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1864, referred to (13 Stat. 347), provides for the erection
of suitable structures and railings in the old Hall of the
House of Representatives for the reception and protection
of statuary, which is to be under the supervision and
direction of the Chief of Engineers in charge of public
buildings and grounds, and the statute authorizes the
President- --
"to invite each and all the States to provide and furnish
statues, in marble or bronze, not exceeding two in number
for each State, of deceased persons who have been citizens
thereof, and illustrious for their historic renown or from dis-
tinguished civic or military services, such as each State shall
determine to be worthy of this national commemoration;
and when so furnished, the same shall be placed in the
old IIall of the House of Representatives, in the Capitol
of the United States, which is hereby set apart, or so much
thereof as may be necessary, as a National Statuary Hall
for the purposes herein indicated."

It is probably true that when this act was passed Congress did not contemplate that any State would designate one or more of its citizens who were then engaged in warlike rebellion against the Government of the United States as persons “illustrious for their historic renown or from distinguished civic or military services” whose statues should be placed in this Hall. Nevertheless, perhaps in the hope that what Mr. Lincoln so fittingly described as "this scourge of war" might soon pass away, and that a reunited country might be realized, Congress placed no limitation in the act upon the exercise of the discretion of any State in selecting those persons whom it "may deem to be worthy of this national commemoration." It is now forty-five years since the civil war was closed. Robert E. Lee has come to be generally regarded as typifying not only all that was best in the cause to which, at the behest of his native State, he gave his services, but also the most loyal and unmurmuring acceptance of the complete overthrow of that cause. That the State of Virginia should designate him as one illustrious for distinguished military services is therefore natural; that his statue should be

clothed in the confederate uniform, thus eloquently testifying to the fact that a magnanimous country has completely forgiven an unsuccessful effort to destroy the Union, and that that statue should be accepted in the National Statuary Hall as the symbol of the acceptance without misgivings of a complete surrender and a renewed loyalty, should surely provoke no opposition. But at all events, independently of the question of taste, the act of Congress places no restriction upon the designation by the States of those whom they may desire to honor in this way, nor does it vest in any official any censorship concerning the design of the costume in which a statue shall be depicted.

The act establishing a Commission of Fine Arts, approved May 17, 1910, authorizes the appointment of a permanent Commission of Fine Arts, whose duty it shall be to advise, among other things“upon the selection of models for statues, fountains, and monuments erected under the authority of the United States and upon the selection of artists for the execution of the same," but the provisions of this act, it is declared, "shall not apply to the Capitol building of the United States and the building of the Library of Congress.”

Therefore, under the existing law, I am of opinion that no objection can be lawfully made to the placing in Statuary Hall of the National Capitol of a statue of Robert E. Lee clothed in the confederate uniform.

I return the correspondence with Mr. Tanner which you transmitted to me. Very respectfully,



The provision of the naval appropriation act of June 24, 1910 (36 Stat.

628), which makes the act of August 1, 1892 (27 Stat. 340), known as the eight-hour law, applicable to the construction of naval vessels, should be construed to apply simply to work done on the vessel itself at the place where it is built and not to the manufacture elsewhere of machinery or other material which is to enter into the construction of the vessel.


* *.'



July 8, 1910. Sir: Under date of the 30th ultimo you called my attention to the following provision in the naval appropriation act approved June 24, 1910, relating to the hours of service of laborers and mechanics employed in the construction of certain vessels authorized by that act, viz:

"And the contract for the construction of said vessels shall contain a provision requiring said vessels to be built in accordance with the provisions of an act entitled 'An act relating to the limitation of the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon the public works of the United States and of the District of Columbia, approved August first, eighteen hundred and ninetytwo,

In regard to this provision you say:

“Vessels under construction by contract for the Navy have heretofore not been regarded as public works of the United States within the meaning of the acts of August 13, 1894, and February 24, 1905, for the protection of laborers and material men, and consequently laborers and mechanics employed by the builders of such vessels have not been regarded as covered by the eight-hour law of August 1, 1892, herein mentioned.

“The effect intended by the provision quoted above from the naval appropriation act is, it is assumed, to place contracts and contractors for naval vessels in the category with contracts and contractors for public works of the Government usually so regarded. This department foresees great difficulties, if indeed not insurmountable obstacles, to be encountered if, in interpreting said provision in the naval act, all subcontractors for furnishing labor and

materials for such vessels are included within its scope, and is in doubt as to whether the provision to be inserted in the contracts should limit the application of the eighthour law to the shipyards of the builders or should extend such application so as to cover laborers and mechanics employed in the production of any and all of the numerous parts, materials, machinery, and appliances to be furnished under contract or subcontract for incorporation in the vessels.

“When proposals are invited for the construction of the vessels in question, it will be desirable to acquaint prospective bidders with this department's interpretation of the provision of law quoted above, as their estimates and prices will be materially affected thereby.”

You therefore request my opinion as to whether the following clause, drafted for incorporation in the contract for the construction of said vessels, conforms to and fulfills the requirements of said act, viz:

“As required by the naval appropriation act of June twenty-fourth, nineteen hundred and ten, said vessels shall be built in accordance with the provisions of an act entitled 'An act relating to the limitation of the hours of daily service of laborers and mechanics employed upon the public works of the United States and of the District of Columbia,' approved August first, eighteen hundred and ninety-two. This requirement is construed by the Secretary of the Navy to mean that the eight-hour law of August first, eighteen hundred and ninety-two, shall apply to laborers and mechanics employed at the works of the party of the first part and at the works of such company as may be awarded subcontract for the construction of the machinery of said vessel as an entity. It is to be understood, however, that this construction of the law is not conclusive, as questions arising under the act may at any time be taken by parties interested to a court for determination.”

The first section of the act of August 1, 1892 (27 Stat. 340), provides:

Be it enacted, etc., That the service and employment of all laborers and mechanics who are now or may hereafter be employed by the Government of the United States, by the District of Columbia, or by any contractor or subcontractor upon any of the public works of the United States or of the said District of Columbia, is hereby limited and restricted to eight hours in any one calendar day, and it shall be unlawful for any officer of the United States Government or of the District of Columbia or any such contractor or subcontractor whose duty it shall be to employ, direct, or control the services of such laborers or mechanics to require or permit any such laborer or mechanic to work more than ejglit hours in any calendar day except in case of extraordinary emergency."

Section 2 of the act provides a penalty for violation by an officer or contractor, and section 3 excepts from the operation of the act contracts entered into prior to its passage.

In an opinion rendered by Solicitor-General Hoyt August 3, 1906, and approved by Attorney-General Moody, (26 Op. 30) it was held that this statute did not apply to vessels under construction for the Navy by contract with builders at private establishments.

The provision of the naval appropriation act in question was inserted by way of amendment when that bill was before the House. In response to the suggestion that the bill was new legislation and subject to a point of order, Mr. Fitzgerald, who offered the amendment, said (45 Cong. Rec. 4440):

This amendment proposes to compel the building of the vessels authorized in this bill in accordance with the provisions of the eight-hour law. This is the first time we have had an opportunity to get the question squarely before the committee. Under the eight-hour law, the act to which the amendment refers, it is provided that eight hours shall constitute a day's work upon all public works in the United States. By a very extraordinary opinion of the Attorney-General it has been held that a war vessel is not a public work. The only question here, in my opinion, is whether this amendment is germane. The paragraph provides for certain require


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