Arthur Desmond in Justice

A review of the first number of the new Labour Journal "Justice."

Arthur Desmond in Justice

The first number of the new Journal "Justice."

A new labor organ published 1890 in Auckland. The bed rock of the new publication is declared to be two simple principles: (I) What God created for the use of all should be utilized for the benefit of all. (2) What is produced by the individual belongs rightfully to the individual. There is perhaps no more difficult task than to interpret and apply simple principles such as those upon which this new literary venture is based.

Click here for books on The Active Service Brigade & Arthur Desmond.


We have pleasure in acknowledging receipt of the first number of the new journal bearing the above title, and which claims to be 'the voice of the toilers,' and to advocate 'justice to all, privilege to none.' It is issued by the Anti-Poverty Society of Auckland, and is intended to be the Mouthpiece of the Single Tax or Land Nationalisation party. Every distinctive movement seeks to have its own organ, and the appearance of Justice is a symptom that the Single Tax agitation has 'come to stay' until its aims are achieved. The title is happily chosen, and as the paper starts with a large guaranteed circulation, and is well supported by the advertising public, it seems assured of a prosperous career.

A Thousand Books of Fame

Justice is a well-arranged and clearly printed paper, consisting of sixteen quarto pages. If the literary excellence is kept up to the standard of the first number, it is certain to obtain a colonial circulation, and to become at once an authoritative and influential organ of public opinion. The post of honor on the first page is occupied by a poem on 'Justice' by the Rev. E. H. Gulliver, and that is followed by an editorial 'Salutation,' dealing with the objects and policy of the paper. Among the other contents we note a powerful poem on 'The Brotherhood of Man,' by Mr. Arthur Desmond, a stirring poem by the late Charles Mackay, and yet another poem (author not mentioned) addressed 'To the Ladies of Auckland Town—An Appeal.' From the last named poem we quote the appeal for early shopping:—

The hearts of masters soften—they see the havoc wrought—

But ladies will, too often, shop later than they ought.

Oh, heed your sisters crying—New Zealand maids and wives,

It isn't 'goods' you're buying, but human creatures' lives.

Original articles in this number embrace vigorous contributions on 'The Farmers and the Single Tax,' by 'Min;' Farmers, Attention,’ by Gerald Peacocke: 'The Throbbing of the Drums,' by Desmond; 'It is thy Duty ' and ‘The Grand Orient,' besides a number of thoughtful and tersely written editorials.

The selected articles are well chosen and able. Most significant of all is the article, 'He Being Dead Yet Speaketh,' which consists of extracts from the writings of the late 'Sage of Chelsea,' the far-seeing Carlyle. Here is an extract:—

'Look around you. Your world-hosts are all in mutiny, in confusion, destitution: on the eve of fiery wreck and madness! They will not march farther for you, on the sixpence a day and 'supply-and-demand' principle; they will not; nor ought they, nor can they. Not as a bewildered, bewildering mob, but as a firm regimented mass, with real captains over them, will these men march anymore? All human interests, combined human endeavors, and social growths, in this world, have, at a certain stage of their development, required organizing; and work, the grandest of human interests, does now require it.'

An article on 'The Single Tax Platform' ought to be studied by all superficial thinkers who hastily conclude, or pretend to believe, that theLand Taxwould be an additional burden on the farmer. To our mind,Justice could do valuable work by illustrating the working of a land tax. For example, the area of taxable land in Auckland province could be ascertained, its value estimated, and it could then be shown how much revenue would be derived, how the burden would be apportioned as between urban and rural lands, etc. There is still a vast mountain of ignorance and prejudice to be removed, and Knowledge and Reason are the powers that must operate to that end.

Believing, as we do, in the absolute justice of the land tax proposals, though we do not attach the same importance to that reform as the single taxers do, we welcome the appearance of Justice, and wish it every success; it certainly deserves it; and if, as we infer, Mr. A. Withy is the literary head of the journal, he is to be complimented on his editorial ability.


The Power that rules revolving spheres and guides this whirling ball,

Whose hand is in the lightning's flash—whose eye is over all;

That Spirit of the Unknown vast, since time its course began,

Has taught in every pulsing throb the Brotherhood of Man.

The prophets of the olden days—those poets of the past,

Have sang in many a chant sublime how it will come at last;

How men shall all be comrades true and none live under ban,

For then shall dawn on earth below the Golden Age of Man.

With cloven tongues of fire they speed it far and wide,

From torrid zone to Arctic seas—far o'er the heaving tide,

And martyrs gave their lives for it while flames around them ran—

They sowed the seed that bringeth forth the Brotherhood of Man.

And he who died on Calvary two thousand years ago.

He wore a cruel crown of thorns upon his bleeding brow

Because his tongue denounced the proud and urged his noble plan

To heal the wounds of social life—the Brotherhood of Man.

He preached it unto rich and poor 'mid scoffing, scorn and hate,

And so they hung Him on a tree to please the Proud and Great;

Let those who "WEAR HIS MANTLE" now—they fear the rich man's ban,

And hide the Truth He died to teach—the Brotherhood of Man—


Go forth and preach the good news now as once the Master taught,

And strive to touch the rich man's heart, to ease the toiler's lot;

Go preach on highway and in town—to every race and clan—

The noblest thought that e'er was taught—the Brotherhood of Man.


For it have thinkers torture borne, and died unknown to fame;

For it historic heroes bled in war's grim iron game;

For it our our fathers sternly trod the battle's bloodred van,

And preached to kings (with sword in hand) the Brotherhood of Man.


Their words are knelling in our ears, their blood is in our veins!

Shall we submit, as base-born thrall, to meekly clank our chains?

No! Duty calls to do our share in life's sad, narrow span,

The Golden Age on earth to bring—the Brotherhood of Man.


Observer, 26 July 1890

For all Arthur Desmond articles in Justice: The Voice of the Toilers