The article given below was sent to the "Chicago Chronicle." The editor returned it with the following statement:
"The enclosed manuscript is returned, not because it is found to be objectionable, or in any way unsuited to the columns of the paper, but solely for the reason that we have more matter of this class than we can hope to use." It was therefore afterwards given out to other daily, weekly and monthly publications, upon the supposition that their manuscript coffers might not be as rich in thought of the class to which that contained in the article below belongs, as is the "Chronicle" of Chicago, and in many of those to which it was sent it has since been published:
In the opening article of "McClure's Magazine" for March, 1902, the statement is made that Professor Loeb of Chicago conceives life and electricity to be the same; and also believes it to be the fact that, as the result of the magnificent work done by him and those assisting him, life may come to be prolonged. With the last statement I agree; but, as will appear from the pages of a manuscript book entitled, "His Verses (with That in Them Which Is), for Those Kindest Hearted," copies of which were presented by me several years ago to libraries of Royal Societies in Ireland, Scotland and England, to the chief universities of those countries, to the chief universities of Australia and Canada, and to the chief universities of the United States of America, with the first statement I do not, in all respects, agree. In one of the poems contained in the manuscript book, the title of the poem being, "How to Overcome the Last Enemy," are these words: "For electrified is action: and (transmuted) will, through deeds, come a force to end all dying," etc., etc.
Action is, indeed, as has been seen by Professor Loeb, the result of the operation of electricity; for, as in the poem stated, "electrified is action;" but, back of electricity is something more subtle, which determines its character—as to whether the manifested electricity will be negative or positive. This subtle something is thought. But thought is of two kinds. One kind is the kind in nature that is back of the impulse that causes the world to most highly honor and pay those willing, for such rewards, to take the lives of their fellows; the other is back of the impulse that will cause men rather to forego reward than accept it as the return coming for destruction to limb or life of the least of their fellows. It is the form of thought that prompts the highest known form of human courage, whose ultimate aim ever is not destruction, but creation; whose offspring was the discovery of the X-ray, and such work as has been done for which the world has not capacity sufficient to reward him—by Professor Loeb.
Professor Loeb justly complains that, in America, rewards go, not to those engaged in such work as his, but rather to those who profit from politics. This is a discouraging fact. Still, to know this may give him heart to persist in his work: that outside of the walls of American universities are artists, writers and discoverers working—and who have for long years worked—for whom such institutions have done, and do, nothing.
But back of the gigantic natural force, whose initial or starting point is within the brain of man, is more than is above stated. The great storage battery for electricity in one of its forms of expression—that whose starting point is in imperialistic or despotic thought—is the central earth. And it was therefore not for nothing that the Seers of old prophesied for peoples seeking, above all other things, prosperity, a fate such as came upon Gomorrah and Sodom. For, back of the vague perception which, during the long ages, has been in the minds of men waiting to be worked out, that this earth can, because of their acts and thoughts, come to be destroyed by fire, there has been always, although it has not been put into formulated expression, a law and a scientific foundation. Injustice and its offspring coercion, or that action upon the part of any people through which it takes a portion of the earth's surface away from any other people by violence, ever creates and stores up within the earth an electrical force that, going to and fro within it, is, step by step, performing the work that can someday cause the earth's surface to sink and collapse and molten lava and fire from within to come through the crevasses then formed, and spread out over its surface.
Thought is a gigantic natural power and its operation not yet fully comprehended; but the time will come when it will be a fact apparent that all of those who, in pulpit or press, uphold the application of torture to their fellow-men, such as was not practiced by the armies of pagan times, are, whether they are aware of the fact or not, but hastening, by their thought and intent, the time of the arrival of such a final result.
The prophets and poets of ancient times, although in their outer natures they had not yet come to see that, back of their prophecies, there rested a principle of science, yet had within them an intuitive consciousness of the fact that injustice, done by any man upon earth, brings about simultaneous changes within it; and they were wiser than they knew when their intuitions told them that hypocrisy, brutality and greed on earth might bring about destruction from within it if ever the time should come when such an abomination of desolation should make its appearance upon the earth as towns and villages having the torch set to them in liberty's name, and in that name gun and sword used to make of any place inhabited by man a wilderness.
Unless work of that character ceases to be done, lightning, or the electricity that the minds of men can create, will, by all men, be seen to fall from heaven. And. although from the time of the world's foundation, it has been in process of generation through each act of coercion and oppression, each act for expansion by conquest, although they have not yet all of them seen it, each man may, before the present generation shall have, all of it, departed, come, in many places, to see it.