Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter XXXV: THE LAST CHAPTER. - Pictures of the Socialistic Future
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Chapter XXXV: THE LAST CHAPTER. - Eugen Richter, Pictures of the Socialistic Future 
Pictures of the Socialistic Future (Freely adapted from Bebel), trans. Henry Wright, Introduction by Thomas Mackay (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1907).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
THE LAST CHAPTER.
To Mr. Franz Schmidt, New York.
"My Dear Franz,—Be a man, and prepare your-self to bear with fortitude the sad news this letter conveys. Our dear father is no longer amongst the living. Like many other innocent victims, he has fallen a sacrifice to the great rising which has raged for the last few days in Berlin.
"Father had left home with the intention of calling upon me, and warning me to on no account mix myself up with the commotion in the streets. Close to our school there had shortly before been a fight between the police and the rioters, and some of the police had taken refuge in our school. All this was of course quite unknown to father. A party of the rioters lay in concealment, and in all probability one of these, on seeing him, took him for a government messenger; anyhow, a shot fired from an upper window struck him, and he expired in the course of a few minutes. You may fancy my horror when they brought him into our house, and I found it was my own father.
"He fell a victim to the solicitude he felt for the welfare of his family. In the hope of seeing a better future for those dear to him, he had allied himself with the Socialists, but recent events had entirely cured him of his errors.
"Respecting the sad state of our dear mother, father wrote you lately himself, and also mentioned about poor old grandfather. In all my wretchedness and loneliness, my thoughts are continually turning to you, Franz, across the ocean, as my only human refuge. By the time I post this letter I shall, I hope, have already crossed the German frontier. Towards Holland they say the frontier is pretty open. When once there, I shall be able to make use of the money you sent me.
"Things here are in a frightful condition. Sanguinary defeats on the fields of battle towards the frontiers, and in the country nothing but anarchy and threatened dissolution. How all these things have come about, and got into such a muddle, you will best gather from the diary which father kept down to the very day before his death, and which I will bring with me.
"With best love to you both,
"Your lonely brother,
POSTSCRIPT. by Henry Wright
"IF it be true that 'good wine needs no bush,' it is true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and good plays prove the better for the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am neither a good epilogue, nor cannot insinuate with you in behalf of a good play."
Amongst the various writers who of recent years have painted, for the world's benefit, pictures of the state of society which they conceive would result from a widely extended Socialism, Bellamy and Morris take prominent rank. Perhaps by the time, in the twentieth century, that Socialism is realised, human nature will have undergone such an extraordinary and phenomenal transformation that the views of above-named sanguine gentlemen will prove to have been justified. Let us hope such will be the case.
Meanwhile the talented and clear-sighted Member of Parliament for Hagen, Eugene Richter, pictures to himself a somewhat different state of things as the result of the establishment of Socialism. And his little book may be read, perhaps not quite without advantage, as a slight contribution to the literature of this subject, as presenting the consummation in a different light, and as an expression of what some will doubtless regard as eccentric and extreme views.
In treating a prosy subject of this kind, the mind has a natural craving to get away now and then from the dry detail of statistics and political economy, and to escape, if only for occasional moments, into an atmosphere of lightness and laughter. So far as English readers are concerned, it is to be regretted that Richter did not see fit to arrange his matter in a less dry and ponderous way, and to introduce an element of fun and ridicule into his treatment of the subject. The English are firmly persuaded that the Germans quite lack all sense of humour. It need hence occasion no surprise that this nation, with that stolidity conventionally ascribed to it by the English, have, nevertheless, read this little book with avidity in editions of hundreds of thousands.