Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
that we all understood until I ran up against a capitalistic friend of the irreconcilable stripe. He complained bitterly of the Presidents mixing in; had he kept his hands off, the strike would have settled itself in a very little while; the miners would have gone back to work. I said that I saw no sign of it.
No, he supposed not; but it was so, all the same. We had their leaders all bought, said he.
He lied, to be plain about it, for John Mitchell and his men had proved abundantly that they were not that kind. And, besides, he could not speak for the mine-operators; he was not one of them. But the thing was not for whom he spoke, but what it was he said, with such callous unconcern. Think of it for a moment and tell me which was, when all is said and done, the greater danger: the strike, with all it might have stood for, or the cynicism that framed that speech? The country might outlive the horrors of a coal-famine in mid-winter, but this other thing would kill as sure as slow poison. Mob-rule was not to be feared like that.