« PreviousContinue »
ness; and, in fact, on many points I have expressed myself far less strongly than I have really felt. The breach between the Farmers and the Railroads, though wide, by no means seems to me past all healing. It has been perniciously widened by hot-headed enthusiasts and designing demagogues upon both sides. Time and again, with vituperation and invective without stint, it has been declared that the railroad companies would never be satisfied until they had “wrung the last drop of blood from the people.” Simultaneously, and with equal lack both of judgment and truth, the railroad organs have denounced the farmers as having no just grounds of complaint; and said they merely seek a pretext for the repudiation of their bonds and the confiscation of railroad property, and even (as a prominent railroad official has lately asserted) that they are really casting about for a method of establishing a sort of commune!
As long as this spirit prevails, a peaceful solution of the matters at issue lies in the future. The railroads will yield nothing unless compelled, while believing, or at least professing to believe, that a concession would be but the occasion for further demands; and the farmers will not abate one jot or tittle of their claims for redress, while insulted by the transparent falsehood that they have no just cause for complaint. Among a people who profess to be self-governed, it ought to be possible to remedy all such grievances without an appeal to regulatory legislation; and the writer, for one, would yet gladly see delegations appointed in behalf of the contending parties, empowered to confer and arrange the basis for an amicable compromise, reasonable, practicable, and just to all parties.
Whatever may be the issue of the pending war between the producers and transporters, however, it is clear that from the Farmers' Movement, as a whole, great good must result. It has opened the eyes of the masses to gigantic frauds in other directions. Even if this were not the case, the increased interest which the members of Farmers'Clubs, Patrons of Husbandry, and like Associations, have manifested in our social and public affairs must be productive of great good to the masses, in the proper education of the present and rising generations in their duties as individuals and citizens. It is through this great quickening of the toiling masses, and their stimulation to higher endeavor, that either the renovation or overthrow of the effete and corrupt political parties of the day is to be effected.
J. P. CHICAGO, ILL., 19th January, 1874.
AMERICAN FARMERS' CLUBS.At the time of the Revolution Clubs in
Speech of Worthy Master A. B. Smedley.