April 15: The “Unknown” Set Adrift

He Is No Longer in Coxey's Army of Commonweal

From The New York Times, Sunday, April 16, 1894:

CUMBERLAND, MD., April 15 — The once famous “Unknown” of Coxey’s army was stripped of his veiled glory to-day and likewise of his honors as a Commonwealer. Carl Browne, the deposed leader of yesterday, has entire charge of the body tonight.

Gen. Coxey next took the stump, and spoke at length on the necessity of peace, showing determination only on the statement that the “Unknown” would have to go. He said if the men wished to stick to the “Unknown” they could, but none of the commissary wagons would go with them. That settled the case, and the “Unknown” and Jesse Coxey at once left camp.

Gen. Coxey, the financial backer of the movement, returned to the front at 4 o’clock this morning, and immediately began an investigation of the revolt of last evening. His first conference was with Browne in private, both refusing to make any other statement than that by the power they had as reincarnated beings, gifted with the powers of prophecy and foresight, they had foreseen the schism and were prepared to deal with it as the conditions demanded.

After seeing Browne, Gen. Coxey called in the “unknown” and Jesse Coxey and notified them that they had grossly violated the regulations of the Commonweal and were discharged. An unseemly wrangle followed, in which Browne and the “Unknown” reviled each other as rogues, agitators, fakirs, &c. When the men came from Odd Fellows Hall to the camping place for breakfast, both men climbed on piles of wood and addressed the men.

Browne attempted once to get on the same eminence with the “Unknown,” and was roughly pushed off, falling on his back from the violence of the shove. He attempted no return. Smith called on the men for a vote, and was sustained by 154 to 3, many of the men not voting or being absent.

Gen. Coxey next took the stump, and spoke at length on the necessity of peace, showing determination only on the statement that the “Unknown” would have to go. He said if the men wished to stick to the “Unknown” they could, but none of the commissary wagons would go with them. That settled the case, and the “Unknown” and Jesse Coxey at once left camp.

The army marched from Frostburg here today. Hundreds of the Cumberland people visited Camp Victory – named by Browne in honor of his restoration to command. Ample arrangements had been made for provisioning and protecting the army of peace. Private citizens bought and gave 600 loaves of bread, 400 pounds of meat, coffee, cheese, hay, and corn sufficient to sustain the army a day.

Coxey announced this evening that the army would proceed to Williamsport, Md., direct from Cumberland, by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This extravagance, he says is warranted by the receipts at the gate at camp today.

The revelation of the identity of the “Unknown” was made by the man himself. He is E.P. Pizarro of 81 South Peoria Street, Chicago, and is engaged in the patent medicine business. A rumor that he will attempt the organization of a rival army is denied by him, and he says he will instead lecture in favor of the present movement.

It is possible that the army may spend another day in Cumberland, holding a monster mass meeting in the Opera House and starting on Tuesday for Williamsport by canalboat.

Coxey's Army leaves Cumberland for Williamsport, MD via C&O Canal with a crowd of spectators - From CumberlandMD.gov
Coxey’s Army leaves Cumberland for Williamsport, MD., via C&O Canal with a crowd of spectators
From CumberlandMD.gov

Members of the House and Senate Committees have been quietly discussing the situation for some days. The initial steps have been taken looking into the enforcement of the law, and if Mr. Coxey shall attempt to wind up his parade with a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol, he will find he has transgressed a law that appears to have been drawn with especial reference to affairs such as he is now engaged in engineering.

WASHINGTON, April 15. — The entry of Coxey’s gang into the state of Maryland shows that he is sufficiently near the the capital for precaution to be taken against possible disturbance. While the police of the District are charged with the duty of taking care of that territory, the Capitol grounds, which are under the control of the Committee on Rules, are subject to the order of Congress.

Members of the House and Senate Committees have been quietly discussing the situation for some days. The initial steps have been taken looking into the enforcement of the law, and if Mr. Coxey shall attempt to wind up his parade with a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol, he will find he has transgressed a law that appears to have been drawn with especial reference to affairs such as he is now engaged in engineering.

Mr. Edmunds introduced into the Senate in 1882, and it was enacted into law, a measure which a member of the Senate Committee on Rules said this morning reads as if the Senator was endowed with the spirit of prophecy. It is the act approved July 1, 1882, and that act has been under discussion in the committee room for several days past. The members of the committee consider it sufficient for the exigencies of the case that may arise upon the coming of Coxey and his men, and if these men shall in any sense violate that law they will be apprehended, steps having been taken to see that a sufficient force shall be present to maintain the dignity of the statutes of the United States. Section 5 of this act reads as follows:

That it is forbidden to discharge any firearms, firework or explosive, set fire to any combustible, make any harangue or oration, or utter loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Capitol grounds.

Section 6 says:

That it is forbidden to parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages, or display any flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice any party, organization, or movement in the Capitol grounds.

Quietly, but with the firm determination of enforcing the law, the two Committees on Rules have gone to work, and Mr. Coxey will be the recipient of a surprise if he shall attempt to carry out his programme. The law permits all peaceable citizens to make use of the grounds, but the prohibition against organizations or efforts of any kind to exercise the right of petition by mere force of numbers is sharply drawn.

“If this Congress,” said a member of the Committee on Rules, “permits the law to be violated and the people who may come with Coxey to thus turn the right of petition into the exercise of threats and manifestations of physical force, it is not worthy to represent the people of these United States and is lacking in the wisdom and courage which I ascribe to it.”

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