All contributions to our Correspondence columns must be in not later than the 10th of the month to insure insertion.

Articles must be written on one side of the paper only. Noms de plume may be used, but every article must be signed with full name and address of the writer as a guarantee of good faith, and to insure insertion.

While the Editor does not assume responsibility for opinions expressed by contributors to this de partment, he is held responsible in both law and moral ethics for admitting that which will injure or create ill feeling. Hence all communications are subject to revision and rejection if the Editor deems it necessary.

C. H. SALMONS, Editor and Manager.

A Happy New Year.

Come, Brothers and Sisters, together,
And list to the verses I'll sing;
Regardless of cold, wintry weather,
My fancies are out on the wing.
I'll soar through the country above you,
Distributing brotherly cheer.

And praying Jehovah to love you,

And grant you a happy New Year.

If wishes were dollars, I'd tumble
A million or two at each one,
I'd give you no reason to grumble,

When off from your doors I'd have gone.
I'd solace the weak and the weary,
I'd dry up the ailing one's tear,
I'd make the surroundings look cheery,
And sing out "A Happy New Year."

The cabs I'd have gleefully rolling
All over the steelways with song;
And joy-bells delightedly tolling,
Saluting you passing along.

I'd ne'er let a pulse-throb of sorrow
A Brother or Sister come near,
We'd all look with hope on each morrow,
To dawn with the coming new year.

We've Brothers who'd requiem masses Sung o'er them since twelve months ago, Who are sleeping down under the grasses, And under the frost and the snow;

Let us bow down our heads and pray heaven That each one we laid on his bier,

Had all of his errors forgiven,

In star-land this dawning new year.

Now men on the mountains, in valleys,
In cities, on wide-spreading plains,
Wherever a bread-winner rallies,
To skillfully handle the trains,

I wish you health, wealth and enjoyment,
And all things that good men revere,
Contentment, and steady employment,
Good pay, and a Happy New Year.


Railroad Life, Then Politics.

NIAGARA FALLS, ONT., Dec. 4, 1906. EDITOR JOURNAL: I was much interested in reading the article in the December JOURNAL headed "Postmaster in Two States," as it recalled some experience I have had myself on these same lines, and as it may be interesting to some of the readers of the JOURNAL, I will give a short sketch of my career in railroading and in politics.

I left school when I was 16 years old and started out to earn my own living in 1856. My home was then in Rochester,



N. Y., and through the influence of a friend of my father I found employment in the railroad shops of the New York Central, and my pay was five shillings a day. I was given a hammer, cold chisel and a big file and set to work cleaning the sand and rough spots off new driving wheels and castings. I was soon put in the company's brass foundry and my salary raised to seven shillings a day, then put in the boiler shop at a dollar; but I wanted to get out on the road as a fireman, so I was put in the roundhouse as a wiper. Then I was given an engine

on a work train to fire. About that time the Central bought two new freight engines, built I think in Detroit. They were painted green and were called Wolverines. I was given one to fire for Bill Robinson who afterward became the first Grand Chief of the Brotherhood of the Footboard.

In the latter part of 1861 I was promoted to an engineer, and as Charley Wilson, who was also a Grand Chief, was promoted to a passenger engine, I took the freight engine he gave up. I joined

something about politics, I started in to help elect him. The rule in politics at that time in Rochester was that on election day no electioneering was allowed out of your own ward, but I started in bright and early to canvass every ward in the city, and thinking I might find some protests, I took along a couple of friends who like myself were somewhat skilled in the manly art of self-defense. We had several skirmishes during the day with the friends of the other candidate and when the sun went down and the polls



taken at Rochester, N. Y.

the Brotherhood in the latter part of 1864 as a charter member of Div. 18, when Charley Wilson was made Chief Engi


In 1865 several new McQueen engines were bought at the Schenectady works and I was given the one in the picture (the writer standing in the gangway).

About that time Charley Wilson was nominated for mayor of Rochester on the Republican ticket, and as he had helped me to get promotion and I understood

closed I had a fine pair of black eyes and Charley Wilson was defeated. His defeat was charged up to a speech he had made in the court house at a labor meeting, in which he denounced several labor leaders. Wilson never ran for a public office after that.

In 1872 I thought I would try railroading in California, and as I had a brother in Sacramento who was an engineer on the Central Pacific I went there and was given a run from Rocklin to Truckee, but

after a year on the mountains and through 40 miles of snow sheds I came back East and again took an engine on the Central, running out of Buffalo, as the shops had been moved there from Rochester.

In 1888 General Harrison was elected President, and my family had known the Harrison family before and at the time I was born and named me after his grandfather. I thought with some backing I might get a consular appointment. P. M. Arthur was Grand Chief at that time and I wrote him requesting a letter to the President telling him what I wanted, and he sent me the letter and a good one it was. I took it to Chauncey M. Depew and asked him for one. He read Brother Arthur's letter and said, "Go to my stenographer and dictate a letter to the President, and I don't care how strong you make it, I will sign it." I took the two letters and went to Washington, hunted up Major John M. Farquhar, the member of Congress from my district, and went over to the White House.

Harrison received me very cordially and said the engineers were his friends and had helped to elect him, that he had seen them marching in a procession in Indianapolis, which was Harrison's home, carrying a locomotive made out of flowers and that he was only too glad to give them some recognition, that I could take my pick of the places in Canada; and I selected Chatham, a fine Canadian city of about 13,000 inhabitants. I led a gentleman's life for four years, but in 1892 Grover Cleveland was elected President and my job soon vanished into thin air, as Cleveland appointed a politician of Buffalo to succeed me, and I went to Buffalo and Depew put me back on the road as a passenger conductor.

I held that job for a year and in the elections that fall Levi P. Morton was elected Governor of New York State and a change would be made in the members of the State Board of Arbitration, which carried with it a salary of $3,000 a year and expenses; and again when I asked for it Grand Chief Arthur and Chauncey Depew gave me their backing. I seemed


to impress the Governor as being the best man for Labor Commissioner of all the candidates, as the board was composed of one from each political party and one to represent the labor organizations of the State, so I landed the job and when my term of three years expired Roosevelt was Governor. I had been a delegate to the convention that nominated him and had recommended nomination and voted for him, and he promptly reappointed me for another term. Before my second term had expired Roosevelt had become President, and as I had gotten tired of the numerous strikes which I was continually looking after (but with every success) and hearing that the consulate at Niagara Falls was vacant I applied to him for the post and he gave it to me, remarking at the time that he was glad to have me back home. I was just in time to get home as the consular reform bill that went into effect July 1st of this year shuts out all direct appointments to the consular service. One now desiring to enter the service must be able to speak one language other than the English and must be under 50 and over 21 years of age, and after passing a strong civil service examination, begin as a clerk or deputy and wait for promotion; and here my story ends. After a long, stormy and tempestuous career I am resting quietly in my Indian summer of life.

Fraternally yours,

W. H. H. WEBSTER, Div. 328.

The Pool.

[ocr errors]

It is a true saying "There are two sides to every question. This fact is sometimes lost sight of and we harp on the one side until the possibility of there being anything to say in opposition seems out of the question. This is aptly illustrated in the current criticisms one hears and sees, and that we have been hearing and seeing for some years regarding the pool system of running engines.

No one will have the hardihood to deny that in its practical operation, if report is reliable, it has not been a howling success,

but the theory is right just the same, and when a theory is sound its practical application needs but a certain degree of refinement of practice, backed up by a liberal amount of earnest effort, to insure success. These latter essentials have as a rule been woefully lacking, hence the bad repute into which the pool had fallen. Why it should fail is not at all answered by current criticism of its faults where it had been tried.

When the pool is mentioned the cry goes up, "Who will keep up the power?" An outsider would be led to believe that the engineers worked with hammer and chisel and wrench from morning till night and then till morning again "keeping up the power." Of course, they do a little now and then in these slip-shod times with hammer and chisel, but when the regular man makes but one trip a week, or a month on his "regular" engine, the opportunity to keep her up with the hammer and chisel even is denied. Keeping up engines under such conditions is, to say the least, an amusing affair. It is nothing short of a joke to hear some slouch of a fellow who never ran a good engine of his own keeping, throw up his hands with an air of unutterable disgust at mention of the word pool and exclaim, "Who in - would keep up the power?"-one of those fellows who was so accustomed to having a rattling, pounding, blowing engine that those jars and shocks and blows became by custom necessary to his very existence, so much so that when he retired to rest after each trip his wife had to pound the head of the bed with a potato masher to lull him to sleep.

Yes, it is certainly amusing to hear that kind of fellow decry the pool, and he no doubt believes that if the care of the engine was taken from him, that particular engine of "his" would go to the dogs, wherever that is; and judging by my own personal experience with power in charge of that type of runn the "dogs" must be about the "tuffest place ever."

engine, and always manages to keep one if given half a chance; but when denied the half chance she keeps herself like the rest of them to which men are regularly assigned, yet seldom run, but he is led to believe, or at least to appear to believe that, bad as the power is under the worst system that could possibly be devised, it would be even worse under the pool. So with the majority arrayed against it, the old way continues in spite of its preponderance of faults.

In the early days, when each system was burdened with many types of engines, equipped with an endless variety of means of water supply that, in many cases, no one but the regular man could operate successfully, the pool was a rather unwieldy proposition and, no doubt, it suffers yet to some extent from the reputation it gained in those days; but today these objections cannot be weighed against it and why it should fail under the standard conditions that prevail on most railroads today is indeed a problem that seems to permit of no other answer from the other side but-"We want it to fail." Ther can be no other true answer. There is nothing connected with the keeping up of power that cannot be done under the pool system as good and even better than it can be done under the regular engine plan. We are presented with figures showing cost of operation under both systems by those in opposition to the pool but not one good, sound, reasonable argument is offered to show the way of those figures; and even if the figures are right, and even admitting all that is claimed by the opposition, that is but the one side of the question.

There is another, a very important side, that seems to be usually ignored in discussing this matter. It is the regularity of hours of work and of rest that the pool affords. If the wrecks due to overwork of men trying to make living wages following a regular engine could be figured into the account of economy of the two systems, then you will agree that the pool would have the best of the argument. But the question of economy

There is another decidedly different type of engineer who really loves a good aside, are not the health and the comfort

of the engine crews worthy of consideration? It may not be amiss to say right here that if a little more of the money and effort expended by the men through their committees were used for the purpose of securing better working conditions and little less importance attached to the wage rate per day, they would have more that goes to make life worth living and worth working for than has been gained with the rate per day always the paramount issue. Not that the matter of compensation has been overdone but rather that the matter of fair and reasonable working conditions has been overlooked or compromised for the paltry. cents of increase of daily wage. Money does not compensate fully for some other things that are lacking, and the man who reaches his destination after a 20 hour trip, often under the most trying conditions, will bear me out in this statement-just at the time of his arrival, at least. Later his voice may be heard favoring an increase of pay or an increase in the supply of valve oil, but he still grinds away at his 20 hour trips, thank-. ing his stars the division is not twice as long or the tonnage twice as heavy.

The writer does not believe that the pool, however perfectly maintained, will cure all the evils the modern engineman is afflicted with, but it is one of the steps in the right direction and those who pretend otherwise are either narrowsighted or pretending only.

There is one thing certain: the signs of the times point to an early and general adoption of the pool throughout this country, and it requires no keen insight into the future to see that the time is not far distant when we who are even now old in the service will look back and wonder why it was so long delayed.


Put Your Shoulders to the Wheel.


Come away! Oh sons of Labour,

List ye to the urgent call,

Men are wanted in life's battle

To replace the ones who fail;

Come, ye working men be honest,
'Tis no time to faint or reel,
But, with firm determination,

Put your shoulders to the wheel.
In the coming Labour struggle,

Led by men, tried, sound, and true, Right shall forge ahead victorious Causing blessings to accrue.

All shall share the hard won trophies,
Though the fighting some ne'er feel,
Shame on such who take, but never
Put their shoulders to the wheel.
Shame on those, I say, who never,
In the battle for the right,
Lift a hand to help a brother

Who needs succour in the fight;
Selfish motives now should perish
Smitten by this great appeal-
Stand to arms, ye band of toilers
Put your shoulders to the wheel.
Let this message to the workers
In all grades upon the line,
Bear with it a note of freedom,
Cause a ray of hope to shine;
If united in our actions,

We a blow can surely deal,
When we stand one solid phalanx,
With our shoulders to the wheel.

'Tis more leisure, mo e enjoyment
For our minds and bodies too,
We have sought, and still are seeking
For the many, not the few;

This alone shall come, my brother,

When each man this truth shall feel, That our chariot will go faster,

With his shoulder at the wheel.

'Tis a chance to share the profits

That our toiling bodies make, 'Tis a chance to live like others,

Who the dividends but take; For these things we've long been asking'Tis the toiler's right, we feel,

And they'll come when all are striving
With their shoulder at the wheel.

-The London Railway Review.

Pension Indigent List-Indemnity In


FOND DU LAC, WIS., Dec. 12, 1905. EDITOR JOURNAL: Again I come forward to wish one and all of our members a happy and prosperous New Year and with your kind indulgence I would like to say a few words in answer to my dear friend C. B. Nixon. While at Memphis I was in close communication with the delegate from Div. 109, Brother Devinney. The pension plan, as well as the indemnity insurance, received my heartiest support as a delegate. I believe we can provide for our old members in the way of a monthly pension as well as for the unfortunate, either through sickness or

« ForrigeFortsett »