An Artistic Job of Train Robbing

Bryan's World Herald puts the tariff issue at the center of the 1894 campaign and argues that the tariff is a tax on working people because it results in higher prices for all goods and commodities. The newspaper also editorializes about a recent train robbery, arguing that the Wells Fargo men did not demonstrate enough manliness in the confrontation.


Ulysses, afternoon, October 15.
Seward, evening, October 15.


"The foreigner pays the tax," has been so long the shibboleth of the protectionists that one is naturally surprised to find the arch-apostle, McKinley, preaching the antithesis of that doctrine. In his speech at Joliet, Ill., as reported by the Chicago Herald, he is credited with this statement: "We have got to do either one of two things. One way is to put the tariff upon the foreign product that we can make ourselves, like iron and steel, so high that it will make the American product high enough to discourage importation. That is the republican way. The other way is to reduce the wages of the workman." etc.

McKinley thus admits that the object and purpose of the tax is to make the price of the article high. He told the truth that time—the object of a protective tariff is to make the price of the article upon which it is levied higher and unless it has that effect it cannot possibly procure the result of higher wages to those employed in its production.

Mr. McKinley did not, however, thoroughly elucidate his admission. He should have explained that if a purchaser is compelled to pay a higher price, the producer gains the advantage at the expense of his fellow citizen—the one producer is thus enriched by the tax collected from the many consumers and the foreigner does not contribute.


The robbery of four bags of gold, said to contain $50,000, in charge of the Wells-Fargo Express company, by two bandits, a few miles from Sacramento, Cal., is the boldest and best planned depredation of the kind which has occurred to the present time. The deliberateness with which the robbery was carried out and the fact that they returned to Sacramento after committing it, instead of going in the other direction, would indicate that the perpetrators had carefully studied the matter out, and that possibly the deed was accomplished with the collusion of certain people not yet implicated.

That full-grown men in charge of a train carrying many thousands of dollars in treasure should not be prepared for attacks of robbers seems the sheerest carelessness, to say the least. That three men in good health and full vigor should absolutely offer no resistance to two robbers, no matter how armed, appears to be arrant cowardice. That two of them, menaced by the desperadoes, should beg the express messenger to open the doors, in order that their lives might be spared, and that the latter should obey them, seems like something else. Even carrying out of the robbers' threat would not have succeeded in opening the stout door of the express car. It would have taken a half an hour at the very least for them to have battered in the lock, for we are not told that they carried hammers or picks. The engineer and firemen were not responsible for the treasure and, is fact, were nothing to the mesenger. The latter's capitulation seems totally gratiutious.

The dispatches also state that the conductor and brakeman witnessed the uncoupling of the cars and ran off at a shot from the robbers. There were probably a dozen persons cognizant of the fact that the train was being robbed, and yet not a band was raised in defense of the train. Every cowardly knucklingdown of train crews makes it so much easier for the robbers who come after. It is evident that drastic measures will have to be taken by the courts, and that men animated by a different spirit will have to be placed in charge of railway.

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World Herald
  • Citation: 4
  • Date: October 15, 1894