38) FT to SG, September 3, l897.
Hongo, Tokyo, Japan,
September 3, 1897.
Mr. Samuel Gompers,
President of Amer. Federation of Labor,
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
I am in receipt of your favor of July 30 and the accompanied commission and manual. Please accept my thanks for them.
I have read with a great deal of interest the August number of the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST , and was greatly moved in reading the appeal made in behalf of the striking miners. May they succeed in their noble struggle, is the prayer of one who lives in this Far East.
On the evening of July 31, the day when the FEDERATIONIST came to my hand, a meeting was held at Ushigome of this city. I took the opportunity to read to the audience, 400 machinists, the appeal, advising them to follow the noble step taken by representative labor leaders of America by forming a machinists union at an early date. The result of this meeting was an increase of 80 machinist members of the Rodo-Kumiai Kisei Kwai.
Another incident of the meeting was that three policemen were there to preserve order, but in reality to watch us--something never done before for any assemblage other than a political meeting. (My contention is that the meeting is not political, and the labor movement of this country does not need any political action for the present at least.) Thus, while the police are on the rim of violating our already limited right of speech, it was a great pleasure to read the appeal, and I assure you that I laid great stress on the point where the protest against the suppression of free speech was made.
By this mail I have forwarded to you second series of my correspondence, with a photograph of Mr. Sakuma accompanying. I earnestly wish that you will publish his picture in your magazine, which, I believe, will serve greatly to encourage his good work. Moreover, he is the only man we have at present to look for any material assistance when the police begin their active meddling in our work.
As I write in the article, the association is making rapid progress, and I expect to bring its membership to 1,000 before next month expires. Besides the work of the association, I am now trying to form a machinists union, which I expect to be completed within a month or two. Concerning this union, I will write fully in my future correspondence.
With best wishes to you and your organization, I am,
Organizer, A.F. of L. for Japan