14 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. * * Contents of

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

14 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. **** **** Contents of this file page SUFFRAGE ADDRESS. 1 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. 7 **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** This address was delivered at a suffrage Meeting in Washington, D.C., January 24, 1880. SUFFRAGE ADDRESS. 1880. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I believe the people to be the only rightful source of political power, that any community, no matter where, in which any citizen is not allowed to have his voice in the making of the laws he must obey, that community is a tyranny. It is a matter of astonishment to me that a meeting like this is necessary in the Capital of the United States. If the citizens of the District of Columbia are not permitted to vote, if they are not allowed to govern themselves, and if there is no sound reason why they are not allowed to govern themselves, then the American idea of government is a failure. I do not believe that only the rich should vote, or that only the whites should vote, or that only the blacks should vote. I do not believe that right depends upon wealth, upon education, or upon color. It depends absolutely upon humanity. I have the right to vote because I am a man, because I am an American citizen, and that right I should and am willing to share equally with every human being. There has been a great deal said in this country of late in regard to giving the right of suffrage to women. So far as I am concerned I am willing that every woman in the nation who desires that privilege and honor shall vote. If any woman wants to vote I am too much of a gentleman to say she shall not. She gets her right, if she has it, from precisely the same source that I get mine, and there are many questions upon which I would deem it desirable that women should vote, especially upon the question of peace or war. If a woman has a child to be offered upon the altar of that Moloch, a husband liable to be drafted, and who loves a heart that can be entered by the iron arrow of death, she surely has as much right to vote for peace as some thrice-besotted sot who reels to the ballot-box and deposits a vote for war. I believe, and always have, that there is only one objection to a woman voting, and that is, the men are not sufficiently civilized for her to associate with them, and for several years I have been doing what little I can to civilize them. The only question before this meeting, as I understand it, is, Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 SUFFRAGE ADDRESS. Shall the people of this District manage their own affairs -- whether they shall vote their own taxes and select their own officers who are to execute the laws they make? and for one, I say there is no human being with ingenuity enough to frame an argument against this question. It is all very well to say that Congress will do this, but Congress has a great deal to do besides. There is enough before that body coming from all the States and Territories of the Union, and the numberless questions arising in the conduct of the General Government. I am opposed to a government where the few govern the many. I am opposed to a government that depends upon suppers, and upon flattery; upon crooking the hinges of the knee; upon favors, upon subterfuges. We want to be manly men in this District. We must direct and control our own affairs, and if we are not capable of doing it, there is no part of the Union where they are capable. It is said there is a vast amount of ignorance here. That is true; but that is also true of every section of the United States. There is too much ignorance and there will continue to be until the people become great enough, generous enough, and splendid enough to see that no child shall grow up in their midst without a good, common-school education. The people of this District are capable of managing their educational affairs if they are allowed to do so. The fact is, a man now living in the District lives under a perpetual flag of truce. He is nobody. He counts for nothing. He is not noticed except as a suppliant. Nothing as a citizen. That day should pass away. It will be a perpetual education for this people to govern themselves, and until they do they cannot be manly men. They say, though, that there is a vast rabble here. Very well. Make your election laws so as to exclude the vast rabble. Let it be understood that no man shall vote who has not lived here at least one year. Let your registration laws prohibit any man from voting unless he has been registered at least six months. We do not want to be governed by people who have no abode here -- who are political Bedouins of the desert. We want to be governed by people who live with us -- who live somewhere among us, and whom somebody knows, and if a law is properly framed there will be no trouble about self-government in the District of Columbia. Let the experiment be tried here of a perfect, complete and honest registration; let every man, no matter who he is or where he comes from, vote only by strict compliance with a good registry law. We can have a fair election, and wherever there is a fair election there will be good government. Our Government depends for its stability upon honest elections. The great principle underlying our system of government is that the people have the virtue and the patriotism to govern themselves. That is the foundation stone, the corner and the our base of our edifice, and upon it our Government is on trial to-day. And until a man is considered infamous who casts an illegal vote, our Government will not be safe. Whoever casts an illegal vote knowingly is a traitor to the principle upon which our Government is founded. And whoever deprives a citizen of his right to vote is also a traitor to our Government. When these things are understood; when the finger of public scorn shall be pointed at every man who votes illegally, or unlawfully prevents an honest vote, then you will have a splendid Government. It is humiliating for one hundred and seventy-five thousand people to depend simply upon the right of petition. The few will disregard the petition of the many. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 SUFFRAGE ADDRESS. I have not one word to say against the officers of the District. Not a word. But let them do as well as they can; that is no justification. It is no justification of a monarchy that the king is a good man; it is no justification of a tyranny that the despot does justice. There may come another who will do injustice; and a free people like ours should not be satisfied to be governed by strangers. They would better have bad men of their own choosing than to have good men forced upon them. You have property here, and you have a right to protect it, and a right to improve it. You have life and liberty and the right to protect it. You have a right to say what money shall be assessed and collected and paid for that protection. You have laws and you have a right to have them executed by officers of your own selection, and by nobody else. In my judgement, all that is necessary to have these things done is to have the subject properly laid before Congress, and let that body thoroughly and perfectly understand the situation. There is no member there, who rightly understanding our wishes, will dare continue this disfranchisement of the people. We have the same right to vote that their constituents have precisely -- no more and no less. This District ought to have one representative in Congress, a representative with a right to speak -- not a tongueless dummy. The idea of electing a delegate who has simply the privilege of standing around! We ought to have a representative who has not only the right to talk, but who will talk. This District has the right to a vote in the committees of Congress, and not simply the privilege of receiving a little advice. And more than that, this District ought to have at least one electoral vote in a selection of a President of the United States. A smaller population than yours is represented not only in Congress, but in the Electoral College. If it is necessary to amend the Constitution to secure these rights let us try and have it amended; and when that question is put to the people of the whole country they will be precisely as willing that the people of the District of Columbia shall have an equal voice as that they themselves should have a voice. Let us stop at no half-way ground, but claim, and keep claiming all our rights until somebody says we shall have them. And let me tell you another thing: Once have the right of self- government recognized here, have a delegate in Congress, and an electoral vote for President, and thousands will be willing to come here and become citizens of the District. As it is, the moment a man settles here his American citizenship falls from him like dead leaves from a tree. From that moment he is nobody. Every American citizen wants a little political power -- wants to cast his vote for the rulers of the nation. He wants to have something to say about the laws he has to obey, and they are not willing to come here and disfranchise themselves. The moment it is known that a man is from the District he has no influence and no one cares what his political, opinions may be. Now, let us have it so that we can vote and be on an equality with the rest of the voters of the United States. This Government was founded upon the idea that the only source of power is the people. Let us show at the Capital that we have confidence in that principle; that every man should have a vote and voice in the South, in the North, everywhere, no matter how low his condition, no matter that he was a slave, no matter Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 SUFFRAGE ADDRESS. what his color is, or whether he can read or write, he is clothed with the right to name those who make the laws he is to obey. While the lowest and most degraded in every State in this Union have that right, the best and most intelligent in the District have not that right. It will not do. There is no sense in it -- there is no justice in it -- nothing American in it. If this were the case in some of the capitals of Europe we would not be surprised; but here in the United States, where we have so much to say about the right of self-government, that two hundred thousand people should not have the right to say who shall make, and who shall execute the laws is at least an anomaly and a contradiction of our theory of government, and for one, I propose to do what little I can to correct it. It has been said that you had once here the right of self-government. If I understand it, the right you had was to elect somebody to some office, and all the other officers were appointed. You had no control over your Legislature; you had very little control over your other officers, and the people of the District held responsible for what was actually done by the appointing power. We want no appointing power. If it is necessary to have a police magistrate, I say the people are competent to elect that magistrate; and if he is not a good man they are qualified to select another in his place. You ought to elect your judges. I do not want the office of the judiciary so far from the people that it may feel entirely independent. I want every officer in this District held accountable to the people, and, unless he discharges his duties faithfully, the people will put him out, and select another in his stead. I want it Understood that no American citizen can be forced to pay a dollar in a State or in the district where he lives who is not represented, and where he has not the right to vote. It is all tyranny, and all infamous. The people of the United States wonder to-day that you have submitted to this outrage as long as you have. Neither do I believe that only the rich should have the right to vote; that only they should govern; or that only the educated should govern. I have noticed among educated men many who did not know enough to govern themselves. I have known many wealthy men who did not believe in liberty, in giving the people the same rights they claimed for selves. I believe in that government where the ballot of Lazarus counts as much as the vote of Dives. Let the rich, let the educated, govern the people by moral suasion and by example and by kindness and not by brute force. And in a community like this where the avenues to distinction are open alike to all, there will be many more reasons for acting like men. When you can hold any position, when every citizen can have conferred upon him honor and responsibility, there is some stimulus to be a man. But in a community where but the few are clothed with power by appointment, no incentive exists among the people. If the avenues to distinction and honor are open to all, such a government is beneficial on every hand, and the poorest man in the community may say to himself, "If I pursue the right course the very highest place is open to me." And the poorest man, with his little tow-headed boy on his knee, can say, "John, all the avenues are open to you; although I am poor, you may be rich, and while I am obscure, you may become distinguished." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 SUFFRAGE ADDRESS. That idea sweetens every hour of toil and renders holy every drop of sweat that rolls down the face of labor. I hate tyranny in every form. I despise it, and I execrate a tyrant wherever he may be, and in every country where the people are struggling for the right of self-government I sympathize with them in their struggle. Wherever the sword of rebellion is drawn in favor of human rights I am a rebel. I sympathize with all the people in Europe who are endeavoring to push kings from thrones and struggling for the right to govern themselves. America ought to send greeting to every part of the world where such a struggle is pending, and we of the District of Columbia ought to be able to join in the greeting, but we never shall be until we have the right of self-government ourselves. No man who is a good citizen can have any objection to self-government here. No man can be opposed to it who believes that our people have enough wisdom, enough virtue, enough patriotism to govern themselves. The man who doubts the right of the people to govern themselves casts a little doubt upon the question, simply because he is not man enough himself to believe in liberty. I would trust the poor of this country with our liberties as soon as I would the rich. I will trust the huts and hovels, just as soon as I will the mansions and palaces. I will trust those who work by the day in the streets as soon as I will the bankers of the United States. I will trust the ignorant -- even the ignorant Why? Because they want education, and no people in this country are so anxious to have their children educated as those who are not educated themselves. I will trust the ignorant with the liberties of this country quicker than I would some of the educated who doubt the principles upon which our Government is founded. But let the intelligent do what they can to instruct the ignorant. Let the wealthy do what they can to give the blessings of liberty to the poor, and then this Government will remain forever. The time is passing away when any man of genius can be respected who will not use that genius in elevating his fellow-man. The time is passing away when men, however wealthy, can be respected unless they use their millions for the elevation of mankind. The time is coming when no man will be called an honest man who is not willing to give to every other man, be he white or black every right that he asks for himself. For my part, I am willing to live under a government where all govern, and am not willing to live under any other. I am willing to live where I am on an equality with other men, where they have precisely my rights, and no more; and I despise any government that is not based upon this principle of human equality. Now, let us go just for that one thing, that we have the same right as any other people in the United States -- that is, to govern this District ourselves. Let us be represented in the lawmaking power, and let us advocate a change in the fundamental law so that the people of this District shall be entitled to one vote as to who shall be President of the United States. And when that is done and our people are clothed with the panoply of citizenship, you will find this District growing not to two hundred thousand, but in a little while one million of people will live here. Now, for one, I have not the slightest feeling against members of Congress for what has been done. I believe when this matter is laid before them fully and properly you will find few men in that august body who will vote against the proposition. They have had trouble enough. They do not Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 SUFFRAGE ADDRESS. understand our affairs. They never did, never will, never can. No one who does not live here will. The public interests are so many and so conflicting, and touch the sides of so many, that the people must attend to this matter themselves. They know when they want a market, a judge, or a collector of taxes, and nobody else does and nobody else has a right to. And instead of going up to Congress and standing around some committee-room with a long petition in your hands, begging somebody to wait just one, it will be far better that you should go to the polls and elect your representative, who can attend to your interests in Congress. But above all things, I want to warn you, charge you, beseech you, that in any legislation upon this subject you must secure a registration law that will prevent the casting of an illegal vote. Do this before it is known whether the District is Republican or Democratic. I do not care. No matter how much od a Republican I am, absolutely, I would rather be governed by Democrats who live here than by Republicans who do not. And now, while it is not known whether this is a Democratic or Republican community, let us get up a registration that no one can violate; because the moment you have an election, and it is ascertained to be either Democratic or Republican, the victorious party may be opposed to any registration or any legislation that will put in jeopardy their power. I have lived long enough to be satisfied that any State in this Union, whether no matter weather Democratic or Republican, will be safe as long as the people have the right to vote, and to see that the ballots will be counted. This country is now upon trial. In nearly every State. in this Union there is liable to happen just the same thing that only the other day happened in Maine. In every State there can be two legislatures, one in the State-house and the other on the fence. Let us in this District so guard the right to vote and the counting of the ballots, that we shall know after the election who has been elected and know with certainty the men who have been elected by the legal voters of the District. It becomes us all, whether Republicans or Democrats to unite in securing such a law. Let us act together, Democrats and Republicans, black and white, rich and poor, educated and ignorant -- let us all unite upon the principle that we have the right to govern ourselves. Then it will make no difference whether the District of Columbia shall be Democratic or Republican, provided it is the will of a legal majority of her people. Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. 1891 "Well, while I am a beggar, I will rail, And say there is no sin but to be rich." MR. A. lived in the kingdom of ---. He was a sincere professional philanthropist. He was absolutely certain that he loved his fellow-men, and that his views were humane and scientific. He concluded to turn his attention to taking care of people less fortunate than himself. With this object in view he investigated the common people that lived about him, and he found that they were extremely ignorant, that many of them seemed to take no particular interest in life or in business, that few of them had any theories of their own, and that, while many had muscle, there was only now and then one who had any mind worth speaking of. Nearly all of them were destitute of ambition. They were satisfied if they got something to eat, a place to sleep, and could now and then indulge in some form of dissipation. They seemed to have great confidence in to-morrow -- trusted to luck, and took no thought for the future. Many of them were extravagant, most of them dissipated, and a good many dishonest. Mr. A. found that many of the husbands not only failed to support their families, but that some of them lived on the labor of their wives; that many of the wives were careless of their obligations, knew nothing about the art of cooking, nothing about keeping house; and that parents, as a general thing, neglected their children or treated them with cruelty. He also found that many of the people were so shiftless that they died of want and exposure. After having obtained this information Mr. A. made up his mind to do what little be could to better their condition. He petitioned the king to assist him, and asked that he be allowed to take control of five hundred people in consideration that he would pay a certain amount into the treasury of the kingdom. The king being satisfied that Mr. A. could take care of these people better than they were taking care of themselves, granted the petition. Mr. A., with the assistance of a few soldiers, took these people from their old homes and haunts to a plantation of his own. He divided them into groups, and over each group placed a superintendent. He made certain rules and regulations for their conduct. They were only compelled to work from twelve to fourteen hours a day, leaving ten hours for sleep and recreation. Good and substantial food was provided. Their houses were comfortable and their clothing sufficient. Their work was laid out from day to day and from month to month, so that they knew exactly what they were to do in each hour of every day. These rules were made for the good of the people, to the end that they might not interfere with each other, that they might attend to their duties, and enjoy themselves in a reasonable way. They were not allowed to waste their time, or to use stimulants or profane language. They were told to be respectful to the superintendents, and especially to Mr. A.; to be obedient, and, above all, to accept the position in which Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. Providence had placed them, without complaining, and to cheerfully perform their tasks. Mr. A. had found out all that the five hundred persons had earned the year before they were taken control of by him -- just how much they had added to the wealth of the world. He had statistics taken for the year before with great care showing the number of deaths, the cases of sickness and of destitution, the number who had committed suicide, how many had been convicted of crimes and misdemeanors, how many days they had been idle, and how much time and money they had spent in drink and for worthless amusements. During the first year of their enslavement he kept like statistics. He found that they had earned several times as much; that there had been no cases of destitution, no drunkenness; that no crimes had been committed; that there had been but little sickness, owing to the regular course of their lives; that few had been guilty of misdemeanors, owing to the certainty of punishment; and that they had been so watched and superintended that for the most part they had traveled the highway of virtue and industry. Mr. A. was delighted, and with a vast deal of pride showed these statistics to his friends. He not only demonstrated that the five hundred people were better off than they had been before, but that his own income was very largely increased. He congratulated himself that he had added to the well-being of these people not only, but had laid the foundation of a great fortune for himself. On these facts and these figures he claimed not only to be a philanthropist, but a philosopher; and all the people who had a mind to go into the same business agreed with him. Some denounced the entire proceeding as unwarranted, as contrary to reason and justice. These insisted that the five hundred people had a right to live in their own way provided they did not interfere with others; that they had the right to go through the world with little food and with poor clothes, and to live in huts, if such was their choice. But Mr. A. had no trouble in answering these objectors. He insisted that well-being is the only good, and that every human being is under obligation, not only to take care of himself, but to do what little he can towards taking care of others; that where five hundred people neglect to take care of themselves, it is the duty of somebody else, who has more intelligence and more means, to take care of them; that the man who takes five hundred people and improves their condition, gives them on the average better food, better clothes, and keeps them out of mischief, is a benefactor. "These people," said Mr. A., "were tried. They were found incapable of taking care of themselves. They lacked intelligence or will or honesty or industry or ambition or something, so that in the struggle for existence they fell behind, became stragglers, dropped by the wayside, died in gutters; while many were destined to end their days either in dungeons or on scaffolds. Besides all this, they were a nuisance to their prosperous fellow-citizens, a perpetual menace to the peace of society. They increased the burden of taxation; they filled the ranks of the criminal classes, they Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. made it necessary to build more jails, to employ more policemen and judges; so that I, by enslaving them, not only assisted them, not only protected them against themselves, not only bettered their condition, not only added to the well-being of society at large, but greatly increased my own fortune." Mr. A. also took the ground that Providence, by giving him superior intelligence, the genius of command, the aptitude for taking charge of others, had made it his duty to exercise these faculties for the well-being of the people and for the glory of God. Mr. A. frequently declared that he was God's steward. He often said he thanked God that he was not governed by a sickly sentiment, but that he was a man of sense, of judgment, of force of character, and that the means employed by him were in accordance with the logic of facts. Some of the people thus enslaved objected, saying that they had the same right to control themselves that Mr. A. had to control himself. But it only required a little discipline to satisfy them that they were wrong. Some of the people were quite happy, and declared that nothing gave them such perfect contentment as the absence of all responsibility. Mr. A. insisted that all men had not been endowed with the same capacity; that the weak ought to be cared for by the strong; that such was evidently the design of the Creator, and that he intended to do what little he could to carry that design into effect. Mr. A. was very successful. In a few years he had several thousands of men, women, and children working for him, He amassed a large fortune. He felt that he had been intrusted with this money by Providence. He therefore built several churches, and once in a while gave large sums to societies for the spread of civilization. He passed away regretted by a great many people -- not including those who had lived under his immediate administration. He was buried with great pomp, the king being one of the pall-bearers, and on his tomb was this: HE WAS THE PROVIDENCE OF THE POOR. II. "And, being rich, my virtue then shall be To say there is no vice but beggary." Mr. B. did not believe in slavery. He despised the institution with every drop of his blood, and was an advocate of universal freedom. He held all the ideas of Mr. A. in supreme contempt, and frequently spent whole evenings in denouncing the inhumanity and injustice of the whole business. He even went so far as to contend that many of A.'s slaves had more intelligence than A. himself, and that, whether they had intelligence or not, they had the right to be free. He insisted that Mr. A.'s philanthropy was a sham; that he never bought a human being for the purpose of bettering that being's condition; that he went into the business simply to make money for himself; and that his talk about his slaves committing Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. less crime than when they were free was simply to justify the crime committed by himself in enslaving his fellow-men. Mr. B. was a manufacturer, and he employed some five or six thousand men. He used to say that these men were not forced to work for him; that they were at perfect liberty to accept or reject the terms; that, so far as he was concerned, he would just as soon commit larceny or robbery as to force a man to work for him. "Every laborer under my roof," he used to say, "is as free to choose as I am." Mr. B. believed in absolutely free trade; thought it an outrage to interfere with the free interplay of forces; said that every man should buy, or at least have the privilege of buying, where be could buy cheapest, and should have the privilege of selling where he could get the most. He insisted that a man who has labor to sell has the right to sell it to the best advantage, and that the purchaser has the right to buy it at the lowest price. He did not enslave men -- he hired them. Some said that he took advantage of their necessities; but he answered that he created no necessities, that he was not responsible for their condition, that he did not make them poor, that he found them poor and gave them work, and gave them the same wages that he could employ others for. He insisted that he was absolutely just to all; he did not give one man more than another, and he never refused to employ a man on account of the man's religion or politics; all that he did was simply to employ that man if the man wished to be employed, and give him the wages, no more and no less, that some other man of like capacity was willing to work for. Mr. B. also said that the price of the article manufactured by him fixed the wages of the persons employed, and that he, Mr. B., was not responsible for the price of the article he manufactured; consequently he was not responsible for the wages of the workmen. He agreed to pay them a certain price, he taking the risk of selling his articles, and he paid them regularly just on the day he agreed to pay them, and if they were not satisfied with the wages, they were at perfect liberty to leave. One of his private sayings was: "The poor ye have always with you." And from this he argued that some men were made poor so that others could be generous. "Take poverty and suffering from the world," he said, "and you destroy sympathy and generosity." Mr. B. made a large amount of money. Many of his workmen complained that their wages did not allow them to live in comfort. Many had large families, and therefore but little to eat. Some of them lived in crowded rooms. Many of the children were carried off by disease; but Mr. B. took the ground that all these people had the right to go, that he did not force them to remain, that if they were not healthy it was not his fault, and that whenever it pleased Providence to remove a child, or one of the parents, he, Mr. B., was not responsible. Mr. B. insisted that many of his workmen were extravagant; that they bought things that they did not need; that they wasted in beer and tobacco, money that they should save for funerals; that many of them visited places of amusement when they should have been thinking about death, and that others bought toys to please the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. children when they hardly had bread enough to eat. He felt that he was in no way accountable for this extravagance, nor for the fact that their wages did not give them the necessaries of life, because he not only gave them the same wages that other manufacturers gave, but the same wages that other workmen were willing to work for. Mr. B. said, -- and he always said this as though it ended the argument, -- and he generally stood up to say it: "The great law of supply and demand is of divine origin; it is the only law that will work in all possible or conceivable cases; and this law fixes the price of all labor, and from it there is no appeal. If people are not satisfied with the operation of the law, then let them make a new world for themselves." Some of Mr. B.'s friends reported that on several occasions, forgetting what he had said on others, he did declare that his confidence was somewhat weakened in the law of supply and demand; but this was only when there seemed to be an over-production of the things he was engaged in manufacturing, and at such times he seemed to doubt the absolute equity of the great law. Mr. B. made even a larger fortune than Mr. A., because when his workmen got old he did not have to care for them, when they were sick he paid no doctors, and when their children died he bought no coffins. In this way he was relieved of a large part of the expenses that had to be borne by Mr. A. When his workmen became too old, they were sent to the poorhouse; when they were sick, they were assisted by charitable societies; and when they died, they were buried by pity. In a few years Mr. B. was the owner of many millions. He also considered himself as one of God's stewards; felt that Providence had given him the intelligence to combine interests, to carry out great schemes, and that he was specially raised up to give employment to many thousands of people. He often regretted that he could do no more for his laborers without lessening his own profits, or, rather, without lessening his fund for the blessing of mankind -- the blessing to begin immediately after his death. He was so anxious to be the providence of posterity that he was sometimes almost heartless in his dealings with contemporaries. He felt that it was necessary for him to be economical, to save every dollar that he could, because in this way he could increase the fund that was finally to bless mankind, He also felt that in this way he could lay the foundations of a permanent fame -- that he could build, through his executors, an asylum to be called the "B. Asylum," that he could fill a building with books to be called the "B Library," and that he could also build and endow an institution of learning to be called the "B. College," and that, in addition, a large amount of money could be given for the purpose of civilizing the citizens of less fortunate countries, to the end that they might become imbued with that spirit of combination and manufacture that results in putting large fortunes in the hands of those who have been selected by Providence, on account of their talents, to make a better distribution of wealth than those who earned it could have done. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. Mr. B. spent many thousands of dollars to procure such legislation as would protect him from foreign competition. He did not believe the law of supply and demand would work when interfered with by manufacturers living in other countries. Mr. B., like Mr. A., was a man of judgment. He had what is called a level head, was not easily turned aside from his purpose, and felt that he was in accord with the general sentiment of his time. By his own exertions he rose from poverty to wealth, He was born in a hut and died in a palace. He was a patron of art and enriched his walls with the works of the masters. He insisted that others could and should follow his example. For those who failed or refused he had no sympathy. He accounted for their poverty and wretchedness by saying: "These paupers have only themselves to blame." He died without ever having lost a dollar. His funeral was magnificent, and clergymen vied with each other in laudation of the dead. Over his dust rises a monument of marble with the words: HE LIVED FOR OTHERS. III. "But there are men who steal, and vainly try To gild the crime with pompous charity." There was another man, Mr. C., who also had the genius for combination. He understood the value of capital, the value of labor; knew exactly how much could be done with machinery; understood the economy of things; knew how to do everything in the easiest and shortest way. And he, too, was a manufacturer and had in his employ many thousands of men, women, and children. He was what is called a visionary, a sentimentalist, rather weak in his will, not very obstinate, had but little egotism; and it never occurred to him that he had been selected by Providence, or any supernatural power, to divide the property of others. It did not seem to him that he had any right to take from other men their labor without giving them a full equivalent. He felt that if he had more intelligence than his fellow-men he ought to use that intelligence not only for his own good but for theirs; that he certainly ought not to use it for the purpose of gaining an advantage over those who were his intellectual inferiors. He used to say that a man strong intellectually had no more right to take advantage of a man weak intellectually than the physically strong had to rob the physically weak. He also insisted that we should not take advantage of each other's necessities; that you should not ask a drowning man a greater price for lumber than you would if he stood on the shore; that if you took into consideration the necessities of your fellow- man, it should be only to lessen the price of that which you would sell to him, not to increase it. He insisted that honest men do not take advantage of their fellows. He was so weak that he had not perfect confidence in the great law of supply and demand as applied to flesh and blood. He took into consideration another law of supply and demand; he knew that the workingman had to be supplied with food, and that his nature demanded something to eat, a house to live in, clothes to wear. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. Mr. C. used to think about this law of supply and demand as applicable to individuals. He found that men would work for exceedingly small wages when pressed for the necessaries of life; that under some circumstances they would give their labor for half of what it was worth to the employer, because they were in a position where they must do something for wife or child. He concluded that he had no right to take advantage of the necessities of others, and that he should in the first place honestly find what the work was worth to him, and then give to the man who did the work that amount. Other manufacturers regarded Mr. C. as substantially insane, white most of his workmen looked upon him as an exceedingly good- natured man, without any particular genius for business. Mr. C., however, cared little about the opinions of others, so long as he maintained his respect for himself. At the end of the first year he found that he had made a large profit, and thereupon he divided this profit with the people who had earned it. Some of his friends said to him that he ought to endow some public institution; that there should be a college in his native town; but Mr. C. was of such a peculiar turn of mind that he thought justice ought to go before charity, and a little in front of egotism, and a desire to immortalize one's self. He said that it seemed to him that of all persons in the world entitled to this profit were the men who had earned it, the men who had made it by their labor, by days of actual toil. He insisted that, as they had earned it, it was really theirs, and if it was theirs, they should have it and should spend it in their own way. Mr. C. was told that he would make the workmen in other factories dissatisfied, that other manufacturers would become his enemies, and that his course would scandalize some of the greatest men who had done so much for the civilization of the world and for the spread of intelligence. Mr. C. became extremely unpopular with men of talent, with those who had a genius for business. He, however, pursued his way, and carried on his business with the idea that the men who did the work were entitled to a fair share of the profits; that, after all, money was not as sacred as men, and that the law of supply and demand, as understood, did not apply to flesh and blood. Mr. C. said: "I cannot be happy if those who work for me are defrauded. If I feel I am taking what belongs to them, then my life becomes miserable. To feel that I have done justice is one of the necessities of my nature. I do not wish to establish colleges. I wish to establish no public institution. My desire is to enable those who work for me to establish a few thousand homes for themselves. My ambition is to enable them to buy the books they really want to read. I do not wish to establish a hospital, but I want to make it possible for my workmen to have the services of the best physicians -- physicians of their own choice. It is not for me to take their money and use it for the good of others or for my own glory. It is for me to give what they have earned to them. After I have given them the money that belongs to them, I can give them my advice -- I can tell them how I hope they Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 THE THREE PHILANTHROPISTS. will use it; and after I have advised them, they will use it as they please. You cannot make great men and great women by suppression, Slavery is not the school in which genius is born. Every human being must make his own mistakes for himself, must learn for himself, must have his own experience; and if the world improves, it must be from choice, not from force; and every man who does justice, who sets the example of fair dealing, hastens the coming of universal honesty, of universal civilization." Mr. C. carried his doctrine out to the fullest extent, honestly and faithfully. When he died, there were at the funeral those who had worked for him, their wives and their children. Their tears fell upon his grave. They planted flowers and paid to him the tribute of their love. Above his silent dust they erected a monument with this inscription: HE ALLOWED OTHERS TO LIVE FOR THEMSELVES. North American Review, December, 1891. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank