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The Single Tax

This idea was first formulated by Mr. Henry George in 1879, and has
grown steadily in favor. Single tax men assert as a fundamental
principle that all men are equally entitled to the use of the earth;
therefore, no one should be allowed to hold valuable land without
paying to the community the value of the privilege. They hold that this
is the only rightful source of public revenue, and they would therefore
abolish all taxation--local, State and National--except a tax upon the
rental value of land exclusive of its improvements, the revenue thus
raised to be divided among local, State and general governments, as the
revenue from certain direct taxes is now divided between local and
State governments.

The single tax would not fall on all land, but only on valuable land,
and on that in proportion to its value. It would thus be a tax, not on
use or improvements, but on ownership of land, taking what would
otherwise go to the landlord as owner.

In accordance with the principle that all men are equally entitled to
the use of the earth, they would solve the transportation problem by
public ownership and control of all highways, including the roadbeds of
railroads, leaving their use equally free to all.

The single tax system would, they claim, dispense with a hoard of
tax-gatherers, simplify government, and greatly reduce its cost; give
us with all the world that absolute free trade which now exists between
the States of the Union; abolish all taxes on private uses of money;
take the weight of taxation from agricultural districts, where land has
little or no value apart from improvements, and put it upon valuable
land, such as city lots and mineral deposits. It would call upon men to
contribute for public expenses in proportion to the natural
opportunities they monopolize, and make it unprofitable for speculators
to hold land unused, or only partly used, thus opening to labor
unlimited fields of employment, solving the labor problem and
abolishing involuntary poverty.

Proclaimed by Law, January 1, 1891.
COUNTRY. Monetary STANDARD. Value in
Units U.S. Money
Argentine Republic Peso Gold and Silver $ .96 5-10
Austria Florin Silver .38 1-10
Belgium Franc Gold and Silver .19 3-10
Bolivia Boliviano Silver .77 1-10
Brazil Milreis Gold .54 6-10
Canada Dollar Gold 1.00
Chili Peso Gold and Silver .91 2-10
China Tael Silver 1.27
Cuba Peso Gold and Silver .92 6-10
Denmark Crown Gold .26 8-10
Ecuador Peso Silver .77 1-10
Egypt Piaster Gold .04 9-10
France Franc Gold and Silver .19 3-10
Great Britain Pound SterlingGold 4.86 6-100
Greece Drachma Gold and Silver .19 3-10
German Empire Mark Gold .23 8-10
Hayti Gourde Gold and Silver .96 5-10
India Rupee Silver .36 6-10
Italy Lira Gold and Silver .19 3-10
Japan Yen Silver .85 8-10
Liberia Dollar Gold 1.00
Mexico Dollar Silver .83 7-10
Netherlands Florin Gold and Silver .40 2-10
Norway Crown Gold .26 8-10
Peru Sol Silver .77 1-10
Portugal Milreis Gold 1.08
Russia Rouble Silver .61 7-10
Sandwich Islands Dollar Gold 1.00
Spain Peseta Gold and Silver .19 3-10
Sweden Crown Gold .26 8-10
Switzerland Franc Gold and Silver .19 3-10
Tripoli Mahbub Silver .69 5-10
Turkey Piaster Gold .04 4-10
U.S. of Columbia Peso Silver .79 5-10
Venezuela Bolivar Gold and Silver .15 4-10

The largest producing farm in the world lies in the southwest corner of
Louisiana, owned by a northern syndicate. It runs one hundred miles
north and south. The immense tract is divided into convenient pastures,
with stations of ranches every six miles. The fencing alone cost nearly

The "Seven Wonders of the World" are seven most remarkable objects of
the ancient world. They are: The Pyramids of Egypt, Pharos of
Alexandria, Walls and Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Temple of Diana at
Ephesus, the Statue of the Olympian Jupiter, Mausoleum of Artemisia,
and Colossus of Rhodes.

The seven sages flourished in Greece in the 6th century B.C. They were
renowned for their maxims of life and as the authors of the mottoes
inscribed in the Delphian Temple. Their names are: Solon, Chilo,
Pittacus, Bias, Periander, Clebolus and Thales.

The estimated number of Christians in the world is over 408,000,000; of
Buddhists, 420,000,000; of the followers of Brahma, 180,000,000; of
Mohammedans, 150,000,000; of Jews, 8,000,000; of atheists, deists, and
infidels, 85,000,000; of pagans, 50,000,000, and of the 1,100 other
minor creeds, 123,000,000.

In 1775 there were only 27 newspapers published in the United States.
Ten years later, in 1785, there were seven published in the English
language in Philadelphia alone, of which one was a daily. The oldest
newspaper published in Philadelphia at the time of the Federal
convention was the Pennsylvania Gazette, established by Samuel
Keimer, in 1728. The second newspaper in point of age was the
Pennsylvania Journal, established in 1742 by William Bradford,
whose uncle, Andrew Bradford, established the first newspaper in
Pennsylvania, the American Weekly Mercury, in 1719. The next in age,
but the first in importance, was the Pennsylvania Packet, established
by John Dunlop in 1771. In 1784 it became a daily, being the first
daily newspaper printed on this continent.



I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find
his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors. This pleasure I
have seldom enjoyed. For though I have been, if I may say it without
vanity, an eminent author of Almanacs annually now for a full
quarter of a century, my brother authors in the same way, for what
reason I know not, have ever been very sparing in their applauses; and
no other author has taken the least notice of me; so that did not my
writings produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency of praise
would have quite discouraged me.

I concluded at length that the people were the best judges of my merit,
for they buy my works; and besides, in my rambles where I am not
personally known, I have frequently heard one or other of my adages
repeated, with as Poor Richard says at the end of it. This gives me
some satisfaction, as it showed, not only that my instructions were
regarded, but discovered likewise some respect for my authority; and I
own that to encourage the practice of remembering and repeating those
sentences, I have sometimes quoted myself with great activity.

Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am
going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately where a great number
of people were collected at a vendue of merchant's goods. The hour of
sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times;
and one of the company called to a plain, clean old man with white
locks, "Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Won't these
heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay
them? What would you advise us to do?" Father Abraham stood up and
replied: "If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; for
A word to the wise is enough, and Many words won't fill a bushel,
as Poor Richard says." They all joined, desiring him to speak his mind,
and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:

Friends, says he, and neighbors, the taxes are indeed very heavy, and
if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we
might the more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much
more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our
IDLENESS, three times as much by our PRIDE and four times as much by
our FOLLY; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or
deliver us, by allowing an abatement. However, let us hearken to good
advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help
themselves, as Poor Richard says in his Almanac of 1733.

It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people
one-tenth part of their TIME, to be employed in its service, but
idleness taxes many of us much more, if we reckon all that is spent in
absolute sloth, or doing of nothing, with that which is spent in idle
employments or amusements that amount to nothing. Sloth, by bringing on
disease, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster
than labor wears; while the used key is always bright, as Poor Richard
says. But dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's
the stuff life is made of, as Poor Richard says.

How much more that is necessary do we spend in sleep? Forgetting that
the sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that there will be sleeping
enough in the grave, as Poor Richard says. If times be of all things
the most precious, wasting of time must be, as Poor Richard says,
the greatest prodigality; since, as he elsewhere tells us, lost time
is never found again; and what we call time enough! always proves
little enough. Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose;
so, by diligence, shall we do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes
all things difficult, but industry all things easy, as Poor Richard
says; and He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce
overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly that
Poverty soon overtakes him, as we read in Poor Richard; who adds,
Drive thy business! Let not that drive thee! and

Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? We may make
these times better if we bestir ourselves. Industry need not wish, as
Poor Richard says, and He that lives on hope will die fasting. There
are no gains without pains; then help, hands! for I have no lands; or
if I have they are smartly taxed. And, as Poor Richard likewise
observes, He that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a
calling hath an honor; but then the trade must be worked at, and the
calling well followed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable
us to pay our taxes. If we are industrious we shall never starve; for,
as Poor Richard says, At the working-man's house hunger looks in, but
dares not enter. Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for
Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.

What though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left
you a legacy, Diligence is the mother of good luck, as Poor Richard
says, and God gives all things to industry

Then plough deep while the sluggards sleep,
And you shall have corn to sell and to keep,

says Poor Dick. Work while it is called to-day, for you know not how
much you may be hindered to-morrow; which makes Poor Richard say, One
to-day is worth two to-morrows; and farther, Have you somewhat to do
tomorrow? Do it to-day!

If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master
should catch you idle? Are you then your own master? Be ashamed to
catch yourself idle, as Poor Richard says. When there is so much to be
done for yourself, your family, your country, and your gracious king,
be up by peep of day! Let not the sun look down and say, "Inglorious
here he lies!" Handle your tools without mittens! remember that The
cat in gloves catches no mice! as poor Richard says.

'Tis true there is much to be done, and perhaps you are weak-handed;
but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects; for Constant
dropping wears away stones; and By diligence and patience the mouse
ate in two the cable; and Little strokes fell great oaks; as Poor
Richard says in his Almanac, the year I cannot just now remember.

Methinks I hear some of you say, "Must a man afford himself no
leisure?" I will tell, thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, Employ
thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and Since thou are
not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour! Leisure is time for
doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but
the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, A life of leisure
and a life of laziness are two things. Do you imagine that sloth will
afford you more comfort than labor? No! for as Poor Richard says,
Trouble springs from idleness, and grievous toil from needless ease.
Many, without labor, would live by their wits only, but they'll break
for want of stock (i.e. capital); whereas industry gives comfort, and
plenty, and respect. Fly pleasures, and they'll follow you. The
diligent spinner has a large shift; and

Now I have a sheep and a cow,
Everybody bids me good morrow.

All which is well said by Poor Richard. But with our industry we must
likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs
with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others; for, as Poor
Richard says,

I never saw an oft removed tree,
Nor yet an oft removed family,
That throve so well as those that settled be.

And again, Three removes are as bad as a fire; and again, Keep thy
shop, and thy shop will keep thee; and again, If you would have your
business done, go; if not, send. And again,

He that by the plough would thrive,
Himself must either hold or drive.

And again, The eye of the master will do more work than both his
hands; and again, Want of care does us more damage than want of
knowledge; and again, Not to oversee workmen is to leave them your
purse open.

Trusting too much to others' care is the ruin of many; for, as the
Almanac says, In the affairs of this world men are saved, not by
faith, but by the want of it; but a man's own care is profitable; for
saith Poor Dick, Learning is to the studious and Riches to the
careful; as well as, Power to the bold, and Heaven to the virtuous.
And further, If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you
like, serve yourself.

And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, even in the smallest
matters; because, sometimes, A little neglect may breed great
mischief; adding, for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a
shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost;
being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care
about a horseshoe nail!

So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business;
but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more
certainly successful. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he
gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth
a groat at last. A fat kitchen makes a lean will, as Poor Richard
says; and

Many estates are spent in the getting,
Since women for tea[3] forsook spinning and knitting,
And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.

[3] Tea at this time was a costly drink, and was regarded as a

If you would be wealthy, says he in another Almanac, Think of saving
as well as of getting. The Indies have not made Spain rich; because her
outgoes are greater than her incomes.

Away, then, with your expensive follies, and you will not have so much
cause to complain of hard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families;
for, as Poor Dick says,--

Women and wine, game and deceit,
Make the wealth small and the wants great.

And farther, What maintains one vice would bring up two children. You
may think, perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and
then; a diet a little more mostly; clothes a little more finer; and
a little more entertainment now and then, can be no great matter; but
remember what Poor Richard says, Many a little makes a mickle; and
further, Beware of little expenses; A small leak will sink a great
ship; and again,--

Who dainties love, shall beggars prove;

and moreover, Fools make feasts and wise men eat them.

Here are you all got together at this vendue of fineries knick-knacks.
You call them goods; but if you do not take care, they will prove
evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps
they may for less than they cost; but, if you have no occasion for
them, they must be dear to you. Remember what Poor Richard says:
Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy
necessaries. And again, At a great pennyworth, pause a while. He
means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or
the bargain by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm
than good. For in another place he says, Many have been ruined by
buying good pennyworths.

Again, Poor Richard says, 'Tis foolish to lay out money in a purchase
of repentance; and yet this folly is practiced every day at vendues
for want of minding the Almanac.

Wise men, as Poor Richard says, learn by others' harms; Fools
scarcely by their own; but Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula
cautum.[4] Many a one for the sake of finery on the back, has gone
with a hungry belly, and half-starved their families. Silks and
satins, scarlets and velvets, as Poor Richard says, put out the
kitchen fire. These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely
be called the conveniences; and yet, only because they look pretty, how
many want to have them! The artificial wants of mankind thus become
more numerous than the natural; and, as Poor Dick says, For one poor
person there are a hundred indigent.

[4] He's a lucky fellow who is made prudent by other men's

By these and other extravagances, the genteel are reduced to poverty,
and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who,
through industry and frugality, have maintained their standing; in
which case it appears plainly, that A ploughman on his legs is higher
than a gentleman on his knees, as Poor Richard says. Perhaps they have
had a small estate left them, which they know not the getting of; they
think, 'Tis day, and will never be night, that a little to be spent
out of so much is not worth minding; (A child and a fool, as Poor
Richard says, imagine twenty shilling and twenty years can never be
spent), but Always taking out of the meal-tub and never putting in,
soon comes to the bottom. Then, as Poor Dick says, When the well's
dry, they know the worth of water. But this they might have known
before, if they had taken his advice. If you would know the value of
money, go and try to borrow some; for He that goes a borrowing, goes
a sorrowing, and indeed, so does he that lends to such people, when
he goes to get it again.

Poor Dick further advises and says--

Fond pride of dress is, sure a very curse;
Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.

And again, Pride is as loud a beggar as Want, and a great deal more
saucy. When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more,
that your appearance may be all of a piece; but Poor Dick says, 'Tis
easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow
it. And 'tis as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the
frog to swell in order to equal the ox.

Great estates may venture more,
But little boats should keep near shore.

'Tis, however, a folly soon punished; for, Pride that dines on vanity
sups on contempt, as Poor Richard says. And in another place, Pride
breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty and supped with Infancy.

And after all, what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much
is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health or ease pain;
it makes no increase of merit in the person; it creates envy; it
hastens misfortune.

What is a butterfly? At best
He's but a caterpillar drest,
The gaudy fop's his picture just,

as poor Richard says.

But what madness must it be to run into debt for these superfluities!
We are offered, by the terms of this vendue, six months' credit; and
that, perhaps, has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot
spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah!
think what you do when you run in debt: You give to another power over
your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to
see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will
make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose our
veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for, as Poor Richard
says, The second vice is lying, the first is running into debt; and
again, to the same purpose, lying rides upon debt's back; whereas a
free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed or afraid to see or speak
to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and
virtue. 'Tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright! as Poor Richard
truly says. What would you think of that prince, or that government who
should issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or
gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude? Would you not say
that you are free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such
an edict would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government
tyranical? And yet you are about to put yourself under such tyranny,
when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at
his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in jail
for life, or to sell you for a servant, if you should not be able to
pay him.[5] When you have got your bargain you may, perhaps, think
little of payment; but Creditors (Poor Richard tells us) have better
memories than debtors; and in another place says, Creditors are a
superstitious set, great observers of set days and times. The day
comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are
prepared to satisfy it; or, if you will bear your debt in mind, the
term which at first seemed so long will, as it lessens, appear
extremely short. Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as
well as his shoulders. Those have a short Lent, saith Poor Richard,
who owe money to be paid at Easter. Then since, as he says, The
borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor,
disdain the chain, preserve your freedom, and maintain your
independency. Be industrious and free; be frugal and free. At
present, perhaps, you may think yourself in thriving circumstances, and
that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but--

For age and want, save while you may,
No morning sun lasts a whole day.

[5] At the time when this was written, and for many years
afterward, the laws against bankrupts and poor debtors were
extremely severe.

As Poor Richard says, gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever,
while you live, expense is constant and certain; and 'Tis easier to
build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel, as Poor Richard says;
so, Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.

Get what you can and what you get hold:
'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead in gold,[6]

as Poor Richard says; and, while you have got the Philosopher's stone,
sure, you will no longer complain of bad times or the difficulty of
paying taxes.

[6] In the Middle Ages there was a great search made for the
philosopher's stone, as it was called, a mineral which should
have the power of turning base metals into gold.

This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not
depend too much upon your own industry and frugality and prudence,
though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the
blessing of Heaven; and therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not
uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and
help them. Remember Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

And now, to conclude, Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will
learn in no other, and scarce in that; for it is true, We may give
advice, but we cannot give conduct, as Poor Richard says. However,
remember this, They that won't be counselled, can't be helped, as
Poor Richard says; and further, that, If you will not hear reason,
she'll surely rap your knuckles.

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and
approved the doctrine; and immediately practiced the contrary, just as
if it had been a common sermon. For the vendue opened, and they began
to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own
fear of taxes. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my
Almanacs, and digested all I had dropped on those topics during the
course of five-and-twenty-years. The frequent mention he made of me
must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted
with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was
my own which he ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that I had
made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be
the better for the echo of it; and, though I had at first determined to
buy stuff for a new coat, I went away resolved to wear my old one a
little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be
as great as mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee.



Oh! listen to the water-mill, through all the live-long day,
As the clicking of the wheels wears hour by hour away;
How languidly the autumn wind doth stir the withered leaves,
As on the field the reapers sing, while binding up the sheaves!
A solemn proverb strikes my mind, and as a spell is cast,
"The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

The summer winds revive no more leaves strewn o'er earth and main,
The sickle never more will reap the yellow garnered grain;
The rippling stream flows on, aye tranquil, deep, and still,
But never glideth back again to busy water-mill.
The solemn proverb speaks to all, with meaning deep and vast,
"The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

Oh! clasp the proverb to thy soul, dear loving heart and true,
For golden years are fleeting by, and youth is passing, too;
Ah! learn to make the most of life, nor lose one happy day,
For time will ne'er return sweet joys neglected, thrown away;
Nor leave one tender word unsaid, thy kindness sow broadcast--
"The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

Oh! the wasted hours of life, that have swiftly drifted by,
Alas! the good we might have done, all gone without a sigh;
Love that we might once have saved by a single kindly word,
Thoughts conceived but ne'er expressed, perishing unpenned, unheard.
Oh! take the lesson to thy soul, forever clasp it fast,
"The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

Work on while yet the sun doth shine, thou man of strength and will,
The streamlet ne'er doth useless glide by clicking watermill;
Nor wait until to-morrow's light beams brightly on thy way.
For all that thou canst call thine own, lies in the phrase, "to-day;"
Possessions, power, and blooming health, must all be lost at last--

"The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

Oh! love thy God and fellow man, thyself consider last,
For come it will when they must scan dark errors of the past;
Soon will this fight of life be o'er, and earth recede from view,
And heaven in all its glory shine where all is pure and true.
Ah! then thou'lt see more clearly still the proverb deep and vast,
"The mill will never grind again with water that is past."


Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course
others may take, but for me, give me liberty or give me death.


The law is a sort of hocus-pocus science, that smiles in yer face while
it picks yer pocket; and the glorious uncertainty of it is of mair use
to the professors than the justice of it.



In calm and stormy weather
Our mission is to grow;
To keep the angle paramount
And bind the brute below.

We grow not all in sunshine,
But richly in the rain;
And what we deem our losses
May prove our final gain.

The snows and frosts of winter
A richer fruitage bring;
From battling with the anvil
The smith's grand muscles spring.

'Tis by the law of contrast
That fine effects are seen;
As thus we blend in colors
The orange with the green.

By action and reaction
We reach our perfect growth;
Nor by excess of neither,
But equipoise of both.
The same code binds the human.

That governs mother earth;
God cradled her in tempest
And earthquakes from her birth.

Our life is but a struggle
For perfect equipoise;
Our pains are often jewels,
Our pleasures gilded toys.

Between the good and evil
The monarch will must stand,
To shape the final issue
By God's divine command.

Our mission is to battle
With ill in every form--
To borrow strength and volume
From contact with the storm.

In the beautiful hereafter
These blinding mortal tears
Shall crystalize in jewels
To sparkle in the spheres.

With weak and moldish vision
We work our way below;
But sure our souls are building
Much wiser than we know.

And when the work is finished
The scaffolding then falls;
And lo! a radiant temple,
With pearl and sapphire walls.

A temple far transcending
The grandest piles below,
Whose dome shall blaze with splendor,
In God's eternal glow.

Wealth is necessary; let us not disclaim against it; every nation needs
it to attain the highest achievements in civilization. But it is a
blessing only as a servant, and is destructive as a master.


If I were a young man I should ally myself with some high and at
present unpopular cause, and devote my every effort to accomplish its


Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.

Princes and lords may flourish and may fade;
A breath can make them, as breath has made;
But an honest peasantry, a country's pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

War preys on two things--life and property: but he preys with a partial
appetite. Feasting on life, he licks his jaws and says, "More, by your
leave!" Devouring property, he says, between grin and glut, "This is so
good that it ought to be paid for!" Into the vacuum of wasted life rush
the moaning winds of grief and desolation; in to the vacuum of wasted
property rushes the goblin of debt. The wasted life is transformed at
length into a reminiscent glory; the wasted property becomes a hideous
nightmare. The heroes fallen rise from their bloody cerements into
everlasting fame; the property destroyed rises from the red and
flame-swept field as a spectral vampire, sucking the still warm blood
of the heroic dead and of their posthumous babes to the tenth
generation! The name of the vampire is Bond.



Whither, mid'st falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast--
The desert and illimitable air--
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shall thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given
And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone
Will lead my steps aright.



(Considered by many the world's greatest Song writer and natural Poet.)

While Burns was yet a plow boy he was challenged by two highly educated
gentlemen, who were seated awaiting their dinner to be served at an Inn
in the town of Ayr.

The terms of the challenge was for each to write a verse on the event
of their first acquaintance, the one writing the best and most
appropriate short rhyme was to have his dinner paid for by the other

Burns wrote as follows:

I Jonnie Peep,
Saw two sheep.
Two sheep saw me.
Half a crown apiece
Will pay for their fleece.
And I Jonnie Peep go free.

On another occasion while drinking at a Bar a hanger on who was notorious
for his much drinking and was dubbed the Marquis, asked Burns to write an
appropriate epitaph for his grave stone.

Burns, quick as flash and without any apparent effort, wrote:

Here lies a faulse Marquis:
Whose title is shamed
If ever he rises
It will be to be damned.


Wee, sleekit, cowrin' tim'rous beastie.
Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou needna start awa' sae hasty.
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin and chase thee,
Wi murd'ing prattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion
And fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' o' request
I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,
And never miss 't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin'!
And naething now to big a new ane
O' foggage green!
And bleak December's winds ensuin'
Baith snell and keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste
And weary winter comin' fast.
And cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell;
Till, crash! the cruel coulter past
Out through thy cell.

That wee bit heap o'leaves and stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out for a' thy trouble,
But house or hauld,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble
And cranreuch cauld.

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The bes laid schemes o' mice and men
Gang aft a-gley,
And lea 'e us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee,
But, och! I backward cast my ee
On prospects drear!
And forward, though I canna see,
I guess and fear.




The author believes he is here presenting such selections as will be
accepted as masterpieces.

Mr. Bryan's speech at New Haven, where he was disturbed by students is
taken from his book, the First Battle, and is here offered to show the
wonderful composure of the speaker, rather than to present a fine or
eloquent speech.

The New York Sun's editorial, and the resolution of the council of
Indians will show the difference of opinion that exists between
commercial editors and the men of nature. It is obvious that these
students were disturbing a public meeting, and to justify them is to
wink at crime, scorn at justice, mock at the freedom of speech and
excuse ignorance.

Certainly the Indian presents the idea of advancing forward, while the
New York Sun man is advancing (?) backward.



There is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of
awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing
less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the
magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of debate. It is only
in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great
responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back
my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should
consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act
of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all
earthly kings. It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of
Hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen
to the song of that Siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this
the part of wise men engaged in a great and arduous struggle for
liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes
see not, and having ears hear not the things which so nearly concern
their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it
may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and
provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp
of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the
past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in
the conduct of the British Ministry for the last ten years to justify
those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves
and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has
been lately received? Trust it not. It will prove a snare to your feet.
Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed by a kiss. Ask yourselves how this
gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike
preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and
armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown
ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in
to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves. These are the
implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings
resort. I ask what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to
force us to submission. Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive
for it? Has Great Britain an enemy in this quarter of the world to call
for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No; she has none. They
are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to
bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British Ministry have
been so long forging.

And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? We have been
trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon
the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of
which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to
entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have
not been already exhausted? Let us not deceive ourselves longer. We
have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now
coming on. We have petitioned, we have remonstrated, we have
supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the Throne, and have
implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hand of the
Ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our
remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our
supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with
contempt, from the foot of the Throne. In vain, after these things, may
we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no
longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve
inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long
contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in
which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged never to
abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we
must fight! I repeat it, we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the
God of Hosts, is all that is left to us.

They tell us that we are weak--unable to cope with so formidable an
adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or
the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a
British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather
strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of
effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the
delusive phantom of Hope until our enemies have bound us hand and foot?
We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of
Nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the
holy cause of liberty, are invincible by any force which the enemy can
send against us. Besides, we shall not fight our battles alone. There
is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and will
raise us friends to fight our battle for us. The battle is not to the
strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.

Besides, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it
is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in
submission and slavery. Our chains are forged; their clanking may be
heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable--and let it come!
I repeat it. Let it come! It is in vain to extenuate the matter.
Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace--but there is no peace. The war is
actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to
our ear the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the
field! Why are we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would
they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the
price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what
course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me
death!--Speech in Convention, March 25, 1775.



"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a
great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so
conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great
battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that
field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that
that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we
should do this. But in a large sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot
consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and
dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power
to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what
we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us,
the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which
they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for
us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that
from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly
resolve that these dead have not died in vain; that this nation, under
God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the
people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."



I am glad that there are students here, because I want to say a word to
students. Your college has helped to add fame to your city, and those
who assemble here are supposed to come in order that they may better
equip themselves for the duties of life. I am glad to talk to students,
because, my friends, we have a cause which appeals to students. If the
syndicates and corporations rule this country, then no young man has a
fair show unless he is the favorite of a corporation. (Applause--and
yells for McKinley by a cordon of the students.) If the people have a
right to govern themselves and exercise that right, then every citizen
has an equal chance and every man may achieve what he desires. We wish
to leave all the avenues open so that the son of the humblest citizen
may aspire to the highest position within the gift of the people.
(Applause and yells repeated.)

I am not speaking now to the sons who are sent to college on the
proceeds of ill-gotten gains. (Enthusiastic applause.) I will wait
until these sons have exhausted what their fathers have left them and
then appeal to their children who will have to commence life where
their grandfathers commenced. (Great applause.) My friends, a just
government is best for the great masses of the people. Equal laws and
equal opportunities are best for nine out of every ten of us. (Yells
again repeated.) Therefore, our cause appeals to every young man who
wants to make this Government so good as to deserve the love,
confidence and the support of every citizen in this land.

We appeal not only to the students; we appeal to business men who have
been terrorized by the financial--what may I call it? (Applause.)
People have been tyrannized over by financial institutions until in
some instances it is more dangerous to raise your voice against the
ruling power than it is in an absolute monarchy. (Great applause and

yells.) If there is anybody who loves this sort of thing then I shall
offend him by speaking of it, but I shall not offend any man who loves
liberty and the right of free speech in this country. (Great applause.)

The business men have been told that the free coinage of silver would
ruin them. If it can ruin them with more rapidity than the gold
standard has ruined them, then, my friends, it will be bad, indeed,
because the gold standard has increased the number of failures among
business men, and every step that has been taken has been
followed----(Yells from the students.) I have been so used to talking
to young men who earn their own living that I do not know----(Great
applause and cheering.) I say, I have been so used to talking to young
men who earn their own living that I hardly know what language to use
to address myself to those who desire to be known, not as creators of
wealth, but as the distributors of wealth which somebody else created.
(Great applause and cheering.) If you will show me a young man who has
been taught to believe----(More yells and cries of "McKinley.")

In all my travels I have not found a crowd that needed talking to so
much as this crowd does. (Cries of "That's right.") I came to this city
something more than a year ago, and I then learned something of the
domination of your financial classes. I have seen it elsewhere, but, my
friends, the great mass of the people even of this city, will be better
off under bimetallism that permits the nation to grow, than under a
gold standard which starves everybody except the money changer and the
money owner.

We sometimes out West are instructed by your insurance companies. I
carry insurance in old line companies and in what are known as the
mutual or assessment companies. I carry insurance in fraternal
organizations like the United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen, as well
as in the old line companies, and I am glad that my assessment
companies are satisfied to take my money and give me insurance without
attempting to tell me how I must vote. Your old line companies have
seen fit to insult the intelligence of the people by attempting to
exercise a guardian care, notwithstanding the fact that we are able to
look after ourselves without their instructions.

You have laboring men also in large numbers in this city. I do not know
whether the advocates of the gold standard here who employ men in the
shops insist upon telling their employes how to vote. I have in other
places found employers who would put in envelopes the pay for the day's
work or week's work, and then print on the outside of the envelopes
some instructions to the employes. If the manufacturer, employer, or
railroad president feels that there must be something on the outside of
the envelope as well as upon the inside, let him write on the outside:
"You will find within your wages. They are to cover your work. We
recognize that the men who have sense enough to do the work we want
done have sense enough to vote right, without our telling them how to

I notice that in some places they have been organizing sound money
clubs, and they have the applicant sign a statement, saying that the
free coinage of silver would hurt him in his business as a wage earner.
I have wondered why our great financial magnates do not put in their
application a statement similar to that. Why don't the heads of these
syndicates which have been bleeding the Government make application to
sound money clubs and write in their application that the free coinage
of silver would hurt them in their business as heads of syndicates?
They want people to believe that they are entirely benevolent, that
they are philanthropists, and that what they do is done merely because
they believe that the people will be benefited by having them run the
Government, and they submit to the inconvenience of running the
Government in order to help the people, who, they say, will be
benefited. (More confusion and applause by the students.)

Why is it that the broker or the bond buyer does not write in his
application that he has a personal interest in the gold standard? Why
is it that these men want to throw upon the wage earners whatever odium
there may be in using his vote to protect his personal interests? I
believe the wage earner, and the farmer, and the business man, and the
professional man, all of these will be benefited by a volume of money
sufficient to do business with. If you make money scarce you make money
dear. If you make money dear you drive down the value of everything,
and when you have falling prices you have hard times. And who prosper
by hard times? There are but few, and those few are not willing to
admit that they get any benefit from hard times. No party ever declared
in its platform that it was in favor of hard times, and yet the party
that declares for a gold standard in substance declares for a
continuation of hard times.

Here a band which had been playing for a drill in another part of the
square came nearer and made talking more difficult, and my voice not
being in good condition I concluded my remarks by saying:

It is hard to talk when all the conditions are favorable, and I must
ask you to excuse me from talking any further in the presence of the
noises against which we have to contend today.

I have since learned that some misunderstood my closing words, and
thought I again referred to the students, but this is an error. They
were making no disturbance when I finished speaking. I did not even
mean to criticize the band, because I was sure that the interruption
was not intentional, but my voice being hoarse and the crowd large, it
was difficult to make myself heard even when there was perfect quiet.

The incident gave rise to a good deal of public discussion.

A few papers criticised my language on that occasion and declared that
my words provoked the hostile demonstration. As a matter of fact, the
hostility was manifested before I began to speak, and it was some
minutes before I could obtain a hearing. This is the only speech in
which I have inserted the applause, and it is only done here because
the interruptions are also quoted. The report is reproduced exactly as
it appeared at the time in order that the reader may form his own
opinion upon the subject.

The following press dispatch appeared in the morning papers of
September 3:


Muskogee, I.T., Sept. 29
At a mass meeting of the Cherokees,
Creeks, Choctaws and Seminoles, held here yesterday, the following
resolution was unanimously adopted:

Resolved, that we contemplate with deep regret the recent insulting
treatment of William J. Bryan by students of a college in the land
of the boasted white man's civilization, and we admonish all
Indians who think of sending their sons to Yale that association
with such students could but prove hurtful alike to their morals
and their progress toward the higher standard of civilization.


The New York Sun came to the defense of the boys in an editorial, from
which the following is an extract:

What did these students really do? On the day that Yale University
opened its new college year, Bryan came to New Haven and prepared
to address a great crowd at the green adjacent to which are the
college buildings of the center of university life, in a town of
which the university is the great and distinguishing feature. The
students gathered in strong force, as was natural. Practically they
were on their own ground. They expressed their feelings against
repudiation with the vigor and vociferousness of youth; and they
had a right to do it.

They ought to have done it; and the sentiment to which they gave
utterance was honorable to them. The boys made a great noise,
cheering for McKinley and yelling and jeering at repudiation, so
that Mr. Bryan could not be heard for several minutes. If they had
applauded him incessantly for even a full half hour, would there
have been any complaint of their preventing him from starting out
in his speech? Has not a crowd in the open air as much right to
hiss as to cheer? At what period in our history was that privilege
taken from Americans? These dissenting students, the reports agree,
did not offer any personal violence to Mr. Bryan or anybody else.
They did not throw rotten eggs at him or otherwise assail his
dignity, but merely shouted their college cry and yelled
derisively. They did not like the cause the speaker represented.
They detested and despised both it and him, and they made known
their feelings noisily.

Speech Concluding Debate on the Chicago Platform.

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention: I would be presumptuous,
indeed, to present myself against the distinguished gentlemen to whom
you have listened if this were a mere measuring of abilities; but this
is not a contest between persons. The humblest citizen of the land,
when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the
hosts of error. I come to speak to you in defense of a cause as holy as
the cause of liberty--the cause of humanity.

When this debate is concluded, a motion will be made to lay upon the
table the resolution offered in commendation of the administration, and
also the resolution offered in condemnation of the administration. We
object to bringing this question down to the level of persons. The
individual is but an atom; he is born, he acts, he dies; but principles
are eternal; and this has been a contest over a principle.

Never before in the history of this country has there been witnessed
such a contest as that through which we have just passed. Never before
in the history of American politics has a great issue been fought out
as this issue has been, by the voters of a great party. On the fourth
of March, 1895, a few Democrats, most of them members of Congress,
issued an address to the Democrats of the nation, asserting that the
money question was the paramount issue of the hour; declaring that a
majority of the Democratic party had the right to control the action of
the party on this paramount issue; and concluding with the request that
the believers of free coinage of silver in the Democratic party should
organize, take charge of, and control the policy of the Democratic
party. Three months later, at Memphis, an organization was perfected
and the silver Democrats went forth openly and courageously proclaiming
their belief, and declaring that, if successful, they would crystallize
into a platform the declaration they had made. Then began the conflict.
With a zeal approaching the zeal which inspired the crusaders who
followed Peter the Hermit, our silver Democrats went forth from victory
unto victory until they are now assembled, not to discuss, not to
debate, but to enter up the judgment already rendered by the plain
people of this country. In this contest brother has been arrayed
against brother, father against son. The warmest ties of love,
acquaintance and association have been disregarded; old leaders have
been cast aside when they have refused to give expression to the
sentiments of those whom they would lead, and new leaders have sprung
up to give direction to this cause of truth. Thus has the contest been
waged, and we have assembled here under as binding and solemn
instructions as were ever imposed upon representatives of the people.

We do not come as individuals. As individuals we might have been glad
to compliment the gentleman from New York (Senator Hill,) but we know
that the people for whom we speak would never be willing to put him in
a position where he could thwart the will of the Democratic party. I
say it was not a question of persons; it was a question of principle,
and it is not with gladness, my friends, that we find ourselves brought
into conflict with those who are now arrayed on the other side.

The gentleman who preceded me (ex-Governor Russell) spoke of the State
of Massachusetts; let me assure him that not one present in all this
convention entertains the least hostility to the people of the State of
Massachusetts, but we stand here representing people who are the
equals, before the law, of the greatest citizens in the State of
Massachusetts. When you (turning to the gold delegates) come before us
and tell us that we are about to disturb your business interests, we
reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your course.

We say to you that you have made the definition of a business man too
limited in its application. The man who is employed for wages is as
much a business man as his employer; the attorney in a country town is
as much a business man as the corporation counsel in a great
metropolis; the merchant at the cross-roads store is as much a business
man as the merchant of New York; the farmer who goes forth in the
morning and toils all day--who begins in the spring and toils all
summer--and who by the application of brain and muscle to the natural
resources of the country creates wealth, is as much a business man as
the man who goes upon the board of trade and bets upon the price of
grain; the miners who go down a thousand feet into the earth, or climb
two thousand feet upon the cliffs, and bring forth from their hiding
places the precious metals to be poured into the channels of trade are
as much business men as the few financial magnates who, in a back room,
corner the money of the world. We come to speak for this broader class
of business men.

Ah, my friends, we say not one word against those who live upon the
Atlantic coast, but the hardy pioneers who have braved all the dangers
of the wilderness, who have made the desert to blossom as the rose--the
pioneers away out there (pointing to the West), who rear their children
near to Nature's heart, where they can mingle their voices with the
voices of the birds--out there where they have erected schoolhouses for
the education of their young, churches where they praise their Creator,
and cemeteries where rest the ashes of their dead--these people, we
say, are as deserving of the consideration of our party as any people
in this country. It is for these that we speak. We do not come as
aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest; we are fighting in the
defense of our homes, our families, and posterity. We have petitioned,
and our petitions have been scorned; we have entreated, and our
entreaties have been disregarded; we have begged, and they have mocked
when our calamity came. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we
petition no more. We defy them.

The gentleman from Wisconsin has said that he fears a Robespierre. My
friends, in this land of the free you need not fear that a tyrant will
spring up from among the people. What we need is an Andrew Jackson to
stand, as Jackson stood, against the encroachments of organized wealth.

They tell us that this platform was made to catch votes. We reply to
them that changing conditions make new issues; that the principles upon
which Democracy rests are as everlasting as the hills, but that they
must be applied to new conditions as they arise. Conditions have
arisen, and we are here to meet those conditions. They tell us that the
income tax ought not to be brought in here; that it is a new idea. They
criticize us for the criticism of the Supreme Court of the United
States. My friends, we have not criticized; we have simply called
attention to what you already know. If you want criticisms, read the
dissenting opinions of the court. There you will find criticisms. They
say that we have passed an unconstitutional law; we deny it. The income
tax law was not unconstitutional when it was passed; it was not
unconstitutional when it went before the Supreme Court for the first
time; it did not become unconstitutional until one of the judges
changed his mind, and we cannot be expected to know when a judge will
change his mind. The income tax is just. It simply intends to put the
burden of government justly upon the backs of the people. I am in favor
of an income tax. When I find a man who is not willing to bear his
share of the burdens of the government which protects him, I find a man
who is unworthy to enjoy the blessings of a government like ours.

They say that we are opposing national bank currency; it is true. If
you will read what Thomas Benton said, you will find he said that, in
searching history, he could find but one parallel to Andrew Jackson;
that was Cicero, who destroyed the conspiracy of Cataline and saved
Rome. Benton said that Cicero only did for Rome what Jackson did for us
when he destroyed the bank conspiracy and saved America. We say in our
platform that we believe that the right to coin and issue money is a
function of government. We believe it. We believe that it is a part of
sovereignty, and can no more with safety be delegated to private
individuals than we could afford to delegate

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