Instead of a Book/Miscellaneous/Spooner Memorial Resolutions

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Instead of a Book by Benjamin R. Tucker
Spooner Memorial Resolutions

SPOONER MEMORIAL RESOLUTIONS.[1]

[Liberty, May 28, 1887.]

Resolved: That Lysander Spooner, to celebrate whose life and to lament whose death we meet to-day, built for himself, by his half century's study and promulgation of the science of justice, a monument which no words of ours, however eloquent, can make more lasting or more lofty; that each of his fifty years and more of manhood work and warfare added so massive a stone to the column of his high endeavor that now it towers beyond our reach; but that nevertheless it is meet, for our own satisfaction and the world's welfare, that we who knew him best should place on record and proclaim as publicly as we may our admiration, honor, and reverence for his exceptional character and career, our gratitude for the wisdom which he has imparted to us, and our determination so to spread the light for which we are thus indebted that others may share with us the burden and the blessing of this inextinguishable debt.

Resolved: That we recognize in Lysander Spooner a man of intellect, a man of heart, and a man of will; that as a man of intellect his thought was keen, clear, penetrating, incisive, logical, orderly, careful, convincing, and crushing, and set forth withal in a style of singular strength, purity, and individuality which needed to employ none of the devices of rhetoric to charm the intelligent reader; that as a man of heart he was a good hater and a good lover,—hating suffering, woe, want, injustice, cruelty, oppression, slavery, hypocrisy, and falsehood, and loving happiness, joy, prosperity, justice, kindness, equality, liberty, sincerity, and truth; that as a man of will he was firm, pertinacious, tireless, obdurate, sanguine, scornful, and sure; and that all these virtues of intellect, heart, and will lay hidden beneath a modesty of demeanor, a simplicity of life, and a beaming majesty of countenance which, combined with the venerable aspect of his later years, gave him the appearance, as he walked our busy streets, of some patriarch or philosopher of old, and made him a personage delightful to meet and beautiful to look upon.

Resolved: That, whether in his assaults upon religious superstition, or in his battle with chattel slavery, or in his challenge of the government postal monopoly, or in his many onslaughts upon the banking monopoly, or in his vehement appeal to the Irish peasantry to throw off the dominion of privileged lords over themselves and their lands, or in his denunciation of prohibitory laws, or in his dissection of the protective tariff, or in his exposure of the ballot as an instrument of tyranny, or in his denial of the right to levy compulsory taxes, or in his demonstration that Constitutions and statutes are binding upon nobody, or in the final concentration of all his energies for the overthrow of the State itself, the cause and sustenance of nearly all the evils against which he had previously struggled, he ever showed himself the faithful soldier of Absolute Individual Liberty.

Resolved: That, while he fought this good fight and kept the faith, he did not finish his course, for his goal was in the eternities; that, starting in his youth in pursuit of truth, he kept it up through a vigorous manhood, undeterred by poverty, neglect, or scorn, and in his later life relaxed his energies not one jot; that his mental vigor seemed to grow as his physical powers declined; that, although, counting his age by years, he was an octogenarian, we chiefly mourn his death, not as that of an old man who had completed his task, but as that of the youngest man among us,—youngest because, after all that he had done, he still had so much more laid out to do than any of us, and still was competent to do it; that the best service that we can do his memory is to take up his work where he was forced to drop it, carry it on with all that we can summon of his energy and indomitable will, and, as old age creeps upon us, not lay the harness off, but, following his example and Emerson's advice, "obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime."


  1. Offered by the author of this volume at the Lysander Spooner Memorial Services held in Wells Memorial Hall, Boston, on Sunday, May 29, 1887.