[R1209 : page 7]



The following, which we clip from the editorial columns of the Philadelphia Public Ledger of March 27th, 1890, furnishes a marked illustration of how human life and limb are often sacrificed to mammon. The responsibility is readily seen when we reflect that there is a patent "frog," the use of which would obviate largely if not wholly this terrible yearly sacrifice, and that the only reason it is not adopted by railroads is that it would cost a few dollars to make the change, and because prominent railroad men are interested financially in the manufacture of the death dealing frog. The world sadly needs the strong government of the Millennial age to enforce the use of every means which will protect fellow beings. The clipping referred to is as follows:—

"A Railroad Employe writes to the New York Tribune: It actually requires an act of congress to compel railway companies to do anything for the protection of their employes. The 'Railroad Gazette' and 'The Scientific American,' two excellent authorities, have stated in recent issues that there will be legislation by Congress this winter on this important subject, in response to a suggestion in the President's message that a stringent law is really necessary for the protection of railway employes, many of whom have been killed or seriously injured by accidents that could be easily prevented by proper safety appliances. In making this suggestion the President has made a move in the right direction, as the following facts will illustrate the imperative necessity for speedy legislation. The Iowa Railroad Commission of 1886 reported that there were over 450 brakemen killed annually, 4,088 crippled for life, and 13,770 seriously injured, that is, bones or limbs broken, or part of the hand or foot taken off, making it a total of 18,308 victims. At the conference of the State Railroad Commissioners of Iowa, held last March, ex-Railroad Commissioner Coffin stated: 'In the last ten years we have killed and maimed 2,429 men in this State, and last year there were 349 employes killed or crippled in Iowa.' In the third annual report of the Inter-State Commerce Commission we find it stated that 2,070 railway employes were killed, and 20,148 injured or crippled for life last year. But these reports, alarming as they are, do not cover the total railroad mileage of the United States. If the accident rate was the same on the roads not reported, it would swell up the grand total to over 27,000. These facts present a deplorable state of things in connection with railway life, neither creditable to the companies or the Government, who have it in their power to reduce this immense sacrifice of life to a minimum by proper legislation. In the reports quoted the blame of all this slaughter is charged to the old hand brake and link-coupler, and not a word about the murderous railroad frog. Any yard hand or brakesman will tell you that the frog is the cause of more fatal accidents than the other two combined. The life of a railroad employe is a hard, laborious one, working day and night in rain or storm; hard enough without the constant dread of these two deadly traps—the old link-coupler, ready to snap off hand or arm, while under foot is the cruel frog, out of which there is no escape from a horrible death. If President Harrison will get a protective act passed, which will relieve the employes from the dangers referred to, which hourly confront them in their duties, he will have done much in the interest of humanity that will cause his name to go down to posterity as the workingman's friend."