From the Richmond Whig, 5/28/1847, p. 2, c. 3
Tredegar Iron Works.
So rare is such an occurrence in Virginia, for any cause, that no little surprise has been excited by the refusal of the workmen employed in this establishment to continue their labors, but upon certain conditions which they have prescribed to proprietors. The most important of these conditions is one which cannot be for a moment tolerated in a slaveholding community, being nothing less than the assertion of a right to dictate to masters what species of labor they shall employ in their service – a right, which, if conceded to those who now demand its acknowledgment, may and doubtless will be hereafter asserted by others, until the entire control of the subject shall have been thus virtually transferred from the employers to the employees. It is probable that this view of the subject had not presented itself to the minds of the heretofore orderly, industrious and worthy workmen at the Tredegar works, and that they have permitted their overwrought feelings to carry them beyond the bounds of prudence and propriety. Whether this be so or not, however, it is not less certain that the claim they set up, (as we told one of them personally a few days ago, who desired us to insert an article in vindication of their position, which we respectfully declined,) is wholly inadmissible in this latitude. The right of employers to select such kinds of labor as they may prefer, is one of which the law itself cannot deprive them – much less combinations of individuals, formed either for the purpose of intimidation, or with the less criminal, though unworthy design of inducing, for other reasons, acquiescence in their demands. The sympathies of all communities are naturally and properly most generally in favor of the hard working-man, whose toils ought to be fairly requited; but in this community, no combination, formed for the purpose avowed by the authors of the recent strike, can receive the slightest toleration.
We hope that better counsels and wiser determinations may prevail among the workmen – and that we may soon hear that the harmony and good feeling heretofore existing between them and their employers has been entirely restored.