A Speech Full of Sarcasm


Eugene V. Debs, the Noted Labor Leader and
Socialist, Went after Roosevelt and Parker.

A big crowd greeted Eugene V. Debs, the noted labor leader and socialist leader at the Ludlow Lagoon Sunday afternoon, where he delivered an address. The amphitheater was so packed that it was difficult to find even standing room.

Debs was introduced by Frank Seeds of Covington, and spoke for more than two hours. He went after President Roosevelt and savagely attacked Judge Parker as the Wool of Wall-st. His remarks were listened to with attention and the crowd was a most orderly one.

He said [President Theodore] Roosevelt was using the rights of the laboring man as a cloak for his own political ends. Then he told how Roosevelt had joined the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Fireman at Chattanooga, which he thought was for effect. Fairbanks, he said, was an autocrat.

Then Parker, "got his." Parker, he stated, was the candidate for Wall-st., and was owned by the trusts. The people could expect no radical reforms as regarded combinations of capital, because Parker could not afford to move. Davis, the vice-presidential candidate, he said, was a slave driver and the owner of railroads and mines in West Virginia, refusing to allow his employees to organize as union men.

A funny incident happened when in the course of his remarks about Parker being the slave of Wall-st., he mentioned the name of William Jennings Bryan. "To the deuce with Bryan," yelled a man with a stentorian voice. This made Debs laugh and then the whole audience laughed.

Another incident which showed the apt wit of Debs made the big audience laugh and applaud even more. The speaker was talking about railroad corporations, and in the middle of his remarks an engineer on the Cincinnati Southern, whose shops are near the Lagoon, blew the whistle of his engine for a full minute.

"There it is again," remarked Debs, with an air of resignation. "The railroads have been trying to silence me for years."

The child labor law in the Southern states was dwelt upon at some length. Children, he said, belong in kindergarten and not in the sweat shops. Every time a man voted against socialism he was treading on his own toes.


from the Kentucky Post of September 5, 1904.