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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, March 14, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 2

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-03-14/ed-1/seq-2/

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55
after 12 years' experience before the
mast.
"You'lLfind no Americans going to
sea nowadays, he said. "They re-
spect themselves too much. . Why
should free men submit-to the rotten
conditions of fo'c'stle? -
"Those who know what the mer
chant marine stands for, by way of
working conditions for sailors, are
glad the American flag has been driv
en off the high seas.
"When I signed on the first time
I was looking for romance. But that
was knocked out of me. Not much
romance in bunking with a dozen
other men in an 8x12 glory-hole; eat
ing salt-horse and hardtack for three
months; suffering thirst; working un
til you're dead on your feet for a pit
tance, and then giving up most of
that to the graft of captains and own
ers.
"On mpiy trips I have been forced
with other seamen to burglarize the
water tanks. Condensers, which
would supply unlimited drinking
water, cost a little money. Owners
will not put them in unless forced to.
"And if a man doesn't stand all this
without a whimper he's set down as a
poor sailor. The te.st of 'good sea
manship' has always been the
amount of hardship he can and will
bear without mutiny.
"Ship owners encourage this hard
pride among sailors because it means
profit to them.
"But what I resent most is the law
a law passed by and for property
purely robbing a man of his free
agency, taking away his liberty as
soon as he signs papers. :
"No matter what conditions may
arise or. what treatment he gets, the
sailor has got to remain until the trip
is finished. Desertion means forfeit
ure of accumulated wages and likeli
hood of prison. -
"I recently sacrificed $90 (five
months' pay) because it was worth
that and the fisk of arrest to leave
the ship.
"It has been my observation that 1
many skippers and owners deliberate'
ly make it so disagreeable-as to prac
tically force men to desert in order to
forfeit their wagesrnear the end of a
trip. This is clear profit for them.
"But then, who gives a damn about
a deep-sea sailor except when he
holds a storm-tossed cargo or a few
passengers' lives in the hollow of his
hand! Or when he comes in, flush,
pounding the bar.
"I'm through. I'm shipping coast
wise now, where the power of organi
zation has" forced the owners to treat
us like men, not cattle." .
MERELY COMMENT
Henry Siegel, merchant prince, not
only paid low wages, but grabbed off
the savings of several hundred em
ployes and the employes' sick benefit
to boot.
Henry was some merchant prince.
And the chances are he will get
away with it and keep out of jail.
"After many years of gouging the
public with high rates, the U. S. Ex
press Co. is going out of business.
Bully. Uncle Sam can take on the
business with the parcels post.
It -will be a good -thing, for the
country when the other companies
in the express trust quit, too.
You will remember, perhaps, that
Tom Piatt of N. Y., represented U. S.
Express for many years in the U. S.
Senate.
The day isn't far off when Uncle
Sam will run not only the express
business, but the telephone and tele
graph as-well.
And Chicago has the best chance
of any city in the U. S. to lead by
owning its own telephone plant.
Better have Chicago take the Au
tomatic than let the 'phone trust
junk it.
o o
King George's secretary returns no
answers to the letters sent by the
suffragettes. ' It must be that that
secretary is delivering the" ladies' letters-to
Queen Mary.

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