Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

know of law the more I am impressed with its dignity and beneficence. The judicious Hooker tells us of law that “her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world. All things in heaven and on earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, the greatest as not exempted from her power.” And, sir, in the presence of this body of lawyers, stripped of every disguise, we are asked to pass a resolution which I say is a vote of want of confidence in the law. I appreciate the argument of my friend from Illinois, that the disturbances of the last few years may well excite the solicitude of American citizens. Whoso does not see them is blind, whoso prescribes arbitration as a panacea for them is an empiric, and whoso surrenders to them is a coward. I have been dealing for many years with humanity in the raw, and just to the extent that you will give advantages to those that appeal from the law to force, from the order of court to the enthusiasm of mobs, just to that extent do you give momentum to that course which every good American citizen must regret. Now, what do you propose to do here? You propose to allow these men to say: "I will not abide by the law, I have combined with individuals to oppress labor,” or “I have combined with alleged laborers to extort from capital, and I bring you a tribunal prescribed by a statute, and I dare you to submit your controversy to it.” Every lawyer knows that it is an adage in our profession that if you have an unjust case, arbitrate it; if you have a good case, determine it according to the rule of law. And why? Because the law has crystallized into words formulas that embody the eternal truth ; because ethics is itself law. Any man that does not find that good enough for the protection, the elucidation, the illumination, and determination of his case has not any business in a civilized world.

John F. Dillon, of New York:

Mr. President, in the absence of any member of the Committee who signed the report, I may be permitted to say a few words in justification of the result at which the Commit

tee arrived. It has been very well remarked by one gentleman here that the question which this report presents and submits to this Association is not a question of detail ; it is a question of principle, and that is whether the principle of arbitration which (I appeal to every gentleman here present representing the several States) is embodied in their statutes, whether that principle shall be introduced into the legislation of the United States. Is there any gentleman here who in cool and sober moments would say that he proposed to eradicate or annul all the statutes of the several States which provide that two or more parties, or any parties, may submit their controversies to arbitration, and that that award shall be made a rule of the court and enforced as its judgment ? That is a sound principle of legislation, I take it; at least it is the law, I believe, in several States of this Union. There is no such law on the statute books of the United States. This report simply says, without going into detail, that it is the judgment of this Association that that principle ought to be introduced into the legislation of the United States.

Now, I understand my distinguished friend from Missouri to controvert it, but to controvert it on grounds on which he would propose to abolish every enactment in the States of this character. I take issue with him on that principle, and I ask, if the gentleman wish to force the issue here, I ask this Association to vote squarely upon it, and say whether as a representative body of lawyers they do vote down the proposition that parties to controversies ought to have the privilege of arbitrating them and have the award made the judgment of the court and to be enforced by it. That is the principle at issue here.

It is a mistake, Mr. President, to suppose that this principle which is here at issue relates exclusively to strikes. Gentlemen here have discussed the whole labor problem, but it is foreign to any legitimate discussion that arises under this report. I am painfully aware of the urgent necessity for just this sort of legislation. When the great Southwest

strike prevailed some months ago, I was asked, as counsel, to examine the question whether when men in four or five States, in hundreds, arrested the operation of trains, paralyzed the transportation interest of four or five States, delayed the carrying of the United States mails, whether there was any legislation of Congress that would entitle any shipper, or entitle the railway company, if it was a foreign corporation, to appeal to the majesty of the law to obtain its protection. Why, Colonel Broadhead knows that merchandise in St. Louis was piled almost mountain high, and laid there for weeks, and the law was powerless to afford any relief to the company or to the shippers ; and in Kansas the complaint came that people were starving for want of supplies which they had been accustomed to receive on the railway.

James O. Broadhead :

May I ask a question? How many of the employees of the railroad in the Southwestern strike could go into the Federal courts to settle a controversy of that kind-courts whose jurisdiction is limited to the sum of $2,000 and over ?

John F. Dillon :

If there is any controversy that can come there, then it ought to be permitted to go. But I don't want to take up much time. It is a boundless subject. Now, sir, I was saying—and I wish to call attention to what appears to me the misconception of this report-it does not propose to limit in one iota existing jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and if they are competent to redress these grievances the portal will stand wide open, just as wide as if this resolution or legislation in accordance with it had not been enacted.

Now, then, here is the strong argument for just this sort of legislation. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that disputes will inevitably arise between the employers of large numbers of men and the employed. When they arise the crisis is sharp and urgent. They are not of a nature to submit to slow delays, which necessarily characterize legal proceedings. If the Circuit Court of the United States should

have had jurisdiction over the abnormal condition of affairs that existed in the great Southwest strike, what a mockery of remedy to file a bill and await the slow process of the court for relief and judgment! Now, then, like all other wars, the issue must eventually be found in some form of adjustment or compromise. That was the issue of this strike, and gentlemen appear on this floor to-day in the interest and as the professed representatives of capital and say that is the real source of this objection to the bill, and the eloquent gentle man who just took his seat decides the question in advance, and he says in effect that every union of labor is in the wrong, and, for one, he is opposed to giving them any recognition in the statutes of the United States, or anything that can be construed into a recognition of their course.

Wilbur F. Sanders :
In what words did I say that, if you please ?
John F. Dillon :

I understood the gentleman to say that he was opposed to this resolution, because he was not in favor of recognizing any collection or combination of men as being in the right, and to give them any recognition by legislation.

The argument sums up in this : Capital and labor in the great Southwest strike came face to face, and the directory of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company authorized its President to say—and that is a part of the history of this country —that that company was in favor of adjusting difficulties of this kind by arbitration, although it was confessed that that was the most causeless strike on record in this land or in Europe.

Now, then, how is it? I know that it is the sentiment of railway managers charged with the preservation of capital and its rights, that it is necessary, or at least advisable, that there should be some tribunal constituted having more or less of an official character, to which they can say, when one of these conditions arise : “ We think we are right; you think you are right.” The State of New York has just such

a law as this, passed last winter. And if it is not a controversy within the jurisdiction and powers of the Federal court, then one party will say to the other : “ We are willing to submit this controversy to this official tribunal." In every such controversy it is in the last result an appeal to the public opinion. It will sustain the party which is right, and if one party says, “I am willing to submit this to arbitration," and the other refuses, the effort ends. But it is an incident in the history of this struggle, and it redounds to the benefit of one or to the disadvantage of the other, as the case may be, and it is this idea which is the strongest recommendation of this bill, viz.: that the ordinary processes are not adapted to a solution of this controversy. And therefore I do not exactly appreciate the argument of my friend proposing to vote against this resolution, not because he is opposed to it intrinsically, but because his remedy would be an enlargement of the jurisdiction and powers of the Federal court. I don't object to that ; but is that any reason why, if a controversy does fall within the jurisdiction of the Federal court, there may not be the power to supervise that arbitration, precisely as under State laws arbitrators within the jurisdiction of the State courts are supervised? And therefore I say the question is before this Association whether they deliberately reject the principle of arbitration as applicable to controversies falling within the jurisdiction of the Federal court.

A Member:

Do you not depart in the first section of this bill from the laws providing in different States of the Union for arbitration in this respect, that you appoint by the court one referee, where in our courts of the State, cases being tried there, the parties select the whole three or five ?

John F. Dillon :

Not at all. I am very glad the gentleman has asked the question. Certainly, it is quite true that A and B get together and say they will select so and so ; but this is not different in principle, because the object of this bill is not a

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »