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and to try to find out, so as to increase justice-is that not evidence to some extent of the desire on the part of the representatives to get at the facts, with a view to immediate legislation ?-A. It is the first time the thing has been done; what it will amount to we don't know.
Q. Neither do we. Wbat we want is the evidence. Get it before the people, get it before the Congress, and then you can send down representatives to Congress to get it done; that is the remedly?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is there any other?-A. Yes; before we can apply that remedy we must prevent employers from directly or indirectly influencing us to do as they say in voting.
Q. I suppose you know there is a law on all the statute-books against the intimidation of voters ?-A. If I had free justice, I could bring men that tried to influence me.
The CHAIRMAN. My colleague, Mr. Boyd, who is a lawyer, says it is an indictable offense. In indictable offenses means of obtaining justice are always furnished free, without charge to the individual. Lay it before the district attorney and the grand jury, and they will see to it.
Mr. Boyd. There is no expense to bring to justice any person who is guilty of bribery; intimidation is a criminal offense.
Mr. BECKER. I had a man not long ago arrested for stealing my coat, and I had to pay 25 cents for a fee to get a warrant.
Mr. RICE. Whom did you pay?
By Mr. BOYD: Q. In case of a conviction, that fee would have been refunded to you?-A. It would not.
Q. We don't convict men in this country without a trial, impartially. The presumptions are all in favor of a man's innocence, are they not, until he is convicted! That is right, is it not 1-A. That is right, if it is carried out right.
VIEWS OF MR. ANDREW P. VAN TUYL. ANDREW P. VAN TUYL was the next person to appear before the committee, and was questioned as follows:
By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Are you an employer or employé?–A. I am superintendent of the New York Plaster Works, and have the entire control of that business.
Q. Are you here as an individual or do you represent some organized body?-A. As an individual I express my views, but for the benefit of the concern.
Q. You come here though for the concern you represent, not for any organized association ?-A. No, sir.
Q. You know the purpose of this investigation is to ascertain the causes of business depression, and get at such remedies as we can, and if you will contine yourself as far as possible to matters within your own knowledge and experience, and leave general matters out, we will be obliged.-A. If I should attempt to speak orally or extemporaneously throughout, it would take me perhaps too long. if you will allow me I will read.
Q. How long will it take you ?-A. About ten minutes.
Mr. Van TUYL. I estimate that there are in the United States 10,000,000 of producing laborers of both sexes, exclusive of clerks and salaried employés. About 2,000,000 of these have no regular or constant employment. Many of these are wandering through the country seeking remunerative work and are denominated tramps. The cause of this surplus of laborers is partly the fact that the late war withdrew from active producing employment for army and contingent purposes about 1,000,000 of men and made them non-producers and consumers, thus creating an additional de mand for products with less facilities for producing: Manufacturers to supply the deti. ciency constructed very largely of producing machinery to do the work which had formerly been done by land labor. When the war terminated and the 1,000,000 of men were returned to the channels of production, they found every place occupied, and no need for additional labor. Then came the struggle of the "outs” to get in, and the “ins” to remain in their situations. The prices of labor gradnally gave way until the whole subject became demoralized, and the hungry would work for anything they could get. As a natural consequence, every kind of manufactured cominodity shrunk in price, failure followed, real estate fell, and everybody lost. Bankruptcy became general. This is the present condition of things in this country, and the whole world has to some extent been affected by the result. Now the remedy.
Q. Was there any period in the history of the United States within your recollection more prosperous than the period that followed the war from 1859 to 1872 1-A. No, sir.
Q. Then all this unemployed army had found employment; labor was in request at high wages subsequent to the war?-A. No, sir.
Q. That was not the fact 1-A. No, sir.
Q. Your testimony then is opposed to everybody else's testimony that has been before the committee, and opposed to my own knowledge of the condition of things from 1869 to 1872.-A. Men at that time were having such extravagant wages that they were working only partial time, and the result was there were as many idle then as now, living in the afternoon on what they made in the forenoon.
Q. But there were high wages and plenty of labor during that time?-A. Thero was a demand for labor.
Q. Was it not impossible to get labor at that time?-A. No, sir; labor was abundant.
The CHAIRMAN. In my experience it was impossible to get labor at that period, and work never was so abundant, and that is the testimony here.
Mr. Van TUYL. The wages that mechanics had been receiving had made them very improvident, and they could live on partial labor.
Q. Was it not a prosperous period i Didn't you have an abundant demand for your . products at that time ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Didn't you get good prices :-A. Yes, sir.
By Mr. RICE:
By the CHAIRMAN:. Q. Do you employ as many now as you did then ?-A. About the same number. The remedy I would propose is this, that government alone can apply the remedy. Tradesnions are good so far as they may go, but the Constitution and law stand between them and successful action. And, again, the trades-unions are in a great meastire controlled by leaders who have their own ambitious views to gratify, and often lead their delnded followers into excesses which bring reproach upon the organization as well as being disturbing elements in society.
Q: What provision of the Constitution, what provision of law in the State of New York or nder the general law prohibits trades-unions ?–A. Trades-unions can only control members of their own organizations.
Q. What provision in the Constitution is there to prevent trades-unions from being formed and carried on ?--A. The Constitution will not allow an organization in this State to control the people of another State.
Q. What ?-A. The Constitution of the United States will not allow the organization of one State to control the people of another State.
Q. Yon want to put in the Constitution a provision by which trades-unions will not be allowed ?-A. I want the Constitution to make laws which are general and not local.
Q. Is it not generally the case that the citizens of one State shall not control the citizens of another ?-X. If it is the law, it ought to be abolished and another made in its stead.
Q. In other words, you want to centralize the government, the legislature and the government?-A. I think that would be a very good word for it, sir. We have explained that labor not only exceeds healthy demand, but also the wants of consumers, and hence I ask that the amount of labor must be lessened to suit the circumstances. If governinent should employ all this surplus labor in works of improvement or otherwise, then national debt, increased taxes, and ultimate bankruptcy would follow. I suggest rather that government shall exercise its power to lessen over-production by abridging the hours of labor, instead of attempting to find employment for all the laborers. Make eight hours a full day's work, and impose such severe penalties on both the laborer and employer that punisbment will be sure to reach its violators. Let this law apply to and be rigidly enforced in every part of the United States uniformly, and to both sexes. This will require the labor of 10,000,000 of men and women to do what is now being done by 8,000,000. Let the law be positive and emphatic that no one laborer sball under any circumstances work more than eight hours in one day of twenty-four hours. If more hours of work shall be required in any factory or shop, let it be compulsory on the part of the employer to employ other and additional
Q. You want to reduce the productive power of labor in the aggregate by distributing it over larger numbers 1-A. That is the idea.
Q. Would not the destruction of machinery accomplish the same purpose ?-A. No, sir.
Q. Would not the destruction of a portion of the machinery now in existence produce the same result?-A. That might be, but it would not be wise.
Q. Why would it be wiser to restrict the hours of labor than to destroy some of the ma chinery by law ?-A. At the present time in the business of my own (that of manufacturing plaster of Paris) there are ten barrels produced where there is one needed in the country; the result is we have been obliged to reduce our labor until we get it down to prices by which we can sell it for two or three cents profit on a barrel. Now, if we were compelled to work only eight hours, there would be no more made than is required, and we would get a fair price.
Q. You want the government, en, to adopt laws by which the manufacturers of plaster will make larger profits ?-A. I want the government to adopt a law by which men in our business and others shall only work eight hours a day.
Q. You do want the government to adopt legislation which would result in making your pnprofitable business profitable ?--A. That is the gist of it, sir. The coal combination of Pennsylvania have in a limited way adopted a system of quarrying only the quautity of coal required for consumption each month, so that the the market cannot be overstocked. This wise arrangement is producing its natural healthy results in a satisfactory and healthy trade.
Q. Is the coal trade in a healthy condition now !-A. I apprehend it is.
Q. Has the stoppage of labor increased the wages of coal-miners? You think stopping production would employ more labor ?-A. Instead of the few laborers whom they did employ there, and working twelve hours a day in a mine, if this law of eight hours can be enforced, a thousand more laborers would be required in the anthracite regions.
Q. You say the coal combination is a wise combination ?-A. I think it is.
Q. It puts up the price of coal?-A. It puts up the price of coal, whereby the stockholders can get 2 per cent. on their stock instead of losing 10 per cent.
Q. Has it advanced the wages of the labor in the mining regions ?-A. Yes, sir ; I think it has.
The Chairman. I happen to be one of those persons interested in coal-mining, and I would be happy to put up the price of wages, but we are not in the combination; the railroad will not carry our coal. However, as a matter of fact, the wages of the coalminers have not been advanced.
Mr. Van Tuyl. They have been advanced negatively.
Mr. VAN TUYL. Their wages purchase more clothing and food than it did before; therefore, negatively, they are getting more than they did five years ago.
Q. If you put up the price by combination, will you advance the wages of the laborers of New York to buy that coal ?--A. They would be compelled to.
Q. How are you going to compel all business to put up prices ?-A. By making the eight-hour law.
Q. That would effect it!-A. I think it would. Go across the river, it is ten hours; go to Pennsylvania, it is sixteen hours; the consequence is, New York has to compete with Pennsylvania at a disailvantage, but the government alone can make the necessary uniformity in the law. Unfortunately, other branches of industry cannot be subject to like rules and regulations. In the anthracite coal business the number of producers is limited and concentrated and the position local; whereas in most branches of trade the number of producers is numerous and widespread, and successful combinations are impracticable. Hence, unless government interferes, overproduction and ruinous prices must prevail. Again, labor is too constant and unvarying for the healthful and cheerful development of social, moral, and religious life. As at present regulated, every man is expected to work six full days in a week and every week in the year. The majority of laboring men from the age of fourteen years to their death never have a holiday except Sunday, hence the sacred Sabbath is universally desecrated by the laboring classes thronghout Christendom.
Q. Do you consider it a desecration of the Sabbath for workingmen to go ont to the fresh air in Central Park ?-A. If they can't do it in any other way they may be right, but if we can do it in any other way then it is wrong.
Q. Would you have the government take the religious care of the people ?-A. No; but I would have the government provide holidays other than Sundays, which they have the right to do. It is evident, from his peculiar construction, development, and natural disposition, the Great Canse never intended this effect in the creation of man. Man requires recreation as well as food for his natural, healthy, physical and moral development. Deny him this, and he becomes narrow, bestial, and morally dwarfish. Now, what is the remedy? To remedy this growing evil and encourage in every one a spirit of manly, social, elastic cheerfulness, I claim it to be the duty of the government to provide by stringent laws a half-holiday every Wednesılay and Saturday of each and every week throughout the year, especially for every laboring man, woman, clerk, and employé, under sich severe penalties as shall fully and effectually secure its uniform fulfillment thronghout the entire country, at the same time making it obligatory on all local public conveyances to carry excursionists on those occasions at not over one-half the usual fare. Thns two full days, or one-third of the time now allotted to labor, will be withdrawn from actual employment, and to make up the deficiency, all those now idle will be provided with work. Wages, of course, will regulate themselves according to the demand for goods, machinery, and produce.
It may be claimed that the price of products would be largely increased, so that foreign manufactures would enter into unfair competition with our higher-priced commodities. I reply to this by saying that the coinmon dictates of humanity are the same the world over; very soon our example in this respect will be followed by the several nations of Europe and South America. And if any country competing for our trade should decline to act with us in this matter, then add to the present duties on all competing articles imported therefrom an additional duty of one-third ad valorem to protect our manufacturers and producers.
Again, the government should employ capital in constructing public works; such as railroads, harbor and river improvemeuts, &c., and use those works as a reservoir for the accumulations of surplus laborers, but at a price decidedly below what manufacturers and others may be paying at the time for labor, so that the tendency of labor will always be to private enterprises.
Q. What chance would a Representative who voted that the government should pay less than private individuals ever have of going back to Washington ?-A. At the present time i here are in New York seven thousand men now out of employment. Congress passes a law that they will open the Harlem River
Q. It has passed that law ?-A. I understand they have passed a law appropriating a certain amount of money.
The CHAIRMAN. Enough to begin-as much as you can use in one year.
The CHAIRMAN. The plan General Newton has adopted. I saw it described in a paper the other day. The same as you refer to.
Mr. VAN TUYL. We find that 7,000 men are seeking labor at $1 a day. Let the government say to these men, “We will give you 75 cents a day, and work on this canal. until you can get a better situation.” As business progresses they will fall off, and supply the ordinary channels of trade with useful labor.
The CHAIRMAN. Some time ago the city of New York reduced the wages of the labor-. ing men.
I remember there was great indignation expressed by the men of the city of New York, and resolutions were adopted which held that the city should pay higher wages than individual manufacturers.
Mr. VAN TUYL. When labor is actually needed, and must be done, then let them pay a higher price, but if they provide work for zuen simply to provide bread, then it wonld not be fair to give them high wages.
The CHAIRMAN. I only point out to you the fact that such a measure is unpopular with. the workingmen, and they are the ones that have the votes, and they will not vote
Mr. Vax TUYL. There is no such thing as a laboring man employed by the city of New York. They are simply pot-house loafers, and, in order to look like business, they are found around the streets.
The CHAIRMAN. I tried in vain to get several laborers employed on the city works, and perhaps you may be right.
Mr. VAN TUYL. If a man wants a situation for a laborer, he has got to have a beer. saloon somewhere, and has got to promise that he has 300 votes. I did not mean to say anything on politics, but your speaking of the laborers of the city reminds me of that fact, that these men who are employed in the city of New York as laborers are simply the underlings, who are subject to those who control district meetings, &c., to. carry out their views; they are not a fair specimen of what I am describing here, honorable labor for honorable men. I say it is the duty of the government to employ laborers at a small price, so that when a man is out of work he can find enough to get his bread.
Q. Wonld not that make a standard for private employers to pay wages by? Would not they say here are seven thousand men working for seventy-five cents; we must go down to fifty cents ?--A. No, sir; if they give them fifty cents, we would come down to twenty-five; we would always come down. The government would furnish them. a workhouse and give them assistance in that way. Why not furnish labor?
The CHAIRMAN. The city now furnishes a workhouse.
Mr. Vax TCYL. The government should employ them. The tendency would be fiever to seek employment from the government except when they had overstocked markets or dull trade, which would induce a surplus of laborers. I say, tempt no man to say that he cannot find work in a country so vast and open to development as this. Again, it is the duty of government to require of the successful and fortunate in business to provide for the absolute necessity of those who are unfortunate and unsuccessful. Two men, in every way equal in intelligence and energy, dig for gold ; they com
mence digging side by side ; the one is fortunate, and strikes a rich vein of gold, and soon accumulates a large fortune. The other digs for months faithfully and hard, and finds none, his provisions fail, his funds are exhausted, his tools need sharpening, and he must stop, beg, or starve. His fortunate companion refuses to aid or assist him. Now, what shall be done? I claim that it is the duty of the government to lay its constraining hand on that man's purse, and take from it a sufficient sum to satisfy his unfortwate neighbor's immediate wants. Government may claim that such an act would be unconstitutional, and it could not be legally done. If such be the case, then lose no time in amending the Constitution, that it may arm the government with power to provide for the inmediate necessities of the poor by taxing the surplus eamings of the rich, or, in other words, to require by law that the fortunate and successful shall contribute of their abundance to the necessities of the upfortunate and unsuccessful. The government should provide, or cause to be provided, an asylum in each and every county throughout the United States where a hungry person who has po means to procure food may at all reasonable hours obtain plain, healthy food and a comfortable place to sleep. Let it be the proud boast of America that not a human being, native or foreign, need go hungry to bed or lack a bed to sleep in in all her wide domain.
The question may be asked where is the money to come from to do all this. I reply, tax the incomes of those who have been fortunate and successful in business and accumulated large estates. I would not touch any maul's property or possession. Those are sacrel, and the government is bound to protect them to their owners; but the surplus earnings from these vast accumulations, generally denominated incomes, may be justly and equitably taxed, giving the owner the greater share, and dividing the moiety among the poor and needy who have been less fortunate and successful. All men are supposed to labor equally hard and constantly for the accumulation of wealth. There is no particular reason why one should succeed and another fail, except that one is fortunate and the other unfortunate; hence it is the duty of government to see that the unfortunate should not too severely suffer. A tax on the incomes of the rich will provide funds for the poor who cannot help themselves. Let all incomes over $2,000 be taxed in proportion to their extent, increasing according to the amount of income until the very large-say over $50,000 a year-should pay one-third of the total to this fund, thus providing liberally for the unfortunate, while the fortunate rich would not feel the burden.
(Q. Do you think there would be any people in the country with over $50,000 a year at that rate of taxation; don't you think the people with this income wonld remove their capital to other countries, where there was not a differential rate of taxation, and capital would leave the country?-A. It is possible that such a thing might occur, but I think not probable.
Q. Rich men, as a rule, look to their income; and if a man found his property would be more remunerative in France or England, would he not go to England or France rather than stay here!-A. I apprehend not. I judge from this: when I ride along tbe city of New York I find here and there large establishments provided for the widow and orphan, the inebriate and the insane, and I ask where does all the money come from that goes to these vast institutions, and I trace it to the wealthy men generally. Notwithstanding their large incomes, the inost of them have a heart.
Q. But very few of them have a heart to pay taxes --A. A man will pay taxes when it goes to keep men comfortable, and to feed the hungry. He never objects to paying for the taxes then; he says, "Tax the people, and lay on, Macdnff"'; they never complain of the school tax, but in this city they complain because it does not go to such a purpose. The unemployed are now suffering beyond what is generally known or suspected by the more fortunate throughout the country. Thus far they have, to their credit, been patient and enduring; but it cannot be reasonably expected that this state of quiet will always continue. Unless there may seem a prospect of relief in the net too far future, tliese 2,000,000 idle men and women will break forth with a power it may be difficult to resist or subdue.
Q. Where do you get your estimate of 2,000,000 idle men and women ?-A. I take it, sir, from evidence I have received from inquiries in different parts of the country; some of it through the commercial agency, where they have a very great correspondence.
Q. Is there any commercial agency that estimates that there are 2,000,000 of idle people in the country?-A. I think you will find that Dun, Barlow & Co. will give yon 2,000,000 as their estimate. I think they will give that as their estimate at the present time.
Q. Have they told you that?-A. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Boyd, a member of this committee, who is now out, a member from Illinois, has told the committee that in his part of the country there are no idle men at all, outside of the cities, in the rural regions—that is true of the rural regions where I live-in fact, there is a scarcity of them.
Mr. VAN TUYL. I entirely appreciate your remarks, and believe they are correct.