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You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Sunday July 17, 1904
From the Appeal to Reason: Decision of Colorado Supreme Court Talk of Finnegan's

From yesterday's issue of the Appeal to Reason:

James H Peabody, Governor of Colorado 1903-05
Governor Peabody


By E. N. Richardson.

"Well, there is one good thing about this Colorado business," said the Station Agent to Finnegan as he took a seat near the electric fan.

"What's that?" asked Finnegan, as he made change with the Grocery Clerk for a bunch of cigarettes.

"Why, the governor, the militia and the Citizens' Alliance have established a precedent that is going to come in mighty handy for the working class of Colorado some of these times."

"How's that?"

"Why, the highest court of Colorado has decide that whenever the governor declares that an insurrection exists the military is supreme and that all civic rights are suspended."

"I can't see how that is going to be any help to the working class," said Finnegan, as he lit a fresh cigar and handed on the one to the S. A.

"You cant, eh? Well, let me tell you how. Some of these days the workers of Colorado are going to wake up and elect one of their own class governor. Can't you see what that means?"

"Why, I can't say as I just get the point."

"Suppose, after the workers have captured the governorship a strike is declared in Cripple Creek and the Citizens' Alliance start in to take the law in their on hands as they are doing right now. What's to hinder the workingman's governor from declaring martial law and chucking the whole gang of Citizens' Alliance cutthroats into the  bull pen? What is sauce for the goose ought to be good eating for the gander. The capitalists of Colorado have set the pace and the workers are a lot of chumps if they don't follow."

"Well, by minks!" said Finnegan, scratching his head, "that certainly would be a joke."

"It would be more than a joke." muttered the Blacksmith, who had just sauntered in: "it would be justice."

Nobody dissented and the Blacksmith allowed it was his treat.


[photograph added]

Charles Moyer, President of Western Federation of Miners
President Charles Moyer
Western Federation of Miners
The boys at Finnegan's are discussing the decision handed down by the Colorado Supreme Court "re Charles H. Moyer, petition for original writ of habeas corpus" wherein the Court ruled that a strike is an insurrection if the Governor declares the strike an insurrection, and that the Governor is then granted extraordinary powers over those he deems to be in rebellion. From the Kansas City Star of June 6:
Charles Moyer Not Released Governor Peabody Upheld.

DENVER, June 6.-The state supreme court refused to-day the application for a writ of habeas corpus for Charles H. Moyer, president of the Western Federation of miners, held as a military prisoner at Telluride by order of Governor James H. Peabody. The governor's action in declaring martial law in San Miguel county, imprisoning Moyer and other union men upon the ground that they had incited insurrection and rebellion, suspending the writ of habeas corpus and ignoring the authority of the local courts as seems necessary to him in maintaining law and order is sustained. Chief Justice Gabbert and Justice Campbell concurred in the decision. Justice Steel dissented.



Mrs. Emma F. Langdon on the Moyer Case

Emma F Langdon
The following report on this troubling decision from the Colorado Supreme Court was sent to us by Mrs. Emma F. Langdon of Victor, Colorado. Mrs. Langdon knows only too well the perils of living under Peabody's martial law. Her own husband, as an employee of the pro-union Victor Daily Record, was arrested and spent time in the military's bull pen.

The attitude of the prosecution was very concisely stated by Attorney Waldron in his opening remarks before the supreme court:

The writ which your honor issued required the production of Chas. H. Moyer before this court. The executive and respondents have produced the body of Mr. Moyer, not because they recognized the court's power to interfere, but on the contrary, they expressly deny at the very outset that this court or any other tribunal in this state has power to interfere while insurrection has not been suppressed. But bearing in mind the respect which the chief of one branch of government should show to another branch, they have produced the body of Mr. Moyer. He is now in charge of the officials of the National Guard of Colorado.
It may be worth while to briefly note the history of the habeas corpus act that we may understand the significance of the governor's attitude.

In English-speaking countries men have been so long accustomed to constitutional safeguards that, for the moment, they hardly realize what it means to have them swept away. Safeguards that the wisdom and struggles of the centuries had reared against the invasion of personal liberties. Men dreamed that they were potent to protect all that the past had bequeathed and preserve it as a part of the inalienable right of the humblest man. They reckoned without a knowledge of the forces contending against them. They were sufficient to curb the caprice or passion of governmental power in the hands of a despotic king or liberty-loving president, but they seem ineffective as against the greed of corporate wealth, blindly seeking to destroy whatever limits or seems to limit its profits.

The history of the writ, like many another of today, is lost in the mists that veil the cradle of civilization. It was known to the Romans when they first visited and conquered the skin-clad savages of Britain. The Saxons brought it from the shadowy glades of their native forests. When the Conqueror parceled out the lands of England among his followers and substituted the power of the Norman sword for the immemorial rights of Saxon freemen, he could silence but he could not kill a people's aspirations, aspirations that one day achieved historic recognition. From the day when the barons and common people humbled old King John on the field of Runnymede down to the present it has remained the mightiest bulwark of Anglo-Saxon liberty, the most precious jewel in the crown of a people's strength. The conflicts, oppressions, tyrannies of seven hundred years have but broadened its base and endeared its guaranties to freemen, the waves of despotism have dashed over it but the absolutism of kings has not displaced it, and parliaments have rarely limited its operation.

When our forefathers landed on these shores, they brought with them the rights of Englishmen; when denied those rights they rebelled. In framing the constitution they remembered the ancient writ in words that can not be misunderstood:

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
The provision in our state constitution is practically identical.

Chief Justice Marsh said of the conditions under which the writ might be refused:

If at any time the public safety should require the suspension of the powers vested by this act in the courts of the United States it is for the legislature to say so.
Chief Justice Story said:
It would seem, as the power is given to congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in cases of rebellion or invasion, that the right to judge whether exigency had arisen must belong to that body.
In an opinion as attorney-general of the United States, Caleb Cushing said:
And it may be assumed as a general doctrine of constitutional jurisprudence in all the United States that the power to suspend laws, whether those granting the writ of habeas corpus or any other, is vested exclusively in the legislature of the particular state.
The author has no ambition to write a law book; a volume could be compiled further illustrating and elucidating the principles involved. Still other constitutional guaranties were violated by the action of the governor and the decision of the court.

The reason assigned for the denial of the writ of habeas corpus was the governor's proclamation declaring San Miguel county to be in a state of insurrection and rebellion. That there was a strike, a refusal to work until the constitutional amendment granting the workers in the mines, mills, etc., an eight-hour day, is not denied. But since the emancipation proclamation of President Lincoln there is no class who are bound to work for another class on any terms the latter may prescribe with the obligation on the part of the government to compel the acquiescence of the workers. To constitute a rebellion there must certainly be armed resistance to the lawfully constituted authorities, which they are unable to put down except by force of arms, and the deeds of some individuals at least must have been so notorious as to furnish ample evidence for their punishment....

It takes more than a proclamation to make a rebellion. Even Governor Peabody can not call a revolt into existence as the Almighty God did light.

After stigmatizing a class as criminals in his proclamation, he further states:

That these forces within and without said county are about to join forces within said San Miguel County, for the purpose of destroying property and inflicting personal injuries upon the citizens of said county.
"A guilty conscience makes a coward heart."

The second proclamation declaring martial law was in answer to a petition by the Citizens' Alliance of Telluride. The larger part of the petitioners, practically all of them, were participants in the mob that drove eighty-one men out of the county. There is no color of law in that action, though the governor had made things extremely convenient for the mob. When sixty-eight of the men returned, they were re-deported by the military whom Peabody had sent into the district to maintain "law and order." A deed done for another without his approbation, but afterward adopted by him, becomes to all intents and purposes his deed, as if he had originally authorized it. Peabody, by sending the troops to maintain the results the mob had accomplished, indorsed their work, and, by the principles of law, (principal and agent), stands forth as the sponsor for, and the principal in, a crime whose enormity is only exceeded by the one committed against everyone in the suspension of habeas corpus on the word of a man who has sworn to execute the laws, performs his duty by the suspension of them.

During the entire period of martial law a rigid censorship of the press, telegraph and telephone was maintained. There is but one reason for a censorship, whether in Russia or Colorado, and that is that the world may not know the crimes committed against humanity in the name of law.

This itemized statement of crimes committed against free institutions by the governor and those acting in accord with him may well be closed with an extract from the executive order sending the troops to Telluride:

Report forthwith to the sheriff of San Miguel County, Colorado, and that you use such means as you may deem right and proper, acting in conjunction with or independent of the civil authorities of said San Miguel County as in your judgment and discretion, conditions demand, to restore peace and good order in said community, and to enforce obedience to the constitution and laws of the state.
Ostensibly the purpose of the troops was to restore such conditions as would enable the civil authorities to bring offenders to justice, for the constitution says:
The military shall always be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Yet one of their first acts was to defy the order of the court releasing Moyer and the attachment against Bell and Wells.

The constitution further states, Article 2, Section 7:

That the people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Yet it was the military who searched the persons and baggage of the returning miners, robbed them of everything of value, denied them the privilege of even greeting their wives and children, took them out of the county, violated their homes and inflicted every indignity a senile soldiery could conceive. Five of the men were detained and put to work on the streets. J. C. Burns refused to work. The guard threatened to shoot him. "Shoot away,'' he said. The threat was ineffectual; he was taken to the jail, put on a bread and water diet and later, again deported.

In a battle of principles, we sometimes forget the men involved; we only hear the cannon's roar or hear the bugle call; only see the pall of smoke, "funeral wreath of a world"; the plunging horses, the fierce, tense faces of the combatants, the windrows of the dying and the dead. The spirit of conflict rages in our veins; its pathos is lost to us. We do not hear a brother's last broken prayer nor the death rattle in his throat; we do not see the desolate homes and the anguished hearts that that day's work has made. In this weary world when a blow is aimed at a man it usually falls on a woman's naked heart. Moyer was a sick man, suffering from throat and lung troubles; the filthy atmosphere of the jail is not conducive to recovery; once when he requested that his cell be cleaned the hose was turned on him. He was jeered at, maltreated that in a fit of anger he might give his guards an excuse to murder him. At the close of his trial before the supreme court he was brought out past his wife, he stopped and extended his hand, but Wells, who was behind him told him to "move on."

The court denied the writ, Judges Campbell and Gabbert concurring. A paragraph from their decision is given:

The arrest and detention of an insurrectionist, either actually engaged in acts of violence or in aiding and abetting others to commit such acts, violates none of his constitutional rights. He is not tried by any military court, or denied the right of trial by jury; neither is he punished for violation of law, nor held without due process of law. His arrest and detention in such circumstances are merely to prevent him from taking part or aiding a continuation of the conditions which the governor, in the discharge of his official duties and in the exercise of the authority conferred by law, is endeavoring to suppress.
A few remarks from Justice Steele's dissenting opinion follows:
I know of no authority that vests in the governor the power to arrest one who he may think will commit an offense. No such power is granted by the Constitution nor bestowed by statute. The courts of the state are open and in the unobstructed performance of their functions. Most persons would regard restraint of liberty for the period of nearly ninety days as a punishment; and when the court says that the petitioner, by his detention, loses none of his constitutional rights, it ignores, it seems to me, that section of the Constitution which provides that no person shall be deprived of his liberty without due process of law. For, suppose it should transpire that the petitioner is not guilty of any offense, would not his imprisonment without charge and for the purpose of preventing him from committing an offense be an injustice? The court has presumed that this man is an insurgent; the presumption of law is that he is innocent. He asserts that he is not guilty, and no one has charged that he is guilty. The only statement made which in any way implicates him Is that of the adjutant general, who says that he became convinced by inquiry that he was the leader of a band of lawless men.

When we deny to one, however wicked, a right plainly guaranteed by the Constitution, we take that same right from everyone. When we say to Moyer: "You must stay in prison, because if we discharge you you may commit a crime," we say that to every other citizen. When we say to one governor: "You have unlimited and arbitrary power," we clothe future governors with that same power. We can not change the Constitution to meet conditions. We can not deny liberty today and grant it tomorrow; we can not grant it to those theretofore above suspicion and deny it to those suspected of crime; for the Constitution is for all men—"for the favorite at court; for the countryman at plow" —at all times, and under all circumstances.

We can not sow the dragon's teeth, and harvest peace and repose; we can not sow the wind and gather the restful calm.

Our fathers came here as exiles from a tyrant king. Their birthright of liberty was denied them by a horde of petty tyrants that infested the land—sent by the king to loot, to plunder, and to oppress. Arbitrary arrests were made; and judges, aspiring to the smile of the prince, refused by "pitiful evasions" the writ of habeas corpus. Our people were banished; they were denied trial by jury; they were deported for trial for pretended offenses; and they finally resolved to suffer wrong no more, and pledged their lives, their property and their sacred honor to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and for us, their children. But if the law is as this court has declared, then our vaunted priceless heritage is a sham, and our fathers stood "between their loved homes and the war's desolation" in vain.

[emphasis added]

Appeal to Reason
(Girard, Kansas)
 -July 16, 1904

The Kansas City Star
(Kansas City, Missouri)
 -of June 6, 1904

The Cripple Creek Strike
A History of Industrial Wars in Colorado, 1903-4-5

-by Emma F Langdon
"Being a Complete and Concise
History of the Efforts of
Organized Capital
to Crush Unionism"
The Great Western Publishing Co.
Denver,Colorado, 1905.

See also:

Moyer v. Peabody

212 U.S. 78 - Charles Moyer v. James H Peabody M

"INDEFINITE DETENTION: Using Outdated Precedents To Defend Unjust Policies"

"In re Charles H. Moyer, petition for original writ of habeas corpus : argument in support of executive power to enforce martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus delivered before the court"
Author:    John M Waldron; Charles H Moyer; Colorado. Supreme Court.
Publisher:    Denver, Colo. : Smith-Brooks Ptq. Co., 1904.

1). Governor Peabody
2). Charles Moyer
3). Emma F Langdon

The Battle Cry of Freedom

The Battle Cry of Union,
The Miners' Battle Cry of Freedom

We will win the fight today, boys,
We'll win the fight today,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Union;
We will rally from the coal mines,
We'll fight them to the end,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Union.

The Union forever, hurrah boys, hurrah!
Down with the gunthugs, and up with the law;
For we're coming, Colorado, we're coming all the way,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Union.


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

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