To the Breach, Comrades!

To the Breach, Comrades!

[Liberty, November 19, 1887.]

Of the tragedy just enacted at Chicago, what is there to say? Of a deed so foul perpetrated upon men so brave, what words are not inadequate to paint the blackness on the one hand and the glory on the other? My heart was never so full, my pen never so halt. As I write, the dying shout of noble Spies comes back to me from the scaffold: At this moment our silence is more powerful than speech. But, who speaks or who keeps silent, all of us, I am certain, will from this time forth face the struggle before us with stouter hearts and firmer tread for the examples that have been set us by our murdered comrades. If we add to these a clearer vision, the result will not be doubtful.(154 ¶ 1)

And when it is achieved and history shall begin to make up its verdict, it will be seen and acknowledged that the John Browns of America’s industrial revolution were hanged at Chicago on the Eleventh of November, 1887. The labor movement has had its Harper’s Ferry; when will come the emancipation proclamation?(154 ¶ 2)

Not good-by, but hail, brothers! telegraphed Josephine Tilton to Albert Parsons on the morning of the fatal day; from the gallows trap the march shall be taken up. I will listen for the beating of the drum.(154 ¶ 3)

The drum-tap has sounded; the forlorn hope has charged; the needed breach has been opened; myriads are falling into line; if we will but make the most of the opportunity so dearly purchased, victory will be ours.(154 ¶ 4)

It shall be; it must be!(154 ¶ 5)

For, as Proudhon says, like Nemesis of old, whom neither prayers nor threats could move, the Revolution advances, with sombre and inevitable tread, over the flowers with which its devotees strew its path, through the blood of its champions, and over the bodies of its enemies.(154 ¶ 6)