« ПретходнаНастави »
That is the experience of a school teacher, a woman of very good judgment, a woman whose views I would take as quickly as I would take my own in matters of this kind, or even before. She said it is far better for the children to go to work and learn what work is, and learn the value of money, from the mere standpoint of the benefit to the child itself. I asked her whether she thought the boys would otherwise congregate on the street and she said they would, and the girls too, because if their time is not occupied they will congregate on the street or some place else, and it is putting into the hands of children time to kill, time they do not know what to do with, and the thing that happens is that they do the wrong thing with it.
It would be far better if their minds were occupied with work, so that they would be somewhat fatigued when the time came to go to bed, and they would go there rather than go out to dances and places like that.
The law in Maryland allows children to labor if they have sufficient school preparation and can get permission from the commissioner, between 14 and 16, outside of school times. They have to go to school for the full time. After 16 they can get permission to go to work, if they can show they have the proper schooling. From 14 to 16, outside of the school sessions, they can get the commissioner's permission to go to work.
I spoke also to one of the stenographers at St. Josephs College. I told her I was coming over to Washington to protest against this bill and I showed her the bill and said to her, "What do you think of it?"
She said, "It is poppy-cock, foolishness."
She said, "I am one of 10 children. My father was a man who did the best he could with his children, but how could he support 10 children as we grew up? There were a great many different demands made upon him, and as the older ones could do it, they went to work."
I said to her, "Were you one of the older ones?" and she said, "Yes."
"Did it hurt you?"
Her answer was, "It was the saving of my soul, almost. If I hadn't had that work to do, with the 10 children in the house, my mother could not have controlled us. If I hadn't gone to work rather early I perhaps would have been on the streets, or elsewhere."
I said, "Do you feel you have injured your health by going to work?" She said, "Not at all. I feel in perfect health," and she shows it by being at work every day in the year, because I see her in the hospital.
I asked her when she went to work and she said that she went to work at gainful occupation when she was 14 years old. She is not now as young as she used to be. The laws of Maryland have been changed and she couldn't do that now.
I said, "Are you sure you have not been hurt? You know there are a great many people who say that young girls in the adolescent age are injured by going to work." She said, "Why, I am perfectly healthy, and I was of great assistance in helping to raise the other children, and through my assistance and the assistance of others, the family was kept together and the 10 children have all grown up to
be respectable citizens. Those who are grown are good citizens of the city of Baltimore and of the State of Maryland.
I didn't stop there. That was a very high-grade woman, a schoolteacher, the first one; the other was a woman of intelligence, the ordinary high-grade stenographer. She was not very highly educated, of course you can understand, but a woman perfectly able to put two and two together, and it was her honest and unbiased opinion that she expressed.
Then I recalled a family which was the worst possible instance I could think of. It consisted of a good mother, a husband who was a drunkard; all that he did when he was drunk was to spend all that he could make, and then get in debt as far as he could go against his future salary, and I have known this family for years and have been in the house in the wintertime when there wasn't a stick of wood or a bit of coal in the house and hardly any food, with the children sick. The woman, you would think, would cut the throats of the children to get rid of them, almost. They were crying for food, there was sickness in the family; the father was drunk upstairs or around at the saloon on the corner. That woman kept her family together. The two first children were girls. They went to work. They were obliged to go to work. Starvation stared them in the face, or else the breaking up of the family and putting the other children in an institution, which the mother, against my advice, stood against. She said she would never break up her home.
That woman was a home-loving woman. She had gone to heaven. recently. But she lived long enough to see her children educated. One of them is a doctor of philosophy, graduated from Johns Hopkins and teaching in one of the universities in the West. The two older girls are working still now, one might say, on "Easy Street.” One younger girl is a doctor of philosophy, a Ph. D., teaching in one of the colleges in the West. The other is an A. D. graduate of the Goucher College, teaching in one of the city schools. The two boys are at work, one unmarried, one married.
The two oldest girls who kept this family together went to work early. They never thought of any age limit of 18 years. They have got good educations of course, nothing like what the younger ones have but the family kept together and the family has been reformed.
There are three individual instances. I could mention hundreds of them from my own personal experience. I know that children have not been hurt by going to work early; families, on the other hand, have been saved by them going to work early, and I am now saying to you that there has been nothing deleterious at all about going to work early. On the other hand, it has been a very great benefit to these poor people.
Mr. MICHENER. Did you ever go into one of these textile mills and see the little children come in there in the morning before daylight with a dinner bucket under their arm and then see them come out long after dark in the winter, at night, with their empty dinner buckets?
Doctor O'DONOVAN. May I ask what age you refer to?
Mr. MICHENER. Running anywhere between 14-about from 12 to years of age.
Doctor O'DONOVAN. That couldn't be done in Maryland. Mr. MICHENER. That is just the point. You interviewed certain people about specific cases, but specific cases are hardly in point where there are so many thousands of these other cases differing from the cases you mention. Then, in the States that were not as kind as Maryland, where the State said, "We reserve the right to work these children if we see fit," and the powers in that State are powerful enough to work the children, and they do work the children, there is a difference. You referred to the instance where they had no fire, no food, and the father was at the saloon around the corner. We have remedied that condition, that saloon on the corner, but the people in Maryland wanted to continue the saloon and they opposed the constitutional amendment, because they wanted it.
Mr. MONTAGUE. The State of Maryland adopted the constitutional amendment.
Mr. MICHENER. But they did admit the saloon should not be there. They made the same protest against that constitutional amendment, however, because it was doing something for Maryland that Maryland did not want done. That has been taken care of.
Now, it is the purpose here to take care of some of these things in the States that the States won't take care of themselves.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a rather long question. It is rather an argument addressed to you.
Doctor O'DONOVAN. I am not in sympathy with that. I don't think it has a bearing on this particular resolution.
Mr. MICHENER. No; not from your viewpoint.
The CHAIRMAN. Perhaps we can argue that in committee as well as have the doctor answer it.
Mr. MICHENER. I don't wish to be discourteous. I appreciate the chairman's position as being exactly that of the gentleman talking. Mine does not happen to be so.
Mr. MAJOR. If you will permit me to express my own personal desire, I would like to hear what the doctor has to say in answer to that.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, the gentlemen are free to have their questions answered.
Mr. MAJOR. If I may, I would like, myself, to have him answer it. The CHAIRMAN. Have you any desire to add anything?
Doctor O'DONOVAN. Am I taking up too much time?
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any desire to say anything further in answer to what Mr. Michener has said?
Doctor O'DONOVAN. I don't know that it would be acceptable, but I am not a bit favorable to the eighteenth amendment, if that is what he means.
Mr. MICHENER. That is just the point
Doctor O'DONOVAN. Conditions in Maryland are very much worse since the amendment than before.
Mr. MONTAGUE. Irrespective of that, your State adopted the eighteenth amendment?
Doctor O'DONOVAN. It did.
Mr. MONTAGUE. I just wished to correct my brother's statement that Maryland protested against the eighteenth amendment. They adopted it.
Mr. MICHENER. They have been protesting practically ever since. The CHAIRMAN. That is, only a few people. That has been the case in a number of States. The people regard their individual liberties as being sacrificed by this intrusion upon their rights and they resent it and resist it. You can not call that a State in arms against the amendment. It is the individual rebelling against the taking away of his personal liberty.
Mr. MICHENER. The Maryland Legislature refused to pass any laws to enforce this amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you think that is due entirely to the factand it has also taken place in New York-that it is a conflict of jurisdiction between State and National enforcement? You can not get perfect harmony in that line, and it is better for the States to have no laws than it is for them to have a dual law that they are trying to enforce when Congress is trying to enforce another.
Mr. MAJOR. I can't quite see that the doctor needs any help to answer Mr. Michener's question. I believe he can answer it if he is disposed to do it.
Doctor O'DONOVAN. It is the same question as is stated here in the Bill of Rights. That is the way it appealed to me. I feel there are several other people who want to speak, and I thank you, gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we will hear only one more witness. We have to go to the House; an important vote is coming up at 11 o'clock. I will ask Mr. Rawles to make a statement.
STATEMENT OF MR. CHARLES T. RAWLES, BALTIMORE, MD.
Mr. RAWLES. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am not here to discuss the merits of child-labor regulation. Whatever merit there may be in that proposition the founders of this Government remitted to the proper jurisdiction to take care of it. They left it with the several States under the Constitution. They left it there as they leave all the affairs of internal government, carrying out the principle which had guided the English-speaking people for centuries, and under which principle the most enduring government upon this earth has been established.
Look over the world to-day, gentlemen, and see where you find the great governments. You have two outstanding governments of recent origin-the great Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the great Commonwealth of South Africa-and they were wise enough to follow the traditions and the instincts of their fathers in adopting this federal form of government, leaving those matters of national importance to the national government and those matters of local importance to the local government.
That is the principle upon which the Constitution of the United States is founded, and if that principle is not carried out and enforced in all of its integrity, then this Government of which we have boasted for 147 years is a failure, because, gentlemen, if you are going to start at child labor because one section of the country or one body of opinion favors it, then where are you going to stop? That is a breach of the covenant, and the whole structure, because of that breach, is gone.
You have divers things you have education now in agitation. What matter that is now within the jurisdiction of the State could not be made, and under the principle of this resolution should not be made, a matter of national legislation?
Gentlemen, it is not because of the merit, one way or the other, of the thing that I am here to oppose it. I am here to oppose it because I believe that its adoption means the beginning of the end. That is my opposition to it.
I believe in the Constitution of the United States. I believe in it, and I am going to oppose with all the little power I have got any step that I believe leads to the destruction or to the impairment of that great instrument.
Gentlemen, may I first call your attention--I don't want to detain the committee, Mr. Chairman. Are you ready to adjourn?
The CHAIRMAN. I think we ought to, because we have an important matter coming up in the House at 11 o'clock. With the consent of the committee, I will order that the hearings go on to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock.
(Whereupon, at 11 o'clock a. m., an adjournment was taken until 10 o'clock to-morrow, February 29, 1924.)
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
The committee this day met, Hon. George S. Graham (chairman) presiding. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Rawles.
STATEMENT OF MR. CHARLES T. RAWLES-Continued
Mr. RAWLES. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I want to say how grateful I am to the committee for the opportunity of presenting my views in opposition to this particular amendment. I thank the committee for the patient way in which they have listened to me.
I was saying yesterday, at the time of the adjournment, that I was planting my opposition to this measure entirely upon the principle of our form of Government, that local self-government was the principle on which this Government is founded. It seems to me that ought to be accepted by anyone who is familiar with even the outlines of American history. The American Revolution was fought upon that principle. The Constitution of the United States is founded upon that principle. It has guided this country for 147 years, never at any time challenged by any party or by any substantial body of
I want to read the declaration of the Republican platform of 1860, at a time when the subject of slavery had taken possession of the minds of the people of this country.
I take this declaration from the Republican platform for the reason that the Republican Party has always been supposed to accept the broad construction of the Constitution, a broad rule of