Congressional Record


Text from Document

8072 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE. June 14, pigged. to grace once more a Republican House of Representa- tives. [Ixnid applause on the Republican side.] The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman has ex- pire« I. .Mr. HAMER. Will the gentleman yield for a question? Mr. HOWLAND. I would be glad to do so if I had the time. Mr. ANSRERRY. Mr. Chairman, my colleague [Mr. How- land] in delivering a sjieeeh on the floor a few moments ago took «KH-asion to proi»ound a few questions addressed not to any of the Members of the House, but to the governor of our own great State of Ohio. Now, I do not profess to hold a brief for Governor Harmon, but I feel that I can with propriety answer the gentleman's questions. Governor Harmon is busily engaged in executing the trust the jieople gave him when they elected him their governor. And that he is doing it well is evidenced by the fact that my colleague failed to ask him about his views on any question m any way related to the duties of the office he is now so well and satisfactorily discharging, but preferred to ask what the governor's position was on the question of the tariff on wool and the tariff on steel and farm products. He might, with l>etter grace and more relevancy, have asked what posi- tion Governor Harmon took with reference to the issue raised in Ohio and elsewhere concerning one “ Uncle Joe.” Of course the questions were not asked in good faith, otherwise the gen- tleman would have asked them before he delivered his great speech on “free lumber,” and then, having received an answer that would have been filled with good, sound Democratic counsel, he could have improved his speech by incorporating the governor’s answer therein. I said I did not think the gentleman asked the question in good faith; but out of a superabundance of caution, for fear I might do the gentleman a wrong, I will tell him that if he is anxious to hear the governor’s views on the questions that he deems so all-imi»ortant I shall refer him to the coming inaugural address of the distinguished governor of our State to be de- livered March 4, 3912, immediately in front of the Capitol here in Washington, and I am sure all of the questions that he raises will be fully and candidly dealt with. MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE. The committee Informally rose; and Mr. Davidson having taken the chair as Speaker pro tempore, a message from the Senate, by Mr. Crockett, one of its clerks, announced that the Senate had passed without amendment bills of the following titles: H. R. 13S6. An act to correct the naval record of James C. Johnson; H. R- 2272. An act for the relief of John A. Brown; H. R. 2518. An act for the relief of Garland & Rergh; H. R. 10132. An act granting certain land to the town of Tuma, In the Territory of Arizona; H. R. 11763. An act for the relief of George Harraldson; H. R. 23427. An act to authorise the Indiana Steel Company to construct two bridges across the Grand Calumet River, in the State of Indiana ; H. R. 24274. An act to appropriate the sum of $200 for Fenton T. Ross, of Loudoun County, Va., whose horse was permanently injured by employees of the Agricultural Department in making experiments authorized by law; H. R. 24723. An act granting permission to the city and county of San Francisco, Cal., to operate a pumping station on the Fort Mason Military Reservation, in California; and H. R. 17871. An act to amend an act entitled “An act to in- corporate St Vincent’s Orphan Asylum, in the District of Columbia,” approved February 25, 1831. The message also announced that the Senate had passed with amendments bills of the following titles, in which the concur- rence of the House of Representatives was requested: H. R. 25552. An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the Government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 3911, and for other purposes; H. R. 20575. An act to amend an act entitled “An act to estab- lish a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States,” approved July 1, 1*98, as amended by an act approved February 5. 1903, and as further amended by an act approved June 15, 1906; H R. 102S0. An act to authorize the Chief of Ordnance, United States Army, to receive twelve 3.2-inch breech-loading field guns, carriages, caissons, limbers, and their pertaining equipment from the State of Massachusetts; and H. R. 23388. An act for the relief of Demon S. Decker. The message also announced that the Senate had agreed to the amendments of the House of Representatives to bills of the following titles: S. 4473. An act for the relief of Rasmus K. Hafsos; S. 1021. An act to appoint James R. Ferguson a first lieuten- ant in the Medical Corps of the Army and place him on the retired list; and S. 30*2. An act for the relief of Elizabeth G. Martin. The message also announced that the Senate had passed hills of the following titl**s. in which the concurrence of the House of Representatives was requested: S. 520. An act for the relief of the State of New Hamp- shire; S. 600. An act appropriating $10,000 to aid in the erection of a monument in memory of the late President James A. Gartield, at Long Branch. N. J.; S. 1608. An act for the erection of a public building at Menom- onie, WIs.; S. 2980. An act to provide for the purchase of a site and the erection of a public building thereon at Bozeman, in the State of Montana; S. 4100. An net to increase the limit of cost of the public building authorized to be constructed at Bellingham, Wash.; S. 5319. An act for the relief of the city of Crawford, in the State of Nebraska; S. 5304. An act providing for the purchase of a site and the erection of a public building in the town of Waynesboro, Va.; S. 0047. An act providing for the purchase of land and a building for the use of a subtreasury at New Orleans; S. 6*00. An act to provide for the erection of a public building at Casper, In the State of Wyoming; S. 080*. An act to provide for the erection of a public building in the city of I>ouglas, in the State of Wyoming; S. 8022. An act to amend an act entitled “An act to authorize the sale and disposition of surplus or unallotted lands of the diminished Colville Indian Reservation, In the State of Wash- ington. and for other purposes.” approved March 22, 1906; S. 8297. An act for the erection of a public building at New Haven, Conn.; and S. 8516. An act providing for the printing of Dally Consular Reports. GENERAL DKFICIENCY APPROPRIATION BILL. The committee resumed Its session. Mr. BOWERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Tennessee. Mr. SIMS. Mr. Chairman, I asked for the time I did simply that I might have read to the House a speech by the Hon. Robert G. Cousins, formerly a distinguished Member of this House, lately published in a newspaper, on the subject of the regulation of automobiles and vehicles of that kind. We have a bill be- fore the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, of which I have the honor to be a member, on that subject. There ig also the bill (II. II. 25561) introduced by the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Smith] with reference to further legislation in the District of Columbia. Mr. Cousins’s speech is very able and illuminating. I do not think I can do any better. If, indeed, I can do half so well myself in any remarks I can make, and therefore I will submit his speech for the benefit of the House when we come to consider the above-mentioned bills: MONSTERS or THE PUBLIC BOAD. From the earliest days the public thoroughfares hare hern peculiarly the property of the people. The highways and «treats have been uni- versally constructed and maintained by the labor and taxes of the people. The early Romans were gr»-at constructors of roads, having learned the art from the Carthaginians. The first toll for the repair of roads la said to hare been levied during the time of Edward III, In 1346. Later, In 1555, compulsory labor was exacted by law to keep the roads In repair. In practically all of the States to-day the labor of all able-bodied men, or Its equivalent In cash, is compelled by law for the establishment and maintenance of highways. Hitherto the streets and hlghwt^rs have been constructed by and for the use, con- venience, and safety of all the people, not exclualvely for any one class. Suddenly, within less than half a dozen years, a mighty change has taken place. While the people—all the people—continue to supply the toil and tax for their maintenance, the streets and highways are to-day practically monopolized by a single class, and that class—owners and operators of automobiles-—comprises but a small percentage of the popu- lation. Horse vehicles, the only kind that can generally be afforded by the average citizen, are practically banished from the boulevards and well-paved streets, and are frightened from the main highways throughout the country. The lives of pedestrians are menaced every minute of the days and nights by a wanton recklessness of speed, crip- pling and killing people at a rate that is appalling. Recently I heard the owner of a $5,000 automobile say that horses had b«en practically driven from the boulevards. A widely known gentleman told me recently that while dining with an acquaintance tn New York his boat consumed the entire time 1910. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE. 8073 of the evening relating his experiences In evading fines prescribed for speeding. The other day I saw an elderly gentleman, who wore a button showing that he had served his country in the civil war. attempting to cross the street in s great city where the speed limit for automobile« prescribed by law is 12 miles per hour. Coming in both directions were several automobiles, tooting their Impertinent horns a block away for pedestrians to get out of the way. It required seversl minutes for that distinguished citizen to get scross the street, lie had helped, by paying taxes, to establish and maintain the streets, as ho had formerly by labor to maintain the highways In the country, and. so Tar as Justice Is concerned, had just as good a right to walk ncrops the street at a moderate pace as had the automobilista to cross it at a reckless and unlawful speed. 1 have seen a dignified and worthy woman dodging with fright while attempting to cross a public street to which she was as much entitled as were the automobilista, whose squawking, honking horns warned and threatened her at half a block away, and not until an officer came to her assistance could she cross. Not long ago I saw an automobile running at a speed of at least 25 miles an hour on a prominent boulevard crash into a light vehicle near the curb, tearing it away from the horse and demolishing It. A few days later, standing beside the offlt-er who occupied that beat and witness- ing with him the swiftly moving autos passing by, I asked him what was the speed limit there, lie replied. “Twelve miles an hour.” “ How- fast,'' I inquired, "are these machines going?” “ Twenty five miles an hour at least," he said. I asked him what. In his opinion, was the remedy. He said that the officerà had repeatedly made arrests, and the offenders were usually let off with a fine of $5 and costs. Then he added : *' That does no good ; they pay the tine sud go right on speeding. I'ntil the penalty Is more severe no good can be accomplished by arrests." I Inquired : “ la It possible for an officer to read the numbers of machines at nighttime?” He said, “No.” The next night n man said to me : “ If you want to see speed, go over to the next block and see them fly on the streetcar line.” I went there, and soon an automobile rushed by 8t a speed of at least ::r* miles an hour, running on the car track, crossing streets frequented bv pedestrians, and running at furious speed within 2 feet of the iron pillars that support the elevated railroads. A few weeks ago a prominent business mnn of one of our great cities, with his family and some friends, started in an automobile from an outlvlng town 50 miles from New York City. He wished to make a r> o'clock p. m. train and told the chauffeur to run for It. A few miles out of New York City, running at terrific speed, they struck a telephone pole with such awful Impact that the father and son were killed and all the others crippled. Fuch horrible and gruesome inci- dents are of almost dally occurrence, and hundreds of smaller casualties, uncbronided by the press, occur every day In the world. It is almost impossible to conceive of a man of mature years, suc- cessful In business, and regarded as sane, deliberately directing his chauffeur to carry hla own wife and children and invited guests at such wanton, reckless, and criminal speed as to endanger not only their own lives, but also to Imperil the lives of every pedestrian and driver of horses who may happen to be crossing tue way. And yet such accidents are of almost daily occurrence. The speed mania seems to have In-come a prevalent disease not a microl>e or germ disease, but a malady made up of simple selfishness and reckless hoggishness. A man buys a machine geared to the capacity of a speed of 50 miles or more an hour. and. of courue, he wants to show it, and sooner or later he will show It. He does not pay for such capacity of speed unless he means to use It. The cowardly attempt to lay responsibility upon the chauffeur's “ pleasure driving ' will not do. The owners do not buy high-geared machines for the pleasure of their servants. As a matter of fact, a (treat many of the owners of high-geared automobiles are guilty of manslaughter when they start. They buy high-geared ma- chines and pay great prices for the purpose of speed, and they indulge that speed In violation of law, knowingly and recklessly and wantonly. At every boulevard and bridge and crossing they push ahead of car- riages, assuming th.<* right to cross ahead of other vehicles at high speed. They pause for no one. They assume the right of way. They toot their Impertinent horns at all the traveling public In city and in country, and menace human life and limb on every corner. Of couihe there are many exceptions. Many atitomohillsts deplore the awful re< klessness that has l>espattered l<oulevards with blood and rendered helpless for all their lives the victims overrun and crippled. It should l>e said In Justice to many automohilists that after running over people they have *top|>ed and rendered quick assistance and have furnished flowers for the funerals of their victims, although In a great many Instances It appears that the greatest utility which high speed gearing accomplishes Is getting away from the corpse fwfore the ma- chine numbers can be detected. In a recent case In New York the victim was cnrrled on the fender of the auto «julte a distance l>efore he fell d**ad upon the street, and the driver hurried out of sight, as is usually the case. The court sentenced him to the penitentiary on a charge of manslaughter, which Is probably the only conviction" of the kind up to this date, notwithstanding the fact that in most In- stances of death the owners and the operators of these machines are guilty. Consider for a moment : If the driver of a horse should speed It through the public streets at a pace of 15 miles an hour, or even at half the pace that automobiles usually run, every officer and every citizen would rush to catch the animal. Another strange thing recently pointed out by a trial Judge—you seldom hear of an automobile striking a cow or a stem roller, (if them the speeders take notice; of men, women, and children little notice is taken. They are relied upon to yield the streets and high- ways to the auto«. In the country, up to within recent days, women habitually drove to town to do their shopping. To-day you seldom see a woman driving on the highways for fear of automobiles. Perha|>s one in a thousand of our population has an auto. The other nine hundred and ninety nine must stay at home in the country or dodge to save their lives In cities. Why should this dally tribute of human life be paid to the rollicking, wanton greed of a few—an Infinitesimal number of our population ? Why should the streets and highways of the world lie spattered with the blood of men and women who provide the lalior and the money to construct and maintain the public thoroughfares? Why should a law-abiding citizen who works on the roads or pays hla taxes In the city wait In fear and trembling on every corner for a reckless, wanton, man-slaying machine to pass l-efore him? Why should a worthy woman lie made to jump and dodge like a frightened rabbit whenever she attempts to cross the street? • nre I*. ls the automobile Industry Ss a very big one and very desirable in a commercial way. Granted. «„I)1!,.»! « ye?r I>r ,wo aB<> the manufacture of giant flr.*crackers o . I" 5rework9 Involving dynamite and other strong explosive* was Industry In this land commercially. Almost In the twinkling .2*1. violent explosive business in this country has l»een halted, cities WH8 *>r° yielded largely to commercialism In our P°S!i]l>Ie that public sentiment will tolerate commercialism at tne expense of human life, of dally manslaughter, of constant terror "»o make the roads and streets, and who maintain them by their toil and taxes? 1 here is no doubt that machines of high speed can be made to serve userui purpose*. Ambulances, tire department vehicles, patrol wagons, and perhaps conveyances used by doetors, should be specially licensed to nave the right of way at high speed In the interest of ail the peo- ’JJ'i u"!*‘ss RI**clally licensed, no machine with a capacity of s|»eed exceeding lo miles an hour should be allowed to run uinm the public thoroughfares In times of peace. To-day it is admittedly true that most automobiles are run at reck- ess and unlawful speed. A few may serve good and useful purposes, out most of them are operated for selfish indulgence and pleasure, and In most Instances of high speed It would matter little, so far as the general good of mankind Is concerned, whether the occupauts of the machines ever arrive where they think they are going or not. »? °I,era**"n "1 automobiles on the streets and highways to-day Is practically the same as though so many railway locomotives wen* turned loose on the thoroughfares, except that In the operation of loco- motives the engineer must be an experienced driver, must know the construction of his engine, both in the school of theory and exj>erle:ire. In the case of automobiles, few who run them, especially of the owners, know much about the mechanism of the machine and little of the dan- ger of high speed. Kver since the establishment of railways the oper- ators have been held to a strict accountability. They have had to pay heavily for damages. They have been required to use great precaution in all matters involved in their running and operation Their engines and cars are operated on well-established tracks, so that people know exactly where to look for them. Automobiles are operated upon no definite track and on no time schedule. They kill and cripple every day and night, and yet few of them have been held responsible for damage« to property or for life and limb. The question arises. What shall be the remedy? It Is reported that In Austria and France owners of automobiles are held absolutely re- s|)onsible and accountable by law for all damages done by their' ma- chines. That would probably l>e effective here, except In casualties of the nighttime, when the numlters of machines and the Identity of tlielr occupants can not be established, and tip to date the laws of Austria and France seem to be practically Ineffective. It seems that the only remedy is to prohibit absolutely the use of machines with dangerous speed capacity upon the public streets and highways. If some such remedy Is not enforced, what shall law-abiding citizens do to protect their lives and those of their families? If a reckless per- son indulges In the sport of throwing bricks out of the tenth story of a building, endangering and menacing the lives of passers by, what Is the right and duty of the citizen? Stop the brick thrower by whatever means is necessary. If some one shoots bird shot indiscriminately on the streets Just for the fun of It, endangering the lives of everybody in the vicinity, what is to be done? St or* the foolish scoundrel by whatever means is necessary. If a law-abiding citizen sees a machine being driven at reckless, wanton, and unlawful speed upon a public tl orongbfare. menacing the lives of his family, what Is he to do—what, in fact, is his duty? Stop the machine by whatever means that may be necessary. Recently in an outlying park of one of our largest cities, operators of automobiles persisted"in speeding in violation of law. and finally ott- cers ['laced obstructions on the streets as the only means of stopping the dangerous and vicious speeding. This was thought by the speeders to 1h an outrage, and yet was the mildest remedy that seemed possible. Notwithstanding the appalling catastrophles that are occurring from dav to dav, we are told that the automobile “ has come to stay." Prob- ably. but not at such speed that constantly menaces and endangers human life. The ninety and nine of every hundred people of this and other countries will not abandon the nubile thoroughfare«» to a sln*le class comprising less than 1 per cent or all the population. If a selfish, reckless, and indulgent class must run faster than the majority of man- kind let them build their speedways and kill each other If they will, but they must not be permitted to continue to terrorize and kill the people whose toll and tax maintain the public thoroughfare». WHO OW.fS THE HIRHWAT8? Robert G. Cousins, one of the most beloved of the Hawkeye sons, sounds the tocsin in this month's Womans World against “The charg- ing monster of the public road.” the criminally run automobile. “ Shall the people be driven from their own highways?” is the question the ex Congressman from Iowa aptly asks. Every true lover of the automo- bile • In fact, everv law-abiding citizen of the Lotted State«, whether be be an automobilist or not. will agree with Mr. Cousins In hla criti- cism of the crash and smash of gasoline propelled monsters on the high- ways of the Fnited States. Horses and people flee before them, some maimed and crippled for life. Law. to the speed violator, la a* a alow coach which he distances with a demoniacal laugh. He belongs to the class of chauffeurs who run down Innocent children or aged men. and turn on full sj*eed to escape! The time has come for the I'nited States to lay a deterring hand upon the death-dealing destroyer, the charging monster, the criminally run “ devil wagon.” Mr. RANSDEIX of Louisiana. Mr. Chairman. I wish to invite the attention of the Hout«e this afternoon to several topics of deep concern to the general welfare. I allude to the large exodus of our best citizens into the British possessions north of the T’nited States, and to the rapid cong«*tion of our cities caused by the growing unpopularity of life on the farm, and by the large influx of foreign immigrants, many of whom seftle in cities. I shall explain these questions briefly, for there Is little dispute concerning them, and shall offer at some length v/bat seems to me to be the best solution of the trouble

About This Document

Total pages:
This document has no additional description.