Francis A. Adams.

The Transgressors Story of a Great Sin online

. (page 9 of 17)
Online LibraryFrancis A. AdamsThe Transgressors Story of a Great Sin → online text (page 9 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


"We will separate to-night never to meet again in this life.

"If we are true to our purpose we will not have died in vain." Without
formal partings the men leave the store-house.

Nevins is the last to depart; he draws the remaining slip. It bears the
name of "James Golding, Bond King; capital, $400,000,000; occupation,
United States Treasury Looter."




BOOK III.

The Syndicate Declares a Dividend.




CHAPTER XIV.

BIRTH OF A NEW PARTY.


"You will soon find that my assertion was based on absolute knowledge,
for your nomination will be unanimous," Nevins declares to Trueman as
they sit in private conference, on the eve of the Independence Party's
convention.

"Then you do not credit the statement that the Eastern delegations have
become disaffected?"

"That's only one of the rumors which the Plutocrats have set afloat
since they unearthed the fact that you are to be a candidate for the
vice-presidential nomination. Gorman Purdy is the instigator of all
these adverse stories. He has not forgotten that you were once his most
promising pupil."

The President-maker and his intended candidate are in daily
communication; they have become firmly attached to each other in the
short period of their acquaintanceship. This is not to be wondered at,
for there is a striking similarity in their temperaments. Each is
endowed with keen perception and wonderful magnetism. Their combined
influence has brought to their support the most contumacious of the
delegates. On the issue of the following day the hopes of each are
centered. Nevins has asked his young champion to visit him at his rooms
in an unpretentious hotel on Clark street; there are details for the
work of the morrow that have to be carefully planned.

"In your speech you must dwell upon the causes which led to the
formation of the new party," Nevins explains. "This must be done
briefly; but it will pave the way for your demonstration that a new, a
young man must be called upon to make the fight against the intrenched
robbers.

"As you know, I have striven for ten years to bring about the present
propitious circumstances; it has been an almost impossible task to get a
convention of men who are susceptible of being made to nominate a young
and untried man for so exalted an office.

"But all of the political conditions of the hour indicate that the bold
proposal will be accepted."

"I have caused a most thorough canvas of the delegates to be made," says
Trueman, "and they are almost unanimous in declaring that they will
support me for the second place on the ticket. When sounded on the
proposition of voting for a young man for the head of the ticket, they
demur."

"That is just as I have planned matters should stand before the
convening of the delegates," replies Nevins, with a self-complacent
smile.

"All of the older men will have spoken before you are called upon. The
sharp contrast that will be presented in the staid and uninspiring
speeches of your predecessors, and your fervid, fluent and convincing
call to action, will lift you to the position of the logical candidate.

"No successful statesman has ever been unmindful of the practical side
of politics. A speech may create a whirlwind of enthusiasm for an
orator; yet if there is no one to guide the tempest it is soon spent. I
shall be on the watch for the moment that must see your name put in
nomination.

"When it comes, I shall put you in nomination."

"Day by day I am learning that politics is not a game of chance,"
observes Trueman, meditatively. "It is a science, with as much to master
as the science of war, which it resembles most strikingly.

"A year ago I should have scoffed at the idea that I would be engaged in
planning and in carrying out a campaign to capture a convention. Yet it
is absolutely necessary to make these preparations."

"How many hours did I spend in convincing you that politics is an exact
science?" Nevins inquires, with a faint smile, as he recalls the
struggle he has gone through with before he could get Trueman to consent
to the methods that had to be adopted to effect his nomination.

"I know that you had an obstinate pupil. I hope that I have not been
instructed in vain."

"I have no fear on that score. You will fulfil the mission that is
manifestly set for you. Keep the thought of the people uppermost in your
mind when you are speaking, and it will give you the needed inspiration.

"Come, we will review the bill of complaint which the people find
against the Trusts."

They rapidly name, in chronological order, the events that have been
instrumental in bringing about the degradation of labor. There is the
primal generator of universal distress - the private corporation - which
operates with all the functions of an individual, yet is free from even
the most ordinary obligations that are enforced upon the individual;
from the private corporation has sprung the Trust, a consolidation of
corporate bodies which intensifies the evils that exist under the former
institution, and as an inevitable consequence of Trusts comes private
Monopolies. These last have been the direct cause of awakening the
people to a realization of their condition. For each aggression of
corporate wealth the people have been forced from their position as free
men to that of servants. The climax is reached when the Monopolies adopt
the paternal principle of pensioning their employees, thus making of
them retainers in name, as they have long been in fact.

"I shall leave you to your thoughts," says Nevins, in parting. He walks
to the entrance of the hotel with Trueman. When his friend departs he
returns to his room.

Three of the Committee of Forty are awaiting him. They have come for a
short consultation. At the convention they are to be the trusted
lieutenants of Nevins.

There is no money to be distributed; no patronage to be pledged for the
support of delegates. The preliminary arrangements of battle are
strangely dissimilar to those of any preceding convention that has been
held in this country for half a century.

The magnitude of the cause that brought forth the Democracy in the days
of Jefferson, and the Republican party in the days of Lincoln, is again
attracting true patriots; the cry of a people which has long been
outraged is demanding to be heard; it has reached the ears of a faithful
few who put country above price. It is of such material that the new
party is composed.

A young and untried soldier was called by the sage of the Revolution of
1776 to take command of the Continental army. What is to prevent a
repetition of our history, now that another crisis has to be faced? Of
the committee there are few who do not feel assured that Trueman will be
capable of fulfilling the duties of the office to which they seek to
elevate him; they are not certain, however, that they can secure the
nomination for him.

Trueman is hopeful; yet he cannot drive from his mind the rumors of
disloyalty that are constantly brought to him.

In the minds of the Plutocrats it seems utterly impossible for Trueman
to even obtain the vice-presidential nomination. It never occurs to them
to regard him as a probable candidate for the higher office. Nevins,
alone of all men, is confident of the result of the morrow.




CHAPTER XV.

CHOOSING A LEADER.


Chicago, the city of immeasurable possibilities, the twice risen
Phoenix, scene of the fairyland of 1893, when the wonders of the world
were assembled for the fleeting admiration of man, is the arena in which
a battle is to be waged that shall be remembered when the other events
that add to the fame of the municipality shall have passed into
oblivion.

To the citizens of Chicago a convention has come to be regarded as an
every-day occurrence. If it is not a convention of one of the great
parties, then some lesser body is in session; always some band of
delegates is reported as either arriving in or departing from the city.
There had been little stir when the Plutocratic convention was in
progress three weeks before. The result of the proceedings was
foreordained.

But with the convening of the delegates of the Independence Party the
apathy of the people gives way to intense interest. They realize that at
least there will be a lively contest over the choice of a leading
candidate.

Political forecasters have been chary of expressing opinions, for the
much depended on precedent is lacking. Here is a new party, which is to
make its second appeal to the people. Where its strength will lay, whom
it will select to be the standard-bearer of its radical platform, these
are questions that baffle the most astute observers.

The morning of the opening session of the convention finds the vast
auditorium of the Music Hall where the meetings are to be held, crowded
with spectators. It is impossible for one-tenth of those present to hear
the speakers; they come not to hear so much as to breathe the surcharged
air of the political storm which it is known will be fostered. The thin
blood of the modern civilian is acted upon by less boisterous and gory
scenes than those which sufficed to stir the audiences of the Roman
circus; yet the human susceptibilities are the same in all ages, and
differ only in expression. In the battle of voices, the audience will
shout its approval or hiss its disapproval; at the pleasure of the
throng a speaker can be silenced, his victory snatched from his very
grasp.

Six thousand people are in their places by ten o'clock. The police have
been compelled to shut the doors to exclude the crowds who would be
satisfied merely to get inside of the building. A murmur fills the
place, although no one is speaking above the normal tone; the combined
sound resembles the distant boom of a cataract. Here and there in the
galleries a splash of color indicates the presence of a woman. The value
of feminine headgear is for once clearly demonstrated; it serves to
differentiate the sexes.

On the floor of the auditorium the long avenues of chairs are vacant; a
dozen men are busy arranging the location of the state delegations.
Guidons bearing the names of the states are put in position. At the
press tables, at the foot of the speakers' platform, hundreds of
reporters are industriously grinding out "copy" for their papers. A
formidable army of messenger boys is lined up along the base of the
platform. They are a reserve, to be used in case the telegraph service
should break down.

Immediately in the rear of the speaker's table is the indispensable
adjunct of American politics, the brass band. At 10.15 o'clock the
leader of the band gives a signal, and the "Star Spangled Banner" is
played, six thousand voices joining in the best known phases and the
chorus.

Now the delegates arrive. The New York contingent walks to its place in
the middle of the hall. Ex-Senator Sharp is at their head, followed by
the prominent county leaders. Their appearance is the signal for an
outburst from the galleries. Cheers and hisses are about evenly divided.
The conservatism of the New Yorkers makes them the bone of contention.

"They will try to rule this convention in the interests of Wall Street,
as they did in the Democratic convention of '96," observes a man in the
West gallery, to the man next to him. "The theory of majority rule that
was good enough for the founders of the country, does not seem to hold
much force now-a-days."

"No," replies the first speaker. "The rule of the majority has been
repudiated. It would have been inimical to monopolies, so the Magnates
have nullified it. They did the same thing with silver in '73. There
could be no money trust with bi-metalism."

"Do you think the Eastern delegations are strong enough to dominate this
convention?"

A tumultuous shout drowns the reply.

"Texas! Texas!" cry a thousand voices.

"California, she's all right!" cry as many more.

Delegates from the above-named states appear at two entrances.

By eleven o'clock the convention is assembled. The chairman rises and
pounds on the table with his gavel to quiet the audience.

"We will open this convention with prayer. It is the desire of our party
to lift itself out of the mire of partisan politics, and nothing is more
fitting than that an invocation to the Almighty should constitute our
initial performance."

An unknown clergyman from Iowa is called to offer prayer. He is listened
to in absolute silence; the great horde of men and women hold their
breath; religion at least is not extinct in the people. Following the
prayer comes the routine work of passing on credentials and appointing
committees. This is done with celerity. The men are anxious to begin the
real business.

As the last committee is named, a delegate from every one of the States
is on his feet clamoring for recognition.

"Illinois has the floor," the chairman announces. This is done as a
matter of courtesy to the state in which the convention is being held.

Congressman Blanchard, representing a Chicago district, is the man who
receives recognition.

As he steps upon the rostrum the cheering is deafening. He is the
favorite son of the state and this is the supreme moment in which he may
launch his boom for the presidential nomination.

The power of his oratory is of a high order. He makes the fatal error of
being non-committal; his friends see that the chance has passed him.

Favorite sons from a dozen states strive for the prize; yet for one
reason or another are unsuccessful in carrying the convention, or of
awakening the enthusiasm of the audience.

"No one has spoken from Pennsylvania," remarks the man in the gallery.

"There are few orators of note in that state now," he adds.

"There are very few; but their small number is counterbalanced by the
quality of the men. Have you ever heard Trueman?"

"I never heard him speak, but I have read his speeches. He seems to be a
true friend of the people."

"Let us call for a speech from Pennsylvania," suggests the observant
auditor.

"Pennsylvania! Pennsylvania!" shouts the impulsive man beside him.

"Pennsylvania!" comes the instant response in every quarter of the
auditorium. The audience realizes that the great Keystone State has not
been heard from.

The uproar increases. Men stand on their chairs and wave their hats,
shouting themselves hoarse.

"Pennsylvania, what's the matter with Pennsylvania? She's all right!"

The man in the gallery draws a flag from beneath his coat and waves it
frantically.

"Trueman, Trueman! Speech!"

The cry changes instantly.

From his eyrie, Nevins, the omnipresent, flutters his commands. Under
his spell the tumult rises. Delegates from Nebraska and Louisiana rush
to the Pennsylvania section and seize Trueman. He is borne to the
rostrum across a veritable sea of men.

Now Nevins hides the flag, and as though a switch key had cut off the
current from a dynamo, the confusion subsides.

Now only fitful shouts can be heard; they come like the final rifle
cracks in a battle.

Trueman has gained his feet and stands erect, facing an audience that is
already fired to the white heat of spontaneous combustion.

He is saved the necessity of working for a climax; it is prepared.

"Pennsylvania has come to this convention to be heard," he cries.

This happy introduction catches the crowd. They give a long, hearty
cheer and then are silent.

"The delegates from the Keystone State are here to aid in producing a
platform that shall contain the declaration of the right of mankind to
labor.

"The work of this convention is not to be the single effort of one State
delegation; it is not to be that of any prescribed body; but must
reflect the united opinions of the American people.

"I shall speak, therefore, as a representative of all liberty-loving
men, and shall express their hopes and aspirations as I have found them
to exist.

"It is the ever constant belief of the people that popular government is
the only form that is compatible with Divine ordination; that all men
shall be protected in the right to live, to labor and to prosper
according to their deeds and deserts.

"These principles are the basis upon which our republic was built; they
have served as the inspiration of our lives; for their perpetuation men
have given up their lives on the field of battle, on the altar of
martyrdom, and for these principles the vast majority of the citizens of
this country are to-day ready to make any sacrifice."

A storm of applause momentarily checks the speaker.

"When a man devotes his energy to honest toil it is for the purpose of
securing to himself and to his family the blessings of thrift; the
safeguard for honorable old age. In his effort he should be protected by
every means that a strong government can devise. The 'millstone' should
not be pledged or pillaged; the struggle of life should not be made
hopeless by compelling a man to slave for mere subsistence."

"Hear, hear!" come shouts from the galleries.

"Our people have seen the Republic dragged from the line of righteous
progress and diverted into the unnatural path of Plutocracy. Insidious
methods have been resorted to by those who have wrought this
transformation. Sophists have told the plain, credulous workers that
industrial combination in the form of Corporations and Trusts is the
result of a natural law of evolution. But what is the truth? The great
consolidations that have been effected during the past few years have
resulted from the enactment of statutory laws. These laws have emanated
from the brains of men, paid by the Trust magnates to undermine the
republic. No more treasonable acts were ever committed than by the men
who have sold the rights of a free people to a band of unscrupulous
money worshipers.

"The continuance of this country as a Republic depends upon the
restoration of the independent citizen. To-day there are fewer men
engaged in independent work, as manufacturers and merchants, than there
were ten years ago; to-day the great bulk of the wealth of the country
is concentrated in the hands of a few thousand men. These men have
become the masters of the Nation; on their payrolls are to be found
three-fourths of all the working inhabitants of the land, men, women,
and children.

"Men, women and children, I repeat, for where is the man who can earn a
sufficient wage to provide proper food and raiment for his family by his
single effort?

"As the hope of the people rests on the recovery of the independence of
the individual, the platform of this party must declare unequivocally
for the abolition of all forms of private monopoly. This must be the
main plank in our platform."

These words, uttered in a voice that reaches the remotest corners of the
auditorium, call forth a tumultuous shout.

"With private Monopolies destroyed and the channels they control opened
to the people, the billions of revenue that now go to increase the
fortunes of the Masters of Commerce, will be enjoyed by the toilers who
create our National prosperity.

"The statistics of the future shall record the existence in this land of
thousands, hundreds of thousands of independent business men. The
columns devoted to enumerating the Child Labor of the land will be
dispensed with; there will be an increase in the number of mothers and a
decrease in the number of women who are forced to earn a living by
manual toil.

"The platform we adopt must contain a plank providing for the imposition
of a tax on a man according to his ability to pay. There is no sanction
for a law to govern a community, however large, however populous, if
this law is in contradiction of the principles that govern a household;
for we cannot conceive of a government that is not built on the
household as the unit.

"Where is the father so inhuman that he will demand of the stripling,
the infirm, the feminine members of his family to procure the means of
support, before he has exhausted every other effort that can be made by
himself and his stalwart sons? Even the insatiate Trust Magnates, were
they suddenly to be reduced to penury, would shield their wives, their
daughters and their indigent.

"Then who shall say that this Republic, a household on a mammoth scale,
is not justified in collecting the taxes necessary for its maintenance
from the incomes of the rich, and not from the paltry possessions of the
wage-earner? The hundredth part of the income of the rich will more than
pay for the legitimate expenses of the Government.

"I am a firm believer in 'vested rights' and carry my adherence
back to the dawn of creation. Then it was that God vested mankind
with the right to live upon this earth. He endowed man with the
ability to earn a living, and gave to each and every man an equal
inheritance - opportunity.

"Any laws that man has made which abridge this right of equal
opportunity are unconstitutional in the broad sense of being at variance
with God's will. Applied to our Constitution, the vested right of the
people to the equal opportunity to labor is higher than the right of the
few to retain the fruits of the labor of the many.

"I advocate the taxing of the incomes of our citizens before we tax
their wages, which is their capital." Cheers interrupt the speaker for a
full minute.

"It is my hope, the people's hope, that the bulwark of this country be
once more as it was for a century, not a standing army of idle soldiers,
but an active army of free men, busied by day in the fields and in the
workshops; resting by night under cover of their homes, surrounded by
their happy families; an army that is ready at an instant's call to
fight for the protection of their Flag and their Homes."

"The united armies of the world would hesitate to face the legions of
contented freemen. Our power in the world will be increased more by a
fleet of merchant ships than by squadrons of steel battleships.

"We want a National Militia, to be composed of every able bodied man,
who in the hours of peace prepares against the possibility of war. We
want a Navy strong enough to represent our interest on every sea; a
Naval Reserve strong enough to convert our Merchant Marine into the
greatest fleet in the world, should need arise.

"We want, and we will succeed in getting the Army of the Unemployed
mustered out.

"With us rests the duty of selecting a mustering officer; a man to carry
out the wishes of the people; a man who is temperate in his judgment,
unswerving in his purpose and unimpeachable in his integrity; a man in
whom the people may place full confidence. With such a man as a
candidate on the platform we shall adopt, the will of the people cannot
be thwarted.

"We can frame the platform. Where is the man?"

"Trueman! Trueman!" comes the cry.

From mouth to mouth the name passes; now it is shrieked by an entire
state delegation; now by the entire assemblage. Louder and louder
becomes the cry. It is chanted, sung, shouted, shrieked. Men who have
shouted themselves hoarse utter it inarticulately.

In the centre of the floor there is a movement; the guidon of New York
is moving. It is being borne toward the Pennsylvania delegation.

Another and another state guidon follows in its wake. The convention is
in an uproar.

Ten, twenty of the delegations are now swarming about the standard of
Pennsylvania. The galleries keep up the incessant shout of "Trueman!
Trueman!"

A hundred men are clustered about the speaker as he stands, awed by the
outburst of enthusiasm. He is picked up and placed on the shoulders of
his friends.

The delegations who have rallied to his support now number forty; they
are moving toward the platform. The men carrying Trueman go to meet
them.

The climax is reached. Trueman is carried round and round the hall, the
enthusiasm of the delegates reaching the point of frenzy. Every
delegation is now in line. Without waiting for the formality of a motion
to adjourn, the convention marches from the building; its candidate at
its head.




CHAPTER XVI.

TWO POINTS OF VIEW.


On the way to the hotel after the exciting incidents of the day, which
have culminated in his nomination, Trueman has time to reflect. The
poise of a man of his sterling character is not easily disturbed; yet he
feels misgivings as to the ultimate result of the pending campaign. The
odds are so uneven. On the one side the millions of concentrated
capital, commanding the servile votes of the dependent operatives; on
the other, eternal principles, supported by a few resolute men who will
have to inspire the Nation to action.

"If I only had the encouragement of Ethel," Harvey soliloquizes, "it


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryFrancis A. AdamsThe Transgressors Story of a Great Sin → online text (page 9 of 17)