William Morris

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(1834 - 1896)


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About William Morris

William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was a British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he helped win acceptance of socialism in fin de siècle Great Britain.

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This person has authored 732 documents, with 1,570,292 words or 9,160,594 characters.

Source: “The Abolition of Freedom of Speech in the Streets” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 32, 21 August 1886, p.161;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The trial of the Socialists which ended on Friday 13th was not so well reported by most of the newspapers as some ordinary petty larceny case would have been; the Pall Mall Gazette, for instance, which was so hot about the Dod Street affair last year, not even noticing it till the last of the three days. Nevertheless, it is a matter of importance to the public generally, and not to Socialists only; for both the counsel for the prosecution and the judge laid it down as a matter beyond doubt that no persons can meet in any part of the public highway, however little the traffic over the meeting-p... (From : Marxists.org.)
The annual presentation of prizes to the successful pupils of the School of Art took place in the small room at the Guildhall on Thursday evening, in the presence of a large number of ladies and gentlemen. [....] Mr. W. Morris addressed the meeting as follows:─ In these days, when even those of us who love art most are apt sometimes to be discouraged by the carelessness for art that surrounds us, it is not wonderful that people should ask, some in triumph and some in sorrow, is the desire for beauty, and even fullness of form that produces art, an essential part of man's nature? or is it only one of the fleeting outcomes of the necessary energy of life, like many another fashion that has now passed away for ever? T... (From : Marxists.org.)
It seems to me that my address falls naturally into two parts: that I have first to speak to the general public about the Art which your School represents, and next I have to speak to the students of the School about their position and aims. As to the first part, I fear some of you may think I am telling an old story once more; a story of which you are tired of hearing, if I am not tired of telling it. For, to say the truth, we are not yet quite on the right road towards a satisfactory condition of Art. When I say "we," I do not mean this country in especial; for, indeed, at home here we are somewhat better off than in other civilized countries, though at first sight it may not seem so... (From : Marxists.org.)
Mr Kenrick has said that I am going to address you on the subject of Art, but it is clear that that subject is a very wide one and that I must limit myself very considerably. Not only so, even if I were to speak about all the pictures exhibited here, the subject would be again such a very wide one, that there would be no end of it. So I must limit myself still further. Therefore I propose to speak to you almost entirely, according to the light I have, of that school of painters once called the pre-Raphaelites, and who perhaps should still be called pre-Raphaelites. There is all the more reason for my doing so because, as a matter of fact, their doctrines have been successful; they have... (From : Marxists.org.)
In speaking to you as English Liberals I shall scarcely perhaps need to excuse myself if I confess that I have from the first looked upon this Eastern Question chiefly from the point of view of its bearings upon English interests. I do not mean to say that I looked coldly upon peoples, who as I thought were struggling for their liberties against foreigners, tyrants and barbarians, or that I thought it unimportant for the world at large that the wrongs of poor people, of oppressed people, should be righted after many years: on the contrary I thought this all important both to England and to the world at large, and indeed for this very reason I could not help for ever asking myself how shall we deal with the matter; what will Engl... (From : Marxists.org.)
IN considering the Aims of Art, that is, why men toilsomely cherish and practice it, I find myself compelled to generalize from the only specimen of humanity of which I know anything; to wit, myself. Now when I think of what it is that I desire, I find that I can give it no other name than happiness. I want to be happy while I live; for as for death, I find that, never having experienced it, I have no conception of what it means, and so cannot even bring my mind to bear upon it. I know what it is to live, I cannot even guess what it is to be dead. Well, then, I want to be happy, and even sometimes, say generally, to be merry; and I find it difficult to believe that that is not the universal desire: so that, whatever tends toward t... (From : Marxists.org.)
As there seems to be an impression growing up in the mind of the public that the above Society is actuated by feelings of disregard for the structural preservation of ancient buildings, and as such an impression is likely to seriously interfere with the important objects which they have in view, I have been requested by the committee of the Society to ask you to insert their most emphatic denial of any such sentiment on their part. The urging on the public of the necessity of doing structural repairs to ancient buildings in time to prevent decay and keep out wind and weather is one of the primary objects of the Society; and they have on several occasions had to deplore, in the case of ... (From : Marxists.org.)
The work of the past year has differed little from that of the previous one, except in two notable instances, which will be referred to presently. The Committee have, as before, received information, written letters of inquiry, protest, and advice, sometimes with obvious and encouraging results, sometimes with nothing apparent to show for the trouble. The Society is, doubtless, becoming well known, and the Committee believe its principles are taking root, and especially, they think, are influencing the great body of our Architects; a course of events which is both very encouraging and what might have been expected. The Society has by no means lacked the support of the Press... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Committee has had a very busy year since it presented the last Annual Report to the Members. It must be acknowledged that it has had to protest against several schemes for the mere unnecessary or wanton destruction of ancient buildings. But it is not to be supposed that the fact of these being more in number than usual has any significance, as showing backsliding in public opinion; on the contrary, there are hopeful signs of the impression which the Society has made in this matter, which will be mentioned in the Report. On the other hand, the Committee feels itself compelled to repeat the warning it gave last year to those who care about our ancient monuments, and to beg Members, a... (From : Marxists.org.)
It will be seen from the following Report that the cases are very numerous in which, during the past year, the Society has taken action, either to induce the guardians of our ancient buildings to perform some necessary repairs, or in protesting against the falsification of old work which is often called "restoration." The Society has engaged the services of a skilled professional Secretary, a great deal of whose time is taken up with the careful inspection of the old buildings which from time to time are considered by the Committee. They are thus able to offer to those under whose charge ancient buildings may happen to be, a careful report of their state, and advice ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Mr. MORRIS stated, in answer to this gentleman, that the Committee were fully aware of the importance of Blytheborough Church; that members had visited it, and that their report was all but ready to be presented to the Restoration Committee of Blytheborough, which report he believed would indicate a satisfactory way of dealing with this noble building so as to prevent it from becoming a ruin. Bibliographical Note Title Answer to Query About Blytheborough Church (1882). Deliveries 1. 9 June 1882: Before the Annual Meeting of SBAB held at the Society of Arts, John Street, Adelphi, London. The Hon. F. Bryce, M.P., ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Anti-Parliamentary” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 230, 7 June 1890, p.180-181;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Most of those into whose hands this paper will fall know that as the organ of the Socialist League the Commonweal advocates abstention from Parliamentary action; that the Socialist League neither puts forward candidates, nor advises its members to vote for this that or the other candidate; that the readers of these columns will indeed find Parliament mentioned in them, but never with respect, and most commonly only to point the moral of the corruption of these latter days of capitalism. Our policy is, in short, abstention from all attempts at using the constitutional machinery of government, whereas to some Socialists thi... (From : Marxists.org.)
There are doubtless many sincere Radicals outside the party phalanx whose war-cry is "Our Leaders, Right or Wrong!" It behooves these sincere men to look round and consider their position, which they will and to be a sufficiently curious one; for as far as they have any power to carry out those reforms, the expectation of which gives the party its claim to existence, they are allied, whether they like it or not, first of all to the Whigs, that is to say to a kind of Liberals, who by virtue of their position among the privileged class are necessarily fossils, and next to the moderate Liberals, or Liberals simply, which ever you please to call them; that is to say, men possessed of property, but not of principles, whose consciences are just s... (From : Marxists.org.)
There are doubtless many worthy people who shudder at the word Socialism, who, nevertheless wish sincerely to see the condition of the people bettered, and who generally console themselves when they hear of any of the horrors of our capitalist civilization by thinking, "well, at any rate, things are getting better steadily." Ask them how they are getting better, and they will answer you with, "the general spreading of education," "the growth of liberal ideas among the working-classes," and such-like vague stuff. Ask them how soon they think this gradual amelioration is likely, to abolish poverty for all but the vicious and idle and they will answer with vague commonplaces again; for the truth is their hope is a languid one. Amid whatever an... (From : Marxists.org.)
We of this Society at least know the beauty of the weathered and time-worn surface of an ancient building, and have all of us felt the grief of seeing this surface disappear under the hands of a "restorer;" but though we all feel this deeply enough, some of us perhaps may be puzzled to explain to the outside world the full value of this ancient surface. It is not merely that it is in itself picturesque and beautiful, though that is a great deal; neither is it only that there is a sentiment attaching to the very face which the original builders gave their work, but dimly conscious all the while of the many generations which should gaze on it; it is only a part of its value that the ston... (From : Marxists.org.)
In England, at least, if not on the Continent of Europe, there are some towns and cities which have indeed a name that recalls associations with the past, but have no other trace left them of the course of that history which has made them what they are. Besides these, there are many more which have but a trace or two left; sometimes, indeed, this link with the past is so beautiful and majestic in itself that it compels us when we come across it to forget for a few moments the life of to-day with which we are so familiar that we do not mark its wonders or its meannesses, its follies or its tragedies. It compels us to turn away from our life of habit which is all about us on our right hand and our left, and which therefore we cannot ... (From : Marxists.org.)
I fear what I have to tell you will be looked upon by you as an often-told tale; but it seems to me that at the inception of an enterprise for the popularizing and furtherance of the arts of life, the subject-matter of my paper is very necessary to be considered. I will begin by putting before you a kind of text, from which I will speak, so that you may understand from the first the drift of my paper; a plan which, I hope, will save both your time and mine. Whereas the incentive to labor is usually assumed to be the necessity of earning a livelihood, and whereas in our modern society this is really the only incentive among those of the working-class who produces wares of wh... (From : Marxists.org.)
I must first tell you what I mean by the words Art and Labor; and first, by art I mean something wider than is usually meant by the word, something which I fear it is not very easy to explain to some of you born and bred in this great manufacturing city, and living under conditions which I will say would have made art impossible to be if men had always lived so. Well you must understand that by art, I do not mean only pictures and sculpture, nor only these and architecture, that is beautiful building properly ornamented; these are only a portion of art, which comprises, as I understand the word a great deal more; beauty produced by the labor of man both mental and bo... (From : Marxists.org.)
Mr. William Morris lectured before the members of the Guild of Lithographic Artists, at their Technical Schools, 35, Clerkenwell Road, London, on "Art and Labor." He said that it was right and necessary that all men should have work to do. That work must be useful to others, pleasant to those who have the doing of it, and of a nature that shall be neither overburdensome nor wearisome. Let this fact be once acknowledged, and the whole face of society as at present constituted would be changed. Let them consider for a moment what a revolution such a change would mean. Let them take a walk down any of their principal streets and look at the things exposed for sale in the shop windows; the articles there displayed were for the most ... (From : Marxists.org.)
The well-known poet and art critic, Mr. Wm. Morris, of London, delivered a lecture, under the auspices of the Preston Eclectic Society at their meeting place, Percy Street, on Wednesday evening, on "A Socialist’s view of Art and Labor.” There was a numerous and representative audience, and the chair was occupied by the Rev. W. Sharman. The CHAIRMAN, in introducing Mr. Morris, said the democratic cause, from time time, had had melancholy reason to repeat Browning’s poem of "The Lost Leader,” but that night a gentleman came before them who took the place of the "lost leader"—who devoted his genius to the cause of the improvement of the people, and that gentleman was Mr. Wm. Morris, whom he now intr... (From : Marxists.org.)
My friends, I want you to look into the relations of Art to Commerce, using the latter word to express what is generally meant by it; namely, that system of competition in the market which is indeed the only form which most people now-a-days suppose that Commerce can take. Now whereas there have been times in the world's history when Art held the supremacy over Commerce; when Art was a good deal, and Commerce, as we understand the word, was a very little; so now on the contrary it will be admitted by all, I fancy, that Commerce has become of very great importance and Art of very little. I say this will be generally admitted, but different persons will hold very ... (From : Marxists.org.)
We are here in the midst of a population busied about a craft which may be called the most ancient in the world, a craft which I look upon with the greatest interest, as I well may, since, except perhaps the noble craft of house-building, it is second to none other. And in the midst of this industrious population, engaged in making goods of such importance to our households, I am speaking to a School of Art, one of the bodies that were founded all over the country at a time when it was felt there was something wrong as between the two elements that go to make anything which can be correctly described as a work of industrial art, namely the utilitarian and the artistic elements. I hope ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Artist and Artisan as an Artist Sees It” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 87, 10 September 1887, p. 291;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.I have nothing to object to in our comrade’s remarks, but a word or two may be pardoned in explanation of the fact that an artist is looked upon as a gentleman (a sort of one), and sometimes receives a certain portion of the respect accorded to that class, which, however, is dealt out so much more liberally to the mere moneymaker in other trades; to the landowner, manufacturer, contractor, stockjobber, or what not; in short, it is dealt out to members of the proprietary class exactly in proportion to the obviousness of their living by owning wealth and not creating it. In other words the less ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Dyeing is a very ancient art; from the earliest times of the ancient civilizations till within about forty years ago there had been no essential change in it, and not much change of any kind. Up to the time of the discovery of the process of Prussian-blue dyeing in about 1810 (it was known as a pigment thirty or forty years earlier), the only changes in the art were the result of the introduction of the American insect dye (cochineal), which gradually superseded the European one (kermes), and the American wood-dyes now known as logwood and Brazil-wood: the latter differs little from the Asiatic and African Red Saunders, and other red dye-woods; the former has cheapened and worsened bla... (From : Marxists.org.)
The workman of the present day may well think that art is not a matter which concerns him much. To speak bluntly, he is not wealthy enough to share in such art (there is little enough of it told) as is going in civilized countries. His earnings are precarious, and his lodging precarious also, and, to boot, stowed away almost always in the dirtiest corners of our dirty cities; so that, at the risk of offending worthy people who are feebly trying to bestow some scraps of art on their "poorer brethren," it must be said that the workman's home must be bare of art. Indeed, the attempt to bring beauty into such homes would be a task to break the heart of the most patient artist in Europe. That shabby gift of the crumbs that fall from the children... (From : Marxists.org.)
"Applied Art" is the title which the Society has chosen for that portion of the arts which I have to speak to you about. What are we to understand by that title? I should answer that what the Society means by applied art is the ornamental quality which men choose to add to articles of utility. Theoretically this ornament can be done without, and art would then cease to be "applied" - would exist as a kind of abstraction, I suppose. But though this ornament to articles of utility may be done without, man up to the present time has never done without it, and perhaps never will; at any rate he does not propose to do so at present, although, as we shall see presently, he has got himself in... (From : Marxists.org.)
You may well think I am not here to criticize any special school of art or artists, or to plead for any special style, or to give you any instructions, however general, as to the practice of the arts. Rather I want to take counsel with you as to what hindrances may lie in the way towards making art what it should be, a help and solace to the daily life of all men. Some of you here may think that the hindrances in the way are none, or few, and easy to be swept aside. You will say that there is on many sides much knowledge of the history of art, and plenty of taste for it, at least among the cultivated classes; that many men of talent, and some few of genius, practice it with no mean suc... (From : Marxists.org.)
Your correspondent of this morning, who states that `the chief part of what was remarkable in the interior (of this house) wasdestroyed by a former Dean and Chapter' must surely have seen the interior from the exterior. Last summer I had the pleasure of seeing it in the way that most mortals see an interior, and I must assert as a fact, that the interior of the hall and staircase (with the quite remarkable `lantern'), together with the reception rooms, was still `remarkable' for something unusual in London, which I took to be architectural beauty, and which the architects and archaeologists, including the late Dean Stanley, who had been kind enough to ask me to accompany them, thought ... (From : Marxists.org.)
An Objections to Socialism founded on the difficulty of getting necessary work done when people will be free to choose their own work are common in the mouths of antisocialists; and also it has been and still is not uncommon to hear persons saying that no great works of art or no productions of a high intellect will be possible under a condition of things in which a reward is not given for such work out of all proportion to the average of work, the hewing of wood and drawing of water. Even Socialists themselves are sometimes hazy on these subjects; and sometimes they seem ready to accept the view that when people are free they will no longer care for anything more than what are now called the necessities of life. Let us look into ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Now it is clear to me from reading the catalog of this exhibition that the promoters of it think that the working men, as we call them, of these parts do most seriously need some education in the fine arts, that they need to be told something about them which they do not know, in order that, when they look at pictures or other things professing to be works of art in future, they may be impressed by them in a different way from what they have been used to do: in other words, they want to educate people to look at pictures so that the pictures themselves may educate them afterwards. I agree with the promoters of this exhibition that the working men hereabouts do sorely need this double e... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Committee of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has noted with much interest and satisfaction the letter of your correspondent in your impression of the 19th May, & has directed me to write to you, begging you, since the Society was mentioned in the letter, to insert a few words explanatory of its views on this point. The Committee are aware that the building needs repair badly enough; but it cannot help feeling that the plan of raising it bodily is fraught with danger to the fabric, however skillful may be the engineer who conducts the operation: the risk to the precious mosaics at any rate is undeniable, whatever may happen to the main stru... (From : Marxists.org.)
Some three years ago the governors of Blundell's School at Tiverton, being pressed for want of room determined to sell the old school buildings and remove the school to another site: at that time our society in conjunction with some of the townsmen and neighbors of Tiverton, tried very hard to induce the governors not to desert the ancient home of their famous school, or at all events if they were driven to do so to find some public use for the beautiful buildings which were atthat time the most perfect example left us of a grammar school of the early seventeenth century: since all the fittings so carefully planned by the founder were still in their original places. ... (From : Marxists.org.)
The two fearful massacres which have taken place this week are but a continuance of that fatal succession of mischances which has dogged the policy of the Government in Egypt. To blame the miserable administration in Cairo for what has taken place is simply to eke out incompetence with meanness. Of course the Khedive and his advisers were half-hearted in supporting Baker Pasha, of course they are ready to intrigue with D I Barrère or anybody else. That is the nature of Orientals; especially when straightforwardness as in the case of Arabi ended in the disgusting butchery of Tel-el-Kebir. But the main responsibility for all these horrors inflicted upon the luckless Egyptians must rest with England; and it is high time that our people ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Boy-Farms at Fault” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 81, 30 July 1887, p. 241;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The silly season in the newspapers is beginning briskly with a rain of letters from distressed parents concerning their troubles in dealing with their male children home for the holidays. This is a kind of twaddle which is always recurring: this well-fed, well-housed bourgeois on the hunt for some artificial trouble or another, some sham grievance, since he has no real ones, except his own inherent stupidity and vacancy; but on this occasion there is, if the said bourgeois only knew it, a moral to be drawn. I can imagine the ‘boy’, ‘the enemy of the human race’, as Dickens called him, retorting on... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has heard with regret that it is the intention of the Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral, to remove from the Choir the ancient stalls which form such an interesting feature of the building. The Society feels it its duty to protest against such a course of action, which it considers injurious to the history, & art of the country. The Society begs to point out that this woodwork is remarkable for its intrinsic beauty, and although of comparatively late date, is a noble example of the art of its period, & in no way interferes with but rather adds to the Architectural Effect of the building. It is stated that these stalls ... (From : Marxists.org.)
I am sorry to trouble you again in the matter of the proposed restoration of Canterbury Cathedral, but the Dean's letter shows that he has misunderstood both Mr Loftie and myself somewhat seriously, I think. He is mistaken in reading my letter as an approval of the schemes of restoration now afoot:on the contrary, I implied that the removal of the stalls now proposed would practically destroy a worthy work of art, which I value pretty much as Mr Loftie does, and I expressed a dread, which I still feel, that changes would not stop there, but would spread to the ancient fabric of the choir: I believe myself to be justified in that fear by the well-known fact that assurances of the kind t... (From : Marxists.org.)
As Mr Loftie's letter, quoted in your columns, calls on our Society by name, and as the letters of the Dean of Canterbury and Mr Beresford Hope touch our principles closely, I venture to hope that you will give me space for a word or two on the subject of the restoration of the choir of Canterbury Cathedral. As to the present woodwork at the west end, it seems superfluous to praise it, as it is agreed on all hands that it is good, though in some people's minds I suppose it would be condemned as inherently unholy, because it is a post-Reformation work. But, good as it is, I cannot conceive what purpose it can serve when it is taken away from the place it was made for, and in which it lo... (From : Marxists.org.)
1. THE DAY IS COMING Come hither, lads, and hearken, for a tale there is to tell, Of the wonderful days a-coming, when all shall be better than well. And the tale shall be told of a country, a land in the midst of the sea, And folk shall call it England in the days that are going to be. There more than one in a thousand in the days that are yet to come Shall have some hope of the morrow, some joy of the ancient home. For then--laugh not, but listen to this strange tale of mine - All folk that are in England shall be better lodged than swine. Then a man shall work and bethink him, and rejoice in the deeds of his hand, Nor yet come home in the even too faint and weary to stand. Men in that ti... (From : Marxists.org.)
Many of your readers are aware that for some time a scheme has been on foot for rebuilding the north-western tower of Chichester Cathedral, which fell down about the year 1634, leaving only the lower portion standing, and that it is now proposed to carry out this work as a memorial to the late Bishop. The promoters of this scheme, in appealing to the public for funds, state that `unless this tower is rebuilt shortly the whole north-east corner of the Cathedral will come crashing to the ground, so bad is the state into which that part of the building has got owing to the lack of support which the tower was intended to supply.' This is an assertion eminently calculated to fri... (From : Marxists.org.)
The CHAIRMAN said he accepted the position in which he found himself because he felt it was only right that any one who had sympathy with the great movement of the present day should express that sympathy in a public manner. Perhaps there might be many who looked with suspicion upon a Christian minister occupying such a position. but he should like to say that it was because he was a Christian that he occupied the chair. The motto of Christianity, as it related to our social life, was gathered up in the words of the Apostle, "Bear ye one another's burdens." That, as he understood it, was also the motto of the socialistic movement. He did not think that the time had arrived when we could formulate schemes for the renovation of soc... (From : Marxists.org.)
The last of the present course of lectures under the auspices of the Socialist league was delivered on Tuesday evening, the Cooperative Hall, High street. The lecturer on this occasion was Mr. Wm. Morris, the editor of the official journal of the League and author of several works bearing on the subject of Socialism, who gave a vigorous address on "The Class Struggle.” Mr. Thos. Barclay presided, and there was a good attendance. The Lecturer said at the outset that Socialism in its modern form had not been before the English people for more than six or seven years, but that short time had changed its position very much. Before then it was assumed by ordinary politicians that in England there was no class grievance that c... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Coal in Kent” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 217, 8 March 1890, p.77;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The news that coal had been discovered in Kent, and that it would probably be found to be workable, has no doubt sent a shock of hope and expectation to some hearts and of terror to others. Among those who have anything to lose, those who are able to live in tolerably pleasant places without being too stupified by poverty to prevent their enjoying them, among the cultivated middle-classes in short, I should think the latter feeling prevails. The threat of the creation of a new black country on the ruins of the rural beauty of some of the most beautiful country in England, and close to London also, must impress most well-to-do peopl... (From : Marxists.org.)
It will seem a mere commonplace to say, in your columns at any rate, that the crisis now drawing to an end is one of the most momentous in the history of the present labor war;1 yet it may well be doubted if the general public understand how momentous it is. To many it seems a mere troublesome interference of the overpaid, overfed miners with the ordinary and beneficent stream of production, which the coal-owners naturally and laudably resist, for the benefit, we must suppose, of all those who would like, if they could, to be as rich with as litle trouble as those worthies. To others it is an unavoidable nuisance, bound to recur at certain intervals, for which neither party is to blame, but which cannot be dealt with by the public ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Coercion for London” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 70, 14 May 1887, p. 153-154;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.It may be thought that the patriots who are so eager for the unity of the British empire that they want to use artificial means to make it more specially uncomfortable to live in one part of it than it is elsewhere, are taking unnecessary trouble; that the coercionists are such enthusiasts in the art of coercion that they are hunting it when they have already got it. It is true that there is a pleasure in making a special and blatant demonstration of success, but it is a pleasure that has to be paid for by the opposition that the attempt to make it stirs up. The wise are contented with having the substance and letting t... (From : Marxists.org.)
Now first I suppose nobody, however rash he may be, can suppose that such a change can be brought about suddenly, or by the conscious efforts of a few or even a great many people. It is true that in times past there have been great men who have noted the woeful way in which the mass of people live, and who from the depths of their own insight and benevolence have imagined schemes for a better life, and in some of them enthusiasm and energy have been so strong that they have tried to realize those ideals, and for a time have seemed as if they might succeed; but the relentless march of the commercial army has crushed those schemes, and the ordinary shrewd bourgeois intelligence that can ... (From : Marxists.org.)
... The privilege of birth has waned to such a poor shadow that an outcast tribe scarcely tolerated in Medieval Europe does now practically rule Europe; and one of these people in our country managed but a few years [ago] to persuade the extra-rich men who perhaps think (very mistakenly) that [they] are the lineal descendants of the baronage of our Plantagenet Kings, the he was marshaling them in triumph to the sure defense of their ancient position. The privilege of birth has gone, and the privilege of riches has taken its place. ... the long course of the centuries, therefore, whatever gain they have brought us otherwise, in development of man's intellect, or his power ov... (From : Marxists.org.)
While I think that the hope of the new-birth of society is certainly growing, and that speedily, I must confess myself puzzled about the means toward that end which are mostly looked after now; and I am doubtful if some of the measures which are pressed, mostly, I think, with all honesty of purpose, and often with much ability, would, if gained, bring us any further on the direct road to a really new-born society, the only society which can be a new birth, a society of practical equality. Not to make any mystery about it, I mean that the great mass of what most non-Socialists at least consider at present to be Socialism, seems to me nothing more than a machinery of Socialism, which I t... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Conscience of the Upper Classes” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 101, 17 December 1887, p. 404;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford..It seems to be universally admitted that the conference held on December 5th in the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, on the prevailing distress in London was the direct outcome of the unemployed agitation, for joining in which so many poor men have been sentenced with a spite at once so malignant and so petty that it fairly sickens an honest man to think of it. These rich and well-to-do persons were driven to meet together by a fear which I do not say they all felt in their own persons, but which is certainly permeating their class, a fear so easily aroused that a few hundred destitute, unarmed, peaceably... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Correspondence” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 175, 18 May 1889, p.157;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. In answer to our comrade Blackwell’s suggestion, and in default of someone else beginning that free discussion he speaks of, I wish to note down a few thoughts suggested by reading the clauses of the Anarchist Congress at Valentia, as stated by our comrade; premising that I do so in no polemical spirit, but simply giving my own thoughts and hopes for the future for what they may be worth. I will begin by saying that I call myself a Communist, and have no wish to qualify that word by joining any other to it. The aim of Communism seems to me to be the complete equality of condition for all people; and anything in a Socialis... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Christianity and Socialism” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 217, 8 March 1890, p.77;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Mr Rickarby’s letter, though written in a friendly and conciliatory spirit, requires, I think, some answer. Let it be admitted that Christianity, like all religions which include a system of morality, has something in common with socialism. Let it also be admitted that many of the ‘sneers and unjust charges’ of which Mr Rickarby writes, are aimed at the stupidities and hypocrisies of the Christianity of the day, which no doubt men of Mr Rickarby’s stamp sincerely condemn; granted this, yet if Christianity is ‘a revelation addressed to all times’ it can not be neutral as to political... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Correspondence: Communism and Anarchism” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 188, 17 August 1889, p.261;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.I have to excuse myself for being so long in answering our comrades. My journey to the Paris Congress, and business necessary to be done before and after that event, accounts for the greater part of the delay. I will now do what I can to answer our friends who have written to the Commonweal. I must premise, by the way, that I have let a typographical error of importance pass unnoticed: for ‘moral conscience’ our friends should read ‘social conscience’. And now I find that one difficulty in dealing with the friends who are discussing the matter is that, in all probability, I dif... (From : Marxists.org.)
The commission appointed by government to inquire into the sanitary condition of the weaving sheds where the delicious compound of filth called heavily sized cotton is worked up into cloth (?), says among other things: "The amount of size used to a given weight of cotton warp could no longer be actually described as being from 50 to 90 per cent.; 100, 120, 150 per cent. of size is now not unfrequently used. We conversed with one manufacturer, who admitted that to every 100 lb. of warp he put 200 lb. of size; another had gone as far as 230. In one factory visited by us the manufacturer weighed in our presence a piece of cotton cloth weighing 8 3/4 lb. and another weighing 4 1/2 lb. and remarked that the latter contained by far the ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Counting Noses” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 128, 23 June 1888, p.196;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Mr Chamberlain ...believed that the experience of the United States and their own, so far as it had gone, went to show that when people were constantly being called on to vote, the whole matter fell into the hands of caucuses and machine politicians. Thus the reporters of the House of Commons give us the present view of the once semi-Socialist agitator, the advocate of the ransoming of the upper-classes; and no one can wonder at the ‘ironical cheers and laughter’ of the opposition that followed this expression of opinion from the once darling of the caucuses, the once supreme lender of the midland-county machine pol... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Dead At Last” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 114, 17 March 1888, p.81;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The flood of cant and servility which has been poured out by the bourgeois press during the last few days, because the long-expected death of [Frederick III Emperor of Germany] a tyrant of the old type embedded in a modern type of tyranny, has at last happened, disgusts one so much that at first one is tempted to keep silence in mere contempt for such degraded nonsense. Court mourning is always a preposterous spectacle, but here is a case where it is more preposterous than usual. Conventional universal grief, when scarcely any one is grieved at the event, no one whose interests do not suffer by it, most people are profoundly indif... (From : Marxists.org.)
3 Hereafter I hope in another lecture to have the pleasure of laying before you an historical survey of the Decorative Arts, and I must confess it would have been pleasanter to me to have begun my talk with you by entering at once upon the subject of the history of this great industry; but, as I have something to say in a third lecture about various matters connected with the practice of Decoration among ourselves in these days, I feel that I should be in a false position before you, and one that might lead to confusion, or overmuch explanation, if I did not let you know what I think on the nature and scope of these arts, on their condition at the present time, and their outlook in times to come. In doing this it is like enoug... (From : Marxists.org.)
To the Editor: Sir, May I be allowed to say a word in supplement to your paragraph about my opinions about the fine arts? You rather imply that I am a pessimist on this matter. This is not the case; but I am anxious that there should be no illusions as to the future of art. I do not believe in the possibility of keeping art vigorously alive by the action, however energetic, of a few groups of specially gifted men and their small circle of admirers amid a general public incapable of understanding and enjoying their work. I hold firmly to the opinion that all worthy schools of art must be in the future, as they have been in the past, the outcome of the aspirations of the people towards the beauty and true pleasure of life. And fur... (From : Marxists.org.)
What is the essence of the society which took the place of feudalism: free competition - that is in other words a desperate war in which every man fights for his own hand; the aim of the struggle being to live free from labor at the expense of those that labor. This struggle results necessarily in the formation of two great classes, the successful and the unsuccessful, which in spite of minor divisions among them, have now taken the place of all the elaborate castes of feudality: the struggle therefore proposed for everyone born into the world of civilization is the getting, or the keeping of a place in the class which lives on the labor of others: the getting or the keeping; because t... (From : Marxists.org.)
The question asked by Lord Houghton in the House of Lords on Thursday elicited from the Bishop of London an acknowledgment that the scheme proposed some few years back for the wholesale removal of the City churches is continuing its destructive course unimpeded. Four more churches are to be sacrificed to the Mammon-worship and want of taste of this great city. Last year witnessed the destruction of the fine church of St Michael's, Queenhithe, and All Hallows, Bread Street, which bore upon its walls the inscription stating that Milton had been baptized there. St Dionis Backchurch, a remarkable building by Wren, is now in course of destruction, while within the last ten years the beautif... (From : Marxists.org.)
“Development of Modern Society”, Part 1Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 6, Number 236, pp.225-6 19 July 1890 (the first of five parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman ALL the progressive races of man have gone through a stage of development during which society has been very different to what it is now. At present there is a very definite line of distinction drawn between the personal life of a man and his life as a member of society. As a rule, the only direction in which this social life is felt is in that of his nearest kindred—his wife, children, parents, brothers and sisters. This is so much the case that we... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Development of Modern Society” Commonweal, Volume 6, Number 237, 26 July, p. 237; the second of five parts.Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Proofing and HTML: Graham Seaman BUT further, you must not fail to remember that the aspirations and nobility of sacrifice of the ancient city life were for [a] limited class only. In the old tribal life the slaves were not an important class, and also had easements, and even a kind of position which we do not associate with slave life, scarcely even with serfdom; as one may see in Homer, who, writing at a time when the tribal society was rapidly merging into city-life, gives us, for example, such a picture of a slave as Eumœus[A], who had at any rate plenty of pigs ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Development of Modern Society” Commonweal, Volume 6, Number 238, 2 August, p. 244; the third of five parts.Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Proofing and HTML: Graham Seaman IN these country districts, both in England and elsewhere, they held for a long time to many of their old tribal customs; the jury of neighbors; frank-pledge, or the responsibility of the district for the conduct of its dwellers; the oath of compurgation; the courts in the open-air; the folk-motes of all the freemen meeting directly (not by delegates) and armed in token of their freedom. Over all this, which still existed in the beginning of feudalism, and never quite disappeared until its wane, the regular feudal system was super-imposed. Serfdom... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Development of Modern Society” Commonweal, Volume 6, Number 239, 9 August, p. 253; the fourth of five parts.Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Proofing and HTML: Graham Seaman To these about the eleventh century were superadded another set of guilds, whose main object was the protection of trade, and which soon became powerful, and establishing themselves in the towns, drew together with the corporations, the freemen of the towns, and were fuzed with them. They shared in the degeneration of the municipal aristocracies, which reached its height in the beginning of the thirteenth century, and with them were attacked by the third and last set of guilds, whose office was the organization and protection of the handicrafts. ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Development of Modern Society” Commonweal, Volume 6, Number 240, 16 August, pp. 260-261; the last of five parts.Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Proofing and HTML: Graham Seaman THUS fell the Society of the Middle Ages, by Capitalism establishing itself on the ruins of Feudality, and the rise of a middle-class who were either parasites of the nobility, themselves become commercial, trading on the grossest monopolies, and exacting rack-rent, and practically doing the state no service—partly parasites of the nobility, or partly employers living on the profit wrung out of workmen employed at a very low rate of wages. I have been giving the story of the change as it happened in England. On the Continent the divorce... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Ducks and Fools” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 169, 6 April 1889, p.107;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.When I was in Iceland, I was told about the habits of the eider ducks, which breed in great quantities in the little islets scattered about the firths there, and also of their treatment. They, of course, get their own living; they are pretty good to eat, but not very good; so they are not allowed to be shot, because they produce valuable down, which can be got at by the following process: They make their nests on the ground in the above-mentioned islets; the duck half strips her breast of the down to line her nest; this down is at once collared from the nest by those who are privileged to do so according to law. Then the duck p... (From : Marxists.org.)
One of the chief terrors, real or affected, which afflicts the middle-class man in thinking of the chances of that "Coming Slavery," which Mr. Herbert Spencer so bewails, is a fear of the suppression of individuality. Our Socialist lecturers are all familiar with this objection which seldom fails to be raised at question time in meetings where those are present who have any claim to be considered educated. To us Socialists looking round on the present state of society the anxiety when genuine seem not a little ridiculous, considering the manner in which individualism founded on the gospel of commerce has guarded this precious jewel of individuality. Truly the mill-hand who is as much a part of the machinery of the factory where he works as ... (From : Marxists.org.)
If you look at the map of Europe, you will see in its north-western corner lying just under the Arctic circle a large island considerably bigger than Ireland. If you were to take ship and go there you would find it a country very remarkable in aspect, little more than a desert, yet the most romantic of all deserts even to look at: a huge volcanic mass still liable to eruptions of mud, ashes, and lava, and which in the middle of the 18th century was the scene of the most tremendous outpour of lava that history records. Anyone traveling there I think would be apt to hope, if he knew nothing of its history, that its terrific and melancholy beauty might have once been illumined by a histor... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Editorial” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 51, 1 January 1887, p. 4;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.With this number there is begun a new volume of the Commonweal. For two years it has managed to appear regularly and keep before the public a consistent, unflinching exponent of international Revolutionary Socialism. Difficulties of many kinds have had to be surmounted, and in the future we may confidently look for a hardly less arduous endeavor as the price of a continued and useful existence. During the two years that have elapsed since the Commonweal was founded the cause of Socialism has made great strides. In every country of the civilized world there is a definite, strong, and increasing Socialist party; while the influence o... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Editorial” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 16, 1 May 1886, p.33;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.In laying before the Socialist public the first number of our new departure, we feel that a few special words are likely to be looked for from the editors. Now, as we understand the policy of the Socialist League it aims at education and organization towards action when the fitting moment arrives. When that action is set on foot it will have nothing less for its aim than the taking over by the workers of all the means of producing wealth, to be used for the benefit of the community, that is to say, for the benefit of each and all of those who compose it; in other words, the realization of a new society with equality of condition for it... (From : Marxists.org.)
Sir, I cannot help noting that a rumor is about in the air that England is going to war; and from the depths of my astonishment I ask, On behalf of whom? Against whom? And for what end? Some three weeks ago, if such a rumor had arisen, my questions would, I imagine, have been answered in this way: “The English nation has been roused to a sense of justice (for at heart they are a generous people) by a story of horrors that no man has been able to gainsay; so they are going to war against the Turkish Government on behalf of certain subject peoples, whom the Turks conquered long ago but have never assimilated, and whom now, in their decrepitude, insolvency and terror, they have been torturing and oppressing in the vilest m... (From : Marxists.org.)
It is usual when a Socialist is addressing an audience of those who wish to know what his Socialism means, to touch lightly on the aim that Socialism has in view and to dwell chiefly on the means by which that aim is to be reached. The speaker assumes (usually I am glad to think with reason) that his audience are sufficiently with him to sympathize with his wish to better the present condition of affairs, and are eager to know what process he purposes to them as the means for the bettering of the life of the great mass of the population; it is natural for people to say to an earnest reformer, Tell us what it is that you wish to have done at once, and then we will look at the matter; an... (From : Marxists.org.)
Mr. William Morris, who so dearly loves to be described in newspapers and double-crown bills as "the poet and Socialist,” delivered a characteristic lecture on Monday evening, before the Hornsey Young Men’s Society, at the Park Chapel Lecture-hall, Crouch-End. A year ago he promised the society a lecture, but at the time could not personally deliver it, and sent the manuscript to be read by a friend, who was a member of the society and a good elocutionist. But on Monday evening, the eccentric teacher of ethics presented himself, and lectured on "Eyes and No Eyes.” The Rev. ALFRED ROWLAND, LL.B., B.A., in introducing Mr. Morris, dwelt at some length upon the influence of poets and great thinkers upon the natio... (From : Marxists.org.)
William Morris. Commonweal. 1890 Fabian Essays in Socialism Source: “Fabian Essays in Socialism [1]” (review) Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 211, 25 January 1890, p.28-29;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. This book is of importance as embodying the views of a society which has been so active in lecturing on behoof of the Socialist movement. Indeed, some time ago many of us thought and said that the Fabians should publish a volume of their lectures; and, without wishing to carp at the present expression of opinions from which we of the Socialist League dissent in some measure, I cannot help wishing that such a volume had appeared about three years ago: for such a book published at that date would have dealt almost wholly with the economi... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Facing the Worst of It” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 58, 19 February 1887, p. 60-61;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Though we Socialists have full faith in the certainty of the great change coming about, it would be idle for any one of us to attempt to prophesy as to the date of the realization of our hopes; and it is well for us not to be too sanguine, since overweening hope is apt to give birth to despair if it meets with check or disappointment. Although the oppression and robbery of the past and the present is preparing a certain revenge in the future, yet history has shown us over and over again that retribution is halt-foot; or perhaps, to put it with as little metaphor as language will allow of, great revolutions have to... (From : Marxists.org.)
We Socialists are often reproached with giving no details of the state of things which would follow on the destruction of that system of waste and war which is sometimes dignified by the lying title of the harmonious combination of capital and labor: many worthy people say, "We admit that the present system has produced unsatisfactory results, but at least it is a system; you ought to be able to give us some definite idea of the results of that reconstruction which you call Socialism." To this Socialists answer, and rightly, that we have not set ourselves to build up a system to please our tastes; nor are we seeking to impose it on the world in a mechanical manner, but that we are assisting in bringing about a development of history whic... (From : Marxists.org.)
In a recent article we tried to look through the present into the future and see a factory as it might be, and got as far as the surroundings outside of it; but those externals of a true palace of industry can be only realized, naturally and without affectation by the work which is to be done in them being in all ways reasonable and fit for human beings; I mean no mere whim of some one rich and philanthropic manufacturer will make even one factory permanently pleasant and agreeable for the workers in it; he will die or be sold up, his heir will be poorer or more single-hearted in his devotion to profit, and all the beauty and order will vanish from the short-lived dream: even the external beauty in industrial concerns must be the work of so... (From : Marxists.org.)
I have tried to show in former articles that in a duly ordered society, in which people would work for a livelihood and not for the profit of another, a factory might not only be pleasant as to its surroundings, and beautiful in its architecture, but that even the rough and necessary work done in it might be so arranged as to be neither burdensome in itself or of long duration for each worker; but furthermore the organization of such a factory, that is to say of a group of people working in harmonious cooperation towards a useful end, would of itself afford opportunities for increasing the pleasure of life. To begin with such a factory will surely be a center of education: any children who seem likely to develop gifts towards its special... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: Feudal England; Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 84, 20 August 1887, p. 266-7;Transcribed: by Graham Seaman.THE Norman Conquest found a certain kind of feudality in existence in England; a feudality which was developed from the customs of the tribes with little or no admixture of Roman law; and also even before the Conquest this country was slowly beginning to be mixed up with the affairs of the Continent of Europe, and that not only with the kindred nations of Scandinavia, but with the Romanized countries also. But the Conquest of Duke William did introduce the complete or Romanized Feudal system into the country; and it also connected it by strong bonds to the Romanized countries, but thereby laid the first foundations of national... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: Feudal England; Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 85, 27 August 1887, p. 274;Transcribed: by Graham Seaman.The order and progress of Henry I.'s reign, which marks the transition from the mere military camp of the Conqueror to the Medieval England I have to dwell upon, was followed by the period of mere confusion and misery which accompanied the accession of the princes of Anjou to the throne of England. In this period the barons widely became mere violent and illegal robbers; and the castles with which the land was dotted, and which were begun under the auspices of the Conqueror as military posts, became mere dens of strong thieves. No doubt this made the business of the next able king, Henry II., the easier. He was a staunch man of ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: Feudal England; Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 86, 3 September 1887, p. 282;Transcribed: by Graham Seaman.The Great Council of the Realm was purely feudal; it was composed of the feudatories of the king, theoretically of all of them, practically of the great ones only. It was, in fact, the council of the conquering tribe with their chief at their head; the matters of the due feudal tribute, aids, reliefs, fines, scutage, and the like — in short, the king's revenue due from his men — were settled in this council at once and in the lump. But the inferior tribe, though not represented there, existed, and, as aforesaid, was growing rich, and the king had to get their money out of their purses directly; which as they were n... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: Feudal England; Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 87, 10 September 1887, p. 290-1;Transcribed: by Graham Seaman.The complete feudalism of the fourteenth century fell, as systems always fall, by its own corruption, by development of the seeds of change, some which indeed had lain asleep during centuries, to wake up into activity long after the events which had created them were forgotten. The feudal system was naturally one of open war; and the alliances, marriages, and other dealings family with family, made by the kings and potentates, were always leading them into war by giving them legal claims, or at least claims that could be legally pleaded, to the domains of other lords, who took advantage of their being on the spot, of the... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Fighting for Peace” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 59, 26 February 1887, p. 68;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Our contemporary, the Cotton Factory Times, has an article on the Lanarkshire riots and the position of the men there which is worth noting, as showing the kind of prejudices and superstitions which will have to be removed from the minds of the workers before they can attain to that complete union and perception of the interests of labor by which alone they can meet the organization of capital on equal terms: and this is the more worth noting, as the Cotton Factory Times is an excellent paper, and really devoted, according to its lights, to the interests of labor. Our contemporary does not seem to have understood the me... (From : Marxists.org.)
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 th... (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 hands in ... (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 their... (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 should pre... (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 ... (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 dema... (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 p... (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... (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 their g... (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 3... (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 ... (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 not me... (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 well fo... (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 neighbor... (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 ... (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 th... (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 ... (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 ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: The Decorator and Furnisher, Vol. 13, No. 5, Feb. 1889Transcribed: 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 al... (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 there was... (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 noting... (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 gatherings... (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-minded... (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.)
I am afraid after all that, though the subject is a very important one, yet there are so many of you present who must know all about it, that you will find what I have to say is little better than commonplace. Still, you know there are occasions and times when commonplaces have to be so to say hammered home, and even those who profess the noble art of architecture want a certain sort of moral support in that line; they know perfectly well what they ought to do, but very often they find themselves in such an awkward position that they cannot do it, owing no doubt to the stupidity of their clients, who after all are not so stupid as they might be, one may think, since they employ them. N... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Instructive Items” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 21, 5 June 1886, p.79;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The eight hours movement in America has not been the failure it is so loudly proclaimed. It is found, by actual computation, that nearly half-a-million have gained the eight hours system; that another half-million are working under the nine hour rule, and that not less than a million besides have succeeded in shortening the hours of labor in one shape or another. The fourteen and fifteen hours men have cut off two or three hours; the Saturday half-holiday men have largely gained their object, and the early closing and Sunday closing movements have been successful in most places. ‘What should I go to see in Europe?’ ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Insurance Against Magistrates” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 98, 26 November 1887, p. 377;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The meeting held is the Memorial Hall on November 18th will do good service if the protective League inaugurated by it keeps to its promise (as I see no reason for doubting that it will) of helping all persons without distinction of opinion who ‘get into trouble’ in their endeavors to defend freedom of speech. Stewart Headlam in his speech on that occasion said nothing less than the bare truth when he said that no poor man had any chance of obtaining justice in a magistrate’s court, — in which, by the way, he would doubtless have included the Middlesex Sessions if he had had any experie... (From : Marxists.org.)
I found my old friend Morris surrounded by the books and drawings he loves so well, and after the usual civilities I plunged at once into the subject upon which I wished to get his views. "What do you think," I asked, "of the Anarchist outrages; this epidemic of bombthrowing?" "Well," said Morris, handing me a cigarette and filling a well-used brier pipe, "I have no doubt that you know pretty well what my view is, what the view of any Socialist would be, upon the subject. I regard it as simply a disease — a social disease caused by the evil conditions of society. I cannot regard it in any other light. Of course, as a Socialist I regard the Anarchists — that is, those who believe in Anarchism pure and simple —... (From : Marxists.org.)
INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM MORRIS. BY QUINBUS FLESTRIN. It was a dull night. Even the electric lights burned blue. Everybody knew or had heard of William Morris, yet I couldn't find his residence - Kelmscott House. I was directed down the Mall. I went down. I found a narrow murky passage, as directed. I turned to the left over the Creek bridge as per instructions; then turned to the right, and, after walking briskly for half an hour, found myself in the Hammersmith main thoroughfare, closely adjacent to my starting-place. This was not encouraging, but I took heart of grace, plunged into the Mall once more, but this time turned to the right, and in the fullness of time brought up on Hammersmith-bridge. Then I took a seat and moved t... (From : Marxists.org.)
A LIVING WAGE FOR WOMEN. AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. WILLIAM MORRIS. JOURNEYING from town, direct by road to Hammersmith, I traveled over the ground which Mr. William Morris has made famous in his "News from Nowhere," and I must confess that the dream of transformation which he describes seemed impossible of realization. Where on earth, I queried, are all these houses, shops, and people to be banished, in order that the charming district of Mr. Morris' dream may become possible? A short turning from the main road of Hammersmith brought me suddenly face to face with old Father Thames and a pretty stretch of country lining the further bank. It all looked so pleasant, gleaming in the sunshine, and was so great and sudden a cont... (From : Marxists.org.)
The following pages form a book giving information concerning that Social Revolution which may be said rather to be in progress than to be at hand; information to those who stand outside it, either as curious spectators, or as declared enemies, but encouragement to those who are within it, and are doing their best in their generation to hasten its progress, or to light the way for its footsteps in the earliest hours of the new dav. The literature of Scientific Socialism in the English tongue is yet but scanty, and a book planned as this, and carried out with so much care as to figures — to speak of nothing else — will doubtless he heartily welcomed by all our comrades in the cause; but the book, besides its intrinsi... (From : Marxists.org.)
Introductory Source: Commonweal, Vol. I no. 1, Feb 1885, p.1;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.We beg our readers’ leave for a few words in which to introduce to them this Socialist journal, The Commonweal. In the first place we ask them to understand that the Editor and Sub-Editor of The Commonweal are acting as delegates of the Socialist League, and under its direct control: any slip in principles, therefore, and mis-statement of the aims or tactics of the League, are liable to correction from the representatives of that body. As to the conduct of The Commonweal, it must be remembered that it has one aim — the propagation of Socialism. We shall not, therefore, make any excuses for what may be thought journalistic short-comings, i... (From : Marxists.org.)
The poem here illustrated by Mr Gaskin's beautiful pictures was written to suit a Medieval tune by Dr John Mason Neale, who was one of the leaders in the early days of the Ritualistic movement. Dr Neale was a representative of a side of the movement, which, unless I am mistaken, has almost died out as a special characteristic of Ritualism: the historical side to wit. This has happened I think because of the growth among thinking people generally of a sense of the importance of Medieval history, and of the increasing knowledge that the ecclesiastical part of it cannot be dissociated from its civil and popular parts. Medieval history in all its detail, with all its enthusiasms, legends, ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Ireland and Italy — A Warning” Commonweal, Vol I, No. 9, October 1885, pp. 86-87;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Mr Parnell has been celebrating his triumphs in the past Parliament, and it may be said also those that are to come in the future one; he and his supporters also fully believe in the complete organization of the party, which will be strong enough not only to return 85 members this autumn, but also to compel every accepted candidate to sign a solemn pledge to submit to party discipline. Doubtless Mr Parnell is strong, and he and his are quite justified in their cries of victory. The English Parties cannot conceal their terror: Tory is calling to Whig, Whig to Liberal, to stand firm at last, since now the en... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Is Lipski’s Confession Genuine?” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 85, 27 August 1887, p. 276;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.So Lipski has confessed and all is right, ‘he has been brought to a frame of mind that has enabled him to make the reparation’, says the Daily News. Bourgeois justice and the Home Secretary are triumphantly vindicated. Thus, doubtless, thought the ‘respectable’ world on Monday morning. There is nothing to be surprised at in Lipski’s confession. Indeed, it was just what was to be expected; those who have never believed in his guilt have no need to do so now, the evidence is entirely against such an hypothesis; but that under the circumstances the world should be given to und... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Is Trade Recovering?” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 49, 18 December 1886, p.300;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.We are being told by the middle-class press at present, that there are signs of the passing away of that depression of trade which nobody denies is real enough. Now, non-Socialists will doubtless look on Socialists who dread this recovery of trade as likely to calm down the present agitation as very dreadful persons; but I would ask them first to remember that the realization of Socialism means to us a new and happy world; and considering how frightful are the sufferings of a large part of civilized populations, and how still more frightful is their degradation even in prosperous times of trade, we are surely justified ... (From : Marxists.org.)
It is told of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary--the Alfred the Great of his time and people--that he once heard (once ONLY?) that some (only SOME, my lad?) of his peasants were over- worked and under-fed. So he sent for his Council, and bade come thereto also some of the mayors of the good towns, and some of the lords of land and their bailiffs, and asked them of the truth thereof; and in diverse ways they all told one and the same tale, how the peasant carles were stout and well able to work and had enough and to spare of meat and drink, seeing that they were but churls; and how if they worked not at the least as hard as they did, it would be ill for them and ill for their lords; for that the more the churl hath the more he asketh; and ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Labor Day” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 225, 3 May 1890, p.137;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Is the demonstration of Labor Day a mere isolated demonstration, bearing no relation to anything but to the claim for a legal restriction of the hours of labor to the arbitrary figure of eight? Surely it is not so, whatever may be the wishes of some of those who may take part in it. On the, one hand it points to what has taken place within the last few years, on the other to the coming events of the next few. The great event in the history of labor of the last few years has been the growing comprehension of Socialism by the English workmen, as shown by the spirit underlying all the strikes which have lately taken place, and which has ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Law and Order in Ireland Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 65, 9 April 1887, p. 113;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The Coercion Bill and the attempt to drive it through Parliament is really a matter of great simplicity, although the whirl of party politics has made it seem somewhat intricate. It is the mere ‘outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace’ of that Conservatism, Toryism or Reactionism, whichever you please to call it, to which all the respectability of Parliamentary life gravitates, and which has engulfed not only the grave and portentous Philistinism of the once Tribune of the People, John Bright, but also the gathering ambition and vague aspiration to do something remarkable of Joseph Chamberlain;... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Lesser Arts of Life The Lesser Arts of Life may not seem to some of you worth considering, even for an hour. In these brisk days of the world, amid this high civilization of ours, we are too eager and busy, it may be said, to take note of any form of art that does not either stir our emotions deeply, or strain the attention of the most intellectual part of our minds. Now for this rejection of the lesser arts there may be something to be said, supposing it be done in a certain way and with certain ends in view; nevertheless it seems to me that the lesser arts, when they are rejected, are so treated for no sufficient reason, and to the injury of the community; ther... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Lesson of the Hour” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 191, 7 September 1889, p.281-282;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The labor revolt in the East-end, whatever the result of the dock-laborers’ strike may be, will leave a lasting impression behind it, at least on the working men. The wiseacre Norwood, in his speech of Tuesday last, made the very remarkable discovery that ‘the strike was aimed at capital and employers generally’, and seemed to think that this discovery was a set-off against his other shortcomings. As matter of fact, it is just this element of conscious or semi-conscious attack on the slave-drivers generally which distinguishes this strike from the ordinary trades-union bickerings. These latter,... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Letter from Scotland” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 25, 3 July 1886, p.105-106;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.On Tuesday 22nd I found myself at Arbroath, a pleasant stone-built town of some 20,000 inhabitants on the German Ocean, the original of ‘Fairport’ in Scott’s ‘Antiquary’, the remains of a magnificent church and abbey dominating the homely houses. The industry practiced there is sail-cloth making, and it is in a very dismal condition at present. There was much suffering there in the past winter. In a walk that I took with my host (a Free Kirk minister and a Socialist), we got into conversation with a field-laborer who was resting from his job of harrowing at a field’s end. I should pr... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Letter from the Pacific Coast” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 13, February 1886, pp. 13;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.We have received an interesting letter from San Francisco relative to the labor question and especially to the conference lately held there, in which the main subject of discussion was the Chinese labor question. Our correspondent’s letter is as follows: ‘1035 Post Street, S. F., California, Dec. 9. ‘85. ‘Dear Comrades,- We last night adjourned from the ‘Trades and Labor Organizations Convention’ which had, with an interval of two days, been sitting since last Monday week. A full report is in course of preparation, of which you will undoubtedly receive a copy, but this is ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Liberal Party Digging Its Own Grave” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 98, 26 November 1887, p. 380;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford..For months past the Gladstonian Liberals have been protesting loudly against Coercion in Ireland, and the speeches of the ‘distinguished’ among them have been filling columns on columns of the papers. They have just had a splendid opportunity of striking a great blow against Coercion in London. We need not ask how they have used that opportunity, that would be a joke; but it may be profitable to point out some possible consequences of their gross stupidity in throwing it away. It is their business as political Liberals to get the working-classes to believe that if they come in again some... (From : Marxists.org.)
Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle On Sunday afternoon, happening to be in the neighborhood of Ravenscourt Park — which, I may state, is near Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush ─ I saw the sturdy, well-knit figure of Mr. William Morris tramping along heedless of the driving rain and the keen north-east wind. Mr. William Morris is an extraordinary character — in fact, he answers to the description of "three single gentlemen rolled into one." Firstly, he is a poet ─ "the idle singer of an empty day" he calls himself; secondly, be is an art-decorator, a designer of artistic wall-papers, and man of a flourishing business in which there is little time for idle singing; thirdly, he is a gentlemanly ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “London in a State of Siege” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 97, 19 November 1887, p. 369-70;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Sir Charles Warren has kept his promise and prevented the meeting organized by the Radical Clubs. From the military point of view he has been eminently successful, and deserved to be so, and it is now proper that we should make him a peer of the realm and Commander-in-Chief of the British forces, if he will kindly consent to waive the title of Emperor or three-tailed Bashaw or whatever else is the proper nick-name of a supreme and irresponsible ruler. Sir Charles, I repeat, made his military dispositions admirably, and revolutionists should study them, since they have had a little piece of real war suddenly br... (From : Marxists.org.)
It would be a hard-hearted person indeed who could either object seriously to or look sourly upon the Lord Mayor's Show as a holiday pageant, an afternoon brightening-up of the hideous and sordid streets of the "Great Wen," as Cobbett called it: and considering the depths of the degradation of all spectacular art at the present day, it would be too cruel to criticize the spectacle of last Monday from an artistic point of view, even if the columns of JUSTICE were the best place in which to do so. But since the Fathers of the City have thought good in one part of their show to call attention to an episode of London history, the murder of Wat Tyler, it may be worth while for the sake of the practical moral to recall to our readers the story of... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Committee of the S.P.A.B. having noticed that the Pall Mall Gazette has on several occasions done good service towards the cause of the preservation of the remains of the art of past times, has desired me to write to you, & beg the favor of space in your columns for the following remarks on the threatened destruction of Magdalen Bridge at Oxford, which it is much to be feared is imminent. It may well be thought that the mere words, `the destruction of Magdalen Bridge' would go at once to the heart of any one who knows Oxford well; that any one who has lived there either as gownsman or townsman, & who does not want to be set down as dull to any impression ... (From : Marxists.org.)
As other ages are called, e.g., the ages of learning, of chivalry, of faith and so forth, so ours I think may be called the Age of makeshift. In other times of the world's history if a thing was not to be had, people did without it, and there was an end. Nay, most often they were not conscious of the lack. But to-day we are so rich in information, that we know of many and many things which we ought to have and cannot, and not liking to sit down under the lack pure and simple, we get a makeshift instead of it; and once more it is just this insistence on makeshifts, and I fear content with them, which is the essence of what we call civilization. Now I want to run throu... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: Manifesto, pub. 1st May 1893Authors: J.M. Hyndman, W. Morris, G.B. ShawTranscribed: by Graham Seaman, May 2019There is a growing feeling at the present time that, in view of the increasing number of Socialists in Great Britain, an effort should be made to show that, whatever differences may have arisen between them in the past, all who can fairly be called Socialists are agreed in their main principles of thought and action. This is the more hopeful since, though much has been made of those differences by the opponents of Socialism, it is safe to say that they have been of rather less importance than similar disputes of the early days of great movements which have afterwards become solid and irresistible. There has indee... (From : Marxists.org.)
Fellow Citizens, We come before you as a body advocating the principles of Revolutionary International Socialism; that is, we seek a change in the basis of Society - a change which would destroy the distinctions of classes and nationalities. As the civilized world is at present constituted, there are two classes of Society - the one possessing wealth and the instruments of its production, the other producing wealth by means of those instruments but only by the leave and for the use of the possessing classes. These two classes are necessarily in antagonism to one another. The possessing class, or non-producers, can only live as a class on the u... (From : Marxists.org.)
Prefatory Note The spread of Socialism since the first issue of this Manifesto makes a new edition necessary; all the more, as the word Socialism is now freely used by Ministers and ex-Ministers, who cannot be expected to understand it, and who nevertheless take credit to themselves for their audacity in patronizing it before vast popular audiences, so that the word has got to be used loosely and in a misleading manner. It is hoped that this new issue may be a corrective against misunderstandings that may arise from all this. The Notes appended to this edition will at any rate, we hope, clear up any possible ambiguities in the text as w... (From : Marxists.org.)
A Society coming before the public with such a name as that above written must needs explain how, and why, it proposes to protect those ancient buildings which, to most people doubtless, seem to have so many and such excellent protectors. This, then, is the explanation we offer. No doubt within the last fifty years a new interest, almost like another sense, has arisen in these ancient monuments of art; and they have become the subject of one of the most interesting of studies, and of an enthusiasm, religious, historical, artistic, which is one of the undoubted gains of our time; yet we think that if the present treatment of them be continued, our descendants will find them ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Certainly May Day is above all days of the year fitting for the protest of the disinherited against the system of robbery that shuts the door betwixt them and a decent life; the day when the promise of the year reproaches the waste inseparable from the society of inequality, the waste which produces our artificial poverty of civilization, so much bitterer for those that suffer under it than the natural poverty of the rudest barbarism. For it is undoubtedly true that full-blown capitalism makes the richest country in the world as poor as, nay poorer than, the poorest, for the life of by far the greater part of its people. Are we to sit down placidly under this, hoping that s... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Misanthropy to the Rescue” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 33, 28 August 1886, p.172;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.A paper read by Mr Wordsworth Donnisthorpe at the Fabian Conference has been printed in the Anarchist. It excited much interest at the time when it was read, and aroused no little indignation in the minds of some of the Socialists that heard it; but printed, it does not seem a very remarkable piece, being simple an example of the ordinary pessimistic paradoxical exercises which are a disease of the period, and whose aim would seem to be the destruction of the meaning of language. Thus Mr Donnisthorpe declares himself an evolutionist, but his evolution simply runs round the circle; and in fact what he really means is ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Modern Midas” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 141, 22 September 1888, p.300;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.In one respect at least, we Socialists have an advantage over other people. The very simplest and rudest ideal that a Socialist can conceive of would bear realization well; a Socialist could only be discontented with such realization by ceasing to be a Socialist; and there are few creeds or causes of which this could be said. Some have discounted the usual ideals, so to say, and rejected them beforehand, like the old Scotch lady who declined to sacrifice her pleasure on earth for the chance of sitting on a damp cloud and singing psalms all day for ever in another world; others, like Swedenborg, have gravely (though in his c... (From : Marxists.org.)
I want you to consider the position of the working-classes generally at the present day: not to dwell on the progress that they may (or may not) have made within the last five hundred or the last fifty years; but to consider what their position is, relatively to the other classes of which our society is composed: and in doing so I wish to guard against any exaggeration as to the advantages of the position of the upper and middle-classes on the one side, and the disadvantages of the working-classes on the other; for in truth there is no need for exaggeration; the contrast between the two positions is sufficiently startling when all admissions have been made that can be made. After all, ... (From : Marxists.org.)
May I be allowed a further word or two on the subject of monuments in Westminster Abbey and its precincts, since I see by your issue of the 11th April that it appears probable that the plan of carrying the plague of monuments into the cloisters and Chapter House will be approved of by the authorities? I think that, whatever scheme for the continuance of what is called, in the detestable slang of the day, our National Valhalla, may be second-worst, this surely must be called the worst. Here very briefly is the position. Incongruous monuments have been allowed to block up and disfigure the Abbey church; this is now allowed by every one who claims to know or care anything about art to hav... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Moral of Last Lord Mayor’s Day” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 45, 20 November 1886, p.265;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The Lord Mayor’s Show has come and gone, and it may be supposed that many respectable people, including probably the city magnates who formed part of the procession, are easier in their minds that it is well over. But perhaps they will not on reflection be thoroughly reassured. The procession was far from being a triumphant one, and was escorted by hoots and groans all along. The success of the police in preventing a demonstration was only partial, since a huge meeting was held and harangued in Trafalgar Square, in spite of Sir Charles Warren’s proclamation, besides the large meeting in H... (From : Marxists.org.)
I have read with much interest the proposal of Mr Yates Thompson about the revival of Mr Pearson's scheme for thenew mortuary chapel at Westminster Abbey, and am very pleased to see the note of warning which you have raised, and with which I entirely agree. The whole ground round the Abbey is full of archaeological value, and from this point of view it is most dangerous to tamper with it. But there are other reasons for looking on this scheme with apprehension. Mr Pearson's scheme as adopted by Mr Yates Thompson, decidedly means an addition to the ancient building, I mean a new part added to it. This seems to me objectionable to the last degree. The ancient building at Westminster is i... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Mr Chamberlain’s Leader” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 31, 14 August 1886, p.153;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Parliament has met for a ceremonial, and done about as much as it would have done if it had met for the dispatch of business — nothing, to wit. But besides that, the two parliamentary groups that represent anything like principle and at the same time have any power in Parliament, have also met, and each has done so much at least as to announce its policy in the present state of things. The Parnellites have met in Dublin, and the Jingo-Whigs in Devonshire House; and the conclusions come to by both parties are certainly encouraging to those who wish to see an end of all parties, since they point directly to t... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Mr Jawkins at the Mansion House” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 45, 20 November 1886, p.268-269;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Lord Salisbury, in his speech at the Mansion House, did in some respects only strengthen somewhat the words of his colleague, Lord Randolph Churchill. Like him he tried to bury dangerous jingoism decently. It was pretty much the old story: ‘Sir, you have called me a liar, you have pulled my nose, you have kicked me downstairs, now beware, lest you rouse the sleeping lion!’ As to Ireland again, he, like the other, declared for stiff support to landlordism, and hinted at coercion; and his only contribution to the stock of news of Government intentions, was his assertion that no discretionary po... (From : Marxists.org.)
I do not quite understand whether Mr Shaw Lefevre's scheme implies any meddling with either the Abbey Church, or the interesting remains of the ancient buildings near it; if it does, it cannot be too severely condemned; but your own article (of January 26th) on this subject gives a dangerous hint, which I hope will not be taken, for `beautifying, at a comparatively small expense, the cloisters which form part of the ancient chapel.' I must say that part of the `expense' would be the destruction of the cloisters themselves, and such an expense is not easily measured in money. As to the general question of monuments in Westminster Abbey, you say with truth that it is one of the most beau... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “A New Party” Commonweal, Vol I, No. 8, September 1885, pp. 85;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.It would undoubtedly be futile to prophecy as to the immediate results of the forthcoming general elections, or to wager which side may get the majority; but whichever does come uppermost in the struggle, certain tendencies in the elected and the electors are likely to develop in a manner which can fairly be judged of, without pretense to the gift of prophecy, by noting the signs of the times at present; and it is not out of place, even in a Socialist paper, to look into these tendencies, since some of our friends are so anxious to try their luck in the game which is going on at St Stephens, hoping that they may be allowed to rema... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Note on Passing Politics” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 85, 27 August 1887, p. 276;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The Gladstonians are very naturally triumphant at the Northwich election, and the Tories as naturally have been attempting to explain away their defeat; which, however, taken in conjunction with the other bye-elections, does seem to an onlooker to mean the extinction of the Chamberlain party, the absorption into definite Toryism of Lord Harrington and a few other nobodies, and in short, the defeat of the revolt in the Liberal party against Mr Gladstone, who seems destined to have one more triumph before he dies. To some ardent Liberals the way seems so direct to Liberal victory that the Pall Mall Gazette urges the ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Notes and Queries — Practical Socialism,” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 20, 29 May 1886, p.71;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.A friend who says that he quite understands the theory of Socialism, has some questions on its ‘practical application’:- (1) Will there be any shopkeepers or public houses in the new state of society, and if not how are things to be exchanged? (2) Will there by any money used? (3) Who will superintend workmen in factories, etc.? ‘These’, says our friend, ‘are questions I am constantly asked, and am unable to give a satisfactory reply to; I want to see a plan as it were of the new state of Society.’ When the plan is visible the new state of Society will be realiz... (From : Marxists.org.)
Hammersmith Socialist Record, Number 13, October 1892 [Untitled] Notes on Parliament FRIENDS AND COMRADES, It has not been considered necessary to call the Parliament together before the beginning of next year and it is to be supposed that in the meantime the country is thought capable of governing itself without the elected representative legislative body, which indeed it probably can do pretty well on the usual lines of real government by an all-powerful possessing class with a machinery of law and police attached to it, whose business it is to administer all matters on the basis of the greatest good for the greatest number—of possessors of capital: Yet supposing that the British Empire could receive any useful servic... (From : Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, We are hearing a great deal of the suffering in Cleveland consequent on the miners' strike, and it is a dismal business enough; but after all, it is only and exaggeration of an ordinary incident in the war commercial which is the essence of our epoch and that which distinguishes it from others, and some quite in itself unimportant change in the market has before this caused as much suffering as this great strike has done, and will do henceforward as long as the workers have not command of the market. For the rest, if the Durham miners are striking with an ultimate intention of gaining that command of the market— that is, the realization of Socialism, this suffering, terrible as it is, is not too hig... (From : Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, The elections for the new Parliament form by this time a somewhat stale subject, our readers may think; nevertheless, a word in season may be spoken about them, and the prospects of the new House, before those prospects are all muddled together by the cowardice, irresolution, chicanery, and downright lies in action, which after a little while swamp all parliaments (with whatever promise of better things they may have first met); under the strange institution of party government—an institution, be it said, which would be a permanent and striking failue, if it were the business of parliament to do anything: but which as it 1s the business of parliament to do nothing, must be considered a very fair succe... (From : Marxists.org.)
Hammersmith Socialist Record, Number 17, February 1893 [Untitled] Notes on the Government FRIENDS AND COMRADES, The present Government has not had as yet any great opportunity for disappointing those who expected much from it; but on one side it has done worse than a reasonable expectation might have led one to believe: to wit in its foreign, or rather foreign-market side. Affairs with Uganda might have been settled in a way which would have commended itself, we will not say to a Socialist, but at least to a non-Jingo Radical: we need not have made a parade of our Khedive-baiting business, and given a little business to enterprising alarmist newspapers. But the truth is, any approach to Jingoism however feeble, is certain to... (From : Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, A little while ago a man brought up before the magistrates at Woolwich and committed for burglary, put forward an unanswerable plea rather for his section of habitual criminals that himself; asking what he was to do, and who was to give a jail-bird employment. People unconvicted of crime, said he, found it hard enough in these times to get employment; and was it likely that he could get it. So it is clear that he contemplated a career of from prison to crime and from crime to prison. The Daily News, in commenting on this speech, heaves a sigh, and says, in effect: How true! How sad! But at least nobody is to blame. Well, shall we not rather say "everybody" rather than nobody; not forgetting the saw that say... (From : Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, In a sense no doubt the labor-war, of which we have had so many reports in the newspapers, is a part of the general struggle of labor and capital; the men have been revolting because the working of the market has pinched them; they have been irritated by various incidents past endurance, and so have broken out. Yet on the other hand there is no sign they were acting under the influence of any definite principle, or that there has been any strong feeling of the unity of labor among them. If that had been so, much greater results would have been reached with much less violence and dramatic effect. As things go, the only apparent results are— simply the unsuccessful strike and the dead and wounded of vi... (From : Marxists.org.)
Perhaps it may at first sight seem to some of you that ornamental art is no very important subject, and that it is no great matter what its origins were: but I hope to show you before I have done that it is a subject of very great importance, and that it is well worth while to consider what its origins were, since it may lead us to finding out what its aims are, or should be; which in its turn may lead us to thinking of matters of the deepest importance. First of all I must say that though the phrase is generally accepted it is not a good or descriptive one; for all art should be ornamental, and when it is not ornamental, and in the degree in which it is not, it fails of a ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, - I must explain to you that I am put, almost at the last moment, to make a few disconnected remarks in the place of a gentleman whom we should have much liked to see - Mr. Boni, who now holds a position under the Italian Government which enables him to be of great service to us in stopping the unfortunate flow of restorations in that country. He could have given to us most interesting and encouraging information as to what is now going on in Italy. Now as to what I have to say to you. Our Society, so far as I can make out, has two sides to its work, which it does not always receive sufficient credit for, especially at first sight. Its first duty is to... (From : Marxists.org.)
In the days before man had completely established his domination over the animal world, the poultry of a certain country, unnamed in my record, met in solemn conference in the largest hall they could hire for their money: the period was serious, for it was drawing near Christmas, and the question in debate partook of the gravity of the times; for, in short, various resolutions, the wording of which, has not come down to us were to be moved on the all important subject, `with what sauce shall we be eaten?' Needless to say that the hall was crowded to suffocation, or that an overflow meeting (presided over by working-class leaders) was held on the neighboring dung-hill. All went smoothly; the meeting was apparently unanimous and certai... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “An Old Story Retold” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 36, 18 September 1886, p.197-98;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.It is told of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary — the Alfred the Great of his time and people — that he once heard (once only!) that some (only some, my lad?) of his peasants were over-worked and under-fed. He took the matter to heart, being, as kings go, a just man, besides being more valiant than they mostly were, even in the old feudal days. So he called together such lords and councilors as he deemed fittest, and bade busk them for a ride; and when they were ready he and they set out, over rough and smooth, decked out in all the glory of attire which was the wont of those days. Thus they rode till th... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “An Old Superstition — A New Disgrace” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 76, 25 June 1887, p. 204;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.As was said last week, the contempt with which all socialists must necessarily look on the idiotic court ceremony of the week has prevented anything more than a mere hint being given in the Commonweal about the jubilee. And besides this, Socialists feel of course that the mere abolition of the monarchy would help them little if it only gave place to a middle-class republic; such an one, for example, as that which butchered so many thousands of citizens at Paris in 1871 and now in 1887 grown respectable and liberal, still blocks the way to all progress in France, and holds out a hand to the corruption ... (From : Marxists.org.)
The idea of uniting all sections of the Socialist and Labor movement into one party daily grows in public favor. I am glad to say that my allusions to it at Manchester and Liverpool were greeted with hearty applause, and that reports from all quarters assure me of the general desire for unity of action. Only an hour ago I got a letter from William Morris on this point. I am very glad to hear from a man for whom I have much respect, and am the more pleased to find him entirely with me. William Morris says: Dear Comrade Blatchford,—l am asked by the Hammersmith Socialist Society to write to you on the point which you have so well put forward in the Clarion, as to the necessity of the formation of a definite and united Social... (From : Marxists.org.)
Mr. William Morris lectured on "Machinery" at Kelmscote House, Hammersmith, on Sunday evening. It was not to be expected that the poet and the handicraftsman should look with a very favorable eye on that important part of the modern social system, but he indulged in no denunciations of special machines. On the contrary, he admitted that machines might have a place in the socialistic society of the future, but he believes that this society would not be so much in bondage with machinery as we are at present. He said, however, that what are called labor-saving machines ought rather to be styled profit-grinding, as their action did not lessen the hours of labor for the worker. He holds that any good done by machinery is largely reinsta... (From : Marxists.org.)
The following letter from our comrade William Morris, in response to an inquiry from a person if it were true he had "changed his mind" regarding Socialism, will interest many of our readers :- "MY DEAR SIR,—I am a very busy man, but on this subject I will answer you briefly. I have not changed my views on Socialism. My view of the point of relation between Art and Socialism is as follows: Society (so-called) at present is organized entirely for the benefit of a privileged class; the working class being only considered in the arrangement as so much machinery. This involves perpetual and enormous waste, as the organization for the production of genuine utilities is only a secondary consideration. This waste lands th... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “On Some ‘Practical’ Socialists” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 110, 18 February 1888, p.52-53;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The study of economics is no doubt necessary for militant Socialists; the more a man knows of them in all their details the more able he is to meet not only the sophistries of the ‘educated’ anti-Socialist, but, which is still more important, the awkward and hard-to-be-answered questions which people who have never thought of these matters at all sometimes stumble on. Of course, that he should be able to make his knowledge of any use depends on whether he has understood what he has learned, especially in dealing with inquiring ignorance. The ‘educated’ man will sometimes... (From : Marxists.org.)
The invention of printing books, and the use of wood-blocks for book ornament in place of hand-painting, though it belongs to the period of the degradation of medieval art, gave an opportunity to the Germans to regain the place which they had lost in the art of book decoration during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This opportunity they took with vigor and success, and by means of it put forth works which showed the best and most essential qualities of their race. Unhappily, even at the time of their first woodcut book, the beginning of the end was on them; about thirty years afterwards they received the Renaissance with singular eagerness and rapidity, and became, from the ar... (From : Marxists.org.)
Manchester The talk was first given in Manchester on the 21st of October 1893, under the title Printed Books - Ancient and Modern Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertizer An illustrated lecture on "Printed Books — Ancient and Modern," was delivered by Mr. William Morris, under the auspices of the Technical Instruction Committee the Manchester City Council, in the Mayor's Parlor, Town Hall, on Saturday evening. Mr. Alderman Hoy presided, in the absence of the Lord Mayor, and there was a good attendance. The lecturer said books were written by the scribe long after printing became an art, but they were more for ornament than publication. He feared they must regard printing as a makeshift for writing. The rubr... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Plutocratic Society which we Socialists are attacking, though an anarchy, is nevertheless an organized anarchy; an anarchy, too, which is sustained even by the efforts towards reform of those who are contented with it; as for instance the preachment of high morality and disinterested philanthropy among the well-to-do classes; the struggle of the Trades' Unions to keep up the wages of skilled artizans, while they admit the right of the masters to the sweating of labor, and are therefore still the slaves of the competitive market; the efforts of radical politicians to extend the franchise and improve the system of representation (?) while they are resolute to hand over the general welfare of the people to the tender mercies of laissez-fai... (From : Marxists.org.)
THAT the wise speak is goodly gain, For thereby do we win amain Of sense, of good and courtesy: 'Tis good to haunt the company Of him who of his ways hath heed, And hath no keep of folly's deed. For as in Solomon we find, The man that is of wisdom's kind Doth well in every deed there is; And if at whiles he doth amiss In whatso wise, unwittingly, Swift pardon shall he have thereby. Whereas he willeth penitence. BUT now I needs must draw me hence To rhyming, and to tell in word A tale that erewhile I have heard, About a King of Paynemry A great lord of the days gone by; He was full loyal Saracen And of his name hight Saladin. ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Our Policy” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 14, March 1886, pp. 17-18;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The recent ‘disturbances’ as the word goes, the stir in the dry bones of labor, is a strange phenomenon to most people, and even to us, who have been working towards a change in the basis of Society, is unexpected; amid the routine of our ordinary educational work we have been surprised, as it were, by something which, whatever else may be said of it, does look like the first skirmish of the Revolution. The riot, or whatever it may be called, of February 8th, though a small matter in itself, became of importance because it has got to be a fixed idea in the heads of — well — most men, men of all classes, tha... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Our Representatives” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 20, 29 May 1886, p.68;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The past week of parliamentary and party strife has been sufficiently barren of interest to the ordinary observer. No one has expected anything new to be said about the Home Rule Bill, and no one has been disappointed. The Disarming Bill was carried, as every one knew it would be, and the votes pro and con were very much what was expected. Accordingly, the thing which usually happens in a dull interval of an exciting period has happened now. People having few additional facts to go on have been turning guesses at facts into facts, and disputing about them as vigorously as if they had really happened. As an addition to this am... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Paris Trades’ Union Congress” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 35, 11 September 1886, p.187;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Mr Burnett has written an article to the Pall Mall Gazette in which he has given his views of the International Trades’ Union Conference recently held in Paris. Considering Mr Burnett’s position and that of the English trades unions at present, this is a document of some importance, and it would be well to understand what the drift of it is. He writes as a trades’ unionist, and clearly is anxious to establish the superiority of the English workman over the French, who from his point of view is more backward as being less of an unionist, and also as being worse paid than his English b... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Pentonville Prison” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 128, 23 June 1888, p.195;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The following letter is worth reprinting entire as a really cheering sign of the times; and one can scarcely be wrong in thinking that such a letter could hardly have been written to the ordinary press or printed by it but for Bloody Sunday and all that followed it, which has dragged to light the horrors of the English prison system. Sir, — As foreman of a jury at Clerkenwell Sessions, on being discharged yesterday, after sitting six days, I with my fellow-jurymen (by order obtained of the judge) went over the above prison. We were much horrified and pained to see the brutal system under which torture is hourly inflic... (From : Marxists.org.)
A note published from a correspondent about Peterborough Cathedral is somewhat alarming. Will you allow me a few words on this subject? As to what has been done at Peterborough I will not say much; some of us thought that when the necessary rebuilding of the arches of the crossing took place, it might have been possible to save the tower from rebuilding; but it was at any rate highly creditable to the good sense of the Chapter that they refused to allow the church to be disfigured with an experimental modern Norman tower, especially as much pressure was put upon them in favor of that absurdity. Let us hope that they will understand their responsibilities in the future as well as they d... (From : Marxists.org.)
In your issue of the 28th ult. appears a letter from the Dean of Peterborough giving an account of the damage done by the recent storm to the west front of that Cathedral. Everyone who has any interest in art or history must be moved by this accident, and wish for its speedy repair. I may add also that from some years past it has been known that this magnificentwork of art, which is by common consent the noblest and most beautiful of our English west fronts, has shown signs of movement, probably due to some defect of the foundations caused by the draining of the fen-land, so that a thorough search into its present condition has been recognized to be necessary. I must say for my own par... (From : Marxists.org.)
I am glad your correspondent `Muratore' agrees with me in deprecating the rebuilding of the west front of Peterborough [Cathedral]. As to the rest of his letter, I find some difficulty in understanding it, and more still in understanding why he should have taken the trouble to write it. It is proverbially difficult to argue about matters of taste; but the combination in one mind of the study (and perhaps consequent knowledge) of architecture with contempt for the west front of Peterborough [Cathedral] must point to such a rarity as almost to amount to a monstrosity. I can only wish that the fabric of that lovely work of art were as safe from the attacks of restorers as its reputation f... (From : Marxists.org.)
I venture, at the risk of being troublesome, to draw your attention once more to Peterborough Cathedral. The Restoration Committee are calling on the public for £12,000, which is needed, as I gather from a note in the Standard, "to repair the damage done by the gale in the spring, to secure the safety of the west front, and to execute repairs still needed in the transepts and eastern chapel." Now, it may well be that this sum is under rather than over what is needed for indispensable work; but I must again repeat that the necessary work on the west front was necessary before the gale of last spring took place, and this work is not the replacing or re-doing of a few pinnacles, som... (From : Marxists.org.)
The blame for the waste of money in the interior of Peterborough Cathedral on things which must to everybody seem non-essentials (and which to me seem mischievous modernizations) does not rest specially on the restoration committee, and I did not in my former letter mean to imply that it did. The committee shares the blame with the general public. Yet it seems to me that as the body made responsible for carrying out necessary repairs, and which in consequence was and is bound to know more than others of the needs of the Cathedral, it was their business rather to lead the public than be led by it, and to point out emphatically what those needs were. The only effective way of doing this ... (From : Marxists.org.)
As the word "philanthropist" is pretty often used in the columns of Justice, it may be worth while to write a short chapter on the natural history of this species of man, with as little bitterness or even grumbling as may be; though it must he admitted that "their ways and their manners" are often not a little trying to those who are doing their best to get the "poor" to understand the real causes of their poverty, so that they may themselves attack the disease instead of sitting hopeless while others feebly palliate its worst symptoms. Well, the Philanthropists may, first of all, be broadly divided into two kinds, the old and the new, or the uneconomical and the economical; the first give, I think, with some pleasure in the act of givin... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Police Spies Exposed” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 104, 7 January 1888, p.1-2;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. There have always been found by the governments of all countries traitors ready to mingle in the ranks of every revolutionary party, including the Socialist, and by worming themselves into the confidence of the members, obtain their secrets to betray them, or by getting up dynamite plots and things of that kind, to arouse public feeling against the movement. Many other devices are there in the armory of a tyrant, and in the days of the Third Empire they were carried, as men thought, to the utmost pitch of a devilish perfection. It has been left however for Bismark and his underlings to attain a yet higher (or lower) deg... (From : Marxists.org.)
All Socialists who can be considered to have any claim to that title agree in putting forward the necessity of transforming the means of production from individual into common property: that is the least that the party can accept as terms of peace with the capitalists; and obviously they are hard terms of peace for the latter, since they mean the destruction of individualist capital. This minimum which we claim therefore is a very big thing: its realization would bring about such a revolution as the world has not yet seen, and all minor reforms of civilization which have been thought of or would be possible to think of would be included in it: no political party has ever had a program ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Policy of the Socialist League” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 126, 9 June 1888, p.180;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Since the Socialist League was founded to support the principles of International Revolutionary Socialism, and since there has been some difference of opinion among us as to the meaning of those words, the Council of the League thinks it its duty to point out what in its opinion that meaning is, as expressed by publications of the League, which at the time of their publication were not challenged by any of its branches or members; and in doing this the Council wishes to disclaim any narrowing of the principles of the League beyond what it believes has been recognized from the first as necessary to give it a re... (From : Marxists.org.)
Preface to 'Socialism made Plain' I HAVE been asked to write a Preface to this book, and do so with pleasure, believing that it will supply a need to those who are really anxious to know the aims and methods of Socialism. There is, indeed, a good deal of socialist literature in circulation; but a part of this is in pamphlet form, and though often excellent in their way, not one of these pamphlets goes far enough towards exhausting the subject, and satisfying the demand for information. On the other hand, the more learned socialist literature, like Marx's celebrated book, requires such hard and close study that those who have not approached the subject by a more easy road, are not likely to begin on that side, or if they d... (From : Marxists.org.)
THE papers that follow this need no explanation, since they are directed towards special sides of the Arts and Crafts. Mr. Crane has put forward the aims of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society as an Exhibition Society, therefore I need not enlarge upon that phase of this book. But I will write a few words on the way in which it seems to me we ought to face the present position of that revival in decorative art of which our Society is one of the tokens. And, in the first place, the very fact, that there is a "revival" shows that the arts aforesaid have been sick unto death. In all such changes the first of the new does not appear till there is little or no life left in the old, and yet the old, even when it is all but dead, ... (From : Marxists.org.)
It is not long since the Middle Ages, of the literature of which this book gives us such curious examples, were supposed to be an unaccountable phenomenon accidentally thrust in betwixt the two periods of civilization, the classical and the modern, and forming a period without growth or meaning: a period which began about the time of the decay of the Roman Empire, and ended suddenly and more or less unaccountably at the time of the Reformation. The society of this period was supposed to be lawless and chaotic; its ethics a mere conscious hypocrisy, its art gloomy and barbarous fanaticism only, its literature the formless jargon of savages; and as to its science, that side of human inte... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Chapter which is here put before the reader can be well considered as a separate piece of work, although it contains here and there references to what has gone before in The Stones of Venice. To my mind, and I believe to some others, it is one of the most important things written by the author, and in future days will be considered as one of the very few necessary and inevitable utterances of the century. To some of us when we first read it, now many years ago, it seemed to point out a new road on which the world should travel. And in spite of all the disappointments of forty years, and although some of us, John Ruskin among others, have since learned what the eq... (From : Marxists.org.)
It is good to review the state of political parties from time to time and to try to get an idea of what our relations as socialists are to the general mass of political opinion, whether we are advancing, or retro[gressing], or standing still: in fact we cannot help speculating on the influence ordinary parties may have upon our movement and in what direction they are pushing us as to tactics in carrying on that movement: there are dangers as well as hopes for us in the welter of political life so that it behooves us to look at the prospect with as clear eyes as we can lest we fall into traps. Perhaps however some of you may say that unless to the eyes of an electioneering agent the pro... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Whig revolution, which began on the fall of medieval society and culminated in the French revolution, on the one hand, and the establishment of the factory organization of production amid the ruins of handicraft, on the other, seemed in the first half of this century to have stranded the civilized world on a period of academical coma, having some analogy to the great period of the classical civilization inaugurated by the accession of Augustus. In England at any rate a modus vivendi had been established between the employers of labor and their "hands," and free-trade and the abolition of the corn laws had so greased the wheels of factory production that, though profits were not mad... (From : Marxists.org.)
That a weekly English journal would be started with every prospect of success to support organized Socialism in the British Islands would not so very long ago have been scouted as an absurdity by many, perhaps even of those who read these lines. Democratic Socialism was everywhere spoken of as merely another name for secret assassination or dynamite outrage, and the greatest efforts were made to show plainly that no matter how rife such ideas might be abroad, Socialism could never take root in England. Now, however, it is quite clear that Socialists are gaining strength more rapidly than any existing party. An interest has been roused in the propaganda, and Socialism in one form or another has become rather fashionable. Of this we... (From : Marxists.org.)
Printing, in the only sense with which we are at present concerned, differs from most if not from all the arts and crafts represented in the Exhibition in being comparatively modern. For although the Chinese took impressions from wood blocks engraved in relief for centuries before the wood-cutters of the Netherlands, by a similar process, produced the block books, which were the immediate predecessors of the true printed book, the invention of movable metal letters in the middle of the fifteenth century may justly be considered as the invention of the art of printing. And it is worth mention in passing that, as an example of fine typography, the earliest book printed with movable types... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Promise of May. Certainly May Day is above all days of the year fitting for the protest of the disinherited against the system of robbery that shuts the door betwixt them and a decent life. The day when the promise of the year reproaches the waste inseparable from the society of inequality, the waste which produces our artificial poverty of civilization, so much bitterer for those that suffer under it than the natural poverty of the rudest barbarism. For it is undoubtedly true that full blown capitalism makes the richest country in the world as poor as, nay poorer than, the poorest, for the life of by far the greater part of its people. Are we to sit down placidly under this, hoping that some blessing will drop down fr... (From : Marxists.org.)
Those who care about the remains of the ancient art of our country may well be somewhat anxious about the scheme which is before the public for the building of a memorial chapel at Westminster to hold the monuments of distinguished men in the future, since it is now admitted on all hands that there is no more room for them in the Abbey church. As representing the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, it is not my business to criticize the various proposals, except from one point of view, that is: as to how they may affect the existing ancient buildings. I beg you to allow me a word or two on this point, while there is yet time to say anything concerning the scheme. What I ha... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Radicals Look Round You!” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 105, 14 January 1888, p.12-13;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The Winchester election is, it must be admitted, a shabby text to preach from: given, a cathedral establishment, a military depot, a middle-class public school, a large class of the villa-dwellers, and a noble lord as owner of a greater part of the town, and the result of an election in such a place would seem to be certain — the return of the Tory candidate — even if he were not a local magnate, and his opponent a mere name: only an electioneering agent on the look-out for a job one would think could venture to encourage opposition to the winning color under such circumstances. However, the Liberals h... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Reaction and the Radicals” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 121, 5 May 1888, p.137-138;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The other day a friend was remarking to me that the ordinary Liberal and Radical of the Parliamentary type was very slack in his resistance to the Tory supremacy in these days; and in spite of the brags of the Gladstonian press, it must be admitted that this is true, after making all the allowances that can be made for the apparently brisk conflict over Irish matters: for that conflict is really in the hands of the Irish themselves; Mr Parnell’s causing the Irish vote to be cast in favor of the Tories in 1885 forced Mr Gladstone’s hand. Up to that time the Liberals had reckoned on the general support... (From : Marxists.org.)
IN considering this important subject it is necessary to look 371 into the past history of the world, and, however summarily, glance at the tale of the twins. Art and Labor, which tale, indeed, means nothing less than the history of the world. To pass over the conditions of men as mere savages, one comes across civilized men in history served by labor under three conditions—chattel slavery, serfdom, and wage-earning. Under the classical peoples society was founded on chattel slavery; agriculture and the industrial arts were carried on for the most part by men who could he bought and sold like beasts; and as a consequence the industrial arts, at least in the heyday of Greek intelligence, were looked down on with co... (From : Marxists.org.)
In putting forth their Second Annual Report, the Committee feel that while they have undoubtedly to congratulate the Society on the progress made by its principles, the nature of their work is little altered from what it was last year. It must be remembered that as so much of that work is of a negative character, is preventive rather than creative, it is not easy to show the obvious signs of success that attend some undertakings; while on the other hand the Committee are apt to see most of the discouraging side of the matter, because the greater part of their work consists in protesting and advising in cases in which there is not much hope of direct success, since such sche... (From : Marxists.org.)
In putting forth this First Annual Report since the institution of our Society, the Committee cannot but regret, considering how widely-spread and rapid has been both the destruction and falsification of our ancient monuments during the last twenty years, that some such society as this was not long ago called into existence; a society with the principal aim of guarding the life and soul of those monuments, so to speak, and not their bodies merely; a society that might have impressed upon the public the duty of preserving jealously the very gifts that our forefathers left us, and not merely their sites and names. This lack heretofore of such a body as ours (the result among ... (From : Marxists.org.)
(1) The London Daily News A meeting convened by the Committee to Promote the Free Navigation of the Straits of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, and admitted by ticket, was held at Willis's Rooms yesterday afternoon, in favor of the objects of the committee, and to protest against any attempt to maintain the present conditions affecting those straits by the employment of military force. [....] [....] Mr. MORRIS, author of "The Earthly Paradise," denied the truth of the statement that there was no war party in the country. There was a war party in this country, and, what was more, a party for war at any price. (Cheers.) There were some good Liberals and Radicals who lived in '48 who thought that Russia was the same now as... (From : Marxists.org.)
William Morris and Frank Kitz were the two delegates from the executive committee of the Socialist League to the International Socialist Congress in Paris (later known as the first Congress of the Second International) in July 1889. Morris gave a verbal report to the Congress on the state of the socialist movement in England, and submitted a handwritten text of the report to the Congress for later publication. The text was never published in its original form, and although it survives in the Guesde archive of the IISG it has become damaged over the years, losing most of the top of each page and some of the left side. However, the Congress was held in three languages: English, French, and German, and all the reports were tr... (From : Marxists.org.)
I can only thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and say that the best return I could receive would be to take a list out of my pocket at the next meeting of the Society of 20 or 30 new members. That would be a real vote of thanks to me. After all, what one wants is the opportunity to go on working in the same course. Bibliographical Note Title Response to a Vote of Thanks (1889). Deliveries 1. 3 July 1889: Before the Annual Meeting held at ?. Publication 1. [Untitled] in SPAB Report, 1889, (London 1889), p. 79. (From : Marxists.org.)
I am glad to see that the Daily Chronicle understands so well the danger of the threatened restoration of Rouen Cathedral. It would be impossible to over-estimate the interest of this most beautiful monument of art, which, taking it altogether, is second to none in the two great architectural countries, France and England. And though visitors to the ancient Norman capital are most often captivated by the extraordinary elegance of St Ouen, and in consequence somewhat neglect the cathedral, the latter has both more interest and more special beauty than the former. As to work to be done, of course it is possible that structural repairs are necessary; nay, on some scale or other they are s... (From : Marxists.org.)
I am not quite sure that I should wish to see Tewkesbury Minster `replaced in its former state,' or one of its many `former states'; but, as it is clearly impossible, when one comes to think of it, for ourselves or our buildings to live again either in the fifteenth century or the twelfth, it is hardly worth while to say much on this merely hypothetical matter of taste. On the other hand, I am sure that I do not wish the Minster to look like a modern building, and I think Sir Edmund Lechmere also would disclaim any such wish, though doubtless many others would not; and I assert that the more money is spent in altering its `present state' in the year 1877 and onwards, the more modern it... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings ventures to ask you to publish the accompanying correspondence between it and the Dean of Westminster relative to the proposed restoration of Westminster Abbey. The society considers it the duty of all cultured Englishmen to watch carefully any such proposals, both because it is a difficult and delicate task to put modern work into an ancient and traditional work of art, and because the consequences of a mistake in dealing with this peerless national monument would be so disastrous and so irreparable. The society thought itself bound to seek information in the most direct way from those who are responsible to the nation for the treatm... (From : Marxists.org.)
Ten year ago with the publication of his beautiful and scholarly volume of translations from the early Italian poets, Mr Rossetti announced the preparation of a volume of original poems. This book, so eagerly looked for by those who knew the author by his great works in painting, has now been given to the public; nor is it easy to exaggerate the value and importance of that gift, for the book is complete and satisfactory from end to end. And in spite of the intimate connection between one art and another, it is certainly to be wondered at, that a master in the supremely difficult art of painting should have qualities which enable him to deal with the other supremely difficult one of po... (From : Marxists.org.)
Among cultivated people at present there is a good deal of interest felt or affected in the ornamental arts and their prospects. Since all these arts are dependent on the master-art of architecture almost for their existence, and cannot be in a healthy condition if it is sick, it may be worth while to consider what is the condition of architecture in this country; whether or no we have a living style which can lay claim to a dignity or beauty of its own, or whether our real style is merely a habit of giving certain forms not worth noticing to an all-pervading ugliness and meanness. In the first place, then, it must be admitted on all sides that there has been in this... (From : Marxists.org.)
For some time past there has been a good deal of interest shown in what is called in our modern slang Art Workmanship, and quite recently there has been a growing feeling that this art workmanship to be of any value must have some of the workman's individuality imparted to it beside whatever of art it may have got from the design of the artist who has planned, but not executed the work. This feeling has gone so far that there is growing up a fashion for demanding handmade goods even when they are not ornamented in any way, as, for instance, woolen and linen cloth spun by hand and woven without power, hand-knitted hosiery, and the like. Nay, it is not uncommon to hear regrets for the ha... (From : Marxists.org.)
Title: “The Revolt of Ghent”, Part 1Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 4, Number 130, pp. 210 7 July 1888 (The first of seven parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman The events of which an account is here given took place towards the close of the fourteenth century among a people of kindred blood to ourselves, dwelling not many hours journey (as we travel now) from the place where we dwell; and yet to us are wonderful enough, if we think of them. Few epochs of history, indeed, are more interesting than this defeated struggle to be free of the craftsmen of Flanders whether we look upon the st... (From : Marxists.org.)
Title: “The Revolt of Ghent”, Part 2Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 4, Number 131, pp. 217-218 14 July 1888 (The second of seven parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman Having thus very briefly told you as to the political and social condition of the great Flemish towns, I must now get to my story, as given us by Froissart. I have mentioned the English alliance with James van Artevelde, which took place at the very beginning of the war with France ; this went on till at the siege of Tourney by Edward III., James van Artevelde sent sixty thousand men to help that king ; and in the year 1346,... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Revolt of Ghent (Part 3) William Morris. Commonweal 1888 The Revolt of Ghent (Part 3) Title: “The Revolt of Ghent”, Part 3Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 4, Number 132, pp. 226-227 21 July 1888 (The third of seven parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman Peace being made, the Earl is rather shy of Ghent, and takes up his quarters at Bruges, no doubt playing his old game of setting the towns against one another. The citizens of Ghent (one may suppose the respectables chiefly) are anxious for their Feudal Lord to come among them, so that they may be sure that the peace is really kept. ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Title: “The Revolt of Ghent”, Part 4Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 4, Number 133, pp. 234 28 July 1888 (The fourth of seven parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman Under the sore discouragement caused by these defeats, the rich men began to murmur and look towards submission as the only end. Peter du Bois was their only leader left, and I suppose, judging from Froissart’s story, that he was not a man of much initiative as we say now-a-days ; anyhow, he looked round for support in the present straits, and says Froissart: “He remembered him of a man the which was not greatly not tak... (From : Marxists.org.)
Title: “The Revolt of Ghent”, Part 5Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 4, Number 134, pp. 242-243 4 August 1888 (The fifth of seven parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman Says the old chronicler:— “When Philip van Artevelde and his company entered again into Ghent, a great number of the common people desiring nothing but peace, were right joyful of their coming, trusting to hear some good tidings ; they came against him, and could not restrain, but demanded tidings, saying, ‘Ah, dear sir, Philip van Artevelde, rejoice us with some good word, let us know how ye have sped&rsquo... (From : Marxists.org.)
Title: “The Revolt of Ghent”, Part 6Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 4, Number 135, pp. 250 11 August 1888 (The sixth of seven parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman Froissart goes on to say:— “This Saturday in the morning Philip van Artevelde ordained and commanded that every man should make him ready to God, and caused masses to be sung in divers places by certain friars that were with him ; and so every man confessed him, and prayed to God for grace and mercy. And there were certain sermons made, enduring an hour and a half ; there it was shewed to people by these friars, fig... (From : Marxists.org.)
Title: “The Revolt of Ghent”, Part 7Author: William MorrisSource: Commonweal, Volume 4, Number 136, pp. 258-259 18 August 1888 (The last of seven parts.)Transcribed by: Ted CrawfordProofing and HTML:Graham Seaman Froissart goes on:— “In the mean time that the Earl was at his lodging, and sent forth the clerks of every ward from street to street, to have every man to draw to the market place, to recover the town. The Ghentois pursued so fiercely their enemies, that they entered into the town with them of Bruges ; and as soon as they were within the town, the first thing they did, they went straight to the market place, an... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Revolt of Ghent By William Morris Morris's history of the revolt of Ghent is mainly a retelling of the story as originally recounted by the mediæval historian Froissart; Morris even repeated large sections from Froissart verbatim. But the framework and the episodes selected are chosen to emphasize one of Morris's particular interests: the development of the conflict between the craft guilds on the one hand and the merchant guilds and aristocracy on the other. The story is the urban, contintental counterpart to the English Peasant's Revolt and the Dream of John Ball. Morris presented the story as a talk to the Hammersmith Branch of the Socialist League on 29 January 1888 and to the Clerkenwell... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Revolutionary Calendar: Wat Tyler” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 126, 9 June 1888, p.182;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Wat Tyler, i.e., Walter, the tiler or thatcher, was an artisan of Dartford, in Kent, and became a leader in the great peasant rebellion which took place in England in the early years of Richard II (1381), and which was much more dangerous to the tyranny of the day than is usually supposed; it spread from the north of East Anglia, all through Essex and Kent, and along the south coast to Exeter. The immediate occasion of Wat Tyler's own rebellion as related by the chroniclers, was his resistance to a bailiff, who, calling for the poll-tax then being levied by the very unpopular Government, treated his y... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Reward of Labor — A Dialogue” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 71, 21 May 1887, p. 165;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Persons: An Earnest Enquirer, an East-end Weaver, a West-end Landowner Scene: Outside a philanthropical meeting on Social Science. Earnest Enquirer. Excuse me, gentle — h'm, gentlemen! neither of you seem quite comfortable after the noble sentiments showing the harmony that should exist between the rich and the poor, and the inculcation of altruism, and self-sacrifice on both sides, which we have heard in there. You, sir (to the Weaver), whom I take to be a soldier in the noble army of industry, seem discontented; a little sour — sulky even, if I may say so. And you, sir (to the Landowner), y... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Reward of Labor — A Dialogue 2” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 72, 28 May 1887, p. 170-171;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Persons: An Earnest Enquirer, an East-end Weaver, a West-end Landowner SCENE: Outside a philanthropical meeting on Social Science. E.E. (continuing to W.) But I am a stranger in London, and will you believe it, don’t know what the East-end of London is like; but I have heard of so much being done for the benefit of the East-end, People’s Palaces, Mosaic pictures, and the like, that I suppose by now it is quite a pleasant place; that small and squalid as your house is, you can get out of it at once into fresh air, pleasant gardens, roomy squares; and that it is well supplied with librari... (From : Marxists.org.)
For some time past there have been rumors afloat that it was intended to `restore' the Royal tombs in Westminster Abbey. These seem traceable to the fact that the President of the Society of Antiquaries had had his attention called to the alleged bad condition of the monuments. The result of this has been that Mr J. T. Micklethwaite, whose knowledge both of the past and the present of the Abbey probably surpasses that of any other person now living, was commissioned to report on the state of the Royal monuments to the executive committee of the Society of Antiquaries. His report disposes of the alarmist view that there is any serious deterioration going on in these monuments. They have... (From : Marxists.org.)
SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANCIENT BUILDINGS. The thirteenth annual meeting of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings was held last evening in the old hall of Barnard's Inn, Holborn. Mr. Walter Crane presided, and in opening the proceedings said that they had there that evening two very excellent photographs which might serve as illustrations of what modern restoration meant. They illustrated the restoration of the south transept of St. Albans Abbey - a very noble building, of which England was justly proud. It might be said, "Look here upon this picture, and on this," for they represented the state of the building before and after it had been "Grimthorped," as a friend of his expressively put it. The one photogra... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Sequel of the Scotch Letter” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 26, 10 July 1886, p.114;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.On Sunday 27th June I lectured on the ‘Political Outlook’ at the Waterloo Rooms, Glasgow, the same place where my Thursday’s lecture was given; this was under the auspices of the Branch, and our comrade Muirhead took the chair. There was a larger attendance than on the Thursday; howbeit several got up and went out almost as soon as I began: it seems there was some mistake as to my subject, as there was a religious meeting elsewhere on the premises, and some of the proper audience thereof had wandered into our hall. Moreover I suspect that some found themselves ‘caught’ by my title, a... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Labor Leader A Single Socialist Party Wm. Morris, speaking at Kelmscott House on Sunday last, said he thought the time had arrived when an attempt might be made to form a single Socialist party, which should exist as a party, not destroying the existing Socialist organizations, the biggest of which, he said, could not claim to be more than a propagandist society. The party must include the whole of the genuine Labor movement, by which he meant all those who accepted the principle of equality of condition, also all the definitely Socialistic among the middle classes. It should have a simple test of membership, the following statement of principle: "The realization of a new society founded on equality of condition for all, a... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Skeleton at the Feast” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 127, 16 June 1888, p.188;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The consolation dinner to Mr Jesse Collings was rather a comical business in so far as it was a party coddling-up of the poor well-intentioned feeble gentleman who got practically turned out of the society which he himself had planted and watered so carefully; and the speeches delivered at this queer celebration would afford amusement enough to a cynical man with a good memory for things nor worth remembering — to wit, the politics of the last three years. In days which people who have serious work on hand are forgetting speedily, Mr Collings manufactured a sort of stage landscape of a happy village, over which,... (From : Marxists.org.)
In answer to our comrade Blackwell's suggestion and in default of someone else beginning that free discussion he speaks of, I wish to note down a few thoughts suggested by reading the clauses of the Anarchist Congress at Valentia, as stated by our comrade; premising that I do so in no polemical spirit, but simply giving my own thoughts and hopes for the future for what they may be worth. I will begin by saying that I call myself a Communist, and have no wish to qualify that word by joining any other to it. The aim of Communism seems to me to be the complete equality of condition for all people; and anything in a Socialist direction which stops short of this is merely... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Socialism and Politics (An Answer to ‘Another View’)” Commonweal, Vol I, No. 6, July 1885, pp. 61;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.A friend, R.F.E. Willis, whose letter we publish, seems inclined to answer the question, ‘Shall Socialists enter the Parliamentary struggle?’ in the affirmative. The question is such a serious one that I make no excuse for answering our friend at some length. I must admit that as a matter of policy it might be prudent to affect a belief in the Parliamentary method of revolution, even if we did not really believe in them, and this all the more in the face of the coming election, which has aroused such hopes in the minds of Democrats — hopes likely to be disappointed... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Socialism in Dublin and Yorkshire” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 17, 8 May 1886, p.43;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.I have to say a few words of another lecture tour, which I hope may be of some interest to our readers. I started on the night of Thursday 8th April, made memorable by the introduction of the Home Rule Bill and Mr Gladstone’s speech, which more by token I found awaiting us on our landing next morning at Kingstown. The next day I addressed an audience mostly of ‘ladies and gentlemen’ at the Molesworth Hall, on the ‘Aims of Art’. There were a few workmen scattered among the audience, and our comrades of the Dublin Branch put in an appearance, and two, I think, spoke in the discussion wh... (From : Marxists.org.)
Some three years ago anyone who had predicted the new birth of Socialism in England would have been looked upon as a dreamer, if not crazy; whatever hopes democracy had were centered on the more advanced wing of the Liberal party, which had just carried that queer composite body to victory almost in spite of itself: many words need not be wasted in the columns of "JUSTICE" in talking of the speedy disappointment of any hopes for the party of the people which had been founded on that Liberal victory, and to those of us who had most faith in progress as an idea, the outlook seemed to be nothing better than a dreary waste of perpetual Whig-Liberal rule, feeble and pedantic, except where coercion was dealt out with a liberal hand to the Irish, ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Socialism in the Provinces” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 14, April 1886, p.30;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.I am asked by some comrades to give a brief report of my lecturing tour to Sheffield, Liverpool, and Norwich. I do so, therefore, believing it of some use to give the impressions of a Londoner as to our prospects in other parts of the country. I gave two lectures at Sheffield on Sunday February 28th, in the Secularist Hall: both were well attended, although I was told that the religious rancor which runs high in Sheffield would keep many people away from the Secularist Hall. Both lectures were well received, the evening one, the more plain-spoken and less historical of the two, particularly so: indeed I have never stood... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Socialism Militant in Scotland” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 117, 7 April 1888, p.106-7;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Since a year may make a good deal of difference in the position of a party, even when it is being carried on by quiet propaganda, I give a brief account of my lecturing tour in Scotland and my impressions of the position of Socialism there. On the 21st March I lectured at Kilmarnock, a not very important town on the edge of the mining district. The chief industry in the town itself is that of the railway works — a tolerably good indication, by the way, of labor being cheap in the neighborhood; accordingly I was informed that the iron-miners in the neighborhood are earning about nine shillings a-week worki... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Socialism Militant in Scotland” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 117, 7 April 1888, p.106-7;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Since a year may make a good deal of difference in the position of a party, even when it is being carried on by quiet propaganda, I give a brief account of my lecturing tour in Scotland and my impressions of the position of Socialism there. On the 21st March I lectured at Kilmarnock, a not very important town on the edge of the mining district. The chief industry in the town itself is that of the railway works — a tolerably good indication, by the way, of labor being cheap in the neighborhood; accordingly I was informed that the iron-miners in the neighborhood are earning about nine shillings a-week worki... (From : Marxists.org.)
... the blessings of irresponsible poverty which have been sung and said in verse and prose for many a year by rich men and their dependents, who, if the said blessings had been showered on their own heads, would have thought them little better than a violent death. ... as you well know, while I speak, "the amelioration of the lot of the working classes" is or seems to be, if we are to trust words, the main object of our statesmen, clergy and employers of labor. If it were only the main object of the working-classes themselves there would be nothing lacking to the equipment of modern Society for building its own funeral pyre which shall transform it into a society of... (From : Marxists.org.)
It is good, however much we may plume ourselves on our practicality, that is, I suppose, on our setting out towards an end which we are likely to attain, to set before us the actual end at which we aim. It is true that it is the custom of very practical people to taunt those whose end is or seems to be a long way off with being idealists: nevertheless I venture to think that without these idealists practical people would be in a much worse plight than they now are; they would have but a dull history of the past, a poor life in the present, and no hope for the future; on the other hand the idealists in their turn would make a great mistake if they were, in their vision of better things,... (From : Marxists.org.)
Some people will perhaps not be prepared to hear that Socialism has any ideal of art, for in the first place it is so obviously founded on the necessity for dealing with the bare economy of life that many, and even some Socialists, can see nothing save that economic basis; and moreover, many who might be disposed to admit the necessity of economic change in the direction of Socialism believe quite sincerely that art is fostered by the inequalities of condition which it is the first business of Socialism to do away with, and indeed that it cannot exist without them. Nevertheless, in the teeth of these opinions I assert first that Socialism is an all-embracing theory of life, and that as... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Socialist Work at Norwich” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 137, 25 August 1888, p.268;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.I am sure our comrades generally will be glad to hear a little of the course of Socialist propaganda in Norwich and its neighborhood, which for some reason or other has become a stronghold of the cause. Our comrades had determined on a rally in Norwich, and invited several of us Leaguers, together with Mrs Besant and Herbert Burrows, to help them. Faulkner, Mrs Schack, Mainwaring, and Morris got down to the old city on Saturday evening, and were most cordially received by the Branch at the Gordon Hall, where there was singing and recitation, and agreeable converse generally. On the Sunday morning Mainwaring went t... (From : Marxists.org.)
By the word pattern-design, of which I have undertaken to speak to you to-night, I mean the ornamentation of a surface by work that is not imitative or historical, at any rate not principally or essentially so. Such work is often not literally flat, for it may be carving or molded work in plaster or pottery; but whatever material relief it may have is given to it for the sake of beauty and richness, and not for the sake of imitation, or to tell a fact directly; so that people have called this art ornamental art, though indeed all real art is ornamental. Now, before we go further, we may as well ask ourselves what reason or right this so-called ornamental art has to existenc... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Middle Ages may be called the epoch of writing par excellence. Stone, bronze, wooden rune-staves, waxed tablets, papyrus, could be written upon with one instrument or another; but all these - even the last, tender and brittle as it was - were but makeshift materials for writing on; and it was not until parchment and vellum, and at last rag-paper, became common, that the true material for writing on, and the quill pen, the true instrument for writing with, were used. From that time till the period of the general use of printing must be considered the age of written books. As in other handicrafts, so also in this, the great period of genuine creation (once called the Dark Ages by tho... (From : Marxists.org.)
On behalf of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, a Society whose objects are explained by the circular enclosed herewith, I beg most respectfully to address you with regard to the works proposed to be done to the Collegiate Church of Southwell Minster. The Society recognizes with satisfaction that since the building has been under the control of the Commissioners thesecurity of the fabric has been considered and its condition as regards stability improved, but at the same time many alterations have been made which in the view of the Society have been destructive of its artistic and historical character. The removal of the modern fittings ... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has had under consideration your architect's observations in reply to the letter addressed you in April last. The Society is glad to find that the building is in charge of an architect so careful and conservative as Mr. Christian, though it disagrees with the opinions expressed in his letter. Bearing in mind the objects of the Society, this letter is neither satisfactory nor reassuring. Believing that your architect concurs in its estimation of the responsibility which attaches to the custodians of a national record such as Southwell Minster, and of their obligation to preserve it from change, the Society brings the follow... (From : Marxists.org.)
Let me in the first place say that I think the Society have done absolutely right in pressing the point of the advertisements which disfigure rural scenery rather than making too much of the point of the disfigurement in towns. As soon as you get anything like public opinion to desire some reasonable regulation of advertisements in the towns, there are the municipalities - and some of them, like our own London County Council, would be very anxious, I believe, to do all they possibly could to force public opinion. We owe a debt of thanks to that member of the County Council who succeeded in getting passed the other day a resolution to the effect that the London County Council should tak... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Speech from the Dock” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 115, 24 March 1888, p.93;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Our comrade John Burn’s speech before Mr Justice Charles has been printed in full. It is one of those documents which will one day be eagerly sought after as illustrating a remarkable period in the Social Revolution in which we are now all of us taking a part. It is called a speech in defense of the defendant but in point of fact, considering the nature of the evidence brought forward in support of the ridiculous charges made against our friends Burns and Graham, no defense was needed, except against the legal quibble by which the defendants were found guilty of illegal assembly and sent to jail for having committe... (From : Marxists.org.)
Ladies and gentlemen, - In this, the eighth anniversary - the eighth birthday of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, I do not intend to take up your time for very long, especially as our friend Mr. Norwood is prepared to give us a very interesting address; and what I do say will be mostly with regard to what may be called the business of the occasion. We are now past that stage in our history when we were troubling ourselves with too many hopes and fears about this matter. It is possible that some of us - though not myself - may have begun to agitate on the subject of the preservation of ancient buildings in rather a sanguine spirit. It is probable that that over-sangu... (From : Marxists.org.)
WILLIAM MORRIS: Two things are to be noticed. First, that the children of the poor are always the victims. Second, the terrible and miserable unhappiness of the whole affair. There is much talk of immorality. Whatever is unhappy is immoral. It is unhappiness that must be got rid of. We have nothing to do with the mere immorality. We have to do with the causes that have compelled this unhappy way of living; the causes that drive girls and women into the streets, to sell their love, not to give it. These causes are the same that make a man degrade himself by over-hours and competition. There is the closest of relations between the prostitution of the body in the streets and of the body i... (From : Marxists.org.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, - The first thing we have to do is to put before you the Annual Report. I think you have all got a copy of that Report, and as it is rather long you would scarcely be inclined to hear the Secretary read it. With your permission, therefore, we will take the Report as read, and it is now my duty, according to custom, to move its adoption. I shall, perhaps, have a word or two to say about the action of the Society later on, but I may say now that this time, at all events, we have got the privilege of meeting in one of those old buildings which it is our duty and privilege to protect, and that I think is a very considerable gain. I need not call much attention to it, ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Everywhere I fancy it will be admitted that the study of history is a most important part of the cultivation of the present day; nor will many be found to deny that the architectural monuments of the past are a great help to that study; but perhaps not everybody understands how great a help they are, or how differently it would fare with the study of history, as it is now followed, if we lacked those monuments; for you must remember how different that modern historical research is to the chronicling, the story-telling of times past. The ancient chroniclers were laborious and conscientious men who loved their subject, and often dealt with it most dramatically and forcibly; all honor to ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, - I was rather surprised to find my name put down as the seconder of this motion, because, to tell you the truth, for the last six or eight months I have been rather remiss in my duties in attending the committee-meetings of the Society. However, I have been conscious of a good deal of what has been going on, and it seems to me we have been going on in very much the usual way. We have, however, scored one great success - I mean, in connection with the Charterhouse. It does seem to me, and to most of us, that the original scheme of the people who wanted to destroy it was one of the most audacious attempts at robbery of the public that has ever been attempted, and t... (From : Marxists.org.)
I think we all owe our hearty thanks to the Chairman for the extremely sympathetic and most eloquent speech which he made, as well as for his kindness in presiding here to-day. It encourages us much to know that a man of his education and culture, and general sympathy with all human progress, is so entirely with us in our work. I am also glad to see him here as a representative of the University of Oxford, which we have just been quarreling with in our Report, and not without reason. I know very well there are many who, like him, are sorely grieved at the destruction which has gone on there, though they have not been able to prevent it in the teeth of the general Philistinism of the pl... (From : Marxists.org.)
This speech was reported in both Justice (paper of the SDF) and The Labor Leader (paper of the ILP). The report in Justice gives more context, while the report in the Labor Leader, under the title 'William Morris's Confession', is more complete. Both are given below. JUSTICE George Lansbury moved:- "That this meeting of Social-Democrats, assembled at the beginning of the New Year, send fraternal greetings to their fellow-workers in the cause of humanity in all lands; enter their earnest protest against the efforts of filibusters and financiers to stir up strife among the people of the different countries; and pledge themselves to work steadfastly forward for the overthrow of the infamous capitalist system, and the realization... (From : Marxists.org.)
As honorary secretary of the "Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings," I cannot help expressing my satisfaction, which I have no doubt will be shared by all my colleagues, at the letter which appears in The Times of to-day from Lord Carnarvon, as chairman of the Society of Antiquaries of London, with reference to the contemplated alteration of the roof of St. Albans Abbey. I have no doubt that the opinion expressed by Lord Carnarvon represents the feeling of antiquaries and men of taste throughout the country very generally. Our society has already written to the "Restoration Committee" of St. Albans deprecating the contemplated alterations. ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Though the Committee for the restoration of St Albans Cathedral have determined to alter that church by putting a high-pitched roof on the nave in the place of the present flat one, the Committee of our Society cannot give up all hope that the public in general may yet interest itself in the matter, and refuse to support a scheme regarded by so many archaeologists as rash and destructive: in this hope we beg the favor of space in your columns to enable us to protest once more against what at the least we must call a dangerous alteration of an ancient and famous building. Into the artistic matter of the relative advantage of ahigh or a low roof in the abstract, and th... (From : Marxists.org.)
By Socialism, the Hammersmith Socialist Society understands the realization of a condition of true society all-embracing and all-sufficing. It believes that this great change must be effected by the conscious exertions of those who have learned to know what Socialism is. This change, it believes, must be an essential change in the basis of society: the present basis is privilege for the few and consequent servitude for the many; the further basis will be equality of condition for all, which we firmly believe to be the essence of true society. As soon as any community begins to make differences in the condition and livelihood of its members, ac... (From : Marxists.org.)
The information of an official character given yesterday in your columns confirms remarkably that which we received a month ago from our correspondent at Venice. The fact that the works had been taken out of the hands of the local authorities and that a Commission was to be called to consider in what way they were to be carried further, while it made us anxious lest those works should be of a yet more sweeping character than what had hitherto been done, yet seemed to afford an opportunity of urging the opinion that the exercise of the utmost conservatism was needed if St. Marks's was not to be practically destroyed by well-meant efforts to restore it. That opinion we still ... (From : Marxists.org.)
I note with great pleasure the remarks your Italian Correspondent quotes as expressing the opinions of the Ministry of Public Instruction in Italy, but the answer to their retort on our newly-acquired tenderness for their gloriousmonument is as simple as that retort is natural and reasonable. It is that 15 years ago we had but little tenderness for our own buildings, nor do I think in the long run they will feel aggrieved at our eagerness to save them from some of the same loss that we ourselves have suffered: perhaps they scarcely know with what pleasure some of us would hail their interference with our affairs of a like kind here. Meantime, Sir, I beg to appeal, through your columns,... (From : Marxists.org.)
I have just received information, on the accuracy of which I can rely, that the restoration of the west front of St. Mark's at Venice, which has long been vaguely threatened, is to be taken in hand at once. A commission is called for next month, to examine its state and to determine whether it is to be pulled down immediately or to be allowed to stand till next year. The fate of such a building seems to me a subject important enough to warrant me in asking you to grant me space to make an appeal to your readers to consider what a disaster is threatened hereby to art and culture in general. Though this marvel of art and treasure of history has suffered some disgraces, chiefly in the bas... (From : Marxists.org.)
Introduction The Eddas and the Volsunga Saga first became known outside Iceland in the 19th century. As knowledge of them spread there was an excited realization that many of the personalities and events they referred to did not come from Icelandic or Norse history, but from the Europe of the dark ages. The death of Attila the Hun ('Atli' in the saga), the 5th century defeat of the Burgundians and their king Gundahar ('Gunnar'), the death of Eormenric ('Jormunrek') king of the Goths - all were real, documented events, miraculously preserved in the saga through oral transmission. Scholars - including all the early marxists - pored over both the Volsunga saga and the Eddas searching for clues to germanic pre-history. The combination ... (From : Marxists.org.)
My attention has been called to a letter from the vicar of Stratford-on-Avon appearing in your issue of July 28, and appealing for funds generally towards the completion of the restoration. In this letter occurs the following sentence:- `Under the stalls sufficient of the ancient reredos has been found to make Mr. Garner think he can give us a drawing of what it was when the church was built. We shall hope, then, that somebody will provide the funds to erect a copy of it in the old place.' I am glad that the vicar talks about a `copy' of the reredos, and not a `restoration' of it; but may I ask why a copy of it should be `erected in the old place'? Will not every fre... (From : Marxists.org.)
SOCIALISM, as a social and political system, depends altogether upon the history of mankind for a record of its growth in the past, and bases its future upon a knowledge of that history in so far as it can be accurately traced up to the present time. The groundwork of the whole theory is, that from the earliest period of their existence human beings have been guided by the power they possessed over the forces of nature to supply the wants arising as individual members of any society. Thus Socialism rests upon political economy in its widest sense - that is, upon the manner in which wealth is produced and distributed by those who form part of society at a given time. Slavery, for instance, arose when men had rea... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Sweaters and Sweaters” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 132, 21 July 1888, p.225-226;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.No. 1.- MATCHES BY THE FACTORY DRILL The London Trades’ Council having taken up the strike of the match girls, it did at any rate go on long enough to force the attention of even the stupidest of the capitalist class, and the girls have at least gained something out of the struggle; and surely nobody but the cruelest as well as the stupidest of bourgeois will grudge them that small gain. For the rest, like other strikes, it is a necessary incident in the war of capital and labor; whatever may be the fate of any particular strike, the whole mass of strikes forms one side of this great war: if there were no strik... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Talk and Art” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 154, 22 December 1888, p.404;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The Art Congress (or whatever is the proper name for it) at which I assisted last week, may easily be made a mark at which to shoot shafts of ridicule. The crowds of lion-worshiping ladies, the many worthy artists set up to speak about an art which is above all things a matter of the instructed eye and deft hand; and many of them into the bargain but poor speakers, in all senses of the word (small blame to them for that same, since above all things their craft is of doing). The bands of idle busy-bodies; the stock phrases bandied about by people who, if questioned about them, would have been able to give but a sorry account of... (From : Marxists.org.)
Just before the prorogation the Earl of Wemyss and March got up in his place in the House of Lords and flourished a sort of revolutionary symbol in the faces of his meager but distinguished audience. The symbol, or let me call it paper banner, was Justice, not the French journal of that name but the lively organ of the English Socialists. “Look at this and tremble,” was the meaning conveyed by his lordship’s attitude and brief speech. Some people define English Socialism to be, among other things, “an attempt to make grand dukes and people of that sort” live on three hundred a year—and work eight hours a day even for that! But on looking at the program of the Socialists, what I find is a proposal for &ldq... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Ten Commandments” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 46, 27 November 1886, p.276;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Among the articles in the ‘Mall Pall Gazette’ occur some that express sad trouble about the ten commandments. These are always of a peculiar character, so that it is safe to assume that they are written by one person; and that person’s function seems to be to repress the excesses of those contributors to the journal who are Socialistic in tendency. It is not the business of the Commonweal to criticize literature, so we may leave the style of the above-said contributor alone; but his anxiety as to the fate of the ten commandments in a future state of society, which is shared, doubtless, by many well-to-... (From : Marxists.org.)
Mr. WILLIAM MORRIS, called in; and Examined. Mr. Dick Peddie. 2095. Do you attend here at the request of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings? - Yes. 2096. And you are therefore able to state generally the views of that society with regard to the proposed building. Would you kindly state shortly the objections which you entertain to what is proposed to be done according to Mr. Pearson's plan? - Our views are very simple. It simply comes to this, that from our point of view the taking down of the old Law Courts has exposed the actual side or flank of the Hall, which seems to us to be a very valuable piece of architecture, that is looking at... (From : Marxists.org.)
My eye just now caught the word `restoration' in the morning paper, and, on looking closer, I saw that this time it is nothing less than the Minster of Tewkesbury that is to be destroyed by Sir Gilbert Scott. Is it altogether too late to do something to save it - it and whatever else beautiful or historical is still left us on the sites of the ancient buildings we were once so famous for? Would it not be of some use once for all, and with the least delay possible, to set on foot an association for the purpose of watching over and protecting these relics, which, scanty as they are now become, are still wonderful treasures, all the more priceless in this age of the world, when the newly-... (From : Marxists.org.)
The subject I have to speak on is a sufficiently wide one, and I can do little more than hint at points of interest in it for your further thought and consideration; all the more as I think I shall be right in supposing that, except for anyone actually engaged in the manufacture of textiles who may be present, you, in common with most educated people at the present day, have very little idea as to how a piece of cloth is made, and not much as to the characteristic differences between the manufactures of diverse periods. However, one limitation to my subject I will at once state: I am going to treat it as an artist and archaeologist, not as a manufacturer, as we call it; that is, I shal... (From : Marxists.org.)
There are several ways of ornamenting a woven cloth: (1) real tapestry, (2) carpet-weaving, (3) mechanical weaving, (4) printing or painting, and (5) embroidery. There has been no improvement (indeed, as to the main processes, no change) in the manufacture of the wares in all these branches since the fourteenth century, as far as the wares themselves are concerned; whatever improvements have been introduced have been purely commercial, and have had to do merely with reducing the cost of production; nay, more, the commercial improvements have on the whole been decidedly injurious to the quality of the wares themselves. The noblest of the weaving arts is Tapestry, in which th... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Thoughts on Education under Capitalism” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 129, 30 June 1888, p.204-205;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The other day I heard Mr Charles Leland (better known as Hans Breitman) speak on the teaching of the ‘minor arts’ (we wont trouble for the present as to what they are) and he told us he was engaged in carrying out a plan (in America) by which all children should be taught these arts and so gain an interest in handicrafts which he thought, and I heartily agree with him, would be a great gain to the art and consequently to the happiness of people generally. Mr Leland said that he had been engaged in this work of educating children’s hands for many years, and he expected success to foll... (From : Marxists.org.)
Mr. William Morris, at the New Islington Hall, Manchester, on Sunday, in connection with the Ancoats Recreation Committee, delivered an address on "Town and Country." Mr. Charles Rowley presided. Mr. Morris, after a reference to the differences of town and country life under the Romans, dealt with the gradual development of differences with regard to similar life in England. About the middle of the 18th century, London, he said, became more decidedly than before the center of England, and there was not, as hitherto, a mere distinction between the town and the country side, but between London and the rest of the country, town and all. Then began what real difference there was in town and country life. Beyond that there was a further... (From : Marxists.org.)
Town and country are generally put in a kind of contrast, but we will see what kind of a contrast there has been, is, and may be between them; how far that contrast is desirable or necessary, or whether it may not be possible in the long run to make the town a part of the country and the country a part of the towns. I think I may assume that, on the one hand, there is nobody here so abnormally made as not to take a pleasure in green fields, and trees, and rivers, and mountains, the beings, human and otherwise, that inhabit those scenes, and in a word, the general beauty and incident of nature: and that, on the other, we all of us find human intercourse necessary to us, and even the exc... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Trial by Judge v. Trial by Jury” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 188, 17 August 1889, p.257;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The Maybrick case, of which we have been hearing so much, does not differ in essence from most other trials for murder. A man is killed; there is a certain amount of presumptive evidence against such and such a person; a coroner’s jury find that this person is guilty of the murder. The presumptive evidence is after long delay brought before the Criminal Court; which delay, be it remarked, tends very much to increase the difficulty in getting at the truth, as lies and falsities have time to grow round the original kernel of fact, and make a regular problem for the solution of the professional dealers with... (From : Marxists.org.)
Allow me to add my thanks also to you for your straightforward attack on the cant which assumes that a public body having the administration of charities has but one mandate, to wit, the increase of its money at the expense of every other consideration. As to the Trinity Almshouses, looking at the beauty and charm of the buildings and their immediate surroundings, and the reproach they throw on us for the squalor of the outside world of East London; and looking also at the pleasure and decency of life which they confer on the present inmates, I can think of nothing which (mutatis mutandis) fits the case better than the lines of Omar Khayyam.- ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Triple Alliance” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 112, 3 March 1888, p.68;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The struggle for the elementary right of freedom of speech, of which the events of Bloody Sunday formed such a dramatic episode, is taking a new development. The police onslaught of November 13th, and the subsequent reactionary tyranny of the Government, came as a surprise on the genuine Radicals who took part in the proceedings of that disastrous and shameful day: and it can hardly be doubted that the orthodox Liberals were also surprised at it; but their surprise took the form of striking them dumb as well as deedless. Comment has been made in these columns on the dastardliness of their behavior, which, all things considered... (From : Marxists.org.)
I have been asked to give you the Socialist view of the Labor Question. Now in some ways that is a difficult matter to deal with - far beyond my individual capacities - and would also be a long business; yet in another way, as a matter of principle, it is not difficult to understand or long to tell of, and does not need previous study or acquaintance with the works of specialists or philosophers. Indeed, if it did, it would not be a political subject, and I hope to show you that it is preeminently political in the sense in which I should use the word; that is to say, it is a matter which concerns everyone, and had to do with the practical everyday relations of his life, and that not on... (From : Marxists.org.)
Ouida's article on the ugliness of London does, as you suggest, call for remarks from those who care at all for the real pleasure of life for themselves and others. But the subject is so wide that to begin with I had better limit it; for, as has been often said, London is not a town, but a country covered with houses. Now, the London which presents itself to Ouida is not the London of the matchmakers and dock-laborers in the East, or of the brickmakers and gas-workers of the west; she is not thinking of the slums beyond Bethnal-green, or those of Fulham and Latimer-road, but of the shops and dwellings of the bourgeoisie, middle and upper (for England has no aristocracy). Of this well-t... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: Commonweal, Vol I, No. 4, May 1885, pp. 37 (Supplement);Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.For our purpose of considering the relations of labor to industrial art, the wares made at the present day, the articles made for the market that is, may be divided into two classes — those that have some pretensions to be considered ornamental, and those that have not. The latter, I suppose, is much the larger class; but at any rate the important thing to remember is that there is this difference. Now it seems to me necessary to understand that everything made by man must be either ugly or beautiful. Neutrality is impossible in man’s handiwork. But in times past, before the commercial age, it did not follow that a piece of handiwork was... (From : Marxists.org.)
Most people who profess Liberal opinions doubtless please themselves by thinking that the reign of absolutism is at an end in this country, that for us kings are done with, since the live image or puppet of a so-called constitutional Monarchy is capable of performing no more dreadful function than that of boring itself and all those with whom it comes into contact, and of providing a constant center of hypocrisy and corruption for the rich classes, if indeed any thing could make that corruption worse which seems now rapidly approaching its climax, and carrying us on toward revolution. Nevertheless though the old kingship may be dead, at least in England, we may perhaps have in these latter days fashioned a new kingship, not the less dang... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Under an Elm-Tree; or, Thoughts in the Country-Side” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 182, 6 July 1889, p.212-213;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Midsummer in the country — here you may walk between the fields and hedges that are as it were one huge nosegay for you, redolent of bean-flowers and clover and sweet hay and elder-blossom. The cottage gardens are bright with flowers, the cottages themselves mostly models of architecture in their way. Above them towers here and there the architecture proper of days bygone, when every craftsman was an artist and brought definite intelligence to bear upon his work. Man in the past, nature in the present, seem to be bent on pleasing you and making all things delightful to your senses; e... (From : Marxists.org.)
William Morris UNJUST WAR TO THE WORKING-MEN OF ENGLAND. Friends and fellow-citizens:– there is danger of war; bestir yourselves to face that danger. If you go to sleep, saying we do not understand it, and the danger is far away you may wake and find the evil fallen upon you, for even now it is at the door. Take heed in time and consider it well, for a hard matter it will be for most of us to bear war taxes, war prices, war losses of wealth and work, and friends and kindred; we shall pay heavily, and you, friends of the working classes, will pay the heaviest. And what shall we buy at this heavy price? Will it be glory and wealth and peace for those that come after us? Alas! no; for those are the gains of a ... (From : Marxists.org.)
The above title may strike some of my readers as strange. It is assumed by most people nowadays that all work is useful, and by most well-to-do people that all work is desirable. Most people, well-to-do or not, believe that, even when a man is doing work which appears to be useless, he is earning his livelihood by it - he is "employed," as the phrase goes; and most of those who are well-to-do cheer on the happy worker with congratulations and praises, if he is only "industrious" enough and deprives himself of all pleasure and holidays in the sacred cause of labor. In short, it has become an article of the creed of modern morality that all labor is good in itself - a convenient belief t... (From : Marxists.org.)
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has just received a letter from Cav. Paravicini, the distinguished Milanese antiquary, in which he gives a list of the ancient buildings in and near Milan, which during the past year have been destroyed or completely falsified by an ignorant system of so-called `restoration'. The fine old medieval towers of the Porta Ticinese have been pulled down, for the sake of rebuilding them on a fresh site. The high altar of S. Ambrogio has been moved from its original position, slightly oblique to the axis of the church - a position characteristic of the high altars of early Lombardic churches. It is now proposed to destroy Bramante's noble por... (From : Marxists.org.)
My attention has been called to an angry article in your current number under the heading: `Why "Blackguards"?' There is a good deal of matter in it which is personal to myself; but I do not think it right to trouble the public with any private grievance, when I have in my mind a crying public one. To speak frankly, I wish to use the opportunity afforded me by your article for calling the attention of your readers to a great public scandal. The words of mine quoted in the article in question were written under the influence of the grief and indignation which I felt, and am feeling, incommon with all those who understand the beauty of the art of the past, and its value to history, at th... (From : Marxists.org.)
I have just read your too true article on the vulgarization of Oxford, and I wish to ask if it is too late to appeal to the mercy of the `Dons' to spare the few specimens of ancient town architecture which they have not yet had time to destroy, such, for example, as the little plaster houses in front of Trinity College or the beautiful houses left on the north side of Holywell Street. These are in their way as important as themore majestic buildings to which all the world makes pilgrimage. Oxford thirty years ago, when I first knew it, was full of these treasures; but Oxford `culture,' cynically contemptuous of the knowledge which it does not know, and steeped to the lips in the commer... (From : Marxists.org.)
Few of the public have seen the full text of this song, written by William Morris, author of the "Earthly Paradise". In the days of the late Empire in France, Walter Savage Landor and Mr. A. C. Swinburne supplied one or two political songs. The Poet Laureate also supplied two or three. As it is seldom that any poet nowadays takes interest in public affairs, Mr. Morris's song is worth quoting. It had the distinction of being sung by seven thousand voices at Exeter Hall. As the music halls of London have long resounded with war doggerel in favor of the Turks, such as "Here stands a Poet" and "We don't want to fight",1 it is only fair that a song on the other side–which is not doggerel–should be heard. Wake, London La... (From : Marxists.org.)
South Salford Branch On Sunday, March 11th we had our old comrade William Morris with us. In the morning at Trafford Bridge he delivered an interesting and instructive address, which was listened to by an enormous crowd. A strong wind prevailed, and thus militated against effective out-door speaking, the the "Grand Old Man" of the Socialist movement had previously stipulated that he should address one meeting outside, and he was evidently determined to stick to his arrangements and defy the elements. The highly successful meeting will doubtless afford him some compensation for his kindly sacrifice. In the afternoon comrade Morris addressed a public meeting in the large Free Trade Hall, Manchaster. There was a large attendance,... (From : Marxists.org.)
We feel ourselves compelled to call the attention of the public to the present condition and immediate prospects of the Church of St. Peter at Westminster: and this seems to us to be all the more necessary, because the public have scarcely understood the really important considerations which should be kept in mind in dealing with this piece of national property. The idea that is current in most people's minds seems to be that, apart from its function as a place of worship, it is to be used in some way or other as a kind of registration office for the names of men whom the present generation considers eminent in various capacities: the method of so registering them being the placing of ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “What 1887 Has Done” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 104, 7 January 1888, p.4-5;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The year 1887 is come to an end, a year in many respects eventful; what will it be chiefly known by in the future, when it has become mere history? To some it will be the jubilee year; to some the central year of the great Tory ascendancy; to some, it may be, for a little while, the last of the thoroughly bad years of the depression of trade. Yet again it may be known hereafter as the last year of the European armed truce; and to others it will be remembered as the great year of Coercion. Which will it be? Another question can be our only answer. Is our future to be that of patient slaves bearing their hard lot apathetical... (From : Marxists.org.)
... some direst share in the national talk-shop. All this they will try for, and will get the formula thereto made into law within a certain time. Now I firmly believe that it is an illusion to think they can have the reality of any of these things without gaining the beginning of Socialism. ... it will be followed in due course by all the necessary administration which in its turn will lead to the formation of the habit of Socialism, when we shall no more talk of Socialism because it will be among us fully developed, when all contentious politics will be abolished, that is, all clashing interests; and our difference of opinion will be of opinion only, to be settled by the ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “What is to Happen Next?” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 28, 24 July 1886, p.129;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The elections are over with the result of a Parliament that comprises a majority of more than a hundred against Home Rule, although the Tories are in a considerable minority as regards a possible (?)combination between the Whigs, Jingo-Liberals, Parnellites, and Gladstonians or British Home Rulers. It would be idle not to admit that this is a success of the Reactionists, and a success unexpected by most persons. Moreover, it would certainly have been a great advantage to the Socialist propaganda if the ground had been cleared of a question which very naturally excites political passions deeply, and at the same time has o... (From : Marxists.org.)
Socialists no more than other people believe that persons are naturally equal: there are among men all varieties of disposition, and desires, and degrees of capacity; nevertheless these differences are inequalities are very much increased by the circumstances among which a man lives and by those that surrounded the lives of his parents: and these circumstances are more or less under the control of society, that is of the ordered arrangement of persons among which we live. So I say first that granted that men are born with certain tendencies those tendencies can be developed for good and evil by the conditions of our lives, and those conditions are in our own hands to deal with, taking ... (From : Marxists.org.)
I do not mean by this what the ideal of Socialism has to offer to us when we have got people's heads turned in the right direction, but rather what our present movement may reasonably expect to come across in its progress towards Socialism; it is not prophecy that I am about to-night but a reasonable forecast of the few next moves deduced from the experience of the last few. I consider this a dull job, a dispiriting job because it must necessarily deal with failure and disappointment and stupidity and causeless quarrels, and in short all the miseries that go to make up the degrading game of politics. Still I think it has to be done, in order that we may get on to the next step, and the... (From : Marxists.org.)
The inaugural address in connection with the Oxford and District Socialistic Union was delivered on Wednesday by Mr. William Morris, at the Central School, Gloucester-green. There was a crowded attendance, which included many undergraduates and ladies. Professor York Powell took the chair, and briefly introduced the lecturer. Mr. Morris chose for his subject the words "What we have to look for", and said he did not mean by this what the ideal of Socialism had to offer to them when they had got people's heads turned in the right direction, but rather what their present movement might reasonably expect to come across in its progress towards socialism. Within the last five years or so the movement which represented the change from ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Where Are We Now?” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 253, 15 November 1890, p.361-362;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.It is good from time to time for those who are engaged in a serious movement to look back and review the progress of the past few years; which involves looking around them and noting the way the movement is affecting other people. It is good to do so for this reason among others, that men absorbed in such a movement are apt to surround themselves with a kind of artificial atmosphere which distorts the proportions of things outside, and prevents them from seeing what is really going on, and consequently from taking due council as to what is best to do. It is now some seven years since Socialism came to life again in t... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Whigs Astray” [1]Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 158, 19 January 1889, p.18-19;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.A Dialogue Between Owen Marx Bakunin Jones, an architect (unsuccessful), and — the Rev. Swain Stride, a Nonconformist parson, and Mr Jeremiah Brown, a business man — advanced Radicals. Scene — A comfortable batchelor-looking room in Mr Brown’s house, with tobacco and pipes and grog to the fore. Mr Stride and Mr Brown sitting on either side o f the fire, looking important and self-satisfied. Enter to them Mr Jones with an ill-concealed grin on his face; after the usual greetings he sits down and says: Jones. Well, Mr Brown, here I am, ready to hear what you have to say to me, and eager to know what... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Whigs Astray [2]” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 159, 26 January 1889, p.26-27;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.A Dialogue Between Owen Marx Bakunin Jones, an architect (unsuccessful), and — the Rev. Swain Stride, a Nonconformist parson, and Mr Jeremiah Brown, a business man — advanced Radicals. Scene — A comfortable batchelor-looking room in Mr Brown’s house, with tobacco and pipes and grog to the fore. Mr Stride and Mr Brown sitting on either side of the fire, looking important and self-satisfied. Between them Mr Jones with an occasional ill-concealed grin on his face. S. ‘We are in favor of giving some relief by way of security of tenure to leaseholders who are exposed to enormous losses and ruin.... (From : Marxists.org.)
Objection has been made to the use of the word “Communism” to express fully-developed Socialism, on the ground that it has been used for the Community-Building, which played so great a part in some of the phases of Utopian Socialism, and is still heard of from time to time nowadays. Of Communism in this sense I am not writing now; it may merely be said in passing that such experiments are of their nature non-progressive; at their best they are but another form of the Mediæval monastery, withdrawals from the Society of the day, really implying hopelessness of a general change; which is only attainable by the development of Society as it is; by the development of the consequences of its faults and anomalies, as wel... (From : Marxists.org.)
At a meeting of the Commons Preservation Society I heard it assumed by a clever speaker that our great cities, London in particular, were bound to go on increasing without any limit and those present accepted that assumption complacently, as I think people usually do. Now under the present Capitalist system it is difficult to see anything which might stop the growth of these horrible brick encampments; its tendency is undoubtedly to depopulate the country and small towns for the advantage of the great commercial and manufacturing centers; but this evil, and it is a monstrous one, will be no longer a necessary evil when we have got rid of land monopoly, manufacturing for the profit of individuals, and the stupid waste of competitive distribu... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Why We Celebrate the Commune of Paris Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 62, 19 March 1887, p. 89-90;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The ‘moons and the days’ have brought us round again to the anniversary of the greatest tragedy of modern times, the Commune of Paris of 1871, and with it the recurring duty for all Socialists of celebrating it both enthusiastically and intelligently. By this time the blatant slanders with which the temporarily unsuccessful cause was assailed when the event was yet fresh in men’s minds have sunk into the dull gulf of lies, hypocritical concealments, and false deductions, which is called bourgeois history, or have become a dim but deeply rooted superstition in the minds of those who have info... (From : Marxists.org.)
William Morris's Socialist Diary edited and annotated by Florence Boos INTRODUCTION Morris's achievements routinely exhaust the enumerative abilities of his biographers. When in 1883 William Morris joined the Social Democratic Federation, he had already been a writer of narrative poems and prose romances; pioneer in the decorative arts; translator of Icelandic sagas; designer of stained-glass windows, wallpapers, and tapestries; illuminator of manuscripts; vigorous man of business; founder of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB); and loyal personal friend and relation to an impressive range of people. More relevant to the Diary is Morris's identity as the most prominent Victorian artist to embrace the new ... (From : Marxists.org.)
I shall presently have the pleasure of showing you in some kind of sequence a number of illustrations taken from books of the fifteenth and first years of the sixteenth centuries. But before I do so I wish to read to you a few remarks on the genesis and the quality of the kind of art represented by these examples, and the lessons which they teach us. Since the earliest of those I have to show is probably not earlier in date than about 1420, and almost all are more than fifty years later than that, it is clear that they belong to the latest period of Medieval art, and one or two must formally be referred to the earliest days of the Renaissance, though in spirit that are ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Words of Forecast for 1887” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 52, 8 January 1887, p. 9;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The war-rumors are solidifying and it cannot be denied that there is great probability of this year seeing the long-threatened war which will embrace all the nations of Europe. There have within the last few days been stories of alliance between Germany and Russia. This seems at first sight highly improbable, considering the strong race animosity between the Slav and the Teuton, and also the difficulties which dealing with Austria would offer to both the great reactionary states; because Austria, if not used as the tool of Germany against Russia, would probably in the case of a successful expedition of the two great... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Worker’s Share of Art,” Commonweal, Vol I, No. 3, April 1885, pp. 18-19;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.I can imagine some of our comrades smiling bitterly at the above title, and wondering what a Socialist journal can have to do with art; so I begin by saying that I understand only too thoroughly how ‘unpractical’ the subject is while the present system of capital and wages last. Indeed that is my text. What, however, is art? whence does it spring? Art is man’s embodied expression of interest in the life of man; it springs from man’s pleasure in his life; pleasure we must call it, taking all human life together, however much it may be broken by the grief and trouble of individuals; and a... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “Workhouse Socialism” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 251, 1 November 1890, p.345-346;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.‘General’ Booth no doubt does deserve his title; his conduct of the ‘Army’ shows that he is a general of no mean order. But like other people, he has the ‘defects of his qualities’ as the French phrase it, and a good general is not likely to be a good citizen; for it is the business of a general to sacrifice everything to immediate success, and I cannot help thinking that the Salvation General does not fall behind others of his kind in this respect. Anyhow, his ‘great scheme’ as it is called, seems on the face of it to be meant as a bait to catch those who are looking ... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “'Common-Sense Socialism'” (review) Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 75, 18 June 1887, p. 197;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The first word of the above title is usually a sort of danger signal to the wary reader to avoid boredom and confusion. ‘Common-sense’ as applied to knotty questions usually meaning the ignoring of the main issue, or the putting forward of a remedy difficult to apply and useless when applied. This is so well understood by persons with not more than the average amount of time for throwing away on futile and foolish literature, that the title of this book will probably prevent many people from looking into it at all. This is a pity, although before the end of the book the author justifies this well-g... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The ‘Eight Hours’ and the Demonstration” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 227, 17 May 1890, p.153;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.Now that the noise and clatter of the 4th of May demonstration are over, it may be profitable to consider what it was that that huge meeting was crying for, and whether it is likely to get it. But first we must assume that the 4th of May demonstration did not aim at showing any expression of sympathy with labor generally throughout the civilized world. It was in fact an English trades-union meeting distinct from the meetings held on the Continent and in London on May Day, although it was only the agitation on the Continent that made it possible. The English workmen, if we may believe the Star... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “'Looking Backward'” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 180, 22 June 1889, p.194-195;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.We often hear it said that the signs of the spread of Socialism among English-speaking people are both abundant and striking. This is true; six or seven years ago the word Socialism was known in this country, but few even among the ‘educated’ classes knew more about its meaning than Mr Bradlaugh, Mr Gladstone, or Admiral Maxse know now — ie., nothing. Whereas at present it is fashionable for even West-end dinner-parties to affect an interest in and knowledge of it, which indicates a wide and deep public interest. This interest is more obvious in literature perhaps than in anything else, quite outside th... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Reward of ‘Genius'” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 37, 25 September 1886, p.204-5-206;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.It is a very common incident at a debate on Socialism for an opponent or doubter to take up the cudgels on behalf of ‘brain-work’ as opposed to hand-work. Even before you avow yourself a Communist (as I have to do), such a questioner is anxious about the future of brain-work in the transitional stages of Socialism. Though this subject has been ably treated before in these columns, I will nevertheless venture on a few plain words in addition to what has been said; which I hesitate to do the less because I have had some small experience of hand-work, though not of the most laborious kind, and ab... (From : Marxists.org.)
Source: ‘The’ Law in Ireland” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 50, 25 December 1886, p.305;Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.The Government has struck its stroke and we are to have another State trial on behalf of law and order. Unless a miracle of jury-packing is performed the accused will be acquitted, or at least the jury will not agree; so it is hard to see what the Government can gain unless they are prepared to go head over ears into coercion. Meantime not only are the Tory and other definitely reactionary papers jubilant at this exhibition of firmness, but all the Liberal Press approves with the single exception of the Pall Mall Gazette, to which must be added that Mr Labouchere at Birmingham spoke strongly and generously of Mr Di... (From : Marxists.org.)


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