PROBLEMS OP INDUSTRY AND LABOUR.
Address by Mr. James A. Emery, Secretary of the Citizens' Industrial Association of America, New York, before the Empire Club of Canada, on October 25th, 1906. Discussed by Hon. George E. Foster, M. P.
Mr. Chairman arid Gentlemen,--I appreciate indeed the second invitation to Toronto, above all, one that comes from an organization so truly representative of the Imperial spirit of Canada. When one looks over the names of those who have addressed you in your career as an organization; he realizes the part which they have played in the industrial and political and social life of Canada; he feels not only complimented, but a considerable amount of diffidence in following such illustrious footsteps. Indeed a diffidence that it would be somewhat difficult to overcome were I not so sensible of the indulgence with which I have been previously treated that I may assure myself of its recurrence.
One is usually accused, in discussing industrial problems, of immediate desire to dip into political economy. I do not question for a moment the intimate relationship between some departments of political economy and some of our very greatest industrial problems, but I do indeed desire to assure you that I havc always felt that our greatest problems were I not those that were to be decided from the mere standpoint of industrial science; but that it took for their decision an understanding of the realization, a convincing and imperative belief, that they were problems in which the futures of human beings were concerned, in which the principles of great states were at issue, from the just decision of which the civilization of our world would receive an impetus or a setback; and I should not desire to discuss our problems from the mere dry standpoint of the political economist.
Indeed, I may perhaps seem diffident about shaping my discussion along such lines when I recall a conversation which is supposed to have happened upon the campus of the University of California during a lecture of a noted political economist there, when two of the employees moving across the grounds, both Irishmen (the usual nationality of him upon whom all jokes are fastened), heard the drone of voices coming from the lecture room, and one said to the other, "What's going on there, Dan?" "Why, that's the class in political economy." "Political economy, is it?" "Yes." "And what is that?" "Sure don't you know what that is?" "Some form of saving money?" "No, no, man. It's a form of learning, sure-political economy; when a man who knows nothing on any subject talks to one who knows less than he does on something they both know nothing about." (Laughter.) Beginning the treatment of the human side of great industrial problems, the dryness, the closeness, the narrowness, the petty attempt to reduce to a mere material discussion problems that concern the future of human flesh and blood, perhaps justify a criticism almost equally harsh to that which our Irish friend administered; for we all recognize the existence. of industrial problems greater or less.
They are things that are obtruded upon our every day notice; they are not the things which we merely reach through the medium of the press, through discussions upon the platform, through the formulas of books; they are things that are at our door, upon our streets, before our eyes, our very daily life is immersed in some of the conditions which bring them about. The daily press announces a dozen of them in each of its editions, and brings to us some concrete instances of the differences between different classes, different sections, different parts of the English population, that calls our attention to the striking necessity for some action that will enable us to live our industrial life with less friction, with more thought for its component elements, with more consideration for the great struggles that take place within its limits, with some attempt to meet and solve some of the perplexing questions that daily present themselves to us as facts that cannot be avoided.
The chief of these, the relation between him who works and him for whom he works is not a problem of merely the present day. It is as old as man. Its very nature, its intimate relationship to human life, its intimate appeal to human passion, to excitement, to feeling, to affection, to hate, to all that makes up the wonderfully complex detail of human life makes that problem at once the most intimate and the most difficult which we face in the industrial world. The relations between him who works and him for whom he works are things that have troubled those individuals as they have troubled the rest of the world ever since men entered into relations with each other. From the first strike of the Hebrew bricklayers, related in Exodus, even to the present day, every nation has passed through its industrial difficulties. The adjustment of the relations between capital and labour troubled the Roman as much as they do the American, and when Minimus Agrippa met the Plebeians on the Sacred Mount outside of Rome, and related to them the story of the hands and the stomach as a means of persuading them to return again, he related, described, and illustrated a relationship as well as it has ever been described or paralleled from that day to this. You will remember that the Plebeians felt that they were bearing an undue share of the cost of Roman life; that they received less than their share of the productions of the Roman civilization, and bore far more than they should of the burden of the State; and Agrippa told them the story of the hands, the feet, the various organs of the body, rebelling against further service to the stomach, and declaring that one did the work, and the other assisted, and each bore its share. What did the stomach do? It merely received, and enjoyed the fruit of their labour; and he impressed upon them the fact that it was the stomach that supplied strength to all the organs and enabled each to do its share toward continuing the life of the human machine, and so impressed them with the importance of that relationship between all these complex parts of the wonderful whole that they went back into the city, and renewed again, in a practical way, their attempt to solve their relations with their masters.
In this age of ours we have attempted the solution of this question in a variety of ways. It is but natural that it should be most strongly marked by an organized effort to meet and solve these problems; by an organized insistence in every department of life; by efforts to meet our industrial problem; to carry out shares and portions of it; to put the labourer upon his side in an organized way to meet his share of it; to put the employer upon his side in an organized form to meet his problem as he sees it; and so we have had the rise in its most developed form of the labour organization. Originating in its present change in England, in the Guilds of the Middle Ages, having the same general purpose, but differing vastly in the special means by which it sought to accomplish that purpose; above all, differentiating itself in its progress and development from the greater purposes of the Guild and labour organizations; has also come down to us the effort of the labourer to accomplish by organization the protection of his hours and wages, and the improvement of his working conditions, and we have met in every department of human industry today the operation of the labour organization. It has developed certain fixed principles of action, certain fixed methods of accomplishment, and it tends toward the practical employment of certain results, and toward the acceptance of certain theories, and an endeavour to realize them in practical life.
England has had the longest experience with the Labour organization, and it has been watched there with the greatest interest. It has developed in America in a somewhat different way, patterned in its origin after the English Unions, but modified by the local conditions that necessarily tempered and shaped its existence. From an organization of a negative character, it has grown into an organization of the most positive character; from an association that first intended and attempted merely to prevent a reduction of wages and a change in working hours, it has grown into an organization to compel the acceptance of other hours, and a powerful lever for increasing wages. It has done more than that; it has become a beneficiary organization, protecting the lives, the widows, the families of its members; it has become a political organization that has attempted to shape and direct the political opinions and action of its members; it has become a powerful influence upon legislation, and has endeavoured to establish conditions that would be most pleasing to' the workingman, and that would give to the wage-earner a special consideration before the law, by the passage and enforcement of special class legislation.
It has met the industrial leaders of our day in every department of their progress; it has met in all its relations the very largest forces that lead and control modern industrial development. It has learned by contact with them, methods of organization; it has learned by contact with them, means of effecting its ends; it has learned by contact with them, the manipulation of politics, and the best means of securing legislation. It has arrived at thousands of remarkable results; it has been a power for good; it has been a power for evil; sometimes in the very name of the things for which it sought it has accomplished the very things that it sought not to accomplish; sometimes in the endeavour to lift up those whom it would assist it has levelled and crushed down those who disagreed with it in opinion. It has been like all human attempts to better existing conditions, to reform that requiring reform, tempered with failures and with the success that mark all human effort. It has to be judged not merely by what it claims it is, not merely by what it asserts that it endeavours to accomplish, not merely by its ideals; but by the practical things that it endeavours to accomplish, and by the practical means by which it endeavours to accomplish them, and by the tendencies which it develops in the course of its motion. Historically, it is a strange thing that organization in labour sought to accomplish the very thing that today it seeks to prevent. If you pass quickly through the history of the English wage-earner, you see him pass from the serf into the control of the Guilds, through the day of State control in industry, and then into free contract. You see him struggling under the Statute of Labourers, from conditions in which the paternal State endeavours to fix his hours of labour, and the very amount of his earnings; you see him pass from that into a day when, in the last hours of the French Revolution, there was celebrated with the tolling of bells and the roaring of cannon the repeal of the last acts that gave the State control of the Labour contract in France; and Labour emerged unshaken and untrammeled into the sunlight of free contract.
You have seen in our day the endeavour to prevent the working man from making an individually free contract, and to persuade him, to influence him, nay, at times to intimidate and coerce him into a collective contract in which he pools his labour with others. Historically, then, the struggle of the labourer in organization was not to arrive at a period in which he could with others sell his labour, but to secure a condition in which he would be untrammelled in the sale of his most intimate personal possession, the one thing which all men have-that with which they earn their living and that of those dependent upon them-their physical labour. And in the struggle to obtain that, he went through a thousand vicissitudes, he suffered upon numberless scaffolds, he was the victim of innumerable persecutions, he lifted himself from the stand of a conspirator to that of an individual recognized as one endeavouring to better himself and make himself a better subject for the King, a better citizen for the State. With all of his effort toward better things, with all his struggle to put himself into a position where he could help himself and help others, he has the sympathy of every reader of history.
But we, who look calmly, should endeavour to look dispassionately, should endeavour to judge without partiality, the value of modern trade unionism in its relation to the modern industrial world, judge it not merely by what it has accomplished, but by what today it endeavours to accomplish, by that which it deliberately declares it hopes to secure, and by the things by which it endeavours to attain those ends. We have no quarrel with trade unionism as such. The right of men to organize is no more to be questioned than your right or mine to be the citizen of the state to which we belong. The right of man to collectively join with others in an endeavour to better himself in the attainment of lawful objects by lawful means, is no more to be questioned than his right to exist; but his right to better himself at the expense of others, to obtain lawful ends by the use of unlawful means, to attempt the attainment of unlawful ends by lawful means, is, in contradiction, not merely with the spirit of English institutions, but with the progress of modern civilization itself. Our industrial problem is not to suppress any form of voluntary organization that can be useful to its members. It is to regulate it in such a way that in attaining the ends it aims at it shall not injure those who have rights of an equal character.
We have witnessed within the past few years a wonderful industrial growth; we have witnessed a wonderful growth of consolidated organizations; we have witnessed the growth of the individual into the partner, the partner into the corporation, the corporation into the combination, syndicate, trust or monopoly. We endeavour in an economy of administration to consolidate all the forces of production in a particular industry, and endeavour to avoid reduplication of every excess in cost, and to make use of every single thing that otherwise might be wasted, and turn it into profit. It is under the impulse of this wonderful system of consolidation that the United States and Canada have proceeded on their remarkable era of material development. Without the corporation the resources of individual capital could be but inefficiently and ineffectively applied to the development of the great natural resources of a state. They could be used in but a small way in comparison with the gigantic uses to which in combination they presently can be placed. The corporation is a multiplication of individual effort, the multiplication of individual capital, a thousand souls, a thousand bodies, a thousand fortunes welded into the personality of a single individual and turned with all the collective power of its multiplied effort to the solution of a particular industrial problem. Such power rightly directed, rightly managed, rightly controlled, is not merely profitable to those who are its immediate possessors; but in the case of its labour, must of necessity be of vast and great benefit to the nation in which it works.
It is to such forces we owe the levelling of our forests, the opening of our wild lands, the development of our unparalleled material resources, the building of our railways-those arteries that carry the life blood of commerce, circulating swift and fresh through the entire nation. It is to them we owe the wonderful development of all the resources of modern civilization, but no man today thinks us unfair, thinks us prejudiced, thinks us bigoted, thinks us narrow, if we say that one of the great industrial problems of our day is to keep the corporation within the control of the state, that it may not control the state. W e realize that wealth, working within its legitimate channels, is one of the greatest benefits that God, acting through humanity, gives to modern civilization. We realize that its unchecked power would be one of the most corrupting and subverting influences that could be turned loose, and in an effort to check it and regulate it, we have not announced an enmity to corporations, but we have announced an enmity to bad corporations; and in declaring that it is necessary to check, to regulate, to suppress the excesses and abuses, that not only are liable, to creep, but have actually crept into the organization of labour, we do not denounce it us such; we do not deny its right to exist, nay, we do not endeavour to detract from the merits of its effort or to deny for a single instant the great good that it has accomplished in a thousand channels in bettering the condition of the working man, and thus making him a' better, a finer, a healthier, a more intelligent, and a more capable citizen. That debt we acknowledge, that debt we owe, and we owe it also to ourselves to say that a voluntary association acting within the state should not become imperium in imperio, a state within a state, a power to which men acknowledge an obligation superior to that which they give to civil authority.
The industrial problem is not a mere problem of political economy; it is a great problem in morals, in successful government. We come from a stock that believes in certain fixed things, that on a thousand battlefields, and on a thousand scaffolds, has sent its heroes' souls to the sky, giving to all the ages that come after some exalted lesson in principle that shall be the portion of posterity, a lesson practically written in human lifeblood for principle. We have builded up our civilization slowly; it has taken a thousand years for English blood to build the things that make the very heights of modern civilization, viewed from the very best of merely visible standards. It has been a slow process; it has not been accomplished in a day or in an hour; it has not been accomplished without sacrifice of men; it has not been accomplished without great struggles that at times, have wrecked the very state in which they occurred. It has not been brought about without the overcoming of the great obstacles that every moral and intellectual movement must necessarily meet; it has not been brought about without collisions between honest opinion; of the strongest character. It has been brought about by the successful efforts of generations, one building upon another, all impelled forward by a single compelling principle, the idea that the noblest thing beneath this sun was individual liberty realized in government.
The little Island of which you are proud, did not rise in an hour from the sea; it did not spring like Minerva from the brain of Jove, full made; it was, geologists tell us, the slow effort of countless ages of tiny animals, each giving his small contribution to the structure of that island, little knowing that his effort, that his little life, his slight strength, was to be given to the upbuilding of the foundation stones of a nation whose influence should be the greatest in all the world's history upon the great civilizing influence of moral law. It was an effort of countless thousands of centuries. So, too, the growth of humanity has been slow. It has been builded little by little; it has gained there and slipped back here; it has had its leader there, and its follower here; it has suffered by the vagaries that attend every human effort; but its progress has been determined; it has been guided by certain fixed principles and it has accomplished certain fixed ends, and today we enjoy the heritage of free government, given to us by those countless centuries of effort. We owe it to ourselves and to those who shall come after us that in every problem we meet we shall see, first of all, that in its solution the principles that have made us what we are and what we hope to remain shall not be imperilled by compromise or surrender of the essential things. So, in our industrial problems we owe it to ourselves to see that first of all the, idea of individual liberty is maintained in every department of industry, as we declare we will maintain it in every department of social and political activity.
A nation cannot realize principles in one department of its national life that it does not realize in all departments of its national life; for either new principles creep in or old ones leave it. If new ones creep in and are in contradiction to the old principles, then one or the other is false, and if they both live on together one or the other must die, and if the good principle dies and the evil lives on, all men suffer, for there is nothing so powerful in human life as the influence of human principle. It is the motive power of human action; it is that which sends the race onward; it is the directing inspiration that impels every bit of human machinery; it is that which makes a man good or bad; it is that which makes him ignoble or great; it is that which gives a nation a place in the Valhalla of nation's hereafter, or sends its name down the ages, a by-word to all the nations that shall come. It is these great principles for which our nations have stood and that have made them what they are, and that in our industrial life of today are on trial; for either they are practical and can be applied everywhere and shall be preserved everywhere, or there is some place in which they are impractical--which is impossible if they be true.
This we know, that the great God who made us gave to each man a gift; gave to each one the power to work out his own industrial salvation as well as his spiritual salvation; that He gave unto each man the means not merely to earn a living for himself, but for those dependent upon him; He laid upon him that first law, that in the sweat of his brow shall he labour, and He made his position in life subject to the intelligent use of the gifts which He had thus given him. He gave different gifts; He gave not to all in equal quality; and you who have stood about the nursery of your children, who have witnessed in the growth of your little family the indications of some marked characteristic in the child, the tendency of admiration, of effort, of desire, in some particular field of human effort; the lad who seized his tin sword, the child who took apart his father's watch, the boy who made the improvements that let the door swing more easily on its hinges, who found some mechanical means of improving the conditions of household life, pointed out in every effort of his child-life the purpose of his existence; signalling to you, with the very finger of the Creator pointing through his tiny soul, the pathway for which Providence had designated him, indicating that department of life for which he was best fitted, for which his talent inclined him, to which his desires led him, and so He marked him out for a special and particular field of human life,
And, giving those gifts of stewardship, He requires an account of their use, not merely from the possessor, but from society. Labour is the law of life, for no man can live without labour; it is essential for the support of both himself and those dependent upon him. Therefore, any organization that stands to any man as an obstacle either to the learning of a useful trade or a useful occupation, or to the earning of a living itself, because he disagrees with it in its opinions, judgments, and economic remedies, and not merely endeavours to persuade him to a different view of life, but absolutely determines that it will use its force to compel him to accept its methods or else to do without the means of earning his living, is dangerous, not merely to the state, but to the very purpose of civil society itself.
Do such tendencies exist in the Labour organizations of today. Do we find apprenticeship restricted? Do we find the opportunity to learn a trade denied to men and boys? Do we find the opportunity to earn a living denied to the non-union man, not merely in a theory which declares that it is the right of a man to work, or to refuse to work with a man who disagrees with him in religion, politics, or in any thing else.
We do find that it is a practical fact that in every department of the industries of your country and of mine there is an organized effort, not merely to persuade men to accept the opinions of Labour organizations, but to compel them, by the withholding of labour, by persecution in all departments of society, even of the children at school-as has occurred in the United States-and of the mother in the society of other women, of the man by the denial of the society of his fellows, to accept their opinions, their leadership and their judgment in industrial action. Is this a fact, or is it not a fact, that is realized in the life of your state and of mine? If it is a fact, it requires a remedy and that remedy must be commensurate with the wrong. If men are denied that right by the action of the voluntary association, that voluntary association must withdraw or cease to exert that influence or to advise its members to do those acts, to cease to tolerate their commission; nay, more,-must exert its influence and see that those acts are not committed. An organization that does such things, I say, must cease to do them, or be deprived of the right to exist under free institutions.
It is contended sometimes that it is absolutely essential to the success of the Union man that he shall use the power of his organization to exert a moral influence, a moral compulsion, if you will take the lightest, the most acceptable and most pleasing form of it, upon others; to compel them to accept the economic organization of which he is a member, or the economic organization loses its power to accomplish its objects. In the first place, we realize that if lawful means cannot be used to accomplish a lawful end, the lawful end must be abandoned. We realize, secondly, that moral coercion is morally unlawful, whether it be civilly so or not, and in a country dedicated to the doctrine of free will no less in religious than in industrial matters, that moral coercion of a character that affects the private life, desires, hopes, wishes, judgments of an individual, is a reprehensible and unpleasing, nay, an undesirable thing in a nation, which by its blood is dedicated above all things to keeping open, clear and enlightened, the plan of a beautiful and unpolluted moral influence. From a moral standpoint, the coercion thus exercised upon individuals, even when it amounts merely to persuasion, if it be by a series of acts here and there to make that verbal persuasion lawful in itself, yet carrying a hint, a suggestion, an insinuation of means illegal in themselves, unmentionable in legal conversation, then there is a masked purpose, illegal in itself, which endeavours to accomplish itself under the appearance of legal means. But is it absolutely essential for the success of the organization of labour that it shall coerce, morally, if you please, membership in its organization? Mr. John Mitchell, a very high authority, says, "Yes," and indeed, says he, "Further, I believe the day will shortly come when compulsory membership in a labour union will be no more abhorrent to the American mind than compulsory vaccination."
In the very comparison which the gentlemen draws he suggests that which I wish to especially impress upon you, the dangerous political point of view which gradually creeps into the mind of organized labour, and which has succeeded in the diversion of it, and resulted in the evolution of itself from its original purpose, not merely to its modern purpose, but to the means that are so frequently used in its accomplishment. The comparison is apt. It is a comparison between the right of the union and the right of the state. Yet the state itself never exercises the right of compulsory vaccination except under the most unusual circumstances, and then under the authority of its sovereign power and for the protection of the public health. What voluntary organization has ever had the right to assert for itself a power co-equal with the state? Yet, if a man says those things he must think them, if he thinks them he must act along the line of his thought, and if you find a line of parallel reasoning that suggests continually, and by action implicates, at all times, the belief of a co-existent power and authority equal to that of the state, then you must assume that deep in his soul the leader must believe the thing which by parallel he would put into practice.
Is that thing essential to labour organizations? Cannot its beneficent purposes be accomplished in another way than by the coercive influence of membership? Is there no other means by which it can attract to itself the working men of every industry, by which it can make them desirous of availing themselves of its organization? Have we no practical answer to that question? The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, one of the oldest, one of the most powerful; certainly, conservatively speaking, the most influential labour organization of this continent today, is an organization which has frequently declared, and today declares, through the lips of its President (and the words are his), "That it is committed to the open shop policy." A strong remark for a labour organization, and what does he mean by it? Does he mean that he desires its members not to pay their clues, not to support their organization, not to shape themselves under the direction and suggestion of a single leader? Nay, he means simply this; that the members of his organization work, without question, beside any man who sits in the cab with them; that membership or non-membership in the organization is never enquired after or insisted upon by them. It means more than that, for he says: "We have found that coerced members are bad members, and that the organization that can exact an account of the character of its membership is the organization that attracts the finest mechanics, and makes for; itself the most powerful place in the industrial world."
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers today is a wonderful organization, an organization that is unquestionably accepted by American railroad managers as a standard by which to measure the qualifications of engineers, because it is as careful in selecting its membership as a manager could be in selecting his employees. It is an organization that has punished not merely the criminal acts of its members, but has punished their careless acts, their drunkenness on duty, their ignorance concerning their duties. Never in the course of its existence as an organization has it had a coerced member, but has kept high the standard of membership; and in raising the standard of efficiency has attracted to itself the men who wanted to be known as the best engineers and because in that organization a, union man means the best man. The railroads of America want engineers from the Railroad Brotherhood.
I have misread the business world of my country and of yours today, if it is not seeking for labour that is worthy of a high wage. I know that in any material department of industry a man who offers coal that produces 10, 20, 30 percent more power than coal which is in use readily receives 5 or 10 percent more for it, and I know with any individual employer, in the employment of a union or a non-union man, side by side, with any of the vast bodies of the manufacturers of the United States, the highest wages are paid to the most efficient workmen and that the industrial world quarrels today not with the high wages nor with short hours, nor with excellent working conditions, but quarrels with the attempt of the' unions to level men down and not up. It does not quarrel with a union scale of wages-if the organization can supply a union scale of men. It does quarrel with an attempt to make a ten dollar man meet a one dollar man on the compromise of five dollars-that robs one and improperly rewards the other.
That, gentlemen, is not merely a theory, but a fact. It is the declaration of Mr. Gompers that the unionism he directs is endeavouring by a union scale of wages to give to the men who otherwise could not earn so great a reward a larger proportion of the share of production, and lay it as a burden on the back of the better workmen-because that is an act of brotherly love. It is a queer thing, gentlemen, that in no other department of human life will we accept that as a doctrine of brotherly love. No man will divide his wage voluntarily with another except under conditions of compulsion. Without unkindness, we hold that the reward belongs to him who earns it, merit to him who deserves it, the palm to the victor. This nation and ours have not been built upon the attempt to level a man down, but to spur him on that he might win more than another. This has been the secret of the growth of our Republic, that has sent men into the wilderness; over the mountains; over the seas; that they might find for themselves opportunities to make the most of the gifts that God implanted in them; and the Almighty Creator made men individuals, he did not make them in collections; He made them equal before the law, unequal in all other things.
Then, gentlemen, if we are to meet an industrial problem of that character, how are we to do so? By a compromise? By saying, "Now, my friend, in order to make for better feeling between us, we will accept conditions which compromise our principles, which surrender the essential things in which we individually believe, which absolutely give away the fundamental principles upon which our government as framed and which support the whole structure of our civilization?" Fifty years ago, in our Republic, Abraham Lincoln said, "This nation cannot live half slave, half free, the house divided against itself cannot stand." The result of the war of the Rebellion gave proof to that historic assertion. The nation lived on, all free. Citizenship cannot carry out the purpose of the country if it is disunited, discordant, belligerent, in the fundamental, practical, every-day affairs of industrial government. Nations, like men, have souls, There is in every civil society, a dynamic force that, modified by the conditions of existence, differentiates one state from another and gives to each nation that striking collection of differing characteristics that constitute its individuality. Moved on by its own peculiar ideals, obligations, principles, sense of duty, our Republic has travelled through its short space in time; and stands forth because of these things for which it lives, one of the most original and striking personalities in the world. What doth it profit a nation if it gain the whole world, and lose its soul? What shall reward it for the material riches that fill its markets with the blending tongues of civilization and send its cities soaring in golden domes to the skies, more splendid than the cities of gold; what shall all these things profit it if the principles upon which its national life shall have been framed, be crumbled into the dust by discordant practice? Those principles are no longer the ruling spirit of its life, but theories upon which its fathers built.
Your fathers and mine stood for principles for which we stand, not because they were our fathers' principles, but because they were right principles. In all the history of time, with all the effort that human life has made to adjust government to the needs of men, with all the struggles for essential things that have flooded the map of the world with the blood of its best people, what has been the fruit? What have they fought for? Few and simple are the things: Freedom for the individual, freedom for his conscience that he might worship his God as he saw Him, freedom for his person that he might use it as God intended he should, freedom for the soul within him that he might make the personal contract that enabled him to dispose of that which belonged to him in the market where it was paid best. These, after all, are the simple things to which the whole effort of human life can be reduced, and what has been the fate of those nations that have disregarded the principles which were their life? It is the fate of the man from whose body the soul has fled. What today is the fate of that degenerate Roman that crawls among the catacombs, that wanders in the shadows of the Coliseum, compared to those great Caesars who built it 700 years ago? The crescent banner of Moslemism swept over Europe, and before it fell the proud armies of a dozen states, and in the mad fanaticism of his following Mohammed almost ruled the world. Today, degenerate, senile, disrupted, destroyed, he sits upon his narrow province; the "sick man of Europe." The Greek of Pericles, those isles of whom burning Sappho sung, that small collection of complex life that gave to the world its greatest literature and art, that sent out the men who held the pass of Thermopylae, the hardy Greek, before whom the civilization and the savagery alike of his day bowed, the one in admiration, the other in respect, is now a dismembered nation, its ancient ideals lost, its ancient principles dead; on the very scene of its greatest athletic triumph, the son of a nation of whom his ancestors never heard, to whom the name would not have meant even as much as the lost Atlantis, dashes home upon the race that rang down through history, a Canadian victor over a degenerate nation. (Applause.)
It is the tale of all time that nations, like men, cannot lose their principles and survive; that in the effort to answer the riddle of their own difficulties, the answer must be upon the line of their own principles. Compromise never won anything; surrender is defeat. It is he who grasps by his hand, who puts into the very depths of his soul the principle that he believes true, the principle for which his ancestors have given their life and their services, that makes the citizen of a nation that lives. And on the economic side of the question, today, as our President said, "It is the shots that hit that count"; it is the man behind the machinery that makes the industry. If we are to solve our industrial problems, it is not to be done by the carelessness or indifference that is the greatest industrial offence as well as the greatest political offence. If we are to make our industries great; if we are to hold the place we have won in the manufacturing world; if we are to develop the riches and the wealth of this wonderful empire of ours, they are to be developed by men whose characters have been builded by the forces they have met and won from. It is not to be builded by men dependent upon an organization for the reward of their skill, seeing before them examples of disobedience to law not merely tolerated, but all too often commended by their chosen leaders.
Chicago has passed through a period of criminal Unionism, the like of which perhaps no city in America, perhaps in the world, has ever seen. The very conditions described in Charles Reade's "Put Yourself In His Place," the very type of man that made Slackbridge in Hard Times," led a determined and fanatical movement to unionize Chicago even at the expense of human life; and in the recent proceedings in the Gilhooly case we have the evidence produced on the stand, as it has been produced in a dozen criminal cases, in a dozen parts of the United States, that men were not morally members of the Union who indulged in criminal acts, but that they were employed by the executive committee of the Union, paid the blood money to perpetrate the crimes which resulted in the maiming and the death of non-union men. If those cases were isolated, if they were exceptional, if they occurred but now and then, if they were not tolerated, if they were not tacitly approved by the leaders of Labour organizations, no man could justly hold this organization accountable for the acts of individuals; but when the officers of an organization pay for the doing of wrong things for which it is to be the beneficiary, then the moral responsibility for the commission of their acts and the legal expenses as well should be upon him who countenances the offence or stands by with mute lips.
I would not blame the organization for criminal acts of its members that it does not countenance, but the mere public statement that they are not countenanced, does not weigh in the scale of public opinion and public judgement--the act there, and the silence here. Where can you point to me in the Dominion of Canada or in any city' in the United States, a single instance where the criminal act of a member of a Labour organization done for the advancement of the interests of that organization, or its members, has been punished by the rebuke, by the suspension, by the fining, by the expulsion of the man who did it-not merely when it was morally certain that he had done so, but after he had been convicted by a jury of his peers in a court of the country, defended by the money of his union. A condition like that is a condition that calls for strong language, and even at the risk of being considered radical I dare to speak it. I believe that such a condition, such tendencies-not merely the condition itself, for that, after all, is not the most dangerous thing, because it may be exceptional, it may be isolated-when we see a tendency rapidly developing in every part of the country; it is properly deducible, not merely from the principles, but from even the milder practices which only stop not in quality but in force at the dead line of such acts; it is properly deducible that these are the tendencies toward which such conditions lead; and if you consider, gentlemen, what a strike means, you will realize why these principles tend in that direction.
A strike, we are commonly told, is a cessation of labour on the part of a number of men, for the purpose of obtaining some demand or requirement. It is accompanied, always, otherwise it could not be successful, by an attempt to persuade others not to take the place of the men who leave. That persuasion may be peaceable or not. So long as it is peaceable it is unquestionably right, so long as it is not accompanied by coercion or intimidation in which there is a threat of injury by person or property, no one can question the right of such persuasion. But a strike is an attempt to prevent the operation of business until the attainment of the strikers has been complied with. When men do not find the demand easily obtained, when they find their places filled, as the employer has the unquestionable right to fill them, it is natural, it is human, it is almost irresistible that men should yield to the tendency to attempt to use stronger means to prevent the taking of their places and -the breaking of the strike; but even though that tendency exists, even though that liability to abuse that right was one that the average human being would naturally easily perceive, we have yet no right to condemn the act even though it was subject to abuse, until we find it accompanied by exhortations, by declarations, by an attitude of mind toward the non-union men which puts him into a position .in which it is almost certain that, opportunity presenting itself, violence will follow to prevent the breaking of the strike; as it is certain that a man insulted in his religion will attack him who insults it, or believing it absolutely essential to the protection that he has been taught to secure the results aimed at, that a higher good and a greater good which has been preached into him and instilled there by practice, defends in his very mind the act which he commits.
And if you would produce a psychological state as broad as the movement of the principles and the individuals who gave them life, that produces in the minds of its men an honest, however distorted, belief that in the doing of that thing, as has been argued publicly by Union leaders, they were acting for the best interests of society, the individual who wants to work must give way to the benefit of the vast majority of men in their attempt to benefit themselves. It is only when we realize the insidious character of the forces at work, the powerful moral appeal that they make to the human mind and to the whole human being, that we begin to realize how tremendously important it is that these things should be corrected. On that subject it is our position that organizations of labour, moving along these lines, obeying the behests of that character of leadership, must be clarified of their abuses and excesses, or, in the language of the Anthracite Coal Commission, of the United States, "An organization that cannot accomplish its purpose, except by violation of the law and order of society, has no right to exist." That is not a declaration that unions have no right to exist. I believe that in the modern system of industrial organizations, the organization of labour is as necessary for its protection as the organization of capital; but I do not believe that the methods it pursues are essential, or that the state or the citizen can, with safety to himself or his interests, tolerate their continuance, or observe their growth with indifference.
For, gentlemen, we must realize once and for all that the power of nations does not lie in armies nor in ships of steel, but in the righteousness of their principles. It is the retention of the things for which our nations stand that make us a power in the world's life today. It is the influence of England, the United States and England's Colonies that has made for the progress of the form of civilization that we perceive today in its highest form, intellectually, morally and materially. That civilization is not based upon material progress; it is based in its convenience, in its comforts, in the thousand things that have made life easier and happier and have given comfort to the poor man, profitable opportunity to the rich man. All those things a material civilization has supplied; but the means by which that was produced, the forces that operated to bring about that condition were forces operating under moral conditions of the law, brought about by the acts of your ancestors and mine. It is the operation of that great series of moral causes that, beginning with the Magna Charta, have come down to us as the moral effort of the English-speaking race to better conditions among God's children. It is the spirit of loyalty to a British King and to that for which he stands that has made you progressive citizens of an Imperial Kingdom. It is the splendid things in English law that you brought with you into this country that are making this wonderful Empire blossom as the rose.
You have great problems before you, you have a rich and wonderful land here whose resources, large as we know them to be, are even beyond the conception and multiplication of human realization. You have before you the very same problem that the United States in part has met-the development of these great resources, the use of these enormous riches. You need for that purpose every single man fit to be a subject of the English King and a citizen of Canada that you can possibly bring into your domain. The test for entrance into the Dominion should be his evidence to be a proper citizen of your country, for you will not bring here human machinery, you will not bring here so much ability to wield a shovel or lift a pick. You are bringing beings who are adding to the moral and intellectual wealth of the state, who, by the work which they shall do in developing the Dominion, will make it one of the great forces in the world, and add to it their citizenship. They should be people who will give to their children that same loyal devotion to the Empire that sent the Scots Greys rallying upon the battlefield at Waterloo, that took the Scotsman of old and made him throw the heart of Bruce far into the centre of the fight; it is that spirit that has made your nation, that has made mine, and .we hope will control its future.
Perhaps one of the strongest critics of the institutions of the United States, was Herbert Spencer, and examining them carefully and critically he sums up all that I have hoped to bring home to you to-night, that " free institutions can be successfully worked only by men jealous of their own rights and sympathetically jealous of the rights of others." He would neither impose upon others nor permit others to impose upon him. We must always have our questions and difficulties, we must always have perplexities and puzzles; they are part of the law of human life, and all we can hope to do in meeting them is to meet them with the determination to solve them by the fixed principles that make up our individual national life. Although the winds may blow against us, although the storms of doubt and difficulty may sweep about us, though the lightnings may pierce the clouds and the thunders may roll over us, still shall we stand firmly, as have stood for thousands of years, those great structures of the Egyptian kings, the pyramids. The sun has scorched and cracked their sides, rains have beaten upon their stones, the lightnings have played about them, but still they stand.
The Hon. George E. Poster.--Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: I consider myself favoured in being present here to-night. I love a specialist, when he is a good one. If he is not a good one, but a crank, I do not have so much
respect for him, and, if there is a specialist in any department of human enterprise that I would go farther to hear than another it is a specialist in what you may call, for the lack of better terms, "The Great Industrial Problem"; so when I knew that Mr. Emery was coming I looked around to possess myself of a dinner ticket and I made a note in my memorandum to be here at 6.15 or as soon thereafter as it was possible, and I am very glad, Mr. Chairman, that I have been here. I am glad to have heard all Mr. Emery has said to us. He has opened up a great deal to us. We have been thinking some of these thoughts before, but it is wonderful how a speaker who has made them a study and has reduced them down to crisp and short methods of expression-how he opens up our minds like putting in a pry and making a little wider the train of thought that we may have commenced upon. Now our friend has done us inestimable good tonight, but I am not satisfied. I partake of that spirit which he has lauded so much, which never allows the world to rest, simply because the world is never satisfied, and I, as one unit of the world, cling to that, and am bound never to be satisfied.
This Club has another duty to perform. It has to bring Mr. Emery back again, and it has to set him loose upon the other side of this question. He has dealt tonight almost entirely in principles, and there are none of us who will quarrel with him for his setting forth of these principles. Never can these be too strongly brought before the people's minds, never too frequently and never too strongly. He has dwelt upon those principles. He leaves tomorrow and goes back, and those things go on and the abuses continue. Now what I want to suggest is that you bring him back some time, not too long from this, and set him loose upon the practical methods by which we are to encounter and overcome, and lead and guide and direct this thing so that we may arrive as soon as possible at the best state of industrial conditions. You see what I want. I want him to have an hour and a half on that side of the question, and then he will have performed to its completion the good work that he has begun tonight. I think, probably, a great deal of the trouble arises from the fact of a narrowness of the term labour. Service is the general condition of the universe, every man who is fit to live and every man who lives a life that is worth living is giving service of some kind. If he is not, he is not performing the work for which he was created, and the trouble, I think, or one of the troubles, is with the labouring man, and I am a labouring man, and so is my friend here; that it is narrowed down too much, and that when you speak of labour you confine it to but a small proportion of the people in this world who give service, of all the different kinds.
The philosopher in his study, the man in his laboratory, dried up with the fumes of his chemicals and almost without body because of the non-exercise of the physical part of him in the stern and strong work of prying into, and getting at things, in his laboratory, he is doing service. " Great goodness, what service he is doing." When through his laborious work he by-and-by comes at the centre of things and he liberates a power which was never known to have been under the hand of man before and throws it out to the world to thereby implement the work and produce development and add to the wealth and the health and happiness of the world; this man gives service, and so with every man in the world, in giving service of the body, of the heart, or of the mind. We narrow these things down where men who ride hobbies become tyrannical because they will not look upon labour as anything else than manual work. So I think if we had this term a little more generalized, and not brought down to the narrow place in which it is kept too much, we would have a better idea of the worth of labour and of the inter-dependence of labour and service of all kinds.
What my friend said in reference to indifference being the trouble, I believe is the reason of half the difficulty that takes place in labour organizations; it is the indifference of the many to the doings of the few. Now I have great faith in the labouring man. I believe that the average labouring man through and through, in every, class, high and low, is essentially an honest man, striving to get at the best results in the very best possible way, and I look upon it that a great many of the tyrannies and vagaries of Labour unions are due primarily to the fact that the majority of labouring men are indifferent. They do not attend their unions; and they do not exercise their influence upon their unions and thus in the end they are dominated by a few and allowed to be dominated by a few because of the indifference of many; so that, if we could have a throwing away of this indifference among the labouring unions themselves, so that we could get at the average sentiments of the whole of the unions that make up the Labour organization, we would have the restraining influence. But I am not here to attempt to add anything to the address which we have heard tonight. We have seldom, I think, heard an abler address. We have seldom spent an hour which, I think, has been more profitable to us.
I consider myself the debtor of the gentleman who has spoken tonight. In my position, as having something to do with the Legislative work of this country, I consider that these great industrial problems are the most difficult and harrowing questions which we have up in our Legislatures, and I welcome the advent and the opportunity of listening for even an hour to a man who has made these matters a specialty, and who can bring from his wide reading and experience, and crystallize in a few moments, in the space of a short hour, so much of what will be of benefit to all thoughtful men who are here. And I move, Mr. Chairman, which is a mere formality, that this Club tender its most hearty thanks to Mr. Emery for the splendid hour that he has given us to-night; and that we do not forget in giving him this vote of thanks that we will have a sort of lien upon him when he has leisure, the intention of which will not be allowed to relax at all until he comes back, and gives us another hour on that other side of the question, which, for my own part, I should like to hear even more than the part I have heard to-night, for, after all, this question will not down. It has to be solved, and although it can be solved very largely by public opinion outside the Legislative Chamber, my opinion is that it will obtrude more and more into the Legislative Chamber, and that ultimately it will have its final solution by the crystallization of the best sentiment into .law and statute and the regulation of the land.