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MUTTERINGS OF THE COMING STORM
We clip from papers of recent date the following suggestive items, which give fresh evidence of the general unrest and forebodings of evil to come. Again and again we are reminded of the prediction of our Lord, that the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, and that men’s hearts shall fail them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth.
The problems of the present hour baffle the wisdom and skill of statesmen, and with an increasing emphasis demand their attention. Divine wisdom alone can adjust the tangled problem of human affairs. But we rejoice to know that after the storm shall have reached its climax and spent its force, men will be prepared for a better order of things, and then they shall recognize the Son of man coming in power and great glory; and will be prepared to submit to his rightful authority.
„Just how long the questions raised by American socialists and so-called land reformers of the Henry George stripe can be kept out of politics is more than can be told, yet it would be foolish to ignore their existence or keep ignorant of their nature. Socialism is a subject that has received very little attention from our students or legislators. Its aims are illy understood. The popular eye has seen little more than a discontented lot of fierce sans-culottes and the ear heard only their wild and incoherent ravings. About all that is known of them is that socialists would tear the present order of things to pieces if they only had the power. Sunday’s Globe-Democrat contains an interview with T. V. Powderly, General Master Workman of the Knights of Labor, an organization of workingmen that bears 900,000 on its rolls, and has an active membership of full 600,000. ‚Do you think that labor now enjoys the rights that belong to it?’ questioned the reporter. We quote the reply:
‚We do not. The condition of the working classes is truly deplorable in many respects, and I very much fear there is trouble ahead. Capital must learn to respect the claims of labor, and that soon. If not we shall have revolution. It is no use to be mealy-mouthed about the situation. Talk of communism! That amounts to nothing. The relations between the capitalists and the workingmen are all wrong, and they must be righted. It is our mission to do as much to this end as we can. When Gen. Grant came back to this country after going abroad, he spoke of the asphaltum pavement. That he said was what was needed—that and Gatling guns, and then they could adjust these differences of capital and labor. Why asphaltum pavements? Because they can not be torn up and made into barricades.”
The speaker’s eyes flashed and his voice took on the lower tones as he continued: ‚But we have a counter-irritant now. Dynamite! That will offset their pavement and their guns. We hope it will not come to this. There are other ways of settling differences, and our order is devoting itself to a peaceful and a rational solution of the problem.’
That all sounds like idle bravado, yet it may be the inner thought of a million workers. Men must have worked themselves to a considerable frenzy, when they even talk of dynamite as a means of avenging their supposed wrongs.
On the same day, in Chicago, there was a gathering of working men, and their theme was ‚Socialists, What they Want, and How they want it.’ This very comprehensive subject was discussed by Alexander Jonas, editor of the New York Volks Zeitung, Paul Grottkau of the Arbeiter Zeitung (Workingman’s Paper), and a T. J. Morgan. Mr. Jonas is said to be very moderate in his views as compared with other apostles of Socialism, yet they contrived to say:
The object of socialists was that each man should be free to work as much as he thought he owed to the world, and take in return as much as he needed. He did not care for art and science as
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long as millions were starving and in misery. Socialists did not want charity, but justice, and it was the duty of workingmen who were enlightened as to the aims of socialism to canvass their fellow-laborers actively and impart their own intelligence and knowledge to them. It had been asked why in Cincinnati the workingmen who all had rifles at home did not turn out and shoot. The reason was simply that they did not know enough yet. But the day would come when intelligent workingmen, formed into armed battalions, would turn out, and then, would capitalists and landlords see who was the strongest of the two! [Terrific applause.]
We see that the ‚terrific applause’ came in just at the point where blood became visible.
Morgan, who spoke in English, did not have a good show to unload himself, but said in substance that socialists demanded that their condition be measured by the possibilities that surrounded them. They were dissatisfied with the existing condition of affairs. At one end of the social system was Vanderbilt, and at the other the tramp. Both must be done away with, and to accomplish this, land, railroads, manufacturers, tools and machinery should be made the common property of the people, and not be controlled by a few.
This was entirely too tame a statement to arouse enthusiasm among the revolutionists, but he was followed by Grottkau, who pleased them better. In his opinion, socialists should attain their ends by a physical revolution, and should do so at once. He was opposed to their taking a part in politics, but wanted a revolution, pure and simple, with plenty of dynamite and gunpowder. Alexander Kempke believed in educating the working people in the principles of socialism, and in their participating in politics. A revolution must surely come about, but they were not prepared for it at present.
These are samples of teachings and expressions that are being inculcated and find utterance in most of our large cities. There certainly ought to be some definite information in the hands of the authorities as to the extent to which these sentiments are entertained among workingmen. We have an unfortunate habit of letting things run until they are practically beyond control.
The city of New York did so with the Boss Tweed Ring. The nation did the same with the propagation of States Rights doctrines, and it resulted in the most tremendous war of modern times. We have done the same with Mormonism, till now it is fairly entrenched in the heart of the continent, and is able to bid defiance to the Legislature and moral forces of the Republic. With these examples before us, it is certainly unwise to continue the laissez faire system with so active, seductive and dangerous a thing as socialism.”
„THE DYNAMITE SCARE IN LONDON
LONDON, June 22.—The Irish leaders in London just now seem to be anxiously awaiting some expected development of an extraordinary character. The fact that the Parnellities seem to be in a state of constant apprehension would indicate that they have a good reason to know that the ‚Force Party’ are on the eve of attempting to carry out some well-planned scheme of terrorism. The police are nervously active. London was never so thoroughly patrolled. Strangers arriving at any of the Metropolitan entrepots are closely scrutinized, and in many cases „shadowed” until proved beyond suspicion. All the Ministers are guarded by detectives to and from Parliament and the public offices. The entire detective force has been put on double duty alternately. When Parliament is in session visitors are discouraged from attendance and strangers are not allowed in the building at all. Before each sitting the Parliament buildings are searched by the police from cellar to roof, and immediately after each rising all people are ejected from the palace yard and the gates are locked and placed under guard. All the Ministers and a majority of the Troy leaders have adopted the custom of leaving Parliament in cabs, the Ministers making their exits through the private entrances. During each recess all the corridors and vaults of the Parliament buildings are constantly patrolled by special sentries.
The Thames Embankment has been placed under the care of special appointed watchmen. Nearly all the well-known Invincibles who recently were conspicuous in London have either disappeared or suddenly become quiet. Peter Tynan, long regarded as the mysterious „Number One,” recently left London, leaving word that he was going to America. It has been ascertained that he went straight to Paris, and it is asserted that he was seen in the French capital recently. Capt. McCafferty is known to be there. It is generally feared that the leaders of the Invincibles are in secret session in Paris for the purpose of directing from there the expected developments which are awaited with a fear bordering upon panic.”
— August, 1884 —