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The great West. [volume] (St. Paul, Minn.) 1889-18??, July 25, 1890, Image 1

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758 WABASHA St., St. PAUL,
GreaLWest Company.
In all the singular life of the “Sage of Nininger”—so marked by a bril
liant intellect and unwavering devotion to toiling humanity—he has never
appeared to better advantage than during the late stormy convention.
Those two days were filled with pictures which will remain mirrored upon
the hearts of men till the twilight of their lives—scenes set in sombre frames
of intervening quiet, when the faithful old hero of the anti-monopoly strug
gle sat with his face half-buried in the palm of his hand, cold, impassive
and restfnl. During these moments there was not a ruffle —a flush—nor a
sparkle of his eyes. He looked more the old warrior, through with the
stern battles of life.
But when he calmly arose, lifted his hand slowly before he spoke, and
in the voice which has stirred many a soul, demanded that the president of
the State Alliance Should vacate the chair, every one knew that obedience
must follow—and it did.
• But a more majestic exhibition of personal power was given when he
rose in that great throng of troubled friends and frenzied foes, and poured
forth that rich phillipic of invective on the head of a luckless negpp. A
barber from Minneapolis, not knowing who rested within the clothes worn
by Ignatius Donnelly, dared to insult the “Old-Man-Faithful” —to his face.
Mr. Donnelly has had coward enemies at his back—but it has been many
years since any foe has chosen his presence as a battle ground! In the in
famy of his littleness, this darkey raised his hand within twenty feet of the
Sage to despoiUhim of his honor—but he will never do it again—not if his
race are informed of the design beforehand. It took fully ten minutes for
Mr. Donnelly to lift the slink up out of his insignificance, high enough so
that he could see what Ignatius Donnelly had done for his people during
thirty years <of political warfare—so that this poor whelp could come into
a public hall and show his precious ingratitude. And then the barber was
let down into oblivion, where he can gambol with the other hellions, whose
serpent-scales glint along the floor of hell. Lucky for the wretch that a
half-hundred old soldiers did not spoil his darkened visage.
Another scene which will not be forgotten soon, by those who saw his
face, occurred when the last roll was called. A hundred names had been
butchered through that tedious process, and but a baker’s dozen had re
mained faithful. The lion, bereft of his support, had been in conventions
where politicaf friends stood by their chiefs through a hundred ballots—
where a score of ballots were common—where a half-dozen were usual—
where each side dared the nights and welcomed the day, to see right
triumph! He had seen Congress work till the great clocks were rewound—
to right the wrongs of the oppressed. But here, at the doorway, he was to
enter almost, alone the valley of humiliation, in a conflict he had not chal
lenged—but endured at the demand of others. His fresh opponent was
not a friend—the backers his profound enemies. The roll-call hesi
tated a moment, and then clearly pronounced the name—
“lgnatius Donnelly.”
Instantly there was a hush. The murmuring hum and the angry jan
gle-ceased, and all eyes were centred upon the Leader of the Great Revo
lution. He lifted his head from his hand—looked calmly at the
clerk, and without movinsr a single line of his broad face, clearly pro
nounced the:name of “S. M. Owen.”
Most of the audience were chilled, but others cheered. Every one felt
that a cotfin-lid had fallen.
Finally the battle was over. Mr. Owen had made hle careful address.
Mr.. Donnelly was called up. It was cruel. Across the Sage’s face there
swept no tide< of; blood to indicate emotion. Memories of a quarter of a
century of abuse and calumny may have surged across a heart where
courage never .failed— nor hope expired. The image of a name which cov
ers the pages of Europe’s profoundest literature may ha ve flashed upon
the altar of pride. Regret for a heroism in this warfare never under
stood by the noisy throng whom his sacrificial spirit had brought there,
may have hung like a pall over his heart—as the curtain was rung down
at the end of the play. But if so—his face gave no testimony.
With the same strong “presence,” he passed to the desk, looked over
upon the political cutthroat whom he had helped to office and prominence
—and upon the faithful—all alike—and, with a slightly solemn accent, be
gan one of the most dramatic and yet wonderful speeches which ever fell
from the bps of Ignatius Donnelly.
And yet, even with the weight of a commonwealth's ingratitude resting
upon him, with this flood-tide, of his own labor, gathered before him to
crush his spirit, with a grace which few possessed, he soon lapsed into
humor, and the twinkle of his eye was the signal for laughter !
But there was no humor when he turned upon the turbidity which rep
resented ■‘'organized labor” in that hall! He turned to that' part of the
hall where they had gathered to look upon a Roman at bay.; related his
years of labor, when no school-house was too poor or banquet-room too
splendid, to echo to his appeals in their behalf—to the fortune over there
on St. Anthony’s Hill which he had lost in their behalf in years agone,
when to stand for toil and its dignity was fruitful of nothing but calumny;
of how he stood side by side with that same Tom Lucas in the same room,
and battled for llabor legislation! And then, slowly turning again to the
thankless cowards, 'with a majesty indescribable—and a voice which will
echo in many a toeart iin future years, he raised his hand and left his bene
diction in these impressive words:
“And verily, I have my reward!”
I" i
The Ailiance of Minnesota has had a great man to inspire them—a life
too great not to be in the politics of the state, too soft and' gentle not to
feel the wrongs of the weak ones, and sorrows of the unfortunate. A life
which has given years of travel and speech, day and night, by rail and
team, in sun and min, lor human rights—without a penny of reward—
and when the literary world pours from 50 to $l5O a night into his purse
whenever he will lend his intellect and voice to their service!' Verily, a
man in politics—who came out of Congress poorer than he went in.
No other state alliance has had such a leader—no other alliance has
abused such sacrifice. And., gentlemen, the Alliance of Minnesota will
stumble, in the quagmire of politics, for many a day, before it finds an
other Donnelly, or another farmer like him whose name gives “Nininger”
to history.
It is not for nothing that a ffew of the intimates of Ignatius Donnelly
shed tears on the 17th of July. He has a monument already erected to
him—not on the pages of his grand literature—nor on the scarred forms of
his enemies—but in the hearts of those who know his gentleness, his truth,
his faithfulness—and his wrongs.
It will be remembered that Dr. Fish emphatically declared that the
Convention could not proceed to nominate candidates for office to be
voted for in cities of over 10,000 inhabitants until the officers and tellers
had been sworn!
He insisted upon this, but was overborne by the officials.
Now let us quote the law:
First, as to *vhat is a “primary, '
H. F. No. 2, Act 1889, Sec. 93.
The words “primarv election,” as used in this act, shall be construed
go as to embrace all elections held by any political party, convention, or
ganization or association, or delegates therefrom for the purpose of choos-
f ill " " ' i ' _ *T~ . I Republic was loumu-u
Thp (rvont ■ W
i-JLLVj , UllJllt TT \jQlJt I
ing candidates for office or the election of delegates to other conventions,
or for the purpose of electing officers of any political party, organization,
con vention or association . No person shall be entitled to vote at any
primary election unless he is a qualified elector of this state.
By this, not only the officers and the tellers are subject to the law to be
quoted, but the officers and tellers at the election of the convention officers.
Now let us see:
lb. Sec. 90.—The presiding officers and inspectors at any such primary
election or caucus, shall, before entering upon their duties, severally sign
and swear to an oath in form now required by inspectors at general elec
Now, gentlemen, what shall we do? Will you leave out your ballots
in all the cities—or hold another convention. Perhaps some day the Hall
crowd will grow wiser and take a hint or two. It will be utterly impossi
ble to get the present ticket into the large cities of Minnesota!
Long before many of the laboring men now joining organizations, and
fighting for their rights, were born, the editor of the Great West was a
printer at the case, an ardent advocate of the Trade Union, and a mem
ber. He has known and felt the bitter experiences of a worker in the
ranks’. For the past 28 years he has been, nearly all his time, a member
of a trade nnion, and always a thorough-bred anti-monopolist. In Chi
cago his evening associations were always with the working men, especial
ly in the hall on the corner of Madison and Hals ted Sts., where for years
he never failed to attend the weekly meetings.
There never has been an hour in which he did not think, work or act
with them. His Alliance work, during five years past, has followed natur
ally his removal from city life to the provinces, and operations on the
stock ranch.
Every fibre of our being is in unison with you in the struggle for your
rights, your dignity, and your success in life.
It has become our duty, while working and writing in behalf of labor
on the farm, to criticise a number of persons who were supposed to repre
sent you in a new-party political convention. Whether we are justified or
not wilLnot be now discussed. But whether faithful or unfaithful to con
science in -our work, there is not and never will be a moment when we for
get our early desperate struggles for existence, and the companions who
then were and now are our brethren. The warfare we are in is a sacrificial
one. It has twice unhorsed us, in a financial sense. It has absorbed much
of the profits of a literary life. It receives no rewards. Every misunder
stood act is magnified into evil. Countless millions are at stake against
us. Invisible political agencies surround every man who thrusts the sharp
-sword into the ulcer of political corruption.
Do you listen to the enemy clothed in even friendly garb, who de
fames ? Look upon the terrible history of the past—its humiliations, its
abuses, its blows; the number of apostles, weak and strong, who have
been crushed by their friends—goaded on by the enemy. We beg of you to
remember that the future is not lightened by any halo of glory—nor frui
tion of hopes. Betterment is an evolution of much time—and at best we
are but factors in progression. Sooner or later the labor-advocate must
disappear before either the seductions of the wiley and the wealthy, or the
overwhelming clouds of aspersion with which plutocracy darkens our
Men an.d brethren—it is time for great men! Not great men in our
places—but in yours. A contracted spirit may lighted the universe with
its luminous love if buOyed up by your trust and. sympathy—but the
iillghtiest evangel of a new revolution would fall like a Lucifer when cast
out of your confidence —and behold he drags his angels with him.
If there is to be a better day when Labor will earn a competence, and
“craft” take the curse which sweat has borne—then it will come by patience
with—not your enemies—but your brothers.
Run by Fraud and Mastered by the Millionaire
Plutocrats of the Twin Cities.
The Labor Delegations are “Snide” in Every Re
spect. The Australian Law Disobeyed and
the Farmers’ Will Crushed Out.
Only -3,70 Alliances Represented out of 1,200, and the 370 Grave Don
nelly 39 Majority Over AIL The Tellers Gret
in Their Work.
The convention of the Alliance met last Wednesday according to call.
It -was of course under the guardianship of Hall and Lathrop, and the
work .of the master-hands of the plutocracy became visible long before it
was assembled. The State House turned out its contingent—not to meas
ure twine, but to monkey with the cheese. Scheffer’s contingent was on
hand. T. C. Hodgson, who withdrew from the Alliance, not being a farmer
any longer, but a St. Paul citizen on $2,000 a year, of Albert Scheffer’s
money, was on hand with his vote—and voted it. Atwood, the St. Cloud
money loaner and Real Estate dealer was there, with his vote, but was tak
en ill before the .ballot. Raiilroad Com’ r Gibbs was on deck, but whether as
a representative of his alliance or not we do not know. R. J- Hall, who
two weeks before election wrote us that he now knew that the Sprague men
were the “rascals he took them to be!” put in his work. Bro. Haigh was
there, with his comfortable SI,OOO a year of Albert Scheffer's money and
his still unravelled account as former secretary. Mr. Lathrop rejoiced
in the flannel freedom of his first SSOO draft on Albert Scheffer's purse, and
his eighty dollar balance of the alliance money—but not with his account
books, you bet all your sweet milk—nor the rest of the SSOO he claimed to
have “at Dawson!” Geo. W. Sprague was on hand smiling like a pure
angel with his wmgs hovering over $2,000 a year of Albert’s galore. Mr.
Bcdkin, the city farmer of Moorhead was there, with the experience gained
by \pars in the Sheriff’s office. Gen. Baker was on hand with his foot on
tjlrunconstitutional greenbacks, and a subtreasury in his hat —the best
matured man on the floor. The reporter with a nose for bad butter was
registered to guy the guerrillas. Keenan, with his vast experience as a ma
chine agent, and who raised No. 1 hard notes with a whiplash, was not there,
but Eric Olson was there, with a chalk-track on his back marked: “$1,200
to keep up the Echo during the campaign of 1888—please pav or stop that
abuse.” Charlie Gilman was there, with a history which Pope county can
put in rhyme. We did not open any doors suddenly this time and find Al
bert Scheffer closeted with his force—as at last March Alliance. But we did
find the doors opened to 55 representatives, or alleged representatives, of
labor organizations of St. Paul and other places,—amono- them those from
railroad assemblies—all bitterly hostile to Donnelly, and domineering the
farmers with threats of revolt—every man a friend and admirer of Hall,
whose admiration sprang from a eomipon source. Among them was that
beautiful sneezer named Gardner, who took our “gelt” to organize alli
ances, cursed the Sprague-men as rascals and frauds in letters to us, but
tumbled to a dollar-mark in the Scheffer company—came to the convention
last March on bogus credentials—and stood in with the tin-pail peddlers
ever after! Did we forget Mr. Lathrop who voted two votes at his legisla
tive convention on twb illegitimate credentials ? We must not forget him!
Th6n Mr. Canning, the Duluth elevator man who didn’t believe in indepen
dent political action, but did join the chorus on the second base.
The Alliance started off in style. It started in with headquarters at the
Merchants Hotel, “I-thank-you,” mid the bloom and blue blood of the
great politicians of the historic G. O. Ps., with whom Lathrop yawped
while he held their coattails—which headquarters could have been paid for
by checks out of Albert’s bank—which checks would increase the value
of the note there deposited for SSOO for an “alliance campaign fund!”
Then some delegates were often in the holiday mood, with checks on Al
bertVbank, to order of John Lathrop, and signed by T. C. Hodgson.
By the way, we suppose the party campaign fund will take up that note! —
certainly, as it has R. J. Hall’s and Pres’t Lathrop’s name on it. Such
notes, not secured even on one hen, are not usually paid, but of course
this will be.
Well, the convention got down to business and so must we.
That Mr. Donnelly made a magnificent address Wednesday goes with
out saying. We would give it only that we take so much room for Mr. Er
win’s oration.
When Mr. Erwin took the stand we felt that it was wrong to have a
lawyer make the regular address, but the feeling took wings and blew to
the uttermost parts of forgetfulness before Mr. Erwin had spoken his first
few sentences.
A grander specimen of rhetoric, as delivered, was never put forth
from a Minnesota rostrum; and in fact it filled our dreams of Bossuet
and a Patrick Henry, moulded in one. We give it elsewhere nearly in full,
but shorn of that wondrous power which makes words spring into living
form, and fires the coldest hearts. Let no one fail to read it.
One of the disappointing events connected with the early hours of the
convention was the positive and rather violent withdrawal of Gen. T. H„
Barrett from the Alliance due to the independent political action it was en
tering upon. Gen. Barrett is a conscientious man, and a strong man. His
defection will seriously be felt. D. W. Hixson also indicated a similar
course, but afterwards recovered and voted for Mr. Hall for Governor.
There was an universal regret at Gen. Barrett’s step, though if he foresaw
the swash of corruption which was now beginning to fill up the measure of
our chastisement there was most excellent excuse.
The president, R. J. Hall, almost immediately thereafter placed Barrett
on the committee on platform. The convention took notice of this as al
most the first of a long series of partisan and unwise actions, which final
ly led to his being called down from the chair, which he vacated with reluc
That first-day afternoon they took an informal ballot for governor—
after having decided to put a ticket in the field by an almost unanimous
Here came the first eminent evidence that our Secretary was an origin
al package. Instead of having the list prepared for voting he seemed to
have a conglomerated mass of tumbled MSS, by which on the average 25
votes were allowed on each ballot for the Secretory’s “I guess so,” and “I
guess don’t so.” On This precious arrangement delegates’whose names
were on two places voted twice at the first call, and from once to three
times oi..the second call. One man voted four times, having two votes..
Another voted the third time amid the laughter of all around him. Here is
a scene (foreground humorous, background filled with corrupt ulcers of
“John Abletodoit!—two votes,” calls the Secretary.
John is close by and calls out: “R. J. Hall.” “Didn’t that man vote
before?” calls out eome one who can hardly tell whether his memory is
good through a straight hour of squabbling.”
“Well, I don’t think he did—l—l guess not”—says the oriental high
priest from Lac qui Parle —“take it down—it’s all right,”—and down goes
the vote, good for four.
Our tally book will exhibit the places marked in where this occurred
with the names called, and we aver that not less than 25 votes w r ere over
called. No man could tell whether he was called as an alternate or not,
and when the Secretary squabbled over a lot of names afterwards as alter
nates left out, “regulars” were called with them—sheets of paper being lifted
and dropped as Lathrop’s spectacles wandered aimlessly over them. The
editor of this paper voted as an alternate—but was called among the regu
lars. Every man who voted twice had his name on twice. But they alt
voted twice at the first call, and then when the second call came they voted
twice again if the Secretary said “We-1-1, neow, I don’t think yeou voted be
fore, did ye?”
The whole thing was a farce and made more so by the tellers whom we
will pay our respects to shortly. On this point the papers which had slob
bered over Lathrop and Hall for three weeks, mention the corruption at
the ballot. The Pioneer Press, in the midst of a good-natured report said:
“Never did a convention struggle under greater disadvantages as to
the balloting privilege. Every name of the four hundred and more mem
bers had to be called at least once on every ballot. There was absolutely
no provision against fraudulent repeating. The querulous and pedagogic
Lathrop would not have learned to call the roll (he had written) correctly
had he had a week’s practice. No one believed the announced results were
The Dispatch, which is a desperate foe to Mr. Donnelly, cast the follow
ing reflections:
“Seldom has there been a more exciting convention in this city or a
more noisy one. The balloting w r as conducted in a tedious manner, and
there was every opportunity for fraud by candidates casting more than the
number of votes allowed them. The greater majority knew little or noth
ing of parliamentary rules, and had it not been for Mr. Donnelly they
would on several occasions have been hopelessly at sea.”
As to the tellers we will have more to say hereafter, when we tried to
stem the tide of corruption by calling out the frauds going on. This in
formal ballot took two hours of time, owing to mismanagement. It stood
as follows:
Ballots cast, 427; necssaiy for choice 214.
Knute Nelson 104 | J. P. Pinkham 14
Ignatius Donnelly 98 | W. W. Braden 4
Daniel Buck 67 j P. H. Rahilly 3
Henry Plowman 42 | O. H. Robert 2
J. H. Baker 32 | W. W. Erwin 2
T. H. Barrett 30 | C. Phelps 1
R. J. Hall 27 | S. M. Owen 1
As to the total vote above the reader may believe as he likes.
That a man who had been published by the great alliance journal of the
country as a political minion of the plutocrats of Minnesota, and his mid
night conferences and corrupt coalitions specified, could receive twenty
seven votes for governorship was too astounding for any honest man to
listen to with an even pulse.
And right here we might state that a large number of delegates had
their expenses paid and a salary while here, by St. Paul bankers. We do
not want to bring out names, but we can give a dozen of them—and bring
the men who were offered this help and declined. And it is only their ob
. [concluded on eighth page.]
VOL. I, NO. 41

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