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Q. You are in favor of these postal savings banks ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Wonld you have those people who make their deposits there receive any interest !A. Not as much, no, sir—to encourage thrift among the people.
Q. How much?-A. Two per cent, not as an interest on the money, but as a bonus given to protect the property.
Q. Would you have the nation obliged to pay that by law ?-A. I would.
Q. So you would impose a law upon the nation that you would not upon individuals ! A. I have stated the reason, to encourage thrift among the people and help the working classes. The national debt of France is held by four and a half millions of Frenchmen. Their money, rightly called a circulating medium, because it is thrown out at the end of each year, is given out to stimulate labor all through the country. It then comes back to the Bourse, as you may call it, in Paris and is thrown out again to stimulate labor, and comes back again, so that the circulation of the financial system of France circulates through France as does the blood in the human system, but in our country, to continue the comparison, the blood runs out of the system, is paid a way to Europe.
Q. What money is it they have in France ! Is it paper money they have there !-A. There is considerable paper money in France.
Q. Any considerable amount !-A. A very considerable amount, but there is a very considerable amount of specie.
Q. So that this great empire of France that has had all its success had it without paper money, on the old theory of coin money ?-A. Well, it has had its financial success while still holding to coin; it has been exceedingly well governed tinancially.
Q. And still on the old system ?-A. It has had the hard money.
Q. Should we have had any hard money in this country if we had issued all this paper money ?-A. I think it likely that gold and silver might for a time leave the country, but the value of American money does not depend upon the metal or article of which it is composed. Our greenbacks in London will be at a premium; if we sell more to London than we buy from it they must be at a premium.
Q. But would it not depend upon what that greenback is? If the greenback is not convertible into gold, then how will it be at a premium l-A. The greenback represents the labor of this nation, the wealth of this nation, and the ingenuity of the people.
Q. You think, although the example of France should be held up before us, still we should succeed by going away from that example ?--A. No, sir; I think the example of France would have been well followed by keeping the boods in this country; but Mr. McCulloch, like Benedict Arnold, soll his conntry.
Q. You do not think it was any alvintage to go abroal and borrow money to do our business with 1--A. I dou't see that it was.
Q. What do you think of the eight-hour system, Mr. Hume? Do you think there would be any advantage to the laboring classes by the reduction of the hours of work ?A. I think, sir, every hnnan being has the right to be qualitied and cultivated, and in a civilized couutry ought to be. I am of Franklin's opinion, that four bours' labor is enough. I think every man ought to be an intelligent man, and I want to give him four hours in which to acquire intelligence; and I think every man ought to be a moral man, and I would give him four hours to cultivate his morals.
Q. You think the hours of labor should be reduced ?--A. I am sorry to say the New York labor law that we could not compel the people to obey it; it was a foolish law; it was one of those kinds of laws the State could not do its luty with, and the people think it should be the rule at Washington also. It is a look towards what is right, but the workingman has a right to more than was intended at that time.
Adjourned to August 5, 1078, at 11 a. m.
New York, Jugust 5, 1878. The committee met pursuant to adjournment. Present, Messrs. Hewitt (chairman) and Rice.
The CHAIRMAN. I desire to make an explanation so that the newspapers mar get it. Mr. Thompson was compelled to return home on Saturday evening and Mr. Boyd will have to go home to-morrow. The committee have therefore decided that after to-morrow they will take a recess, and appoint at some future time further meetings at as early a date as possible. To-day and to-morrow they will continue to hear volunteers who choose to give testimony, as far as they can. At the next meeting they will hear gentlemen whom they request to appear before them, as representative men from all branches of society-all classes of society, employers, workingmen, capitalists, laborers, merchants, bankers, and everybody that they think can contribute any information of value to this matter. In pursuing the investigation today and to-morrow, as you observe, there is a very large number of applications, and the committee desire that gentlemen will not go over the same ground; that is, as far as possible they will give us new facts, and avoid, if possible, what has been already presented, so that the time of the committee and the public need not be needlessly consumed. I wish to state that my absence on Saturday was due to a sudden attack of illness; otherwise I would have been present. We will now continue the session and call the gentlemen in the order in which they are on our list. First upon the list is Mr. Hastings, who has already appeared before the committee, but who undertook to furnish distinct information as to some abuses he thought might be remedied. He will now be pleased to proceed. The committee will between now and the time of adjournment to-morrow endeavor to prepare a few leading questions, which they will give to the press, as to the points upon which they desire information, in order that they may be published.
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT BY MR. WILLIAM HASTINGS.
WILLIAM HASTINGS appeared and made the following additional statement: Mr. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE: I wish to show1. That the locking up of money and withdrawing it from business circulation for stock and other speculative purposes by foreign and native capitalists is in part the cause of the depression in trade and labor.
2. That the withdrawing of paper money by frequent depreciation of the same by means of creating gold premiums--and I pause here a moment in order to explain what I mean by that. We have no gold of our own, and if we purchase gold for any purpose for which it is necessary to use it in matters of business, we are compelled to purchase it from foreign capitalists; so that it is to the interest of foreign capitalists to run our gold up as high as they possibly can, and with that gold at the highest figure, buy the largest amount of paper money.
It is estimated there are $7,000,000,000 of gold in the whole world. Now, under the second point, I propose to show the committee where they can get evidence to establish the truth of what I say, that whenever gold is raised by the gold ring our paper is correspondingly depreciated, becanse paper is bought with that gold. For instance, on Black Friday paper ran np to 240: so it was reported in the papers, and if I understand the estimate right, with $100 in gold coin you could buy $240 in paper. Now, then, next to this I propose to show the withdrawal and withholding of money, stock, bonds, and other assets by bankruptcy proceedings, to the delay and injury of the creditor class and depreciation of business, as carried on by bankruptcy rings that are interested in withholding from the public and keeping in the hands of official assignees without distributing to the creditor class nearly five hundred millions of dollars, and withholding it from the channels of trade and commerce, and that about thirty banks in all in the United States are favored by the courts to hold those assets and use them for their own private purposes in derogation of the public welfare.
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. Can they make money out of them, or do they make money out of them ?-A. I call your attention to the Revised Statutes of the United States, vol. 18, part 1, p. 177, on the subject matter of assignees in bankruptcy, and what they must do with the money.
Q. What do they do with the money ?-A. Deposit the money in bank.
Q. What do the banks do with the money ?--A. It is supposed to be in the registry of the courts.
Q. What do the banks do with the money which you say they have ?-A. They use it for bankruptcy-ring purposes.
Q. How do they use it for bankruptcy-ring purposes ?-A. They speculate in stocks and bonds and keep it in bank when it ought to be distributed among the creditors.
Q. How can they keep the money in the bank and at the same time speculate in stocks and bonds with it?-A. I didn't say they kept it there absolutely, but in contemplation of law it is supposed to be in the registry of the courts.
Q. What do they do with this money 1-A. They use it for their own purposes.
Q. Do they put it into speculation to buy anything ?-A. Do you expect me to state everything they do with that money?
Q. You say the banks have this money belonging to the bankrupt estates, and that they speculate with the money. Can they speculate with the money unless they use it -A. Of course not.
Q. Is it locked up when they use it ?-A. It is, so far as the creditor class is concerned.
Q. But as far as the community is concerned it is not locked up.-A. I propose to prove in many instances it is locked up from the creditor class that want to use it in business for upwards of seven years.
Q. Now, go on with the evidence.-A. 4th. The circulation of foreign credit in the hauds of speculators, and used injuriously to the American business community instead of the cash premium on foreign credit-that is, instead of using this American credit they use foreign bills of exchange, and they allow our banks to make a percentage on the sale of those foreign bills of exchange. That brings me to the opera tions of the grain ring, the wheat ring. They fix pretty much in Liverpool the price of our wheat, and in London they fix the price of our paper by fixing the price of gold. It is a very unfortunate circumstance, but it is true; they fix the price of our products and of our money low by manipulation of the finances, and all the foreign credit in that form is so much capital locked up from the business community in this country. For instance, a man wants to buy a large amount of grain; after the price has been fixed in Europe he wants to buy a large amount of grain out West. Well, he don't generally use the cash. He will give a bill of exchange on a foreign country; for instance, England. The banks will cash that bill of exchange, and give credit to that foreign creditor and hold it, and then remit it to Europe, making a percentage on it. That is elevating foreign credit over native credit. Some future day I will explain that fully.
sth. Mortgaging public lands to foreign capitalists and withdrawing one hundred and fifty millions in gold coin annually to pay interest on the public debt. That is, there is not quite one hundred millions in gold coin paid in interest on the public debt, but there are about fifty or sixty millions on the railroad debt; but it is to be paid to Europe, or if it is not sent abroad it is used here for the benefit of foreign capitalists and not for our benefit.
6th. Foreign capital owning our gold and silver mines, and withdrawing their products from the country. That is a very interesting subject of discussion for the committee, and there is some very nice evidence that I would like to introduce on that subject. They even ship their own men from England and employ them in the mines and furnish clothes from foreign countries to exchange with them for wages.
Q. Would you probibit foreign capital from coming here to open gold mines ?-A. No; but I don't want it to crush us.
Q. Do you expect ns to propose legislation to prevent foreign capital from coming to this country ?-A. I do not. I am not an enemy of foreign capital; I am an enemy of its abuse. What I want to say in regard to my eighth point I think is included in one of my other questions; therefore, I won't refer to it.
Now, I want to read you a memorandum from a copy of the record of the United States court. I have a great deal of evidence, but first of all I would suggest in order that the committee may get at the facts, and not take my statement, that they examine the official assignees in bankruptcy and compel them to disclose those facts.
1st. The value of the assets in the hands of official assignees in bankruptcy belong. ing to creditors, and in what banks are they deposited. You will see that the bank that holds forty or fifty millions of deposits in this city belonging to creditors has a decided advantage over all other banks, and that bank sends out its agents to rear other banks to get their assets into capital, so that they will increase their capital.
Q. Name the banks.-A. I will give you one: The Bank of the State of New York, and I will give the record of a suit against it.
Q. How much has the Bank of the State of New York deposited with it of bankruptcy assets ?-A.I suppose over twenty millions.
Q. Do you know what the total deposits of the Bank of the State of New York are ?-A. I do not; my knowledge is not universal. My knowledge is very limited,
3d. The length of time it takes to settle up the atlairs of bankrupt estates and make a distribution of the assets to the creditors.
4th. Under the law, is the bank where the official assignees deposit the assets of bankrupt estates authorized to go on and use such assets and derive the benefits arising from such use by the banks ?
5th. The aggregate amount of money or assets of bankruptcy estates withheld from the creditors at the present time.
Now, I will read from the copy of a court record, and I am glad Governor Rice is here, because it is not an authentic copy; it is from a United States court in Boston. Mr. Justice Clifford was presiding at the time. In order to avoid anything like scan. dal-for I am not a scandal-monger-I will withhold the title of the suit, and I will read simply from the record in that case.
By Mr. Rice: Q. What are you going to do; read what ?-A. An extract from a public judicial record.
Q. What is the public judicial rocord you are going to read from ?-A. A record of the court.
Q. Of what case in court ?-A. That is just exactly what I want to avoid calling. Some one will say I am a sorehead.
Q. We don't want anything here that is concealed or half disclosed. If you have anything that will answer our purpose, let us know.-A. That suits my purpose. It is the suit of William Hastings against Samuel Blatchford, the judge of this court, in bankruptcy proceedings. John H. Platt is the official assignee. I will give the other Dames. Those are the things that are not allowed to go to press.
Q. You are the plaintiff ?-A. I am.
Q. What do you claim you are going to show by reading that record ?-A. I propose to show by reading that record that the bankruptcy riugs of this city are ruining the creditor class.
Q. You propose to show that the funds of some estates have been kept in bank longer than they should be ?-A. I don't want to show that the funds of any particular estate have been, but that the funds of a large number of estates have been kept longer than they should be.
Q. Does that show the number?-A. Yes, sir, it does. Q. You make the point that by the aid of the bankruptcy court bankruptcy assets are kept too long in hand, and used by rings !-A. I do. I mean to say they are kept unnecessarily long, and injurious to the interest of the creditor class.
Q. Any fact that will bear upon that that you desire to state we will be glad to hear.-A. I say that I have a large amount of record evidence which I would like to put in.
Q. Suppose you make an abstract of it, and hand it to us in support of that point. We will be glad to take any abstract evidence you have, and consider it in connection with that point.-A. You must remember I am not paid for this work.
Q. We do not desire to go into a long matter of personal interest unless it is of public interest.-A. It is of public interest.
Q. You have made the point, and we would be very glad to have an abstract of any facts you have in your possession to substantiate that point; but it is not necessary to take up our time, when so many gentlemen are waiting to be heard, to go into the details of those facts further than necessary.-A. I will give you the details of those. I will give you the title of the suit, with the names of the defendants, and I will also refer you to a large amount of documentary evidence bearing upon the subject. If the committee is not prepared to hear any more, I am prepared to stop.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you have made the point very clear, but I would like to ask you a question. Have you stated in this room that any member of this committee is interested in a bankruptcy-ring bank ?
Mr. HASTINGS. I have not, sir. I did say, though, sir, that I was under the impression that the chairman of this committee was interested sufficiently in the advancement of the interest of foreign capital as to be somewhat hostile to my introducing proof.
The CHAIRMAN. Upon what ground did you state the chairman of this committee was interested in the advancement of foreign capital?
Mr. Hastings. Because you are connected with various foreign importers and other matters. The CHAIRMAN. In what way connected with foreign importers ? Mr. HASTINGS. Do you not sometimes import foreign goods ? The CHAIRMAX. We do not. Mr. Hastings. Then you are not interested in any way in the manufacture of foreign goods?
The CHAIRMAN. Not at all. I am not an importer of goods. As you have made an imputation here—it is stated that you publicly said on Saturday last in this room that the Chairman was not willing to hear you because the Chairman was interested in a bankruptcy-ring bank-let me say now for the satisfaction of the public that I am not a shareholder in any bank of any kind whatever.
Mr. Hastings. I am glad to hear it, sir. I deny that I said you were interested in stock or bankruptcy stock.
Mr. MULLEX. You stated so to me.
VIEWS OF MR. MORRIS COHEN.
Morris Cores appeared and made the following statement :
By the CHAIRMAN : Question. Whom do you represent ?--Answer. I represent the Socialistic Labor party of Brooklyn. I want to state individually how I am depressed in business. Q. What is your business ?-A. I am a manufacturer of cloaks and suits.
Q. State your case, then.-A. I employ when I have business 150 girls, but I don't employ any now; I have no work. The average money that I have earned in the year is $1 a week. Now, gentlemen, I don't think any man can live on that and pay his expenses and rent. I am a small manufacturer, but I fear that the large manufacturer is crowding me out, and thousands of others like me. Therefore I appear before pon, and I think it is the right of our servants to see to it that they stop this fraudulent arrangement of monopoly to crowd out a small man that is trying to get along in this country. I think there is some screw loose. I am vot a statesman, and I don't intend to say to you what to do or how to do it; but Mr. Robb will tell you what we propose to do in regard to our business depression and labor depression.
VIEWS OF MR. ALEXANDER R. ROBB.
ALEXANDER R. Robb appeared and made the following statement:
By the CHAIRMAN :
Q. Are you a working pluinber 1-A. I am. I have written down my views, so that they may not be garbled, and will not take five minutes to read them. I say to this committee :
" If there is one fact that stands prominently forth in the appointment of the committee which I have the honor to address, it is this:
“ The sufferings and wrongs that the laboring population are subject to have become so apparent and so grievous in their nature that Congress in its wisdom has appointed you, gentlemen, as a board of inquiry to discover, if possible, the cause of so much crime, so much prostitution, and so much destitution among the laboring people of this land of overproduction and underconsumption.
“We bave, on one hand, untold resources of wealth, and yet with a population spreading over half a continent, and that population no larger than wbat the State of New York could support under a scientific system of farming, one-fifteenth of the working population are tramps, another fifteenth are criminals, prostitutes, and paupers, and another fifteenth finds spasmodic employment for abont one-third of the time ; and yet another fifteenth are not more than half of their time employed, and still another fifteenth not more than two-thirds of their time employed, while there is not more than one-fifteenth of the entire working population that are employed for their full time.
“This honorable committee will readily perceive that with such a large population unemployed a very important cause of your apparent overproduction is accounted for. Were those six-fifteenths of our hardy sons of toil fully employed and properly paid for their labor, there would not be one bale of goods in any of our large marts of com
So much for overproduction. “Having briefly stated a few facts that are no doubt better known to this honorable committee than they are to the obscure and humble individual who has the honor to address you, but as you are more particularly to find out the remedy-which I would to God could be made as apparent and as undoubted to your senses as the terrible nature of the disease has become-why are the people suffering for want of food, for want of clothes, for want of shelter ? Why is disease the rule and not the exception in the human family? Why are bodies of the most refined and educated but the common sewers of disease engendered in the brothel ? There is but no answer. We have made the laws of men our standard and guide, and dethroned the laws of God, and we must come back to keep those laws of God before righteousness, justice, and truth will prevail.
“Men do not gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles. By their fruits ye shall judge your rulers. What are those fruits ? Frauds, perjury, and crime in high as well as in low places. The judges of your Supreme Court always decide political cases according to their partisan bias. Witness the Dred Scott case and the Hayes-Tilden Presidential contest, both cases undoubtedly decided on partisan principles and against the weight of evidence.
"Where, then, will the people look for justice and relief? It is in vain for Congress to legislate while the wolf is left at the door of every man who lives by toil. You cannot put out a conflagration by pouring boiling oil over it; no more can you,relieve the distresses of the poor if you permit an interest-bearing money to exist. The one is just as easily accomplished as the other, no more and no less.
“Now, you gentlemen, honorable members of Congress, are criminal, if not in intent at least in negligence, if you do not discover some means whereby the whole people of the land can be fully, honorably and remuneratively employed. Do not take the way I propose, the way God has proposed, if you can find a better; but know this: God will hold you accountable for every hungry stomach, for every naked back, for every unhoused tramp found in this land flowing with milk and honey. The shriek and wail of the prostitute will sound harsh in your ears when you will be told that with just laws prostitution would have been impossible.
“Again, gentlemen, there are certain things in nature that all men have an inalienable right in, no one man more than another, and those are air, light, water, and last (though not by any means least), land. I am aware that this is a bold assertion, but it is according to Divine law; Lev. xxv, 23: “The land shall not be sold forever ;' and why? What is the reason God gave this command ? He says : • Because it is mine.' No man has a right to give a title-deed away for that which the God of nature has bestowed for the benefit of all."
By Mr. Rice: Q. How would a man have land to live on if he could not have a title to it :-A.