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Our State prison Is managed by a warden governed by the Stnte board of control. So far as I have been able to learn, there Is never any dispute in our State with federations of labor over the fact that our prisoners are allowed to make binding twine and farm machinery. Our State board of control and warden have managed our prison to the entire satisfaction of our State legislature and the people of our State. I have had a personal knowledge concerning the management of our prison for more than 25 years last past, and during the past 15 years I have never heard a complaint regarding our State prison management.
The State board of control and our prison warden have given much study to the bill now before us, and they feel that if It is passed it will be of great injury to our twine plant and farmmachinery plant. I dare say that the great majority of the farmers in our State are opposed to this legislation.
Mr. CARSS. I do not think they understand it.
Mr. CLAGUE. I know the farmers of my State, and I know that they have been able to secure prison twine at from 1 to 2 or more cents per pound cheaper than twine sold by the trusts, and it is of a good quality. Prison-made binders are sold for about $20 lews than those made by other plants. The twine is ssolil direct to farmers: there are no agents' commissions. Our prison manufactures besides binders, mowers, rakes, and some trucks. The farm machinery is sold through agents appointed by the State board of control. During the past five years, 1923 to 1927, prison-made farm machinery has been sold in the amount of $1,983.615.65. Twine has been sold amounting to $10,941,082.28. Seventy-six and twenty-four one-hundredths per cent of this total amount has been sold to farmers residing in the State of Minnesota, and 23.76 per cent to farmers residing outside of Minnesota. The estimated saving to the farmers of our State who hnve purchased prison-made farm machinery and twine for the past five xears is $3,a32,772.80. The twine annually manufactured amounts to about 20,000,000 pounds, and about 3,000 binders, about 3.000 mowers, and the same number of hay rakes. These goods are sold in the State of Minnesota first, and the surplus in the adjoining States—North Dakota, South Dakota. Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and Montana. Every prisoner is given some kind of employment, and we also employ in our prison a large number of outside workmen. These men are all paid union wages, and even better than union wages, as they are allowed two weeks' vacation each year with pay. We have tried to give our prisoners labor which comes as little as possible in conflict with union labor.
Mr. CARSS. This bill is not alone for union labor. It is for all labor. I do not like anybody to get the impression that it is for union labor only. I represent not only union labor, but all labor.
Mr. CLAGUE. I did not mean to infer just union labor. I refer to all labor. Of course, anything that is done around a prison must to a certain extent come in contact with free labor. You can not help that. Our State board of control and prison authorities who have given much study to this bill are afraid that if it is passed it will he an entering wedge that will eventually destroy our twine plant and farm-machinery plant, and will eventually take away the right to give employment to our prisoners.
I think my colleague from Minnesota [Mr. Cakss] will agree with me that federated labor and labor generally in our State has never had any complaint to mnlce with the way our prison has been managed.
Mr. CARSS. Absolutely; and if the other States had been as progressive as we have been we would not have had this till before us in the House to-day.
Mr. CLAGUE. I think that is true. Personally, I am bitterly opposed to the contract system which is now carried on in some States. We do not allow that in our State, and I do not know of any prison contract-system goods being shipped into our State, though there may be some.
Mr. KVALE. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. CLAGUE. Yes.
Mr. KVALE. Is there anything in this bill that will tend to injure the farmer, or is it the fear of something following in thi> wake of this bill?
Mr. CLAGUE. As the bill is drawn, it is more in the wake.
Mr. AUERNETHY. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. CLAGUE. Yes.
Mr. AUERNETHY. I have a complaint from one of my manufacturers about the Government setting up these prison manufacturing plants itself; for instance, the manufacture of iron. What has been done about the manufacture of iron, and I want to ask the gentleman what you folks who have been looking after this thing have done about the Government of the »*• i>'l States?
Mr. CLAGTTE. Our prison labor, as stated, Is engaged in the manufacture of twine and farm machinery.
Mr. ABEBNETHY. Will the gentleman answer that question?
Mr. CLAGUE. We do not manufacture iron in our prison. The prisoners in our State work in the making of such things as are made by the trusts; such as twine and some farm machinery, and so fur as I know we have never had a single complaint from any labor organizations. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Conneby] has stated that the prisoners In their State manufacture about 35 different kinds of articles, and these are sold to various public institutions in their State, including public schools. Certainly this comes more in competition with free labor than the manufacture of twine and farm machinery in our State.
The gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Crisp] and some other Members have advocated that the prisoners be worked by the State In the construction and building of public highways. The State of Minnesota has one of the finest highway systems in the Union, and we are spending upward of $15,000,000 per year in the improvement of our roads, and this money is paid out entirely to free labor. I am sure that if we employed our convicts upon our public highways in our Northwestern States it would be a greater injury to free labor than employing them as we now do in the manufacture of twine, binders, mowers, and rakes.
The prisoners and all labor employed In our Minnesota prison work eight hours per day. During the past 15 years the prison has been wholly self-sustaining, and our legislature and State has had to appropriate no money whatever either for the construction of new buildings or machinery or for any other expenses in carrying on the prison. In my opinion, the manufacture of twine, mowers, binders, and rakes as carried on by our prison comes much less in competition with free labor than the manufacture of other articles. I um absolutely opposed to the contract system in any form. The manufacture of twine and farm machinery in our State has been a means of saving millions of dollars for the farmers of the Northwest, and I do not want to see any legislation passed at this time that will prohibit the carrying on of this industry, as I believe it comes less in competition with free labor in the Northwestern States than the manufacture of any other articles.
Mr. 15USBY. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the Chair how the time stands?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Iowa has 24 minutes remaining and the gentleman from Mississippi has 25 minutes remaining.
Mr. KOl'P. Mr. Chairman, I yield five minutes to the gentleman from California [Mr. Welch].
Mr. WELCH of California. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, California has adopted the "State use" plan in reference to prison-made goods. We concluded it was an injustice to legitimate industries and to free labor employed therein to meet the competition of prison labor. California in one of her prisons employs her prisoners in the manufacture of furniture that is used in State institutions, and in the manufacture of hemp and jute sacks which are sold directly to the farmer by the prison authorities. In the other penal institution prisoners are employed quarrying granite and crushing rock for use by our State highway commission in the construction of highways within the State. The plan has worked successfully and our prisoners are steadily employed. California bus kept her prison-made goods from competing with industry and free labor both within and without the State of California. On the other hand a number of onr industries hnve to meet with competition of prison-made goods manufactured in other States and shipped into the State of California for sale. One of the largest shirt and overall factories on the Pacific coast is located in my district and I have direct knowledge of the fact that a number of men and women, many of whom have families to support, are out of employment and walking the streets of San Francisco. This is the result of convict-made shirts manufactured In Idaho and other States' prisons and shipped into San Francisco and sold at a price below the cost of production by free lalx>r.
It developed at the committee hearings that the State of Indiana had adopted what might be termed "disuse" of their own prison-made goods, whereby they discourage the sale of the products of their penal Institutions within their own State. The Indiana State Prison is located nt Michigan City, which is almost nt the hack door of the great city of Chicago. The principal employment of the convicts in this prison is manufacturing furniture, which is shipped into Chicago and other communities in competition with free labor. In the Indiana State Reformatory, located in another section of that State, the prisoners are engaged In the manufacture of baskets In direct competition with the blind and blind craft, for, as you know, baskets, brooms, and such articles are made by the blind. It is my opinion, as I stated in committee, that if the good people of Indiana knew of this extraordinary and unjust method of disposing of their prison-made goods they would be in favor of this law. Unfortunately, however, the people generally know but very little about their penal institutions and how their convicts are employed and what disposition is made of the products of their prisons. That, is left entirely to State officials and prison directors, who follow the road of least resistance and as a result are opposed to this meritorious measure.
Penal institutions where violators of law are confined are built and maintained us a protection to society, but society's obligation should not end there. When a man is incarcerated in a penal institution for violation of the law, he should not be employed in the manufacture of goods, wares, or merchandise that come in direct competition with legitimate industry and free labor. [Applause.]
Mr. GIBSON. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WELCH of California. Yes.
Mr. GIBSON. Does not the gentleman think it is essential that prisoners be kept at some employment?
Mr. WKLCH of California. Yes.
Mr. GIBSON. Now, take a small State like the State of Vermont. How can we diversify our prison industries in order to employ the few prisoners we have?
Mr. WELCH of California. All prisoners should be kept at work, and so should all men on the outside of prisons, but men in prisons should not be given employment within prison walls the result of which forces the idleness of free men on the outside, many of whom are the heads of families.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from California has expired.
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman, I yield five minutes to the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Lowrey].
Mr. LOWREY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, most of the gentlemen who have discussed this bill have gone somewhat into the question of its constitutionality. I shall not undertake to discuss that phase of the bill because I am not a lawyer. As I have stated to the House before, I have always just tried to be an honest citizen.
The gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Kopp] said there were two main questions to be decided here. One was the constitutionality of the 1)111 and the other was the soundness of the policy. I want to discuss the soundness of the policy for just a few minutes, and I wish I might have attention because I want to suggest two amendments which I hope to offer and which I iK-lieve will improve the policy somewhat as it is set forth or will, in a measure, guarantee the soundness of the policy.
I am forever against the leasing and contract system in the prisons. I have seen something of that system. I have seen something of the infamy of it, where it was infamously infamous. I have not the language to describe it. But we must have labor for the men in our prisons. We must have it for economic reasons; we must have it for humanitarian reasons, and we must have it for moral reasons. It would be ruinous to the discipline of the prisons, ruinous to the morals of the prisons, and ruinous economically to keep prisoners unemployed. The question is, how we can keep them employed without bringing the things they produce into competition with the products of free labor. As has been brought out, that is utterly impossible. It can not be done. Then the question is, how we may most nearly do justice to free labor and still safely conduct the affairs of our prisons.
I have two amendments to offer to the bill. I have only five minutes and I want to suggest them to the committee. At the proper time I want to offer them. One amendment I plan to offer is in the sixth line, after the word "institutions," to insert the words "institutions which allow prisoners and convicts to work under the contract or leasing system."
I will discuss that further when I offer the amendment, but that strikes out the evil that most of the gentlemen have dealt with this afternoon and tends, in a measure, to destroy the contract and leasing system. ,,.
Then again at the close of the first paragraph, after the word "otherwise," "Provided, That this restriction shall not apply to raw materials brought into said State or Territory for purposes of processing or manufacture."
Free labor wants labor In the factories. It is to their advantage for the factories to be abundantly provided with raw materials. The question has come up about our cotton produced by the convicts in Mississippi. We can brag about as big as any of these gentlemen about our convict system. Our convicts are never let by contract, nothing is produced by con
tract or lease, but the State works them on cotton plantations owned by the State and they are worked in the open air, and this has proved a splendid system; but, now, shall the cotton they produce be under restrictions when it gets to New England or North or South Carolina, which would sadly interfere with the marketing of it? It is a raw material that these people need in the factories and therefore might be admitted without hurting labor. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Mississippi has expired.
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I yield three minutes to the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Crisp]. [Applause.]
Mr. CRISP. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I am going to support this bill. The Federal Government is one of delegated powers possessing only the power voluntarily surrendered to it by the States, and, as I understand this bill, it simply divests convict-manufactured goods of their interstate-commerce character and permits the resi>ective States to pass such laws as the States see fit relative to their being sold within the State. It is undoubtedly a State rights measure.
Now, there may be some doubt as to the constitutionality of the measure. I have not studied the question, but I have determined, if there is any doubt, to resolve the doubt in favor of the constitutionality of the proposed act and to vote for it and let the Supreme Court of the United States determine this question.
I desire to say that I nm opposed to convict-made goods being placed in competition with free labor. My own State years ago leased convicts, and I am happy to say that that barbarous system was changed about 25 years ago, and to-day, in Georgia, all convicts, life-termers and those imprisoned for a shorter period, if able-bodied, are worked on the public roads, which does not come in competition with private labor. [Applause.]
The State has a prison farm, to which feeble men and women are sentenced, and they are used in agricultural pursuits, principally raising things that go to feed the convicts und the unfortunate inmates of the State asylum. Some cotton is also raised, but very little, about 1.000 bales. The great bulk of our convicts, white and black, male and female, are used in connection with the work on the public roads.
Some of my southern friends fear if this bill becomes a law that some States may pass a law prohibiting the sale of cotton raised by convicts. I am practical, and I do not believe any State in the Union would pass any law prohibiting the importation of raw material raised on a farm owned by a State. I think the fear of the gentlemen is unfounded.
I sympathize with the families of the convicts, but I have still greater sympathy for the families of law-abiding people who have not violated the law or been confined in the penitentiary, and therefore I am going to vote for this bill. [Applause.]
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman, I yield five minutes to the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Montagtte]. [Applause.]
Mr. MONTAGUE. Mr. Chairman, I wish to emphasize the point which the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Crisp] has so pertinently stated. The gentleman declares the object of this bill is to suspend interstate and foreign commerce so far as it relates to the subject under discussion. I, too, think this is the object of the bill, that is to say, Congress must take its hands off and confer interstate-commerce powers upon the several States. Congress heieby undertakes to withdraw or susi>end the commerce powers of the Constitution, and confer such Federal ]H)wers upon the several States for their exercise.
My reply Is, that Congress did not give this power and it can not take it away. [Applause.] This power is given by the Constitution, and the interstate-commerce clause which contains this power can not be taken away by the Congress, directly or indirectly, but only by an amendment of the Constitution itself.
Mr. CONNERY. Will the gentleman yield there?
Mr. MONTAGUE. I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. CONNERY. How does the gentleman moke that statement agree with what the Supreme Court said in passing on the Wilson law?
Mr. MONTAGUE. The Wilson law did not impair the power given in the interstate-commerce caluse. The case under the Wilson law was a liquor case, and based upon a statute regulating the liquor truffle under what is known as the police power, and the Supreme Court conceded th:it the State had the right to exercise this police power and that therefore the Federal law must give place to the State's law. n law affecting the health, the morals, and order of the people of the State—a distinct police power and, therefore, paramount to the interstate-commerce power conferred upon the Congress by the Constitution.
Mr. HALE. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. MONTAGUE. I yield to the gentleman from New Hampshire.
Mr. HALE. May I ask the gentleman whether by the same process of reasoning which has been advanced here the Congress could not release unto the States themselves the constitutional right to declare war?
Mr. SPROUL of Kansas. Certainly; it is the same proposition.
Mr. MONTAGUE. I have great respect for the talent of the gentleman from New Hampshire Therefore I give weight to anything the gentleman may state, but I have not considered that angle of the subject I would sny, however, that if we strictly follow the logic of the question, perhaps we could not escape the conclusion which the gentleman has suggested.
Mr. SPROUL of Kansas. Both powers are plenary powers given by the Constitution, are they not?
Mr. MONTAGUE. Tlie commerce clause has this difference: There are some powers under the commerce clause that are suspended, or at least rest in abeyance, until Congress puts them into operation; but they are not taken out of the Constitution, they can not be exercised by the States, and they can be invoked whenever needed, just as much as any other power of the Constitution can be invoked in proper cases.
I would like to vote for this measure. Virginia is not deeply affected as she has no contract convict labor. The bulk of the convicts are on the public roads. I do not desire to enter Into that field—these are economical and social questions that none of us have yet solved except, I think all must have—I know we have—enough of humanitarian sentiment to lead us to adopt some system that may build up rather than destroy the convict with the ultimate hope that when he is freed he will not so burden or menace social order as before his conviction.
Mr. MOORE of Virginia. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. MONTAGUE. I will.
Mr. MOORE of Virginia. I was not present during the debate earlier in the day, but recurring to the legal question, is it not true whatever you may say about the difference between the liquor traffic and regulation of the subject we are now considering, that the case you have just mentioned arose under a Federal statute recognizing the power of the States to deal with the liquor traffic. Now, this bill does nothing more than express the opinion of Congress as to the exercise by the States of authority over
Mr. MONTAGUE. I appreciate the gentleman's point, and I have only five minutes. In reply to the gentleman who frequently makes pungent suggestions, let me say that the Supreme Court has decided that the State can do certain things in the exercise of its police power when conflicting with interstate commerce that can not be done by the States where no police powers are involved. For instance, the goods and wares made by child labor can not be regulated by the agencies of interstate commerce. A law imposing taxation upon the products of child labor for the purpose of regulating that labor under the guise of interstate commerce power is unconstitutional.
It is the same here—just as if the articles were made by child labor. There is nothing in the article manufactured against public morals or the public health. [Applause.]
The commerce clause in the Constitution contains the genesis of our present Federal system. Trade between the States, free and uiitrainnieled trade, brought the Union into being. The Stutes gave up their regulatory powers and control over and between the States and conferred these powers upon the National Government. The pending bill undertakes to suspend these powers and to return them to the several States so far as they affect the products made by convict labor and entering into trade between the States. The powers of interstate commerce affecting these particular products arc abandoned and returned to the States where this power resided before the Union was formed. I can not support so reactionary a measure. Nor can the Congress return this power, for Congress can nut destroy or impair a constitutional power. This return must be effectuated by a constitutional amendment and not by a legislative enactment. Congress can give no power to a State, and Congress can take no power from a State. These powers inherently reside in the several States or in the Constitution.
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairrmm, I yield three minutes to the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gbifkin].
Mr. GRIFFIN. Mr. Chairman and colleagues, this is one of the most important bills which have come up at this session, and I regret that more time has not been devoted to its consideration.
There are 13 States in the Union which either prohibit the sale of prison-made goods or otherwise place restrictions upon them
to prevent or minimize the traffic in them. Such State laws, of course, do not apply to prison-made goods or products in interstate traffic. Therefore the object of this bill is to invoke Federal approval of these State embargoes and thus divest such goods of the protection afforded by their character as goods in interstate commerce. It provides for an exception to a wise and salutary law, and such exceptions are always dangerous.
The committee amendment postponing its taking effect for two yenrs is good, because it gives us an opportunity to study plans for making effective prison labor without disturbing the economic balance. I mean by this, that there would be no occasion for this legislation if convict-made goods were producetl under circumstances which did not make them unfair rivals of free labor. The trouble is that we have not been treating the criminal fairly.
There are 110,000 prisoners in the prisons of the United States to-day. That means, my colleagues, that 110,000 families are morally stigmatized; not only that but their income is suddenly stopped and innocent women and children are confronted with the wolf of famine and tortured with the pangs of penury for long periods.
Let me put this question to your deliberate judgment and sense of justice: Has the State the right to deprive the criminal or his family of his earnings? It will, of course, be conceded that the State has the right to imprison and curtail the liberty of a criminal for the protection of society, but has it the lawful ethical right to confiscate his earnings?
It is fundamental that every man lias the inalienable inviolate right to labor and the lawful title to that which he produces. Forfeiture and attainder were abolished under our Constitution, and we should not perpetuate it with respect to a convicted prisoner under the fiction that we are doing something for the preservation of social order. It fulfills no worthy purpose to confiscate the earnings of a convict any more than it can serve a desirable end to confiscate his lauds or other property.
Such a policy is not only unjust to the criminal and to his family .but it is unfair to the taxpayers.
On the other band, to keep the criminal in idleness is equally unjust. A drone is an offense to civilized society. He has no place in our modern economic system and, least of all, should the Government do anything to make men drones by virtue of its own neglect or by improper laws.
I have made a study of the prison situation for several years, and I am presenting a novel proposition to you at tills moment. I claim that all prisoners should be put to work, that they should be paid the prevailing rate of wages, and out of their wages should be kept so much for their keep, and so much should be given to their families for their support, and a certain amount laid aside to be given to them when they leave the institution. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I yield three minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin [Mr. Schafeb].
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen. I shall be glad to cast my vote for this bill, notwithstanding the fact that the chairman of the Wisconsin State board of control, Mr. Jobn J. Haunan, used the taxpayers' money to come to Washington on several occasions to oppose the pending legislation.
This hill divests prison-made goods of their interstate commerce feature in such manner that said goods will be liable to the regulatory laws of the respective States. It Is useless for the legislatures of the various States to enact legislation to protect'the product of their industries and labor from unfair competition with convict-produced goods unless we enact the pending bill and give the States authority to regulate convictproduced goods moving into the States in interstate commerce.
Let me ask those of you who are opposing this bill in the name of the farmer what the farmer's reaction would be if a great dairy State such as Wisconsin were to use her convict labor to produce farm products such as cheese, milk, cream, and butter, and ship those products Into your State? Would the farmers of your State welcome such competition which they could not regulate, or would they desire their State to have the authority to regulate which is provided in this bill?
The pending bill gives the States certain State rights, and those Members on the other side of the aisle who are continually talking about how they are opposed to the encroachment of the Federal Government upon the rights of the States should hesitate before they attack a bill which is taking powers away from the Federal Government and giving them to the States.
The American Federation of Labor, the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and the manufacturers throughout the conntry are united in their support of this worthy legislation. The only opposition s<-ems to be from the prison officials and those business Institutions which make huge profits from convict labor.
As to the constitutionality of the legislation, I would rather tiiIce the opinion of the distinguished gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Crisp], who is an exceptionally able constitutional lawyer, than tlie opinion of some of the attorneys who have attacked the bill in its constitutional aspects.
I sincerely hope that this bill will pass. Certain speakers have- brought the question of prison idleness into the discussion. That matter is not before us, because this bill does not make idle prisoners. It merely gives the Static the right to regulate. However, since idle prisoners were brought into the discussion, I would say to those who presented that phase that as between free labor, including the men who bared their breasts to the enemy in time of war and who are out of work walking the streets to-day, and convicted bank robbers, murderers, bootleggers, and other criminals who are languishing behind prison walls, I would first protect the free labor. [Applause.]
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman, I yield five minutes to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Sumneus].
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I yield five minutes to the gentleman from Texas |Mr. Sumnkrs].
Mr. SUMNEKS of Texas. Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen, it seems to me that there is considerable confusion as to just what is proposed by this bill. This bill does not deal with prison policy. It is not concerned with the working of prisoners at all, or with the policy which should control in the sale and use of prison-made goods. Congress has dealt with the subject in so far as the Federal prisons are concerned, and has provided that the products of Federal prisons shall be consumed by the Federal Government. The sole proposition contained in this bill is to give to each State the right to effectuate its policy with regard to prison-made goods by making prison goods shipped into each State subject to the same police regulation exercised by the State over its own prison productions. What is wrong with that? I agree with my friend from Wisconsin [Mr. Sciiafer] who has just spoken. I can not understand how one who, believing in the right and in the necessity of the State to govern in matters of domestic concern, ciin withhold his vote from a proposition which puts the power of control without discrimination within the States. If the State of Texas or the State of Alabama or the State of Massachusetts wants to admit convict-made goods, there is nothing in this legislation to prohibit it: but if a sovereign State, speaking through its legislature, fixes a domestic policy. I ask what right has citizens of another State, from beyond the borders of that State, to ship into the State, and sell over the protest of the people of the State, commodities which may not l>e sold under the same conditions if produced by citizens of that State? That is the proposition. All that ever could be iisked under the basic philosophy and the general plan of the Union is that no State discriminate in favor of its citizens against citizens of other States.
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman. wiU the gentleman yield?
Mr. SUMMERS of Texas. Yes.
Mr. BUSBY. Then why have the provision in the Constitution that Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign countries and among the several States, and among the Indians, if that be the case?*
Mr. SUMNKRS of Texas. In my statements thus far I have been dealing with the question of governmental policy. The gentleman's question is addressed to the matter of power, and that is the next question that I want to discuss, the power of Congress to enact this bill into law. When we formed the Union there were 13 independent nations which had the power to do anything and everything within the province of government not prohibited by their respective constitutions. When those States met through their representatives in the Federal Constitutional Convention they created an agency, the Federal Government, to do certain things for them. All the legislative powers of government, including the broad police power of the States, are vested either in the legislatures of the States, the Congress, or reserved to the people. No power now to be considered or related power is reserved to the people. All governmental power dealing with the transixirtiitiou and the status of convict-produced articles lies either with the State legislatures or with the Congress. When the States in constitutional convention delegated certain powers to the Federal Government with reference to interstate commerce, a matter with reference to which the States had full power before the delegation and which powers were to be exercised by the Congress, they did not intend, nor did they, to use an expression, "hogtie" themselves or lose some of these- powers in the transmission so that the will of the people of the States witli regard to this matter can not be effectuated through the
Congress and the legislatures of those States. We are deal-
An act to limit the effect of the regulations of commerce between the several States and with foreign countries in certain cases
He it enacted, etc., That all fermented, distilled, or other intoxicating liquors or liquids transported into any State or Territory or remaining therein for use, consumption, sale, or storage therein shall. upon arrival In such State or Territory, be subject to the operation and effect of the laws of such Slate or Territory enacted in the cierclse of its police powers to the sanrc extent and in the .same manner n« though such liquids or liquors had been produced in such State or Territory, and shall not be exempt therefrom by reason of bring introduced therein in original packages or otherwise.
Approved, August 8, 1890.
The bill under consideration:
Be it enacted, etc., That all goods, wares, and merchandise manufactured, produced, or mined, wholly or in part, by convicts or prisoners, except paroled convicts or prisoners, or In any penal and/or reformatory Institutions, transported into any State or Territory of the United States and remaining therein for use, consumption, sale, or storage, shall upon arrival and delivery lu such State or Territory be subject to the operation and effect of the laws of such State or Territory to the same extent and in the same manner as though such goods, wares, and merchandise had been manufactured, produced, or mined lu such State or Territory, and shall not be exempt therefrom by reason of being Introduced in the original package or otherwise. •
Sec. 2. This act shall take effect two years after the date of Its approval.
I want now t<> direct your attention to the decision of the Supreme Court on the Wilson hill. There are just two passages in that decision that I wish to direct your attention to. The Supreme Court in passing upon the Wilson bill said, in regard to Congress enacting the legislation:
In so doing Congress has not attempted to delegate the power to regulate commerce or to exercise any power reserved to tlie States, or to grant any power not possessed by the States, or to adopt a State law.
And here is another significant statement of the Supreme Court witli reference to the Wilson bill, and this is common sense and good law:
The framerg of the Constitution never Intended that the legislative power of the Nation should find Itself Incapable of disposing of a subject matter specifically committed to Its charge.
That Is the point I make.
The court said further:
The manner of that disposition brought Into determination In this record Involves no ground for adjudging the act of Congress Inoperative and void.
If that was true as to the Wilson bill, it is true as to this bill.
The question here is not whether convicts should labor or not; it is not a question whether the several Stales should permit the labor of their own convicts to come into competition with free labor within their respective borders; it is not whether i\ sovereign State, willing to receive the products of the convicts of other States, may not do so if it wants to. It is solely a question as to whether a State shall be compelled to receive and have sold within its borders articles of commerce which Its! own citizens could not sell under the same circumstances. It is a question whether an outsider, over the protest of a sovereign State, shall be permitted to enter it with his goods aud to defy ;md hold in contempt the public policy which the people of that State m:iy have lixeii fi>r their government. The question is, Shall Members of Congress, professing to believe in the right of a State to govern its domestic affairs and fix its police policies, deny to the State the right to do it? TliHt is the question. That is the only question.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Texas has expired.
Mr. MONTAGUE. Can the Congress deny or the Constitution deny that?
Mr. SUMNERS of Texas. My time is up. May I ha\e a minute more?
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, how much time have I remaining'!
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Iowa has 11 minutes remaining, and the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Busby] 9 minutes.
Mr. KOPP. I yield one more minute to the gentleman from Texas.
Mr. SUMNERS of Texas. The Constitution gives to the Federal Government the power to regulate interstate commerce, and gives to the Congress of the United States the responsibility of exercising that power. And it is the duty of Congress to do it.
Mr. SPROUL of Kansas. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SUMNERS of Texas. Yes.
Mr. SPROUL of Kansas. Does the gentleman think Congress can abrogate its duties and powers?
Mr. SUMNERS of Texas. No; and Congress, in passing this bill, will he exercising its powers, not abrogating them. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Texas has again expired.
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman, I yield two minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Knutsos].
The CHAIRMAN". Tlie gentleman from Minnesota is recognized for two minutes.
Mr. KNUTSON. Mr. Chairman, I am not concerned about the legal aspects of this legislation, not being a constitutional lawyer, but I am vitally interested in the manner in which it may affect the State of Minnesota where we have a situation that this bill may vitally affect. We found it necessary some years ago to install in our State prison a large farm machinery and twine plant. We produce a considerable surplus of these products which is shipped into neighboring States. This measure might cripple our operations.
I am |>erfectly willing to vote for this legislation if an amendment is adopted which will make it apply only to products made under the contract system, but not to apply under conditions surli as exist in Minnesota and many other States. I want to •assure all friends of labor in this House that labor is not adversely affected through our operations.
Mr. LOWREY. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield there?
Mr. KXUTSON. No; I have only two minutes.
Mr. SCHAFER. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. KNUTSON. No. I have but two minutes. Do not take this out of my time. Mr. Chairman.
There is no way by which you can prevent prison labor engiiged in useful avocation from competing with free labor. That is what you are trying to do in this bill. Yon are trying to lift yourselves with your own bootstraps. This is not the time to consider legislation of this character, in the closing days o£»<>>ugrcss. You are attempting to jam it through the House without giving opportunity for proper consideration. This legislation is of widespread importance and is deserving of more time and consideration than we can give to it here to-day. [Applause.]
Mr. KOPP. Mr. Chairman, I yield three minutes to the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Crosses],
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for three minutes.
Mr. GROSSER. Mr. Chairman and Members of the House, to me it always seems very strange when it is proposed to abolish a wrong or evil of any kind that so many Members immediately inquire whethor or not that particular evil exists in their own community or State. If a thing is wrong, what difference does it make whether or not the evil condition prevails in the State of Ohio, the State of Illinois, or the State of Mississippi? [Applause.] There can never be any real advantage to anyone i.'i the continuance of what is a wrong to the people in general. The advantage even to the few who seem to benefit is only a M'cming advantage in the long run. I for one desire to abolish the evil regardless of whom or of what State or community may seem to benefit by its continuance. [Applause.]
We should endeavor at all times to consider, on the basis of principle, such problems as come before us. He is certainly not a good lawmaker who must always be first assured that the r-nfiireement of a principle, however sound and just, does not interfere with the practice or continuance of the evil to be abolished if such evil exist in his own State, where it seems to be an advantage to a few who therefore desire to have it continued.
I would not tolerate the use of convict labor in the production for sale of any kind of goods unless it were provided that the selling price should be based upon a rate of pay, for such con
vict labor, equal to the standard rate of wages for the like, kind, and amount of free labor necessary to produce the same kind of goods or merchandise in shops and factories not employing convict labor. Only ujxm such a basis of justice and fairness can the manufacturers and their workmen successfully dispose of their goods in competition with prison-made goods. [ Applause. 1
But they tell us that we must keep convicts employed in order to prevent them from becoming the victims of mental diseases, even though in so doing we should ruin men's businesses and throw men out of employment. Have those who make this argument stopped to think that in causing free men to be out of employment they may he causing such men to become despondent, even frantic and perhaps mentally unbalanced, and therefore inclined to do things which may place them also in prison? The convict should be treated as a patient who needs to have his mental processes corrected and his mind developed. The notion that we must be sure to make s. profit from him or even pay expenses is wrong if it will disarrange industry to a considerable extent.
I sympathize very deeply with the unfortunate being who finds himself behind the gray walls of a prison, but I sympathize also, very sincerely, with the man who tries earnestly to conduct himself rightly and who strives diligently to make proper provision for the family dependent on him. I am not willing, therefore, to have goods made in a prison where practically nothing is charged for the labor employed In the manufacture of such goods; I say that I am opposed to placing such convictmade goods in competition with goods produced by men who must be paid decent wages for their work.
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Ohio has expired.
Mr. BUSBY. Mr. Chairman, I believe I have seven minutes remaining. I will use that myself.
I want to say, in justice to myself, that I had no thought of controlling the time on this bill to-day. I have given very little study to the proposition that is before us, because I am not a member of that committee and I have had other matters in hand. But when I came here and found this proposed legislation before the House I was very much impressed with the injustice of the proposition presented; so much so that I got into this matter a little unsuspectingly to myself, and i>erhaps that accounts for my not making a better showing than I havo made in presenting the cause. .
Referring again to the report on this bill, I note that it states that three distinct and powerful elements in American life indorse this measure. "First, the American Federation of Labor urges its passage through its properly constitued leaders."
Well, I am not so sure that the American Federation of Labor has its heart set on this kind of legislation, because when we recur to the amount of goods produced by convict labor, which we find in the hearings on the Senate bill at page 145, we find that none of the articles mentioned go beyond 6.47 per cent, as in twine and rope, and that most of the other articles go below one-half of 1 per cent of the manufactured products produced by labor in this country. When we look at that we see that is not of a great deal of importance on this one proposition.
The gentleman from Ohio who has just spoken says that when an evil exists we should not look at home to find out whether it affects conditions around our homes or not.
I deny that any man who labors and produces things, whether he be behind prison walls or outside of prison walls, has committed an evil. I say that statement should be challenged in its beginning, that that is an evil to labor and produce by honest labor.
Mr. CROSSKR. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. BUSBY. Yes.
Mr. CROSSER. The gentleman will admit that any injustice is an evil?
Mr. ,BUSBY. Yes, but I do not admit
Mr. CROSSER. Will the gentleman yield further?
Mr. BUSBY. I can not yield any further, because I gave a great deal of my other time to the gentleman.
Mr. CROSSER. The gentleman's statement is incorrect.
Mr. BUSBY. I do not admit that an injustice exists in any sense where the competition is right. When there is such n small competition we must admit that it is not on a very strong foundation if a business is affected.
Mr. CARSS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. BUSBY. Yes.
Mr. CARSS. If the gentleman will read the testimony in the hearings he will be better informed on this subject.