Two Testaments

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Benjamin Ricketson Tucker


The same day's budget of news offers us two documents which it may be well to place in contrast. One is the will of J. Pierpoint Morgan, which begins with this bequest:

"I commit my soul into the hands of my Saviour, in full confidence that, having redeemed it and washed it in His most precious blood, He will send it faultless before my Heavenly Father, and I entreat my children to maintain and defend at all hazard and at any cost of personal sacrifice, the blessed doctrine of complete atonement for sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, once offered, and through that alone."

The other is an expression of the last wishes of A. Monier-Simentof, one of the French "tragic bandits," written to his lawyer on the day before he was guillotined:

"La Santi, April 20.

"Dear Monsieur Dubron,

"I leave to society my ardent desire that the social institutions of a not distant future may show a maximum of comfort and independence, to the end that the individual, in his leisure, may better devote himself to education and to all that constitutes the beauty of life,—to instruction and to science in general.

'I leave the revolver that was seized in my room at the time of my arrest to a Paris museum, in memory of an innocent victim of an affair that sent a shudder of fear through the country; and, should this wish be carried out, I desire that upon the hilt of the revolver shall be plainly inscribed the words of the great martyr: 'Thou shalt not kill!'

"All my papers and letters are to be given to my parents: Xavier Monier, Estagel (Pyrenees-Orientales). The works of J. J. Rousseau are to be given to my sister for the education of her son.

"The works to be given to the Municipal Library of Paris are as follows: 'The Origin of Species,' the complete works of Rabelais, 'Science and Con- science,' 'Egoism,' 'Ancestral Influences,' 'Liberty and Determinism,' Spencer's 'What is Morality?' 'Philosophy,' 'Pedagogy.'

"I leave to my much-esteemed defender, Bruno-Dubron, in honour of the devotion and warm eloquence with which he pleaded my cause, and in token also of my eternal gratitude and my affection, the work of Guyau: 'Outline of a Morality without Obligation or Sanction.'

"To Maitre Michon, who, graciously and with devotion, has also brought me words of hope and comfort while awaiting the final outcome of our situation, I address my deep thanks, and I leave to him, in memory of his kindness, the work of Bunge: 'Right is Might.'

"I add a word concerning the inspectors who, during the sad and uniform days that I have passed in their company, have spoken words of consolation to me. I leave my gratitude and friendship to these worthy defenders of society.

"I think, my dear Monsieur Dubron, that I need not urge upon you the execution of my last wishes, for I know your heart, and I am sure in advance that after my death you will fulfil my desires of today. I finish, then, by offering you the expression of my affection and of my kind recollections.

"Write to my parents, offer them a few words of consolation; that is all that I shall ask of your goodness.

"Your very grateful,

One need not be an advocate of "individual resumption," of "propaganda by deed," or even of "direct action," in order to prefer the petty bandit who, having a social ideal, seeks to further it by an isolated act of violence, though knowing that thereby he bares his neck to the knife, to the giant bandit who, believing in society as it is and having no ideal but his own aggrandizement, realizes it by forging and wielding the mighty weapon of legal monopoly to despoil a whole people of their products and their liberties, and who, wolfish devourer of the flock, continues, even after his death, to bathe in the Blood of the Lamb.

Benj. R. Tucker.

  • Benjamin R. Tucker, “Two Testaments,” The New Freewoman 1, no. 1 (June 15, 1913): 15.