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."
MR. BULL'S SPEECH.Henry Adsit Bull '95, was the third speaker for Harvard. He showed himself ready in exposing the weak points of his opponents' arguments. His speech was not free from monotony, but his matter was solid and he at times made his point cogently. He spoke in brief as follows:
Great organizations of capital, by buying up all the machines, force the workmen to come together for employment,. Abuses exist simply because there is an eternal contest between the employers and employees. The placing of irresponsible power in the hands of organizations of capitalists is certainly very unwise, for no one can hold irresponsible power without danger to the interests of others. It is impossible for an employer to deal with his employees individually and have his influence felt by all the men in his employ. It is a physical impossibility for a man to discuss a question with every man in his works, and to hear their feelings upon the subject; therefore, if the real opinion of the employees is to be got at, it is necessary for them to combine, and choose representatives to lay their views before their employer.
MR. C. G. CLARKE'S SPEECH.Clement George Clarke '95, the third speaker for Yale, was earnest and energetic. He was inclined, however, to go so hurriedly in his argument as to leave his audience behind. But when followed closely he was seen to have the matter well in hand. Mr. Clarke' showed that the delegation of power to the representatives of the national associations introduced a third party who could not freely understand either side of the dispute. These were the organizations to be ignored. The claim of the affirmative speakers that such organizations were necessary before there could be any arbitration did not rest on facts. Inquiry into the character of the associations proved that they lack conservatism and discreet leadership, as seen in the case of the Chicago strikes under the guidance of Debs. The sympathetic strikes that were ordered by such leaders necessitated breach of trusts. Laborers could not appreciate on how small a margin most business is conducted. In their opposition to the monopoly of capital they form a monopoly of labor which keeps honest men out of work.
THE REBUTTALS.H. A. Bull spoke in rebuttal for Harvard. He said that the claim of the affirmative was simply that the representatives of the working men should have a hearing, not that their demands should necessarily be granted. The friendly meeting of employers and the representatives of employees would have an educatory influence on the latter that would ensure mutual understanding and destroy the influence of demagogues. Arbitration was impossible unless there were persons capable of treating in behalf of the employees.
E. M. Long gave the rebuttal for Yale. He said that over 18,000,000 workingmen out of 20,000,000 were outside of labor organizations and yet the strikes which make the most trouble were caused by the few who were organized. Employers wanted men who were independent. Labor organizations demanded the right to say how capital should be invested and what rate of wages should be paid, without regard to the law of supply and demand. If organization should become universal the strikes that now affect a few would cause universal distress.
THE BANQUET.After the debate a banquet was held at the Colonial Club. At this there were present: Ex-Governor Long, Bishop Lawrence, Professor Dewey, Dean Briggs, Professor Hart, Professor Cummings, Mr. Hayes, Mr. Baker, the Yale speakers, the Harvard speakers, President Baldwin of the Yale Union, President Adair of the Yale Kent Club; C. A. Duniway Gr., A. P. Stone L. S., A. S. Apsey L. S., and E. H. Warren '95, who have spoken in former Yale debates; J. P. Warren '96, S. E. Johnson '95, and R. C. Davis '97, of the Harvard Union; F. C. Thwaits L. S., E. S. Page '95, D. King '95, and L. W. Mott '96, of the Wendell Phillips Club.
Toasts were responded to by Bishop Lawrence, Professor Dewey, Professor Hart, Mr. Hayes, Mr. Baker, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Duniway.