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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/397

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most influential newspaper in Avalon. Stewart's mind, when its interest in a subject had been awakened, worked quickly; on the trip in to Avalon from New Rome he had systematized the notes which Tustin had given him, and after the first fumbling round for an effective introduction, his pen was scampering across the paper. It was a facile and intemperate pen.

He explained that the situation at New Rome was a matter of public concern and that one not associated with either party to the dispute was therefore justified in discussing it publicly. He exploited his friendship with Floyd in order to make his attitude of opposition the more damaging. As for argument, he declared that it was not now essential to take up the question of closed or open shop, though he would discuss that at some future time. For the present time it was sufficient to inquire into the actual incidents that had led up to this situation and from them to determine if the employer had not been a deliberate aggressor whose acts of injury had finally culminated in this attempt to make his workingmen relinquish a right that had never been in dispute. The appointment of a foreman whose personality was offensive to every workman in the mill was a malicious affront; the closing down of the entire plant because of the resentment expressed over this affront was a measure as tyrannical as it was drastic. If public opinion could in anyway liberate workingmen from the harsh coercion of such acts, public opinion should be roused. This was the gist of Stewart's first letter to the Eagle.

In the editorial column of the issue in which it appeared, there was printed a sharp reply. "As is well known to many," wrote the editor, "no one has less reason for making an unwarranted attack upon Mr. Floyd Halket than the gentleman whose communication is published on this page. Yet his attack is as unwarranted as it is ungenerous. There is not one of his assertions that may pass unchallenged." The editor took up Stewart's