Lewis Masquerier in the “Boston Investigator” (1835-1888)

  1. Abner Kneeland, “The Reformed Alphabet and Orthography, Applicable to all Languages” [review], Boston Investigator 5 no. 10 (May 29, 1835): 3.
  2. Lewis Masquerier, “Temperance” [poetry], Boston Investigator 5 no. 26 (September 18, 1835): 4.
  3. Lewis Masquerier, “Tract No. 1—Christianity,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 26 (September 09, 1836): 1.
  4. “Periodical of Mental Freedom,” Boston Investigator 9 no. 25 (September 04, 1839): 3. (1414 words)
  5. Lewis Masquerier, “The Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,” The Boston Investigator 9 no. 39 (December 4, 1839): 1.
  6. Lewis Masquerier, “Anniversary Hymn—To T. Paine,” Boston Investigator 9 no. 49 (February 19, 1840): 2. (poem)
  7. Lewis Masquerier, “The Life and Character of Robespierre” [review], Boston Investigator 10 no. 38 (January 06, 1841): 1; 10 no. 39 (January 13, 1841): 1.
  8. Lewis Masquerier, “New Theory; suggesting the Rotary Motion of the Earth as the Cause of its Curvilinear Direction in its Orbit, and also of the Tides,” Boston Investigator 11 no. 6 (June 16, 1841): 1-2.
  9. Lewis Masquerier, “Progress of the New Organization of Society,” Boston Investigator 11 no. 15 (August 18, 1841): 2.
  10. [editorial note], Boston Investigator 11 no. 17 (September 01, 1841): 3.
  11. Lewis Masquerier, “Science of Government Founded on Natural Law” [review], Boston Investigator 11 no. 18 (September 08, 1841): 1-2.
  12. [editorial note], Boston Investigator 11 no. 18 (September 08, 1841): 3.
  13. [editorial note], Boston Investigator 11 no. 24 (October 20, 1841): 3.
  14. Lewis Masquerier, “Discussion on Socialism,” Boston Investigator 11 no. 25 (October 27, 1841): 1.
  15. Lewis Masquerier, [letter], Boston Investigator 14 no. 16 (August 21, 1844): 2.
  16. “The Free Homestead Association,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 13 (July 30, 1862) 102. [Masquerier, Ingalls, etc]
  17. Lewis Masquerier, “Propagandists,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 35 (December 31, 1862): 275.
  18. Lewis Masquerier, “Mental, Chattel, and Hireling Slavery,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 36 (January 7, 1863): 281.
  19. Ann Masquerier, “Progression and Theology,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 42 (February 18, 1863): 329.
  20. Lewis Masquerier, “Thomas Paine’s Monument,” Boston Investigator 33 no. 24 (October 21, 1863): 185-6. [includes lyrics to “Philanthropist, Thomas Paine,” to be sung to the tune of the “Star Spangled Banner.”]
  21. Lewis Masquerier, “Death of Capt. Benjamin Price,” Boston Investigator 33 no. 245 (October 28, 1863): 195.

The Reformed Alphabet and Orthography, Applicable to all Languages

[excerpt]

… Mr. Masquerier says he ‘has not yet been able to learn the improvements suggested by Mr. A. Kneeland for an alphabet; not those in a book entitled ‘Something New, comprising a New Alphabet,’ by Mr. M. H. Barton, which would, perhaps, have occasioned some alteration in his views.’

N. B. I sent Mr. M (some time since) a specimen of my alphabet, and I now send him (with this) a specimen of Mr. Barton’s; for it is desirable to have all the light we can on so important a subject. …

  • Abner Kneeland, “The Reformed Alphabet and Orthography, Applicable to all Languages” [review], Boston Investigator 5 no. 10 (May 29, 1835): 3.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “Temperance” [poetry], Boston Investigator 5 no. 26 (September 18, 1835): 4.

Messrs. Kneeland & Adams:

I am pleased to see the enterprising exertions of Free Enquirers to propagate a more correct knowledge and practice among men. It seems this is a new era in the cause of Free Enquiry. I am pleased with the formations of “The U. S. Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,” and hope something efficient will be done. It is certainly best to oppose superstition by a similar institution to that of the Bible Society. I am satisfied that my lecture on an alphabet was not published, as I have since improved my system. I have thought it was time to send something to publish, and I hope it is not too presuming to address the following in the form of a Tract, which, if acceptable, maybe published in what form you please.

Yours, most sincerely,

L. Masquerier.

 

For the Boston Investigator.

TRACT No. 1.

“Come now and let us reason together.”—Isa. i. 18.

CHRISTIANITY.

Should a father, in consequence of his children eating a forbidden fruit in his orchard, make it a reason for disinheriting and expelling them from the household and for reducing them to want and misery, would you not, Oh! Christian reader, consider him a very unreasonable, unjust and hard-hearted father? Should this father in consequence of his children becoming vicious by disinheriting them, tie stones around their necks and drown them in the mill-pond, like cats, saving only but one, would he not be viewed with horror, as a very irrational, inhuman, and criminal father? Should this father after his children had multiplied again, select one of them as his only heir, who, in accordance with his father’s command, should slaughter all his brethren to obtain possession of their abodes, would you not view them both with increased horror, as irrational and beastly monsters in human shape?—Should this savage son, agreeably to his father’s direction, command the sun to stand still that he might have daylight to complete the extermination of his brethren, would you not consider them not only as brutal monsters, but as ignorant of astronomical science? Should this unnatural son, after his father’s own heart, make concubines of all the widows that had escaped the slaughter of their husbands; would you not consider him not only as unjust, cruel, ignorant, and murderous, but as a very licentious fornicator? And should this monstrous father in consequence of this wicked son being sentenced to bee hung for his heinous crimes, propose to a court of justice that a young and innocent son be punished as an atonement for the crimes of his guilty brother, and actually put him to death himself, would he not be judged not only as an unjust, ignorant, cruel, criminal and savage monster, but also as insane and a fit subject for the lunatic hospital rather than the gallows?

Yet, Oh! Christian reader, these cases are a fair representation of the absurd doctrines and heinous crimes of the Christian religion. These cases represent the same persecution, crime and bloodshed, under the Christian, as under all other religions.—The Bible represents the God of the Jews as expelling a first pair of parents from a garden called Eden, for the trifling disobedience of eating a forbidden fruit, and of suffering them and their posterity to fall into a state of sin and misery. It represents him afterwards drowning all the human race except one family, because he had suffered them to become wicked and miserable instead of humanely preserving their lives and of making them virtuous and happy by the mere fiat of his will. It represents him selecting with partiality a single family of the human race, of giving the Jewish tribe occupied by the Canaanites, who, in accordance to his command, exterminated them to possess their homes. It represents him as so ignorant of his own works as to direct Moses to command the sun to stand still to give him light and time to complete the slaughter of the unoffending Canaanites. It represents the man after his own heart contriving the death of a husband to obtain his wife, and another of having several hundred wives and mistresses. And it represents God, after four thousand years delay, of undertaking to redeem mankind by means of becoming an incarnate and sucking Godling, and of being sacrificed to atone for the sins of man. Thus confounding all natural sentiments of humanity and justice, by making the innocent suffer the punishment of the guilty, and of all common sense in the absurdity that suffering and the real or figurative eating of his body, or drinking of his blood, could have the cleansing and regenerating effect of effacing a supposed inherent and original sin incurred by Adam. Thus Bible reason records the established principle of law that it is better that ten, even ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should suffer unjustly punishment for murder. But “the ways of God” are different from the ways of men. What better reason can be expected from those who boast of knowing ‘nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.’

Thus God is represented after suffering man to fall into a state of sin and misery, of destroying him by a deluge, and of commanding a chosen tribe to exterminate other tribes, of becoming so merciful as to become incarnate and suffer on the cross for the redemption of man. But eighteen hundred years’ experience of fanaticism, persecution and bloodshed, have proved that this quack panacea has always killed in the curing. Thus it seems that though he is represented as having made man, yet he has never been able to mend or cure him.—But as man becomes less godly, and more manly, he begins to substitute the medicinal knowledge of nature for the deadly bane of human happiness; and it is ardently hope that ere long the mountebank priesthood will also adopt this more successful remedy for the moral diseases of mankind.

Now would it not have appeared more wise, merciful and godlike, in this Jewish God, if the Bible had represented him as revealing such knowledge as man’s experience has developed of the laws of human nature. If the Bible had revealed to man that he was wholly a material being—that all the mental and moral phenomena are the effect of external impression upon the organization of the body, and of course that his character is ‘formed for him and not by him,’ it would have given him something like a revelation. Had it revealed to men that form of society which combines the individual with the common interest, in which man could co-operate instead of competing with each other, and in which all could share equally in labor and property, it would have provided something like a Savior, and a universal preventative and remedy against the quality, luxury, poverty, crime and misery. But instead of such a revelation as this, it represents a God revealing a book full of the most palpable, absurd doctrines, and of declaring that ‘he that believeth in them and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.’—But in spite of all the exertions of a deluded and corrupt priesthood to enforce the belief of these absurd doctrine, men are rapidly becoming more intelligent, liberal and virtuous, at the rise of the dawning sun of science, than either men or gods were in former ages. Even the Christian Gods are fast becoming more civilized, potent, wise and benevolent, in the doctrines of the Universalists and other sects, and are now ceasing to condemn mankind to everlasting punishment in hell-fire. Thus the progress of art and science is fast enlightening all mankind, and hurling the tyrannical priesthood from the throne of superstition.

Lewis Masquerier.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “Tract No. 1—Christianity,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 26 (September 09, 1836): 1.

‘PERIODICAL OF MENTAL FREEDOM.’

The second number of this work has just been issued by the United States Moral and Philosophical Society. It is filled with very interesting and selected articles upon subjects corresponding to its title, and in our opinion is every way worthy of a generous support and patronage. The Periodical is sent, free of expense, to every member of the Society; the time of publishing—the number of pages published, and the number of copies sent, will correspond with the amount of monies received—the time of its receipt and the whole annual receipts.—Those of our friends desirous of patronizing laudable undertaking, and thereby securing an additional assistant in the maintenance and diffusion of Free Enquiry, can direct their communications (post paid) to Mr. Thomas Thompson, Treasurer, care of Mr. O. White, 72 Bowery, New York.

From the work above mentioned we copy the following notice of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the U. S. Moral and Philosophicul Society, and also the address of the Secretary, Mr. Masquerier, for which we ask an attentive reading.

FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING.

The Fourth Annual Meeting of the United States Moral and Philosophical Society will be held at Rochester, N. Y., on MONDAY, 17th September. Members and Delegates who intend meeting, will have the goodness to leave their names with Mr. D. Smith, Editor of the N. Y. Watchman, and Vice President of the Society; by or before 12 o’clock, M, on said day. — Lewis Masquerier, Sec’ry.

—–

Fellow-Citizens,

The approaching Anniversary of the U.S. M. & P. Society, renders necessary some communication from the Board of Directors, to the members. It would have afforded the board pleasure, to have had to acknowledge a continuation of that lively interest, in the prosperity of the Society, so strongly manifested, at its commencement. Those who organized the Society, looked to an annual subscription for its present support, and ultimately to donations and gifts, for its enlargement, and extensive utility. The annual subscriptions, have not since the commencement, been forwarded, except to a very small amount, insufficient to pay for even the second number of this Periodical.

It must be apparent to every member of the Society that it is impossible for the officers appointed, to fulfil the expectations of the Saratoga Convention, or in fact, to meet even their slightest wish; totally destitute they have been of funds. The Directors are ready to make every allowance for the influence which false and envious statements, have affected to their disadvantage, and the subsequent injury to the Society.—But they trust the members will again interest themselves to uphold the Society, and furnish the means to enable the officers to publish their monthly Periodical. This second number is issued at the expense of a few friends, who are anxious for the preservation of the Society; and that a repetition may not occur of so serious a loss to the liberal cause, as hay occurred recently for want of union and permanency in liberal societies. The case alluded to is a donation by will of one thousand dollars, and reversion of three thousand to the first Society of Free Enquirers of New York.—This Society has not met since the closing by them of Concert Hall. As a further proof, that donations by will may be expected if this Society is continued, we have already a small amount yet to be received, left us by a deceased member. To issue twelve numbers a year of the Periodical of Mental Freedom, will cost two hundred and fifty dollars, printing and paper; the distribution, folding and editorship gratuitous, Surely it is not too much to expect from the liberal public so small an amount, to uphold the Society; individual friends to our cause, can collect in their neighborhood, any sums offered, and when they amount to two or more dollars forward them to the Treasurer. Should the receipts exceed the sum required to issue a thousand copies gratuitously, (subscribers can have duplicates for distribution,) the surplus will be expended in republishing, in whole of part some valuable work, the sale of which might repay the cost.

A work of the kind alluded to, is in contemplation to publish, by a member of the Board, viz., “The Protestant’s Progress towards Infidelity, or reasons for declining to attend public worship,” should the Society continue, and there be any prospects of making it available, as Capital to the Society. The writer supports his reasons, from admissions of the most eminent of the Christian clergy, and furnishes his readers with unanswerable arguments for his dissent, It is one of the most effective books, that are issued from the English press in our day.

It maintains the true principles of Protestant dissent, from the Church of Rome, and proves that the Protestant clergy are actuated by the same opinions that influenced the Roman clergy in their refusal of the bible to the laity, viz.—that the bible is not a fit book for the laity to peruse, without the aid of the priest to interpret it.

A very useful appropriation of surplus funds would be the publishing of school books, without allusions to imaginary beings and imaginary worlds. To supply these, or to put any thing else into operation which may tend to counteract and annul the influence of those customs which have been established on the authority of the priests alone, or the practices of a barbarous state of society, a beginning must be made; merely to theorize upon improvement, is of little avail, unless accompanied by such actions as will carry with them proofs of their utility.

The ensuing anniversary, is to be held at Rochester, where, agreeably to the Constitution, officers for the year will be chosen. The present Board of Directors, make their earnest appeal for support, to the Society from the most disinterested motives; they know not what will be the result of the election; they have no solicitude about it. Those among them, who have served from the commencement of the society, have devoted much time and labor in its service, have sustained some pecuniary loss, and have seen some trifling errors, such as are always attendant upon the establishment of a new concern, magnified (by a professed friend,) into wasteful expenditure, the worst construction put upon their actions, and disgraceful falsehoods put forth into print, relative to their conduct; but let these things pass. We repeat again, we are extremely desirous to see the society effectually sustained, whoever may manage its concerns, being convinced from experience, that a want of union and cordial cooperation among liberals, is the main cause that retards the progress of their principles,

LEWIS MASQUERIER, Sec’ry.

☞ The Editor of the N. Y. Watchman, in a notice of the approaching meeting of the Society, thus alludes to that subject, and some others connected with it:

“Having recently made a tour through this section of the State, and visited liberal Societies and individuals, I am prepared to say that the convention will be well attended, and this portion of the State fully represented. At a meeting of Liberals, who convened to celebrate the release from prison of Abner Kneeland, at the house of Dr. E. B. Woodworth, Ontario county, it was resolved to meet again at the same time and place, to commemorate the same event the present month. But as the Society of Moral Philanthropists subsequently adjourned to meet in this city, it has been agreed to consider for the present season, the meeting of the latter Society, as answering the former resolution, especially since much anxiety prevails in reference to the establishment of a Liberal Literary Institution in Western New York, which enterprise can be better set in operation at the forthcoming meeting of the Society, than at the previously contemplated celebration.

We give this notice thus early, that all parts of the country may be fully represented. A committee will be appointed in this city, to secure a hall for the occasion, and make all other necessary arrangements. We are anxious to hear from our friends upon the subject of this convention; all requests or enquiries will be promptly attended to. Will New York City and Boston, Mass., be represented? Send delegates, gentlemen, or come en masse!

  • “Periodical of Mental Freedom,” Boston Investigator 9 no. 25 (September 04, 1839): 3.

[From the New York Beacon.]

THE UNIVERSAL COMMUNITY SOCIETY OF RATIONAL RELIGIONISTS.

Mr. G. Vale,—Permit to me to communicate to the readers of your interesting paper, a brief account of the proceedings of the most important society, that the progress of knowledge and reform has ever developed in any age or country. I allude to a Society founded by Robert Owen, first under the title of “The Association of all Classes of all Nations,” which was enrolled under Act of Parliament, and united to “The National Community Friendly Society,” and called “The Universal Society of Rational Religionists.”

The object of this Society, is, to arrange mankind universally into communities of a size to embrace all the necessary trades, arts and sciences, wherein there can be equitable exchange of all their products, without the intervention of the non-producing mercantile class; thus making property producers, as well as consumers of all; thereby producing the greatest degree of equality and virtue of which the peculiar organization of each man is susceptible.—This arrangement will exhibit a perfectly co-operative instead of a competitive system of society; in which all will labor for all, and not against each other; in which all will have an equal share and interest in the land and it products, and in the trades, arts, labor-saving machinery and their fabrics. In short, its object is, to effect a thorough regeneration of mankind, by removing all the causes of inequality, and of monopolizing institutions, which produce and perpetuate ignorance, poverty, crime, and misery.

The principles upon which this new form of society is founded, are, that man’s intellectual and moral character is the product of his organization, the impression of surrounding institutions, and of the whole series of causes which have produced them though all time. That this is obvious, from the fact, that all bodies are the product of the organization of a few simple elements by means of their action, stimulation, attraction and impression upon each other—that they acquire qualities in proportion to their complexity of structure, and lose them thro’ disorganization. That therefore, there can be no innate quality in any body, and hence, there can be nothing in the whole body of nature, so incorrigibly bad, but that re-composition, or re-organization, can wholly eradicate or reform. That the history of nature through all time, indubitably proves that all her successive stages of being have ever left a more favorable set of circumstances for the improvement of the succeeding generation of things; and hence, as there is much evil and disorder, it proves that mankind is destined to be urged on to a far greater degree of civilization and happiness.

This fact, that there can be no production without composition, organization or impression, also proves that there can be no such thing as an un-caused or self-organized cause or production; and therefore feeling, thought, will, belief, and conscience, cannot be innate or self-caused, and can act only from the strongest motive or cause. Hence, rewards and punishments can only be justified upon the principle that they become new causes or motives to change the conduct of men for the better.

According to the proceedings of the 4th annual Congress, held in Birmingham in May last, it appears that the Society is increasing very rapidly, and then numbered about one hundred thousand, including members and converts. They have divided England, Scotland, and Ireland, into thirteen districts, and appointed an itinerant lecturer in each of them. They have already as many as eight or ten Branch Societies in several of these districts, and many local lecturers, besides the travelling ones.—Each of these Branch Societies has a Board of Directors, who procure halls to meet in, and collect the sum of sixpence, weekly, from each member.—They have festivals, and tea parties, with music, dancing, and every agreeable and innocent amusement they can invent, to attract persons to a consideration of their principle, at an expense of but one or two pennies—thus furnishing an evening’s recreation and refreshment, cheaper than a meal of victuals can be obtained at the cheapest coffee-house.

There is also a District Board of Directors, who receive the weekly collections of the Branches—pay the District Missionaries their salaries, from £80 to £100 per year, and report to the great Central Board of Directors who superintend the whole and report progress to the annual Congress. The Central Board reports the Socialists had held fifty formal discussions within the last year mostly with the clergy.—They had met with but two cases of physical violence, and were so protected by the constituted authorities that one individual had been fined and imprisoned for interrupting them in their discussions.

They further reported that the newspaper press has at length considered the progress of their principles so great, that they are continually giving notice of their proceedings; and one of the most talented and influential of the quarterly journals has confessed that “Owenism is not only the actual creed of a great portion of the working classes, but also of very many among the professional and higher classes.”

There are now about sixty Branch Communities who have been chartered by the Parent Society enrolled under the Act of Parliament. Members are first initiated in classes of about ten, and meet at each others’ houses, as large assemblies are unfavorable to the forming of intimate acquaintances, and after a three months’ instruction, if qualified, are admitted.

The Board also report they are extending the principles by the increasing patronage of their paper, called the “New Moral World,” of 16 pages; the able editor of which receives a salary of $500 per year. They have also book stores from which are circulated books and tracts with great effect.

The committee appointed to examine the various tracts of land offered for sale to the Society, also report very favorably, and from late accounts they have purchased 2000 acres of land, on which a community will commence early in the spring, living in shantees, and after next summer’s crop is made, an additional number will join to make brick, and will build as much of their village as their necessities will require.

Never has there been a reformer who succeeded as Robert Owen seems likely to succeed. Plato and Socrates merely gathered a few disciples within the halls of their academies, and never contemplated any thing like an entire regeneration of man, by so simple and practicable a process, as a slight alteration in the organization of society. No even Peter the Great, with all the power of government in his hands, ever originated and put in practice such a plan for the entire prevention of want, crime, and misery among mankind. He only advanced his subjects to a level with some of the neighboring nations according to an established model. No reformer ever opposed so thoroughly every institution and prejudice of mankind, and yet escaped the fangs of the law, the death of a Socrates, the imprisoned of a Galileo, or the clerical abuse of a Paine. While Carlile, Taylor, and other opposers of religion, that have not gone one-tenth so far, have been fined and imprisoned to their utter ruin; while McKenzie and Papineau have been driven from Canada into exile, and a reward offered for their heads; while Stevens and O’Connor, and O’Brien have been fined, imprisoned, or put under heavy bonds, Owen, who has opposed the whole organization of the present moral world, still roams abroad, in all the locomotive powers of liberty, even under a protecting act of Parliament, establishing an institution that will eventually explode every existing government and institution among mankind. The great secret by which by which he is effecting all this, is, his superior knowledge of human nature, his superior amiability of conduct, and his superior charity of sentiment in addressing the interests, the prejudices, and the sensibilities of mankind.

Lewis Masquerier.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,” The Boston Investigator 9, no. 39 (December 4, 1839): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,” The New Moral World 7, no. 64 (January 4, 1840): 1006-1007.

For the Boston Investigator.

Propagandists.

By Lewis Masquerier

The mind of man being nothing more than impressions received through the medium of the senses upon a blank brain, associating much in the order in which things are arranged in the surrounding world, and subject to be only slightly modified by the organization of the brain, becomes almost a plaster cast of surrounding institutions. How great, then is the crime of one who deliberately propagates a false principle or system! But it is hoped for the credit of humanity, that erroneous principles are generally disseminated through an unconscious selfishness, blinding the reasoning capacity. When, therefore, Calhoun and other Southern politicians, with cool impudence, dogmatized that “chattel slavery is the corner stone in the temple of liberty,” and “that all who labor in field or shop, should be owned by masters as chattels,” they should have been furiously hissed and groaned, and their funerals sounded around the world with muffled drum and bell.

The Christian world was shocked at the daring impudence of Mahomet, for feigning a revelation that fired his dupes to battle with the Koran in one hand and the sword in the other. But we have had in our own time the impudent pretensions of a Mormon, who with the power, would be an imitator of Mahomet. We have too, an oligarchy, now battling with their brethren to establish a slave empire—rivalling that of the Ottomans in barbarity. We have too, another Davis, who impudently published a book, called “divine revelations.” By courting science with the most agreeable dogma of religion, an after life, he hopes to dupe mankind to his system, but, perhaps, with better intentions. But the trance lectures, rappings, and now the spiritual photographs of his disciples are enough to gag the most simple credulity.  


For the Boston Investigator.

Mental, Chattel, and Hireling Slavery.

By Lewis Masquerier.

It is shameful that every race known by history, though cursed by the alienation and monopoly of every right, yet both the oppressor and the oppressed have but a dim conception of the true principles of rights and wrongs. Human sucklings have been so long bewitched with such toys as crosses, crucifixes, crescents, idols, with banners, crowns, lions, eagles, and similar baubles, given them by priests and politicians, that they will squall for them some time yet, before they will be substituted for inalienable homesteads, giving them the power of self-ownership, self-employment, and the whole product of their labor.

The true principles of rights and wrongs, would be as palpable to the mind as those of other sciences, were it not moulded by the surrounding institutions of society, so erroneously founded upon the opposite principles of wrong. It is a glaring fact, that, as each man’s natural wants and productive powers, are the most universal properties of his body, and so nearly equal and enduring, they, therefore, become the only true foundation of his rights, and none but prejudiced and narrow minds will found rights upon race, color, sex, intelligence, majorities, parties, residence, or pretended social compacts, which are not universal properties or conditions of men.

Then, as each one’s natural wants and powers, are universally the same—equal, perpetual and individual, so must the rights of each, be equally, perpetually and individually the same. This sameness in wants and rights, practically organized would guarantee every man as much soil as he can cultivate, and the exercise and enjoyment in proper person, of both religious and political opinion, will or sovereignty, without intermediate rulers by either birth, election, or appointment But instead, society is founded upon and governed by the opposite evil principles of the inequality, alienation and monopoly of all rights, and this is the cause why creeds, constitutions and legislative enactments, operate so much as general deeds of conveyance, conveying away the rights of the many to the few!

The only thorough remedy for this gigantic system of the alienation and monopoly of the rights of each human being, is the organization into properly sized district divisions of the proportionate number of employments, necessary to supply the principal articles of subsistence, all upon inalienable homesteads, and with central villages, containing public buildings only; such as equitable exchange marts, hall for legislative and judiciary proceedings, common school, lyceum, library, reading room, &c. By this arrangement, all, without regard to sex, could take part by direct speech and vote, in all the townships throughout a state or nation, for the very few laws that would be required, when all have attained to their rights thus organized. This would relieve the property producing, and a valuable portion of mankind, from the nuisance of religious and political officers, from masters, bosses, landlords and profit mongers. This would concentrate rights, capital and labor in the hands of the same person, and make all producers as well as consumers.

But, it is most disheartening to see how much mankind have to unlearn, before they can organize themselves into some such form of society as the above plan suggests. Reformers have yet done but little more than to mistake the evils flowing from the inequality, alienation and monopoly of rights, as mere abuse of good principles. The supposed abuse of temperance, is the exercise of its opposite, intemperance. The supposed abuses of God and religion, of governors and government, come from the infernal dogmatic principles upon which these things themselves are founded.

See then the various forms of tyranny arising from the alienation and monopoly of rights. See in the Indies, both the religious and political power, united in the same persons. See them dividing society into several unapproachable castes. The Sudra outcasts at the bottom, begging and getting only a few cents for a day’s work, reduced to such a servile state of degradation, that there has not been an insurrection among them for many centuries to improve their condition. See in Thibet, in China and Japan, the religious and political head slightly separated, but both co-operating in the monopoly of the soil and of sovereignty. There, all the learned are put in office, and become interested it the general robbery of the laboring masses. With a hieroglyphic language, expressing ideas, without vocal sounds, to be read only by the eye like a picture, there can be no criticism upon the acts of the clerical and political scoundrels. What a field here is, for some one to write the vocal languages of these countries in an alphabet with a differently shaped letter for each elementary sound and modification of the voice, and to spell their words according to the vowels and consonants of the voice! Then to publish papers and books for the instruction of the people. Reading is learned in a few weeks when words are written according to the sound of letters and the accented syllable marked. The monopoly of the soil and power of governing is so great in these countries, that the glut of labor has so cheapened it, as to banish larger labor-saving machinery. Even transportation is principally effected upon the backs of men. Still, many for want of employment, are compelled to band together with a leader, and force contributions from people of towns and hamlets nearly as poor as themselves, and in seasons of drouth, thousands starve.

In Mahometan countries, owing to population being thinner, there is not so much starvation. But the soil, property, and power of government are monopolized with an equal vengeance. The religious and political power is concentrated in a most absolute Sultan, with subordinates equally absolute in their respective departments. With the absolute control of the lives and property of the people, they add that of the traffic in the charms of women, and enslave them in harems The Mahometan monster planned his religion and government for the entire conquest of the earth, adding all conquered nations to his empire. And nothing but the inferior civilization of Mahometan nations have stayed their conquests.

See, too, the forms of tyranny, which the alienation and monopoly of rights, have produced in Christian countries. We see in Russia, the clerical and political power united in the Czar. There bishop-lords, claim whole provinces of land, and their millions of serfs are several centuries behind the rest of Europe, in attaining what is called personal freedom; but only in reality changing the slavery of a serf for that of tenant and hireling. For after striving to get their little homes along with the ownership of their bodies and manhood, they are turned adrift. See, too, how Catholic and English, as well as Greek Europe, unite Church and State, in the same heads, while gradually ridding the world of a monster-head, in the form of a Pope—one monster destroying another. But see the immense monopoly of the toil in all Europe by priest and nobility—and the consequent pauperized lazzaroni of Italy, and agricultural and manufacturing operations of France, Britain and Ireland. Here, the masses were changed several centuries ago from serfs to tenants: They got along as small tenants and tradesmen. But first, the increase of labor-saving machinery by large capitalists, took away the business of mechanic trades; and made hirelings of them to large manufactories, and we have witnessed the suffering from want of employment, wherever trade flagged. But the advance of steam-driven machinery, has also taken hold, and is now monopolizing agricultural employments. General evictions are going on from small tenants, as larger farms are preferred. The agricultural tenants are therefore now being driven into small towns, into crowded rooms, and contiguous to the lord’s manor, where they are employed upon his own terms and time, or else to starve. And it now remains to be seen whether manual labor can exterminate machinery, as in Asia.

Such is the deplorable consequence of the alienation and monopoly of soil and governmental power, and we are now suffering from a new phase of tyranny. The Southern politicians, perceiving that the laboring masses can be degraded below the point of insurrection, have conceived the plan of founding their society upon slave labor, and to do so, must separate from the Northern States. The slave-holding oligarchy, by keeping every member of their families from becoming landless and negroless, hope to keep all like the Chinese government, in the interest and support of their measures. By disfranchising the poor white trash, they could have them as overseers and guards. They are striving to crush out what little liberty there is on this continent. Sham democracy is so demoralized in the border free States, that our last hope is upon the New England and lake States to defend our youthful liberty.


DISAPPOINTMENT IN REFORM.

Mr. Editor:—I enclose you an article for repairing this rickety and half-formed world. I hope you can find room previous to the meeting of the Convention in Albany. I have written it with care to save trouble, though half-blind. It may be the last request I may ask of you, as I am now eighty-four, and still have the symptoms of apoplexy. I do not dread death. But my great concern is, that I have not been able to get my opinions published enough to do mankind some good—to be appreciated during the next century. I have tried to put them on record by putting my book in libraries, &c., and by inscribing opinions upon the true reconstruction of society on the granite of my tomb in Cypress Hills Cemetery.

I regret that reformers have not decided whether individual or communistic ownership is the true principle. But I have determined that private property is right, and that there never yet has been any thorough individual possession, because what is one man’s today is another’s to-morrow from the freedom of purchase and sale, which puts everything into a condition of inequality and alienation. I regret to see that there is such as system of reform as that of Positivism, that stupidly asserts that “men have no rights—only duties of obedience, and which seems to aim at making as strong a Secular power in Governments as that of the Catholics in religion.” The Anarchists see the great wrong of office-holding, but have not found out that the people can govern themselves in proper person by townships. The nationalizing of the ownership of the soil by the present office-holding Governments would produce an immense tyrannical landlordry.

Yours, Lewis Masquerier.

Lewis Masquerier.—Upon our second page is an instructive article from this able and veteran Land Reformer, who for the last half century and more has been laboring to prevent the monopoly of the Public Lands, and securing them in small quantities for actual settlers. We invite the attention of all our readers to a consideration of his views. Our venerable and worthy brother, who is now in his eighty-fifth year, may not live to see his benevolent plans adopted, but he will be kindly remembered by all who know his life-long devotion to the welfare of the laboring classes, who never had a better friend than Lewis Masquerier.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “Disappointment in Reform,” Boston Investigator 55 no. 20 (August 26, 1885): 2.
  • “Lewis Masquerier,” Boston Investigator 55 no. 20 (August 26, 1885): 6.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2283 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.