Seventh Debate an Entire Success-Sanders Theatre Filled by an Appreciative Audience.
The debate in Sanders Theatre last evening gave full satisfaction to Harvard men. The debate was won by the Harvard representatives, not through the signal ability of any one speaker, but because all three worked well together and each did his part well. The Yale men were not, as a whole, up to the standard set in previous debates, although W. H. Clark gave the best speech of the evening. It was a mistake for Yale not to have had him give the rebuttal.
At ten minutes past eight when ex-Governor Long and the speakers stepped upon the platform they were greeted by an audience that filled every seat and crowded the aisles at the rear of the theatre; every seat, practically, had been sold, to say nothing of a large number of admissions.
Ex-Governor Long opened the exercises in a simple and happy speech. "We are gathered," he said, "to witness another intercollegiate contest, a contest, not of physical strength and skill, but of intellectual ability and training. Considering the lack-I might say dearth- of opportunity for such training in my own day, I think it matter of congratulation that these debates have become institutions."
MR. Ross's Speech.The first speaker was Thompson La-mar Ross L. S., of Harvard. Ross made an excellent opening speech; cleared the ground quickly, made his points well and spoke throughout with an engaging ease and smoothness. He said in substance:
The speakers for the affirmative do not appear as labor agitators or Socialists, who believe that the effect of great discoveries and inventions of machinery has provided an injury to working classes as a whole. But the effect of the growth of the factory system and the division of labor was to place the workman at a disadvantage by depriving him of all control over the conditions of his employment. With this change has come the remedy of organization among laborers, for only by organization could workmen bargain on equal terms with capitalist employers. Under the influence of old economic principles, society and all its forces combined to crush labor organizations.
Nurtured by oppression, however, they have thrived and prospered,-today we find them free, recognized and sanctioned by law. From this survey we learn two things: first, that labor associations are beneficent in principle, and a benefit and protection to laborers; second, that they are indestructible and inevitable. Employers are confronted with them as a natural part of our industrial system. In the end it will be much against the employers' interests if they ignore them.
MR. LONG'S SPEECH.The second speaker was Ernest Mayo Long, L. S., of Yale. He did not equal Ross. He showed less grasp of the subject, and a tendency to talk on points which would appeal to the audience rather than to the judges. He was some what stiff and hesitating in his delivery, but had a quiet sarcasm that told for his side. He said that his predecessor had based his argument on three assumptions, all of which were questionable. First, he assumed that combinations of employers had done harm to laborers, yet they had not at all. It was only through such combinations that great capitalistic projects could be realized. This large employment of capital made increased demand for labor. Second, he had assumed that association of employers can control wages. But if wages are anywhere, put higher than what exist elsewhere, prices must also rise, the sale of goods will fall off, and the result of these inflated wages will inevitably be to throw workmen out of employment. Third, he had assumed that there was a necessary antagonism between employers and employees. Yet to admit such is to admit that a social revolution is in order.
MR. RINGWALT'S SPEECH.The next speaker was Ralph Curtis Ringwalt '95, for Harvard. He was a little unsteady at first and was apt throughout his speech to repeat unnecessarily. These were only minor faults; in the main he was sure of his ground, brought out his points well, was simple, strong, eloquent at times and almost always held the close attention of the house. He said that the workingman was confronted with a condition of affairs,-he had lost control on account of the factory system, he was confronted with organization on one hand and all they asked was that they should be allowed to have organization on their side also. It could not be intelligently denied that it was an advantage for the employees; it would therefore be best to look at the other side. Is it for the best interests of the employers to recognize these associations? It most certainly is. For laborers feel that they have been denied a right; feeling this, they are made hostile to capitalists; social disturbances, such as strikes and lock-outs are increased, and these are very costly to capitalists. The Chicago strike cost the laborers a million and a half of dollars, but it cost the managers four millions and a half. This fact has been recognized and it is generally the policy of managers in this country to recognize this. They have learned the lesson,- recognition and there is harmony; no recognition and there is war.
MR. W. H. CLARK'S SPEECH.Walter Haven Clark'96, was the second speaker for Yale. He knew his question well; he made some subtle criticisms of the Harvard men, and had that impressiveness that comes from apparent thorough belief in his side of the question. He had little rhetoric but much argument. In substance he said:
In saying that employers ignore associations of labor the gentlemen on the affirmative imply that in doing this they also ignore their employees. This is emphatically not so. There are few employers who deny an audience to any of their employees. When an employer deals with individual labor he is dealing directly with his employees, but when he treats with organized labor he is treating with a third party. An employer is naturally unwilling to discuss questions concerning his own trade with the representatives of totally different trades. In 1877, during the great railroad strikes, it was proved that the more the railway managers recognized the labor organizations, the greater the strikes became, until at last they were forced to have nothing to do with these associations. The demand of labor organizations is not so much "you shall employ us, but "you shall employ only us."