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THE ARGUS, WEDNESDAY. OCTOBER 28. 1908.
One of the Chief Factors In the Upbuilding of the American
Federation of Labor, Who Has Taken a Prominent ,
Part In the Presidential Campaign How
He Fights For His Cause. ' t
By JAMES A. EDCERTON. , I
LOR twenty-fire years Samuel
, Gompers has been president of
the American Federation of
Labor, au organization contain
ing over 2,000.00Q members, the largest
and most influential body of working
men in the world. On Nov. 9, when
the annual meeting is held, he will
doubtless be elected to a twenty-sixth
term. All of his long term of office
has been consecutive with one excep-.l
tlon. John McBride beat him In 1S04.!
and Gompers in turn beat McBride iu!
1893. With this one interval Mr. Gom
pers has been elected and re-elected ev
ery year since 1882. lie was born In
London lu ISoO and came to this coun
try when a mere lad. lie is of Dutch,
French and Hebrew extraction, but is
an American by choice, principle and
: conviction. lie is a cigarmaker by
trade, as his. father was before him.
He Is a rather squat ligure of a man
and looks like a college professor of
pugnacious disposition. His head,
' nose, mouth and chin are all large. He
goes smooth shaven, although, early in
life he wore a mustache and imperial.
He has sparse iron gray hair, a keen
eye. a hittiug shonlder and a muscular
front, ne is a strong speaker an ora
tor, in fact tells a good story and Im
presses his hearers as being capable
and ienerzatlc.. GoniDera has never
been a cloud chaser. As his stocky
build indicates, he walks on earth. He
' Is rather inclined to be conservative,
but will fight for what ho believes.
For years he struggled against his or
ganization having anything to do with
politics, but when he did get ready he
displayed great energy and earnest
ness. He fought Littlefield, Cannon
and several other congressmen two
years ago and is fighting for Bryan
now. If Gompers believed that the
cause of the workingmen would be
benefited by his going up m a balloon
or down in a submarine, he would do
that, not because he cares anything for
aeronautics or the bottom of the sea,
but all "for the good of the order." ne
has been fighting for the; toilers ever
since he was fifteen years old, some
thing over forty years In all. He has
never gone to jail for the cause yet,
but that is only because it did not
happen to come" his way. Gompers
never looks for trouble, but neither
does he dodge It. If anybody puts a
fight up to him, he can bet every cent
he can borrow that there will .be a
good, stiff battle.
i Knows How to Lead.
. Gompers Is not only a speaker, but
an executive and a general. He has
learned the secret of leadership, that
'. - . . 1. .. I .. . I. ...... Lm trnicYn llnll tmi .
ants and leaving to them the details.
Mr. Gompers'puts it In this way:
"The best leaders Issue always the
fewest orders. They surround them
selves with subordinates they can
trust, and they leave all details In
these subordinates' charge. And what
holds good of leaders holds good of
. superintendents, foremen "and bosses.
The best of them never annoy their
U1C1A Willi VAU4T.
- "When I was a cigarmaker I knew
ft young man who would " not have
made a gpod overseer or leader. .' Like
an old woman, this young man was
continually ordering people about when
there was no use for It. " -"Oiipo
he sailed for England, leaving
In his brother's charge a carrot that
. be was very fond of. When he. got to
".- England his ohL-pestering, Interfering
habit came on him, and, afraid that
parrot, he sent over this cablegram:
, " 'Be sure to feed the parrot.'
' "The brother cabled back: , r : 4
"Have fed him, but he's hungry
again. What shall 1 do next?' "
Gompers tells other stories In kind.
They are not told simply to amuse or
entertain, but to drive home a point
Here is one retailed at a banquet in
"Labor aud capital," said Mr. Gom
pers. "must make mutual advances,
concessions and sacrifices if they would
reach an ideal state of harmony.
"But too many men's ideas of ad
vances, concessions and sacrifices re
mind, me . of . young. John Sparks of
"Sparks was courting a pretty girl,
but herfatjier was unfriendly, The
thiiig to do and he and the girl de
bated it often enough-r-was to bring
the father round.
"Well, one night Sparks turned up
at the house jubilant.
" 'I've got it, Marie!' he shouted. 'I've
struck a splendid idea for ingratiating
myself with your old man. It will
bring him round, never fear. Trust me
he will consent now to our marriage
within a month.
'"What are you going to do?' the
'You see.' said Sparks, 'your father
is an inveterate smoker of Havana
cigars. Well, I'm going to'
"'Oh, you are going to give him a
whole box of Ilavanas! But look out,
6aid the girl, 'they are frightfully ex
" 'No, no; I am not going to give him
any Havana cigars,' said Sparks. 'Bet
ter than that. I am going to establish
a perfect communion of taste and a
close sympathy between us by begin
ning t smoke his Havana cigars my
Here is another favorite illustration
with the American Federation's presi
dent: "Many a rich and powerful man," he
says, "is inclined to treat the poor and
helpless man as the bully treated the
little boy! '.-
"A little boy was peaceably making
a snow man one winter morning wheu
a tall, strong lad, a bully, rushed up,
kicked down the snow man and gave
the little fellow if thump on the bead.
"A benevoleut man saw this outrage
ous builying from a distance. lie drew
near, shook his fist at the big boy and
gave the little one a dime to comfort
him. Then he departed.
"But he was no sooner gone than the
bully came up and demanded half the
"Til be satisfied with half,' he said
virtuously, 'but I ought to have all by
rights, for if I hadn't walloped ye ye
wouldn't have got a cent."'
Not the Right One.
Mr. Gompers' quick wit and readi
ness are shown by the following: '
During a federation convention oc
curred a mistake that might have been
painful had pot the presiding officer
turned it into a laugh In this fashion,
j "That might have been as embarrass
ing," he said, "as the position of a
young man of Toledo whom I heard
aboit the other day. '
' "He had been calling now and then
on a young lady, and one night as he
eat In the parlor waiting for her to
come down, her mother entered the
room instead and asked him in n very
grave, stern way what his Intentions
"He turned very red and was about
to stammer some . Incoherent reply
when suddenly tbe young lady called
down from the head of the stairs:.
"Mamma, mamma, that is not the
oner .' ;
The labor leader's readiness In the
chair Is shown by another Incident,
lie once had a set-to with one of the
SAMUEL GOMTERS. 1
Socialist wing in the federation and
had just ruled the speaker off the floor.
"But didn't you rule the other way
this morning?" shouted the delegate
indignantly. - "' "
In whose case?" inquired the chair.
"Oh, I don'tknqw whose, but"
"TheiK" drawled- Gompers In
most urbane inauner, "the chair is northwest quarter of southwest quar
willing to .confess .that it is unable to 8.:i7. lw. L
answer the question which the dele-i
gate' Is unable to propound." Herman Jjhns, and Elizabeth E.
Mr. Gompers advocacy of Bryan 'Jahns to Sophia J. Bollinger, east half
and his launching of the federation into n0rth; 19 acres of south 20 acres, see
the congressional campaign two years tjou g(
ago called down on his head a storm, Gcoige' W.'McMichael to Eliza A.
of attacks. Among other things, he ;irIrfcin..,i w s,inn -n n
was accused of desiring office himself.
It is not tho first time the accusation
has been made. It was heard In even
more virulent form seveuteeu years
ago. Then Gompers answered it in
"I have been accused of Itching for
politics. Of the number of appointive
positions offered me I will say noth
ing.' A year ago a nomination for sen
atorequivalent to an election was
tendered me. I felt- I had not the
right to accept or decline It without I
consulting the organized workmen of
New York. As I did not seek the prof
fered honor" I did not" hesitate to de
cline it when I learned the sentiment
of my colleagues. Before the recent elec
tion I was positively offered the nom
ination for congress, which I declined
without hesitation. In view of these
facts and the fact that I have ever
held aloof from politics the accusation
It is evident that his followers be
lieved him then, as they have contin
ued him In power to the present day.
In justice it should be said that it is
the executive board of the federation,
following the positive orders of the
body itself, which has precipitated the
organized labor forces Into the. pres
ent campaign. Mr. Gompers Is only
acting as the head of the organization
at the organization's express command.
Labor's Official Voice.
The federation Itself Is composed of
practically all the trades unions on the
American continent. Its voice, there
fore, may be regarded as the official
voice of labor. It has withstood at
tacks from capitalism on one side and
from socialism on the other. Gompers
as its head has borne the brunt of
these attempts to' destroy the federa
tion and through it labor unionism.
These efforts of its enemies to under
mine or overthrow it have had appar
ently but little effect on the American
Federation of Labor. It has grown
steadily year by year and is now the
strongest numerically, financially and
in influence that it has ever been. Its
other chief officers are Frank Morri
son, the secretary, who comes from tha
printers of Chicago, and John B. Leu
non of New York, the treasurer, who
has been in office about as long as
, The American Federation of Labor
started practically from nothing. Gom
pers was Its architect. For years it
had its chief offices in a New York ten
ement house. Its officials served with
out pay. It was slender in finances
and membership. Step by step it grew,
however, following conservative meth
ods, but forging ahead until It is easily
the greatest trades union association
on earth. It has led innumerable
strikes and, according to the claims of
its officers, has won a majority of
them. It has been foremost in the ef
forts to raise wages and to better the
conditions of the workingmen, to short
en tho hours of labor, to take children
out of the factories aud put them into
school, where they belong, to oppose
court injunctions against union mem
bers and leaders, to make its lodge
rooms debating clubs and schools for
the wJhkers, to fight intemperance and
to e a force not only for the uplift-
ment of the toilers, but for the uplift
ment of .humauity. Taken all in all.
the federation and kindred bodies have
constituted . the most significant and
hopeful movement in the close of the
nineteenth and the beginning of the
twentieth ceuturies. Its chief glory is
that it teaches the poorest and hum
blest members of society how to help
themselves. Its power is seen by the
peaceful armies thavt march on Labor
day. Its followers believe that Its
work is only begun, but that it will yet
revolutionize industrial conditions and
usher in a happier age.
Does Not Care For Money.'
When Samuel Gompers, the man who
has had such a potent part in bringing
about this peaceful revolution.' was
asked if be was a rich man be seemed
surprised, then amused.
"Do you own any real estate?" con
tlnued the questioner.
"Not a shovelful of sand."
"Any stocks, bonds or securities
anything from which you may clip
"Not a.sbare of anything. I have not
an investment. I have no estate, and
when I die all I will leave my family
will be $550, my cigarmakers union
"I have no other property. I have no
ambition to have any. I do not care
for money. I believe I can get the few
things I want. If not as president of the
American federation, then at my trade
or some other work. I am.poor. I am
proud to say Iam poor."
"But yon have bad chances to make
"I have. Offers and opportunities
have come to me, things which would
have made me money. I was lnterest
d in other things."
That Is the whole story.. He has
tteen interested in other things, suqh as
helping his fellows and making a bet
ter flay on earth. From that supreme
duty be conld not be lured by offers of
wealth or office. Any one who. won
ders at the power of Samuel Gompers
with his organization and with work
ingmen generally will find the secret
RECORD OF COURT HOUSE
. V Real Estate Transfers.
Sophia J. Bollinger and George Bol-
i linger to Elizabeth E. .Tahns, west half
of north 19 acres of south 20 acres.
2w. $2,350;- ' -
Benjamin Larson to Moline Stone
company; lot. 1, block 3, Sinnet's Sec
ond addition. Rock Island, $1,700.
Gustav Renner to Moline Stone com
pany, part lots 2 and 3, block 2, Sin
net's addition. Rock Island, $2,800. -
Karin Nelson to Moline Stone com
pany, lot 5," block 3, Sinnet's addition,
Rock Island, $2,200.
Toter L. Anderson to Moline Stone
company; - lot 2,. block .3, Sinnet's addl
on.. kock isianu, s.'.uyu.
George E. Hamler to D. Y. Allsbrow,
lots 3. 4, 5 and 6, block 2. Donahoo &
Cosner's First addition, East Moline,
$800. - - .
George R. Simmon to John L. Sim
mon,. west half, northwest quarter sec
tion 21, 10.' lw, $1.
Cathereine Glockoff and heirs to H
M. McCaskrin, lots 1, 2, 3, block. 8
South Park addition, Rock Island
Also south one-naif northwest and
northeast one-quarter section 7-17-lw.
Harry M. McCaskrin to Russ, Glock
off & Shocker, lots 1, 2. 3, block 8
South Park second addition. Rock Is
land; also south one-half northwest
and northeast one-quarter section 7-
17-lw. $1. .
William Jackson to Stella Pu'ver.
10 feet strip north of lot 23, Sweeney
& Jackson's addition, Rock Island $1
Charles H. Pope to Albrio DeGeeter
lot 5, block 109 town East Moline. $1
Wilbur Barker to Sue Denkmann
lots S, 9, block 3S, Lower addition,
Rock Island. $050.
George Evans to Mable S. Evans,
part east one-half northwest section
3118-le. $350. "
John MeGimpscy to James Sackville,
4art northwest southeast section 35-
Clarence C. Wilmerton to Anna E.
Wilmerton, lot 2, block 1, Highland
Park addition Rock Island. $500.
Joseph Clark to W. D. Hall, lot. C,
block 7, Port Byron. $350.
New York's Working Girls.
Before the great arc lights have be
gun to fizz and glow processions ol
work girls, of shopgirls, 'of professional
girls, have passed, up and down this
great avenue of t hp. city, which in va
riety of interest au'd in claims to one's
attention forms a strong rival to the
These , young wonieu are typical of
New York and indeed of the whole
American continent. In independence,
in fearlessness, in ab'lity to act and
think for themselves, they are clearly
daughters of the new world, but in the
taste and .elegance' of their clothes
there is something of the Parisian
spirit, of that ieculiar faculty for com
bining colors and blending effects
which is certainly the heritage of the
"ouvriere" aind yet seems by some mys
terious means to have become wafted
across the broad bosom of the Atlantic.
You feel an atmosphere of well Wing,
of solid contentment, prosperity and
self esteem about the common people
In the States. This is typified by these
well gowned, bright and pleasing young
women who carry out so large a part
of the daily routine of Uncle Som.
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