J. Morrison (John Morrison) Davidson.

New politics for the people. Let there be light! 1.-Religion. 2.-Politics. 3.-The family. 4.-Economics. 5.-Miscellanea .. online

. (page 7 of 13)
Online LibraryJ. Morrison (John Morrison) DavidsonNew politics for the people. Let there be light! 1.-Religion. 2.-Politics. 3.-The family. 4.-Economics. 5.-Miscellanea .. → online text (page 7 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

harm already without taking your money. — Dean Swift (to a
couple he had just married).

It is a lamentable fact that the troubles which respectable,
hardworking women undergo are more trying to the health and
detrimental to the looks than any of the harlot's career.- Herbert

Marriage is such a rabble rout

That those who are out would fain get in,
And those who are in would fain get out. — Chaucer.

N 77^1? Weekly Times and Echo, towards the
close ot 1894, Mr. Frederick Rockell (for my
sins it must be) appealed to me for " a clear
statement " of my view of the position of the
" F amily under Communism." Common possession based
on universal love, he argued, must ever remain a beautiful
dream so long as the egoistic institution of the Family
remains : —

In "Life" he (Count Tolstoy) tells us that lo\e, which for

him is the one law, is not love at all when it finds expression in

considerations of wife and children, so long as there are any

outside claims on a man's love unfulfilled. " If I refuse,'' he



(Tolstoy) says, " to give bread to a beggar, because my children
may suffer, then I do not love at all in the real sense of the word,
but love only myself." Communism and the family being then
utterly opposed fundamentally, does Mr. Davidson contemplate
the substitution of free love for our present arrangement of in-
dividual families based on monogamic principles ?

Well, here we have a straight enough question in all
conscience, and I wish I could in response make an
equally "clear statement." But, though the words
"free love," I am well aware, send a cold shudder
through the very marrow bones of all that is pious
and of good repute in this corrupted "society "of
ours, let me ask what other kind of love is now, or
ever was possible ?

Compidsory love is something inconceivable. It is a
contradiction in terms. No man can truly love even
one woman unless he is free to love whatever is
lovable in any other woman. Love cannot exist
under constraint. It defies the gag of priest and
politician. "The Kingdom of Heaven is within
you," and it is love alone that makes it visible on
earth. " Perfect love casteth out fear," and when
" fear " is eliminated from the relations of man and
woman and complete inter-sex frankness is the rule,
we shall have recovered Eden, regained Paradise.

Love took up the glass of time, and turned it in his glowing

hands ;
Every moment lightly shaken, rains itself in golden sands.
Love took up the harp of life, and smote on all the chords with

might ;
Smote the chord of self, which, trembling, passed in music out

of sight.

But love is one thing, passion another. " God if
Love " and love, like its Author, is in its nature
infinite and eternal. It is an all-embracing cup that
never overflows. Its centre is everywhere, and its
circumference nowhere.

With passion it is different. It is finite, transient,
mundane. It is an appetite in the physical ornon-


spiritual order which, like hunger, is soon allayed by
satiety, but which also, like hunger, if not normally
satisfied, tends to derange man's entire organization,
material and moral, and to produce the most disas-
trous social phenomena. Gorge it or starve it, and
evil consequences are inevitable.

True marriage, or " free love," whichever you will,
takes place, and can take place only when love and
passion are so blended as to satisfy the highest
spiritual and physical cravings of the human couple.
All other unions of the sexes are tainted by con-
straint and selfishness, and, however legal and out-
wardly respectable, savour of sensuality, prostitution,
and even rape. There is far more prostitution inside
marriage than outside it.

Such is the Anarchic-Communistic view of mar-
riage. It posits unbounded trust in the inherent
goodness of lumianity, in the unrestrained affection
of man and woman, and lays at the door of pro-
prietors, priests and politicians the criminality of
the myriad loveless marriage-beds, the horrors of
the brothel, the shame of seduction with its frequent
concomitants, abortion and infanticide. For all
these unspeakable evils it claims to be the sole and
sovereign remedy. In the Kingdom of God on
Earth as in Heaven there will be " neither marrying
nor giving in marriage," and that quintessence of
selfishness, the Family, in whose name such countless
enormities are now habitually committed with im-
punity, will be absorbed in the Greater Family of
Humanity, in which love shall reign supreme. It is
noteworthy that the man in the parable who had
" married a wife "was not admitted to the " supper."
The most exemplary " family man " I ever met
with was the late unlamented Mr. Jay Gould. For
the sake of his OAvn family he was prepared at any
moment remorselessly to wreck thousands. With
part of the family booty, his daughter, Anna Gould,


reputed to be " worth," ;^3, 000,000 stg., bought, the
other day, for husband, a cheap French Count (De
Castellane), at the ridiculously low figure of ^20,000
per annum. Anna, however, considerately covenanted
materially to increase the purchase-money, should the
nobiliary goods, on due matrimonal delivery, be found
according to the ante-nuptial sample. Good Anna !

As Christ knew nothing of patriotism, so knew He
nothing of the family.

" Woman " (to His mother) " what have I to do with thee ?
Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in Heaven,
the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Howbeit, ii may be said, and truly said, that Christ
laid down a rule with respect to divorce which far
exceeded in stringency that enjoined by Moses.
But this, I apprehend. He, did not for the purpose
of upholding legal Judaic matrimony, but for that
of asserting woman's right to a greater measure of
consideration and justice than the then existing law
bestowed on her. The Jewish law of divorce was
one-sided to a degree. The wife was practically at
the mercy of the husband's caprice, and might be
turned adrift almost at any moment by a " bill of
divorcemeiit " — a stroke of the pen or little more.

Under any private property system — and in
Christ's day, as in ours, Individualism was rampant
— any partial adoption of free love principles can
hardly fail to bring in its train intolerable evils,
especially in so far as the women and children
affected are concerned. In primitive times, whence
we derive our conception of property and matrimony,
the wife was herself property, a chattel slave, and
every successive amelioration of her lot has con-
sisted in greater and greater approximation to her
husband in the right of property-sharing and hold-
ing. But Communism alone can fully emancipate
her economically, and, until the Era of Collectivism
has been fairly inaugurated, it would be obviously


perilous for her in the extreme to divest herself of
any of the meagre safeguards which the existing
law of matrimony has conferred on her.

Our whole social life is an evolution, and to put
the chariot oi fvee love — grand and ennobling as is
the ideal — before the horse oi private pyoptvty abolition
seems to me a most mistaken policy — I had almost
said the height of folly. Indeed, though under
Communism, free love, with probably at first the
matriarchal faviily revived in some form or other,
seems to me inevitable, yet would I much rather
see the problem left for posterity to solve. Our
children and our children's children will be in a far
better position than are we to deal with it, in the
light of a greatly increased wisdom and experience.

Still it is natural for man to project himself into
the future, to labour with hand and brain on works
of which he can never hope to see the fruition,
after the manner of our old friend Balbus in the Latin
Delectus of our boyhood, who was given to " plant-
ing trees, the fruit of which he himself should never
see." These are days of free enquiry, and we may
not put any topic of grave human interest, how-
ever obnoxious to Mrs. Grundy on an Index

In discussing prematurely such a question as that
of so-called " free love," the gratuitous dissipation
of energy is after all more to be dreaded than any-
thing else. Emerson has well said :

Fear not the new generalisation. Does the fact look crass and
material, threatening to degrade the theory of spirit ? Resist
it not, it goes to refine and raise thy theory of matter just as

Under liberty freshly acquired soir.e evils are
pretty certain always to spring up ; but the remedy
never lies in restraint, but in more liberty.

For always in thine eyes, O Liberty !

Shines that high light whereby the world is saved.

And, though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.


Where love cannot be, there can be left of wedlock nothing
but the empty husk of an outside ceremony, as undelightful and
unpleasing to God as any other kind of hypocrisy. — John

The vices of the people are, if I may say so, always hidden
in the depths of legislation. There must be search if we would
tear up the roots productive of these vices. — Helvetius,

I regard the Church as the basic principle of immorality
in the w orld and the most prolific source of pauperism,
of crime and of injustice to women. — Matilda Joslyn Gage

jITH no small reluctance, I feel constrained
by the construction put on my previous
contribution on this subject by Mr.
Rockell, again to return to it. No topic,
I am well aware, leant itself more readily to serious
misapprehension, but I was scarcely prepared to read
as a deduction from words which I had set down
with unusual caution, the following sweeping
assumption :

' The Family being impossible under Communism, Mr,
Davidson being a Communistic Anarchist, boldly declares for
promiscuous sexual arrangements."

Well, if I either boldly or timidly declared for
" promiscuous sexual arrangements," I am astonished
to learn it. What I did, and do emphatically

97 «


declare in favour of is what has been called — and not
unreasonably — Free Love. And by Free Love is
meant such a union of the sexes as shall suffer
from no vile, tainted consideration of Property
Priestcraft, or Statecraft in wliich, under the cloak
of legality, lurks the foulest and most subtile spirit
of impurity.

But surely that is not to declare that under Com-
munism promiscuity of the sexes is to be the rule.
Indeed the word itself never once occurred to me as
anyway relevant or in issue. When the Co-opera-
tive Commonwealth comes, depend on it, it will
bring its own solution of the sex problem with it,
and it will be as simple, natural, and harmonious as
the existing relationship, under the property regime,
is warped, unnatural and horrible. Peradventure
our grandchildren will look back on our age of
mammon -marriages, divorce courts, prostitutions,
seductions, infanticides and pederasties with a
sense of loathing and moral abhorence of which
we can form no adequate conception.

For not until woman is fully emancipated economic-
ally, and motherhood is recognised as the grand
normal occupation of womankind, to be suitably
recompensed by the community at large, instead of
being, as hitherto, practically left to the caprice of
the individual male employer of this peculiar species
of " female labour," will it be possible to lay down
any true basis of sexual morality. Mr. Stead, with
more than his usual candour, has told us that the
virtuous woman's chief aversion to the prostitute is
that the latter is a " blackleg," who works below the
regular Matrimonial Trades- Union Scale of wages,
and, brutal, as the observation may be, it is, on the
whole, just and true. There are hardly any women
in any class of society, high or low, rich or poor, who
enter into what is facetiously called "the state of
holy matrimony," that do so with any adequate sense


o! the solemn duties of maternity which they are in-

Nor are they greatly to be blamed for this.
Nature has indeed made them the " predominant
partners " in all that relates to the continuation of
the human race, but, from time immemorial, " law-
and-order " has set nature at defiance, making man
♦' the head of the woman." With what result ? This
that woman, in all that affects sex-relationship, is for
the most part, a mere bundle of deceits, conventions
and hypocrisies, whose future is not to be prognos-
ticated from her past or present.

But with the advent of the Co-operative Common-
wealth we shall know her as she is. She will then
no longer need to wear a mask, competition with th6
" blackleg " will be at an end, and her independence
of every individual male complete. She and her little
ones, along with the aged and otherwise incapacitated,
will be the first charge on the product of the entire

It is at this stage (if any) in the development ot
the " New Woman " that, as Mr. Rockell phrases it,
"promiscuous sexual arrangements," will begin to

" If a man is at liberty to cultivate sexual relationships pro
miscuously without any fear of a moral or legal code, no sooner
would the sexual fascination of one woman be at an end than
another would take its place, and this being again allayed by
satiety, a fresh sexual attraction would succeed, and so life might
come to be passed — to use a phrase of the modern novel — ia
seeking fresh sensations."

•' If a man is at liberty ! " But everything depends
on that if. At present man is at liberty, and, in spite
of codes moral and legal, he abuses his liberty most
shamefully. With woman's economic emancipation
man's " liberty " will cease and woman's " liberty "
will begin in earnest. It will be she and not he who
will then have the effective power of cultivating


successive " fascinations," and ushering in the age of
promiscuity generally.

But will she do it ? That I think may be greatly
doubted ; anyway, one thing is certain — nothing that
she can do will at all equal in infamy the monogamy-
plus-prostitution system under which we at present
groan. The Empire Music Hall case clearly revealed
to the discerning eye that alongside the landlord
interest, tiie whisky interest, the betting interest,
&c., there is in our midst avast, latent lechery interest
more widespread than any. It tried hard, in the
obscene Capitalist Press, to set the moral tone and
happily failed ignominously, as I trust it will always

Is man by nature a monogamic animal ? This most
important question I am disposed, on the whole, to
answer affirmatively, though the anthropology of the
subject bristles with multiform presentments and
the most striking contrasts and contradictions. The
erotic passion has been so abnormally developed, at
the cost of the legitimate generative purpose of sex,
in barbarous ages when woman was a mere chattel,
that it is almost impossible to arrive at an unbiassed
judgment. But on again overhauling the words of
Christ in the several Gospels dealing; with the
matter, I am not a little surprised to find how com-
jiletely He not merely abrogated the lax Mosaic
law of divorce, so unjust to woman, but affirmed the
natural permanence of the union of sex.

"He who made them from the beginning, made them male
and female, ... So that they are no more twam but one
fiesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together let not man
put asunder."

According to this dictum monogamy is the natural
law of humanity, which cannot be violated with
impunity. Now, if this be nature's law. Free Love
can have but one issue, \\z., permanent unions of the
esxes. And this order may perfectly well survive the


effacement of the legal Patriarchal Family. That will
most certainly be disolved with the institution of
private property by which it is held together. Once
abolish inheritance and the family wasp becomes
stingless. But under Communistic and Free Love
unions the primitive and entirely innocuous Matri-
archal Famih will still be possible.

I had a revered friend, Rev. Tait Scott, late Con-
gregational Minister at Lymington, who spent eight
years as a missionary among reputed '' Cannibals"
in New Guinea. They were in reality Vegetarians
and Communists. Exceptionally intelligent for
" savages," they had not the faintest conception ot
theft, because private property and poverty were
alike unknown among them. They wore no clothes
whatever, yet, within the limits of the Matriarchal
Family their morality was most exemplary. Life
unions, though no way obligatory, were in the great
majority of cases the rule, while promiscuity was
unheard of.

And if the savage woman of New Guinea found
no temptation in successive male " fascinations,"
such also may well be the case in the clarified brain
and in the enlightened maternal conscience of her
civilized European sister. It may well be that
Communism will produce similar sexual phenomena
in Great Britain and in New Guinea. In any case,
it is fairly certain that Free Love will bring sexual
salvation with it, and a race of sounder limb and saner
intellect than any that has yet appeared on the
planet. That the " New Woman," emancipated
economically and mentally spiritualised, will be able
to rise to the full measure of the inexpressibly solemn
responsibilities of conception and maternity and
make questions of promiscuity or non-promiscuity
of minor consideration is my living taith. To despair
of the New Matron is to despair of the entire future
of the Genus Homo. My benison, therefore, rest on


the "N^zf^ Woman" — Comrade, Consort, and Lover of
man in one — who, so far as 1 have seen her and
noted her ways, is a most praiseworthy improvement
on the Old Woman. It was, methinks, in a stray
Chambers Journal that I once read these words,
simple and sweet, of some true " minor poet " —
destined, be it hoped, to become " major " one of
:hese days — regarding

The " New Woman "

She does not '■ languish in her bower. '

Or squander all the golden day
In fashioning a gaudy flower

Upon a worsted spray ;
Nor is she quite content to wait

Behind her "rose-wreathed lattice pane,
Until beside her father's gate

The gallant prince draws rein."

The brave " New Woman " sccirns to sigh

And count it " such a grievous thing"
That year on year should hurry by

And no gay suitor bring ;
In labour's ranks she takes her place,

With skilful hand and cultured mind ;
Not always foremost in the race,

But never far behind.

And not less lightly fall her feet

Because they tread the busy ways;
She is no whit less fair and svyeet

Than maids of older days.
Who gowned in samite or brocade.

Looked charming in their dainty guise,
But dwelt like violets in the shade,

With shy, half-opened eyes.

Of life she takes a clearer view,

And through the press serenely mores,
Unfettered, free ; with judgment true.

Avoiding narrow grooves.
She reasons, and she understands ;

And sometimes 'tis her joy and crown
To lift with strong, yet tender hands,

The burdens men lay down.




Now, Dives daily feasted and was gorgeously arrayed,
Not at all because he liked it, but because 'twas good for trade.
That the people might have calico he clothed himself in silk,
And surfeited himself on cream that they might have the milk.
He fed five hundred servants that the poor might not lack bread.
And had his vessels made of gold that they might have the lead
And e'en, to show his sympathy with the deserving poor,
He did no useful work himself that they might do the more.

Howbeit, there shall be no more poor with thee ; for the Lord
will surely help thee in the land which the Lord thy God
giveth thee to possess it, if only thou diligently hearken to the
voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all this Command-

Deut. xy.,4. 5 (R.V.).






My wants are few, I sit serene,

Upon contentment's highlands ;
If I can have earth's continents

I care not for its islands.
I would not climb upon a throne

Through seas of bloody slaughter ;
If I can call all lands my own,

Why 3 oil can have the water.

And all I ask is just this earth,

To regulate and man it,
And I surrender all my claims,

To every other planet.
And so you see I cut my cloth

On a contracted pattern ;
Give me the earth, I drop all claim

To Uranus and Saturn.

Little I need, my wants are few.

Nor would I have them greater •
I only want the land between

The poles and the equator.
Give me the Earth, 'tis all I ask,

For me and my wife Sarah,
Then I'll give all my fellow. men

A house-lot in Sahara. — Pitt.sborg Post.



It is much easier to live without morality than without food,
and when one has to be sacrificed to procure the other, morality
is sure to go. The stomach is the commander of the soul, and,
therefore, the great Labour Question is the great Moral
Question, — Journal of the Knights of Labour.

Everywhere but in the Church itself you will find men ready
to perceive that Christ had no private or personal ends, but
only a universal one, which was the redemption of our very
nature itself from disease and death. — Henry James.

IHOSOEVER," said Christ, " hath, to him
shall be given ; and whosoever hath not,
from him shall be taken away even that
he hath." Could anything be more
unjust, nay, outrageous ? one is ready to exclaim.
And }et, properly understood, such is the law of life
not less in the spiritual than in the material universe.
And this law is as reasonable as it is inexorable.

" Hath " — what ? *' Given " — what ? All depends
on how you fill in the blanks. It is not, for example,
true that to him that hath riches, riches shall inevit-
ably be given. Riches oft take the wings of the
morning and fly away, and poor men do not invaria-
bly remain poor all their days. But riches are in
every case, the e_§ecls of adequate causes, and they who
can control the causes will without fail enjoy the
effects. There is no exception to the rule — given am
efficient cause a coiresponding resultant is assured. To a
Divine Law there can be no limitation and no

Throughout nature, life, growth, development are
the resultant of vital energy operating in suitable en-
vironment. The parable of the Sower who went
forth to sow emphasises the absolute necessity laid
upon man to secure fitting exterior surroundings, if he
would fulfil the higher and highest law of his being.

A Sower went out to sow his seed : and, as he sowed, some
fell by the wayside; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of
the air devoured it.


And some fell upon a rock ; and, as soon as it was sprung up,
It withered away, because it lacked moisture.

And some fell among thorns ; and the thorns sprang up with
it, and choked it.

And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bear fruit
an hundred fold. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. —
Luke, viii., 5-8.

Whatsoever organism, therefore, combines tlie living
internal principle with fit external surroundings, to it
shall be given growth and fructification. But whatso-
ever organism has no such combination, from it shall
be taken away even the appearance of organism.
This is true of the whole vegetable and animal
world, and applies equally to man's spiritual as to
his physical nature.

" The great Labour Question is the great Moral
Question." A spiritual heaven never yet grew out of
a material hell, and a material hell is what the
governing and appropriating " classes " have created
for the toiling ** masses " of every so-called " civilised "
land. This they have done by ruthlessly divorcing
the toiler from his environment, thereby producing
■economic conditions that are every day becoming
more and more intolerable. By impeding industrial
evolution they are most certainly maturing such a
revolution as has never been witnessed since man
appeared upon the planet.

Wealth is the offspring of human energy employed
on suitable materials in the outer world. This
energy economists call " Labour," while the materials
are generically called " Land." Whosoever, then, is

1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryJ. Morrison (John Morrison) DavidsonNew politics for the people. Let there be light! 1.-Religion. 2.-Politics. 3.-The family. 4.-Economics. 5.-Miscellanea .. → online text (page 7 of 13)