Individualists as They Appear in Liberty*
by Carl Watner
leading English individualists as they appear in Benjamin Tucker's journal,
Liberty, are Auberon Herbert, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Joseph Hiam
Levy, Joseph Greevz Fisher, John Badcock, Jr., Albert Tarn, and Henry
Seymour. Ranked approximately according to their contributions and involvement
in Liberty, this group also includes M. D. O'Brien, J. M. Armsden,
W. C. Crofts, A. E. Porter and J. C. Spence.Their activities
and writings serve as the focal point for research into the history
of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century individualist anarchism
in England.Liberty, an international clearinghouse for
libertarian ideas during the almost three decades of its existence (1881-1908),
reported on and editorialized about the ideology and politics of the
English individualist movement.The purpose of this paper is to
bring to light some of the little known history and ideas of the movement,
based on articles in Liberty and other sources.
English individualist anarchist movement was no more or less unified
than its ideological counterpart in the United States.Auberon
Herbert (1838-1906), a one-time member of Parliament, called his philosophy
"voluntaryism" and was the world's leading advocate of voluntary
taxation.For over a decade, he edited and published an individualist
journal, called Free Life.One of his supporters, M. D.
O'Brien, went to jail for refusing to send his children to school.
Wordsworth Donisthorpe (1847-?) was a near-anarchist barrister and small-time
coal mine owner, who, with his cousin, W. C. Crofts (1846-1894), formed
the State Resistance Union in 1880.He edited a journal called
Jus, and his organization was the forerunner of The Liberty and
Property Defence League.Joseph Hiam Levy (1838-1913) was a teacher
of economics at Birkbeck College and became involved with the Personal
Rights Association in 1878. He eventually became secretary of this organization
and edited its journals for many years.Levy was the leading individualist
advocate of limited government with compulsory rights of taxation. He
was also involved in the anti-vivisection movement.J. Greevz
Fisher, John Badcock, Henry Seymour, and J. H. Levy were all involved
in the Legitimation League formed in London around 1892 for the purpose
of changing the bastardy laws so that offspring born out of wedlock
were not deprived of their rightful inheritances.Fisher formed
the Parents' Defence League, whose apparent purpose was to passively
resist compulsory schooling of children.Although little else
is known about Fisher, he was a clear economic thinker, as his contributions
to Liberty demonstrate. He presented one of the two known refutations
of money-crankism during the nineteenth century.John Badcock,
Jr. (1861?-1926) was an egoist and follower of the doctrines of Max
Stirner.He was an accountant by profession and later became a
dealer in Chinese art.Albert Tarn was one of Tucker's agents
for Liberty in England.He published the Herald of Anarchy
and Free Trade magazines during the early 1890's.Henry
Seymour, John Armsden, and Badcock were associated in the Free Currency
Propaganda movement, which advocated repeal of the Bank Charter Act
of 1844, repeal of the legal tender laws, and destroying the Bank of
England's monopoly hold on the money supply.By increasing the
supply of money in circulation, the propagandists hoped to lower the
rate of interest and diminish the capitalists' profits.Their
ideas on interest, and on the causes of poverty, wealth, and capital
were well outlined in contributions appearing in Liberty.
Henry Seymour was a free-thinker and friend of Charles Bradlaugh.
In the mid-1880's he published a journal called The Anarchist,
and was well acquainted with the London anarchists of all persuasions.
disparate group of activists and thinkers were truly individualists;
no two were wholly alike in their philosophy.What united them
was their general adherence to a doctrine of individual freedom in economic
enterprise and social relations, which they believed should not be restricted
by governmental regulations.Every one of the group mentioned
had at least minor differences with Tucker and the editorial doctrines
of Liberty.Although some of the English individualists
refused to call themselves anarchists, their doctrines were perilously
close to anarchism.Benjamin Tucker defined anarchism as the doctrine
that the State should be abolished and all the affairs of men be carried
out on a voluntary basis.More than likely, Herbert, Donisthorpe,
Tarn, Seymour, and Badcock would have accepted this statement as an
expression of their own political beliefs. J. H. Levy definitely would
an appendix on "Political Terminology" appearing in his debate
with Herbert on Taxation and Anarchism, Levy charted out the
differences among the English individualists.Both the communist
anarchist and the individualistic anarchist, wrote Levy, are "opposed
to the existence of government; and, though they differ as to what should
be done when the State had been got rid of, and would probably be at
each other's throat the moment the authority which they both assail
was removed, the range of their agreement entitled them equally to the
general designation of Anarchists."True individualism,
according to Levy, asserts that "compulsory co-operation is good
up to the point at which freedom is maximized," and that "it
is harmful when pushed beyond that point.It affirms that government
can promote happiness only by maintaining the widest practicable liberty,
which it regards as the political--as distinguished from the ethical--summum
bonum; and it judges all political measures by their tendency to
promote or impede the attainment of this end."Referring
indirectly to Herbert, Levy claimed that no individualist would ever
dub himself an anarchist, "though some Anarchists call themselves
main bone of contention between Herbert and Levy was illustrated in
their exchange of views in Taxation and Anarchism, which appeared
as a publication of The Personal Rights Association in 1912, several
years after Herbert's death.This discussion between Levy and
Herbert was the out-growth of a speech delivered by Levy in January
1890, entitled "The Outcome of Individualism," and of his
contributions to the Personal Rights Journal of October 1890.
Levy attacked "the whole scheme of so-called 'Voluntary Taxation"'
because it seems to show a "deficiency of analytic power."
projectors appear to think that they can substitute for the State an
organization supported by voluntary contributions. . . . Taxation must
be, potentially at least, co-extensive with government.The way
to reduce it is severely to limit the functions of government to the
maximizing of liberty, to abolish privilege, and to exercise due vigilance
over the expenditure of State revenue.Such vigilance is becoming
every day farther removed from possibility by the growth in complexity
of the functions assigned to the State. This is the evil which must
opened his attack on Levy by rebutting Levy's challenge that "voluntary
taxation" was a contradiction in terms.He claimed that Levy's
use of the concept "compulsory co-operation" was an even "greater"
contradiction. Summarizing his position, Herbert argued as follows:
I contend for is that no force-system should over-ride the consent of
a man who has not aggressed against the person or property of his neighbour.
I say that a man's consent as regards his own actions is the most sacred
thing in the world, and the one foundation on which all human relations
must be built.To me it seems idle to talk of Individualism where
this consent is not held sacred. . . [T]he moment I am told that the
individual may be caught by the collar and compelled to form a society,
may he compelled to share in making laws, may be compelled to maintain
these laws, I feel that I am no longer standing on Individualistic ground.
. . . Believing, then, that the judgment of every individual who has
not himself aggressed against his neighbour is supreme as regards his
own actions, and that this is the rock on which Individualism rests--I
deny that A and B can go to C and force him to form a State and extract
from him certain payments and services in the name of such State. .
. . The only difference between the tax-compelling Individualist and
the State-Socialist is that whilst they both have vested the ownership
of C in A and B, the tax-compelling Individualist proposes to use the
powers of ownership in a very limited fashion, the Socialist in a very
complete fashion.I object to the ownership in any fashion.
to Herbert's arguments, Levy maintained that Herbert was mounting "an
Anarchistic attack on Individualism." "It is a direct
confirmation of my statement that voluntary taxationists have fallen
into Anarchism without knowing it."Victor Yarros, in
his editorial capacity with Liberty,
confirmed Levy's judgment in this matter by arguing: "Voluntaryism
is simply Mr. Herbert's preferred synonym for Individualistic Anarchism."
discussion between Levy and Herbert largely revolved around the way
in which each formulated his view of individualism.Herbert held
that compulsory taxation was opposed to the principles of individualism,
to such an extent that the two could never be reconciled in any satisfactory
way.Herbert was quite prepared to offer a philosophic basis for
individualism from the anti-taxationist point of view:
The great natural fact of each person being born in possession of a
separate mind and separate body implies the ownership of such mind and
body by each person, and rights of direction over such mind and body;
it will be found on examination that no other deduction is reasonable.
Such self-ownership implies the restraint of violent or fraudulent aggressions
made upon it.
Individuals, therefore, have the right to protect themselves by force
against such aggressions made forcibly or fraudulently, and they may
delegate such acts of self-defence to a special body, called a government.
into a few words, our Voluntaryist formula would run: "The sovereignty
of the individual must retain intact, except where the individual coerced
has aggressed upon the sovereignty of another unaggressive individual."[l5]
enough, Levy flatly rejected this formulation of individualism.
Levy asserted: "It seems to me that Mr. Herbert has wandered into
the cloud land of meta-politics. . . . I certainly shall not accept
such a 'philosophical basis for Individualism,' because 'no other deduction'
of the same sort 'is reasonable.'There is no deduction
at all, but a gross and palpable petitio principii.
"In short, Levy concluded that "Mr. Herbert's
formula is that of Anarchism."
rejected Levy's claim that he was an anarchist.According to his
own understanding, anarchists would not retain any form of organization
to repress aggression or crime.They would not maintain any sort
of defense agencies to function as police or courts.The difference
between him and Levy was that while he would retain such organization
in his ideal society, he would not force those disapproving of the police
or courts to pay for them; Mr. Levy, in contrast, would compel the conscientious
objectors to pay for them just the same."We agree that
there must be a central agency to deal with crime--an agency that defends
the liberty of all men, and employs force against the uses of force;
hut my central agency rests upon voluntary support, whilst Mr. Levy's
central agency rests on compulsory support."The question
between Levy and Herbert, as Herbert saw it, was: "Are the principles
of Individualism most truly followed when the tax for the support of
this [central] agency is taken voluntarily or compulsorily?"
himself not as an anarchist but as an individualist, Herbert maintained
that in an anarchistic society no such central agency for the repression
of crimes and aggressions could exist."My charge against
Anarchism is that it sees many forms of crime existing in the world,
and it refuses to come to any settled opinion as to what it will do
in the matter.If it says it will do nothing, then we must live
under the reign of the murderer, tempered by Judge Lynch; if it says
it will have some form of local jury, then we are back into government
again at once.Herbert acknowledged that there were
existing schools of anarchism, "represented in America by Mr. Tucker,
and some philosophical Anarchists in England," but as far as he
could see, "none of these schools are prepared to tell us clearly
what they will do about ordinary crime."It was Herbert's
contention that "the moment they begin to deal with crime according
to any fixed method and settled precedent, they are at once back into
Archism."The dividing line between statism and anarchism
was, according to Herbert: "Do you intend to provide an agency
for dealing with crime according to fixed rules and methods, or not?
The way in which you pay your agency--though a very important matter
in itself, must be looked upon as a non-essential element in the difference
between the two systems."As Herbert saw it, the anarchists
espoused no fixed or objective standards by which to repress crime and
for his part, was a perceptive critic.Barring confusion over
the labels "individualism" and "anarchism."
Levy realized that taxation was the very essence of government as it
had always existed."A voluntary association for defence
could exist without it; but such an association would not be government.''
Nor could he accept Herbert's analysis of the essential distinction
between individualism and anarchism as being based on whether or not
a central agency of defense was retained in their respective ideal societies.
Levy rightly claimed "that there is nothing in Anarchism to prevent
those who hold it from retaining any sort of organization for the repression
of invasive conduct, so long as that organization is a voluntary one;
and in this proviso they do not differ from Mr. Herbert."
Levy maintained that Herbert had not thought out the consequences of
his doctrine.What would happen, he asked, if one group of people
in a voluntary taxationist society declined to recognize the "definition
of rights promulgated by this voluntary association in which they took
no part. . . ?"Suppose such a group "endeavored to
set up a rival association of their own, . . .what would he do?"
he [Herbert] prevent the formation of any such association?If
so, does not this mean compulsory submission to the dictates of the
association patronized by him?And if he would not interfere with
the establishment of rival associations of this kind, with different
views from his own association as to rights and methods, this would
only defer for a little time the overruling of the weaker party.
Where the ideas of such rival organizations clashed there would be conflict.
The effective minority would be subdued in one way or another, and for
all practical purposes they would be compelled to co-operate with the
effective majority or to submit to it.
As we shall
see, Levy, the individualist, threw at Herbert the same arguments as
those raised by the anarchist critics of his idea of voluntary taxation.
was wrong in viewing anarchism as not allowing for the existence of
competing defense agencies to repress and fight crime.There was,
however, an element of truth in his criticism of the individualistic
anarchist movement of his day.Tucker, for example, maintained
that local juries could render judicial decisions and claimed that anarchists
viewed the functions of government as they would any other economic
service provided by the market.Competing agencies would provide
defense services, such as police protection and court decisions, on
a voluntary and competitive basis.Where Herbert was correct in
his criticisms of Tucker and other contemporary anarchists was that
they failed to specify that all such competing defense agencies would
be bound by a rational and objective code of libertarian legal principles
and procedures based on the defense of person and property.
was correct in asserting that Herbert had not thought through the problems
of voluntary taxation.Although coming from different perspectives,
both Levy and Herbert's anarchist critics, such as Rothbard, ask of
Herbert and the proponents of voluntary taxation: "Would they use
force to compel people not to use a freely competing defense
agency within the same geographic area?"As Rothbard
writes: "The voluntary taxationists have never attempted to answer
this problem; they have rather stubbornly assumed that no one would
set up a competing defense agency within a State's territorial limits."
Clearly, if the government of a voluntary taxation society chose to
outlaw all competing defense agencies, it would not function as the
voluntary society sought by its proponents."It would not
force payment of taxes," but it would monopolize the provision
of defense services."On the other hand, if the government
did permit free competition in defense service, there would soon
no longer be a central government over the territory.Defense
agencies, police and judicial, would compete with one another in the
same uncoerced manner as the producers of any other service on the market.
. . . Defense service would at last be made fully marketable"
these flaws in his theory, Herbert realized that Levy's theory of individualism
was marred by the existence of compulsory taxation in a society trying
to maximize freedom.Herbert understood that compulsion was a
contradictory element in such a society and that taxation had to be
eliminated.However Herbert erred in not realizing that "freely
competing judicial agencies would have to be guided by a body of absolute
law to enable them to distinguish objectively between defense
and invasion."This point was not crystal clear even
to Tucker or his followers, although at one point Tucker declared that
"Anarchism does mean exactly the observance and enforcement of
the natural law of liberty."It was left up to the twentieth-century
individualist anarchists to explain the importance of a libertarian
legal code. For example, Rothbard posits that his view of libertarianism
includes, "not only the abolition of the State, but also the general
adoption of a libertarian law code."If the bulk of the population
were to become persuaded to abolish the State, then they must already
have been convinced that the aggressions the State commits are immoral
violations of liberty and private property: "on what other
basis can we convince them to abolish their revered government apparatus?"
the various discussions of voluntary taxation which appeared in Liberty,
Tucker came very close to espousing this viewpoint.In response
to a series of queries from Donisthorpe, Tucker noted: "A system
of Anarchy in actual operation implies a previous education of the people
in the principles of Anarchy, and that in turn implies such a distrust
and hatred of interference that the only band of voluntary cooperators
which could gain sufficient support to enforce its will would be that
which either entirely refrained from interference or reduced it to a
minimum."Although he did not follow up on this insight,
Tucker realized that the implementation of anarchy carried with it the
implication that people generally understood and accepted a libertarian
other discussions of voluntary taxation with the English individualists,
Tucker threw out a series of challenges to his correspondents.
In Liberty of November 1, 1890, around the same time that Levy and Herbert
were beginning to exchange views, Tucker reprinted several paragraphs
written by Levy in the Personal Rights Journal.In these
paragraphs, Levy plainly stated that anarchism implies the right of
an individual to stand aside and see a man murdered or a woman raped.
In contrast, Levy asserted that individualism would not only restrain
the active invader but would also coerce into cooperation the man who
would otherwise be a passive witness of aggression.Tucker accepted
this judgment and pointed out that to coerce the peaceful non-cooperator
is to violate the law of equal liberty.It is just as "impossible
to attain the maximum of liberty by depriving people of their liberty
as to attain the maximum of wealth by depriving people of their wealth.
. . . [T]he means is absolutely destructive of the end."
Tucker understood that with compulsory taxation abolished, there could
be no State."The defensive institution that will succeed
it will be steadily deterred from becoming an invasive institution through
fear that the voluntary contributions will fall off.This constant
motive for a voluntary defensive institution to keep itself trimmed
down to the popular demand is itself the best possible safeguard against
the bugbear of multitudinous rival political agencies."Tucker
concluded his editorial by citing his chief interest in Levy's article.
Tucker was excited by Levy's "valid criticism of those Individualists
who accept voluntary taxation but stop short, or think they stop short
of Anarchism, and I shall wait with much curiosity to see what Mr. Greevz
Fisher, and especially Mr. Auberon Herbert, will have to say in reply.
Mr. Donisthorpe probably will he heard from also, but he really does
not fall within Mr. Levy's criticism.He is, as Mr. Levy says,
more of an Anarchist than anything else. . . . On the whole Anarchists
have more reason to be grateful to Mr. Levy for his article than to
complain of it. It is at least an appeal for intellectual consistency
on this subject, and as such it renders unquestionable service to the
cause of plumb-line Anarchism."
issues later, Tucker published a letter from Donisthorpe to the editor
of Free Life, which he captioned "Discrepant Boundaries."
In the letter, Donisthorpe claimed that he saw no contradiction in the
expression "voluntary taxation."Addressing Auberon
Herbert, Donisthorpe wrote:
quarrel with your Individualism is that the world is not ready for it.
My individualism is absolute Anarchy qualified by a regard for social
evolution. . . . Mr. Levy seems to me to hold with us moderate Anarchists
that at present we require a residuum of State action.But where
I think he errs is in supposing that this is the necessary and permanent
condition.In the perfect (or more perfect) state of social development,
I agree with your view.In the present state Mr. Levy and I are
more in line, looking on the State as a necessary institution.
We diverge when he insists on regarding it as a permanent institution.
Perhaps I should even outrun you a little in the future.I am
inclined to think with Tucker, that even the administration of justice
will fall into private hands, though it is hard to foresee the construction
of the judicial system." 
months later, Tucker published another article taken from Herbert's
Free Life entitled "Justice and Taxation" and written
by one of Herbert's associates, M. D. O'Brien.In it, O'Brien
set forth both his and Herbert's view of voluntary taxation.Opening
on the note that all individualists are in agreement that it is right
to restrain by force the man who aggresses by force upon another man,
O'Brien chided the "Taxation-Individualists" ("to use
a 'Free Life' term") for thinking it right to coerce a peaceful
non-invader.In agreement with O'Brien, Tucker wrote:
man's non-aggressive earnings are his own, and there is no other warrant,
save force, for a majority confiscating any portion of them . . . .
We are only justified in using force when force is used to us, and all
the helpers we get should be volunteers, not people whom we have impressed,
or, what is the same thing, the impressed earnings of those people.
a much earlier piece (which was subsequently reprinted in Instead
of a Book, Tucker referred to "some very interesting and valuable
discussion" which "is going on in the London Jus concerning
the question of compulsory versus voluntary taxation."F.
W. Read had written to Donisthorpe, editor of Jus, that voluntary
taxation implied the existence of five or six voluntary states in England.
Tucker pointed out that he saw nothing wrong or unusual with such a
situation.After all, Tucker explained, there were more than five
or six churches in England and many more than five or six insurance
companies."Though Mr. Read has grasped one idea of the voluntary
taxationists," he failed to see the other important idea behind
it: "the idea that defence is a service, like any other service;
that it is labor both useful and desired, and therefore an economic
commodity subject to the law of supply and demand; . . .that, competition
prevailing, patronage would go to those who furnished the best article
at the lowest price; that the production and sale of this commodity
are now monopolized by the State; that the State, like almost all monopolists,
charges exorbitant prices; that, like almost all monopolists, it supplies
a worthless or nearly worthless, article; . . .the State takes advantage
of its monopoly of defence to furnish invasion instead of protection;
. . .and, finally, that the State exceeds all its fellow-monopolists
in the extent of its villainy because it enjoys the unique privilege
of compelling all people to buy its product whether they want it or
not."Tucker concluded that only by five or six "states"
hanging out their shingles and competing with one another could people
be assured of quality service at reasonable rates."And what
is more,--the better their services, the less they would he needed;
so that the multiplication of 'States' involves the abolition of the
we have seen, the editors of Jus, Personal Rights, Free Life,
and Liberty had significant differences among themselves.
Levy commented on this in his previously mentioned discussion on "Political
Terminology."With respect to land ownership, Levy called
Herbert a conservative anarchist."The Conservative Anarchist
would retain private property in land very much as it is in England
at the present day, merely abolishing the obstacles to its free sale
and purchase.The Individualist Anarchist would laugh at
this pretension to sell or let land and would recognize only the right
of the squatter to the land in his use or productive occupation."
The communist anarchist would decline to recognize any rights of property
in land.Liberty's and Tucker's position was that of
the individualist anarchist, advocating the doctrine of occupation and
use as the sole basis for land-holding.Levy's position
on landownership is not clearly spelled out, although Tucker claimed
that he was an advocate of land nationalization in England.
differences regarding landownership were aired in the pages of Liberty
many times over.In one of the earlier references in Liberty,
referring to the "Solutions of the Land Problem" and the English
individualists, Victor Yarros noted that although he agreed with Auberon
Herbert's conclusions as far as they went, he did not reach these conclusions
by the same logic.Quoting from an 1889 symposium on the land
question held by the Personal Rights Association, Yarros quoted Herbert
as follows: "The free and open market is the one system that does
most justice among individuals, being the only impartial institution
that exists, and at the same time is the only system that gives the
evolutionary forces free play. . . . I scarcely need add that at present
we have not a truly free and open market for land.All artificial
impediments should be removed, and no new ones invented."
Related issues were raised in Liberty
about a year later, when Tucker reprinted correspondence which had appeared
in Free Life.Albert Tarn, whom Tucker describes as an
"Anarchistic correspondent," had addressed a letter to
Free Life in which he tried to combat Herbert's assertion that anarchism
would throw property titles, especially land titles, into hopeless confusion.
Herbert's contention was that "under the law of the free market,
everybody knows, first, who owns a particular piece of property, and,
secondly, the conditions under which property can be acquired."
Herbert attacked the doctrine of occupancy and use for being vague and
indefinite in terms of establishing how ownership would be established
and transferred in an anarchist society.Editorializing, Tucker
rejoined that it would be up to "municipalities" (based on
voluntary associations) to "formulate and enforce this view"
of occupancy and use.According to Tucker, "under Anarchism
all rules and laws will be little more than suggestions for the guidance
of juries, and that all disputes, whether about land or anything else,
will be submitted to juries which will judge not only the facts but
months later, under the headline "Private Property and Freedom,"
Victor Yarros picked up the argument again.According to Yarros,
the difference between the viewpoints of Liberty
and Mr. Herbert was: "he believes in allowing people to retain
all their possessions, no matter how unjustly and basely acquired, while
getting them, so to speak, to swear off stealing and usurping and to
promise to behave well in the future.We, on the other hand, while
insisting on the principle of private property, in wealth honestly obtained
under the reign of liberty, do not think it either unjust or unwise
to dispossess the landlords who have monopolized natural wealth by force
and fraud.We hold that the poor and disinherited toilers would
be justified in expropriating, not alone the landlords, who notoriously
have no equitable titles to their lands, but all
the financial lords and rulers, all the millionaires and very wealthy
individuals."Yarros recognized that "almost all possessors
of great wealth enjoy neither what they nor their ancestors rightfully
acquired (and if Mr. Herbert wishes to challenge the correctness of
this statement, we are ready to go with him into full discussion of
the subject).If he holds that the landlords are justly
entitled to their lands, let him make a defence of the landlords or
an attack on our unjust proposal."Unfortunately, Herbert
never defended his position in Liberty.
In the following issue, however, Tucker printed another letter from
Herbert in which he continued his attack on occupancy and use.
Tucker commented on it as follows:
trouble with Mr. Herbert is that he begs the question of property altogether,
and insists on treating the land problem as if it were simply a question
of buying and selling and lending and borrowing, to be settled simply
by the open market.Here I meet him with the words of his more
conservative brother in Individualism, Mr. J. H. Levy, editor of the
"Personal Rights Journal," who is trying to show Mr. Herbert
that he ought to call himself an Anarchist instead of an Individualist.
Mr. Levy says, and I say after him: "When we come to the ethical
basis of property, Mr. Herbert refers us to the open market.But
this is an evasion. The question is not whether we should he able to
sell or acquire in the open market anything which we rightfully possess,
but how we come into rightful possession.And if men differ on
this, as they do most emphatically, how is this to be settled?"
Herbert was a hybrid, fully acceptable neither to Levy, the individualist,
nor to Tucker, the anarchist.Even Wordsworth Donisthorpe rejected
Herbert's notions of self-ownership and rights: "Mr. Auberon Herbert
insists on the right of self-ownership.He claims the right to
own himself.I dispute it.I cannot see upon what the right
is based. . . . I saw the force of their [the abolitionists'] arguments,
and agreed; not because the niggers had any right to their liberty,
but because I thought that in my interest that right should be conferred
upon them.I deny the right then claimed for them, and I am delighted
that they enjoy it now."Yet, Herbert was not without
his supporters (except perhaps on the property or self-ownership question).
John Badcock, in a letter to the Personal Rights Journal, wrote:
"The most valuable part of Auberon Herbert's teaching, to my mind,
is the destruction which he gives to the artificial distinctions that
have been set up between the acts of government and the acts of individuals,
and the placing on par of all aggressions, whether individually or collectively
perpetrated, whether sanctified by statute law or not so sanctified."
differences with Tucker and Liberty were not limited to property
matters alone.Within a year after he had serialized and reprinted
Herbert's A Politician in Sight of Haven, Tucker chastised Herbert
for not realizing the importance of economic equity to anarchist thinking.
"Mr. Herbert proves beyond question that the government of man
by man is utterly without justification, but is quite ignorant of the
fact that interest, rent, and profits will find no place in the perfect
economic order."Tucker's comments not only illustrate his
own economic thinking, but criticize Herbert at the same time.
Tucker complained that Herbert had never called attention to the importance
of free trade in banking: "If he would only dwell upon the evils
of the money-issuing monopoly and emphasize with his great power the
fact that competition, in this as in other matters, would give us all
that is needed of the best possible article at the lowest possible price,
thereby steadily reducing interest and rent to zero, putting capital
within the comfortable reach of all deserving and enterprising people,
and causing the greatest liberation on record of heretofore restricted
turn, Herbert eventually asked in his Free Life
how Tucker could justify a campaign against the right of men to lend
and borrow.Tucker, of course, denied that he had ever campaigned
on such an issue, but pointed out that he hoped that lending and borrowing
might one day disappear in an anarchist society, where there would be
no restrictions on people monetizing their own credit.Tucker
asserted that "interest, however it may have originated, exists
today only by virtue of the legal monopoly of the use of credit for
currency purposes." Anarchists "trace the process by which
an abolition of that monopoly would reduce the rate of interest to zero.
Mr. Herbert never stops to analyze this process that he may find the
weak spot in it and point it out; he simply declares that interest,
instead of resting on monopoly, is the natural, inevitable outcome of
human convenience and the open market. . . . If it be true that interest
will exist in the absence of monopoly, then there is some flaw in the
reasoning by which the Anarchists argue from the abolition of monopoly
to the disappearance of interest."
pages of Liberty were peppered with arguments over economic issues,
especially those issues concerned with money, banking, and interest.
There were disputations in all directions: American anarchists arguing
with other Americans; Americans arguing with the English individualists;
and even the English individualists using the pages of the American
Liberty to dispute among themselves.Of the English individualists,
J. Greevz Fisher was probably the most prolific writer on these topics.
Fisher was embroiled in at least three sets of debates appearing in
Liberty.Beginning in 1891, Fisher and Tucker engaged in a
spirited exchange concerning the power of government over values and
free trade in banking.This exchange was included in Instead
of a Book.Then in 1894 Hugo Bilgram and Fisher had it out
in a lengthy series of letters regarding the justification of interest.
Finally, in late 1896 and early 1897, John Badcock and Fisher went at
one another over the alleged money famine and the value and volume of
money.In most of these debates, Fisher criticized the anarchists
from the point of view of sound economics.
the first of these series of debates, Tucker and Fisher discussed the
merits of mutual banking.Fisher maintained that there was no
legal obstacle to the introduction and circulation of promises of all
types (such as promises to deliver wheat, cotton, or oil) which might
then take the place of the Bank of England promises which circulated
as money.Since there was no restriction on the types of money
that might circulate, along with gold and promises to pay gold, Fisher
claimed that government, in general, had little power to affect the
purchasing power of gold.Tucker, on the other hand, alleged that
the laws of England did not allow the workingmen to form mutual banks;
that is, banks designed to issue paper money against any property that
it may see fit to accept as security and such money not being redeemable
in gold or silver.If mutual banks were not outlawed, then Tucker
suggested that his English compatriots had nothing to complain of in
the way of finance and had only to go out and start up their own banks
in order to monetize their own credit.Tucker was convinced that
such banking institutions were illegal in England "and in that
case I tell him again that the present value of gold is a monopoly value
sustained by the exclusive monetary privilege given it by the government."
his rebuttal, Fisher asserted: "Schemes to bring about the abolition
of interest, especially when the authors promulgate this as a necessary
consequence of free trade in banking are pernicious. . . . What is called
free trade in banking actually means only unlimited liberty to create
debt.It is the erroneous labelling of debt as money which begets
most of the fallacies of the currency-fadists."Tucker
responded by quoting from Colonial William Greene's Mutual Banking,
claiming that mutual banking would reduce the value of gold because
"it would thereby be stripped of that exclusive monetary utility
conferred upon it by the State."Tucker added that "the
percentage of this reduction no one can tell in advance, any more than
he can tell how much whiskey would fall in price if there were unrestricted
competition in the sale of it."In his third letter in
this series of exchanges, Fisher restated his contention that Tucker
was wrong in thinking that the law of England did not permit mutual
banks. In Fisher's opinion, the concern of Tucker and the American anarchists
was misplaced because they greatly overestimated the evils of the State
1893 Tucker reprinted an address delivered by Hugo Bilgram on the subject
of interest: "Is Interest Just?"In turn, J. Greevz
Fisher wrote the Manchester Times criticizing Bilgram's presentation.
The following year Liberty carried a letter from Bilgram answering
Fisher's attack.This was the beginning of a lengthy exchange
between these two correspondents. Tucker would publish a letter by Fisher
and in the same issue Bilgram's "rejoinder" would appear.
Fisher claimed that "the hire of tools, materials, and maintenance
would yield a revenue in the absence of money" and that it was
not the existence of government and its restrictive monetary policies
that were responsible for interest."What is necessary in
order to establish the justice of interest is to show that in the absence
of any restriction upon the issue of instruments of credit, and in the
utter absence of laws of legal tender, interest would still be paid."
Mr. Bilgram, on his part, contended that government policies, such as
"legal regulation of the volume of currency," are "the
cause of crises and business stagnation, of the existence of squalid
poverty among those unable to find employment."In Fisher's
next letter to Liberty he outlined the core of his arguments
and wholly unrestricted issue of all sorts of paper by all sorts of
people to the utmost extent to which they could get it into circulation
would certainly have as one of its results the development of a greater
caution in accepting promises from those calling themselves bankers,
and the elaboration of a system of voluntary audits and mutual guarantee
of each other's notes by many of these bankers. . . . Mr. Bilgram appears
to take no notice of the argument that the rate of interest upon loans.
. .[would still exist] under a system of barter. . . . Interest is the
hire of commodities separated from their owner and entrusted to another
person.The time of separation is a privation to one party (in
marginal cases, which rule all cases) and a benefit to the other party.
later letters, Fisher stressed the importance of understanding the purchasing
power of money.As he phrased it, "As money becomes scarce,
it becomes more potent in exact proportion to its rise in value."
Bilgram admitted that to the extent that interest "is a payment
for risk. . .interest is just," but he continued to assail "as
unjust that part of interest which is said to be paid for being 'deprived
of a day's pleasure'.''In Bilgram's view, interest was a
monopoly privilege created by the laws forbidding the circulation of
banknotes other than those by legally recognized banks.Thus interest
was paid to holders of these notes only because of this exclusive monopoly
privilege, which in effect restricted the amount of currency in circulation
and on loan.Although Tucker was sympathetic to Bilgram's arguments,
he left it to his readers "to judge between the arguments that
have been advanced," when this debate closed in 1895.
these arguments were appearing in Liberty, several of the English
individualists in London organized a new movement which they termed
"The Free Currency Propaganda."The society was formed
for the purpose of assaulting the monopoly of money-issue.Their
prospectus set forth the following views:
affirm that the equitable payment of labor. . .is its entire product.
. .and that the prevailing monstrous departure from this self-evident
principle of justice, the sole and sufficient cause of social discontent
and oppression, is due to the monopolies of land and capital. . . .
We furthermore affirm that the monopoly of capital is solely due to
the monopoly of monetary credit, which necessarily and essentially results
from the arbitrary and exclusive adoption of gold--or specie--value
as the basis of the circulating medium. . . . The tyranny of the money
monopoly thus operates not only positively by exacting the tribute of
interest and monopoly profits, but also negatively by barring the working
classes from self-help and association.
the names appearing at the end of this prospectus were those of Henry
Seymour, John Armsden, Alfred E. Porter and John Badcock, Jr.
Although J. Greevz Fisher could not support The Free Currency Propaganda
movement, he realized that there was an element of truth in its assertions.
He could support the idea of "free banking" based on property
rights as summed up by G. O. Warren, writing under the name of T. L.
M'Cready, one of the founding members of the movement: "the right
to private property necessarily includes the right to exchange that
property, and the right to exchange it includes the right to determine
what it shall be exchanged for, be it any article or commodity, or a
piece of paper with an inscription on it, be that inscription written
or printed, and from whatever source. And, therefore, that any restriction
upon, or interference with, exchange is a denial of the right of private
property, and should be resisted."
1896 John Badcock, Jr. wrote an article appearing in Liberty
on "The Money Famine" in which he supported these ideas.
The main thrust of his argument was to oppose State monopolization of
money issuance: "Let us have free trade in the issue of money.
Only under freedom can the merits or demerits of any particular monies
and instruments of credit have a chance to be demonstrated, and the
fittest survive.Good money may be left to drive out bad money
unaided.Let it be unhindered."However, his argument
was not limited to this point.Badcock considered that there was
a true "money famine" caused by restrictive banking laws and
legal tender laws and, much like Bilgram, claimed that if the supply
of money were increased interests, profits, and rent would disappear.
In his first of a series of attacks on these ideas, which Tucker printed
soon after the appearance of Badcock's original article, Fisher maintained
that the "money famine" was allegation rather than fact.
He termed the expectation that interest, profits, and rent would disappear
under a regime of free banking as "positively puerile."
"Under complete monetary freedom the delusion that debts are money
would vanish.The benefits to be expected [from complete monetary
freedom] lie in the direction of increased activity, competition, and
stability of bankers, money-lenders, and borrowers."
He also stressed the importance of understanding that the quantity of
money in circulation was not of paramount concern because the purchasing
power of money was not fixed and was changeable in accord with the supply
of money on the market.The discussions and rejoinders between
Badcock and Fisher continued in several later issues of Liberty
and revolved around the formation of mutual banks in England and the
exact form which the notes of such banks might take.This exchange
ended finally in April 1897.
of these arguments was ever settled once and for all in Liberty.
More than two years after the Badcock-Fisher debate, in September 1899,
Wordsworth Donisthorpe sent a letter to Tucker on "Currency; Money
and Credit; Coinage."Not to be outdone, Fisher addressed
a letter to Liberty on "Mr. Donisthorpe on Currency."
This was his last contribution to Liberty
on the subject of money.In it he made two very interesting observations.
First, he supported the arguments of those advocating perfect freedom
to issue money."Liberty would enable the markets and force
the issuers [of money] automatically and continuously to correct and
improve the money or tokens.Gresham's law as to the superior
potency of inferior money applies only to fiat made money."
Secondly, he summarized his views on the significance of monetary freedom
in England, should it be instituted sometime in the future:
then would be the advantages of liberty in relation to the currency?
They would be great, but not at all overwhelming.They could only
remedy evils which exist in consequence of State action.These,
from an economic point of view, are not all so great as many Socialists,
Anarchists, and Individualists imagine, at least in England.The
main advantage would be in disabusing the public mind of the opposite
superstition that State interference is very good and absolutely necessary.
The fact is that it is no good at all.
reaction to all of Fisher's economic writings is to be found in his
remarks in a column headlined "Anarchism and Children" written
in 1895: "Pat Collins, the witty Democratic politician, once said
of the late Prohibitionist leader Robert C. Pitman, that he would be
a first-class man if he could only let rum alone.And I always
think to myself, when I read the writings of Mr. J. Greevz Fisher in
behalf of liberty, that he would be a first-class philosopher if he
would only let money alone."Tucker then went on to quote
approvingly from an article by Fisher which appeared in Personal
Rights in April 1895 dealing with the question of parental responsibility
for the support of children.Mr. Fisher wrote in part:
would be highly dangerous to attempt to make legal responsibilities
generally and universally embrace all moral responsibilities, because,
if it were attempted, the enforcement of every virtue and the suppression
of every vice would become objects of legal coercion. . . .
is not attack. . . . If a person, male or female, alleging parentage
beats, enslaves, or defrauds a child, the Individualist has a perfect
right to interfere.He can voluntarily associate himself with
the child in a mutual defence organization. . . . No title to guardianship
by a claimant parent ought to be admitted when the alleged guardianship
is inimical to the minor.Beyond this point if it is unsafe to
take one step.Neglect can be better remedied by upholding liberty
for anyone directly to supply the wants of the neglected.It cannot
be safely dealt with by attempts of a third party to force someone,
supposed to be responsible, to undertake the duty.
then quoted from the lament of the Personal Rights
editor, J. H. Levy, who noted that Fisher's argument was not, in fact,
individualistic but rather anarchistic.Tucker, himself, had earlier
written in favor of "The assumption is that we must not interfere
to prevent neglect, but only to repress positive invasion."
Tucker still maintained that "no person, parent or not, may be
rightfully compelled to support any helpless being, of whatever age
or circumstance, unless he had made that being helpless by some invasive
Tucker revised his position and logic on the question of parental responsibility
and eventually concluded that the mother must own her children until the day that they
reach maturity and self-emancipation."His final statement
of his position was found in his editorial "L'Enfant Terrible":
can see no clearer property title in the world than that of the mother
to the fruit of her womb, unless she has otherwise disposed of it by
contract. . . . The change, then, which my opinion has undergone consists
simply in the substitution of certainty for doubt as to the non-invasive
character of parental cruelty--a substitution which involves the conclusion
that parental cruelty is not to he prohibited, since third parties have
not to consider the danger of disaster to organisms [children] that
are outside the limits of social protection.
the same issue of Liberty, J. Greevz Fisher had a letter published
in which he expressed his opposition to Tucker's conception of "children
as chattels."Fisher pointed out that "the supposition
of the chatteldom of the child, if based upon the utility, excellence
and propriety of parental control, surely implies, among its benefits
an advantage to the child."Thus during the whole period
of parental control, the parent is not an owner at all, but rather a
"trustee", in the legal jargon Fisher used.Fisher and
other critics of Tucker's position pointed out that if the mother were
owner of the child, she could kill her child, "as a man may kill
a horse," or even throw her baby into the fire.
was only one of several English individualists who claimed that the
child was a self-owner who during its early years fell under the guardianship
of its mother or parents.William Gilmour, the Scottish individualist,
thought "guardianship, not ownership, is the real question
at issue."John Badcock, in his letter "On
the Status of the Child," maintained that parents are the natural
guardians of their children."But," he claimed, "guardian
is not synonymous with owner, and, while guardianship
is necessary for the child,--varying in quantity with the child's development,--ownership
is quite an intrusion, as it is in all slavery."Tucker
expressed his opposition to the concept of guardianship or trusteeship.
"I disclaim, however, any share in the belief which Mr. Badcock
supposes me to hold in common with him that parents are the natural
guardians of their offspring.I do not see why he supposes me
to believe this, for not only is guardianship, as he says, not synonymous
with ownership, but it is flatly contradictory of it. . . . Guardianship
implies responsibility.In ownership there is no such responsibility.
As I maintain that the mother is the owner of her child, of course I
deny that she is guardian of her child."
Badcock, Jr. was the author of Slaves to Duty, a lecture which
he delivered in London in 1894.Although he and Tucker disagreed
on the children issue, they held nearly identical ethical theories resting
on egoism as illustrated by Tucker's report of Badcock's lecture.
this lecture Mr. Badcock lays the spook of duty most effectively. He
takes up, one by one, the various kinds of duties--political, social,
marital, filial, etc.--discusses them as to their merits and demerits,
and demonstrates that the subordination of self on the part of the individual
to their requirements prevents him from appreciating the full value
of existence and realizing the promises it originally holds out.
In the place of duty Mr. Badcock puts--nothing, "as superstitions
never want replacing," but simply counsels people to study where
their true and lasting interests lie and to turn all their energies
to the furtherance of these regardless of codes, moral and political.
and his English individualist friends displayed their contempt for society
when they founded the Legitimation League in 1892 or 1893.J.
H. Levy, J. Greevz Fisher, Donisthorpe, Badcock, along with Gladys and
Oswald Dawson were all originally involved with the League.Its
stated purpose was "to create machinery for acknowledging offspring
born out of wedlock, and to secure for them equal rights with legitimate
children."In 1893, Fisher published a pamphlet entitled
"Illegitimate Children: An Inquiry into their Personal Rights and
a Plea for the Abolition of Illegitimacy."Wordsworth Donisthorpe
published a review of this pamphlet in Liberty in 1894.
In 1897, according to Liberty, the League took on "A New
Departure" as described by William Gilmour: "The Legitimation
League, of London, which has had a somewhat passive existence since
its formation four years ago, has now entered upon a 'new crusade'.
. .viz., the advocacy of the principle of sexual freedom, or freedom
in sexual relationships."Gilmour reported that Fisher and
Donisthorpe had left the league, but that "Oswald Dawson, George
Bedorough, Louie Bedorough, Seymour, Badcock, Rockell, and Wastall are
still within its ranks."Henry Seymour became editor
of its journal, The Adult: A Journal for the Advancement of Freedom
in Sexual Relationships, which had a short-lived existence during
the late 1890's.
had an interesting career as an anarchist, and fortunately a record
of his early years in the movement has been preserved.His introduction
to Tucker and Liberty was partly coincidental:
chanced to meet Dr. Willard Knowleton Dyer and Sarah E. Holmes, who
were travelling through Europe and temporarily staying at this resort
[where Seymour had opened a "Science Library of advanced literature"].
They were enthusiastic in introducing the Boston Liberty, edited by
Benj. R. Tucker, to my notice.Here was solid stuff, I thought,
and not long elapsed before 1 was one of Liberty's agents, and
some time after published an English edition of Tucker's translation
of Bakunin's God and the State.I remember, also, at this
time, I happened across an old copy of Edmund Burke's Vindication
of Natural Society, which I sent to Tucker who promptly reprinted
this gem as a classic introduction to the study of Anarchism.
then recounts how he began publishing The Anarchist
in March 1885."It set forth my own profession of faith,--almost
identical with that of Liberty--and contained original contributions
by such notable writers as Henry Appleton, George Bernard Shaw, and
Elisee Reclus, with whom I had made contacts."Eventually
an English Anarchist Circle was formed among the many native and foreign
anarchists in London, the most prominent of them being Peter Kropotkin.
"The circle could not be squared," wrote Seymour, and due
to the differing temperaments and philosophic outlooks, the group disbanded.
Seymour continued to publish The Anarchist and then The Revolutionary
Review, until he went bankrupt.Seymour had wide connections
in English anarchist circles and "had good relations with Malatesta,
Tochatti (editor of the London Liberty), A. Tarn (editor of the
Herald of Anarchy), Robert Harding, the passive-resistance Anarchist;
and also met Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, Josephine Tilton, Lillian Harman,
Sebastian Faure, Louise Michel, Bernard Lazare, Benj. R. Tucker and
Mrs. Tucker with their bright little daughter, Oriole, when they severally
came to London on various occasions."
aspect of the individualist anarchist movement in London during the
last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth
was the Personal Rights Association.The extensive discussions
between its secretary, J. H. Levy, and Auberon Herbert over compulsory
taxation have already been examined.The Personal Rights Association
has an interesting background and stems almost directly from the activities
of a late Victorian reformer, Josephine Butler.A critic has described
her as "the single individual most responsible for the spread of
syphilis in Europe and perhaps the Josephine Butler was largely responsible
for sparking the campaigns in England which led to the repeal of the
Contagious Disease Acts.In 1864, the first of three Contagious
Disease laws was passed by Parliament which made provisions for the
surgical examination of prostitutes and for their confinement in "lock"
hospitals if found diseased.The Act was limited to areas around
eleven military garrisons and naval stations.The second Act of
1866 required prostitutes in these army towns to submit to medical examinations
at least once every twelve months.A consolidating act was passed
in 1868.In short the Contagious Disease Acts attempted to introduce
in England the continental methods of regulating prostitution.
distinct schools existed within the movement opposed to the Contagious
Disease Acts. "For the policy, condemned by both alike, of regulating
vice primarily in the interest of the physical health of vicious men,
one desired to substitute the measures of vigorous suppression directed
against men and women alike, while the other was chiefly concerned to
protect poor and friendless women from being blackmailed and harassed
by the police in the name of public decency, and was for leaving all
forms of vice which did not involve force or fraud to be combatted by
voluntary and non-coercive agencies."Josephine Butler's
organized activities against the Contagious Disease Acts began in 1869
or 1870, with the formation of the Ladies National Association for Repeal
of the Contagious Disease Acts.Mrs. Butler was not a suppressionist,
but rather believed in voluntary efforts to deal with the problem.
In March 1871, she was on the organizing committee of The Vigilance
Association for the Defence of Personal Rights and for the Amendment
of the Law Wherein It Is Injurious to Women.The membership
of this latter organization reflects its origins in the Contagious Disease
Acts controversy as well as in its overall anti-statist inclinations.
For example, "while the radicals of the organization were caught
up in the attempt to abolish state regulation of prostitution, they
had also become exercised by a remarkably similar issue, compulsory
vaccination."During the years 1881 to 1886, The Vigilance
Association restyled itself and its purposes.J. H. Levy, who
had been connected with the organization since 1878, was largely responsible
for these changes.
Levy's leadership, the group became even more anti-statist.Beginning
about 1881 such individualists as Donisthorpe, Herbert, and W. C. Crofts
became involved in the organization.As the campaign for the repeal
of the Contagious Disease Acts approached success (repeal was passed
by Parliament in 1886), the two groups within The Vigilance Association
(the coercive suppressionists and the non-coercive persuasionists) splintered.
The suppressionists formed their own new organization called The National
Vigilance Association for the Repression of Vice and Public Immorality.
The persuasionists, claiming that the new group had "filched from
us our good name," changed the name of the original Vigilance Association
to The Personal Rights Association. Its organ, successively
titled The Personal Rights Journal, Personal Rights, and lastly
The Individualist, was published for over thirty years by Levy.
Through this medium, Levy "worked on the frontiers of liberal individualism
in pursuit of the full application of the classical ideal of perfect
equality before the law."He "also worked in the neglected
areas of personal rights, pioneering in lunacy law reform, participating
in the anti-vivisection campaign and thereby extending liberal individualism.
. . to its ultimate limits: the world of the helpless and the animal
least two supporters of the Personal Rights Association were involved
in other anti-statist organizations.Wordsworth Donisthorpe was
one of the two co-founders of the State Resistance Union (1880), which
was the predecessor of the Liberty and Property Defence League (1882).
Donisthorpe edited his own individualist journal, Jus, from January
1885 until March 1888.Eventually Donisthorpe resigned
from the Liberty and Property Defence League, because he was not satisfied
with its limited activities.Donisthorpe's cousin, W. C. Crofts,
remained administrator and secretary of the League until his death in
1894.Both he and Crofts tried to keep liberty, rather than property,
to the fore, but it seemed to Donisthorpe that the League was more interested
in defending the privileges of property.
the individualists an exotic variety of organizations" abounded.
Similarly there existed a wide range of opinions among those calling
themselves individualists or individualist anarchists.Despite
the differences between Tucker and the group of English individualists
we have examined in this paper, all of them could probably subscribe
to Tucker's eloquent summation of his own creed, entitled "Woes
of An Anarchist," written in response to Wordsworth Donisthorpe's
essay of 1890: "there are some troubles from which mankind can
never escape. . . . They [the anarchists] have never claimed that liberty
will bring perfection; they simply say that its results are vastly preferable
to those that follow from authority. . . . As a choice of blessings,
liberty is the greater; as a choice of evils, liberty is the smaller.
Then liberty always says the Anarchist:No use of force except
against the invader."
*This essay will also appear
in Benjamin R. Tucker and the Champions of Liberty: A Centenary Anthology,
ed. Michael E. Coughlin, Mark Sullivan, and Charles Hamilton (St. Paul,
Minn.: Michael E. Coughlin, forthcoming, 1983). Copyright 1983 by Carl Watner.
- Properly speaking,
J. C. Spence should not be included in this group.His name does
not appear in Wendy McElroy, comp., Liberty, 1881-1908: A
Comprehensive Index (St. Paul: Michael E. Coughlin, 1982).
He was a follower of Herbert's Voluntaryist movement and wrote a very
libertarian analysis of the land question entitled Property in Land:
A Defence of Individual Ownership
(London: Liberty and Property Defence League, 1897).According
to Edward Jay Bristow ("The Defense of Liberty and Property in
Britain, 1880-1914," [Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1970], p. 180).
Spence was a prominent naval architect.William Gilmour is not
listed here, since he was originally a Scottish anarchist, but he did
contribute to Liberty and is briefly referred to in later parts
of this essay.Little is known of Porter aside from his involvement
in The Free Currency Propaganda.His contributions to Liberty
are listed in McElroy's Liberty. 1881-1908.
2. Bristow, "Defense of
Liberty and Property," p. 180.
4. Murray N. Rothbard, 'The
Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economist's View," in Egalitarianism
as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays
(Washington, D.C.: Libertarian Review Press, 1974), p. 133.
5. S. E. Parker, "Introduction,"
to John Badcock, Jr., Slaves to Duty (Colorado Springs, Colo.:
Ralph Myles, 1972). p. 3.
6. Bristow, "Defense of
Liberty and Property," p. 178.
5 (March 10. 1988):2.
8. Taxation and Anarchism:
A Discussion between the Hon. Auberon Herbert and J. H. Levy (London:
The Personal Rights Association, 1912), pp. 63-64.
9. Ibid., p. 61.
10. Ibid., p. 62.This
is also confirmed by Tucker's evaluation of Herbert's philosophy.
(See Liberty 15 [December 1906]:16.)For a selective bibliography
on Auberon Herbert, see Eric Mack, ed., The Right and Wrong of Compulsion
by the Store and Other Essays (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Classics,
1978), pp. 27-29.
11. Taxation and Anarchism,
12. Ibid., pp. 2-3.
13. Ibid., p. 7.
14. Liberty 13 (July
15. Taxation and Anarchism,
16. Ibid., p. 29.
17. Ibid., p. 32.
18. Ibid., pp. 40.41.
19. Ibid., p. 52.
Although it is not absolutely clear from the quotation, the implication
is that Herbert believed there would be only one (central) defense agency
operating in his ideal society.
22. Ibid., p. 53.
24. Twentieth-century individualist
anarchists have begun to develop such standards. For example, see George
H. Smith, "Justice Entrepreneurship in a Free Market,"
Journal of Libertarian Studies
3 (Winter 1979): 405-26.
25. Taxation and Anarchism,
26. Ibid., p. 45.
28. Ibid., p. 46.
29. See Rothbard's comments
in "The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine," pp. 127-28.
30. Rothbard, Power and
Market (Menlo Park. Calif.: Institute for Humane Studies. 1970),
31. Ibid., p. 123.
33. Quoted by Rothbard, "The
Spooner-Tucker Doctrine," p. 128, from Liberty
3 (October 24, 1885): 4.
34. Rothbard, "Will Rothbard's
Free-Market Justice Suffice?" Reason Magazine 5 (May 1973):
35. Donisthorpe's queries are
in Liberty 7 (May 24, 1890): 6-7.Tucker's answer is in
ibid., pp. 5-6.
36. Liberty 7 (November
37. Liberty 7 (December
38. Liberty 7 (April
39. Liberty 4 (July
40. Taxation and Anarchism,
41. For a discussion of the
occupation and use doctrine in Liberty, see Carl Watner, "A
Question of Property," The Dandelion, nos. 1, 2 (Spring
and Summer 1977).
42. Liberty 7 (October
18, 1890):l.Also see Roland K. Wilson, The Province of the
State (London: P. S. King and Son, 1911), p. 274.
43. Liberty 6 (August
44. Liberty 7 (July
45. Liberty 7 (November
46. Liberty 7 (November
29, 1890):7.Herbert apparently did not rely an the homesteading
principle.See Carl Watner, "Spooner vs. Liberty,"
Libertarian Forum 7, no. 3 (March 1975): 5-7.
14 (November 18, 1899):4.
48. Liberty 9 (June
49.Liberty 3 (May 23,
7 (October 18, 1890):4.Herbert's only justification for interest
was that it "is both moral and useful" (Liberty 7 [November
51. Rothbard, "The Spooner-Tucker
Doctrine," p. 133.
52. Liberty 8 (June
27, 1891):4.Also see comments, ibid., p. 3.
53. Liberty 8 (July
54. Ibid., p. 4.
55. Far the rest of the letters
in this series, see Liberty 8 (August 15, 1891):3, and 8 (August
22. 1891): 2-3.
56. For the original Fisher
letter, see Liberty 9 (April 22, 1893):l.For Bilgram's
reply, see Liberty 9 (March 10, 1894):11.
57. Liberty 10 (May
58. Liberty 10 (July
59. Liberty 10 (November
60. Ibid., p. 5.
61. Liberty 10 (March
9, 1895):s.Also see letters in Liberty 10 (January 12, 1895):4-5
62. Liberty 9 (May 5,
63. Liberty 10 (September
12 (July 11, 1896):7.
65. Liberty 12 (October
1896):6.Note the similarity to Rothbard: "Thus, a system
of free banking, such as envisioned by Spooner and Tucker, far from
leading to an indefinite increase of the supply of money and a disappearance
of interest, would lead to a far 'harder' and more restricted money
supply" ("The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine," p. 133).
66. Liberty 12 (January
1897):5-6, and 13 (April 1897):7.
67. Liberty 14 (September
68. Liberty 14 (November
69. Ibid., p. 9.
10 (May 4, 1895):5.
72. Ibid. This is Levy's
formulation of Tucker's attitude. See Liberty 9 (September 3,1892):l.
10 (May 4. 1895):8.
74. Liberty 11 (June
75. Liberty 11 (August
76. Ibid., p. 6; and
11 (September 7, 1895):l.
77. Liberty 11 (August
78. Liberty 11 (September
21. 1895):7. Badcock also stated disapprovingly that "if ownership
rights are granted, . . .these rights would be salable, and a class
of child-slaves and slave-markets would follow as a matter of course"
(ibid.).For libertarian advocacy of the sale of guardianship
rights, see Rothbard, "Kid Lib," Egalitarianism as a Revolt,
79. Liberty 11 (October
80. Liberty 10 (November
17, 1894):4. Reprinted in Badcock, Slaves to Duty.
81. Liberty 9 (June
82. Liberty 9 (May 5,
83. Liberty 13 (May
84. Bristow, "Defense
of Liberty and Property," p. 181. According to Bristow, "The
resigning members-Donisthorpe and the Voluntaryist J. C. Spence and
Greevz Fisher--held essentially the same view on the sex question as
the anarchist rump: monogamous relationships easily terminated and unregulated
by the state" (ibid).
85. Henry Seymour, "The
Genesis of Anarchism in England," in Joseph Ishill, ed., Free
Vistas (Berkley Heights, N.J.: The Oriole Press, 1937). 2121.
86. Ibid., p. 122. Tucker
did not consider Seymour a true individualist anarchist at the start
of Seymour's anarchist career. See Liberty 4 (May 1, 1886):4,
and 4 (June 19, 1886):l.
87. Seymour. "The Genesis
of Anarchism," p. 128.Albert Tarn made several contributions
to Liberty. See entry under "Tarn" in McElroy, Liberty,
1881-1908.Some of the more interesting contributions are
in Liberty 6 (March 16, 1889):l; 9 (June 24, 1893):l; and 12
(June 27, L896):7.
88. Glen Petrie, A Singular
Iniquity: The Campaigns of Josephine Butler (New York: Viking Press,
1971), p. 94, quoting from Lujo Bassermann, The Oldest Profession
89. Ibid., "Prologue,"
90. Wilson, Province of
the State, p. 273.
91. Bristow, "Defense
of Liberty and Property," pp. 61, 67.
92. Ibid., pp. 68-69.
93. Ibid., p. 75. Bristow
adds, "As a founder of the Dialectical Society, Professor of Logic
and Economics at Birkbeck College and the City of London College, colleague
of Mill's on the council of the Land Tenure Reform Association, and
contributor to Bradlaugh's National Reformer, Levy was a well-known
figure in metropolitan and radical circles"(ibid.).
94. Ibid., p. 78.
95. Wilson, Province of
the State, p. 273.The Individualist survived under
the editorship of Henry Meulen.It was published continuously
until his death in 1978.
96. Bristow, "Defense
of Liberty and Property," p. 61. Two of Levy's pamphlets were titled:
"Vivisection and Moral Evolution," (no date) and "Our
Duty to the Animal World." (1913). In Vivisection and Personal
Rights (London: P. S. King, 1902), Levy equates animal rights and
personal rights: "This question of animals rights cannot be evaded
by the Personal Rights Association; for they are inseparable from personal
rights.If animals have no rights which it is our duty, as a political
body, to defend, then every prosecution for cruelty to animals is an
aggression on personal rights.We must, therefore, either condemn
every effort of the State to prevent torture of any sentient being outside
of the human race, or we must acknowledge that rights to not belong
exclusively to our own sweet selves" (p. 15).Also see the
concern of John Badcock in suppressing cruelty to animals in Liberty
11 (August 10, 1895):7-8.
97. Norbert C. Soldon, "Laissez-Faire
on the Defensive: The Story of the Liberty and Property Defence League,
1882-1914," (Ph.D. diss., University of Delaware, 19691, p. 253.
Also see idem, "Laissez-Faire as Dogma: The Liberty and
Property Defence League, 1882-1914," in Kenneth D. Brown, ed.,
Essays in Anti-Labour History (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1974).
98. See Donisthorpe's comments
in Liberty 6 (November 23, 1889):l; and Bristow, "The Liberty and
Property Defence League and Individualism," Historical Journal
18 (1 975):773.
99. See Donisthorpe's obituary
of William Carr Crofts in Personal Rights, reprinted in Liberty 10 (March
100. Bristow, "Defense
of Liberty and Property," p. 179.
101. Liberty 6 (January 25,