« PreviousContinue »
Q. That is, if they earned more than their living cost, they ought to have that, so that they might see some future for themselves?
A. That is the principle upon which we work, and every man is engaged in our Home. We have thirty regular employees paid from one dollar upwards — I might say that was about the lowest for any up to fifteen dollars a week.
That is, what you do is to help the man to support himself? 1. Yes, sir.
You teach him to be self-supporting?
A, Yes, sir.
Q. And if he doesn't earn anything more than his bread and butter costs he gets nothing; but if he does, that is his profit?
A. Yes, sir; he gets the equivalent.
Q. Now, when these people come to you, what kind of an investigation do you make in regard to them?
A. Well, in the first place we have a set of rules framed.
To which they are supposed to submit.
Now, you say you have a set of rules framed?
posted all around.
Q. And you feel it to be of value to have those rules in a prominent place?
4. I think so.
So that every one may see them?
I think so.
And that they may be seen by each one as he comes in?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you find that a considerable number of them are able to read them, don't you?
A. Yes; and those who are not able to read them generally get somebody else to read for them. The first rule would be something like this: Every man wishing to receive the benefits of this Home must manifest a desire on his own part to improve his own moral and physical condition. That would be the first one, for instance.
Q. Now, you were going to say what they are subjected to when they come there what tests they were given. I forget the exact lan-` guage that you used, but you were going to tell me how you treated the men when they came into the Home.
A. Well, it all depends upon the purpose for which he comes. man is sometimes sent there on an order by some kindly disposed person, as a man who has been better off. Perhaps he has known this man in the past, and he send him on an order, and says, Charge to my account." Now, that man is exempt from labor.
Q. That is a man who is sent as a boarder by some benevolent person?
A. Yes, sir.
His expenses are paid by somebody else?
A. Yes; but he has to submit to the regulations of the Home. In the first place, for instance, every man must take a bath. His clothes are all steamed and fumigated, and he is furnished with a clean nightshirt, and he is sent to bed, as every man is.
Q. Does he wear his own shirt at night, or does he have a separate one ?
He has a night shirt. He is furnished with an institutional shirt. Q. That is, he makes a change — has one on in day time, and another at night?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. I suppose that case of a man being sent there as a boarder is rather the exceptional case? Take a man who comes there on his own account. What process do you go through with him ?
A. If he comes on his own account, I ask him, of course in fact we have a register in which is written his age, name, nativity, occupation, whether married or unmarried, religion, etc.
Q. How much of an investigation do you make into his antecedents? A. Well, we find out whether he is married or unmarried, and we want to know where he is from, how long he has been in the city, and what his purpose is in applying to the Home.
Q. And do you find out whether or not he has been in the institutions?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you find out what his occupation has been ?
4. Yes, sir.
Q. And you find out where he has been before he turned up there? A. Yes, as well as we possibly can. Of course, I have assistants there who look after a great many of these things. I am not always there and don't always do these things myself.
Q. Certainly not; but I am talking about the Home.
4. Yes, they always make these inquiries before they are admitted.
Q. Do they make any inquiry, such as of the Associated Charities? 4. We are in touch with all the associations, and all the churches, Catholic and Protestant, in the city; and we furnish information to each other by telephone and by slip -confidential, of course, sometimes. Q. And you make inquiries from them?
Q. So that you find out in the fullest possible way all the information you can concerning each man?
4. Well, for instance, if a man comes to the Home, and wants to be sent out of the city or out of the State- we have a fund for that purpose
before we do anything for him, I want to find out whether or not he is telling me the truth. In order to do that, sometime I telegraph, sometimes I telephone, sometimes I write, sometimes I refer to those to whom he refers me; and if I find that his statements are true I help him. If I have any doubt as to whether he is telling me a straight story or or not, I say to him, "I will give you employment to the value of that ticket;" and if he is an honest fellow very often he will work it out. If not, he will get out some other way.
Q. Then before admitting him you make the fullest possible inquiry in regard to him, not only for questioning him individually, but from communicating with all the different societies and organizations in the city that could possibly give you any light upon that subject?
A. Well, when it is practicable. I don't mean to say that we always go through this and go into every individual case in this way before we do anything for a man. I don't keep a man waiting out-doors until we find out all these things if the man is starving. I admit him, and then find out afterwards.
Q. But you do, either before or afterwards?
A. I find out all about him; yes, sir- and I know that he goes out from there a better man than he comes in, if he has a purpose to that effect.
Q. And then you keep a record of those facts that you ascertain ?
A. Yes, sir, on the register. That is, I would not have a complete record of all these things in regard to every man; but I generally know my man pretty well.
Q. You keep the record upon the slips that don't appear upon the register itself?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, why do you do this?
We do it for the protection of society, largely, and then for the
good of the individual.
Q. And why is that so? How does it protect society, and how does it aid the individual?
A. Well, in the first place, we try, if possible, to tell whether the man is telling the truth or not. Now, for instance, we have tickets which are given away throughout all the city -- I am giving my business here, like my friend who preceded me. There is a secret in every business, I presume. Every man who receives a ticket to come there is not supposed to know the true intent of that ticket. We do it in order to avoid indiscriminate giving. That man is sent to us, and we make inquiries to find out whether he has been in some other institution, and whether he has been trying to work other places whether he is a
rounder," in other words.
Q. Now, in regard to the protection of the man ?
A. Well, we find out whether what he tells us is true or not, in order to show the man that he cannot give us any bluff, and that there is no use in trying to deceive, anyway. We try to inculcate in him the principle of manliness; try to make him to be straightforward; and show him that if he isn't we will find it out.
2. Now, after this has been gone through, then what is done for the man?
He is admitted to the benefits of the Home, as far as possible. And how do you determine what the man shall do or what shall be done with the man?
A. According to what he is able to do, and what we have for him to do.
Q. What investigation do you make into the man's ability?
I ask him if he has any trade or profession. If he is a carpenter, and we have any work on a house, for instance, I will put him to work at that. If I find that he is a plumber, I will give him work at that; and if I find he is a printer, I will put him in the printing establishment. We have a room of that kind there. If he had any other profession and I can use him anywhere, I do it. If he cannot do anything else, he saws wood and says nothing."
Q. (By Ald. LEE.) If he is a lawyer, what do you do with him? 4. Send him down here to get points on the Board of Aldermen. Q. (By Mr. BRANDEIS.) Now, Mr. Roberts, you make a very detailed personal inquiry in regard to the man, his habits, his capacity, and all that, do you not?
through the offi
We do; and we do it personally in this way cers of the Home. There used to be a committee of women down there to make those inquiries. I have a good deal of respect for women and for Boards in that way; but I don't think that any of these second and third parties can do the thing like the first party.
Q. You do it yourself?
A. Yes, sir; and they have confidence in the officers of the Home. I always feel that if an officer of the Home needs looking after, probably some of these committees would need looking after too I feel that that is the way to do it, to find out for yourself, personally. They will tell you the truth, generally. I don't find that there is any great deceit with these people, although, of course, there is sometimes. For instance, just before I came up here to-night one man rolled in to the Home. He was full up to the chin, and he said he hadn't been drinking at all. Now, I think that man tried to deceive me, but when they are all right they will tell you the truth as a general thing, when they know that you are trying to help them.
at 4 o'clock.
The Committee will now adjourn until Thursday
The WITNESS. I don't know whether I can be here at that time. If I am in the city I will try to be.
Mr. BRANDEIS. — If you cannot be here then, possibly you could be here later in the day.
The WITNESS. - I will try to, if possible.
Mr. BRANDEIS. -We would also be glad to have you bring your literature with you if possible.
(Adjourned at 10.31 P.M. to meet on Thursday, December 20, at 4 o'clock P.M.)
THURSDAY, December 20, 1894.
The hearing was resumed at 4 o'clock P.M., Chairman HALLSTRAM presiding.
THOMAS D. ROBERTS. Continued.
Q. (By Mr. BRANDEIS.) Mr. Roberts, at the close of the last hearing you were describing the methods adopted in your institution for bringing the unfortunate persons who came there to a condition of self-respect, and you were explaining the precise system which was pursued by you in accepting these persons in your institution and setting them to work. At the time, I think, you had discussed the matter of the investigation into their character and history and acquirements, both from them and from others, and you were going on to tell me what happened after that, at the time that we closed after they had passed that preliminary investigation. As you said, they were presented with the rules, and they were washed, etc.
A. Yes, when a man is admitted into the institution, of course, as I said the other evening, we find out whatever the man is able to do.
And we give such employment as he has been accustomed We have a good deal of outside work in the way of repairing, if he is a carpenter. We have had two or three men, perhaps, today, doing repair-work, in the way of carpenter-work, and so on. Q. You mean doing work outside the institution?
A. Yes, sir; we do work outside, and, as I said, all funds are received by the superintendent and the benefits are paid to those who are dependent on the man who has worked. For instance, I have just had a case, have just disposed of a case in coming here. It was a case where the woman's furniture was on the sidewalk and she had no place to go. I gave orders to have the men come down - it is on Rochester street and take the goods over into empty rooms that she can get for a dollar and a quarter a week. and I pay that one dollar and a quarter in advance, and the husband is to come to-morrow morning and work that out as a day's work. I wouldn't allow the woman to receive it as a gift if she has a husband who is able to work for it.
Q. Well, now, how varied is the work which you procure for these people ?
4. Well, we have secured positions for book-keepers, we have gotten young men into colleges to study, and we have all around in different occupations in Boston men who represent our work.