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makes the paper dollar equal to the gold dollar, although intrinsically and perpetually irredeemable?-A. I hold that the government is capable of issuing its own money.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Wbat limit would you put upon the issue ?—A. I would limit it to the amount of bonds in circulation,
Q. Why take that estimate ?-A. Because we want to wipe out the interest system.
Q. Would a further increase of these greenbacks beyond the amount of the bonds outstanding depreciate the value of the dollar ?-A. If the nation required a further increase, then the government ought to increase it.
Q. Would it decrease the value of the dollar; would it purchase as much flour as before !--A. How would that act in that way? If there is only enough in circulation to carry on the business of the nation, and it was received for all debts, dues, and demands, it will purchase every commodity.
Q. My question is whether, if you increase the quantity of these greenbacks (which you say are as good as the gold dollar with the stamp on it) beyond the amount of your bonde, they would have the same value as before!-A. I think they would. I don't propose to go into that. I propose we issne not beyond the amount of bonds now in existence; but, if the vecessity of the nation ever demands it, the government has a right to issue any quantity that the nation requires.
Q. Would they depreciate in value if the quantity issued were unlimited ?-A. I don't think they would.
Q. Is there any other cause for the depression of business besides these ?-A. Yes ; there are several little things. There is another question now comes to my mind relative to the railroads, which I heard discussed a little while ago. I think that also tends to injure the laboring classes. I don't mean in saying the laboring classes the laborerI mean the industrial classes of the nation. The giving away public lands, securing the credit of these companies, was a fraud on this nation, and is injurious to this pation.
Q. Why so ?-A. Because they have created a monopoly of these companies, and prevented competition.
By Mr. RICE: Q. Has not a private company a right to land for the purpose of building a railload ?-A. But when the government undertakes to give to the company more land tban is sufficient to build the entire road, besides securing its bonds, it is creating a vast monopoly not only in the railroad itself, but in the land also.
Q. Your trouble would be that the government has given too much, not that it has given somethiug?--A. No. The point I raise is this: that instead of the government giving the pavlic lands to build railroads, had the government issued its own currency and built these roads, thus owning the roads for all time, it could have set the rate of fare on these roads at a price which would have met the requirements of the people. At present you have given away everything. You bave built the roads; you have paid for them, seenring their bonds, besides giving them the public lands, and you don't own a dollar of it.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Have you seen the recent decision of the Secretary of the Interior that the lands all lie open to entry at $1.25 an acre ?-A. Well, I have; but, unfortunately for the people, these decisions have changed so often in Washington that it is almost impossible to tell where we stand.
By Mr. Rice: Q. Suppose you were going to have a farm of 100 acres of land, would you rather have it witbin 5 or 100 miles of a railroad ?-A. Five miles.
Q. Would it not be more valuable there !--A. Certainly.
Q. If the government has got a great quantity of land there, and can give away so'ue of it to have a railroad built, by doing it does that not increase the value of that which remains 1-A. Certainly it does.
Q. If the government then gives away the alternate sections of this land and retains the others, so that they are made worth as much more, then would it not be a better operation than to have the whole land lying unimproved ?-A. Certainly; but it would be better for it to build the road itself.
Q. You mean that it would be a better operation for the government to do it by issuing greenbacks than getting it done by giving away alternate sections of the land ? A. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I suppose you are aware of the fact that the last Congress made provision for securing every dollar of that money, and it is now the law ?
Q. The point I call your attention to is not whether the government has heretofore built more railroads tban it ought to, but whether baving given a certain amount, enough to secure the building of the road, if it were given properly, is a disadvantage ?—A. I claim that it would pay the people better for the government to build the railroad itself and own the whole railroad.
Q. If the government bad not money to pay for it.-A. The government could. It gave more land away than would pay for it; and I hold that that money should be repaid.
By Mr. THOMPSON:
Q. By the land grant they have the right to it.-A. If I understand the land laws correctly, no act passed by Congress or any legislature is good in law where corruption was used in its passage, and I think ihat this committee, if it will examine the records before Congress, will find it was through corruption this was obtained; therefore it ought to be repaid.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would state in that connection that none of the gentlemen present were members of tbat Congress.
Mr. CONNOLLY. O, present company always excepted. Now, if the government had built these roads, the people would have got to these sections cheaper; they would have bad cheaper transportation.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Do.you think the government manages its business so well that the people would have cheaper transportation ?--A. I suppose so.
Q. What would have been the effect on the running of the Pacific Railroad by a change of administration from Republican to Democratic or from Democratic to Repablican? -A. From the information I can get from the papers, &c., I understand that wherever an administration is brought in contact with these corporations, tbere we find corruption, but where the government runs the institution itself, we have not so much to find fault with; but, in answer to the last portion of the gentleman's question, we propose to answer this question as soon as possible. The Democratic and Republican parties have been in office long enougb, and we propose to put in Greenback men.
Q. Would you put in Greenback men in place of Democrats or Republicans ?-A. The only question is, as it bappens, which party bappens to be in. My friend just refers me to this building we are in. We bave not much fault to find with that, because it is run by the goverpinent direct.
Q. Did the government display good management in this building ?-A. O, no; and I will tell you why it did vor. Because the government allowed a system of private contracts to prevail, and I had the pleasure of appearing before a Congressional committee on one occasion, on this very building, and affidavits were drawn up and presented to Congress to show that the very lead pipes supplied for the use of the building were carted over to Brooklyn to private houses.
Q. Is that evidence that the government can administer things more economically than a private corporation ?-A. Yes, sir. The very moment dishonesty is found it will be shown up and remedied immediately, but where they come in contact with big corporations they invariably give the big bulk to the private corporations, and they swindle the people. The same might be said with regard to telegraphs. I hold they should own them also.
Q. Would you take all the railroads and telegraph-lines and pay for these also in greenbacks ?-A. If the government could not procure gold and silver enough, I would do it. We had gold and silver enough prerious to the war, and bank-bills, for carrying on the business of the nation. When we stop paying interest on the bonds now held abroad, every dollar of which is paid out of the nation, that money would remain at home here for our own use, and industry would spring up all over the country.
Q. But the value of the railroads in the United States is very large, and there never bas been currency enough to pay for them. I ask you whether you would issue paper to pay for them ?-A. I think the government would have the right to build these roads on its own paper, and I apprehend if the government built these roads honestly, they would not cost one-tenth of what the companies now say they cost them.
Q. The estimated cost of the railroads of the United States—have you any estimate of how inuch it would be?--A. I think I would refer you to Mr. Thurber for that; he is better posted than me.
Q. Thirty-five hundred millions of dollars is the estimated cost of the railroads of the United States. Would you priut thirty-five hundred millions of green backs to pay for them?-A. You will bear in mind it would not require any such sum, because some of tbese bave earned enongh to pay off the indebtedness.
Q. And the owners of that property would not get anything ?--A. The government would do it.
Q. Existing railroads all belong to somebody. You say some of them have earned money enough to pay for them. The stockholders embrace all classes of people, and the widow to-day and the orphan to-morrow may call for their interest on the bonds they hold. Now, what would you do with that widow and orphan ? Would you give them
money !--A. The great stockholders of these roads invariably ask us, what would you do with these widows and orphans ?
Q. Well, or with anybody 1-A. The stockholders of these roads take precaution to see that they get very little interest on their money; they generally water the stock and divide the spoils in such a way that they get very little.
Q. Well, what little they get ?-A. Certainly.
Q. But the government is going to take and print greenbacks to pay them ?-A. I an speaking of the roads where the government gave land.
Q. Would you have it own the railroads ?-A. If it did not own them, I would have it control them.
By Mr. THOMPSON: Q. If it became necessary for the welfare of the people, an advantage to own these roads, why not confiscate them at once, and be done with them; why not do it directly and openly !-A. Why confiscate them when we have got the power to direct them?
Q. If the roads have become injurious, and the welfare of the people demands that they should be owned by the government, why not confiscate them?-A. I don't propose to confiscate. I only propose that the government shall not give a dollar to any railroad or other corporation to build any institution of the kind. The government can protect its own citizens, and if there are too many people in New York City, poor men who cannot earn a fair' livelihood for themselves, then the government should give these men such loans as would enable them to go on the lands to earn a living for themselves and families. As it stands now, where is the mechanic that can go out West on a farm? He may bave sufficient to pay his fare on the road, but when he gets there what is he to do? Now, if you will propose to Congress to send our people off to the West, and secure them for a year, as you did these railroads, you will thereby relieve distressed cities.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Q. Have yon any other remedy besides sending people out to the West by the government ?-A. The next is these parties who owu railroads ; I would compel them to pay their taxes, which they don't now do.
Q. Do you mean the United States does not collect its taxes from the railroads ?-A. That is just what I mean, both State and national governments don't.
Q. Can you point to any law of the United States that imposes a tax on railroads ?A. I judge one institution by another, whether it is a railroad or steamboat company or manufacturing establishment. We find right in this city corporations having large establishments underselling smaller dealers. For instance, we will take the banking interest, and I will give you a case in point.
Q. You said you would have the government collect taxes from railroad compapies -A. Yes, sir.
Q. Tell us any company that it does tax, What taxes does the general government impose on them?-A. That I don't know. The CHAIRMAN. As a matter of fact it imposes none. Mr. CONNOLLY. Then the quicker they do tax them the better.
Q. That is a remedy ?-A. As you have just stated there is no tax on such companies by the general government, I may claim to be officially informed on that point. Then we hold it is the rigbt of the government and Congress to tax these companies, or their earnings.
By Mr. Rice: Q. Would you bave the States tax them, and then the General Government also-tax them twice over !--A. That is a question we can't solve, for this reason: When we inquire where Vanderbilt pays bis tax, we are informed that he pays his taxes in New York; but when we come to New York and inquire, we find he swears he pays thein in Albans. a The CHAIRMAX. That is a point for New York.
Mr. CONNOLLY. Well, that is a point I make. Q. You want us to put a tax on the railroads ?-A. We want to put a tax on the surplus capital of every capitalist in the nation.
Q. Suppose the railroad is in the hands of a receiver ?-A. I would bring that home to those who built that railroad.
Mr. Boyd. You are speaking now of New York exclusively?
Mr. Boyd. Where I come from we don't have so many of them in the hands of re-
long ago, and they seem to take hold of these matters pretty well there, and we will do it here.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. What other remedy would you suggest ?-A. We suggest that the State does not collect the taxes on the bonds of these roads; that the government should enforce the payment of the taxes on these roads. We do not see why a man that owns a little house, probably worth a thousand dollars, should have to pay taxes to support the nation and State both; we don't see why he should be taxed for every dol'ar he can earn, while the other goes free, because he is wealthy. We propose to create a graduated taxation, and a taxation on the incomes of the people. A point I raised a moment ago was this: that I find small manufacturers in this city, in the tobacco business, crushed out by the larger ones. Why? Simply because the law suits these larger ones. If a man is a dealer on an avenue, having a small store, or desires to go into business for himself, be must give bonds; if be employs but one man he must give bonds. He can't sell cigars in the same place he manufactures them. He must have bis office fixed up, iuclosed to the ceiling, thus forcing him to go out and get another place. That is in the interest of the large manufacturer. He is compelled to pay for a larger place than he requires, and if he does not want it he is compelled to pay for it. The rich man can settle with the government, but the poor can’t. Right here in the city, an institution that was burned not long ago, the gentleman settled with the gov. ernment twice. He settled for a few hundred dollars. Those are some of the evils, and as this man increases in wealth it decreases the condition of the poor man. He is forced, in justice to his wife and family, to reduce the wages of that one man he employs, and when he reduces, the wealthy man reduces his, and crushes him. Now, we find that, instead of working the eight-hour rule, as it should be done, in certain circumstances these men employ women and children, working ten, twelve, fourteen, and sixteeu hours a day, and in some cases eighteen, enduring the smell of this tobacco all the time; yet there are laws created by Congress which grant the right to these men to manufacture in just such places. Some niay say you can't prevent a man manufacturing where he pleases. I hold you can. If Congress bas the right to say what a man shall be taxed for, wbat he may manufacture, that he must give a bond for the person he employs, it has equally a right to say where they sball manufacture; and if you say they have not, then we call you back to this, that you say you must not sell where you manufacture your goods. This crushes the middle-men and the cigar-men in this city. We hold also that just as soon as you wipe out the government bonds there will be no necessity of this taxation on the people. That is what is ruining us now—this eternal taxation; taxation to pay the interest ordered by Congress; and unless this thing is wiped ont, very likely there will be a day of reckoning some time, and if we can't right it in one way, Kearney will come here and right it in another. I hope to God he will. Still, we know France is not like this nation, but the remedy is in our hands. We are the people; of course we understand that. Tobacco is used just in this way, and it is tax after tax from the time it leaves the farm until it is used.
Q. Have you compared the tax of England and Germany with this country on tobacco !--A. I don't consider that is the question.
Q. What is the present rate of taxation of Great Britain on tobacco ?--A. It is very great, I understand.
Q. How much ?-A. I don't know.
Q. Do you know bow much it is here !--A. I don't understand, sir, except as I hear the manufacturers state. In the first place, a man purchases his goods in the store; an account is kept of how much is in that store, and he is required to produce just só many cigars, and no more, from that tobacco; and be must give a statement, a sworn statement, that he mannfactured just so many from that tobacco.
Q. Would you abolish the tax on tobacco ?-A. I would abolish the tax on everything, but just so far as would run this government.
Q. Would you abolish the tax on tobacco ?-A. I wonld not tax a single article of American production where it can be put on foreign products.
Q. You are in favor of protection, then ?--A. I am. If we do not protect tbe American mechanics they will sink. The same thing exists in the iron trade. We have iron ore enough in this country to manufacture all the iron the country needs; but, strange to say, while you prohibit the introduction of foreign iron without duty, you do not tax scrap iron coming to this country.
Q. Do you state that as a matter of fact?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. When it is removed from the vessel and sold it does not pay any tax ?-A. When removed from the vessel a tax it does not pay.
Q. What rate of tax does it pay?-A. I don't know. The chairman knows more about that than I do.
Q. You are misinformed on that subject.-A. I understand from the Ironmolders' Union that they have petitioned Congress in that respect; but, if the gentleman desires, perhaps I can get him the petition, and the information. I suppose Mr. Hewitt has seen the petition.
The CHAIRMAX. I have never seen it.
Mr. Connolly. If a petition from the bankers' or brokers' association had been sent, they would have seen it.
The Chairman. You understand that a petition is sent to the individual Congressman and goes frota him to a committee.
By Mr. THOMPSON : Q. What was the petition for ?-A. To keep up the duties on the iron. Q. It was to retain the duties as they were previously, and in opposition to Mr. Wood's bill ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mr. Wood's bill did not pass ?-A. Well, we don't know how soon it will. Our people are under the impression that it only sleeps until after the election.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, you are mistaken. Iron brought in in that way does pay duty.
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Wood was certainly very liberal in some things to throw off duty in the interest of the capitalist.
By the CHAINMAN: Q. I understand you to say that you want Congress to put taxes on all articles of foreigo prodoction that come in competition with home production ?-A. We don't care what you do with the duties if you give us plenty of money,cheap interest, low interest. A gentleman stated a little while ago in regard to the eight-hour law that the government, that Congress bad seen right to create a law and then tell its servants to break that law. I don't say that a man has not got a perfect right to work twelve hours if he pleases in private work or in his own house or shop, but where the government creates a law making eight hours a legal day's work it ought to enforce that law, and where the government gives out contracts, every dollar's worth of that ought to be done at eight bours a day or else repeal the law,
Q. Will you be satisfied with the repeal of the law ?-A. No; but we demand it
VIEWS OF MR. WILLIAM HASTINGS.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Q: What is your business?-A. Well, I am not in any business ; I am living on my capital at present.
Q. A capitalist :-A. I am a capitalist.
Q. Now, Mr. Hastings, we will be very glad to hear from the capitalist; we have not heard from one yet.-A. Of course I ain not coinpelled to state the amount of my capital?
Q. No. A capitalist, as I understand it, is a man who has more than enough to pay bis debts and meet his daily wants.-A. I am not a boudholder. We have had a great many baukrupts of late in the country, and a great deal of assets have gone into the hands of official assignees in bankruptcy. I have not the evidence of the exact amount of money and property that has passed into the bands of these official assignees within the last six years, certainly not witbin the last toirty years, but it is enornious.
Q. Many bundreds of millions of dollars ! -A. Yes, sir; now, I know something in reference to the settling np of these estates, and in many such instances I know that seven years, if not longer, bave been taken to settle up these estates, and in the mean time the stocks and bonds are required to be placed in certain banks which are named by the judge of the bankruptcy conrt. I thought it was a very practical suggestion to make to the committee that they should inquire from the official assignees the amount of money, stocks, bonds, and other property withdrawn from the channels of business and tied up in their hands.
Q. The bankrupt law bas been repealed. In what way would it have any bearing on the duties assigned to us by the resolntion? It might show that a good deal of distress was produced.-A. When you withdraw from the channels of commerce five