Correspondence between F. Takano and S. Gompers
No.31 Oiwake St., Komagome,
Hongo, Tokyo, July 3, 1897.
Mr. Samuel Gompers,
President of Amer. Federation of Labor,
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Dear Sir,--Yours of May 19th and accompanied pamphlets have come duly to hand. I read with a great interest your address to the Western Federation of Miners. It is really refreshing reading matter and at the same time very powerful arraignment of those false friends of Labor. I congratulate your victory over that hot headed socialist Boyce.
I have the greatest pleasure to announce to you that the "Friends of Labor" succeeded again to hold a public meeting and it proved, I am glad to say, a great success. The meeting was held at the hall of Youngmen's Christian Association at Kanda on the evening of June 25th. We had element against us again but over twelve hundred workingmen of various trades attended despite the rain and muddy road. The meeting was addressee by Messrs. Geo, a member of the "Friends of Labor," Rev. Kaiseki Matsumura, lecturer of Y.M.C.A., Teiichi Sakuma, well known capitalist and sympathizer of working people, Sen Katayama, a graduate of Harvard University and myself. Never before such a great assemblage and enthusiastic meeting of working people held in this country; great applause and prolonged hand clapping was "the order of the day." Every utterance of speakers in connection with deplorable condition of working people and advice of united action on the part of them brought the whole house to an enthusiastic applause. So enthusiastic was the audience that I considered it as a golden opportunity and took an initial step toward the formation of trades unions. Requesting to remain those who are ready to work for the cause of labor, the meeting was dispersed and to those who remained I have disclosed my plan of trade union movement. The plan as I have presented before them is to form an organization with specific purpose (1) to agitate for trade unionism, (2) to render every assistance to those who are desirous to organize their trades and (3) to publish a labor magazine and literature. The plan received a generous indorsement of the remaining audience and over 50 people sent in their address with promise to attend a preliminary meeting to be held on the 5th inst., when the formation of the organization is to be perfected and active measures will be taken up to further its purpose.
The meeting, however, revealed to me the most dangerous state of feeling existing among our working people. The intense enthusiastic reception of every bitter word uttered by speakers in denunciation of capitalists went to display, in its naked form, the bitter animosity entertained by working people toward capitalists. This bitter animosity, if not properly lead, must end to disorder and should there appear at this moment mischievous and false friends of labor, taking the opportunity to stir workers to further their own greedy purpose, it can not fail to inflict unmeasureable[sic] damage to the cause of labor in this country. This revelation further strengthened my former resolution from any inflammable utterance, expressing none but conservative idea as embodied in trade unionism pure and simple, and condemning every radical action on the part of workers. At the same time I will endeavor to hold the enthusiasm of workers to its highest tension and bring organizing work of trades unions to its firm basis. These, I believe, are in full accordance with what trades unionists believe and should do, that is, they believe in evolution not in revolution and never to miss golden opportunity. Am I right?
I have been consulting with leaders or striking Ship's carpenters of Yokohama. They have formed a union with the purpose to strike, though they deny it, some four weeks ago. The strike is still pending and it is carried on Peacefully and orderly with prospect of final victory. I am endeavoring to bring the union to a firm basis and strongly advising its leaders to federate with ship's carpenters of Tokyo, Kobe and Osaka. I will write fully upon the subject in my next letter to you.
The Friends of Labor proposes to decorate its office with portrait of well-known labor leaders and social reformers, believing that they will serve to arouse the spirit of those who are ready to work for the noble cause. With this view, I have been requested to apply to you for one of your pictures recently taken and of some other leaders to whom you will make request in the behalf of the Friends of Labor. The pictures will, if necessary, be returned after they were enlarged in this country.
For the request I have made in regard with my contributions to American journals, I shall be very glad to receive a favorable answer from you at an early date. I am keenly feeling the need of fund to continue my work and your assistance toward securing journals for publication of my articles will be greatly appreciated. In this connection, I will mention that Mr. Carter of the Firemen's Magazine has generously accepted my offer to contribute to the magazine and I shall soon begin to fulfil my offer.
With best wishes to you and to your organization, I remain, Yours fraternally,
P.S. As the actual step toward the long wished for desire is now fairly on its way and my utterance so far as a general organizer of your federation gave much weight, I must apply for the renewal of my commission as general organizer and I believe it will help me a great deal to lead disastified workers to their real road of emancipation. Should you find any trouble to renew it under your new regulation, a written statemert from you to the effect that I am representing your federation in this country, will suffice for the purpose. F.T.