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FRIDAY, December 21, 1894.
The hearing was resumed at 4 o'clock P.M., Chairman HALLSTRAM presiding.
CLOSING OF INVESTIGATION.
The clerk read the following:
Voted, To divide the time remaining as follows: December 21 and 22, evidence in behalf of respondents; December 26, evidence in rebuttal; December 27, for the committee; December 28, arguments, 10 to 6.30, with an hour and a half intermission.
Ald. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I desire to say just a word in reference to the vote which has been taken. I believed, with the other members of the Board, that it was necessary for the committee to take some definite action upon the investigation which has been going on; and I think that for this committee to expire without coming to any definite conclusion, after the long time which it has devoted to this investigation and the very considerable expense to which the city has gone in connection with the investigation, would be unwise and would cause the committee to be criticised. I believe we should come to some just conclusion, and I don't think the committee can be complained of because it seeks now to have this investigation brought to a close. We have already given over fifty hearings, occupying in duration more than four hours each. We have examined seventy witnesses, and I know that the committee has proceeded with a great deal of patience and has listened attentively to the evidence that has been presented. At the last hearing one of the counsel for the respondents saw fit to criticise the committee, and alluded to the fact that there was not always a quorum present. I want to say, Mr. Chairman, as one of the members who has not always attended the meetings of the committee, that I have pretty carefully read the evidence. The testimony occupies something like 3,000 pages, and in following the work of this committee I have been obliged to give up some of my own work and occasionally to sit up nights. While we have found it either necessary to abandon our business or else occasionally to be away from these meetings, I think that every member of this committee has followed the evidence carefully. It is not always necessary for every member of a committee of this kind, for a tribunal of this nature, to attend all the hearings that are given. It is not to be expected, it is not possible, that a large number of gentlemen, such as the Board of Aldermen is constituted of, should be always present, and if we follow the evidence that is
about all that can be expected of us. Now, one word with reference to the way in which this investigation has gone on. When it opened it took what I thought was a broad, elevated plane. There were no personalities of any importance brought into the case. The opening of Mr. Brandeis, the statements of Mrs. Lincoln, of Mr. Hale, and other citizens who appeared before us, certainly indicated that it was an investigation of the public institutions, and that the object to be attained was the benefit of the improvement, the reform of these institutions. That was the purpose, that was the object which we were seeking to gain. It was the purpose for which we were laboring, and I was very much pleased with the attitude taken by the petitioners. It did not degenerate at that time into any personal attack upon any set of individuals. That is the position that they assumed, and that is the position which I think they occupy now. If that is so, what I desire to hear, and I think what other members of this committee desire to hear, are suggestions as to what may be done to benefit these public institutious. The investigation has been of great benefit. It has been well carried on, and should not result in nothing. We should have suggestions from the petitioners, we should be assisted in our deliberations, and I think I may say that the result of the work of this committee will be, as far as we can make it so, satisfactory. That is all I wish to say. I think the members of this committee have followed the evidence quite closely and have tried to discharge their duties, and that they do not merit the criticism which my very much esteemed brother Riley saw fit to make last night.
Mr. BRANDEIS. Mr. Chairman, I have had the experience before another tribunal which teaches me that when a decision is rendered, it is my duty to bow to that decision. You have voted to close this hearing at a definite time and to conduct the remainder of the hearing in a definite way, and although that vote which you have passed is opposed to the request which we made before you in executive session last evening, we shall certainly, so far as it is in our power, to act upon the suggeston made by Alderman Hall, and to submit to you, as we have endeavored to do in the past, those matters which we believe will tend to improve the public institutions. You have given a great deal of time to the matter, and certainly, gentlemen, considering your work in the disposition of the municipal business during the past year, I feel that you have given to the consideration of this question fully as much time as we had any right to expect from you. The only thing that I venture to say now and it is in part a repetition of of what I said before is that this time has not to the full extent been used, in my judgment, in the way best calculated to bring before you the facts which you should have. It has not, because in my opinion you have not had before you the witnesses, or some of the witnesses, who could best throw light upon this question, and unless you have them before you, or are able in some proper way to get their evidence, the hearing must close in the end without you having got all the facts. You will remember that I, before closing the case in regard to Long Island, endeavored to secure as a witness
then for cross-examination Dr. Cogswell. But that was not possible. Afterwards Dr. Cogswell was allowed to put in his argument in a way contrary to practice in ordinary courts, and contrary to a practice which, in my opinion, is best conducive to the elucidation of any question of fact. We were also told at that time that the Commissioners themselves could not be produced. They have not testified before you, and that they must have much information which would be of value to you, and to the public can hardly be denied. In addition to that, gentlemen, it has appeared in the testimony that Dr. Rowe, of the City Hospital, at the request of Mayor Matthews, made an investigation of the hospital at Long Island. Nobody, certainly in the city, would be more competent, would be better able to state to you the facts in regard to the conduct of that institution than Dr. Rowe. You have had before you, called on behalf of the respondents, several witnesses who either for a few minutes, or for more than a few minutes, have gone to that institution, been called there by Dr. Cogswell in order that they might testify in his behalf. Dr. Rowe made the investigation at the request of Mayor Matthews, and I understand was not there once, but more than once, and was there a sufficiently long time to enable him to speak understandingly on the subject. It seems to me that in the short time that is left those witnessess that I have referred to should appear before the committee, and in addition to that it seems to me, gentlemen, that you should have also Mr. Babson. There have been questions here in regard to the opinion which he has delivered as to the sufficiency of the present law to enforce compulsory labor at the institutions. Mr. Babson has been talked about, his words, so far as they have been written, have been submitted to you, and obviously there is no one more competent to advise you in that question, which would be an important one whether the existing law would be sufficient, and whether there is any reason why in' the past the sufficiency of the law should not have been held. It has been suggested from time to time that any attempt to have enforced that law would have subjected those who attempted it to great danger from suits and for malicious arrests or false imprisonment. I believe that no one would be more competent, no one would be more trusted by you to come before you and say, what I believe to be the fact that, if there was any doubt in the matter, the suggestion that there would be any danger in the attempt to enforce it is a suggestion merely, without any substantial foundation - that if there had been any attempt to enforce the law a test case would easily have been devised, and even in the absence of a test case the application for a writ of habeas corpus, which would have been granted at once, would have tested the question in a moment, and that this danger, this supposed danger, of any liability from an attempt to enforce the law, could have been obviated at once. Now, what I say, gentlemen, is not in any way in criticism of your Board. We have received throughout from you up to this time, and I am sure shall receive for the balance of the time, only courtesy. I know what a severe tax this investigation has been upon you as well as upon
us, but I have said what I say now because I know that you are as anxious as we are to have the small amount of time remaining under your vote put to the best possible use, and that best possible use necessitates the selection of those witnesses who are most competent to deal with the subject and who know the facts which others can merely conjecture.
Ald. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the counsel a question. Mr. Brandeis, from what you say I can hardly gather whether this is an attack on individuals or an investigation of public institutions for the purpose of getting information which will enable us to make recommendations for the future?
-I thought, Mr. Hall, that there could be no question in regard to our attitude and your correct conception of
Ald. HALL. —I assumed that it was the latter.
We are here I am here and those I have represented are here for one purpose only. They found these institutions needing reform. An investigation of those institutions convinced them that they saw in what they needed that reform, convinced them that they were able to bring before you, to bring before the public, to bring before whoever might have occasion to deal with the subject, evidence which must convince intelligent, reasonable, fair-minded men in what respect those reforms should be executed, because the questions, although perhaps a little remote from every-day life, are questions which are readily apprehended by men of commou sense and experience. That is all that we have undertaken to do.
Ald. HALL. That is, to reform the institutions?
Mr. BRANDeis. We wish to reform those institutions.
Ald. HALL. Now, that being so, isn't there sufficient evidence on which you can base your recommendations? I mean, isn't the evidence largely cumulative? There is nothing new you desire to put in, of course it is merely cumulative. Now, isn't there sufficient evidence upon which to base your recommendations or suggestions to assist the committee?
Mr. BRANDeis. Most certainly there is a basis for our representations.
Ald. HALL. Well, now, the committee has evidence enough upon which to make recommendations for the future. One other question I may put and that is: Whether or not this defective system is not a system that had existed long prior to the term of office of the gentlemen who are before us?
Mr. BRANDeis. Not only that, but I think the evidence put in here by Mr. Hale
Ald. HALL. Yes, I remember.
Mr. BRANDeis. When I think you personally were present, has shown that the evils of which we now complain, the fundamental evils of which we now complain, were pointed out by Josiah Quincy before he became the first mayor of Boston. Ald. HALL. Yes.
Mr. BRANDeis. That they have been pointed out since that time by the committee appointed by the City Council in 1876, and which reported in 1878.
Yes, I remember.
Mr. BRANDeis. And that the later investigation and development of the subject of the proper treatment of paupers has only rendered more clear the principles which Josiah Quincy recognized nearly one hundred years ago and which were set forth at such length by the report to the City Council in 1878.
Ald. HALL. So that the only question is what recommendations or suggestions you would like to make and would like this investigating committee to consider.
Mr. BRANDEIS. So far as we are concerned, that is, of course, the important question. With individuals we have nothing to do, except so far, of course, as they may be involved. That is a subject with which, of course, we have not to deal so far as they are involved in the principle.
Ald. HALL. So now we are to inquire in what way these institutions may be remedied and reformed.
Mr. BRANDeis. Yes. The only respect, therefore, in which further evidence can be important is in so far as our evidence may have been contradicted. Taking the evidence we submitted at the first hearings — and you will remember that of these numerous hearings only fifteen, and many of those very short ones, are occupied by those whom we introduced
Ald. HALL. You mean you individually, or Brother Riley with
Mr. BRANDeis. No, I mean in regard to Long Island, because Brother Riley has represented the penal institutions, while I have represented almost entirely Long Island, except where incidentally I have touched upon Rainsford Island. Now, so far as the questions in connection with Long and Rainsford islands are concerned, they are large questions of system and discipline.
You don't divorce Brother Riley, in a sense?
He was never married to it.
Mr. Riley has devoted himself almost entirely to Deer Island and the House of Correction, and of those institutions I know nothing and say nothing.
Ald. HALL. But you are both engaged in the same inquiry, so far as it relates to the public institutions.
Mr. BRANDEIS.—I supposed my supposition was based on what was told me at the beginning of the investigation, that the hearing in regard to Long Island would be closed before any other institution would be taken up. My expectation was, after we had closed our case in regard to Long Island, that the defence would proceed upon Long Island; that the committee would hear the case to the end at that time, even if they would not render their decision until a later day. So that I have always considered that, so far as the case which I have presented was concerned, it was directed to one institution or two institutions, the pauper institutions about which we knew something.
Ald. HALL. Well, your recommendations and suggestions will cover all the public institutions, I take it?
Mr. BRANDeis. - Not mine individually.