FRANCISCO FERRER AND THE MODERN SCHOOL

FRANCISCO FERRER AND THE MODERN SCHOOL

EXPERIENCE has come to be considered the best school of life. The  man or woman who does not learn some vital lesson in that school is  looked upon as a dunce indeed. Yet strange to say, that though organized  institutions continue perpetuating errors, though they learn nothing  from experience, we acquiesce, as a matter of course.

There lived and worked in Barcelona a man by the name of Francisco  Ferrer. A teacher of children he was, known and loved by his people.  Outside of Spain only the cultured few knew of Francisco Ferrer's work.  To the world at large this teacher was non-existent.

On the first of September, 1909, the Spanish government--at the  behest of the Catholic Church--arrested Francisco Ferrer. On the  thirteenth of October, after a mock trial, he was placed in the ditch at  Montjuich prison, against the hideous wall of many sighs, and shot  dead. Instantly Ferrer, the obscure teacher, became a universal figure,  blazing forth the indignation and wrath of the whole civilized world  against the wanton murder.

The killing of Francisco Ferrer was not the first crime committed by  the Spanish government and the Catholic Church. The history of these  institutions is one long stream of fire and blood. Still they have not  learned through experience, nor yet come to realize that every frail  being slain by Church and State grows and grows into a mighty giant, who  will some day free humanity from their perilous hold.

Francisco Ferrer was born in 1859, of humble parents. They were  Catholics, and therefore hoped to raise their son in the same faith.  They did not know that the boy was to become the harbinger of a great  truth, that his mind would refuse to travel in the old path. At an early  age Ferrer began to question the faith of his fathers. He demanded to  know how it is that the God who spoke to him of goodness and love would  mar the sleep of the innocent child with dread and awe of tortures, of  suffering, of hell. Alert and of a vivid and investigating mind, it did  not take him long to discover the hideousness of that black monster, the  Catholic Church. He would have none of it.

Francisco Ferrer was not only a doubter, a searcher for truth; he  was also a rebel. His spirit would rise in just indignation against the  iron régime of his country, and when a band of rebels, led by the brave  patriot General Villacampa, under the banner of the Republican ideal,  made an onslaught on that regime, none was more ardent a fighter than  young Francisco Ferrer. The Republican ideal,--I hope no one will  confound it with the Republicanism of this country. Whatever objection  I, as an Anarchist, have to the Republicans of Latin countries, I know  they tower high above that corrupt and reactionary party which, in  America, is destroying every vestige of liberty and justice. One has but  to think of the Mazzinis, the Garibaldis, the scores of others, to  realize that their efforts were directed, not merely against the  overthrow of despotism, but particularly against the Catholic Church,  which from its very inception has been the enemy of all progress and  liberalism.

In America it is just the reverse. Republicanism stands for vested  rights, for imperialism, for graft, for the annihilation of every  semblance of liberty. Its ideal is the oily, creepy respectability of a  McKinley, and the brutal arrogance of a Roosevelt.

The Spanish republican rebels were subdued. It takes more than one  brave effort to split the rock of ages, to cut off the head of that  hydra monster, the Catholic Church and the Spanish throne. Arrest,  persecution, and punishment followed the heroic attempt of the little  band. Those who could escape the bloodhounds had to flee for safety to  foreign shores. Francisco Ferrer was among the latter. He went to  France.

How his soul must have expanded in the new land! France, the cradle  of liberty, of ideas, of action. Paris, the ever young, intense Paris,  with her pulsating life, after the gloom of his own belated  country,--how she must have inspired him. What opportunities, what a  glorious chance for a young idealist.

Francisco Ferrer lost no time. Like one famished he threw himself  into the various liberal movements, met all kinds of people, learned,  absorbed, and grew. While there, he also saw in operation the Modern  School, which was to play such an important and fatal part in his life.

The Modern School in France was founded long before Ferrer's time.  Its originator, though on a small scale, was that sweet spirit Louise  Michel. Whether consciously or unconsciously, our own great Louise felt  long ago that the future belongs to the young generation; that unless  the young be rescued from that mind and soul-destroying institution, the  bourgeois school, social evils will continue to exist. Perhaps she  thought, with Ibsen, that the atmosphere is saturated with ghosts, that  the adult man and woman have so many superstitions to overcome. No  sooner do they outgrow the deathlike grip of one spook, lo! they find  themselves in the thraldom of ninety-nine other spooks. Thus but a few  reach the mountain peak of complete regeneration.

The child, however, has no traditions to overcome. Its mind is not  burdened with set ideas, its heart has not grown cold with class and  caste distinctions. The child is to the teacher what clay is to the  sculptor. Whether the world will receive a work of art or a wretched  imitation, depends to a large extent on the creative power of the  teacher.

Louise Michel was pre-eminently qualified to meet the child's soul  cravings. Was she not herself of a childlike nature, so sweet and  tender, unsophisticated and generous? The soul of Louise burned always  at white heat over every social injustice. She was invariably in the  front ranks whenever the people of Paris rebelled against some wrong.  And as she was made to suffer imprisonment for her great devotion to the  oppressed, the little school on Montmartre was soon no more. But the  seed was planted and has since borne fruit in many cities of France.

The most important venture of a Modern School was that of the great  young old man Paul Robin. Together with a few friends he established a  large school at Cempuis, a beautiful place near Paris. Paul Robin aimed  at a higher ideal than merely modern ideas in education. He wanted to  demonstrate by actual facts that the burgeois conception of heredity is  but a mere pretext to exempt society from its terrible crimes against  the young. The contention that the child must suffer for the sins of the  fathers, that it must continue in poverty and filth, that it must grow  up a drunkard or criminal, just because its parents left it no other  legacy, was too preposterous to the beautiful spirit of Paul Robin. He  believed that whatever part heredity may play, there are other factors  equally great, if not greater, that may and will eradicate or minimize  the so-called first cause. Proper economic and social environment, the  breath and freedom of nature, healthy exercise, love and sympathy, and,  above all, a deep understanding for the needs of the child--these would  destroy the cruel, unjust, and criminal stigma imposed on the innocent  young.

Paul Robin did not select his children; he did not go to the  so-called best parents: he took his material wherever he could find it.  From the street, the hovels, the orphan and foundling asylums, the  reformatories, from all those gray and hideous places where a benevolent  society hides its victims in order to pacify its guilty conscience. He  gathered all the dirty, filthy, shivering little waifs his place would  hold, and brought them to Cempuis. There, surrounded by nature's own  glory, free and unrestrained, well fed, clean kept, deeply loved and  understood, the little human plants began to grow, to blossom, to  develop beyond even the expectations of their friend and teacher, Paul  Robin.

The children grew and developed into self-reliant, liberty-loving  men and women. What greater danger to the institutions that make the  poor in order to perpetuate the poor?  Cempuis was closed by the French  government on the charge of co-education, which is prohibited in France.  However, Cempuis had been in operation long enough to prove to all  advanced educators its tremendous possibilities, and to serve as an  impetus for modern methods of education, that are slowly but inevitably  undermining the present system.

Cempuis was followed by a great number of other educational  attempts,--among them, by Madelaine Vernet, a gifted writer and poet,  author of l'Amour Libre, and Sebastian Faure, with his La Ruche,1 which I visited while in Paris, in I907.

Several years ago Comrade Faure bought the land on which he built his La Ruche. In a comparatively short time he succeeded in transforming the former  wild, uncultivated country into a blooming spot, having all the  appearance of a well-kept farm. A large, square court, enclosed by three  buildings, and a broad path leading to the garden and orchards, greet  the eye of the visitor. The garden, kept as only a Frenchman knows how,  furnishes a large variety of vegetables for La Ruche.

Sebastian Faure is of the opinion that if the child is subjected to  contradictory influences, its development suffers in consequence. Only  when the material needs, the hygiene of the home, and intellectual  environment are harmonious, can the child grow into a healthy, free  being.

Referring to his school, Sebastian Faure has this to say:
"I  have taken twenty-four children of both sexes, mostly orphans, or those  whose parents are too poor to pay. They are clothed, housed, and  educated at my expense. Till their twelfth year they will receive a  sound elementary education. Between the age of twelve and fifteen--their  studies still continuing--they are to be taught some trade, in keeping  with their individual disposition and abilities. After that they are at  liberty to leave La Ruche  to begin life in the outside world, with the assurance that they may at any time return to La Ruche, where they will be received with open arms and welcomed as parents do  their beloved children. Then, if they wish to work at our place, they  may do so under the following conditions: One third of the product to  cover his or her expenses of maintenance, another third to go towards  the general fund set aside for accommodating new children, and the last  third to be devoted to the personal use of the child, as he or she may  see fit.

"The health of the children who are now in my care is perfect. Pure  air, nutritious food, physical exercise in the open, long walks,  observation of hygienic rules, the short and interesting method of  instruction, and, above all, our affectionate understanding and care of  the children, have produced admirable physical and mental results.

"It would be unjust to claim that our pupils have accomplished  wonders; yet, considering that they belong to the average, having had no  previous opportunities, the results are very gratifying indeed. The  most important thing they have acquired--a rare trait with ordinary  school children--is the love of study, the desire to know, to be  informed. They have learned a new method of work, one that quickens the  memory and stimulates the imagination. We make a particular effort to  awaken the child's interest in his surroundings, to make him realize the  importance of observation, investigation, and reflection, so that when  the children reach maturity, they would not be deaf and blind to the  things about them. Our children never accept anything in blind faith,  without inquiry as to why and wherefore; nor do they feel satisfied  until their questions are thoroughly answered. Thus their minds are free  from doubts and fear resultant from incomplete or untruthful replies;  it is the latter which warp the growth of the child, and create a lack  of confidence in himself and those about him.

"It is surprising how frank and kind and affectionate our little  ones are to each other. The harmony between themselves and the adults at  La Ruche  is highly encouraging. We should feel at fault if the  children were to fear or honor us merely because we are their elders. We  leave nothing undone to gain their confidence and love; that  accomplished, understanding will replace duty; confidence, fear; and  affection, severity.

"No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and  generosity hidden in the soul of the child. The effort of every true  educator should be to unlock that treasure to stimulate the child's  impulses, and call forth the best and noblest tendencies. What greater  reward can there be for one whose life-work is to watch over the growth  of the human plant, than to see its nature unfold its petals, and to  observe it develop into a true individuality. My comrades at La Ruche look for no greater reward, and it is due to them and their efforts,  even more than to my own, that our human garden promises to bear  beautiful fruit."2

Regarding the subject of history and the prevailing old methods of instruction, Sebastian Faure said:
"We explain to our children that true history is yet to be  written,--the story of those who have died, unknown, in the effort to  aid humanity to greater achievement."3

Francisco Ferrer could not escape this great wave of Modern School  attempts. He saw its possibilities, not merely in theoretic form, but in  their practical application to every-day needs. He must have realized  that Spain, more than any other country, stands in need of just such  schools, if it is ever to throw off the double yoke of priest and  soldier.

When we consider that the entire system of education in Spain is in  the hands of the Catholic Church, and when we further remember the  Catholic formula, "To inculcate Catholicism in the mind of the child  until it is nine years of age is to ruin it forever for any other idea,"  we will understand the tremendous task of Ferrer in bringing the new  light to his people. Fate soon assisted him in realizing his great  dream.

Mlle. Meunier, a pupil of Francisco Ferrer, and a lady of wealth,  became interested in the Modern School project. When she died, she left  Ferrer some valuable property and twelve thousand francs yearly income  for the School.

It is said that mean souls can conceive of naught but mean ideas. If  so, the contemptible methods of the Catholic Church to blackguard  Ferrer's character, in order to justify her own black crime, can readily  be explained. Thus the lie was spread in American Catholic papers that  Ferrer used his intimacy with Mlle. Meunier to get passession of her  money.

Personally, I hold that the intimacy, of whatever nature, between a  man and a woman, is their own affair, their sacred own. I would  therefore not lose a word in referring to the matter, if it were not one  of the many dastardly lies circulated about Ferrer. Of course, those  who know the purity of the Catholic clergy will understand the  insinuation. Have the Catholic priests ever looked upon woman as  anything but a sex commodity? The historical data regarding the  discoveries in the cloisters and monasteries will bear me out in that.  How, then, are they to understand the co-operation of a man and a woman,  except on a sex basis?

As a matter of fact, Mlle. Meunier was considerably Ferrer's senior.  Having spent her childhood and girlhood with a miserly father and a  submissive mother, she could easily appreciate the necessity of love and  joy in child life. She must have seen that Francisco Ferrer was a  teacher, not college, machine, or diploma-made, but one endowed with  genius for that calling.

Equipped with knowledge, with experience, and with the necessary  means; above all, imbued with the divine fire of his mission, our  Comrade came back to Spain, and there began his life's work. On the  ninth of September, 1901, the first Modern School was opened. It was  enthusiastically received by the people of Barcelona, who pledged their  support. In a short address at the opening of the School, Ferrer  submitted his program to his friends. He said: "I am not a speaker, not a  propagandist, not a fighter. I am a teacher; I love children above  everything. I think I understand them. I want my contribution to the  cause of liberty to be a young generation ready to meet a new era."     He was cautioned by his friends to be careful in his opposition to the  Catholic Church. They knew to what lengths she would go to dispose of an  enemy. Ferrer, too, knew. But, like Brand, he believed in all or  nothing. He would not erect the Modern School on the same old lie. He  would be frank and honest and open with the children.

Francisco Ferrer became a marked man. From the very first day of the  opening of the School, he was shadowed. The school building was watched  his little home in Mangat was watched. He was followed every step, even  when he went to France or England to confer with his colleagues. He was  a marked man, and it was only a question of time when the lurking enemy  would tighten the noose.

It succeeded, almost, in 1906, when Ferrer was implicated in the  attempt on the life of Alfonso. The evidence exonerating him was too  strong even for the black crows;4 they had to let him go--not for good, however. They waited. Oh, they can wait, when they have set themselves to trap a victim.

The moment came at last, during the anti-military uprising in Spain,  in July, 1909. One will have to search in vain the annals of  revolutionary history to find a more remarkable protest against  militarism. Having been soldier-ridden for centuries, the people of  Spain could stand the yoke no longer. They would refuse to participate  in useless slaughter. They saw no reason for aiding a despotic  government in subduing and oppressing a small people fighting for their  independence, as did the brave Riffs. No, they would not bear arms  against them.

For eighteen hundred years the Catholic Church has preached the  gospel of peace. Yet, when the people actually wanted to make this  gospel a living reality, she urged the authorities to force them to bear  arms. Thus the dynasty of Spain followed the murderous methods of the  Russian dynasty,--the people were forced to the battlefield.

Then, and not until then, was their power of endurance at an end.  Then, and not until then, did the workers of Spain turn against their  masters, against those who, like leeches, had drained their strength,  their very life--blood. Yes, they attacked the churches and the priests,  but if the latter had a thousand lives, they could not possibly pay for  the terrible outrages and crimes perpetrated upon the Spanish people.

Francisco Ferrer was arrested on the first of September, 1909. Until  October first his friends and comrades did not even know what had  become of him. On that day a letter was received by L'Humanité   from which can be learned the whole mockery of the trial. And the next  day his companion, Soledad Villafranca, received the following letter:

"No reason to worry; you know I am absolutely innocent. Today I am  particularly hopeful and joyous. It is the first time I can write to  you, and the first time since my arrest that I can bathe in the rays of  the sun, streaming generously through my cell window. You, too, must be  joyous."

How pathetic that Ferrer should have believed, as late as October  fourth, that he would not be condemned to death. Even more pathetic that  his friends and comrades should once more have made the blunder in  crediting the enemy with a sense of justice. Time and again they had  placed faith in the judicial powers, only to see their brothers killed  before their very eyes. They made no preparation to rescue Ferrer, not  even a protest of any extent; nothing. "Why, it is impossible to condemn  Ferrer; he is innocent." But everything is possible with the Catholic  Church. Is she not a practiced henchman, whose trials of her enemies are  the worst mockery of justice ?

On October fourth Ferrer sent the following letter to L'Humanite:

"The Prison Cell, Oct. 4, 1909.
  "My dear  Friends--Notwithstanding most absolute innocence, the prosecutor demands  the death penalty, based on denunciations of the police, representing  me as the chief of the world's Anarchists, directing the labor  syndicates of France, and guilty of conspiracies and insurrections  everywhere, and declaring that my voyages to London and Paris were  undertaken with no other object.
   "With such infamous lies they are trying to kill me.
   "The messenger is about to depart and I have not time for more. All  the evidence presented to the investigating judge by the police is  nothing but a tissue of lies and calumnious insinuations. But no proofs  against me, having done nothing at all.
        "FERRER."

October thirteenth, 1909, Ferrer's heart, so brave, so staunch, so  loyal, was stilled. Poor fools! The last agonized throb of that heart  had barely died away when it began to beat a hundredfold in the hearts  of the civilized world, until it grew into terrific thunder, hurling  forth its malediction upon the instigators of the black crime. Murderers  of black garb and pious mien, to the bar of justice!

Did Francisco Ferrer participate in the anti-military uprising?  According to the first indictment, which appeared in a Catholic paper in  Madrid, signed by the Bishop and all the prelates of Barcelona, he was  not even accused of participation. The indictment was to the effect that  Francisco Ferrer was guilty of having organized godless schools, and  having circulated godless literature. But in the twentieth century men  can not be burned merely for their godless beliefs. Something else had  to be devised; hence the charge of instigating the uprising.

In no authentic source so far investigated could a single proof be  found to connect Ferrer with the uprising. But then, no proofs were  wanted, or accepted, by the authorities. There were seventy-two  witnesses, to be sure, but their testimony was taken on paper. They  never were confronted with Ferrer, or he with them.

Is it psychologically possible that Ferrer should have participated?  I do not believe it is, and here are my reasons. Francisco Ferrer was  not only a great teacher, but he was also undoubtedly a marvelous  organizer. In eight years, between 1901-1909, he had organized in Spain  one hundred and nine schools, besides inducing the liberal element of  his country to organize three hundred and eight other schools. In  connection with his own school work, Ferrer had equipped a modern  printing plant, organized a staff of translators, and spread broadcast  one hundred and fifty thousand copies of modern scientific and  sociologic works, not to forget the large quantity of rationalist text  books. Surely none but the most methodical and efficient organizer could  have accomplished such a feat.

On the other hand, it was absolutely proven that the anti-military  uprising was not at all organized; that it came as a surprise to the  people themselves, like a great many revolutionary waves on previous  occasions. The people of Barcelona, for instance, had the city in their  control for four days, and, according to the statement of tourists,  greater order and peace never prevailed. Of course, the people were so  little prepared that when the time came, they did not know what to do.  In this regard they were like the people of Paris during the Commune of  1871. They, too, were unprepared. While they were starving, they  protected the warehouses filled to the brim with provisions. They placed  sentinels to guard the Bank of France, where the bourgeoisie kept the  stolen money. The workers of Barcelona, too, watched over the spoils of  their masters.

How pathetic is the stupidity of the underdog; how terribly tragic!  But, then, have not his fetters been forged so deeply into his flesh,  that he would not, even if he could, break them? The awe of authority,  of law, of private property, hundredfold burned into his soul,--how is  he to throw it off unprepared, unexpectedly?

Can anyone assume for a moment that a man like Ferrer would  affiliate himself with such a spontaneous, unorganized effort? Would he  not have known that it would result in a defeat, a disastrous defeat for  the people? And is it not more likely that if he would have taken part,  he, the experienced entrepreneur, would have thoroughly organized the  attempt? If all other proofs were lacking, that one factor would be  sufficient to exonerate Francisco Ferrer. But there are others equally  convincing.

For the very date of the outbreak, July twenty-fifth, Ferrer had  called a conference of his teachers and members of the League of  Rational Education. It was to consider the autumn work, and particularly  the publication of Elisée Reclus' great book, L'Homme et la Terre, and Peter Kropotkin's Great French Revolution. Is it at all likely, is it at all plausible that Ferrer, knowing of the  uprising, being a party to it, would in cold blood invite his friends  and colleagues to Barcelona for the day on which he realized their lives  would be endangered? Surely, only the criminal, vicious mind of a  Jesuit could credit such deliberate murder.

Francisco Ferrer had his life-work mapped out; he had everything to  lose and nothing to gain, except ruin and disaster, were he to lend  assistance to the outbreak. Not that he doubted the justice of the  people's wrath; but his work, his hope, his very nature was directed  toward another goal.

In vain are the frantic efforts of the Catholic Church, her lies,  falsehoods, calumnies. She stands condemned by the awakened human  conscience of having once more repeated the foul crimes of the past.

Francisco Ferrer is accused of teaching the children the most  blood-curdling ideas,--to hate God, for instance. Horrors!  Francisco  Ferrer did not believe in the existence of a God. Why teach the child to  hate something which does not exist? Is it not more likely that he took  the children out into the open, that he showed them the splendor of the  sunset, the brilliancy of the starry heavens, the awe-inspiring wonder  of the mountains and seas; that he explained to them in his simple,  direct way the law of growth, of development, of the interrelation of  all life? In so doing he made it forever impossible for the poisonous  weeds of the Catholic Church to take root in the child's mind.

It has been stated that Ferrer prepared the children to destroy the  rich. Ghost stories of old maids. Is it not more likely that he prepared  them to succor the poor? That he taught them the humiliation, the  degradation, the awfulness of poverty, which is a vice and not a virtue;  that he taught the dignity and importance of all creative efforts,  which alone sustain life and build character. Is it not the best and  most effective way of bringing into the proper light the absolute  uselessness and injury of parasitism?

Last, but not least, Ferrer is charged with undermining the army by  inculcating anti-military ideas. Indeed? He must have believed with  Tolstoy that war is legalized slaughter, that it perpetuates hatred and  arrogance, that it eats away the heart of nations, and turns them into  raving maniacs.

However, we have Ferrer's own word regarding his ideas of modern education:

"I would like to call the attention of my readers to this idea: All  the value of education rests in the respect for the physical,  intellectual, and moral will of the child. Just as in science no  demonstration is possible save by facts, just so there is no real  education save that which is exempt from all dogmatism, which leaves to  the child itself the direction of its effort, and confines itself to the  seconding of its effort. Now, there is nothing easier than to alter  this purpose, and nothing harder than to respect it. Education is always  imposing, violating, constraining; the real educator is he who can best  protect the child against his (the teacher's) own ideas, his peculiar  whims; he who can best appeal to the child's own energies.

"We are convinced that the education of the future will be of an  entirely spontaneous nature; certainly we can not as yet realize it, but  the evolution of methods in the direction of a wider comprehension of  the phenomena of life, and the fact that all advances toward perfection  mean the overcoming of restraint,--all this indicates that we are in the  right when we hope for the deliverance of the child through science.

"Let us not fear to say that we want men capable of evolving without  stopping, capable of destroying and renewing their environments without  cessation, of renewing themselves also; men, whose intellectual  independence will be their greatest force, who will attach themselves to  nothing, always ready to accept what is best, happy in the triumph of  new ideas, aspiring to live multiple lives in one life. Society fears  such men; we therefore must not hope that it will ever want an education  able to give them to us.

"We shall follow the labors of the scientists who study the child  with the greatest attention, and we shall eagerly seek for means of  applying their experience to the education which we want to build up, in  the direction of an ever fuller liberation of the individual. But how  can we attain our end? Shall it not be by putting ourselves directly to  the work favoring the foundation of new schools, which shall be ruled as  much as possible by this spirit of liberty, which we forefeel will  dominate the entire work of education in the future?

"A trial has been made, which, for the present, has already given  excellent results. We can destroy all which in the present school  answers to the organization of constraint, the artificial surroundings  by which children are separated from nature and life, the intellectual  and moral discipline made use of to impose ready-made ideas upon them,  beliefs which deprave and annihilate natural bent. Without fear of  deceiving ourselves, we can restore the child to the environment which  entices it, the environment of nature in which he will be in contact  with all that he loves, and in which impressions of life will replace  fastidious book-learning. If we did no more than that, we should already  have prepared in great part the deliverance of the child.

"In such conditions we might already freely apply the data of science and labor most fruitfully.

"I know very well we could not thus realize all our hopes, that we  should often be forced, for lack of knowledge, to employ undesirable  methods; but a certitude would sustain us in our efforts--namely, that  even without reaching our aim completely we should do more and better in  our still imperfect work than the present school accomplishes. I like  the free spontaneity of a child who knows nothing, better than the  world-knowledge and intellectual deformity of a child who has been  subjected to our present education."5

Had Ferrer actually organized the riots, had he fought on the  barricades, had he hurled a hundred bombs, he could not have been so  dangerous to the Catholic Church and to despotism, as with his  opposition to discipline and restraint. Discipline and restraint--are  they not back of all the evils in the world? Slavery, submission,  poverty, all misery, all social iniquities result from discipline and  restraint. Indeed, Ferrer was dangerous. Therefore he had to die,  October thirteenth, 1909, in the ditch of Montjuich. Yet who dare say  his death was in vain? In view of the tempestuous rise of universal  indignation: Italy naming streets in memory of Francisco Ferrer, Belgium  inaugurating a movement to erect a memorial; France calling to the  front her most illustrious men to resume the heritage of the martyr;  England being the first to issue a biography; all countries uniting in  perpetuating the great work of Francisco Ferrer; America, even, tardy  always in progressive ideas, giving birth to a Francisco Ferrer  Association, its aim being to publish a complete life of Ferrer and to  organize Modern Schools all over the country,--in the face of this  international revolutionary wave, who is there to say Ferrer died in  vain?

That death at Montjuich,--how wonderful, how dramatic it was, how it  stirs the human soul. Proud and erect, the inner eye turned toward the  light, Francisco Ferrer needed no lying priests to give him courage, nor  did he upbraid a phantom for forsaking him. The consciousness that his  executioners represented a dying age, and that his was the living truth,  sustained him in the last heroic moments.

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