By the time of his death in 1917 Harrison Gray Otis' paper had undeniably 

earned a reputation as one of the most outspoken anti-union, anti-socialist 

dailies in the country.  Long before the 1910 bombing of the Times Los Angeles 

radicals considered Otis to be the enemy.  His attitude in the 1890s, when he 

stood alone in opposition to unionized printers, and the consistent anti-union 

philosophy that filled his editorial columns won for him the enmity of both 

organized labor and the socialist movement.  When the fledgling Los Angeles 

Socialist began publication in late 1901 an early editorial suggested 

facetiously that "If Otis pays us enough we will show....when the bomb under 

the Times' office is timed to explode."

    In the late 1880s, however, Otis and the Times exhibited an occasional 

tolerance toward radicals and their efforts that is surprising in light of the 

later bitterness the paper displayed toward anything that smacked of socialism.  

Three clearly radical issues drew several letters, and editorial replies, in 

that decade.  In the first instance, involving Chicago's Haymarket anarchists, 

Otis ran letters defending the accused radicals but his opposition was clear 

from the beginning.   Regarding the other two, the Times initially ran not only 

letters from radicals in support of their position but also ran favorable news 

articles.  By the time the letters had run their course, however, the policy of 

the paper was clearly in opposition to the radicals.  

                          A) THE HAYMARKET ANARCHISTS

    The 1886 Haymarket Riot and the subsequent trial and execution of the 

Chicago anarchists drew limited but significant response from the paper's 

readers.  Times editorials denounced the anarchists and the paper carried 

regular reports of the legal proceedings in Illinois that culminated in the 

execution of Albert Parsons, August Spies and two other anarchists in Nov., 

1887.  Following the executions, several readers expressed their opinion of the 

anarchists and of the judicial system that took their lives.  Two writers 

related the treatment of the martyred anarchists to the way the justice system 

treated abolitionists before the Civil War and ex-Confederates and Klansmen 

afterward.  Note the title that Otis placed on the letter by L. P. Daups.  It 

was surely due more to Otis' participation as a Union officer in the Civil War, 

which guided his political position in the decades after the conflict, than to 

any sympathy for the anarchists whom Daups defended.  Neither Daubs nor J. P. 

Shnied are listed in city directories of the 1880s.

                         {Times, Nov. 14, 1887, p. 5}

                               A Shnied Opinion.

              Los Angeles, Nov. 13.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  I 

         saw in the Saturday Telegram certain opinions of certain 

         great men of this city.

              At Harper's Ferry the law was there vindicated by the 

         hanging of John Brown, and order triumphed.  The South was 

         right in hanging him and his companions, for they attacked 

         law and order in armed bodies.  If in that time any newspaper 

         made a collection of personal opinions, nearly all nations 

         were ready to sign the death warrant of all Abolitionists.  

         Now, for those poor future heroes, the church, the press and 

         the reactions are more savage than to the preceding ones.  I 

         am sorry that Jesus Christ lives not again, because, to be 

         sure, you would be ready to make another hero of him.

              Yours, truly,                         

                                           J. P. SHNIED.

                         {Times, Nov. 17, 1887, p. 5}

                          Able Argument by Mr. Daups.

              Los Angeles, Nov. 14.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         For expressing their opinions and free thoughts those poor 

         young men were murdered and then cruelly insulted; their 

         wives, mothers, daughters and sisters cowardly and 

         ignominiously jeered by those vile adorers of the press and 

         the church.

              Vindicators of the law and order, why did you not make 

         it triumph with the rebellious Jeff Davis?  with the klux-

         klux clan, murdering negroes and whites?  Why?  I will tell 

         you.  Because they belonged to the same class as yourself, 

         and consequently wolves; for wolves do not tear one another.  

         But if, for the sake of the unfortunate class of proletariat, 

         anyone should raise his voice in favor of their emancipation, 

         and declare the truth against their master, immediately the 

         bulldogs and bloodhounds of the capitalists and the church 

         set up the howling, bellowing cry, "Law and order must reign!  

         Hang, hang them all, right or wrong!"  "It does not make any 

         difference; he is a negro."  Here it is the Mexican; in the 

         East the plebeian.  Woe to the vanquished.

                                      Yours respectfully,

                                              L. P. DAUPS.

    Even when "A Sympathizer" penned an exceedingly long defense of the 

anarchists, far in excess of the space normally devoted to a single letter, 

Otis refrained from attacking the argument.  Instead, the title placed above 

the letter implied neither support nor opposition to the writer's position.  

The author of the letter is unknown, though the name was apparently known to 

Otis since he required that the true name be supplied to the editor before a 

letter could be printed with a pseudonym.  Whether or not Otis knew the writer 

to be an anarchist is also unclear; he may simply have assumed that to be the 

case although the content of the letter does not declare the writer to have 

been one.  Captain Bonfield was in charge of the Chicago police unit at 

Haymarket on the day of the bombing.  Julius Grinnell was the prosecuting 


                         {Times, Nov. 28, 1887, p. 3}

               An Anarchist's Defense of the Chicago Anarchists.

              Los Angeles, Nov. 27.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         The recent judicial murder of these four brave men leaves the 

         darkest stains on the history of our country ever known, 

         though public sentiment, at present, is strongly against 

         them--and for this reason:  Every avenue of information has 

         been perverted by falsehood and prejudice to bias public 

         opinion, and the impression has been created and fostered 

         that they were fiends incarnate, devoid of human feelings or 

         sympathy.  Their trial was a farce as far as justice is 

         concerned, and their conviction was decided before it begun.  

         Now, what were these men, and what was their offense?  They 

         were men of dreams, of ideas, of clear insight, and hearts 

         warm with sympathy for the oppressed of every station, and as 

         labor agitators and reformers Spies and Parsons had few if 

         any equals.  Their offense was working for the abolition of 

         wage slavery, a condition of society once characterized by 

         Horace Greeley in these words:  "The wage system is 

         commendable only when compared with absolute slavery."  For 

         this offense, and the attempt to establish the eight-hour 

         system, they were marked as enemies to society and branded as 

         disturbing elements.  Previous to the Haymarket meeting, at 

         which those bombs were thrown by an unknown hand, six 

         workingman had been shot down in cold blood, without the 

         authorities taking any notice of it; and at this meeting, 

         which was called to discuss this unjustifiable outrage, the 

         people there gathered were confronted by 150 police whose 

         object was to break up the meeting, though their presence was 

         contrary to the orders of Mayor Harrison, who afterward swore 

         that he was at the meeting and heard nothing out of the way.  

         The police accomplished their object, but with a very 

         unexpected result; and what occurred at that time is well-

         known history.  Who threw that bomb is yet a mystery, but 

         none of the eight convicted men did; and that they knew 

         nothing of it, or that it was to be thrown, is shown by the 

         fact that some of them had their families there, while two of 

         the condemned were not present at all; and the most ever 

         proven against these men was that they used incendiary 

         language at the time those six men were shot at McCormick's, 

         and nine men and one woman in St. Louis; and nowhere was it 

         ever proven that they used dynamite, or advised its use only 

         as a self-protection.  And these men were hung because they 

         had brains and evolved ideas not relished by the capitalistic 

         class, who want to make serfs out of the workingmen.  Only 

         this and nothing more, and unbiased minds that are familiar 

         with the speeches of Spies and Parsons will say they were 

         lofty, grand, sublime.  Parsons, a men who was denominated by 

         the Rev. Dr. Thomas as "the worst of the lot, and a man who 

         should be hung," said in his Haymarket speech, when someone 

         interrupted him to say "Hang Jay Gould," "This is not a 

         conflict between individuals, but for a change of system, and 

         until the system is abolished, if we hang one Jay Gould a 

         dozen will rise in his place."  This was what the man said 

         who has been characterized as a brutal fiend, longing for 

         blood and gore.  He also said it was "almost impossible for a 

         poor man to get justice in a court of law; that law was for 

         sale just like bread; if you had no money you could get no 

         bread, and without money you could get no justice."  Look at 

         our corrupt judicial system all over; note the San Francisco 

         scandals and those in our own city; reflect on the pardoning 

         power of money as lately disclosed, and then deny his charges 

         if possible.  Said August Spies at the time of his trial, 

         while waiting the sentence:  "It is not likely that Bonfield 

         and Grinnell can conceive of a condition of social order not 

         held in tact by a policeman's club or pistol, nor of a free 

         society without prisons, gallows and State's attorneys.  Is 

         this the reason why anarchy is such a pernicious, damnable 

         doctrine?  Grinnell has informed me that anarchy is on trial, 

         yet the theory of anarchism belongs to the realm of 

         speculative philosophy.  There was not a syllable said about 

         anarchy at the Haymarket meeting, the very popular theme of 

         reducing the hours of toil being discussed.  But anarchism is 

         on trial.  If this is the case, Your Honor, very well; you 

         may sentence me, for I am an Anarchist.  I believe with 

         Buckle, with Paine, with Jefferson, with {illegible}, with 

         Spencer and many other great thinkers of this century, that 

         the state of caste and classes, the state where one class 

         dominates and lives upon another class, and calls it order, 

         should be abolished.  Yes, I believe that this barbarous 

         'order' is doomed to die, and make room for free societies, 

         volunteer associations, universal brotherhood.  You may 

         pronounce your sentence upon me, but let the world know that 

         A. D. 1886, in the State of Illinois, eight men were 

         sentenced to death because they had not lost faith in the 

         ultimate victory of liberty and justice."

              For holding these views and working for this end he was 

         hung like a dog, and his name added to the long list of 

         martyrs that have suffered death for principle and the 

         betterment of social systems.  Yet he has been so maligned 

         one unfamiliar with his speeches or writings would suppose he 

         had a heart of stone, and delighted in shedding human blood 

         and listening to the wails of agony; and so little is the 

         doctrine of anarchy understood that intelligent editors 

         inform their readers that it is opposed to voluntary 

         associations--exactly what it is aiming at.  Fear and force 

         have ruled the world thus far, and these brave men died for a 

         doctrine that advocates something different and better.  I 

         wish their speeches, theories and doctrines could be spread 

         broadcast to refute the lies and falsifications given to the 

         world through the Associated Press, but alas! justice does 

         not prevail in this world, and the opposition presents but 

         one side, on which the public is expected to form a correct 

         conclusion or judgment.  When I think how these brave and 

         valiant men went unflinching to their doom, and how they met 

         that fearful fate, my admiration is aroused; but when I 

         reflect on the terrible torture that followed the drop of the 

         death trap, feelings of horror surge over me, and I am led to 

         ask, does civilization civilize, and are we less brutal than 

         our remote ancestors?  There is little room to doubt that the 

         drop was purposely arranged to protract their physical 

         sufferings by slow strangulation, and here we see revenge and 

         fiendishness added to injustice.  The awful agony that Spies 

         underwent is terrible to contemplate, and that such horrors 

         can be enacted in the name of "law and order" in this 

         nineteenth century seems almost incredible.  Every pulse of 

         agony was felt and noted for publication by a man, who, 

         unless devoid of sympathy and sensitiveness could never have 

         stood unmoved in the presence of such exquisite agony.  If 

         lives must be destroyed in the name of law and order, why not 

         let mercy accompany the act, and make it painless, either by 

         the guillotine or electricity?  But why in this so-called 

         Christian Nation do professed Christians disobey their God, 

         who said:  "Thou shalt not kill?"  who sent a new doctrine to 

         replace the barbarous one that claimed an eye for an eye, and 

         a tooth for a tooth.  Why is the doctrine of Jesus preached 

         but not practiced wherein he counseled love, charity and 

         forbearance?  Is not Christianity a doctrine of love instead 

         of hate, as taught from the pulpit?  If so, how could the 

         clergy consistently clamor for the blood and agony of these 

         men?  If so, why did one of them, more humane that the rest, 

         come near being deposed for expressions of sympathy with the 

         murdered four?  Will some one who can, give an answer, and 

         when will the world cease to make martyrs for opinion's sake, 

         and stop killing the benefactors of the race?

                                       A SYMPATHIZER.

    "Sympathizer's" discourse elicited a single dissent, and that, 

surprisingly, from one whose stand on social issues as expressed in other 

letters would have led a reader to expect him to defend the anarchists.  Ralph 

Hoyt, founder of the Clearwater cooperative colony and author of a stirring 

defense of minority rights under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, left 

no doubt about his position on the anarchists' guilt or innocence.

                         {Times, Nov. 29, 1887, p. 3}
                              Anarchist Parsons.

              Los Angeles, Nov. 28.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  A 

         communication appeared in The Times today, signed "A 

         Sympathizer," in defense of the recently executed Chicago 

         Anarchists.  The writer is undoubtedly sincere in his 

         statements, and what he says concerning the barbarity of the 

         gallows is pertinent and worthy of everybody's attention.  

         But I think he places too high an estimate on the characters 

         and motives of the Anarchists, particularly in the case of 

         Parsons.  I knew Parsons a few years ago, when he was 

         prominently before the public in Chicago as a champion of 

         workingmen's rights.  He was a smart fellow, a keen writer 

         and an effective public speaker.  He might have been a useful 

         citizen, but he fell in with a gang of out-and-out 

         Anarchists, and ere long he become one of the most blatant 

         and radical of the lot.  As an indication of the spirit which 

         moved him to talk and write as he did, I will here mention an 

         incident which occurred only a few months prior to the 

         Haymarket massacre:

              Parsons was in the law office of L. K. de Wolf, where 

         was present also Joseph S. Whitcomb.  Both De Wolf and 

         Whitcomb were well known citizens of Chicago, and men of 

         unquestioned veracity.  They were remonstrating with Parsons 

         on the violent language used in some of his speeches.  At 

         last Whitcomb said;  "See here, Parsons, if you keep on like 

         this you will get a rope around your neck, some day.  Why 

         don't you workingmen vote for your own interests?  The place 

         to right your wrongs is at the ballot box."  To this warning 

         Parsons replied by picking up a large inkstand and 

         exclaiming:  "What's the use of a laboring man voting when a 

         piece of dynamite no bigger than this inkstand is sufficient 

         to blow up this building?"  I should add that Mr. De Wolf's 

         office was in a four-story brick block on Washington street.

              Such was a sample of the atrocious sentiments held and 

         uttered by Anarchist Parsons.  Unfortunately he did not heed 

         the wholesome warning given him by Mr. Whitcomb, but went on, 

         from bad to worse, until at last he did, indeed, "get a rope 

         around his neck?"  Of all the eight convicted Anarchists, 

         Parsons was perhaps the most dangerous and the least 


                                         RALPH E. HOYT.

    By early February, 1888, when the last letter regarding the Haymarket 

Affair appeared in the Times, Otis had had enough.  The paper had become 

increasingly anti-anarchist, and in response to a short letter by carpenter 

Channing Severance, attacking Otis for his anti-anarchist editorials, Otis 

wrote an unusually long editorial reply, exceeding a column in length.  The 

response, for the most part, contained quotations from several pro-anarchist 

sources that Otis apparently believed were so outrageous that no reasonable 

person could accept them.  Those quotations have been omitted from the 

editorial reply printed below.  There is no indication that Severance was 

related to social reformer Caroline Severance.  For the crimes of Anschlag,

see the chapter on law and order.

                         {Times, Feb. 5, 1888, p. 10}

                     Letter from a Crank and an Anarchist.

              Los Angeles, Feb. 1.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  At 

         frequent intervals you burst out with a blast against 

         anarchy, and knowing so little about it you confound such a 

         devilish fiend as Anschlag with thoughtful students and 

         philosophical investigators, who are trying to discover some 

         better social system than the one which makes millionaires 

         and paupers, which breeds crime and criminals.  And for your 

         benefit I enclose these clippings, which your sensational 

         reporter would also do well to read.  There is something in 

         the theory of anarchism besides brute force, blood and 

         violence; and I have yet to learn of an Anarchist who 

         advocates force and destruction only for self-protection.  

         Unless the world has reached its ultimate of knowledge and 

         progress, there must be a better condition attainable than 

         our present; and as no reform ever originated with those 

         possessed with power and profit, it is useless to expect 

         millionaires or their subsidized press to advocate or approve 

         of any change that will make tyranny and oppression 

         impossible.  From the masses, from the common people, will 

         reformers spring, and the discussion of anarchy will never be 

         ended by ridicule, misrepresentation or brute force 

         scientifically applied.  Charles J. Guiteau was a Christian, 

         but it remained for your bright reporter to discover that 

         Anschlag was an Anarchist.

                                         C. SEVERANCE.

              [The following more or less incoherent utterances 

         contain specimen sentiments of the brutal and bloody gang 

         whom C. Severance lauds as "thoughtful students and 

         philosophical investigators" (God save the mark!) who are 

         laboriously "trying to discover some better social system" 

         through the favorite agency of the bomb--or by destroying 

         existing society, defying the laws of the land, forming 

         conspiracies, committing cowardly murders, and attempting to 

         lay violent hands upon property created by the labor, 

         frugality and economy, not of themselves, but of others!  

         This is the gang that, according to the doctrine of this 

         wild-eyed correspondent, we are to consider as composed of 

         saints, patriots and reformers!  How much worse is the wretch 

         Anschlag than the alien scoundrels and murderers who enacted 

         the Haymarket horror, and for it paid the penalty?--Ed. 


              {Lengthy quotations from or about anarchists followed 

         this editorial postscript.- Ed.}


    In November, 1886, a group of American colonists led by Albert Owen, of 

Chester, Pa., settled on the Gulf of California at an empty spot called 

Topolobampo in Sinaloa, Mexico.  While surveying railroad routes for the 

Mexican government Owen had come across this undeveloped bay, near Guaymas, 

with a well-protected, deep water inner harbor that he foresaw as a future 

port.  With plans for an aqueduct to bring water from a distant river and the 

intent to connect the colony site by rail with transcontinental lines, Owen had 

organized a company, chartered under Colorado law as the Credit Foncier of 

Sinaloa.  Marie and Edward Howland edited the colony's promotional newspaper, 

first in New Jersey and then, after colonists began to settle at Topolobampo, 

at the colony.

    Primarily an agricultural community, Topolobampo was but one of several 

socialistic cooperative colonies that sprang up in the West in the hard times 

of the 1880s and 1890s.  "Equality," in Washington state, and "Kaweah," 

adjacent to what became Sequoia National Park, were better known examples of 

such socialist utopias.

    The first of several hundred American colonists who eventually traveled to 

Topolobampo were 27 pioneers from California and Oregon.  Other Californians 

followed, particularly from the San Francisco area.  Because of the large 

California contingent among the settlers the state's newspapers gave a great 

deal of publicity to Topolobampo's founding and progress.  

    Initial reports were favorable, even in the Times, which reprinted letters 

and news reports that had appeared in other papers.  The Jan. 20, 1887, issue 

reprinted from the San Francisco Chronicle "An Enthusiastic Letter from a 

Communistic Colonist."  On Feb. 1 Otis devoted a column and a half to another 

letter, reprinted from the New York Sun, about "enthusiastic colonists."

    By late March, however, the attitude of the Times had changed and instead 

of favorable letters reprinted from other journals the paper was printing its 

own letters, almost entirely of an unfavorable nature.  The first was from 

Alvan D. Brock, who, upon his return to Los Angeles in early 1887, became a 

real estate salesman in the great land boom of that year.

                         {Times, Mar. 28, 1887, p. 7}



         The Modern Colonel Sellers Guilty of Misrepresentation Which 

            Has Led to Beggary and Death--Open Letter From a Fellow 


              Los Angeles, Mar. 27, 1887.--[To the Editor of The 

         Times.]  The following letter was written after perusal of an 

         extra number of the Credit Foncier, just received here, which 

         is filled with attacks of the most dastardly description upon 

         Directors Eaton and Hawkins, who recently came from 

         Topolobampo with their families, and also upon those 

         "deserters," as they are styled, who turned back at Guaymas 

         upon hearing their recital, and upon witnessing Mr. Owen's 

         cowardly behavior and robbery of their private property.

              I have long felt that I had failed in my duty to advise 

         the stockholders of that ill-starred enterprise of the facts 

         in my possession, and I urge you to help me make this tardy 

         reparation that no more money or valuable lives be sacrificed 

         by this latest Colonel Sellers, without any of his redeeming 

         qualities.  I assure you that I have private information from 

         those wretched people now there, which shows that in a few 

         weeks famine will add its horrors to the pestilence that 

         still walks at noonday there, and we shall shortly appeal to 

         a generous public to help away those, at least, who besought 

         with agonizing entreaties Messrs. Hawkins and Eaton and their 

         party to take them away:

                                AN OPEN LETTER

              To Albert K. Owen, chairman Credit Foncier of Sinaloa, 

         president and director Mexican-American Construction Company, 

         chief engineer Texas, Topolobampo and Pacific Railway and 

         Telegraph Company--Sir:  As a late director of the Credit 

         Foncier Company, and as having had excellent opportunities 

         for personal knowledge of your devious and disreputable 

         methods of misleading its stockholders, I now denounce you as 

         the grossest falsifier and most monumental confidence 

         operator of this or any other age.

              I charge, and can prove, that you have:

              1. Subscribed for 5000 shares of stock in the aforesaid 

         company, on which you announced, through your newspaper 

         organ, you would pay 50 per cent. cash (or $25,000), not one 

         cent of which have you paid, or could you pay, even if you 

         ever intended to do so.

              2. You announced that the Texas, Topolobampo, Railway 

         Company, etc., had subscribed for 2000 of said shares, and 

         you did this without the authority or knowledge of any of its 

         officers, as they have personally assured me.

              3. You made a contract in secret with said railroad 

         company; which you privately and publicly declared would give 

         the Credit Foncier Company control of its franchises and 

         concessions from Mexico.

              4. This contract (never legally and duly executed) does 

         not and cannot give or enable the acquirement of such alleged 


              5. You executed this fraudulent contract with closed 

         doors, while two of the directors (of whom I was one, and 

         your chosen attorney and director, S.{L.?} H. Hawkins, was 

         another) were in an adjoining room, and the third, Treasurer 

         John W. Lovell, your bosom friend, was within ten minutes' 


              6. You do not now, and never did, legally, own one foot 

         of the arid sand-waste, slimy mud flats and barren, rocky 

         mountains styled the city-site of Topolobampo.

              7. You willfully and illegally sent $500 of the $5000 

         paid by your confiding and duped stockholders to Mexico City 

         to the government officials, who, you admitted to me, had to 

         be "conciliated" by this and other valuable concessions, to 

         obtain the railroad grants.

              8. You have again and again asserted that an irrigating 

         ditch could be constructed from the Fuerte River to the 

         Mochis tract, to water 15,000 acres, for $40,000, when you 

         had in your possession two surveys of Col. Fitch, made at 

         your request, the lowest of which estimated that the cost 

         would be $400,000, or more than ten times as much as you 


              9. You have illegally and willfully drawn from the 

         treasury (John W. Lovell's weekly consenting) more than 

         $12,000 of the company's money, and three weeks ago there was 

         not $500 remaining.

              10. You allowed scores of pioneers to go to Topolobampo 

         via Nogales and Guaymas, knowing that smallpox in violent 

         form existed in all three of the places, with never a hint 

         when you met them on the way at Nogales, that the pestilence 

         existed, knowing that these pioneers had neither vaccine 

         matter, medicines, hospital stores or proper shelter from the 

         enormous dews of that inhospitable bay.

              11. In consequence, some of these poor victims 

         unwittingly contracted the dread disease on their way, and 

         died in Topolobampo in the most wretched misery, their only 

         shelter being miserable Mexican mats, hung upon the limbs of 

         cactus trees--while "Alberton Hall," your private property, 

         the lumber for which was paid for by a loan from a poor 

         baker, was locked up by your order till your return--not 

         allowed to be profaned by the presence of sick or well, 

         except by your tool, Dr. Schellhous.

              12. You are, actually and truly, the murderer of these 

         unfortunates, and the record of this portion of the colony 

         forms the blackest and most repulsive page in the history of 

         similar enterprises, and will doom you to eternal infamy when 

         the full truth shall be published, as it will be very 


              13. You have, in the last document from Topolobampo, 

         just received here uttered the most outrageous falsehoods and 

         malicious insinuations against Directors Eaton and Hawkins 

         (especially the latter) who thank God every waking hour, and 

         unconsciously in their still-feverish sleep, that they have 

         escaped with their lives from that hell prison, (rendered 

         doubly torturesome by the presence of scores of ill-mannered 

         and foul-tongued brutes in human form)--an abode which Dante 

         or Milton must have seen with prophetic eye.

              14. These directors whom you malign, with all their 

         faults, are gentlemen, the latchets of whose shoes you are 

         unworthy to unloose, and instead of appropriating company 

         funds, as you wickedly and falsely state, many of the 

         penniless escaped victims owe the means of their escape to 

         their generous help.

              15. You, like the dastardly coward that you have proved 

         yourself, refused to meet these sick and despairing, helpless 

         victims at Guaymas, though repeatedly urged to do so by even 

         the friends who still cling to you, and declared with oaths, 

         that you did not care how much they suffered; that the 

         enterprise would be carried through by you single-handed, in 

         spite of disease, pestilence and death.

              16. You robbed those who had intended to go to 

         Topolobampo, but turned back at Guaymas upon hearing the 

         facts of provisions and stores that were their private 

         property, without so much as an offer of compensation, and 

         many of them are in this city today, stranded because of your 

         deliberate theft.

              I might go on and fill up pages with facts showing the 

         damning character of your operations, but I refrain for the 

         present, with the assurance that, as an old newspaper man, I  

         mean to appeal to that noble fraternity all over this broad 

         land to help unmask your Machiavellian schemes, until the 

         name of Albert K. Owen shall be execrated and spit upon by 

         every honest man and woman therein.

              As to your eager and too-willing dupe and co-worker in 

         this gigantic swindle, Mrs. Marie Howland, who masquerades 

         under the guise of "Love," and as the promoter of "a higher 

         civilization," I say to her publicly what I have said to her 

         privately, under her own roof, repeatedly, she will yet weep 

         tears of blood for her gross and willful perversion of the 

         real facts in this terrible business, and the deliberate 

         suppression of the harrowing tales of many of these 

         unfortunates, sent to her, as I know, from that prison-house 

         of horrors--Topolobampo, the natural home of malaria, 

         measles, smallpox, where, even if plenty of good water 

         existed, as it does not, life can never be made unendurable, 

         except to savages, peons, and the dregs of civilization.

              May God forgive me for my silence so long.  I can only 

         plead in excuse that I was mentally and physically prostrated 

         by disease, which this glorious climate has, in three months, 

         removed; and I promise to make up now, in some degree, for my 

         criminal neglect, which, even now, haunts my sleep and has 

         retarded my restoration to health.

              I beg you to believe, Mr. Owen, that I will, in the near 

         future, pay my further respects to you as the promoter of the 

         most gigantic and baseless swindles which it was ever my 

         misfortune to read or know of.

                                           ALVAN D. BROCK

                            Late Director of Credit Foncier Co.

    John Smith, writing to the Times from Hammonton, N.J., continued the 

assault on Owen's colony.  Since the Howland's were from New Jersey, it is 

possible Smith knew them there.

                         {Times, Mar. 30, 1887, p. 6}

                  Marie and Edward Howland, and Other Cranks.

              Hammonton, (N. J.), March 22.--[To the Editor of The 

         Times.]  A copy of your paper reached me today bearing date 

         of March 8, 1887, with an expose of the "Topolobampo Bay 

         Credit Foncier Company," etc., etc.  I also send you a copy 

         or two of their "official organ," edited (?) by Marie--mark 

         you!--"Marie and Edward Howland."  You will perceive it is 

         not an immense sheet.  "Marie and Edward" are certainly "two 

         souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as 

         one"--i.e., on the Sinaloa paradise (?) scheme.  Edward 

         Howland is a "Communist" of the oddest type.  He can--and 

         does--tell others how to live, farm, etc., etc.  But ah! 

         there's the rub.  He practically can't tell whether 

         vegetables--say beets--are raised in the ground, on trees, or 

         elsewhere.  A. K. Owen certainly ought to be "raised" on the 

         limb of a tree for his heartless deception of many well-

         meaning people in this accursed scheme of his.  This Owen is 

         not, I think, a deep-dyed schemer, but he is a crank of the 

         first order; and, as such, he should be shown up.  He has his 

         place in the world, evidently, but it is certainly not as a 

         leader in a colonization scheme.  In all localities there are 

         several who can be spared for the locality's good, and 

         without detracting one iota from those who are honest in 

         their views on this matter, the masses of those who indorse 

         this "Credit Foncier" humbug in this locality are composed of 

         free-lovers, spiritualists, cranks and all sorts of failures 

         in general.

              "Marie and Edward" are sincere in this movement.  I give 

         them credit for that, but if you will go to any institution 

         for the insane you will find that every soul of them is also 

         dead in earnest, too.  To "Marie and Edward" the world is all 

         wrong, and they are bound to set it right.  Let us give them 

         credit (?) for it.  But are they safe leaders to follow?  I 

         calmly say no; they are not.

              "Never take advice from an unsuccessful man," is an old 

         proverb.  And yet many well-meaning people stand ready to 

         "fall in" with any craze, no matter how Utopian it may be.

              "Marie and Edward" are failures, have always been 

         failures.  And it is probable they always will remain 

         failures.  They belong to a class to whom the world "owes a 

         living"--a class not fit to tie to.        

                                         JOHN SMITH.

    In March, 1887, while the Times heaped scorn on the Topolobampo experiment, 

a group of Southern Californians committed to the idea of a cooperative 

society, organized a local, alternative colony.  Under the leadership of former 

Chicago journalist Ralph Hoyt, they incorporated the Clearwater Cooperative 

Colony, located in what, years later, became the city of Paramount.  Despite 

the antagonistic position the Times had taken toward Topolobampo, Otis 

maintained a positive position regarding Clearwater.

    The final letter on Topolobampo was written by Louis Hobart Hawkins, 

secretary-treasurer of the California Land and Investment Association and one 

of the two former directors who had "deserted" the colony.  Despite his dire 

predictions and sharp criticism of Owen's management, the colony survived for 

several years.  As late as 1892 over 400 colonists resided at Topolobampo.   

                         {Times, June 17, 1887, p. 6}


              Los Angeles, June 16.--[To the Editor of the Times.]  I 

         have just received from Capt. Brock a letter written him by 

         John Clendening, now of that bubble colony at Topolobampo.  

         As you are aware, I was one of the unfortunates, who, with my 

         family, suffered by the specious promises and lying 

         statements of that arch-fiend, A. K. Owen, and was thereby 

         induced to remove to that land of pestilence and famine, of 

         death and disaster.

              The first to meet us upon our arrival at Los Angeles was 

         Capt. Brock and a representative of your paper, and the 

         result of that interview was published by you, and spread 

         broadcast.  To say that I was reviled because I stated the 

         truth in regard to the country, climate and the gross 

         mismanagement of the half-crazed, enthusiastic dolts in 

         charge of affairs, is putting it lightly.  But I told the 

         truth then, as well as all of those who came with me.  I feel 

         sure that your many readers are satisfied on that point.

              Immediately after our different letters and interviews 

         were published, Owen Schellhouse and others sent a dispatch 

         as follows from Topolobampo:  "Four hundred and ten colonists 

         here, contented and happy.  No trouble since the deserters 

         (meaning myself and party) left."  Now the facts are that 

         over one hundred have left since then, and more would get 

         away if they could.  Are we going to leave them there to 

         suffer and to die?  Will not the kindly people of Los Angeles 

         and vicinity contribute something to aid them in getting away 

         from that pestilential and famine-stricken country?  Remember 

         there are a large number of women and children living in 

         tents among the rocks and cactus suffering for want of proper 

         food and the ordinary necessaries of life.

              Capt. Brock has already donated $50 to aid them.  Those 

         desiring to contribute to aid these poor and innocent 

         sufferers, the dupes of a scheming villain, can send their 

         money to the First National Bank of Los Angeles.

              Those desiring full information on the subject can 

         receive the same by calling on me at room 12, No. 28 South 

         Spring street, or at No. 29 Main street, or on W. F. Eaton, 

         at 135 Johnson street, East Los Angeles.

              Carefully read this letter, also look over late copies 

         of The Times, and read the letter of Mr. Cody, of Seattle, 

         Wash., and be convinced of the terrible condition and abject 

         wretchedness of those now existing without food or proper 

         shelter, under the scorching sun of noonday and soaking night 

         fogs, in that abode of misery, and aid them if you can.

              I desire here to thank The Times for the interest it has 

         taken in exposing this, the greatest fraud of the century.  

         With its pen it has punctured the bubble which will soon be 

         naught but bitter memory.  Yours for charity and justice.

                                          L. H. HAWKINS.


    Publication in 1888 of Edward Bellamy's novel, Looking Backward, a tale of 

life in America in the year 2000, had more effect in converting Americans to 

socialism than any other single piece of literature.  Based on the concept that 

the nation should own the basic means of production, and that production must 

be for use and not for profit, "Nationalist" clubs designed to promote 

Bellamy's ideas were organized across the country, drawing a great many 

adherents from those discouraged with the economic conditions of the time.  Of 

the 165 clubs nationwide, 17 were in California, where they sprang up in both 

rural and urban areas.  Many members, both leaders and followers, were active 

in farmers' organizations or the labor union movement and would become 

Populists and/or socialists in the 1890s.  Among them was H. Gaylord Wilshire, 

wealthy Southern Californian who, among his other activities, would be the 

first socialist candidate for congress {1890} in the United States, running in 

a district that included Los Angeles County on the slogan "Let the nation own 

the trusts."

    The Times printed news of Nationalist meetings in Los Angeles, and the 

letters column reflected the debate that raged around Bellamy's Nationalism.  

Jesse Butler, a frequent contributor to the letters column throughout the 

1880s, flirted with various fringe causes, including the Greenback Party.  Note 

Butler's praise for the Times' willingness to voice new {radical?} ideas.  

"Millennium," though not a frequently used word in the 1880s, was often 

misspelled when it did appear.

                          {Times, Oct. 7, 1889, p. 3}

                             The Nationalist Club

                             AS A MILLENIUM MAKER.

              Los Angeles, Oct. 1.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  As 

         there is one daily paper in Los Angeles that is fearless and 

         independent enough, regardless of party leading-strings, to 

         present to the people of our advancing city the new ideas 

         that are being discussed among us by our best minds, and as I 

         want to give a vote of thanks to the president of the 

         National Club, for his idea of concentration of the demands 

         of the reformers for one prominent specific object, to the 

         representatives of our Government, having its authority in 

         the people, what can I do better than to request The Times to 

         give my grateful acknowledgments through its wide columns to 

         the Nationalist president, Dr. Peebles?

              The Doctor's idea is for the Government to have absolute 

         control of the railroads of the country; this is good, just, 

         necessary and popular today, and with one grand concentration 

         of the popular mind, by the active talent of the enlightened 

         minds of the Nation, might become a reality in two years from 

         this date provided, always, that the other issues for that 

         length of time be held in silent abeyance; but this clamoring 

         of Uncle Sam's boys for a farm apiece, a sawmill, a grafted 

         apple orchard, a vineyard, an orange orchard, a nut grove, a 

         market garden, an irrigating system, a from ocean-to-ocean 

         canal, a no-land tax and all-land tax, and a Socialist Oneida 

         community, all at once, and immediately, as we reformers have 

         been doing, just makes the good old uncle throw his long arms 

         back, flap up his fashionable swallowed-tailed skirts, and 

         exclaim:  "What next, boys?" and we from year to year, from 

         generation to generation, get--nothing.

              And now three cheers for the Nationalist Club and the 

         clubs all over the Union as soon as they conclude to act on 

         the one-idea principle, that is to say, one at a time!

              There is an immense power in this one idea.  I remember, 

         when a boy in New York, it was the fashion to sneer at the 

         one idea of Garrison, and to rotten egg him at the meetings; 

         but he and his four friends kept on, talking, writing and 

         printing, and the one idea just took possession of the 

         Nation, and there is not a scurvy politician today, belonging 

         to either party, that dares to sneer at that one idea, for it 

         has become a fact, a sentiment, and a law.

              I would like to suggest to our good brother Peebles, 

         however, that it is feasible with our present finances for 

         the Government to build a double-track road from the Atlantic 

         to the Pacific, a much better one than any company now owns, 

         and much cheaper than you could buy out their old wheel-

         barrow routes, worn out at that, and still more superlatively 

         cheaper, than you could regulate or control them, their lobby 

         gentry, and their watered stock, and their paid lawyers and 

         judges, and when the Government shall be running its own 

         road, one year in working order, at $10 a head from New York 

         to San Francisco via Los Angeles, the blessed Uncle Sam can 

         buy out the other fellows at a fair market price.  And now, 

         brother, I go for it in any shape; but if you could shape it 

         in that way it would go with the people, and in Congress, 

         much faster, and be of more direct and prospective benefit 

         than in any other way.

              And, Mr. Editor, as I believe in just words enough to 

         express that one idea, I will thank you for the insertion, 

         and ask the thinking people to inwardly digest the few words 

         written.  Respectfully,             

                                    JESSE H. BUTLER.

    Although the Times did not attack the Nationalists in the late 1880s, some 

readers had serious doubts about the socialistic, anti-competition position 

taken by the organization, as indicated in this note from machinist S. Byron 

Welcome.  While Welcome's letter is critical of Nationalism, his disagreement 

is not a defense of big business.  Note that he supports the concept of 

government ownership in public utilities but free and open competition in "all 

ordinary business."

                         {Times, Nov. 11, 1889, p. 6}

                   Socialistic Sophism -- They Bluffed Him.

              Los Angeles, Oct. 31.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         Ever since the time that spontaneous upshot of the Karl Marx 

         school, lately revived and under a new name, planted itself 

         before the public as the Los Angeles Nationalists, with the 

         object of dividing up all existing property of the world and 

         keeping it so equally divided in the future, all for the 

         avowed purpose of abolishing and preventing the natural law 

         of competition from producing all the evil effects to which 

         the human being is heir, there has been one protracted howl 

         from their battery of authorized mouthpieces, directed with 

         all their energy against "competition."

              Some weeks past these organized philanthropists devised 

         a scheme which made the appearance of fair dealing. It was 

         the adoption of a question box, to which they openly 

         solicited any question the audience might want to ask, 

         providing it be a question in their line.  Seizing the golden 

         opportunity at once, I put the following question, in 

         writing, in their box:

              "Can it be shown that the principle of competition ever 

         produced evil effects, when said principle has not been 

         directly or indirectly interfered with by legislation?"

              At the next meeting, instead of officially answering the 

         question, I was told by an officer of the club that they had 

         no time, but would tend to it the next time.  At the next 

         meeting I was again told my question would be answered the 

         next time.  At the third meeting no mention was made of it, 

         so it seems the question box was bluffed out of existence.  

         Since that time it occurred to me that these people had 

         better judgment than is generally supposed, for knowing that 

         such a question cannot be answered to their advantage it was 

         good policy to ignore it.  When we look over the field of 

         industry throughout the world, all the monstrous trusts and 

         overgrown fortunes which so amaze the Socialist are due to 

         some legitimate monopoly, either an exclusive franchise, a 

         patent right, or the exclusive ownership of some natural 

         resource, a rich mine, fine timber land, or land on which 

         cities have been built, in all cases monopolies where 

         competition has no chance to play: true, there are some large 

         concerns doing business making handsome profits where 

         competition does partly exist, but in all such cases the 

         excessive profits are either due to superior skill in 

         manipulating business or to the partly abolished competition, 

         as, for instance, in a country where there are no natural 

         resources open to the people to employ themselves on; that is 

         to say, where all the land is appropriated and laborers must 

         as a consequence bid against each other for a chance to work, 

         wages drop to a bare living, and all the product above that 

         goes to those who enjoy the special privileges and partly to 

         the large established business man, who can hire labor at low 

         wages.  Thus it will be seen upon a little reflection that 

         competition, instead of being the cause of these economic 

         evils, would if allowed free play, destroy them, and that 

         whenever such evils are found, it is not owing to, but for 

         want of, competition; and in all cases, where fair 

         competition cannot be applied, as in the case with the 

         telegraph, gas and water supply, street cars and the road-bed 

         of our great railroads, where the nature of the business is a 

         monopoly, the respective governments should hold the 

         monopoly, but all ordinary business can be safely left to the 

         individual, and competition will prevent any excessive 

         profit.  Capital and labor are at all times ready to engage 

         in any business open to all, which will give greater net 

         returns than the average.

                                        S. BYRON WELCOME.    

    Foreshadowing his unsuccessful 1890 congressional campaign, Gaylord 

Wilshire expressed the Nationalist position on trusts and monopolies as the 

1880s came to a close. 

                         {Times, Dec. 27, 1889, p. 3}

                         The Courts and the Combines.

              Los Angeles, Dec. 26.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  I 

         notice in today's Tribune the very glaring misstatement that 

         trusts and monopolies are "fast disappearing under the 

         holdings of the courts."  Now, while admitting that the sugar 

         trust has disappeared into the Commonwealth Manufacturing 

         Company and that the cotton seed trust has changed into the 

         American Cotton Seed Oil Company, I can not see that a mere 

         change of name from "trust" to "company" helps the public as 

         long as monopoly does not disappear.  I challenge the Tribune 

         to exhibit the name of even one monopoly that the courts have 

         broken up.  I challenge the Tribune to give some plan whereby 

         the trust that is metamorphosed into a corporation can be 

         disintegrated.  I accept the law of the survival of the 

         fittest--that the largest combination possible is the fittest 

         to survive, and that that combination is of the Nation's 


                                              H. G. WILSHIRE.