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"Well, Jones," I said, "what is it?"

He mumbled something so tremulously and incoherently that I felt really sorry for him. Jones was not a bad fellow, though he was in bad company just then. I told him so, and that it would be best for him to go out quietly, or he might hurt himself. He seemed to be relieved at the suggestion, and when I went from behind the counter and led him toward the door he went willingly enough. But as I put my hand on the latch he remembered his errand, and, with a sudden plucking up of courage at the thought of the waiting gang, he raised the stick to strike at me.

Honestly, I didn't touch the man with a finger. I suppose he stumbled over the sill, as I had sometimes done in my sober senses. Whatever the cause, he fell against the window, and out with him it went, the whole of the glass front, with a crash that resounded from one end of the avenue to the other, and brought neighbors and policemen, among them my friend the captain, on a run to the store. In the midst of the wreck lay Jones, moaning feebly that his back was broken. The beats crowded around with loud outcry.

"He threw him out of the window," they cried. "We saw him do it! Through window and all, threw him bodily! Did he not, Jones?" Jones, who was being picked up and carried into my office, where they laid him on the counter while they sent in haste for the doctor, nodded that it was so. Probably he thought it was. I cannot even blame the beats. It must have seemed to them that I threw him out. They called upon the captain with vehement demand to arrest me for murder. I looked at him; his face was serious.

"Why, I didn't touch him," I said, indignantly. "He must have fallen."

"Fallen !" they shouted. "We saw him come flying through. Fallen! Look at the window." And indeed it was a sorry sight. Dr. Howe came with his instrumentbox, and the crowd increased. The doctor was a young man who had been very much amused by my battle with the beats, and, though he professed no special friendship for me, had no respect for the others. He felt the groaning patient over, punched him here and there, looked surprised, and felt again. Then he winked one eye at the captain and me.

There is

"Jones," he said, "get up! nothing the matter with you. Go and get sober."

The beats stood speechless.

"He came right through this window," they began. "We saw him—”

"Something has come through the window, evidently," said the captain, with asperity, "and broken it. Who is to pay for it? If you say it was Jones, it is my duty to hold you as witnesses, if Mr. Riis makes a charge of disorderly conduct against him, as I suppose he will." He trod hard on my toe. "A man cannot jump through another man's window like that. Here, let me—”

I never heard

But they were gone. from them again. But ever after the reputation clung to me of being a terrible fighter when roused. Jones swore to it, drunk or sober. Twenty witnesses backed him up. I was able to discharge Pat that week. There was never an ill word in my street after that. I suppose my renown as a scrapper survives yet in the old ward. As in the other case, the chain of circumstantial evidence was perfect. No link was missing. None could have been forged to make it stronger.

I wouldn't hang a dog on such evidence. And I think I am justified in taking that stand.


The summer and fall had worn away and no word had come from home. Mother, who knew, gave no sign. Every day, when the letter-carrier came up the street, my hopes rose high until he had passed. The letter I longed for never It was farthest from my thoughts when, one night in the closing days of a hot political campaign, I went to my office and found it lying there. I knew by the throbbing of my heart what it was the instant I saw it. I think I sat as much as a quarter of an hour staring dumbly at the unopened envelope. Then I arose slowly, like one grown suddenly old, put it in my pocket, and stumbled homeward, walking as if in a dream. I went up to my room and locked myself in.

It lies before me as I write, that blessed letter, the first love-letter I had ever received; much faded and worn, and patched in many places to keep it together. The queer row of foreign stamps climbing over one another-she told me afterward that she had no idea how many were

needed for a letter to America, and was
afraid to ask, so she put on three times
more than would have been enough-and
the address in her fair round hand,
Mr. Jacob A. Riis

Editor South Brooklyn News
Fifth Avenue cor. Ninth Street
Brooklyn, N. Y.
North America,

the postmark of the little town of Hadersleben, where she was teaching school, the old-fashioned shape of the envelope they all then and there entered into my life and became part of it, to abide forever with light and joy and thanksgiving. How

much of sunshine one little letter can contain! Six years seemed all at once the merest breath of time to have waited for it. Toil, hardship, trouble-with that letter in my keep? I laughed out loud at the thought. The sound of my own voice sobered me. I knelt down and

prayed long and fervently that I might strive with all my might to deserve the great happiness that had come to me.

The stars were long out when my landlord, who had heard my restless walk overhead, knocked to ask if anything was the matter. He must have seen it in my face when he opened the door, for he took a sidelong step, shading his eyes from the lamp to get a better look, and held out

his hand.

"Wish you joy, old man," he said, heartily. "Tell us of it, will you?" And I did.

It is true that all the world loves a lover. It smiled upon me all day long, and I smiled back. Even the beats looked askance at me no longer. The politicians who came offering to buy the influence of my paper in the election were allowed to escape with their lives. I wrote I think

I wrote to her every day. At least that is what I do now when I go away from home. She laughs when she tells me that in the first letter I spoke of coming home in a year. Meanwhile, according to her wish, we were to say nothing about it. In the second letter I decided upon the following spring. In the third I spoke of perhaps going in the winter. The fourth and the fifth preferred the from Hamburg, on the heels of a telegram early winter. The sixth reached her announcing that I had that day arrived in the Frisia.

What had happened was that just at the right moment the politicians had concluded, upon the evidence of the recent elections, that they could not allow an independent paper in the ward, and had offered to buy it outright. I was dreadfully overworked. The doctor urged a change. I did not need much urging. So I sold the paper for five times what I had paid for it, and took the first steamer for home. Only the other day, when I was lecturing in Chicago, a woman came up and asked if I was the Riis she had traveled with on a Hamburg steamer twenty-five years before, and who was She had never going home to be married. She and forgotten how happy he was. the rest of the passengers held it to be their duty to warn me that "she" might not turn out as nice as I thought she was. "I guess we might have spared ourselves the trouble," she said, looking me

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A Sacrifice

By Robin Alden

Behold within the woods a touching thing,
A sacrifice to Winter made by Spring.
On trembling stem, in waxen shell-pink cup,
Arbutus' fragrant soul is offered up.

A Study in Twentieth Century Problems

By Lyman Abbott

Chapter VII.-The Single Tax


E have seen that the democracy of industry involves two fundamental principles: first, the right of every man to labor and to earn by his labor enough for the support of his life and that of his family, and the right to possess the fruits of this labor, and do what he will therewith, provided he does not so use them as to violate the rights or impair the welfare of his neighbor; second, the right to an equable share in that common property which is not the product of any man's industry, but the gift of God, and which must therefore be assumed to belong to all God's children. We have seen further that while this first principle is recognized and to some extent maintained by society, the second principle is not recognized; that out of the failure to recognize it grow most of our so-called labor troubles; that the industrial unrest and agitation is an attempt, often blind and ill directed, to bring about a more equable division of this common wealth.


Such a division can be accomplished either by revolution or evolution. Our present industrial system throughout the civilized world is based upon the private ownership of the common wealth. common ownership of the common wealth, wherever it has been attempted, has failed to furnish any adequate reward to enterprise, and so any adequate incentive to industry. Communism in all its forms assumes in man a virtue which he does not possess, and fails to furnish that stimulus which is essential, not only to the production of the greatest wealth, but to the development of the best character. If the present industrial system were overturned by a revolution, and the people were to become owners in common of the common wealth, the result would be a derangement of the industrial organization which would bring immeasurable suffering, accompanied with gross injustice, upon all classes of the community. It

would be a revolution like that of France in 1789, probably accompanied with distress more widespread, though possibly ameliorated by the humanitarian spirit which did not exist in France a century ago. Such a revolution might possibly be endured if great benefits were to follow, but, so far as it is possible to foresee, great benefits would not follow. For the common ownership of the common land, if effected, would probably produce in civilized communities the same sort of effect which it has produced in India, in Russia, and among the North American Indians. What society needs is not a revolution which will destroy private property in the common wealth, but an evolution which will accomplish changes as great by processes more gradual, and will leave operative on character and society all the incentives which private ownership affords, and will yet preserve for all the people their right to an equable share in the benefits of that wealth which is not produced by personal industry. The method proposed for this purpose, a method which makes very slow progress, and in spite of years of agitation is as yet understood only by the few, is that miscalled the Single Tax.

At present the expenses of governments are chiefly met by three forms of taxation: a tariff tax on imports, a tax on incomes, and a tax on property, real and personal.

The tariff on imports is an unjust tax because it is levied, not upon property nor on income, but upon expenditure. The rich man calls on government for much greater protection than the poor man. If he is a landlord, he has a hundred houses to be protected; the poor man has but one. If he is a stockholder in a great railroad, he has a highway thousands of miles long to be protected, while the poor man has nothing but the pathway from his front door to his gate. The rich man ought therefore to pay a very much larger tax than the poor man. It ought to be proportioned to the value of his property, because the value of his

property determines, roughly speaking, the amount of protection which he needs. He who has fifty millions of dollars invested in mines, railroads, oil-wells, ought to pay nearly ten thousand times as much taxes as the householder who has a home in the village or a farm in the country worth five thousand dollars. But if the tax is levied upon imports, he who has fifty million dollars to protect does not pay ten thousand times more taxes than he who has five thousand dollars in a homestead to be protected. The millionaire wears somewhat more expensive clothing, lives in a somewhat more expensive house, has somewhat more expensive furniture, eats somewhat more expensive food; but it is perfectly evident that he cannot, if he tries, expend on himself and his family ten thousand times as much as his humbler neighbor. Taxes, therefore, levied on expenditure are always and necessarily unjust.

The second tax is one on incomes. The income can generally be ascertained only by the statement of the man who has the income; an income tax, therefore, tempts every man to make false statement of his income in order to reduce his tax. A tax system which involves wholesale temptation is not a system to be commended if any better one can be found. But this is not all. Men who live upon salaries can state their income accurately; men who live upon profits derived from business cannot state their income accurately. It often happens that a business man cannot tell in any given year whether he has made any profit. He never can tell accurately how much profit he has made, for he must always make allowance for the rise in value of some things he has purchased and the fall in value of others, and this estimate of stock in hand is rarely more than a shrewd guess. An income tax, therefore, falls proportionately more heavily on the man whose income is in salaries or wages than on the man whose income is in profits. That is, it falls more heavily on the dependent, if not on the poorer, classes. But that is not all. Income, again, may be derived from industry, or it may be derived from investment. The investment is property which the government must protect, and the protection of this property requires governmental expenditure, while the pro

tection of the individual requires but little governmental expenditure, and practically no more for the man who is earning a hundred dollars a day than for the man who is earning one dollar a day. An income tax, therefore, is, in the third place, inequable because it is not proportioned to the expenditure demanded of the government by the persons taxed. A tax on income derived from industry is a tax on industry itself, which should be the last to be taxed.

The third source of government revenue is a tax upon property, real and personal. If the value of all property, real and personal, could be justly estimated, and the tax could be levied on the property thus estimated in the proportion of its actual value, the result would be a just and reasonable tax; but in effect this is impossible. For government is dependent upon the citizen's own statement for its knowledge of the citizen's personal property. It is largely dependent on his statement for its estimate of the value of that property. The citizen is thus brought under temptation both to conceal the pos- session of personal property and underestimate its value, and in point of fact this temptation is so considerable that personal property largely escapes taxation. This escape of personal property from taxation is so common, and the frauds and falsehoods into which men are led by the desire to secure the same exemption which their neighbors secure is so great, that the abolition of all tax on personal property has been very earnestly urged by both moral reformers and financial reformers in the interest both of simplicity and of justice. Yet it seems difficult, if not impossible, to defend on abstract principles a system of taxation which levies all the expenses of government on real estate, for no other reason than that real estate cannot be hidden away from the assessor's inspection. Why should the man who has put his industry into a house pay a tax, while the man who has put his industry into horses, carriages, dresses, or bank stock-that is, money loaned to others-not pay a tax? The one derives benefit from the government no less than the other. Justice would seem to require that he should pay as well as the other.

The so-called Single Tax proposes to

rid government of all these perplexities by assuming as true what in the previous article I have tried to show is true, that land and its contents are not proper subjects of private ownership; that the land which in the Hebrew commonwealth belonged to God, and in the feudal system belonged to the king, in a republic belongs to all the people. It proposes to make them the landlord, and it asserts that if as landlord they receive a rental which fairly represents the value of the land and its contents, no one will need to pay any taxes; that if, in other words, the people come by their own, they have income enough for all the expenses of government, and probably some to spare.

Thus properly speaking, the Single Tax is not a tax at all. It is an exemption from all taxation by means of a resumption of the common wealth by its owners, the common people. What would be called a tax would really be a rental, and this rental would be based, not on the idea that the man who pays it pays for the protection which government affords his property; it would be based on the idea that the man who pays it pays to the owner of the land a rental for the land of which he is the tenant. This rental would be paid, or this tax would be levied, not on real estate, but on land and its contents. All that human industry had done to improve the land would belong to the owner-he would pay no tax on it; all the value inherent in the land as God has made it, or added to the land by what the Fublic has done for it, would belong to the public, and this value the public would receive in rental, or taxation.

Thus, let the reader imagine two plots of ground, each one hundred acres in extent, side by side in a rural district where wild land sells for five dollars an acre. One of them is wild. No tree is felled, no plow has ever turned the virgin soil, no fence has been erected. Everything is as nature made it. The other is a cultivated farm, with house, barns, outhouses, orchard, cultivated meadow-land. The uncultivated land is worth in the market five hundred dollars; the cultivated farm would be worth five thousand dollars. But for purposes of taxation each would be estimated as worth five hundred dollars, and on that five hundred dollars the tax or rent would be

estimated, and for the simple reason that the man who had built the house and the barn and the outhouses, and planted the orchard, and constructed the fences, would not pay any tax on this wealth, which is the product of his industry. Of this the people are not the owners; he is the owner. Or, again, let the reader imagine two lots side by side in the center of a great city, where a lot one hundred feet by fifty is worth a thousand dollars. One stands vacant; on the other a ten-thousand-dollar building has been erected. On each lot the same tax would be paid, or, to speak more accurately, for each lot the same rent would be collected, because the owner of the building would pay no rent for that building, which is the product of his industry; he would pay rent only for the land, which is not the product of his industry, the value of which has been created partly by the God who made it, partly by the entire community who live in its vicinity, and who, therefore, should receive the benefit of the value which their presence and activity have conferred upon it.

In a similar manner the owner of a mine-whether coal, gold, copper, or iron would pay in rent the value of the mine as fairly estimated before ever a pick had been put into the hillside. All the product of the industry which had opened up the mine and made its treasure available would belong to him. All the value of the mine as raw material, and all the increased value of that mine due to the opening of railroads, the increase of population, the development of civilization, would belong to the State, not to the owner, because it would be the gift of God enhanced by the product of the general activity of the community. The value thus added by the general social conditions which surround land is the "unearned increment" of which the reader so often hears in the discussion of this subject.

But, as we have seen, it is not only land and its contents that belong to the public. Forces of nature belong to the public also. The right of the public to these forces is now recognized by our patent laws, which give to the patentee a right to his special use of them only for a limited term. It is quite conceivable that these patent laws should be so modified as to enable government, and perhaps

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