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(PRINTED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1853, AS A CONTRIBUTION
MURDER AND LIBERTY.
(printed for the fir8t time in 1863.)
A CONTRIBUTION FOR THE "PEACE-LEAGUE"
There are a number of technical expressions, for the important manipulation by which one man destroys the life of another. There are: kill, murder, shoot, slay, poison, put out of the world, deport to Cayenne, put out of the way, behead, strangulate, garrote, cut ddwn, put to the sword, fusilade, incarcerate for life, execute, etc. The means, the pretexts, and the causes differ; but the object is always the same, viz., the annihilation of a hostile or inconvenient human life. From the stand-point of justice and humanity, the destruction of the life of another iB always unjust and barbarous, whether it occur on the scaffold or in battle, in the murderer's den or on the dueling grounds, in prison or on the street. The language of humanity has, therefore, no concern for the sutM tie differences by which the dominant barbarity claims on the one hand as permissible killing, what it condemns on the other hand as punishable murder. Humanity must absolutely condemn all killing, since she refers all hostile conflicts among men to the tribunal of reafcon, and not to that of force; she is, therefore, only consistent if she designates every voluntary annihilation of the life of another human being with tho condemnatory term
murder. Her only endeavor can be to abolish murder; yet, as long as murder offers the only means for the attainment of this object, Humanity is also compelled to draw the sword and to become the murderess of the murderers. If one man is permitted to murder, all must be permitted to do so, particulary those who practice it for the annihilation of the murderers by profession or "by the grace of God."
Only stupid weakness would elude with sentimental lamentations the significance of the stupendous fact that murder in the most colossal dimensions has been and still is the chief means of historical development. Cold reason must acknowledge this fact, must expose it in all its nakedness, and discover its unavoidable consequences.
Half the history of the world is a history of murder. On every leaf there are lines of blood, and, if we com-* pare the combats of men with thoBe of animals, we may well treat the history of the world as a continuation of Natural History. The main difference between * the human and the animal history of murder is to be found in the fact that men, at least so far as they call themselves "civilized", murder one another merely for the sake of putting one another out of the way, while ani- . mal8 do it for the sake of obtaining food. To the latter the murdered animal is at the same time an acquired prey, to man the murdered man is a removed obstruction. The animal must murder, and will always be compelled to do so in order to live; man murders as long as he is a brute or treats others as brutes.
You object, Honorable Judge of the Criminal Court that man is distinguished from the brute by making murder an atonement for crimes against fellow-men or for "treasonable assaults"; that he sanctifies it, as it were, as "death-penalty." But I cannot grant you even this wretched satisfaction, for there are social animals(e. g. the cranes), which have, like us, their capital crimes, and which execute upon the criminals the a death-penalty " in optima forma and even in corpore. Again you doubtlessly know that the bees murder the drones, which in their community represent about the same thing as courtiers, officers, and other idlers and dead-beats in the State of Prussia. You, on the other hand, my dear Lieutenant, are of the opinion that regular war is something specifically human, and that there are no animals that murder in armies. This, too, I cannot concede to you; I can, at best, leave you the proud consciousness that animals have no articles of war, no drill exercises, and no parades, while> on the other hand, they are perfectly alike in uniforms. Read in Ok en's Natural History the interesting accounts of the battles which ants engage in with armies almost as numerous as the Prussian and Russian armies. You will admire the military talent of these diminutive savages, and at the same time, regret that they are not sufficiently large and intelligent to make you or the great Wrangel general-in-chief.
Honorable Judge and dear Lieutenant, the only kind of murder by which man differs from the brute, and which, at the same time,—with murder in self-defence— has reason and justice on its side is called ((self-murder". The life of a man belongs only to himself, and only he has the right to destroy it. This is not only his right, • but it may be, too, his greatness. If an unavoidable disgrace that would destroy his character, or an inevitable misfortune that would render his life useless, should threaten him, he is not to be blamed if he makes an end of his life in cold blood. The character of Niobe
does not suit every hopelessness, ancl a male Niobe were the height of absurdity. Cleopatra, who, in spite of her royalty and fratricide, is a greater woman than she is u-sually regarded, put an asp to her bosom in order not to be disgraced by Octavian to serve for display in his triumphal procession. The younger Cato pierced himself with his sword, because after Ccesar's victory he could not live any longer "without becoming false to his principles". Brutus and Cassius, the "last Romans", took their own lives, because the battle of Philippi put an end to the republican cause. When Ccecinna Paetus, pursued for conspiracy against Claudius, had no other means of escape but death, his faithful wife Arria plunged the dagger into her own bosom and then handed the weapon to her husband with the famous words: "Psetus, it pains not". Robespierre tried to shoot* iuin-self when, after his second imprisonment, he was threatened with death by the guillotine of the moderate party. The fourteen delegates of the Convention, who in the year 1795, joined with the people in the demand for "bread and the Constitution of 1793", and who for this were condemned to death, stabbed themselves with one and the same knife exclaiming: "Long live the Republic". The Hungarian revolutionist May, killed himself in prison in the most painful manner by burning himself to death, in order to escape the inquisitorial torture of his foes.
You 6ee, Honorable Judge and dear Lieutenant, these are—outside of the murder for self-defence—instances of the only permissible and just kind of murder. If, after the Milanese insurrection, Mazzini had fallen into the hands of the Austrian hangmen, he would surely have made use of the poison which in all probability he carried with him for this purpose. Would you have blamed him? Would you, in his place, have permitted the deputy-hangmen of Radetzky to put you on the rack and to lay the rope around your necks? Be just, and I shall be just towards you; I shall not claim self murder as a revolutionary privilege, as you claim the murder of others as a reactionary privilege; I shall, therefore, grant you the right to end your wretched existences with your own hands at the beginning of the revolution. Nay, I shall even concede to your high masters the right to save themselves from the lantern-posts, like Nero, by suicide, or to burn themselves like Sardanapalus with their mistresses and slaves in their palaces.
The large, bloodstained picture which we call history shows us murder in a thousand forms, and the murderers under a thousand names. Sometimes it is called war, and the murderers heroes; sometimes it is called insurrection, and the murderers are called the people; again it is called assassination, and the murderers are called bandits, etc. It is always the same simple object, via: to neutralize opposition by destroying human life; according to the motives and circumstances, it meets with different criticism which as a rule is wholly perverse and servile. The principles of justice remain unchanged in history; but their recognition is possible only to free judgment for which reason they are sometimes wholly obscured for long periods. The judgment of men is, usually ruled, nay, entirely suppressed, by the prevailing fact, so that they acknowledge even the prevailing murder, in spite of its injustice, while they condemn the conquered murder, in spite of all justice. In order to attain clearness concerning murder, in order to find practical data for a correct judgment of the same, let us first view a few groups of the great blood drama of history.
The first kind of murder, I would call the murder of destruction proceeding from the mere passion of annihilation. At the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans a million Jews were murdered. At the destruction of Carthage by the same heroes, out of seven hundred thousand inhabitants only fifty thousand were spared. The Spaniards and others slaughtered millions of men in America without necessity and without any rational object. And how many millions of these unfortunate wretches who are called slaves were brutally murdered in antiquity as well as in our times in the holds of vessels, on plantations, and in prisons.
Almost as murderous as the struggles of destruction were the so-called pitched battles. In the battle of Cannae, sixty thousand Romans are said to have been killed. In the battle of Chalons in which Aetius overcame Attila, one hundred and six thousand men fell. Thus every "hero" in the thousands of battles which fill history counts his murderous deeds by thousands and hundred of thousands. The nations, 4<the soldiers," are usually regarded as bloodhounds and food for cannons. uYe hounds, would ye live forever?" roared Frederick the Great when they hesitated before the enemy. Only by millions can the corpses be summed up, with which the great men of history from Alexander down to Napoleon manured their laurel fields. Napoleon alone dispatched several million men to the kingdom of Death in order to be ruler of the survivors, and this mastery in murder earned for him the title of The Great
As stupendous as stupidity itself is also the number of victims which the murder of stupidity has demanded, i. e. the murder which men have committed on entire nations for the sake of their human and superhuman idols. Perhaps in history more subjects have fallen than soldiers, and more believers than barbarians. The crusades to the "grave of the Redeemer", were in fact only the funeral procession of several million believers to their own graves. The Thirty Years War, the war in which our ancestors during thirty years contended for the honor of being in possession of the greatest stupidity, deprived Germany of about four million human beings.
The murder of stupidity, the murder of subjects and believers, is properly followed by the murder of torture and vengeance, the murder by secular and spiritual tyrants, as such. Let us pass over millions of victims that have been cut down by the wrath of tyrants, and confine ourselves to mass executions. After the final victory of Crassus over the slaves under Spartacus, 6000 of the latter were nailed to a double row of crosses that adorned the road from Rome to Capua. Trajanus after his victory over the Dacians ordered ten thousand slaves to appear as gladiators in the circus of Rome and to contend with 11,000 wild beasts, i. e. he ordered for mere pleasure an army of men and an army of beasts to murder each other. Potemkin had 30,000 Tartars, (men, women, and children) seized and massacred, because they would not "do homage" to the Empress Catherine. Alba had 18,000 men "executed" in the Netherlands. Charlemagne (Charles "the Great") exterminated almost the whole Saxon people in order to convert them to Christianity. The ''Christians" murdered several hundred thousand Albigenses; in the city of Bezi&res alone 60000 of them were cut down. By means of the inquisition, the priests murdered hundreds of thousands in cold blood: At the massacre of St Bartholomew in Paris, on account of which the annoint-ed chief murderer in Rome, the Pope, decreed a jubilee, 30,00& Protestants were murdered. In the Peasant-wars of Germany 150,000 peasants were murdered. If we examine the murder register of history, wo find the majority of murders placed to the account of Christ-ianity, the religion of love. In the name of Christianity more human beings have been dispatched to the " world beyond " than are left of faithful Christians in this world, so that Christ indeed showed a wonderful foresight, when he said, "my kingdom is not of this world"; he might have said, "my kingdom is the cemetery."
Of the whole mumber of human beings of this earth, estimated at one thousand millions, every second one dies; and it is fair to assume that in the five principal divisions, at least one is murdered every minute, which would make for every day 1440 or in round numbers 1600, and for every year 547,500 or in round numbers 550,000 murders. Now even if in counting back into the past we must assume the number of human beings as steadily diminishing, we find on the other hand at the same time, the cruelty steadily increasing, so that we are justified in assuming for the era of history 500,000 murders for each year. This .makes for nearly four thousand years the respectable sum of 2,000,000,000 murders by which the "images of God" have put each other out of the world. If we omit the priests, the aristocrats, and the princes, this number is reduced to an insignificant series of individual murders, It would be a work of amazing tediousness to prove the correctness of the sum here given in the details of its numbers through the history of all wars, battles, migrations of nations, con-qnests, suppresions, executions, in short, of all the kinds of murder and expeditions of murder. I have, therefore, confined myself to a few prominent instances which a hasty survey of history suggested to me. Much has also been contributed by the million-fold murders through misery, want, and neglect, which however must all ultimately be accredited to the account of the chief murderers or originators of murder—the princes, priests, and aristocrats. The black lenten cloth that is spread over the table of the starving is made from the shroud of their ancestors ; and every shroud of history is stamped with the arms of some prince, knight, or priest.
On the other hand, the contingent of murders which has been furnished by the opponents of the princes, aristocrats, and priests, by the champions of justice and truth, is quite insignificant. The revolution has committed at most one single murder to 50,000 murders of the reaction. In the insurrection which Mithridates incited in Asia Minor, 150,000 Romans are said to have fallen. This is the grandest instance of a just vengeance that I can remember; but a king was needed to give it, and, in comparison with "the cruelties of the Romans, it is insignificant. In the wars with Spartacus, more Romans are said to have fallen than in the Punic wars; but if uaUn had fallen, still this fate could not have compensated for one half their guilt. Again what signify the few thousand executions of the French Revolution in comparison with the millions of murders of the centuries of reactionary dominion which brought about that popular explosion? I remind the reader among other things of the fact that at the outbreak of that revolution several million victims of the despots and priests filled the dungeons of Europe. What signify the daggers of Harmodius and Brutus, or the arrow of Tell, or the attempt of Fieschi and Alibaud in comparison with the numberless murders by which the tyrants put their opponents out of the way in all conceivable manners? What signifies the knife of the gallant Libeny, one of the greatest of Hungarian heroes (who very significantly wanted to stab the Austrian Nero in the neck like a wild beast), in comparison with the thousand-fold butcheries of this young beast in Hungary and Italy? Does not such a beast deserve to be murdered by inches together with all his accomplices? Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Galba, Otho, Vitellius were murdered. From Commodus to Constaritine the Great, 27 out of 36 emperors were murdered. Of all these assassinations of tyrants, only the smallest share is to be attributed to friends of freedom or revolutionists; but suppose, they were all committed by them, — are they worth mentioning in comparison, with the mass-destruction of human life that proceeded from these tyrants? How many human beings, did Sulla murder! But he went unpunished after he had laid down the dictatorship, and lice had to perform executioner's duty on him — men in their degeneracy had failed to do it. The 'triumvirs, Antonius, Octavius, and Lepidus had among others 300 senators and 2000 knights on their death list. Where have revolutionists ever conspired for such a butchery? Just this weakness has always been the main fault of the revolutionists,. that, in ill-conceived humanity and devoid of energy, they spared the lives of incurable reactionaries, or that, blinded by the unreasonable joy over the seeming victories of their cause, they failed to gain it in reality, or, at least, to secure it by the complete annihilation of their enemies. Called to exercise the functions of Goddess of Justice towards all the enemies of the people, they dropped the sword of the Goddess from their hands at the first blow, and kept only her blindness. A revolutionist in whose power it lay to annihilate all the representatives of the system of violence and murder which rules the world and lays it waste, would deserve a thousand-fold the traitor's death, if he hesitated but a moment.
Animated by the hope that very soon an opportunity will offer to heed this warning, let us throw a cursory glance upon the murder-history of our time.
Frederick William IV., this Falstaff among Neroes,— together with his brother, this corporal among princes — every inch a brute— had the citizens of Berlin shot down by the hundreds, because they had become tired of his perjuries; and, when the people nevertheless became victorious, the royal murders were changed into "misunderstandings." A still greater number of murders, and still more shameful, the same hypocrite ordered to be conmitted in Saxony and Baden; only they were not misunderstandings here, because the people was conquered. The summit of murderous infamy he ascended in Schleswig-Holstein where he had friends and foes murdered by thousands in the name of patriotic honor, in the most atrocious treachery that the world has ever seen, in order to harvest patriotic disgrace as the murderer's prize when the treachery had been accomplished. In the present lord and master of Berlin, Prussian politics has found the fullest expression, its most speaking impersonation: malice protected by hypocrisy, cowardice protected by treachery, crime protected by murder. Vengeance 1
Francis Joseph, the young monster, born of a Serene Hyena and fed upon the blood of martyrs, at the same time unnerved by lust before he reached the age of maturity, reminds us of those broken down Romans who drank the blood of slaves, in order to refresh their wasted powers. How many murders are already heaped upon the head of this young Austran criminal and his old accom-plicesl His hoary executioner Radetzky alone has had 4000 men of freedom murdered singly by the process of "martial law." Austria, together with Hungary and Italy, are tranformed into one great slaughter-house, with one enormous scaffold, on which day and night thousands of executioners with their assistants keep up the work of murder in the name of a boy-knave, in whose way the lantern-post of his murderous servant Latour still waits in vain for a nobler ornament. Vengeance! Vengeance!
The third in the league is the monster at St. Petersburg, this grand-sire of the murder of nations. At every step he passes over corpses, and his throne, like the trophies of Tamerlane, is built from the bones of the murdered. His every word is a sentence of death, and his icy breath emits treachery and murder, by which he aims to make all Europe a cemetery of despotism and a desert of cruelty. He is more fortunate than his predecessors, inasmuch as he has carried on his murderous trade for twenty-five years without being himself murdered. Perhaps his execution is reserved for the people or foreign nations, while it was carried out upon his purttecwsors by the guardians of their palace. Unfor-tuittntriy it is too small a satisfaction, to see the god of the Cossacks and Calmucks one of these days hanging from a lantern-post or dragged through the blood of his servile fellow-murderers by the horse of a Hungarian or a Pole. Vengeance! Vcngcance! Vengeance!
These three criminals are the representatives of that Christian company of murderers which is called the Holy Alliance and which wanted to realize the "religion of lovo and peace" in politics. Their peace is that of the cemetery, and from all the graves in Europe millions of tho victims of their "love" cry for vengeanc. Murder only is their origin, murder their politics, and death their "bliss". Blood is their alpha and omega, blood is their end and their means, blood their joy and their life, blood their dream and their pursuit, blood is their principle, and blood must be their end. Blood is the ink with which the Holy Alliance translated the "religion of love" into politics; with equally bloody characters, the revolution must write its death-sentence. Blood and murder alone can underlie the ethics, where hanging and butchering alone constitute the politics.
Under the auspices of these three allied arch-mur-derers the various smaller tyrants have, for the last thir-ty years, practiced the murderer's trade with all diligence, from the botanist at Dresden who manured bis flowerbeds with blood, to the grave-digger at Naples who transformed one half of his lands into graves for the dead, and the other half into graves for the living.
With the cross in one hand and the sword in the other, the bandit in Paris has at last joined them, that pavvenu in the murderers' profession, who took his way to the throne over the corpses of women and children. From Paris to Larnbessa, from Rome to Cayenne the traces of his murderous hand extend. This mixture of a bandit, a jesuit, and a vagabond has surpassed even his legitimate models in treacherous malice and murderous unscrupulousness.
And what do we learn from the success that has so far attended this murderer, and that hits subverted all ideas of ethics and all the teachings of justice? That a revolution in which only the blood of the revolutionists was shed, was a folly, a crime, whose punishment made a reign of bloody insolence and unscrupulous decision necessary. The blood of reactionaries is always spared only at
the expense of the revolutionists. Every revolution commits suicide, if it shuns the responsibility of murdering the reaction. France atones for her sins of omission more than her sins of commission. Let her do pennance at the graves of Robespiere and of Bar&re, who has sensibly said: "Only the dead do not return". He might have added: "Only the dead do not lie nor murder any more." The French Revolution was burried in this as well as in the last century by the Emigration. Let it be attended to that next time there can be no emigration, unless it can be safely stowed away in some remote corner of the world.
From the bandit in Paris, we pass to his prot6g6 at Rome. Ought not the Pope to go to Paris? It were a great loss for the history of murder, if the bloody hand of jesuit-ism should refuse to annoint the bloody head of allied banditism with the sacred oil of damnation. From the graves of two republics the cadaverous smell rises as a sacrificial odor around the two consecrated heads, and the curses from the lips of the murdered furnish the accompaniment of vengeance for the Te Deum of their glory. Christ died on the cross, yet he had not murdered any one; the hand of his last "successor" drips with the blood of the murdered, and he still lives, lives on a Golgotha of champions of freedom. If he were crucified, more than two criminals would hang by his side to whom he might cry: "Soon you will be with me in—hell". His lips pro-• nounce a "blessing" upon every treachery, every atrocity, every wholesale murder — surely no inappropriate use of this "blessing"; his entire remaining mission is limited to the occupation of putting to the test by the "consecration of every atrocity that wickedness could invent and cruelty execute, the last residue of a superstition which a priest-hood of eighteen centuries has propagated in the
world. A worthy end of the successor of Christ! Already the flames of vengeance begin to crackle, that will burn the scaffolding of tyranny to ashes; and when ye scoundrels shall call for help in the flames, even the last of your followers will answer you with words of vengeance, and exclaim : "Do not forgive them, for they knew what they did!"
Yes they knew what they did. Let us see to it, that
we may also know what we do!
* * * *
We have them now before us in all forms, the representatives of murder. There they stand and await our judgment and our determination. They tell us with praiseworthy decision: "We did murder, we do murder* and shall murder as long as we can. We murder in order to rule, as you must murder to become free. No more discussion is needed concerning the question whether murder as a historical means be a fact — we establish it; no more discussion concerning the question, whether it be an unavoidable necessity—we maintain it; no more discussion concerning the question, whether it be right— we exercise it. Say what you will, and do what you can: " The victor is right "
• Even so, the victor is right. Is their a public opinion that could reach the victors across the sea on the graves of their victims? Is there a power, is there a tribunal that could put the brand on the brows of these colossi of crime? Is there a pillory for them to reach higher than the feet with which they trample down all things? Does not to this day everybody call government that which is only the rule of murder, the sword-law in its most colossal dimensions? Not. the middle ages were the period of sword-law, not until our day did it reach its blossoming time; and who can check it? Are not the murderers, the bandits, recognized, congratulated, and courted even by the representatives of the republics, as soon as they have mounted a throne? Where, then, is the power, the public opinion, the tribunal that could pass judgment on crowned crime? The victor is right, — this is the wisdom before which all bow, to which all do homage, even the "highest judge" in heaven, and the pious Mr. Pierce in Washington.
The reaction has only tools, only the revolution has martyrs. Yet even of this privilege you have been robbed by the despots; they have increased the nnmber of martyrs so vastly, that martyrdom has ceased to have significance. To-day a martyr of liberty falls like a withered blossom from a tree — over night it is blown away and forgotten with thousands of others. The supremacy of crime, the supremacy of violence, the supremacy of the sword, the rule of murder is so fully recognizsd, so well established, has become 60 "legal" and universal, that its victims scarcely find a passing sympathy in quiet concealment. The .maiden mourns the loss of her lover, the mother the loss of her son, who — accidentally was also a martyr in the cause of freedom. This closes the drama; liberty takes no notice of it, and murder continues to rule undisturbed. Forsooth, the victor is right, and—"woe to the vanquished!" is the only consolation of the defeated.
Humanity 1 thou hast lost thy conscience or thy reason. Thou doest recognize that the victor is right, i. e. that murder is right. Thou canst vindicate thy conscience and thy reason, only if thou wilt abolish murder by turning upon all murderers, if thou wilt effect that right controls murder, where now murder controls right Fellow-partisans of liberty, of juslice, of truth, of humanity ! let our
Btudy be murder, murder in every form. In this word there lies more humanity than in all our theories; and if sentimental psychologists would bewilder you by charging you with heartlessness, remember that the most benevolent statesman, the most humane character, the most warm-hearted of the men of the French Revolution was — Robespierre.
Ye good people beyond the sea who continue to perplex yourselves with moral scruples to the great satisfaction of systematic immorality, have you not at your gymnasia declaimed with the permission of the highest* authorities poems in which "Meros, with the dagger under his cloak, crept upon the tyrant;" in which the assassin Tell was praised as liberator, because from safe ambush he shot down the slave of a tyrant ? Have you not heard your loyal teachers praise Brutus who stabbed his own father, and the "heroic youths" Harmodius and Aristogiton who murdered the tyrant Hipparchus? Why are these assassins moral and great men even in the eyes of your own tyrants and their legal and loyal schoolmasters? Because they belong to the past and not to the present, to history and not to life? Translate them from Latin and Greek into Russian and French, and they will be described as "monsters of immorality", although a Harmodius would be more appropriate in St. Petersburg, and a Brutus in Paris, than in ancient Athens and Rome. Nay, Switzerland which to-day celebrates the memory of the assaasin Tell on the walls of every house, all Switzerland becomes the object of persecution for all the reactionary blood-hounds, when a German Tell discharges only a revolutionary thought arrow from his quiver. Make your own applications of this logic. Neither the despots nor the republicans reject murder as "immoral," but they hold it to be moral, only if they practice it themselves, or it if it serves their interest..
Just so is it with the judgment and practice of wholesale murder, of organized murder, called war. They manage the morals of murder as all other morals in order to fetter others thereby, but to tread them under foot themselves. And History, the "just judge" the "final doom" lags usually behind with her judgment and, even then, fashions it frequently after the will of a "victor." Generally she teaches at best that in the past the most just prevailed, but in the present the strongest; that in all the past, justice decided, but in the present the strongest; that in the past, justice decided, but in the present the party; that in the past, the ideal furnished the criterion, but in the present expediency; that in the past justice ought to have prevailed, but that in the present "the victor is right." Finally she teaches that crime is punished at the gallows, if it is too weak to defend itself; but that it is transformed into "right", as soon as it has the power to vindicate itself. A bandit with his accomplices renders some district insecure. The gens d'armes, the "armed authority", are called upon to hunt him down and to secure "respect" for the law. He is captured and hung, in atonement for the past, and as a warning for the future. But suppose he succeeded in defeating the "armed authority", in overthrowing the "law", in taking possession of the land and in making himself its ruler. Then his "band of robbers" is changed into an "army", the "leader of bandits" becomes a "general", the "bandit" is transformed into a "king," and the plundered population gradually grow into loyal subjects who exclaim with utmost enthusiasm "Long live our most gracious king I " In this manner all our kings and emperors originated, and, in order to remind us.
of their origin they have now again become bandits openly and without reserve. They rely upon it: the victor is right, in spite of murder and robbery. But if even that victor is "right" who in truth is in the wrong, how much more must he be "right" who in truth has a right cause. By whatever means he may have gained victory, — the victory alone decides. Whether we gain the victory by powder or by poison, by the sword or the dagger, by fulminating silver or by cannon — the difference is not worth a hair. Only conquer, only annihilate the enemy— that is the only point of view. History will judge us in accordance with this, and our fate will only be decided by the use we make of our victory, not by the manner of gaining it over enemies who have banished every humane consideration from the world.
The greatest of all follies of the world is the belief that it is possible to commit a crime against despots • and their accomplices. This very belief, indeed, is a crime. It were a crime to spare the tiger that rages among a society of defenceless persons, if any one could shoot him down. The despots are out-lawed like tigers. The despots belong to the animal kingdom. • As the despots and their accomplices consider themselves licensed to do any* thing, be it treachery, poison, assassination or what not,— it is permissible to do everything against the despots and their helpers, be it treachery, poison, assassination or what not. Indeed, a "crime" directed against them is not only a right, but also a duty of every one who has an opportunity to commit it; and it will be accounted his glory, if he is successful. Only human beings have an ethics of considerations; for brutes there is only an ethics of destruction. In freedom, in true democracy alone, there can be a perfect code of ethics, and here the use of violence is a crime against the whole people; but the supremacy of violence is a charter for every "immorality" by which it can be annihilated. The "laws" of despots are only decrees of the sword; their "property" is only booty; their punish-is simply "murder." No one can commit a "crime" against their "laws;", no man of the people can "rob" them of their "property"; by striking down their murderous chiefs, the revolutionist becomes, only a liberator of mankind.
In all struggles between the reaction and the revolution, it is self-evident that the reaction is the only aggressive party. Revolution is only self-defence. Murder in self-defence is not only permitted, but is also a duty to society, when it is directed against a professional murderer. The fault of self-defence, as well as of the revolution, usually lies in the fact that it is satisfied with the immediate results without using its victory to secure guarantees for the future. A bandit attacks a traveler and is disarmed by him, but allowed to live; this givea the bandit an opportunity to make surer work of the traveler next time, &nd jeopardizes also the lives of his friends* Just so with the revolution. It is folly and self-betrayal, if it limits self-defence to the result of the moment. It must root out the-reaction in its carriers, its representatives; for its enemies are incurable, like the merely disarmed bandit, like the spared tiger. We know our enemies, we know them all and in every place personally. There will be no more excuse, if they are again spared. Whoever stands beyond the line that separates the ruling powers from the people, is doomed. Let the people execute the sentence, and let them spare only those who were misled, compelled, or powerless.
The road to humanity leads over the summit of cruelty. This is the inexorable law of necessity dictated to us by the reaction. We cannot evade it, unless we would renounce the future. If we would accomplish the end, we must use the means. If we would secure the life of the people, we must secure the death of its enemies; if we would vindicate humanity, we must not shrink—from murder.
There are famous leaders of the revolution, who pos-sessess means and influence. Ask them, if they approve of murder? They would turn away with horror, because they do not wish to lose credit for "morality", because they want to be "genteel" revolutionists. They are reactionaries, genteel traitors. They fashion their ethics in accordance with the judgment of those who oppose the revolution. The respect of the Philistines, old women, and reactionaries is of more value to them than the stand-point, the purpose of the revolution. With their means and their influence they could make murder a cause of the people, they might have annihilated the chief representatives of murder long ago, and thereby unfettered the revolution; but they have more important business, they must waste their means upon useless conspiracies in order to deliver their friends up to the gallows, and to keep the executioners at work. The greatest height, however, to which their revolutionary determination aspires, is in the hope that one day they may be able to overcome their enemies on the "field of battle" with equal weapons. Astonishing gallantry ! Father Radetzky, who is occupied night and day with murder, expressed himself lately with the greatest moral indignation after the Milanese insurrection about "assassination." Lend us your army of murderers, Father Radetzky, or their artas; and we shall no longer need any "assassination", we shall then murder openly in "battle" or "by court-martial" according to your own wishes. Our most famous revolutionists are wholly on the stand-point of Father Radetzky. They allow the enemy, who possesses all means of attack, and who has put all the means of defence out of reach, to prescribe them the defence. It were an entirely new policy, if in the circus the panther should let the buffalo prescribe that he should defend himself with horns against the horns of the buffalo and not immorally leap on its back from behind. The buffalo Radetzky demands that the revolutionists, wholly unarmed as they are, should meet him, after a solemn declaration of war, openly and in armies in optima forma militari with cannons and ammunition-waggons, with cavalry and infantry. Will not Mr. Kossuth agree with him?
After the outbreak of the Hungarian war, the journals announced that the Hungarians had used chain-balls, but had given up these missiles which are even more efficient than the Congreve rocket of the Austrians, when Windischgraetz informed them that the "usages of war" were opposed to their employment. Poor Hungarians! If it is possible to shoot poison, it is to be hoped that you will make use of it next time.
When the Austrians had entered Raab, the reactionary journals announced with most, extreme moral indig-that the meat had been poisoned. It is a pity that the Austrian blood-hounds did not devour it. But there are famous revolutionists who consider it a greater sin to poison an army of sanguinary blood-hounds than it would be to poison an army of innocent rats. Suppose the Swiss at Naples or the Austrians at Milan should some day die of poisoned water or from the explosion of their barracks with fulminating silver, would not all the genteel republicans lament that they were not killed by cannon-balls.
Gentlemen, physics and chemistry may become more important to the revolution than all your gallantry and military science. If with help of poiBon and fire we could render knights and generals superfluous, we should have the double advantage of getting rid not only of the reaction but also of the soldiery established by them, which, however, as it seems, the' "knights and heroes of liberty" would retain from mere pleasure in its motley romance, even if there were no more' enemies to overcome. When we perceive how little certain revolutionists endeavor to corrupt the armies — the most needed thing that they are able to do — we are tempted to assume that they are afraid they might thereby undermine the glorious soldiery in principle also for themselves.
Here are other genteel revolutionists who say, "there are things that may be done, but that should not be proclaimed. This is cowardice. What you dare not proclaim, you should also not permit to be done. Whatever is right should be proclaimed openly, before all the world, so that it may be done as a right If from practical considerations, the particular deed still needs secrecy, the grand principles of our deeds should spurn it. I preach the murder of despots openly, because it is a right, because it is a duty, because it is the only means to save humanity from the rule of murder, and because it must be acknowledged to be universally permitted and just. I know that the famous leaders are not to be relied upon, that they care more for their reputation of gentility than for the radical revolution, and that the heads of the reactionaries are safest in their hands. Therfore, I endeavor to make the murder of despots a cause of the people, so that the people may without considering the genteel great men murder democratically on every occasion, if they would live democratically after the revolution.
But, you say, why do I not give the great men the good example, why do I not myself endeavor to carry out, what the great men fail to do ? Spare your question, ye, who squander the means of action on every adventurer and braggart, that he may waste them uselessly or "deposit them at interest in the bank;" who do not even pay the men of sense and decision for the paper on which they could chide you for your lack of sense, your inactivity, your lack of energy, your littleness, and your wretchedness.
But enough. The doctrine of the murder of tyrants must be short, as the murder itself. Only one thing remains. It was not my object to shed blood and to annihilate tyrants on paper, in order to secure cheap alleviation for long-repressed wrath over a world full of unprecedented disgrace and disgraceful acts. It was my object, in the first place, tQ destroy that false ethical code, to annihilate the "moral scruples" by which thousands, especially of our country-men, are kept from decisive action, even when free opportunity is offered. It was my object to vindicate not only the aims of the revolution, but also its means, including assassination, and to render it as legitimate as the tyrants have dono with their murder by war, their "legal" murder, their murder by "court-martial." My further task is to givo hints concerning tho augmentation and application of shch means. The safety of the despots rests wholly on the preponderance of their means of destruction. Removo their soldiers, or only spike their guns, and they sink trembling into the dust and whine at the feet of their subjects. The first aim then, must be to do away with the preponderance of engines of mass-destruction, which we do not and cannot possess, by means of the homeopathic use, as it were, of powerful destructive substances which it would cost little to furnish and which might be obtained or prepared with little risk of discovery. I am neither soldier, nor chemist, nor engineer, and I must, therefore, leave it to professional men to use the following hints for further inventions.
1) The "Augsburg General Gazette" of the-th reports: "Yesterday afternoon the most terrible, most lamentable event of modern history transpired. When the illustrious crowned heads of Germany, who had assembled at the congress of monarchs at Vienna, made an excursion by railroad, a fearful explosion was heard at a place where the road passes a precipice a hundred feet high. At the same time, the locomotive and the entire train darted over the precipice. All the monarchs broke their necks, and only two mistresses escaped with their lives, so that, at present, Germany is without monarchs. An investigation showed that a revolutionary monster had laid upon the rails a small case of the size of a thimble filled with fulminating silver, which exploded on the first contact with the wheel of the locomotive, and hurled the whole train from the track. A similar accident is said to have overtaken the czar of Russia in the vicinity of Warsaw."
2) The "Vienna Gazette" of the-th writes: "The
guerrillas of the Baconyan Forest now use the following fearful weapon, which is calculated to render individual men terrible to organized masses. They have guns of double the ordinary thickness. These are first charged with a strong charge of powder, and on top of this with an iron capsule fitting the barrel exactly, about four inches long, and conical at the upper end. Inside of this capsule there is another smaller one filled with powder which is closed at the upper point with an easily explosive percussion-cap, and the space between the inner and outer capsule is filled with poisoned iron shot. Whenever this charge is shot against some object, the capsule explodes and scatters a shower of poisoned shot, each grain of which may destroy a human life. In this way a single man, ovinia secum por-tansy may become dangerous to a hundred opponents. Lately such a charge was fired from the forest upon a battalion of imperial chasseurs, and wounded sixty men of whom on the next day fifty had died."
3) The "Prussian State Gazette", now published in
Potsdam, of the-th writes: "Unfortunately General
Wrangel failed entirely in re-conquering' the city of Berlin, which is now wholly in possession of the revolutionists. He was foiled by a desperate mode of defence, by which the rebels demoralized the troops completely. At first they fired iron tubes filled with melted lead, which scattered a deathly shower on the advancing battalions. Nevertheless the gallant soldiers, incited by the Prince of Prussia with the prospect of pillaging the city and of executing all the revolutionists on the spot, penetrated into several avenues. But here they were cut down in companies by explosive bombs which suddenly burst forth from the pavement of the street, and which did such terrible execution, that even the most gallant soldiers could not be induced to proceed further, since at every step they had to fear a fresh explosion. It is said that these explosive bombs consist of shells filled with powder and furnished with a percussion hammer, which are buried beneath the pavement in places which the enemy cannot discover, in such a way that the hammer acts as soon as a foot steps on the stone placed over it. It is said the revolutionists have laid in every avenue such a number of similar bombs, that the capture of the city would cost the lives of 100,000 soldiers. It seems that the men of the revolution no longer deem it necessary to imperil their lives in a useless martyrdom, if mere machines can assure their success. A significant sign of the times! As soon as our present mode of warfare is overthrown and disorganized, the army and the monarchs are lost."
4) The "Milanese Gazette" of the-th reports: "The
party of despair has now recourse to truly diabolical means. Every one who is of any value for the order and morality of society, must tremble day and night for his life. Poison is the universal watchword of the revolutionists, since they are deprived of all other weapons. Cases of poisoning the victuals, the water, the tobacco, etc. for the soldiers, we have previously reported. But their hellish invention has gone farther. Every knife, every dagger, every pin that is drawn against the men of order, is now poisoned. For this purpose they use strychnine, Prussic acid, etc, nay, even the blood of corpses.
"With unexampled refinement of cruelty, they use as a poison even the pus of revolutionists who rotted to death in dungeons, and direct the weapons so poisoned against the most sacred lives. Thus the general of the jesuits and two' cardinals were wounded lately in this fashion, they will die within three days; and His Holiness escaped a similar fate only by the cushion of fat in which the arrow lodged.
"For the poisoning of bullets, the revolutionists, who are now everywhere zealously engaged in the study of physics and chemistry, use only poisons that are not too readily volatilized by heat. They also use glass bullets filled with quicksilver and even with Prussic acid, which, of course, kill without fail, if their contents come in contact with the blood. In filling hollow metal balls with less refractory poison, they mix these first with wax or tallow, in order to avoid their volatilization as much as possible.
"From windows, cellars, holes in walls, etc. they usually discharge their poisoned missiles from air-guns, so that no explosion is heard. But since several of these weapons, too, have been discovered, the monsters use simple trunks or pipe-stems, one or two feet long, made of tin or wood, nay, even maccaroni-tubes, from which they blow against their victims everywhere, even in churches, peas and small arrows with poisoned barbed points. They need only scratch the skin, in order to produce a deadly effect, and the discovery of the perpetrator is rarely possible.
" Our whole art of war and all our cannons are powerless against this homeopathic war of a diabolical party. It is a terrible task in these times to be a man of order. Even loyal men express the doubt that order has been carried too far. But how is it possible to be moderate in" order? We must now murder all, or we shall all be murdered. Merciful Providence ! do not abandon us 1"
5) A correspondent of "La France"' vouches for the following communication: " The ingenuity of the men of the revolution in the production of new means of destruction is equaled by the caution practiced in the organization and disposition of their agents. At the head of their assassins, whom they call liberators, is a single person, whose name has not been mentioned yet in the revolutionary world but who. on account of his reliability and astuteness, enjoys the full confidence of the principal leaders. This person continually receives considerable sums of money, without his knowing whence they come. It is his principal task to have new means of destruction invented and manufactured, and to engage reliable agents that use them. These assistants, fanat-ical men of extreme determination and reliability, exist under all possible characters, do not not know each other, and converse singly with their chief who visits them in their residences, and whose domicile they do not know. It is said that in France and Italy alone there are several hundred of these agents. It is so much the more difficult to escape them, since, if an especially important person is the victim, they are all directed at the same time against him. If one of these should be discovered and arrested, he could not betray the others, even if he should wish to do so, and these others are at once busy to tafce his place and to avenge him.
"This organization of assassins is wholly independent. But besides there is the great revolutionary organization ready to embrace at once the opportunity for seizing control, if the victim that obstructed its path, should have fallen.
"His Majesty has not been able to leave the Tuileries during the past few weeks, because his life was threatened on all sides, although no one knows how and by whom "
6) The "Moniteur" of the-th writes: "His Majesty the Emperor Louie Napoleon and the palace of the Tuileries are no more. The palace was last night suddenly blown up by a terrible explosion, and burried under its ruins the emperor and the entire court, that was just assembled around him. A fearful coup d'etat. The explosion was brought about by a few copper balls about the size of a man's head. These balls had been made by some revolutionist and placed in a lower story by a soldier. The greater part of each ball was filled with nitro-glycerine or, as some maintain, with carbonic acid which, as is well known, has by far more explosive power than powder, and which explodes by a simple elevation of temperature (Its efficiency is greatly increased if the carbonic acid is first liquified by compression.) In order to effect the heating of the gas in the ball, the latter had been furnished with works whose index ignited a small quantity of phosphorous and powder by rapid friction, half an hour after the placing of the balls. In order to avoid the elevation of temperature from the outside and, consequently, a premature explosion, the balls were encased in ice, and, to avoid ignjition by some shock on rolling them into the cellar, the whole was covered with a coat of India rubber. Such effective means only the revolutionists could use. But the time for lamenting is over, and a new era begins. The revolution has conquered; and the victor is right. The "Moniteur" always serves the conqueror. Vae victis!"