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AN APPEAL., Issue 8005, 6 September 1889
TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—The poor dock laborers at present out on strike in London appeal to the whole world, or rather to the whole universe, for help in the way of means and sympathy as they contend with their masters in their own behalf—in behalf of many half-starved women, with thousands upon thousands of wretched sucklings, and myriads of youngsters of every size—for a little more pay, so as to enable them to live a little better, lhe strikers' contention is but for the matter of a single penny. The dock-owners will not consent to give more than 5d an hour; the strikers stick to their demand of Cd an hour.
To men living in the small cities throughout the colonies—to men to whom is known how much a penny is thought of for an hour —this great contention for a penny in the world's greatest city ever seen (wherein labors Mr W, E. Gladstone, the greatest living statesman, and wherein preaches Mr C. Spurgeon, the greatest living preacher) is but a contention of Tophetic force on the one side and of mournful lamentation on the other. How is it so in the enormous city of the enormous wealth ? It is by laboring millions at starvation prices. Fancy, you—4s 2d for a family man in the at least greatest money city in all the world ; and this 4s 2d only on an average of four days per week ! This is about the best for the dock laborer. Many other kinds of laborers are not so well off as that, But what the dock worker now demands on strike is that instead of 4s 2d ho must have an agreement for 5s per day. Now, this demand is a' very modest one, and will seem to every sympathetic colonist so ridiculously simple that it might be settled off without any cavil; but not being so the strike is fair, and the appeal of the strikers for help to sustain them while struggling for another penny an hour is highly deserving of being very substantially responded to from all parts of the universe. Of these colonies Australia has done a little in this way. Shall the people of New Zealand—the people of the most glorious land under the sun—be behind with their help ? Here now is a chance for the Gaelic Society of New Zea'aud—never behind in charity—to help in his trouble .the starving worker of the heavy-laden London docks. Here is an appeal to the Salvation Army in our midst to help those who are thus stuck in the horrible slum of the great city's starvation. It is to all the churches—Catholic and Protestant—to make heavy collections on one Sunday ; it is to all Focieties and classes and conditions of men in the land to collect and subscribe for to help and sustain so deserving a struggle ; and, as the strike is not confined to the dock laborers alone, but is also extended to thousands of sailors demanding not only an increase in pay but as well the reducing of the hours of labor, the sailors on New Zealand waters ought, as they well can, to do much by their assistance. So that altcgetherin this deserving cause let us New Zealanders show that we are not by a higher scale of living ourselves unqualified to graciously respond to the appeal of that starving mob whose very worst deeds even cannot in justice be called crimes, but misfortunes of London desperation. Let us show that Burns's prophecy of universal brotherhood is being fulfilled by what we shall do for our poor, starving brethren on the other side ; let us show, if possible, that Burns may be living yet, and Byron be still a force in the universe, with many thousands of others, mundaDe and otherwise, highly pleased to witness that at last the destitute poor are rising up to help themselves (after all self-help being the best) to more fuel, to more food, and to good clothes and better boots and shoes.—l am, etc., B. AND B. Dunedin, September 4.
AN APPEAL., Issue 8005, 6 September 1889
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