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56th Congress, ) SENATE. j Document

id Session. ) (No. 58.





MARCH 23, 1900,


December 20, 1900. — Ordered to be printed, to accompany S. 4233.

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Committee on the Judiciary,

Friday, Ma/rch 23, 1900,
The Committee on the Judiciary this day met, Hon. George W. Ray,
chairman, presiding.

The Chairman. We agreed to give a hearing this morning to Mr.
Gompers, who is to be here, and some other gentlemen who desire to
be heard regarding a bill. Can you tell me the number of it?
Mr. Morrison. It is H. R. 8917.

[H. R. 8917, Fifty-sixth Congress, first session.]

A BILL to limit the meaning of the word "conspiracy" and also the use of "restraining orders
and injunctions " as applied to disputes between employers and employees in the District ofColum-
bia and Territories, or en^ged in commerce between the several States, District of Columbia, and
Territories, and with foreign nations.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America
in Congress assembled, That no agreement, combination, or contract by or between
two or more persons to do, or procure to be done, or not to do, or procure not to be
done, any act in contemplation or furtherance of any trade dispute between employ-
ers and employees in the District of Columbia or in any Territory of the United
States, or who may be engaged in trade or commerce between any Territory and
another, or between any Territory or Territories and any State or States, or the Dis-
trict of Columbia, or with foreign nations, or between the District of Columbia and
any State or States, or foreign nations, shall be deemed criminal, nor shall those
engaged therein be indictable or otherwise punishable for the crime of conspiracy if
such act committed by one person would not be punishable as a crime, nor shall
such agreement, combination, or contract be considered as in restraint of trade or
commerce, nor shall any restraining order or injunction be issued with relation
thereto. Nothing in this act shall exempt from punishment, otherwise than as
herein excepted, any persons guilty of conspiracy, for which punishment is now pro-
vided by any act of Congress, but such act of CSongress shall, as to the agreements,
combinations, and contracts hereinbefore referred to, be construed as if this act were
therein contained.

The Chairman. Are the gentlemen here who desire to be heard
regarding this proposition ?

Mr. IVfoRRisoN. Mr. Chairman, as representing the Federation of
Labor, we have here Mr. Darrow, who would like to be heard.

The Chairman. What is your name ?

Mr. Morrison. Frank Morrison, secretary of the American Feder-
ation of Labor.

The Chairman. Where do you live?

Mr. Morrison. 423 G street.

The Chairman. Who are the other gentlemen?

Mr. Morrison. The others are Mr. C. S. Darrow, of Chicago, 111. ;
Mr. Thomas I. Kidd, of Chicago, vice-president of the American Fed-
eration of Labor; Mr. John B. Lennon, of Bloomington, 111., treasurer
of the American Federation of Labor; Mr. Max. Morris, of Denver,
Colo., vice-president of the American Federation of Labor, and Mr.


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Andrew Furuseth. I will state that we expect Mr. Gompers, presi-
dent of the American Federation of Labor, and Mr. Mitchell, another
vice-president, here at a later date.

The Chairman. We will hear them when they come. You must
recollect that you have only an hour and a quarter, and you gentlemen
must divide the time among yourselves.

Mr. Morrison. I will ask that Mr. Darrow be heard.


Mr. Darrow. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, 1 do
not know what your rules are as to how long you want to hear one. I
prefer, if any of you wish to ask any questions in reference to what our
people desire, to have you do that at any time.

The Chairman. Let me remind you that the House meets at 12
o'clock and I suppose the members of the committee will want to be
present at the meeting of the House and you will have to bear your-
selves accordingly.

Mr. Clayton. 1 suggest that they divide the time among themselves.

Mr. Darrow^. If you gentlemen have that much time; I assumed
you had considerable other business, and we would not have all that

The Chairman. Make your remarks as brief as possible. We have
other business, but we want to give you all the time we have at our

Mr. Darrow. This bill as presented is meant, I take it, to provide
against what the working people think are very flagrant violations of
their personal liberties and their personal rights by the issuing of
injunctions in the various Federal courts of the United States. This
matter has grown to an alarming extent within the last few years, to
an alarming extent to all the people who believe these injunctions are
wrongfully issued, and certainly to an amazing extent from whatever
view of the question you may take.

Commencing with the great railroad strike in which the Debs
injunction was issued, and running on down to the present time, there
is scarcely a labor trouble of any consequence anywhere in the United
States but what the first act of tne employer is to rush off to the court
and get an injunction. In the Debs case, which is, perhaps, a typical
case, and it can be referred to because it was typical, a blanket injunc-
tion was issued, somewhat uncertain in its terms, but still it could
fairly be said to have been an injunction issued a^inst Debs and all
his associates, and all other people whomsoever, specifically mentioning
every officer and director of what was called the American Railway
Union, and perhaps a hundred other men, and then with a general
clause of all other people whomsoever, and this injunction was served
by serving copies, by publishing it in newspapers, by tacking it on
telegraph poles and freight cars, and in every possible way, and the
court held that everbody was under injunction, and they are bound to
obey it. It was served by reading it to a great crowd of people,
strikers and others, who had assembled where there was trouble and
difficulty. It was not an injunction which, properly and rightfully
construed, meant to enjoin these men against committing any act of


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violence. At the same time all these people were indicted by the
grand jury — the Federal grand jury.

After a few weeks a hearing was had before the court as to whether
this injunction had been violated. Judge Woods on hearing found
that it had been; that Mr. Debs and his associates had violated this
injunction. No effort was made to punish any person excepting
officers of the American Railway Union. While nobody contended
that any single member of this organization had committed any offense
or any overt act of any sort, it was contended, and truthfully, that
some other people had committed some offense, yet no effort was made
to enforce this injunction against any person excepting the officers of
the American Railway Union, simply because this prosecution was in
the hands of the officers of the railroad company who had been
appointed special agents by the Government, and the object and pur-
pose of it

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. You say ''prosecution.'- Do you mean the
injunction proceedings ?

Mr. Darrow. The injunction proceedings. It was a prosecution
under the Sherman Act, which provided that the Attorney-General
might tile information

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. That is, the antitrust law?

Mr. Darrow. Yes ; the antitrust law. A bill was filed under that act,
and Mr. Edwin Walker was appointed special counsel for the Govern-
ment in Chicago, and he at the same time was general counsel for the
General Managers' Association, which in(4uded every railroad center-
ing in Chicago, so it is safe to say that he was there in a dual capacity,
as representing the railroads to use what power the Government could
give him to put down the strike; and, secondly, as the special agent of
the Government to enforce this law against the men he was after.

Judge Woods held in that case that these men were all guilty of
contempt, although not one man had ever been present where any
unlawful act was done; not one word was ever proven that anyone
had ever spoken a word counseling any unlawful act, or written let-
ters, or sent a telegram, and that every single word that they had
uttered had been in favor of observing law and peace. On the trial
of the case, which lasted three weeks, just before it closed, a juror was
taken ill and we, on the part of the defense, asked to proceed with
eleven jurors, which the Government refused promptly to do, and
compelled a continuance of the case. The next term we were ready,
and they refused to prosecute, and dismissed the case. I undertake to
say that no jury could have been found that would have convicted
one of those men; that there was not one single fact — one single fact —
upon which to warrant a conviction, not one; but the matter was
decided by the judge instead of by the jury. It was brought to the
Supreme Court of tne United States upon a writ of habeas corpus.

The only (question that the Supreme Court could examine was the
question of jurisdiction; as to whether the men were rightfully con-
victed. That question was not examined and passed upon by the
Supreme Court of the United States. Those men were enjoined purely
and simply from committing a criminal offense. If they did anything,
it was the commision of a criminal act, arid a criminal act only. The
commission of assault and battery

The Chairman. You are mistaken about that, I think. The Supreme

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Court of the United States decided the case upon the simple and sole
question as to whether or not a public highway carrying interstate
commerce and the Unite States mails was obstructed by what amounted
to a nuisance.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. What is the title of the case?

The Chairman. And the court below decided it was so obstructed,
and that obstruction interfered with interstate conmierce and the trans-
^rtation of the mails, and they held that the courts of the United
States had the right to restrain and prevent such obstruction by an

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. What is the casc?

Mr. Darrow. The Debs case.

The Chairman. The case is In re Debs (158 U. S., p. 564).

Mr. Darrow. In that case the Supreme Court held rightly that they
had power to inquire into the question whether the conviction was
right or wrong, whether there was any facts that would warrant the
decision of the circuit court who decided this case

The Chairman. That is, whether or not the injunction had been

Mr. Darrow. Yes; whether the injunction had been violated or not.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. Was that a new proposition peculiar to this case,
or is it not general?

Mr. Darrow. I think perhaps it is a general proposition upon the
writ of habeas corpus.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. You do not state that anv exception was made
in this particular case?

Mr. Darrow. No; excepting this is under procedure in a Federal
court, and in these courts you can not appeal and the judgment is
final. In most of the State courts, perhaps not all, but in ours an

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. That is statutory; you would not have any if the
statute did not give it to you?

Mr. Darrow. No.

The Chairman. The Supreme Court in that case expressl}^ held and
decided that the court never interfered by injunction to enjoin the
commission of a crime as a crime, but only used the power or remedy
where property rights were being interfered with and there was no
adequate, luU, and complete remedy at law.

Mr. Darrow. There were no property rights in any way interfered
with on the part of the Government in this case. It was a simple,
flimsy excuse, such as can be gotten up in any case that arises when
the court wants to act.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. Were there such allegations?

Mr. Darrow. In the bill, possibly, as to the United States mails, but
when the troops were sent to Chicago

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. You do not mean to say that no property was
interfered with in connection with that?

Mr. Darrow. No United States property, no property of the
Government of the United States. The United States Government
would have no right to take an appeal under this act because the
property of some specific railroad was interfered with.

Trie Chairman. The Supreme Court of the United States expressly
held in this case that the property of the United States was interfered
with. They expressly held tnat the Government of the United States


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has property rights in the mails. I have been all through this case
careiuUy in investigating the trust question, and I have called attention
to that case because I wanted the argument directed to the point of the
case as connected with your bill. I simply call attention to that.

Mr. Darrow. It is entirely right, and 1 am glad to have you do so.
The Supreme Court of course held the facts as charged in the bill —
nothing else. There is no discussion of evidence ; no record coming
up here. The case came to the Supreme Court upon practically the
bill, upon the theory that the United States Government upon their
bill had no jurisdiction. The Supreme Court held, among other things,
that there was an allegation in the bill in reference to tne obstruction
of mail ; but, while there was such an allegation, and while Judge
Woods, in deciding the case, said he supposea the United States Gov-
ernment owned the mail bags and had property interest in the mail
bags, still there was no claim upon anybody's part that any mail bag
was interfered with or anything of that sort, and when the Federsd
troops were sent to Chicago they were all sent to the stock-yards dis-
trict, where there were no mail trains and nothing except the strike.
That course was not taken on account of any mail ; it was taken because
it was a great strike ; that is all. It is very easy, as all you gentlemen
know — most of you, I take it, being lawyers — it is verj^ easy for courts
to give good excuses for any act which they are willmg to justify or
think they ought to justify.

Mr. Alexander. Do I understand there were no mail cars and no
mail trains interfered with in any shape or manner during that strike?

Mr. Darrow. There was some claim that by reason of the strike
mails were delayed.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. Was it not an absolute fact that they were
delayed ?

Mr. Darrow. No doubt

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. And delayed how long?

Mr. Darrow. The longest was once, I think, ten or twelve hours.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. In other words, traffic was absolutely interrupted
at times?

Mr. Darrow. Yes, sir; by reason of the strike.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. And designedly and intentionally so?

Mr. Darrow. No doubt. There was, gentlemen, a strike

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. For the specific purpose of interrupting traffic.
That is what its object was, and it succeeded in its purpose to a certain

Mr. Darrow. Certainly. The railroad employees inaugurated a
general strike. They had what they believed was a just cause; that
is, there was a question between Pullman and his employees. They said
that so long as the Pullman Company carried on its business in the way in
which it was carrying it on that they would refuse to haul the Pullman
cars, and until the railroads would cease hauling the Pullman cars they
would not work; and of course it did result, in many instances, in stop-
ping the mails, in stopping traffic; there is no doubt about that, and
that was the object, as you suggest.

Mr. Alexander. Let me ask you. There are some trains made up
exclusively of mail cars and no day coaches or Pullman coaches. Were
those trains interfered with during the strike? I simply ask for


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Mr. Darrow. No; in almost every instance, in every instance, there
was no train that did not have a Pullman car attacked.

Mr. Alexander. My question is, were those exclusively mail trains
interrupted or delayed at any time during this strike in Chicago?

Mr. Darrow. 1 would not pretend to answer you without knowing
exactly about it. I do know they offered to haul any mail trains and
in every instance the railroad companies persistently refused.

Mr. Alexander. Persistently refused to do it?

Mr. Darrow. Refused to do it, and persisted in putting mail coaches
behind Pullmans.

Mr. Alexander. In other words, doing business as they had been
doing business right along all the while?

Mr. Darrow. Yes; and these men insisted on striking, as they had
the right to strike. I take it it is too far along in the discussion of this
problem for anybody to say that a great body of men have not the
right to strike whenever they see fit, no matter whether it delays traffic
or not. That is an incident upon the one side. The capitalist organ-
izes, and he has a right to do it to a certain extent under the law, and he
does it whether he has the right or not; and, on the other hand, the
laboring men organize, and whenever workmen think they can get
shorter hours, get more pay, or to redress any grievances, real or fan-
cied, they have the right to strike.

Mr. OvERSTREET. Is uot the controversy, not what you have just
indicated, a controversy in regard to the right to strike, but was it
not a controversy on the point of the right to interfere with those who
wanted to work on the part of the strikers. I quite agree with the
gentleman that the labor men have a right to strike, but now those
gentlemen go further and say in their right to strike they have a right
to interfere with others?

Mr. Darrow. You mean by physical force? No; I. would say we
have no such right

Mr. OvERSTREET. Was not that question raised in this strike that
you are now describing?

Mr. Darrow. Beyond a doubt it was raised — beyond question.

Mr. OvERSTREET. Was it not so much a question of privilege to
quit work as the question of the right to interfere with others?

Mr. Darrow. A gentleman here raised the question of whether the
result of the strike was to tie up the mails, ana to that question I will
say it was. Now^ as to your question. Of course, the law is that a
man may work if he sees fit, whether he belongs to a union or not. I
may go to him and say, ''The good of myself and my comrades
demands that you do not work and take my place." I can use moral
suasion as far as I can, but I can not lay m}'^ hands on him. Suppose
I do; then what? Then, we insist, it is for the police power of the
Government to deal with it; nothing else. We are not here before
this committee nor Congress with this bill upon any theory that the
workmen have a right to stand any differently from any other body
of men — they do not — or that they should be exempt from obedience
to any criminal statutes of the United States, or any State of the Union,
but that when they are charged with a crime they should be tried like
everybody else — by a jury of their peers — and not sent to jail by order
of courts, as has been done over and over again in the United States
courts, and is being done every day.

Mr. Alexander. Simply for contempt?


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Mr. Darrow. Yes; for contempt. In this imrticular case these
men were indicted for the very act that was enjoined

Mr. Kahn. Will the gentleman permit? Is there a law in any State
of the Union which gives a man pronounced guilt^p^ of contempt a
trial by jury? Is it not always an act of the court in judging tnem
guilty of contempt?

Mr. Fleming. The State of Illinois passed a law saying that the
question of contempt should be submitted to a jury.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. Independent of Special legislation?

Mr. Darrow. There are a number of States, but let me say as to
that, it will not do, gentlemen, to say simply that

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. Are you quite correct in calling it a crime in a pop-
ular sense or a legal sense? A man is imprisoned if he does not obey
the order of the court, but are you quite correct in designating it as a
crime? I mean that the offense of contempt, of course, is punished by
imprisonment if he does not obey the order. That is the theory upon
which it goes; he is punished either by a fine or imprisonment.

Mr. Darrow. They punish an act, which act constitutes a crime
under the penal code.

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. The only reason this can be done is because they
are assumed or they are proven to have violated some order of the court.

Mr. Darrow. To be sure, as for instance

Mr. Fleming. And always in connection with the protection of

Mr. Darrow. As for instance, I say to the court

Mr. LiTTLEFiELD. While the order may be based on some act which

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