A Davenport Pogromist

24 August 1882

The following submission would have remained unpublished if it hadn’t been underlined by the sender and given to the local editor of this paper as an urgent request to be considered. It can hence be given a place, although certainly not as an honor to the submitter:

“The first fundamental theorem of law is: 'Equal rights for all,' however our city hall doesn't want to accept this basic principle; while no American citizen can here in Davenport can get a license for door-to-door sales that is valid for less than a year and costs less than 11 dollars, our city officials give out free three-month licenses to Jewish refugees.

As it so appears, our esteemed city hall looks very sympathetically to the Jewish refugees. Don't they even know how these Jewish refugees have in New York and in this country already become a national plague? This race hates to work, but they understand so masterfully how to fleece in a market that in Europe, under the eyes of the government, they're turned over to the peoples' justice. One appreciates that it can’t go any further with this sect.

Now it's not enough that one accepts these people here; no, here in Davenport the city hall lets them use for free the three-months door-to-door sales permit at a disadvantage to the local residents only so that the Jewish refugees can move along with their pockets filled.

It's really deplorable if persons or corporations, who were given power, shove the law aside and even more deplorable if, as in this case, the local residents must as a result suffer.

We would like to counsel our fellow citizens that they should carefully examine what is offered for sale and not so quickly pull out their pocketbooks as the city hall has done in giving out free licenses to Jewish refugees.”

W. Bruhn”

Astonished one asks oneself if the above lines were really written in Davenport, in the free Republic of the United States, in the year 1882; if really a citizen of this Republic, of this praised land for the oppressed of all countries can be its author, or if it weren't written in the Baltics or Odessa.

The whole civilized world has participated in donations for the unfortunates who were driven by fanaticism from their countries and Davenport's city hall also wants to add its mite and permits two poor devils to sell door-to-door for free so that they can have respite from a raw life. But a Davenport citizen, who also once came here as a stranger in order to improve his condition, censures the city hall for this! What a spirit of outrageous intolerance is pronounced through the words of the sender, 'that in Europe, under the eyes of the government, they're turned over to the peoples' justice. One appreciates that it can’t go any further with this sect.'

He calls the horrific deeds of the animalistic, liquor-filled, decadent Russian peasant 'peoples' justice'! That's a tidy peoples' justice and a tidy government that lets such things go right under its eyes. And then at the end the sender adds a warning to the residents of this city to watch out that they won't be fleeced from a poor devil who wants to earn a few cents from going door to door and then with 'filled pockets' moves on his way. Is that not envy of another's success?

Thankfully we can take heart that the sender and his views, that fit southern Russia but not Davenport, stand alone. Davenport provides no support for a pogrom like those that happen in Russia or Germany. We’re too reasonable, human and progressive. And that's that.