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Source: Medical World
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “Our Monthly Talk”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 19
Issue number: 11
Pagination: 493-96, 18

“Our Monthly Talk.” Medical World Nov. 1901 v19n11: pp. 493-96, 18.
presidential assassinations (comparison); anarchism (dealing with); Jonathan P. Dolliver (public statements); anarchism (personal response); Alexander Kent (public statements); anarchism (compared with corruption); governments (criticism); Ellsworth J. Semple; Charles H. Parkhurst (public statements); patriotism.
Named persons
Samuel H. Ashbridge; Leon Czolgosz; William S. Devery; Charles Dickens; Jonathan P. Dolliver; James A. Fagan; James A. Garfield; Emma Goldman; Alexander Kent; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; Johann Most; Charles H. Parkhurst; Ellsworth J. Semple.
On page 495 the phrase “facts from Ohio” refers to a data table originally appearing on page 496 titled “Relation of Assessed to True Values of Twelve Ohio Railroads.” This table is omitted below.

The identity of Policeman O’Brien (below) cannot be determined.

In the original source, the editorial column continues beyond page 18 (the note at the bottom of page 18 reading “Continued over next leaf”). However, no additional pages for this issue of the journal are included in the online scanned version used for the transcription below.


Our Monthly Talk [excerpt]

     Our third martyred President has been buried. He was noble, pure and patriotic. His work is finisht [sic]. We remain, and our work is unfinisht [sic]. Our first martyred President (Lincoln) was the victim of the bitter partizanism [sic] that raged during his time; our second (Garfield) was a victim of the spoils system, having been shot by a disappointed (and unbalanced) office seeker; our third (McKinley) was a victim of the enemies of government—anarchists. Do not these sad and calamitous tragedies impress important lessons upon us?
     The dangers of partizan [sic] hate are familiar to us. It has diminisht [sic] since Lincoln’s time, and we trust that it will still further diminish, if not entirely disappear.
     The dangers of the spoils system are many. Not only are the lives of presidents and other appointing officers endangered, but our public service is injured by this pernicious system. By means of our Civil Service laws, the evils of the spoils system have been greatly diminisht [sic] since Garfield’s time, but we have much yet to do in this direction.
     Anarchy, as a real and tangible danger to the government, is a new danger in this country. Truly we have heard more or less of it for some years past, but heretofore we have not regarded it as a threatening danger to government as we have it in this country. Now that it has raised its ugly head, the duty of dealing with it is an urgent one, and the memory of the tragedy at Buffalo, and the dead form of President McKinley, should inspire us to take up the work.
     How shall we do it? First we must learn what anarchy is, and how it is propagated. We all know that an anarchist is one who is opposed to government. But why? If government were always beneficent, if it always exacted justice, if it always protected the weak against the strong, if it never was guilty of oppression, if it always gave equality of opportunity, none would be so insane as to oppose it. Government should do all these things; and the most certain way of [493][494] eradicating anarchy, and perhaps the only way to do it completely and permanently, is to make government what it ought to be.

Our Task.

     This is our task—our task, for we in this country have the opportunity of making our government just what we wish it to be. Failure to perform our task well is not a compliment to self-government. The results, particularly the humiliating occurrence of Buffalo, prove that we are far from the completion of our task. But this is not the only humiliating showing. In a speech at Chicago, on September 22nd, Senator Dolliver, of Iowa, said:

     “It ought not to be forgotten that conspirators, working out their nefarious plans in secret, in the dens and caves of the earth, enjoy an unconscious cooperation and side-partnership with every lawless influence abroad in the world. Legislators who betray the Commonwealth, Judges who poison the fountains of justice, city governments which come to terms with crime—all these are regular contributors to the campaign fund of anarchy.
     “That howling mass, whether in Kansas or Alabama, that assembly of wild beasts dancing in drunken carousal about the ashes of some negro malefactor, is not contributing to the security of society; it is taking away from society the only security it has. It belongs to the unenrolled reserve corps of anarchy in the United States. The words which come spontaneously to the lips of William McKinley, as he sank under mortal wounds and saw the infuriated crowd pressing about his assailant, ought to be repeated in the ears of the officers of the peace from one end of the land to the other, in all the years that are to come—‘Let no one hurt him; let the law take its course.’”

     Yes, let the law take its course; and in this instance the law has taken its course, promptly and efficiently, for the assassin was tried promptly and fairly, and promptly and legally disposed of. But in the majority of cases, both criminal and civil, the delay and uncertainty of the law is proverbial. This delay and uncertainty is responsible for much lawlessness. In Dickens’ time the laggardness of the law in England was much worse than in this country at the present time. The graphic showing of this evil in some of his novels effectivly [sic] called the attention to this evil, and it was corrected. Now justice is far more swift and sure in an English court than in the average American court, and they have no lynchings there. When the judge on the bench does his duty promptly and efficiently, Judge Lynch will go out of business.
     The following is a part of a sermon delivered by Rev. Alexander Kent, pastor of the People’s Church, Washington, D. C., September 22nd.

     The most dangerous form of anarchy, is that which, under pretense of using government in the common interest, sets fundamental principles of government at defiance and uses its machinery for personal advantage. When leading officials of New York city [sic] deliberately corrupt the whole police force, which is pledged to protect the common interests, and make the members of that force plunder and rob the whole city, by selling to criminals they are sworn to arrest, immunity from punishment for violating law, what are they but anarchists?
     When the Mayor and City Council of Philadelphia turn over to their friends or accomplices in crime franchises of the city for which the city had been offered by other citizens millions of dollars, are they not anarchists? Are they not enemies of government? Yet these very men come as a body to attend the funeral of our murdered President and are accorded places of honor.

     The following clippings from the editorial page of the Philadelphia North American (now one of the leading Republican papers in the country), shows that we are beginning to learn who and where the real anarchists are:


     A New York policeman resented the abusive language of his official superior, and charged that attempts had been made to force him to pay for fair treatment. The whole country took up his case and profest [sic] to be shockt [sic] at the revealed condition of municipal government in New York.
     An infinitely worse state of things has been disclosed in Philadelphia without exciting surprise, and probably much less attention will be given to Sergeant Semple’s direct charges of crime against the municipal administration of this city than has been devoted to Policeman O’Brien’s allegation that somebody in New York tried to extort money from him. The explanation is obvious. Philadelphia’s city government is so notoriously bad that its offenses have ceast [sic] to amaze.
     In offering his resignation Sergeant Semple explains that he had to choose between “rendering degrading and criminal service at the behest of corrupt political and police masters and preserving my self-respect and free conscience as a private citizen.” Specifically, he asserts that he was called upon to “pilot election repeaters from division to pivision [sic] and assist in their work of casting fraudulent ballots,” and because he refused to commit this crime he was notified that he would be driven off the force.
     No rebellious victim of Devery’s ruffianism and oppression has even hinted at such monstrous perversions of police powers to criminal ends as are charged against the Ashbridge machine by Sergeant Semple in these words, addressed officially to the Superintendent of Police:
     “As the chief functions of the police in the Twenty-seventh district are now those of serving the political orders of the Administration bosses, ‘carrying’ divisions in primary and general elections, bulldozing and intimidating citizens at the polls and in the ordinary course of their private business, piloting repeaters from polling place to polling place and stuffing ballot-boxes with fraudulent ballots, protecting men like Fagan and convicted criminals in the favor of the bosses, and, in general, using the uniforms of the policeman for the criminal interests of the politicians, instead of the protection of private life and property, there is little room for an honest, law-abiding man on the force.”
     It does not occur to any citizen of Philadelphia to question the accuracy of Sergeant Semple’s description of the plight of a law-abiding man wearing the uniform of a policeman and subject to the authority of lawless and law-violating men in office. Every Philadelphian knows that the sergeant has told the truth, and even Ashbridge is not suspected of having the hardihood to deny it.
     There is a strong reaction in this country against lawlessness, and many thoughtful men are trying to work out the problem of identifying the promoters and exponents of anarchy with a view to repression of the spirit of contempt for law. Senator Dolliver, of Iowa, made a valuable contribution to the work of classification in his speech at the memorial services held in Chicago. He said:
     “Legislators who betray the Commonwealth, Judges who poison the fountains of justice, city governments which come to terms with crime—all these are regular contributors to the campaign fund of anarchy.”
     Philadelphia’s police officials profess to be diligently seeking for anarchists, and in their search they have rounded up cooperative societies, labor unions and other orderly, well-behaved people. Sergeant Semple has shown them where to find what they are seeking. The most activ [sic] and dangerous promoter of lawlessness in this community is the Ashbridge machine. In the words of Senator Dolliver: “It belongs to the unenrolled reserve corps of anarchy in the United States.”

*                         *                         *                         *                         *

     If Emma Goldman’s connection with Czolgosz’s crime should be proved to be one-hundredth part as intimate as was Mayor Ashbridge’s with the theft of Philadelphia’s streets, she could not escape the electric chair.

     Please remember that the city government in Philadelphia is Republican, and the city govern- [494][495] ment in New York is Democratic. The Anarchists for revenue have no conscience, and no principle but spoils. They use any party name that is most likely to win, and use the reputation of good men to cover their misdeeds. It was this class of officials that made themselves particularly prominent in the condemnation of anarchists after the shooting of President McKinley; and they made themselves conspicuous at his funeral. They always seize such an opportunity to cover their misdeeds. A public calamity is a blessing to them. They also use the folds of our glorious flag to cover, or direct attention away from their corruption; and many honest, but simple-minded voters are thus led to their support.
     Czolgosz, misguided wretch, was at least honest and unselfish. He committed the deed because he thought it would benefit the laboring classes, well knowing that it would cost him his life. He made himself a willing sacrifice to what he thought would be the benefit of the toiling millions. These other anarchists are actuated only by the most selfish motivs [sic]. They have neither physical nor moral courage. They are careful to keep safely within the law, or they know that they can manipulate the law-making bodies or courts in a way to make them secure. They do not know what devotion to principle means; their devotion to party is only for gain, and if necessary, they can change from one party to another overnight. If it were to their interest, they could be a Republican one day and a Democrat the next; but they are usually sticklers for party faithfulness and regularity, simply because that pays them the best; they find that by this means they can most easily and certainly carry divisions, wards, etc.

A Voice from New York.

     The pulpit has duties concerning this world as well as the next. An important factor in the preparation of people for the next world is to make this world fit to live in; make conditions that will lead to honest and noble lives. Rev. Dr. Parkhurst, of New York, is one of the few clergymen who realize and strive to do their duty in this direction. In his sermon of September 28th, he said:

     “When we talk about anarchy, let us not limit our regards to Most, Czolgosz and Emma Goldman. Our own city is full of anarchy. The very Administration we are under here is anarchy from the top down, solid, unmitigated, devilish. It does not kill men, at least, as a rule, but it goes around with sharp blades wherewith to knife every holy principle that the great God could ever have dreamed of. And it would send a thrill down the whole pulsing body of the times, if, in the same hour that Czolgosz goes to the electric chair, the general body of our local government could be put in the chair along with him, and anarchy individual and anarchy organized be consigned to the abyss of reprobation by one and the same current of electric damnation.”

     Which do you think is the most despicable; anarchy from principle, or anarchy for pelf? Which is the most dangerous? Do we want either? How shall we get rid of both?
     If corrupt public officials are “anarchists” in reality and in effect, what shall we also say of voters who, because of party spirit, for some little personal advantage, or from equally non-patriotic motivs [sic], vote for “the machine” election after election? It would be sad to think of so many voters as “anarchists.”

More Patriotism.

     We need more patriotism among all classes in this country. Because of a country of unequaled fertility and natural resources of all kinds, material prosperity has been too easy for our own good. We are too apt to attribute our greatness, our glory and prosperity to the excellence of our government, tacitly assuming that the only difference between our country and other countries is in government. While our form of government is, we believe, vastly superior to that of monarchies, yet because of indifference, partizanism [sic], corruption, etc., our actual government (particularly in cities) is far worse than in England and Germany.
     We need a patriotism that will put country above self in the everyday affairs of life. In times of National danger, patriotism above self-interest is almost universal. Men of all classes are eager to enlist, and under the glorious stars and stripes, in the face of the enemy, there is no dearth of volunteers for a “forlorn hope” that means almost certain death. All this for country in war. And in peace, a public calamity like a great fire, a disastrous storm, pestilence, etc., calls out heroism and patriotism in abundance. But in the tame and commonplace sphere of every day life this unselfish spirit is woefully lacking, and, we are pained to confess, particularly in this country. Here, where heroism of the “dash” sort is so plenty, the kind that we need constantly is rare! In England and Germany many persons of the leisure class, titled or otherwise, devote their time and means, not during a single campaign, but for life to the better government of their town or city. Here those who devote themselves most to city politics do so for the money they can make out of contracts, franchises, etc. Those who permit this sort of thing (the voters), as well as those who do it, are unpatriotic. We need an everyday patriotism that will pervade all classes. Then we would have government, both local and National, against which anarchy would have no excuse to strike.

An Instance.

     Any fair minded person will agree that the property of corporations should be taxt [sic] just the same as farms, merchandize [sic], the homes of the poor, etc. As an instance, showing that corporations do not bear their just burden of taxation, see the following “facts from Ohio[.]”
     This is an illustration of the condition existing to a greater or less degree in every State. Unfortunately it is the custom in most parts of this country to assess property for taxation purposes below its true value. This is true in Ohio, but ordinary property is assessed three times higher in proportion to actual value, than the average shown in the above table. Why should other property bear three times the burden of taxation borne by the railroads? Only anarchists strike at government, but every patriotic citizen ought to work determinedly to remove [495][496]

[table omitted]

the abuses of government. It is just such abuses of government, as well as the harangues of Emma Goldman and Herr Most, that turn unstable minds against government.

True Patriotism.

     True patriotism is not that which flashes up and flares for a short time, like a Fourth of July rocket, and then subsides into indifference, partizanism [sic] or self-seeking at the expense of the public. We want a day-after-day, month-after-month and year-after-year patriotism, seeking the country’s good rather than party advantage, and placing service to the community and country above personal interests. Along with this kind of patriotism should go an intelligence concerning public affairs gotten not only from newspapers and political speeches, but particularly from books by reliable authors upon the various branches of the science of government. We spend many hours a day pursuing our own interests and welfare; we should spend at least one hour each day in study and devotion to our country’s welfare. No business prospers without constant and intelligent attention, involving both study and work. How can we expect the complicated affairs of city, state and Nation to progress smoothly without the same intelligent attention. As a rule politicians and office holders do what the people demand of them. The people’s demand should be an intelligent and progressiv [sic] demand. It cannot be so without study on the part of the people. Our high schools and colleges teach dead languages, higher mathematics, botany, zoology, geology, chemistry, etc., etc., etc., and but little or nothing about public affairs. “Civil government” as it is now taught in some schools, consisting of a list of officers and their duties, gives little if any information concerning public affairs, and their proper management. All residents of a city should know something about the supply and management of gas, electric light and water, and particularly the proper quality and price of the same. This information can be gotten quickly and easily from proper books on the subject. Yet the ignorance of the public on these and kindred public matters has been the opportunity of corporations, politicians and corruptionists, and the means of building up many large private fortunes at the public expense. The ignorance of our people concerning such public utilities as the telegraph, express, railroads, etc., has been the opportunity of amassing other and larger private fortunes at the public expense; yet these subjects, as a citizen should know them in order to decide whether these functions should be managed by private owners for private profit, or by the government for the service of all, are not difficult. Books on these subjects go unread, while the latest novels are devoured by the hundred thousand. Such indifference to public affairs is not becoming to a people who boast of self-government. This indifference gives the conditions which furnish anarchists an excuse for their theories. Passiv [sic] indifference to public affairs makes us very closely akin to the anarchists; while intelligent, progressiv [sic], and day-after-day, year-after-year patriotism would rob anarchy of its excuse for existence.

The People’s Veto.

     No, we do not want government destroyed, but we want its defects destroyed. We think we have self-government here, but we have not. We are at the mercies of those whom we elect to office, until their terms expire. Mayors, governors and presidents have the veto power, but the people have not. The executiv [sic] (of city, State or Nation) may be venal; and if not, a corrupt legislativ [sic] body can pass a measure over his veto by a two-thirds majority. Thus the entire power of government is in the hands of those whom we elect. They are our agents, but we, the principals, reserve to ourselves no right of revision of the acts of our agents! Isn’t that a funny way to do business? What we want is a people’s veto. An executiv [sic] should not have a power of veto. His duties should be exclusivly [sic] administrativ [sic], and entirely disconnected with the legislativ [sic] function. But the people should have the right to demand (by peti- [496][18] tion of say 5 per cent. of the voters) the submission of any measure to their direct vote at the next regular election, and if they defeat the measure at the polls, it is vetoed. This voters’ veto is called the Referendum in Switzerland, where it has purified a corrupt government, and forced professional politicians and “boodlers” out of their occupation. The Referendum is needed in this country particularly in city affairs; it can also be used on an occasion in state affairs—amendments to state constitutions are, and always have been referred to a direct vote of the people. Perhaps in time this principle may also be used in National affairs, but that need not be talkt [sic] of until we become accustomed to its use in local affairs. We can destroy anarchy by destroying the evil in our present mode of government; and this simple agency, the people’s veto, will do surprisingly much toward that end. We must not think that our mode of government was given to us perfect for all time by our fore-fathers over a hundred years ago. We must do something ourselves. We must meet new conditions as they arise. If we are not activ [sic], anarchists will be. They want to destroy all government. We should destroy the evils in our government, and construct more of the good. By thinking that the ideas and methods of government which we inherited from our great men of the past are perfect, we live in a fancied security, and allow evils and dangers to grow. Our fore-fathers improved vastly upon old methods. Shall we not do the same, and meet the needs, and avoid the dangers of our time? This little agency, the voters’ veto, is easy, simple and far reaching. Shall we not obtain it and use it? There are many books on the subject, easy and inexpensiv [sic]. Will not voters get them and post up on the subject?
     In this connection the following news item will be of interest.

     Chicago, September 27.—To stamp out anarchy in Chicago a number of citizens of Austin have formed a secret, oath bound organization which they hope will be the nucleus or a secret fraternity in every city throughout the United States. To-day incorporation papers were issued for it at Springfield. The name of the new organization is the “Republic.” Its organization will include one grand lodge and a number of subordinate lodges. The principles of the organization, as expressed in the papers of incorporation, are “to protect life and property from Anarchists; to battle with the Anarchists’ propaganda; to guard and protect the institutions of this country from Anarchists and their agitation.”
     The organization is to include a regular system of detective and spy work upon the Anarchists and prosecution of every one of them at every opportunity, under the direction of the grand lodge of the Order. The members of the organization bind themselves to ostracise [sic] the Anarchists socially and in business, and to aim at ostracism in every way of all people who hold Anarchist ideas or aid them in any way.

     The consternation, horror, chagrin, rage, etc., caused by the sudden and absolutely unexpected murder of our President found many forms of expression, and the above is one of them. However, upon mature reflection we must all conclude that the above is not the best way to eradicate anarchy. The dark and bloody curse of anarchy should be fought in the open, and not by stealth. Darkness can be overcome only by light. The dark forms of night disappear before the rising sun; and so it will be with anarchy in all its different forms.



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