Denver: 1887. A snide missive regarding Terrence Powderly, who at this time was Grand Master Workman of the Knights of Labor, from his bitter western rival Haskell G. Burnette. Burnette begins by thanking his correspondent for sending subscription dues, then goes on: "...A Chinese came into my office from N.Y. to-day and gave me the sign of the K. of L. Powderly & the Home Club organized them in order to "down" the International Cigarmakers Union. Nice labor leader he is."
Opposition to Chinese laborers had long been an unshakeable tenet for the Knights of Labor, and the K of L under Powderly was no exception; but following the Rock Springs massacre of 1885, in which 28 Chinese miners were killed by white rioters carrying K of L banners, certain Eastern members began to question the policy, and a few New York and Pennsylvania locals even began admitting Chinese members. This was anathema to the more radical (and xenophobic) western wing of the Knights, led by the Marxist-Socialist Burnette G. Haskell, who despised Powderly and voiced his views freely in his own popular weekly newspaper The Labor Enquirer. Eventually (in 1892) the radical wing of the Knights succeeded in ousting the increasingly conservative and hidebound Powderly from his leadership. Burnette G. Haskell would go on to found a radical utopian colony, the "Kaweah Cooperative Commonwealth," in the Sierra foothills of California, which flourished until about 1892. Autograph letter on letterhead of The Labor Enquirer, to a Wm. J. Taylor of Eureka, California, dated June 14th, 1887. Old folds; brief loss at upper corner (with loss of a few printed characters of letterhead); Very Good.