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N. A. PLYMPTON sworn and examined.
By the CHAIRMAN: Question. State whether you have been conversant with election matters in the city of Worcester.-Answer. I bave been for quite a pum: ber of years.
Q. State the node of registration, and what facts, if any, came to your knowledge in regard to it in the election of November, 1878.-A. In tbe last election of 1878, our board of registrars in the city of Worces. ter was composed of three Republicans. No Democrats had been elected upon it. Previous to that when the assessors made up the roll, back in 1876, some fire bundred Democratic names were left off the lists. I was then on the Tilden campaign committee. I give that as an instance of their way of doing. The same policy was repeated last year. The names were left off then, and when we went to have them put on the list every obstacle possible, almost, was thrown in our way. For instance, in one case a man by the name of Hinchcliffe went before the board of regis. tration with his receipted tax-bill in his hand, stated to tbem that he had been a voter in the town of Millbury, in this State, for a number of years previous, and bad lived in Worcester for some time. They asked him if he had been born in this country, and he told them that he had come to this country when two or three years of age. They then told him he could not be registered unless he produced bis father's naturali. zation papers. He replied tbat his father bad remored to Nebraska, I tbink it was, and had died there; that he did not know what had become of bis father's naturalization papers, but that his father bad been natural. ized, and that be could produce evidence that he himself had been a voter in the town of Millbury, and was registered there. They then re. fused him his right to register. He came to me to get him a certificate from the town clerk of Millbury that he had been a registered voter in that town. I did as be requested, and received from the town clerk a certificate to tbat effect. I then went with hin before the board of reg. istration with the same result. I afterwards suggested to bim that he should drop into the other (the Republican) beadquarters on the other side, and see if his name could be registered or pot. After the election he told me he had been registered, and bad voted. But we, on the Democratic side, could not get him registered. There was anotber case, tbat of a German by the name of Riedle, which was an exactly similar case. I presume that during the time I was secretary of the executive committee last fall, there were more thau two hundred cases similar to that one that came under my knowledge, although I cannot particularize them now.
Q. Did Riedle also fail to register when taken to the board bs your committee I-A. He was taken there by our compittee, but failed to register.
Q. Was be registered by the Republican committee ? A. He was not. lle lost bis vote. There were many others in the same condition. I bare talked with them since the election, and particularly since the ex. citement bas come up this fall; they bare come to me again and asked me what the chances were about being registered.
Q. Had you supervisors and marsbals last year in the city of Worcester I-A. We had supervisors but no marshals.
Q. Were you in Worcester wben the meeting of the manufacturers tbat bas been detailed here by Mr. Tbayer anıl otbers was beld 1-A. I was.
Q. What was the effect of the announcement of the purpose of that
meeting upon the voters ?-A. The effect of the meating, as it was de. tailed 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 bold up before them that, if Butler is elected, or the policy be advocates prevails, it will be necessary to close our workshops and stop our busi. ness."
Mr. BLAIR. I object to this.
The CHAIRMAN. I asked the witness wbat the effect of it was, if he knew it.
Mr. BLAIR. Then let the statement which he bas made be stricken out.
The CHAIRMAN. If be got the information from employés ?
Mr. BLAIR. No; he got it from various sources. He states that he heard tbat the speakers said this.
The WITNESS. Men came to me and said that that was the drift of it, and asked me if I thought it was probable tbat they would lose their work.
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. Employés came to you and asked you this ?-A. Yes, sir; bat was the current understanding there, that what I have stated was ho 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, had 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 this reasou tbat they un. derstood that this meeting bad 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 knoir that there was any direct act of intimidation upon thein 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 tbe pumber, 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 who we rank as the property holders there are com. prised in our party. I should say that our vote there, in the Tilden elec. tion, 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.
Q. Are they mainly employed in the mills and factories 1-4. In ma. chine shops and corporations.
Q. How is the work there generally conducted-by individuals or by corporations ?-A. It is mainly by individuals and firms, not so largely. by corporations as in some other places.
Q. About three-fourths of the Democratic vote, then, you think, is of what you would call laboring ineu ?-A. I should say tbat tbat would be a safe estimate.
Q. What are the politics of the firms and employers generally wbo employ these men in Worcester 1-A. I think that about the same proportion would represent those of Republican proclivities among the manufacturers. At least three-fourths of those of the larger concerns in Worcester are Republicans.
Q. Have you any estimate that you can give us as to the number of Democrats who, by this action on the part of the manufacturers, were deterred from voting as they previously had expressed themselves !-A. I bare not, but I do know that a great many came to me expressing fear iu regard to it and apprehensions of what the result would be if they so voted. I bare no data from which I could say what was the proportion deterred from voting or anything of that kind.
Q. What do you know about the Whitinsville case ?-A, Ip the week before the election, having charge of that matter, I sent out the ballots to the towns in the ninth Congressional district, and, accompauying the ballots, I sent a private circular to the vote distributors, instructing them to report to me at once any cases of iutimidation, bulldozing, or anything of that kind. In response, I received on, I think, the second day after the election a pote from B. McSheehy, of Whitinsville, in which he detailed the case of Gagin (the witness who was here the other day) and one or two others. He said that that had an effect upon the men to this extent, that the rote did not come up to auything like what he liad reason to expect; as we had reason to expect two hundred and ninety-one men to vote for Butler, and we got but one hundred and forty-sis votes.
Q. Mr. McSbeehy had official connection with your organization, the Butler club?-A. He was president of the Butler club and was the man with whom I corresponded.
Q. Do you know anything about the registration in Templeton ?-A. In Templeton parties came to me asking whether discharged soldiers were under the same restrictions in regard to the reading and writing clauses as naturalized citizens. One man particularly who came to me I recollect now. His left arm was off. He told me he had been dis. charged from the Army, and produced his discharge papers. He said be had his naturalization papers under the law by being discbarged from the service and had been a voter in the town; that when he went to register they refused to allow him to register because he could not read or write; that he did not know but this was legal, but he wanted to find out about it. He told me there were fire or six cases similar to bis in that town, in which discharged soldiers had been refused permis. sion to register.
By Mr. BLAIR: Q. On that ground ?-A. On that ground, although they had been allowed to vote without challenge at all previous elections.
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. Do you know how these meu wanted to vote? -A. They wanted to vote for General Butler.
By Mr. BLAIR: Q. You speak of the boaril of registrars of Worcester. They were Republican last year 1-A. They were Republican last year.
Q. Give their names.-A. Samuel Utley, associate justice of the dis. trict court; William L. Clark, chairman of the board of assessors of the city; and, I think, L. A. Ely, another assessor, though I would not be positive as to him. The board consisted of three.
Q. They were chosen by wbom -d. By the city council, by election. Efforts bave been made to bare one Democrat on the board, but the Republicans bave steadily voted us down every time.
Q. How has it been in former years -A. We never had any since the present law for a board of registration until last winter. Last winter, the term of Judge Utley expiring, a Democrat was elected for tbe first time.
Q. This new registration law was enacted in 1874 ?-A. I think it went into operation about that time.
Q. You speak of five hundred Democratic names being stricken from the list.-A. That was in 1876.
Q. In the Tilden campaign 1-A. Yes; and there were as many more last year.
Q. In 1876, what success bad you in getting Democratic names ? A. We bad about the same trouble. Mr. Esterbrook, wbo was last year against us as an Abbott Democrat, who was chairman of our committee, endeavored to get our men on and met with the same obstacles.
Q. How many names, after you had endeavored to have them placeil on the list, and failed to bave them placed there, were afterwards put there by this little effort in navigating them to and through the Republi. can headquarters, in 1876 !-A. I think we got quite a number on in 1876 and quite a number last year.
Q. About how many in 1876?-A. I could not tell you, because it was not under my special charge then, but we found it very common among us when we had a man who had any difficulty in getting on, to let our Republican friends get him. In many instances it was successful.
Q. When be voted, he cast the regular Democratic ticket?-A. I think in every case the wen did.
Q. You never beard any complaint afterwards from any one because of their having done so, from employers or any one else ?-A. Certainly not; that was not a thing that was connected at all with the employers ; it was simply the registry.
Q. What was the name of the first man you mentioned with reference to 18781-A. Hinchcliffe. I do not know his first name.
Q. He was the man whose naturalization papers could not be ob. tained ?-A. His father's papers could not be obtained.
Q. You spoke of another.-A. The name of the other was Riedle, a German.
Q. Was this second man a foreigner?--A. He was born in the harbor of New York, on a steamer, after arriving in New York.
Q. What was the alleged reason of his exclusion ?-A. Because lie could not produce bis father's naturalization papers.
Q. The case of the second man was like that of the first, and there were many other similar cases !-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You did not succeed in getting bis case acted upon ?-A. I did not make any suggestions to him, because he was a man wbo, from his general appearance, they would not take.
Q. He did not look like a Republican ?--A. No; he did not.
Q. He did not look as much like a Republican as like a DemocratiA. Well, I suppose, as Democrats and Republicans, we are all supposed . to be very handsome.
Q. The first was a handsome man ?-A. I should say so.
Q. You state that there were two bundred similar cases. I did not quite understand what they were similar to.-A. They rere similar in
this respect, that whenever a man went there to be registered wbo ball come to this country when perhaps one, two, or three years old, or there. abouts, he was excluded from registering unless he produced his father's naturalization papers. That was the requirement.
0. Do rou tbink that the board applied a different rule in tbat respect to Democrats from what they applied to Republicans ?--A. I know that Republicans had no difficulty in getting on men whom we could not get on. I can not tell you how it was done.
0. Men whose cases on the Republican side were just like those on the Democratic side in all respects ?-A.-To my best judgmeut, I should say that they were.
Q. You say that this board of registrars laid down a different rule as to the production of the naturalization papers in different cases ?-A. I do not say that they did.
Q. Do you say that you believe that they acted under a different rule in certain cases ?-d. I say that I believe they acted under a different principle entirely in different cases.
Q. Escluding Democrats and putting on the names of Republicans, for political reasons ?-A. I think they were not so rigid in their requirements or their exactions upon Republicans as they were upon Democrats.
Q. Do you mean to say that they would admit a Republican wbo could not produce his father's naturalization papers and would exclude a Democrat who could not produce his father's naturalization papers, when in all other respects the cases were just alike ?-A. I say I cannot particularize cases, but I believe that to be the fact. I have been told by men that it was the case, and those were men who had been up there and bad been refused, and who. when they afterwards went there from the Republican committee, had their names put on without any appar. ent difficulty.
Q. Have you not the right to ask questions when men apply for registration ?-A. We did not do tbat. We simply take our men in, and the registrars question the men themselves.
Q. Suppose that you wanted to kuow whether a man could read or write?-A. Certainly we have.
Q. Why not question tbe men, then ?-A. We expected the board rould use us in common fairness, and would act as they were acting toward the others.
Q. You must bave observed at once that the board was not acting impartially in this respect ?-A. I did.
Q. And you knew of your legal right to call their attention to your request !-A. I was going to give you an instance of that.
Q. I ask you why, knowing that you had your right, you did not apply the test yourself ! -A. We did,.in one instance.
Q. But you did not as a rule?-d. We did not.
Q. You may now give any instance.-A. In one instance Judge Utley was asked why be did not question these men with as much severity as he did the others, and the man who asked the question was politely told to hold bis tongue; tbat they would attend to their owu business.
Q. I would suppose that in a free country a case of that kind would make you all tbe more diligent and disposed to insist upon your right?— A. We had no organized committee to act at that time, and we sent the men over.
Q. Do you not think that, as elections are run in this country, it would have been only ordinary prudence for you to bave had your committee there looking after the rights of paturalized citizens as in other