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party to whom such service or labor may be due.” (Art. IV, sec. 2, subsec. 3, Constitution.)

Under authority of this section Congress in 1791 passed the law giving to the ship power to enforce contracts made with seamen upon the seamen's body. This law—the fugitive-sailor law-in 1793 served as a model for the fugitive-slave law.

Under authority, presumably of this section, the United States entered into treaties with foreign nations for mutual arrest, detention, and delivery of deserted seamen to their vessels.

In 1865 the following amendment to the Constitution was adopted: “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."

Section 2. “Congress shall have power to enforce this act by appropriate legislation.” (Thirteenth amendment, Constitution.)

In 1867 the statutes were revised, and all compulsory labor, except as applicable to seamen, was stricken out, and in 1872 the laws compelling seamen to labor for a private person were made more drastic.

Under the treaties with foreign nations and these laws, seamen having signed contracts to labor in countries having a lower standard of life and a lower wage, were forcibly compelled to continue to labor within the jurisdiction of the United States.

This produced a difference in the wage cost of operating vessels taking cargoes from ports of the United States, the difference being all in favor of the foreign vessel and sufficient in amount to gradually drive domestic vessels from the ocean. (Testimony, Merchant Marine Commission.)

In 1896 the seamen, believing that they came within the protection of the thirteenth amendment, took this question to the Supreme Court, but in Robertson v. Baldwin (165 U. S., p. 275), the court held that the thirteenth amendment had no application to seamen, Justice Harlan filing an elaborate dissenting opinion, which resulted in abolishing the involuntary servitude of seamen in the domestic trade. (Act Dec. 21, 1898.)

In 1911 the Supreme Court again had occasion to construe the thirteenth amendment. In the case of Baily v. State of Alabama (219 U. S., p. 219), the court decided (we quote from the syllabus):

“While its immediate concern was African slavery, the thirteenth amendment was a charter of universal freedom for all persons of whatever race, color, or estate under the flag”; and

“The words 'involuntary servitude' have a larger meaning than slavery, and the thirteenth amendment prohibited all control by coercion of the personal service of one man for the benefit of another.

We respectfully submit that we are persons and that we are within and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”; and

“That Congress should now repeal all laws and abrogate all treaties under which we are subject to arrest, detention, and delivery to any man in order that he may compel us to labor for his benefit." (c) THE DECAY OF SEAMENSHIP IN EUROPE AND AMERICA

(S. Doc. No. 216, 63d Cong., Oct. 23, 1913) “The Caucasian is leaving the sea; the Oriental is filling the vacancy. Sea power is in the seamen; vessels are the seamen's working tools; tools become the property of those who handle them.

“This is not prophecy; it is a fact If the reader needs proof let him visit the docks where the ocean-cargo carrier-the tramp-is taking in or delivering cargo. He will find that while the officers are white, the sailors and firemen are very largely from the races which inhabit Africa, Asia, and the Malay Islands. If he be fond of statistics and knows the way they are made up so as to hide from John Bull the loss of his sea legs—the decay of his sea power—let him examine the reports issued from year to year by the board of trade. If he be told that the tendency is sporadic let him ask the boys along the seacoasts of Europe and America north of the Mexican line, what they are going to be when they grow up, and the answers will be truly illuminating. Let him ask the seamen if they will accept a job on shore and he will find that they are willing to accept anything to get away from the sea. The men are leaving the sea; the boys are shunning it.

“The compelling cause of this drift from the sea is a great wrong, which can only be cured by legislation. National commissions and international confer


ences have sat and inquired into losses of life at sea. They have reported vessels to be undermanned, both in individual skill and in numbers of seamen employed. Recoinmendations have been made and forgotten. The General Slocum was lost with about 1,000 lives; the coroner's jury said, “Inefficient crew'; the cominission appointed added, “Not enough life preservers, inefficient inspection. The net result was more life preservers, better inspection, but no improvement in the

The Titanic was lost. The senatorial commission said, “Not enough lifeboats, the crew inefficient in skill and number.' There are some more lifeboats, but no more or better men. The drift from the sea is growing and safety diminishing, while vessels are steadily growing larger. Seamen have sought proper legislation in vain for more than 20 yeais. Congress after Congress has been appealed to, but without substantial results. The seamen are poor; they are lowly; few of them are voters; fewer still can vote, being at sea; they have nothing with which to quicken sympathy and induce action except their plainly told tale. And yet the questions arising from the drift from the sea are of great racial importance, they are of great national importance, they are of great economic importance, and of serious personal importance to those who travel the sea for business or pleasure. The cause of the drift from the sea is simple, the remedy easy if honestly applied.

(1) When a citizen becomes a seaman he surrendeis all rights of citizenship, he voluntarily places himself outside of the protection of the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution.

"(2) He accepts and surrenders to the plenary power of Congress and the President his personal freedom, the wages he has earned, the work he is to do and with whom he is to do it, and thereby unreasonably increases the burden of his toil and the risks, naturally and unavoidably great, to his life.

"One century since, the status of the worker was either that of a slave, a serf, or one who labored under term contracts enforceable by imprisonment. The seaman belonged to the last-named class. Being among the freest of the workers, his social and industrial condition was, in comparison with the others, favorable. Other causes contribute to this result.

"(1) The shipowner might lose his all through local riots or other social disturbances in port, through piracy or other dangers of the sea.

“(2) He was liable to the traveler and the shipper for the amount of damages caused if traceable to him not being acts of God' or 'the public enemy.'

“The self-interest of the shipowner was sufficient to cause him to carry men skilled in their calling, acquainted with the use of arms, physically able to use them, and with sufficient courage to defend and protect their employer's property, whether the attack came from men or from natural elements. The shipowner appreciated this to the extent of obtaining legislation which gave him the power to punish the laggard or to reduce the incompetent in rating and wages, according to his demerit. The shipowner still has this power. · He was bound by law to carry a national crew either in whole or in part. These conditions compelled him to look for his workmen among his own people, amongst the strong, the healthy, and the skilled. If he employed his slaves or serfs they became free.

“These several causes worked automatically toward a wage rate under which the seaman could and did keep a family in as much well-being as the average skilled mechanic.

“During the last century a great change came over society. Slavery and serfdom were abolished; term contracts to labor, enforcible by imprisonment either by law or in equity, were abolished here in the United States and in some countries in Europe, while in others they were reduced in number and remained applicable only on servants in houses or in husbandry. As freedom came to men it carried better treatment and better wages. Wages rose gradually until they doubled, trebled, and quadrupled; the legal testimony of the worker became creditable, being untainted by his status. The seaman was not permitted to share in any of these changes; his status remained. His wages stood still or were actually lowered. The cost of living rose with the advancement of the wages; the purchasing power of the seaman's wages went down and he became unable to care for a family.

“Other causes contributed to this result:

"(1) A system of marine insurance was perfected through which the shipowner guarded himself from the dangers of the sea and distributed the losses upon the general community.

“(2) Limited liability laws were enacted through which the main risk of travel fell on the passenger, the risk of merchandise in transit upon the shipper, who through the insurance shifted it to the general public.


“(3) Piracy ceased and losses through revolts or revolutions became collectible from the nations or communities held responsible.

(4) Lighthouses were built, channels marked, deepened, and widened, storms were studied, warnings were given, and navigation became more safe.

“ (5) Laws compelling national crews were repealed, modified, or disregarded. “Having rid himself of the risk by insurance, of the liability by legislation, and of limitation as to the nationality of the men employed through the repeal of laws, the shipowner cared no longer for skill, ability, nationality, or race.

The wages to be paid became his main consideration. He might send his vessel to sea with men none of whom were trained in the work or who understood without an interpreter the orders given. The seaman was compelled to compete with the unskilled from all strata in society, from all nations and all races, and when at sea he was compelled to do the work which these men could not do. This is the condition today., Hence, the increasing shipwrecks, the great losses of life, such as the General Slocum, the Elbe, the La Bourgoyne, the City of Rio de Janeiro, the Norge, the Valencia, the Oceana, the Titanic, and almost innumerable others; hence, also, the constant increase in insurance rates. White men are leaving the

Modern education and the worn out, ancient status cannot continue together. Men refuse to go into or remain in any calling which will not furnish sufficient upon which a family may be kept. More and more men come to sea as does the sewage. Last Congress passed a law providing for more reasonable hours of labor for officers of vessels, and it is largely disobeyed, either secretly or openly, with the excuse that the shipowners cannot find men from whom officers can be made.

Let this thing continue a few more years and the Asiatic will have to be accepted on the bridge in command, because none others will be available. Men from the Mediterranean, from Arabia, India, and South Africa sail the vessels on the Atlantic; men from China and Japan sail the vessels in the trade between our Pacific ports and Asia. The number of Asiatics and Africans from the south of Africa in the merchant marine of Great Britain is about 100,000. Norway, with her former surplus of seamen, has not enough for her own vessels, and the number is steadily decreasing. Germany's seamen come from the interior and are diminishing. The drift from the sea on the part of the Caucasian is general and growing. There must be a change; it must be fundamental, and it must be soon, or the sea must become the domain of the Oriental. His status and standard of living corresponds to the status and earning capacity of seamen of today.

“These facts have been presented to Congress after Congress. The seamen have been met with the answer that to change the condition as urged would be to still more widen the difference in the wage cost of operation now existing between foreign and domestic vessels taking cargoes or passengers from American ports and thus drive the few remaining American vessels from the ocean. The seamen then went into the study of the real causes of the differences and found:

(1) That wages are determined by supply and demand. That it is the same to all nations' vessels in the same port if the vessels are going in the same or a similar trade.

(2) That wages are dependent upon the standard of wages and of living in the port and in the territory adjacent thereto and upon the port to which the vessels are going.

“(3) Upon the standard of skill demanded and the chances of getting away from-deserting from-the vessel at her port of destination if such be a highwage port.

“Thus, it was found that when a Norwegian shipowner wants men to join a vessel sailing between ports of the United States and the West Indies or Central America (the fruit steamers), he pays 50 percent more wages than if the vessel was going to the Black Sea. He does this to keep the men now, when by treaty he can have them arrested, detained, and delivered back to him. The fugitiveslave law is in full force and operation between nations through treaties entered into. If the men coming to the United States from other countries could quit their vessels in ports of the United States and reship in some other vessel the wages would become equalized. It is not suggested that seamen should be paid off. It is suggested that they should be able to obtain one-half of their earned wages, and that they should not be arrested and delivered back to their masters (owners?) against their will. The only difference in the cost of operation of vessels that does not arise out of the cost of building is in the wage. All other supplies are obtained upon the same terms by vessels in the same trade. The price of the port controls. The wages of the port would control if the law of supply and demand was permitted to act, but this law is set at naught by laws made by the several nations and given vitality in foreign countries through treaties. Such arrangements are solely in the interest of low-wage countries. Abolish the fugitiveslave law now operating upon the seamen; cease being the slave catcher for foreign nations and the economic value to purely American-owned vessels would be equal to a greater sum than was ever asked for as a subsidy, and all talk of subsidy or necessity for discriminating duties would at once be at an end.

Give to the seamen while the vessel is in port and in safety, the freedom that has been given to other workers; give them half of the money due to them (others get all) in such ports, in order that they may have the means to exercise and to protect their freedom; provide a standard of skill in the men employed (and thus make it possible for them to save life at sea, their own included), provide such regulations as to working hours as shall keep the skill available (they work 7 days a week and 12 hours per day at present), make the freedom, the standard of efficiency, and the right to one-half of the money due, applicable to foreign vessels coming within the jurisdiction of our laws, and there will be a reasonable assurance of safety at sea, the American vessel willl be on equality with foreign vessels in American ports, as they already are, through law enacted in 1884, in foreign ports and the 'drift from the sea' will cease. There will be a better class of men available for the merchant marine and the Navy, there will be more safety at sea, lower insurance rates and no necessity for either a subsidy or for any discriminating duty, England regulates all the matters dealing with safety, including the number of men on vessels coming within the jurisdiction of her laws and we will be doing nothing except what is truly American by doing the same.

“Compulsory labor in private employment has few friends today, and the hope of the thinking seamen has been that freedom will come to them also. In this hope they have waited and worked. They believed that the nasions would come to realize their need of seamen for national purposes and that disasters, which were sure to multiply as skill decreased, would casue the people to demand such changes in the law as should be found needed in the interest of safety of life at sea. Vessels that cannot burn and will not sink are not built. The best vessel ever built is unseaworthy unless manned by skilled officers and men who can understand the orders and who know how to obey them. Real seamen know that in any serious struggle with the forces of nature the human element is the determining factor. They have been waiting, watching, and praying for relief. Senate bill 4 is the remedy and will give the relief needed.

“An international conference of safety of life at sea is coming; but we fear that little of real value will come from that unless it is preceded by proper legislation here setting a minimum. We fear that the forces which have been, and now are, engaged in destroying the customs upon which skill and safety rested, and which have succeeded in preventing legislation so long needed, will in some way dominate the conference.

"With the proper legislation enacted here and thus a minimum set, that conference would be valuable. Other nations would have to follow our lead owing to pressure of economic conditions; they would, therefore, make a virtue of necessity and the conference would very likely recommend similar legislation to other countries.

"Sea power is in the seaman. Ships are but the seaman's working tools. If there be a desire in the white race to retain its sea power, the Caucasian must be brought to sea again. Nations which desire to share in that sea power must depend upon their own citizens or subjects. If a reasonable safety at sea be desired, men of strength, courage, and skill must be induced to again seek the sea and they will not come to accept existing status nor tolerate other existing conditions."

Comment It will be noted that among the exemptions from liability and risk which the shipowners have succeeded in obtaining from many of their separate governments, there was no exemption granted to the shipowner for failing to furnish & seaworthy vessel. It has been held by the courts generally that the first duty of the owner is to furnish a vessel every respect seaworthy, and that the owners could be and can now be sued for damages to be determined by courts and juries for failing so to do..

In the present Treaty of Safety of Life at Sea the shipowner is endeavoring to rid himself of this obligation to the shipper, the traveler, and the crew by causing the nations accepting the present proposed Treaty of Safety of Life at Sea to accept the "full responsibility for the seaworthiness of a vessel” to which they grant safety certificates. If this treaty shall be adopted there can be no recovering of damages because nations as sovereignties cannot be sued except by special permission.


(d) On my arrival in Washington in the early part of December 1934, I at once went before the Interdepartmental Committee charged by the President with preparing recommendations for him to be sent to Congress. After a very short hearing I suggested that a better way would be to write a letter to me containing such questions as that committee desired me to answer. This resulted in the letter of December 15, 1934, from Mr. Turner W. Battle, executive assistant to the Secretary of Labor and my answer thereto of December 19. I deeply regret that in going over the recommendations made by the Interdepartmental Committee and the bills submitted to Congress as a result, there is nothing to indicate any specific purpose to improve the personnel.

When the ship builders joined with the Inspector General of Steam Vessels, who was investigating the Morro Castle disaster, in saying that the Morro Castle was the very last word in shipbuilding the cause of the disaster must of necessity be sought in the personnel. The Inspector General says in his report that the disaster resulted from disobedience of law on the one hand, together with inefficiency of both officers and crew on the other. Considering these reports, it was surprising to me, indeed, that in studying these bills I was compelled to come to the conclusion that the recommendations of the Inspector General on the importance of the human element had been overlooked and that if the bills were passed they would result in weakening instead of improving the efficiency of the personnel. To delegate to the Secretary of Commerce the right to abolish able seaman certificates, the right to determine when three watches shall be provided for vessels and how such watches shall be used and the right to determine where loading marks (Plimsoll marks) are to be placed on American ships in the coastwise trade and to exempt the Great Lakes from even such regulations, it is difficult, indeed, to see where any serious improvement for safety comes in.

When the Constitution was drafted the world-wide maritime law as it then stood (the consulate of the sea—the Scroll of Oleron—the Statute of Visbysome of the Statutes of the Hanseatic League and some of the Rescripts of Louis XIV) was accepted as the admiralty law of the time and the jurisdiction was given to the district courts of the United States to construe and enforce same. I believe that the study of the decisions of the courts will show conclusively that the courts insist upon acts of Congress to change the law as it was turned over to them being specifically written in the statute, that any additions to the rights and any specific improvement to the seamen's conditions must be specifically stated in order to be effective. These bills give additional powers to the Department. They provide for no specific improvement in the personnel. We have, therefore, submitted a bill known as the "LaFollette bill” (S. 1933) and a bill known as the "Welch bill” (H. R. 7290). Please get the House bill. It is the corrected Senate bill, which has some errors.


Washington, December 15, 1934. Mr. ANDREW FURUSETH,

Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. FURUSETH: In connection with your statement to the Shipping Policy Committee and our conversation in my office, I am listing below subjects on which I would like an expression from you as to the attitude of the International Seamen's Union for the consideration of the Shipping Policy Committee, of which I am a member.

1. Payment of supplemental compensation to meet the proper wage level in the form of Merchant Marine and Naval Reserve pay similar to the British, but possibly larger in amount and that this form be the only operating differential paid to shipowners.

2. Government control of dividends to companies receiving either construction bounty or operating subsidy.

3. Requiring seamen to have continuous-service certificates similar to the British.

4. Control of American ports.
5. Requiring ships to maintain a three-watch system for all hands.
6. Improvement of working conditions.

7. Requiring all ship operators to obtain their employees from branches to be established by the United States Employment Service or the Sea Service Bureau of the Bureau of Navigation.

8. Establishment of a National Merchant Marine Academy to train enough officers to fill one-third of the available vacancies, candidates to be taken 60 percent from the unlicensed personnel serving in the merchant marine.

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