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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