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

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able freely to unite labour and land, to him shall not
riches but tveal-th, as opposed to ill-th, be given, and
from him who is anyhow prevented from effecting
such union shall be taken away, even the ability to
labour, which he seemingly hath. Without access to
land — economic land — the worker must needs take
his place in the rank.s of the Unemployed, steal or


Now it is the business of those who are known as
" Landlords " and " Capitahsts " — according to the
economic definition of land both are equally land-
lords — either wholly to debar the toilers from access
to land (which is equivalent to a sentence of death,
as Mr. Gladstone has truly told us), or they exact
for themselves three-fourths of the products of access
granted, in the name of " Rent " or robbers' toll,

" The Land Question is the Labour Question,"
and no one ever apprehended this fact more clearly
than the late unsavoury but shrewd Duke of Marl-
borough. Writing from the United States where,
years ago, he was travelling, he thus admonished his
brother aristocrats at home and they were prompt to
act on his advice : —

Here you have an Anglo-Saxon race of sixty millions of people
who work like beavers, developing your property and adding to
jts value, if only you own real estate investments.

In what, then, did his lordship's friends invest ? In
/ff»^nominall} , but really in Republican, Anglo-Saxon,
beaver-like labour. In all such " investments " the
rich man simply buys the power to pocket the earn-
ings of labour without giving any return. And the
labour which his title deed conveys to him is, in its
essence, Slave-\diho\\x for those whose gains he is
enabled to appropriate must use the land thus
monopolised or die. " O Lord, what fools these
mortals be ! "

Now, " Our Old Nobility," as a distinct species of
the genus landlord, have at all times excelled in the
art of "taking from him that hath not even that he
hath"; but, in this respect, most remarkable, as-
suredly, is this their latest achievement, which may
almost be described as the "Conquest of the United
States." In a recent issue, The Journal of the Knights
of Labour gave the following instructive list of the
greater British estates in the Republic, with the
names of their alien and absentee owners, to whom


tribute is regularly paid. Nothing could better
illustrate the ubiquity as well as the rapacity of the
marauders who " came over at the Conquest. '

The Texas Land Union Syndicate No. 5 — 3,000,000 acres.

Interested peers ; Baroness Burdett-Coutts. Earl Cadogan, H,
C. Fitzroy Somerset (this is the Duke of Beaufort), William
Alexander Lochiel Stephenson, Douglas-Hamilton, Duke of
Beaudon, the Duke of Rutland, Ughtred J. Kay-Shuttleworth
and Ethel Cadogan (maid in waiting to the Queen). This syndi-
cate owns whole counties in Texas, and tens of thousands of
persons pay it rentals.

Sir Edward Reid — 2,000,000 acres. This is a syndicate which
owns land in Florida only. It includes the present Duchess of
Marlborough, Lady Randolph Churchill and Lady Lister-

Viscount Scully — 3,000,000 acres. His lorcship maintains an
elaborate system of bailiffs.

Syndicate No. 4, 1,800,000 acres. This syndicate has all its
holdings in Mississippi. It includes the Marquis of Dalhousie,
George Henry Howard Cholmondeley (Viscount Cholmondeley),
Georgiana, Viscountess Cross, the Hon. Lady Gordon and the
Hon. Lady Biddulph.

Marquis of Tweedale — 1,750,000 acres. The Marquis is
William Montagu Hay, famed all over Scotland as the rack-
rent lord.

Phillips, Marshall & Co., London — 1,300,000 acres. This
firm has the whole peerage for its clients.

The Anglo-American Syndicate, London — 750,000 acres The
funds of widowed peeresses are largely invested here The
lands are in the South and West.

Bryan H. Evans — 700,00c acres. Mr. Evans resides in
London. His lands are in Mississippi.

The Duke of Sutherland — 125,000 acres. This is the actress-
loving, champagne-bibbing and rack-rent nobleman of police-
court fame.

The British Land Company — 320,000 acres. This land is all
in Kansas.

William Whalley — 310,000 acres. Mr. Whalley is the Squire
of Peterboro, England.

The Missouri Land Company — 300,000 acres. This ope ate»
a Missouri domain, and has headquarters at Edinburgh.

Robert Tennant — 230,000 acres This is all farming land.
Mr. Tennant lives in London.

Dundee Land Company — 247,000 acres.

Lord Dunmore — 120,000 acres.


Benjamin Newgas, Liverpool -100,000 acres.

Lord Houghton (in Florida) — 60,000 acres.

English Land Company (in California) — 50,000 acres.

English Land Company (in Arkansas) — 50,000 acres.

Alexander Grant, London (in Kansas) — 35,000 acres.

Syndicate No. 6 — 110,000 acres. This syndicate includes the
Earl of Verulam and the Earl of Tankerville. The land is in

M. Elfenhauser of, Halifax — 600,000 acres. The land is in
West Virginia.

Syndicate No. i — 50,000 acres. This is a Scottish concern,
and its land is in Florida.

It is claimed that fully 20,000,000 acres of American land are
thus owned by great landowners in England|and Scotland. This
does not include the Holland syndicate, which owns 5,000,000
acres of grazing land in Western States, nor the German syndi-
cate, owning 2,000,000 acres in various States.

Of those rack-renters the most impudently exact-
ing is Viscount Scully, who has hitherto proved
himself one too many for the State Legislature of
Illinois. In 1887, that body passed an Alien Land
Act, directed solely against Scully. To evade it he
had inserted beforehand a clause in all his leases
making his tenants responsible for all taxes accruing
against the property. The result was the creation
of a large and solid body of voters, in the " Scully
counties," hostile to all public improvements by
means of taxation !

Now, however, there is something like open war
between the whole herd of noble absentees and
their tenants, and the combat is bound to deepen as
it proceeds. Whether '* law and order " will long be
able to protect British landlordism, fighting for
its customary tribute, at such long range, may well
be doubted. Indeed, that it should have done so
hitherto well-nigh "passes the wit of man."

At the great French Revolution of 1792 one grand
mistake was made. Hereditary o/^c^s were abolished,
but the institution of owned and inherited land was
spared. In the next great social upheaval, be it in


America or Europe, that error will not be repeated,
and the event cannot now be far off.


When Rome went down i,8oo men owned all the Roman

When Babylon went down 2 per cent, of her population
owned all the wealth.

When Egypt went down 2 per cent, of her population owned
97 per cent of her wealth.

There are about 40,000,000 people in England, Scotland,
Ireland and Wales, and 100,000 practically own all the United

In i860 there were but two millionaires in the United States
and no tramps. To-day there are 35,000 millionaires and
3,000,030 tramps.

In the United States three-fifths of the entire wealth of the
country is owned by 31,000 persons — less than one-twelfth of i
percent. of the populacion.

Verily, " Wtiosoever hath to iaim shall be given " ;
but, in the good time coming, it is not the idler, but
the worker that shall have, inasmuch as

Free Access to Economic Land

shall thenceforth be his inalienable heritage, with
every resultant blessing.

Ye may heed it not, ye haughty ones,

Whose hearts, like rocks, are cold ;

But the day will come when the fiat of God,

In thunder, shall be told ;

For the voice of the Great I AM hath said

That the land shall not be sold.


Careless seems the great Avenger ; History's pages but record
One death-grapple in the darkness twixt old systems and the

Word :
Not an ear in court or market to the low forboding cry
Of those crises, God's stern winnowers, from whose feet earth,

chaff must fly ;
Never shows the choice momentous till the judgment hath

passed by. — Lowell.

The revolt of the New World against the Old has broken out.
The stage is crowded with actors ; the struggle will be carried
on with an amount of intellect such as the world has seen in no
struggle before, and will see in none after. For it will be the
last social struggle. The Nineteenth Century will hardly end
before the contest is decided. — Adgust Bebel,

BOUT this time nearly fifteen years ago,
during the Presidency of Rutherford
^Q^^ Hayes, I chanced to be in Washington,
^'^^ T" where 1 enjoyed the hospitahty of Carl
Schurz, then Secretary of the Interior, and I can
well recall a conversation, at his table, on the
prospects of Socialism in the United States. Social-
ism was then a very weak exotic, maintaining a pre-
carious existence in New York, but hardly anywhere
else in the Union. Charles Francis Adams, grand-
son and great-grandson of Presidents, who was pre-
sent, nevertheless, arguing from the alarming growth
of " corporations," with great insight, confidently

"triumphant democracy"?


predicted an internecine struggle between the Collec-
tivist and the IndividuaHst principle. Schurz was
seemingly incredulous, and related, with amused
approval, the opinion of two German Socialists from
New York who had just paid turn a visit. Asked
how the movement was progressing, they had dis-
gustedly replied : " Here it ish no gut, no gut. De
peoples be too dam prosperous."

And, though I durst hardly venture an opinion,
it really seemed to me that the Teutons were riglit.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, to judge by any
European standard, there were no visible signs of
poverty. I was all through the Garfield Election,
and heard nearly every one of the great party orators
on the then situation, m New York, Boston, I^hiladel-
phia, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha, Denver, Leadville,
and a multitude of other places, but of the " low fore-
boding cry of crises " to come I heard nought. Every
" ear in court or market " was deaf, except to the
eternal jingle of the Almighty Dollar. The man who
hopedlto become rich seemed to worship the great God
Mammon with even intenser devotion than the man
already rich. The workman orators talked with
matchless volubility — eloquence even — about " the
pauper labour of Europe " and its products as the
one thing to be dreaded by the highly-privileged
toilers of the Republic. At Chicago I saw a proces-
sion of Trades Societies, several miles long, march-
ing to Republican Party tunes, under banners
inscribed with every conceivable reactionary device
and motto. And the speeches were entirely in keep-
ing. Men so completely hypnotised politically and
economically I never saw, and 1 have seen a few. I
was amazed, and am by no means surprised at their
rude awakening since.

But, if the " Masses " generally were as impervious
to reason as the " Classes," there were not wanting
warning voices among the " intellectual proletariat "


114 "TRIUMPHANT democracy" ?

to whisper confidentially in one's ear that the
Republic was rotten at the core, and that it was only
a question how long the appearance of tolerable
health could be maintained. With wonderful pre-
science Abraham Lincoln — the greatest of modern
statesmen, in my opinion — had predicted the rise, on
the ruins of the Slave-power, of a new and far more
remorseless and formidable tyranny — viz., that of
Mammon. The effects of an international war may
be bad enough, but those of civil convulsion are
always terrible. The desperate financial straits of
the Federal Government, during the throes of the
Civil War, tor the first time in her history made the
Republic the easy prey of the Money-power, whose
fangs have been lacerating her with fiendish cruelty
ever since. "Corporations," "syndicates," "rings,''
"trusts," "pools," &c., of all kinds have eaten out
her very vitals, exactly as her great Martyr- President
had foretold, in the following wonderful prophecy, for
it is nothing less : —

Yes, we may all congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is
nearing its close. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and
blood. The best blood of the flower of American youth has
been freely offered upon our country's altar that the uation
might live. It has been indeed a trying hour for the Re-
public ; but I see, in the near future, a'crisis approaching that
unnerves me, and causes me to tremble for the safety of my
country. As a result of the war, corporations have been en-
throned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and
the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its
reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until all
wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is
destroyed. I feel, at this moment, more anxiety for the safety of
my country than ever before, even in the midstj of the war,
God grant my suspicions may be groundless.

In ante helium days tnere was practically neither
millionaire nor mendicant, and even the normal lot of
the negro slave was greatly superior to that of the
average British factory "hand" or agricultural labourer.
Then, indeed, might the emigrant, with reason, sing ;


To the West, to the West, to the Land of the Free,
Where the mighty Missouri rolls down to the sea
Where a man is a man, if he's wiUing to toil.
And the hamblest may gather the fruits of the soil.

Now, the fell handiwork of Rentmonger, Interest
monger and Profitmonger is everywhere visible, to
such an extent that it is calculated one per cent, of
the population owns seventy-one per cent, of the
entire wealth of the United States, while the " ninety-
and-nine ' are left ro scramble for the remaining
twenty-nine per cent. The population is something
under 70,000,000. The census of 1&90 showed that
the soil of the Republic is owned by about 10 per
cent, of that population, and that three-quarters of
that 10 per cent, own little more than their homes,
on which there is a mortgage indebtedness of
;^i, 200, 000, 000 ! Nor is that all. The land-ownmg
class is being so constantly reduced by the foreclosure
of mortgages that there need be no wonder should
the Census of 1900 show that it is but 5 or 6 per
cent, of the entire community. So overrun, indeed,
is the land with mortgages on every hand, that if the
ancient Greek plan of recording them by the erection
of stone-tablets were had recourse to, the United
States would appear like a vast cemetery.

Between the mortgagee on the one hand and the
bonanza farmer on the other, the once splendid
yeomanry of the Republic, is being rapidly squeezed
to death. Humboldt declared that the valley of the
Mississipi alone could easily be made to feed all
Europe, and now — paradox of paradoxes! — it is dis-
covered that America is " overpopulated" and the
stream of emigration which so long flowed from the
shores of the Old World to the New has begun to
flow back again with a steady current. Already the
re-flow of steerage passengers exceeds the outflow
by fifteen per cent !

Among other monstrous ofTspring, the Republic


has given birth to a considerable variety of "kings,"
and among these the Railway Autocrat may justly
take to himself the Oriental style and title of " King
of Kings." One of this dynasty, a certain Pullman by
name was at the bottom of the late great strike-
war in the United States, and assuredly no Caliph of
Bagdad ever treated his subjects' repeated com-
plaints and representations with more supreme
indifference and contempt than did he those of his
employees. Nine times was he supplicated to
submit the points in dispute to arbitration and nine
times did he laugh his sorely aggrieved petitioners to
scorn. Living in a delightful Summer Palace at
Alexandria Bay, on the St. Laurence, remote from
the centre of disturbance and beyond the reach of
personal danger, it is the wont of this " Captain of In-
dustry " to set a strong guard over his Winter Palace
at Chicago, and then coolly to summon to his support,
whenever trouble arises, the entire police and militar\
forces of the Republic, State and Federal, and with
more or less alacrity they obey him. Mammon nods
his head on his throne, and his vast dominions are
shaken from centre to circumference. Never did
the world see such a spectacle of irresponsible power
before. G rover Cleveland may boast himself Pre-
sident of the United States, but the Mayor of the
Palace, whom he and all his satellites, great and
small, must obey, is Plutocrat George M. Pullman.

And yet wise and sagacious men foresaw the end
from the beginning. The Republic of the United
States is essentially a Private Property Protection Asso-
ciation. The men who drafted the famous Constitu-
tion, in 1787, consisted of fifty-five friends of the
" Classes," and only sixteen of the " Masses," and
against the former the latter in council struggled in
vain. Such indeed, was the result, that Patrick
Henry pronounced it " a counter-revolution more
radical than that which separated America from


Britain," while Thomas Jefferson yet more emphati-
cally declared that it " sounded the downfall of
popular Government." Thomas Paine even went
further, and with the eye of a true prophet, beheld
the actual Republic of to-day, in the grasp of
hollow mercenaries, destitute of every one of the
noble humanitarian virtues which inspired its origin.
In truth, competent authority has recently gone so
far as to pronounce the United States " the most
conservative country in the world."

And yet time was, notably in the days of Cobden
and Bright, when America was not a warning as she
is^ to-day, but an example to the British Radical,
He beheld her great economical prosperity, and
erroneously attributed it to the supposed freedom
of her political institutions, which are very imper-
fectly understood among us even to this day. But
now that the war of " Haves" and "Have-nots" has
become acuter in America than in most European
countries, the dangerously reactionary character of
the American Constitution, as compared with our
own incomprehensible hotch-potch, will become daily
more and more apparent. Indeed, it is hardly to®
much to say that, without a horrible revolution of
"blood and iron," too frightful to contemplate, the
most imperative reforms are impossible in the
United States. Mr. George Washburne Siualley,
the well-known New York correspondent of the Times
and for long London correspondent of the Nciv York
Tribune puts the matter thus : —

The impatient English reformer will probably be first struck
by the fact that before a proposed amendment (to the Consti-
tution) can even be launched, it must obtain a two-thirds vote
in both Houses of Congress. With that knowledge, he would
probably reject the American system at once, for he would say
to himself — " What chance is there of a two-thirds majority for
Ho-ne Rule, or for Universal Suffrage, even in the House of
Commons?"' Yet, when the American reformer has got his
two-thirds of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of


the Senate, he is only on the threshhold of his difficulties. He
must then go to the separate States, of which there are forty-
tour and to the legislatures of those States, each of which is com-
posed of two Chambers. He has to appeal, that is, to eighty-
eight separate legislative bodies, and he must manage to get a
majority in three-fourths of these eighty-eight separate legisla-
tive bodies, before his proposed coiistitutional reform can
become part of the Constitution.

The British Constitution, or what passes for sucli,
has often been described as a " system of checks,"
but here are " checks " for yon with a vengeance.
Remove our House of Lords, and the House of
Commons may effect the most revolutionary projects,
without the sHghtest friction, betwen ten o'clock and
midnight. The House of Commons, of course, is
anything but a revolutionary body, but that is
largely our own fault. At any rate, it is not an
almost hopelessly unworkable "machine" like the
American Congress, and we have something to be
thankful for.

As for our American brethren, they have a terrible
" hard row to hoe ; " but they may be trusted, if any
men can, somehow to work out their own salvation,
and it may be also that of the European peoples.
Christendom is wistfully waiting for the social mot
d'ordve and, if it is destined to come from the other
side of the Atlantic, as the political mot d'ordre came
a century ago, I for one shall gladly concede to them
tke honour of hegemony. " Blood is thicker than
water" after all.

The ineffaceable memories of the anti-slavery
struggle (1861-64), with its stupendous sacrifices for
negro emancipation, come back to me thick and fast,
whenever the wage-slavery system is seriously chal-
lenged in the Great Republic. The puissant nation
that, once thoroughly aroused, crushed, as in a vice,
the " Chivalry of the South '' — and the revolted Con-
federates, to do them justice, like Alan Breck, wive
" bonny fighters " — is not likely to submit for ever to

"triumphant democracy"?


the domination of a ring of vulgar upstart Plutocrats.
The splendid response to Lincoln's final appeal for
recruits reverberates in my ears :

We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more»
From Mississippi's winding stream and from New England's

shore ;
You have called us and we're coming by Richmond's bloody

For Freedom's cause to lay us down our brothers' bones beside.
Six hundred thousand loyal men and true have gone before ;
We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more.



If thy brother be waxen poor and fallen into decay with thee,
then thou shall relieve him, yea, though he be a stranger or a
sojourner, that he may live with thee.

Take thou no usury of him or increase, but fear thy God that
thy brother may live with thee.

Thou shah not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him
thy victuals for increase. — Levit., 35-37.

And it is adjudged by authority of Parliament that all usury,
being forbidden by the law of God, is a crime and detestable,
13 Eliz.,c, 8,

ND jet it moves! Only some dozen years
or more have elapsed since I first laid
siege to the stronghold of Mammon — Usury
— in the public press. To weeklies and
dailies alike the very word Usniy was then totally
unfamiliar and the crusade against so formidable a
foe, so hoary an iniquity, seemed sufficiently Quixotic
in all conscience. Not even Reynolds's Newspaper
would publish my first article on the subject and, but
for William Morris and The Covivtonweal, \twou\dmost
probably never have seen the light of day. It was
almost an affair oi Athanasius contra Mundiwi. Usury,
abhorred of old by Jew and Gentile, had long ceased
to be a cause either of reproach or punishment.
Nay, in the disguise of " interest," " consols," " divi-
dends," etc., it had become almost as sacred and
incontrovertible a thing as " rent" itself.

"THE POOR man's BANK:" "UNCLE." 121

But now what is it our gratification to behold ?
You can hardly take up a newspaper without
encountering the old term of opprobrium, on some
page or other; while, in all prints specially devoted
to the advocacy of the worker's interests, the
Usurer is invariably stript of his halo of social
respectability and classed with the greatest male-
factors and oppressors of mankind. While legisla-
tively we proceed at a snail's gallop on the path of
progress, it is unquestionable that the light is spread-
ing from mountain peak to valley at a rapid pace,
— at a pace that before long must find its expression
in action that will astonish alike sleeping friends and
sleepless foes.

These reflections have occurred to me on the
perusal of certain excellent articles in London, on
" State Usury — Pawnshops and Poverty." It is
now twenty-two years since Parliament last con-
cerned itself with the "Three Golden Balls" of
Lombardy, and well do I remember my own futile
efforts at the time, in the editorial columns of an
Edinburgh daily, to point out to the "Collective
Wisdom,"' at St. Stephen's, the enormities involved
in 35 and 36 Vict. c. 93, by which the poor pawner

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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 8 of 13)