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By Mr. Boyd : Q. Have they been any lower than $2.25?-A. No, sir; they took a rise to $5 a day. Q. Please state during what years they rated at $5 a day! --Abont 1868 or 1867.
Q. From 1865 up to this time they have decreased ?-A. Yes, sir; I think so, from in 1868 to 1873. It was $5 for a few months.
By Mr. RICE:
By the CHAIRMAN :
Q. Which do you consider more advantageous to the stonecutter, $3 for eight hours' work, at the present time, or $2.25 at that time, with nine hours' work; with rents, provisions, fuel, &c., compared 1-A. I think $2.25.
Q. Do you think the present prices are higher for clothes, fuel, house-rent, &c.1-A. I think they are higher, taking everything into account; house-rent is.
Q. As to the mode of getting your supplies, how do you procure your supplies ! Do you buy them from the shops in your immediate neighborhood 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you no co-operative shops, by which you can buy in large quantities, and have the necessaries of life distributed among you I-A. No, sir.
Q. As a rule, do you think your branch of business is worse off than other branches of business 1-A. Yes, sir. The amount of work the men do is not sufficient to pay their demands and support their families in any kind of a decent way. They have got to go into small apartments, in unhealthy locations, and to places that are not respectable to live in. I don't suppose the men are employed, as a general thing, onehalf of the year; that is, the general run of them don't work six or five months in the year,
Q. Then if they had full employment at $2.25 a day, it would be better than irregular employment at $3?- A. Almost any wages would be better than the way they are working pow.
By Mr. RICE: Q. Have you any idea of the number of stonecutters there are in the city of New York now 1-A, I guess there must be three thousand of all kinds.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Have yon considered the rate of wages when you get full employment? For instance, supposing you stood out for $5 a day, and that made building so expensive that building was stopped, whereas at $2.25 a day they might go on building, have you considered the effect of that state of things on the quantity of employment you could get I-A. Well, no.
Q. You said just now that steady employment would be better?-A. My opinion is that now there is not enough employment for the mechanics in the city of New York.
Q. Is not that due to the high rate of wages that compelled parties to cease build. ing 1-A. No. I think it is owing to the amount of machinery having thrown out handlabor.
Q. Have they introduced machinery for cutting stones 1-A. Not for cutting it; for sawing them and polishing. They saw them with a diamond saw.
Q. There has been a large amount of hand-labor displaced in the city of New York by machinery 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is your view on that subject, as to how the government should deal with the use of the machinery 1-A. I don't think the government has any right to interfere at all. I think that in a very short time the men with machinery will go up completely. I don't think they have made a dollar since they took them.
By Mr. RICE: Q. It don't pay itself ?-A. No, sir. I know men in New York who went into machinery, but to-day they have not a dollar,
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Still, as a rule, the introduction of machinery has cheapened the cost of production, and you are not opposed to the introduction of machinery in labor 1-A, There is no use saying we are not.
Q. You don't think the government should prevent iti-A. I don't think the government bas anything at all to do with it. The way it has become in the city of New York-the first man who started machinery thought he was going to do a great business, but another says, I will try it too; and so they had to contract.
Q. Then you think they will cease to work, not because the machinery is ineffective, but because it is too effective?-A. The architects, I think, at the present time aro
working in the interest of the machines and making the fronts of buildings to suit machinery.
Q. Is not that the interest of the owner? The architects' object is to make it cheaper for the owner?-A. It is hard to tell what their object is; hand labor is cheaper than machinery now.
Q. You say that the wages of stonecutters is $3 a day 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are there any stonecutters working for less ?-A. The supposition is there is a great many of them. Q. How many are there 7-A I don't know.
By Mr. Rice: Q. Have not you an opinion on it?-A. My opinion is they are working as low as $2. Mr. EGAN. Yes; and I think they are working as low as $1.50.
Q. What does the society do; do they discipline them ?-A. Really, we can't get at them.
Q. In other words, you have to wink at the facts. The times are hard and you can't help it ?-A. The times are hard and we can't help it.
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. In other words, there are some laws that are more potent than the laws of trades unions -A. The law of necessity.
Q. Do you think the trades-unions can regulate wages; as a rule, do you think it is possible?-A. They have done it.
Q. In good times ?-A. In middling times.
Q. But in bad times, when machinery breaks it down- A. And employers made more money when they worked up to trades-unions.
Q. You mean the boss stonecutters and contractors ?-A. Yes, sir; there is proof of that in New York; I can bring men-some of them are dead now-who claim that they never made as much money as when they charged the wages of the union.
By Mr. RICE: Q. Do you think that in those years of higb prices it was not the workmen, but the employers of the workmen, who got the profits? Who were these employers ? Did not they belong to the mechanic classes B-A. Most of the employers in the city of New York now have all been journeymen ?
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. Have not a large number of the builders failed 1-A. Yes, sir; a great many of them are poor now.
Q. The greater portion of them have failed! Some of the great east-side builders have gone under 1-A. Yes, sir; I guess tbey carried too heavy a load of real estate.
The CHAIRMAX. So it would appear that neither the builder, the workman, nor the real-estate owner has made anything after so long an era of business expansion. The conclusion would be that no real benefit had been derived from this era of expansion to anybody 9-A. I don't see anybody that bas money.
Q. You want everything to come here in the rough and be worked up into the finished article in the city ?-A. Yes; that is our proposition. I suppose you know only that for Mr. Mullett all this work would not have gone to Dick's Island.
The CHAIRMAN. Tbat has certainly never been proved; but it is certain Mullett has been removed from his position. This building has cost over $7,000,000, and of course it has cost a great deal more than it ought to bave cost, but there is no private party who has built in the same period that does not think it cost him too much
WITNESS. D. n't you think that the government has the right to enforce the eighthour law ?
The CHAIRMAN. I am not here to be questioned; but I believe the government should enforce that as well as every other law that it has on the statute-book. The law is, that eight hours constitute a day's labor for work done for the United States Government or under its immediate direction; and, of course, the law should be enforced.
Mr. RICE. One of the difficulties you have to struggle against is that the Federal Government cannot make a law which applies to a great many laborers. It is for the States to make the laws; but the Federal Government can only make a law that applies to the work done by it.
By Mr. THOMPSON : Q. What good would it do, supposing the government had the power to liniit the right of the contractor to employ bis laborers eight hours? Would he not give then less? The laws don't fix the rate per day, and wouldn't he give them less I-A. Well, if the government would only stick to its law.
Q. But you observe that whenever the contractor takes the business and employs his laborers, the laborer is not then working for the goveroment ?-A. I should think they were then working on a government job.
Q. 0, 00; some of this work might have been done in England. Would the work. men be working under this government then 1-A. I should think they could make it conditional with the contractors that eight hours shall be the amount of a day's labor; for eight hours is enough for any stonecutter to work Mr. Thompsox. Yes; I have no doubt that could be done, if the law authorized it. The CHAIRMAN. The law does not authorize it. Witness. If we were all working in the city of New York to-day, there is not enough work to keep us employed half the day.
By Mr. THOMPSON: Q. I think the contractor should not work his laborers more than eight hours; but then the question comes up again, would he not have to reduce the pay?-A. It would come up again; times would have to regulate that.
Q. Do you mean to say that Congress would have the right to fix how many hours is a day's work, but not how much is a day's pay?-A. No, sir.
Q. Would not that question regulate itself in the manner you suggesti-A. I think if Congress would only enforce the law as it is expressed, and state that parties taking this work must not allow laborers to work more thau eight hours, the wages would regulate themselves.
Mr. THOMPSON. There is no law to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the law was intended to deceive, if you want to know my opinion.
WITNESS. The law in Albany was, no doubt. There is an excess of mechanics in the country for the anjount of work to be done even at eight hours. Eight hours is enough for any man to work, especially at stonecutting. Some other trades may not be as bad, but a stonecutter must not work more-that is to live. It is a natural law. I think these two arguments are in favor of the eight-hour law.
Mr. THOMPSON. Certainly, the last suggestion is.
Mr. THOMPSON. That probably would not be a legitimate argument; but if you can show that eight hours would be sufficient for a man to work, and that to work more would injure his health, that would be practicable.
By Mr. RICE: Q. You think if Congress has the anthority it would be well for it to limit all labor to eight hours a day. Do you mean that?-. Yes, sir.
Q. But if Congress has not, and it is left to the State, each State to do for itself, and some do it and others do not, then the employers of labor in the former places would be under a disadvantage as compared with those that did not do it. That is, supposing there are manufacturers in New York and Connecticut, one on one side of the line and one on the other; and in New York there is a law limiting the time of labor to eight bours a day, and in the other State there is no such law, the one that worked his hands more than eight honrs would get more work out of them, so that the work of the one that was limited to the eight hours would cost him more 1-A. Well, of course it would work badly for that man.
Q. So that, in order to have an eight-hour law operative, the Federal Government has to pass it and make it applicable to all labor everywhere?--A. Yes; the Federal Government should adopt the eight-hour law and make contractors pay under the eighthour law.
Q. We are speaking now not in reference to your kind of labor, but in reference to all kinds of labor 1-X. Well, we are here speaking for ourselves.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't sappose you think Congress should legislate for stonecutters merely. WITNESS. No.
By Mr. Rice: Q. You say stonecutting is more fatiguing than other kinds of labor ; but then there are other kinds of labor just as fatiguing, and you would not want the law adopted for your trade alone?-A. No; our real object is to get it for all mechanics. I think if the Federal Government enforced the eight-hour law, we could very soon get the city gov. ernments all over the country to do it.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Do you think that if the government enforced the eight-hour law as to time, withont doing anything in regard to wages, so that your men should only work eight hours, do yon think that would be effective!-A. I think so.
Q. Without touching the question of wages -A. I thiok so. A great deal of trouble, I think, originates in this way, that the government is very apt to give out contracts to parties that are not responsible. You can see the effect of that in the city of New York at the Forty-second street arch; that man took the work at $23,000 less than the lowest bid.
The Chairman. I think the United States Government is not open to that charge. I think it gives its work to responsible persons who give bonds. There have been abuses in this regard, but they have been remedied. Is there anything elee that you desire to say to the committee
The WITNESS. I think that is about all.
THE SOCIALISTIC LABOR PARTY.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any other delegation present! I have a card from the committee of the Socialistic Labor Party. Who represents it?
A VOICE. I do.
SAME VOICE. R. H. Bartholomee. I have been sent down here to see what time you would receive our committee.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will meet here to-morrow at eleven o'clock, and will bear any person who comes to offer evidence. Is there any one else here!
VIEWS OF MR. HUGH MÖGREGOR.
In reply to the last interrogation
Hugh MCGREGOR, of 421 East Fourteenth street, New York City, by occupation a jeweler, asked permission to be heard by the committee. His request having been granted, be spoke as follows:
Congress bas at length recognized the fact that the working people of this country, as well as the working people of all other countries, are suffering. Congress desires to know the reason of this suffering. That is a very vast subject; it is an immense subject. I, as an individual, bave my opinions of the reasons, but I would like to say a word now upon remedies. I tbink the best thing Congress can do, if it really wishes to do something for the working people, if it really wishes to take any progressive action, is, first of all, to understand the disease that labor and society in general is suffering from. To understand the disease, then, I think that a ministry should be formed. You know you have a Minister of War and of the Navy. These departments are well looked after. But industry, it seems, is neglected by Congress. Now, in this age of the world we men to-day have to work. In past ages men got their living by fighting, robbing. To-day society, and the individuals composing society, must bave moral reasons; they must get their living by industry. I claim that every individual has a right to get his living by working. Now, seeing that the design of mankind in general is an industrial one, I think it is the duty of the Government of the United States, of all the governments of the world, to consider primarily industrial questions rather than military questions. Therefore I demand that a coordinate branch of government be established.
By Mr. RICE:
Q. You don't care wbat the name is so long as it be a department ?-A. No. This department should, first of all, know the number of people that exist in this country. They should first find tbat out. Then they should classify these people according to their occupations. They should then know bow they live, how they get their living, and what their living consists of; that is, what they earn, how they get their living, what are their profits, what are their wages, and such like. Then they should find out what the people know, what is their education, what are their means and opportunities of education. Then they should know how the people live, what are their surroundings, wbat kind of houses they live in; whether they are healthy or not; their sanitary condition ; how long men live in the various branches of labor; how long a stonecutter lives, a tailor; bow long a man living npon interest derived from money lives, and such things as these. It should be the duty of the government to gather in all these statistics; and until that is done, gentlemen, until we kpow what we are talking about, there is no use. I was listening when the request was made to bring forward facts and figures as to the number of stonecutters. Now, I will say, the men in the labor movement have not got this information. They can only guess at it. Tbey have not got the means to get it. It is the dnty of the state, the people in their corporate capacity, to get it. We have made petitions over and over again to the various States to have this information gathered, and now make this demand of Congress, because Congress is more capable of doing it than any State. There is no reason why each State should not; but the United States Government, representing the whole people, and baving the greatest jurisdiction, that is the body which should examine and make this inquiry.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Have you examined the last census of the United States ?-A. No, sir; pot fully. The CHAIRMAN Will you allow me to send it to you? You will then tind that every. thing you have stated is in that volume. That work has been done every ten years siuce 1790, and the coming census will be arranged upon a more complete scale than those which have preceded it. Nevertheless, it does tell the number of stonecutters and the number of jewelers. It gives the information you describe, except the sanitary condition, but the State of Massachusetts has taken that matter up.
By Mr. RICE: Q. Have you seen the work of Mr. Wright, of Massachusetts, the chairman of just such a bureau as you are speaking of 1--A. Yes, sir; that bureau is a shain and a fraud. It bas not the power to examine a man under oath. It can't com pel the attendance of any witness. This department of the government must have full power to examine all persons under oath or affirmation, and to call for all documents, all accounts, and such like, to get at the bottom truth in such inatters.
By the CHAIRMAN :
The CHAIRMAN. Under the Constitution it is done every ten years, and in the State it is done five years thereafter, so that you get it every tive years.
Mr. MCGREGOR. It would not matter whether it took place every ten or five years, but you understand that I mean that the census should be extended in its operations ; that a scientific classification of the various matters should be made.
Q. Have you seen charts (published forms) giving the social condition, all worked ont upon diagrams 1-A. Yes, sir; I have seen many charts based upon the census.
Q. These particulars are published by the government.-A. Whether they were published by the government or not, I do not know; but they were based upon the census, giving the density of tbe population, and the rain-fall, and such things.
Q. All social conditions are given in the same charts, and the divisions of labor and the professions 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the state of education ?-A. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Every fact pertaining to social life is there given. Mr. MCGREGOR. Do they show the hours of labor in the various trades? Do they state how many days in the year a man is employed, or a woman or child !
The CHAIRMAN. Not in the United States census. In the Massachusetts bureau they do.
Mr. MCGREGOR. There is an attempt to do that in Massachusetts. It is the duty of the United States to establish a department of government that shall fully investigate this subject of labor in order that we shall know what we are talking about.
The CHAIRMAN. You want more information; you want to extend the census so that it shall cover larger ground than it now does !
Mr. McGREGOR. Yes, sir; and I want the inspectors to take every means within the limits of morality to gain that knowledge, by calling manufacturers and workmen before them, and examining those persons under oath, calling for their books of accounts, rules and regulations, and such things; every manufacturing or industrial occupation should be inspected by inspectors at stated seasons to see that the conditions under which the people are forced to labor are not prejudicial to their standing as men and citizens.
The CHAIRMAN. If you go to the Cooper Union, where you will find the census, and see what is omitted from that which you think ought to be included, I think the superintendent of the next census will include every thing of public value, and will be glad to do it.
Mr. MCGREGOR. The report should be made in the shape of details, and should contain suggestions as to the appropriate legislation to remove those evils under which we are suffering. Gentlemen, I tell you as a man who has worked with the people, and understands them pretty much, you have got a dreadful mine ready to burst. You take the most ignorant inan, take any workingman, and speak to him, and you see the smouldering element of discontent, and that discontent is ready to burst out at a moment's notice, and nothing but a sweeping change, nothing but a radical, honest attempt to remove those evils will ever satisfy the people. It is no good playing with this question.
The CHAIRMAN. Your recommendation is to get information in the first place
The CHAIRMAN. Do you go beyond that? Do you recommend more than that at this timet
Mr. McGREGOR. Yes, sir; I demand that the same as the Department of War, the Department of Industry be establisbed. When that department is established and when they have gained imformation, then they must propose to Congress proper legislation to remove the evils of which they become cognizant. It is no good one man getting up and performing a little bit of reform here, and a little bit of patchwork there, as our laws are made to-day; we want a comprehensive scheme. Perhaps