C. L. James

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This article is about the American Anarchist writer Charles L. James (1846–1911), who published under the name C. L. James. For information on the Trinidadian Trotskyist/autonomist writer Cyril Lionel Robert James (1901–1989), who published under the name C. L. R. James, see Wikipedia:C. L. R. James.

Charles L. James (October 23, 1846 – June 3, 1911), or C. L. James, was a prolific but reclusive American Anarchist writer of the late 19th and early 20th century. He published numerous books, pamphlets, songs, and articles. His writing and letters were widely published in Anarchist journals and newspapers including The Alarm, Free Society, Liberty, Discontent, The Demonstrator, and Mother Earth.

C. L. James was born in Baden-Baden, Germany in 1846, the son of the British writer and diplomat George Payne Rainsford James[1] and Frances James.[2] He was born while his family was on holiday in Germany (to allow George to do research for his History of Richard Couer de Lion[3]). In 1850, his father moved with Charles and the rest of his family to the United States, in order to accept a diplomatic post, first in Massachussets, and then, in 1852, in Norfolk, Virginia.[4]

When G. P. R. James died abroad in 1860,[5] Charles's widowed mother, Frances James, settled in Eau Claire along with Charles and his brother George.[6] In Eau Claire, Charles worked as an insurance agent and newspaper editor for the Argus, the Alma Weekly Express and the Eau Claire Free Press.[7] He married Maria C. James in 1874[8]; they had three daughters, Victoria James, Blanche James, and Frances James.[9]

James began writing for newspapers and publishing poems, essays, and pamphlets on Transcendentalist philosophy and the emerging free love movement. He joined the Knights of Labor (for whom he wrote a series of labor song-poems) and served as a city alderman from 1887 to 1888.[10] In 1886, he began issuing a series of pamphlets, articles, and letters defending Anarchist social theory, which he continued throughout his life. He developed a fascination with the works of Thomas Robert Malthus, leading to a series of letters and articles defending Malthusian economics as an important source of insight for Anarchist social theory.[11] In 1893 James traveled to Chicago and briefly attended a convention of Anarchists held in parallel with the World's Columbian Exposition, where he met Voltairine de Cleyre and Honoré Jaxon.[12] For the most part, however, he remained reclusive during his later life, and outside his local community he was little known except through his writing.[13]

James died in Eau Claire at the age of 65 in 1911. Obituaries and reminiscences in his honor were published by his friends and correspondents in Mother Earth.[14]

Contents

Works By

Works About

Sources

"Literary Notes," New York Times, September 13, 1886.

From "Literary Notes", New York Times, September 13, 1886:

—Mr. C. L. James, the Anarchist Alderman and agitator of Eau Claire, is said by a Western newspaper to be a son of G. P. R. James, the novelist. Another son of the novelist also lives at Eau Claire, as well as the widow, a lady now approaching her eightieth year.

Voltairine de Cleyre, in Free Society (1900)

From Free Society, Vol. VI. No. 46, Whole No. 286 (September 30, 1900). 1.

A READING COURSE FOR ANARCHISTS
I think all of our comrades frequently have occasion to feel the gaps in their definite knowledge concerning the evidences which support Anarchistic theory. I wish to suggest, therefore, that we adopt a plan recently suggested by Isador Ladoff in the Social Democratic Herald, calling upon Socialists to form themselves into reading groups during the coming winter, and follow a regular outline of study,—an outline prepared with much apparent thought and beautifully systematized. Running my eye through the proposed studies (which include a careful analysis of the feudal system, village community, trade guilds, etc.,) I saw that many of the books referred to were, to my thinking, more to our purpose than theirs; and I concluded to make this suggestion; and at the same time to ask our most learned and systematic thinker, C. L. James, to outline for us a regular order of subjects to be taken up seriatim, and to name the books we are to consult, specially indicating those chapters most necessary, and enumerating under separate head those works of less direct bearing, which readers having more time may also peruse.
I feel certain he will do this, and do it most ably. Meanwhile let us be forming classes, so that we may be ready to go ahead as soon as the first subject is announced.
Of course many who are not in the industrial centers will not be able to obtain all the books; but certainly in all the large cities there are free libraries enough so that a group of ten or twelve readers can always manage to have the required book.
Let us take up the work as quiet students, not as disputatious wranglers, and we shall get more solid information in a short space of time, than by the unmethodical argument too often indulged in at our meetings. Let us saturate ourselves with the facts concerning Anarchistic tendencies in society; then we may hope to convert others.
Voltairine de Cleyre.

From Mother Earth (1911)

"The Death of C. L. James," from "Observations and Comments," in Mother Earth VI.4 (June, 1911). 103-104:

Just before going to press we learn that Comrade C. L. James, well-known in the radical movement as one of the most intellectual Anarchists of America, died June 3rd, at his home in Eau Claire, Wis.
The name of C. L. James is familiar to our readers from the numerous works on Anarchism and related subjects written by our deceased comrade, as well as by his contributions to Mother Earth. In a letter to a friend, the daughter of C. L. James writes: "The last thing my father wrote was what I have copied and enclose to you. It was for Mother Earth. He wrote it after the doctor told him he could not recover. He was very feeble, but his mind was serene and at its best, and among other things he often spoke of Mother Earth, warmly as his wont."
Owing to lack of time, a more extended appreciation of our departed Comrade must be postponed till next month.

From James F. Morton Jr., "C. L. James,", obituary in Mother Earth, Vol. VI, No. 6 (August, 1911), 172-174.

The death of C. L. James, at the age of 65 years, removes from the ranks of Anarchism and from radical propaganda in general one of the most striking figures known to the American movement. His ripe scholarship and the immense range of his studies rendered him a powerful protagonist in public discussion; and few who met him in the field of debate have come away unscarred. He was, with good cause, held to be the most profound scholar among American Anarchists; and his name often did yeoman service in confuting the incautious slanderer of the Anarchist movement, who upbraided it as appealing only to the fanatical and ignorant.
Not many biographical details are at hand, as the life of Comrade James was, at least during the years in which he was best known to American radicals, somewhat that of a recluse. For many years he resided at Eau Claire, Wis., where he seems to have led the quiet life of a scholar, dividing his time between active propaganda with the pen and laborious research and literary activity of a constructive nature. Rarely did he leave his home, to mingle personally with the outside world; and therefore few radicals have known him otherwise than through correspondence. He was born, according to information which has been supplied, in Baden-Baden, Germany, October 23, 1846, and died in Eau Claire, Wis., June 3, 1911. His father, I believe, was G. P. R. James, the famous English novelist of an earlier day. When he came first to this country, or when and how he became interested in radical opinions and a convert to the Anarchist school of philosophy, I am not informed. I trust that the facts regarding his early years may be brought out by application to his surviving relatives. From a rough list of his principal writings, it appears that his earliest published works were a volume of poems and a book on Transcendental Philosophy, both which appeared in 1871. In 1886, he appears as a defender of the Anarchistic position, in a pamphlet entitled "Anarchy." . From that time on, he is seen in the radical ranks, almost invariably occupying a post in the extreme advance. Among the books and pamphlets issued by him are noted "Law of Marriage," "Degeneracy," "Origin of Religious Systems," "An Appeal to Women," "British Conquest of America," "Origin of Anarchism," and "History of the French Revolution." Works yet to appear in book form are "Vindication of Anarchism," published serially in Free Society a few years since, and "Economy as Viewed by an Anarchist," now appearing in Mother Earth. With regard to the entire body of his work, he made the following statement, shortly before his death: "All may be considered extracts from the (MS.) 'History of the World,' which is the work of my life." It may be hoped that much valuable manuscripts in relation to his great life-purpose may be secured, and may prove available for posthumous publication.

From The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: A History 1916-1976 (1976)

From Hilda R. Carter and John R. Jenswold (1976), The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: A History 1916-1976, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation. 30:

Blanche James, who taught mathematics, was a native of Eau Claire with a romantic family history. Her grandfather was the renowned English novelist C.P.R. James [sic], who was British consul at Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, from 1852 to 1858. After James died in Venice, Italy, in 1860, his widow came to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to make her home with a son, George W. James, who was a bookkeeper in the Daniel Shaw Lumber Company. Another son, Charles L. James, had found his way to Eau Claire, and he was the father of Blanche and her two sisters, known as "the James girls" and women of some distinction. Miss James had a master's degree from the University of Minnesota. Before Miss Miller's advent as first dean of women, Blanche James chaired a committee of the faculty whose responsibility was to find housing for students.

From State Historical Society of Wisconsin (1911)

From Ada Tyng Griswold, M.L. (1911), "Annotated Catalogue of Newspaper Files in the Library of The State Historical Society of Wisconsin," Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 295.

Alma Weekly Express. July, 1869-70, F8. 1874078. 2 v. F7.
Continuation (July, 1869) of Alama Journal, q. v.; published by George W. Gilkey and John E. Stillman, till 1871; John Humner and J. W. DeGroff, on month; Humner and C. L. James (son of the novelist, G. P. R. James), one year; DeGroff & James, 1872-April, 1873; DeGroff and A. Rockwell; a few months; then by DeGroff alone. Styled Buffalo Journal (its original title in 1861), June, 1879. Republican,

From Ada Tyng Griswold, M.L. (1911), "Annotated Catalogue of Newspaper Files in the Library of The State Historical Society of Wisconsin," Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 321.

Eau Claire Free Press (w). Apr. 28, 1859; April, 1867-May, 1889. 7 v. F7. May, 1889-1900. 6v. F6.
—— Same (d). Nov., 1883–May, 1885. 2 v. F7.
Founded Aug., 1858, by Charles G. Patterson; conducted by him about eight months; Gilbert E. Porter, May, 1859, till about May, 1864 (in partnership with E.G. Benjamin, Apr.–June, 1860); office then destroyed by fire. Continued by John B. and H. M. Stocking; again burned out, Jan., 1866; revived two months later, and conducted by the Stockings until Dec., 1869; J. M. Brackett, 1870–Apr., 1875 (in partnership with Rodman Palmer, 1870–July, 1871; with John Humner, Dec. 1872–Apr., 1875); then by Free Press Printing Co., till 1881; edited successively by Brackett, Charles L. James (son of G. P. R. James, English novelist), and J. A. Whitmore. Continued by J. H. Keyes and J. H. Waggoner, 1881-87; Waggoner alone, till Mar., 1890; Hc. Ashbaugh till Dec., 1901, when it was absorbed by Evening Telegram, q. v. Daily established Jan., 1873. Issued German edition, styled Freie Presse, to advocate interests of Chippewa Valley (beginning in May, 1873). Absorbed Dec., 1860, Chippewa Valley Pioneer (established July, 1869, at Chippewa Falls, and conducted by Arthur W. Delany); and in Apr., 1880, Western Tribune (founded May, 1879, by C. S. Ellison, at Eau Claire). Published series of articles, "Chippewa Valley History," by Thomas E. Randall, May, 1874–Feb., 1875. Republican.

From John Calvin Colson (1983), "Academic Ambitions and Library Development"

From John Calvin Colson, "Academic Ambitions and Library Development: The American Bureau of Industrial Research and The State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1904-18." University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science Occasional Papers Number 159 (May 1983, ISSN 0276 1769). 15, 19, 47n93,94.

In the spring of 1905 the Bureau, for all practical purposes, was composed of four people: John R. Commons, Helen L. Sumner, John B. Andrews, and Ulrich B. Phillips. ... Andrews, who came to the Bureau during the 1904-05 academic year, began an extensive correspondence with trade union officials and others who had been active in the labor movement—broadly construed: anarchists, syndicalists, socialists, and others.
[...]
A similarly extensive correspondence occurred with C. L. James, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, resulting in the contribution of a number of unsolicited manuscripts and more in accord with the program of the Bureau. James, a noted Midwestern "anarchist," contributed such works as "The Industrial History of the Chippewa Valley" (20 pages, 1907), "Anarchism" (30 pages, 1907), and "Who Killed McKinley?" (51 pages, 1907).93
Finally, in a classical bit of graduate student opportunism, Andrews was able to use his position with the Bureau to his own benefit as a scholar. In the fall or early winter of 1907, he wrote to a number of prominent "anarchists," and asked them to submit their opinions on the subject of "economic competition." Replies were received from at least a dozen of those, including C. L. James, Emma Goldman, William Baillie (Boston), Joseph Labadie, and E. H. Rogers. Andrews used the replies as a basis for a paper submitted to Ely's seminar in economics, and presented subsequently to the American Economic Association at its meeting in Madison in 1908.94
[...]
93. They were closely written on five by eight inch paper in a clear, strong hand. An earlier work by C. L. James, "A Vindication of Anarchism," was published serially in the newspaper Free Society. (James, C. L., "A Vindication of Anarchism." Free Society, March to Sept. 1903, pp. 6-7.)
94. Andrews to C. L. James, 13 Feb. 1908, John R. Commons Papers, Manuscripts Dept., State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison.


From Clark D. Halker (1991), For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-95

From Clark D. Halker (1991), For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-95. The Working Class in American History. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-01747-1. 53-54, 68n19.

In addition to those thirteen shopkeeper song-poets, seven individuals with white-collar occupations also pursued a prolabor path. None served more zealously than [[Wikipedia:Eau Claire, Wisconsin, insurance agent C. L. James. He unswervingly devoted himself to advancing the working class in his community, region, and nation. James joined the Knights in his hometown and acted as their spokesperson while serving as alderman from 1887 to 1888. An avowed anarchist, he regularly contributed to the Alarm and kept close ties with Chicago anarchists. His essays on economics established him as an important figure in anarchism.19
[...]
Self-proclaimed M.D., B.M. Lawrence wrote his song-poems prior to the ascendance of the Knights of Labor. Lawrence joined Butler, Hugh Cameron, and C. L. James as one of those odd characters attached to the labor movement. [...]
19 For an example of C. L. James's song-poetry, see "Voltaire," Alarm, 23 January 1886. Articles and correspondence by James were a regular feature in the Alarm from 1886 to 1888. He appears in Eau Claire City Directory as "collector" (1882); as "insurance" (1885), 174, and as "sixth ward alderman" (1887), 181.

From Halker, Ibid. 151, 164 n. 44.

Song-poems, letters to the editors, essays, reprinted speeches, and editorials all fulminated against the nation's clergymen. Writers even took individual clergy or clerical groups to task. Everyone from the early social gospel advocate Washington Gladden to an unknown Rahway, New Jersey clergyman invited stricture.44
44 See, for example, Anon. "A Clergyman from Rahway, N.J.," Labor Leader, 27 September 1890; Anon., "A Small Stream from a Large Fountain," Workingman's Advocate, 21 September 1866; William Holmes, "An Open Letter," Alarm, 15 November 1884, C. L. James, "An Open Letter," ibid., 20 March 1886' Samuel Shaw, "Society Has Been Warned," Journal of United Labor 10 (November 1889): 2; and William Whitworth, "To Rev. Mr. Spencer," Cleveland Citizen, 4 June 1892. See also "Rabbi Gries," ibid., 27 January 1894

From Halker, Ibid. 206.

The ideological foundation of labor suggested more direct strengths as well. The ideology enjoyed wide and diverse appeal precisely because it spoke directly to many shopkeepers, farmers, artisans, and laborers, both natives and immigrants. These workers and producers could be deeply touched when the labor movement issued cries for liberty, equality, democracy; condemned capitalists as parasites, vampires, and leeches; and admonished workers to join the fight for a more Christian world. Individuals as diverse as Michael McGovern, an Irish-Catholic immigrant puddler; Patrick Maloney, a saloon keeper; James Tallmadge, a priner; Charles Haynes, a musician; and Mary Agnes Sheridan, a carpet-mill operative, could thus write song-poems supporting the labor movement. Insurance agent and alderman C. L. James could work diligently for labor in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin. Storekeeper MRs. S. E. Lenfest could join a miners' local of the Knights of Labor in Aspen, Colorado. The kind of thinking represented in song-poems attracted such individuals, however, only as long as different groups in society perceived themselves as sharing similar identity and desire for common action. By the 1890s, as changes in the economy begat change in social structure, a shared identity became difficult.

From Candace Falk (2008), Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, Volume 2: Making Speech Free: 1902-1909

From Candace Falk (2008), "Introduction," in Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, Volume 2: Making Speech Free: 1902-1909, University of Illinois Press. 11:

Only a week before Czolgosz's act, C. L. James published "The Monster Slayer" in Free Society (1 September 1901).

From Candace Falk (2008), "Introduction," in Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, Volume 2: Making Speech Free: 1902-1909, University of Illinois Press. 45:

In its early years, Mother Earth magazine advertised, and the Mother Earth Publishing Association distributed, a variety of rare books and pamphlets on both political and literary topics. Many of its core anarchist texts (including almost all the works of Kropotkin, along with selected material from C. L. James, Leo Tolstoy, and Jean Grave, the French anarchist editor and writer) were imported from London's Freedom Press.

From Candace Falk (2008), editor's notes on "To Peter Kropotkin, New York, 27 August 1908," in Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, Volume 2: Making Speech Free: 1902-1909, University of Illinois Press. 361:

3 ... C. L. James's "Anarchism and the Malthusian Theory" was serialized in the April through August 1909 issues of Mother Earth and then published as a Mother Earth pamphlet entitled Anarchism and Malthus in 1910.

From Candace Falk (2008), "Directory of Periodicals," in Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, Volume 2: Making Speech Free: 1902-1909, University of Illinois Press. 550-551:

The Demonstrator Home [Colony], Wash. vol. 1, no. 1 (11 March 1903)-vol. 2. no. 14 (26 October 1904), weekly; vol. 2, no. 15 (16 November 1904)-vol. 5, no. 15 (19 February 1908), semi-monthly; subtitled A Weely (later Semi-Monthly) Periodical of Fact, Thought and Comment. Continuation of Discontent. Intended especially for the Home Colony community. The Demonstrator was nonetheless the only English-language anarchist newspaper in the United States following the close of Free Society. First edited by James F. Morton, Jr., then by Jay Fox; and then by Lawrence Cass, the editor of The Emancipator, which merged with The Demonstrator in July 1907, and finally by the Demonstrator Group, whose notice was signed by Gertie Vose. Under Jay Fox, the paper took a more labor-oriented and international tone, and began displaying the IWW emblem and running "International Notes" by Andrew Klemencic. Included positive reports on EG and in the 2 October 1907 issue printed a solicitation from EG and George Bauer, AB, Voltairine de Cleyre, Hippolyte Havel, and Harry Kelly for seed money to fund a labor-oriented anarchist weekly. Contributors included Moses Harman, Lizzie M. Holmes, C. L. James, Joseph Labadie, Jules Scarceriaux, and Horace Traubel. On 18 December 1907, a call for funds to improve the press was issued, but the paper folded two months later. See Discontent, below.
Disconent: "Mother of Progress" Lakebay, then Home [Colony], Wash.: vol. 1, no. 1 (11 May 1898)-vol. 4, no. 31 (30 April 1902), weekly. Anarchist communist newspaper published by O. A. Verity, the Discontent Publishing Group, and others at Home Colony. James F. Morton, Jr., became editor after Free Society moved to Chicago. Contributors included Cassius V. Cook, Lizzie Holmes, and C. L. James. Following the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, the paper faced increased harassment, including an unannounced suspension of mailing in Tacoma, Washington, the indictment and arrest of associates for obscenity, and the eventual closing of the Home post office. The paper was suspended and continued by The Demonstrator.
[...]
Free Society San Francisco: 14 November 1897-December 1901, weekly; Chicago: February 1901-1904; New York: 27 March-20 November 1904. Succeeded The Firebrand. Anarchist communist newspaper edited by Abe Isaak. Free Society was the principal English-language forum for anarchist ideas in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Contributors included Kate Austin, Voltairine de Cleyre, Michael Cohn, Jay Fox, Lizzie Holmes, William Holmes, C. L. James, Harry Kelly, James F. Morton, Jr., and Ross Winn.

From Candace Falk (2008), "Directory of Periodicals," in Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years, Volume 2: Making Speech Free: 1902-1909, University of Illinois Press. 553:

Mother Earth New York: March 1906-August 1917, monthly; subtitled Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature. Anarchist journal published by EG and edited variously by EG, Max Baginski, AB, and Hippolyte Havel. Baginski was the usual author of the "News and Comments" section. Contributors included Leonard Abbot, Adeline Champney, John R. Coryell, Voltairine de Cleyre, Floyd Dell, Jay Fox, Aleden Freeman, Wikipedia:Bolton Hall, Sadakichi Hartmann, Lizzie M. Holmes, William Holmes, C. L. James, Harry Kelly, Peter Kropotkin, William C. Owen, BR, Lola Ridge, Theodore Schroeder, John Kenneth Turner, Charles Erskine Scott Wood; also printed some letters of Francisco Ferrer.

From Liberty (1886-1903)

Gertrude B. Kelly, "Mr. Walker's Neo-Nonsense", in Liberty, Vol. IV.—No. 4. Whole No. 82 (June 19, 1886), p. 8:

A true Malthusian (I have been unable to discover what constitutes a Neo-Malthusian) sees no other cause for poverty but over-population, no other remedy for poverty but a reduction of the population, and therefore a Malthusian who is a labor-reformer is an anomaly, a contradiction, an absurdity. As to the Malthusians tending towards Anarchy, I wish Mr. Walker would point them out. Mr. Walker and Mr. James tend toward Anarchism, but Mrs. Besant tends just as strongly towards State Socialism.

Gertrude B. Kelly, "Mr. Walker Can Say More Than One 'Really Foolish Thing,'" in Liberty, Vol. IV. No. 7. Whole No. 85. p. 7:

As to the object and result of the Malthusian theory in affecting the growth of socialism, I would refer Mr. Walker to my reply to Mr. James. Malthus's work was intended to serve, and served, no other interests but those of the reaction.

Benjamin R. Tucker, "On Picket Duty," Liberty, Vol. VI.—No. 11. Whole No. 141 (January 19, 1889), p. 1:

The readers of the "Truth Seeker" are struggling with the hen-and-egg "chestnut": "If a hen and a half lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many eggs will six hens lay in seven days?" Among those who have grappled it is C. L. James, of Eau Claire, the well-known "Communistic Anarchist" and Malthusian economist. He offers this answer: "Let us translate the date into decimal fractions, and we have 1.5 hens lay 1.5 eggs in 1.5 days. All these may, according to the familiar rule, be multiplied by ten without changing their relations. Therefore fifteen hens will lay fifteen eggs in fifteen days; and therefore, again, one hen lays one egg a day. Six hens in seven days will lay six times seven, or forty-two eggs." According to Mr. James's reasoning, then, if one man can make one pair of shoes in one day, we need only apply the "familiar rule" to find that ten men can make ten pairs of shoes, not in one day (or perhaps even less) as we bourgeois Anarchists claim, but in ten days. Coming from a Communistic Anarchist, this is the severest blow at his sect's dogma of the immense advantage of associative production that I have ever seen dealt it. Or is his arithmetic no better than his Anarchism? I fear the latter is the true explanation. But if not, Malthusianism too must go by the board. Let us apply the "familiar rule," Mr. James, and see. We will assume that one couple produces, on average, one child in one year. (It is a large allowance, but it will be seen, as the demonstration proceeds, that we can afford to be generous with the Malthusians.) We will assume further that there are a billion couples on the planet. (More generosity on our part.) From these data it follows by the "familiar" Jamesian mathematics that a billion couples will produce a billion children in a billion years. Now, if there are only a billion births in a billion years, there can be only one birth a year, on an average. Supposing the annual death-rate to be one in thirty, in a population of two billion the number of deaths per year would be sixty-six million. Now, with one birth and sixty-six million deaths every year, it is obvious that the time when population will exceed the capacity of the earth to support it lies in a future literally infinitely remote, for in a trifle over one generation the earth will be cleared of humanity altogether. It seems strange that mathematics, upon which Malthus founded his doctrine, should be the death of it in the hands of one of his disciples.

From Benjamin Tucker "On Picket Duty", Liberty VI.12 (February 2, 1889), 1:

Writing of the votes of the women in the recent Boston school election, C. L. James says that the statement of the "Truth Seeker" that "the motive moving the women was the attempt of the Romanists to control the schools in the interest of the Catholic church" is a refutation of the old assertion of the lord of creation that "the women are the special victims of priestcraft, and their votes will be against intellectual liberty." Perhaps the former assertion would refute the latter, if it were true. But as a matter of fact what the women were fighting was the attempt of the Romanists to prevent the Protestants from controlling the schools in the interest of the Protestant church; which proves that the lord of creation was right in this instance, for the women showed themselves the victims of Protestant priestcraft, and their votes were cast against intellectual liberty.

From Benjamin Tucker, "On Picket Duty", Liberty XIV.13 (September, 1903), 1:

One of Liberty's subscribers, Dr. M. W. Wilcox, of Guthrie, Okla., is justly indignant over the declaration of C. L. James in "Free Society" that Proudhon was a Catholic and that Bakounine was not a materialist. But why pay the slightest attention to the statements of a man who discovered some time ago that Karl Marx was an Anarchist? When, in addition to these three items of biographical misinformation, Mr. James shall have confided to the world that Stirner was an altruist, that Schopenhauer was an optimist, that Ibsen favors the subjection of women, that Henry George was not a traitor, that William Jennings Bryan is a gold-bug, that Theodore Roosevelt is no actor, and that he himself is an honest man, he will have placed to his discredit at least ten whacking lies, and perhaps then we will make a cross.

From Steven T. Byington, "An Introduction to the Book of James", Liberty XIV.15 (November, 1903), 4-5:

So far as I know, C. L. James's "Vindication of Anarchism" is the most pretentious thing that has ever been written in this country in the name of Anarchism.
[...]
I must confess that I always find it hard to write about Mr. James's work without speaking in the most personal way of the author. (The same difficulty seems to beset every one else who writes about Mr. James's work; it besets Mr. James himself.) And I find it no less hard to let him alone; for, despite his invariable untrustworthiness, he is one of the most brilliant and suggestive writers I know. As long as he is talking about things in general, which are Nothing in Particular, and about everything which he calls Metaphysics, he coruscates with a pyrotechnic light that strikes into all sorts of unexpected corners of the brain. It is only when he gets down to things concrete and practical, to points where it is possible to prove whether he is right or wrong, that he talks plain nonsense. Even then it often pays to look and see what truth there may be which he has twisted up into this unrecognizable shape.
[...]
At least his remarks deserve that sort of attention when they related to the topics on which he has read and digested so much,—human history in the broadest sense, including anthropology and sociology. About these his worst enemies admit that he knows a lot.
[...]
* It is a pity that James should have a monopoly of penological study among Anarchists. Some of the results of modern penology are in the highest degree pertinent to Anarchism; they ought to be kept track of by some comrade more reliable than James, and James should have full credit for calling our attention to the matter.

From Alexander Berkman, "The Anarchist Movement Today" (1934)

From Alexander Berkman, "The Anarchist Movement Today" (1934). Manuscript, International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive.


The finest expression of Anarchist thought and sentiment is to be found in works like William Godwin's "Enquiry concerning political Justice and its Influence on general virtue and happiness (1793); in the many works of Proudhon, like the keen analysis of 1848 French governmentalism in "Les Confessions d'un Révolutionnaire" (1849); in Max Stirner's "Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum" (1845); in the numerous writings of Michael Bakunin, some of which are collected in Oeuvres, 6 volumes (Paris, 1895-1913); in the "Idées sur l'Organisation sociale", by James Guillaume (1876); in the works of the Italian Anarchist, Errico Malatesta, practical theoretician and active militant from the seventies up to his death in 1932; in "Les paroles d'un Revolté", (composed 1879-1882) by Peter Kropotkin, as well as in the many other works of this Anarchist thinker and scientist; in "L'Evolution, la Révolution et l'Idéal anarchique" by Elisée Reclus (1897); in the "Collected Essays" of Voltairine de Cleyre, (New York, 1914); in the writings of numerous Spanish Anarchists, such as Ricardo Mella, A. Pellicer Paraire, Tarrida del Marmol, Francisco Ferrer, and others; in the "Aufruf zum Sozialismus", by Gustav Landauer (1911); in the works of Benjamin Tucker, the Individualist Anarchist of America, a man of clear and analytical mind; in those of Josiah Warren, Stephen B. Andrews, Lysander Spooner, Dyer D. Lum, Albert Parsons, C. L. James, Thoreau, William Morris, Edward Carpenter -- to name but a few Anglo-Saxon thinkers of Anarchist tendency; in the books and other publications of Ernest Coeurderoy, Carlo Cafiera, Steinlen, Ibsen, Johann Most, Emma Goldman, Rudolf Rocker, Max Nettlau, Luigi Galleani, and in many other writers, including some memorable pages of Leo Tolstoi.

See also

References

  1. "C. L. James,", Mother Earth Vol. VI, No. 6 (August, 1911), 172-174; "Literary Notes", New York Times, September 13, 1886.
  2. Identity of mother from "Literary Notes", New York Times, September 13, 1886; name from United States Federal Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Roll: 1425; Family History Film: 1255425; Page: 398C; Enumeration District: 130.
  3. Samuel Carter Hall, "G. P. R. James," in A Book of Memories of Great Men and Women of the Age, from Personal Acquaintance. Available online from VictorianWeb.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. From Hilda R. Carter and John R. Jenswold (1976), The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: A History 1916-1976, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation. 30. "C. L. James,", Mother Earth Vol. VI, No. 6 (August, 1911), 172-174.
  7. Insurance agent: Clark D. Halker (1991), For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-95. The Working Class in American History. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-01747-1. 53. Argus: United States Federal Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Roll: 1425; Family History Film: 1255425; Page: 398C; Enumeration District: 130. Alma Weekly Express and Eau Claire Free Press: Ada Tyng Griswold, M.L. (1911), "Annotated Catalogue of Newspaper Files in the Library of The State Historical Society of Wisconsin," Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 295, 321.
  8. United States Federal Census. Year: 1900; Census Place: Eau Claire Ward 6, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Roll: T623_1787; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 28.
  9. About C L James, Ancestry.com, Wisconsin State Censuses 1895 and 1905 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2007. United States Federal Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Eau Claire Ward 6, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Roll: T624_1710; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0054; Image: 299; FHL Number: 1375723. United States Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Eau Claire Ward 6, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Roll: T625_1984; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 126; Image: 249.
  10. Clark D. Halker (1991), For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-95. The Working Class in American History. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-01747-1. 53.
  11. See for example "A Plea for Parson Malthus", in Liberty, July 17, 1886, p. 7; "Malthus's 'Main Principle'", in Liberty August 21, 1886, p. 7; and "Anarchism and Malthus". New York, New York: Mother Earth Publishing Association.
  12. De Cleyre, "C. L. James," Mother Earth (July, 1911), 142-144; Jaxon, "A Reminiscence of Charlie James," Mother Earth (July, 1911), 144-146.
  13. "C. L. James,", Mother Earth Vol. VI, No. 6 (August, 1911), 172-174.
  14. "C. L. James,", Mother Earth Vol. VI, No. 6 (August, 1911), 172-174. De Cleyre, "C. L. James," Mother Earth (July, 1911), 142-144; Jaxon, "A Reminiscence of Charlie James," Mother Earth (July, 1911), 144-146.
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