Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

ably entered into the case.

The manage

on the production of the next generation. ment wanted to do something for his des- We have to reckon in the cost of friction titute wife and family. They were warned between employer and employee. And by the insurance company against giving a still I am ignoring the unnecessary sufferdollar, lest it have an effect upon the ing of it all. pending suit. This system became a veri- However, as I said in beginning, the table damper on human sympathy, certain new idea has arrived; and only the old and pitiless.

fogies of the corporations and the labor We are “talking business," however; let unions are opposing industrial indemnity, us forget sympathy. The point here is the except in its small details. Whether a wastefulness of the system. The money just and general system of automatic compaid by employers for industrial accidents pensation for all injuries would cost the dribbled away all along the line before a employer more or less than the present sysmodicum of it reached the injured work- tem is a disputed point. There are figures ing-man. When it did arrive, the bene- to prove the case both ways; it is someficiary paid a greater or smaller part of thing which we shall never know until the proceeds for his own legal expenses. we have tried it. Several employers who Then, too, it was as uncertain as a lot- have adopted a voluntary system based on tery, three men justly entitled to compen- the European plan, stated to the National sation receiving nothing, while another Civic Federation that they pay no more, drew a capital prize.

by and large, than they did when they The record in New York state, where left the matter to law. Others, on figures the Employers' Liability Commission has alone, disagree; they declare that an automade a pretty thorough investigation, is matic system of employer's liability, based significant. In three years ten insurance on the German plan, would so increase companies, authorized to write employer's “overhead charges” that the payment liability insurance, received premiums of would have to be taken from the public in $23,523,585. They expended in actual higher prices. payment to employees $8,559,795. In That, however, is just what the methodother words, the employees - and their ical and close-living Germans, with their lawyers-received only 36.34 per cent. of talent for social machinery, have long ago the sum of the premiums. Deducting the admitted -- that compensation for the probable amount of the fees and costs paid killed and injured should be a tax on the by the employees, the percentage falls as industry itself, collected with as little exlow as twenty-eight or thirty.

pense and friction as possible. By this Insurance is, of course, the most "eco- principle they have turned back to producnomical" way for the employer to meet tion the parasites on industrial indemnity; the problem under present conditions; and and they have preserved to the body comwhen we take into calculation the firms mercial of this and the next generation not insured, the figures are a little less tens of thousands of units lost under our startling. But in 1907 327 employers in system-or lack of system. They regard New York State, operating under all it from the standpoint of the State, realkinds of plans, paid approximately for in- izing, as we must realize, now that we dustrial compensation $192,000; of which have broken nearly all our virgin soil, that injured employees or their families re- competition between nations is becoming ceived only $80,000. Probably the pro- keener and closer, and that the state which portion is generally lower in the South would win must subordinate certain priand Middle West.

vate interests to the interests of the whole Nor from the general view of society is body commercial. this the whole waste. We have to reckon The German system, however, is at in the energies of our somewhat expensive present an impossible model for Amercourts-and in this year of grace 1911, icans. We have not, possibly we never such cases will occupy one fifth of the shall have, their minute registration of time of the New York courts. We have births, deaths, residences, and removals; to reckon in the orphan children thrown and their bureaucratic government renprematurely into industry, with their un- ders many things possible to them which educated minds and stunted bodies, a drag would be impossible to us. The question

before legislatures and civic bodies is how protection, that the safety devices for best to adapt their plan to our less settled which reformers have striven so long and conditions. Employers' liability in Ger- usually so vainly, are placed and kept on many is so intertwined and interwoven their machines. In the past twenty years with sick benefits and old-age pensions the raised “set screw" has caused hunthat one finds it difficult to isolate it for dreds of deaths and tens of thousands of a simple statement. Enough to say that accidents. "Set screws" can be set flush every employer and every employee must and thereby made harmless at a cost of insure against accident in a state-con- thirty-five cents a piece; yet labor unions, ducted insurance company, the employers charity organizations, and employers' assocarrying more of the burden than the em- ciations have fought them in vain. With ployees; and that the victim of an indus- the accidents certainly and irrevocably trial accident, whether it result in tempo- charged against the industry, the raised set rary disability, permanent disability, or screw and all other unnecessarily dangerdeath, receives compensation on a fixed ous devices would disappear. In the perilscale, immediately and automatically. The ous trades, like railroading and steel conpayments are considered a tax on the in- struction, the employers, for their own dustry. The cost of administration is not interests, would curb the reckless trade more than five per cent. of the whole sum; customs of their young employees. So we and from that cost Germany pays for the should gain in lives, and lose in miseries, supervision of safety appliances.

as Germany and England and France and For industrial indemnity and industrial Austria have done. Meantime we are the safety go hand in hand; and when em- only civilized people in the world who ployers are required to pay for every acci- continue to administer this important dedent in their shops, no matter by whom partment of industry on the rules of the caused, they will see, as a matter of self- old hand-labor days.

“THE BRAVEST DEED I EVER KNEW”

THE NEGRO BOY AT THE PETERSBURG EMBRASURE

BY E. K. PARKER

Late United States Volunteers

THE

TH HE bravest deed that ever came to strengthened by the completion of Fort my

notice occurred during the Civil Rice and Fort Sedgwick. I was then lieuWar, and was performed by my servant, tenant in command of Battery E, First a colored lad of fifteen, named Henry Regiment, Rhode Island Light Artillery, Cornelius. The time was the last of July, commonly known as Randolph's Battery. 1864, and the place was in the Union Like all the other officers, I had a servant, trenches before Petersburg, Virginia. At a fine-looking negro, five and a half feet that time our lines in front of the point high, weighing 140 pounds, black, and where Fort Rice was afterward built were with fine, regular features. He was born within 300 yards of the enemy's main line.

in Norfolk, Virginia, where he had been a Later it was rumored that the enemy was house servant. After the city was taken tunneling our front, and our main line by the Union forces, he learned to read, was thrown back about 100 yards and write, and do some ciphering.

The lad proved to be intelligent, hon- mained at attention, awaiting my pleasest, and truthful. His special duty was to ure very respectfully. I said abruptly, wait upon the officers' table. He was very "Henry, hand me Hughes's money." patriotic, and at his own request was al- This was evidently a great surprise to lowed to learn the drill of the cannoneer, him. He looked up in an inquiring manas we were short of men. I had confi- ner, as though he did not comprehend, and dence in his honesty. I had a small grip answered: “I cannot, sir. I have not got in which I placed money, a few valuable it." papers, photographs, and at times my "Private Hughes charges you with takwatch, and I instructed him, in case of an ing his five-dollar bill out of his knapsack attack in force by the enemy, to take my yesterday forenoon while he was out on grip and carry it as quickly as possible to fatigue duty.” City Point, and to retain it until we Henry replied, "I did not, sir." should meet again.

“Were you not in Hughes's quarters The lad had been in my service six or about ten o'clock yesterday morning ?” seven weeks and had proved himself very “I was, sir; but I did not steal that capable. He was popular in the battery, money. I am not a thief. I went into the and afforded us all much pleasure by song- quarters to borrow a book from Mr. and-dance performances, in which he was Hughes. I thought that he was lying in expert.

his bunk. I went to see; and when I saw One morning soon after roll-call the or- that he was not there, I went away. Mr. derly sergeant appeared at headquarters A. and Mr. B. saw me go in and come and informed me that a member of the out." battery, whom I shall call Hughes, had When it fully dawned upon him that made complaint to him that my servant he had been charged with stealing this had stolen a five-dollar bill out of his knap- money, he was greatly overcome. I told sack, which was lying in his tent. He said him to go to the servants' quarters and rethat the preceding day, in the forenoon, main there until called for. As he went while both Hughes and the comrade who out, big tears were rolling down his tented with him were out of camp on fa- cheeks. tigue duty, the lad entered the quarters, Notwithstanding the strength of the remained only a minute, and departed; evidence against him, I had so much conthat he was seen to do this by two mem- fidence in the boy that I believed him bers of the battery who were near by; and innocent. To determine this question, I no one else had been seen to enter. I di- hit upon the following plan, which I prorected the sergeant to send for the men, to ceeded at once to put in execution. investigate the case thoroughly, and to re- I at once sent for the orderly sergeant port to me. I also instructed him not to and ordered him to arrest Henry and take question Cornelius or to inform him of the him to the guard-house, and then to proaccusation.

cure a lariat and handcuffs and take him The substance of the report was that to the embrasure where our first piece he was of the opinion that Cornelius had stood, and handcuff him, and then tell him taken the money. He said that the two that the orders were that he should be witnesses had been close to Hughes's quar- tied, handcuffed, to the gun, that the gun ters all the time that he and his comrade was to be run forward well into the emwere absent, and they were sure no one brasure, and that he should remain there else had entered.

for thirty minutes. I instructed him to It was now near the dinner-hour, and tell Henry what the orders were, but Henry was busy as usual setting the ta- when he had got everything ready to move ble. Throughout the meal I kept my the piece forward, not to do it, but to eye on him to see if I could detect any

report to me. At this particular embrathing that indicated guilt. But he was sure it was usually certain death to stand just as usual, prompt, respectful, and at exposed for even three minutes. tentive.

The sergeant reported that he had After dinner was over and my officers taken the lad and was about to put the had gone to their quarters, I sent for handcuffs on him, when Henry said with Henry. He came in, saluted, and re- great earnestness: “If the lieutenant wants

[ocr errors]

me to be shot, you need not bind my hands I at once wrote his pass, and gave him all or my feet. I am not afraid to be shot. the

money

I had. I will stand in front of that gun. I will The boy had not been gone more than be shot in the face, I will not be shot in twenty minutes before Hughes hurriedly the back. I am no thief. I will die as a appeared at my quarters. He hastily sabrave soldier dies, just as you would, Ser- luted and cried out that he was “so sorry" geant.” He then started for the deadly he had accused Henry of stealing; and embrasure, and before he could be caught unable properly to restrain himself in the back by the guard a ball from one of the presence of his commanding officer he enemy's sharpshooters had gone through continued: “I found my money in the his cap, slightly wounding his scalp. When folds of my rubber blanket. Two days the sergeant came back to report, Henry ago I overhauled my knapsack, and placed stood the calmest of all the brave men the bill in the blanket, and forgot to put there, quite unterrified.

it back in the knapsack." After the sergeant made his report, I I immediately sent an orderly to ride on said, "Sergeant, what is your opinion of the main road to City Point to overtake his guilt?"

Cornelius and explain, and bring him back, He replied, "Sir, that nigger is no more which he did. Soon Henry reported to guilty than I am."

me, and I sent him to his quarters and the I saw that the sergeant's eyes looked incident was closed. watery, and I said, “Very well, Sergeant, Henry was now

more popular than take him back to the guard-house, and in ever. He filled his position in the battery five minutes send him under guard to re- until June 14, 1865, when it was musport to me.

tered out at Providence, Rhode Island. I When Henry came in, he appeared kept him in my service for a year, during deeply affected; but I knew that this con- which period he divided his time between dition arose not from conscious guilt, but work and school. He proved to be an exfrom wounded pride. I said to him, cellent student. The second year he went Henry, you are not a thief, you are not into a cotton-mill in the Pawtuxet valley, guilty of taking Hughes's money; but, cer- where he proved to be an apt workman. tain as I am that you are innocent, still, He was saving his wages to enable him to it will not be best for you to stay in visit his mother in Norfolk; but two weeks Battery E. Therefore you will be dis- before his intended departure, he was atcharged from arrest. Get your kit ready tacked by a severe cold, which developed as soon as you can and come to me for a

into pneumonia, and in a short time he pass.

was dead. With many tears we tenderly He went out, and the orderly notified buried the brave boy in the valley of the the guard to discharge him from arrest. winding Pawtuxet.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[graphic]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »