Peter Alekseevich Kropotkin 1906 ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY THE FATHER OF ANARCHIST COMMUNISM REGARDING HIS FINAL SPEECH IN AMERICA
Viola, Bromley, Kent, England 1906 Very Good Autograph
On offer is an exceedingly scarce, original 1906 handwritten letter by Peter Alekseevich Kropotkin, known as "the Father of Anarchrist-Communism." This historically relevant, two-page letter was penned by Kropotkin on July 10, 1906, at Viola, Bromley, Kent, England. He writes to a Mr. Haslam, in English, commenting in part, on a recent speech, "The little speech did not tire me, although by the end of it I felt that I ought not to attempt to speak for more than quarter of an hour, or so...." Kropotkin further comments on the condition of prisoners after long solitary confinement. He wrote this letter after returning to England from the United States, where his radical anarchist views made him an unwelcome guest. Peter Alekseevich Kropotkin was one of Russia's foremost anarchists, and one of the first advocates of anarchist communism. He advocated for this model of society for most of his life; that of a communalist society free from central government. Because of his title of prince and his prominence as an anarchist, he was known by some as "the Anarchist Prince". Some contemporaries saw him as leading a near perfect life, including Oscar Wilde, who described him as "a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia." He left behind a pioneering legacy and many prominent works, including "The Conquest of Bread" and Fields, "Factories and Workshops," and "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution." Prince Peter (Pyotr) Alexeyevich Kropotkin (1842-1921) was born in Moscow, Russia, and at the age of 15 entered the aristocratic Corps des Pages of St. Petersburg. Four yeas later became personal page to Alexander II. Kropotkin took a keen interest in politics, volunteering to help implement the reforms being introduced in Siberia. Disillusioned by the limitations of these reforms, he undertook a geographic exploration of East Siberia and produced a paper on his theory of mountain structure. Kropotkin soon became openly critical of the Russian political system and in 1874 he was arrested and imprisoned. Two years later he escaped and fled to Switzerland, however his radical socialist views made him unwelcome in Switzerland and in 1881 he moved to France where he became a member of the International Working Men's Association (the First International). In 1883 Kropotkin was arrested and imprisoned by the French authorities. While in prison his ideas on anarchism were published. Released in 1886, Kropotkin moved to England where he wrote "In Russian and French Prisons" (1887). He also penned a series of articles attacking the ideas of Charles Darwin, arguinng that it was cooperation rather than struggle that accounted for the evolution of man and human intelligence. Meanwhile, the publication of various works transformed him into a political figure known throughout the world. In 1899 Kropotkin moved to Chicago and lived in the Hull House settlement, however his anarchist views were viewed as too radical in United States so he returned to England. In 1912 Kropotkin moved to Brighton where he remained for the next five years. After the overthrow of the Tsar Nicholas II in 1917, he returned home to Russia and welcomed the October Revolution. Kropotkin was critical of the Bolshevik government and described its members as "state socialists". He died of pneumonia, and his final book, "Ethics, Origin and Development," was published posthumously a year later. Condition: Rare letter remains in good condition; usual folds, a bit of smudging, etc. Ink bold and legible throughout. Letter is two-pages in length, written on recto and verso (front and back) of single sheet; paper mounted on partial backing, 5" x 7 1/4". VG.