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 In the meantime I was going about my general work, and an easy task it proved. My city editor, cool, , diplomatic soul, soon instructed me as to the value of news and its limitations here. “We don’t touch on conditions except through our labor man,” he told me, “and he knows what to say. There’s nothing to be said about the rich or religious in a derogatory sense: they’re all right in so far as we know. We don’t touch on scandals in high life. The big steel men here just about own the place, so we can’t. Some papers out West and down in New York go in for sensationalism, but we don’t. I’d rather have some simple little feature any time, a story about some old fellow with eccentric habits, than any of these scandals or tragedies. Of course we do cover them when we have to, but we have to be careful what we say.”  
So much for a free press in Pittsburgh, A.D. 1893!
And I found that the city itself, possibly by reason of the recent defeat administered to organized labor and the soft pedal of the newspapers, presented a most and aspect. There was little local news. Suicides, occasional drownings, a wedding or death in high society, a in a saloon, the enlargement of a steel plant, the visit of a or the remarks of some local , provided the pabulum on which the local readers were fed. Sometimes an outside event, such as the organization by General Coxey, of Canton, Ohio, of his “hobo” army, at that time moving toward Washington to petition congress against the doings of the trusts; or the and impossible doings of Grover Cleveland, President to the party of the State; or the manner in which the Democratic party of this region was attempting to steal an office or share in the spoils—these and the grand comments of gentlemen in high financial positions here and elsewhere as to the outlook for prosperity in the nation or the steel mills or the coal fields, occupied the best places in the newspapers. For a great as daring, forceful, economically and socially restless as this, it seemed unbelievable that it could be so quiescent or say so little about the ambitions the men at the top. But when it came to labor or the unions, their restlessness or unholy demands, or the trashy views of a third-rate preacher complaining of looseness in dress or morals, or an actor voicing his views on art, or a politician commenting on some unimportant phase of our life, it was a very different matter. These papers were then free enough to say their say.
I recall that Thomas B. Reed, then Speaker of the House, once passed through the city and stopped off to visit some friendly steel magnate. I was sent to interview him and obtain his views as to “General” Coxey’s army, a band of poor mistaken theorists who imagined that by marching to Washington and protesting to Congress they could compel a trust-dictated American Senate and House to take cognizance of their . This able statesman—and he was no fool, being at the time in the councils and favor of the money power and looked upon as the probable Republican Presidential nominee—pretended to me to believe that a vast national menace lay in such a movement and protest.
“Why, it’s the same as revolution!” he , washing his face in his at the Monongahela, his suspenders swaying loosely about his fat . “It’s an unheard-of . For a hundred years the American people have had a and constitutional and democratic method of procedure. They have their county and State and national conventions, and their power of instructing delegates to the same. They can write any they wish into any party platform, and compel its enforcement by their votes. Now comes along a man who finds something that doesn’t just suit his views, and instead of waiting and appealing to the regular party councils, he organizes an army and proceeds to march on Washington.”
“But he has been able to only three or four hundred men all told,” I suggested mildly. “He doesn’t seem to be attracting many .”
“The number of his followers isn’t the point,” he insisted. “If one man can gather an army of five hundred, another can gather an army of ten or five hundred thousand. That means revolution.”
“Yes,” I ventured. “But what about the thing of which they are complaining?”
“It doesn’t matter what their is,” he said somewhat . “This is a government of law and prescribed political procedure. Our people must by that.”
I was ready to agree, only I was thinking of the easy manner in which delegates and elected representatives everywhere were ignoring the interests if not the of the body at large and listening to the advice and needs of financiers and trust-builders. Already the air was full of complaints against monopoly. Trusts and combinations of every kind were being organized, and the people were being taxed accordingly. All property, however come by, was sacred in America. The least protest of the mass anywhere was revolutionary, or at least the upwellings of worthless and never-to-be-countenanced malcontents. I could not believe this. I firmly believed then, as I do now, that the chains wherewith a rapidly developing financial or meant to a liberty-deluded mass were then and there being forged. I felt then, as I do now, that the people of that day should have been more alive to their interests, that they should have compelled, at Washington or elsewhere, by peaceable political means if possible, by and threatening uprisings if necessary, a more careful concern for their interests than any or senator or governor or President, at that time or since, was giving them. As I talked to this noble chairman of the House my heart was full of these sentiments, only I did not deem it of any avail to argue with him. I was a reporter and he was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but I had a keen contempt for the enthusiasm he manifested for law. When it came to what the money wished, the manufacturers and trust organizers hiding behind a huge and extortionate wall, he was one of their chief guards and political and congressional advocates. If you doubt it look up his record.
But it was owing to this very careful of what was and what was not news that I experienced some of the most newspaper hours of my life. Large features being scarce, I was assigned to do “city hall and police, Allegheny,” as the assignment book used to read, and with this mild task ahead of me I was in the habit of crossing the Allegheny River into the city of Allegheny, where, ensconced in a chair in the reporters’ room of the combined city hall and central police station or in the Carnegie Public Library over the way, or in the cool, central, shaded court of the Allegheny General Hospital, with the head interne of which I soon made friends, I waited for something to turn up. As is usual with all city and police and hospital officials everywhere, the hope of favorable and often manufactured animating them, I was received most cordially. All I had to do was to announce that I was from the Dispatch and assigned to this bailiwick, and I was informed as to anything of importance that had come to the surface during the last ten or twelve hours. If there was nothing—and usu............
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