The CHAIRMAN. I think it is very important that we have this testimony, and I sincerely hope there will be no objection to it going in. If there is, it may be necessary for us to resort to our legal powers. Mr. FISHER. I do not think we need discuss those phases of it at present.


Mr. FISHER. I should think not.

The CHAIRMAN. Then we will proceed with the witness, unless Mr. Mayer has something else. Mr. Spencer, are you ready to proceed? Mr. MAYER. I would like to examine this witness, because, in the division of the labor, I have talked to some of the witnesses and Mr. Spencer has talked to others.

The CHAIRMAN. Very well, proceed, Mr. Mayer.


Mr. MAYER. What is your full name?

Mr. CANTON. Felipe G. Canton.

Mr. MAYER. How old are you?

Mr. CANTON. Forty-eight years old.

Mr. MAYER. Are you a Yucatan sisal farmer?

Mr. CANTON. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. Have you ever lived in the United States?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. And during what years did you live in this country? Mr. CANTON. Well, I was living for about 12 years here. I lived here up to 1902.

Mr. MAYER. That is, from about 1890 to 1902 ?

Mr. CANTON. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. Where did you live-in what city?

Mr. CANTON. New York.

Mr. MAYER. Were you engaged in business there?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. In what line of business?

Mr. CANTON. Regular commission business.

Mr. MAYER. Regular commission business?
Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Where were you born?

Mr. CANTON. In Yucatan.

Mr. MAYER. And you lived in Yucatan from the time of your birth until 1890, or thereabouts?

Mr. CANTON. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. And you moved to New York and lived there until about 1902 ?

Mr. CANTON. 1902; yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. And then returned to Yucatan?

Mr. CANTON. And then returned to Yucatan; yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. And have been living there continuously since?

Mr. CANTON. Continuously.

Mr. MAYER. Are you a man of family?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Do you live in Progreso or Merida, or do you live on

your plantation?

Mr. CANTON. On the plantation most of the time.

Mr. MAYER. When were you last in Yucatan?

Mr. CANTON. I left Yucatan about two weeks ago.

Mr. MAYER. You left Yucatan for the purpose of coming before this committee as a witness?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Your business is exclusively that of growing sisal hemp?

Mr. CANTON. Growing sisal; yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. That is practically the entire industry of Yucatan? Mr. CANTON. That is it entirely.

Mr. MAYER. And you are thoroughly familiar with it?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Do you own a substantial plantation?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. About how big is your plantation?

Mr. CANTON. It is of an average size of about 40,000 macates.

Mr. MAYER. And there are 10 macates to an acre?

Mr. CANTON. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. That would make about 4,000 acres?

Mr. CANTON. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. Is the 4,000 acres entirely under cultivation ?
Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. And growing only sisal?

Mr. CANTON. Growing sisal.

Mr. MAYER. About how far is your plantation from Merida?

Mr. CANTON. About 30 miles.

Mr. MAYER. Your sisal is shipped from Merida to Progreso?
Mr. CANTON. To Progreso; yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Now, from 1902, when you went back to Yucatan, up to the present time, you are completely conversant with the whole sisal situation?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Do you remember the time when the International Harvester Co. was formed?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. That was in 1902 and 1903 ?

Mr. CANTON. It was about the time when I went to Yucatan.

Mr. MAYER. About how many bales of sisal do you sell a year?
Mr. CANTON. Sell a year?

Mr. MAYER. Yes. Not here-sell a year.

Mr. CANTON. I sell about 4,500.

Mr. MAYER. About 4,500 bales?

Mr. CANTON. Yes; or 5,000.

Mr. MAYER. You were present the other night when a number of Yucatan farmers went over the cost of producing sisal?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir; I was one of the parties who formed the

prices, or arranged the prices.

Mr. MAYER. You heard the testimony of Mr. Solis?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

- Mr. MAYER. You know the figures that he testified to as to the cost

of production?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir; I think they are right.

Mr. MAYER. From your own actual knowledge and experience, are those figures correct?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir; I think they are correct.

Mr. MAYER. This statement shows that the actual cost of producing sisal is 5 cents plus per pound. The exact figures are 5.07 cents per pound in Yucatan.

Mr. CANTON. On the plantation?

Mr. MAYER. Yes, on the plantation.

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. You have nor included in those figures depreciation, loss from burning of fields, insect damage, replanting, gratuities to labor, the services of the owner, pensions to widows or disabled employees. Is that correct?

Mr. CANTON. That is correct.

Mr. MAYER. And that does not include the cost of transportation from the farm to Progreso?

Mr. CANTON. No, sir.

Mr. MAYER. I beg your pardon. It includes the freight from the farm to Merida, but not from Merida to Progreso.

Mr. CANTON. Only to Merida.

Mr. MAYER. So that, excluding the items to which I have referred, the cost of producing sisal to the farmer, not including your investment or depreciation or these various other items, is 5 cents plus a pound?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. What have you been getting for sisal in Yucatan on the farm from the year 1902 down to 1914?

Mr. CANTON. Different prices.

Mr. MAYER. What are the lowest prices that you have been getting! Mr. CANTON. Well, up to 2 to 3 cents gold.

Mr. FISHER. You mean American gold?

Mr. CANTON. American gold.

Mr. MAYER. That is about half of the actual cost?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. What is the highest price you have received?

Mr. CANTON. Well, the highest during the time that I have been there is up to 9 and 10 cents.

Mr. MAYER. When you received 9 and 10 cents a pound, what was the emergency or the cause of it?

Mr. CANTON. When I went there it was what they were paying. Mr. MAYER. You went there in 1902?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. From the time that you went back in 1902, when you were getting as high as 9 or 10 cents a pound, what has been the condition of the market, up or down?

Mr. CANTON. Well, the market was up-what did you say, the wages or what?

Mr. MAYER. Perhaps you do not understand me. Have the prices that you have been getting for your sisal, which you say were as high as 9 or 10 cents a pound, 14 years ago-have those prices gone up or down?

Mr. CANTON. Down.

Mr. MAYER. What has been the cause of the decline in the price? Mr. CANTON. Well, since the International Harvester Co. commenced to work, the price has gone down.

Mr. MAYER. Who represented the International Harvester Co. ? Mr. CANTON. Mr. Montes.

Mr. MAYER. Did you know Mr. Montes personally?

Mr. CANTON. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. Did you have frequent talks with him?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. To whom did you principally sell your product?

Mr. CANTON. To Mr. Montes.

Mr. MAYER. To Mr. Montes?
Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Why did you not sell it to others?

Mr. CANTON. He paid me a different price than anybody else.
Mr. MAYER. Paid you as much as anybody else?

Mr. FISHER. Better.

Mr. CANTON. He paid me as much as anybody else.

Mr. MAYER. What difficulties, if any, did you experience in getting your sisal to market from Merida to Progreso if you did not sell the sisal to Montes or to Peirce?

Mr. CANTON. I always sold to Montes and Peirce. When they want to ship I could not ship, because they did not give me any facilities for shipping my hemp outside.

Mr. MAYER. When you wanted to ship you could not ship unless you sold to Montes or Peirce ?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Did you find that Montes and Peirce made the same price?

Mr. CANTON. About.

Mr. MAYER. About the same price?

Mr. CANTON. Yes.

Mr. MAYER. This fixing of the same price by Peirce and Montes--was that only at long periods or was it always, continuously? Mr. CANTON. Continuously.

Mr. MAYER. Do you belong to the Comision Reguladora? Did you make a contract?

Mr. CANTON. I made a contract; yes.

Mr. MAYER. Did you do so voluntarily?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. You were not forced to do it?

Mr. CANTON. No, sir.

Mr. MAYER. When the prices which you were paid for your sisal were 24 or 3 cents-I am speaking now, gentlemen, of the equivalent in American money-what effect did this lowering of the prices have upon the condition of the laborer; those who worked on the farm?

Mr. CANTON. A very bad effect, because we were obliged to lower that, and they were nearly starving the laborers.

Mr. MAYER. That is, as the price that you received for you sisal kept going down you divided your loss with the laborers?

Mr. CANTON. With the laborers. That was the only way, because

that was the only thing we could do to raise sisal.

Mr. MAYER. You were compelled in self-protection, were you not to keep on growing sisal, cutting it, and selling it?

Mr. CANTON. That is right.

Mr. MAYER. It was your only business, your only industry?
Mr. CANTON. That is the only one.

Mr. MAYER. And it you stopped cutting sisal your plantations would have gone to ruin?

Mr. CANTON. If we do not replant, the plantation goes to pieces. We need to replant every year, you know. If the prices go very low we could not replant, because we have not money to replant and do things of that kind; so if the prices remained a long time very low, later there would not be any plantation at all.

Mr. MAYER. Do you know of any effort, any attempt being made to sell in New York direct by the Yucatan growers? I mean, to go over the heads of Montes and Peirce and try to find a market direct in New York?

Mr. CANTON. Yes. I say, there were difficulties in shipping, because they have all the facilities, and anyone who would make an attempt to ship it would cost a good deal more; and we could not always get room in the steamers to ship it.

Mr. MAYER. Why could you not get room in the steamers?

Mr. CANTON. Because they give the preference to Peirce and Montes-the steamship companies because they were large shippers. Mr. MAYER. Did Montes have a line of steamers of his own? Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. Did you ever have any talks with Montes as to whom he was representing or acting for?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. What did he tell you?

Mr. CANTON. The International Harvester Co.

Mr. MAYER. Do you know whether Mr. Montes was in the habit of lending money to sisal growers-to farmers?

Mr. CANTON. Yes, sir.

Mr. MAYER. At what per cent interest?

Mr. CANTON. I do not know.

Mr. MAYER. Did you ever borrow from him?
Mr. CANTON. No, sir.

Mr. MAYER. You have had 12 or 13 years' business experience in New York and a life experience in sisal. Tell the committee what benefits, if any, the Comision Reguladora has been to the industry and to the laboring classes of Yucatan?

Mr. CANTON. Well, the Comision Reguladora is a benefit to the laboring classes, becaues if we sustain the prices they can pay better prices to their laborers. Otherwise everything will go to pieces.

Mr. MAYER. Has there been much labor unrest and disturbance in Yucatan-dissatisfaction, I mean-on the part of the laborers? Mr. CANTON. Lately?

Mr. MAYER. From 1902 to 1915?

Mr. CANTON. No; not very much.

Mr. MAYER. When were these laborers given freedom of contract so thay could go anywhere they wished, from farm to farm? Mr. CANTON. During the time of Avila first.

Mr. MAYER. What year was that?

Mr. CANTON. Well, that was about the end of 1914.

Mr. MAYER. An now those who were called peons-the laborerscan work for anyone they wish, can quit any farm and work on any other farm and go and come as they please?

Mr. CANTON. Yes; any place.

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