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rush business in certain seasons of the year, and several States except canneries from their general labor laws.
Senator CLAPP. I have seen a great deal of child labor legislation in a good many years, but I have never thought of the southern cotton mills particularly. It was the industrial condition in the East largely, and throughout the country generally, but your viewpoint, that it is the suprosed condition in the South that is back of the forces behind the bill makes very plain and very reasonable this discussion of the southern cotton mills situation. I am glad you explained it.
Mr. KITCHIN. As appears in these reports, it is known that it will have very little, if any, effect upon the factory conditions in the East, because they will tell you that they have practically what this bill aims at already. It was repeatedly stated, for instance, that it is practically the Massachusetts low; but the working conditions in the Eastern States, Boston, New York, and other places, are not affected directly, and if affocted indirectly, it is only in a very slight degree, because the worst conditions are in the sweatshops.
Senator CLAPP. I am very glad to hive your explanations, Judge, because I confess that yesterday it looked to me as though we were desling with a subject here that it was not necessary to deal with.
Mr. PATTERSON. There is one matter that I do not think is generally understood, but it is a fact nevertheless, according to the Labor Commissioner's fgures. There is only 1 child out of every 16 who is working at gainful occupations in North Carolina in the cotton mills. Another thing that I think we will all recognize is the fact that it is an attack that has been concentrated upon the cotton mills. I think I am perfectly safe in saying that of all the articles you have read, that have been published recently, 90 per cent of them have to do deal exclusively with cotton mills, and they attack the southern cotton mills and their methods.
Now, it is to do away with that idea, which is pure fallacy, that I would like to have this committee come down and see these things. There is but one thing about the bill that does not seem to be understood thoroughly, and that is that it is impossible—not impossible but impracticable—to employ a child of any age, it does not make any difference whether it is 14, 16, or 18, or what age, in the spinning department of a mill eight hours because it is an intermediate process, and that department must run as many hours per day as the other departments run; the consequence is that a southern cotton-mill owner is not going to run the carding department, where only adults are employed, and their weaving department, where only adults are employed, eight hours a day for the sake of employing children between 14 and 16 in the spinning rooms.
Now, in the spinning mills that I have in mind, and of which I am the treasurer, we have but 13 children in the mill under 16 years of age. Three of those are orphans, who will be thrown out of work in case this bill passes.
Senator CLAPP. I did not understand the State that you come from.
Mr. PATTERSON. North Carolina. I have been in the cotton-mill business many years. I worked in a cotton mill during my vacations when I was 12 years of age, and when I was 16 I stopped school and went into the mill. I have been in the mill ever since, and I think I know the conditions that prevail.
These people are not asking for this legislation; they are not asking for eight hours a day. They are simply asking to be left alone to work out their own salvation in the field of endeavor that they have chosen, and it is a very mistaken idea that they work for a small amount of wages. It might be small if their living expenses were as great as they are in some other localities, but they are not. They have excellent houses. They pay a very small house rent. They pay no doctors' bills at all at our place. That is all furnished to them free, and they are not seeking this legislation. They do not want it. They are opposed to it-I mean the very people who are affected by the bill, or who are supposed to be affected by the bill, are opposed to it.
I heard a very distinguished gentleman say some time ago in talking about this matter-a Member of the House-say that he knew what child labor meant. That he had gone to work in a coal mine at 9 years of age, and that his father had gone to work in a coal mine in Wales when he was 6 years of age. I asked him why. I said, "Why did you go to work in a coal mine at the age of 9, and why did your father go to work at the age of 6?” He said, “Because it was absolutely necessary.” Now there is the milk in the coconut. It was absolutely necessary for him to go to work in a coal mine when he was 9, and his father when he was 6. Poverty has not gone out of fashion, and it is still absolutely necessary for children of that age to work in different localities throughout this country for a living.
Senator CLAPP. Do you think and I do not know whether we should get into that discussion here--that we should sit down and tamely admit as a people that our condition is such that the only alternative is for a child of 6 or 9 years of age to go to work in a coal mine?
Mr. PATTERSON. That is a terrible admission, Senator. Neither should we be compelled to sit down and admit that we have thousands of unemployed walking the streets of New York City or Boston. We should not have to admit that. We should not admit that we have poorhouses in every county where people have to be supported.
Senator CLAPP. No; that is another proposition, between admitting an existing condition which we have not been able to remedy and admitting that the only remedy for the condition is that children should go to work in coal mines at 6 or 9 years of age.
Mr. PATTERSON. I beg your pardon; I do not advocate anyone working in a coal mine at 6 years of age. I do not know anything about a coal mine.
Senator CLAPP. But you were using an illustration there. You stated, as I recall, that that was necessary; that it was either that or starvation.
Mr. PATTERSON. I mean this, however, that in saying that children have to work when they are very young is only doing what you
said a minute ago-acknowledging a condition that actually exists, not only in our State, but in every State that I know of. But I do say this, that I have never seen anyone who lived in a cotton-factory town begging on the streets, and yet you can see them in Washington and Boston and other cities.
Senator CLAPP. That may well be.
Mr. PATTERSON. We try to take care of our people as well as we know how, but until either the State arranges to take care of these
children or the General Government arranges to take care of them, it seems to me as though we ought to approach this subject with very extreme care.
Now here is a problem; it is an absolute problem, an actual problem. There are orphan asylums in our State, and I believe I am correct when I say that they keep the child until she is 16, and then turn her out. Is that not so, Gov. Kitchen.
Mr. KITCHIN. They have different rules. I think it is about that. Mr. PATTERSON. Well, the orphan asylums will not take them after they are 16. There are a great number of orphans who work in the cotton mills of North Carolina. Now, it is a problem, what are those children going to do?
There is another thing that we object to about this matter, and that is this: In our State the manufacturers were the first to advocate a compulsory education law for children. Our law now is that children shall attend school between the ages of 8 and 12. I think it would be a very unfortunate condition of affairs for this law to say that those children can not work until they are 16, and still they are not compelled to go to school after 12. I see that Mr. McKelway shakes his head. I insist that this law does either one of the two things; it either puts a 16-year age on children or an eight-hour day for the mills. Either one of the two.
Senator CLAPP. Speaking of that matter, I put into the record yesterday the statement that in Massachusetts from 14 to 16, I think, it is an eight-hour basis. Of course I do not know whether the other labor in these mills is eight hours or not. Sənator Lippitt said nine, and he is of course more familiar with the situation. So it must be that they have either taken the children out, if that statement is correct, or they have harmonized the two by hour periods.
Mr. PATTERSON. In trying to get some advice on this subject, we sent a lot of telegrams out. I think you are mistaken, sir, with all due respect to you.
Senator CLAPP. I simply used the House hearings.
Mr. PATTERSON. I think it is a mistake. I do not think that Massachusetts has an ideal labor law. I have gone through 52 mills in Massachusetts in the last three years, and there is no such condition prevailing in our State.
Senator CLAPP. Then you do not challenge the correctness of the House documents, giving eight hours as the limit below 16, do you?
Mr. PATTERSON. In answer to that question I will just read a telegram from the commissioner of labor in Boston, received last night. It is as follows (reading):
Boston, Mass., February 15, 1916. David CLARK,
25, Congress Hall Hotel, Washington, D. C.: Two thousand five hundred and eighty-seven minors under 16 employed in Massachusetts cotton mills. (hildren obliged to have employment and educational certificates.
Commissioner of Labor.
Senator CLAPP. Just a moment. I want you to state, first, whether you ch : llenge the statement contained in the House Document, thit there is an eight-hour limit under 16. Mr. PATTERSON. I do not challenge that; no, indeed.
Senator CLAPP. I simply wanted to know. I read that document, but never examined the law.
Mr. PATTERSON. I mean to say that I do not challenge the fact that there is such a law on the statute books. Whether it is obeyed or not is a different matter.
Senator CLAPP. I am not discussing that at all.
EFFECT OF STATE LEGISLATION SIMILAR TO THE KEATING-OWEN BILL. The advocates of this bill claim that it has been a success in Massachusetts and that the mills have had no difficulty in meeting the proposition of employing those between 14 and 16 years of age only eight hours per day while the older employees work longer hours.
We know that since the passage of such a law by Masachusetts there has been practically no increase in the number of spindles in that State.
We ask permission to insert in the record information which we will obtain in the next few days relative to the effect upon the Massachusetts law upon the cotton mills of that State.
Kentucky has a similar law and found that it was impractical to work any one under 16 years of age.
The effect of similar legislation in Pennsylvania is plainly shown by the following letter to Congressman E. Y. Webb from E. J. McGennis
, district attorney of Schuylkill County, Pa., and also an open letter sent to the legislators of Pennsylvania by Mr. McGennis.
Mr. PATTERSON. That was the question you had in mind, I judge ? Senator CLAPP. Not in that form.
Mr. PATTERSON. I think we could fill the record with just such letters as that, that the child-labor law in Pennsylvania has been a very great disappointment even to the public who advocated the law, because instead of putting the children on the eight-hour basis, it has thrown them out of work.
Mr. Kitchen. Right there, it might be well to introduce the report from which you read yesterday, Senator Clapp, that the census in 1910 shows that Massachusetts had 279 children in manufacturing and mechanical operations under 13, and those from 14 to 15, 18,275, which would make about 18,500, and if that telegram is correct there are only 2,500 employed. The law was passed in 1913.
Mr. McKELWAY. That is all the mechanical operations in Massachusetts.
Mr. KITCHIN. I said mechanical and manufacturing operations.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask a few questions. How many of the States outside of the Southern States are engaged in the production of cotton goods?
Mr. PATTERSON. I can not say exactly, but there are practically none west of Kentucky. The New England States and the Southern States are the manufacturing States of the Union.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, regarding Kentucky as a Southern State, the only States in which that industry is conducted to any considerable extent are the New England States?
Mr. PATTERSON. I did not get that question.
The CHAIRMAN. Outside of the Southern States and Kentucky, regarding Kentucky as a Southern State----Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The only States that have a considerable part of this industry are the New England States ?
Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir; that is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Do all of these States have the eight-hour law as applied to this industry?
Mr. PATTERSON. Now, I remember 19, I believe, that have a law
The CHAIRMAN. I am talking about the New England States that are engaged in the cotton-manufacturing industry.
Mr. PATTERSON. Well, I am not familiar with all of them, but I understand that Massachusetts, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington for girls and Wisconsin have laws which prohibit children under 16 from working over eight hours in mills and factories. It does not say that it prohibits them.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, you enumerate only one New England State in which that law prevails? In that list there is only one of the New England States ?
Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know how it is in other New England States?
Mr. PATTERSON. I do not.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, in the States which you are representing, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina-and what other State? Mr. PATTERSON. Well
, Mississippi and Virginia. The CHAIRMAN. In Mississippi they have a cotton industry? Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir; and in Alabama, also.
The CHAIRMAN. Do any of those States have an eight-hour law as applied to children?
Mr. PATTERSON. I think Mississippi has; in fact, I know they have a law, and I think it is an eight-hour law. That is the one I read a minute ago.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, what limit is there in the other Southern States to which you have referred that applies to this industry?
Mr. PATTERSON. Well, I am speaking of this industry, of course. The law in North Carolina says that you can employ a child 12 years of age provided it has attended school a certain length of time during the preceding school term; I do not think that is recognized by the manufacturers at all. I know we do not employ any children under 13. We have only two in our mills under 14.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the law permit you to employ children under 14?
Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir; under 14. It permits you to employ a child at 12 if it has gone to school a certain length of time in the preceding school period; but I do not know anyone who is working children of 12 years of age. We have not done it for years.
The CHAIRMAN. I am speaking now of the limit of the law.
Mr. PATTERSON. It is 12 in South Carolina as I understand it; it is practically 13 in North Carolina. In Alabama it is 14 on the first of September next; it is now 13 and the same thing exists, I believe, in South Carolina. It will be 14 there.