Слике страница

representing the mothers of these children, with practical unanimity, aside from business, appear here year after year and urge this amendment? Does that not carry some weight or consideration in your mind?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Well, I have been somewhat associated with various movements of men and indirectly with women, and experience shows that one who is convinced of a point of view and believes that he has a real message, especially if it is a message which affects the sympathy and which appeals to the heart, can get a very considerable following which will fall into ranks to back that proposal.

Mr. FOSTER. That is quite true, but I am speaking about the body of the mothers of America.

Mr. WILLIAMS. The mothers of America, whom I know most intimately, are not in favor of this amendment because they believe it is a wrong step in government. They think they are intellectual enough to see that the centralization of power in Washington is too dangerous a thing and it is much wiser to bear certain temporary ills which the localities may themselves correct in time, and have them thoroughly corrected from the bottom, than to attempt to correct them from the top.

Mr. FOSTER. Can you get that to the committee some way, connecting the women of the country? I think they are of independent policies. Such sentiments as you have expressed, do you think they can be gotten before the committee in any collective sense? I would like to hear it.

Mr. WILLIAMS. It would mean that I would have to step aside-Mr. FOSTER. Well, I mean that it may be very valuable.

Mr. WILLIAMS. I mean women who are in my own group, like Mrs. Williams, who are interested in government, and who have their hearts in these movements, and want the evils removed, but believe that there is a better way to remove them than by constitutional amendment.

There is another matter which has been touched upon and I would like to discuss it for just a moment. That is, there was another amendment, to so-called "back to the people" amendment, which I think should be considered by the committee before any other amendment is considered. You have now the extraordinary situation that a State is not allowed to change its mind after its vote and before the three-fourths necessary to secure the ratification of an amendment have acted. You have the extraordinary situation that a State constitution may have a section providing for a referendum on all matters upon which the legislature may act and they can not employ that machinery for ascertaining the will of the people on the amendment to ascertain what the people desire. I submit the present method of amending the Constitution of the United States is inadequate in that respect; that it does not allow the real thought of the people to come up from the ground before apparently registering their views.

In closing may I quote the view of a great author and a profound student of history, Professor Fisk:

If the day should ever arrive when the people from the different parts of our country should allow their local affairs to be administered by prefects sent from Washington and when the self-government of the States shall have been so far lost as that of the Departments of France, or even so far as that

of the counties of England, on that day the progressive political career of the American people will have come to an end and the hopes that have been built upon it for the future happiness and prosper ty of mankind will be wrecked forever.

The CHAIRMAN. I wish to have a point made clear. A question was asked of you that might be misleading, leaving the belief that you were here representing the Manufacturer's Association. As I understand it when you began you stated that you are not here representing any body of people or interest, but expressing your own patriotic views.

Mr. WILLIAMS. I am expressing my own patriotic views alone. The CHAIRMAN. You came to Washington on another errand and happened to talk to a brother member of the bar and he spoke of the meeting and asked you to come here and you came here?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Correct, except that he spoke before I called here to speak, and from the fact that he happened to know my interest in the Constitution.

The CHAIRMAN. The fact is you do not represent any other interest here at all?

Mr. WILLIAMS. No, sir.

Mr. DYER. The gentleman has made a very clear statement and has spoken very ably from his standpoint and I do not think there is any question of his being connected with any interest.

The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection now, the committee will recess to meet again this afternoon.

(There being no objection the committee took a recess until 2.30 o'clock, p. m.)


The committee reassembled pursuant to the taking of the recess, Hon. George S. Graham (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. If Mr. Jones is present, we will hear from him



The CHAIRMAN. Are you for or against the amendment?
Mr. JONES. I am against the amendment, sir.

Mr. HERSEY. Tell us who you are and who you represent.

Mr. JONES. Willis R. Jones, representing myself. I reside at No. 1 Queen Anne Road, Baltimore, Md. My profession is lawyer.

I may say to the committee that I was invited to address you on this amendment by the Women's Constitutional League of Maryland, an association comprising about 200 women, whom I am told have adopted a resolution in opposition to this amendment.

Further than that, I represent absolutely no interests other than those of my own and I may say to the committee I am married; I live with my wife and I have three children. Furthermore, while I do not claim to be an expert, either from a political standpoint or on child welfare, I do want to say to the committee, in order that you may know a little more about who I am, that I have served one term in the General Assembly of Maryland, and that in the session

of 1920, and, at the present time, I am assistant to the attorney general of the State of Maryland.

I think, perhaps, the reason I was invited to address this committee on this subject is because I happened to be, in 1920, one of those backward lookers who opposed the ratification by the State of Maryland of the nineteenth amendment, and some of the same reasons which actuated me in opposing the ratification by the State of Maryland of that amendment actuated me in coming here to-day to oppose the ratification of this amendment.

Mr. HERSEY. Is the Women's League, for which you appear, opposed to the nineteenth amendment, or were they opposed to it and are they opposed to it to-day?

Mr. JONES. I think it has been organized, in the main, since the nineteenth amendment became an amendment.

Mr. HERSEY. For what was it organized?

Mr. JONES. As a matter of fact, it was organized largely as a result of the nineteenth amendment having been ratified.

Mr. HERSEY. What are they after now?

Mr. JONES. Their desire is to preserve the constitutional liberties as they were created by the original Constitution.

Mr. FOSTER. Up to the nineteenth amendment?

Mr. JONES. Well, since the nineteenth amendment I think they have to accept that, too, whether they like it or not.

The CHAIRMAN. Was it the nineteenth amendment or the eighteenth amendment?

Mr. JONES. It was the nineteenth amendment, and I understand some of the members of this league are somewhat in sympathy with the eighteenth amendment, although I do not believe the majority of them are. But they have taken no part in the fight one way or the


Mr. HERSEY. Neither of them have anything to do with the question before us.

Mr. JONES. I understard that, sir. Now, one of the speakers this morning, it seems to me, struck the keynote of the whole question when he said, "Is it necessary for Congress to pass this amendment?" That is the language of the Constitution. You are required, when you deem it necessary, to submit an amendment to the Constitution. And now the fact is, as we all well know, every State in the Union has the power to do that which the proponents of this measure want Congress to have the power to do; and the fact also is, according to my information, that all except two of the States of the Union have exercised the power and the people of those States are to-day enjoying child-labor laws enacted by their representative bodies, in accordance with the wishes of their people as those legislative bodies have determined and passed upon those wishes. Of course, there is a lack of uniformity as to the laws, as necessarily there must be, because there always has been and always will be a lack of uniformity as to any matter of police in the various States of the Union. So, gentlemen of the committee, as it strikes me, if you take this power away from the States and give it to the Congress of the United States, and the Congress of the United States exercises the power which it derives from this amendment, then you take away from the people of those

several States, as to matters of child labor, government with the consent of the governed.

Now, gentlemen of the committee, if we love the United States, as I believe we all do (and I am not here to challenge the sincerity of anybody in connection with this legislation; I realize that the proponents are actuated by sincere motives, just as I am; I am willing to say that for them), if we want government by the consent of the governed, as I have said, it sems to me we must keep these matters of police in the legislatures of the several States. Just before I was called upon to address the committee

Mr. HERSEY. Do you call child labor a police matter?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.

Mr. HERSEY. Police legislation?

Mr. JONES. Yes, sir; I think it is. Just before I was called upon to address this committee I did not have the privilege of knowing any but one member of the committee, the former Governor of Virginia. I had had the pleasure of meeting him. I looked over the names of the members of the committee, in order to acquaint myself with where you come from, and I did not see a representative of Maryland. I am confirmed in the view which I before arrived at, that there is not a representative of my State on the committee, and here I am down here to-day talking to total strangers. You do not know me; you do not know anything about me other than what I have had to tell you. Now, if you enact this amendment and Congress has the power, either this committee or some other committee will consider this question and I may again, and other people who are interested in this question may likewise, be obliged to express their views to committees of strangers, committees to whom they are unknown. On the other hand, if you leave this power in the States, where I conceive it properly belongs, then I and my fellow citizens of the State of Maryland, who have views on this subject and who want to present those views to the legislative body, before that body acts, we can go before a committee of our legislature, where we are known, and where it is known what we represent, and we can express those views and we can have laws passed with the consent of the governed, as interpreted by that legislature.

Now, Mr. Chairman, who are the proponents of this measure? I do not know. I must frankly confess I do not know who they are; but this committee is in a position to find out.

Mr. HERSEY. Just one moment. Perhaps you mistake the prerogative of the committee in this matter, and I want to see if I can set you right. We sit here to hear this matter of a constitutional amendment, as to whether there is a demand from this Nation for it, whether the people are demanding it.

Mr. JONES. Yes.

Mr. HERSEY. It twice passed the Congress of the United States by a large majority and became a law

Mr. JONES. Not the amendment.

Mr. HERSEY (continuing). And in the working of that law, which we assumed was constitutional, as I understand from all the evidence that has been submitted, it was very pleasing to the people. Now, after it has passed this Congress twice, by a large vote, and has become a law twice, and was set aside because it was not constitu

tional we are asking now for a constitutional amendment. Now the question before this committee is just whether the committee will submit this to Congress and let Congress vote on it. If it does, and if two-thirds of both Houses are in favor of it, it goes to the country, under the Constitution

Mr. JONES. Yes.

Mr. HERSEY (Continuing). And if two-thirds, or three-fourths of the States legislatures, elected by the people, and three-fourths of the States indorse it, why it becomes a law.

Mr. JONES. That is right.

Mr. HERSEY. Now, do you not think this committee has before it, at the present time, having passed two acts, sufficient call, sufficient demand, to report upon this new matter which is before it to-day? Mr. JONES. If I might ask, When those people come here and demand it, why do they come here and demand it? There is not a proponent of this measure, or a proponent of any child-labor measure, that can not go before any State legislature and ask that State legislature to adopt the sort of child-labor laws which he believes proper. Mr. FOSTER. Do you not know that they have done that for years? Mr. JONES. If they have done it, why have the States not done it, and why are they here now asking you to do it?

Mr. FOSTER. Because the statistics, as produced by the lady in charge of the Children's Bureau show that as soon as each of these laws was declared unconstitutional, the general tendency to copy that law went down. As soon as it went into effect, the tendency was in the States to come up to the standards prescribed in that law; but now that it has been declared unconstitutional, the tendency in the States is to go down.

Mr. JONES. I do not accept that answer.

Mr. FOSTER. Have you gone into the figures?

Mr. JONES. I have not. I told the committee I was not an expert and do not claim to be an expert on this subject; but I do say I suspect very strongly the proponents of this measure want a system of child labor beyond that which the several States and the people of the several States want, and it is an effort on the part of these proponents, however sincere they may be, to force upon the people of the several States laws which they do not want, and thus to deprive the people of those States of laws with the consent of the governed.

Now, if the legislatures of the States have the power to do it, and the legislatures do not do it, it is because the people in those States do not want the legislatures to do it; and, if the people of those States do not want the legislatures to do it, why should Congress compel the people to do it? Why, Mr. Chairman, we have had some experiences in this country with force measures, and you know and every member of this committee, upon reflection, knows that whenever the Government undertakes to force somebody to do something which he does not want to do, that produces a feeling of resentment on the part of the individual to the agency which tries to compel him to do that which he does not want to do, and I submit to you that the governmental agencies, when they undertake to compel people to do something which they do not want to do, that those governmental agencies should be sure that they are not compelling people to abide by unreasonable regulations.

24666-H. Doc. 497, 68—2- -8

« ПретходнаНастави »