst and do it with all thy might, remembering that every fice that doth bark at thee this day, every goose that stretches forth its rubber neck to express its disapproval, will be dead in hell a hundred years hence, its foolish yawp gone silent forevermore, but that thy honest act affects in greater or less degree all God's universe.
I am neither a Jeremiah with a lung full o' lamentations, nor a Jonah rushing round like a middle of the roader and proclaiming, "Yet forty days and the woods will be on fire." I do not believe that we can pick ourselves up by our own embroidered boot-straps and hop blithely astride a millennium built to order by McKinley, Bryan, or any other man; but I do believe that the human race is slowly but surely working the subsoil out of its system, is becoming ever less the beast and more the god. Nations grown corrupt with wealth and age may fall, but others strong in youth and innocence will arise. Old faiths may be forgotten, but from other and purer altars will ascend the smoke of sacrifice. Freedom may be wounded grievously in her very temple by Anglomaniacs who needs must have a royal master, yet her banner, torn but flying, will stream triumphant over the grave of tyranny. The black night of barbarous ignorance may often engulf the world, but "Thou, Eternal Providence, wilt cause the day to dawn." The Star of Bethlehem cannot go down in everlasting darkness—the bow of promise gleams softly luminous behind the thunderbolt. I care not whether the Noahian tale be true that never again will the shifting axis of the earth pour the sea upon the plain—the rainbow is nature's emblem of peace, her cestus of love, and in its splendor I read a promise that never again will this fair earth of ours be swept with sword and fire, deluged with blood and tears. Not to the past, but to the future, do I look for the Saturnian age, when the demons of need and greed will be exorcised, when love will be the universal law, the fatherhood of God the only faith. Such, my friends, is the rainbow to which I have turned my feet. It lies afar, across dismal swamps o'er whose icy summits only the condor's shadow sweeps—across arctic vast and desert isles beyond tempestuous ocean rank with dead men's bones and the rotting hulls of ships. I shall not attain it, nor shall you; but he that strives, though vanquished, still is victor. A dreamer, say you? Ah yes, but all life is but a dream, mystic, wonderful, and we know not when we sleep nor when we wake. I love to dream so when the storm beats upon the great oaks, hoary with their hundred years, and they put forth their gnarled arms and grapple with the blast, when the lightning cleaves the inky sky with forked flame and the earth rocks neath the thunder's angry roar. When the dark clouds roll muttering unto the East and the evening sun hangs every leaf and twig and blade of grass with jewels brighter than e'er gleamed in Golconda's mines; when the mock-birds renew their melody and every flower seems drunken with its own incense, I look upon the irisate glory that seems to belt the world with beauty and my heart beats high with hope that in years to be the storm-clouds that o'ershadow the souls of men will recede also—that time shall come when the human race will be one universal brotherhood, containing neither a millionaire nor a mendicant, neither a master nor a slave.