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Mr. DODGE. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How do you prevent persons who wish to sell intoxicating drinks from coming to those towns ?
Mr. DODGE. Our general plan is, first to secure a sufficient amount of land to make it very difficult, so that a man whó wanted to get a drink would have to go some distance in order to get it. At Ansonia, parties who owned property there have died, and property has passed into other hands, and so grog-shops have occasionally been set up, but they have not succeeded.
The CHAIRMAN. Why have they not succeeded ?
The CHAIRMAN. What is your idea on that subject—that the moral tone of the community should be raised by instruction and by teaching, or by legislation?
Mr. DODGE. By individual efforts, seconded by such proper and lawful legislative enactments as would be proper to help and aid them.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you recommend legislation prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors? Would you go so far as that? You seem to have accomplished your purpose in another way. Would you recommend the committee to report such legislation?
Mr. Dodge. I would simply say that I believe it ought to be left to the voice of the people in every town and village and county in the country to decide by popular vote as to whether intoxicating drinks should or should not be sold in it.
Mr. Rice. You mean local option ?
Mr. DODGE. No, sir; except so far as it could affect the manufacture of intoxicating liquors.
The CHAIRMAN. You are aware that the government derives a large amount of rev. enne from intoxicating liquors. How would you deal with that question ? Would you increase the tax on liquor, or would you refrain altogether from obtaining revenue from such a source ?
Mr. Dodge. If I did anything, I would make the tax so high that the manufacture of liquor would be decreased.
The CHAIRMAN. How would that affect the use of alcohol in the arts?
Mr. DODGE. Provision should be made for that by way of a drawback. The amount of intoxicating liquor consumed in the United States is enormous.
The CHAIRMAX. Can you give us the figures ?
Mr. DODGE. I have before me an article published in the Journal of Finance and Coinmerce within the last week-not a temperance article, but one having reference particularly to the present distress of the country, and not at all looking at the question in the light of temperance. It shows the expenditure of $600,000,000 directly in this country for intoxicating drinks; and then it assumes that in the retail business there is at least $900,000,000 used up in the country in the course of the year. I will hand a copy of the article to the committee. It does not touch the question of temperance at all, but it goes to show the impoverishing effect upon the country of the consumption by the people directly of this $500,000,000 worth annually of that which does no good, but a vast amount of evil. It shows that that is a sum which would pay the national debt in three years, and that if this expenditure could be in some way got rid of there would be a call for labor by the use of that capital in the country, which is now annually lost or consumed.
The CHAIRMAN. You think that this capital which now goes down the throats of men would serve in other shapes, and be available for the employment of labor ?
Mr. DODGE. Yes; and the laborer himself would not be impoverished and thrown out of employment as he is now, from the use of intoxicating drinks. He would havo something laid aside for a rainy day, and would be able to meet such an emergency as we are passing through now.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you happen to know the estimated amount in savings-banks in the country?
Mr. DODGE. Yes; about $1,200,000,000, so that the annual expenditure for intoxicating liquors is half the amount of the accumulated savings of a whole generation.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you see anything to prevent the saving of the $600,000,000, if this drink was not consumed? Does drink, for example, supply the place of food, or of anything else that would have to be consumed in lieu of it-tea, coffee, or tobacco? I want to see what saving could be realized.
Mr. DODGE. That subject of tobacco is also taken up in this article. I have no doubt that a very large proportion of this $600,000,000 could be saved to the country, saved to the individual. To be sure, on the other side, you may say that the consumption of other things would be so much the greater.
The CHAIRMAN. If a man, in consequence of drinking beer, consumes less bread, and if the result of his stopping the use of beer would enable him to consume more bread, then the saving from the dispensing with the use of intoxicating drinks would not be the whole $600,000,000.
Mr. DODGE. He does not only want more bread himself, but he would be able to give his children more bread.
The CILAIRMAN. The saving in capital is what I want to get at.
Mr. DODGE. Probably not. But bear in mind that the $600,000,000 expended directly in drink does not provide for the results of the use of that $500,000,000 from the barbarism and crime that result from drink.
The CHAIRMAN. In those villages to which you refer, have you any poor-houses!
The CHAIRMAN. And you think that you save the cost of those establishments which are to be found elsewhere, because the inhabitants refrain from intoxicating drinks?
Mr. Dodge. I do. I do not think that the abstaining from intoxicating drinks is going to make a millennium or is going to make every man virtuous, but I believe that the experience of those portions of the country where absence from the use of intoxicating drinks has prevailed shows most conclusively a progress in all those directions.
The CHAIRMAN. What towns or villages do you name as being the type or specimen of this state of affairs ?
Mr. DODGE. Ansonia, Conn.; Dodge Mills, in the vicinity of Williamsport, Pa.: Tobyhanna Mills, Monroe County, Pa.; Saint Simonsville, in Georgia ; Wanbesha, in Ontario, Canada (where we employ 300 men); Meganatawan Mills, in Ontario, Canada, and Collingwood Mills, in Collingwood, Canada.
The CHAIRMAN. Then climate (as the mills seem widely distributed) has nothing to do with it?
Mr. DODGE. Nothing at all.
The Chairman. "Have you been still able to give employment to your people during this period of depression?
Mr. Dodge. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to know whether you have carried on any of these businesses without profit to the capitalist, during this period of depression ?
Mr. DODGE. Yes, sir; mainly for the last three years. We have ben retaining our organization in hopes of better times, and looking after the interest of the men.
The CHAIRMAN. And the workmen have had employment and wages during this time while the owners have had no protits ?
Mr. Dodge. That has been the result.
The CHAIRMAN. And that is generally true of all kinds of business of which you have any knowledge in this country?
Mr. DODGE. There are very few exceptions to-day in the United States.
The Chairman. Then the capitalist, so far as you have any knowledge, is not at present deriving profit from the labor of his employés ?
Mr. Donge. I think that that is true as a general rule throughout the country.
The CHAIRMAN. So that society is now in that condition in which capital is employed to carry on business, but takes no compensation.
Mr. Dodge. That is very true; I can say so, feelingly.
The CHAIRMAX. In your experience has the laborer been usually better off when capital was making profit, or when capital was losing!
Mr. Donge. That is a very difficult question to answer. There are exceptions. The very high wages paid during the war encouraged many of our mechanics and laboring men to extravagance which was very natural. When reduced wages came it has been very hard and inconvenient for them to submit to the reduction. It has been very difficult for them to bring their style of living and their habits down to the economical methods which existed previous to the war.
The CHAIRMAN. If they were willing to live in such a manner as they lived in before
the war, do you think that their present rate of wages would be as good a remuneration as the wages they then had ?
Mr. Donge. I think so, because the wages even now (which are called low wages) are very much higher than they were before the war. When I built my house on Madison avenne, twenty-six years ago, the common laboring men employed on it received 70 cents a day, the better class of laborers a dollar a day, and the carpenters and masons a dollar and a quarter; and those were the prices throughout the city.
The CHAIRMAX. Was that a period of distress!
The CHAIRMAX. Do you not think that the employing classes have also got on an extravagant scale of expenditure as well as the laboring classes ?
Mr. DODGE. I do, most certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. Is not the destruction of capital, and some part of the present suffering, due to the fact that the employing classes have also used their capital unproductively and extravagantly since the war?
Mr. DODGE. There is no question about it.
The CHAIRMAX. Do you think that the laboring classes, who work for wages, are any more open to censure and condemnation for extravagance than the employing classes ?
Mr. DODGE. Certainly not,
The CHAIRMAN. Have not the employing classes set an example of extravagance to others which has had an unfavorable influence?
Mr. DODGE. I think so.
The CHAIRMAN. Besides the abstaining from intoxicating drinks, are there any other things that the community can do to bring about a better state of things than the present? Would a more economical mode of living be an advantage ?
Mr. DODGE. I have no doubt that it would have its influence.
The CHAIRMAN. Wonld not that stop a considerable part of the demand which now exists for things that are not absolutely necessary, and would not that produce a new evil?
Mr. DODGE. That is a question which I was going to ask yon. I was just going to say that, if we have too much economy, all at once, in the higher classes, that would stop employment.
The ChairMAX. But suppose that, instead of expending capital in mere unproductive expenditures, the wealthy class were to use it as you have been using yours, in carrying on industrial works, even at a loss, but by which labor would be employed, would not that bring about a better state of things?
Mr. Dodge. Yes; unless it produced an increased over-production.
The CHAIRMAN. But those people who are unemployed and who are living in idleness could not certainly be worse off if they were employed at something of value?
Mr. DODGE. Certainly not.
The CHAIRMAN. If the consciences of capitalists were aroused and awakened, could pot capital be utilized in a way that would tide over the present state of things ?
Mr. DODGE. Yes, sir. But while men who are already engaged in manufactures may continue them, looking for better times, no sane man would take his capital and put it into manufactories for the simply purpose of employing men, when he knew he was going to lose by it himself.
The CHAIRMAX. Suppose that that man was in the habit of giving away the whole of his income in charity, wonld it not be a better application of his capital to lose that same amount in carrying on business and employing people?
Mr. DODGE. That is a question that I am not prepared to answer.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any suggestion to make to the committee of any legislation that may be recommended, in any direction whatever, that wonld tend to bring to an end this depressed state of things, and to bring about an early return to prosperity ?
Mr. DODGE. I can only suggest this: The National Temperance Society has been endeavoring for three years to get a commission appointed by Congress (the proposition has twice passed one house) to investigate the question in regard to the use of intoxicating drinks, and their influence on labor and on the prosperity of the country. I think that if such a commission as that were appointed and made permanent, it would do a great deal toward opening the eyes of the people, and enlightening them. Such a proposition is now before the Government of Great Britain, and is being pressed with very great interest there by Sir Wilfred Slosson, in regard to the propriety of giving to villages the right of saying, by a two-thirds vote, whether they will or will not have drinking houses licensed.
The CHAIRMAN. Outside of that, is there anything else in the history of the countryeither the tariff system or the financial system-which has any bearing upon the condition of the country!
Mr. Dodge. My own impression is that much might be done, in the modification of the tariff, to relieve the country. I still believe that the action of the government in the return to specie payment will do a great deal toward relieving the laboring classes. It is not the want of money which has engendered the present state of things and the distress in the country. It is the fact that confidence is destroyed.
The CHAIRMAX. It is asserted very frequently that there is a great deficiency of money and capital. Have you, in your long business experience of fifty years, ever known capital to be so abundant and cheap as it has been for the last three years!
Mr. DODGE. Never in my life; and I have never known such an utter impossibility of using it to advantage. I am acquainted with one trust company in this city. A few months ago one of our largest merchants deposited $300,000 capital at 21 per cent. interest, saying that it was impossible for him to use it in his business. Another deposited two sums of $50,000. 'l'hat is but a sample of what is being done. Money is lying idle everywhere. 'All that is wanting at present is confidence in the stability of tue government in regard to currency. The very moment that that confidence is established business will begin to revive, the wheels of industry will begin to move, and hundreds of men who are now out of employment will find employment.
The CHAIRMAN. Confidence in what respect; in regard to the currency?
Mr. Donge. In the stability of the policy of the government in regard to the question of our currency.
The CHAIRMAN. Confidence in what direction—that the legal-tender dollar shall be worth what?
Mr. DODGE. Shall be worth one hundred cents in gold. The Chairman. In reference to the theory that if the government prints on this paper “This is one dollar," it is just as good a dollar as can be made, what is your view 1
Mr. Dodge. Suppose the government should give us $10,000,000,000 of such paper money, wonld it be just as good? I remember when a boy that up in the garret of my father's house there was a large trunk in which were piled up batches of continental money, which my grandfather had received for making continental wagons. It had the same government stamp upon it. But the time came when it was not worth a cent, and that is why my grandfather, for this trankful of continental money, never received a dollar.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the stamp of the government is worthless unless the government redeems it in something?
Mr. DODGE. That is the point.
Mr. DODGE. Gold; and when you can redeem it in gold, it is just like what the Frenchman said, “When I can get him I don't want him."
The CHAIRMAX. Then the contidence which you speak of is the confidence that, when a man has a piece of this paper money, he can get the gold for it?
Mr. DODGE. Yes, and in that case he keeps the paper money in his pocket.
The CHAIRMAN. Unless you have redemption of paper money in something that has positive value in the markets of the world, will there be any stability in values ?
Mr. DODGE. No, sir.
The Chairman. When there is no stability in values (and you have passed through that era), do you have to make allowance in fixing your prices to the consumer for the risk of the rise or fall in this unstable currency?
Mr. Donge. We tried to do that, but we failed most terribly.
The Chairmax. You were unable to protect yourselves with all your experience and judgment ?
Mr. DODGE. Certainly; we could not protect ourselves.
The CHAIRMAN. How do you think that if you, with all your experience, could not protect yourself, a workman, who is not familiar with business and finance, can protect bimself against the extra prices put on such currency?
Mr. Donge. He has no safety in depending on his labor at all nntil he is sure that the dollar which he receives for it will buy him an equal value. If he lays by a paper dollar that is irredeemable, he does not know but that, in a little, it will be so depre: ciated in value that it will take two of them to buy as much as a gold dollar would buy.
T'he Chairman. Do you not think that the prices of commodities such as are consumed by families increase out of proportion to the comparative value of paper and gold, and remain so increased ?
Mr. Dodge. There have been some exceptions to that rule; but as a general rule it is true.
The CHAIRMAN. Have not the retail prices outlasted the disparity between paper and gold !
Mr. Dodge. I think they have; but I think that the retail purchaser of goods never
bought them so cheaply as he can buy them at the present moment. But purchaser8. have suffered greatly all the way down. Now we have come to the point where the manufacturer receives nothing for his capital and labor, and where the consumer is having the article at cost or less than cost.
The CHAIRMAN. Is not the effect of this state of things to increase the consumption ! Mr. DODGE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you observe in business any signs of increased demand, or any signs of recovery ?
Mr. Dodge. The gross amount consumed in the country to-day of the articles which we deal in as merchandise is as much as ever it was.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the volume of business is as great as ever it was?
The CHAIRMAN. And the lowness of the prices tends to increase the volume of business?
Mr. DODGE. Constantly.
The CHAIRMAN. So that we are to-day doing as much business as we did in any normal period (leaving out the speculative era of 1872)?
Mr. DODGE. Yes; and there is another thing that cannot be overlooked. That is, that the very low prices of materials that enter into buildings are stimulating the construction of buildings throughout the country.. I have recently traveled through seven or eight States, and I have been surprised to see the amount of building that was going on in the towns and villages. That is going, eventually, to affect labor very favorably.
The CHAIRMAN. In your travels outside the city of New York did you find any evidence that there was any very large amount of labor unemployed ?
Mr. DODGE. For the last two months I have been traveling almost all the time. With the exception of the large centers of population great complaints have been made of the inability to get men during the harvest.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you get any evidence at any other time (prior to or subsequent to the harvest) as to whether there was any deficiency of labor in the country? Mr. DODGE. There was not a sufficiency of labor in the villages and rural regions.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the surplus of labor is mainly confined to the large cities!
Mr. DODGE. That is so.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any remedy to suggest for getting rid of this surplus or excess of labor ?
Mr. Dodge. I think that the government has offered very great inducements to laboring men in offering them land for nothing if they will only go and cultivate it. I think that there is no class of the community, high or low, so independent as the farmer. If laboring men would go into the country and work for themselves on the land, they could be very soon independent and be able to employ help.
Mr. Rice. Have those who are out of employment in the cities the means of getting to these government lands and of settling on them?
Mr. DODGE. A great many have not.
Mr. DODGE. Many of them, I have no doubt, have friends who would help them to go to such places rather than have them linger around the cities.
Mr. Rice. Is there a way to help them by legislation ?
Mr. DODGE. I do not think that the legislature has any right to enter upon such a course,
The CHAIRMAX. You were in business in 1837 ?
The CHAIRMAN. During the depression in business in those years, and subsequent to those years, was there any difficulty among the laboring classes to get employment?
Mr. DODGE. It was very similar to what it is at the present time; but it lasted a much shorter period. After the crisis of 1837 we were in active business again before 1840, and everybody who wanted work had employment. After the criris of 1857 things were changed again before 1861.
The CHAIRMAN. That was three years after the crisis of 1837, and four years after the crisis of 1857. Now, from 1873 to 1878 is five years. Have you any explanation that you can offer for the longer continuance of this era of depression ?
Mr. DODGE. Yes; in 1873 we had got much higher up on the mountain, and it takes us a good deal longer time to get down. The high prices and extravagance engendered by the war, and by vast speculations from 1863 to 1870-72, inflated everything, and gathered up everything so high that people went into debt enormously. They