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Ralph Robinson's translation of More's Utopia would not need any foreword if it were to be looked upon merely as a beautiful book embodying the curious fancies of a great writer and thinker of the period of the Renaissance. No doubt till within the last few years it has been considered by the moderns as nothing more serious than a charming literary exercise, spiced with the interest given to it by the allusions to the history of the time, and by our knowledge of the career of its author. But the change of ideas concerning `the best state of a publique weale,' which, I will venture to say, is the great event of the end of this century, has thrown a fresh light upon the book; so that now to some it seems not so much a regret for days which m... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Free Speech at Stratford,” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 22, 12 June 1886, p.87; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. A meeting was held at Stratford last Saturday on the same ground as on the former week. Comrades Aveling and Morris spoke for the League, and Messrs. Ellis (of the Peckham and Dulwich Radical Club) and Rose (Whitechapel Liberal Club) also spoke. A solid and attentive audience at once came together as soon as the first speaker began; about 300, I should think, was the number of the actual meeting. Our two Radical friends spoke well and strongly on the right of free speech, and the audience was obviously in complete sympathy. At the close of the meeting, which lasted an hour, comrade Aveling called for a show of han... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Free Speech in America” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 91, 8 October 1887, p. 324; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Our readers will see that meetings to protest against the cold-blooded judicial murder of the seven Chicago prisoners are to be held within the next fortnight. Since this number of the Commonweal may come into the hands of persons who have not read other numbers and who have but a vague idea of the bearings of the whole case, or as is most likely, have been prejudiced by the misrepresentations of the press — the stark lies of the American capitalistic press, the careless lies of the English — it may be well to state briefly what the real crime of these men is in order that it may be determined whether... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Free Speech in the Streets” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 29, 31 July 1886, p.137; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The police-war against the open-air speaking of the Socialists is being carried on with much vigor this year, and cannot fail even at this stage of it to be noticed by the general public. As this number of the Commonweal may, like other numbers, come into the hands of many who are not Socialists, it is not untimely to say a few words on this subject; especially since it is one of great importance to us and not unimportant to people generally, even in these days of Dilke-Crawford trials and the coming Tory Government. For the information of those who have not followed the course of the attacks made on us, I shou... (From: Marxists.org.)
(a) William Morris's Tribute (The Clarion) I think I may say that I am one of those who speak for, at all events I am here to represent the feelings of English Socialists on the death of our lost comrade. My mission is simply to express our deep sorrow at the loss of our comrade, and an appreciation of his noble qualities, which our friend Krapotkin, with so much feeling—and feeling is better than eloquence—has laid before us. Stepniak impelled us to express the feeling which animates all our party, the feeling of love, the feeling of brotherhood which we have for the great Russian people. I am quite certain there is not a single person here, whatever shade of opinion he may hold, that does not truly sympathize with the ends... (From: Marxists.org.)
In spite of Irish Coercion Acts, wars against freedom in South Africa and Egypt, emigration swindles, Cobden Club dinners, and the ceaseless hypocrisy of a bogus monarchy, there still exists a Radical party in this country. With the parliamentary leaders of that party, or the phalanx of factory lords which supports it in the hope that such a party may still mean reasonable liberty - to sweat the workers at its pleasure; with these we have nothing to do, not even to warn them of the change which is coming over the face of European civilization. But beyond and besides these there are all those whom they have led into their pinfold of so-called practical politics, wherein they were to be comfortable for ever - if the laws of supply aid demand... (From: Marxists.org.)
The village of Kelmscott lies close to the Thames on the Oxfordshire side of it, some five miles (by water) from the present end of the navigation at Inglesham, where the Colne, coming down from Fairford, Bibury and Cedworth, joins the main stream of the Thames. Kelmscott lies on the plain of the Thames Valley, but the ground rises up from it gradually, with little interruption of the rise, till the crest of the ridge is gained which lies between Oxfordshire and Worcestershire, culminating in the Broadway Beacon some thirty miles from Kelmscott. To the N.E. of the village lies the nearly treeless piece of ground formerly Grafton Common, and beyond it is a string of pretty inland villages, or rather two strings, the westward comprising litt... (From: Marxists.org.)
By the word Architecture is, I suppose, commonly understood the art of ornamental building, and in this sense I shall often have to use it here. Yet I would not like you to think of its productions merely as well constructed and well proportioned buildings, each one of which is handed over by the architect to other artists to finish, after his designs have been carried out (as we say) by a number of mechanical workers, who are not artists. A true architectural work rather is a building duly provided with all necessary furniture, decorated with all due ornament, according to the use, quality, and dignity of the building, from mere moldings or abstract lines, to the great epical works of sculpture and painting, which, except as decorations of... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Great Coal Strike” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 219, 22 March 1890, p.91; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The great coal strike is ominous of coming changes, and cannot be looked on as even a great strike might have been a few years ago. The demands of the miners are so moderate, and so uncomplicated with any difficulties as to method of employment and the like, and moreover, the business facts on which the strike is based are so clear and so much in favor of the men, that it was expected in many quarters that the masters would give in at once, and in ordinary times they would have done so. The fact that they are preparing for an obstinate resistance shows that they are not so much thinking of the present strike as of t... (From: Marxists.org.)
The Hackney Liberals have returned Professor Stuart by a sufficiently large majority, and the Liberal press has been engaged in singing the praises of the new member; who it seems is the very pattern of a useful politician and much advanced thinker; this may be, but if a man is to be judged by his utterances we take the liberty of thinking all this jubilant praise a little overdone. If Professor Stuart has very advanced opinions he at least did not venture to put them forward even before such a very Radical constituency as Hackney; in point of fact so-called "fair-trade" and so-called free-trade seem to have been the issues joined at Hackney; and, ably as this subject was treated in JUSTICE in a late number, we may in passing once more call... (From: Marxists.org.)
The case of the Hammersmith costermongers has already been briefly alluded to in JUSTICE: it is what is commonly called a 'hard case;' a phrase however which means very different things according to the position of those to whom it is applied, meaning to some people the loss of a hundred pounds or so, which everybody can see they ought not to lose, but which loss will only inconvenience them; while to others it means the loss of livelihood; which latter loss is to be dreaded by the Hammersmith costermongers, especially if the other local boards imitate the conduct of the Hammersmith magnates. The facts if the readers have not noticed them are briefly these: the costermongers have been used from time immemorial to hold a curb-stone market in... (From: Marxists.org.)
This eloquent and enthusiastic American writer and agitator has been among us for three months working hard to push what he believes to be the true remedy for our terrible social ills, some acknowledgment of which at least he has forced from the better part of the middle-classes. It is impossible not to feel sympathy and regard for a man of this kind, in whose most bitter attacks there is still an attractive kindliness, and whose earnest faith and simplicity cover over with a rude eloquence the grave mistakes which to others seem to lie at the foundation of all his teaching. It is indeed refreshing in days like these, when cynicism and contempt for all self-sacrifice are so often taken as the test marks of the higher culture, to find a man ... (From: Marxists.org.)
A correspondent having written to our Committee informing us that the Charity Commissioners had agreed to a plan for pulling down and reconstructing the buildings of High Wycombe Grammar School, we deputed one of our members to visit and report on them: the information we have received from him seems so important that I venture to address you on the subject. The building that originally stood on the site was a leper hospital, founded in or before the twelfth century; at the Dissolution alterations were made in it to fit it for a grammar school. What building was then done was modernized in the present century, but there still remains a late Norman hall, of about 64 ft. by 32 ft., of five bays, with piers and arches quite complete, the capi... (From: Marxists.org.)
To give anything like a history of the art of pattern-designing would be impossible within the limits of one lecture, for it would be doing no less than attempting to tell the whole story of architectural or popular art, a vast and most important subject. All I can pretend to do at present is to call your attention to certain things I have noticed in studying the development of the art of pattern-designing from ancient times to modern, and to hint at certain principles that have seemed to me to lie at the bottom of the practice of that art, and certain tendencies which its long course has had. Even in doing this I know I shall have to touch on difficult matters and take some facts for granted that may be, and have been, much disputed; and I... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Home Rule or Humbug” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 24, 26 June 1886, p.100-101; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. It would be but waste of time to go through all the election addresses of even the principal leaders of parties which have been put before the public during the last few days; but those addresses, and the reception of Mr Gladstone on his journey northward, seem to foreshadow the nature and issue of the coming contest, and a few words seem desirable about it. Mr Gladstone has definitely given up his Bill, and takes his stand on the principle of a parliament for Ireland. It is clear that this may mean compromise — that he is prepared to accept something less like independence than the Bill intended; but it may ... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Honesty is the Best Policy 1, Commonweal, 12 November 1887; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. [A Dialogue between Mr James Brown, a business man, and Mr Olaf Evans, a kind of artist and literary man; neighbors.] Scene — A Suburban Highway, tending townward. Evans (turning round as Brown catches him up on the road). Well, Brown, you look in a deuce of a hurry this morning. Brown (sulkily). And you look as if you have no need to hurry. E. No, I haven’t — because I must write my own books and paint my own pictures myself — but don’t be in such a hurry, old man; its a long time since I have had a talk with you, although we live next door but one to each other. B. (testily) No, no, its all very w... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Honesty is the Best Policy 2, Commonweal, 19 November 1887; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. [A Dialogue between Mr James Brown, a business man, and Mr Olaf Evans, a kind of artist and literary man; neighbors.] PART II Scene — A Room in Mr Olaf Evan’s house, a good deal littered with odds and ends of art and literature; pipes and tobacco, and materials for grog on the table; in a conspicuous place a rather large bundle of MS. Brown. Well, you see I've come. Evans. Yes, and thank you for coming. Do you know, this morning you were very nearly quarreling with me. However, let us hope the Bruce will mend all that. B. (hastily, and looking furtively at the MS.) Oh Yes, I was glad to come and have a talk with a nei... (From: Marxists.org.)
Hopes and Fears for Art is a collection of talks given by William Morris towards the end of the 1870s, shortly before joining the Socialist Democratic Federation. The talks were first published as a book by Ellis and White in 1882, and were reissued in 1883, 1896, 1898, 1903, 1911, and 1919. This version is taken from the 1919 Longmans, Green and Co. 'Pocket Library' edition, originally prepared by David Price for Project Gutenberg, and converted to XHTML by Graham Seaman. Introduction by Graham Seaman, 21st April 2003 (From: Marxists.org.)
Now the Markmen laid Heriulf in howe on the ridge-crest where he had fallen, and heaped a mighty howe over him that could be seen from far, and round about him they laid the other warriors of the kindreds. For they deemed it was fittest that they should lie on the place whose story they had fashioned. But they cast earth on the foemen lower down on the westward-lying bents. The sun set amid their work, and night came on; and Thiodolf was weary and would fain rest him and sleep: but he had many thoughts, and pondered whitherward he should lead the folk, so as to smite the Romans once again, and he had a mind to go apart and be alone for rest and slumber; so he spoke to a man of the kindred named Solvi in whom he put all trust, and then he w... (From: Marxists.org.)
Let us on this matter be sure of one thing that as long as there are poor people they will be poorly housed; those of our philanthropists who have really dealt with the subject practically have no doubt about that; and consequently all their endeavors are turned to one end, trying namely to get the "poor" a little less disgracefully housed than they are at present; what they hope to accomplish is very little indeed, and they are so well aware of the difficulties of their accomplishing even this little, that they are terrified at the expression of any hope of realizing a higher standard of comfort in this matter of housing than their most miserable palliation of the evil; because they cannot help feeling that the hope of Revolution must cons... (From: Marxists.org.)
I am asked by the Editor to give some sort of a history of the above conversion, and I feel that it may be of some use to do so, if my readers will look upon me as a type of a certain group of people, but not so easy to do clearly, briefly and truly. Let me, however, try. But first, I will say what I mean by being a Socialist, since I am told that the word no longer expresses definitely and with certainty what it did ten years ago. Well, what I mean by Socialism is a condition of society in which there should be neither rich nor poor, neither master nor master's man, neither idle nor overworked, neither brain-sick brain workers, nor heart-sick hand workers, in a word, in which all men would be living in equality of condition, and would mana... (From: Marxists.org.)
What I have to say to you relates to matters that may be discussed among Socialists, mingled or not with their declared opponents, but is can not be altogether a matter of controversy among Socialists. I want to give you my personal view of the Promised Land of Socialism, with the hope of eliciting an account of the views of several of this audience; and I do not think the hour and a half so employed ought to be waste time if we tell each other honestly and as clearly as we can what our ideals are, if we have any, or confess to our having none if that is the case. We are engaged in a common adventure for the present, the destruction abolition of the individual ownership or monopoly of the means of production; the attainment of that immediat... (From: Marxists.org.)
The word Revolution, which we Socialists are so often forced to use, has a terrible sound in most people's ears, even when we have explained to them that it does not necessarily mean a change accompanied by riot and all kinds of violence, and cannot mean a change made mechanically and in the teeth of opinion by a group of men who have somehow managed to seize on the executive power for the moment. Even when we explain that we use the word revolution in its etymological sense, and mean by it a change in the basis of society, people are scared at the idea of such a vast change, and beg that you will speak of reform and not revolution. As, however, we Socialists do not at all mean by our word revolution what these worthy people mean by their w... (From: Marxists.org.)
By the ideal book, I suppose we are to understand a book not limited by commercial exigencies of price: we can do what we like with it, according to what its nature, as a book, demands of Art. But we may conclude, I think, that its maker will limit us somewhat; a work on differential calculus, a medical work, a dictionary, a collection of statesmen's speeches, of a treatise on manures, such books, though they might be handsomely and well printed, would scarcely receive ornament with the same exuberance as a volume of lyrical poems, or a standard classic, or such like. A work on Art, I think, bears less of ornament than any other kind of book (NON BIS IN IDEM is a good motto); again, a book that must have illustrations, more or less utilitar... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: The Decorator and Furnisher, Vol. 13, No. 5, Feb. 1889 Transcribed: by Graham Seaman, May 2019 CARPET WEAVING is somewhat of the nature of tapestry; it also is wholly un-mechanical, but its use as a floorcloth somewhat degrades it, especially in our northern or western countries, where people come out of the muddy streets into rooms without taking off their shoes. Carpet-weaving undoubtedly arose among peoples living a tent life, and for such a dwelling as a tent, carpets are the best possible ornaments. Carpets form a mosaic of small squares of worsted, or hair, or silk threads, tied into a coarse canvas, which is made as the work progresses. Owing to the comparative coarseness of the work, the designs should always be very el... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Impressions of the Paris Congress” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 185, 27 July 1889, p.234; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. We delegates of the League met as agreed at London Bridge Station, and found an enormous crowd of people going our way. We got stowed into the carriages somehow, and whiled away the time in singing songs and selling a few numbers of Commonweal to divers good folk who had only a glimmering about the events that the French were going to celebrate on the morrow. Getting to the boats at Newhaven, we found that the clerk of the weather had provided us with a sell in the form of spring tides, so that the boats which were timed to start at 11 pm did not stir from the harbor till close on 3 am. And even then the... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Impressions of the Paris Congress: II” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 186, 3 August 1889, p.242; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. On the Wednesday, after the introduction of a delegate from the far-off country of Finland, who was received with much enthusiasm, Bebel began the reading of the reports with a history of the German movement in more recent days. This took two hours in the delivery, I should think, and of course could not be translated; a short resume was all that could be given in French and English, but even from that it was plain that the original was able and exhaustive. I should mention that most, if not all, of the reports have been handed in in writing and will be printed; so that we shall have the benefit of ... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “In and About Cottonopolis” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 153, 15 December 1888, p.396; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. On Sunday the 2nd, I delivered my annual lecture to the Sunday Society at Ancoats to an audience larger than usual. These lectures are not followed by questions and discussion, so there was not much opportunity for finding our what the audience thought about Socialism. The audience seemed, as usual, much made up of the ‘lower middle-class’ and the ‘aristocracy of labor’. But there was sprinkling of our comrades of the SDF, with whom to help I engaged in a good private discussion at tea (which followed the lecture) with enquirers and carpers, which is also a usual feature of these gath... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Independent Ireland” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 16, April 1886, p.36; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Mr Gladstone’s measure has at last seen light, and it must at least be said of it that under the circumstances it has been accepted joyfully by the people whom it was chiefly meant to serve: the Irish at least are pleased. This is an improvement on the character of most measures of reform, which usually rather err in defect than in excess of that ancient vice and modern virtue, cowardice; and which consequently discourage friends while they fail in conciliating enemies. To find the irreducible minimum has been Mr Gladstone’s aim, and according to the verdict of both friends and foes he has succeeded. A simple-... (From: Marxists.org.)
To a Socialist hoping for a speedy change in the basis of society a visit to on, picture exhibition is not altogether lacking in encouragement, though to a serious artist who has not conceived hopes of revolution it would surely be most discouraging: for here also are signs of that coming bankruptcy of our present society, tokens of which are forced upon us so plentifully from the economic and the political side of things; it is with a certain exultation that one walks through the wild jumble of inanity that clothes the walls of the Royal Academy to-day, when one thinks that the dominant class the commercialist, noble and non-noble, who have deprived the people of art in their daily lives, can get for themselves nothing better than this for... (From: Marxists.org.)

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