Bus Strike

Trades' Unionist (June 1891)

Pall Mall Gazette (June 1891)

Dear Sir,–I should have replied to your letter of the 6th sooner, but I found it difficult to abstain from saying anything which might have brought upon me a swarm of angry comments from both sides–and I have had enough, and more than enough, of controversy of late.

I am glad to see that the dispute is amicably settled at last. According to the old proverb it was the Kings who went mad and the Greeks suffered. Nowadays a certain want of sanity among the industrial classes promises to cause more suffering to the nation than was ever inflicted by kings.–I am, yours very truly, T. H. Huxley

Pall Mall Gazette (June1891)

Sir,–A paragraph, the intended meaning of which has been missed by the editors both of the Pall Mall Gazette and of the Trades' Unionist, must give up all claim to lucidity. But if I had the presumption to defend it I should venture to point out that when I used the words "industrial classes" I thought they would be understood to cover both employers and employed; and, therefore, that I could have had no intention of referring to only one of the opponents when I expressed the opinion that the failure to settle a difference between them by any other method than that which has caused such great loss to both disputants, and such incalculable inconvenience to the public which supports them, argues "a certain want of sanity." Outsiders may surely be forgiven if they suspect that a conclusion as satisfactory as that which has at last been reached might have been attained at first if the questions at issue had been referred to a few clear-headed, practical, honest men, with no bye-ends to serve. And if all the bad blood which has been generated, all the pecuniary loss which both sides have suffered, and all the disturbance of social life which has been caused , could have thus been avoided, is not the supposition of a "certain want of sanity" on the part of those whose actions brought these results about the kindest and most respectful excuse for them which may be suggested?

In answer to your questions, I may say that I have not infrequently tried working hours as long as those of the omnibus men; that I did not like it; and that, in my opinion, whatever a man's occupation may be, slavery of that sort is in every way bad for him. Any measures calculated to bring about a state of things in which everybody would be assured of a fair livelihood by a day's work of half the length would have my warmest sympathy. But I entertain the gravest doubts whether such strikes as we have lately witnessed are to be ranked among measures of this beneficent character.–I am, your obedient servant, T. H. Huxley


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University