Pages 1-4 missing.
pointed a committee to receive the visiting committee and seat them on the platform. After an interchange of views the committee retired, and on motion the following committee on conference was appointed to confer with the National Alliance of the Northwest.
H. W. Hickman, Missouri; Mitchell, South Carolina; Page, Virginia; Clover, Kansas; Lybrand, Arkansas; Patty, Mississippi; Tucker, Tennessee; Anderson, Texas; and Morgan, Louisiana.
Also the following committee was appointed to confer with the Mutual Benefit Association:
Davis, Missouri; Clayton, Louisiana; Cowan, Tennessee; Bird, Alabama; and Worth, North Carolina.
President Jones delivered his annual address:
To the Officers and Members of the Farmers' and Laborers' Union of America, greeting.
DEAR BROTHERS — This is certainly an auspicious occasion, it being the first meeting of our organization; an organization that to-day stands without a peer in its influence for good — not to the farmers and laborers only, that you represent, but to every legitimate and necessary interest of a free and independent government; and upon the perpetuation of its principles and their influence upon our people depend the prosperity and liberty of all classes, and the stability and power of our nation. An organization whose fundamental principles are founded upon equity and justice and whose cardinal doctrines inspire peace on earth, a love of liberty and good will to all mankind; an organization whose rise and progress is without a parallel, and which is destined in no distant day to embrace the entire agriculture and laborers of the world, and whose power and influence shall protect their liberty and interest from the encroachment of rings, trusts and soulless combinations, which are absorbing all of the profits of labor, and thereby paralyzing the industries of our country.
The wonderful growth of our order during the brief period of ten years, and the rapid strides it has taken in establishing its various business enterprises, based upon fair and equitable principles, have had a salutary influence upon commerce and excited the admiration and respect of the business world.
It has also aroused the hostility of the greedy and avaricious trusts, rings and monopolistic combinations to such an extent that great and persistent
6efforts are put forth by them to thwart us in every attempt at reform or effort to correct the prevailing evils that now environ and threaten the destruction of our industrial classes.
Ours is no common effort. We are approaching a period of social and political development that will test the wisdom and patriotism of our whole people, and will demand the most guarded and conservative action of our greatest statesmen.
The weal or woe of our nation depends upon the intelligent action of the industrial and conservative classes through organization, education and co-operation.
Brethren, in view of the above facts, and recognizing you as representing the intelligence of the various State organizations in this, our highest legislative body (a creature of the National Farmers' Alliance and Co-operative Union of America and the National Agricultural Wheel, the consolidated power and influence of which makes it one of the greatest organizations in the world), I would call your attention to the gravity, magnitude and importance of this occasion, and impress upon you the necessity of the most guarded, intelligent and conservative action.
It is an evident fact that to free our industrial classes from the oppressions that now prevail so universally, it will require a perfect concert of action of all sections; therefore, one of the most important subjects to be considered by this body is a basis of union or co-operation with all kindred organizations, and whereas there have been negotiations between the National farmers Alliance and the banners Mutual benefit Association of the Northwestern States, looking to a consolidation of these two great agricultural organizations with the Farmers and Laborers Union of America, and as delegates from the National Farmers Alliance and National Mutual Benefit Association are now in the city, would recommend that you give this matter your immediate attention, and if possible agree upon a basis of union, or at least co-operation.
I would call your attention to the necessity of more closely guarding State rights in our constitution.
Would recommend that the work of organizing should come under the jurisdiction of State organizations, provided, however, that in unorganized
7States the President of the Farmers and Laborers Union of America shall appoint organizers and take general supervision of the work. And
WHEREAS, The constitution defines the duties of an executive committee, would call your attention to the failure of its providing for the creation of same. And
WHEREAS, The constitution, under the head of miscellaneous, now provides that all trials for offenses shall be by the Farmers and Laborers Union of America while in session. And
WHEREAS, The time of holding said meetings is limited, and the expenses of the same great, would recommend the creation of a supreme judiciary, who shall hear and try all cases.
I would also call your attention to the necessity of bonding your secretary. Also to the more clearly defining Article 7, governing eligibility.
The advancement of civilization, the development of the natural resources of our country, the promotion and perpetuation of our free institutions, the stability, power and influence of our republican system of government, the creation and successful operation of all our gigantic enterprises, which gives strength and influence to government, depends largely, if not wholly, upon the intelligent application of the true principles of co-operation. The most, if not every failure of all the various business efforts of our order, is due to a want of a proper understanding and a strict adherence to the business principles of co-operation.
It is the foundation that underlies the whole superstructure of our noble order, and a strict adherence to its principles will lead the membership to a degree of prosperity that shall gladden the hearts of all, and bring joy and contentment around the family circle.
I would recommend that you spare no effort in providing the necessary facilities for the better education of the membership in these great principles.
The monopolization of finance has been, and now is, the fountain from which all monopolies, rings, trusts and oppressive organizations draw their support, strength and power.
Money in shrinking and insufficient volume remits labor to idleness, reduces the price of products, plants mortgages on the homes of our people,
8bankrupts those who are forced to borrow, paralyzes our industries, and produces hard times and great privations among the masses.
It is impossible to have an equitable adjustment of capital and labor so long as money is contracted below that which is adequate to the demands of commerce; hence, if we would correct the abuses and powers that are now prostrating and enslaving our industries, lift the mortgages from the homes of our people, restore peace and prosperity to our now paralyzed and almost ruined agricultural and laboring people, we must have a circulating medium in sufficient volume to admit of transacting our business upon a cash basis.
I would therefore recommend that you demand at the hands of the law-making functions of our nation a monetary system that shall conform to the interest of the producing and laboring classes as well as the speculator and usurer.
That the coinage of silver be as free as gold, and that gold and silver be supplemented with treasury notes (which shall be a full legal tender for all contracts) in a sufficient amount to furnish a circulating medium commensurate to the, business necessities of the people.
There is, perhaps, no question that demand more serious attention at this time than the present condition of our land.
From its many resources flow all the wealth of our nation, and upon its proper and just distribution depend the prosperity, contentment, and happiness of the yeomanry — a class upon whom all nations must largely depend for strength and support.
During the greatest prosperity of Rome, about eighty-five per cent of her population owned titles in land. It was then that she was founded upon a rock, and was mistress of the world; but in the course of her history, through the monopolization of her lands by the few, through unjust legislation, the homes were wrenched from the hands of the masses, and when the dark death ford was reached, upon which civilization was to die, less than two per cent of the people controlled the land; and it is said that about fifteen hundred men controlled the wealth of the world.
To-day we find in America millions of acres of her fertile lands, bought by the lives and efforts of our forefathers, which should have been held sacred for homes for their posterity, squandered
9upon railroads and other corporations, and millions more are owned and controlled by domestic and foreign syndicates; while a large per cent of our homes are hopelessly mortgaged, and about fifty per cent of our sons are tenants.
This wholesale absorption of land by aggregated capital must be checked, or it will finally enslave the honest yeomanry of our country, and inevitably destroy our much loved republic.
The hope of America depends upon the ownership of the land being vested in those who till the soil.
Give the people homes, theirs to improve, theirs to cultivate, theirs to beautify, and theirs to enjoy, and our grand republic will stand as the acme of modern civilization and national greatness.
I would recommend that you demand legislation for the better protection of the lands and homes of our people, and a law prohibiting the alien ownership of land in America.
Lands of America should be owned and controlled by citizens of America.
As a means of developing the many natural resources of our great and powerful nation and the distribution of our products for the use and comfort of our people, the railroads take the lead as a benefactor of the human family if properly used; but the avarice and greed manifested on the part of these great corporations, have through their unjust manipulation of transportation destroyed all competition, and become oppressors rather than servants of the people for which they were created. These corporations have rights that should be protected; a right to business, to legitimate profit, to property and restricted power.
It is not the railroads of which the people complain, but the abuses of their powers, chartered rights and privileges.
Everything they have and enjoy hangs like a plummet to its cord upon law alone; and as the law derives its strength solely from the will and obedience of the people, every rail, car, stock, bond and charter has its security and protection chiefly from that tender homage and reverence which emanates from the hearts of our law abiding and liberty loving agriculturists; and in oppressing them, they are chafing the cords upon which alone hangs their profits, franchises and existence.
I would recommend that you demand such legislation,
10both national and State, as shall regulate and control rates and classifications of freights on all lines of transportation, that fair dealing and justice may be secured to all.
While our order, as an order, is strictly nonpartisan in politics, yet. Section I in our declaration of purposes says: That we shall labor for the education of the agricultural classes in the science of economic government, in a strictly non-partisan spirit.
It is an evident fact that the origin and power to perpetuate the existence of the various rings, trusts and combines that now oppress our people and threaten the overthrow of our free institutions is due to unjust legislation and the intimacy and influence that still exists between our representatives and these powerful corporations and combines, are such as to give good reason for serious alarm.
We have reached a period in the history of our government when confidence in our political leaders and great political organizations is almost destroyed, and the estrangement between them and the people is becoming more manifest every day.
The common people are now beginning to see that there is no just cause for the now almost universal depression that pervades the laboring classes of every section of our country, and are disposed to attribute the same to the corrupting influence that these great combines and corporations exert over our leaders and political, moral and social institutions.
So long as our people neglect to inform themselves upon the great issues of the hour, and continue to follow blindly machine politicians to the neglect of their own interest, they will continue to lose their individuality, influence and power in our political institutions, and be wholly at the mercy of the soulless corporations that are now wielding such an influence over our Government.
The very existence of our free institutions and republican form of government, the very life and prosperity of the agricultural and laboring people depend largely if not wholly upon financial, land and transportation reformation.
It is a conceded fact that a republican form of government lives alone in the hearts of the people; and its destiny depends entirely upon the purity of the ballot, and as this is in the hands of
11every man there can be no safety, except as is guaranteed by its intelligent use.
This is the fortress of our nation's strength; and if our order would reach that high degree of usefulness for which it was created, it must through a well-defined system of economic questions, produce this intelligence and virtue, thus preparing our people for an intelligent use of their franchise.
When the dissolution took place of the two National bodies that compose the Farmers and Laborers' Union of America, I found myself in a very awkward and embarrassing situation.
The responsibility of these two national bodies merged into one imperfect organization, with a defective constitution and with demands coming from the various States for organizers, new rituals, secret work and other printed matter, and having no fluids in the treasury for defraying expenses, and being compelled to draw upon my own private funds for the defraying of all my office and official expenses, with considerable division and dissension in some of the States, and having no executive committee or supreme judiciary to share my responsibilities, I must confess that it was with great forebodings that I assumed my official duties.
Among my first official duties was to appoint an executive committee, composed of Brothers J. H. McDowell of Tennessee, G. L. Clark of Texas and J. A. Tetts of Louisiana. I also arranged with Brother J. H. McDowell for the printing of 50,000 rituals and the new secret work — which were ready for distribution to State secretaries within thirty days from the issuing of our official proclamation.
During the two months of our organization I have given the order my very best efforts, availing myself of every possible means for the harmonizing of the brotherhood in States where unity failed to exist and to perfect our organization.
There were brethren who were ever ready with their counsel and encouragement, which assisted me greatly in the discharge of my arduous duties. To them I shall ever feel grateful for their assistance, fidelity and patriotism to the order during those trying hours.
Brethren, never before in the history of organized labor have we been confronted with graver questions of business of greater magnitude and importance than will be presented to this convention.
You virtually hold in your hands the destiny of
12our order, upon whose success or failure depends the weal or woe of the patient and long suffering agricultural and laboring people of our Nation.
To-day all eyes are turned to St. Louis, while millions of anxious, waiting hearts are trusting to your patriotism and wise deliberation that shall pave the way for their relief.
Feeling confident that you will meet bravely, calmly and unselfishly the great work which now lays before you; and realizing your responsibility and the necessity of having justice done to all respecting the humble as well as the highest members of the order, thereby strengthening the ties that now bind us together in one common brotherhood, I assure you as your chairman that my motto shall be "Equal rights to all and special privileges to none."
Let us, therefore, as brethren true to our God, cause and families, enter upon the business of this meeting with full confidence in each other and brotherly love to all mankind, and may He who doeth all things well guide us in our deliberation to the perfecting and perpetuating of our order, free our nation from corporative power and break the shackles that now bind our industries in iron chains.
The President's address was referred to a special committee, as follows:
H. F. Simrall, of Mississippi; J. H. Turner, of Georgia; W. J. Talbert, of South Carolina; J. H. McDowell, of Tennessee; and Wm. H. Barton.
The following committees were provided for by motion: First, committee on demands, composed of one delegate from each State, and that all resolutions and demands shall be referred, after reading to said committee; second, a committee of three on credentials, which shall be continued through this meeting; third, a committee of five on national constitution; and that said committees be required to report during the meeting of this National Union.
Adjourned to meet at 7.30 p. m.
Meeting called to order at 7.30 p. m.
On motion a committee of conference on cotton tare and bagging, consisting of one from each cotton
13State, was appointed, consisting of the following brethren:
A. M. Street, Mississippi; W. S. Morgan, Arkansas; Elias Carr, North Carolina; E. T. Stackhouse, South Carolina; J. F. Livingston, Georgia; R. F. Kolb, Alabama; R. J. Sledge, Texas; R. C. Betty, Indian Territory; B. M. Hord, Tennessee; T. J. Guide, Louisiana; R. F. Rogers, Florida.
On motion the following additional committee on credentials was appointed:
S. M. Adams, Alabama; J. H. Turner, Georgia; A. E. Dickinson, Kansas.
After discussing the question of organic law for some time, a committee on secret work was appointed, as follows:
J. A. Tetts, Louisiana; T. L. Darden, Mississippi; T. J. Anderson, Texas; S. B. Erwin, Kentucky; W. J. Reid, South Carolina; and C. C. Adams, Tennessee.
Also the following committee on constitution was appointed:
C. W. Macune, L. L. Polk, W. J. Talbert, J. P. Buchanan and Robert Beverly.
On motion the following committee on the order of business by which this body shall be governed during this session was appointed:
Livingston of Georgia, Quicksall of Kentucky, Barton of Oklahoma.
The committee on conference then made a report as follows:
The joint committee agree to recommend to our respective organizations the adoption of the following resolutions, to wit:
First, That a joint committee of five on the part of the National Farmers' Alliance and a like number on the part of the National Farmers and Laborers' Union be appointed with authority to formulate a plan for a confederation of said organizations and of other known agricultural and industrial organizations in the United Slates, to the end that immediate and practical co-operation may be secured for the accomplishment of the objects common to all.
Second, that the autonomy of said organization be preserved intact until such time as the way
14may be found clear to effect organic union if the same should hereafter be found necessary.
A. J. Streeter, (Ill.) Chairman. ROBERT C. PATTY, (Miss.) Secretary.
The committee on conference was reduced to five, consisting of the following, and appointed to confer with a like committee from the National Alliance:
Hickman, Missouri; Patty, Mississippi; Page, Virginia; Clover, Kansas; and Mitchell, South Carolina.
On motion the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association was allowed representation on conference committee, to confer with Northwestern Alliance.
Adjourned to meet to-morrow morning at 9 o'clock.
Called to order at 9 a. m., President Jones in the chair.
The following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That the National Farmers Alliance is hereby cordially invited to visit us in a body, to listen to the address of ex-President C. W. Macune, on the aims and principles of the Farmers and Labors Union of America. Adopted.
Minutes of the proceedings of yesterday were read and approved.
The representatives from the Farmers Mutual Benefit Association and National Farmers Alliance were escorted in and seated.
Brother Macune addressed the joint bodies, after which the meeting adjourned to meet at 2 p. m.
Brethren of the Farmers and Laborers Union of America:
It is the custom when legislative bodies of this character convene for the President to deliver an address setting forth the exact condition of the order, telling what has been accomplished during his administration, and making such suggestions for consideration as he deems best. This has already been done by our worthy President. But this organization, and consequently our President's active administration, is only about two months old, and prior to its formation the same interests were represented by two national organizations. As I had the honor to be President of one of those organizations, the National Farmers Alliance and Co-operative Union of America, not only during the five-sixths of the past year, but from the very first organization of that order in January, 1887, it seems to me appropriate that I too deliver you an address. In fact, so very important do I deem the message that I have to impart to you that I offer no apology for its presentation, believing that my familiarity with all the past methods of the National Alliance will enable me to point out to you the lessons taught by the critical periods in its history, to give a clear and full conception of the writing between the lines in
16its present strength and condition, and to suggest certain necessary lines of action worthy of a careful consideration. A further reason for the delivery of this address is that I have up to this time been filling a responsible position as editor of your national official organ, The National Economist, and this position has brought me in direct weekly communication with the whole order, which has forcibly impressed me with many of the necessities of the order and shown the great importance of the consideration by this body of several questions which will be the means of outlining a policy for said official organ to be guided by during the coming year. This body, while discussing the situation and deliberating upon the policy to be pursued, should be thoroughly conversant with the history of the past efforts and the present condition of the order, and possibly suggestions as to the future by those who have filled executive offices may be of service. They are at least offered for consideration.
In 1886 the Alliance movement of the South was confined principally to the State of Texas. The State Alliance of that State had chartered a few sub-Alliances in Indian Territory and a small number in the State of Alabama. The report of the State Secretary at the regular annual meeting of that year showed that the order had grown from about six hundred to over twenty-seven hundred sub-Alliances during the year that ended in August, 1886. As a natural and unavoidable consequence of such rapid organization the principles, objects and methods of the Alliance were very imperfectly understood by the majority of the membership. It was an election year in that State, and partisan feeling ran high. Dissensions within the order were so great that a dissatisfied minority met and organized themselves into an opposition State Alliance, secured a charter from the State of Texas, and elected a corps of State officers. The outlook for the order at that time was indeed unpromising, and utter dissolution seemed imminent and almost certain. I was at the time chairman of the executive committee, and by direction of the President I succeeded in securing a conference between the officers of the State Alliance and the officers of the element that had seceded, the result of which was that the seceders agreed to take no further steps, but hold their charter in abeyance till the neat regular meeting of the State Alliance. Immediately after the conference
17the President and vice-president resigned, and by virtue of my office I called a meeting of the State Alliance to convene in January, 1887, for the purpose of filling the vacancies and taking such other action as the necessities of the order demanded. I immediately wrote to Hon. A. J. Streeter, of Illinois, who was then President of the National Farmers Alliance, and Hon. J. Burrows, of Nebraska, who was vice-president of that order, for information in regard to the origin, history, methods and purposes of the National Alliance; also to Bro. J. A. Tetts, of Louisiana, who was prominent in the work of the Louisiana Farmers Union, asking like information in regard to the Union. The Western Rural was at that time published as the official organ of the National Alliance, and its editor, Mr. Milton George, was the national secretary. I received the Western Rural regularly and preserved the published rulings of the national secretary as to qualifications for membership and the rules prevailing in the National Alliance governing charters, etc. The Louisiana Union showed by its constitution that it was practically the same organization then existing in Texas as the Farmers Alliance, and that it differed only in name, and as I had notice that Louisiana would have a called meeting just prior to the called meeting in Texas I appointed Bro. Evan Jones a delegate to visit the Louisiana Union and make overtures in behalf of unity. He was well received and a committee of one from the Union was elected to visit the called meeting of the Texas State Alliance and empowered to act in behalf of the Union in taking steps for the extension of the work into new fields. All this may seem like dry detail, but it is necessary in order to properly understand the exact conditions that surrounded and controlled the formation of the National Farmers Alliance and Co-operative Union of America when there was already in existence a National Farmers Alliance in the States farther North. It is unquestionably very necessary to show that the second National Alliance was not instituted in opposition to or as a rival of the National Alliance then in existence, if such be the case, and I believe it was.
The called meeting of the State Alliance of Texas, held in the city of Waco in January, 1887, is a noted land-mark in the history of the Alliance. At that meeting provision was made for
18the organization of the National, and after it was organized its constitution was ratified. There were over four hundred delegates assembled at the meeting, and a more discordant and dissatisfied assemblage of equal size probably never convened; and yet, after a four days' session, a more harmonious and completely unified body of equal size was perhaps never seen. In my address at the opening of the meeting I called attention to the dissensions and dissatisfaction within the order, much of it the result of misunderstanding, and some the result of personal ambition and local prejudices. I took the position that if the order was a good thing, it was our duty to spread the light; that we must be aggressive; that if we considered Texas well enough organized, and concluded to fold our hands and enjoy the expected benefits of the Alliance we would be doomed to disappointment, because dissensions and contentions would soon prove to be effective causes for disintegration and rupture.
The very existence and perpetuation of the order demanded that it must take an aggressive position in favor of an overshading effort for good in be-half of the membership, that would act as a nucleus and rallying cry, and be of so general a character that it would receive the indorsement of the entire membership. Without this the local issues developed by local conditions and successfully met by the order would assume undue proportions, and frequently produce confusion by being mistaken for the chief objects of the order. To prevent a great order that is scattered over a large extent of territory, and embraces people whose habits and occupations have developed a great many different local issues, from breaking up into detachments to each combat a local and fleeting issue, thereby placing it at the mercy of a better organized foe that would decoy each detachment into an ambush where it could be destroyed with ease; to prevent such dire but certain consequences there must be a general issue to which each detachment will return after having sallied out to demolish a local issue, and in support of which all are agreed and united into a solid phalanx, thereby being able to meet either the detached or combined forces of the opposition. The general aggressive issue decided upon at the called meeting was "organization of the Cotton belt of America," and under the purifying and inspiring effects of that philanthropic object local issues and personal prejudices
19were crowded to the background, and every man took his place in the ranks of the aggressive, shoulder to shoulder, determined to succeed, and to-day we may note the grand result. Less than three years have elapsed since that day, and yet the entire cotton belt is well organized.
When the question of electing delegates from the Texas State Alliance to meet with delegates from the Louisiana Union for the purpose of organizing a National order was pending, I presented to the body all the information in regard to the National Farmers Alliance that I had received from the columns of the Western Rural and the correspondence with Presidents Streeter and Burrows; a careful consideration of which showed that there were, at that time, at least three reasons why Texas State Alliance was not willing to join itself to that order. The first was, the National Farmers Alliance was an non-secret and very loose organization, with neither fees nor dues, and charters seemed to be sent out by the National Secretary, Mr. George, to anybody who would request them on very little evidence as to the qualifications of those applying. Second, the published rulings as to the qualifications of membership made colored persons eligible; and third, the National Secretary published a ruling that any person raised on a farm was considered a practical farmer, and was therefore eligible regardless of his present occupation.
The membership of the Texas State Alliance and the Louisiana Union were at that time unanimously opposed to each of these three methods, and therefore thought it useless to delay organizing a National body that would conform to the genius of the institution they had so grandly commenced to build. They did not propose to enter the territory of the National Farmers Alliance, nor to oppose it in any way, but they thought it would be a presumption, and perhaps a needless waste of time, to lose a year in order to ask the National Farmers Alliance to modify its methods that they might join it, and therefore they organized their own National in their own territory.
From the date of the organization of the National, the order grew very rapidly, as the reports from the different State organizations at this meeting show. This rapid growth was largely due to the zeal of a membership united in an effort thoroughly understood and indorsed by all, exerted at a time when the masses were ripe for the movement. The
20lines of argument that [??] people to join the order are important and should be carefully considered, because they [??] in some degree what they expect the order to accomplish in their behalf and by their assistance.
After a very careful survey of the work, I find myself unable to avoid the conclusion that the leading and principal arguments used, and especially those that have been to any extent effective, have all had for their object, either directly or indirectly, conditions that would render farming more profitable from a financial standpoint. The methods offered for acquiring this desirable state of affairs have been numerous, and often very ingenious, sometimes wild and impracticable. Some have held that organization would render farming profitable and prosperous by the benefits that would naturally flow from the more intimate social exchange of ideas and courtesies at the meeting, where each would learn the methods pursued in the detail of farm work by all the others, and that the dissemination of such practical data would render all more productive, and that as a consequence they would be stepping into the ranks of those who have been eulogized for having been able to make two blades of grass grow where only one grew before. It seems to me that more importance and value has been attached to this sentiment than its merits entitle it to receive. A proof of this is found in the fact that the cereal crops of the United States in 1867 aggregated about a billion and a quarter bushels and brought about a billion and a quarter dollars, and from that time the crop increased till in 1885 it reached the enormous sum of over three billion bushels, and the whole crop sold for less than a billion and a quarter dollars. Others have held that organization could render farming profitable by the introduction of better business methods in which all would unite and cooperate for the purpose of selling our products higher and purchasing such commodities as we are compelled to buy cheaper. Those who have made a special study of this feature of the effort realize that the purely technical effort of improving our methods of farming, by which we may possibly increase the amount of products we make in return for a given amount of labor and expense, although it be praiseworthy, desirable and worthy of encouragement, is not a force or remedy near equal to the emergency, and that the influences that tend to depress agriculture and render the pursuit of that
21occupation unprofitable have rapidly gained the ascendency over and neutralized the beneficent effects that should have followed the introduction of wise methods and new and improved machinery in the past whereby the results of productive effort have been increased most wonderfully. It is deemed unwise to depend entirely on a remedy that has proved ineffectual on every occasion. They contend for something more efficient, by advocating a better system of handling and disposing of what we produce, and a more careful and economical method of purchasing supplies. This they expect to accomplish by securing as near as possible a direct sale of our products to those who consume them, thereby gaining the commissions now paid to middlemen that do not appear to be necessary and increasing the price of the produce sold. They will reduce the price of commodities purchased by encouraging cash transactions on a large scale, thereby eliminating the loss and risk that attend the credit business and getting the benefit of wholesale prices. The hope of ultimate success from this line of effort depends upon the ability to enhance the price of what we have to sell and diminish the price of what we have to buy, thereby increasing the gains. The ability to do this, it is argued, depends upon the amount of devotion each member will exercise in favor of the object. This line of argument also holds that if each would be willing to make enough sacrifices of prejudice and time and money they would be certain to succeed. And yet if we admit all that is claimed in this direction we must still realize that there is a limit to the power that can be enforced by these methods. For example, we cannot reduce the price of the commodities we purchase below what it costs to manufacture them, neither can we raise the price of the product we have to sell above a certain limit without a tendency to have the demand supplied from other sources or by substitutes. The probabilities of success, therefore, by the business methods alone will depend upon the power thus wielded being equal to or greater than the tendency to depression that has proved so powerful in the past.
Still another method of advocating organization as a means of increasing the profits of farming is, that by organization a united effort can be brought to bear upon the authorities, that will secure such changes in the regulations that govern the relations between different classes of citizens as are
22necessary to secure equal rights, equal privileges and equal chances. Those mentioned as advocating the second or business line of teaching as the remedy seem to have drunk a little deeper at the fountain of thought and wisdom than the first class of teachers mentioned, and those of the third class, now under consideration, seem to have pursued the investigation even further than the second class. They recognize the generally known and universally acknowledged maxim of political economists, that a general rise in prices always attends an increase in the volume of the circulating medium of the country, and a general fall in prices always attends a decrease in its volume, and that the regulations governing the relations between the different classes of citizens in this country empowers a certain specified class to issue over one-half of the circulating medium, and permits them to withdraw from circulation any or all of such money at their own pleasure, thereby allowing said class to regulate as they may choose the volume of circulating medium in the country, subject to a limit of about 40 per cent; that is to say, should they choose to retire all their circulation they would reduce the volume of the circulating medium of the country to 40 per cent of its present volume, and as a necessary and unavoidable consequence reduce the price of everything in nearly the same proportion. There is then absolutely no way of avoiding the conclusion that such class possesses the power to produce a general rise or fall of 50 per cent in prices at pleasure. Those who realize this state of affairs contend that it is a waste of energy for all the farmers in this great land to combine and co-operate to raise the prices of a given product when, if their most sanguine hopes were realized, they would not augment the price over 25 per cent, while at the same time representatives of another class of citizens of this country could receive instructions from one office in a single hour which would depress prices 50 per cent. In fact, owing to the inflexible rigidness of such a system, the fluctuation in general prices is very great between the different seasons of the same year, and for the following reasons: Agriculture presents during the last four months of every year an actual tangible addition to the wealth of the nation equal to five times the gross volume of all the money in actual circulation in the country, and all this agricultural product comes on the market to purchase money for the use of the agriculturist. Now it stands to reason that such
23an increase in the demand for money, when there is no increase in the supply, must augment its price, which is its purchasing power, and which means diminished prices for everything else. Now if, in addition to this powerful tendency, a certain class possesses the power to diminish the supply at that season, in the face of the augmented demand, the tendency to a rise in the purchasing power of money becomes certain and irresistible. The experience of every man in the agricultural districts of the West and South has no doubt often shown him a difference of 50 percent or more in the price of an article during the fall season and the spring. And it is universally known that in pursuance of the above phenomena general prices are much lower in the fall than in the spring season. Great respect is due to the teachings of those who contend that the greatest power being exercised to depress agriculture to-day emanates from unjust regulations governing the relations between the different classes of citizens, and if by a united effort we can secure the correction of the evils they point out, we will pave a way for the certain triumph of our business efforts and the enjoyment of more satisfactory and prosperous social relations. It seems to me that there is much good in the teachings of all three of these methods, and that it will be found a duty of this body to encourage the effort to improve in farming from a technical standpoint as a result of the pleasant social reunions enjoyed in the subordinate organization. Also to sustain and assist in every possible manner the efforts made to co-operate for business purposes by the different county and State organizations, and to provide a plain, simple and specific demand on the part of the national organization for the proper, just and equitable regulation of the relations between the different classes of citizens.
These three classes of teachings and modifications of them have been the principal inducements offered people as reasons why they should join our ranks, and the fact that they have joined in such vast numbers indicates the necessity for action in the directions pointed out, and is a pledge that they will assist in carrying out such methods. Of the three different methods, that of relief from the business effort has received the most attention and been by far the most prominent. This is due probably to the fact that the technical and social co-operation seems best adapted to the workings of the subordinate body, while the business efforts have demonstrated the necessity of the wider
24range of co-operation to be secured in the county and State organizations, and the co-operation necessary to secure the proper adjustment of economic relations seems peculiarly within the province of the national organization, as it is the very foundation upon which the whole class in all the States must depend. The prominence given to the business effort by the different State organizations has not been without important results, the full detail of which I suppose will be reported to you by the different State delegations. They have in nearly all the States organized their business with a strong capital stock, ranging from fifty to five hundred thousand dollars. Texas has a capital stock of five hundred thousand dollars, divided into individual shares of five dollars each. Several States have their capital stock divided into shares of one hundred dollars each, and issue them to subordinate bodies only. I think this last method has many advantages, and would particularly recommend the plan of the Exchange of Georgia as one that seems to me wisely prepared.
In my message to the last regular session of the N. F. A. and C. F. of A., at Meridian, I pointed out the necessity for great caution in the formation of any national plan of co-operation for business purposes. I now desire to reiterate that caution, and say to those who wish to inaugurate a National Farmers Exchange that there is danger of such an enterprise being so placed that it can not accomplish much, and still, when in existence, the people will expect much of it. There may, perhaps, be some plan formulated by which the different State exchanges can co-operate, but I doubt the wisdom of going any further than that, by organizing a national exchange or of incurring much expense on the part of the national for business purposes. It seems that the co-operation for business purposes in order to be effective and reach its highest development should be more extensive than can be obtained in the subordinate bodies alone, and that it absolutely requires co-operation between the subordinates in the counties and cooperation between the counties in the State; but beyond the State organization there does not seem to be any prominent and conclusive reason for extending so strong and close an organization, in which it would be necessary to lodge so much power and responsibility. Each State is a complete jurisdiction within itself, and usually has different and distinct conditions, customs, usages and issues. It always comprises territory and
25business enough to develop all the branches of business, as manufacturers, jobbers, wholesalers, retailers, brokers, commission men, etc. From all these reasons, I conclude that while co-operation between the different State business efforts will probably be necessary and beneficial, stronger reasons than I have yet been able to discover should exist before a national exchange organizational will be able to do much good.
From these considerations it must now be plain to you that the order has by means of the consolidation here to be consummated reached a period of full development that places a responsibility upon it for efficient and aggressive action. The three effective lines of effort above specified that have induced this vast army of brethren to espouse the cause and place their shoulders to the wheel have each a proper field in which to operate. The national organization, by securing a better adjustment of the economic policy of the Government, will insure that the regulations governing the relations between the different classes of citizens shall be just, fair, and equitable, and thereby lay a foundation on which the States in their business efforts will find it possible to reach complete success, but without which they would as now be contending with inevitable defeat, and the success of the business effort rendered certain by the exercise of the great power possessed by the State Alliances when they can be exercised under the just conditions, which it is the province of the national to secure, will augment the social benefits and enjoyments that should result from the subordinate organizations. Each has its special field, and the success of the national renders success in the State effort possible, and the success of these two contribute to the true benefits which must finally flow to the subordinate body.
As we have seen, the order has made a most prodigious growth, and its business efforts have reached a high stage of development and usefulness. Your attention is now called to the genius of the government of the order. It will be found in the highest sense interesting and peculiar. We have had a written law and an unwritten law. Two sets of laws and systems of government have been in force at one and the same time. Every individual member has sustained a dual relation to the order, and yet all have harmonized perfectly, and there has been no conflict or clash. The written law is comprised of the charter from the United States Government, the constitution
26and legislative enactments of the national order; the charters, constitutions and legislative enactments of the various State organizations; and the charters, constitutions and legislative enactments of the various county and subordinate bodies. The form of government under the written law was democratic, the subordinate bodies each being a simple democracy in which the individual is the sovereign and all members vote on all questions. The State and national bodies were each a confederated form of republican government, and every step from the people, who are the supreme power, lessened the power of the delegated body. The national only had such powers as were expressly delegated to it by the States, and the States only had such powers as were bestowed upon it by delegates from the subordinate bodies. Its form of government under the written law was modeled after and was very similar to the form of political government under which we live. The unwritten law is the secret work, and, like all other secret orders, it has necessitated and depended upon a form of government closely analogous to a limited monarchy. According to it, all power and authority must emanate from the recognized head and permeate through the various branches to the individual membership. Under this system of law, this is a supreme body, and under the written law the membership of the subordinate were supreme, because, under the written law the membership could, by the exercise of their constitutional privileges, abolish the national body entirely, and under the unwritten law the National could, by the exercise of its power, abolish a subordinate body by revoking its charter. This system of dual sources of power and forms of government, that originate at opposite extremities of the order and encompass it as two parallel bands throughout its entire extent, is wonderfully calculated to add to its strength and efficiency, and furnishes a complete safeguard against any weak point in either system by always having the strength of the other system present and ready to assist and maintain it. The necessity for this full and complete statement of the genius of the government of the order is twofold. First, an imperfect conception of these principles has often been the cause of considerable hesitation and embarrassment on the part of State Presidents when called upon to rule on questions upon which the constitutional law was not very explicit, and second, delegates to the national
27frequently seem to think that the only way they have of offering new and necessary regulations to the order is by modifying the constitution or offering a resolution. Now the facts are that resolutions should be offered for nothing but as expressions of sentiment or advisory measures recommended to the order or others; that the constitution should contain nothing but the declaration of purposes of the order, an outline of the different branches of government, an expressed limitation of the powers of each branch and each officer, and such general provisions governing the laws and usages as are of universal application and will be permanent and require no modification and change. Then to provide rules for the conduct of the officers and the carrying out of the provisions of the constitution and render the workings of the order effective and satisfactory, not resolutions, but laws should be passed, the difference being that laws would prescribe certain things while resolutions simply recommended them. Every bill should be refused consideration unless it commence according to an established form, as, "Be it hereby enacted by the Farmers and Laborers Union of America," etc.; each bill should have a caption and be numbered. If the laws of the legislative body were expressed in this way they would soon make a valuable code of statutory laws for the order that would save much of the time now wasted in discussing resolutions that are simply a repetition of what may have been passed many times before, but is not in a shape to be of record. This will also obviate the necessity for making any changes or additions to the national constitution, which is very desirable, as every possible means should be resorted to that will tend to make the national organic law fixed and permanent; let it be too sacred to be modified except in cases of the plainest necessity.
Observation of the workings of the order in the past leads me to make the following suggestions:
1. There should be an efficient and uniform method of securing reports as to the strength, financial condition, etc., from the entire order. The national secretary can not now send out a blank asking for information and get a response that is satisfactory from half of the States because the blanks used by one State secretary are entirely different from those used by another, and consequently the information they have is of a different character. To make statistics of the order valuable they should all be gathered in response to the
28same question, and it seems to me that the best way to secure that end would be for this body to provide for a small but competent committee who should call upon each State secretary to send them a copy of what he finds to be the best blank for subs to report to county organizations, and what for county to report to State organizations upon, and give this committee authority to consider all these forms, adopt the best as the standard for all, and get up the reports to the national, State and county bodies in a complete system. They can then be printed from plates in large numbers, and thereby reduce the expense.
2. Independent of the secretaries' reports a system of crop reports should be inaugurated that will be more prompt, accurate and reliable than the estimates made and published every year by the speculators who are interested in depressing prices of our produce. This is of the utmost importance, and yet all efforts made up to this time have been signal failures. I would therefore suggest that the National, State, county and subordinate bodies each elect a crop statistician, to be paid by the body electing him, and who shall be held responsible to make regular reports as required by the officers to whom he is to report, and that the National statistician report monthly to the President of the national body.
3. The National committee on secret work should alone be authorized to print the ritual, and all sub and county charters should emanate from the National, and be issued by the various States.
4. The regular annual meetings of the State bodies should be timed so as to come in rotation, thereby allowing National officers to visit them.
5. All written official documents of the national should bear the impress of the seal, and all printed official documents should have printed on them a fac simile of the seal.
6. The secretary should be required on the first of every month to pay the treasurer all the money he has received, and the treasurer prohibited from paying out any money, except on a warrant drawn by the secretary and approved by the president, and the secretary should be prohibited from drawing a warrant on the treasurer, except upon a voucher or account that is audited and approved by such auditing officer as this body may provide.
7. There seems at present a necessity for a national lecturer, and as that necessity may only exist for a year or two, it might be provided for temporarily; and if it be, the lecturer should be an efficient
29officer, with probably a larger salary than any other national officer, and be required to do active work during his term.
8. Since education is one of the most potent agents at our command, the national should impress upon the membership the importance: of every member reading his state and national organ.
9. The president should be authorized at any time to appoint committees to confer with any or all other labor organizations on questions relating to the objects and methods of organized producers, always reserving to this body the right to ratify or reject their action.
With these recommendations as to matters within the order, I will leave that feature of the work and call your attention to the relations of the national order to the government and people of this country at large. Our relations as an organized force with the people of the United States and with the Government have been wonderfully improved during the last year by the establishment and publication of your National organ — The National Economist — at the National headquarters. It has been the means of presenting the true, just and equitable side of the movement to a class of readers who before never saw anything but misrepresentations of the objects of the order. It has fought for our rights from a high, dignified and indisputable standpoint of right, and as a result we now see leading papers and periodicals in the large cities publishing articles in the interest of the masses that a few years ago they would not allow to come within their doors. In fact, our National organ has been so conducted that the entire order has shown unmistakable evidences of the fact that they are proud of it, and that it has been a wonderful educator and benefit to the membership. Nevertheless, the National organ will never reach its highest development for good until it goes hand in hand with a good, efficient organ in every State, and the State organs of the various States will not reach their highest development for good without a harmony of effort and concentration of forces. I, therefore, submit for your consideration the propriety of authorizing the National and State organs to organize themselves into a newspaper alliance for the purpose of, first, lessening their expenses; second, guaranteeing a uniformity of sentiment, officially indorsed by a National supervising committee; and, third, increasing their usefulness and efficiency; and that this body make its President ex-efficio chairman
30of a committee of three, who shall pass upon and, if approved, place their stamp upon every article expressing editorial opinion as to doctrine which emanates from a central editorial bureau for publication in the various papers of such newspaper alliance. A thoroughly reliable and uniform expression of sentiment can in this way be secured in all parts of the country at the same time. Our State organs are at present doing a great work, and accomplishing much more for the order than is generally supposed. In nearly every State in which the order has a State organ it will be found on comparison to be the best farmers' paper in that State, and members who read their State and National organs are always too well posted to waver in their allegiance to the order on account of any of the arguments or false reports of the opposition. With such an alliance as an auxiliary, when the conflict of the National deepens, the full force and influence of twenty or twenty-five of the best papers in the country could be manipulated with great advantage to the true interests of our cause. This will be by far the most potent agent at our command in the impending struggle, since by it we can keep our own ranks thoroughly posted and unified, and at the same time we can meet the opposition at no disadvantage in an effort to secure the influence of the great class that now stands comparatively neutral, but will sympathize with and assist us when convinced that our objects are right and our methods fair.
In considering our relations to the world at large I believe it well to call your attention to what, after a long and careful investigation, I believe to be a fact, and that is, that all the evils which afflict agriculture to-day, and especially all which contribute to the present universal depression, arise either directly or indirectly from unjust regulations or privileges enjoyed by other classes under our financial system, or our system of laws in regard to transportation corporations, or our land system. In the consideration of these prime causes of the many abuses that afflict our class we as a national organization of farmers occupy a peculiar but not unsatisfactory position. It has been the custom for changes in any important feature of governmental regulations to be inserted in partisan platforms, and in this way brought before the masses. We compose at least 50 per cent of the strength of each of the political parties. The two oldest political parties have each had their turn at the administration of affairs, and neither has made a single
31move toward these questions that are now of more importance to our class than all others. Evidently we have been derelict in our duty to ourselves, because we have not made our influence felt in the party to which we belong. We have from time to time at our meetings passed resolutions making various and sundry demands of our law makers, but up to the present time there are little or no visible results. I believe we have scattered too much and tried too cover too much ground, and that we should now concentrate upon the one most essential thing and force it through as an entering wedge to secure our rights. A political party is one thing, and we in our organized capacity are entirely different from it. In fact we are the exact opposite. Partisanism is the life of party, and the more bitter it can be made the more solid the party. We by the dissemination of the true principles of economic government set free the strongest influence for neutralizing partisanism, because if all thoroughly understood perfect political economy, and all were honest, all would agree, and therefore there would be no partisanism or party.
We are a complete opposite to a political party. We dissolve prejudices, neutralize partisanism, and appeal to reason and justice for our rights, and are willing to grant to all other classes the same. Party appeals to prejudice and depends on partisan hatred for power to perpetuate itself. The strength of a political party is its platform, which, when constructed with the highest modern art, seeks to pander to the prejudices of every section. It must contain a plank for every question that is agitated or discussed, and be expressed in such equivocal terms as to mean one thing to one man and the opposite to another. Now, since we are the very opposite of a political party, and have for our object not to get control of the chief offices of the Government with all their power and responsibility and do nothing except perpetuate ourselves, but to accomplish some needed reforms in the regulation of the relations between the different classes of citizens, no matter which party furnishes us the servants that may occupy the offices, it must be plain that we would only weaken our cause were we to attempt to construct a platform after the custom of political parties. Our strength lies in an entirely different and opposite direction. We should unite every effort on the accomplishment of the one reform first necessary, and the most important, and rest assured that the accomplishment of that will insure us a development of
32strength sufficient to then carry other necessary reforms in their turn. With these thoughts as to the policy to pursue, let us carefully consider which is the most urgent, most important and necessary reform to be dignified as the battle cry of the order temporarily till accomplished.
Convention called to order at 2.30 p. m., President Jones in the chair, and opened for the transaction of business.
Report of committee on the order of business received and adopted, as follows:
1. Calling of the roll.
2. Reading of the minutes.
3. Reading reports of committees.
4. Unfinished business.
5. New business.
6. Reports of officers.
7. Special orders for future consideration.
Resolution offered by Brother Livingston:
That a committee of five be appointed on the monetary system of this country; committee of five on the landed interest of the country; five on transportation; and five on consolidated Alliance Press Association, and that suggestions made by President Jones and brother Macune touching such questions are hereby referred to said committees. Adopted.
Report of committee on President Jones' message was read and adopted:
1. So much of the message as relates to co-operation be referred to a committee on co-operation.
2. So much as relates to the constitution he referred to a committee on constitution.
3. So much as relates to land be referred to the committee on demands.
4. So much as relates to transportation be referred to the committee on transportation.
5. So much as relates to finance be referred to the committee on finance, and that the several committees named not already appointed be appointed by the chair.
The following resolution, by Patty of Mississippi, was adopted:
Resolved, That the committee on credentials be instructed to ascertain and report the number of
33votes to which each State is entitled under the constitution, and in what proportion the same shall be cast in cases where State Alliances and State Wheels have not yet effected an organic union.
Resolved, That the roll of States be called at 7.30 p. m., and the delegates from the various States are requested to offer resolutions to be referred to the committee on demands or any other committee. Adopted.
Resolved, That the State of Delaware be permitted to organize under the State organization of the State of Maryland; that the said State of Delaware be permitted to retain its autonomy, and be allowed State representation at national meetings. Adopted.
Resolved, That a committee of five on mileage and per diem be appointed to ascertain and report who are entitled to receive compensation as members of this national convention; the rate and manner in which same shall be paid. Adopted.
Adjourned to meet at 8.30 to-morrow morning.
Meeting called to order at 8.30 a. m., President Jones in the chair.
The following resolution was introduced by Brother Simrall of Mississippi, and referred to the committee on demands:
Resolved, That it is the sense of this body that the people and government of the United States are not under obligation to redeem the interest-bearing national debt by paying an exorbitant premium or any premiums at all on the bonds so redeemed.
And further, If the right so to do does not already exist, such authority should at once be conferred on Congress.
The following resolution was received and referred to the committee on demands:
Resolved, That we condemn the purchase of government bonds at a premium, and demand that they be redeemed and called according to the law as provided in section 3693 of the statutes of the United States.
On motion Brother Harry Tracy was appointed a committee of one to wait upon Hon. T. V. Powderly and request that he address this body some time during the day.
The secretary's report was received and referred to the executive committee.
On motion a committee was appointed to adjust claims of the cotton committee received and referred to the executive committee.
The following communication was received and read:
Hon. Evan Jones, in convention, president of National Farmers' Alliance, now in session, St. Louis, Mo.
Howard Professors Davis, Shalar, Pickering, Ritchie, myself and other scientists here believe efficiency and usefulness of weather bureau could
36be increased by transfer to Agricultural Department and desire your Alliance recommend transfer to Congress.
Resolution by Brother Langley, of Arkansas, that it is the sense of this body that a reduction of postage upon fourth class mail matter would confer more benefits upon the country than a reduction upon letters, was referred to the committee on demands.
On motion the following resolution was read and adopted:
That the Farmers and Laborers Union tender its sincere thanks to Gov. D. R. Francis, of Missouri, for his able and truthful remarks upon the condition of the industrial classes of our country and for his courageous and manly espousal of their cause.
And that a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to the Governor by the secretary of this body.
On motion the following resolution was read and adopted:
Whereas the committee appointed by Congress to ascertain the most favorable location for a navy yard on the southern coast has reported in favor of New Orleans as the best site; therefore be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of this body that Congress ought to make the necessary appropriations for the construction of this navy yard without any delay.
On motion the following resolution was read and adopted:
Whereas it is the opinion of this convention that very much loss comes to the agricultural interests from the bad condition of farm products as put upon the market: Therefore,
Be it resolved, That the President appoint a committee to consist of one member from each State, whose business it shall be to suggest and insist upon the best possible condition of all products offered on the market by the farmers who are constituent members of this convention.
Brother Tracy submitted the following:
Committee appointed to wait upon Hon. Mr. Powderly reported that arrangements had been
37made to have him address this body at 3.30 p. m., with Messrs. Beaumont and Wright; which, on motion, was adopted.
On motion the house adjourned to meet at 1.30 p. m.
Convention called to order at 1.30 p. m., President Jones in the chair.
The report of the joint committee on conference with Northwestern Alliance was read and adopted as follows:
The joint committee of the National Alliance and National Farmers and Laborers Union, appointed to formulate a plan to secure practical co-operation of said organizations and of other kindred organizations for the accomplishment of the objects common to all, recommend the adoption of the following resolutions, to wit:
Resolved, 1. That the presidents and other authorized representatives chosen by the executive board of each national and State agricultural and industrial organization in the United States be requested to assemble in the city of Washington, on 22d day of February, A. D. 1890, to consider and agree upon a basis for a federation of such organizations for the purpose of securing needed reform and remedial national and State legislation, and for the promotion of such other objects as may be found to be of common interest to such organizations; it being understood that such plans as agreed upon shall be submitted to the various national and State organizations participating therein for ratification and adoption.
2. That an executive committee of two each on the part of the National Farmers Alliance and the National Farmers and Laborers Union be appointed, with authority to take all necessary steps to carry out the foregoing resolution, and to arrange for an immediate federation of said organizations, if same be now possible.
3. That the President of the National Farmers Alliance and National Farmers and Laborers Union and the General Master Workman of the Knights of Labor now in this city be authorized and requested to take all necessary steps to carry out the foregoing resolutions, and to arrange for an immediate federation, if the same be now possible.
The following resolution was read by Brother Patty, of Mississippi:
Resolved, That the National Farmers and Laborers Union declare in favor of organic union with the National Farmers Alliance.
That a committee of five be appointed to meet a like committee on part of the National Farmers Alliance to prepare a constitution and plan of consolidation for said organizations. Adopted.
On motion the committee on constitution was charged with the duty imposed by the above resolution, which was adopted.
The following resolution was read by Brother Polk, of North Carolina, and referred to committee on demands:
Resolved, That the Farmers and Laborers Union in convention assembled in St. Louis hereby endorse the "Prospectus" of the National Farmers Bureau of Immigration, and that we invite any of the brotherhood who desire to buy or sell lands to actual settlers to examine their method.
The following resolution relative to taking census was read and adopted:
Whereas, Statements are often made and the belief is growing, that we are becoming a nation of landlords and tenants, and that the homes and farms of the country are very largely under mortgage; and
Whereas, Exact knowledge on this subject is of great importance in the study of the social and economic questions of the day; therefore be it resolved by the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union —
1. That Robert P. Porter, superintendent of the eleventh census, be respectfully requested to collect evidence in the next census, what percentage of the people in this country occupy their own homes and farms, and what proportion are tenants; and of those who occupy their own homes and farms, what proportion have their property free from debt; and of the homes and farms which are under mortgage, what percentage of the value is so mortgaged, and also what proportion of such indebtedness is for purchase money.
2. That if the present law providing for the census enumeration does not include provisions to take a complete census of farm indebtedness, we request the Congress of the United States to so
39amend the present law as to provide for the above enumeration, and further that the publication setting forth the above facts shall be the first report given to the public.
3. That the secretary forward a copy of the above resolutions to the superintendent of the census and each member of Congress and Senate.
The following resolution was read and adopted:
That the communication from the National Farmers Alliance proposing articles of federation be received and placed in the hands of the members of the proposed joint committee to prepare constitution and plan of consolidation of the Union and said National Alliance, and that said committee inform the National Alliance of the action this body had on the subject of federation and organic union, and that this body will not consider the subject of federation and respectfully decline it.
Adjourned until 7.30 p. m.
In accordance with previous invitation the National Alliance appeared in a body and were seated in the convention. Grand Master Powderly then addressed the joint body. Ralph Beaumont, A. W. Wright, and General J. B. Weaver followed with appropriate and well-received speeches.
Called to order at 7.30 p. m.
On motion the following resolution was adopted:
Whereas our order has no suitable music or collection of songs for use: Therefore,
Resolved, That a committee of five, viz., W. S. Morgan, Elias Carr, N. A. Dunning, B. H. Clover, W. J. Northern, be, and they are hereby appointed to investigate the advisability of securing the publication of such a work and report to this body.
On motion the following resolution was adopted:
That it is the sense of the Farmers and Laborers Union of America that the benefits of the Weather Bureau should be extended to the agricultural districts throughout these United States by means of signals displayed from every telegraph office in the United States at 1 o'clock in the morning, and that sufficient appropriation be made by Congress for that bureau to perfect the gathering of the necessary information to make it subservient to the purposes of the agricultural interests.
On motion the following resolution was unanimously adopted:
Whereas Bro. W. S. Morgan has written and published a History of the Wheel and Alliance;
Whereas said history has been endorsed by many of the leading and most eminent members of the order; and
Whereas this convention recognizes the fact that the circulation of the book as an educator will contribute much to the advancement of the great principles of our order: Therefore, be it
Resolved, That this convention endorses this book as a reliable history of the order and a true exponent of its principles; and we commend it to all members of the order. We take especial pleasure in commending this book to all members desiring information regarding the history of the Wheel and Alliance and the great impending revolution.
Convention adjourned until 8.30 to-morrow morning.
Meeting called to order at 8.30 a. m., President Jones in the chair. Minutes of third day's session read and approved.
Committee on constitution reported amendments, which were taken up by sections, discussed and passed, then adopted as a whole, as follows:
Whereas the general condition of our country imperatively demands unity of action on the part of the laboring classes, reformation in economy, and the dissemination of principles best calculated to encourage and foster agricultural and mechanical pursuits, encouraging the toiling masses — leading them in the road to prosperity, and providing a just and fair remuneration for labor, a just exchange for our commodities and the best means of securing to the laboring classes the greatest amount of good; we hold to the principle that all monopolies are dangerous to the best interests of our country, tending to enslave a free people and subvert and finally overthrow the great principles purchased to the fathers of American liberty. We therefore adopt the following as our declaration of principles:
1. To labor for the education of the agricultural classes in the science of economical government, in a strictly non-partisan spirit, and to bring about a more perfect union of said classes.
2. That we demand equal rights to all and special favors to none.
3. To indorse the motto "In things essential, unity; and in all things, charity."
4. To develop a better state mentally, morally, socially and financially.
5. To constantly strive to secure entire harmony and good will to all mankind and brotherly love among ourselves.
6. To suppress personal, local, sectional and national prejudices; all unhealthful rivalry and all selfish ambition.
7. The brightest jewels which it garners are the tears of the widows and orphans, and its imperative commands are to visit the homes where lacerated hearts are bleeding; to assuage the sufferings of a brother or sister; bury the dead, care for the widows; and educate the orphans; to exercise charity toward offenders; to construe words and deeds in their most favorable light, granting honesty of purpose and good intentions to others, and to protect the principles of the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union until death. Its laws are reason and equity, its cardinal doctrines inspire purity of thought and life, its intention is, "On earth, peace, and good will to man."
Section 1. This organization shall be known as the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union.
Sec. 2. This organization possesses and shall exercise such powers as are delegated to it by charter from the Government of the United States, and such further powers as are herein expressed.
Section 1. The powers of this organization shall be divided into three branches, to wit: A legislative, an executive and a judicial department.
Sec. 2. The legislative department shall be supreme in authority, and its sessions shall be known as the Supreme Council of the order.
Sec. 3. The executive and judicial departments shall be of equal power and authority, and subordinate only to the legislative.
Section 1. The regular annual meeting of the Supreme Council shall be on the first Tuesday of December of each year, and at such place as may be determined by majority vote of the body.
Section 1. It shall be the duty of the Supreme Council to make laws, rules and regulations governing its meetings and usages.
Sec. 2. The supreme council shall be composed of the officers of the organization and delegates
43from the various State organizations elected by the States upon such basis of representation as the Supreme Council may prescribe. It shall be the duty of the Supreme Council to adopt rules governing such representation: Provided, That the delegates to the Supreme Council shall be not less than twenty-one years of age; and the basis of representation shall not allow more than two delegates from each State and one additional delegate for each 10,000 active members or majority fraction thereof. Active members under this section are such members only as have paid the regular yearly dues of five cents each.
Sec. 3. The Supreme Council shall elect at each regular annual session the following officers, who shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualified: A president, a vice-president, a lecturer, a secretary, and a treasurer.
Sec. 4. The president shall be presiding officer of the Supreme Council and the official head of the executive department.
Sec. 5. The Supreme Council shall provide laws and rules prescribing the powers, duties and methods of the officers, and may limit the term of office, fix salaries, etc.
Section 1. The president shall be the chief executive officer; he shall have power to direct and instruct all executive officers and all executive work in this department subject to the laws and regulations made by the Supreme Council.
Sec. 2. The president shall have authority to interpret and construe the meaning of the laws of the order by official rulings, and such rulings shall have the force and effect of laws and be promptly presented to the Judiciary Department for consideration, and if the Judiciary approve the ruling it shall then be the final construction of the law; but should the Judiciary refuse to concur in a ruling, then and in that case such ruling shall be held in abeyance until the next meeting of the Supreme Council, which shall decide the matter.
Sec. 3. The president shall be the custodian of the secret work, and shall provide for its exemplification and dissemination. He shall be authorized to issue special dispensations and held responsible for the same, all of which shall be matters of record.
Section 1. The Judiciary Department shall be composed of three judges, one of whom shall after the first year be elected annually by the Supreme Council. Three judges shall be elected the first year, one of whom shall be for a term of one year, one for two, and one for three.
Sec. 2. The regular term of office for the judges of the Judiciary Department shall be three years.
Sec. 3. No person shall be eligible to office as judge in the Judiciary Department who is under thirty years of age.
Sec. 4. The senior judge shall be called the chairman, and shall be the presiding officer of the court.
Sec. 5. The Judiciary shall have authority to act upon the rulings of the president; to try and decide grievances and appeals affecting the officers or members of the Supreme Council; to try appeals from the State bodies.
Sec. 6. The decisions and findings of the Supreme Judiciary shall be a matter of record, and shall be preserved in the archives of the order, a careful report of which shall be made to the regular annual session of the Supreme Council.
Sec. 7. For the purpose of carrying out the above provisions and rendering the workings of the Judiciary Department affective, the Supreme Council shall provide rules and regulations.
Section 1. The Supreme Council shall fix such salaries for officers as may be a fair remuneration for services required, and for such expenditures of the various departments as may be consistent with strict economy.
Sec. 2. A per capita tax of five cents shall be paid for each male member into the national treasury by each State organization on or before the first day of November of each year.
Sec. 3. The Supreme Council shall at each session fix the mileage and per diem to be paid the actual delegates to the body, subject to a limitation of not over three cents per mile each way by the nearest and most direct traveled route, and not over three dollars per day for such days as are spent in actual attendance at the session.
Section 1. No person shall be admitted as a member of this order except a white person, over
45sixteen years of age, who is a believer in the existence of a Supreme Being, and has resided in the State more than six months, and is, either: First, a farmer, or a farm laborer; second, a mechanic, a country preacher, a country school teacher, or a country doctor; third, an editor of a strictly agricultural paper.
Provided, That each State and Territory shall have the right to prescribe the eligibility of applicants for membership in reference to color within the limits of the same. Provided further, That none but white men shall be elected as delegates to the Supreme Council.
Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of the Supreme Council to enact a uniform eligibility clause for the various State constitutions, also to enact laws defining the eligibility of persons of mixed or unusual occupations or residence, subject to all the limitations of this article.
Section 1. A State organization may be chartered by the president in any State having as many as seven county organizations, provided that any State containing less than seven counties may be chartered when one-third of its territory is organized.
Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of the president to issue a charter to any State organization qualified under section one of this article, when they shall file evidence that they have, first, adopted a constitution that does not conflict with this constitution; second, that they adopt the secret work and acknowledge the supremacy of the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union.
Section 1. All rights and powers not herein expressly delegated are reserved to the State organizations severally.
Section 1. This constitution cannot be altered or amended, except upon a written resolution clearly setting forth the changes or additions to be made, which must be read in open session on at least two separate days and adopted by two-thirds majority.
The statutory laws were taken up, and after discussion and amendment, was adopted, as follows:
Section 1. The basis of representation of the State organizations in the Supreme Council shall be as follows: Two delegates from each State and one additional delegate for each twenty thousand active members or majority fraction thereof.
Sec. 2. Delegates to the Supreme Council will not be entitled to seats in the body unless settlement of the national per capita dues of 5 cents for each male member has been made by the State secretary, accompanied by the proper amount of money to the national secretary, and State secretaries shall make such remittance and report promptly on or before the first day of November.
Sec. 3. The annual election of officers by the Supreme Council shall be by ballot.
Sec. 4. The president shall appoint from the actual delegates to the session of the Supreme Council a chaplain, assistant lecturer, door-keeper, assistant doorkeeper, sergeant-at-arms, and such other executive officers as the business of the session may require. The term of office for such officers shall expire at the close of the session; such appointed officers to receive nothing in addition to mileage and per diem as delegates.
Sec. 5. The president shall be the presiding officer of the Supreme Council and shall conduct the business according to the accepted rules of parliamentary usages and the requirements of the ritual.
Sec. 6. The President shall have authority to call upon any executive officer or committee to make reports and showing of the business entrusted to him at such time as in his judgment it seems best.
Sec. 7. The president may, when notified of any dereliction of duty or violation of the rules of the order suspend any officer or committee and summon them to appear before the judiciary committee to make showing to the chairman either by oral or written evidence as to their guilt or innocence of the charges.
Sec. 8. The president shall have full authority to enforce order and decorum during the sessions of the Supreme Council.
Sec. 9. The president shall have power to call a meeting of the Supreme Council at such time and place as in his judgment is for the good of the order. When petitioned by one-fourth of the
47State presidents in the jurisdiction of this order, he shall call a meeting of the Supreme Council. He shall state in the call specifically for what purpose the meeting is convened.
Sec. 10. The vice-president's duties shall he to assist the president, and in his absence to perform his duty.
Sec. 11. The order of succession in vacancy shall be — president to vice-president and vice-president to chairman of the executive board.
Sec. 12. The secretary's duty shall be to keep a record of the proceedings of the Supreme Council, conduct its correspondence, to receive all money of the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union and pay it over to the treasurer and take his receipt for the same, to read all communications, reports and petitions in open Supreme Council when necessary, to affix the seal of the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union to all documents requiring the same, to prepare for publication a copy of the proceedings of each annual or called session immediately after adjournment. He shall have charge of the seal, books and papers of the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union. His books shall at all times be open to the inspection of the president, or any committee appointed by the president to inspect the same, to keep a correct account between each State and the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union. He shall furnish the secretaries of each State Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union with a blank book properly ruled, with suitable column heads for classifying and recording the contents of the reports from the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union. Also suitable blanks for making reports to his office and to the chairman of the executive committee. He shall also make a list of all the officers, standing and special committees of the Supreme Council, with name and post office address, which list shall be a part of the printed proceedings of the Supreme Council.
Sec. 13. The treasurer's duty shall be to receive all money from the secretary, and pay it out on a warrant from the secretary approved by the president. He shall file with the secretary a bond for double the amount of money that is likely to pass through his hands.
Sec. 14. It shall be the duty of the lecturer to visit each State in the jurisdiction at least once a year and hold himself in readiness at all times to visit such localities and perform such duties as may be designated by the president.
Sec. 15. There shall be elected by the supreme council an executive board composed of three members, who shall be an advisory board of the President, and shall represent the supreme council during recess. The chairman of the executive board shall be located at the official headquarters of the order in the city of Washington, and be ex-officio chairman of the legislative committee.
Sec. 16. It shall be the duty of the executive board to require and pass upon the bonds of Secretary and Treasurer, to audit all bills and accounts, to examine and audit the Secretary and Treasurer's books, and in a general way perform detail of executive work.
Sec. 17. The secretary of the executive board shall be the crop statistician of the entire order, and shall make such crop reports to the President as he may require.
Sec. 18. Each State body in this jurisdiction is requested to select and report, by the first day of January, a State crop statistician, who shall require such reports from county statisticians and make such reports himself as may be required by the secretary of the executive board.
Sec. 19. The regular term of office for members of the executive board shall be three years, but of the board first elected one shall be for one year, one for two years and one for three years, and thereafter one shall be elected each year.
Sec. 20. That the question of eligibility be left to each State, subject to the limitations of the constitution.
Sec. 21. All persons who are ineligible for membership who make application should be notified of the facts in the case, and no ballot or action taken. When members of the order engage in an occupation that would have rendered them ineligible before initiation, they shall upon sufficient evidence be immediately dismissed by motion of the President in open lodge, and shall be granted a withdrawal card.
Sec. 22. Each Supreme Council shall when convened fix the mileage and per diem of its members, subject to the restrictions of the constitution.
Sec. 23. The salary of the President of this organization shall be $3,000, office expenses and $900 for a stenographer, with headquarters at Washington, D. C., and traveling expenses.
Sec. 24. The salary of the Secretary shall be $2,000 and office expenses.
Sec. 25. The salary of the Treasurer shall be $500.
Sec. 26. The salary of the Lecturer shall be $2,000 and actual traveling expenses.
Sec. 27. The salary of the chairman of the executive board shall be $2,000.
Sec. 28. The salary of the members of the executive board shall be $500 each, and actual expenses while in actual service.
Sec. 29. No State organization or member of this order shall under any circumstances be allowed to print or distribute the rituals of the order, except as the executive board shall cause them to be, and they shall be distributed as the President may direct.
Sec. 30. All charters for State, county or subordinate bodies in unorganized States must emanate from and contain the signature of the national president, and those for bodies under State jurisdiction shall be issued by the president and secretary of the State body having jurisdiction over them.
Sec. 31. It shall be the duty of the executive board to secure from each of the States copies of their forms of reporting from sub, county and State secretaries, and endeavor to secure a uniform system of quarterly reports throughout the entire order.
Sec. 32. All resolutions that shall be adopted by this National Council shall be laws governing the membership of the order, and shall be codified and added to the existing laws of the order.
Convention called to order at 1.30 p. m.
On motion the convention proceeded to the election of officers, with the following result:
L. L. Polk, of North Carolina, was elected president.
B. H. Clover, of Kansas, vice-president.
J. H. Turner, of Georgia, Secretary.
H. W. Hickman, of Missouri, treasurer.
Ben Terrell, of Texas, lecturer.
On motion a committee from the Northwestern Alliance was received, and considerable time given to a conference with this body.
Brother Polk was asked to take the chair to receive the committee.
Adjourned to meet at 7.30 p. m.
Convention called to order at 7.30 p. m., President L. L. Polk in the chair.
On motion the body proceeded with the completion of the organization.
The election of three judges resulted as follows:
R. C. Patty, of Mississippi, for a term of three years.
Isaac McCraken, of Arkansas, two years.
Evan Jones, of Texas, one year.
The committee on demands made the following report on confederation with the Knights of Labor. Adopted.
Agreement made this day by and between the undersigned committee representing the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union on the one
51part, and the undersigned committee representing the Knights of Labor on the other part, Witnesseth: The undersigned committee representing the Knights of Labor, having read the demands of the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union which are embodied in this agreement, hereby endorse the same on behalf of the Knights of Labor, and for the purpose of giving practical effect to the demands herein set forth, the legislative committees of both organizations will ace in concert before Congress for the purpose of securing the enactment of laws in harmony with the demands mutually agreed.
And it is further agreed, in order to carry out these objects, we will support for office only such men as can be depended upon to enact these principles in statute law uninfluenced by party caucus.
The demands hereinbefore referred to are as follows:
1. That we demand the abolition of national banks and the substitution of legal tender treasury notes in lieu of national bank notes, issued in sufficient volume to do the business of the country on a cash system; regulating the amount needed on a per capita basis as the business interests of the country expands; and that all money issued by the Government shall be legal tender in payment of all debts, both public and private.
2. That we demand that Congress shall pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the dealing in futures of all agricultural and mechanical productions; preserving a stringent system of procedure in trials as shall secure the prompt conviction, and imposing such penalties as shall secure the most perfect compliance with the law.
3. That we demand the free and unlimited coinage of silver.
4. That we demand the passage of laws prohibiting the alien ownership of land, and that Congress take early steps to devise some plan to obtain all lands now owned by aliens and foreign syndicates; and that all lands now held by railroad and other corporations in excess of such as is actually used and needed by them, be reclaimed by the Government and held for actual settlers only.
5. Believing in the doctrine of "equal rights to all and special privileges to none," we demand that taxation, National or State, shall not be used to build up one interest or class at the expense of another.
We believe that the money of the country should be kept as much as possible in the hands of the people,
52and hence we demand that all revenues, National, State or county, shall be limited to the necessary expenses of the Government economically and honestly administered.
6. That Congress issue a sufficient amount of fractional paper currency to facilitate exchange through the medium of the United States mail.
7. We demand that the means of communication and transportation shall be owned by and operated in the interest of the people as is the United States postal system.
For the better protection of the interests of the two organizations, it is mutually agreed that such seals or emblems as the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union of America may adopt, will be recognized and protected in transit or otherwise by the Knights of Labor, and that all seals and labels of the Knights of Labor will in like manner be recognized by the members of the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union of America.
S. B. Erwin, Chairman, J. D. Hatfield,
N. S. Hall, Secretary, S. B. Alexander,
J. D. Hammonds, D. K. Norris,
F. M. Blext, H. S. P. Ashby,
B. H. Clover, R. F. Peck,
M. Pace, R. C. Betty,
J. R. Miles, W. S. Morgan,
W. H. Barton, J. W. Terner,
N. A. Denning, A. S. Mann,
S. M. Adams,
Committee on Demands of the National
Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union.
T. V. Powderly, Ralph Beaumont,
A. W. Wright,
Committee representing the Order
of the Knights of Labor.
The following propositions were received from the National Alliance:
1. The name of the organization shall be changed from the National Farmers and Laborers Union of America to that of National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union.
On motion this proposition was agreed to.
2. To strike out the word "white" in the constitution.
This proposition had already been practically complied with in the new constitution.
3. To leave the secret work optional with each State.
Not granted, but a substitute was adopted that the States not ready to receive the secret work at once shall be allowed one year for preparation.
The delegation from the northern Alliance was escorted in, and the following communication was read and referred to the committee on the constitution:
1. That we perfect our present organization as two separate bodies.
2. That we meet together in joint session for the purpose of adopting a constitution for a united body, and for the election of officers.
3. That the question of the adoption or ratification of said action be left to the several State Alliances of the National Farmers Alliance represented here, and when two thirds of said Alliances have ratified, that the president be authorized to issue a proclamation perfecting the new organization; provided that where State Alliances have already passed upon the question of union, action of their executive committee will be sufficient.
The committee on the constitution reported as follows:
We suggest that the committee from the National Farmers' Alliance now in waiting, be informed that this body has perfected its organization, by adopting a constitution and electing officers, and announces as ready to contend for the farmers' interest in every way, and would be glad to receive any accessions or assistance from the National Farmers' Alliance, but respectfully decline to enter into the proposed new federation for lack of time.
The report was adopted, and the National Alliance informed of the action.
The committee on cotton tare and bagging reported as follows:
Mr. President — Your committee on cotton bagging and tare on cotton bales beg leave to submit the following report.
We recommend to this body that you demand that all future cotton crops be sold at net weight with actual tare and the advance in price over the present tare that is just and equitable; and that each State Alliance or Union in the cotton belt secure from their respective legislatures such legislation as will enforce this demand.
Your committee further recommend that all cotton producers connected with this organization be required to use cotton bagging as a covering for cotton, or any other fiber than jute, and that said cotton bagging shall be 44 inches wide and not less than 12 ounces per yard in weight, and of the same texture as the Odenheimer cotton bagging.
And we further recommend that each State Alliance or Union be required to manufacture or secure bagging sufficient for the use of their respective States, and that the President for the time being shall be charged with the appointing of all committees or other necessary arrangements to secure said bagging for their respective States.
We suggest also that seven yards of bagging be used as a covering for a bale of cotton, and that all packages shall be neatly and securely fastened at the ends of the bales.
We most earnestly protest against the wasteful and extravagant method of sampling cotton; also the unjust weights and classification of cotton, as now being practiced.
We also recommend and require of our national and State legislatures to enact such laws as will effectually and entirely prevent the selling of cotton or grain futures except when actual delivery and a bona fide sale shall have been made, or intended delivery shall be expressly a condition of such sale.
Your committee further recommend that cotton producers be advised not to contract any debt in the future that will obligate them to deliver their cotton on a given day, sooner than the 25th of December.
Your committee also recommend that no cotton from an Alliance man or Union, grown or controlled, shall be shipped or sold to any point or party antagonistic to our demands hereinbefore set forth.
We hereby tender the thanks of this committee to the cotton exchanges of this country that endeavored to assist us this season, and respectfully invite all cotton exchanges in the United States to join us in the future in securing our demands as hereinbefore set forth.
Your committee desire, through this body, to congratulate the brotherhood that so faithfully adhered to cotton bagging for the present season, and thereby demonstrated that farmers could and would make any reasonable effort or sacrifice to maintain the high ground taken by the National Alliance and Co-operative Union at Birmingham.
Your committee recommend that the foregoing enactments and resolutions be published in our official organs at the earliest period practical, and a copy sent to each State president calling his attention to his duties in the premises; also to the presidents of the cotton exchanges of the United States.
L. F. Livingston, Georgia, Elias Carr, North Carolina,
R. F. Kolb, Alabama, W. L. Morgan, Arkansas,
B. M. Hord, Tennessee,
T. J. Guice, Louisiana, E. G. Stackhouse, South Carolina,
R. F. Rodgers, Florida,
R. J. Sledge, Texas, A. M. Street, Mississippi, Secretary.
Following communication from Augusta, Ga.:
Hon. L. F. Livingston,
President Georgia State Alliance.
In behalf of the people of Georgia we submit the suggestion of an inter-State competitive agricultural exposition, under the auspices of the National Farmers Alliance, during the fall of 1890, and we tender for this purpose the extensive grounds and buildings of Augusta's National Exposition Company, which can be opened for the occasion by conference with officers of that company.
The National Alliance exposition would be the greatest gathering of agricultural interests ever held in the South. We have more extensive accommodations for such an event than any other Southern city. Larger buildings, mile track, and ample provision for live stock. Augusta claims to have taken more interest in and given more support to the objects of the Alliance than any other city, and will promise for the exposition the enthusiastic support of her people.
Confidently expecting a favorable consideration of the matter,
Robt. H. May,
Mayor, City of Augusta.
H. W. Carwill,
Prest. Augusta Exchange.
Prest. Augusta Nat. Expo. Co.
On motion that this national convention commend the enterprise to each State organization proposed by the city of Augusta, to wit: An inter-State competitive exposition, for their favorable consideration, and hereby express our thanks to
56the Mayor for the city, also the Cotton Exchange and Georgia National Exposition for the invitation to hold the inter-State alliance exposition in this city. Adopted.
Adjourned to 9 a. m. tomorrow morning.
Convention called to order at 9.30 a. m.; President Polk presiding.
Committee appointed to wait on the Kansas delegation reported that delegation in waiting to be admitted.
On motion they were admitted at once.
The delegation was escorted to the platform, and reported that they were ready to consolidate.
After much enthusiasm the following resolution was unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union hereby approve and ratify the consolidation of the Farmers Alliance and Farmers Laborers Union of the State of Kansas. That J. M. Morris, G. Bosher, L. V. Herlosker, Perry Daniels, T. J. McLean, and Henry Shapscott be received and seated as delegates from said State, and that a charter for the Fanners Alliance and Industrial Union of the State of Kansas be issued to B. H. Clover and S. M. Morris and their associates.
The following resolution was unanimously adopted:
That a committee consisting of Bros. Tracy, Blood, and Erwin be instructed to inform the National Farmers Alliance that this body will stand firmly to the propositions made yesterday, and invite them to appear before this body for obligation and secret work, as well as participation in the further business of the session.
Committee on constitution reported on the monetary system, which after an animated discussion was adopted by a large majority.
We, your committee on the monetary system, beg to submit the following report, and recommend that fifty thousand copies of this report, with complete arguments in support of the same, be published and distributed to the members of our order and to the country, under the supervision
58vision of the National Economist, provided the printing and distribution shall be done at actual cost by said journal, to be paid on the 20th day of November, 1890. C. W. Macune.
L. L. Polk.
L. F. Livingston.
W. S. Morgan.
H. S. P. Ashby.
The financial policy of the general Government seems to-day to be peculiarly adapted to further the interests of the speculating class, at the expense and to the manifest detriment of the productive class, and while there are many forms of relief offered, there has up to the present time been no true remedy presented which has secured a support universal enough to render its adoption probable. Neither of the political parties offer a remedy adequate to our necessities, and the two parties that have been in power since the war have pursued practically the same financial policy. The situation is this: The most desirable and necessary reform is one that will adjust the financial system of the general Government so that its provisions cannot be utilized by a class, which thereby becomes privileged and is in consequence contrary to the genius of our Government, and which is to-day the principal cause of the depressed condition of agriculture. Regardless of all this the political parties utterly ignore these great evils and refuse to remove their cause, and the importunities of the privileged class have no doubt often led the executive and legislative branches of the Government to believe that the masses were passive and reconciled to the existence of this system whereby a privileged class can, by means of the power of money to oppress, exact from labor all that it produces except a bare subsistence. Since then it is the most necessary of all reforms, and receives no attention from any of the prominent political parties, it is highly
59appropriate and important that our efforts be concentrated to secure the needed reform in this direction, provided all can agree upon such measures. Such action will in no wise connect this movement to any partisan effort, as it can be applied to the party to which each member belongs.
In seeking a true and practical remedy for the evils that now flow from the imperfections in our financial system let us first consider what is the greatest evil, and on what it depends. The greatest evil, the one that outstrips all others so far that it is instantly recognized as the chief, and known with certainty to be more oppressive to the productive interests of the country than any other influence, is that which delegates to a certain class the power to fix the price of all kinds of produce and of all commodities. This power is not delegated directly, but it is delegated indirectly by allowing such class to issue a large per cent of the money used as the circulating medium of the country, and having the balance of such circulating medium, which is issued by the Government, a fixed quantity that is not augmented to correspond with the necessities of the times. In consequence of this the money issued by the privileged class, which they are at liberty to withdraw at pleasure, can be, and is, so manipulated as to control the volume of circulating medium in the country sufficiently to produce fluctuations in general prices at their pleasure. It may be likened unto a simple illustration in philosophy: The inflexible volume of the Government issue is the fulcrum, the volume of the bank issue is the lever power, and price is the point at which power is applied, and it is either raised or lowered with great certainty to correspond with the volume of bank issue. Any mechanic will instantly recognize the fact that the quickest and surest way of destroying the power of the lever to raise or lower price is to remove the resistance offered by the fulcrum — the inflexible volume of Government issue. The
60power to regulate the volume of money so as to control price is so manipulated as to develop and apply a potent force, for which we have in the English language no name; but it is the power of money to oppress, and is demonstrated as follows: In the last four months of the year the agricultural products of the whole year having been harvested, they are placed on the market to buy money. The amount of money necessary to supply this demand is equal to many times the actual amount in circulation. Nevertheless the class that controls the volume of the circulating medium desire to purchase these agricultural products for speculative purposes, so they reduce the volume of money by hoarding, in the face of the augmented demand, and thereby advance the exchangeable value of the then inadequate volume of money, which is equivalent to reducing the price of the agricultural products. True agriculturists should hold their products and not sell at these ruinously low prices. And no doubt they would if they could, but to prevent that, practically all debts, taxes, and interest are made to mature at that time, and they being forced to have money at a certain season when they have the product of their labor to sell, the power of money to oppress by its scarcity is applied until it makes them turn loose their products so low that their labor expended does not average them fifty cents per day. This illustrates the power of money to oppress; the remedy, as before, lies in removing the power of the fulcrum — the inflexible Government issue — and supplying a Government issue, the volume of which, shall be increased to correspond with the actual addition to the wealth of the Nation presented by agriculture at harvest time, and diminished as such agricultural products are consumed. Such a fexibility of volume would guarantee a stability of price based on cost of production which would be compelled to reckon the pay for agricultural labor at the same rates as other employment.
61Such flexibility would rob money of its most potent power — the power to oppress — and place a premium on productive effort. But how may so desirable a result be secured? Let us see. By applying the same principles now in force in the monetary system of the United States with only slight modification in the detail of their execution. The Government and the people of this country realize that the amount of gold and silver, and the certificates based on these metals, do not comprise a volume of money sufficient to supply the wants of the country, and in order to increase the volume, the Government allows individuals to associate themselves into a body corporate, and deposit with the Government bonds which represent National indebtedness, which the Government holds in trust and issues to such corporation paper money equal to ninety per cent of the value of the bonds, and charges said corporation interest at the rate of one per cent per annum for the use of said paper money. This allows the issue of paper money to increase the volume of the circulating medium on a perfectly safe basis, because the margin is a guarantee that the banks will redeem the bonds before they mature. But now we find that the circulation secured by this method is still not adequate; or to take a very conservative position, if we admit that it is adequate on the average, we know that the fact of its being entirely inadequate for half the year makes its inflexibility an engine of oppression, because a season in which it is inadequate must be followed by one of superabundance in order to bring about the average, and such a range in volume means great fluctuations in prices which cut against the producer, both in buying and selling, because he must sell at a season when produce is low, and buy when commodities are high. This system, now in vogue by the United States government of supplementing its circulating medium by a safe and redeemable paper money, should be pushed a little further and
62conducted in such a manner as to secure a certain augmentation of supply at the season of the year in which the agricultural additions to the wealth of the Nation demand money, and a diminution in such supply of money as said agricultural products are consumed. It is not an average adequate amount that is needed, because under it the greatest abuses may prevail, but a certain adequate amount that adjusts itself to the wants of the country at all seasons. For this purpose let us demand that the United States government modify its present financial system:
1. So as to allow the free and unlimited coinage of silver or the issue of silver certificates against an unlimited deposit of bullion.
2. That the system of using certain banks as United States depositaries be abolished, and in place of said system, establish in every county in each of the States that offers for sale during the one year five hundred thousand dollars worth of farm products; including wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye, rice, tobacco, cotton, wool and sugar, all together; a sub-treasury office, which shall have in connection with it such warehouses or elevators as are necessary for carefully storing and preserving such agricultural products as are offered it for storage, and it should be the duty of such sub-treasury department to receive such agricultural products as are offered for storage and make a careful examination of such products and class same as to quality and give a certificate of the deposit showing the amount and quality, and that United States legal-tender paper money equal to eighty per cent of the local current value of the products deposited has been advanced on same on interest at the rate of one per cent per annum, on the condition that the owner or such other person as he may authorize will redeem the agricultural product within twelve months from date of the certificate or the trustee will sell same at public auction to the highest bidder for the purpose
63of satisfying the debt. Besides the one per cent interest the sub-treasurer should be allowed to charge a trifle for handling and storage, and a reasonable amount for insurance, but the premises necessary for conducting this business should be secured by the various counties donating to the general government the land and the government building the very best modern buildings, fire-proof and substantial. With this method in vogue the farmer, when his produce was harvested, would place it in storage where it would be perfectly safe and he would secure four fifths of its value to supply his pressing necessity for money at one per cent per annum. He would negotiate and sell his warehouse or elevator certificates whenever the current price suited him, receiving from the person to whom he sold, only the difference between the price agreed upon and the amount already paid by the sub-treasurer. When, however, these storage certificates reached the hand of the miller or factory, or other consumer, he to get the product would have to return to the sub-treasurer the sum of money advanced, together with the interest on same and the storage and insurance charges on the product. This is no new or untried scheme; it is safe and conservative; it harmonizes and carries out the system already in vogue on a really safer plan because the products of the country that must be consumed every year are really the very best security in the world, and with more justice to society at large. For a precedent, attention is called to the following.
In December, 1848, the London Times announced the inevitable failure of the French republic and disintegration of French society in the near future, but so wise was the administration of the statesmen of that nation that two months later it was forced to eat its own words — saying in its columns February 16, 1849:
As a mere commercial speculation with the assets which the bank held in hand it might then
64have stopped payment and liquidated its affairs with every probability that a very few weeks would enable it to clear off its liabilities. But this idea was not for a moment entertained by M. D'Argout, and he resolved to make every effort to keep alive what may be termed the circulation of the lifeblood of the community. The task was overwhelming. Money was to be found to meet not only the demands on the bank, but the necessities both public and private, of every rank in society. It was essential to enable the manufacturers to work, less their workmen, driven to desperation, should fling themselves amongst the most violent enemies of public order. It was essential to provide money for the food of Paris, for the pay of troops, and for the daily support of the industrial establishments of the nation. A failure on any one point would have led to a fresh convulsion, but the panic had been followed by so great a scarcity of the metallic currency, that a few days later, out of a payment of 26,000,000 fallen due, only 47,000 francs could be recorded in silver.
In this extremity, when the bank alone retained any available sums of money, the government came to the rescue, and on the night of the 15th of March, the notes of the bank were, by a decree, made a legal tender, the issue of these notes being limited in all to 350,000,000, but the amount of the lowest of them reduced for the public convenience to 100 francs. One of the great difficulties mentioned in the report was to print these 100 franc notes fast enough for the public consumption. In ten days the amount issued in this form had reached 80,000,000 francs.
To enable the manufacturing interests to weather the storm at a moment when all the sales were interrupted, a decree of the national assembly had directed warehouses to be opened for the reception of all kinds of goods, and provided that the registered invoice of the goods so deposited should be made negotiable by indorsement. The bank of France discounted these receipts. In Havre alone eighteen millions were thus advanced on colonial produce, and in Paris fourteen millions on merchandise; in all, sixty millions were made available for the purposes of trade. Thus, the great institution had placed itself as it were in direct contact with every interest of the community, from the minister of the Treasury down to the trader in a distant outport. Like a huge hydraulic machine, it employed its colossal powers to pump a fresh stream into the exhausted arteries of trade to sustain credit, and preserve the
65circulation from complete collapse. — From the Bank Charter Act, and the Rate of Interest, London, 1873.
This is proof positive, and a clear demonstration, in 1848, what this system could accomplish when a necessity existed for resorting to it. But since that time every conceivable change has tended toward rendering such a system easier managed and more necessary. The various means of rapid transportation and the facilities for the instantaneous transmission of intelligence, make it no disadvantage for the produce of a country to be stored at home until demanded for consumption, and the great savings that will follow the abolition of local shipments shows what great economy such a system is. In this day and time, no one will for a moment deny that all the conditions for purchase and sale will attach to the Government certificates showing amount, quality and running charges that attach to the product.
The arguments sustaining this system will present themselves to your minds as you ponder over the subject. The one fact stands out in bold relief, prominent, grand, and worthy the best effort our hearts and hands, and that is "this system will emancipate productive labor from the power of money to oppress" with speed and certainty. Could any object be more worthy? Surely not; and none could be devised that would more enlist your sympathies.
Our forefathers fought in the revolutionary war, making sacrifices that will forever perpetuate their names in history, to emancipate productive labor from the power of a monarch to oppress. Their battle cry was "liberty." Our monarch is a false, unjust, and statutory power given to money, which calls for a conflict on our part to emancipate productive labor from the power of money to oppress. Let the watchword again be, "Liberty!"
Delegation from Farmers Alliance of the State of Dakota were admitted, and the following communication was received and unanimously adopted:
ST. LOUIS, MO., December 7, 1889.
To The Farmers and Laborers Union of America:
In pursuance of the joint action of the National Farmers Alliance and the Farmers and Laborers Union, providing for an organic union between the two bodies, the conditions being that when the new constitution should be jointly proposed, approved, and ratified by said Farmers and Laborers Union, and by two thirds of the State Alliance composing the National Farmers Alliance, than by proclamation of the presidents of the two bodies, the union should be declared completed, and the delegates from the State Alliance of South Dakota, by authority reposed in us, do hereby accept and ratify said constitution, as amended and agreed upon by the National Farmers Alliance and the Farmers and Laborers Union, to take effect upon acceptance and ratification of said constitution by two thirds of the State Alliance, composing the National Farmers Alliance.
C. V. GARDNER,
Chairman of Delegation.
Secretary of Delegation.
Resolved,That C. V. Gardner, F. F. B. Coffin, A. N. Van Dorn, E. B. Cummings, Alonzo Wardall and Mrs. Elizabeth Wardall be received and seated as delegates from South Dakota, and that a charter for the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union of South Dakota be issued to said persons and their associates. That Walter Muir be received and seated as a fraternal delegate from the State of North Dakota. Adopted unanimously.
Committee on mileage and per diem reported as follows:
Your committee on mileage and per diem beg to submit the following report:
The resolution creating this committee instructed us to ascertain who are entitled to pay, what amount should be paid to each, and in what way these payments should be made.
1. As to those attending this meeting who are entitled to compensation. To this report we append a roll of those who have appeared in person or by proxies, and which we believe from the evidence
67presented to the committee are entitled to compensation.
2. As to the amount of compensation to be paid delegates and others who by authority have been in attendance upon the meeting, the committee recommends three cents per mile traveled by most direct route to this place and the same amount to return, and $3 per day while in actual attendance upon the session of this meeting. Upon this basis the committee have approved the accounts of the delegates and others in attendance by authority, the amount of which are hereto annexed.
3. As to the method by which these payments are to be made the committee recommends the following plan:
The accounts of delegates to this meeting and others in attendance by authority approved by this committee can be used by the different State secretaries as dues from their several State organizations to the National organization. In order to guard against imposition, we recommend that the holder of every account for attendance on this meeting as delegate or otherwise, and which has been approved by our committee, present the same to the secretary of this National body, and have the seal of the same affixed thereto; and that State secretaries be notified that no accounts other than those to which the seal has been affixed will be received by the secretary of the National body as dues to same.
We further recommend that publication be made in the various State organs that no accounts having gone out from this meeting will be recognized unless the seal has been affixed, but the same may be forwarded to the secretary of the National body, who will affix the seal to same, provided it corresponds in name and amount with the register which the committee file with him.
J. H. BEEMAN,
R. W. TUCKER,
J. W. REID.
Resolved, That so much of this report as requires the seal of the National secretary be stricken out, and the endorsement of the secretary be taken instead.
On motion Brother C. W. Macune be allowed mileage and per diem the same as other delegates.
On motion Brother Evan Jones was allowed four hundred dollars for his services.
On motion Brother E. A. Gardner was allowed five hundred dollars for his services as Secretary, and Brother Linn Tanner was allowed one hundred dollars for his services as Treasurer.
On motion the convention proceeded to the election of the executive committee. Brother C. W. Macune was elected chairman of said committee, for the term of three years; Brother Alonzo Wardall for the term of two years; Brother J. F. Tillman for one year.
Committee on demands reported as follows:
1. We, the committee on demands, hereby recommends that this National Farmers and Laborers Union of America appoint a national legislative committee of two to act in concert with a like committee of the Knights of Labor, to the end of securing industrial freedom.
2. That we recommend to the different State organizations that they discuss the Australian system of voting, and press upon their State legislatures to enact the same or some similar system.
3. Resolved,That this committee recommend that we press to the front as the most important the three problems of finance, land and transportation.
4. Resolved, That all internal revenue tax and licenses on tobacco be repealed.
5. Resolved,That we condemn the purchase of Government bonds at a premium, and demand that they be redeemed and called in according to the law as provided in section 3693 of the Statutes of the United States.
The following petition was received and adopted:
ST. LOUIS, December 6, 1889.
To The National Alliance and Industrial Union of America.
The undersigned, representatives of the Farmers Alliance and Agricultural Wheel of Mississippi, hereby apply for a charter for the Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union of the State of Mississippi
ROBERT C. PATTY,
H. F. SIMRALL,
J. H. BEEMAN,
A. M. STREET,
F. M. BLUNT,
Sec. State Wheel, Representing Ag'l Wheel.