« ForrigeFortsett »
tion who applies to purchase such product, thus leaving the matter of responsibility subject to dispute.
These two sections, in my opinion, are productive of trouble and complication in business transactions, and will provoke no end of litigation. We may decline to sell a person, firm, or corporation on the grounds that from our viewpoint he or it is not responsible, and which at present would end the matter, but under the law as proposed he would have the right to bring suit against us, and if it should be proven that he is responsible, contrary to our investigation, then we would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine and imprisonment, etc., as pro. vided for.
The main force of the bill, it appears, is against the business interests of the country and in favor of those who do not furnish employ. ment to labor. The prohibition of interlocking directorates may be justified as attempting to curb vast monopolies and prevent the abuses that have resulted from such relationship, in respect to large concerns, but if applied generally and to small corporations, including banks of reasonable size outside of reserve centers, would disturb business generally and would involve a complete reorganization of a vast number of corporations, and in my opinion would work untold injury. The proposed bill is drastic and, as stated, is practically confiscatory.
Thanking you in advance for such attention as you may see fit to give this communication, I am, Yours, truly,
JNO. L. Boyd.
THE PROCTER COAL Co.,
Knorville, Tenn., May 21, 1914. Hon. R. W. AUSTIN, M. C.,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I have read the proposed Clayton bill, and if I have not grossly misconstrued it, it is one of the most dangerous measures that has been offered, and so radical a departure from the customs and methods of business generally as would involve a complete reorganization in all lines and demoralize generally not only in my line of business, say, production of coal, but in all lines. For instance, certain sections provide that it shall be unlawful and subject to fine or imprisonment or both for a discrimination in price as between persons in the same community or different communities. This would require every wholesale and jobbing house to sell its goods to the consumer at as low price as it sells to the retail merchants. The factory or producer would violate the law for a refusal to sell its manufactured product to the consumer at the same price that it sells to the jobber or dealer. The coal companies, the iron producers, lumber manufacturers, and, in fact, all classes of commodities, supplies, etc., would have to be sold to the small consumer at the same price the large rail. road companies pay for such goods in large quantities.
Another section provides that it shall be unlawful and subject the violator to fine or imprisonment or both, for a refusal to sell any person who is responsible who applies to purchase. The manufacturer or seller might not be able to determine exactly the responsibility, and the results would be a suit for damages, besides the part the Government would take in respect to the violation. In short, as I view it. the effect would be to eliminate the wholesale houses, jobbers, and dealers, and reduce the business through the country to transactions between producers and actual consumers.
I believe you appreciate the fact that if the producers through the country were reduced to transactions with consumers only that no calculation could be made as to the extent of operations, because no contracts could be made for quantities that would allow operations of mills. factories. etc. The prices would necessarily have to be advanced in order to cover the cost of doing business under such methods to the extent finally, I believe, the cost to the consumers would be equally as high, if not higher, than from the middleman or distributor.
The general plan seems altogether impracticable. The business of the country has been built up for the last century on a principle that allows the manufacturer and seller to select its customers, exercise its judgment in respect to responsible trade advantages, etc., that this proposed law will entirely overthrow.
There is practically an endless chain of valid objections and disadvantages that might be mentioned to the general plan of the Clayton bill, and if I have interpreted correctly the intent of the measure I confess that I am unable to see anything but disaster in its operations. Yours, truly,
JNO. L. BOYD.
May 29, 1914. RESULT OF THE NEW TARIFF LAW ON THE COAL INDUSTRY. Mr. AUSTIN. Mr. Chairman, early in the consideration of this measure, on the 230 day of the present month, I had read from the Clerk's desk two letters from Mr. John L. Boyd, man. ager of the Proctor Coal Co., of Knoxville, Tenn., urging the same objections which have been so well stated by the gentle. man from West Virginia (Mr. Avis).
In my opinion, Mr. Boyd voices the sentiment of all of the operators of that eastern coal field of Tennessee. There is no combination in the coal fields of Tennessee among the operators, and I know of no ownership of coal lands by any of the railroad corporations of that State. The coal business has not been a profitable one, as the records will show, and to-day there is a decrease, and has been a constant decrease, in the coal output and the sale of coal in the country and in the Tennessee coai fields since the Underwood tariff bill went into operation.
The State of Tennessee has employed in its mines from 800 to 1,000 convicts digging coal, and for the first time since the State engaged in that industry they have been unable to dispose of the output from the State mines, unable to find a market, and hence have required the closing down of the mines in which the State convicts have been employed. This bill will not aid the coal industry. It will not aid any legitimate industry in this country. It is not offered for that purpose. Those who are in charge of legislation here are not seeking to develop or promote the business interests of this country. They were not elected upon a platform of that kind, and they would be untrue to the traditions of their party if they sought by legislation to promote or advance the business interests of the country. [ADplause on the Republican side.]
The Underwood tariff bill did not increase the number of pay envelopes, but it did furnish an army of 2,000,000 unemployel workingmen that had constant employment before the enact. ment of that bill. We were told in the consideration of that measure that it would promote American industry and extend trade, and when it failed we were then told that a currency reform was needed, and not a tariff for revenue only, to improve the condition of the working people and to promote the business of the country. We were told that same identical thing 20 years ago, when the Wilson bill was tried.
Mr. Bryan and the leaders of the Democratic Party stated that it was not the tariff, but that it was the reform of the currency-16 to 1-that was needed in order to stop depression and promote business. And having failed to carry out the promises made in the platform at Baltimore by the Underwood tariff bill, we were then given a nostrum in the shape of the currency bill. And when that failed, along with the Underwood tariff bill, we are handed the so-called antitrust legislation as a remedy for the closing of mills and for the idle mechanics, all of whom were employed before the Underwood tariff bill became a law.
And so, Mr. Chairman, in the interest of the American reo. ple, in the interest of business, and in the name of the idle, honest, deserving workingmen, I protest against this bill, which with the Underwood tariff bill and the currency bill, the business condition of affairs in this fair land of ours. [Applausu on the Republican side.)
June 1, 1914. ACTION OF TENNESSEE BANKERS' ASSOCIATION. Mr. AUSTIN. Mr. Chairman, I desire to have read from the Clerk's desk resolutions unanimously adopted by the Bankers' Association of Tenuessee at their annual meeting held at Chattanooga on the 29th day of May. This association is composed of the National, State, and private bankers of that State, and its membership I should think politically is at least two-thirds Democratic.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the Clerk will read:
There was no objection, and the Clerk read as follows: Whereas Congress has now been in session almost continuously for more
than a year; and Whereas during that time a great amount of legislation has been passed,
the entire tariff revised, the entire currency system of the United
States has undergone a complete and fundamental change : and Whereas it will take much time for the banking interests to adjust
themselves to these new laws; and Whereas there are now pending before Congress numerous bills which,
it passed, will undertake the regulation of all business institutions with which banks are constantly doing business, and not only will banks be undergoing, as they are undergoing, a complete change of methods, but the business with which they are constantly in contact will themselves be undergoing a complete change : Be it
Resolved, That we believe that the country is so rely in need of a period of legislative rest while the business of the country is readjusting itself to the new currency and banking bill, and that we consider the passage of any great amount of new legislation by Congress at this time to be unhelpful to the general welfare of the country, and we believe the passage of such legislation will rather tend to further stagnate business than to stimulate it: Be it further
Resolved. That the secretary be hereby directed to forward to our Congressmen and our Senators a copy of this resolution.
DANIEL WEBSTER'S VIEWS. Mr. AUSTIN. Mr. Chairman, in connection with the discussion we have had to-night, participated in by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. GARDNER), I wish to read an extract from a speech made by Daniel Webster 81 years ago in the Senate of the United States in reference to banks, corporations, and monopoly. This is taken from a speech by Mr. Webster in the Senate in 1833 and has a bearing on the pending measure:
There are persons who constantly clamor. They complain of oppres. sion, speculation, and pernicious influence of accumulated wealth. They cry out loudly against all banks and corporations and all means by which small capitalists become united in order to produce important and beneficial results. They carry on mad hostility against all established institutions. They would choke the fountain of industry and dry all streams. In a country of unbounded liberty they clamor against oppression. In a country of perfect equality they would move heaven and earth against privilege and monopoly. In a country where property is more evenly divided than anywhere else they rend the air shouting against agrarian doctrines. In a country where wages of labor are high beyond parallel they would teach the laborer that he is but an oppressed slave.
HON. SAMUEL B. AVIS
OF WEST VIRGINIA
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MAY 23, 1914
HON. SAMUEL B. AVIS.
The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union had under consideration the bill (H. R. 15657) to supplement existing law against unlawful restrains and monopolies, and for other purposes.
Mr. AVIS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I want to confine my remarks to the probable effect of section 3 of the bill under consideration on one of the greatest industries of this country, namely, the bituminous-coal industry. In discussing this question I wish to say to you gentlemen that I do not approach the discussion from a partisan standpoint, but I approach it with the sincere belief that if section 3 becomes a law it will destroy the small mine owner and the small producer of the United States engaged in the bituminous-coal industry. Section 3 reads as follows:
That it shall be unlawful for the owner or operator of any mine or for any person controlling the product of any mine engaged in selling its product in commerce to refuse arbitrarily to sell such product to a responsible person, firm, or corporation who applies to purchase such product for use, consumption, or resale.
You will note that I have emphasized the words “ or resale." The presumable purpose of the Judiciary Committee, as expressed in its report, among other things, is to accomplish the following:
The design is to prevent those who have acquired or may acquire a monopoly or partial monopoly of mines from discriminating against certain manufacturers, railroads, or other persons who need the products of the mines in carrying on their industry.
And in another part of the report is found the following language:
By its enactment into law we make it impossible for mere ownership of mines to enable the owners or those disposing of the products thereof to direct the disposal of such products into monopolistic channels of trade. It will liberate from the power of the trust every small manufacturer who is compelled to go into the open market for his raw material and every person who desires to purchase coal for use or for resale to those who desire to purchase for use or consumption, and will afford to every such manufacturer an opportunity to purchase same for cash wherever offered for sale in commerce. The section expressly forbids the mine Owner or person controlling the sale of the product of the mine to arbitrarily refuse to sell such product to any responsible purchaser, and thereby prevents the mine owner or operator from giving the preference to another and rival dealer in the disposal of such product.
Now, I am convinced, gentlemen, from what has been said here upon the floor, not meaning to impugn the motives or good faith of the committee, because I feel sure the committee is trying to do what it thinks is best for the people and the industries of our country, that section 3 was inserted in the bill without full knowledge or consideration of the past or present condition of the bituminous-coal industry.