In the morning I went down stairs early in the hope of seeing Edith
alone. In this, however, I was disappointed. Not finding her in the
house, I sought her in the garden, but she was not there. In the
course of my wanderings I visited the underground chamber, and sat
down there to rest. Upon the reading table in the chamber several
periodicals and newspapers lay, and thinking that Dr. Leete might be
interested in glancing over a Boston daily of 1887, I brought one of
the papers with me into the house when I came.
At breakfast I met Edith. She blushed as she greeted me, but was
perfectly self-possessed. As we sat at table, Dr. Leete amused himself
with looking over the paper I had brought in. There was in it, as in
all the newspapers of that date, a great deal about the labor
troubles, strikes, lockouts, boycotts, the programmes of labor
parties, and the wild threats of the anarchists.
"By the way," said I, as the doctor read aloud to us some of these
items, "what part did the followers of the red flag take in the
establishment of the new order of things? They were making
considerable noise the last thing that I knew."
"They had nothing to do with it except to hinder it, of course,"
replied Dr. Leete. "They did that very effectually while they lasted,
for their talk so disgusted people as to deprive the best considered
projects for social reform of a hearing. The subsidizing of those
fellows was one of the shrewdest moves of the opponents of reform."
"Subsidizing them!" I exclaimed in astonishment.
"Certainly," replied Dr. Leete. "No historical authority nowadays
doubts that they were paid by the great monopolies to wave the red
flag and talk about burning, sacking, and blowing people up, in order,
by alarming the timid, to head off any real reforms. What astonishes
me most is that you should have fallen into the trap so
"What are your grounds for believing that the red flag party was
subsidized?" I inquired.
"Why simply because they must have seen that their course made a
thousand enemies of their professed cause to one friend. Not to
suppose that they were hired for the work is to credit them with an
inconceivable folly.1 In the United States, of all countries, no
party could intelligently expect to carry its point without first
winning over to its ideas a majority of the nation, as the national
party eventually did."
"The national party!" I exclaimed. "That must have arisen after my
day. I suppose it was one of the labor parties."
"Oh no!" replied the doctor. "The labor parties, as such, never could
have accomplished anything on a large or permanent scale. For purposes
of national scope, their basis as merely class organizations was too
narrow. It was not till a rearrangement of the industrial and social
system on a higher ethical basis, and for the more efficient
production of wealth, was recognized as the interest, not of one
class, but equally of all classes, of rich and poor, cultured and
ignorant, old and young, weak and strong, men and women, that there
was any prospect that it would be achieved. Then the national party
arose to carry it out by political methods. It probably took that name
because its aim was to nationalize the functions of production and
distribution. Indeed, it could not well have had any other name, for
its purpose was to realize the idea of the nation with a grandeur and
completeness never before conceived, not as an association of men for
certain merely political functions affecting their happiness only
remotely and superficially, but as a family, a vital union, a common
life, a mighty heaven-touching tree whose leaves are its people, fed
from its veins, and feeding it in turn. The most patriotic of all
possible parties, it sought to justify patriotism and raise it from
an instinct to a rational devotion, by making the native land truly a
father land, a father who kept the people alive and was not merely an
idol for which they were expected to die."
1 I fully admit the difficulty of accounting for the course
of the anarchists on any other theory than that they were subsidized
by the capitalists, but, at the same time, there is no doubt that the
theory is wholly erroneous. It certainly was not held at the time by
any one, though it may seem so obvious in the retrospect.]