Clement M. Hammond, “Then and Now” (1884)

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XXVI.

IN WHICH JOSEPHINE SAYS ADIEU.

[In this issue Miss Josephine D’Aujourd’hui heralds her return from the Boston of 2085. The series of letters in which she tells of her sojourn there will soon appear in pamphlet form, and from them many a scoffer will learn that the advent of Anarchy is not as remote as the millennium. But, though this young lady will no longer address her “dear Louise” and the readers of Liberty from the future, she will be heard from regularly in the present, perhaps under a new name; and what she has to say will doubtless show the fruits of her journey, not to “Kingdom Come,” but to Anarchy Come.]

Boston, December 28, 2085.

My Dear Louise:

This is my last letter to you from the twenty-first century. In a few days I shall journey backward through the many years that intervene between you and me, and—-Mr. De Demain will come with me. You are to see him and talk with him. He will tell you in his own language and his own way of this wonderful age and of what Anarchy is. We—you and I and our friends—must try to convince him that Boston of 1885 is not so bad as he thinks it, even if we cannot prove to him that it is equal to Boston of 2085.

Mr. De Demain tells me that in 1885 a Dr. Brooks lectured on Socialism at Harvard, and he desired, while he is with me in Boston, to meet him in joint debate. I should much like to hear them. Mr. De Demain is, of course, an enthusiast in regard to Harvard College, being one of its professors. He says that Harvard showed herself to be at the head of educational institutions by giving lectures on the subject of Socialism at a time when its true aims were so little understood and when the men who held Socialistic views were classed as cranks or would-be robbers and murderers.

“I think,” says Mr. De Demain, “I can convert Dr. Brooks to Anarchy in a very short time. At any rate, I can prove to him, with you for a witness, that Anarchy is a good thing for this century. You will certainly admit that, although you would say it is because the people are educated to it.”

I do not deny this statement, and I often think that, when I am with you again, I may be considered an out-and-out Anarchist, so advanced have my views become since I have been here with Mr. De Demain for a tutor. I presume that during the rest of my life I shall constantly be defending Anarchy whenever anybody says anything against it. But I am not completely converted. I doubt if any one ever could be who had from childhood until near middle life been taught the advantages of power and wealth which come because of the State. There is such a pleasure in governing by authority and in possessing greater wealth than most any one else that we dislike to give it up even for such a beautiful conception as individual liberty. There are so many of us—in 1885—who feel that it is simply the power of the State that makes us better and greater and richer than our fellows that the justice and freedom of Anarchy cannot get a strong hold. It might—I think it would—be a good thing for the great mass of humanity, but we are not of that mass. Our word is taken as law, and we would be truer than human nature were we to tell the people that we were robbers and liars, that we were no better than they, with no more right to govern or enjoy the fruits of the earth. While we can deceive the people and reap the harvest of their la of pleasure and leisure, why should we not?

No man of wealth and a disposition to live on the labor of others, no man in authority over others, no man who believes in the right of majorities to rule, no man who believes that he has a right to preempt more land than he can use, has any sympathy with Anarchy.

But you have been told all this, in different ways, in many of my previous letters. I must now say farewell until I meet you. I will then try to answer all of the many questions that I know you must have ready for me.

Josephine.

END

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About Shawn P. Wilbur 2166 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.