pages 183 to 199
January 7 was the day the military had set apart to put into force-a "vag" law. January 6 was said to be the last day of grace allowed to the idle in which to go to work or leave the district. It was understood that a general "clean up" of dissolute citizens of the district would be inaugurated. The military authorities did not divulge their proposed modus operandi though it was given out that they would not maintain a boarding house at Camp Goldfield. Those under the military ban were to be taken in by guards of soldiers as fast as possible and escorted to the camp, where they were to be given the privilege of leaving the district at once or entering the dreaded bull pen. When a sufficient number of prisoners were thus rounded up it was proposed to take them under military escort to the limits of Teller county and force them into exile. But when the day arrived the miners remained as usual. Three or four union men were told to go, but they remained as they had always been— law-abiding citizens of the Cripple Creek district.
The Western Federation issued circulars and distributed them over the district, urging the men to refuse to be driven from their homes. It follows:
"NOTICE—To all members of the W. F. M. of the Cripple Creek district—It has been decided in many courts that members of organized labor are not vagrants. Keep your union cards and refuse to be driven from home. If compelled to leave by force of arms, union men are advised to return immediately to the Cripple Creek district. The Western Federation of Miners will provide for all striking miners' families.
"CHAS. H. MOYER, President. "WM. D. HAYWOOD, Sec.-Treas. W. P. M."
Immediately after the above notice was distributed on the streets of Victor the military got immensely busy in a vain effort to "suppress" them. They searched Miners' Union hall, but could not find this "terrible literature," but they scared the Record into stopping the press that was turning them out and also arrested a boy who was distributing them. They also tore down all that they could find tacked up on bill boards and telegraph poles.
In the early part of December, R. E. Croskey, first vice-president Colorado State Federation of Labor; secretary District Trades and Labor Assembly, and the author of the "official statement" issued by the Executive Committee District Union No. 1," had business in Denver and quietly left the Cripple Creek district. He has always been a recognized leader of organized labor in the district, and therefore it was announced that "military necessity" made it imperative that Mr. Croskey should be exiled to the bull pen. The military scoured the district for this recognized enemy of the mine owners, but while they were doing so, he was taking a quiet little walk over the Rockies out of the district. In an interview in Denver December 10, Mr. Croskey said in part:
"I do not fear the 'bull pen.' It has no terrors for me. I am no better than others who are now in it. It is a part of my duty to go there, and I shall. I will spend my time in reading. I want to read again Thomas Payne's 'The Rights of Man.' I will enjoy it there under the tent of Peabody's tyranny. Then I expect to again read the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln's inaugural address and his Gettysburg speech, and other fiction so dear to the hearts of Americans."
"Mr. Croskey emphasized the word 'fiction' and flashed his sharp eyes for the instant upon the catechist, to see if the chosen words had gone home.
"Then, too, I may read the constitution of the United States, if I am permitted to do so by the powers that rule over me. I shall not worry about my fare or how long I will be held. After all, it is but a little while here. I want Governor Peabody and General Bell to know that we are not afraid of their jails. I want them to know that we will go in and come out by the same door. They cannot crush out the spirit of freedom that dwells in the hearts of the men he is persecuting. That, you know, was tried long ago, and it failed."
Mr. Croskey returned to the district in a few days after the interview, but never occupied the bull pen. The opposition recognized in him a formidable and dangerous "enemy," but "kept their hands off."
The first blood of the "Cripple Creek War," (with the exception of the burro) was on December 28, when John M. Glover issued an inflammatory defi to the military authorities in regard to giving up arms. The cause of the excitement was the following letter which Mr. Glover turned over to a representative of the Denver Republican:
"Cripple Creek, Colo., December 28, 1903.
"I observe that Colonel Verdeckberg issued still other proclamations calling for more arms and detailing the strenuous things he will do if they are not surrendered. Tell the colonel that there are two guns in my office and they are not registered; they are mine; the constitution gives me the right to carry them; they are loaded to the brim. The colonel can have them when the supreme court ratifies his criminal usurpation against the liberties of the people of this county, and before that whenever he is brave enough to murder under his illegal orders.
"I look to see the supreme court ransom this people and all the active agents in this conspiracy against human rights sent to the penitentiary, where they belong.
"A disorderly and lawless governor, who prostitutes the military arm to crush one side of an industrial controversy—I don't care which side— is the chief anarchist in the state. Where agitators make single socialists he makes them in shoals. Tell the colonel to come when I am at home and to come at the head of his squad. If, whenever a governor is base enough to tell a transparent and wicked lie about a community, he can by virtue of that lie, wipe away all my constitutional rights and put me under the government of a San Hedran of wild asses' colts, like Bell, Chase and McClelland and company; I am ready to pass in my chips at any time.
"As for unionism, it is stronger today than ever. It is bulit on a basic principle of human nature. It can't be stamped out by the military heel. Persecution strengthens it as it strengthened the early church.
(Signed) "JOHN M. GLOVER."
MR. GLOVER'S STATEMENT.
"The soldiers came to the office and demanded entrance. I refused and barricaded the door. After an hour I heard boring at the lower right hand corner of the door. I looked through the glass (upper half) and found a soldier crouched there. They were, in fact, afraid to enter, and were tying up the door to starve me out. I did not know this, and thought he was affixing something to the door to blow or force it open. After warning him twice, I began to shoot. The soldier swore afterwards that I fired three times. At any rate the return fire, twenty-five shots, riddled the office and one bullet caught me in the left arm, cutting the ulnar nerve, paralyzing the left arm for many days and the right hand temporarily, so that I could not pick up the gun (a sporting model Winchester), which had fallen to the floor. I then began to appreciate the beauties of peace and surrender. I was thrown into the county jail, which had been seized by the military. The next day I was released, and went to St. Francis' hospital, Colorado Springs, having signed the following parole:
" 'I accept my release from confinement in Teller county on the following conditions, which I pledge myself, as a gentleman, to follow strictly:
" 'First—I shall return to the Cripple Creek district and surrender myself to Colonel Verdeckberg, or any other officer in command, when requested to do so by such officer.
" 'Second—That until I have placed myself in the custody of such officer, or other proper authority, the sheriff, etc., I pledge myself to not talk or write for publication nor institute any proceedings legal or of any other kind.
" 'As soon as the wound passed the danger of blood poisoning (which would have been a sure thing in the microbe-ridden jail), I returned to Cripple Creek and notified the commandant that I would no longer be bound by the parole, and would prosecute him and his accomplices, and he sent a file of soldiers and arrested me at once, and, after holding me in jail for two days, threw me into the military prison and held me for sixteen days. The blankets were so filthy that if you slept in a clean shirt one night it looked next morning as if you had worn it six weeks. The wound, which had been open and treated daily, was deliberately neglected and closed over the dressing and the inflammation of the injured nerve intensely increased, so that I could only sleep in snatches from sheer exhaustion. After eleven days I was taken twice to Cripple Creek to have the wound dressed by my surgeon, but I would not agree to trade the right of free speech for the right of humane treatment, and that was stopped. As a consequence of the first eleven days' neglect, the arm seems to have stiffened permanently in an unnatural (bent) position. Meanwhile, two informations had been prepared, one for shooting with intent to kill Soldier Smith, and the other for the same as to Soldier Dittemore. Tried on the last charge, the judge, a Republican, and appointed by Peabody, instructed that the soldiers had the right to take the guns, and I had no right to resist. I defended myself, scared the governor unmercifully, and got a compromise verdict of simple assault, penalty $100, or six months in county jail, motion for new trial pending. Nothing the matter with this verdict except that the information states no offense, one-half of the instructions are erroneous under Colorado decisions, and there is no evidence to show that I shot at Dittemore, though much to show that I shot at Smith, who was crouching at the door. It will last about as long as the proverbial snowball in the regions below, when it reaches the supreme court. Tried on the Smith charge, I got an absolute acquittal on the ground that I was in jeopardy already in the Dittemore case. I am now about well. I intended by precept and example to cause a general forcible resistance to the disarmament order. The certainty of this killed the plan dead. Behind it there was, to my certain knowledge, a scheme to which Peabody was a party, to deport 1,500 or 2,000 striking miners who were living on the proceeds of their own toil, as vagrants. It was perforce abandoned when the disarmament failed. As the troops were only used to 'job' the strikers, there was no further use for them, and so they went out. I had an inspiration that all this would follow. If Peabody had attempted the same lawless game in any county in Missouri, his army would have been shot and himself hung to his own door-post within a week.
"The pacific fight of the unions was too strong to be beaten except by the unlimited and unscrupulous use of the military arm. In attempting to crush them, Peabody made slaves of us all."
December 30 there was issued a call by the Colorado State Federation of Labor for a mass convention to go into session January 11 to consider the welfare of organized labor throughout the state. I give the official call complete, which explains itself:
"TO THE UNIONS THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF COLORADO: OFFICERS AND MEMBERS, GREETING:
"Denver, Colo., December 30, 1903.
"A crisis has been reached in this state which demands that the members of organized labor shall no longer remain mute and silent. The rights, the liberties and the citizenship of labor have been assailed with a wanton, cold-blooded, premeditated brutality that finds no parallel in the crimsoned pages of Russia's blood-curdling history. 'The land of the free and the home of the brave' has been converted into a Siberia, where gubernatorial czarism has climbed to the loftiest summit of despotism; where military might rides rampant over the constitution and the laws.
The laborer's home, which is the castle of the poor man, is no longer sacred. The hearthstone, the family fireside, is invaded and desecrated by military outlaws, and citizenship subjected to all the indignities, humiliation and reproach, which corporate cunning and power can suggest and devise, and which armed infamy can execute; civil authority has been strangled, and a free press and free speech have been suppressed. The member of organized labor who strikes has been declared a vagrant and to be a union man, merits the dynamite of the corporation to destroy his home and the penalty of incarceration in a military 'bull-pen' without charge, warrant or due process of law. Never before in the history of this country have such scenes been witnessed as here in the heart of the Rocky mountains.
"Courts of law are no longer recognized as temples of Justice, and the manifestation of that spirit of patriotism and independence that fired the brain and nerved the arm of our ancestry of '76 is met with bristling bayonets of a military mob. The Patrick Henrys, the Washingtons and the Franklins of the Eighteenth century heard the haughty mandate issued from the lips of king-hired Hessians: 'Disperse, ye rebels,' and now in the early morn of the Twentieth century, after more than a hundred years have elapsed since the Declaration of Independence was baptized in the blood of valor and heroism, we hear the exultant shout of military— fortified plutocracy—calling upon the hosts of organized labor to disband, and bow the knee in cringing sycophancy as slaves to tyrants and masters. In the lexicon of freedom there is no such word as surrender. Brawny arms and brave hearts will not retreat before the pitiless monsters of incorporated greed, backed by the state militia, recruited from the slums and riff-raff of humanity. The uniform of the soldier in the State of Colorado has become, through a Republican administration, the emblem of disgrace, and the garb in which anarchy masquerades as law. The time has come when labor must speak in no uncertain tones, for upon the dauntless courage of the working men of this nation depends the life and liberty of the citizen and the stability of the government. In the language of the Revolutionary hero, 'these are times that try men's souls,' and the day has passed away when the 'summer patriot' and the 'sunshine warrior' can hug delusions to his breast. 'Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.' And the time is now when the clarion voice of labor must be raised and heard in every city, town and hamlet in the state, calling a halt to military imperialism. Every union throughout the State of Colorado, regardless of the affiliation with the national or international bodies, are earnestly urged to send one or more representatives to a convention that is to be held in the city of Denver, Monday, January 11, at 10 o'clock a. m., in Waiters' hall, Club building. The strike of the miners in the Cripple Creek district, Telluride and the coal fields, has resolved itself into a battle, which leaves no longer room for doubt that every craft and department of unionism are threatened with annihilation. The gauntlet has been thrown down, we must take it up, pledging 'our fortunes and our all,' as did the sires of the Revolution when driving the tyranny of king-rule from the shores of young Columbia.
"Let no union in the state fail to send one or more delegates. Bring credentials from the union, properly signed and sealed. All officers and representatives of national or international bodies are eligible to seats in the convention and are respectfully requested to be present.
"J. C. SULLIVAN, Pres. Colo. S. F. of L.
"HARRY B. WATERS, Secretary-Treasurer."
In answer to the above call by the State Federation of Labor, more than 350 delegates assembled in the city of Denver, January 11, to consider ways and means to meet the emergencies that are arising from present industrial conditions. The ringing addresses that were delivered by the prominent men and women in the convention, and the Niagara of applause that greeted the thunderbolts of indignation that were hurled at Colorado's despot, demonstrated that organized labor in the state is aroused to the necessity of action to relegate the present administration to political oblivion. When the convention was called to order by J C. Sullivan, the president of the State Federation, the Waiters' hall in the Club building was crowded to the doors, and the earnest and eloquent words that fell from the lips of the chairman impressed the delegates with the fact that the time had come in the history of the state, when the brawn and muscle of the citizenship should "hew to the line, let the chips fall where they will."
. Mr. Sullivan said in part, as follows:
"Friends and Fellow Citizens, I Greet You:
"An industrial condition that makes necessary the assembling jf labor's hosts in special convention is certainly significant, and, if the facial expressions of firm determination that are stamped on the countenances of this magnificent audience correctly reflects its feelings, there is still hope that 'liberty' and 'justice,' though banished from this centennial state of ours, 'by order of a political accident,' and citizens forced to leave their homes and firesides at the bayonet point in the hands of 'our' modern 'Hessians,' for the sole and only reason that they refuse to join forces with our 'modern Tories,' and say they will not sell their manhood on mammon's greedy altar nor bow the knee in cringing sycophancy to the aristocratic anarchist, though he be clothed with brief official authority. This, my friends, is a gathering that, if each and every delegate here assembled does his full duty to his country, to his fellow man, to himself and to the posterity of mankind, this meeting will go down in the annals of history as the most important gathering that has ever been held in Colorado up to this time. But if, for any reason, you fail to do your duty, you will, by that failure, assist the modern Tories and the mine operators' hired Hessians to banish the lovers of liberty from their homes and firesides, and establish in their stead willing corporate vassals, to whom manhood is an unknown quality, to whom justice is a myth and liberty an illusion. The time is now, my friends, when not only labor's voice must be heard, but labor's hosts must act, if necessary, if justice is to be again enthroned in the fair State of Colorado."
The selection of a temporary chairman and secretary resulted in the unanimous choice of President Sullivan as temporary chairman, and H. B. Waters of Denver, as temporary secretary. Both were later made permanent.
Secretary Waters then read the call for the convention and the 350 delegates listened with serious faces to the arraignment of capital and state officials. The strong and vigorous language brought forth bursts of applause.
"The uniform of the soldier through the Republican administration in Colorado has become the garb of tyrants and of disgrace, in which anarchy stalks in the garb of law," read Mr. Waters, and the audience thundered approval.
Then followed appointments of committees on rules of order, credentials, resolutions and press, with other routine convention work.
When the convention resumed its labors Monday afternoon, the secretary read the following telegram from "Mother Jones:"
"Trinidad, Colo., January 11, 1904. "State Federation of Labor, Convention Hall, Denver, Colo.:
"To the Delegates of the State Federation of Labor, Greeting—Let your deliberations be tempered with a high sense of justice for all mankind—malice toward none, for you are the bulwark of the nation. The day dawneth when you shall get your own.
"Fraternally in the cause of labor,
(Signed) "MOTHER JONES."
The convention, by a motion that was carried unanimously, instructed the chairman and secretary to answer the telegram of "Mother" Jones. The following is a copy: "To 'Mother' Jones, Trinidad:
"The greatest labor convention ever held in the state sends you greeting and wishes you health and God-speed.
(Signed) "J. C. SULLIVAN, President.
"H. B. WATERS, Secretary."
The following resolution was adopted and sent to Senator Patterson:
"Whereas, The convention, representing 35,000 members of organized labor in the State of Colorado, has been called to take cognizance of industrial conditions and the course followed by Governor Peabody.
"Resolved, That the situation in this state is so grave that the facts should be laid before the nation in an authoritative manner. To that end we urge the immediate passage by the United States senate of Senator T. M. Patterson's resolution, directing the senate committee on judiciary, or a sub-committee thereof, to come to Colorado and make a searching inquiry into the conditions existing in this state. Organized labor courts an investigation, and we feel sure that we are voicing the sentiments of every labor organization in the state when we promise the senate committee our hearty co-operation.
(Signed) "J. C. SULLIVAN, President."
The committee on resolutions brought in the following report which was adopted with but two dissenting votes on a roll call, which was asked for by Charles H. Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners:
"Denver, Colo., January 13, 1904.
"Whereas, Organized labor in the State of Colorado is fighting a deathless battle for the right to organize and live; and
"Whereas, The chief executive and the state administration have conspired and entered into collusion with the Mine Owners' Association, the smelting trust, the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, and the commercial allies known as the Citizens' Alliance in defeating the political mandate of the people, as expressed at the polls in November, 1902; and
"Whereas, The state militia has become corporate hirelings and resolved themselves into a military mob to annihilate organized labor, to train Gatling guns upon the temple of justice, to defy the courts, to invade the sanctity of homes, to arrest without warrant or process of law, and incarcerate in a prison, known as a military 'bull-pen,' men who have committed no crime save to clasp hands under the banner of unionism; and
"Whereas, The governor of this state has declared martial law in Teller and San Miguel counties, and, with the power of armed might, deported law-abiding citizens and branded them as vagrants and outlaws; and
"Whereas, To quote from the Declaration of Independence—'That to secure our rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient cause; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.' And
"Whereas, Free speech has been strangled, the press muzzled and the writ of habeas corpus suspended by military imperialism, backed by bristling bayonets; and
"Whereas, The presence of an armed soldiery in Teller and San Miguel counties was for the sole use and benefit of the Mine Owners' Association in their warfare against organized labor, and not to preserve law and order, as neither was being violated; now, therefore, be it
"Resolved, That the delegates and representatives of organized labor in convention assembled, condemn and denounce the assaults of the state administration upon the rights and liberties of citizenship by trampling under the iron heel of military despotism every principle of the organic law of the state.
"Resolved, That we demand the immediate withdrawal of the troops, so that law and order may again prevail in Teller and San Miguel counties.
"Resolved, That we are unalterably opposed to placing upon the shoulders of the tax-payers the expense incurred by the state militia while quartered in the strike regions during the years 1903-1904.
"Resolved, That the membership of this convention, representing 50,000 members of organized labor in Colorado, will vote for no candidate for the Fifteenth General Assembly who will not pledge himself, in the event of his election, to use his vote and influence against any and every measure looking to the payment of a single dollar of the expenses referred to.
"Resolved, That when the reign of military anarchy is at an end in this state, we urge the membership of organized labor throughout Colorado to come to the aid of the martyrs of 'bull-pen' imprisonment, so that the wrongs and outrages from which they have suffered may be righted in the courts.
"Resolved, That we commend and admire the gallant and unflinching battle of the Western Federation of Miners and the United Mine Workers of America, who have bared their breasts to corporate power, and who are now forcing greed to hoist the white flag.
"Resolved, That we urge the membership of organized labor to establish co-operative stores wherever possible, in order that unionism may successfully measure steel with that band of brigands and pirates who have registered their names upon the roll of the Citizens' Alliance.
"Resolved, That we call upon the membership of organized labor in every city, town and hamlet, and every liberty loving citizen of the state, to march to the polls in November, 1904, and bury the present administration so deep beneath an avalanche of ballots that a million blasts from Gabriel's trumpet will not be able to awaken it from political oblivion. "(Signed)
"F. W. HYNES,
"J. R. HERMAN,
"P. J. DEVAULT,
"W. X. HAYWOOD,
"M. E. WHITE,
"JAS. T. SMITH,
"A. S. LEWIS,
"MRS. ADA B. HANNA,
"F. E. M'CAFFERTY,
"JOHN M. O'NEILL."
Many resolutions were introduced and adopted by the convention. John Oliver, Denver Typographical Union No. 49, introduced a resolution in regard to this work, which was as follows:
"Whereas, Mrs. Emma F. Langdon, representing Victor Typographical Union No. 275, in this convention, when the employes and editorial force of the Victor Daily Record were thrown in the 'bull-pen' for defending the rights of organized labor, in an effort to compel the suspension of that paper and throttle the friend of organized labor in that district, did jump into the breach, and alone and unaided did issue the paper; and
"Whereas, Mrs. Langdon is now compiling a comprehensive history of the strike in the Cripple Creek district, which will be a true and concise resume of events from its inception to the close of the aforesaid struggle, be it
"Resolved, That this convention does endorse said history and recommend the same to the public iff general and to organized labor in particular, so that they may know the facts as they exist."
The above resolution was adopted unanimously.
A committee of the State Federation of Labor called on the governor Thursday, January 14, and made the following requests :
That the troozps be withdrawn.
That the vagrancy order be rescinded.
That the deported men be allowed to return to their homes.
The governor gave a specific reply. He promised "justice" to all the miners, etc.
The report of the committee was made by Chairman Thos. Hyder, who spoke of the governor as '' wearing a smile that never comes off." Among the things the governor offered against the Telluride miners was that he had "only deported foreigners, exconvicts, etc., most of whom bore assumed names." The writer, at the very moment the chairman of the committee was making the report, had the honor of occupying a seat next to Guy E. Miller, president of the Telluride union, who had been deported by order of the "czar." I made inquiries of Mr. Miller, "Guy" as he is commonly called, as to his convict number, and also as to what his real name was, but for the reason that at birth he had been christened Guy E. Miller and for the additional reason that he had never been to the penitentiary I could obtain no satisfactory reply to my question.
While the committee was still reporting the good promises made to them by the "czar of Colorado," how each and every man would have "justice," etc., there came a message to the convention from the Cripple Creek district that Sherman Parker had again been arrested by the military and again confined in the military prison. The message aroused the indignation of every delegate in the convention. Much discussion followed.
The convention was in open session at the time the message was received. A motion was made that another committee be appointed to wait upon his excellency and demand the release of the much persecuted Sherman Parker. Previous to the motion for a committee, Guy B. Miller made a motion that the convention wait upon the governor in a body and demand the release of Parker. The appeal made by this loyal union man, who had suffered arrest three or more times, incarceration in the bull pen and finally deportation, will ever remain fresh in my memory; the eloquence of his address not having been surpassed by any orator I have ever heard. However, I realized then as I do now, that the calling upon the governor in a body could not have accomplished anything. The motion so ably placed before the convention by Mr. Miller lost, and a committee was appointed to see the governor the following morning.
The committee on the following morning, January 15, met and invited A. W. Ricker and the writer to accompany them to the capitol. We were not kept waiting long before the governor rushed on the scene like the hero in a play. He still wore "the smile that never comes off," and greeted us very cordially. The chairman presented our demand in typewritten form, which stated our mission. He answered without hesitation that he positively refused our request. We then asked that he at least make known why no charges had been preferred against Mr. Parker. This he stated would all come in time, also that Parker would, at some future time, be given a hearing in the civil courts. He also stated that Parker was a criminal. That but for a few "agitators" the trouble would have ended long ago, etc. Whereupon a member of the committee reminded him that there were '' agitators" on both sides.
Sherman Bell, minus his military uniform, was present, but was unrecognized by the committee. He was dressed in civilian clothes, and the writer, not having seen him when not on dress parade, and being so intent on studying the features of the governor, only glanced at the intruder, and if I gave him a thought at all, I thought he was the janitor.
However that may be, the members of this committee expressed their feelings very strongly, also politely, to the governor. I did not say much to him. I did not go to talk. I went to form an estimate of his character. I failed—because I found he had no personality of his own. I believe, from my study of him, that he is simply a tool in the hands of a few corporations that dictate his policy.
The reader will please forgive me for drifting so far from my subject—the convention. But to return: To the writer's mind the greatest work accomplished for the good and welfare of those oppressed, was the appointment of a committee to be known as the Ways and Means committee. By a unanimous vote this task was placed in the hands of the chairman, J. C. Sullivan. After the chair had made his appointments from all parts of the state, by motion it was voted to make Mr. Sullivan president, and H. B. Waters, secretary of the committee, which was carried unanimously.
The convention, after a session of four days, adjourned sine die Thursday evening, the 14th. The convention, in all probability, was one of the most important labor meetings that ever assembled in the city of Denver. The lines which have been drawn between the various crafts of organized labor in the past are rapidly disappearing, and the many logical and forcible speeches that were heard by the convention will have the effect of cementing the different unions in the state into a solid phalanx which will cause the advancement of the class that is now struggling to maintain the rights and liberty of citizenship from the relentless assaults of despotic greed. The Ways and Means committee has appointed subordinate committees to act in conjunction with it, and in a few months the laboring people of Colorado will be standing as a unit against corporate tyranny and oppression. Never in the history of this state have the laboring men and women been aroused as now, and the near future is bound to show results from unity of action, that will bring the human family closer to the dawn of a day when wage slavery and capitalistic oppression shall go down to their eternal death.
Among the great workers for the cause of unionism in the convention the writer enjoyed hearing John M. O'Neill, editor of the Miner's Magazine, and one of the leading spirits of the Western labor movement; a gifted author and scholar. He has spent most of his life in the mines and is one of the most expert workmen that ever handled a drill. He is a quiet and modest man in his demeanor, with a heart as gentle as a woman's but with a latent fire that, once aroused, moves multitudes to action. He wields a forceful pen, and his literary ability is needed so much at headquarters that he has little time for platform work.