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new departure, is the meaning and whole meaning and cause of the panic. It was and is no "panic," but a rational adjustment of affairs; it is a simple settlement of balances; the adjustment of bankrupt promises. This period of settlement involves the happiness of all classes, without exception, but has fallen with crushing force on that class who have heretofore been capitalists. There is and has been no destruction of property ; the country has actually increased in wealth and power during the last four years, but the amount of property distributed in the interest of the mass of the people, and substantially to them, is immense, almost past comprehension. I estimate the losses to holders of what is known as first-class securities, such as first mortgages, &c., to be fully 10 per cent., and of all other so-called securities and stock 40 per cent., and on real and personal property of 334 per cent. On the government debt the holders have practically lost about 20 per cent., for the holders of government bonds could do nothing else with the money paid them other than reinvest it in 4 per cents. They have practically surrendered a 6 per cent. bond for a 4 per cent. bond, the 4 per cent. bond being worth to them in income one-third less than the one exchanged for it. If any are disposed to question the correctness of the assertion that a very large part of this immense sum has been distributed, let them reflect that probably one-third of it represents the wages paid laborers for building and equipping railroads; public improvements in towns, counties, and cities; houses in cities and towns; the improvements in farms, &c., causing a large increase in all the trade and industry in the country for the time being. The accumulations of the abused bondholders was parted with for these evidences of debt before 1873, and the money then went into the whole circle of the industries of the country, and the destruction of the bonds and other evidences of debt there leaves it never to be collected. Take a railroad costing one hundred millions, built to transport coal, the net receipts on which must be kept up to seven millions to meet the interest on its cost. Each ton of coal that is carried over it is taxed in the form of freight, which is paid by the consumer. In the universal settlement of balances, or the general settling of value, which ever term we may select, the railroad now stands at 20 millions, the net receipts now need be only $1,400,000 to pay the same rate of dividend, and the tax on a ton of coal to the consumer, in the form of freight, is perpetually reduced four-fifths which, to the laboring man as to others, is the equivalent of investing to his credit, a sum sufficiently large to pay this difference in freight on his coal, and so on through the whole list of evidences of debt that have been destroyed.
Question 10. Are we to have these panics in the future as we have had them? Can they be avoided!
Answer. Nothing will prevent "panics” until human nature is radically changed. Their comparative severity will increase with advancing civilization, unless the disposition to protect themselves from times of sickness and panics by saving a portion of their earnings is more universal among the people than it now is. They bear with equal severity upon all classes, though many individuals escape. The laws and institutions of the country can no more be adjusted to them than they can be to the condition of yellow fever. Furthermore, the absolute necessities of man, or their cost, do not increase, they relatively decrease ; while the advance of society is shown and measured by the increase of the comparative necessities and luxuries enjoyed by the mass of the people. Furthermore, these things increase the dependence of each man's comfort and happiness on that of all others, as witness the almost endless division of labor, which is to go on increasing indefinitely. Hence, when consumption begins to fall off, the circle affected by it is larger and more complex in each succeeding decade. The only thing that will delay them or alleviate their severity, is to instruct the mass of the people through the agency of the public schools the necessity of personal savings, and in the fundamental laws of money and trade, and in the history of past commercial revulsions.
Questions 11 and 12. Can all unemployed find work, and what shall we do with them?
Answer. Taking into consideration the fact that many of them are wrongly placed, and also their mental and moral condition, probably not. But thousands upon thousands who are now idle might find work if they would accept it at the price of the actual benefit their work was to the person employing them. Again, while many thousands of them are most reputable people, there are still many thousands more whose violation of every condition of comfort and happiness forbids the sympathy of every well-wisher to the community. The best interests of all conoerned demand that they be separated into as small bodies as circumstances will admit of and as many as possible sent into the country.
Questions 13 and 14. Shall we assist them where they are ? Is it not the duty of the government to aid them?
Answer. Nothing is so destructible to the moral fiber as charity. It never should be bestowed on any man in sound health if it can be avoided. Certain kinds of governmental assistance can be safely given. When any man becomes a public charge, he and those dependent upon him should be transferred, when practicable, to the place of his legal settlement, the certainty of which would stimnlate to exertion. When this cannot be done, they should be fed, clothed, sheltered, and cared for, as are laborers in building our railways, and put on some public work. No man in sound health should ever be allowed anything excepting in return for honest work, and the fact that no one will give him work and pay that will support him, should, as a rule, be conclusive evidence that his labor is worth no more to the public than his shelter, food, and clothing. Every city, every county, and every State ought to project public works to be done by such persons, and every healthy man who cannot support himself should be compelled to work upon them until such time as he can himself find work.
Questions 15 and 16. How about supply and demand? Will not supply exceed demand, especially in these days of labor-saving machinery?
Answer. No, not in ordinary times. Taking a given period (in the history of this country of about twenty years), production and consumption will equal each other. Civilization is the increasing of rational wants by fully supplying those we have. A want supplied actually creates a dozen more; and our rational wants, and the labor necessary to supply them, are as illimitable as human progress. No assistance men can command from labor-saving machinery, or from any other source whatever, will enable them to outstrip their demand, or can be detrimental to their interests, and least of all to manual laborers. Absolute necessities are relatively less and less. Comparative necessities and luxuries are rapidly increasing, and must inevitably increase. They are the exponents and substance of social progress. They are not in themselves superfluities, any more than are the higher branches of mental training. Probably more than nine-tenths of the work of the wage class is done in producing things not absolute necessities, and nearly all of that done by other classes. No reflecting, candid man will assert that there is any one of the myriad occupations, excepting those which pander to the vices of men, that does not perform its share in the work of social progress and is not for the good of all. No injury comes to any one by money being spent in luxuries by those having the capital to purchase them. Quite the opposite is true. The trouble comes from men spending in them the capital of others; that is, living beyond their income. The money thus spent comes out of capitalists. Not a dollar can be taken from any other. Of the many billions of losses during the last five years, every dollar falls on the capitalist class, and the wage class only feel the burden in its lessening the ability of capitalists to continue to employ them.
Question 17. What, in your judgment, is the fact about the poor growing poorer and the rich richer, and the relative positions of the two extremes of society, as conpared with the past?
Answer. I believe the exact opposite to be true, relatively and absolutely. The distance between the extremes of society was never so little as now, and in this country the extremes of society, saving the drunken, the vicious, the feeble, and the willfully idle, is scarcely appreciable. În Europe the different classes are divided by abrupt ascents, which may be likened to a flight of stairs, which a man shall try to ascend, each step to be four feet high and wide. He must have acquired a tremendous momentum to rise from one step to the next, and so on. In this country we are all, without exception, on an inclined plane of very gradual and easy ascent, and we are all constantly pass. ing and repassing each other, none of us having any fixed position.
We take, from day to day, such a place as we are able to obtain for the time being. In practice we find that those who were apparently among the last in their beginning are first at the ending.
It is not only a fact, that cannot be contradicted, that every place here is open to every man alike, but it is literally true that nearly every prominent place in the government, in science, in professional, mercantile, and manufacturing life, and every other so-called higher position, is now filled by those who began by earning their living by the labor of their hands, or their fathers did if they did not, and their children or grandchildren will return to the class of hand-workers. The history I have given of the personnel of the trades with which I am connected is substantially the history of all the trades and professions in the country.
Question 18. Is it practicable to make the employés in any way partners in manufacturing, or to give them a share of the profits ?
Answer. I have never been able to do so, and have not known of others snccessful in doing it. To the common mind the percentage of profits of manufacturers (to the capital employed) are suspiciously small. Furthermore, they wish their earnings in their own hands immediately. In the winter of 1869, after a protracted and severe struggle between the boot and shoe manufacturers of Worcester, and a combination of operatives, I made a great effort to induce all persons in my employ to become interested in the results of our business, which utterly failed. The basis upon which I proposed to divide was upon the cash capital employed, counting out all the plant, and no compensation to any member of the firm. Each person leaving any of his wages in the hands of the company, to draw such a percentage of the profits as his capital bore to the whole capital. Not one below the position of foreman was willing to practice the self-denial necessary to benefit his condition, and no argument I could present would induce them to try the experiment.
One of the largest shoe factories in Worcester tried to interest their workmen in their business on a different plan, which was to divide one-quarter of their net profits among the workmen who were in their employ at any time during the year long enough to earn $50 for women, $100 for men. The object of the dividend was to induce them to be saving in the use of the material given them to work into the goods, and also to do better work. This experiment was continued six years. The dividends to each employé were made in the proportion which the amount he had earned bore to the whole amount paid for labor during the year. For 1868, $3,036 82 was divided; rate 110 per cent. For 1869,
no money made.
29, 036 12 total amount divided. It was found to be impossible to convince the workmen that the dividends were honestly made. They thought they ought to be many times larger. The common reinark was, "They made more money than this shows." “ They get it out of us in some other way," &c.
When the attention of the workmen was called to any waste of material made by them, and that one-quarter of it would come out of them, with very few exceptions it made absolutely no impression upon their minds. The usual reply was, “O, that's 80 small it don't amount to anything.” Except for the little time intervening between declaring and paying the dividend, it had no perceptible influence. It could not be seen by the company that it was any benefit whatever, either to them or the workmen as a whole, but rather a source of suspicion and annoyance to all parties.
Question 19. Can a State, by legislation, restrict the hours of labor of its citizens and control the conditions under which it is performed to its own advantage or that of the class it seeks to benefit?
Answer. No State can shorten the hours of labor by itself alone. If the mills of Massachusetts are restricted by legislation to running ten hours, and those of Rhode Island run eleven, the only result of enacting such laws would be to drive capital from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, or of their being a dead letter on the statute-book. I think the hours of labor in all factories, and the conditions under which it is performed, should be under the most rigid control of the State, whether done by men, women, or children. The Constitution of the United States confers power upon Congress to "lay imposts on foreign commerce, and to regulate trade between the several States," with power to enforce these provisions by appropriate legislation. Whatever is necessary to be done to protect any man or class of men in any portion of the country in their natural rights from the oppression of any commercial custom or habit incident to the prosecution of the trade that extends beyond the borders of the State, Congress has a right to do; as it has done, by the enactment of a tariff, to protect our artisans and laborers from falling into the degrading condition of European laborers. To enact that and to prevent the mistaken enterprise of working factory operatives thirteen hours in one State to undersell in sister States the labor of people restricted by a humane public sentiment, or the compulsion of the law, to working eleven hours, will be found constitutional, and the time will inevitably come when the right will be exercised by Congress. I do not believe in unlimited and unrestricted competition.
Question 20. Would you extend the supervision of the State to their tenements and the schooling of their children?
Answer. I think the law should compel every man using or offering for rent a tenement, factory, or place of resort, to keep it in good sanitary condition in every respect, with wide passages and fire-escapes, in the interest of public health and safety. They should be so arranged that they can be used without the occupants being forced to offend common decency. Any place failing in any of these respects should be put in proper order by the public officers, at the expense of the owner.
Education should not only be at the public expense, but also compulsory to the limits of the grammar schools. Half-time schools should be maintained in all factory communities, half of the children working one-half of the day and half the other, to the end that the first and great object of the founders of this country, and its most intelligent and valuable immigrants, may not be defeated, which was the making of the highest order of men rather than money. The wealth and power of this nation trace directly to the determination of its founders that manhood should be the first, and almost the only, object sought. Wealth and power have followed as naturally and inevitably as day follows night.
Question 21. Is it practicable for the government to assist laborers to become landowners and farmers 1
Answer. I think that scheme one of the most impracticable of the long list of proposed remedies for the inevitable. The wages of agriculturists, including the income of small farmers, is not half that of average mechanics, excepting cotton and woolen operatives, and as it is a question of wages more than of work, the average chronic beggar for work would only be insulted when, being upon his land, he learned the
bstinence practiced and work done by small farmers. So-called charity is very largely responsible for the apparent helplessness of thousands, who, conscious of the fact that some one will feed them, make no real, determined effort to feed themselves. Helping them in the way suggested would only aggravate their helplessness.
Question 22. Which is for the best interest of the workmen and the public, work done by the day or piece?
Answer. In all work that it is practicable to do by the piece, labor is very much more efficient and of a better quality, when so done. I suppose piece-work covers contract work also. Contractors are self-appointed foremen, or directors of labor, with a capital in hand that guarantees the efficient direction of the labor required and excellence of work. If anything else is got, it is the sole fault of the inspector, whether the principal be the government or an individual. Piece-work contributes to the independ. ence of the workman, and secures for him a more just compensation.
Question 23. Ought the government to impose what is known as the income tax!
Answer. All taxes are income taxes, and are and must be paid from incomes, and nothing else. It is a recognized principle that the same thing shall pay but one annual tax. If a man has received one hundred dollars, or one hundred thousand, he either has it or he has spent it. If he has it, he is taxed for it as property. If he has spent it, it is not destroyed; some one else has it and is taxed for it as property. If he has it, it is both income and property, and he is doubly taxed. Attempting to tax a man because he has had a thing, but has it not now, is one of those exercises of arbitrary power clearly prohibited by the Constitution, and repugnant to every sense of right. Again, attempting to do so is one of those acts that are the most corrupting to public and private morality that the government can do. The very existence of a man's business, in a very large number of cases, depends upon his security in the possession of the secrets of his methods, which are as much his invention and property as those of the author, which are secured to him by copyright, or the ideas of the mechanic, which are secured to him by patent, and a man will fight for them as for his life. The bread for his mouth and for his children depends upon them. In defending himself he defends the best interest of all other men from the attempt of the government to violate a natural right secured by the letter and spirit of the Constitution. All taxes on persons who are strictly capitalists, that is, men who only draw interest or rents, and do no business (and of which there is not one in this country where there are hundreds in England), is purely and simply double taxation-taxes being collected first on their property, out of the income derived from it, and then another tax is collected on what income the government has not already taken in taxes. Again, has not Smith as good a right to bave five thousand dollars as his neighbor, Jones, and shall the government put clogs upon and hinderances in the way of Smith's honest effort to get what it protects Jones in having ! Taxing Smith, who has not so much property as Jones, in excess of Jones, is putting the money Smith earns into the hands of Jones. When the government puts a tax on Smith's two thousand dollars, becanse he has saved it this year, and does not tax Jones's five thousand dollars, because he earned it ten years ago, it actually takes exactly five-sevenths of Smith's tax and gives it to Jones to add to his three thousand dollars he already has in excess of Smith's capital. But the great injustice of the income tax is most clearly seen in its effect upon the laboring classes in discouraging enterprise. It is for the interest of the wage class to have as many different industries and as many employers as possible competing for their labor. To a new industry, or a man beginning in business, secrecy is absolutely necessary to success. A revelation to the public of his success turns the eyes of all men upon his enterprise, and enabling those stronger in capital and credit to rob him of the result of his skill in discovering and supplying the wants of the consumers, by taking the business he has just built up, after years of struggle and sacrifice, out of his hands, just as it begins to be protitable, and in many cases the bread out of the months of his children. From my experience in business, and my knowledge of the practical working of the late income tax, I do not hesitate to say that the damage done to the business of the country by the attempt to enforce such a tax would be a hundred-fold more than the government could possibly collect by it.
Question 24. Is it for the advantage of the mass of the people that men should be discouraged by special taxation, or in any other way, from accumulating large masses of capital?
Answer. It would be injurions to the best interests of the wage class to discourage in any way the accumulation of capital. Capitalists, and large masses of capital under one management, are absolutely necessary in the economy of civilized society.
This necessity must inevitably increase with human progress. The masses of men aro more and more indifferent to the residence of the title to capital, but demand more and more to share in its use. Every dollar that Vanderbilt put into railroads obviated the necessity of other men doing it, and left their capital for other service. Every dollar Astor puts into houses, stores, and other improveinents in New York, leaves other men free to use their capital in developing other interests. Capital is the servant of the whole community. It is its essence and definition. The masses use the capital in the community every time they use anything represented by it. Capital is interchangeable with labor. Every man who lives in civilized society governed by impartial laws equally nses and enjoys both, and is helped by them in proportion to their volume and his capacity.
Question 25. What rate of interest have borrowers of undoubted credit had to pay on money during the last three years, ana would an additional issue of paper money by the government benefit the manufacturer, the wage class, or anybody in the community ?
Answer. To borrowers of the highest credit the rate of interest per annum is from 1 to 2 per cent. on call. Our own notes have sold at the rate of 4 to 5 per cent., and notes with our indorsement for 24 to 37 per cent. In view of the rate of interest in business centers being scarely double the rate of taxation to all who can give ample security for a loan, and the indisputable fact that large amounts of capital cannot find protitable employment, it is inconceivable, were not the fact before our eyes, that any man can honestly think an increase of redeemable paper money, much more irredeemable, can favorably affect business or any other interest in the country, and least of all the wage class. The wage class is the creditor class without exception. If any issuing of paper so-called money is made by the government, not a dollar of it can reach the hands of any one of them in any conceivable way, except in payment of wages, or by distributing it pro rata. The honest workingman, who is now receiving gold or its eqnivalent, would receive a poorer inoney, and his wages would be reduced thereby to just the extent of the issue of paper money. The debtor classes are in fact the so-called capitalists, holders of real estate, manufacturers, merchants, bankers, &c., including all of those known as middlemen. All property in the country, as a rule, is held on margins, represented by notes, bonds, mortgages, &c., which can only be paid by passing the money that is to cancel them through the hands of the laboring men in the shape of wages very many times. It is the class owing these notes, bonds, mortgages, &c., and only these, whose burdens will be lightened by the issue of any more paper money, and at the expense of the laborer. The inevitable effect of such an issue being to lessen wages, it would be the class whose income was in the form of wages that would soonest and most severely suffer. Because capitalists see and know that in the end all classes would be brought down in a common ruin, is why they oppose irredeemable paper money. From their study and experience they know that the money of any people is simply and only a measure of value, and must necessarily measure other values by its own intrinsic value, or the intrinsic value of that which it represents. Forty men or forty millions of men in combination have no more power to change this fact than any other fact in nature. They may be able to make themselves believe they have changed it, and for a time act upon that belief, but the fact will remain, and be forced upon them in time to their utter sorrow.
Question 26. Complaint is made of the existence of merchants, brokers, commissionmen, lawyers, &c., &c., so-called non-producers. Can they be dispensed with? We ask you as a practical man and an acknowledged producer having no personal interest in the class known as middle-men.
Answer. We know from our experience that these persons handling the products of labor between the factories, the shops, the mines, and the farms, and its owners while in their enstody, are as necessary and as inevitable in the process of exchanging and distributing to the consumer the results of labor as are the men who carry the simplest products of the rudest industry to the village store, or the wagon on which they are drawn, or the railroad over which they are transported. Every one of the persons who are engaged in the business of collecting and distributing the products of industry, whether called merchant, trader, clerk, bookkeeper, or by any other name, is as necessary to the wage-class as the pick, the shovel, the plow, the engine lathe, the loom, the steam engine, or any other contrivance to make labor more effective. The broker who assists in the holding of the products of industry, from the day they are ready for use until they are needed for consumption, the lawyer who adjusts honest or dishonest disputes between individuals or corporations, the physicians to cure our diseases, and so on, are as necessary as are the men who hold the plow or sow the seed, and every man doing any work of value is as much a producer. Any men in the abovementioned classes may abuse their power and become robbers or swindlers by making what are called “corners" or in other ways, as may any man or combination of men in the wage-classes by depriving their fellow-inen of the chance to do honest work or by stealing their wages. As human nature now is, the necessity of the man who offers himself to the public as the distributer of any article, having a large pecuniary inter