« AnteriorContinuar »
Q. A great many would ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And those who do sncceed as a rule succeed by that rule ?–A. Yes, sir; the first principle of success is economy and abstinence.
Q. That is the technical term for the acquisition of capital !-A. Yes, sir; that is the very basis; without that there is nothing. .
There is another thing I would like to speak of, which, perhaps, is a prime cause of depression. If we take the number of men living in a community—I don't mean in our personal direct community, but say in our whole country, or in England, or in any other country which is thickly populated--a vast number of people are poor and others are rich. Some people have stated incomes and other people have dubious incomes, but the fact is that a depression occurs in every country, not only ours; that for the number of people living in that country there is not a sufficiency of employment, even if inducements of any sort were offered; that the earnings and the possibilities of money coming in, or any other earnings, whether it is money or anything else, is not sufficiently great to support every one in the community. Now, I have found from an authority, I cannot state how true it is, that the annual savings of England and Ireland, were between 600 and 700 millions of dollars-only £140,000,000. I notice that the population in 1871 of England and Ireland together approximated 26,900,000. The increase of England is about 3 per cent., the decrease of Ireland is about 5 per cent., and taking this inverse population we see the population is to-day about the same as it was in 1871. There are at present in England and Ireland 2,500,000 paupers.
Q. Where do you get your authority from ?-A. Appleton's Encyclopedia.
Q. What year?-. That is the estimate of 1871—2,500,000 paupers in England and Ireland together.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sorry to say that Appleton's Encyclopedia has made a mistake, or you have made it.
The WITNESS. I have not made a mistake.
Q. In 1871 the number of persons receiving relief from the poorhouse is officially retnrned as about 900,000.-A. That may be so, but even that would be bad enough.
Q. And at the present time the number receiving relief is about 726,000 1-A. I hope I am mistaken in that.
Q. For what year was that return made 1-A. The Encyclopedia does not give for a later period than 1871. I estimate from that that if the surplus of $600,000,000 or $700,000,000 were taken from those persons to whom it rightfully belonged and given to the paupers as wages, or if they were laborers, they would not, according to this, have sufficient to sustain themselves,
Q. Take it on the statement that there are 900,000.-A. Then they would, of course, receive enough to live comfortably.
Q. This net-profit estimate is the net profit of English industry after supporting everybody, pampers and all?-A. The profits were the result of labor, as far as I can u derstand.
Q. Not altogether. There is a large amount of profit in England derived from investments in foreign countries. Out of the £140,000,000 £50,000,000 is supposed to be derived from investments in foreign conntries.-A. From those deductions I desire to state that I believe the number of employments that can be given to everybody are not sufficiently great to support everybody by his own industry and labor, and there is no legislation possible that can alter that, unless we arrive at the legislation of Spartainless we make every one the child of the government; and we cannot make a great institution of our country, for we would then become an establishment of sluggards and not a nation of industrions people.
Q. In other words, the institution of a paternal government employing labor would be a worse state than the present state, in which the government does not interfere 1A. Communities, as they are established at Mount Lebanon, in the State of New York, may be an excellent thing among 128 persons, but it would never do where a vast number of people live, where their capacities are so varied, and the strong would override the feeble at all times.
Q. If this committee thought it was all right, they could not do any good in that direction. That must be amended by the voice of the States. Now, if you please, go to another point. -A. Now, I will pass to another question, about which I will say little, thongh I have thought much about it. I don't care about discussing this at the present time; but I would earnestly impress upon you, as chairman and a business man, when you have merchants before you to call special attention to one particular fact, which is the source of a great deal of depression among merchants, and that is a defective system of credit. I do not see that Congress can do anything in that direction, but the tendency of the minds of merchants is directed in that way, so that among themselves it could be altered. Economists have paid too little attention to mercantile credit. I don't mean credit that we have by bills of exchange, but I mean the actual commercial credit.
Q. You must see that Congress could not interfere in that. You want to leave people free to make such bargains as they will ?--A. Certainly, sir.
Q. What is the next pointi-A. The next point is not, perhaps, within the province
of Congress, and I know it is within the province of legislatures-the importance of proper regulations for the advancement of the poor and laborers, intellectually and morally. This is a most significant point; and I believe if that point is once obtained the many discussions that arise from poverty among the laborers will not exist, and will abrogate itself by reason of superior intelligence, superior observation and good food, and avoid the adulteration of food which is going on. Give them nice, ventilated homes.
Q. Would you have the government provide those homes ?-A. It is not a particular home for everybody; it is the prohibition of dirty houses.
Q. You mean a proper sanitary inspection, properly enforced ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. In other words, you think it would be for the interest of the working class of New York if the Sanitary Bureau would close up all these tenement houses -A. Yes, sir: so that no noxious odors may destroy the life and health of their occupants.
THOMAS Rock and CORNELIUS Egan, of the Stonecutters' Society, reappeared before the committee, and Mr. Rock submitted the following statement: To the honorable the Congressional Committee :
At a meeting of the journeymen stonecutters, held at Central Hall, East Fortyseventh street, on August 2, 1078, Thomas Rock, president, in the chair, the following committee were appointed to furnish a statement of the condition of their trade, as requested by the Congressional committee now sitting in session in New York.
The committee respectfully submit the following:
In 1863 the wages were $2.25 per day; average time worked seven months. In 1864 wages were settled at $3 per day; and, owing to an increased demand for labor and increase in price of living, wages rose to $3.50 per day, with full average time worked seven and a half to eight months. In 1865 the wages were $4 per day of nine hours; average time worked eight months. In 1866 wages were $4 per day, and rose in the fall to $4.50 per day of nine hours; average time worked eight months. In 1867 wages were $4.50 per day of nine hours; average time worked from eight to eight and a half months. In 1868, owing to the prosperous state of trade, and the great increase in the prices of the necessaries of life, wages rose to $5 per day of eight hours average time worked. In 1869 wages were $5 per day of eight hours; average time worked eight to nine months. In 1870 wages were reduced to $4.50 per day of eight hours. There were about one-third of our men idle; average time worked about eight months. In 1871 wages were $4.50 per day of eight hours; average time worked about eight months, with a large percentage of our men idle. In 1872 wages were $4.50 per day of eight hours; average time worked seven months; about one-fourth of our men were idle. In 1873 wages were $4.50 per day of eight hours; average time worked about seven months. In 1874 wages, hours, and average time worked about the same as in the previous year. In 1875, in consideration of the depression of trade, wages were voluntarily reduced to $4 per day of eight hours; average time worked six months. In 1876, trade being in such a depressed condition, stonecutters voluntarily reduced their wages to $3.50 per day of eight hours to meet the times, and with a view of employing some of the idle members of our trade; average time worked six months. In 1877 our wages were $3,50 per day of eight hours; average time worked about five months, and about two-thirds of our men were idle. In 1878, our trade still getting worse, and with a view of more men being employed, we again voluntarily reduced our wages to $3 per day of eight hours; but even with this reduction, and this being the busiest time of the year, there is about one-third of our men unemployed.
In New York -and vicinity there are about 3,000 stonecutters in all the branches of the trade. We have been stronger in numbers, but within the last two years a great number have been compelled to go to Europe in search of work that they could not find here at home. We respectfully call the attention of the committee to the injustice done to us by the importation of works of art, executed in stone in Europe, and admitted into the United States free of duty, thereby destroying one of the principal branches of our trade, the ornamental and monumental sculpturing, and preventing the young men from thoroughly learning their trade. Not assuming to dictate to the United States Government where it should have its work done, yet, as citizens of the United States, we claim that we are justly entitled to a share of its work for this vicinity without having to leave our homes and families and going to work on barten islands for the enrichment of contractors and boarding-house keepers. We respectfully ask your committee to use your influence in Congress to pass a bill enforcing the eighthour law, making eight hours a legal day's work, a bill similar to that presented by Senator Spencer, of Alabama, last session of Congress.
By the CHAIRMAN : Question. You are in favor, then, I understand, of a protective tariff as to stonecutting !-Answer. Mr. Chairman, we understand that works of art done abroad come in here free of duty. Under that abuse the monumental portion of the trade of this country is destroyed. A gentleman can leave this country, no matter whether he is a proficient in the business, or knows anything about a figure, and can go into Europe and get eight or ten, or one hundred Italians, to do the work, and flood this country with that work.
Q. You are in favor of prohibitory or protective duties upon works of art in stonecutting executed abroad ?-A. Yes, sir. Of course you will see by our statement we are in favor of the eight-hour law; therefore it is our policy to make the government make us stronger.
Q. You want the government to make you stronger 1-A. No, sir; we are strong enough ourselves; but we wish the government to enforce their own laws.
The CHAIRMAN. As a member of Congress and as a citizen I am in favor of the execution of the laws. Mr. Rock. Over in the navy-yard they will not enforce it.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't know who is in the navy-yard, but whoever it is should be punished. All a member of Congress can do is to bring it to the attention of the government.
Mr. Rock. I wish to correct a statement that appeared in the newspapers, in which I was misrepresented, as to the action of the society with stonecutters who could not get work at society wages.
The CHAIRMAN. The newspaper reports are not always correct. The stenographer's report will be found to be correct; whatever you said will be found there. Write to the papers and have it contra dicted.
Mr. ROCK. I would sooner have it contradicted here. There is no reason for us interfering with them, becanse any man who is not fit to earn $3 a day there is a scale of prices for him to work on.
JACOB JACOBS next appeared before the committee, and was questioned as follows:
By the CHAIRMAN : Question. Who are you?-Answer. I own houses and rent them. Not being able to attend to my business lately, I have made a study of this question, and I would like to make a suggestion to the committee. I see Congress has the power to levy duties on goods sent from foreign countries to this country. I thought it would be well to suggest to this committee whether it would not be well to put a premium on raw materials,
Q. Have yon read the Constitution of the United States ?-A. I think I have.
Q. Do you find any authority for Congress to do that?-A. Well, if there is no such authority it could be amended.
Q. Yonr recommendation, then, is to amend the Constitution in that way?-A. There are a great many goods where the raw material is brought into this country, and would it not be well to make a premium upon them?
The CHAIRMAN. We will not go into the details. Is there anything else you recommendi-A. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That will do, then.
William HaxSON was the next to appear before the committee, and was questioned as follows:
By the CHAIRMAN : Question. Are you a representative of any organized body, or do you appear on your individual account ?-Answer. On my own individual account, and on account of wages workmen in general.
Q. Have they sent you as a delegate 1-A. No, sir.
Q. And yon are engaged in business in New York ?-A. I am working for my employers in New York City.
Q. Yon are an employé :-A. I am an employé.
Q. Have you studied the causes of the present depression in business?-A. I have given about ten years' study to the question.
Q. And have you arrived at any conclusion that you are prepared to state ?-A. Yes, sir,
Q. State, as near as possible, what your conclusions are 1-A. My own grievance is this: I am victimized every week to the amount of 75 per cent. of my wages by usury and increase; hence, I am a poor man and my family are in want.
Q. Is that victimizing in consequence of any laws of the United States ?-A. In consequence of the laws of the United States and the customs of society.
Q. We are dealing now with the laws of the United States. Of course this committee can recommend legislation. Please specify which laws of the United States produce this result.-A. The laws in reference to the land is the basic cause of all our trouble.
Q. What law do you refer to in reference to lands 1-A. The law which allows any individual company, corporation, or institution to occupy any more land than they can individually use and economically use.
Q. Well, what is your remedy -A. My remedy is,let me state the natural law in the premises, and then let me give the remedy. The natural law is this, that every human being has an unalienable right to the earth and all it contains, to the extent of his individual necessity. That is the natural law. The order now is that the individual is allowed to occupy more than that, and when he is he is a monopolist. If he is allowed to occupy more than one acre more than he can economically and individually use, he is a monopolist.
Q. How would you ascertain what an individual can economically use -A. Take a thousand farmers and determine by statistics what is about the average amount these thousand men can use; or take it in another way, any one single farmer, and let him determine, by his individual experience, how much he can use.
Q. Would you allow him to employ labor on the farm 1-A. No, sir.
Q. You would not allow farmers to employ labor at all 7-A. I would make it absolutely free for the individual to cultivate the soil, if he thought fit to do so; and furthermore, I would so arrange it that every citizen of the United States should have a spot of land for a home gratis. Whenever any individual who is not an agriculturist or gardener, or holticulturist has more, that man is a monopolist. If he has two or three plots, no matter what, he is a monopolist whenever he has more than he can use as an individual. That is the basic cause of all the trouble in every country in the world.
Q. You would prohibit farmers from employing labor; but, if a man had a large family to cultivate it with him, would you let him have a larger farm ?--A, I would not prohibit any one.
Q. But there must be metes and bounds on a man's property. I ask you, then, when a man has a large family if he would cultivate a larger farm than a man with a small family !-A. Yes, sir; because if there are five or six in the family with himself to cultivate a garden, they ought to have five or six times more than one individual.
Q. Then you would allow large families to have large farms ?-A. Yes, sir; upon that principle.
Q. When families were reduced by marriage or death, what would you do?-A. The portion that remains should return to the general government, except the improvements upon it, and this he should receive the just value of.
Q. Who would pay him ?-A. Any one that wished to buy it.
Q. Who would pay him in the mean time? He could not cultivate the farm, and therefore it would have to go to waste.-A. The point is if the land were free; on that principle he would hire
Q. Suddenly pestilence comes to a man with a large family and takes them off; but you hire nobody, according to your principle. His farm then must go to wastel-A. Not necessarily,
Q. Well, there are things that would require to be attended to and kept up. You would not allow that man to hire anybody, and if nobody comes along to hire it, it would go to waste -A. Necessarily, under those circumstances.
Q. Would not the community be injured by having a productive farm go to waste! Would not there be less production ?-A. There would be less, necessarily. If there was auy malaria to take off that family, who is to blame?
Q. It might be an explosion of gunpowder P-A. Well, suppose it is a stroke of lightning, what then!
Q. Well, I ask you what then? The farm would stay idle.-A. Necessarily, until somebody took possession of it.
Q. And the production would cease 1-A. It necessarily would.
Q. I want some information; that is what I am after.-A. I don't see you have got any. I said, to begin with, I was victimized by usury and increase, and I have also enunciated a law which no one can successfully dispute. There is another law I wish to enunciate: it is that genius is non-transferable, incommensurable with money, and therefore absolutely priceless, as much so as the air. That is another natural law.
Q. What is the deduction from that ?-A. I will show you pretty soon. Another natural law is that culture is non-transferable, incommensurable with money, and therefore is as absolutely priceless as sunlight. The only thing, then, mankind can do is to exchange work for work. Another law I wish to enunciate: Suppose that all work is expenditure of vital force, whether it be through the medium of the brain
or muscle, it is the same stuff, and consequently an average hour's work of the head is equal to an average hour's work of the hand.
Q. Whose laws are these ?--A. God's laws.
Q. Then they are God's laws as you see them I-A. Just as Moses saw them. The law of Moses was that the land shall not be sold to another.
Q. Had Moses a right to say what God's laws were? Moses was the recognized interpreter of God's laws. --A. He is, by the Christian.
Q. Now, you say you are the interpreter of God's laws, as Moses was ?-A. Certainly.
Q. Are you then a recognized authority for the interpretation of God's laws I-A. Never have been recognized as yet, sir. Now, if you will prove that these are not natural laws, I will back out.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't propose to prove anything.
Q. Then that is an axiom 1--A. I affirm, then, that genius and culture are non-transferable, and the only thing you can exchange in this world is work, whether of the head or hand.
Q. Suppose people are willing to pay for work done by a genius, can you prohibit the genius from taking pay ?--A. No, sir; he shall be paid the just price of his work.
Q. How measured ?-A. By work.
Q. Time is the staudard of measure for everybody !-A. Time is the average. Take one hundred bootinakers who are equally good workmen, and let them be required to make boots for one week; then let them add up the sum total of the time, and divide the time by the sum total of the work, and you get the average cost of the boots.
Q. That is working by hand or machinery ?-A. It is immaterial. Then you get the average cost of a pair of the boots. One man can make two pair in a week, another six. The man that makes six gets
Q. Your proposition is that the man that makes six should get no more than he who makes two?-À. He should be paid the average cost of six.
Q. Then time is not the measure!-A. Time is.
Q. You mean time is the measure of value, but the quantity made in that time is to be measured according to value!--A. Certainly. Then the hardest worker, the man that had the most energy, would be the richest man, while he who would work less would be paid less.
Q. Take the case of an inventor like Edison. These bootmakers, who can only make a pair in a given time, send for Mr. Edison, who is a man of genius, and say: “Mr. Eilison, can't you enable us to make ten pair of boots in the same time that we make one?" He tells them he can, and they make them. How are you going to compensate Mr. Ellison ?-A. By the time consumed in producing the invention.
Q. The value of the time that is occupied is to be measured by bootmaker's average time in making boots !-A. That is the only way you can do it.
Q. Supposing Mr. Edison said, “I won't do it for any such price"!-A. Very well; then you can keep it to yourself.
Q. Society would not get along quick that way?--A. I would risk it. The flat I have ocempiell in Brooklyn during the last six years has cost me $300 a year; I can take $20 and put that flat in precisely the same condition as I got it. Still, suppose it cost $2,000, which is a very large estimate for that, and it will give the landlord that advantagi-that it is actually worth $2,000. If it were my own, I should want to insure it, and a half per cent. on that is $10 per annum. We have expenses 3 per cent, per annum, $60, and $20 to put the flat in as good condition as I got it; that is $90. When the landlord is paid that amount he has taken from me, for six successive years, $210, for which I have not received anything.
Q. Why pay it to him ?-A. Simply because I could not help myself; the land is not free. If I could have a spot of land on which to erect my own home I would not pay a man a cent.
Q. There are lots in Brooklyn now at very low prices ?-A. Who has got lots to sell !
The CHAIRMAN. I don't want to act as real-estate broker, but I do know of lots of land in Brooklyn at low prices.
Mr. HAXSON. I don't propose to buy it; and I hold that because the men who are occupying them don't need them they are monopolists; land is not worth a cent.
Q. Then, if it is not, why do you want it?-A. Because I want a spot of land on which to erect my home.
Q. Then, if you want it, it is worth something I-A. In the sense of utility.
Q. Why do I go and pay for a pair of boots ?--A. Not because you need them, but becanse you use them. You pay for a pair of boots if yon pay just the amount of labor impressed upon them. The utility of these boots is incommensurable with money.