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tional lawyers as Judge David J. Brewer, of the
Supreme Court, Professor T. M. Cooley, of Ann
Arbor, Professor J. B. Thayer, of the Harvard
Law School, and the late Professor Austin Abbott,
Dean of the New York University Law School,
concur in the affirmation that there is no consti-
tutional difficulty in America. Lawyers equally
eminent in Great Britain are equally explicit in
the statement that no insuperable obstacle is pre-
sented by the traditions of that country. The
foundations are already laid in j^ast history for
such a tribunal for the settlement of questions
between Anglo-Saxon communities. Their legal
1 1 aditions and their political sjiirit are, if not iden-
tical, at all events of kin. Says Sir Frederick
Pollock : " The law of our English-speaking com-
monwealth, on which the sun never sets, is one law
in many varieties, not many laws which happen to
resemble one another in several particulars." The
movement in favor of such a tribunal has already
acquired a force greater than, at this writing, is
generally recognized by the public press. In the
United States, popular committees organized al-
most simultaneously, and without previous counsel,
in the winter of 1896, in the cities of New York,



INTERNATIONAL CONTROVERSIES. 265

Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago, led
to one of the most notable conventions ever held in
the United States. Convened that year in April,
at Washington, it was attended by eminent mer-
chants, lawyers, jurists, statesmen, and ministers,
who 'united in urging upon the government the
desirability and the practicability of such a tribu-
nal. In England, a similar movement has received
the endorsement of ^ler most eminent clergy and
publicists, and the semi-official approval of her
Prime Minister. In France, by a nearly unani-
mous vote of the Legislative Assembly, proposals
have been submitted to this country for a perma-
nent treaty of arbitration between the two coun-
tries. The Inter-parliamentary Union of Europe,
in which fourteen states were represented by mem-
bers of their respective j^arliaments, have formu-
lated a definite plan for the formation of such a
tribunal by the judicial representatives from each
nation for the purpose. These events, all occur-
ring during the twelve months ending July 4, 1896,
warrant the belief that the day is not far distant
when a Supreme Court of Christendom will be
established, and nations will "learn war no more."
Is the question asked. How shall the decisions
of such a court be enforced ? It is easily answered
by another, — How have the decisions of courts of
international arbitration been enforced? Not by
authority from above, but by authority from be-
low. As Daniel Webster eloquently pointed out
lialf a century ago, there is a power in pul^lie opin-



266 CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS.

ion.i Neither the United States nor Great Britain
would be sustained by its own people in refusal to
abide by the decision of an impartial tribunal in
which an issue between the two countries had once
been submitted by mutual agreement. As Profes-
sor John B. Clark clearly pointed out in a very
able address at the Second Annual Labor Mohonk
Conference, already referred to, and as Mr. Austin
Abbott had pointed out at the previous Confer-
ence, industrial interests are binding the nations
together. The suppressed hostility of labor to
capital tends in itself to unite both the capital-
ists and the laborers of different nationalities in
two jjreat international brotherhoods. Hostile to
each other, they are agreed in their common hostil-
ity to war, — the one, because it destroys capital ;
the other, because it paralyzes industry. If any
other method of protecting national honor and
national rights should be provided, industrial in-
terests would unite with the moral sense of the
people to compel its acceptance by submitting to
the judicial tribunal which was organized such con-
troversies as might arise, and acquiescing in the de-
cree of the tribunal when rendered.

Two causes provoke war, — one, human passion,
too hot and hasty to pause for consideration ; law
restrains such passion, and calls on the reason to
act ; the other, the absence of any other remedy for

^ Speech on the Revolution in Greece, in the House of Repre-
sentatives, January 19, 1824, Great Speeches of Daniel Webster,
ed. E. P. Whipple, p. ('>7.



INTERNATIONAL CONTROVERSIES. 267

real or fancied injustice ; law provides such other
remedy, and the passion dies for want of fuel to
feed it.

It is, indeed, sometimes said that there are some
questions which could not be submitted to such an
international tribunal. Would you submit, it is
asked, a question of national territory? Why
not ? Every individual citizen holds his land sub-
ject to the decision of a legal tribunal. Any other
citizen may bring ejectment suit against him ; but
his tenure is not weakened, it is strengthened, by
that fact. Land-ownership is safer in England
or America, where it is defended by an impar-
tial tribunal, than in Ashan tee-land, where it is
defended by the bow or the gun. Would you
submit a question of national honor ? Why not ?
Formerly questions of personal honor were left
to be settled by the duel. In Anglo-Saxon com-
munities the duel is abolished, and the honor of
the individual citizen, and the honor of his wife
and his children, is safer under the guardianship
of the law than it was formerly under the guar-
dianship of private battle.

The issue between war and law has been decided
by civilization in favor of law for the settlement of
all personal controversies. War has been brought
under law in international controversies, but the
consummation of Christian progress will not be
attained until law is substituted for war, reason
for force, the spiritual for the animal, Christianity
for barbarism.



CHAPTER X.

Christ's law for the settlement of contro-
versies: LABOR CONTROVERSIES.

In two preceding chapters I have endeavored
first to elucidate Christ's general instructions re-
specting the settlement of controversies, and, next,
to show the special application of these instruc-
tions to controversies between different nations.
In this chaj^ter I propose to show their application
to the controversies in the modern industrial com-
munity between the laborer and the capitalist. In
order to do this it is first necessary to trace the
history of these controversies, and show how they
have arisen and come to their j)resent threatening
proportions.

Individualism, or the doctrine of laissez-faire,^
as it is sometimes called, proposes, as the remedy
for our industrial ills, freedom of competition.

1 ^''Laissez-faire^ — a letting alone ; a general non-interference
with individual freedom of action ; the let-alone principle or
policy in government and political economy. The term was first
used in France to designate that principle of political economy
which would leave industry and trade absolutely free from taxa-
tion or restriction by government, except so far as required by
public peace and order. It has since been extended to include
non-interference by controlling authority with any guiltless exer-
cise of individual will." — Century Dictionary.



.^ETTLEMEXT OF LABOR CONTROVERSIES. 269

This was a great advance on feudalism. Under
the feudal S3^stein a few men owned the land.
Every landowner had attached to his land a
certain number of villeins, or peasants, and these
villeins were bound to do their lord's will ; and
he, on his part, was bound to protect them from
aggression. As this feudal system disappeared,
there emerged a philosophy, respecting the rela-
tions of laborers and capitalists, variously entitled
free competition, hfissez-faire, freedom of contract,
or, from the city where it was especially prominent,
the doctrine of the Manchester School. That doc-
trine, briefly stated, was this : Let the men who
want labor pay what they are willing to pay ; let
the laborers who want work take what they are
willing to take ; as a result, wages will adjust
themselves. Let every man who desires work to
be done offer what he is willing to pay for the
service to be rendered. Let every man who wants
to work, work for the wages that are offered to
him ; if he does not like the price, let him find
work somewhere else. If labor is left free, and
the employer buys his labor in the cheapest market
and the laborer sells his labor in the highest mar-
ket by free competition between laborer and em-
ployer, wages will adjust themselves.^

So long as individuals are dealing with indi-
viduals, this method works fairly well. There is
no great prospect at the present time, for instance,
that the housekeepers will combine together to fix

^ See ch. iv., especially quotation from Adam Smith.



270 CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL FROBLEMS.

the rate of wages which they will pay their cooks,
or that the cooks will combine together and de-
mand a certain rate of wages adjusted for them-
selves as a class ; and so long as there are a
thousand housekeepers wanting cooks, and a thou-
sand cooks wanting employment, there is probably
no better way to adjust the rate of wages than to
let the housekeeper offer the cook what wages a
month she thinks she can afford, and let the cook
take them or refuse them, as she pleases. But
individualism as the method of industry did not
long survive. Machinery was invented ; wherever
it was introduced, it put an end to individual em-
ployment and to individual industry. Work was
carried on under great roofs by great bodies of
men, and this necessitated an aggregation of
capital and a combination of employers.^ The
employers did not, at first, combine to gain an
advantage over the workingmen ; they combined
because it was not possible to do the work by
modern methods in any other way than by com-
bination. Instead of one man running his own
loom, or one woman working at home a spinning-
wheel, there were a thousand men in one cotton

^ " We get an increasing- concentration of the industry into
comparatively few works along' with the elimination of all em-
ployers not well supplied with capital. The number of spindles
and looms in England doubled itself between 1850 and 1890,
while that of factories only rose from 1,932 to 2,674 between 1850
and 1878, and then sank back ag-ain to 2,5o8 in 1890, though
the number of spindles simultaneously increased." L. J. Brentano,
Hours and Wages, in Relation to Production, p. 59.



SErTLEMEXT OF LABOR CONTROVERSIES. 1^7 1

factory, all working under one great captain of
industry, witli his lieutenants and his sub-lieu-
tenants. There was no longer free competition ;
no longer an opportunity for a workingman to
take a job or refuse it, as he liked. If he was
not satisfied with the wages that were offered to
him, he was absolutely powerless to resist the
combination of capital. An employer of labor
has a thousand men in his factory. He says to
himself : " I can take ten cents off the wages of
this thousand men ; that will give me one hundred
dollars a day more profit, 130,000 a year in divi-
dends. It is worth trying." This has been fre-
quently done. John says, " I cannot afford to
work for ten cents less a day." But what can
John do ? He has a home, a mortgage on it ; a
wife and children dependent on his industry. If
he abandons work, he must go tramping through
the towns until he can find some other great cor-
porate industry that is carrying on the work in
the same way, and has a vacancy for him. On
the other hand, the employer runs no risk. If he
discharges John he can find some one else, if not
to work at lower wages, at least to work at the
rate of wages he is paying now. He will have to
pay no more when John departs, and he may pay
less.

Workingmen discovered this. They found out
that capital was necessarily a combination, and
they said : '' We also must combine." Thus the
trade union arose. Some men have endeavored to



272 CHRISTJAXITY AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS.

trace the trade union back to the old guilds of the
Middle Ao-es, but there is no vital connection
between the two.^ The phrase " trade union " came
into existence about the year 1830, and the organ-
ization itself came into existence about the same
time. AVhat, then, is a trade union ? Primarily,
it is an organization of workingmen to promote
their own interests. It may have, and it often has
had, for its object, education, insurance, social
culture, social enjoyment, — matters wholly apart
from labor controversy. But it also very often
becomes a military organization, formed for pro-
tection, if not aggression, in controversies with
employers, — military in spirit, though not in
structure.^

1 " The supposed descent of the Trade Unions from the Medi-
aeval Craft Guild rests, as far as we have been able to discover,
upon no evidence whatever. The historical proof is all the other
way. In London, for instance, more than one Trade Union has
preserved an unbroken existence from the eig-hteenth century.
The Craft Guilds still exist in the City companies, and at no point
in their history do we find the slig-htest evidence of the branching-
off from them of independent journeymen's societies." — S. and
B. Webb, History of Trade Unions, p. 13.

- There is a popular impression that the trade union is formed
on the plan of all military org-anizations, and that the power is
intrusted to one or two leaders, who have authority to order a
strike, and that strikes are g-enerally so ordered, in spite of the
reluctance of the body of the strikers. There seems to be very
little real ground for this impression. Probably no writer on
economics in the United States has made as close and careful a
study of these org-anizations, or is as familiar with their constitu-
tions, as Professor Ely, and he says : " The surrender of personal
liberty is often regarded as a condition of membership in a trade
union, but this is little more than a fiction in the case of any



SETTLEMEXr OF LABOR COXTROVKRSIES. 273

When trade unions were first organized in Eng-
land, a vigorous attempt was made to destroy
them. First, Parliament passed laws prohibiting
them as conspiracy ; but the laws broke down and
were repealed. Then the capitalists banded to-
gether and resolved that they would employ no
man who belonged to a trade union. They suc-
ceeded in breaking up trade unions for a few
years, but the only result was new organizations
stronger than the old ones. The attempt to de-
stroy the organization of labor has been made in
England, under circumstances much more favor-
able to the attempt than ever existed, or are likely
to exist, in the United States, and the attempt has
proved an utter failure.^ The organization of

well-managed labor org-anization. Those who furnish capital
place its management in the hands of a few ; those who furnish
labor do so, though to far less extent. What Mr. Traut says of a
strike (in his excellent little work, Trade Union, London, 1884,
Kegan Paul, French & Co.) is true of most affairs of trade
unions: 'The idea that a strike depends upon the ipse dixit of
a paid agitator, or that if the men were to vote by ballot on the
question they would never consent to a strike, is conceived by
those only who do not know what a trade union is. In most
cases a strike is the result of action taken by the men them-
selves in each district, the executive having more power to pre-
vent a strike than to initiate one.' " — R. T. Ely, The Labor Move-
ment in America, p. 100.

In fact, in the history of strikes in America, the strike has
been probably quite as often due to the passion of a democratic
meeting, and ordered in spite of the protests of the leaders, as
induced by the passionate appeals of the leaders, ovei-ruling the
cooler judgment of the men. See, below, note on the organization
and history of the Knights of Labor.

1 "The right of the workingmen to combine and to form



274 CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS.

capital and the organization of labor are perma-
nent factors in the civilization of the future.

The trade union, then, exists, — sometimes a
combination of trades unions ; and the aggregation
of capital exists, often a combination of aggrega-
tions of capital. For when this process of organi-
zation once began, it went on increasing, so that
we had recently, for instance, all the great rail-
roads centring in Chicago united in one great
capitalistic organization, and the attempt made,
not altogether successfully, to unite all the rail-
road employees in one great labor union, and the
two engaging in a great trial of strength, dis-
astrous not only to them, but also to the entire
community.^

trades unions is no less sacred than the right of the manufacturer
to enter into association and conferences with his fellows, and it
must be sooner or later conceded. Indeed, it gives one but a poor
opinion of the American workman if he permits himself to be
deprived of a right which his fellow in England has conquered
for himself long since. My experience has been that trades
unions, upon the whole, are beneficial both to labor and capital."
Andrew Carnegie, Forum, April, 188G, p. 119. See, also, S. and B. .
Webb, History of Trade Unions, passim, for history of the unsuc-
cessful attempt to destroy them in England.

^ The history of these organizations is worth reporting a little
more fully, since it illustrates in a concrete case the nature of the
labor war. '' The General Managers ' Association included the
twenty-four railroads centring or terminating in Chicago. It was
formed in 1886. In its constitution the object of the Association
is stated to be ' the consideration of problems of management
arising from the oj^eration of railroads terminating or centring
at Chicago.' It further provides that all funds needed shall
be raised by assessments divided equally among the members.
There are no limitations as to ' consideration of problems ' or



SETTLEMENT OF LABOR CONTROVERSIES. 275

" The solidarity of labor " has come to be one
of the common phrases of our newspaper litera-
ture, and the conception that exists in the minds
of not a few men, especially of labor leaders, is an

' funds,' except the will of the managers and the resources of
the railroad corporations. Prior to the great strike in June, 1894,
the Association dealt incidentally and infrequently with wages.
But it fixed a ' Chicago scale ' for switchmen, covering all lines
at Chicago, and also prepared elaborate schedules of the wages
paid upon the entire lines of its twenty-four members. It was
deemed wise not to act upon this report, which, however, was dis-
tributed to the railroads in November, 1893, and ^cted as an
' equalizer ' of wages. Reductions were here and there made on
the different roads. It is admitted that the action of the Asso-
ciation has great weight with outside lines, and this tends to
establish one uniform scale throughout the country. The further
single step of admitting lines not running into Chicago into mem-
bership would certainly have the effect of combining all railroads
in wage contentions against all employees thereon." — Eeport on
the Chicago Strike, pp. 28-30.

" The American Railway Union was an association of about
150,000 railroad employees, as alleged, organized at Chicago on
the 20th of June, 1893, for the purpose of including railway em-
ployees born of white parents, in one great brotherhood. . . . The
theory underlying the movements was, that the organization of
different classes of railroad employees (to the number of about
140,000), upon the trade-union idea, has ceased to be useful
or adequate ; that pride of organization, petty jealousies, and
the conflict of views, etc., tend to defeat the common object of
all. and enable railroads to use such organizations against each
other in contentions over wages, etc. ; that the rapid concentration
of railroad capital and management demands a like union of their
employees for the purpose of mutual protection ; that the inter-
ests of each of the 850,000, and over, railroad employees of the
United States as to wages, treatment, hours of labor, legislation,
insurance, mutual aid, etc., are common to all, and hence all ought
to belong to one organization that shall assert its united strength
in the protection of the rights of every member." — Idem, p. 23.



276 CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS.

organization of all labor in one great army for its
own protection. Thus we have two camps, — capi-
tal gathered in corporations and in aggregations
of corporations, or trusts ; labor organizations in
trades unions, or in great conglomerate organiza-
tions, like the Railway Union, and the Knights of
Labor,^ and the International ; and every now and
then a bitter war breaking out between them in
what are called strikes.

^ " The Knights of Labor were org-anized in 1809 in Phila-
delphia, by Uriah S. Stevens, a elothing - cutter of that city. Its
first declaration of principles was made in 1878. The order has
undergone some radical changes since its principles were first
formulated. It grew rapidly, and its membership was at one
time nearly half a million. It has recently suffered a decrease in
membership through various causes, and in 1895 its membership
was estimated to be 150,000. It is represented in nearly every
State by its Local and District Assemblies. It was at first a
secret order, with many Masonic features, its obligations being in
the nature of oaths taken on the Bible. This secrecy and the
oath-bound obligations were abandoned in 1881, from which time
the real growth of the order dates. The order has a systematic
and methodical constitution of thirteen articles. Up to 1883 funds
for the support of strikes were raised by a tax on the members,
but in that year the strike laws of the order were made so
rigid that tliey practically amount to a prohibition of sti'ikes, so
far as the support of the order is concerned. The laws now in
force do not permit the support of a strike by the whole order.
Women are admitted upon an equal footing with men. All occu-
pations are embraced in the organization, except lawyers, bank-
ers, speculators, liquor-dealers : no man who derives any benefit
or income from the sale of intoxicating' drinks is allowed in the
order. The order consists of Local and District Assemblies and a
general convention of Delegates." See " Hist. Sketch of the
Knights of Labor," by Carroll D. Wright, Quarterly Journal of
Economics., January, 1887 ; Industrial Evolution in the United
States, by same author, pp. 245-263.



SETTLEMENT OF LABOR CONTROV ERiHEH. 277

What is a strike ? "A strike," says Carroll D.
Wright, 1 '' occurs when the employees of an estab-
lishment refuse to work unless the management
complies with some demand made upon it." It is,
therefore, simply an attempt on the part of the
workingmen to carry out by organized action what,
under the principle of the Manchester School, or
individualism, it was recommended they should
carry out in individual action.^ John says, I will
not work for ten cents a day less ; and John finds
that it is useless for him to say this alone, so he
proposes to the other nine hundred and ninety-nine
employees in this factory to make common cause.
An injury to one is an injury to all : let us all
agree that we will not work for ten cents less a
day. And when all have made a common cause.



1 C. D. Wrig-ht, Industrial Evolution in the U. S.. p. 293.

'^ " A strike is a concerted susj)ension of work by wage -workers
of either sex in the employ of wage-payers, for an alleged non-
fulfillment of a contract, or as a protest at the alleged imposition
of new demands ; or for the sake of obtaining some benefit, de-
clared to be deserved on account of new conditions in the line of
industry pursued, or in the cost of living ; or for the correction of
personal offenses against wage-workers, especially females, com-
mitted by the managers or their subordinates. . . . That any
number of men in this country have a right to combine, organize
and act together for the lawful promotion of their convictions, or
tlieir common interests, ought by this time to be beyond dispute.
There is something absurd in setting about proving what nothing
but impudence could deny. If a number of men may combine to
raise or keep uj) the price of oil, Avheat, or sugar, then there may
be a union to raise or keep up the price of labor.'' — Strikes : the
Right and the Wrong, by F. D. Huntington. S. T. D., LL. D.,
Bishop of Central New York. E. P. Dutton it Co.


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Online LibraryLyman AbbottChristianaity and social problems → online text (page 18 of 25)