« AnteriorContinuar »
By Mr. RICE: Q. You think that every inale adult should be allowed to vote?-A. Yes, sir; if he is a citizen, and by and by we shall come in for women voting also.
Q. You mean the property qnalitication in Rhode Island and the reading clause in Massachusetts are wrong, and should be done away with ?--A. Of course, at present that is a privilege. It makes a privileged class, and, by the way, I know how it works. You know well enough that at election times these poor Irisbmen, who have not bad a chance to read and write, are gathered in a school, and there for a day or two exercised in writing their names and in reading a certain passage in the Bible, which is pointed out to thein beforehand. It is a law good for nothing. The poll-tax of California ought also to be abolished.
“15th. Direct popular legislation enabling the people to propose or reject any law at their will, and introduction of minority representation in all legislative elections.” I think I need not explain what is meant by this. We mean that legislation as it is now carried on in Switzerland, so that people may introduce in any legislative assembly a law of their own, a bill of their own, and may insist upon its being read before the people after the legislative body has brought it into proper form; and, on the other hand, the right of the voter to vote on every important law, especially every law that disposes of money.
* 16th. Every public officer shall be at all times subject to prompt recall by the election of his successor. That is the right of the people, to recall their lawgivers.
Q. They do so every two years now ?-A. We claim the right of recalling any of our lawgivers during the session.
We are through with our present demands. We are ready to answer any other questions whenever it is pleasant to you, and we will lay before you such printed documents as we have published. The labor of children should be entirely forbid under fourteen years of age.
By Mr. BOYD:
Nr. Doual. About some points of my historical knowledge I wish to verify my statements. Whenever you bave time to have ine come here I will come here with the books. In regard to one point, one of the speakers before me may have misstated the intentions of the party unintentionally by being led astray through your cross-examination, because it was a kind of cross-examination. I wish to correct the misimpression which might be created thereby. He seems to state that the laborer is detrauded of part of his earnings through the middle class, or, at least, the impression might have gone abroad. We regard the middle class as being embarked in the same ship as our. selves. They are living on ourselves. We have spent our wages in their stores and sliops, and if we have nothing to spend, they bave notbing to gain; they have no protit left, and it is just the middle class that is going down most rapidly nowadays. Thousands, and I may say hundreds of thousands, of men of small means, keeping a store or shop, are unable to make more than their expenses, sometimes not even that. They are eating up their savings. We contess no enmity whatever to that class, and we have no enniity whatever to any class of people, because our party considers those things historical necessities; these things have been brought about without any one's will or intention. This is the great bane of the world's progress, which could not be realized in any other way tban by competition-the great double competition of the employers and of the employés, each among themselves. Those historical necessities we acknowledge, avd this prevents us from being unjust to any other class. We don't make war upon capitalists as a class, but upon capital. We make war upon the wrong idea that any one could derive rightfully an interest on capital, because that interest must come from another person's labor, which is thus far not paid for. We find against the civilization that bas come to all mankind, even anong laborers as well as among the capitalist class, as though any one was by justice allowed to take profit from any man's labor by taxing him. Of course, the laws have allowed that. We are brought up under those laws, but I beg you to consider that we are not a class wbich is full of enmity to society, as we are represented. We are fellow-citizens, presenting a remedy that will come to be applied within a very short time, do what you may. We think that within five or ten years matters will have come to such a pass as I stated before. The great capitalists alone will be left, and the millions that are disinherited will be a threatening burden npon them, and then they will, perhaps, basten to prevent the ills that might How out of the present kind of prodnetion. If our organization is allowed to grow as it has grown before, we need no auxiliary ; we need nothing else but the natural growth of our ideas. If those ideas have five or ten years more to grow in the minds of the people, there will be no one else who will share in the prejudices of the people.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand you to say you only make war on capitai ?-A. As an institution.
Q. Do I understand you to say you are opposed to the acquisition of capital !--A. Certainly.
Q. That capital should not be allowed to exist ?-A. Henceforth not allowed to exist; in future society it should not be possible to have any private capital.
Q. Capital is the surplus over a man's debts. The great bulk of capital consists of small soms piled up and aggregated ; are yon opposed to the acquisition of capital, the accumulation of private property ?-A. Not at all, but that capital which we only honor by the name of capital, should be in the hands of all the people together combined as a government.
Q. You mean a common ownership of the capital ?--A. Yes, sir; in our future state of society.
Q. There should be no private property ?-A. There should be no private property except what you earn through your own labor, and those earnings can never be again a source of new cap tal, and they will by better education of the people inure to a better arrangeinent of life and society.
Q. If a man has accumulated a few dollars you are opposed to allowing him to lend it to any one on interest ?-A. No, sir; he will not take any in onr future state.
Q. Would you prevent him taking interest ?-A. Why should I give a law which is not necessary ?
Q. Then why have any law at all if people are going to be so good that laws are unnecessary 1-A. Why are there thousands of useless laws in the world? That comes from the fact that nowadays everybody is striking at everybody, and onr society is a war of everybody against everybody under the forms of law, so that if you organize that law you must do it by an innumerable number of laws which are so complex sometimes as to be unintelligible to the great mass of people. Therefore we say in oor future kind of society laws will be few and intelligent to every boily, and people will be so educated as to see that the greatest amount of capital can be gathered if the state is the owner of all men’s labor.
Q. If it is wrong to take interest, is it wrong to take profit ?--A. Society cannot take any profit for itself.
Q. I understand you to say you will permit the laborer to reap the reward of his own industry ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you say when he gets a little money, he ought not to lend it on interest; that that is morally wrong, though you would not prohibit it. I ask you if it would be wrong for that man to take that money and put it in the soil and raise a crop of wheat and wait a year for the benefit of it !-A. Why should it be wrong?
Q. Then it is not wrong for a man to take protit out of his capital ?-A. He will have very little chance to do it under our system, because the circuinstances of almost everybody will be very much alike. There may be differences, but they will never amount to any great contrast. You may have your own little garden and may lay out your money on that, or you may have collections of birds and animals, or whatever you like, as far as your means reach. If you don't prefer to go to the museum and study there, you may study at bome as far as your means allow you.
Q. You would not prohibit a man to get beyond his little garden, would you ?-A. We would not restrict any one. We would have education make every one understand his standing in society, that he is to live for the benefit of all, and that society is to live for the benefit of everybody. Let us first get rid of this uochristian state of society. We demand that Chinese emigration under contract ought to be stopped immediately.
The CHAIRMAN. Not otherwise ?
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT OF MR. BARTHOLOMEE.
Mr. BARTHOLOMEE made the following additional statement: In the State of Rhode Island there are 2, 109 factories, with a capital of $50,000,000, employing 56,450 employés. These employés receive $23,707,513. The raw material used in these factories costs $75,715,970. The material after being worked up and sold in the market at the time these figures were taken brought $126,659,187, leaving a surplus for the owners of those factories of $26,2:36,392, or $2,528,880 over and above the wages they paid to their men, who really produced the value of the article when it is placed in the market. If you allow 7 per cent. on the capital you will still have all but $1,000,000 less than the money they paid to the workingmen.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Do you know whether the expenses of transportation, advertising, selling, and carrying on the business were deducted ?-A. I know that 7 per cent. on capital generally pays all those expenses.
Q. 0, po; we bave to pay that for money we borrow, and I ask you whether those other expenses were deducted from that statement.-A. The statement was given at the cost, which, I presume, includes everything.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, it does not. I went through that process, and examined the statistics, and went to the Census Burean and found that they merely took the cost of the raw material, and excluded all the other expenses.
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT OF MR. BENNETT.
Mr. ISAAC BENNETT made the following additional statement: In regard to cigarmakers, you have asked me a question and I am willing to answer it now, that there are in this city about three thousand cigar-makers; that in the year 1870 they earned $11 per thousand for their labor. In 1872 the reduction was $2. In 1874 another reduction of $2 was made, which left them $7. In 1876 it came down to $5, and at the present time the $11 work which was made in 1870 is now made for $3 a thousand. Now the cost of living in 1870 was $6 per bead, and we fiod out now that the cost of living has only come down $1, and the wages varned at that time by the cigar-makers in general was $12 a week, and if a man earns now the whole year through $5; he is doing well.
The committee here took a recess.
After recess the chairman called the delegations in the order in wbich their applications had been tiled, but none of them were present. The chairman then announced that the committee were ready to hear any person who desired to speak to them, and JAMES CONNOLLY presented himself.
VIEWS OF MR. JAMES CONNOLLY.
By the CHAIRMAN: Question. What party do you represent !-Answer. I am here from the National Labor Greenback party; not the one represented by Mr. Maddox.
Q. Another Green back party ?-A. The genuine Greenback party.
The CHAIRMAN. This committee is charged by resolution of Congress to investigate the causes of the depression of business, or lack of employment for labor, and to suggest or advise remedies, if possible; and in any statements you make you will please confine yourself, as far as possible, in the first place, to stating the causes; and, secondly, any remedies you have to suggest the committee will hear.
Mr. CONNOLLY. I don't propose to enter into a long statement at this time, but will beg leave to ask a further hearing at a future day. The causes, as I understand them, are various, the greatest of which, possibly, is the financial condition of the country to-day, the laws governing the finance question as passed by. Congress.
Q. What laws do you refer to ?-A. The finances.
Q. Well, which of the laws of finance do you think is the cause ?-A. The bond system.
Q. First, relating to bonds, in what way do you think the legislation in regard to the United States bonds has brought about the distress ?-A. We bold, Mr. Chairman, that the bonds, as issued by the government, being a tax on the people, the earnings of the people are slowly but surely drawn away from them and centered in the hands of the few who hold the bonds of the nation, thus depriving the many of the distribu. tion of the earnings. The earnings, instead of being distributed publicly, are centered in tbe bands of a few men. The depression of business is caused from this in this way: that a man who bas a large capital to invest will take his 6 per cent. in gold or government bonds, and take it away from manufacturing and industrial pursuits, thus throw. ing a large portion of the mechanic and laboring classes out of employment.
Q. Is there any deficiency of capital for carrying on industrial pursuits at the present time I-A. We bold there is. Q. What is the evidence of it?-A. The evidence is the price of money.
What is the present rate of interest on money in New York 1-A. That is according to what length of time you desire to purchase it for. On call I suppose you can get it cheap.
Q. At what rate ?-A. I understand that you can get it for 2 or 3 per cent. on call.
The CHAIRMAX. It was 1} yesterday. On bond and mortgage; at what rate can it be had on bond and mortgage ?
Mr. CONNOLLY. That is another system we complain of. Q. At what rate can you get money on bond and mortgage ?-A. That is a question of doubt.
Q. It is not a question of doubt; it is a question of fact.-A. I know a man who tried to get money to erect a building on boud and mortgage, and he could not be accommodated in the bank at 7 per cent., but a friend of the banking-company did
accommodate bim, on condition that he should give him a certain amount for the accommodation over and above the 7 per cent, paid to the banker.
Q. These are isolated cases; but do you know the general rate of interest on bond and mortgage at the present time?-A. As I understand it, 7 per cent.
Q. Six per cent is the rate, and an unlimited amount can be got on bond and mortgage at 6 per cent. to-day. Then the price of money ranges from 11 on call to 6 per cent. on bond and mortgage. Is that a high price?-A. I beg your pardon. I do not want to enter into the price of money on call, because I apprehend that has very little to do with the price of labor.
Q. Now, I say money cau be had on good bond and mortgage at 6 per cent. Is that a high price for money ?--A. I think it is a higher price than they should pay.
Q Is it higher than they bave been in the habit of paying in the past history of New York?-A. It is dut; but when we go back into the past history of New York, a question you asked a while ago as to the condition of labor in 1857, the condition was this : that the price of money was not greater than it is now, but the result of that stagnation was that the banks failed themselves; it destroyed a number of business men.
Q. You said that the reason business was stagnant was because of the high price of money. I asked you what the price was, and we have got the figures, and it does not seem to be the cause. Therefore the cause you set down as the cause of the stagnation cannot be the cause. The price is not high.-A. You are aware, Mr. Chairman, as well as I can tell you, that a man having money will not loan it on boud and mortgage for 6 per cent. for a great length of time if he can get 6 per cent. in gold on gov
6 ernment bonds.
Q. But there is at present an unlimited amount practically of money to loan any length of time on bond and mortgage, in bank, at por cent.-1. I don't so understand it.
Q. Well, simply put it down in your testimony. I give you the fact. If you bring me good security, I can get you $1,000,000 on bond and mortgage at 6 per cent.-A. Well, possibly I can bring a witness here on Monday to contradict you.
Q. Well, you can do that. What other cause do you give besides the high price of money for the depression ?-A. As I said before, I don't propose to be led away from the question.
Q. What is the question ?-1. I desire to make this point, that it is the system of legislation for which you as one, I believe, voted, to create a bonded system wbich robbed the people of money which drew no interest, and gave to us a boud which touk from the people au interest. The CHAIRMAN. I did not vote for any such legislation. Mr. CoxxoLLY. I am glad to hear it. The CHAIRMAN. I never voted for anything about the bonds. I found that system in operation when I went to Congress, and I object to your saying that that is a system of robbing. It is a system by wbich the people may have been overtaxed, but robbing is something quite different. I did not vote for it, but what I would have doue if I bad had a chance is another question. Mr. CONNOLLY. I don't suppose any member of Congress would put his hand in a citizen's pocket to take money out, but we do say there were means used in Congress to get these laws through in Congress that were not possibly moral. If we understaud, they were paying the interest in the currency of the country, and these people came back and demanded that they should pay the interest in gold; and, after having accomplished that, they came back and demanded that the principal should be paid in gold ; and then Congress allowed the currency to be contracted so as to create a fall in price in such a commodity as real estate, &c.
Q. Do I understand you to say that the interest on the bonds as originally issued was payable in paper ?--A. I did not say paper. Q. Well, currency ?-A. In the legal currency of the nation ; that is as I understand.
The CHAIRMAN. You are wrong as to the payment of the interest; the law expressly provided that it was to be paid in coin.
Mr. CONNOLLY. I am not an educated man myself, but I have looked into the dictionary, and I can't find where it says gold or silver is coin. The Constitution says the government shall coin money. Now, if you will show me where the meaning of the word coin is gold and silver, then
The CHAIRMAN. We are not here to give definitions of words.
Q. Well, what else 1-A. The contraction of the currency and issuing more bonds for to resame specie payment; and the last $30,000,000 of bonds issnied for that purpose was direct fraud on the people and helped to continue this state of affairs.
Q. How much has the currency been contracted in any period you choose to take?
A. I suppose there is in the neighborhood of from $1,400,000,000 to $1,500,000,000 dur. ing the war of legal-tenders, and other potes which passed as cnrrency.
Q. What date will you fix for your $1,400,000,000 or $1,500,000,000 ?-A. Well, take it along about 1863 or 1864. I judge I am not exactly correct on the point, but will give you the figures, if you please, on Monday, if you desire them. As the committee had those matters before them in Congress, I did not suppose it was necessary.
Q. You say the contraction is a cause of the business depression. I want you to defipe what the contraction was. I understand you to say it was $1,400,000,000 about 1863 or 1864. Now, I want to know to what amount it was contracted.A. Take the other currency itself-the green back currency. If I am correctly informed, it was $200,000,000. Since you have adopted the national-bank system of letting a man owning $100,000 purchase a government bond and pay bim gold interest for that bond, with the privilege of leaving it in the governinent vault, and then allowing him to issue $90,000—in doing this you compel this man to hold a certain amount of greenbacks in bis vault, as I understand it, which is not in circulation; there is a certain amount of reserve of the currency, of the greenbacks, which are kept in reserve, and not kept before the people, but the bauk-bill is kept before the people and bears interest on the face of it, which interest the people have to pay.
Q. What is the amount contracted-from $1,400,000,000 to what?-A. I judge that we have not now in circulation in the United States to-day, of bank-bills and greenbacks, over $750,000,000.
Q. Are there more issued than that?--A. There was.
Q. I mean are there now?-A. Some of the banks, I believe, are contracting these for the purpose of keeping the rate of interest up.
Q. They do not succeed ?-A. They seem to do very well.
Q. Do you mean to say they succeed in keeping up the rate of interest ?-A. They seem to do it. I don't hear of any of them failing. I assure you if the rate of interest went down so low they would fail, as manufacturers do.
Q. They would not. They might let their capital lie idle.-A. They do not fail. That fact itself shows that the rate of interest is not low. We hold that the banking system should be revised; that the present bank currency shonld be withdrawn and greenbacks issued direct by the goverument to the people, either throngh some banking system or to the people direct.
Q. How will that belp the laboring man ?–A. It will withdraw from the bondbolders their money, and compel them to invest that money in business.
Q. Won't he get his bonds back when the money is taken up? He has his boods lying there for security on his notes; the notes are withdrawn, and he gets his boods back. Would he draw any interest on his bonds after that?-1. O, yes; unless we redeem these bonds. We want the government to redeem them.
Q. Your next proposition is to retire the bonds, retire the national-bank notes, deliver to the bondbolder his bonds, and pay them off. What do you propose to pay his bonds with 1-A. In the currency of the country, whether it is gold, silver, or paper; and, as silver is now cheaper, I think it is better to pay him in silver.
Q. How would the government get the silver to pay off these bonds? There are about $400,000,000 of these bonds deposited. Where would the government get the silver !--A. I would take the bond, and when we paid out all the silver, then we would fall back on the greenback.
Q. There are only $12,000,000 of silver coin now in the country. You wonld pay off the $12,000,000 of silver and then pay off the rest in greenbacks?-A. In either one.
Q. Would it not be cheaper for the government to print the greenbacks rather than pay the silver ?--A. I suppose it would.
Q. Then you would pay these bonds off in greenbacks ?-A. In greenbacks, or silver, or gold.
Q. Suppose the bondbolder declined to take them, and said here is my bond-the principal is not due ?--A. Then I would stop the interest on the bond.
By Mr. TuomPSON: Q. How would you pay the greenbacks ?-A. There would be no necessity for paying the greenbacks as long as the government took them for all debts, dues, and demands, public and private, including interest on the public debt and custom dues.
Q. You don't mean that paying in greenbacks is paying the debtor? It is merely paying the form of the debt, promising to pay it; but how will you pay the greenback when the time comes to fully pay it? - A. I will answer that question is the gentleman will be kind enough to answer me how he will pay his gold dollar.
Q. You don't have so many iu circulation !-A. The question is the same. I mean the government stampy its silvor, and says that is a dollar. If you go to redeem that dollar it gives you a gold dollar for it, or any other currency the government credits, and, if the government credits paper money, it can redeem it in paper or silver, as loug as it lasts.
Q. Does the government have a dollar to redeem at all? The green back system