The conference ends. It has exemplified the old adage of the convention of the mice to discuss the advisability of putting a bell on the cat. All agreed that it would be for the good of micedom; yet no mouse had a feasible method to advance for affixing the bell. The papers in every city tell of the failure of the Anti-Trust conference to agree upon a plan of action.
The millions of toilers bend lower under their burdens; the Magnates tighten their grasp on the throat of labor.
In all the United States there is but one man who holds a solution of the problem of emancipating mankind from commercial servitude. This man has been a delegate. He has spoken but a few words; he has been present as an auditor.
His hour for action is soon to come.
A startling proposal.
The special committee has been directed to hold meetings at intervals of a month and to have a report ready by the first of the following January. Thirty-seven of the most intelligent and earnest of the Anti-Trust members have been placed on this committee by its chairman. The meetings are now secret.
The first meeting is held in the hall that had been used for the big meetings of the conference. After this the meetings are clandestine.
The comment that was provoked by the conference of the radical leaders of the Trust opposition died out in the usual way, and then the interest in the efforts of the special committee was confined to the few people who realized the earnestness of the men who had decided to take the Trust problem up and bring it to a speedy settlement.
Day by day the members of the committee met to discuss the phases of the all absorbing question.
The managers of some of the largest corporations are warned of these secret deliberations and institute a vigorous investigation. The aid of the police is secured, and the officers of a dozen of the shrewdest private detective bureaus are put in possession of the few facts that have been ascertained. In a hundred directions public and private sleuths are set in motion. But their untiring efforts are unavailing. They have to combat a more adroit, more nervy and more intelligent force than they have ever before been brought in contact with.
The Committee of Forty has its ever watchful sentinels on guard, and every move of the detectives is anticipated and provided against.
Thus matters progress until on the night of June tenth a startling climax is brought about by the report of the secretary of the committee.
At this memorable meeting there is a full attendance. The chairman, in his call for the meeting, has intimated that very important business will be transacted. He has in mind the discussion of a plan for awakening the interest of the wage-earners in the effete Eastern States, and the reading of a report.