Primary documents from the Five Days in June

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The Five Days in June refers to the 20th to 24th of June 1920, in which The Troubles in Praetonia culminated in a showdown between the syndicalist Guild Congress and the orthodox Common Law Eastern Association of Senland. Although the Five Days saw localised fighting, mostly in the Senland metropolis of Haversham, the drama played out mostly in moves and countermoves by the key players announced in the press and over the nascent medium of radio. Here some of the more important are collected.

20th June: Sanders vs The Workers

The legal arm of the syndicalist Guild Congress was the Guild Tribunal. The proximal trigger for the Five Days was the case of Sanders, a factory owner, in which the Guild Tribunal ruled that the workers in his factory had a lawful claim in ownership of it due to the labour they had admixed with his capital. This implicitly contradicted the orthodox interpretation of Common Law, which held that ownership could only be renounced by an extended period of total desertion of a piece of property by its owner. However, the Tribunal took pains to root its judgement in orthodox precedent and did not explicitly create a new interpretation of Common Law in clear break with accepted law in the Commonwealth.

An application has been made for arbitration to the Guild Congress by Mr Alfred Smith on behalf of the Amalgamated Workers Organisation, an organisation representing all the contractors employed in the gas works that has been administered by Mr Sydney Smith. Hereafter the application is referred to as on behalf of The Workers. This application concerns the nature of ownership of the gas works by Mr Smith.

Mr Smith has been invited to attend this arbitration, to which he has agreed. The Tribunal thanks him for his useful testimony.

The Tribunal notes that it has long been our custom that property once held is not held forever but only while the holder puts it to some useful purpose. This may, as in the case of a garden, be a passive purpose: the mere enjoyment of a space in which one has invested one's time and one's effort. It may also be a productive space, such as a workshop containing various tools. It has naturally been our custom that one may have a large workshop if one chooses, and that one must not spend all one's time in one's workshop to be considered its owner. One also has the right to rent tools for the use of others.

In the case of Mr Smith, however, the Tribunal finds clearly that no such practice took place, nor was any such practice intended. The Tribunal has heard from Mr Smith's own testimony that he purchased various tools and housed them in a building which he had no intention to visit and which, in fact, he never had visited, it being just one of several such buildings of which he claims ownership. This claim to ownership clearly cannot stand. The purchase of tools for no personal use, and buildings for no personal use, in no way constitute the type of ownership that we have always historically recognised of a farmer in his field, or even an old maid in her garden.

The Tribunal finds that when Mr Smith intentionally and with foresight gave over his tools and his buildings, which we accept were once his, to the actual effective possession and use of others, and solely of others, intending not to rent with the expectation of one day receiving back that which has been rented, but for the tools and building to be fully used and consumed in total ignorance of Mr Smith, he knowingly and willfully surrendered any claim to ownership.

This ownership, of course, did not simply disappear, but transferred by the known and universally accepted principle of homestead to those in actual effective possession and use of the tools and building, namely The Workers named in this application.

21st June: Application to the Haversham Metropolitan Court

As news of this development ricocheted throughout the Home Island, and as most commentators speculated that Praetonia would surely become an irreversibly syndicalist territory, the Army Council of the Eastern Association met and decided to force a decision on the compatibility of this ruling with the orthodox Common Law. It submitted a brief Application for Adjudication to the Haversham Metropolitan Court, both its local court and a court widely regarded as the most reputable and prestigious in the entire Commonwealth. The brief note read as follows,

Mr Harold Drayson greets the Haversham Metropolitan Court.

Your Honours,

I humbly request the opinion of the Court concerning the recent statement of the Guild Congress of Douneray in the matter of Sanders, that property is deserted and ownership lost by lack of personal presence and use where that property is ordinarily used by contractors, when it has been acquired for that purpose.

I humbly request the opinion of the Court concerning whether an organisation that acts upon and promotes such a doctrine is knowingly and willfully acting outside the Law.

Please find enclosed the customary donative of two hundred ounces of silver. Please render your final invoice at your convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Harold Anthony Drayson

Harold Drayson was, at that time, General Harold Drayson, Chief of the Army Council and President of the Permanent Strategic Establishment of the Eastern Association.

21st June: Statement on repossession by the Eastern Association

After the publication of the Application by Harold Drayson in the Proceedings of the Haversham Metropolitan Court that afternoon, an attack was made on the Court. The Eastern Association quickly responded by moving its regular forces into Haversham, issuing the following statement.

Given by the ARMY COUNCIL of the EASTERN ASSOCIATION as follows:

The HAVERSHAM METROPOLITAN COURT having been attacked by persons adhering to the GUILD CONGRESS, the EASTERN ASSOCIATION makes known its intention to remove the forces of the GUILD CONGRESS from all locations in HAVERSHAM where they are known to be present, and to station in such locations its own forces unless refused permission by the landowner, to safeguard life and property in HAVERSHAM.

This brief statement was too late for the newspapers and was instead posted by Eastern Association troops on Eastern Association property and on repossessed property. The statement grounded the actions of the Eastern Association as a response to a violent attack on a location that wasn't involved in the syndicalist property disputes and was intentionally vague on who "the landowner" might be. The Eastern Association in fact took over all Congress-occupied factories without first consulting any landowner. No complaints are known to have resulted. The Eastern Association did not take over Guild Congress field offices, although it implicitly reserved the right to do so.

22nd June: Conditional declaration of outlawry by the Eastern Association

Most occupations initially proceeded without fighting, as syndicalist forces unused to serious opposition declined to engage regular troops in battalion strength supported by horse artillery and armoured cars. However, the Eastern Association also declined to initiate fighting and the syndicalist "active measures" forces were dispersed into the city rather than being captured or killed. On the 22nd June, with occupations still underway in some parts of the city, these irregular troops conducted hit-and-run rifle attacks which, by the end of the day, had escalated into ambushes with bombs and supported by machine guns. Facing a situation that could not be controlled without wide powers, the Eastern Association decided to declare the Guild Congress an outlaw organisation without explicit backing by any court. This is widely regarded as the "point of no return" in the Five Days, the last point at which the Eastern Association could have withdrawn from the conflict without admitting any wrongdoing on its own part. Instead, declaring the Guild Congress to be outlaws ushered in unlimited war against all syndicalists on the Home Island. Nonetheless, the Eastern Association refrained from mobilising the part time forces who made up most of its strength, and its argument that the Guild Congress were outlaws flowed from its attacks on Eastern Association troops and not its competing interpretation of Common Law.

Given by the ARMY COUNCIL of the EASTERN ASSOCIATION as follows:

At or around 8:32 AM at FORTUNE PLACE in HAVERSHAM, persons adhering to the GUILD CONGRESS, and while engaged in the business of the GUILD CONGRESS and with the knowledge and under the direction of the GUILD CONGRESS, attacked and killed Yeoman PERCIVAL GLADWELL of the EASTERN ASSOCIATION in the course of his Lawful business. The EASTERN ASSOCIATION now commands the GUILD CONGRESS, its confederates and associates, to withdraw from HAVERSHAM and its environs or otherwise render harmless all armed forces, and await judgement at Law, or else be considered as OUTLAWS outwith the protection of the Law, conventions and customs that prevail between civilised men.

Referring to an incident early in the morning, the declaration of outlawry by the Eastern Association was published by the Haversham evening press and reprinted elsewhere in the Home Island, in addition to being posted on all Eastern Association property, reoccupied property, and, enjoying some public support, on many private buildings.

When thousands of unarmed Guild Congress supporters assembled in Haversham's Constitution Park, it was this declaration of outlawry that the Eastern Association used to justify its decision to order its troops to open fire into the crowds.

23rd June: Declaration of outlawry by the Guild Congress

Although the Eastern Association was now fully committed, the Guild Congress still had the opportunity to accept a cease fire and submit to adjudication in the courts. One possibility was for it to dispute the location of this adjudication - the Haversham Metropolitan Court or the Guild Tribunal - and potentially tie the Eastern Association up in a drawn-out political battle during which time the Guild Congress would continue to hold all its gains and perhaps advance further everywhere in the Home Island outside Haversham. Instead, though, the Guild Congress saw it as vital to publicly decisively defeat the Eastern Association, and instead issued its own declaration proclaiming the Eastern Association to be outlaws and calling on the other associations to mobilise and disarm the Eastern Association. This declaration was printed across the Commonwealth on the front page of the morning papers, and broadcast by the Guild Congress' radio station. At the time, the Guild Congress was one of the first and only users of radio for the dissemination of political messages.

The Guild Congress, desiring above all peace and harmony in the Realm, has so far endured with firm patience the irrational and Unlawful attacks of the Eastern Association upon its members and upon property defended by its members.

Now, the Eastern Association accuses without evidence the Guild Congress of being responsible for retaliatory attacks upon its own adherents. These attacks, no doubt, have been carried out by workers possessed of a love of justice and Law, outraged by the violence perpetrated by the Eastern Association against honest men, and desiring a just and Lawful resolution to the current disorder that the Eastern Association has unleashed in Haversham.

Even this being the case, the Guild Congress accepts no responsibility for the actions of persons unknown to it and beyond its control. The Guild Congress rejects entirely and absolutely the accusations of the Eastern Association and recognises no Lawful bounds upon its actions resulting from them, nor any obligation upon it to accept adjudication on the terms of the Eastern Association.

With its latest announcement, the Eastern Association unmasks itself as a threat to all workers and to all Law-abiding people everywhere. The Guild Congress sees plainly that the Eastern Association is alien to the Law and to all protections it affords. The Guild Congress puts the following accusations to the Eastern Association which the public record and its own statements amply prove:

First, that the Eastern Association has attempted to place the Guild Congress outside Law without any proper judicial adjudication, that its statements inviting war within the Realm are made without any independent or dispassionate review whatsoever.

Second, that the Eastern Association has attacked, under false colours and with the intent to defame the Guild Congress, the esteemed Metropolitan Court at Haversham, that the Eastern Association has perpetrated this atrocity to justify war against the Guild Congress for no reason but to satisfy the venal lust for wealth of a clique of influential generals and officers within it.

Third, that the Eastern Association has murderously assaulted workers by the hundreds or thousands assembled peacefully in Haversham to observe the forces of the Eastern Association in hope of curtailing by shame their hideous bloodlust.

Menaced by a force so powerful that it stands beyond the control of the Yeomen or the Watch, and so wicked that it stands not only beyond Law but beyond the comprehension of civilised humanity, the Guild Congress calls upon all the associations of the Realm immediately and with firm determination to contain, suppress, and render harmless the Eastern Association, if necessary by force.

The courtly style of the Guild Congress was deliberately intended to contrast with the direct military style of the Eastern Association's announcements in the minds of orthodox-leaning conservatives.

23rd June: Declaration of war by the Eastern Association

In response, hoping to preempt any response to the announcement of the Guild Congress by the other associations, the Eastern Association mobilised its reserves and gave notification in all major newspapers across the Home Island. It invoked both the attacks of the Guild Congress on Eastern Association troops, and its campaign of collectivisation of workplaces as cause for its actions. The declaration of war was also broadcast by the Eastern Association's military station. Most civilians who were able to hear the message did so on receivers belonging to the Guild Congress.

Given by the ARMY COUNCIL of the EASTERN ASSOCIATION, as follows:

The GUILD CONGRESS, its confederates and associates, having waged for many years a campaign of robbery by threat and by force, have attacked Volunteers of the EASTERN ASSOCIATION in the course their Lawful business. The following persons, in the service of the EASTERN ASSOCIATION, have died as a result of these attacks:

HENRY HERBERT (Lieutenant, EA)
SAMUEL CALDWELL (Sergeant, EA)
MALCOLM FORESTER (Yeoman, EA)
PERCIVAL GLADWELL (Yeoman, EA)
HUMPHREY JAMESSON (Yeoman, EA)

Despite patient indulgence the GUILD CONGRESS refuses to desist or to accept adjudication.

The EASTERN ASSOCIATION has watched with revulsion and restraint the spread of General Outlawry that has everywhere accompanied the activity of the GUILD CONGRESS. Now, all Volunteers for and Contributors to the EASTERN ASSOCIATION, being bound by contract and by honour to protect one another from war-like assault, must throw off restraint, and recognise the GUILD CONGRESS, its confederates and associates, as both OUTLAWS and as ENEMIES.

Facing now the GUILD CONGRESS, its confederates and associates, not as countrymen but as enemies in the field, the EASTERN ASSOCIATION requests and requires

ALL THOSE WHO HAVE PLEDGED THEIR LIVES AND PROPERTY TO THE EASTERN ASSOCIATION IN WAR

to immediately

ASSEMBLE IN ARRAY FOR THE PROSECUTION OF WAR,

to advance the cause of the EASTERN ASSOCIATION with all their guile and strength and relinquish it in the face of no discouragement until the GUILD CONGRESS and its confederates and associates relent and submit to Lawful judgement or are entirely destroyed.

PROVIDENCE PROTECTS THE RIGHT

The distinction between "outlaws", who could but ordinarily would not be suppressed by associations, and "enemies", who were considered ordinary military opponents of associations, was important on two levels. First, the convention required that associations did not engage in ordinary law enforcement. Although fighting on the Home Islands had clear precedent in the Praetonian Civil War, when Common Law Senland defeated and conquered the rest of the island under monarchical government, this was the first time in centuries any association had identified a domestic opponent as an "enemy". Second, the contracts on which associations are based only require volunteers and contributors to mobilise and provide wartime funding in limited circumstances. In this statement, the Eastern Association claimed that its action against the Guild Congress was both defensive and of a military nature, in which circumstance the volunteers and contributors had to support its war effort and could in principle be compelled to do so. The fighting strength of the Eastern Association therefore increased from three partial strength brigades totaling around 25,000 men to ten divisions totaling around 180,000 men.

The declaration was reprinted widely every day until the 1st July, when the crisis was clearly over, and thereafter weekly until the Eastern Association's final demobilisation in 1921.

23rd June: Declaration of war by the Committee for Parks' Maintenance - the "White War Page"

Following the declaration of war by the Eastern Association, the Finance, Gates and Shrubbery Commission of the Committee for Parks' Maintenance impaneled a Council of War which decided to mobilise the part time forces of the Committee and move its regular forces into Haversham. Announcing this move, the parochial and eccentric Committee bought the front page of the evening edition of the Haversham Metropolitan Watchman to print only a single line in ordinary sized font.

War having been declared by the Committee against the Guild Congress, the Council confides that the conduct of every officer and man will ensure its being brought to a speedy and successful conclusion.

Although the Watchman was known to carry most important Haversham news, it had also become a national newspaper of record printed and distributed almost everywhere in the Home Island. The White War Page therefore caused considerable confusion in much of the Home Island where readers were unsure who exactly had just declared war on the Guild Congress. The only hint to the identity of the "Committee" was a caption stating that the page was purchased by [Major General Sir] Ronald Ansfield, a relatively anonymous figure who at that time was Arboreal Secretary and more recently President of the Council of War. It has been speculated that the White War Page played a decisive role in the Five Days by inducing a number of associations that intended to declare for the Guild Congress to hesitate, fearful that some local association had already declared for the Eastern Association and would therefore plunge their city into devastating internal fighting.

23rd June: Response of the Haversham Metropolitan Court to the Application of Harold Drayson

Following the attack on its buildings in Haversham, the Metropolitan Court fled to Whitehaven where in extraordinary break with precedent it agreed to suspend ongoing session to instead consider the Application of Harold Drayson with unusual urgency.

Dear Mr Harold Drayon,

The Court has considered your application. I submit herewith a response in outline, to which a more detailed answer will follow. The matter has also been referred to review by the Court of Maritime Settlement at Jesselton.

I humbly request the opinion of the Court concerning the recent statement of the Guild Congress of Douneray in the matter of Sanders, that property is deserted and ownership lost by lack of personal presence and use where that property is ordinarily used by contractors, when it has been acquired for that purpose.

This interpretation is without basis in Law.

I humbly request the opinion of the Court concerning whether an organisation that acts upon and promotes such a doctrine is knowingly and willfully acting outside the Law.

Any person who would have acted upon and promoted such a doctrine, except in the apparent sincere belief that it is correct, in the sense of seizing otherwise Lawful property by threat or force to distribute according to this scheme, would have knowingly and willfully placed himself outside Law. Any person who would have been so acting with apparently sincere belief who rejects adjudication would also have knowingly and willfully placed himself outside the Law.

It is the opinion of the full board of the central chamber of the Metropolitan Court that the Guild Congress is such an organisation and that it, with the facts immediately before us, taints all its members, adherents, and otherwise active supporters with Outlawry, that their suppression may be carried on without restraint in Law.

In light of services rendered please be assured that you will receive no invoice.

Transcribed,

Herbert Lawson
Secretary to the Central Chamber of the Metropolitan Court at Haversham

Although the body of the judgement was unsurprising to most, it was a heavy political blow to the Guild Congress, which had worked hard to avoid direct disputes on the ownership question being adjudicated in orthodox court. Generally, the Guild Congress would offer seemingly-generous deals to business owners that resulted in significant but not total transfers of ownership to workers, backed by implicit threats that "active measures" brigades would conduct attacks if the business owners went to a conventional court or refused the offered deals. With the ruling of the Guild Tribunal in Sanders, however, for total and unilateral transfer, it became impossible to avoid such a judgement.

The Metropolitan Court went even further, however, explicitly naming the Guild Congress and judging it to be in a state of outlawry, despite the fact that a judgement on this question not requested in the original application. It has been speculated that the Metropolitan Court had reacted with certain discomfort to the attacks on its buildings and privately considered the Guild Congress to be responsible. Its later detailed judgement, however, did not refer to the attacks on itself but considered the Guild Congress to be in a state of outlawry based on Sanders and its consequences alone.

23rd June: Comment of the Guild Tribunal on Drayson

Placed in a position where all loyalists to the prestigious orthodox courts had no choice but to oppose it in any case, the Guild Tribunal issued a statement openly condemning orthodox Common Law on the property question. This was necessary to rebut the judgement of the Metropolitan Court, on behalf of the Guild Congress, but went much further and proclaimed essentially all other courts to be erroneous.

To the Commonwealth and the World,

At Douneray this 23rd of June 1920, the General Tribunal of the Guild Congress makes known

1. that Lawful property is possible only in such things as are personally and habitually used for the preservation of an individual's life or the expression of his soul, by himself in person,

2. that all other pretended property is not only Unlawful, but degrading of the human spirit, and offensive in the sight of God,

3. that it is no wrong to seize, by force, intimidation, or otherwise, any such false property for distribution to its rightful and Lawful owners, and

4. that any person who obstructs such seizure is outwith the Law and any of its protections.

The Tribunal notes in particular that the Eastern Association, the Committee for Parks' Maintenance, and all their adherents, are at the present time outwith the Law and its protections.

24th June: Address of the Protector of the Estates-General

The Five Days in June highlighted the fact that in peacetime the associations were independent forces with officers and men loyal to their own constitutions, leaders, and, for territorial associations such as the Eastern Association, local regions. They are not subject in peacetime to central command by the Estates-General, and any involvement of the Estates-General in matters of Law was and continues to be held in extreme suspicion. The Five Days were therefore mainly decided by the decisions of the individual associations to declare, with more or less strength, for one faction or the other. Nonetheless, the Protector of the Estates-General was in 1920 a substantial figure of influence, having been a central leader in the recent Great War and intimately known to and respected by many who had served in that war and most civilian observers.

The Estates-General also commanded the Estates' Navy independent of any association. The Estates' Navy had battleships and cruisers stationed in many of the western ports where syndicalism was strongest, and was therefore potentially an important factor in any civil war. All Estates' Navy ships that were or could rapidly be made fit for sea were ordered out of port at 11:30PM on 23rd June, in response to the declaration of war and mobilisation of the Eastern Association, but no statement was made at that time concerning what side, if any, the forces under the direct command of the Estates-General would adhere to. At 6:00am on 24th June, a speech was broadcast by the Protector of the Estates-General. It was the first broadcast in history to be heard by a majority of the population of the Home Island, and for most of those the first time they had heard the voice of the Protector.

Beloved countrymen,

Short months have passed since I last had the honour to address you, as brothers in the contest with Quiberon and with Songia. I once regarded that time with sorrow. It seemed that fate had been cruel to me, to direct so many of you, my countrymen, to your deaths, be it in a just and a necessary cause. I envied those who came before me, who discharged their duties in peace, who enjoyed a calm and patient vigilance, and stood on guard for danger that never came. I envy that time now.

Yesterday evening, I discharged the trust that this country has placed in me by ordering her navies to sea. I have instructed every seaman under my command to cling tight to his duty, and to his faith in Providence; to steel himself for the greatest horrors, not just the risk to his own self, but to cause violence to his brothers, to burn and destroy the cities of his country, and to break, if need be forever, the bonds of allegiance and of affection that have existed between us for centuries.

My brothers, I beg you to remember that time, a few short months ago, when any man who would call himself an Estatesman would die for any other man who would call himself an Estatesman. Let us recall all that binds us together, and forget all that marks us apart. Let us continue, in happiness, prosperity, and concord, in peaceful observance of the laws our ancestors have handed down to us and for which we have bled in the recent conflict.

I beg you to forget your factions, and to remember your country.

This short speech did not mention the Guild Congress or the Eastern Association, but was regarded as a strong endorsement of the Eastern Association and condemnation of the Guild Congress. It was widely perceived that the Estates-General was prepared to use its navy to bombard cities held by the Guild Congress with the guns of its battleships in the event of a civil war. But perhaps more importantly, the brief remarks of the Protector heaped shame on the Guild Congress which he portrayed, without once mentioning its name, as an anti-patriotic "faction" dividing and weakening the commonwealth. Several associations that were considering declaring for the Guild Congress against the Eastern Association are known to have reconsidered following the broadcast of this speech. To his death, the Protector never made any statement concerning the true meaning of and intent behind his speech.