After the committee retired, the mayor said, “Well, Colonel Harris, what will be the outcome?”
“Mr. Mayor, we cannot foretell anything. You never know what workingmen in their lodges will do. There, as a rule, the ‘Walking delegate’ and a few agitators rule with despotic power. If a workman, whose large family forces him to take conservative views, dares in his lodge to suggest peaceful measures, an agitator rises at once in indignation and demands that traitors to the cause of labor be expelled. This throttles freedom of action in many labor unions, so that often what appears on the surface to be the unanimous action of the members of workingmen’s leagues, is but the exercise of despotic power by a few men who have nothing to lose, and whose salary is paid from the slim purses of honest labor.
“Usually those who talk much and loudly think little and unwisely, and the opposite to their advice is safest to follow. The greatest need to-day in most of our labor organizations is wise leadership, and this will result when the best element in the labor lodges asserts itself.
“The despotism of ill-advised labor is to be dreaded by civilization more than the reign of intelligent capital. This is especially true in the United States, where under wise laws, wealth cannot be entailed, and where most large fortunes soon disappear among the heirs.
“A simple pair of shears illustrates perfectly the relationship that capital and labor should sustain each to the other. Capital is one blade of the shears, and labor is the other blade; either blade without the other is useless, and the two blades are useless unless the rivet is in place. Confidence is to capital and labor what the rivet is to the two blades. The desideratum to-day in the business world is full and abiding confidence between capital and labor.” Thus speaking Colonel Harris and his friends left the mayor and returned to their homes.
* * * * *
After a visit to Niagara Falls, Mr. Searles and his party went on to Harrisville, where Mrs. Eastlake rejoined some friends and continued her long journey to the Pacific Coast. Colonel Harris met his daughter and Mr. Hugh Searles at the station, the latter, under the circumstances, being the last person he cared to see. The carriage was driven at once to Reuben Harris’s beautiful home that overlooked Harrisville and blue Lake Erie.
After dinner Colonel Harris explained to Mr. Searles all about the inopportune strike; also that it was impossible to say when the steel plant would be started again. Mr. Searles decided next morning that after a short ride through Harrisville he would continue his journey through the States to California, and possibly to Australia, where he had another important interest to attend to in behalf of a London client.
It was further arranged that he would return to London via Harrisville in about six months, if so desired by Colonel Harris, otherwise he would complete the journey around the world, returning to England by way of the Suez Canal.