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I N J U N C T I O N 5
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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MR. DANIEL DAVENPORT
OF BRIDGEPORT, CONN.
BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
JANUARY 19, 1912
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., Friday, January 19, 1912. The committee met at 3.30 o'clock p. m., Hon. Henry D. Clayton, chairman, presiding, a quorum being present.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. The committee has met pursuant to the action of yesterday adjourning the hearing over until this afternoon, and as was agreed yesterday afternoon, Mr. Davenport will be heard this afternoon.
STATEMENT OF MR. DANIEL DAVENPORT, OF BRIDGEPORT,
CONN., GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE AMERICAN ANTIBOYCOTT ASSOCIATION.
The CHAIRMAN. Before Mr. Davenport begins, however, I am requested by Judge Sterling to say to the committee, that he has suddenly been called home by a death in his family. That he has just received a telegram announcing the death of his sister, and he wishes the committee to understand that that is the reason he is not here with us this afternoon. I am sure I voice the sentiment of the whole committee in expressing sympathy for Judge Sterling in his bereavement.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Davenport, you may proceed.
Mr. DAVENPORT. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, during the brief hour which has been accorded to me by the courtesy of your committee this afternoon, I desire to address myself to the bill H. R. 11,032, introduced by Mr. Wilson of Pennsylvania. It was introduced by him on June 2, 1911, and by the House referred to this committee and ordered to be printed. That was not the first appearance in the Congress of the United States of that bill. It was introduced at the first session of the Sixtieth Congress, being H. R. 94, on December 2, 1907, by Mr. Pearre, a Republican Congressman from Maryland, by request, and it was referred to this committee by the House, as this has been, and ordered to be printed. Various hearings were had upon that bill at that session of Congress by this committee, and on the 5th of February, 1908, Mr. T. C. Spelling, the accomplished author of the bill, then Counsel of the American Federation of Labor, appeared before this committee and was heard at length, and Mr. Gompers likewise, and I believe that I, with others, took part in the discussion.
(H. R. 94, Sixtieth Congress, first session.) IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DECEMBER 2, 1907. Mr. Pearre (by request) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary and ordered to be printed. A BILL To regulate the issuance of restraining orders and injunctions and procedure thereon and to limit
the meaning of conspiracy” in certain cases. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That no restraining order or injunction shall be granted by any court of the United States, or a judge or the judges thereof, in any case between an employer and an employee, or between employers and employees, or between
employees, or between persons employed to labor and persons seeking employment as laborers, or between persons seeking employment as laborers, or involving or growing out of a dispute concerning terms or conditions of employment, unless necessary to prevent irreparable injury to property or to a property right of the party making the application, for which injury there is no adequate remedy at law, and such property or property right must be particularly described in the application, which must be in writing and sworn to by the applicant or by his, her, or its agent or attorney. And for the purposes of this act no right to continue the relation of employer and employee or to assume or create such relation with any particular person or persons, or at all, or to carry on business of any particular kind, or at any particular place, or at all, shall be construed, held, considered, or treated as property or as constituting a property right.
SEC. 2. That in cases arising in the courts of the United States or coming before said courts, or before any judge or the judges thereof, no agreement between two or more persons concerning the terms or conditions of employment of labor, or the assumption or creation or termination of any relation between employer and employee, or concerning any act or thing to be done or not to be done with reference to or involving or growing out of a labor dispute, shall constitute a conspiracy or other criminal offense or be punished or prosecuted as such unless the act or thing agreed to be done or not to be done would be unlawful if done by a single individual, nor shall the entering into or the carrying out of any such agreement be restrained or enjoined unless such act or thing agreed to be done would be subject to be restrained or enjoined under the provisions, limitations, and definition contained in the first section of this act.
Sec. 3. That all acts and parts of acts in conflict with the provisions of this act are hereby repealed.
I ask that that bill be read into the minutes of what I have to say as though I had read it and I direct attention to the fact that its terms are identical with the bill now before the committee, with the exception that in the Pearre bill Mr. Spelling limited its operation to persons employed to labor or seeking employment as laborers. Those restrictions are eliminated from the present bill to broaden it so as to cover all contracts for employment of any sort. Moreover, the author of the Wilson bill struck out of the Pearre bill, after the words in the sentence of the first section, which reads "and for the purposes of this act, no right to continue the relation of employer and employee or to assume or to create such relation with any particular person or persons or at all,” the words or to carry on business of any particular kind or at any particular place or at all” and substituted therefor the words “or patronage or good will in business, or buying or selling commodities of any particular kind, or at any particular place, or at all.” And also in the second section of the Wilson bill there is incorporated, in addition to the provisions of the Pearre bill, in the nineteenth line, after the words “or be punished or prosecuted,” the words “or damages recovered upon as such.” With the exception of the changes so noted by me, this Wilson bill is identical with the Pearre bill.
Now, that bill had afterwards a very interesting and most important history. I have no doubt that its history is deeply impressed upon the memories of the members of this committee; if not, I will briefly refer to it. During the summer of 1908 the Democratic national convention met in Denver, Colo. It was one of the finest gatherings ever assembled in this country. As a representation of our American citizenship it could not be surpassed. It was presided over with distinction and grace by your honored chairman, Mr. Clayton. That convention adopted a party platform and nominated its candidates. That platform, in so far as it related to any subjects germane to this bill or its predecessor, the Pearre bill, was a perfectly harmless platform. No one could object to it as even of evil tendency. It was perhaps open to criticism as being a little vague, as not meaning
much of anything, but that was likewise the fault of the platform of the Republican party, as it is of political platforms generally, although it must be confessed that the Democratic platform did contain in one corner of it the clause promising trials by jury in contempt cases, which the honorable member of this committee from Ohio, Mr. Howland, carefully read into the record yesterday.
Well, the campaign wore on, and Mr. Gompers noisily entered the field in support of the Democratic Party generally and particularly of Mr. Bryan, its candidate. He went about the country making very much the same speech as he made here the other day, except that in several of his speeches, when he had gotten the workingmen together ostensibly to address them on the political issues of the day, he proceeded to urge them, he went out of his way to urge them, to boycott Buck's stoves and ranges and Loewe hats. Finally, on October 13, 1908, he addressed, through the public press, an open letter to the workingmen of the country in which he stated, as he had already stated over and over again on the stump, that he had been at the Denver convention and knew, from inside sources, what was the true meaning of the platform, and that he had pledges from the party managers that if the party was successful this particular measure, which labor, as he called it, had before that introduced in Congress, would be enacted into law by the party.
Thereupon the adroit, brilliant, and I must say unscrupulous, intriguer who then occupied the White House saw and at once improved his opportunity: With that intuitive knowledge that he seems to have of the real sentiments and desires of the American people and of their deep-seated attachment to and respect for the courts of the land, and with his knowledge also of the weakness of political candidates, their timidity about
offending Mr. Gompers and his supposed following, and particularly Mr. Bryan's sad weakness in that respect, he saw his opportunity and seized it. On October 22, 1908, in every daily paper in the United States there appeared a letter addressed by Theodore Roosevelt to Senator Knox. The Senator had made a speech over in Pittsburgh the Saturday night before, in which he had charged our party, the Democratic Party, whose representatives had been at Denver along with Mr. Gompers, with baving there entered into a combination with Mr. Gompers and his friends for the purpose of attacking and destroying the judicial system of this country. Thereupon Mr. Roosevelt addressed this fateful letter to Senator Knox, and I now want to read to this committee some of the things which he wrote in it.
Mr. HOWLAND. Mr. Davenport, have you a copy of the circular issued by Mr. Gompers in which he alleges that there was an agreement?
Mr. DAVENPORT. No, sir; I have not. I have a vast repertoire of the literature which Mr. Gompers has issued from time to time, but it would require a larger receptacle than I have to retain all that he writes. Parenthetically I will say that during the progress of the boycott of Buck's stoves and ranges and of the Loewe hats, after he had been enjoined by the courts from doing so, he sent out not less than 3,000,000 circulars throughout the United States in prosecuting those boycotts in defiance of the court's injunctions. If the honorable committeeman now desires to ascertain the full contents of the circular he now inquires after, a reference to the columns of the American Federationist will undoubtedly disclose it.