IGNATIUS DONNELLY & "CAESAR'S COLUMN"
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Hard-to-find books include
(1)   *Seven  Financial  Conspiracies  Which  Have  Enslaved  the
American People* by S.E.V. Emery.
(2) *The Problem of Civilization Solved* by Mary E. Lease.
(3) *The Populist Movement* by Frank L. McVey.
(4) *Shylock:  As Banker, Bondholder, Corruptionist, Conspirator*
by Gordon Clark.

My thanks to author  Richard  Hofstadter,  author  of *The Age of
Reform*, for tipping me to the above books by including  them  in
the source notes of his book.

Also  included  in  source  notes in Hofstadter's above-mentioned
book  is  mention  of  the  book  *Caesar's  Column*  by Ignatius
Donnelly.  Donnelly's book =was= findable by me, not through  the
local  citizens'  library, however, but through the University of
Illinois library located  in  the  town  where  I live.  BUT, the
above-mentioned  hard-to-find  books,  numbered  1-4  above,  are
VANISHED!!  They (1-4 above) are tentatively assigned the  status
of BANNED BOOKS.

                    -+- Ignatius Donnelly -+-

Ignatius  Donnelly  (1831-1901), though he lived in the late 19th
century, was not a  gunfighter.   Since late-19th century America
is portrayed as if it were only gunfights in popular romance, you
might be surprised to know  that  there  was  this  thing  called
"populism"  going  on  back  then.   Maybe  you  heard that word,
"populism," in 1996, when  Pat  Buchanan was scaring the bejeezus
out  of  the  East  Coast   Demo-Publicans   when   the   upstart
presidential candidate came from nowhere and scored major primary
victories.   About  then,  those "nicey-nice boys" in their suits
and ties -- Dan Rather,  Tom  Brokaw, and Peter "Waylon" Jennings
-- looked  gravely  into  the  cameras  and  "asked":   "What  is
populism?" 

Ignatius  Donnelly  was  one of those dreaded "populists" back in
the 19th century, back  when  it  all  began.  Referred to in his
time  as,  "The  Prince  of  Cranks,"  Donnelly  now  is  totally
forgotten.  But back in the 1850s, Donnelly then made the radical
move of joining the Republican party.  (Back then, the Republican
party was radical.)  He served three terms as a congressman,  but
by  then Donnelly had become too radical even for the Republicans
and they gave him the heave-ho.  Donnelly battled "the railroads,
the banks, the traditional political parties, [and] the spreading
industrial trusts." [1].

At the People's  Party  convention  at  Omaha,  on  July 4, 1892,
Donnelly gave voice to popular discontent:

  We meet in the midst of a nation brought to  the  verge  of
  moral,  political  and material ruin.  Corruption dominates
  the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches
  even  the  ermine  on   the   bench  [the  judges]...   The
  newspapers  are  largely  subsidized  or  muzzled,   public
  opinion silenced... and the land concentrating in the hands
  of the capitalists.  The urban workmen are denied the right
  of  organization  for  self-protection; imported pauperized
  labor beats down their wages; a hireling army, unrecognized
  by our laws, is established to shoot them down...

  ...A vast conspiracy against  mankind has been organized on
  two continents, and it is rapidly taking possession of  the
  world.   If  not  met and overthrown at once it forbodes...
  the establishment of an absolute despotism.

Among Ignatius Donnelly's books are included:
-- *Atlantis:  The Antedeluvian World* (1882).  Attempts to prove
that Plato's Atlantis is a "veritable history."
-- *Ragnarok:  The Age of Fire and  Gravel*  (1883).   A  "worthy
predecessor  of Immanuel Velikovsky's...  *World's in Collision*,
which it in some ways anticipates." [2]
-- *The  Great  Cryptogram*  (1888).   Asserts  that "Sir Francis
Bacon  was  the  author  of  the  plays  usually  attributed   to
Shakespeare,   and...   that  the  plays  themselves  contain  an
elaborate cipher devised by Bacon  to establish his authorship to
future generations." [3]
-- *The American People's Money* (1895).
-- *The Cipher in the Plays, and on  the  Tombstone*  (1899).   A
further defense of his "Bacon is Shakespeare" theory.

                   -+- "Caesar's Column" -+-

Donnelly's  book,  *Caesar's Column* (1890), is one of the former
congressman's attempts to  exposit  his  ideas  through a work of
fiction.  Walter B. Rideout, in  his  introduction  to  the  1960
reprinting  of  Donnelly's  book,  compares it to Aldous Huxley's
*Brave New World* and George  Orwell's *1984*.  From the artistic
standpoint, Donnelly's book does not  equal  either  Huxley's  or
Orwell's  later  masterpieces.  Yet there are times in Donnelly's
book  where  he  shows  surprising  (for  a  former  congressman)
artistic  talent.   The  book  is uneven, yet succeeds in hitting
home intermittently.  For example, Donnelly, writing circa 1890:

  == Our courts, judges  and  juries  are the merest tools of
  the rich.  The image of justice  has  slipped  the  bandage
  from  one  eye, and now uses her scales to weigh the bribes
  she receives.  An ordinary citizen  has no more prospect of
  fair  treatment  in   our   courts,   contending   with   a
  millionaire,  than  a new-born infant would have of life in
  the den of a wolf.

  == ...the very assertions, constantly dinned in our ears by
  the hireling newspapers, that  we  are the freest people on
  earth, serve only to  make  our  slavery  more  bitter  and
  unbearable.

  ==  ["Rudolph"  enters  a great hall, inside the home of an
  ultra-wealthy citizen] ...this is where they meet.  This is
  the real center  of  government  of the American continent;
  all the rest is sham and  form.   The  men  who  meet  here
  determine  the condition of all the hundreds of millions...
  Here   political   parties,   courts,   juries,  governors,
  legislatures, congresses, presidents are made and unmade...
  The  decrees  formulated  here  are  echoed  by  a  hundred
  thousand newspapers, and many  thousands  of  orators;  and
  they  are  enforced  by  an  uncountable  army of soldiers,
  servants, tools, spies, and  even assassins.  He who stands
  in the way of the men who assemble here perishes.

Donnelly  also  has  an  interesting  theory  on  why  it  became
important that American children receive a public education:   so
that  they  will  be  able to read the newspapers, the propaganda
sheets of the ruling elite.   (Note  also how, with the advent of
radio and television, the public schools' role of  ensuring  that
all of us can read the newspapers became less important.)  Writes
Donnelly, circa 1890:

  == The rich men owned the  newspapers  and  the  newspapers
  owned  their  readers...  If [the public] had not been able
  to read and write they  would  have talked with one another
  upon public affairs, and have formed  some  correct  ideas;
  their    education    simply   facilitated   their   mental
  subjugation...

Enjoyable in Donnelly's book, *Caesar's Column*, is its intrinsic
innocence.  The former congressman, writing  in  a  less  harried
age,  tries  to imagine the awful future, how it will be in 1988.
(Rideout,  in  his   introduction,   points  out  how  Donnelly's
time-frame, 1988,  is  quite  close  to  Orwell's:   1984.)   Yet
Donnelly's  horse-and-buggy world cannot come close to foreseeing
how bad things  were  to  become  during  the 20th century.  Even
Donnelly's villains honor such things  as  oral  contracts.   The
flavor of *Caesar's Column* is Neapolitan; even the villains have
a touch of vanilla.

---------------------------<< Notes >>---------------------------
[1] From the Introduction,  by  Wallace  R.  Rideout, to the 1960
re-issue of Donnelly's book, *Caesar's Column*.  Cambridge, Mass:
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1960.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.

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