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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/213

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place, and the decisions and power of this mythical body were held in great awe by the Patrons. But other men were becoming interested and going to work. In Minnesota they were able to organize a State Grange, having mustered the fifteen district Granges required by the constitution. Two years later the State Grange of Iowa was organized, and its Worthy Master crossed the country to attend what the founders were pleased to call the "Fifth Annual Session of the National Grange." He was the first member of the order to meet with the seven. What he thought on ascertaining the real state of things is not recorded. However, he did not give up the work, and later he became Worthy Master of the National Grange. The order kept growing. At the sixth annual session, held at Georgetown in January, 1873, there were delegates from eleven States, and four women were present; 1,074 Granges had been organized during the year. The founders now gave up their offices, not even reserving the right to vote, and delivered over the results of six years' labor to their successors. For the first time, the greatest of farmers' societies was in the hands of farmers!

The next two years were years of astounding growth—a growth almost unparalleled in the history of secret organizations, and resembling that of the Know-Nothings twenty years before. At the end of 1872 about 1,300 Granges had been organized. In the year 1873, 8,668 more were added; and in 1874, 11,941, making a total of almost 22,000, with an average membership of forty. Some idea of the magnitude of these figures may be gained from the fact that the whole number of lodges of Masons and Odd-Fellows in the world is estimated at about 20,000. The order was represented in every State except Rhode Island (which has never found room for it). It had been established in the Indian Territory, whence it appealed for help to the National Grange because the governor of the Chickasaw nation looked on it with suspicion, and had ordered all Grangers out of the Chickasaw country. It had taken root in Canada, where, a few years later, there were 860 subordinate Granges. One deputy introduced it into England; others were laboring in France and Germany; and inquiries and invitations were coming even from Australia and Tasmania.

Grange treasuries were overflowing. In 1873 and 1874 the dues to the National Grange alone, according to the official statement, amounted to $348,532.20. The press was discussing the new order with alarm. Legislative committees were scurrying about the country to see what could be done for the farmer. In the words of the New York "Nation," "the farmer was the spoiled child of our politics." The House of Representatives at Washington was overawed at the new power that was apparently rising in politics, and those who claimed, for the most part falsely, to represent the movement enjoyed an astonishing influence. Among other legislation secured by these men, one