Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

the Republican city committee. The purpose of this meeting was to urge the employers of labor there present to exercise their influence. It was to arouse them to action. They were asked to call their employés together and address them on the issues. This was done in at least one case. The action taken at this meeting was spoken of by the employés affected as being prejudicial to their freedom of action. Fear of loss of work if they voted or acted against their employers' wishes was frequently expressed. The result of the meeting and its action was a degree of intimidation to the employé. One witness described its effect upon the operatives thus: "It caused them to be no longer active, to grow cold; it dampened their ardor and changed their conduct." Another witness said the meeting was held for the purpose of "forcing their help, through dread of non-employment, to vote contrary to their wishes and according to the wishes of their employers." And still another, who was in charge of the Democratic headquarters, described it thus:

Answer. The effect of the meeting, as it was detailed to me-of course I do not know that it is accurate, but it came to me from quite a number of sources-was this, that there had been a meeting of manufacturers called; that the policy as laid down at that meeting by some of the speakers, and by one speaker particularly, was to this effect: "We must keep inside the law; we must not say that our men will be discharged, nor anything of that kind, but we must hold up before them that if Butler is elected, or the policy.he advocates prevails, it will be necessary to close our workshops and stop our business." Men came to me and said that that was the drift of it, and asked me if I thought it was probable that they would lose their work.

Q. Employés came to you and asked you this?-A. Yes, sir; that was the current understanding there, that what I have stated was the tenor of the meeting.

Q. What was the effect, as you gathered it from the employés themselves, upon their minds-A. Its effect was this: that while up to that date the operatives and employés, as a general rule, in Worcester County, had been enthusiastic, and thronged our rooms day and evening almost, a great many of them then came and expressed doubts as to whether they would be able to vote or act openly, for there as on that they understood that this meeting had been held, and that that was the policy that would be adopted. In consequence of that, there was a decided coolness at that time on the part of this class of men. I do not know that there was any direct act of intimidation tion upon them further than that the report of this meeting had that effect upon them, but I do know that a great many upon whom we had counted with absolute certainty up to that time were missing, or else voted against us.

Q. What was the number, if you can give it, of employés in the city of Worcester who were Democratic in their proclivities?-A. The laboring population is almost wholly Democratic; that is, the Democratic vote in the city is almost wholly composed of laboring men. But a small proportion of those whom we rank as the property holders there are comprised in our party. I should say that our vote there, in the Tilden election, was forty-two hundred and something, and I should say that easily 3,000 and something of these men were men who worked by the day for their livelihood.

The purpose here expressed of keeping "inside the law" was fully carried out, for there was no case brought to the notice of your committee in which a conspiracy or unlawful combination to coerce voters was disclosed.

We are of opinion, however, that the purpose intended was as fully accomplished as if unlawful means had been used.

Your committee are of opinion that in very many instances during that election the ballot was cast by operatives against their own deliberate convictions and in favor of the candidates of their employers, and that this was the result of a fear of loss of work at the beginning of winter.

This policy of keeping "inside the law" was publicly proclaimed in the Herald, a leading and influential newspaper in Boston, which earnestly and effectively aided the cause of those who called and held those meetings of employers, in these words:

There will probably be a good deal of “bulldozing” done in Massachusetts this year of a civilized type. The laborers employed by General Butler in his various enter

prises-mills, quarries, &c.—will be expected to vote for him or give up their situations. The same rule will hold good on the other side. There will be no shot-guns or threats. Everything will be managed with decorum, adorned by noble sentiments. But the men who oppose Butler employ three-fourths, if not seven-eighths, of the labor of the State. They honestly believe that Butler's election would injure their property. They know that idle hands are waiting to do their work. It is not to be expected that they will look on indifferently and see their employés vote for a destructive like Butler. Human nature is much the same in Massachusetts and Mississippi. Only methods are different. Brains, capital, and enterprise will tell in any community. It is very improper, of course, to intimidate voters, but there is a way of giving advice that is quite convincing.

This action was described before your committee as "civilized bulldozing," and its occurrence was said to be much more frequent and effective in the manufacturing villages than in the cities.

It is impossible that there should be so much in the cities as in town. It is easier to bring to light the wrong-doings of an employer there; it is harder to cover them up, because of the public press and because of the number of the people who would become cognizant of them. In a factory town it is different. There is no newspaper there; the operative lives in a tenement, belonging to the manufacturer; his wages are small; his wife probably works in the mill; his children probably work in the mill; and, if he is any way fractious, or opposed to voting in the way that these people dictate, his wife, children, and himself are turned out of the mill, out of the tenement, and out of the means of earning a livelihood.

The case of the Manchaug Manufacturing Corporation, in the county of Worcester, was cited as one of those in which this policy of "civilized bulldozing" was pursued. The testimony disclosed the following facts: Manchaug is a manufacturing village, wherein the real estate, mills, houses, churches, halls, and public buildings were owned by the stock company which there manufactured muslin fabrics. They employed a large number of persons as workmen, many of whom were French Canadians. The number of voters at the mills was upwards of 100 in 1878, of whom three-fourths were Democrats. All of the managing force, superintendents, and bookkeepers, were Republicans. Many young peo ple of both sexes were employed at the mills, and their homes were with their parents in the tenement houses of the corporation. One case was shown in which a man who had served during the war occupied one of the company's houses, while his son and three nieces worked in the fac tory, and lived with him. He was quite active as a canvasser on the Democratic side in 1878. He describes what occurred as follows:

I was not working for the corporation, but was active in the campaign. I distributed the campaign documents to everybody. I was one of the signers of the Butler call and one of the vice-presidents of the Butler club. I contributed two or three dollars to the Butler flag-raising, when we were going to have a good time. Mr. Waters, who had asked for the hall, came to my house when I was not at home; my wife told me of his being there. Immediately after this, a notice came from the mill that I must vacate my tenement within two weeks. It was signed by Robert McArthur and by Charles A. Chase, clerk. For two or three days nothing was said, and they sent for me to come to the shop.

Mr. Chase was in general charge of all the tenements and machines, and so on. I went to him; found him at his house, when he wanted to know whether I was going out of the tenement. It was then about the 10th of October. I said I would like to stop until after town meeting; that I had taken an active part, and would like to vote for General Butler. He said, "You cannot." I replied, "I think I can." He said, "I will have you out in about a week." I asked him, "Have I no rights?" He answered, Not a God-damned right." I told him, "There is one right I have got." He asked, What is that?" I said, "I have got possession, and I shall hold it until after town meeting, if I can." Finally, I had three notices and three writs to go to Worcester, but went and voted after all.

If I had been turned out I could not have got any place in town, and I could not have gone back to the tenement. Not only that, but the fact was that previous to my getting my notice I had the village in a blaze; nine-tenths were Democratic, or for Butler, but after they gave me the notice no man would dare say "Butler" in the village.

The son was notified to quit work, and did quit. The effect of this notice to leave, upon men who had families dependent upon them, was to take away their freedom of action, and they were obliged to vote as their employers required, for they had no place to go with their families. Its effect appears to have been decided upon the voters. ity was described as follows:

Their timid

They spoke to me about making arrangements about raising a flag, as I did not work for the company and cared nothing for the company. They were afraid to take an active part in it, but agreed to contribute toward defraying the expense. I had a list of some twenty-four names of those who contributed, some a dollar and some two dollars, towards hiring the band and paying the expense of a French speaker. After Mr. Waters came with a notice of Mr. Thayer's and Mr. Mellen's meeting, this notice which followed, from Mr. McArthur to my father, made a change. Those men did not seem to dare to speak to me on the front street there; they would come around after dark and call me out to speak to me; they would pass me on the street without speaking; and they told me, two or three different ones, that it was coming near winter and they did not wish to lose their job, still they wished to vote for Butler.

The corporation owned the only hall in the town in which public meetings were held. It was used for minstrel shows and dances frequently. Mr. Thayer, the Democratic candidate for Congress, and Mr. Mellen, desired to speak in it, but its use was refused by Mr. McArthur, the agent. The witness describes the refusal thus:

I then went to Mr. McArthur and applied for the hall, and told Mr. McArthur that as Mr. Rice, the Republican candidate, had complimented our town by making his opening speech of the canvass there, I thought it would be a very good send-off and a compliment to the place if Mr. Thayer would make the second speech of his canvass in our town, and that all parties would then have an opportunity to hear their candidates in the opening of the canvass. Mr. McArthur replied that he could not let the hall, and remarked to me, "You know how our people are." I suppose that by "our people" he meant the owners. He went on to say, "You know how our people are, and they are not of that way of political thought, and do not belong to that political party; if you owned a hall you would not let in the opposition to speak, either." I replied, "Mr. McArthur, on the contrary, I should certainly do that very thing; and if you people are intending to suppress freedom of discussion of political questions our community want to know it." He said, "Well, I think I cannot let you have the hall."

That Democratic meeting was held in a barn.

The selectmen of the town have charge of the ballot-box on election day. McArthur, an employé of the company, was in charge as such in 1878. Chase and Knox, two other employés of the company, were in attendance. The workmen were provided with Republican tickets at the works, hauled in wagons to the polling-place, and voted under the direct supervision of McArthur, Chase, and Knox. A witness describes the process thus:

My attention was called to the peculiar way they had of managing the voters there, I stepped up to the little railing that they had there to go around and up to the polls and I saw two men stationed at the entrance where the voters went in. One was a Mr. Chase, and the other was a Mr. Knox. I saw that the help of the village (I was acquainted with a great portion of them) came along in a sort of rotation. Mr. Chase was on one side and this Mr. Knox was on the other, and as each man came up they would take hold of the ticket that the man had, and say, "That is right, pass on. Another would come up, and they would say, "That is right, pass on." Another would come up, and they would say, "Hold on, that is not the vote you want to cast." "Why, yes, it is the vote I want to east.' "No, it is not." "Why certainly this is my vote. "O, no"; and he got it out of the man's hand, tore it up, and threw it on the floor. He said, "You do not want to vote such a damned vote as that." He then handed the voter another one. The man then remarked, “I don't want to cast this vote." The reply was, "Go right along; that is the vote you want." The man went right along and put it in the box. Mr. Hastings, the constable, stood right opposite, and I stood, perhaps, four feet from this Mr. Knox.

Another instance is given thus:

Q. Who was at the polls to receive the employés in November last?-A. Mr. Chase. Q. Is he connected with the corporation?-A. He is the bookkeeper there.

Q. Who takes them from the mills to the poll?-A. The teams of the corporation take them.

Q. What have you seen in regard to tickets when they have got to the polls?—A. I have seen Mr. Chase change their tickets. He generally stands at one side there where there is a small place to go through, and, as they come along, he always has the ballots there, and I have seen him change them, and have seen them get tickets from him and carry them in.

Q. The specific tickets you speak of, did they examine those?-A. I do not know whether they could or not. Pretty nearly all of those who work there are French, and I do not know whether they could examine them.

Q. Do you know whether those tickets were in envelopes or open?-A. I have seen Mr. Chase give tickets to them that were open.

Q. Did you see this occur in November, 1878?-A. Yes, sir.

Q. Specify an instance and describe how this occurred, if you can.-A. As they passed along he was standing there on this side, and as they would come up to the polls he would stop them, hand them one of the tickets, and say, "Here, carry it in." They might have had an envelope or something of that kind. I have seen them have envelopes. I have seen that occur.

The ballot-boxes were open boxes and those in charge could see the form and appearance of the ballot voted, and they were easily distinguishable apart.

The result of this close supervision of the votes of the operatives by their employers, and the fears which prevailed among them lest they should be discharged, very naturally affected the result in the district in which they voted, and gave to the candidates favored by the employer a large number of votes they would not have received if perfect freedom of action had been allowed to the workmen.

Your committee examined a number of witnesses in regard to the management and manner of voting at Webster, in Worcester County, by the employés of the Slater Manufacturing Company, where several hundred men are employed, a majority of whom were Irishmen, and the proof showed about the same state of facts as existed in Manchaug.

The same was the case at the Douglass Axe Factory, where the agents of the company stood at the door of the election-house, watched every one of the employés who came in, passed him the Republican ticket, and told him it would be to his interest to vote that ticket.

The Boston Elastic Fabric Company employs a large number of hands, most of whom were Democrats, but under the orders of their employer, Mr. McBirney, they were nearly all required to vote the Republican ticket in November, 1878. The foreman of the factory stood at the polls in Chelsea all day on election day between the door and the ballot-box, and required the men employed under him to vote the Republican ticket. Another of the employés was directed to tell them that this was their employer's wish and they must govern themselves accordingly. This was done and the men very generally obeyed the orders given. One testified that he did not and was soon driven out of that employment. Several cases of individual interference by employers with the freedom of choice by their workmen came to the notice of your committee, none of which were so flagrant in their details as those already given; but there was enough to show that the determination existed to coerce choice by pressing upon the necessities of workmen and operatives.

The

The State of Massachusetts has a stringent registry law for the regis tration of voters. All naturalized citizens must produce their certificates of naturalization before the board of registration, and the name of the citizen can only go upon the list of voters after careful scrutiny. law is a most wise and salutary one, but your committee are compelled to report that its provisions, in one case, were made the means of depriving several citizens born within the State of their right to vote, and

one of them actually took out his naturalization papers. This difficulty occurred at Plymouth, and is thus described by Dr. Shumway, a witness: In the first place, we had a decision from the board of selectmen that those persons who were born of persons unnaturalized could not be citizens of the United States, and therefore could not register as voters. This was made to operate very injuriously, because most of those who had come of age were young men who were going to vote for General Butler. It so completely demoralized them that some of them said they would not have anything more to do with it. I endeavored to persuade them to hold on. The first intimation I had of it was this: A young man came to me and asked me if I did not suppose that a man born within two rods of Plymouth Rock was a citizen of the United States. I said I had no doubt of it. He said that they had refused to register him, although he was born there, because his father had not been naturalized. I told him I supposed somebody was playing a joke upon him, and he replied that it was a serious matter. I went before the board of selectmen, and found that they had made that decision. I endeavored to argue the case with them, but they said the decision was final; that no one who was born of unnaturalized citizens could be a citizen unless himself naturalized, and that they would not allow any such to register. Some of the men who had been refused on this ground went once or twice to the townhouse, and then said they would give it up and wouldn't have any more to do with it. One or two persisted in maintaining what they supposed to be their rights, and finally succeeded. I will state that this decision was made about ten days before the election, I think (the first knowledge I had of it was at that time), and that on the night before the election (Monday evening), at ten o'clock (the polls being opened on Tuesday), the decision was reversed, I understood. The polls opened on Tuesday at a quarter of nine o'clock, and the law is, I think, that after the polls have opened no man shall be allowed to register. As it was my first experience in political affairs, I failed to take the names of those persons. I know of only two who were registered, and do not know of those who were not. I understood that there were some ten or a dozen who were refused registration, but that I do not know positively anything about; that is merely hearsay with me. Another case that I do know of was that of a man who, notwithstanding that he had been born in the neighboring town, went and got naturalized. His name is Alexander Morrison. [Producing the naturalization paper of Morrison, which is appended to this testimony.] This is his naturalization paper. He was born in the neighboring town of Sandwich. One of the men was born within two rods of Plymouth Rock.

Q. State the politics of the selectmen in Plymouth.-A. Four of them were Republicans and one was a Democrat-that is, an Abbott Democrat. The board was practically a unit in the last campaign. It was composed of five members.

The young man, Morrison, who was naturalized, was called in, and testified in substance as follows:

Question. Where do you live?-Answer. At Plymouth.

Q. Where were you born?-A. Close by Sandwich.

Q. Are Plymouth and Sandwich in the same county?-A. No, sir: Plymouth is in Plymouth County, and Sandwich is in Barnstable County.

Q. State the circumstances under which you made application for registration, why you got naturalized, and whether that which is now shown you is your naturalization paper.-A. I went to the selectmen on the same night that Mr. Carr went to them. That was Saturday night. Mr. Bradford, one of the selectmen, asked me why my name was not on the list, and if I had paid my taxes. I told him that I had paid them. He asked me if I was naturalized. I told him I was not; that I was born in this country. He then asked me if my father was naturalized, and I replied that my father was not. He said he didn't see how I could vote, for the reason that my father was not naturalized, but that he would carry the matter before the selectmen at the meeting on Saturday of the next week. I went there shortly afterwards, when he told me that I should not vote because my father was not naturalized. Q. Did you not get naturalized subsequently?-A. Yes, sir.

Q. How did that happen?-A. Shortly after that, Mr. Hedge, the constable, came to me-it was before the election, though I don't know how long before-and told me I had better go in that morning and get my naturalization papers; that it would probably be my last chance before the election. I then went in and got my papers

out.

Q. Before whom did you go?-A. Before Mr. Lord.

Q. Was there a judge on the bench?-A. There was a judge on the bench. I don't know who he was.

Q. Was it Mr. Lord who was clerk of the court?-A. I don't know.

Q. Was it in Plymouth?—A. It was in Plymouth.

Q. Did you have to produce witnesses there?-A. Yes, sir; Mr. Hedge and a young gentleman.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »