Saturday, September 24, 2011

"I have not had malice in my heart. I have had love" (Clarence Darrow)

In a couple of recent posts, I had mentioned the new book, Clarence Darrow - Attorney for the Damned by John A. Farrell (2011). I was pleased to see a Darrow book that could take advantage of newly discovered resources and material, some of it available online for viewing. We have discussed before the exceptional website at the University of Minnesota, comprising the Clarence Darrow Digital Collection. Farrell mentions the significant contribution of those and many other resources in his rather lengthy acknowledgments section at the end of the book. You know about acknowledgments—don't you? The usual thank you to publishers, editors, spouses, next door neighbors and the like. In many books, that section is often skipped by the reader (this reader too). However, in non-fiction, historical books of note, I find it worth at least a cursory going over.

Well in this case I was glad I did, as included among the many acknowledgments was the following paragraph (I added the links):

The Idaho State Historical Society has most of the important papers from the Steunenberg case, including transcripts from the Bill Haywood and second Steve Adams trial and the Pinkerton reports to Governor Gooding. The College of Idaho has put selections of the George Crookham papers online, including the Steunenberg family correspondence describing the assassination.”
— Pages 409-410 (Acknowledgements).

Below is an excerpt that I had marked during my recent reading of the book. Darrow has been charged with, and is on trial, for alleged bribery of the McNamara jury:

The courtroom was silent now.

"I know I could have tried the McNamara case, and that a large class of the working people of America would honestly have believed, if these men had been hanged, that they were not guilty," said Darrow. "I could have done this and have saved myself…I could have made more money."

But "if you had hanged these men…you would have settled in the hearts of a great mass of men a hatred so deep, so profound, that it would never die away," he said. "I took responsibility, gentlemen. Maybe I did wrong, but I took it, and the matter was disposed of and the question set at rest…

"I acted out the instincts that were within me. I acted according to the teachings of the parents who reared me, and according to the life I had lived," he said. "But where I got one word of praise, I got a thousand words of blame and I have stood under that for nearly a year…

"I know the mob. In one way I love it, in another way I despise it," he said. "I have been their idol and I have been cast down and trampled beneath their feet…

"No man is judged rightly by his fellow men," said Darrow. "We go here and there, and we think we control our destinies and our lives, but above us and beyond us and around us are unforeseen forces that move us at their will."

After all, Darrow said, finishing softy with a bit of verse, Life is a game of whist. From unknown sources / The cards are shuffled and the hands are dealt. Jurors looked at the floor; two of them were crying. The judge, struggling to contain his own emotions, traced figures with his finger on his desk.

"I have taken the cards as they came; I have played the best I could," said Darrow. "I know my life, I know what I have done. My life has not been perfect; it has been human, too human."

But "I have felt the heartbreaks of every man who lived," he said. "I have tried to help in the world; I have not had malice in my heart. I have had love.”
—From Clarence Darrow Attorney for the Damned by John A. Farrell, pages 262-263.

I am not going to do any more reviewing of Farrell’s book, as I think it was pretty well summed up in the previous post/link to The Defender of the underdog and other reviews are available online. There are of course two chapters of particular interest to those of us that have studied the Steunenberg assassination and Haywood trial—Chapter 8, Industrial Warfare and Chapter 9, Big Bill. I will say however, I enjoyed the read and felt that my sometimes mixed views and emotions related to Darrow are finally reaching a degree of reconciliation and congruence. I was pleased to read a balanced view, without the hype—demonstrating Darrow’s genius in the courtroom, his sometimes moral lapses and an often chaotic and conflicted personal life. He was after all, as he himself indicated, just human—like all of us.

Current Historical read: The War Lovers - Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the rush to empire, 1898 by Evan Thomas (2010).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The defender of the underdog

The defender of the underdog | Philadelphia Inquirer | 2011-09-18
Philadelphia Inquirer
The police had caught the man who pulled the trigger, Harry Orchard, but the prosecution aimed to pin the murder on union leaders William Haywood, ...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flashback - September 11th

Click on the links below from my blog posts of 9/11/2010 and 9/11/2009 and a related one on 2/16/2008. Among other things, I had posted the link to a poem by Galway Kinnell. Yes, pretty heady stuff but I liked it—and with each read can find different meanings and points for reflection.

Saturday, September 11, 2010
September 11th- In Memoriam

Friday, September 11, 2009
9-11, Iraq War, Frank Steunenberg Assassination and the Haywood Trial...Any Connection?

Saturday, February 16, 2008
"Harry Orchard Blows Up The Independence Colorado Train Depot"

WHEN THE TOWERS FELL by Galway Kinnell

From our high window we saw the towers
with their bands and blocks of light
brighten against a fading sunset,
saw them at any hour glitter and live
as if the spirits inside them sat up all night
calculating profit and loss, saw them reach up
to steep their tops in the until then invisible
yellow of sunrise, grew so used to them
often we didn’t see them, and now,
not seeing them, we see them.

The banker is talking to London.
Humberto is delivering breakfast sandwiches.
The trader is already working the phone.
The mail sorter has started sorting the mail.
...povres et riches
...poor and rich
Sages et folz, prestres et laiz
Wise and foolish, priests and laymen
Nobles, villains, larges et chiches
Noblemen, serfs, generous and m
Petiz et grans et beaulx et laiz
Short and tall and handsome and homely

The plane screamed low down lower Fifth Avenue
lifted at the Arch, someone said, shaking the dog walkers
in Washington Square Park, drove for the north tower,
struck with a heavy thud, releasing a huge bright gush
of blackened fire, and vanished, leaving a hole
the size and shape a cartoon plane might make
if it had passed harmlessly through and were flying away now,
on the far side, back into the realm of the imaginary.

Some with torn clothing, some bloodied,
some limping at top speed like children
in a three-legged race, some half dragged,
some intact in neat suits and dresses,
they straggle out of step up the avenues,
each dusted to a ghostly whiteness,
their eyes rubbed red as the eyes of a Zahoris,
who can see the dead under the ground.

Some died while calling home to say they were O.K.
Some died after over an hour spent learning they would die.
Some died so abruptly they may have seen death from within it.
Some broke windows and leaned out and waited for rescue.
Some were asphyxiated.
Some burned, their very faces caught fire.
Some fell, letting gravity speed them through their long moment.
Some leapt hand in hand, the elasticity in last bits of love-time letting — I wish I could say — their vertical streaks down the sky happen more lightly.

At the high window, where I’ve often stood
to escape a nightmare, I meet
the single, unblinking eye
lighting the all-night sniffing and lifting
and sifting for bodies, pieces of bodies, anything that is not nothing,
in a search that always goes on
somewhere, now in New York and Kabul.

She stands on a corner holding up a picture
of her husband. He is smiling. In today’s
wind shift few pass. Sorry sorry sorry.
She startles. Suppose, down the street, that headlong lope...
or, over there, that hair so black it’s purple...
And yet, suppose some evening I forgot
The fare and transfer, yet got by that way
Without recall — lost yet poised in traffic.
Then I might find your eyes...
It could happen. Sorry sorry good luck thank you.
On this side it is “amnesia,” or forgetting the way home,
on the other, “invisibleness,” or never in body returning.
Hard to see clearly in the metallic mist,
or through the sheet of mock reality
cast over our world, bourne that no creature ever born
pokes its way back through, and no love can tear.

The towers burn and fall, burn and fall —
in a distant, shot, smokestacks spewing oily earth remnants out of the past.
Schwarze Milch der Fruhe wir trinken sie abends
Black milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfall
wir trinken sie mittags und morgens wir trinken sie nachts
we drink it at midday at morning we drink it at night
wir trinken und trinken
We drink it and drink it
This is not a comparison but a corollary,
not a likeness but a lineage
in the twentieth-century history of violent death —
black men in the South castrated and strung up from trees,
soldiers advancing through mud at ninety thousand dead per mile,
train upon train headed eastward made up of boxcars shoved full to the
corners with Jews and Gypsies to be enslaved or gassed,
state murder of twenty, thirty, forty million of its own,
atomic blasts wiping cities off the earth, firebombings the same,
death marches, starvations, assassinations, disappearances,
entire countries turned into rubble, minefields, mass graves.
Seeing the towers vomit these black omens, that the last century dumped into this one, for us to dispose of, we know they are our futures, that is our own black milk crossing the sky: wir shaufelnein Grab in den Luften da liegt man nicht eng we’re digging a grave in the sky there’ll be plenty of room to lie down there

Burst jet fuel, incinerated aluminum, steel fume, crushed marble, exploded granite, pulverized drywall, mashed concrete, berserked plastic, gasified mercury, cracked chemicals, scoria, vapor of the vaporized — wafted here from the burnings of the past, draped over our island up to streets regimented into numbers and letters, breathed across the great bridges to Brooklyn and the waiting sea:
astringent, miasmic, empyreumatic, slick,
freighted air too foul to take in but we take it in,
too gruesome for seekers of the amnesiac beloved
to breathe but they breathe it and you breathe it.

A photograph of a woman hangs from a string
at his neck. He doesn’t look up.
He stares down at the sidewalk of flagstone
slabs laid down in Whitman’s century, gutter edges
rasped by iron wheels to a melted roundedness:
a conscious intelligence envying the stones.
Nie staja sie, sa.
They do not become, they are.
Nie nad to, myslalem.
Nothing but that, I thought,
zbrzydziwszy sobie
now loathing within myself
wszystko co staje sie
everything that becomes.

And I sat down by the waters of the Hudson,
by the North Cove Yacht Harbor, and thought
how those on the high floors must have suffered: knowing
they would burn alive, and then, burning alive.
and I wondered, Is there a mechanism of death
that so mutilates existence no one
gets over it not even the dead?
Before me I saw, in steel letters welded
to the steel railing posts, Whitman’s words
written as America plunged into war with itself: City of the world!...
Proud and passionate city — mettlesome, mad, extravagant city!
words of a time of illusions. Then I remembered
what he wrote after the war was over and Lincoln dead:
I saw the debris and debris of all the dead soldiers of the war,
But I saw they were not as was thought.
They themselves were fully at rest — they suffer’d not,
The living remain’d and suffer’d, the mother suffer’d
And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer’d...

In our minds the glassy blocks
succumb over and over into themselves,
slam down floor by floor into themselves.

They blow up as if in reverse, exploding
downward and outward, billowing
through the streets, engulfing the fleeing.

As each tower goes down, it concentrates
into itself, transforms itself
infinitely slowly into a black hole

infinitesimally small: mass
without space, where each light,
each life, put out, lies down within us.

Quotations: "The Testament," by Fran├žois Villon; "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen," by Paul Celan; "Songs of a Wanderer," by Alexander Wat; "City of Ships" and "When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd," by Walt Whitman.
Galway Kinnell '48 is a former MacArthur Fellow and has been the state poet of Vermont. In 1982 his Selected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He is the translator, with Hannah Liebmann, of The Essential Rilke. His latest book, A New Selected Poems (2001), represents work from his previous collections, including What a Kingdom It Was (1960), Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock (1964), Body Rags (1968), The Book of Nightmares (1971), and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (1980), When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone (1990) and Imperfect Thirst (1996). Kinnell is the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. He lives in New York City and Sheffield, Vermont.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Bad Bob" Meldrum in "The Outlaw Rockies"

New book chronicles infamous Colorado criminals, including those on the Western Slope

'''Bad Bob' Meldrum doesn’t fit neatly into any of those categories. He had stints as a Pinkerton agent, marshal, union strikebreaker and range detective, but he was a better outlaw than keeper of the peace, according to 'The Crime Bluff's Guide to the Outlaw Rockies.'''

Click here on Outlaw Rockies or the heading above to read a review of this new book. link to Outlaw Rockies.

The photo postcard below is one of the few reminders of the Haywood trial that was passed down from my grandparents to my mother and finally on to me. Grandpa Julian Steunenberg did not want any reminders or discussion of those events in the household. The photo is a prized possession that you have seen on the blog before and I am always on the hunt for similar original period items.

Bad Bob is just to Orchard's left with his arm out and hand appearing to be touching Orchard's back. Of course that is Charles Siringo up on the stairs. With the exception of the assassin, no doubt everyone else is packing some hardware under those coats. You can read about Bad Bob's Colt revolver in one of the blog posts cited below.

Holster made by "Bad Bob."

"Bad Bob" and a pair of his chaps.

"Hanged By The Neck Until You Are Dead"

Related Blog Posts:
Bob Meldrum's Colt up for auction
Mar 5, 2010

"Bad Man" and/or "Hair Trigger" Bob Meldrum
Feb 08, 2008

Bob Meldrum's Colt sold at auction
Mar 19, 2010

Gunfighters in Boise-DC Scott & Bob Meldrum
Aug 02, 2009

Would Trade a Mantle, Mays, Koufax or Robinson for a good Steunenberg, Orchard, Siringo or Meldrum
Mar 15, 2008

Photo above right shows one of Meldrum's Colts courtesy of Kurt House.Com Old West Collectables.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What Most Americans Don't Remember about Labor Day

"The holiday was originally intended to help celebrate unions, in the wake of the infamous Pullman Strike."

Click on the above blog title/link to read the article by Arthur Joel Katz.

I could not say this any better in regards to what most Americans have long forgotten about the origins of Labor Day. Hence, I won't try except for this brief comment. The need for vital and strong but accountable and reasonable unions (and corporations and local, state and federal government) remains paramount to a successful capitalist system. Without a more level playing field, we risk slipping back to the sub-standards, mistreatment and resulting upheaval in the workplaces of the 19th and early 20th centuries. I will stop there and let you read the article from Mr. Katz , which I believe asserts a similar need for a more balanced approach. I will maybe add another two cents later.

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905 (and other quoted variations). U.S. (Spanish-born) philosopher (1863 - 1952).

BTW, you can read more of the Katz Meow ("Joel" Katz that is), at Hellertown-Lower Sauson, PA Patch

Saturday, September 3, 2011

GPS Coordinates and Pictures of Key Locations Identified in Big Trouble

An interesting site with GPS coordinates and photographs. I may have put the link somewhere on the blog a couple years ago when I had contact with Mr. Gino White, the creator. I ran across the site again, was enjoying another tour, and thought I would post the link here as a general blog entry. Some minor errors/typos but great information for following the trail of Big Trouble history.

Click link below:
Big Trouble GPS Sites

From the website:
"An 1890's mining dispute set in motion events that would lead to a labor war, the governor's assassination and trial the captivated the nation's conscience. The website, like the story, will be broken into three parts: The mine war; the assassination; and the trial. It will start with the mine war. This site is not meant to be comprehensive. In fact it should only serve as an appetizer to one of the books written about the events. Lukas’ Big Trouble is an excellent read and no doubt the most comprehensive books written on this subject."