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The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that limit ought in all cases be applied to children below 14 years of age; do you think a limit below 14 years of age ought to be applied in all cases to children, and are there not, in some of those statutes, provisions permitting employment of children under those ages under certain conditions, and with the visé of certain public authorities. · Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir.. The CHAIRMAN. Is that so in most of those States ? Mr. PATTERSON. It is so in several of them; I do not know that it is so in a majority or not. Now the manufacturers of South Carolina have not opposed that is in the ordinary acceptation of the term-a 14-year age limit. They did oppose it until the State passed a compulsory educational law raising the limit to 14.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you think about the wisdom of arbitrarily limiting it to 14 years ?
Mr. PATTERSON. Well, I doubt the wisdom of it.
The CHAIRIAN. Without giving the power to some governmental body, or official, to relax the rule in exceptional conditions,
Mr. PATTERSON. I am perfectly frank to tell you if I had my way about this matter, I would set the limit at 14 years of age with a compulsory education law to 14, but with the proviso that by going before the proper authority a child might get permission to work as young as 13, if his condition in life happens to be such that he would have to work.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, my mind is intent upon some method of amending this bill. You propose in efiect that we should either pass no bill at all, leaving the matter entirely to the States as a matter of domestic concern, or if we do pass a law we should except this particular industry and perhaps particular States from its operation, which would be a very difficult thing to do.
Mr. PATTERSON. I realize that.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, my mind is intent upon this; I can see that under certain conditions a limitation as low as 14 years or 13 years or 12 years might imposo very serious embarrassment upon certain families and upon certain children.
Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And deprive the children themselves of opportunities which they ought to have and which would perhaps save them from the pernicious effects of idleness.
Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. My mind is tending toward some modification of this bill which will admit of discretionary relaxation of this rule under guard that will insure that the relaxation will not prove a means of practically avoiding the purposes of the act. Have your minds ever been directed to that question ?
Mr. PATTERSON. I think so.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you shaped any suggestions of amendments to this bill that would cover that? I regard the passage of a childlabor bill of this kind as practically insured. I think the feeling is I may be mistaken—that this subject will not be left exclusively to the States in the fear that even though the States may pass wise laws upon the subject the laws themselves may not be properly enforced, and so it seems to me that the ingenuity of the gentlemen who think as you do should be applied to the shaping of an amendment to this bill that will enable the exercise of wise discretion by certain authorities under certain conditions.
Mr. PATTERSON. Senator Newlands, I feel this way about it. Personally I do not think it is a matter
The CHAIRMAN. Of course I am speaking now entirely apart from the constitutional question.
Mr. PATTERSON. I understand that. I do not think it is a matter for Federal control. We can not equalize the conditions over the States by any amount of legislation in the first place.
The CHAIRMAN. I admit that. Now, as I understand, in your State you say that whilst Massachusetts may have the advantage of an eight-hour law, yet that if you were to accept that you would have then certain disadvantages in competition with Massachusetts; that Massachusetts, for instance, has lower freight rates. Mr. PATTERSON. Lower freight and lower fuel.
The CHAIRMAN. Lower fuel and other conditions that would give her the advantage and you could not sustain your industry down there if you were handicapped by extreme legislation upon this subject.
Mr. PATTERSON. There is another matter that has not occurred to you, I judge, from what you say. Most of the mills in Massachusetts do not furnish their tenement houses, and, fortunately or unfortunately, the mills in the South, in nearly every instance, do furnish the tenement houses. I want to tell you that a large amount of money has been invested in tenement houses for southern mill employees, and I feel safe in saying that it does not net the mill 3 per cent. So that is the disadvantage. It is another disadvantage.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand; but suppose you were handicapped now by a rule of this kind as applied to your industry. You would then doubtless be obliged to abandon certain expenditures that you make now purely from a humanitarian point of view.
Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, would not the people down there get along just as well without your making these humanitarian provisions in the shape of tenement houses, etc., for them?
Mr. PATTERSON. If we thought that they would get along just as well in the small log cabins that they came from on the farm, without the electric lights, without the sewerage, and without proper instruction as to how to cook and what to cook, without trained nurses, without medical assistance, without hospitals (we certainly are not keeping them just for the fun of the thing), we would do away with them if we thought they would get along just as well without them.
The CHAIRMAN. Your contention then is that if you abandon those things which are not general in other States, the condition of the children under this law would be worse than under present conditions ?
Mr. PATTERSON. Absolutely.
Senator CLAPP. You spoke of being handicapped as to freight rates. The cotton is raised in close proximity to your mills, is it not?
Mr. PATTERSON. Yes, sir.
Senator CLAPP. Now, as to the market abroad, where would New England have any advantage as to freight rates.
Mr. PATTERSON. In New England-I think I am correct when I state that the freight rate from Fall River to New York is 5 cents a
pounds. I know I am correct in stating that our freight rate to New York is 39 cents a hundred.
Senator CLAPP. But you do not have to get it to New York to send it abroad, do you?
Mr. PATTERSON. We do not send anything abroad, and when I say we send nothing abroad I should say that we have sold a lot recently to some of the charitable societies that are sending stuff abroad for war relief; but ordinarily we do not ship our stuff abroad.
Senator CLAPP. I want to put this of record if it is a fact. Does New England have any advantage in rates where the points to which the product is distributed is as far from the mill in New England as against the southern mills for the same distance ? Mr. PATTERSON. They have a very great advantage.
Senator CLAPP. Now I want to ask the chairman a question. He has assumed a certain proposition here, and I want to know whether, as chairman of this committee dealing with railroad rates, he is going to assume that for all time you can haul cotton from the South to New England, manufacture it, and then ship it out again an equal distance, with the advantage of railroad rates that New England has ?
The CHAIRMAN. You mean whether the advantage
Senator CLAPP. You assumed that in the question, the advantage that New England has over the South.
The CHAIRMAN. I would not assume that that condition would exist for all time.
Mr. PATTERSON. It is largely a matter after all in freight rates, not of distance, but competition.
The CHAIRMAN. But we do know that the density of traffic is such in New England and in the adjoining regions as to enable very much lower freight rates than prevail elsewhere throughout the country.
Senator CLAPP. That would be true as to those points within the natural radius of the distribution in New England; but in competition with the South, points that do not share that condition. That is what I have reference to.
Mr. PATTERSON. I will give you an idea as to that. I heard the other day that two hogsheads of Burley tobacco from New Orleans (not since the war began), but some time ago—were shipped. One was consigned to Liverpool and the other to Danville, Va., and the freight on the tobacco to Liverpool was less than it was to Danville, Now, I know that there are points in the adjoining States-Danville, for instance--where the railroad haul is about three times as long as the haul from our place, and where the water haul is exactly the same-deep-water transportation exactly the same, and where the freight rate is much less than ours. I also know that in Petersburg, Va., which is exactly the same, almost within a mile of the same distance from Norfolk that we are their freight rate to New York is 23 cents and ours is 39, and we both ship to Norfolk and both there take the Old Dominion Line.
Senator POMERENE. Is it your claim that your freight rates are excessive ?
Mr. PATTERSON. I only made the remark that we could not equalize conditions by this bill or with any other kind of legislation.
Senator POMERENE. That does not answer my question. Is it your claim that the freight rates are excessive?
Mr. PATTERSON. In the South?
Senator POMERENE. Is not your remedy to correct that to bring the matter before the Interstate Commerce Commission or before your local commission and correct it in that way rather than to counterbalance the advantage the other localities may have in freight rates by some legislation on this particular subject?
Mr. PATTERSON. That is absolutely true; but some of the advocates of this bill are contending that it is perfectly right and proper to equalize labor conditions and labor laws all over the country, and, as I say, they might equalize labor laws, but they can not equalize other conditions. They are claiming that the South has an advantage over them; that we are unfair competitors. That has been stated in the record.
Senator POMERENE. Yesterday a good deal of capital was made out of the thought that we should care for the widows, children, etc. Now, I am willing to concede that as a general proposition, but I do not believe that the conditions are such in the South that you have more widows or more orphans than they have in any other section of the country. So that it seems to me an argument of that kind is without very much validity. We ought to be able to get something here that is going to be equal and just and at the same time guard the interests of the minor children.
Mr. PATTERSON. I think your supposition is absolutely correct. I do not think we have any more widows in proportion in the South than they have at other places and probably not so many, because we have a very healthy place down there.'
The CHAIRMAN. And yet you stated as a fact that one-third of the families in your village are the families of widows.
Senator ČLAPP. That would be quite natural, that they should drift to the town to get work for the children.
Mr. PATTERSON. I tried to explain that that was the most natural result in the world. Just picture for yourselves our community outside of the mill villages. Take the small farmers; most of them are tenants. Now, picture a tenant who has a family, especially of girls, and the breadwinner dies. The father dies. I contend and insist that it is the most natural thing in the world for those people to come into a cotton mill to go to work, because the farming work is unsuited for girls; whereas the mill work seems to be especially designed for them. I simply wanted to illustrate that.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, take the condition of the girls in one of your cotton mills as contrasted with the girls on the farm as you have described. Which is the more favorable condition?
Mr. PATTERSON. There is no comparison. The conditions in the mill are very far superior, so much so that it is ridiculous to compare them, not only as to educational facilities, but with respect to church facilities.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think so in the matter of health ?
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not think there is any tendency toward race deterioration in those mill towns ?
Mr. PATTERSON. To the contrary.
The CHAIRMAN. It is very marked in the mill towns of New England.
Nr. PATTERSON. Again I desire to repeat my invitation to the committee to come down there and see for themselves,
The CHAIRMAN. There is a marked contrast there between the agricultural population and the mill population in size and strength.
Mr. PATTERSON. That might be so in England, but I say the opposite can be proved—it is just the opposite in our place, I mean in the South, as a whole; not only our place but other places; for instance, the poor farming class in the country, they are good people but they are poor. They do not have the sanitary conditions they have in the towns; they do not have as good houses; they do not have the school facilities or the church facilities, and they do not have the same kind of food or class of food. We have district nurses to go around to teach those people how to cook and what to cook, and they are supplied by the mill.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that true of all the mills in your State?
that we do more welfare work in some respects than some others, and they do more in other respects. I have in mind a m.ill at Kanopolis; that is a large milling town where they do a great many more things in certain directions than we do, but we do pay as much or more attention to the health of the operatives than any place I know of. We have had your own Government officials down there, and we just transformed our place from a place that was fairly good with regard to health to one of the healthiest places I know of.
The CHAIRMAN. What Government officials do you refer to ?
The CHAIRMAN. Now, you suggested a moment ago that a subcommittee or the entire committee should visit your region, and you extended an invitation to them to come at any time. How long would it take to make such a trip and to get a complete survey?
Mr. PATTERSON. I have seen the railroad officials and they have promised us that they will make you as comfortable as can be done under the circumstances. I would suggest-I am not going to dictate to you—but I would suggest that you leave Washington, say, on the Sunday evening boat and go to Norfolk; there you will be met by a compartment car and dining car, and from there you can go where you please. You can take any length of time you please. You can see some of the largest mills in North Carolina and return here on the second day after you leave; that is, you could come back here Tuesday night, but if you go on through to South Carolina, it would probably take you four days, but I feel sure you would enjoy the trip, and I feel sure that every manufacturer would be glad to have you come, and I feel absolutely sure that you will learn more about cotton mills and the cotton conditions in four days than you can learn by reading all the magazines and sentimental articles that have ever been written about this matter during the balance of your lifetime. Just come and look; that is what we want you to do.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there many of those mills in Georgia ?