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am not against large fortunes -I would like to be worth a million myself. I think that would be all right. But it is allowing any one man in a lifetime to build up a fortune of two hundred million dollars, and the people are going to find some remedy for this thing, I am certain, and it may be either ultimately in the control by the government of these railroads, or, if that won't do, in their ownership, if some other means cannot be speedily devised.
MR. LEUDERS-Mr. President and Gentlemen: By paying close attention to the reading of the two papers, I could see a very close relation in the subject-matter of the two. The first paper, by Mr. Shepard, dwelling upon the Constitutional limitations of municipal indebtedness, brought to my mind very vividly some of the subjects that were considered in the second paper, and sitting here, and reflecting upon the two papers, I am somewhat forced to the conclusion that the time is becoming ripe very rapidly that the government is going to take hold of the railroad systems and other great enterprises of public utility and of public necessity, and just as my friend, Brother Walker, has said-going to the constitutional provisions upon that subject, and I simply want to allude to this, that we have in this State of Washington - and I believe it is the duty of the Bar to stand up for the Constitution and for its construction as it was written and as it was adopted by the peopleyet in this great State of Washington, in some three or four decisions that have been cited by Mr. Shepard, he has shown here that municipalities in the State of Washington have almost been ruined by creating an indebtedness for the purpose of purchasing waterplants, electric light-plants, and various enterprises of that kind; and the Constitution has practically been set aside by the reasoning of the Court, by saying that any tax that is levied for the purpose of defraying the expenses of that kind of an enterprise is not a tax upon the people, and therefore not limited by the Constitution. Now, we look around us here, and we see street pavements, sewer systems built in the city of Seattle, in the City of Tacoma, or in any of the large cities, at the expense of the property owners, and maintained by the municipalities. Why? For the purpose of public convenience, and for no other purpose. We have good highways that are maintained by the municipal government, not only in the cities, but in the country, in the counties and in the districts,
and we have advanced step by step until this matter of municipal ownership of certain enterprises which are designed for the public benefit have been taken hold of by the people, and the people have been taxed to maintain and keep them. If these preliminary steps have led to any benefit- and no one complains of them to-day I hope that if the abuses that have grown up in this country do uot stop, we will soon go on and take up the system of municipal ownership of railroads - yes, telephones and the telegraphic systemstelegraph companies, if it is necessary, and I believe it would be a good thing. I am glad these papers have been read here, and I say both of them reflect great credit upon the Bar, and I think we ought to study these questions, and if we are not of the opinion, politically or civilly, that the government should take hold of any of these enterprises, let us freeze to the landmarks of our Constitution; let us not deviate from public necessity, for whenever we are doing that we are losing our landmarks and we are drifting along, and public necessity will take a firm hold, and the people will see that public necessity is carried out.
MR. HARDIN - Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Bar Association: The time is coming when there will be insisted upon some solution of this question. I agree with Mr. Walker that the building up of immense fortunes of that kind in a country such as ours is a crime against the people; that a remedy ought to be found for it; but it does not seem to me that the government ownership of railroads is the right or the proper remedy. Like Mr. Rowell, I hope I shall never live to see government ownership of telephones and "hello girls."
If I gather the statistics rightly from the paper of Judge Hodg don, there are some 870,000 employees of the railroads of this country. If you turn over the operation of the railroads to the government, I think most any man who has watched the operations and tendencies of the government in this country will agree that the number of employees necessary to carry on that work would speedily be increased to over one million. It will thus carry into the operation of the government a roll of office-holders of almost one million in number. Now it seems to me that that is a mistake; that that is a definite extension of the powers of government into private affairs a policy that would be dangerous in its tendency and
And I don't agree with the
that ought not to be entered upon. gentleman with reference to the operation of the postal system by the government. I think that that was a matter entered upon by the government because there was no one else to take hold of it. There was no other way to carry out the postal system or inaugurate the postal system at that time, except by the government.
We have had one illustration of the tendency of the government with reference to byways and highways. Every one will agree that it is the duty of the government to give to this country, either through a national system, or state system, or some system, public roads and what have we got? What did they do along that line? Would we ever have had a railroad system such as we have, with all of its benefits and with all of its advantages, if this matter had been under the control of the government from the beginning? Unless we had given full scope to private enterprise and to private invention and to the business ability of the citizen, would we have had the railroad system that we now have, with all of its extensions, improvements and facilities for public use and for public commerce? I don't think we would. It seems to me that now the railroad system is yet in its infancy; that there are yet immense improvements that can be made. Will we have them if the gov
ernment takes control of them; if we take from the citizen that incentive which he derives from the control of the results of his own skill, ability and invention, will we have any further extension of the benefits of the railroad system, such as straightening out the curves along the line, and making a straight line from post to post? It seems to me we had better leave these things to be worked out by the individual citizen, in his individual capacity, allowing him to reap the benefits of them in doing so.
MR. PRATT Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Association: I was very much edified by the points made by Mr. Rowell in speaking on this subject. This is a very appropriate place to discuss the question. There are times, when called upon to discuss this question, when it is almost dangerous to do it without incurring the risk of being denounced as a tool of corporations. Now I am glad to have an opportunity of talking in such a presence, and where one's motives cannot be misconstrued. I think it is a
most dangerous thing - the idea of public ownership of what is called public utilities, or for the municipalities or government to engage in business in any way. The idea of government in this country is that the people should send representatives from time to time, to a common place, for consideration and consultation, and that laws should be passed for the government of the whole country. It was never contemplated that this country should go into business as a whole. Now it is dangerous in principle and it is dangerous in practice, and almost impracticable in practice. It is a marvel to me that men who are crying out against imperialism should be the most earnest in advocating a system which would inevitably lead to a system of imperialism. We would have, as one of the speakers has pointed out - we would have a million additional emissaries of the government. At the present time, the employees of railroads and of corporations, it is notorious, are divided, and that a corporation, under the secret ballot, cannot depend upon the votes of those employees, but that, on the contrary, their opposing interests frequently induce them to vote against the corporation. If they were employees of the government, and their places depended upon keeping the Party in power, they would vote with that Party, and then we would have an autocratic system; we would have an office-holding oligarchy. And we see every day an illustration of the difference between private ownership and public ownership, in a public way. A short time ago we were in the throes of a municipal election. Politics were running very hot, and people were intensely interested in the outcome of the election, and during that time a private corporation was constructing a street-car system- practically constructing a street car system in this city. Now I saw, during all that campaign, the work progressing. I observed that everything was conducted systematically. At every few feet there were so many men employed; to each little work cart were so many men, and so throughout the whole system; every man's time was being properly employed so many men to a cart, so many men to a shovel, so many men to a section, and so many men to supervise them. Every dollar that was put into that road was put in there to stay; not a cent was wasted. Now I thought to myself-I wondered how it would be under municipal ownership, which was then being dis
cussed, if, in the midst of this excitement, it were possible to put on an unlimited number of men -to bring them here and employ them at a dollar and a half and two dollars a day. You see that is a very important factor. I want to tell you that that very thing happened in this city only a few years ago, without any public ownership. We were laying down sewers, and two weeks before election they were packed so closely they could hardly move their shovels. Now I don't want to cast any reflections. I know what you are laughing at, if I am not mistaken
MR. JONES Mr. President, I would like to ask Mr. Pratt who cut the stick.
MR. PRATT - That is a fair sample, you see, from the illustration and comparison of the two systems. 1 was going to say that on a larger scale it is impracticable, and has been found so in the European countries, to which reference has been made by the reader of this paper. Now he has spoken of their advantages. He has spoken, for instance, of the low rates, and he has spoken of the three classes. Now, you know, we have here no classes. We all want to ride in the same class. But in Europe, I want to say, he has made no reference whatever to the disadvantages. Why, the American system of railroads is infinitely superior to that of any in Europe. We travel faster; we have better conveniences, and we have, considering the expenses, very low rates. He said nothing of labor. The paper said nothing about the wages that are paid in Europe. He said nothing about the long hours the men were employed; and while he has referred to a few instances of men being compelled to work very long hours on our system, those are extreme cases, that would be likely to arise under public ownership. But those are the disadvantages which he has described; they are disadvantages under which they labor. Those are all matters which can be controlled by the public by proper legisla tion, and to my mind there is no doubt about it, that the people can better regulate and compass by laws-by taking an interest in the subject and attending to the passage of laws, than by undertaking themselves to run the railroads.
JUDGE JACOBS Mr. President and gentlemen of the Bar Association: I rise a good deal on the principle announced by my friend Ronald.
I rise especially to propound this question: Where are