“That ‘Bitter Cry’” The American Sentinel 5, 4, pp. 29, 30.

FROM the Pearl of Days, the official organ of the American Sabbath Union, of January 3, we clip the following:—

Some years ago “The Bitter Cry of London” rang through the civilized world, revealing the terrible condition of the neglected, suffering and wretched masses of the world’s metropolis. Its echoes have gone out from our American cities. And now another “bitter cry” comes up from the millions of wage workers and their families appealing to governments, to corporations, to employers, to ministers of religion, to friends of the toilers, and to that mightiest of forces in a republic, public opinion, for relief from the grinding oppression of Sunday work, to which they are chained by remorseless competition, the demand for profits and dividends, by disregard for the rights of citizens and their families to the weekly rest day, by open defiance and non-execution of the laws which are designed for the protection of the people against forbidden and needless Sunday work, and by the prevailing public indifference to the imperiled health, morals and welfare of the laboring classes. These statements can be readily verified by a great multitude and variety of facts and by personal and official testimonies that cannot be seriously disputed. They come from the railways, the public works, the local and general Government services, such as the Post Office Department, from the summer resorts, the Sunday excursion lines on land and water, from theaters and barber shops, from factories and markets and shops, and even from the saloons, whose employees and victims know no Sabbath rest.

This seems to be from the author of “Rhetoric made Racy” but it might appropriately be named rhetoric made ridiculous. The idea that anybody is chained by remorseless competition or anything else to the grinding oppression of Sunday work, is nothing short of the ridiculous.

This would be bad enough in itself, but when the thing is carried so far as to picture a bitter cry coming up from the saloons for relief from the grinding oppression of Sunday work to which they are chained by remorseless competition, it surpasses the ridiculous and becomes absurd.

More than this, the grounds upon which is based the plea of the American Sabbath Union for the Sunday laws which it demands, is, that the toiling masses may have opportunity to recuperate their wasted energies in order that they may have better health, may live longer, and do better work. Then when the Sabbath Union pretends to bring up a bitter cry from saloon-keepers and bar-tenders for Sabbath rest, by that it argues that the saloon and its managers are entitled to the day of rest in order that they may recuperate their wasted energies and be better qualified to enter Monday morning upon their work of destruction; and that they are so much entitled to this that the State shall step in and guarantee it to them by law.

Than the argument contained in this plea of the American Sabbath Union, [30] there never has been, and there never can be, presented, a stronger justification of the saloon and its work. Because if the saloon is worthy of having a day of rest assured to it to recuperate its wasted energies better to prepare it for the business of the week that is to follow—so worthy, indeed, that the Government must step in and guarantee this by law—then the saloon business is a worthy work. And those who plead for the Sabbath rest for the saloon-keeper, while he still pursues his traffic, thereby justify the saloon traffic as a worthy business, equally with all other business in the pursuit of which it is proper for a man to keep up his energies to the best state, in order that he may do at all times his very best.

The American Sabbath Union, therefore, justifies the saloon traffic as a worthy business on all days except Sunday; it justifies it as a business which is worthy the support of the State in keeping up its energies to the best state in order that it may do its very best in the work to which it is devoted.

Oh, yes, by all means, let this “bitter cry” of the saloon-keepers and the bar-tenders, and all their worthy associates in dealing out hell to deluded souls—let their “bitter cry” for Sabbath rest be heard by the Government, and answered by a law which shall assure them forever one day in seven to recuperate their wasted energies so that they may enter with renewed vigor each week upon their worthy work!

A. T. J.

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