Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

were practically head over ears in debt. Many of them had mortgaged tlieir property and had to pay interest on those mortgages, and it has taken a very much longer time to get down towards the bottom. We certainly are getting down now towards the bottom.

The Chairmax. Do you think that the losses caused by the war and the destruction of capital during the war have had any influence on the duration of this period (an influence which did not exist in 1837 or in 1857) ?

Mr. DODGE. I do not believe that, as a country, we have ever really seriously felt the losses of the war, except so far as huinan life is concerned.

The CHAIRMAN. But I mean the destruction of capital. The war was supposed to have cost the Northern States $5,000,000,000; and it is not known how much it cost the South. Do you think that the actual destruction and obliteration of all this capital amounts to nothing in the problem?

Mr. DODGE. So far as the South is concerned there can be no question of it. So far as the North is concerned, it was greatly mitigated by the apparent prosperity that we hail. But although those enormous losses resulting from the war seem to have made it necessary that there should be this suffering, yet I think that the suffering has grown more ont of the stimulants of demand during the war, and out of the vast amount of paper money that was issued. I think that we had tided over that, and that we are suffering for it to-day.

The CHAIRMAN. The South had been a great consumer of northern products prio to the war?

Mr. DODGE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. But it has not been since!
Mr. DODGE. Not to any great extent.
The Chairman. Therefore we lrave not got that outlet for our products.
Mr. Dodge. No; but the South is recovering very rapidly.

The CHAIRMAN. And one of the elements of our recovery will be the growth of the South in prosperity ?

Mr. DODGE. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Otherwise you think that business is on as largo a scale as it has been in any previous period ?

Mr. DODGE. I think so, except always the shipping business. The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that a further issue of paper currency would contribute in any way to restore prosperity?

Mr. DODGE. I think that the issue of $1,000,000,000 of paper currency might give apparent prosperity for a short time, but then we would be worse off than we are now.

The CHAIRMAN. You think that we would want a great national temperance society to get over the results ?

Mr. DODGE. Yes, sir.

Mr. Thompson. You cited tlre cases of your little villages as proof of the good effects of temperance; and you attribute their success and the absence of depression there to that cause. Did I understand you correctly in that?

Mr. Dodge. Not to that entirely, but to the moral influences connected with it. Mr. THOMPSON. I understood you to say in answer to the chairman that in those places there was no general suffering of the laboring classes as compared with other parts of the country.

Mr. Dodge. I say so unhesitatingly.

Mr. Thompson. Did I not understand you to say, also, that for the last two or three years you had been running these establishments at a loss, for the purpose of keeping up your organization, and for the benefit of your men ?

Mr. DoDGE. Yes; we liave been runuing tliem in hopes of better times. We shonld pot, simply for the benefit of the men, go on indefinitely with such a state of things, but if you break up the organization of such manufacturing establishments it is very injurious.

Mr. Thompson. So you have been running your establishments and employing these 2,000 men at an actual loss to the employers. Have you not been practically koeping these men on charity!

Mr. DODGE. I would not like to say that we were keeping them on charity.

Mr. THOMPSOX. Have you not been contributing to them at the sacrifice of your interests ?

Mr. Donge. If we had stopper our various manufacturing establishments because they were unproductive it would havo been at the cost of great suffering to onr men.

Mr. THOMPSON. If yonr company had not been rich enough to run for several years at a loss to the stockholders, and if you had been compelled to stop your operations as other establishments did, would not the sufferings of the communities thora have been the same as the suffering in New York City ?

Mr. DODGE. I have no doubt they would.

Mr. Thompson. Then is it not a fact that in charity or in philanthropy you have bzan, in a measure, maintaining theso 2,000 mon for the lasi throo yeara

Mr. DODGE. I think this: these men have all earned their wages, they have worked faithfully and cheerfully, they were willing to go with us and to take lower wages.

Mr. THOMPSON. But you were paying them more than they were worth to you! Mr. DODGE. We have kept on our manufactories at a loss?

Mr. Thompson. Then, in fact, have you not been giving these men, in the form of wages, what practically has been charity ?

Mr. DODGE. I would not like to say that, because many of those men are men who would not accept charity.

Mr. Rice. Would not the suspension of your works have cost you just as much in depreciation as it has cost you to continue them in operation ?

Mr. DODGE. As I remarked before, we hoped for a revival, and we kept on.

Mr. RICE. Has not the continuing of the works been better for you than the stoppage of them would have been ?

Mr. DODGE. Yes; we hope so.
Mr. Rice. Therefore, it has not been entirely unselfishness on your part?
Mr. DODGE. No; we did not do it from charity.

STATEMENT OF REV. J. N. STEARNS. Mr. J. N. STEARNS next came befote the committee and stated that he was the secretary and publishing agent of the National Temperance Society; that, thirteen years ago, when that society was organized, it had sought to find the relations of labor to the liquor traffic; that it had found a man in Pennsylvania (Mr. Powell) who had been investigating the subject for a period of ten years, and that Mr. Powell was now prepared to lay before the committee the results of his investigations. He remarked that, in Maine, before the introduction of the prohibitory law, $13,000,000 a year had been spent for liquor, and that during the last year, under the effects of the prohibitory law, the amount spent for liquor had only been $500,000, and that, consequently, the jails of Maine were mainly empty. He remarked that Portland, which had been swept by fire, had been now rebuilt, and that the property valuation of that city had increased, during the last year, 480,000, while in Boston, with her 3,000 liquor shops, the valuation of property had fallen $17,000,000.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you any evidence to show that the pressure of the hard times is less felt in Maine than in any other State ?

Mr. STEARNS. That is the testimony of Mr. Neal Dow at a very large convention of delegates from all parts of the State which I attended last year.

The CHAIRMAN. I judge, from the reports of the greenback movement in Maine, that they are suffering there like the rest of us, and that they want relief in the shape of more money.

Mr. STEARNS. I presume that the count of the ballots will tell mainly on the result of that noise in Maine.

Mr. Rice. You spoke of Portland and Boston in connection with the valuation of real estate. Have you any information as to which city business is most active in now?

Mr. STEARNs. Not from personal observation, but from statements of those familiar with it.

Mr. Rice. Has not the business of Boston increased more rapidly in proportion than that of Portland!

Mr. STEARNS. I presume so.
Mr. Rice. Notwithstanding its three thousand grogshops ?

Mr. STEARNS. The property valuation of Boston by the assessors was $17,000,000 less this year than last year.

Mr. Rice. Is not that owing to the loss of capital invested by capitalists of Boston in Western and other securities that have fallen on their hands?

Mr. STEARNS. I presume that that has had its influence; but I know some merchants of Boston who, if they had been total abstainers, could have carried their business through, and who have now failed.

STATEMENT OF MR. AARON M. POWELL. Mr. Aarox M. POWELL, the gentleman referred to by the last witness, read the following statement :

INTOXICATING LIQUORS AND "HARD TIMES.” The National Temperance Society respectfully submits for the consideration of the Congressional Labor Committee the following:

Money spent for liquor is so much capital taken from industry. In 1870 there were n the United States 143,115 retail liquor dealers. The cost of liquors, exclusive of

[ocr errors]

domestic wines, as computed from best available statistics, was $619,425,098. By the census of 1870 the entire amount paid as wages for labor that year was $775,584,343.

In 1872, Dr. Hargreaves, from internal revenue and coinmerce and navigation reports, computes the quantity of liquors, distilled and fermented, at 337,288,066 gallons, the cost to consumers at $735,720,048.

In 1870, the value of all the food and food preparations at the place of manufacture, embraced in the census report for that year, was only $600,365,571.

In the single State of Pennsylvania the drink bill for 1872 was about $78,725,000. The same money employed in manufacturing useful and necessary articles which was spent in manufacturing and in the consumption of liquors would have employed 20,000 more laborers and paid $6,000,000 more of money as wages in this one State alone ; that thousands are in want and distress is not inexplicable, while the annual expenditure of the nation for liquor is as much or more than is expended for food, and nearly twice as much as is spent for clothing. The $700,000,000 a year spent for drink would, in a single year, if appropriated instead for food and clothing, relieve all distress and place all in comparative comfort.

Hon. Neal Dow, of Maine, in a careful estimate, states that this nation drinks up the equivalent of its entire property valuation, real and personal, every twenty years

. The liquor bill of Maine, formerly $13,000,000 a year, is now reduced to $500,000. The property valuation of the State was higher last year than ever before; the valuation of the city of Portland, half destroyed by fire a few years ago, was, last year, $480,000 in excess of any previous year.

There are 545,624 men employed in liquor making and selling, 600,000 drunkards, and 1,404,323 tipplers, as estimated by Dr. Hargreaves, the loss of whose time and productive industry to the nation is not less than $568,860,000.

Intoxicating liquors are a chief source of pauperism.' In 1873 the board of State charities of the state of New York found, out of 9,855 paupers, 84 per cent. of the men and 41 per cent. of the women were intemperate. Of these 44 per cent. of the fathers before them were intemperate, and 17 per cent. of the mothers. Careful inquiry shows from 75 to 90 per cent. of pauperism as due chiefly, directly or indirectly, to intemperance.

Not less than 130,000 widows and orphans are left snch annually by liquor-drinkers, a large proportion of whom become inmates of our poorhonses. Thus is the industry of the country burdened with onerous taxation made necessary by drink.

The large and formidable army of “tramps” is being constantly recruited from the ranks of drinkers. The following sentence from a letter from an official of Spring: field, Mass., will serve as an illustration: “I would say that we have lodged and fed 8,052 persons that we call “tramps,' and I seldom find a man among them who was not reduced to that condition by intemperance.”

Another cause of heavy taxation is the prevalence and cost of the crime induced by strong drink. Governor Dix, as governor of New York, testified: "Intemperance is the undoubted cause of four-fifths of all the crime, pauperism, and domestic misery of the State." In like manner Governor Gaston, of Massachusetts, testified : Intemperance has been the most prolific source of poverty, wretchedness, and crime; it has filled the State and the country with its destructive influences." Dr. Elisha Harris, of the New York Prison Association, says: “About 82 per cent. of the convicts of the United States privately confess their frequent indulgence in intoxicating drinks." “The city workhouse, on Blackwell's Island,” say the commissioners of charities and corrections, “received, in the year 1876, 22,845 prisoners, of whom 11,250 were men and 11,595 were women. Drunkenness was the immediate cause of the incarceration of three-fourths of the former and seven-eighths of the latter, the predisposing cause in the cases of all the rest."

The manufacture of liquors destroys millions of bushels of grain, which would otherwise be available for the poor as wholesome and nourishing food; the money spent for liquor is withdrawn from legitimate business; the liquor destroys the health, begets idleness and vagrancy, and loses to the state the industry and wealth-prodneing capacity of liquor-drinkers; the pauperism and crime impose enormous burdens upon tax-payers. The CHAIRMAN. How can Federal legislation deal with this question at all!

Mr. POWELL. First, it is quite within the jurisdiction of Congress to say whether or not this liquor traffic shall go on in the District of Columbia, where there are over 1,000 drinking places. Secondly, it is quite competent for Congress to discourage, or to encourage, the importation of liquors from abroad, just as Congress interdicts. through the machinery of government, the importation of hides and cattle into this port at times (perhaps at the present time). So it may lay its heavy hand on the importation of liquor from abroad. Thirdly, Congress may preserve the Territories from the devastating effect of the liquor traffic.

Mr. Rice. I understood Mr. Dodge to say that he would have the inhabitants of every town, village, and county vote on the questiou of the sale of intoxicating liquors.

If that were so, would you have the inhabitants of the District of Columbia vote on that question ? Mr. POWELL. Not necessarily.

Mr. Rice. Then you do not agree with the president of the National Temperance Association ?

Mr. POWELL. I should not stand exactly on that platform in regard to the District of Columbia. Indeed I think I should not do so in regard to any part of the country; for I believe in the competence of the State government to deal with the drink question as it does with other public perils.

The CHAIRMAN. Then, as a practical question, you do not believe in the principle of local option ?

Mr. POWELL. Yes; where it is practicable to put it in force.

The CHAIRMAN. Then, why should the District of Columbia be exempt from that principle?

Mr. POWELL. Because the form of government in the District of Columbia is not such as to call the people to the polls on other questions.

The CHAIRMAN. But they could be called to the polls on that question.

Mr. POWELL. To be sure they could; but, as a matter of expediency, I would not do it, because it is just as competent for Congress to say that the drink traffic shall cease in the District of Columbia as it is for Congress to appoint a commission for the District and to frame a government for the District.

The CHAIRMAN. But why should not the same rule that applies to other places apply to the District of Columbia? The legislature of Albany has the same right to abolish the liquor traffic in the State of New York. Why don't you get the legislature to do it?

Mr. POWELL. We are asking the legislature to do it.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you and Mr. Dodge do not agree.
Mr. POWELL. Not necessarily on that point.
Mr. Thompson. On what theory would you interdiet liquor traffic in the Territories?
Mr. POWELL. On the theory that the Government of the United States is the pro-
tector of the Territories, and has the power and the responsibility to use that power.

Mr. THOMPSON. Suppose you were consulted as a lawyer as to the Constitutional power of Congress in the matter; in what provision of the Constitution would you find that power?

Mr. POWELL. I think I could find it.

The CHAIRMAN. Perhaps in the provision that Congress shall have power to provide for the general welfare.

Mr. THOMPSON. Welfare of whom? That applies to the State of New York as well as to the Territory of Wyoming.

Mr. POWELL. Not at all in this question. Mr. THOMPSON. Why, certainly; that clause of the Constitution applies to the United States and to the people thereof. It is not limited to the Territories.

Mr. POWELL. It applies directly to the Territories and indirectly to the States. Passing over that for the present, let me take another point. It is that it is perfectly competent for this committee (if it is persuaded that the drink traffic is inimical to the public welfare) to recommend to the House of Representatives that the Constitution might be amended so as to meet any difficulties that are in the way. I believe that the enlightened Christian opinion of the nation will bring us to that, by and by, as a way out of what threatens to be a great national calamity.

Mr. Rice. I agree with Mr. Dodge in his idea of local option ; I believe that that is the way to get at the difficulty. Now, if he be right, we do not need any constitutional amendment in that respect, because the people can be authorized to vote in all the towns, and cities, and districts, and Territories, that there shall or shall not be drink traffic allowed there.

Mr. POWELL. There is no objection to that so far as it goes, but why make a distinction! Why not have local option as to whether there shall be counterfeiting allowed, or local option as to whether there shall be burglary allowed, or other things allowed ?

Mr. Rice. Counterfeiting is a crime and burglary is a crime, but selling a glass of wine is not a crime.

Mr. POWELL. That is a question.

The CHAIRMAN. It can be made a crime by law. Do you recommend us to report in favor of increasing the duty on foreign wines ?

Mr. POWELL. I would recommend that you suggest to Congress to prohibit the importation of foreign wines for drinking purposes.

The CHAIRMAN. You are aware that we make domestic wines in this country, Wonld you have Congress suppress them too !

Mr. POWELL. I would have the traffic in them suppressed.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you recommend Congress to prohibit the importation of foreign wines in order that domestic wine growers might bave greater profits out of what you think to be an immoral traffic?

ance.

Mr. POWELL, Not at all.
The CHAIRMAN, That would be the effect of it.

Mr. POWELL. Not necessarily, because the moment the national government puts its face against the drink traffic, New England and the Middle States and the whole country will turn their faces also against that traffic; but, so long as the national government is where it is (with a Commissioner of Internal Revenue being the general manager for the liquor business of the nation, and just keeping his illicit distilleries from open warfare against the government) the States will never get much beyond their present condition on the question ; and therefore it is that I feel the deepest interest in having the national government deal with this question as its merits require.

The CHAIRMAN. You ask us to recommend Congress to put a prohibitory duty on the importation of foreign wines because you think that their use is demoralizing. Do you know anything about the habits of the French peasants and workingmen?

Mr. POWELL. I have seen something of them.
The CHAIRMAN. They are great wine drinkers, are they not?
Mr. POWELL. They are.

The CHAIRMAN. Wine forms a staple part of every meal in France, even for the laboring men ?

Mr. POWELL. Yes, to a large extent.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you know any nation in the world that is more frugal, more prudent, more industrious, more orderly than the French nation?

Mr. POWELL. It is orderly, industrious, and frugal; but it is not free from intemperThe CHAIRMAN. The point is this: whether the consumption of wine is intemper

You ask this committee to recommend to Congress to impose a prohibitory duty on foreign wines on the ground that the use of wine is demoralizing. Now I point yon to France, where the people drink wine in great abundance, and where they are known to be frugal, industrious, and moral, and I ask you whether, on that ground, you can sustain your recommendation ?

Mr. POWELL. Certainly I can, and I shall quote great French authorities to show that the wise and statesmanlike men of France to-day are alarmed at the tendency of things there growing out of the drinking of wine and other liquors to which winedrinking leads.

The CHAIRMAN. I will thank you to send those authorities to the committee. In the mean time I will ask you to consult Chevalier, Leon Say, and other French economists on that subject. The consumption of wine to excess is a wrong thing, as every thing else done in excess is. I also have had large opportunities to observe the habits of the French people, and I am bound to say that I have seen very much less intemperance in France than I have seen in this country, where we are not large producers of wine.

Mr. Powell. That is undoubtedly true.

The CHAIRMAN. Then why prohibit the introduction of a thing.that is conducive to temperance ?

Mr. POWELL. I deny that it is conducive to temperance.

The CHAIRMAN. The French are believed to be the most temperate and the richest people in the world, and they are the largest consumers of wine. Mr. Powell. I will send you the authorities which I quote.

The Chairman. Please do so, and also send some reasons why wine should be excluded from the diet of the French people.

The committee adjourned until to-morrow.

ance.

VIEWS OF MR. HORACE WHITE, OF CHICAGO.

NEW YORK, August 23, 1878. Mr. HORACE WHITE appeared before the committee by invitation.

By the CHAIRMAN. Question. Please to state your occupation.—Answer. Journalist. Q. You have been many years connected with the Chicago Tribune ?-A. Yes, sir. Q. Have you, in the course of your studies, given special attention to qnestions affecting the relations of capital and labor, and to the financial question ?-A. Yes, sir; I made that a principal part of my studies in preparation for journalism, and also during the period when I was actively engaged as a journalist, and I have also paid a good deal of attention to it since I retired from journalism.

Q. Have you directed your attention specially to the causes producing what is con

« AnteriorContinuar »