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3807
The CHAIRMAN.   The time of the gentleman from Indiana has 
expired. Mr. NORTON of Ohio.   Mr. Chairman, I note in the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts one very 
important and good thing, something that brings a little ray of hope 
to the people of Hawaii, and that is taking them from a worse 
slavery and servitude than that which existed in the South.   I would 
like to ask the gentleman why it is that such a provision as I find at 
the bottom of that amendment is inserted:
Provided further, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to the 
merchant seamen.
Mr. KNOX.   It is perfectly apparent; it applies to shipping contracts 
that are made between owners and masters of vessels and ' seamen.   
That has been the custom of all nations from time immemorial. Mr. 
NORTON of Ohio.   I see the object of the gentleman in taking tip 
my time. Mr. KNOX.   Well, the gentleman from Ohio asked me a 
question, and I was simply answering it. Mr. NORTON of Ohio.   
But I, did not ask the gentleman to make a speech.   Why was that 
proviso added?   Where did it come from?   I think I can fathom the 
motive that inspired it and see the hand that penned it.   You propose 
to go to Hawaii and relieve the enslaved foreigners there from 
servitude, and renew the bonds of American seamen, turning them 
over to imprisonment.   Where does the proviso come from?   In the 
peculiar organization of the committees of the House there is one 
committee purposely arranged to carry out the dictates and 
commands of a gigantic syndicate seeking to perpetrate an enormous 
robbery of our Treasury, a subject to which I may, if I have the time, 
devote a little attention before I close.   From that committee - 
from the Merchant Marine Committee - for a particular purpose, 
this proviso comes. What purpose can the House have, and what 
excuse can yon find for indorsing it? Where will you go for reasons 
to justify a provision by which you may imprison American 
seamen for exercising the right of every American citizen while by 
an act forming a new government, creating a Territorial 
government under the Constitution of the United States, you relieve 
from slavery and the dungeon the Japanese, the Chinese, the 
Portuguese, the Malays, and every other class of pauperized and 
degraded labor taken by capital into the Hawaiian Islands, and at 
the same time, under this apparently insignificant proviso of a bare 
dozen words, American seamen may be thrown into prison at the 
complaint of the owner of any ship, subsidized by American money 
or otherwise, as is proposed to be done in this House?   [Applause on 
the Democratic side.] 1 object, sir, in the name of justice and right, 
to placing in the band of any man the arbitrary right to imprison an 
American seaman, to consign him to a period of involuntary 
servitude, at pleasure.   I denounce the right to do this anywhere, on 
land or on the sea.   And yet we see it to-day in the Coeur d'Alene 
mining district; we behold men held to servitude on American soil, 
under the guns of Federal soldiers, and sanctioned by a Republican 
President and a Republican Administration, despite and in defiance 
of the Constitution.   And this proviso seeks to perpetuate a brutal 
and inhuman custom, because, forsooth, "it has been the custom of 
all nations from time immemorial." Mr. Chairman, it has been the 
proud boast of American orators, statesmen, and writers that the 
United States stood in the van of civilization and progress; that we 
as a people and a nation have long since discarded and abandoned the 
swaddling clothes of barbarism and superstition; that we have 
outgrown and forever buried the idea of blind faith.   We live in an 
age of reason and place every creed and dictum under the 
microscope and scalpel, and to a certain extent the boastings of our 
patriotic fellow-countrymen are justified by existing conditions, 
but, sir, we are still of the earth earthy; there still clings to us, a few 
relics of the dark ages.   Polygamy and slavery are hideous evils, to be 
met and faced to-day as well as in ages gone by.   Yes; under the 
sanction and protection of our flag both these evils exist, and exist 
because of the permission of a Republican Administration.   Shall we 
defend these foes to our institutions because they have existed  "from 
time immemorial?" A strange anomaly presents itself to us here.   Our 
country at the close of a long and sanguinary civil war thought to 
take a gigantic leap onward and upward toward the realization of 
Christian civilization, and give at one bound the gracious boon of 
freedom to millions of the colored race held in bondage of American 
slavery.   An amendment to the Constitution was adopted by the nec-
essary majority of the States, thus becoming a part and portion of 
the framework of our Government.   If the statesmen of that period 
had been as wise and brilliant as their successors of to day they 
would simply have passed an act of Congress, and the same result 
would have been attained, according to the arguments that

have been presented on the Republican side of this Chamber on 
various questions of constitutional matters under discussion. 
[Laughter on the Democratic side.] Now, while every other class of 
citizens, and taking in foreigners also, are by statute given the 
constitutional protection of our civil law, yet American seamen are 
by express statute barred therefrom, and objection is raised to 
affording them relief because "from time immemorial" they have 
been subjected to imprisonment, branding, jack-o'-nine-tails,and 
other inhuman and unjust tortures at the hands of brutal masters and 
shipowners. The statute which this proviso seeks to retain in full 
force and effect is section 4598 of the Revised Statutes of the United 
States:
If any seaman who shall have sinned a contract to perform a voyage shall at any 
port or place desert, or shall absent himself from such vessel without leave of the 
master or officer commanding in the absence of the master, it shall be lawful for any 
justice of the peace within the United States, upon the complaint of the master, to 
issue his warrant to apprehend such deserter and bring him before such justice, 
and if it then appears that he has signed a contract within the intent and meaning 
of this title, and that the voyage agreed for is not finished or altered, or the 
contract otherwise dissolved, and that such seaman has deserted the vessel, or 
absented himself without leave, the justice shall commit him to the house of 
correction or common jail of the city, town, or place, to remain there until the 
vessel shall be ready to proceed on her voyage, or till the master shall require his 
discharge, and then to be delivered to the master, he paying all the cost of such 
commitment and deducting the same out of the wages due to such seaman.
And the next section, No. 4599, goes on and says that even before a 
voyage has commenced any master, mate, owner, or consignee may 
arrest, without the formality of a warrant, any seaman who may see 
fit to throw up his contract. The beginning of this cruel exception 
against the seaman was away back before the dawn of the Christian 
era, at a time when human life and human liberty were considered 
as of but little or no value, where government was absolute 
despotism, and sailors were branded in the face for disobedience, or 
by statute kept on "bread and water for one year." The thirteenth 
amendment to our Constitution says:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, 
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United 
States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Does not this proviso violate the spirit of individual liberty and 
freedom of choice inherent in our American institutions?   Does it not 
contravene the plain letter of this constitutional amendment? We 
battled with England because of her arrogant claim add exercise of 
the alleged right of stopping our merchant vessels and impressing our 
seamen into her service.   If evidence brought out before investigating 
commissions is to be believed, the owners and masters of merchant 
vessels to-day have not abandoned the practice of impressing or 
"shanghaiing" seamen to fill up their crews, and once enrolled these 
men are helpless, victims of their master's pleasure, and this proviso 
continues them in their "involuntary servitude."   You may call it 
what you will, it is slavery still.   To compel one man to render 
personal service to another in private business affairs is slavery.   If 
you can compel the seaman to wear the chains, you can and you will 
soon apply them to the miner, the railway employee, the mechanic, 
in fact this proviso opens the way to the actual legalized industrial 
slavery of every workman in the laud. The argument of military or 
naval service is not analogous to industrial employment.   Service 
for the country is service rendered for the public weal, and is the duty 
of every patriotic citizen to perform when necessary; but in private 
business no such question arises, and while a suit for damages might 
be good and hold for the nonperformance of contract, to require 
one to remain at employment against his will at the personal pleasure 
of his master is a violation of the Constitution as it now is. There is 
danger in placing this privilege in any man's power. With the 
accession of power there is almost universally the tendency or desire 
toward an arbitrary and tyrannical use of it.   There is soon a hatred 
and defiance of all restraint or criticism and an effort to crush out all 
opposition.   No amount of Republican argument can convince the 
people, and especially the laboring people, ' that the Republican party 
is in sympathy with them, when every expression, every act of that 
party, as such, is in the interest of syndicated capital and the 
extension of the powers of the trusts. Scarce four years ago William 
McKinley stood upon the vine-clad porch at Canton and glorified the 
Constitution; less than two years ago his whole soul seemed to shrink 
from thoughts of war; but so rapid has the intoxication of power 
worked that to-day the Constitution is a byword and a plaything, and 
the Army and Navy at his command are standing ready to defy the 
whole world - England excepted.   [Applause.} This proviso comes 
from the syndicate that is backing the ship-subsidy stealing scheme, 
and they will have what they ask for. The Republican party has 
trampled over the Constitution, not once nor twice, but again and 
again.   In the early days, when there were statesmen and patriots 
in that party, the Constitution as the magna charter of our liberty 
was revered, and it was

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