Congressional Record


Text from Document

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
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.
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
H. R. 13S6. An act to correct the naval record of James C.
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-
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,
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
The committee resumed Its session.
Mr. BOWERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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».
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.