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The labor question (1872).

Delivered before the International Grand Lodge of the Knights of Saint Crispin, in April, 1872.

Gentlemen, I feel honored by this welcome of your organization, and especially so when I consider that the marvellously rapid success of the political strength of the Labor movement, especially in New England, is due mainly to this organization. There never has been a party formed that in three years has attracted toward itself such profound attention throughout the United States. Some of you may be old enough to remember that when the Antislavery sentiment, nearly thirty years ago, endeavored to rally a political party, it took them some seven or nine years before they had an organization that could be considered national in any real sense. The political Labor movement in three years has reached a position of influence which it took that idea nine years to obtain.

I trace that rapid progress in popular recognition to the existence of these Crispin lodges and trades-unions of the State. You cannot marshal fifty thousand men at once, taken promiscuously from parties and sects; they must be trained to work together, they must be disciplined in co-operation; and it is the training and the discipline which the working-men got in these organizations that enabled the Labor movement to assume its proportions so rapidly.

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