The First of May, which only three years ago was
so greatly dreaded by all Governments except our own, passed off this year in nearly unbroken quiet. The Labour party in many places marched and demonstrated ; but there was not a serious riot anywhere. This is attributed in many quarters to the watchfulness of the police, or to internal dissensions among Socialists, or to a decline in the hopefulness of the half-skilled labourers, who are the rank-and-file of the party of discontent ; but we believe there are two more general causes. The Labour leaders are growing in experience, if not in moderation ; and the labourers are coming to believe that their true instrument is the suffrage. In the Austrian cities, for example, where distress from low wages is very great, the single demand of the marching crowds was this year for universal suffrage. That demand has dangers of its own,—perhaps, in countries where the peasantry are not-, freeholders, social dangers ; but the possession of the vote does check the tendency to violence. Why should a workman give himself away by hitting a policeman or a soldier when he can control both through his representatives ?