The Situation

These selections from the July 27, 1877 issue of the Pittsburgh Daily Post note the expectation that all strikers will soon return to work. They also describe the arrival of General Hancock's troops and detail the legislation enacted in response to the strikes.


An easier feeling is reported as prevailing yesterday throughout the city and vicinity. There were no further labor strikes reported, and a disposition is said to exist on the part of some of the mill strikers to return to their duties. It was a hasty impulse their quitting work, and, taking all the circumstances into consideration, but for the additional excitement created, was absurdly ludicrous, because the time selected for the strike was the most unpropitious possible. Business is at a stand-still, or worse, and the supply of fuel and manufacturing stock growing low. We earnestly trust that all strikers in our local manufactories will at once resume work, and adjourn whatever grievances they have to a future day. The compulsory measures adopted to force men away from the workshops must be abandoned. It is a senseless and lawless proceeding.

An Associated Press dispatch from Washington reports that General Hancock has been ordered to this point, and of course he will not come alone. The general order issued by Governor HARTRANFT yesterday to General BROWNE, commanding the Sixth division, indicates prompt and decisive action by the authorities of the State to suppress all lawless demonstrations. In Philadelphia on Wednesday, Governor HARTRANFT, in a talk with a newspaper representative, said: "In my belief the feeling of the citizens throughout the Commonwealth has undergone a very great improvement within the last day or two and matters seem to be gaining a healthful standing. In the beginning of the trouble the presence of the troops was obnoxious to the people, especially in Pittsburgh, as the events of Saturday and Sunday disclosed. Now the malitia [sic] are welcomed. It is recognized that they are the proper instruments of the law in such cases of general violent disturbance." The Philadelphia Times of yesterday, speaking of the Governor's presence in that city, says:

There can be no mistake as to his purpose, nor need there be any doubts entertained as to the discretion and decision with which he will act. The great highways of this State are in the possession of a mob. Commerce is brought to a halt. Industry of all kinds is interrupted. The supplies of food for the people and materials for factories and mills will be exhausted in many places in a few days. Disorder seems to have a carnival in the very centers which give life to the Commonwealth. It is his duty to open the lawful highways now unlawfully impeded, peaceably if he can, forcibly if he must; and he will summon the whole power of the State and nation if organized resistance to order shall require it. He wisely with-holds from publication his plans and operations, but we speak advisedly when we say that much has already been done in furtherance of the early and decisive triumph of peace and law. One of his first acts was to disband for insubordination, cowardice and surrendering their arms to the rioter, the Conshohocken company that fraternized with the mob at Reading.


The legislature at its last session passed an act entitled "An act to provide for the better protection of passengers upon railroads and to insure the prompt transportation and delivery of freights." Under this law all engaged in illegal proceedings in the present strike within the limits of the Commonwealth are amenable to indictment and punishment in the criminal courts. The first and second sections refer to engineers abandoning their locomotives at any place other than the appointed destination; but the third and fourth sections are those which meet the possible exigencies of the near future.

SEC. 3. If any person, in aid or furtherance of the objects of any strikes upon any railroad, shall interfere with, molest or obstruct any locomotive engineer or other railroad employee engaged in the discharge and performance of his duty as such, every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500, and may be imprisoned for a term not exceeding six months, at the discretion of the court.

SEC. 4. If any person or persons, in aid or furtherance of the objects of any strike, shall obstruct any railroad track within this State, or shall injure or destroy the rolling stock or any other property of any railroad company, or shall take possession of or remove any such property, or shall prevent or attempt to prevent the use thereof by such railroad company or its employees, every such person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, and may be imprisoned not less than six months nor more than one year at the discretion of the court.

The position of the government at Washington in regard to the strikes, is reported as follows in a dispatch from Washington:

It has been decided to let events drift along-that is, if no violence is offered by the strikers to let them unmolested arrange their differences with the various corporations, unrestrained and unaided, provided travel is not impeded and the United States mails have the right of way without hindrance. The real uneasiness now felt here, however, is that trouble may arise in Chicago and St. Louis, and that some point west of the Ohio river will be the scene of an outbreak, if another occurs. All the dispatches received by the President, nevertheless, are of an assuring nature.

Another Says:

The Postmaster General telegraphed to Vanderbilt and Scott that the Government would hold them to their contract to carry the mails. Both of these gentlemen responded that they could not run special trains for the mails unless the Government would protect them. Scott's dispatch was very sharp. He said, among other things, that if the Government did not protect them in their business there would be such anarchy in this country as the world has never seen witnessed. It seems that the railroad men are about to make the point that if the mails are to be carried the Government must guarantee protection also to freight and regular passenger trains.

GOOD luck, or rather good management, has attended the Connellsville Railroad during the exciting days of the strike. No freight trains have been moved but crowded passenger trains have been run with clock-like regularity and precision. The local management of the road is good, and the best feeling prevails between the officials and employees. Superintendent HYNDMAN is certainly entitled to credit for the tact and sound judgment he has displayed. He seems to have the sympathies and confidence of his men to an extent that makes public recognition of the fact proper. These days, good feeling between subordonates [sic] and higher officials is a very important element successful railroading.

About this Document

  • Source: The Daily Post
  • Date: July 27, 1877