July 27, 1899: “Tried for High Treason”

Tried For High Treason

“Kid” Blink Faces His Peers And Is Acquited

“Low Bribery” Also One of the Counts Against Him—His Victory Celebrated in Verse—No Parade Held.

Historians of the nineteenth century will have to include in their annals the trial for treason of “Kid” Blink and “Dave” Simonds, which took place in an low vaulted and gloomy chamber in Park Row yesterday afternoon. The crime for which these two newsboys was arraigned seems all the more hideous in contemplation of the fact that they have been most prominent in inciting their fellow strikers, and when it was heard they they had appeared in the street yesterday morning carrying bundles of the proscribed papers a howl of rage went up from their comrades. They were quickly surrounded, and under strong guard taken to the bastile, where they were ordered to appear before the tribunal of justice on two counts—namely, high treason and low bribery.

When they entered the courtroom growls of sullen rage, intermingled with threats, were heard. “Racetrack” Higgins charged them with their alleged offence. His voice choked with emotion as he spoke:

“Youse has been accused uv tryin’ to queer de strike,” he said, “and wid being bribed wid four hundred bones. Now, dere ain’t ter be no queer jockeyin’ in dis race. It’s goin’ to be run to de finish, and any feller wots caught pullin’ in de stretch ‘ll be took care uv all right, all right.”

“Kid” Blink arose. His pallor was discernible through the layer of grime which covered his visage, but when he spoke his voice had the clear bell-like tone of one who knows he is innocent:

Most potint, grave and reverint Higgins,
My very nobul and approved fellow strikers:
Rude am I in me speech.
And I’ll be blessed ef I know wot you’re gettin’ at.
Fer since dis voice uf mine
Had any kind er squeal,
‘Till now some nine moons wasted,
I have used it in de uxtra fiel’.
More dan pertains ter feats of broil and battul,
And derefore little shall I grace me cause
In speakin’ fer meself.
Since early yout’ I’ve sold de papes.
De battles, spolsons, prizefights wot has passed
I’ve shouted till me troat was hoarse.
I do beseech youse hear me cause. Take me to “De Joinal” office,
And if you find I took de bribe,
Not only take me papers,
But let de sentence even fall upon me life.

Blink was acquited. His oratory was too swift for the Jury, and even “racetrack” Higgins admitted that he was “a pacer fer fair.”

An Ode for the Occasion

Immediately on being released from “Dolans vile,” as he termed it, the leader chalked this “Ode to the strikers” on the stone flagging, as an evidence of his continued interest in the cause:

Der wus a row in Frankfurt-st.,
And de fight it wusn’t slow,
Between de Newsboys’ Union
An’ some fellers wat’s got do’.
It started in de mornin’
And it quitted late at night,
And wen we got troo doin’ tings,
Dem scabs dey was a site.

Fer it was strike! strike! strike! yes,
Strike ’em on de head!
Oh, smash ‘m in der smellers,
Stick togedder, fellers,
In Frankfurt-st. near to de park.

Der wus a row in Frankfurt-st.,
De newsies dey went out;
Dey called de coppers on us
An’ we met ’em wid a shout.
De scabbies hid behin’ ’em,
But it didn’t do no good;
Fer we wuz out to do ’em,
An’ we did ’em w’en we could .

Fer it was strike! strike! strike! yes,
Strike ’em on de head!
“Kid” Blink begun de holler,
An’ de rest wus quick to foller,
In Frankfurt-st. near to de park.

Der wus a row in Frankfurt-st.,
An’ wot we did was much;
Wid Monix an’ de Corp’rul Assisted by Scabbuch
We tore der papers an’ blacked der eyes.
Der wus an awful whoop–
An’ w’en ’twas near a finish,
Dem scabs was in de soup.

Fer it was strike! strike! strike! yes,
Strike ’em on de head!
De coppers dey was much too slow
And de yellers dey is got to go;
In Frankfurt-st. near to de park.

Simons was deposed from the presidency yesterday. The new president of the strikers is “Young” Manix, otherwise known as “Yeller.” In matters of State he will be assisted by “Yell” Meyers, “Kid” Fischer and “Young” Gal, who comprise the cabinet and executive council.

The master workman had a long interview with the man in charge of “The Evening Journal’s” circulation department yesterday morning, but no concessions were granted.

No Permit for the Parade

The big parade of the strikers, which was to take place last night, had to be called off, and there was bitter disappointment in consequence. A little before 8 o’clock news went around that Chief Devery had refused to sign the permit. A committee had waited on Mayor Van Wyck in the afternoon and asked permission to parade.

“I have no objection,” said that dignitary. “Go see Mr. Devery and just tell him that you saw me. It will be all right.”

The boys then saw the Chief. “I wouldn’t sign that thing for a thousand dollars,” he is reported to have answered.

This communication came to The Tribune office last night:

Mr. Reporter of Tribune paper.
Dear Sir: Kid Fishbein while possing the Bowery tuesday [sic] evening was approach by a scab. Had it not been for Skinney Cohen he would been badly beaten.

The movement has grown to astonishing proportions. In its incipiency it was confined to a few of the newsboys who hang about at Frankfort-st. and Park Row, but now it has spread out not only to all parts of this city, but to Hoboken, Trenton, White Plains, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New-Haven and various other points. Copies of the proscribed papers are scarce in all of these places.

At many of the newsstands as well the strike is on, and this has added strength to the movement. At a meeting of the West Side Newsdealers’ Association the following resolution were adopted:

Whereas, The newsboys of the city of New-York and vicinity are striking against the war prices of “The Evening World” and “The Evening Journal,” and

Whereas, We recognize that the demands of the striekrs are just ebcause those war times are over long ago, and, therefore, there is no reason why the prices should not return to their former rates; therefore be it

Resolved, That we, the West Side Newsdealers Association, call upon every newsdealer of the city of New-York to stop handling these sheets until the just demands of the strikers are granted. We also call upon the readers of the papers in question to stop patronizing them until the poor boys have won their strike.

It was said yesterday that the strike will be extended to the morning editions of the papers, and the boys were not lacking in confidence of a successful issue.

Morris Cohen, president of the Newsboys’ Union; “Dave” Simons, the treasurer, and Charles Levy, the secretary of the union, called at this office lsat night to tell why the parade did not take place. They said that Chief Devery must be informed that a parade will take place six hours before the time of starting the parade. They told him of the hour to begin late yesterday. As they had not complied with police regulations there was no other alternative except to postpone the parade. The officers of the union further said that another rousing meeting of newsboys would be held in a few days at Cooper Union.