Then, again, I stand here with great interest from another consideration,--I stand in the presence of a momentous power.
I do not care exactly what your idea is as to how you will work, whether you will work in this channel or in the other.
I am told that you represent from seventy thousand to one hundred thousand men, here and elsewhere.
Think of it!
A hundred thousand men!
They can dictate the fate of this nation.
Give me fifty thousand men in earnest, who can agree on all vital questions, who will plant their shoulders together, and swear by all that is true and just that for the long years they will put their great idea before the country, and those fifty thousand men will govern the nation.
So if I have one hundred thousand men represented before me, who are in earnest, who get hold of the great question of labor, and having hold of it, grapple with it, and rip it and tear it open, and invest it with light, gathering the facts, piercing the brains about them and crowding those brains with the facts,--then I know, sure as fate, though I may not live to see it, that they will certainly conquer this nation in twenty years
. It is impossible that they should not. And that is your power, gentlemen.
I rejoice at every effort working-men make to organize; I do not care on what basis they do it. Men sometimes say to me, “Are you an Internationalist?”
I say, “I do not know what an Internationalist is;” but they tell me it is a system by which the working-men from London
, from Moscow
, can clasp hands.
Then I say God speed, God speed, to that or any similar movement.
Now, let me tell you where the great weakness of an association of working-men is. It is that it cannot wait.
It does not know where it is to get its food for next week.
If it is kept idle for ten days, the funds of the