Welcome to MAIWelcome to MAI


"Hello, I'm William McKinley."
partial cover image from "American Boys' Life of William McKinley"                                              
About MAI
Disclaimer
Help MAI


Who I Am
Contact Me



 


Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Free Society
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Our Friends, the Enemy, Again”
Author(s): James, C. L.
Date of publication: 5 January 1902
Volume number: 9
Issue number: 1
Pagination: 1-2

 
Citation
James, C. L. “Our Friends, the Enemy, Again.” Free Society 5 Jan. 1902 v9n1: pp. 1-2.
 
Transcription
full text
 
Keywords
Theodore Roosevelt (first annual message to Congress); anarchism (government response: criticism); anarchism (laws against); anarchism (government response); anarchism (legal penalties); assassination (laws against); anarchism (laws against, impracticality of); McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (personal response: criticism).
 
Named persons
Edmund Burke; J. C. Burrows; George Gordon Byron; Marie François Sadi Carnot; Leon Czolgosz; George Eliot; James A. Garfield; William Lloyd Garrison, Jr.; David Bennett Hill; Henrik Ibsen; Thomas Jefferson; Junius; Elbridge G. Lapham; Abraham Lincoln; John Hipple Mitchell; William Morris; Johann Most; Thomas Paine [misspelled below]; Theodore Roosevelt; Percy Bysshe Shelley; William A. Stone; Leo Tolstoy; Lew Wallace; John DeWitt Warner.
 
Notes
As reproduced below, the original article includes two instances of the use of sic in the third paragraph: the first immediately following the text of the “humorous provision” and the second in the quotation by Mr. Hill (before the word know). All other instances of sic below are editorial insertions.

Click here to view an excerpt of the North American Review article referenced below.
 
Document

 

Our Friends, the Enemy, Again

     Since my former [ar]ticle in their [praise?] was printed, our friends the enemy have broken loose once more. It is true, indeed, and an important sign of the times, that with subsidence of the craze, most bourgeois magazines and papers have ceased to say much against Anarchism. They evidently perceive t[he] pill proposed for legislative deglutition to be a large one, and as evidently are disposed to discourage, with a little mild satire, the wry faces and spasms of our would-be persecutors. Our friends, the enemy, express themselves chiefly thru [t]wo traditional mouth-pieces of old grannyism, the government at Washington, [a]nd the North American Review.
     It might naturally be expected that in comment on their screeds, I should give the place of honor to the president’s message. If it were worthy the chair from whence it emanates, of course I would. But as things are, I won’t. A decent regard for my own reputation forbids me to waste criticism upon patent side-weekly literatu[r]e; and Timorous Ted’s abuse of us must certainly have been derived from some such source. So let him go!
     Senator Burrows, the author of one anti-Anarchist bill, appears in the North American to [?] more laws.” His caption is “The Ne[ed of National Legisla]tion Against Anarchism.” His characterizations of Anarchism are as unworthy notice as Timid Teddy’s. But his practical proposals, and his facts, deserve a little consideration. His main important statement is that for fifteen years the monarchist gang at Washington has been trying to obtain “national legislation against Anarchism.” In 1894, during the craze which followed Carnot’s execution, Senator Hill introduced a measure of which Burrows complacently says that had it passed, “Most would have been sent back to Germany, where the authorities are anxiously waiting to lay hands on him.” This bill, which is not reprinted, but seems to have been of the most loose and dangerous character, got thru the senate, but was defeated in the house, August 23, principally thru the opposition of Mr. Warner, from New York, on the most reasona[b]le grounds that it did not define the offense of “Anarchism,” which it mentioned as cause for deporting unnaturalized aliens convicted of crime; and that it created twelve new officers at $2,500 a year! Whether Most could have been sent under its provisions where “the authorities are anxiously waiting to lay hands on him” is, perhaps, a little doubtful. But there is no question Czolgosz could not. This seems to have been the first time “Anarchism” was mentioned in a bill which ran the gauntlet of a chamber. The immigration acts of 1891, in their original form, contained such a mention; but the clause was always promptly amended out. In 1889 the select committee killed a bill introduced by Senator Mitchell, which provided, among other things, that no “avowed Anarchist or Nihilist” should be allowed to enter the United States, even tho [sic] he had been there before. In the busy year 1894, Representative W. A. Stone introduced a bill containing the following humorous provision: “Any person or persons (vid. sub.) who shall belong to, or who shall be appointed, designated, or employed, by any society or organization in this or any foreign country which provides in writing or verbal agreement for the taking of human life unlawfully or for the unlawful destruction of buildings or other property where the taking of human life would be the probable result, shall be deemed an Anarchist” (sic). This bill, remarks the logical Burrows, is interesting principally because of its attempt at defining the term “Anarchist.” It certainly would include m[e]mbers of the Chan-na-Gael [sic], Ku-Klux Klan, White Leagues, vigilantes, and other organizations not unknown to our laws; and as there happen to be no Anarchistic societies which “provide in writing [?] verbal agre[e]ment” as above, it could hurt no one else. The penalty of an attempt by an Anarchist, as defined above, on “any person holding office elective, or appointive, or employed under the Constitution and laws” was to be death by hanging. Mr. Hill, in defending his bill, stated that it was “not proposed . . . to make belief in Anarchy a crime . . . but provision is made that such a person [sic] know [sic] as an Anarchist shall not land in this country, and if he does land, by certain proceedings to be taken by or thru the secretary of the treasury that person” (the secretary?) “may be deported.” Several lost bills for the protection of the president also followed Garfield’s assassination. One, on which Senator Burrows lays emphasis, was fathered by Senator Lapham (New York). It only provides for the perpetual imprisonment of any person who shall assault an individual in the line of presidential succession, with intent to kill “except under such circumstances as woul[d] render the attempt justifiable [or excusable?] [1][2] by the common law.” This was in the forty-seventh congress, before the Anarchist scare, and accordingly may be considered sane in comparison with its successors. They began to flow immediately after the Chicago martyrdoms.
     Senator Burrows, with his usual perspicacity, thinks there must be “something besides mere accident to account for the disastrous result attending every attempt to pass preventive legislation against Anarchists.” There is something else; and I can tell him what it is. That the Anarchists have no assassination-societies, and therefore that laws against such societies would, so far as they are concerned, be bruta fulmina; but that such laws would be hard hits at important Southern and other societies, not unrepresented in congress; that, whatever Senator Hill may say, the deportation of a naturalized citizen or resident alien would clearly be a punishment, that it cannot therefore be constitutionally inflicted by a retrospective law, nor without an indictment, “by certain proceedings to be taken by or thru the secretary of the treasury”; that such lettre de cachet proceedings are regarded with aversion by th[e] American people; that we have already too many india-rubber penal statutes; that the president and his heirs in office are not royal persons; that their lives do not stand “between order and chaos,” but that if they were all killed, they could in case of necessity, supply their places as easily as Lincoln said he “could make another general,” tho hewasaware [sic] he could-not [sic] make another horse; these, sir, are the reasons why anti-Anarchist legislation fails: and though, as George Eliot remarks, “prophesy is the most gratuitous form o[f] mistake,” I would not be a bit surprised if it continued to fail for the same reason.
     General Lew Wallace shows quite ably, in [?] same (December) number of the same [?]ding magazine, that he is aware of the [?] difficulties attending any legislation [aga]inst Anarchists, as suc[h]. He has however a [pa]nacea of his own. The Constitution should be amended to make the definition of treason include attempts on the life of a pr[e]sident or vice-president, and agitation to subvert or overthrow the government of the United States. As the proposer of these imperialistic measures is aware they would require an amendment to the Constitution, which is a long and roundabout process, it does not seem improbable that he, as well as some other stampers-out, may simply be talking for buncombe. He very likely knows that, tho [sic] the American people would not like to live under such laws, they expect papa-government to air his patriotism by sanguinary proposals. Of Anarchism, General Wallace says: “Its motto is Down with Law! Away with Order! It moves to its work out of darkness. Ambush and treachery are components of its strategy. . . . That is to say Anarchy, could it be accomplished, would be the sum of all crimes; for which reason it should have the chief place in the catalog.” This is more scholarly and rhetorical language than Timid Ted’s on the same subject; but it betrays equal unacquaintance with Burke, “Junius,” Jefferson, Pain, the Declaration of Independence, Willia[m] [Lloyd] Garrison, Byron, Shelley, Morris, Ibsen, [Tolstoy], and the Centur[y] Dictionary. The eloquent author of “Ben Hur” and “The Fair God” is where he was at the battle of Shiloh. He is behind his time.

 

 


top of page