?S23 90149 2372
Not to be taken from the Library
JOHN SDJI1IERF1ELD ENOS. COMMISSIONER OF LABOR STATISTICS
STATE OF CALIFORNIA,
His Excellency Hon. GEORGE STONEMAN, Governor of California,
UPON AN INQUIRY AS TO
"THE CONDITION OF THE LABORERS EMPLOYED BY CONTRACTORS
ON THE SEAWALL AT SAN FRANCISCO," Etc.
Under Senate Resolution of March 3, 1885.
STATE OFFICE JAMES J. AYERS, SUPT. STATE PRINTING.
Office of the California State Bureau of Labor Statistics,")
Corner Geary and Dupont Streets,
San Francisco, February 18, 1886. )
To his Excellency Hon. George Stoneman, Governor of the State of Cali-
Sir: During the twenty-sixth session of the California Legislature a
resolution was introduced in the Senate, by Senator John M. Days, and
referred to the Committee on Labor and Capital.
The resolution, and all proceedings had thereupon by the committee,
and the report, together with the recommendation of said committee, is as
Senate Chamber, 1
Sacramento, March 3, 1885. J
Mr. President : Your Committee on Labor and Capital, to whom was referred the fol-
lowing resolution :
" Whereas, Charges having been made that certain officials and contractors employed
by the State Board of Harbor Commissioners, and engaged in the construction of the sea-
wall at San Francisco, are violating the eight-hour law of the State, intimidating their
employes, and compelling them to patronize boarding houses in which said contractors
are interested, and otherwise setting the laws of the State at defiance; also, that said con-
tractors are not executing their contracts as required by their specifications ; therefore,
" Resolved, That the Committee on Capital and Labor be, and they are hereby instructed,
to investigate these charges, and such others as may be preferred by the workingmen and
property owners against the said seawall contractors, and report to this Senate, and for
this purpose said committee is empowered to send for persons and papers."
Beg leave to report that they have heard the testimony of the contractor for construct-
ing section four of the seawall at San Francisco, in relation to the matters therein con-
tained. He states that the workingmen in his employ are required to render ten hours
service each day; but as the work is being done under contract, and not directly for the
State, he claims that the eight-hour law does not apply ; that he has not, nor has any one
in his employ, intimidated workingmen into patronizing any boarding-house in which he
is interested," and that, in fact, he is not interested in any boarding-house where working-
Your committee is of the opinion that an inquiry should be made into the reason why
contracts are let by the Board of State Harbor Commissioners to build the seawall by the
weight of rock dumped into excavations instead of by measurement; also, why the work
is not performed directly by the State and the laborers employed by the State Board of
Harbor Commissioners; why, if it is necessary to let the work out by contract, the consti-
tutional provisions of the eight-hour law are not made a part of the contract; why employ-
ment is not given to citizens in preference to aliens, and the lowest prices paid anywhere
to labor are paid to the laborers engaged on State work.
Your committee, however, is further of the opinion that any investigation herein must
take place in San Francisco, and, owing to the shortness of a legislative session, it would
consume too much of our time from other legislative duties to properly attend thereto.
We, therefore, recommend the adoption of the following resolution :
Resolved, That the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics be, and he is hereby
requested, to inquire into the condition of the laborers employed by the contractors on
the seawall at San Francisco, with reference to whether wnat is known as the "truck"
system is in vogue there; whether or not the eight-hour law (article twenty, section sev-
enteen, State Constitution) applies to contracts let by the State, and whether or not such
laborers are interfered with in the exercise of the elective franchise, and with reference to
such other matters as may affect them and other laborers employed by the State Board of
Harbor Commissioners, and all the suggestions set out in this report, and report the same
to the Governor at as early a date as is consistent with a thorough investigation thereof.
On motion of Mr. Days, the resolution Avas adopted.
In compliance with said resolution and report, a thorough and complete
investigation has been had, and I herewith submit to you the report of the
same, together with such recommendations and suggestions as I have to
make in relation thereto.
The investigation was commenced on or about the twentieth day of May,
one thousand eight hundred and eighty-five, and continued from time to
time, and was attended by ex-Governor William Irwin, the President of
the Board of State Harbor Commissioners, the contractors having the con-
tracts for building sections five and six of the seawall, the employes,
laborers, and otber persons connected with the work, and also the property
owners, whose property it is alleged and claimed has been impaired and
damaged by the actions and operations of the contractors while performing
the said work upon the seawall.
Hon. John M. Days, a member of the Senate at the session in which the
resolution was adopted, attended the investigation and examined wit-
nesses, as did also representatives of the various labor organizations in the
State. Several laborers and mechanics were also present.
The fullest latitude of examination and investigation was permitted.
Section five of the seawall was built and constructed under and by virtue
of a contract dated the twentieth day of February, A. D. one thousand
eight hundred and eighty-four, of which the following is a copy, viz.:
Agreement made and entered into this twentieth day of February, A. D. 1884, bv and
between the Board of State Harbor Commissioners, party of the first part, and W. D.
English, party of the second part.
Witnesseth, that the party of the second part hereby covenants and agrees with the
party of the first part to furnish labor and materials and do the following work, to wit:
the construction of section rive of the seawall and thoroughfare and wharf along the water-
front line of the City and County of San Francisco, State of California.
The said work to be commenced within forty-five (45) days from above date, and the
embankments must be completed to grade within twelve (12) months from above date;
all work to be done in a good and workmanlike manner to the satisfaction and under the
direction of the Engineer of the Board, and in accordance with the plans in the office of
the Board and the specifications hereto annexed, and hereby made part of this agreement.
And the Board or its Engineers may at any time during the progress of the work reject
any part thereof and require conformity with such plans and specifications.
In case of any differences as to the intent and meaning of the plans and specifications,
or as to the character of the materials or work, or as to the estimates and measurements
of such materials, the same shall be decided by the Engineer of the Board, and his deci-
sion shall be final.
The work shall be done with the least possible interference with the use of the adjacent
slips and wharves.
Tins contract is not assignable without the written consent of the party of the first part.
And the party of the first part covenants and agrees with the party of the second part
to pay for the said work by drafts drawn on the San Francisco Harbor improvement Fund,
in gold and silver coin of the United States, in manner following, viz.: Upon monthly
estimates of the value of the materials used and work performed, to the extent of seventy-
five per cent of such values ; said estimates to be made in writing by the Chief Engineer
of the Board, and the first payment of twenty-five per cent, when the work is completed
and accepted by the Board, at the following rates, viz.: the stone embankment, at fifty-
two (52) cents per ton of two thousand two hundred and forty (2,240) pounds; the earth
embankment at twenty-nine (29) cents per cubic yard (determined in the vehicle of trans-
portation); the wharf (furnishing the materials and doing the work), twenty-nine thousand
<$29,( »00) dollars.
Subject to a deduction of one hundred ($100) dollars per day for each and every day
that the completion of the embankment to grade is delayed beyond the twentieth day o*f
February, A. D. 1885, as liquidated damages.
But no interest shall be payable on any moneys to become due under the agreement,
although the same be not paid when due.'
And it is expressly stipulated that eight hours of labor shall be a legal day's work under
this agreement, and all the provisions of Chapter X, Title VII, of the Political Code,
applicable thereto, are to be determined as incorporated herein.
No Chinese or Mongolian labor shall be employed on the work, under penalty of for-
feiture of the contract at the option of the Commissioners.
In witness whereof, the said Commissioners have hereunto set their hands and the
official seal of the Board, attested by the signature of their Secretary, and the party of
the second part has sot his hand, the day and year first above written.
JAS. C. L. WADSWORTH,
[seal harbor commissioners.]
A. C. PAULSELL,
JOHN H. WISE,
State Harbor Commissioners.
• Governor of California.
Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco.
WM. D. ENGLISH.
Know all men by these presents, that we, Wm. D. English, as principal, and George
Hearst, of the City and County of San Francisco, and C. W. Yolland, of the City of Stockton,
San Joaquin County, and J. C. Smith, of the City of Oakland, County of Alameda, as sure-
ties, are jointly and severally held and firmly bound unto the Board of State Harbor Com-
missioners in the sum of fifty thousand ($50,000) dollars in gold coin of the United States,
as follows, to wit:
The said W. D. English, as principal, in the full sum of fifty thousand ($50,000) dollars,
jointly and severally with the said sureties, and the said George Hearst, jointly and sev-
erally, in the sum of twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars, and the said C. W. Yolland, jointly
and severally, in the sum of twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars, and the said J. C. Smith,
jointly and severally, in the sum of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars, for the payment of which
sums, well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors, and adminis-
trators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents.
Sealed with our seals, and dated this twentieth day of February, A. 1). 1885.
The conditions of the foregoing obligations are such, that, whereas, the above bounden
W. D. English has this day entered into a contract with the Board of State Harbor Com-
missioners, to do and perform certain work, and other matters and things, in and about
the property of the State of California, in the harbor of San Francisco, under the control
of said Board, as will more fully and particularly appear, by reference to said contract
and specifications attached thereto, which are hereto annexed and made part hereof.
Now, therefore, if the said W. D. English shall, in all things, well and faithfully perform
and complete said contract according to the true intent and meaning: thereof, and to the
satisfaction of said Board of State Harbor Commissioners, and turn the same over to said
Board free from all claims and demands, liens, or charges for mechanics, material, men,
laborers, or from any other cause or causes whatsoever, then this obligation to become
null and void; otherwise to remain in full force and effect.
Given under our hands and seals, at the City and County of San Francisco, the day and
date above written.
WM. D. ENGLISH. [seal.]
GEORGE HEARST. [seal."
C. W. YOLLAND. [seal/
J. C. SMITH. [seal/
Approved this twenty-fifth day of February, A. D. 1884.
A. C. PAULSELL,
JOHN H. WISE,
State Harbor Commissioners.
Governor of California.
Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco.
State of California, City and County of San Francisco, ss.
On the twenty-fifth day of February, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four,
before me, William S. Campbell, a Notary Public in and for the said city and county, duly
commissioned and sworn, personally appeared W. D. English, George Hearst, Charles W.
Yolland, and J. C. Smith, known to me to be the persons named and described in, and
whose names are subscribed to, the within instrument, and they severally acknowledged
to me that they executed the same.
In winess whereof, I have # hereunto set my hand and affixed my official seal, at San
Francisco, the day and year'in this certificate first above written.
[seal.] WILLIAM S. CAMPBELL,
For Section Five of the Seawall and Thoroughfare and Wharf on the Waterfront of the City and
County of San Francisco.
LOCATION OF THE STRUCTURE.
This structure will be located on the waterfront line of the City and County of San
Francisco, commencing at the southerly end of Section 4, and extending along' the said
waterfront line southerly, With a surface width of two hundred (200) feet, for a distance
of one thousand (1,000) feet. This location is definitely shown on sheet one of the official
plans; these plans are marked
"OFFICIAL PLANS OF SECTION FIVE OF THE SEAWALL OF SAX FRANCISCO, JANUARY, 1884,"
And are hereby made part of these specifications, and all alignments, dimensions, mate-
rials, and other data marked or described thereon, are deemed incorporated herein.
WORK TO BE DONE.
The work to be done under these specifications consists in furnishing all materials and
erecting a stone embankment, an earth embankment, and a wharf.
The stone embankment will contain about 216,000 tons of stone; the earth embankment
about 285,000 cubic yards of broken stone, sand, or other suitable material; and the wharf
will contain 501,320 feet b. m. of timber, and 802 piles, together with the requisite quantity
of cast iron mooring bits, wrought iron spikes, bolts, etc.
THE STONE EMBANKMENT.
The stone embankment must be built entirely of stone not subject to decomposition or
disintegration by the action of sea water or air.
The slopes and dimensions must be as shown on the plans heretofore alluded to.
Two classes of stone will be recognized.
The first class will include stone of one or more cubic feet, in a fair assortment of sizes
between one and four cubic feet ; no objection will be made to stone larger than four cubic
The second class will include stone of less than one cubic foot, in assorted sizes; but no
stone less than ten pounds weight will be accepted at the quarry.
The Board will assume the risk of breakage in transportation. Only stone of the first
class must be used in the construction of the outer ten feet of the one on one slope, and
in the one on three slope, as shown on the plans. On this latter slope this stone must be
closely and carefully hand laid to the depth of four feet, and so that the greatest dimension
of each stone will be at right angles to the slope. Stone of either class may be used in the
body of the stone embankment. The stone when not laid as herein prescribed must be
dumped from scows, cars, carts, or other vehicle, as the contractor may elect.
The earth embankment must be built of sand, broken stone, dry earth, gravel, or a
mixture of these. Clay, mud, or other unsuitable material, will not be allowed. The earth
embankment is to be built back of and parallel to the stone embankment, and must have
the slopes and dimensions shown on the official plans. The top of the earth embankment,
to a depth of two (2) feet, must consist of broken stone or clean gravel; the stone must
be smaller than twenty-seven cubic inches each, and of the same quality as required for
the stone embankment. The southern end of the earth embankment must be protected
from wave action by a layer of stone of the second class. This layer must extend across
the end of the embankment, and be ten (10) feet thick on the top* with the natural slope
of the stone. This stone is to be measured as earth, together with the layer of broken
The earth embankment is estimated by the Chief Engineer to require 285,000 cubic yards.
The contractor must give the Chief Engineer every facility for determining the quantity of
material used, and to this end the vehicles used in transportation must be, as far as prac-
ticable, of uniform size and shape, and uniformly filled; and the said Engineer will have
the authority to prescribe and enforce such regulations as may appear to him advisable
for the proper measurement of the material.
The method of ascertaining the amount of material used in the earth embankment shall
be determined by the Chief Engineer, under the direction of the Board; the Board reserv-
ing the right of changing the method, from time to time, as they may see fit.
GENERAL METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION.
The general method of construction is to be as follows:
The space under the stone embankment will be dredged to the proper depth by the
Board of State Harbor Commissioners. Commencing at the southerly end of Section 4
and proceeding regularly southward, the stone must be -properly deposited into the
dredged space. The dump lines, laid out by the Chief Engineer, must be carefully fol-
lowed, and any stone dumped beyond the easterly dump lines must be removed by the
contractor without expense to the Board; and any dumped beyond the westerly or inner
dump line, will be deducted from the stone embankment and classified as earth embank-
In case it is found more convenient to the contractor, during the progress of the work,
to cover up any portion or portions of the one on three slope, such portion or portions
must be subsequently uncovered to the proper depth, and then hand laid, as heretofore
The stone embankment must lie kept at least two hundred and fifty (250) feet in advance
of the earth embankment, and should the Chief Engineer find that a greater distance
would be better, the contractor must increase such distance as the said Engineer shall
The dumping of material for the earth embankment must be done along such lines and
to such extents as the Chief Engineer shall direct.
All work must be done under the supervision, and to the satisfaction of the Chief Engi-
neer of the Board ; and all questions and disputes with regard to the intent and inter-
pretation of these specifications, and the estimates and measurements of materials and
work, shall be referred to him, and his decision thereon shall be final.
Should further detail or explanations be required, or should exigencies not now defin-
itely foreseen arise, the contractor must apply in writing to the Chief Engineer, who must
give written instructions regarding such details or exigencies, which instructions must
be complied with by the contractor. When the stone embankment settles it must be at
once raised to the proper grade.
The wharf will extend along the front of the rock embankment with a width of sixty
feet, and a length of one thousand feet, as shown on the official plans. All materials will
be subjected to a rigid examination, and if defective, under size, or otherwise unsuitable,
will be condemned, and must be immediately removed from the work.
Material. — There will be required for this work 802 piles and 501,320 feet b. m. of tim-
Piles.— Standard, 700 ; 70 feet long. Fender, 100 ; 50 feet long.
Bill of lumber :
Caps, 12"xl2"__._ .74,400 feet b. m.
Sub-caps, 12"xl2" .._. 14,880 feet b. m.
Stringers, 12"xl2" 6,048 feet b. m.
Stringers, 10"xl2" ... .40,000 feet b. m.
Chocks, 8"xl2" 5,2(14 feet b. m.
Curbs, 8"xl0" 5,467 feet b. m.
Planking, 4"xl2" .240,000 feet b. m.
Stringers, 4"xl2"_.__ 115,128 feet b. m.
Raising blocks, 2"xl0" 133 feet b. m.
Total 501,320 feet b.m.
The diameter of the piles at the larger end, clear of bark, must not be less than as fol-
For standard piles, twelve (12) inches; for fender piles, fourteen (14) inches.
No standard pile will be accepted unless entirely covered by the bark after being driven,
and any pile which may have been injured in driving, so as to impair the bearings, must
be drawn up and removed.
The standard piles must be driven as shown on the plans, and sawed off nine (9) feet
eight (8) inches above the mean of low water, as established by the United States Coast
Survey, unless otherwise shown on the plans.
The fender piles must be driven as shown on the plans; they must be sized on the out-
side stringer to fourteen (14) inches, driven in a true line, and fastened to the outside
stringers or end caps, with screwbolts thirty-one inches long, one (1) inch in diameter, and
countersunk two (2) inches into the pile.
Caps must be twelve (12) inches square, and fastened to each pile with driftbolts twenty-
two (22) inches long and one (1) inch in diameter. All joints in the caps must be secured
with two (2) wrought iron dogs of one-inch round iron, thirty-two (32) inches long, and
twenty-four (24) inches between the jaws. The ends of each cap must be bolted to the
piles as above specified, and jointed within not more than one (1) inch of the center of
Stringers must be of the dimensions and in the positions shown on the plans.
The outside stringers must be composed of two (2) ten by twelve (10x12) inch timbers, in
pieces not less than forty (40) feet in length, and laid so as to break joints. Each timber
to be bolted to each cap with driftbolts one (1) inch in diameter and twenty-two (22) inches
long, and the two timbers must be bolted together with screwbolts, three fourths (|) of an
inch in diameter, midway between each bent.
The inside stringers at the junction of sections of planking must be of ten by twelve
(10x12) inch timber, and must be bolted to each cap with one (1) inch bolts twenty-two
(22) inches long.
All other inside stringers must be four by twelve (4x12) inch timbers, placed at an aver-
age distance between centers of two (2) feet, and laid in such lengths as to have bearings on
the full width of each cap. They must be bolted to each cap with bolts five eighths (g) of an
inch in diameter, headed and pointed.
The planking must be of four by twelve (4x12) inch timber, laid in two sections of
twenty-eight (28) and thirty-two (32) feet width respectively, as shown on the plans. Each
plank must be spiked to every stringer under it with one spike, and both ends must be
fastened with two spikes, the spikes must be 8" cut spikes. The planking when laid must
have a uniform surface, and any irregularity in sawing the timber must be worked off
from beneath. All joints must'be squared accurately and closely fitted and fined in a
neat and workmanlike manner.
Chocks of eight by twelve (8x12) inch timber must be placed between all fender piles,
and let in two (2) inches into each pile. They must be fastened to the outside stringer
with one (1) inch driftbolt twenty (20) inches" long, placed not more than four feet apart.
Each short chock between double fenders must be fastened with one such bolt.
Curbs of eight by ten (8x10) inch timber must be laid along the waterfront line, as
shown on the plans. They must be raised by strips of two by ten (2x10) inch plank one
(1) foot long, placed ten (10) feet apart, and must be fastened down with inch driftbolts
eighteen (18) inches long, passing through each strip.
STRINGERS FOR MOORING BITS.
The stringers for mooring bits must be placed and fastened as shown on the plans, and
the mooring bits fastened thereto, as hereinafter described. Two (2) twelve by twelve
(12x12) inch stringers twelve (12) feet long, must be placed under each bit and cross adja-
cent caps. These stringers must be fastened to the caps with four (4) one and one half
(li) inches screwbolts; across the ends of the bolts must be placed wrought iron plates
4"x5"x20" ; the upper plates must be let in flush with the top of the stringers, and the floor-
ing countersunk on the under side to receive the heads of the bolts.
CONNECTING LINES WITH OLD WHARVES,
Sub-caps must be plac
Sub-caps must be placed along the lines of junction of the new seawall wharf with
Jnion, Green, and Vallejo Street Wharves, as shown on the plans.
All timber used must be of the best quality yellow fir.
Cast iron mooring bits of the best quality of iron and " smooth cast " must be furnished
by the contractor, and placed as shown on the plans. They must stand on the top of the
planking and be bolted to the stringers with four (4) 1^-inch screwbolts: across the end
of the bolts must be placed two (2) wrought iron plate washers ^"x5"x20". AH iron work
connected with the bits must be painted with two (2) coats of "red mineral paint" mixed
with pure boiled linseed oil, and put on after the iron has been inspected and accepted.
All screwbolts provided for in these specifications must have wrought iron washers of
standard dimensions at each end.
The contractor must commence the work within forty-five (45) days after the award of
the contract; and the embankments must be completed to grade within twelve (12)
months after the award of the contract.
The contractor will be required to pay to the Board one hundred dollars ($100) per day
for each and every day that the completion of this work may be delayed beyond the pre
The contractor must abide by and comply with the obvious intent and meaning of
these specifications, which must be construed to include all measures, materials, and
modes of work necessary to complete the structures herein specified, in a thorough and
The contractor must not sublet, nor transfer his contract, nor any part of it, without the
written consent of the Board.
The Board shall have the right to use all portions of the embankments, upon being
brought to grade, and to use every section of the wharf upon its completion, without
being deemed to have accepted the same.
Each bidder must state in bis proposal the quarry, or exact locality, from which he will
obtain his rock, and must submit with his proposal about a twenty-five (25) pound speci-
men of the rock which he intends to use, duly labeled with his name and the locality from
which it was obtained; and must be prepared to deliver stone in all respects equal to the
specimen submitted. If, in the opinion of the Chief Engineer of the Board, the stone
accompanying any bid be not suitable for the work, such bid will be rejected.
The quantity of stone used in the stone embankment will be determined by weight.
A ton is 2,240 pounds. The Board will erect the necessary scales, and the weighing will
be done under the direction of the Chief Engineer. The contractor must give every facil-
ity for the thorough and accurate determination of the quantity of stone used.
The wharf must be built in sections as the embankments progress. The Chief Engineer
will fix the date of commencement and the extent of each section.
If, from any cause, any portion or portions of the work be done not in accordance with
these specifications, or without the approval of the Chief Engineer of the Board, the con-
tractor shall, at his own expense, remove and properly rebuild such portion or portions;
or the Chief Engineer may cause such removals, and the work to be properly done, and
deduct the cost of the same from the amount due the contractor.
No Chinese nor Mongolian labor shall be employed on the work, under penalty of for-
feiture of the contract, at the option of the Board. .
Each bidder must state in his proposal :
First — The price per ton, of 2,240 pounds, for which he will furnish the stone required,
and place it as required, by these specifications.
Second — The price per cubic yard, determined in the vehicle of transportation, for which
he will construct the earth embankment, as required by these specifications.
Third — The sum for which he will furnish the materials and construct the wharf, as
required by these specifications.
The bids will be compared as follows : The amount of stone required will be taken at
216,000 tons ; the amount of earth required at 285,000 cubic yards, as estimated by the Chief
Engineer. The cost of the stone embankment determined* from the price bid per ton ; the
cost of the earth embankment determined from the price bid per cubic yard, and the cost
of the wharf, in each bid will be added together, and the contract awarded to the bidder
whose aggregate bid is the least — subject to the right of the Board to reject any and all
Every proposal must be accompanied by a certified check for an amount equal to five (5)
per cent of the amount of such proposal"; such check to be made payable to the order of
the Secretary of the Board, conditioned that if the proposal be accepted and the contract
awarded, and if the bidder shall fail or neglect to execute the contract and give the bond
required within six (6) days after the award shall have been made, in that case the sum
mentioned in said check shall be deemed liquidated damages for such failure and neglect.
All bids must be on blanks furnished by the Board.
. The contractor must give a bond in the sum of $50,000, with two or more responsible
sureties, to be approved by the Board of State Harbor Commissioners, for the faithful per-
formance of the contract.
The Board reserves the right to reject any and all bids.
ACCEPTANCE OF THE WORK AND PAYMENTS.
The work will not be accepted until the whole shall have been completed to the satisfac-
tion of the Chief Engineer, and in accordance with these specifications, and the embank-
ments maintained at the proper grade for three (3) months.
Payments will be made by orders on the State Controller, directing him to draw his
warrants for the proper amounts against the San Francisco Harbor Improvement Fund.
Such orders will be made upon monthly estimates of the value of the materials used and
work performed, to the extent of seventy-five (75) per cent of such values ; the estimates
to be made by the Chief Engineer of the Board.
When completed in accordance with these specifications, and accepted, final payment
will be made in the same manner.
Chief Engineer of the Board of State Harbor Commissioners.
January 16, 1884.
Chapter X, Title VII, referred to in said contract, can be found in the
Political Code, at page 471, and is known as Sections 3244 and 3245, and
reads as follows, viz.:
Section 3244. Eight Lours of labor constitute a day's work, unless it is otherwise
expressly stipulated by the parties to a contract.
Section 3245. Eight hours constitute a legal day's work in all cases where the same is
performed under the authority of any law of this State, or under the direction, control,
or by the authority of any officer of this State acting in his official capacity, or under the
direction, control, or by the authority of any municipal corporation within this State, or
of any officer thereof acting as such, and a stipulation to that effect must be made a part
of all contracts to which the State or any municipal corporation therein is a party.
Under said contract, Messrs. English, Hackett, Schuyler, and Wagner,
associated as partners in said work, entered upon the construction of the
section of the seawall indicated, and completed the same to the satisfac-
tion of the Board of Harbor Commissioners, by whom the same was
Section six of the seawall was constructed under a similar contract as-
that under which section five was constructed, by the San Francisco Bridge
Company, a corporation.
THE, " TRUCK " SYSTEM.
With respect to the so called "truck" system, which is defined as a
" system whereby laborers are compelled to receive their pay in goods or
commodities other than money," or, as it is charged in this investigation,
where laborers were required, under penalty of discharge, or as a condition
of employment, to board at some boarding house in which the contractors-
were interested, or from which they received a commission or some pecuni-
No evidence was offered or introduced to show that any such practice
was resorted to or pursued by English & Co., in the construction of section
five of the seawall.
As regards section six in this respect, Emanuel Joseph, a foreman in
the employ of the contractor, the San Francisco Bridge Company, in the
construction of said section six, compelled and required, under penalty of
discharge, some of the laborers and workmen in the employ of said com-
pany to board at a certain boarding house against the wishes of such labor-
ers and workmen.
From the evidence I submit the following extracts, viz.:
Leo Gruen, a laborer, says that Mr. Joseph, the foreman of said bridge
company, told him (Gruen) that he had orders from Mr. Mertens, a mem-
ber of said bridge company, to tell him to board at one Kerwin's boarding
house; that he (Gruen) refused to comply with said order and was dis-
charged from employment on said work.
John D. Young, another laborer, was informed by said foreman Joseph,
that if he (Young) did not board at Kerwin's boarding house, he would be
discharged; that these were Mr. Mertens' orders, and for him (said Joseph)
to discharge all men who refused to board at said boarding house ; that he
(Young) refused to comply with said order to so board, and was discharged
Charles Wilson, " a laborer and a married man of family," retired from
the employment of said bridge company, while at work on section six of
the seawall, because he did not wish to comply with the order of one Gray,
the managing foreman of said bridge company, which order was for him
(said Wilson) to board at Kerwin's boarding house; that at the same time
there were fifty-nine laborers on section six of the seawall, working for the
said bridge company, who boarded at Kerwin's boarding house, under
orders from said Gray.
John Burke, a laborer and a married man of family, states that when he
went to work for said bridge company on section six of the seawall, he
boarded at home with his family, and so stated to foreman Gray in reply
to a question. Gray then told him that he must board at Kerwin's board-
ing house or quit work, and after working three days, rather than board at
said boarding house, he quit work.
Michael Delancey, a laborer and a married man, states that at the time
he commenced to work on section six of the seawall for said bridge com-
pany, he boarded at home; that said foreman Gray told all the men that
if they did not board at Kerwin's boarding house they could not work for
said bridge company on section six of the seawall.
Emanuel Joseph, a foreman in the employ of the said bridge company
in the construction of section six of the seawall, stated that Mr. Mertens, a
member of said company, told him (Joseph) to send all men he employed
on said work, the bridge company, to Kerwin's boarding house to board;
that he discharged laborers for refusing to board at said house, and he
told all men that they must board there or be discharged.
Foreman Gray and Mr. Mertens denied that they ever ordered any of the
laborers in the employ of said bridge company on section six of the sea-
wall, to board at Kerwin's house, and in case they (the laborers) refused to
board at said house they should have to quit work. Foreman Gray also
stated that he did request some of the laborers to board at Kerwin's house,
but their refusal to do so did not cause their discharge from employment.
I am satisfied beyond doubt that there were some sixty or seventy labor-
ing men in the employ of the San Francisco Bridge Company, in the con-
struction of section six of the seawall, that boarded at said Kerwin's
boarding house, most of whom were compelled to do so, and did so, in
order to keep employment with said bridge company on section six of the
seawall, and that nearly all the laboring men on said work who refused to
board at the said house were immediately discharged and thrown out of
employment of said San Francisco Bridge Company upon said work on
section six of the seawall.
Some of the men were married men of family, having their own houses
wherein they lived and boarded; and at the same time, in order to keep
employment in said company, were forced to board at the said boarding
I am also satisfied that all men who boarded at said boarding house
found employment and were kept in the employment of the said bridge
company, on section six of the seawall.
As a matter of fact, this so called "truck" system has been in vogue,
and that a great discrimination has been made between the laboring men
on section six of the seawall by the contractor, the San Francisco Bridge
Company, in the execution of said work under its contract with the Board
of State Harbor Commissioners, by allowing men to be discharged from
its employment simply for refusing to board at a certain boarding house,
designated by its foreman and managers — this discrimination extending
to married men of family, living at home, from which they were compelled
to leave in order to get employment on said work. All of which I condemn
as an outrage and infamous.
I recommend that in the future, where contracts are made for the per-
formance of any and all kind of public work, that a special and distinct
clause be inserted in such contracts, strictly prohibiting such practices,
under penalties, thereby allowing all laborers and workmen the privilege
of exercising their own judgment in the selection of their boarding houses,
and the purchase of their goods and wares.
EXERCISE OF THE ELECTIVE FRANCHISE.
I report that there was no foundation for any allegation or charge that
the laboring, or any men employed by the contractors in the work of con-
structing sections five and six of the seawall, were interfered with in the
exercise of their elective franchise, or that there was any attempt made to
intimidate or influence any of them in respect thereto.
But as regards section five, I find that one of the foremen in the employ
of the contractors of said section five of the seawall, on account of actions,
unsatisfactory to themselves, of ex-Supervisor Sullivan, while a member of
the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco, threat-
ened to use their influence against Mr. Sullivan in his candidacy for a
The unsatisfactory action of Mr. Sullivan was his opposition to the open-
ing of certain streets, whereby the contractors could get rock and fillings,
to be used in their work in constructing section five of the seawall.
For this opposition said foreman, named Barry, in the employ of con-
tractors English & Co., threatened to use his influence against Mr. Sul-
livan, as above stated.
No evidence has been offered to show that said threats were put in exe-
cution by the contractors, or any one else.
EMPLOYMENT OF MONGOLIANS, OR CHINESE.
In respect to the employment of Mongolians, or Chinese, upon section
five of the seawall, I find that Section 3, Article XIX, of the Constitu-
tion of the State of California, which reads as follows, viz.: "No Chinese
shall be employed on any State, county, municipal, or other public work,
except in punishment for crime;" and also the last clause in the contract
in reference thereto, has been fully complied with, and that no Chinese or
Mongolian labor was employed in the work on section five of the seawall.
In respect to the employment of Chinese upon section six of the seawall,
I find that the contractor, the San Francisco Bridge Company, while
quarrying its rock at Sheep Island, in the Bay of San Francisco (which
rock was used in the construction of said section six), it boarded its men
at its own boarding house at said island, at the same time having the
domestic labor and work in said boarding house performed and done by
Chinese; but no Chinese were employed directly upon the work.
THE EIGHT-HOUR CLAUSE.
In regard to the question as to whether the eight-hour law, Article XX,
Section 17, of the Constitution, which reads as follows: " Eight hours shall
constitute a legal day's work on all public works," applies to contracts let
and made by the State, I find that it does, and applies to all public
work of every character done for the State.
This section of the Constitution, after a thorough and exhaustive debate,
was adopted in the Constitutional Convention by a vote of ninety-nine ayes
in favor of it to seventeen noes against it, which shows that it was almost
the unanimous act of the Convention in adopting it.
From a perusal of the debates had upon the question, while it was under
consideration in the Convention, I am satisfied that it was the intention of
the framers of the Constitution, and the people who adopted it, that all
public work done by or performed for the State of California should be done
under said section, and that eight hours should constitute a day's labor in
such performance, whether done directly by the State or by contract, and
that it is the duty of the Board of State Harbor Commissioners to enforce
the provisions of said section upon all work in its jurisdiction, not only for
the reason that their oath of office require them to " support the Constitu-
tion and laws of the State," but there is an express covenant in the con-
tracts that " eight hours shall constitute a legal day's work under it," etc.
Yet the testimony shows that in spite of the fact that the eight-hour
clause was inserted in the contracts, signed by the Harbor Commissioners
and contractors, it was violated by the contractors by compelling their men
to work ten or more hours a day, and not enforced by the Commissioners
in that respect,
This question of the hours of labor is undoubtedly a very broad one,
upon which a great deal may be said.
I believe, without a fear of contradiction, that the best judgment of the
enlightened men who have studied this subject, is that eight hours is a
legitimate day's work.
I do not now refer to mere theories, but I here say what the greatest pri-
vate employer of labor that ever lived, who at one time had as many as
sixty thousand men in his employ, said.
He has left behind him the statement that the result of his experience
was that by working men eight hours a day, more work and better results
were attained than if they worked ten hours a day.
While Mr. Van Buren was President of the United States, he shortened
the days' work in the yards of the country from twelve hours to ten hours;
and history tells us what a disturbance and furore it was thought would be
created, and how the employers objected to it; still the law went into effect,
and after awhile the private employers followed the example of this great-
est employer — the country.
Everything Avent along all right, and the employers were not hurt one
They even found that the work was better done than under the old sys-
Then we come down to a still later period, in the year 1868, when the
hours of labor were shortened from ten hours to eight hours a day.
I am convinced that eight hours for a day's work is the true system,
both for the employer and for the workmen who are in his employment.
Hon. Grover Cleveland, the present Chief Executive of the United States,
in a recent interview with Mr. O'Neill, the Chairman of the Committee on
Labor and Capital of the House of Representatives of the present Congress,
I believe that the law [meaning the eight-hour law] is a sound one and a good one, and
that it should be enforced to the letter. I have no information of instances of its viola-
tion or evasion, and if such instances are presented to me, I will see that the abuse is
remedied and the full spirit of the law is enforced, which I understand to be to pay work-
men in Government employ, for eight hours work daily, what is paid outside of Govern-
ment employ for a full day's work.
The Government cannot afford to set the example of non-enforcement and non-observ-
ance of its own enactments.
What plainer or more explicit language can we use than this ?
It is also a very remarkable fact that the views of the workingmen are
thoroughly sustained by the views of the scientific men who have studied
the subject thoroughly — especially the scientific men of England and
France — and they have ascertained and determined that eight hours is a
proper day's work for a workingman.
Of course there are two views of this subject. One is the view of the
average employer, and that is to get out of his men all the work that he
can during the working hours. The other is a view which a great Govern-
ment should take in dealing with the question: that is to say, to have the
workingmen work just so many hours as will maintain his productive pow-
ers to the highest point and for the longest average of his life. In order to
do this, let him have eight hours for rest and sleep, eight hours for recrea-
tion and pleasure, and eight for labor. This is what is intended by the
sections of the Constitution and laws hereinbefore cited.
The evidence before me shows that the contractors in the execution of
their contracts, in the construction of sections five and six of the seawall,
knowingly ignored and violated their contracts in respect to the eight-hour
law, and notwithstanding the clause to that effect, refuse to allow their
men to work eight hours for a day's work, and compelled them to work
and labor ten hours a day, upon said seawall.
It may be said that there is no penalty prescribed by law for a breach
of the contract in that respect.
Was it not the duty of the Board of Harbor Commissioners to see that
all of the provisions of said contract were carried out and performed ?
Even could not your Excellency have insisted that they be carried out —
especially the eight-hour clause and law, " if information of its violation or
evasion was presented to you?"
Would not your Excellency have done the same as President Cleveland
says he will do, if you had any such information?
Why did the Commissioners take an undertaking and bond from said
contractors, the conditions of which are:
To do and perform certain work and other matters and things in and about the prop-
erty of the State .of California, in the harbor of San Francisco, under the control of said
Board, as will more fully and particularly appear by reference to said contract and spec-
ifications attached thereto.
This Board is for the performance of the work under the conditions and
terms of the contract. And as there has been a violation of the contracts
by the contractors in respect to the eight-hour clause, I respectfully call
your Excellency's attention to the same for such action in the matter as
you may deem necessary and proper for the purpose of having an author-
ity for the future, upon such kind of clauses in like contracts, as Section
7 of Article V of the State Constitution is, that " the Governor shall see
that all laws are faithfully executed," thereby placing in the hands of
your Excellency the power and duty to assist the laboring men of the State,
by seeing that the eight-hour law is enforced upon all public work, and not
allowing rapacious contractors and local officials of the State to make con-
tracts to perform State or public work with an eight-hour clause in it, and
under a cloak of a decision of some Court, which has no bearing on the
matter, claim that the laborer can be compelled to labor more than eight
hours a day.
WHY THE EIGHT-HOUR LAW AND CLAUSE IS NOT ENFORCED.
There are thousands of people in our State wondering why the constitu-
tional provision and statutes are not enforced, and whose duty it is to see
that they are enforced, and why they are apparently dead-letters in the
I will here give opinions from the testimony before me, of several wit-
nesses, whose sworn duty as officials of this State, and personal agreement
with such officials, bound them to see that the eight-hour law was enforced,
so far as they were officially and individually concerned.
Ex-Governor Irwin says that he will not admit that the employes of the
State Harbor Commissioners are subject to the eight-hour law, as they are
employed by the month, at a stated monthly salary. So far as the State
is concerned, it is immaterial whether the employes of a contractor, doing
State work, under a contract for the Board of State Harbor Commissioners,
work five, six, eight, or ten hours a day, as the contractor has got to do
certain work at a certain stipulated price.
Mr. Hackett, one of the contractors, says that the workmen were work-
ing for his firm, and not for the State, notwithstanding the agreement to
have eight hours a legal day's labor on said work.
Mr. Schuyler, also one of the contractors, says that if he chose to hire
men by the hour, and work them sixteen or twenty hours a day, that it is
nobody's business, notwithstanding that it is public work and he agreed to
have eight hours' labor constitute a day's work, and it being the law.
Mr. English, also a contractor, says "that the legal adviser of the Board
of State Harbor Commissioners had informed him that the Supreme Court
had decided in reference to the eight-hour clause in the contract, and that
he had a right to make his own arrangements as to the hours of labor
without any reference to the provision in the Constitution, but if the eight-
hour clause had been in the specifications that he would have bid for the
contract and work accordingly.
Mr. Manson, the Engineer of the Board of State Harbor Commissioners,
says ''that the eight-hour clause is merely a citation."
In the foregoing abstracts, in speaking of themselves, the witnesses use
the plural number, but for convenience and harmony in this report I use
Mr. Coogan, the legal adviser of the Board, evades a direct answer to a
question upon this eight-hour clause in the contract by referring to the
cases of United States vs. Martin, 94 U. S. Reports, 400, and Carroll vs.
Smith, 38 Cal. Reports, 325, as a proof that the law is a dead letter.
In the course of my search for authorities in support of the action of the
Commissioners in not enforcing the law, I find but two cases (those cited
by Mr. Coogan) which have bearing upon it, and neither of them, in my
opinion, affects its status as the law of the State of California.
The case of United States vs. Martin, is an action which Martin brought
to recover extra pay for overtime. The decision of the Court was rendered
by Justice Hunt, and decided that when a person has agreed to labor twelve
hours for a certain sum,, he cannot recover extra pay under the eight-hour
law of the United States, which reads as follows:
Eight hours shall constitute a "day's work for all laborers, workmen, and mechanics
employed by or on behalf of the Government of the United States.
The first two sections of the syllabus to the decision in this case explain
the opinion of the Court, and read as follows:
1. The Act of Congress of June 25, 1868, declaring that eight hours shall constitute a
day's work for all laborers, etc., * * * is in the nature ot a direction by the Govern-
ment to its agents.
2. It is not a contract between the Government and its laborers, that eight hours shall
constitute a day's work. It neither prevents the Government from making agreements
with them by which their labor may be more or less than eight hours a day, nor does it
prescribe the amount of compensation for that or any number of hours' labor.
We regard the statute chiefly as in the nature of a direction from a principal to his
agent, that eight hours shall be deemed to be a proper length of time for a day's labor,
and that his contracts shall be based upon that theory.
It will be noticed that the Act of Congress, or the United States eight-
hour law, is very different from our California law, but were it the same,
the decision quoted would not support the position assumed by the Board
of State Harbor Commissioners, contractors, and the attorney, as the por-
tion of that decision which leans strongest against the eight-hour law is in
the following language, viz.:
It prevents the Government from making agreements with them by which their labor
may be more or less than eight hours a day ; nor does it prescribe the amount of com-
pensation for that or any number of hours' labor.
Now examine the law of the State of California in the light of the decis-
ion above quoted.
The Government of the State of California makes an agreement, in the
statute of February 21, 1868, that all work performed by aiiy one for the
State, and for municipalities of the State, shall be eight hours a day's
labor; and when any work is let out by contract, the contracting parties
must expressly agree to work their men eight hours only for a day's work.
By reference to the case of Carroll vs. Smith, the case relied upon by the
Board of Harbor Commissioners, contractors, and attorney, as declaring
this eight-hour law unconstitutional, I can not find in any portion of the
decision of the Court where one word is uttered against the adjudication
of the eight-hour law of February 21, 1868.
On the contrary, it distinctly says that contracts similar to those under
which the seawall is constructed, come under the provisions of the law.
Perhaps a short statement of the facts of that case may be of some
benefit, hence I give it here, as follows:
Smith was the Street Superintendent of the City and County of San
Francisco. The Board of Supervisors of the city and county let a contract
to Carroll & Drew, to do certain street work.
The Superintendent of Streets prepared the contract, inserting therein a
penalty of forfeiture of all payment for a violation of the eight-hour clause.
Drew refused to sign the contract so prepared, and brought an action to
compel the Superintendent of Streets to prepare a contract, without having
the eight-hour clause inserted, by leaving out the penalty.
Judge Morrison, now Chief Justice of the State, sustained the action of
Smith, the Superintendent of Streets, and Drew, the contractor, appealed
to the Supreme Court.
Opinions were rendered by the Supreme Court on the appeal — a majority
opinion reversing the lower Court, and a minority opinion sustaining the
eight-hour clause; Justices Sawyer, Rhodes, and Sanderson filing the
majority opinion, and Justices Sprague and Crockett filing the minority or
The following are quotations from the opinions filed in the case. From
the majority opinion:
We have no doubt that the contract in question is a contract by the " authority " of a
" municipal government," within the meaning of the Act. * * * If wages are two dol-
lars a day, the laborer can be required to work only eight hours for it ; but there is nothing
in it which prevents him from working two hours more as extra work, or as part of
another day's work, and receiving fifty cents of extra pay therefor.
From the minority or dissenting opinion:
* * * In the performance of the work under the contract, eight hours shall constitute
a day's work, and that in the performance of the work required by the contract, the con-
tractors will not require, or be a party to any stipulation for a different limit to the time
for the performance of a day's labor. " * * * But he, Smith, had the right and it was his
duty to compel the contractor to stipulate that he would not require any laborer by means
of a contract with him or otherwise, to labor more than eight hours per day.
The only hypothesis upon, which to base the action of the agents of the
Government in respect to this eight-hour law, is that they consider the
Government and people to be two different, distinct, and opposing forces,
instead of being one and the same. That it is better and more economical
for the State to pay and expend a few dollars less for work and labor per-
formed by contract, even when the contractors pile up fortunes thereby and
the laborer is paid starvation wages, and is compelled and forced to work
and labor day and night in the bargain, in spite of the express provisions
of the organic law and statutes of the State, when, in fact, it would be for
the best interest of the State and her citizens to have all work performed
for it, well done, decently paid for, and not having the money all go into
the capacious pockets of contractors; that respectable and living wages be
paid to the laborers, artisans, and mechanics, in order that they may
decently support themselves and families, and not be forced and compelled
to separate from their wives and children to herd like a band of Mongoli-
ans in- a city front boarding house, under a penalty of losing employment,
for refusing to do so.
There is more in this eight-hour question than the mere saving of a few
paltry dollars to the State Treasury in the letting of a contract.
All laws should be strictly enforced, and if found to be injurious, then
they should be repealed. But as long as they remain upon the statute
books, it is a violation of law and justice, and their oath, for an executive
officer to treat them as being null and void.
The eight-hour law is in as full force and effect this day as it was the
day on which it became a law.
One of the duties of our State Government is, as far as it is able, to ascer-
tain whether all of its people can earn a livelihood, and be respectable and
decent law abiding citizens, and whether any of them are compelled,
through no error or fault of theirs, to roam and tramp through the country
as vagabonds and outcasts upon the world.
This eight-hour law was enacted as a part alleviation of the laboring
classes. All good thinking and fair minded men, who have studied our
system and understand the immense power of labor-saving machinery,
know that it is utterly impossible for hundreds of thousands of people who
are dependent upon their daily toil for a livelihood, to procure employment.
Mr. English, one of the seawall contractors, testified that every day his
company refused work to about twenty-five or thirty men, having nothing
for them to do. This one item in itself should be sufficient to compel
the enforcement of the eight-hour law.
THE FACTORY SYSTEM, OR LABOR-SAVING MACHINERY AND ITS EFFECTS
UPON THE LABORING CLASSES OF THE STATE.
In the State of California in the year 1884, the work done and per-
formed by machinery equals at least ten times the work of hand labor.
It wouid require about one hundred and fifty millions of persons, work-
ing by hand labor, to produce the same results which is now accomplished
by three millions of persons working by machinery, in the United States.
This computation may be very wide of the truth, but any other is equally
This estimate will hardly be disputed when it is considered that in
spinning alone, eleven hundred threads are spun by machinery now at one
time, where one was spun by hand.
A few facts such as these ought to convince any and all fair minded
men that the normal day's work, in hours, should be materially shortened,
to give more persons a chance of earning an honest living.
THE INJUSTICE TO THE PEOPLE BY REASON OP THE NON-ENFORCEMENT OF THE
The non-enforcement of the eight-hour law by the officials of the State
of California, is an injustice to the people of the State.
If there ever was a contract between the people and the political parties,
it was an agreement to have enacted and enforced in good faith a law
reducing the hours of labor; which, after a bitter contest and spirited
agitation, together with a most solemn agreement of all the parties, culmi-
nated in the law of February, 1868.
The events of the several previous years, still fresh in our minds, proved
that something had to be done in the interest of the laboring classes of
During the war of the rebellion two millions of men were taken from
the industries of our country to become destroyers.
To supply these and others with necessaries, industries were encouraged,
and few idlers were to be found, and the tramp was unknown.
But, finally, the peace of Appomattox reduced the great demand for
laborers, by transforming this vast army of destroyers to producer?.
The exigencies of the nation had caused a large increase of labor-saving
machinery, that employment could not be furnished even to patriots who
had sacrificed everything to principle and the preservation of the country.
It was then that the leaders in the movement could see no egress out of
the dilemma, only by increasing the demand for labor by reducing the
normal work day to eight hours.
Through this means they agreed that one fifth more persons could
receive employment and earn an honest livelihood, one fifth more comfort
and happiness could be given to the people, and the peace and stability of
the country be enhanced to that degree.
In many of the States eight-hour leagues were organized. In 1865, sev-
eral of the trades inaugurated the eight-hour system, but through the united
and determined opposition of the employers, aided by others, the attempt
It was then determined to try and enforce by legislation that which they
had failed in by moral suasion.
In the session of the Legislature of our State in the years 1865 and 1866,
a bill was passed in the Assembly by a very large majority, but was refused
passage and defeated in the Senate, lacking two votes for its passage in
Monster mass meetings and processions became and were the order of
the day, in condemnation of the defeat of the bill.
In the political campaign of the year 1867, both the Republican and
Democratic parties bid for the vote of the eight-hour men.
The Conventions of each of said political parties inserted in their cam-
paign platforms an "eight-hour plank."
The result was that on February 21, 1868, the eight-hour men were suc-
cessful, and an Act was approved declaring "that eight hours' labor shall
constitute a day's work."
DAMAGES TO PRIVATE PROPERTY BY THE CONTRACTORS WHILE CONSTRUCTING
During the investigation it was conclusively proven that several owners
of property upon Telegraph Hill, in the City and County of San Francisco,
have been -damaged to a considerable extent by reason of blasting and
excavating the said hill by the contractors of section five of the seawall,
for the purpose of getting rock and fillings to be used in the construction of
the seawall under said contract, that is to say, section five.
That all said property owners, in fear of their lives, were driven from
their little homes and firesides by the actions of said contractors, in caus-
ing the blasting and tearing down of said Telegraph Hill.
These people, who have been damaged in the loss of and by injuries, to
their property, were the owners of the same, and a majority of them had
resided upon such property for a period of from twenty to thirty years, and
until they were driven therefrom by the actions of the said contractors.
After a careful examination, I am satisfied, and so report, that the fol-
lowing persons, property owners, have sustained damages in the amounts
set opposite to their names, by reason of such blasting and excavating of
said hill as aforesaid, viz.:
Mrs. McGregor Baber ' $10,000 00
Mrs. Ed. J. McArevey. 2,500 00
Timothy Murphy . . 2,000 00
Michael O'Neill-'l - 700 00
Ellen Burdette -... 600 00
Eliza Kelleher . 4,000 00
John Wrixon > 1,500 00
Bern. Ward 1,700 00
Eliza Overon 3,000 00
Bridget F. Houston 4,000 00
Total... $30,000 00
Surely the people should not have been deprived of their property in the
manner in which they have been. There must be some recompense for
them. I do not think that it ever was or now is the intention of the officials
of the State of California to allow such things to be done.
The contractors, Messrs. English & Co., claimed to have the right to grade
certain streets on Telegraph Hill, under a resolution of the Board of Super-
visors of said city and county, dated May 24, 1884, and which resolution is
known as No. 17,112. The evidence before me shows that the rock and
filling excavated by said contractors while grading such streets under the
said resolution, was used by them in the construction of section five of
the seawall, under their contract hereinbefore set forth and mentioned.
This contract, as I said before, is dated February 20, 1884, exactly three
months and four days prior to the date of the said resolution of the Board
of Supervisors, which authorized them, the said contractors, to grade cer-
tain streets on Telegraph Hill.
Now if these contractors had any right or authority to take that rock and
fillings from Telegraph Hill for the purpose of constructing said section
five of the seawall, they should have had such right or authority, and it
was their duty to so have, if it was their intention to take and use said rock
and fillings for such purpose, prior to the acceptance of their bid for the
contract to do said work on the seawall, that is to say, prior to the twentieth
day of February, 1884, and not after that date, because here we will look
and see what the specifications attached to the contract says.
In the specifications, under the head of " Conditions," we find that the
sixth condition reads as follows, viz.:
Each bidder must state in his proposal the quarry, or exact locality, from which he will
obtain his rock, and must submit with his proposal about a twenty-five pound specimen
of the rock which he intends to use, duly labeled with his name and the locality from
which it was obtained, etc.
Then it follows that these contractors knew from whence they intended
to get the rock, yet at that time they had no right or authority to take the
same — nor for fully three months after the date of their contract. Still, it
was in the specifications that they should have known, as they claim that
everything in the specifications must be carried out and performed; and
that everything to be carried out and performed under the contract must
be in the specifications. Even, if in order to do so, by taking poor people's
property, without compensation, driving and carting it down to and dump-
ing it into the Bay of San Francisco, in order to build a seawall for the
State, although, as they claim, it is not public work, besides driving them
from their homes.
These property owners have claims and rights in the premises, but as it
is beyond my province and duty, I do not make any recommendation as to
the manner of procedure to be pursued by them.
FORMER INSTANCE OF THE TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY TO BE USED IN THE
CONSTRUCTION OF THE SEAWALL.
This is not the first instance where the seawall was constructed by the
taking of private property for such purpose. Under an Act of the Legis-
lature, dated March 15, 1878, it became necessary for the purpose to use
private property belonging to one Nicholas Liming and others. An action
to condemn the said private property so required was instituted, and such
proceedings were had therein that in March, 1884, a final decree of con-
demnation was made, and the sum of $58,500 was assessed as the dam-
ages for the taking of such private property, and said sum was paid by order
on the Harbor Improvement Fund on February 12, 188 '4- In the meantime,
however, the State had in fact taken the land and built the seawall.
This payment was made exactly eight days prior to the date of the con-
tract under which section five was constructed. Was not sufficient caution
and notice that the private property of those poor people should be let alone,
and that some proper and legal steps should have been taken to condemn
the same, if it was required, and remunerate the owners thereof, instead of
doing what has been done ?
The total amount of damage to these poor people's property amounts to
thirty thousand dollars; yet in the one single case above cited the assessed
damages amounted to $58,500, which last named sum has been fully paid.
COST OF CONSTRUCTING SECTIONS FIVE AND SIX.
The bid upon which the contract was awarded for the construction of
section five of the seawall was $223,970. The cost of building it was
$169,839 57— the cost per linear foot being $169 84.
The bid upon which the contract was awarded for the construction of
section six of the seawall was $123,343. As this section is not yet com-
pleted, I am unable to ascertain the cost, as the rock and fillings used in
its construction are paid for by the ton and cubic yard, the amount of
which cannot be ascertained until the completion of the w T ork.
CONDITION OF THE LABORING MEN EMPLOYED UPON THE WORK.
The condition of the laboring men on said work, in a general term, was
bad, they receiving the very lowest pay paid to laboring men in the City
and County of San Francisco; that is to say, they received $1 50 and $1 75
The reason of this small pay is that it was work done under a contract,
and contractors were, according to their own testimony, "going to make
something on the work; or were going to try and get even, if they did not
The men were not employed by the day on section six, but by the hour,
at 17^ cents per hour for actual work.
All the men were compelled to and did work, on both sections five and
six, in all kinds of weather, cold, rain, or sunshine; or, in other words, all
the time they lost, they were not paid for.
WHY ALL PUBLIC WORK SHOULD BE DONE DIRECTLY BY THE STATE, AND
NOT BY CONTRACT.
As to the question why the work is not performed directly by the State
Board of Harbor Commissioners, I will state that, in my opinion, this work
and all work of a public character, should be done by the State directly,
and under the sole supervision of its officials, and not by contract.
In my opinion, these two sections — five and six — of the seawall, could
have been constructed just as good, and for almost the same money, by the
laborers of the State directly, as they have been by contractors. We have
a law in our Code relative to this question, viz: — Section 3233 of the Political
Code — which reads as follows:
All work done upon the public buildings of this State nmst be done under the super-
vision of a superintendent, or State officer or officers having charge of the work, and all
labor employed on such buildings, whether skilled or unskilled, must be employed by the
day, and noVork upon any of such buildings must be done by contract.
From this section, it can readily be seen that the people of the State of
California, represented in the Legislature, wish and desire that the work
on the public buildings of the State should be done by day labor, whether
the workmen were skilled mechanics and artisans or the commonest
laborers. Its language is mandatory and compulsory on that very point.
Then why cannot the seawall, and all public work, be done in the same
way, directly by the State, and by the day? Laboring classes would be
benefited thereby, and the State would be the gainer. The fact that this
work has been done, and that by contract, is sufficient evidence in itself
that there was and would be sufficient money to pay for the work as it
progressed, if done directly by the laborers, in the employ of the Board of
State Harbor Commissioners.
In such a case, then, I think that the eight-hour law would be strictly
enforced, our laborers well paid for their labor, their families and homes
made more comfortable, and they would not be driven and ordered to
board at a boarding house in the manner in which they have been.
Even if it would have cost our State a few more dollars than what it has
cost, the State nor the taxpayers would be no loser by it; and, on the
other hand, its laboring men would be benefited by it and the laws
respected and not violated.
A STATE BUILDING ERECTED BY DAY'S LABOR DIRECTLY BY THE STATE.
The State Capitol of our State was almost entirely constructed by day's
labor directly by the State.
About the only thing that was done on it by contract was the roof, and
as one of the witnesses facetiously, but truthfully remarked: ''It was the
only faulty thing in the building, as it leaked."
Are not our citizens proud of their Capitol building which was thus con-
structed, and to-day it is not a pile of ruins and brick, but is an ornament
and honor to our State, to which our citizens point with pride. The cost of
its erection was paid directly to the laborers who assisted in its erection.
A MUNICIPAL PUBLIC BUILDING, NOW PARTIALLY COMPLETED, AND UNDER THE
We will look into the history of a municipal public building in the City
and County of San Francisco, now partially erected, and under the con-
This building was commenced about the year 1871, fifteen years ago,
and the Act providing for its erection specially provided that it should be
erected under the contract system; that it should be erected at a cost of
not to exceed one million five hundred thousand dollars, and the building
should be erected and completed, and the grounds properly laid out and
inclosed, within three years from the passage of the Act.
Instead of having the building completed within the three years required,
and at a cost not to exceed one million five hundred thousand dollars, at
this date, fifteen years after the passage of the Act, the building is nowhere
near completed, and about three millions seven hundred thousand dollars
have been expended upon it; and instead of being known as the New City
Hall, it is vulgarly called "the great ruin of San Francisco."
This great length of time, the uncompleted building and vast outlay of
money, more than double the original amount, is the result of the contract
If the building was provided to be erected by days' labor, and not by the
contract system, it would have been completed long ago, at a cost of less
than one half of the amount already expended upon it, and the laboring
men would have derived great benefits, respectable wages for their labor,
and the City and County of San Francisco would have its New City Hall
fully completed and paid for.
COMMENDATIONS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.
I commend the manner and method in which the Board of State Harbor
Commissioners caused the contractors to carry out and perform all portions
of the contracts, excepting the eight-hour clause, especially the method
and system adopted by the Board for determining the quality of rock and
fillings, by weighing the same, instead of measurement as formerly.
This is the first occasion in the history of the construction of the seawall
on which this system was practiced, and it was found to be much more
economical than an'y other system previously practiced, and has resulted
in a large saving to the State. And I am also satisfied that the Board of
State Harbor Commissioners, as now constituted, is one of the most efficient
set of officials that this State has ever had; that they have carefully, judi-
ciously, and honestly guarded the interests of the State in the work of con-
structing sections five and six of the seawall.
And in the person of Mr. Wadsworth, the efficient Secretary of the
Board, I find an obliging and attentive gentleman, lending his aid to me
and furnishing all information and data, as far as was in his power, dur-
ing the progress of this investigation.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEGISLATION.
I recommend the repeal of all laws whereby public work is performed
by contract, and that all future public work be done under laws providing
for such work to be done by days' labor only.
I respectfully submit the following draft for presentation to the next
Legislature for consideration, viz.:
"All public work of the State and municipalities shall be done through
the legally constituted authorities of the State or municipalities, and shall
be performed by the day at ruling rates, and eight hours shall constitute a
day's work upon the same."
This investigation was imposed upon me by the law-making power of
I have endeavored to perform my duty impartially, faithfully, earnestly,
and fearlessly, and in making this report to your Excellency I do so with
the intention of doing injury to none, but justice to the citizen workingmen
of the State of California, who are entitled to the sympathy, support, and
protection of the Commonwealth.
JOHN SUMMERFIELD ENOS,
Commissioner of the State Bureau of Labor Statistics.
JOHN SUMMERFIELD ENOS, COMMISSIONER OF LABOR STATISTICS
STATE OF CALIFOKNIA,
UPON AN INQUIRY AS TO
"The Condition of the Laborers Employed by Contractors on the Seawall at San Francisco," Etc.,
UNDER SENATE RESOLUTION OF MARCH 3, 1885.
COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS,
AS TO "THE CONDITION OF THE LABORERS EMPLOYED ON THE SEAWALL AT SAN
FRANCISCO," AND OTHER MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO, UNDER
SENATE RESOLUTION OF MARCH 3, 1885.
San Francisco, Wednesday, May 20, 1885.
In conformity to Senate resolution adopted March 3, 1885, Commissioner
of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, John S. Enos, Esq., commenced this day
the investigation directed by said resolution.
There were present John M. Days, Esq., who appeared for certain labor
organizations, and the members and Secretary of the Harbor Commission.
On opening the session, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statis-
tics, Mr. Enos, said: "This examination is conducted by me as Commis-
sioner of this office, by virtue of a resolution passed by the Senate, a copy of
which I attached to each subpoena."
The resolution reads as follows:
Resolved, That the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics be, and he is hereby
requested to inquire into the condition of the laborers employed by the contractors on the
seawall at San Francisco, with reference to whether what is known as the " truck" system
is in vogue there; whether or not the eight-hour law (Art. 20, Sec. 17, State Constitution)
applies to contracts let by the State, and whether or not such laborers are interfered with
in the exercise of the elective franchise, and with reference to such other matters as may
affect them and other laborers employed by the State Board of Harbor Commissioners,
and all the suggestions set out in this report, and report the same to the Governor at as
early a date as is consistent with a thorough investigation thereof.
The preamble reads as follows:
Whereas, Charges having been made that certain officials and contractors employed by
the State Board of Harbor Commissioners, and engaged in the construction ot the sea-
wall at San Francisco, are violating the eight-hour law of the State, intimidating their
employes, and compelling them to patronize boarding houses in which said contractors
are interested, and otherwise setting the laws of the State at defiance; also, that said con-
tractors are not executing their contracts as required by their specifications; therefore,
Resolved, That the Committee on Capital and Labor be, and they are hereby instructed
to investigate these charges, and such others as may be preferred by the workingmen and
property owners against the said seawall contractors, and report to this Senate, and for
this purpose said committee is empowered to send for persons and papers.
It was referred to a committee, and the committee, after taking some tes-
timony, reported that they had not time, and the matter was then referred
to me for further investigation. That is the authority I have for taking this
testimony and report to the Governor.
Mr. Days has been requested by certain labor organizations, and by
myself, being the author of this resolution and being posted in this matter,
to assist in this investigation.
Was first called upon to testify.
Mr. Days — I would state, Governor, that there were several letters sent
to me, when a member of the Senate, from parties in San Francisco, stat-
ing that they thought certain charges could be proven in relation to the
contracts let by the State Harbor Commissioners. Of course the principal
complaints were the violation of the eight-hour law and the introduction
of the truck system. Do you know what is meant by the truck system?
The truck system means the payment of labor in provisions, or other things
than money. They have passed laws in a great many States of the East,
and have been passing them for the last twenty years, to prevent what is
known as the truck system, wherein corporations or persons owning fac-
tories would board their hands, or compel them to trade at certain stores.
That is the idea of the truck system. Then there were other statements
made — that the contractors made the men in their employ vote the Demo-
cratic ticket, and other things of that kind. I have always taken a very
great interest, myself, in all labor questions, and especially in the eight-
hour law, and to some extent in the truck system, and I suppose that is
the reason they sent their letters to me. I handed one of the letters to the
Secretary of the Committee on Labor and Capital, of the Senate, of which
committee I was a member. He drafted the resolution, and it was adopted
by the committee. As Mr. Enos has stated, the Senate committee did not
have time to go into the investigation, and the committee made their report
and introduced a resolution referring the matter to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Upon consultation between Mr. Enos and myself, we thought
we would first subpoena the Board of Harbor Commissioners, and get all
the information that we possibly could from you in relation to how that
office is run, and how contracts are made. I have several questions here
that I have drawn myself, and many that were handed to me, which I put
in their present shape. So, if you are ready, Governor, we will proceed
with the investigation.
Question — Will you please give me your name and official capacity?
Answer — William Irwin, and I am one of the Harbor Commissioners, and
President of the Board.
Q. By whom were you appointed ? A. By Governor Stoneman.
Q. For how long ? A. Four years.
Q. What persons or corporation own the property under your charge ?
A. The property under our charge belongs to the State.
Q. Before entering upon the duties of your office what oath, if any, did
you subscribe to? A. We subscribed to the general oath of office.
Q. To support the Constitution and laws of the State ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then your oath of office required you to act in strict conformity with
the Constitution and laws of the State? A. I should judge it did, sir, so
far as those related to our official duties.
Q. That is, does it go beyond the general oath; for instance, such as we
have taken, you and I, frequently in the Legislature ? A. I do not think
it does, sir.
Q. If the State owns the property under your charge then all the work
performed by contract is for the benefit of the State and is State work, pub-
lic work, is it not? A. It is supposed to be done for the benefit of the pub-
lic ; it is an improvement made by the State for the benefit of the public,
in the matter of commerce.
Q. That is, it is public work? A. Yes, sir; it is public work done under
authority of the State.
Q. How are the State's revenues — that is, those under the control of the
Harbor Commissioners — collected? A. They are collected by collectors
appointed by the Board in pursuance of law.
Q. How are the funds disbursed; are they disbursed by the Board, or do
they go into the hands of the State Treasurer? A. The funds are dis-
bursed by the Board properly. Certain things are paid for directly from
the office; for instance, the salaries of the office, and expenses incurred in
keeping the streets that are under the jurisdiction of the Board, and
wharves, in repair, and known as urgent repairs. $4,000 maybe expended
for that purpose, and the expenses incurred in dredging, paying the men
employed by the dredgers, and keeping the place in repair. These are
paid by the Secretary, on orders made by the Board, out of money that
is in the office; that is not sent to Sacramento. At the end of each
month, or rather at the beginning of each month, there is a statement
made up of all expenses, for the purposes that I have indicated, of the
preceding month, and of the moneys that have been paid out, and the
residue is forwarded to the State Treasurer and is put into what is known
as the San Francisco Harbor Improvement Fund. That fund is then
drawn upon by the Board when required to pay out sums due on contracts;
that is, contracts let for building wharves, seawalls, etc.
Q. That is, they have to go to the State Treasurer for their pay; they do
not collect from you? A. That is on what I specify. The payment of the
officers, the Commissioners and Secretary, Wharfingers, etc., and $4,000
a month may be expended in what is known as urgent repairs; that is,
repairs to wharves and streets under the jurisdiction of the Board, and
expenditures in paying the persons employed in the dredging department
and repairs for machinery used there.
Q. The sums for these purposes are paid directly out of the office? A.
Those sums do not go to Sacramento. The Board audit those accounts,
and upon that audit the Secretary (who is virtually Treasurer also) pays
them, and there is a complete settlement made each month. The sums
necessary for these purposes are paid, as I have stated, by the Secretary,
out of the funds collected during the month; and what is left at the begin-
ning of the month, within the first five or six da} r s, is remitted to the State
Treasurer, and goes into the San Francisco Harbor Improvement Fund.
In other expenditures which are made on contracts — for instance, we want
to build a wharf; under the law we adopt first a plan and specification.
We advertise for bids, and then the contracts are awarded on those bids;
and as the work progresses and the money becomes due to the contractor,
we draw, what is termed in law, a draft on the Controller, and he draws a
warrant, and that is taken to the State Treasurer and paid out of the Har-
bor Improvement Fund.
Q. Do you know of any improvement, Governor, that could be made in
the law for either collecting or disbursing the public or State funds under
your control for the benefit of the State ? A. It is known that I hold the
view that a very great saving might be made by a different mode of col-
lecting; and it is known also that I prepared a bill, or bills, it might be
termed, and had them introduced into the State Legislature for the purpose
of accomplishing this object.
Q. What bills were those ? A. In the matter of collecting.
Q. Who introduced the bills? A. Mr. Lynch introduced them; there
were three bills. In fact, the last two were in substance same as the first,
but they were put in two bills.
Mr. Enos — Are you limited to the sum of $4,000 per month in your
expenditures for all purposes except contracts you have made for building,
as the law requires you ? Does the law require you to let contracts for all
other sums? A. Yes, sir. The law permits us to expend as much as
$4,000 in making what are termed urgent improvements; that is, a hole
breaks in the wharf, and you can not wait to advertise before repairing it.
Q. For all other improvements, the law compels you to have specifica-
tions and bids, and let it by contract? A. Yes, sir. Other matters are
let by contract, but we are not required to advertise for work which does not
amount to more than $3,000.
Q. On all matters beyond that, you have to advertise? A. For a con-
tract where the work is to be done that will amount to over $3,000, we have
to advertise for a period of ten days and get bids, and let the contract to
the lowest bidder. A similar contract, where it would not amount to $3,000,
we need not advertise if we choose.
Q. In other words, the law, up to a certain amount, gives you discre-
tionary power to disburse these funds? A. No, sir; we have to do it by
contract. We can only make certain kinds of repairs — urgent repairs.
There is a hole breaks in the street, and that has to be attended to at once.
Q. You absolutely control that matter? A. Yes, sir. But suppose you
want to make some other improvements in the nature of construction,
and it does not amount to $3,000, but $1,000; instead of putting in an
advertisement for ten days in a paper, we let the contract without that.
We frequently do so. We notify the bidders privately. If there is some
carpenter work, notice is sent around to the carpenters, and have plans and
specifications, and ask them to send in bids, and award to the one that
bids the lowest. But sometimes we advertise these, but do not advertise
then so long as ten days. Where it is $3,000 or over, the law is impera-
tive; it must be advertised for ten days.
Mr. Days — Do you know the number of these bills that Mr. Lynch intro-
duced? A. 404 and 405, I think they were.
Q. Towards the latter end of the session? A. There was one bill intro-
duced that embraced the subject of these two bills. I became satisfied
that bill would not pass. Part of this matter I deemed it important to
become law, and go into effect at once, so I then drew both bills, putting
in substance the matter that was in the first bill into two other bills, think-
ing I would get that through. One of them was reported back to the com-
mittee with a recommendation that it pass; a little amendment was made
to it, but it was never reached. The other one of these was simply reported
back, I think — one of the bills were.
Q. What is the regular work performed by persons under your employ?
A. There are quite a number of persons under our employ, and the differ-
ent persons have different work. I think the whole number amounts to
something like one hundred. Do you want a statement of the officers?
Q. Simply generally, not particularly. I suppose there are Collectors and
Wharfingers and a Secretary. Does that include all ? Have you carpen-
ters? A. We have a Secretary's department; the Secretary, the Assistant
Secretary, and Bookkeeper. And then we have another gentleman, a part
of whose time is devoted to clerical work, and he collects also. He is Gen-
eral Collector, and assists in receiving the money in the morning from the
other Collectors. The Collectors, under our rules, the first thing in the
morning, come into the office and make a settlement of what they did the
day before, and we have a gentleman in the office that assists in making
these settlements. His work is clerical there. After that is through, he
takes the bills that have been filed in the office from the Wharfingers. The
Wharfingers are the bookkeepers on the walls. That is one branch of their
work. They keep an account of each vessel, and when a vessel comes there.
I don't know whether you understand the system. We have two charges,
one against the vessel and the other against the goods. The Wharfinger
keeps an account with the vessel. When a vessel comes there the' account
is made up and put in the form of a bill and sent into the Secretary's office,
and this Collector that I speak of takes these and goes around to the mer-
chants, the consignees of the vessel, the Captain of the vessel, or whoever
it is that pays, and collects them. Then we have on the waterfront twenty
or twenty-one Wharfingers. Their duties are, as I have stated, in part to
keep an account of each vessel that comes to the wharf. Another duty is
to act as policemen on the wharf, as I might term it. I do not mean a
policeman, now, in the sense of policing people who come on the wharf, but
the vessel. He directs a vessel to come here if necessary, or move there,
etc. That is his business. We have a Chief Wharfinger and an Assistant
Chief Wharfinger. When a vessel comes in port the Captain, or consignee,
as the case may be, comes to the office of the Chief Wharfinger and lets it
be known to him that he has a vessel that he wants to get to a particular
wharf. Then the Chief Wharfinger consigns him a place — gives it to him
where he wants it if he can, and if not, as near as he can. Then he noti-
fies the Wharfinger at the wharf that this vessel is assigned to a berth there,
and hence, it is the Wharfinger's business, when the vessel comes up, to see
that it goes in the wharf into the proper place. It is frequently necessary
to move the vessel from the place assigned to make room for another one.
It is the business of the Wharfinger to do this under the orders of the Chief
Mr. Enos — And he «acts under your orders? A. He acts under our
orders, but we have general rules governing him. He comes and asks
what to do in particular cases, but ordinarily he goes on and attends to his
work, governed by general rules — by general rules that have been estab-
lished for his government; but once in awhile he comes and consults with
me, or other members of the Board.
Q. Are the Harbor Commissioners limited by law as to the number of
appointments? A. No, sir, they are not. They are required to appoint
such a number as Wharfingers and Collectors as in their judgment seem
necessary to do the work that is to be done.
Q. It leaves it discretionary how many you shall select? A. Yes, sir, it
is left to our discretion.
Q. Does the law, in relation to any other appointments that you make,
define the duties of the office — give you any other discretionary powers;
for instance, you deem the duties of the Secretary's office of such a charac-
ter that he wants another man to help him; have you any right or author-
ity to appoint one? A. Under the law we have not, strictly; but we are
employing a bookkeeper without authority of law, and we are doing it for
the reason that the labors in the Secretary's office, under changes that were
made by the Blanding bill, were so much that it was impossible to have
the work done without another employe.
Q. And the law makes no provision for that? A. The law does not
make provision for it, unless it be under the general clause as incidental
Q. You say you employ one. Is he paid under that general construc-
tion of incidental expenses? A. Well, we pay him; yes, sir.
Q. Are the duties of all the men that you employ, such as Wharfingers
and Collectors, defined by law; those are defined by law, are they not, or
are they defined by your rules? A. They are defined in a general way; as
for instance, the law says the revenue shall be collected by Collectors.
Then the particular rules that they shall observe is prescribed by the
Mr. Days — What are the salaries paid, Governor, to those employed
regularly? A. The Secretary receives $200, the Assistant Secretary $150.
The law fixes his salary. The Wharfingers get $125 per month, and the
Collectors $100. That is all fixed by law.
Q. That is the lowest, is it? A. No, sir.
Q. Then you have carpenters and laborers besides? A. We have men
there in what we term the carpenter's department. There is not much of
what would be strictly termed carpentry work done ; it is laying plank on
streets. And we have a Superintendent of repairs in that department to
whom we pay $125 a month; and then a foreman in that department, what
is termed the foreman, is paid $125 a month, and the balance $75 a month.
Q. How many days in the month does the Commissioners meet — how
many hours in the day do they hold sessions? A. Well, we have regular
meetings twice a week, and the meetings are fixed to commence at one
o'clock, and we remain as long as we have anything to do on that occasion;
sometimes we are there to evening; sometimes not so long; occasionally
we have an extra meeting, when the circumstances may require.
Q. How many days in the week do the subordinates work, and how
many hours in each day? A. They work six days a week, usually, unless
there are holidays, and the Wharfingers and Collectors are required to be
in their places at seven o'clock in the morning, and to remain until busi-
ness closes on the wharves in the evening.
Mr. Enos — They work more than eight hours a day, then? A. Yes, sir;
they work more than eight hours a day; we are compelled to do that.
Mr. Days — That would be five o'clock in the evening ? A. Later than
that in this season of the year; that depends what business is going on on
Mr. Enos — You say you are compelled to work them; why are you com-
pelled to do so; the law says that all public officials shall work eight
hours? A. So far as that is concerned, we do not admit that they are sub-
ject to the eight-hour law, for they are not hired by the day.
Q. They work by the month? A. They work by the month.
Mr. Enos — I asked that question because it has been frequently put to
me, and I wanted to know your views.
Mr. Irwin — I have not recognized those as coming under the eight-hour
law at all.
Mr. Days — Then you only consider a man who was employed specially
by the day as coming under the eight-hour law ? A. I should think so,
sir; for instance, these men who are employed by the month; if it is a
rainy day and they can not work their time goes on, and the question of
hours is not considered.
Q. You do not call that public work ; you simply call that official duties
for the State, your Collectors, Wharfingers, etc.; their work is not what you
call public work under the Constitution ? A. I suppose that they hold the
position analogous to the one you held, as State Senator, and I consider it
your duty, if work accumulated, to work to ten o'clock at night, or twelve
o'clock if it was necessary to have the work done, as I often have, and on
Q. Eight hours constitute a day's work on public works; I suppose offi-
cials are not included in that, in your judgment? A. I don't consider that
Mr. Wise — You do not consider this public work under that rule; it is
Mr. Days — The only thing is to get the real facts.
Mr. Irwin — The fact is this, that in the urgent repair department they
work eight hours a day, and we have a lot of persons engaged in sweeping
the wharves, and they work eight hours a day, but the Wharfingers and
Collectors work until business stops.
Mr. Enos — How is it with the carpenters? A. They work eight hours.
The persons employed in the Secretary's office and the Engineer's office
work the number of hours there is work to do; we expect them to do the
work, if it takes twelve or eighteen hours.
Mr. Days — I suppose their general hours are from nine to four? A.
That is, to be in the office. If their books are not written up, we expect
them to do it, if it takes them to midnight. The law requires the office to
be open for a certain number of hours, when they must be there and attend
to business; the books may be written up afterwards. They may be occu-
pied in the day so as not to do that, and it is their duty to go on and do it
afterwards. We pay them by the month, not by the day. If a man is
unwell a day we do not count it against him. He has his department of
work to do, and he has to bring it up.
Q. Do you know if any of your subordinates gave paid assessments to
any one for influence in procuring an appointment? A. I do not, sir.
Mr. Enos — You mean, Mr. Days, down there on the harbor front?
Mr. Days — Yes, sir; I do not mean pay to the Harbor Commissioners,
but I mean paid to any person such as fellows who are styled bosses. A.
I do not know about it. They may have paid it, but I do not imagine
that they have got value received if they did, and so far as the Board is
concerned they have appointed persons whom they considered fit.
Mr. Enos — I will say to you that the reasons some of these interroga-
tories are put and permitted to be asked by me is that there are vague
rumors made almost daily to this office, and I therefore desire a full and
free investigation of that and of other things. A. So far as I am concerned,
I do not know of any money being paid to anybody, Commissioners or
anybody else, to get appointments, but if there are charges and anybody
makes them, I wish you would call those persons and compel them to
disclose who has paid the money or offered to pay it to get appointments.
If anybody charges that any one employed under us, in any shape, has
paid money to get that position, we would like to know the fact, and I
would like to have whoever has intimated it to you compelled to come
here — for I suppose you have the power to do that — to come here and disclose
the source of their knowledge, and who the party is that has paid the
money, and who the party is that has received it.
Mr. Enos — I propose to do so.
Mr. Days — Besides the regular work performed by these employes, reg-
ularly from month to month, you make repairs and improvements on the
wharves and city front. How do you proceed to make those improvements?
A. All improvements that are not made by this repair force are made
under contracts. Now, for building wharves, we first have the Engineer
make a plan and specifications. That plan and these specifications are
adopted by the Board, and the work ordered done. Thereupon an adver-
tisement is inserted in the daily newspapers. We generally insert in two
daily newspapers; I believe the law does not make it imperative that it
shall be inserted in more than one, for at least ten days. Then the con-
tract is awarded to the lowest bidder after they are opened, unless the
Board deems all the bids too high. If they do they may reject the whole
and advertise a second time. If, on the second advertising, they consider
the bids too high, they may then proceed to let the contract without adver-
tising further; but any contract let under such circumstances must be at
least five per cent (I believe the law requires) lower than any bid; that is
for wharves. Now, when it comes to building a section of the seawall, the
law provides a Commission differently constituted from the ordinary Har-
bor Commission. When enough money has accumulated in the Harbor
Improvement Fund to justify the commencement of another section of the
seawall, it is the business of the Harbor Commission proper to notify the
Governor of the State, and the Mayor of the City and County of San Fran-
cisco, that a meeting would be held, at a certain time they fix upon, to
consider the question of commencing the construction of another section of
the seawall. When that meeting is convened the question is considered.
If the Board, as thus constituted, deem it proper. to go on and build the
seawall, they then determine to construct another section of the seawall,
and they adopt plans and specifications for its construction. Then they
advertise; the law requires the advertisement to be inserted in at least two
newspapers for a period of not less than thirty days. Then, at the expira-
tion of the time of advertising, the bids received are opened in the presence
of the Board, constituted in the same way. If the bids are satisfactory
the contract is awarded to the lowest bidder, and he is required to give
bonds for the faithful performance of the contract.
Q. In advertising for bids for work to be performed, do you make any
statement in relation to the employment of laborers and subordinates on
State work? A. The contracts contain a proviso that no Chinese or Mon-
golians shall be employed. They contain a stipulation, also, that eight
hours shall constitute a day's work in the performance of any work to be
done under the contract.
Q. They do state that, do they ? A. The contract contains a provision
of that kind.
Q. Then, in that relation, you carry out the full extent of the law ? A.
I think so; yes, sir.
Q. In relation to that, do you make any provision whatever to see that
the contractors do not employ either Chinese, nor violate the eight-hour
law? A. In regard to the employment of Chinese, the power is conferred
upon the Board to nullify the contract if it shall see proper. It is left to
their discretion. I can find nothing in the law in reference to employing
men over eight hours, except the simple requirement that the provision
shall be inserted in the contract.
Q. But when you insert the provision in the contract, and they violate
the contract, it is as much a violation of the contract, if they make the
men work more than eight hours, as it is if they employ Chinese, is it not?
A. That may be so, but the law in the one case prescribes the penalty; in
the other, it does not, and I believe that matter has been adjudicated and
passed upon by the Supreme Court in reference to what should be placed
in the contract.
Q. Then you think you had no power, having made a contract and that
contract is violated, as far as the agreement is concerned of employing men
only eight hours a day; you think you have no power to break the contract
with the parties, or compel them to abide by the contract and work their
men only eight hours? A. I do not know what the Courts might do in the
Q. I am asking of your power? A. The Court has decided that a min-
isterial officer has no power to require the contractor, the party to whom
the contract has been awarded, to accept a contract done under penalty.
That issue was made directly, I think, in 1869, in the case of Drew & Car-
roll vs. Smith, 38 Cal., which arose in this city. Smith was Superintendent
of Streets. That was under precisely the same law as we act.
Q. The eight-hour law passed in 1867? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — Did that contract contain this clause requiring them only to
work eight hours? A. The case was this: The contractors had their con-
tract prepared with a clause in it similar to what we put in ours. The
Superintendent of Streets would not execute the contract, but had a con-
tract prepared with another stipulation; one was that they should not per-
mit the men in their employ to work over eight hours, and another was
that if they did allow the men to work over eight hours they should not
receive any pay on their contract. The contractors refused to execute the
contract. The contractors applied for a writ of mandamus to compel the
Superintendent of Streets to execute their contract. The District Court, I
believe, decided against them. It was carried up to the Supreme Court, and
they reversed the decision. He held that the stipulation put in the con-
tract which the contractors had prepared and offered to execute was all
that the law required.
Q. Do I understand you to say that you have inserted in your contracts
for the construction of the seawall, the constitutional provision of the eight-
hour law ? Now, if knowledge is brought to you, as the Board of Harbor
Commissioners, that the contractor violates that provision and works his
men twelve and fifteen hours a day, you claim, as ministerial officers, that
you have no legal right to declare the contract null and void? A. Yes, sir;
certainly I would assume that, under the decision of the Supreme Court.
Q. In other words, you are powerless, as officers of the State, to enforce
that law? A. Yes, sir. I take it that the decision of the Supreme Court
in the case I have referred to is directly to the point. When the Legisla-
ture in this case sees fit not to provide any penalty, it was not competent
for a mere ministerial officer to fix the penalty. The Legislature had to
Mr. Enos — That is the same difficulty that is discovered with the Act of
[Mr. Wise here reads from a contract.] "And it is expressly stipulated
that eight hours of labor shall be a legal day's work under this agreement,
and all provisions of chapter ten, title seven, of the Political Code applica-
ble thereto are to be deemed as incorporated here. No Chinese or Mon-
golian labor shall be employed on the work, under penalty of forfeiture of
the contract, at the option of the Commissioners."
Mr. Irwin — The law provides specifically that if the party who has the
contract employs Chinese or Mongolian labor the contract is forfeitable, at
the option of the Board.
Mr. Days — As far as the Mongolian or Chinese are concerned? A. Yes,
sir. Now, in this case that I have referred to there were separate opinions
written. There was the opinion of the Court, which held that a stipula-
tion precisely similar to that — I do not know but what it was in the same
language — complied with the law and required the Street Superintendent
to execute the contract. There the contractors had offered a contract with
a stipulation of that kind in it. As I before stated, the Street Superintend-
ent put additional provisions to it. One was that they should not permit
them to work longer than eight hours; and another was that if they did
permit the men to work longer than eight hours they should not be entitled
to any pay on their contract. The Court said this was in excess of what
the law required. This penalty had not been prepared by the Legislature,
and it was incompetent for a mere ministerial officer, as the Superintend-
ent of Streets was, to add that to the law. Judge Sanderson was then on
the bench, and, while concurring in the opinion of the Court, he wrote an
additional opinion, in which he held that, for instance, if two dollars a day-
was the price of a day's labor, there was nothing in the law to prevent the
contractor from hiring his men two hours more and giving them fifty cents
additional — two dollars and fifty cents for ten hours. Eight hours consti-
tute a day's labor, and if the price of a day's labor was two dollars, and
he chose and the laborer chose to work for a longer period he could make
a separate contract with them to pay them for the additional length of
time they worked. That was not in the opinion of the Court, but he
acquiesced in the opinion of the Court, and the judgment, but this was
additional. It is proper to say, however, that in this decision there were
two dissensions. I think Sprague was on the bench, and Crockett, I think,
dissented — the Court was then constituted of five. I think they both held
that it was competent to require the contractor to assent to any stipulation
that was put in the contract prepared by the Superintendent of Streets.
. Mr. Wise — I would just call Mr. Days' attention to one thing. It is
expressly stipulated that eight hours' labor shall be a legal day's work in
this agreement. Now supposing the contractor with all his men works
eight hours a day, averages eight hours a day right through, and they
should have to work ten or fifteen hours some days, it makes no difference
so far as we are concerned. The contract is complied with. If they worked
six hours a day the State would be the loser. We would be the loser if
they only worked five or six hours a day. All we stipulate to get is eight
hours a day.
Mr. Irwin — So far as the State is concerned it is entirely immaterial
whether they work five, six, eight, or ten. The contractor has to do a given
work, to perform a given work for a stipulated sum, and so far as the
interest of the State is concerned it is perfectly immaterial.
Mr. Days — That is so far as a monetary matter is concerned, but the
State has some interest beyond that of money.
Mr. Irwin — I understand as a matter of general policy, but this was
brought up to show that the State's interest was preserved if they worked
eight hours, and they would not be preserved if they worked less. But I
say if we let a contract the State has no interest in that question at all.
The State is interested in the result, and gives a given sum for a given piece
of work. I notice here one of the contractors, Mr. Schuyler. They con-
tracted to put in rock by the ton at so much, fifty -three or fifty-four cents
it probably is. Now when a ton of rock is there it is immaterial to the
State how many hours a day the people work to put it in. They simply
put in a ton.
Mr. Wise — Mr. Schuyler took a contract to build a thousand feet of sea-
wall, and he was to do it in twelve months' time. After he reached Union
or Green Street we had to discontinue the wharves there. We had virtu-
ally to abandon those wharves where our Collectors were collecting $1,200
or $1,500 a month, and when they were discontinued we virtually got noth-
ing for them. Now, if he dillydallied he could have kept us out of these
wharves until the end of his contract, and then put on a force of men and
rush it through. So we were interested in the contract and the number of
days he worked.
Mr. Irwin — I must dissent from that view of the case — that if they only
worked one hour a day we could have interposed. He had a certain time
to execute his contract, and if he did it within that time he fulfilled all of
his obligations with us.
Mr. Enos — Do not you think it is your duty, as a State officer, upon all
public works of which you have charge — and you must concede that that
work is public work — do not you think it is your duty to see that the Con-
stitution and law which says eight hours means eight hours, shall be con-
stituted a day's work? What was that law passed for? What was it put
in the Constitution for? Was it put into the Constitution to crowd men on
public works to work twelve Or sixteen hours a day? Was it not put in
there for the express purpose of limiting the hours to eight hours a day?
Was not that the object of it? That is the point; and you say now that it
does not make any difference to you whether they work one hour, if they
get the contract done. A. Precisely; and I do not see how that would
conflict with the Constitution. I do not think that says that a man work-
ing on public works has to work eight hours a day.
Mr. Irwin — If Mr. English and his associates had found it to be com-
patible with their interest to work the men there only five hours a day, they
had, under the Constitution and laws, a perfect right to work for five hours
a day if they got through with the work as rapidly as their contract
required, and fulfill their obligations with us, and there would have been
no violation of the contract or loss.
Mr. Enos — Then, supposing they forced them to work fifteen hours a
day? A. That would have been a violation of the law — that is, if they
had forced them for a day's work. As I stated, I do not see that it is an
adjudicated case. There is only one opinion of the Judge, who held that
if a man chose to work extra hours for extra pay, it was competent for
him to do it, and it was no violation of the law for the contractor to engage
with them for such work. That is, to take an illustration that he uses,
that if two dollars is the price of a day's work of eight hours, and he makes
a contract with them to work two hours more, and he pays them fifty cents
more, there is no violation of the law.
Mr. Days — There certainly must be a violation of the spirit of the law.
Mr. Irwin — The Judge does not think so.
Mr. Days — When the people of San Francisco, to the number of thou-
sands and thousands, compelled both Republicans and Democrats, in
1867, to put prominently in their platforms a plank in favor of an eight-
hour law, their idea was that they would make a law limiting the day's
labor to eight hours, for the purpose of procuring more work for more per-
sons. That was the idea, and that really is the intent and spirit of the
law; and I think that was the idea that General Grant and his legal advis-
ers had when they decided that a full day's pay should be paid for eight
hours' work. The idea I want to get at is this: that the intent and spirit
of the law is to give employment to more laborers. Now, then, when the
learned legal lights of the law decide that a man can, by giving more pay,
employ a man a good many more hours, I say they, the Judges, violate the
spirit of the law. And our purpose in seeking this investigation is simply
to get at the facts, so that whatever is faulty in the law in that respect may
be amended. Now, as to the point whether they employ men seven hours,
or five hours, or one hour, or six, as long as they fulfill the contract, I do
not think you have anything to do; but I think if they employ any man
nine hours a day, they violate the contract, and the contract should be
Mr. Irwin — Now, as far as they violate the contract, do you go further,
and say the Board have the power for further action in the matter?
Mr. Days — No; I think you have explained that by reference to the
decision of the Supreme Court. I am simply now speaking generally on
the proposition. Of course, I do not see how you could do any differently
under the decision of the Supreme Court, as I understand it, from your
explanation, for the Supreme Court would probably step in again and over-
rule you. I am not finding any fault with you, after the statement in
regard to the decision, because I can not see how you could do any differ-
ently; but still I believe that, as far as the contractors themselves are
concerned, that they are culpable.
Q. Before you let a contract, with whom do you consult with reference
to the proper cost of the work ? A. We have our Engineer make an esti-
mate of the probable cost of the work.
Q. Who is the engineer? A. Mr. Manson.
Q. You have your regular Engineer appointed by the Board? A. Yes,
Mr. Enos — He is retained by the Board permanently, and his salary
fixed by law? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Days — Do you require the Engineer to place a value on the work
required to be done prior to your receiving bids upon it? A. We have a
general estimate made of what it will probably cost. The purpose of this
estimate is to know whether we have or not sufficient funds, or will have
sufficient funds, to pay for the work as it progresses, and pay for it when
it is completed.
Q. Does the Engineer in placing the value of the work in the contract
estimate the approximate price for labor on the eight-hour law? A. So far
as that is concerned I do not think he estimates particularly the labor. I
do not think he would be able to go into that and arrive at any conclusion
as to what the work would come to, if he undertook to get at it by labor at
a number of days, etc. But we know generally, from what has been paid
heretofore, that the contractors will put in a cubic yard of earth, or a ton
of stone, for so much money; and that is taken as the basis of the estimate.
Q. Then you simply let the contract for the lowest amount of money to
the lowest responsible bidder? A. Precisely; under advertisement.
Q. Without any relation as to how many hours they work a day? A. We
do not consider that at all. It is the contractor's business to figure on that,
and what the labor will cost him to do the work, and then give us the
Q. To do the work at eight hours a day? A. So far as that is concerned,
we do not inquire anything about the estimate; that is none of our busi-
ness. Whoever makes the bid has to accompany that by a certified check,
that is forfeited to the State if he receives the contract and does not execute
it, and give the necessary bonds within a certain time; and all we have to
consider is whose bid is the lowest.
Q. And he knows, of course, that the law provides but eight hours? A.
The presumption is that every citizen knows the law.
Q. Is any provision made in the contract for the care and maintenance
of persons injured in the employment of the State; that is, by contract
work? A. No, sir. We do not recognize the persons who are employed
by the contractors as being employes of the State.
Q. In other words, then, you say it is really not State work, after you let
it out? A. No, sir; we do not say that. In a certain sense it is not State
work. The work is for the State, and in all such cases they come under
the provision of this law, because that has already been adjudicated — that
they come under the provisions of the law fixing the hours that constitute
a day's labor. But, as I said, the relation is between the State and the
contractor for this work, and the duty to work them only eight hours is put
upon the contractor in the contract. The law itself provides that in making
the contract a stipulation of that kind shall be put into it.
Q. Supposing a person should be injured in the performance of that duty,
would not the State be responsible for the damages? A. No, sir.
Q. Only the contractor? A. I am not going to express any opinion as
to what the liability of the contractor would be. That is a legal question
entirely, and would depend whether he had taken proper care, etc. That
is a nice little question that would have to be determined in every particular
Mr. Enos — If he was not guilty of contributory negligence the State
would be responsible? A. I do not think the State could be held respon-
sible in any case, and as to whether the contractor would be responsible
would depend on the particular circumstances attending every particular
Mr. Days — Can you tell what is the advantage to the State in letting the
work out by contract, over doing the same work by the day? Of course,
we are merely asking for your opinion. A. That is a question of policy. The
advantage, I suppose, in the judgment of the Legislature that passed it,
was that the State would get the work done cheaper. I presume that is
Mr. Enos — You think as the law now stands it is best to let the work
out by contract, rather than that the Harbor Commissioners have to hire
the work done directly? A. That is my opinion.
Mr. Days — You never have examined the question, have you? A. I do
not know what you would term examining it. It is one of those things
that a man must necessarily have an opinion on when he is seeing the
matter taking place all the time. My opinion is, that if the State wants to
get its work done cheaply, the proper policy is to let it out by contract.
There might be other considerations that would come in.
Mr. Enos — Do you think it would be for the best interest of the State
and citizens? A. If you ask me that, and want my opinion, I will say yes.
I can see no reason why the State, when it has work to be done of this
kind, should not act upon the same principle as an individual, and I be-
lieve that the principles governing the letting of contracts in the community
at large is best for the individual and the promotion of health. I do not
believe in the State coming in to take charge of everybody.
Mr. Enos — Your opinion is based on the assumed fact that public officials,
in letting these contracts, comply strictly and honestly with the law, and lets
them to the lowest bidder? A. I am assuming, of course, that they do
what the law requires them to do, and here the State is simply doing what
every citizen does. Of course, you can not give the State officer the same
discretion as a private individual has in transacting his own business.
Here you have to govern them by the rigid rules of law, for here, if they
had that discretion, while some men would use it wisely others would abuse
it, and it would be difficult to say when a man had used it wisely, or when
he had abused it.
Q. Have you any discretion, as a Board, in letting out these seawall con-
tracts? Have you any discretion in the matter of saying which is the
lowest bidder? A. The bid itself shows.
Q. You have no discretion? A. We have no discretion.
Q. And ever since you have been Harbor Commissioner that has been
the plan? A. Both in letting contracts for the building of the seawalls,
wharfs, or anything else. We have let it to the lowest bidder if we have
let it at all. In some cases we have considered all the bids too high.
Q. What do you consider is a section of the seawall ? A. That is in the
discretion of the Board. A section is what we let at the time. Most of
the sections have been 1,000 feet. There has been one at the extreme end
that was only 561 feet, and the last section is only 800 feet, because we got
a better place to finish it than to take it on further. The law says it shall
only be 1,000 feet.
Mr. Days — You state that you suppose it would be for the interest of the
State to let out work by contract the same as it is for a private individual.
Let me put this hypothesis to you. Supposing a man wants a certain
amount of work done and he has a family, a large portion of whom really
could do the work but they can not do the work quite so cheaply as some
one else. Would it be to his benefit to give to other parties the work to be
performed and pay them and then support his family besides when they
might be working ?
Mr. Irwin — Supporting them in idleness ?
Mr. Days — They doing nothing. A. I do not know what answer you
want to that question; I do not see the pertinency of it, Mr. Days.
Mr. Days — I see the pertinency. I consider all the citizens of a State a
portion of that State; and to protect the poorer portion of the people of a
State is the reason for these labor laws. Every portion of the citizens being
a part of the State, in my opinion it is not to the interest of the State to pay
contractors large profits and to have their laborers paid small wages. I
think it would be to the interest of the State even if they paid more wages
to the employes, and that while, perhaps, it would cost the State a little
more, it would be a great deal better for the State.
Mr. Irwin — What proportion of the labor in this State is employed or
can be employed by the State itself?
Mr. Days — Not much, I do not suppose there can be much.
Mr. Irwin — Not a thousandth part.
Mr. Enos — How much money does the State, through the Board of Har-
bor Commissioners, pay annually to contractors for work done? A. This
section of the seawall costs, I think, pretty nearly $170,000. I suppose the
bulk of that is paid out to laborers. It varies a good deal from year to
year. We pay out on an average, say $200,000 to $250,000. A large por-
tion of that is paid for material, for instance, for lumber. The laborer that
makes the lumber is employed in another State or Territory. The wharf
costs $25,000; there would be paid to the laborers here on that not a quota
Q. I suppose Mr. Days' idea is that instead of letting large contracts you
do it directly; for instance, you pay $170,000 to Mr. E. and C. to build a
certain section of the seawall. He pays his men and he puts $30,000 or
$40,000 in his pocket. Mr. Days means that if you paid it out day by day,
although it might cost more, it would be a benefit, as it goes to the men who
put the bone and muscle into the work. A. Our experience as far as it
has gone does not maintain such a supposition as that. Where we have
had work done by days' labor it has cost more considerably, a hundred per
cent more, than it does by contract; from fifty to a hundred per cent.
Mr. Wise — My experience while I was Supervisor here was that a con-
tractor can get more labor out of a man at eight hours work than the State
Government can possibly do. They loaf away a great deal of their time
which they would not do under a contractor.
Mr. Days — I think that is not fair, Mr. Wise, for nearly all the men who
are appointed are appointed for some political influence or other. If you
appoint the best men you will get the same work out of them.
Mr. Wise — That you can not do. You have to appoint by influence of
the political machinery. If you appoint men on the waterfront, you would
have to get the men from the party that controls.
Q. Do you know when the State first commenced to do work by contract,
or has it always been the case? A. The State has always, I think, done
work by contract.
Q. Do you know whether they did before the eight-hour law was passed ?
A. Yes, sir, I think so. I think the State Capitol was built by days' labor,
but public buildings, I think, generally have been let out on contract.
Q. I remember hearing it said, when the eight-hour law was passed, that
it could always be obviated by contract. I did not know but that work had
been done by days' labor before that time ? A. The work on the city front
by the Harbor Commissioners has always been done by contract. The
theory of the law is that everything shall be done by contract, except such
work as by the nature of the circumstances can not be let by contract, and
for that reason, from the first, the Board was allowed to spend a specified
sum in urgent repairs. The meaning of urgent repairs is, for instance,
something breaks down to-day and you can not wait ten days for repairs.
It must be commenced at once, and you put men on it, and in case of
a breakage in the wharf, or anything of that kind, you have to make
repairs at once.
Mr. Clark, Deputy Controller, here asked Commissioner Enos if out-
siders were permitted to ask questions, and on being answered in the
affirmative, asked the following: Governor, if I understand you correctly,
you said that the State Capitol was built by days' work. Of course, you
mean to be entirely correct, but you have forgotten that the roof was built
by contract, and perhaps the only faulty thing in the building was the roof ;
Mr. Irwin — There may be some more things done by contract, but most
of it was done by days' labor.
Mr. Days — If it is cheaper and better to let out the work for the State by
contract, so that the laborers' wages can be ground down to the lowest
notch, would it not be equally cheaper to let out the positions of Harbor
Commissioners, and Judges and Mayors, Boards of Supervisors, Tax Col-
lectors, Assessors, Governor, Controller, and every other office in the gift of
the people, to those who will perform the labor for the smallest amount of
remuneration. Did you ever give any thought to that, Governor? A. Oh,
yes, I have thought about it; certainly. I recollect here, that there was
some man wanted to be elected Tax Collector for a certain percentage; if
they would elect him he would pay a certain percentage over to the city.
I suppose that was something in the same line.
Mr. Enos — Do you think it would be financially practicable to run our
government, municipal, city, and national, by letting the contract to the
lowest bidder? A. Well, I am not in favor of it,
Mr. Days — You are not in favor of letting out government offices? A.
Q. You do not think it would be for the benefit of the people to let the
city and county offices to the lowest bidder, or to Mr. English or Chris.
Buckley or any one else of the contractors and allow them to appoint officers
and make a percentage therefor, as they let out the work, and let the city
take the benefit of 'the difference between what it has to pay for labor and
what the contractor pays ? But you do think that laboring work should
be done by contract? A. I suppose that it is a fact that competition to get
a job will always secure the State in giving it to a responsible bidder. My
idea is that competition secures the work for a lower sum than what we
could get it if we employed men to do it, and upon that point I have no
sort of doubt. As, for instance, building the seawall that was done by Mr.
English and his associates. I do not know, I can not say how they stand;
I see it reported in the newspapers that Mr. English states in his testimony
before the legislative committee that that company had lost large sums of
money in performing that contract.
Mr. Days — I did not understand him to say that. What I understood
him to say was that they took the contract lower, expecting to put in a
great deal more rock than they had to furnish, and hence lost in that
Q. Now, supposing a man undertook to run the office of Assessor in this
city, and took it on contract, don't you think he«could do it a great deal
cheaper than we have had it done for the last fifteen or twenty years?
Mr. Wise — I think a saving could be made without letting it to them.
They have about one hundred and fifty men employed, and they can do it
with fifty as well as they can with one hundred and fifty.
Mr. Days — Why could not these things be let out by contract then, as
well as laborers' work?
Mr. Irwin — I do not care to discuss that question. There are obvious
reasons why the cases are not parallel, and the judgment of mankind so
far, from the commencement of the world, have put them on different
grounds, and it is not yet shown that the judgment is in error. I supposed
I was called to testify more particularly in regard to facts than to discuss
questions of this nature, that belong to political economy and social science.
Of course, it would be the mere opinion of an individual.
Q. Did you award to English & Company a contract for constructing a
portion of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did Mr. English have any partners in the contract? A. I think the
contract, if I recollect right, is awarded to Mr. William D. English alone.
That is my recollection of it. The contract is not signed English & Com-
pany, but William D. English. I suppose he had gentlemen associated
with him in the performance of the contract.
Q. What is the number of the section? A. We call it Section 5.
Q. Was he the lowest bidder? A. Yes, sir.
Q. The lowest actual bidder? A. He was the lowest bidder.
Q. Did Mr. English comply with all the terms agreed upon? A. So far
as I know he did. I might modify that a little. The contract required
that it should be completed within a specified time, its grade in the first
instance brought to the grade as it is supposed that the matter would settle
a little; I think he was a few days behind the time. That is it was not
brought to the grade in the first instance within the precise time. It was a
few days later. With that exception my former answer was correct.
Q. Did you accept the work and pay for it or order it paid? A. The
work has been done but is not executed finally under the contract. It was
required to be brought to the grade, the rock work and the earth work, on
a certain day, and then it required to be maintained at that grade for a
period of three months. Under the contract there were monthly estimates
made of the work done per month, etc., and we paid from month to month
seventy-five per cent of that estimate and the other twenty-five per cent was
reserved as a guarantee for the final completion of the work, and there is
still twenty-five per cent held against that contract waiting for the expira-
tion of three months after the work is brought to the grade. If there is
any sinking in the meantime, he has, under the contract, to bring it up to
the grade, giving it three months in which to sink. You put it on a safe
bottom but it takes it some time to settle down.
Q. You are then satisfied that proper material has been used, and good
workmanship performed upon the section named? A. I think the material
was good, and the workmanship consisted in dumping the rock and dirt in
the proper place. That was done under the direction of the Engineer, and
I think it was all properly clone.
Q. Are you aware that men employed had to work ten hours a day at
the rate of $1 50 a day, some few receiving $1 75? A. No, sir; I am not.
Mr. Enos — Do you know what they received ? A. No, sir.
Q. Or the number of hours they worked? A. No, sir; I do not.
Q. And you do not consider that relates to your duty, as Commissioner,
after the contract is let? A. I do not think so.
Mr. Days — In case the contractors paid the wages of any laborer to the
boarding house keeper, or any one else than the laborer, except on due
process of law, would not the State be liable for the amount; I mean
morally liable ? A. I do not care about discussing the moral liability; I
suppose this should relate to legal liability, and as to the moral liability,
I do not see how you are going to get at that.
Q. You get moral liability like this: The State morally owes John
O'Brien a thousand dollars, but it does not legally owe him that, because
there is no power to sue the State for it. It morally owes him a thousand
dollars, and he goes to the Legislature.
The Witness — Give your instance. Let me say, that so far as the
laborers were employed here I do not consider, and did not consider, that
the State owed them after it paid the contract.
Mr. Enos — Whether the contractor paid them or not ? A. No ; whether
the contractor paid them or not. I do not discriminate between the moral
liability and legal liability. m
Mr. Enos — You recognize the fact that the State can not be sued, as
already stated. For instance, the colored man, Mr. Wilkins, lost his horse;
he could not sue the State. The Legislature passed an Act authorizing
your Board, as Commissioners, to pay him? A. I do not consider that as
in the same category. Under the law this Board has a contract to perform
the work which is let out to an individual. Then relations arise between
that contractor and 'the men he employs. I do not consider that moral
obligation rests upon tbe State, under the laws as they stand, to see that
these individuals get their pay, any more than it rests upon the State to see
if you hire a man and fail to pay him, that he shall be paid.
Q. You recollect the Hoagland contest, up in Sacramento, for years.
The State did certain work, in which Hoagland and others were injured,
and the Legislature at the last session authorized those injured to bring an
action against the State. In that instance the Legislature finally recog-
nized the responsibility or right to make good the injury that was done by
her agents in constructing certain canals or changing some river courses
up there. Now, for instance, you let this contract to Mr. English, and he
throws down a lot and building and the people living in it; he is working
for the State? A. I do not consider that is a fact, that he did the work
for the State; that makes the difference.
Q. Should not these people be paid for it? A. Not any more than if it
had been done by anybody else. The State gave these people the contract.
It is a contract to do the work for the State, and he goes there to get his
material. Now, if he had contracted to do it for an individual the obliga-
tion would be the same, and the State is under no moral obligation any
more than an individual. The fact that he is doing the work for the State
does not make any difference in my opinion. The fact that he is doing the
job for the State does not put the State under any further obligation than
if you had had the same work done. He was not bound to go there for
Q. Suppose the Harbor Commissioners, instead of letting this out, were
doing the work themselves, and you went there and made this excavation,
do you think the State would be liable for injuries? A. In that case I
would occupy the same relation as the contractor would in this case. What
the liability of the State would be for its officers doing the work I could
Q. That question comes out in this investigation in one sense? A. I do
not think the State is liable in that case any more than it would be if you
had done some injury to these parties in getting out rock to fill up a lot for
Mr. Days — Have you heard of any difficulty between the contractors
and the parties living on Telegraph Hill in relation to the taking of rock
therefrom and injuring the property of persons without paying them there-
for? A. I think they had some difficulty. I heard it through the news-
papers as it was going on, but I did not hear of it in any other way than
through the newspapers and common conversation. It was never brought
to us in any shape in any official way.
Q. You have just stated that you did not consider the State would be
liable in any way ? A. No more than if he had been getting that out to fill
up Mr. Hayward's lot.
Q. Would not Mr. Hayward be liable ? A. I don't think Mr. Hayward
is liable; the contractor is liable. If he makes a general contract he is
allowed the whole world to get the material. That is not Mr. Hayward's
business;' it is the contractor's business, and if he infringes upon individ-
uals' rights hg is liable. It seems to me that is very clear.
Q. Let us see: Here John Doe undertakes to build a house for William
Smith, and he builds the house on William Smith's lot, but does not pay
the employes. Should they come on the contractor, or the builder? A.
The law, I suppose, gives the laborer a lien in such a case.
Q. What is the difference between this question of responsibility and the
law for laborers' lien? A. It is not a question about laborers' pay, as I
understand it, at all. It is a question about damage done for property
owners, and that is a different matter. I am not saying that Mr. English
and his associates are not liable for damages they have done. I presume,
under the law, they are. What I say is, that the State is not liable,
legally or morally, in my judgment. It did not require him to go there
and do it. It let the contract to do certain work, and he had the whole
world in which to get his material. The State did not control him in that.
There were plenty of other places, and if he found it more advantageous to
go there and get it, and take the risk of being mulcted in damages for it,
that is his interest and not the State.
Q. Supposing Mr. English and his associates could not reply in damages,
you do not consider, under any circumstances, the State would be liable?
A. I do not think the State would be any more than if he went there to
get it to fill up a lot for a private party.
Mr. Enos — You think there is no connection of responsibility with the
State under his contract to do the work of the State? A. No, sir; I think
Q. You think that he stands in the same relation as if he were working
for a private party? A. Precisely, unless the law has come in and speci-
fied and changed the relation. It has come in and changed it with refer-
ence to the parties he employs.
Mr. Days — How do you let the contract for work on the seawall, by
weight or measurement? A. For rock, by weight; earth, by measurement.
Q. What check have you upon the contractors as to the amount of mate-
rial used? A. We take the weight in case of rock.
Q. That is, you employ weighers? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you any check upon the weigher to prevent collusion between
him and the contractor? A. Well, sir, I cannot say that we have any,
except the integrity of the man. That sort of thing we have to trust every-
where. If the contractor and weigher and then the clerk, who takes
down the amounts, have been dishonest, and they have colluded to make
false returns, I do not know that we could have any way of finding it out,
unless it was so much as to excite our suspicions, and we could then locate
it in some other way. However, the way the material fell off, being less
than what was anticipated, rather refutes a presumption of that kind.
Mr. Days — I was just going to remark that we have not heard any inti-
mation of anything of that kind as far as this work was concerned, but I
have heard that there must have been considerable under some of the pre-
Mr. Irwin — They did not take the rock by weight; probably the most
of that result was the defect of measurement, though upon that I do not
wish to express any opinion.
Mr. Enos — Does your experience justify you in letting a contract by
weight or measurement? A. So far as rock is concerned, I would let it by
Q. You think that is the safest and best for the State? A. Yes, sir, I
think so, for if your agents are honest you get the exact amount. You
attempt to get it by measurement, but the vacancies are often more than
the spaces filled by the rock.
Q. But as to the dirt, what is the reason? A. The reason we have not
weighed the dirt is, that after any rain a cart filled with dirt would weigh
twice as much as at any other time. If we had a place where we could
get the dirt at a uniform moisture all the time, we would take that by
Mr. Days — You keep account of the number of loads? A. The number
and size of them. We take that by the cubic yard. We have the size
■and capacity of the cart, and I stated distinctly why we measured that
and do not weigh it is that the moisture varies from time to time, and so
we deemed it impracticable to weigh it, but would prefer to weigh it if we
could have it uniform in moisture all the time.
Q. Did the Harbor Commissioners let any contract to English & Co. to
fill in any portion of the bay in Alameda County at the time they were
contracting for the seawall? A. No, sir. The Harbor Commissioners have
nothing to do with any portion of Alameda County. Our jurisdiction does
not go outside of the waterfront within the County of San Francisco.
Mr. Wise — Colonel Mendell can give you the information on that point.
Mr. Irwin — They were delivering some rock from Telegraph Hill and
Second Street. But that is a Government contract. I do not know whether
it was English or Hackett, but some of those parties. When they were
getting rock out of Telegraph Hill they were taking portions of it across
Mr. Enos — Do you know of anybody in the employment of the Harbor
Commissioners and paid by the State that has any private employment
with any other party in this city? In other words, do you know of any-
body drawing a salary from the State who is in the employment and is
receiving a salary for work from some corporation or private party? A. I
do not think. I do. I think some drawings have been made occasionally
on Sunday in the Engineer's office for some mining company by Mr. Man-
-son, but on that point I am not positive.
Q. I ask the question because I have been told there is.
Mr. Irwin — Do you know who the person is ? I do not know of any-
Mr. Enos — I have his name somewhere. I wanted to ask the question
and to know all about it.
Mr. Irwin — If there is one receiving pay in that manner I want to know
all about him.
Q. You have been asked about the "truck " system ? A.I have answered
Q. Do you know a man by the name of John Gillan, said to have been
engaged as fireman on the " Governor Irwin?" A. Probably I do; I could
not say distinctly.
Mr. Wise — He is the one who took Ben's place.
Q. Does he draw a salary or pay from the State for services on the " Gov-
ernor Irwin" as fireman, or in any capacity? A. I can not answer that.
Mr. Wise — Yes, if his name is Gillan.
Mr. Irwin — We had a person employed by the name of Ben, and for
certain reasons we discharged him, and there was another person put on
there, probably his name is Gillan; he is fireman at night. I do not know
whether his name is Gillan or not. He is probably the person whom you
have reference to.
Q. It is represented to me that this man is drawing a salary from the
State, and at the same time he is working for some corporation or private
person, and drawing his pay. In other words, he is filling two capacities,
one for the State and another for a private individual, and drawing two
salaries. The name was given tp me, and I took it down and want to call
your attention to it. A. I think it is likely he is the person. He is doing
service as night fireman in the place formerly occupied by a person named
Ben. As to whether he has any other situation, I do not know.
Mr. Wise — All I can say in behalf of Gillan is, that when I got well I
intended to recommend another man in his place, for I did not know him
from a side of sole leather, and I asked the Captain about him, and he
recommended him so highly that I took no further steps in the matter.
He is not employed by any corporation that I know of.
Mr. Irwin — Since you have brought this matter up, let us assume that
he is employed by somebody else, what is the consequence?
Mr. Enos — The charge made to me is that he is working for a private
person, and is drawing pay from the State without rendering service to the
Mr. Irwin — That is not so. There is nobody who has a sinecure. If
he is employed by a person, and the employment is outside of the hours
that he has to be on duty for the State, how can we touch it? If the alle-
gation is that he is receiving pay from the State, while he does not do any
service, then I know that is not so.
Mr. Wise — Perhaps I might explain to you so that you can comprehend
it. We are required by law to keep three men there at night — captain,
fireman, and watchman; and these men have to stay there until the morn-
ing; and the fireman's duty is to keep up the steam in case of fire.
Mr. Irwin — The night fireman is required to be there from the time that
the day force leaves to the time the day force comes on the following morn-
ing. The one who has succeeded Ben has been reported as being an
exceedingly good man for his place. If he does work for some one else in
the daytime, I do not know it.
Q. You see the object of my putting the question. You answer now, on
reflection, that there is no one drawing salary from the State without he
renders service therefor? A. There is not.
Q. And if there is any man employed there he is employed in hours when
he is not required elsewhere? A. The night watch is there from the time
the day watch goes off, from about half-past five to about seven the next
Q. Have you any knowledge of any laborers, employes of the State, on
the public works for the State, being interfered with in the exercise of the
elective franchise? A. I never have heard anything of that sort.
Q. Did you yourself exercise any influence, or attempt to exercise any
influence, or attempt to control any men in the exercise of their political
rights? A. I have not, sir.
Q. Have you any knowledge of any such thing being done? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you any knowledge of anybody making assessments for politi-
cal purposes? A. Upon that point I do not wish to be misunderstood. I
think that the employes in the Harbor Commissioners' department, gener-
ally, last Fall contributed something towards an election fund.
Q. Was it done by direction of the Harbor Commissioners? A. It was
Q. Was there a certain amount marked down for a certain position that
a man held, or did they pay what they saw fit? A. I think there was a
general amount paid, according to the different positions that they held;
that is my impression.
Q. Was there anything contingent on the payment, or nonpayment? A.
So far as the Board' is concerned there was nothing. They had no relation
to it at all; but I am stating what I understand the fact to be. What you
consider amounted to an assessment, I do not know.
Q. I understand there was no forced contribution? A. There was no
forced contribution; a man contributed as he chose.
Mr. Days — How many rock weighers have you upon the roll of the
Mr. Irwin — Now?
Q. How do you employ them? A. We employ them when there is a
necessity for them, when we are receiving rock; and during the time that
Mr. English was building this Section 5 we were receiving rock over
three pairs of scales a portion of the time, and over one, part of the time.
Q. Do they work by the day, or month? A. They work by the month.
Q. Then of course you do not take into consideration the number of
hours they work? A. We do not count them. We expect them to be
there when the contractor commences sending his rock over, and they can
leave when he quits, if it was half a day; or if they did not work, it made
no difference, we paid them a month; but we expected them to be there
whenever there was rock to be weighed.
Q. Did the Board ever lease, grant, or otherwise dispose of, for any
period, any portion of the seawall, or reclaimed ground, claimed by the
State, to any person, and if so, for what purpose? A. At the time this
Board came in, we granted what might be termed a lease to an old colored
man, who kept what he called a coffee stand, and sold beer. After he had
gone into business a short time, other parties, who were engaged in the same
business in that vicinity, sent a protest against our letting it for such a
purpose, and I believe they employed an attorney to come before us; and
when we looked into the law closely, the Board came to the conclusion that
we did not have authority under the law to let it for any purpose, and we
gave him a reasonable time in which to move his house and give up the
Q. There is a large house. I think it must be on that section where
in passing it in bad weather you have to step off and into the mud ?
Mr. Irwin — Where is that?
Q. That is on the seawall. I do not remember which section it is oppo-
site. I do not know who the man was, but I was going there with a friend
one Sunday morning during the session of the Legislature, and some man
there claimed you had either leased that, or authorized somebody to build
it, and that it was a great nuisance. It was because of that I asked this
question. I do not know anything about it. A. I do not know where it is,
or what house you refer to. There is an old house standing on some land
reclaimed. There was a building being removed by Major Conolly, or
some other party, and they asked permission to stop it on some land
belonging to the State, with the understanding that it was to be moved off
in a short time to some private premises.
Q. Which street is that opposite? A. Down near Vallejo. And we
granted that permission; and then afterwards, for some cause, they did
not move it any further. I think they asked two or three times to be per-
mitted to use it for some purpose, which was always refused; but I do not
think it is in anybody's way. If that is not the house you refer to, I do
not know wliat you refer to. I do not think that could have interfered
with your travel at all.
Q. It did not interfere with me. I merely asked the question. I did
not know what there was in it? A. I do not wish to evade anything. At
present we have given to a fisherman, to one old man. the privilege of put-
ting up some house, in which he boils the nets of the fishermen in some
sort of liquid to preserve them. We have allowed another house to be
built very close to it, for a man to mend boats, a necessity for them. These
little boats get damaged, and they wanted to bring them up on the shore,
to some place near by, to repair them. There are one or two more applica-
tions for houses to be put on land that has been reclaimed, for similar pur-
poses, connected with the fishing business. I have favored granting these
privileges, for I belieA r ed it was necessarily connected with that business,
while I have opposed, since the matter was looked into, the letting or per-
mission of carrying on any general business on the wharves. Probably
there was a particular reason that affected this case.
Mr. Enos — Has there been favoritism to anybody, either in letting the
contract or in letting the walls, that you know of? A; Only down here at
the ferries wharf. We have granted and have continued permission to
cripples to keep fruit stands.
Q. I don't mean that; I mean has any large Corporation got any per-
mission from you for anything? A. Not that I know of.
Mr. Enos — Let the cripples go; they have a right to go anywhere.
Mr. Irwin — They have it without paying any rent; they would have to
be taken care of by the public if they had not such an opportunity.
Mr. Enos — Anything else, Mr. Days?
Mr. Days — Nothing else.
Mr. Enos — Mr. Wadsworth is here; you can ask him any question that
you wish to.
Mr. Days — I do not think it is necessary; Governor Irwin has answered
all the questions.
Mr. Wise — There is one thing I can say — unless you want to put me on
the stand — I corroborate all that the Governor has said, except where I
made the indication at the time. As far as the agreement and contract
business is concerned, the Governor has stated the actual facts.
Mr. Irwin — [Reading from contract.] "It is expressly stipulated that
eight hours' labor shall be a legal day's work under this agreement."
Mr. Enos — We will put a copy of that contract in.
Mr. Irwin — There is a large amount of printed matter; these are the
Mr. Enos — The resolution under which I am acting, refers to this mat-
ter, and I would like to have a copy of the specifications and contract.
"And it is expressly stipulated that eight hours' labor shall be a legal
day's work under this agreement. All provisions of Chapter X, Title 8, of
the Political Code, applicable thereto, are to be deemed as incorporated
herein. No Chinese or Mongolian labor shall be employed on the work
under penalty of forfeiture of the contract at the option of the Commission-
ers." There has been no Chinese on the work?
Mr. Irwin — Not that I have ever heard of.
Mr. Enos — You think, Mr. Days, that covers the ground?
Mr. Days — Yes, sir; everything we want.
Mr. Enos — Then we will send down to your office, Governor, and get a
copy of this specification and contract.
Mr. Irwin — I do not know whether you asked the question, but I do not
know anything as to whether these contractors worked their men over
eight hours a day or not; that is a point I have no knowledge of, or what
sort of an arrangement they made with them.
Mr. Enos — And you also answered that when you let this contract, that
while you put into the contract that eight hours constituted a legal day's
work, yet that did not enter into consideration in your letting this contract
to Mr. English or anybody else?
Mr. Irwin — If he had refused it, no. But the law makes it our duty to
put that in the contract. We prepared the contract, and if he had refused
to execute it, we would have held it to be our duty to have it go in the
Mr. Enos — When you let that contract to Mr. English, you did not com-
pel, nor expect to compel him to work his men only eight hours a day;
you were going to let him have his own way about that matter. He did
not intend or mean that you were to control him as to the number of hours
he ought to work his men? A. So far as that is concerned, the Supreme
Court has decided that we could not bind him by a penalty; we could not
put any penalty on him.
Mr. Wise — There is a penalty in regard to Mongolian labor, that the
contract should be forfeited.
Mr. Enos — I believe that is all, Governor. We are much obliged.
Mr. Wise — You do not want to put me on the stand?
Mr. Days — No; the Governor has answered all that is necessary in this
investigation of the Commissioners.
Mr. Enos — I wish you would make some inquiry as to Mr. Gillan.
Mr. Irwin — On what point? Do you hold that if he has some employ-
ment in the daytime, we are prohibited from employing him ?
Mr. Enos — No, sir; I do not. I agree with you. The way it was pre-
sented to me was, that he was drawing a salary from the State, and at the
same time he was drawing this salary; he was drawing a salary from a
private party, and that he was neglecting his duty.
Mr. Irwin — So far as neglecting his duty to the State was concerned, I
know all about that now that I could know, if he is the man. If we
employed him at all it is in Ben's place, and he is night fireman, and I
know he has performed his duties well, because I have been informed so
by Colonel Lucas, who has charge of that especially; and the officers on
board the boat have stated that he is a good fireman, and the amount of
coal used has been diminished a great deal since he was in there, so that
on that point everything is just as clear in my mind as could be with any
amount of inquiry. But if, while he discharged his duty faithfully to the
State, you do not hold it to be our duty to look after him outside of that,
there is no use looking into that matter, because he is there during the
time, and has discharged his duties properly, for we can not get on without
him a night or an hour. He has to be promptly at his business.
Mr. Enos — If I hire out to you eight or nine hours a day, and I perform
my duty, I have a right to go to Mr. Days or anybody else, and hire out
three or four hours. I think that is proper. I think, if the charge was
true, it was a reflection on the Board of Harbor Commissioners, and it was
my duty to call your attention to it.
Mr. Irwin — If he was being paid without rendering services; but he has
rendered the services, and very acceptably, if he is the man.
Mr. Wise — I will find out what the man does in the daytime. He works
there from five o'clock in the evening to seven o'clock in the morning, and
stays on the boat, as, whenever there is a fire, he has to go with the boat.
Mr. Irwin — Steam has to be kept up for the boat, to go immediately
when the bell is touched. He has to be there. A half hour's absence
might be serious, and unless there was some excuse for it it would be
sufficient cause for dismissal. It is one of those places where a man has
to be there all the time.
At this point the further hearing in this matter was adjourned until
Monday evening, May 25, 1885, at 8 o'clock.
San Francisco, May 25, 1885.
This day the further hearing in this matter was continued until June 1,
1885, at 2 o'clock p. m.
San Francisco, June 1, 1885.
Mr. Enos — What is your name ? Answer — John Hackett.
Q. What is your business? A.- 1 am principally in the dredging busi-
Q. Are you connected with Mr. English in this contract in building sec-
tion of the seawall No. 5? A. Yes, sir. •
Q. In what connection? A. I am one of the principal parties in that
Q. I see by the contract that your name is not attached; are you a part-
ner of Mr. English? A. Yes, sir, in that work.
Q. Who are the parties? A. There is Mr. English, Mr. Schuyler, Mr.
Wagner, and myself.
Q. This contract bears date twentieth of February, 1884? A. Yes, sir, I
believe so, Mr. Schuyler has a copy of the contract.
Q. Is this section of the seawall completed according to the terms of that
contract? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And accepted? A. No, sir, it is not to be accepted until the seven-
teenth of this month. After it was completed it was to run ninety days
before being accepted.
Q. When was it completed? A. The. seventeenth of March I think it
was. Mr. Schuyler, I think, can tell you that.
Mr. Schuyler — Yes, sir, about that time.
Q. I see by the terms of the contract that it was to be completed in
twelve months. Did you have extension by the Commissioners? A. A
few days. I do not know how many days we ran over; kept sliding in at
the outer end of it and it took us several days after the time was expired to
Q. Have you drawn your pay according to the terms of this contract?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is there twenty-five per cent retained by the Harbor Commissioners?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And still unpaid? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Can you give me the number of men employed on that contract? A.
I can not do that, but I think Mr. Schuyler can; he had the management
of the work.
Q. You have no correct record? A. No, sir, I have not myself; I paid
little attention to that; I think Mr. Schuyler has got the record.
Q. Who was the principal man who oversaw the work? A. Mr. Schuy-
Q. Who hired the men? A. I think Mr. Schuyler and the foreman he
had under him.
Q. What is his name? A. George Gray.
Q. Do you know the terms under which the men were employed ? A. I
think I do; yes, sir.
Q. Please state what you paid them per day, and what hours they
worked? A. We started in, as I remember it now, to pay them $1 75 a
Q. Did you pay them $1 75 a day? A. We did for several months.
Q. How many months? A. I would have to look at the books to answer
that question. You had better question Mr. Schuyler on that, because he
knows the details.
Q. You started in to pay $1 75 a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you paid them for several months $1 75 a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long did that continue ? A. I think that continued right up to
harvest time, when some of the men left; all those that stayed with us
steady we paid them right through the job $1 75 a day, and those who
came back we paid $1 50.
Q. What proportion of men did you pay $1 50 after that? A. It is a
very small proportion; I do not remember just the number, but I think Mr.
Schuyler has the details, all taken from the books.
Q. How many hours a day did they work? A. They started in at seven
and worked to six, I think, most of the time, and took an hour at noon.
When the days got short the hours were changed, but they were the same
number of hours.
Q. They worked ten hours a day ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. That was the contract when you hired the men; that they were to
work ten hours? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where did you get the material for the construction of this seawall?
A. Most of it was taken out of Telegraph Hill, right opposite the section
of the seawall.
Q. You say the most of it; what proportion of it? A. Ninety per cent,
I suppose; all of ninety per cent, possibly a little more.
Q. Can you tell me of what lots or streets this rock or dirt was taken
from? A. It was all taken from Telegraph Hill, between Filbert and Green
Streets — that is two blocks, Filbert, Union, and Green; a great deal was
taken off of the street — that is a considerable amount of it.
Q. A good deab was taken from private lots? A. Yes, sir; there was
some taken from private lots, and some taken from our own property.
Q. What proportion of this ninety per cent of rock and dirt that was con-
sumed in constructing that section of the seawall was taken from private
property? A. Well, I could not tell that, sir; I do not know anything
Q. Who would be the party to give me that information? A. Mr.
Schuyler, I think, can give you the details of that.
Q. Can you give me the names of the persons who had private property
there that was taken or injured by the construction of the seawall? A. I
could not do that — not right now; but we have got the whole account and
data of that, and I think Mr. Schuyler can give you that also.
Q. Did you have anything to do, or do you know anything in relation to
the men that worked there being boarded at any place or places? A. I
know they boarded at a couple of places there.
Q. Were they confined at any place? A. No, sir.
Q What place did they board at? A. They boarded at Gercke's, right
opposite, between the work and the hill, and some of them boarded down
Q. Do you know why they boarded there? A. The only reason why is
that the boarding houses were convenient there, and they went to those
Q. Have you read the resolution which says that it has been alleged
that there was some interference or dictation in controlling these men as to
where they selected their place to eat and sleep? A. I saw that.
Q. Was anything of that kind done by anybody connected with the con-
struction of the seawall? A. No, sir; nobody.
Q. Do you know whether any commission or percentage was given to any
boarding house? A. I don't know anything about it, sir; we were not
aware of it; the people interested in doing that work have no knowledge
of that whatever.
Q. You have no knowledge of it? A. None in the world, sir.
Q. Have you any knowledge or information in relation to anybody being
influenced in political matters? A. None in the world, sir.
Q. Or any one connected with the construction of Section 5 of the sea-
wall? A. I do not think I tried to influence anybody; I do not believe I
spoke to a man at that election anything about it; I do not remember
having any talk about politics.
Q. Do you know of anybody connected with the construction of the sea-
wall that did do so? A. I do not know of it; no, sir; no one connected
with it had anything to do with politics, in one way or the other; I do not
know that it has been talked of around the work ; if there was anything done
amongst the men, I know nothing about it; I live across the bay, and
would go home every evening; our views were to leave politics alone;
there might have been at election politicians running around among the
Q. My question is directed to those who were employed there, either
directly or indirectly, in the construction of this seawall ? A. I would like
to give you all the information I possibly can.
Q. You, of course, have read this contract? A. Yes, sir; but it is some
time ago since I read it.
Q. You say it was expressly agreed that when you hired these men they
should work ten hours a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. That is a condition upon which you hired them? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that you are a party to this contract? A. Yes, sir.
Q. That is, interested in it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now I call your attention to this section of the contract and ask for
your explanation of it: "It is expressly stipulated that eight hours of labor
shall be a legal day's work under this agreement, and provisions of Chap-
ter X, Title VI, of the Political Code of California, applicable thereto, are
to be determined as incorporated herein." Now, you bound yourselves to
live up to that contract — this is public property for the State ? A. Yes,
Q. These men were doing this work for the State? A. They were not
doing it for the State; they were doing it for us.
Q. You are doing it for the State? A. Yes, sir.
Q. It is public work ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, how do you reconcile the fact that you hired these men on the
condition that they should work ten hours upon this work for the State?
A. I do not consider the State had anything to do with it after it went out
of their hands.
Q. But you signed this contract? A. Yes, sir; we discussed the ques-
tion at the time.
Q. Who with? A. With the Harbor Commissioners and their attorney.
Q. That is what we want to get at? A.I will give you all the informa-
tion I know anything about.
Q. Who is their attorney? A. Mr.. Coogan. When that contract was
let, I objected, being an interested party, to this provision.
Q. But the Harbor Commissioners were bound by their oath? A. I will
explain what took place there at the Harbor Commissioners; I wanted it
stricken out for the further reason that we could not do that work on any
such condition as that, and they and their attorney said it only had effect
upon men hired by the day under their jurisdiction, and did not affect
our hiring the men at all, and it was let go at that. That is all the con-
versation that took place — the drift of it.
Q. Who stated that? A. The Commissioners and ourselves were dis-
cussing that and Mayor Bartlett was there.
Q. Was Governor Irwin there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did Governor Irwin make such a statement? A. I think so, the
whole thing was discussed amongst us.
Mr. Enos — Then the substance of what I gather from your testimony
to this question is that it was understood between the contracting parties,
the Harbor Commissioners who signed this contract and yourselves, that
this was simply put in there because they were obliged to put it in, but it
was inoperative, null, and void? A. It was a matter of form; I believe
that is the way it was discussed that day.
Q. Would you have made this contract if there had been no such arrange-
ment — verbal arrangement — made with the Commissioners ? A. I do not
know as to what I would have done. There is one thing, we would not
have taken the work to have done it with those hours; as to what might
have been done I do not know how I might have acted; but I called their
attention to that matter because I was interested in the contract. We dis-
cussed the question amongst us and it was claimed there, I think, by all
the Commissioners, and I think by their attorney, that that had no effect
so far as our contract was concerned.
Q. Was Mayor Bartlett present at that time? A. I think so.
Q. George Stoneman's name is here; was he there at that time? A. I
think he was there.
Q. Did he assent to any such proposition? A. I do not know; I think
the three Commissioners did whatever talking was done. I do not think
he did any talking, but Mayor Bartlett did.
Q. There is another clause in the contract which says no Mongolians
shall be employed? A. We did not hire any Chinamen.
Q. No Chinamen worked there? A. Not a solitary Chinaman had any-
thing to do with that work, one way or the other.
Q. Have you paid a man less than $1 50 a day for work on the seawall?
A. No, sir, not to my knowledge; in fact, I am sure. Mr. Schuyler knows
the details. He kept the accounts and did all the hiring. I am satisfied
there was no one paid less than that, and a very small percentage paid
that. We had a good class of men to start with and we kept them through.
We could have procured men at any price we might name, but we thought
it better to get good men for the job.
Q. Could you give me the names of parties who owned property there ?
A. I could not now, sir, but we can get those names for you, all of them.
Q. Have you had any difficulty or threatened difficulty with any parties ?
A. There was some fussing going on there almost all the time that work
was being done.
Q. You say some of the private property has been taken? A. I will
explain that; in opening that street where a mountain is taken down like
that, it slides, and of course that private property was injured to a very
Q. That property so injured of course was taken to put in the seawall?
A. It was taken in cutting the street open. The Supervisors gave us per-
mission to open Sansome Street, from Filbert to Green.
Q. Have you the conditions here upon which you were to open the street?
Mr. Schuyler — It was simply by resolution.
Mr. Hackett — We owned considerable property there, and we got a
majority of the owners of property there to sign a paper to have the street
Q. This property was put in the seawall, was it not? A. Yes, sir, that
was put in the seawall.
Q. And in making these blasts you injured and destroyed that property
more or less? A. Yes. sir, we knocked it down in opening that street.
Q. Did you destroy any houses? A. Yes, sir, there were two or three
houses; there were two houses on the line of that street.
Q. Did you make purchases of any private property that was injured ?
A. No, sir.
Q. Have you made any settlement with the injured parties? A. No, sir,
no settlements. Mr. Schuyler will explain those details to you better than
Q. Do you know anything about any of your men that you have employed
there, in relation to trading out their wages, going to any particular place
to trade out their wages? A. I do not know anything about that.
Q. You paid them their money? A. On the fifteenth of each month we
paid the men.
Q. You received no orders or gave no orders of that kind to any partic-
ular place? A. No particular place, but I think there were some orders
brought to us and were accepted, but we did not have any place of our own
to pay them off at.
Q. Did you make any payments by way of orders? A. I think very
few; some men would dispose of their order to somebody else; I do not
know much about that detail, but I think there was very little done. Our
regular payday was the fifteenth of the month, and we paid everything
Q. Your general payments came on the fifteenth of each month, and
that was in money? A. That was in money; yes, sir.
Q. And you have no knowledge of any orders that were given to any
particular place ? A. We did not have any place.
Q. Do you know anything about the truck system ? A. No, sir, I do not
know anything about that.
J. D. Schuyler.
Mr. Enos — Are you one of the partners of Mr. English in the construc-
tion of this seawall ? Answer — Yes, sir.
Q. What interest have you in it? A. I have a small interest.
Q. How many are interested in it? A. Four.
Q. Can you state the interest you have ?
Mr. Hackett — Don't you think this is inquiring into private business?
Of course we wish to assist you all we can, but it seems as if this was going
into private matters.
Mr. Enos — The resolution says: "That the Commissioner of the Bureau
of Labor Statistics be, and he is hereby requested to inquire into the con-
dition of the laborers employed by the contractors on the seawall at San
Francisco, with reference to whether what is known as the ' truck ' system
is in vogue there; whether or not the eight-hour law applies to contracts
let by the State, and whether or not such laborers are interfered with in the
exercise of the elective franchise, and with reference to such other matters
as may affect them and other laborers employed by the State Board of
Harbor Commissioners, and all the suggestions set out in this report, and
report the same to the Governor at as early a date as is consistent with a
thorough investigation thereof."
Mr. Hackett — We do not object to it at all.
Mr. Enos — But for this reason I think it is proper that my report should
show to the Governor who really are the parties to this contract. There
has been damage done to private property, and the question will arise:
who is responsible, if anybody — whether the State, through her delegated
agents, has the right to build seawalls and destroy private property? That
is one of the reasons why I ask that question. You claim that by author-
ity of a resolution of the Supervisors you can go and grade certain streets,
and in doing that work destroy property of private citizens, and put that
private property into the seawall, and the State pays the contractor for
doing this work, and for the material they take and destroy. Now the
question comes up, whether it is not my province to find out who the men
are in doing it; whether it is not my province as Commissioner to make
this investigation ?
Mr. Hackett — We are willing to tell you that, but I think it is hardly
necessary to go into details. If we destroy any property we are responsible
Mr. Enos — Mr. English, Mr. Schuyler, Mr. Wagner, and Mr. Hackett
are the only parties interested in that contract ?
Mr. Hackett — Yes, sir.
Q. Mr. Schuyler, can you give me the number of men that were employed
in the construction of that seawall? A. The number varied from day to
day, from the time we commenced until we got through. We would some-
times have three hundred men, sometimes two hundred and fifty, and
sometimes two hundred.
Q. Well, the highest number that you employed? A. I do not remem-
ber, but I think it was nearly three hundred; perhaps two hundred and
eighty-five or two hundred and ninety.
Q. Can you give me the date of the commencement of the work on the
wall? A. Twentieth of March, 1884.
Q. Can you give me the price that you paid your men? A. We paid
them $1 75 for ten hours work, from the beginning of the work until the
first of September, when I gave instructions to the foreman that all new
men that were hired should be employed at $1 50 for the same number of
hours. A great many men were applying for work, and there were a great
number of laborers out of employment, and we wanted to put on as many
as we could, both to finish the work rapidly and to give employment to poor
men who were begging for it. We could not afford to pay a great number
of men a larger price, but the men who remained with us all through the
work we paid $1 75 until we got through.
Q. You started in by paying certain men $1 75 a day for ten hours work,
and you continued to pay these men up to a certain time ; how many men
do you think continued working at $1 75 all through the job? A. The
larger proportion of them; from ninety per cent, and the very smallest
percentage of all was about seventy per cent of all the men, at all times,
who were paid from $1 75 upwards. That is the least that was paid.
Q. Did you pay more than $1 75? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many men did you pay more than $1 75? A. There was quite
a number who received more than that.
Q. What proportion, and in what capacity did they work? A. Experts
Q. I mean common day laborers ? A. Blacksmiths, carpenters, foremen,
and so on.
Q. When I say $1 75, 1 mean these common day laborers, that was your
highest? A. There were no day laborers paid over $1 75.
Q. Do you say that during this entire work, that seventy per cent of all
you employed received $1 75 for ten hours' work? A. From seventy to
ninety per cent, after the first of September, when we made a reduction.
Q. What per cent still received $1 75? A.- From seventy to ninety per
cent still received $1 75. We made no reduction in the wages of those who
remained with us from the beginning.
Q. What percentage of men did stay with you from the time you com-
menced until you finished the job? A. I think probably three fourths;
from one half to three fourths of all the men were with us all through the
Q. And the balance you paid $1 50 a day for ten hours' work? A.
Q. Do you know anything about any parties being compelled or solicited
to board at any particular boarding house ? A. I do not.
Q. Do you know of any parties that were compelled or solicited to trade
out, or take what is known as truck for their wages? A. Nothing of the
Q. What was your custom? A. When we first began the workmen came
to us to know where they were going to board — those who had no families;
but the largest proportion were men who had families, and who lived in the
vicinity, and did not have to board at a boarding house; but men who had
no families came to us to know where they were going to board, and we
told them to board where they pleased; and they would ask us to act as
their security at these boarding houses. For the convenience of the men,
and for the purpose of having them there,, we were obliged to give that
security to these boarding house men, in order to retain the laborers there.
We would simply tell the boarding house men that the man was working
with us, and we would see that he got his pay when it was due for the board.
We did this at the request of the laborers themselves.
Q. Did you settle with the boarding house keeper, or did you pay the
men and let them settle? A. No; we could not guarantee the boarding
house keeper and pay the men themselves.
Q. You first saw the men for whom you went as security and found out
if you were j ustified in paying them the balance? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of anybody connected with the construction of that sea-
wall that has ever received any commission from any of these boarding
house keepers? A. I did not at the time, but have heard rumors since
that there was work of that kind carried on by some of our foremen. If I
had known it at the time they would have been discharged at once. We
did not countenance or permit anything of that sort,
Q. When did you find that out? A. After the work was finished, and
the men had liberty to speak; then they talked.
Q. But until your men had performed the work for you, and after they
had been discharged arid paid off, then it was that you heard the first
intimation of this? A. Yes, sir; that there had been anything of that sort;
I do not know that it was to any great extent; there may have been one
or two foremen who had their favorites.
Q. Who were those foremen? A. I have no positive evidence of any of
them, but it has been rumored and stated to me by different parties.
Q. You received information that certain foremen in your employ had
been guilty of this thing, or had been doing this? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who were they? A. I do not know that it would be just to them to
give their names until I have positive proof of it.
Q. I want to bring them before me and question them.
Mr. Schuyler — I will give you the names of the foremen and let you
Q. Please give me the names?
Mr. Schuyler — Our principal foreman was George Gray; the next was
0. D. Patch, Titus, Jack Leopoli, Pat Caroll, Henry Hern, Thomas Barry,
Phillips, Emanuel Josephs; that is all I can recollect.
Q. What were the duties of these men you have just given as your fore-
men? A. Mr. Gray's duty was that of general foreman over all the work;
laying out the work, and directing each of the gangs in different depart-
ments; and the sub-foremen were put over a gang of twenty or thirty men,
directing the work as it was marked out for them.
Q. There were different gangs of men in different departments of the
work? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How were they connected with the boarding house keepers, in any
way? A. I do not know how it was done.
Q. You do not know anything about it? A. If it was done, I do not
Q. You had no knowledge of it? A. Not the slightest.
Q. You had no knowledge that it was being done, if it was done at all?
A. Not the slightest intimation of it at all; if the men had complained to
me of anything of that sort I could easily have remedied it.
Q. There were no complaints of anything of that sort? A. No, sir.
Q. Can you give me the names of all the property owners that have been
interested or affected in any way by your construction of that seawall?
A. I do not think I have them here; but I can give you the most of them.
Mr. English — What has that to do with the labor organizations, Mr.
Mr. Enos — It seems by this resolution that it is a pretty broad resolution.
Mr. English — I do not think the Legislature can pass a resolution to go
into a man's private business. I thought the object was to find out the
status of the labor question in reference to building seawall in the State of
Mr. Enos — The resolution says, in addition to the labor question ; it
seems to be pretty general in its character in relation to the construction of
Mr. Hackett — If we are to go on and state everything connected with
our business we might give our own case away, if there was any case
Mr. English — We will give all the information that is connected with
the building of that seawall, but I do not think it is anybody's business as
to the private affairs connected with that seawall. The Legislature might
pass a resolution to go into a man's mercantile house and find out how
many goods he has.
Mr. Enos — This is State work.
Mr. English — The State has nothing to do with these people who are
interested in the property.
Mr. Enos — I do not know about that; I am not so clear on that question.
There may be a liability attached. This private property has been taken
for State purposes and put into the seawall, and private parties should be
compensated in some way. I think that if I owned a lot there and you
should come in and ruin my property, I think somebody ought to pay me
Mr. English — What has the Labor Commission got to do with that?
Mr. Enos — It says : "And all the suggestions set out in this report, and
report the same to the Governor at as early a date as possible."
Mr. English — What has this Commission to do with that business? We
are perfectly responsible to the Courts for any damage done there.
Mr. Enos — I have no doubt about your responsibility, but of course if
you do not desire to answer these questions it is your privilege.
Mr. English — I do not see the bearing of those questions on the labor
organizations. I supposed this investigation was for the purpose of finding
out the status of the labor question, and finding out something that would
improve the labor condition of the public works of the city.
Mr. Enos — That is the main object and purpose.
Mr. English — Then we have no right to answer these questions about
our private business. You might as well ask me about my balance sheet,
and how much money I made on this seawall. If we have damaged the
property of any individual we are responsible for that damage. If we vio-
late the law we are responsible for such violation.
Mr. Enos — The Legislature at the last session empowered people to com-
mence action against the State for injury to their property; in constructing
certain canals they changed the bed of the river and swept away homes.
They ought to be compensated. Ought not the State to keep harmless
Mr. English — The laws of the State govern that. If I go out and tear
down a man's fence or injure his lot I am responsible for it.
Mr. Enos — But suppose you act in the interest of the State ?
Mr. English — We are acting for ourselves, and we had nothing to do
with the State. We agreed to take this contract, and to do that work for
a certain amount of money, which we did. We have nothing to do with
the State at all.
Mr. Enos — You do not wish to go into that, Mr. Schuyler?
Mr. Schuyler — I have a diagram here showing the names of all the
property owners, taken from the records of the Assessor, and, if you wish,
you are at liberty to copy it. These are all the property owners facing
Sansome Street, on the west side, between certain streets.
Q. Were you present when this contract was signed ? A. I was not.
Q. You have read this contract, of course? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You are a party to it, and interested in it. Did you hire these men,
or have a voice in hiring these men to work? A. I did.
Q. All of them? A. I generally left it to the general foreman, Mr. Gray.
Q. You were consulted in reference to hiring the men? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was it a condition that they should work ten hours a day? A. That
was the time set for them to work.
Q. That was the condition upon which they went to work, and received
their $1 50 or $1 75? A. They worked ten hours for $1 75.
Q. Were you present at a conference with the Harbor Commissioners
when this section of this contract was talked over, and when it was
expressly stipulated that eight hours should be a legal day's work? A. I
Q. You have heard Mr. Hackett testify in relation to that? A. That
was my understanding of it at the time; they told me of the interview
afterwards, but I was not present.
Q. You understood that the Harbor Commission and their attorney had
waived that clause in this contract? A. That was my understanding.
They had considered that it was of no effect; and if we chose to hire men
by the hour and employ them for sixteen or twenty hours a day we could
do so, and it was only a question between the men and ourselves.
Q. The view you take of it is that this work is done for you, and not
for the State? A. Precisely. If we were to go and do it by machinery
there would be no one concerned in it at all.
William D. English.
Mr. Days — Mr. English, your statement to Mr. Enos is not in conflict
with my idea of the affair; in fact, all I have to do with this investigation
is simply to get at the facts in relation to the labor question; and on this
question I will state that during thirty-eight years in England there were
two hundred and sixteen Commissions appointed by the House of Lords
to examine parties in relation to the labor question, not particularly to find
out whether they had been doing anything wrong, but to find out simply
the status; and, while I understand a great deal of your position, a great
many questions here are not asked to find out if you have done anything
particularly wrong, with a view to punishment, only what has been done.
Answer — I understand the motives that prompt you.
Q. Did you contract with the Harbor Commissioners to build Section
5 of the seawall ? A. I did.
Q. How much did you contract to do the work for? A. The contract
will show; that really has escaped my memory. I think the aggregate
was about, within a few hundred of $223,000; that was to have been the
amount. That was the contract price for doing this work, $223,000 approx-
imately; it may be a few hundred dollars one way or the other.
Q. How much has been accepted and paid for? A. The whole has been
accepted. They reserved twenty-five per cent of it — about $42,000 — for
ninety days, to see that the work was satisfactory. The whole amount
paid was about $169,000. It fell short about $52,000 or $53,000.
Mr. Enos — What do you mean by falling short? A. Of the quantity
required; it does not come up to the contract.
Q. The contract specified so much for every ton of rock, and so much
for every yard of dirt, and the estimate you mean fell short of the Engi-
neer's estimate ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. The Engineer estimated it would take $223,000 to pay for it, accord-
ing to that contract, and the amount of stone and dirt required fell short
of it? A. Yes, sir; $55,000.
Mr. Days — Did you sublet any part of the contract, Mr. English? A.
No, sir; we did not.
Q. Did your partners ? A. The wharf was built by wharf builders. We
did sublet that portion of it.
Q. You sublet the wharf? A. That is all; yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — There is a clause there about $29,000; was that included in
the $223,000? A. Yes, sir; that was included in the $223,000; that was
for building the wharf.
Mr. Days — How many men did you employ? A. You will have to get
that from Mr. Schuyler; I know nothing about the details of that work. I
simply attended to the financial part of it.
Q. You do not know how many gangs were there? A. No, sir; I did
not go down to the work but three times during its progress.
Q. You do not know how many foremen you had? A. I do not know
anything about it.
Q. Did you keep a roll book of the men? A. Yes, sir; we had a time
keeper who attended to that business.
Q. Have you that book with you? A. No, sir; I have not.
Q. Do you know what wages you paid your foremen? A. No, sir; I do
not. Mr. Schuyler will give you all that.
Mr. Schuyler — We paid our foremen from $2 50 to $3 a day — princi-
Q. How many gangs of men were they divided into?
Mr. Schuyler — According to the amount of work they were doing. As
the organization developed we increased the number of gangs; I think
there were five or six.
Q. You had a foreman to each? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then, those were the names of the foremen you gave? A. Yes, sir.
Q. The contract being with the Harbor Commission, the work performed
was State work, being for the State, was it not?
Mr. English — Yes, sir, public work.
Q. Were the wages paid by you the highest standard for such labor? A.
I do not know; we could have gotten any number of men, I suppose, for
the wages. We had to refuse every day twenty-five or thirty men employ-
Q. You could have got them for less? A. I suppose we could have got
them for less.
Mr. Days — Where did you get the material from? A. Telegraph Hill.
Q. Is Telegraph Hill public or private property? A. Private property.
Q. In making your estimates for the contract did you calculate upon
purchasing private property? A. We did.
Q. Did any difficulty occur between you and any of the persons living
upon any part of Telegraph Hill as to the taking of rock and dirt from
their premises; if so, what was the cause? A. Mr. Schuyler will have to
answer that question. I do not know anything about the details of that
work. Mr. Schuyler and Mr. Hackett came into contact with those people
and made those arrangements. We bought some property and agreed to
grade other lots, and we bought rock from some of the property owners
Q. Were you authorized to grade any of the streets upon Telegraph Hill;
if so, by whom ? A. By the Board of Supervisors, to grade Sansome Street.
Mr. Enos — Can you give us the date of that resolution, passed by the
Board of Supervisors ?
Mr. Schuyler— I think that was May 27, 1884— No. 17,112.
Q. What was the height of the hill above the grade — the perpendicular
height which you reduced the hill on this street ?
Mr. Schuyler — From 110 to 150.
Q. Is it that high? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were all the property holders on the line of the street in favor of cut-
ting down the hill to the official grade?
Mr. Schuyler — I do not think they were; the majority of them were,
Q. The majority in ownership of frontage?
Mr. Schuyler — Yes, sir. The Supervisors gave us the privilege.
Q. If you cut through the official width at the top of the hill on the
street, could you keep down to the grade a uniform width without injury to
the property on either side, or danger to the lives of the residents? A. You
could if it was the right sort of material. It depends altogether upon the
Mr. Enos — Well, the material you found there? A. The material we
found there would not stand up perpendicularly. It could not be cut down
perpendicularly; there would be a slope.
Q. Did you blast the rock when hard, so as to facilitate the work? A.
Mr. Days — Is the work of cutting down Telegraph Hill in any way dan-
gerous for the men employed? A. All that kind of work is hazardous.
Q. In blasting did you put in powder to scatter it, or simply to break the
rock? A. Nothing more than to break the rock — loosen it.
Q. What precautions did you use for the safety of your men? A. We
got them out of the way when a blast went off.
Mr. Enos — Did you take any other precautions ? A. We had men sta-
tioned at all points of ingress and egress to the quarry, to keep people from
coming there while the blasting was going on.
Mr. Days — When the men were working at the bottom of the hill? A.
That was a part of the duty of the foreman, to watch to see if there was
the slightest danger, and give warning.
Q. Were any of your men disabled by accident while upon this work; if
so, how many? A. Quite a number were injured, but none seriously; none
permanently injured that I have heard of.
Q. What provision did you make for those injured, as to care and main-
tenance, if any? A. We assisted a few of them; we generally gave them
some little assistance — got them to the hospital.
Q. Do you think that where men are employed in dangerous occupations
their employers are under any moral responsibility for their safety? A. I
should think so. I think the employer should throw around them every
safeguard in the world to protect them.
Q. Of course you did that in the case of instructing your foreman to do
it? A. Yes, sir; we did all we could to prevent the men meeting with acci-
Mr. Hackett — That is a very important part of the contractor's work —
to look out for that.
Mr. Days — In your opinion, should employers be held legally responsible
for accidents occasioned through carelessness on their part in not providing
proper safeguards against danger, or by employing or keeping in their
employ incompetent persons, when such incompetent persons may endan-
ger the lives of their fellow workmen? A. I think, myself, the}' should be
held responsible; and I think they are, under the law, too.
Q. Hardly. A. I think they are. If they can prove loss of life through
employing incompetent or careless men.
Q. We have not such a law. At the last session of the Legislature I tried
to change the law in that respect but failed .
Mr. English — We ought to have a law to that effect, because the capi-
tal of the working man is his health and physical condition.
Q. Are you acquainted with the price paid for days' labor by State and
municipality when laborers are employed? A. I am.
Q. Are you, Mr. Schuyler? A. No, sir; I am not.
Q. In figuring upon this contract, did you base your calculations upon
the maximum rate of wages?
Mr. English — Yes, sir; we did.
Q. Upon the maximum rate? A. Yes, sir; upon the maximum rate.
We had to get all the data as to what labor would cost before we could
make any intelligent bid upon this work.
Q. Do you know what wages were paid upon previous contracts of this
kind? A. I do not;- 1 do not know anything about it.
Q. Do you think $1 50 per day is sufficient to support a family? A. I
believe I answered that question in Sacramento. I said I thought it was a
very low rate of wages for a man to get. I do not see how a man can sup-
port a wife and five or six children on $1 50 a day, in the city especially. I
think it is very hard for a workingman to work for so small pay.
Q. Of course, when a man contracts to do work he must look out for
himself or he will lose? A. He has to keep even. Our great trouble in
this contract was to keep even.
Q. Do you think it a fair compensation for men employed in such work,
taking the risk they do? A. No. I would rather see a man get larger
wages. I think it is better for the State and better for the employer.
Q. If one of the men in your employ was caved upon and killed, in case
you did not compensate the family for his death, don't you think the State
would be morally responsible in damages ? A. I do not.
Q. You do not? A. I do not.
Q. I suppose you do not, because you consider, as you answered in Sac-
ramento, you do not consider it in that respect really State work? A. No.
Q. What did you pay your men for Sunday work ? Did you pay them
anything extra, Mr. Schuyler?
Mr. Schuyler — Yes, sir; we paid them extra time. We gave them
Q. One half time? A. I think so; I do not recollect just what it was.
We paid them considerable more for Sunday work.
Q. Did you, Mr. English, employ a cashier or paymaster? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you have a regular day for paying your men? A. Yes, sir.
Q. The fifteenth of the month? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where did you pay them? A. On the work, usually.
Q. Did each man receive in coin from the paymaster the full amount
earned by him up to payday, or was any part paid the boarding house
master; that question has been answered really? A. The boarding house
master was paid whatever money was due him at the fifteenth of the
month; that was the end of our fiscal month.
Q. I believe you stated in Sacramento that you guaranteed the full
amount of the bill? A. Yes, sir; up to the time they worked.
Q. So if you owed a man $9 for six day's work, and the boarding master
put in a bill for the full amount, for $9, you paid it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How did you procure your men; did you advertise for what you
wanted, or contract with any parties to furnish them? A. We did not
pursue either course. They just knew they were going to work there.
Q. Were your men ordered to board at any particular house, and did you
agree with the boarding house keeper to guarantee him from loss in trust-
ing the men? A. Mr. Schuyler can answer that question. I do not know
anything about that arrangement except the boarding house men were paid
by our company.
Q. If a man disputed a bill for board or whisky what course did you
pursue? A. They met and arranged it between themselves.
Q. Were there any disputes? A. I do not know of any.
Mr. Schuyler — There was occasionally one; we told the man that we
had not the slightest interest in his board matter and he must settle it with
the boarding house keeper himself, and we would send him back to them
and he would bring the boarding house man there and they would settle it
there between them — divide it between them.
Q. You did not act as umpire? A. No, sir; we did not care who got the
money as long as we got rid of it.
Q. Mr. Schuyler, I think you answered this question; did any boarding
house keeper pay any one a percentage for sending the men to him; I think
you answered, some of the foremen?
Mr. Schuyler — That was a rumor I have heard since ; I do not know
whether it is true or not.
Q. You do not know as to the truth of that, but you think perhaps the
foremen did that? A. It is possible some of the foremen did.
Q. Were all your employes citizens of the United States, Mr. English, or
were any questions asked. I think that question was asked you in Sacra-
mento? A. It was, and I answered it, no; there were no questions asked.
Q. In choosing your men then you had no idea except to get the greatest
amount of labor for the least amount of pay ? I suppose that would be
natural. A. That was not so. We could have gotten men for a lesser rate
than that even. I was rather opposed to pay $1 50, and wanted to keep
up to $1 75, and I talked with Mr. Hackett about it.
Q. Your partners believe you could not do it? A. We were not making
anything on this contract, and we had to keep even if possible.
Mr. Hackett — We also told them if they would stay with us through
the harvest time we would not reduce their pay, and we did not; but some
went away and got a little more pay, and came back, and we thought it
was not treating the men fair who did remain, and we would not pay them
[Mr. Schuyler here produced a paper showing the amount of wages paid
each man after the first of September.]
Q. In figuring upon the contract, Mr. English, did you estimate eight
hours as a day's work? A. No, sir; ten hours.
Q. You estimated ten hours? A. Yes, sir; we were guided entirely by
the specification. We figured upon a basis of ten hours a day, and when
the contract was offered me to sign, I declined to sign it until I understood
the condition. The attorney of the Board of Harbor Commissioners told
me the Supreme Court had decided in reference to that clause, and we had
a right to make our own arrangement as to the hours of labor, without any
reference to that clause in the Constitution.
Q. In that the attorney must have made a very great mistake. I have
read that decision since the examination of the Harbor Commissioners,,
and that decision distinctly states that it is one of the things you can not
contract; that while there are only two of the Judges of the Supreme Court
in favor of allowing you to work your employes any time you like — any
time you agreed upon — there are three of them that decide eight hours to
be a legal day's work, and you cannot change it; but even on their opinion
you may work the men more time by paying them more money, according
to the extra time worked.
Mr. English — But suppose you make a contract with them for ten hours
for the aggregate sum; does not that cover the same position as you take?
Mr. Days — It does not cover the position taken by the three Judges,
Sanderson, Sprague, and Crockett.
Mr. Enos — There is no penalty affixed to that, but with the Mongolian
clause there is a penalty; as soon as Mongolians are employed there is a
forfeit. I understand that is the reason.
Mr. Days — It is not; there are no reasons; but it is whether the execu-
tive officer can put in a contract a stipulation of forfeiture, or put in
anything that the law itself did not put in.
Mr. Enos — Mr. English, you say it was expressly understood when that
was put in the contract, and you objected to signing it? A. We had quite
a controversy about it because we had figured on the basis of ten hours a
day in making up our estimates. If they were to hold us to eight hours a
day it should have been named in the specification. They put the Mongo-
lian clause in the specification. Mr. Schuyler and Mr. Wagner were engi-
neers, and had gone over the ground very carefully, and had made up these
estimates, and we supposed there might be a little profit in the work, and
there would have been probably some profit in the work had the quantities
held out. Had we been able to put in the quantity we bid for there might
have been some profit.
Q. Have you ever refused to live up to the contract as to the particular
material you put in? A. We put in just what we agreed to.
Q. If you had not lived up to the contract in that respect, what would
have been the result? A. They would not have accepted it, and the bonds-
men would have been responsible, and the twenty-five per cent would have
been held back.
Mr. Hackett — They always kept inspectors there to see that the right
kind of material was put in.
Q. If you had not furnished the kind of stone agreed upon by the Har-
bor Commissioners, could they have annulled the contract? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know any law for this? A. No; I do not.
Q. In this contract it is specially stipulated that eight hours of labor
shall be a legal day's work; under the agreement how do you reconcile
that with working your men ten hours a day? A. We have just discussed
Q. The Harbor Commissioners, then, never inquired how many hours-
your men worked each day? A. No, sir; they did not.
Q. Consequently, they did not appoint any one to look after the interest
of the laborers in this respect, and see the law enforced; did they have
any one engaged to look after the 'State's interest in respect to material
used? A. They had inspectors — quarry inspectors — and had weighers and
men who measured the sand that was put in; five or six men were employed
there all the time in that way.
Mr. Schuyler — Three inspectors and four weighers
Mr. Hackett — An engineer and assistant — all had a hand in it — about
eight or ten men altogether.
Mr. English — They attended to their duties in relation to the work.
The last section of the seawall cost $70,000 more than this.
Mr. Days — That is, the State employed men to see that you did not get
any advantage as far as a few yards of dirt were concerned; but when it
came to men — human beings — a part and parcel of the State, persons
whose necessities made it compulsory they should accept the merest pit-
tance for their labor, and did not dare to grumble, or even find fault for
fear of being discharged, and that in the face and eyes of the statute made
and provided for their protection, the servants of the State could not utter
one word of reproach to those who were violating the law and contract;
they could spend thousands of dollars to save a few loads of dirt from
being embezzled, but not one cent to see the law in favor of poor- suffering
humanity. Do you consider that a just mode of procedure, Mr. English?
A. I will not take time to reflect and answer that question; it is very pro-
found and a very lengthy one; but, Mr. Days, I agree with you in every
particular with reference to the labor interest of the country. No man in
the State would rather see the laborer live and get larger wages than I, and
I will join you in any way to assist you in formulating laws to that end.
Q. Don't you think, Mr. English, that the State would have as much
honor in looking after the interest of the poorest of its citizens as in look-
ing after a few loads of dirt? A. I think they would.
Q. Suppose a section of the seawall that would require the labor of one
hundred men for two hundred days, wages average $2 a day, the law being
as it is, "eight hours a legal day's work," one contractor, who respects the
law, estimates for wages $40,000, another contractor who proposed to work
his men ten hours per day, and bids $2,000 less than the former, if the
Harbor Commissioners knew this fact would they not be violating their
oath of office if they awarded the contract to the ten-hour man; and would
it not be a robbery of the eight-hour man if the other contractor was allowed
to work his men ten hours a day? A. I really cannot answer that ques-
tion. I think the Harbor Commissioners are very efficient. I think it is
a defect of the law, and not their fault. I can answer that question in
that way; if there is any defect it is in the law, and the law should be
remedied ; and as you are one of the law-makers of the country, Mr. Days,
you ought to be able to accomplish something in the Legislature. Some
law should be made that will make a maximum rate for men on public
Q. It would have made no difference, supposing the Engineer had put in
his specification that this work must be done under the eight-hour law, for
then you would have bid under those conditions, and others would have
done the same ?
Mr. Hackett — If that had been in the specification, we would have bid
in accordance with it.
Mr. Days — In my opinion the Harbor Commissioners — I do not mean in
particular the present ones, any more than the past — have been derelict in
Mr. English — I think the defect is in the law, and not in the Board of
Q. While building Section No. 5 of the seawall, Mr. English, you had a
contract to furnish rock for some portion of the other side of the bay; was
that rock taken from Telegraph Hill, and weighed on the same scales as
the rock for the seawall? A. No, it was not; that was measured on the
Q. I desired to ask that question, from the fact that I heard it charged,
I do not know by whom, that you actually took the best of the rock, and
that you had it weighed on the scales by men paid by the State? A. That
would have been folly for us to have weighed it, because Colonel Mendell
weighed that rock over there, and measured the scow when it was loaded
Mr. Days — I could not see anything in the charge myself.
Mr. English — We had the very best rock, no doubt, and had a right to
do what we pleased in the matter.
Mr. Hackett — Most of the rock for the Oakland side was bought up at
this end of the quarry on purpose for that.
Mr. Enos — Would you have signed this contract for the construction of
section five of the seawall if you had understood that they would have
enforced that eight-hour provision contained therein? A. I would not.
Q. You then signed it with the understanding that you had full power
to make what arrangements you please ? A. Yes, sir, of course.
Q. And, so far as your knowledge goes, the contract has been lived up
to with that exception ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that was waived on the part of the parties who made this con-
tract? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of any parties being influenced, or attempted to be
influenced in political matters, connected with the seawall? A. Not in
Q. Have you any knowledge, directly or indirectly, of any truck system
being adopted under your employ ? A. None whatever.
Q. You have no knowledge of any parties being compelled, or induced
to go to any particular place to board ? A. Not at all.
Mr. Days — Mr. Schuyler, how much more would it have cost in grading
that street, to grade it from the top and terrace it; for instance, cut it down
from the top; have you any idea? A. That is an impracticable way of
doing the work.
At this point an adjournment was taken to Thursday, June 4, 1885, at
7 o'clock p. m.
June 4, 1885, 7:30 p. m.
Mr. Days — Please give your name, address, and official position? An-
swer — Marsden Manson; 1713 Buchanan Street; Chief Engineer of the
Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Q. How long have you been Chief Engineer? A. Since June, 1883.
Q. What are your duties appertaining to the letting of contracts for the
Harbor Commission? A. My duties are to draw the plans and specifica-
tions of such works as need repairing or constructing, and to see that the
contract is complied with, so far as the construction and mode of building
and material used is concerned.
Q. Do you draw the contracts? A. No, sir; that is generally done by
one of the clerks in the office, and is sometimes looked into, where it is a
contract of importance, by the Attorney of the Board, Mr. Coogan.
Q. But the clerk draws the contracts ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know how wide, deep, and long is the rock embankment of
seawall, Section No. 5? A. The bottom width is a matter that could not
be well ascertained, nor could its depth be well ascertained. Its length is
one thousand feet; the bottom width is variable, owing to the depression of
the mud beneath, and its width could not be well ascertained without a
good deal of expense in sounding, and the same way with the depth to
which it sinks in the mud. That is a matter that we could not very well
Q. Did you dredge to a uniform depth of the bay, when dredging for a
foundation for Section No. 5? A. Yes, sir; as near as we could. The
buckets of our dredges have two causes which prevent them from taking
hold of the bottom ; in the first place, where the bottom is very resisting;
and the second place, where the depth is very great the displacement of
water materially lightens the weight of the bucket. We dredged as deep
as the dredge would take hold of the material; and I have frequently
had it sounded, sending the dredge over the same place again, making a
second and even third attempt at the same point.
Q. Why do you weigh the rock for the solid embankment; could you
not tell by measurement as well as by weight? A. No, sir; we can tell a
great deal better by weight.
Q. That is really the only means you have of knowing what goes in ?
A. Yes, sir ; the rock goes in loose, rocks of an irregular shape, and are not
the same in each vehicle or cart, and then the rock being thrown into the
vehicle in a loose mass there are voids caused by their irregular form;
the solid spaces are in the proportion of about one half, or about even, and
sometimes it will vary from forty-five to fifty-five per cent; but you may
generally take it as averaging about fifty per cent. That is, the abso-
lute void. Then it varies with respect to the kind and size of the rock.
Sometimes one stone will weigh as much as two and a half tons. That
stone would constitute a load for a heavy vehicle, and would require two
horses to move it at all. Sometimes the rock would be carried in carts and
sometimes on cars on an iron track. The stone would be exceedingly
irregular in size; it was rough, heavy stone, and its exact dimensions could
not be gotten at with great accuracy without a great deal of trouble, and
even then it would be unreasonable to figure it with great accuracy, whereas
it can be weighed with all reasonable correctness without any delay at all,
and can be weighed faster than it can be loaded or dumped on any ordi-
nary quarry place.
Q. Would or would it not be cheaper to let the contract for building the
seawall by the entire section upon the estimate of the Chief Engineer, than
by weight? A. I think it would be cheaper to let it by weight, and for
that reason I advised the Board to let it by weight.
Q. That has been the usual way of letting it, by weight? A. No, sir.
Q. Is this the first time it has been done by weight? A. This is the first
seawall that has been built by weight.
Q. How near did your estimates of the rock and dirt required for building
Section 5 come to the amount actually used ? A. It came within a very
reasonable proportion. I have not the exact proportion, for the reason that
all the data are not in as yet; all the material for the embankment has not
been put on. I estimated on the basis of vehicle measurement, by means
of which the sections prior to this were constructed, it would require as much
to build Section 5 as the record showed that it took to build Sections 4, 3,
2, and 1, and Section 8. With that data before us it was estimated that
it would take 216,000 tons of stone for the construction of Section 5. Upon
completion of one third of Section 5 I noticed the weighing of the stone was
very much in favor of the State; in other words, a ton of stone was a fixed
quantity, that gave the State the benefit of a known amount of stone. I
mentioned to the different officers of the Harbor Commission that it would
require about 120,000 to build Section 5; the actual amount of stone put in
Section 5 was 119,000.
Q. In your opinion do you think that the previous sections could have
been built cheaper if they had been let by weight? A. I do.
Mr. Enos — Cheaper in proportion as Section 5 under your estimates?
A. I am not prepared to say what proportion. At the time I made the
estimates for Section 5 there were before me the records regarding Sections
4, 3, 2, 1, and 8, which were constructed prior to this time, and the report
of the Board of Engineers appointed by the Governor of the State to inves-
tigate the quantities taken for the construction of the seawall, was that, in
their opinion, the stone embankment of Sections 4, 3, 2, 1, and 8, was sunk
about eleven feet into stiff clay underlying the foundation. With that
statement staring me in the face, and without any definite data regarding
it, I recommended the Board to build Section 5 and weigh the stone in tons
of 2,240 pounds. It is the mothod employed in all engineering work of the
United States Government. It is the method employed on the stone
work done in the East, on Chesapeake Bay, and the stone work on the
Delaware breakwater; and it is most properly estimated in tons of 2,240
pounds. And if the material is transported on cars or land vehicles the
weighing is not much trouble; an accurate, definite amount of informa-
tion is gotten, to say the least; and in addition to that, if it is brought by
water, the displacement of the barge or transport can be very easily arrived
at; so that the amounts, by weight, are easily gotten at, and I regard the
method of doing rough work by the ton as by far the most desirable and
Mr. Days — Do you think there was any just reason why the previous
sections took so much more rock and dirt than Section 5? A. They did
not take so much more. The earth was not so vastly in excess; the earth
is about the same. There is no difference that is material. I think it
would have taken less if it had been done by the ton; but where a con-
tractor bids for material to be put in by measurement in the vehicle, why,
it is a perfectly fair proposition. There are different methods of measuring
earth. It can be measured in the embankment from which it is taken, in
the vehicle of transportation, or in the embankment in which it is placed.
It is sometimes improper to measure the earth in the pit. Different classes
of material come from different places, and could not be segregated.
There is earth, and small rock that go in as earth, and then the rock which
goes in as stone, and we could not segregate that, consequently the meas-
urement in the pit is not reasonably practicable. Then, again, measure-
ment in the embankment is not practicable, for slides take place, and in
many instances it is risking human life to attempt to measure it; and with
all the precautions that an engineer could take, reliable results could not
be attained; whereas, in the second method, in the vehicle of transporta-
tion, it is as accurate as can be well gotten, and gives very favorable results
in case of earth; but with rock it does not do well, on account of the irregu-
lar shape. Large masses of rock could not be measured in that way with
Q. Could not the outside wall be built, to prevent any spreading out, so
far as the outside is concerned. The spreading, of course, would not make
any difference as to the amount put in. It would not spread out of the
section? A. The difference would not be to any extent. The mud dis-
placed goes out of their section entirely; but very little of the material
deposited in Section 5 went ahead of their section. Some little went out of
of the limits, but the loss was immaterial, so far as Section 5 is concerned.
Q. The parties who built Section 4 have put in every ounce of rock
which they reported, have they not? A. They did not put it in by weight.
The reports were in terms of cubic yards. That is the unit of measure.
In Section 5 I discarded that, and not knowing the exact relation in that
section I had no reliable data, and I recommended that Section 5 be built
by weight, even if it took all of this material, and the extra expense to be
incurred to weigh it, in order to get accurate data; and the weighing of
that and the scales cost several thousand dollars, but it saved considerable
more than by measuring it by the vehicle.
Q. The State had to pay for the weighers ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You consider you saved on that; also the cost of the scales? A. Sev-
eral times over.
Q. Do you know the law in relation to the employment of laborers,
mechanics, etc., in performing work for the State, both by contract and
otherwise? A. I simply know that Section 3245 of the Political Code forms
a part of all contracts on behalf of the State.
Q. In drawing your specifications do you state that no Chinamen can be
employed; and that eight hours is a legal day's work for those engaged on
the seawall? A. Yes, sir; the Chinese clause was put in the specifications.
The eight-hour law is merely a citation of Section 3245 with regard to eight
hours constituting a day's labor. The eight-hour clause was not put in the
specification for Section 5, but was put in the specification for Section 6.
Mr. Enos — Are those your specifications? [Handing witness specifica-
tions.] A. Yes, sir ; the specification embodied the article in regard to
Chinese, but not the one with regard to eight hours of labor constituting a
day's work ; that, however, was put in the contract for Section 6, and has
been put in all contracts.
Q. Why was not the eight-hour clause put in the specification? A. I do
not think the specification for a piece of work of any kind should embody
any article of the Political Code. If one is published, all should be pub-
lished. That is my private opinion of it.
Q. Did you have any directions in regard to that by the Board ? A. Since
the drawing of specifications for Section 5 I have, under directions, put that
Mr. Enos — That is, in relation to Section 6? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is not that the only section that has been let since ? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Days — You put that section in the specification, you say? A. Yes,
sir; in all specifications since that time.
Mr. Enos — Was that done by the order of the Board ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. The gentlemen who obtained that contract for Section 6 have begun
to work under it? A. They have.
Q. You, as Engineer, are superintending that also? A. I am superin-
tending the delivery of the material, and its being put in place, and the
quality of it, and weighing it.
Q. Do they live up to that specification for working the men but eight
hours? A. I do not inquire into that at all.
Q. Have you any knowledge of it? A. None, whatever; I know that
myself, and the men under me, frequently have to work over eight hours a
day, but we are employed by the year, and paid by the month, and we do
what is required to further the work.
Mr. Days — You stated you had the general supervision of the work?
A. I had the supervision of the contract in regard to the character of
material used, and its proper use.
Q. Of course you are acquainted with the terms of the contract; you
have read the contract? A. Yes, sir.
Q. If any of the rock used was inferior to that required by the specifi-
cations, what would you have done under the premises? A. There was a
great deal of it that was brought forward to be put into the seawall which
was put in as earth filling.
Q. It was refused for the outside part? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — Was that accepted by measurement or weight? A. It was
accepted by measurement in the vehicle. If a load was brought in there,
weighing a certain number of pounds, we knew the specific gravity of it,
and would just convert that, into its equivalent volume of material and
count it as earth filling; knowing its weight, we could get at its volume
better than any other way.
Mr. Days — Did you appoint any one in particular- to look after the State's
interest in this respect? A. There were assistants of mine, appointed by
the Board, who had the directing and instructing of those doing the work,
to see that they carried out their instructions.
Q. Suppose Mr. English had employed Mongolians to do the laboring
work, what steps would you have taken in relation thereto? A. None at
all, sir; that was none of my business. The duties of the Engineer of the
Board of Harbor Commissioners are very specific, and that is not one of
them ; the proper person to look after a thing of that sort would have been
Mr. Enos, I think ; and the Board might have seen fit to take notice of it.
Q. Was the Board instructed to take any notice of it ? A. There was no
necessity for instructing it. The President of the Board was cognizant of
the general character of the work, and I do not think the Mongolian clause
of the contract could have been violated without some knowledge of the
Q. If the knowledge of the fact did come to the Board, whose duty would
it be to look after it? A. The President of the Board would have looked
Q. Did you or any one ever inquire if Mr. English was fulfilling his con-
tract in relation to the eight-hour law ? You placed that portion of the
eight-hour law in the contract? A. That was put in the contract.
Q. Of course, being in the contract, it was supposed that any party who
signed the contract would agree to live up to the contract, and of course
was bound by the contract; and the eight-hour law being a part of the con-
tract, he was bound by that. Did any one inquire of them if they were
living up to that contract? A. Not that I know, sir.
Q. Of the mechanics and laborers employed directly by the State Har-
bor Commissioners, are any of them under your charge? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many hours do they work each day? A. Those that are em-
ployed on the repair force work about eight hours a day; those employed
in the dredging department, I think, work about nine hours; those em-
ployed in the Engineer Department frequently work a good deal overtime.
I have to often ask them to come down to the office and work late in the
Q. Are they paid for overtime? A. No, sir.
Q. Are they paid by the month? A. They are employed by the month,
and I should not think they would be under that law any more than I
Q. The Harbor Commissioners testified that they did not consider the
eight-hour law affected these employed by the month, but they testified
that all mechanics working for them were employed by the day, and worked
eight hours? A. They generally work eight hours, but they are employed
by the day.
Q. Do the mechanics and laborers employed by the State work as faith-
fully for you as they would have to do for a private citizen or corporation ?
A. That depends very largely upon the man; we have some men who are
faithful and some who are not.
Q. Would not you find the same anywhere? A. If you employ men
privately you find that same thing; some men do better work than others.
Q. Taking the average in that respect, do the men that are employed by
the State work as faithfully as they would for a private person? A. I
have not had an opportunity of judging for any great length of time ; I
think the foremen would be able to answer that question; we do not get as
rapid work in some instances but we frequently get better work than we
could by contract; some contractors will slight labor if they have the
slightest chance; we find a good deal of street planking done by labor in
which we get better spiking than under contract; the work is not done as
quickly but T think we get a little better work, consequently you might
assign it to not as faithful work.
Q. It seems to me if a man does work better than another he does as
much work; that is, one person may do apparently twice as much work as
another, and yet that work not be fit to pass muster? A. That depends
upon what light you look at it, whether that of the State or the contractor.
Q. I am looking at it in the light of utility, that which is the best; if one
man does a piece of work that will stand four years, and another man does
twice as much work and his work stands two years, then the former does
the most work really, as far as the interest of the employer is concerned ?
A. He does the best decidedly.
Q. What wages do those employed by the day receive? A. Those
employed by the day receive, I think, $3 — those that I have.
Q. That is for lieutenants ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What do the laborers receive? A. By the month, $75.
Q. Have you not laborers that are employed sometimes by the day? A.
Q. Do you know what they are paid? A. Those are paid $3.
Q. The laborers are paid $3? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — What does their labor consist of? A. There is one man who
is engaged at present on the Folsom Street Wharf, applying a coating of
coal tar to those portions of the wharf which rot quickly.
Q. Do you know of any men who are employed at $3 a day for common
labor? A. I have two others who are employed at present on Vallejo
Street in distributing the waste material and refuse that is dumped there
from gas works, etc., from different parts of the city. Those men are paid
$3 a day.
Mr. Days — Is that the lowest you pay? A. I had quite a force last Fall
at $2 50. This man I have on the Folsom Street Wharf is a very reliable
and active man, in everyway desirable, and I have known him to be down
there at five o'clock in the morning in order to have his material prepared,
so as not to delay the contractor, and he has been there on Sunday. I
have been there to see if he was working well, and it was always properly
performed. On portions of that work I have paid him for overtime, and
portions I have not. He is anxious to see the work go on.
Q. Do you know what the maximum price of labor is — I mean the mar-
ket price ? A. It is about that, sir.
Q. About $2 50? A. No, sir; I am paying $3 a day; but I have paid
$2 for private work of my own.
Q. Supposing you want certain work done, would you pay laborers whom
you know nothing about $2 or $2 50 a day? A. No, sir; I always try to
employ laborers I know something about.
Q. Suppose you could not get those whom you know? A. I would wait
till I could.
Q. Then what you mean to say is, that you only employ those whom you
know to be thoroughly competent laborers and good workers? A. Yes, sir.
I will give you an instance: I wanted a man to do a portion of this work,
and I hired two laborers and a team from the contractor. I found one of
those men to be very quick, and a good man, and I employed him on other
Q. You really do not know what the common price of labor is? A. I
know some laborers can be had here for about $2 a day, and $2 50.
Q. Mr. English and Mr. Hackett testified the other day that they paid
$1 50 and $1 75 a day, and they considered that the maximum price for
labor here? A. I would rather pay a good man $3 than a poor one $1 75.
Q. Suppose all the State work was performed by day's work instead of
contract, could it not be done cheaper? A. No, sir.
Q. Why not? A. I think it would require a great deal of extra organi-
zation, and our system of laws is such that we would not be able to control
the force. A large force of laborers would necessitate extra organization,
and there would be a liability of having the same trouble as was had dur-
ing the construction of Sections 1 and 2.
Q. Was that done by day's work? A. No, sir; but the circumstances
would have been the same, so far as the general condition was concerned.
Q. You did not hear of any riot or trouble on State work where the labor-
ers were directly employed, did you? A. I do not think of any.
Q. You never heard of riots and trouble where laborers were paid what
were considered good wages? A. I have never known of any large State or
National work done that way, consequently I could not say whether I had
heard of such or not; that work has always been done by contract. The
United States laws require it to be done by contract; both the United
States and State laws require all work amounting to over $3,000 to be done
Mr. Enos — Is it not a fact that all the trouble we have had has grown
out of the fact that the laborers have not received just compensation? A.
I think the cause is sometimes due to shortcomings on both sides — on the
part of the contractor and employes. It is a question I have never had an
opportunity of looking into, as to the cause of it.
Mr. Days — Many of these questions are asked for the purpose of getting
your opinion, amongst others, of these things, as well as to get at the facts
in relation thereto. They are not asked for the purpose of making any-
thing invidious of them. A. I do not think it would be a desirable thing
to do State work by clay's labor.
Q. You stated before that in the employment of labor you could do bet-
ter work than probably the contractors, but probably not so much work?
A. That is the case in small amounts of work.
Q. Why not in large amounts of work ? A. Because you cannot control
your force as well. You cannot exercise as much care in choosing a large
number of men, and the larger number of men necessarily create a larger
number of circumstances that will tend to create trouble. There are more
difficulties to control, and not only in State work but in other work of an
extended nature. I would rather have the work executed by contract
because the contractor, as a general thing, is a man fitted for that work,
and can organize and arrange and put men to work better than the State.
The State, for instance, would have to employ foremen at a large price to
organize the force and put it in shape, and would have to have sub-fore-
men. A contractor, who makes it his business, could collect around him a
force of such men whose capabilities he understood, and could put each
one in the right place, and very much better results are obtained by such
an organization than if the State had to organize the forces.
Q. From your education as engineer, you understand the building of
seawalls as well as, if not better, than any contractor in this city. Now,
suppose you had the power to employ and discharge men, and you were
not compelled to take into consideration any political reasons, would it not
be to the interest of the State to do the State work by the day ? A. That
would be a question which, before forming an opinion, I would want some
definite facts upon which to base an opinion. I have never seen a piece of
work of that size carried out that way, and, consequently, I have no data
upon which to give an opinion.
Mr. Enos — You understand all about this seawall that has been built?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Suppose the State had directly empowered you, instead of letting it
out by contract on the basis of $223,000, to hire the men by the day, could
not you have done that work as cheap as the contractors did in this case
under investigation? A. I have not the data upon which to base an opinion.
I have never done a piece of work in that way, and I do not think a man
ought to give an opinion on a suppositional case.
Q. With your experience as an engineer and' management of forces and
gangs of men, don't you suppose you could have done it and paid the men
$2 50 or $3 a day, and do you not believe it would be better for the State
and laboring men ? A. That is a question I can not answer. I would not
object to taking the responsibility of trying it, and would be very glad of
the opportunity of demonstrating whether it is so or not.
Q. The supposition is that when a man makes a bid for work amounting
to $223,000, he takes it so he can make something? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do not you think it would be better for the State to pay this directly
out to the laborers, even if it costs the State more ? A. With an Utopian
condition of affairs they might do so.
Q. What do you mean by "Utopian;" that is frequently used to get rid
of any question of this kind? A. I mean by Utopian, a state of affairs
which we would desire to have but have not.
Mr. Days — Have you any idea, Mr. Manson, how many more laborers
there are in the City of San Francisco than can obtain employment at reg-
ular work in the city? Did you ever give that question a thought? A. No,
sir; and thoughts on that line would be merely theoretical, because under
certain circumstances there are not enough laborers here to do all that
might be required, and you could not reasonably get enough under certain
Q. Mr. English and Mr. Hackett told us the other day that they had a
great many men apply for work every day, at any price, and that they even
had letters from members of the Supreme Bench asking them to give
employment to certain men ? A. I have not an idea of the present number
of men out of employment, but I am inclined to think it is great, because
I see men looking for work, but I have not had time to look into what num-
ber there are. I have not given the matter thought. All labor employment
of any kind is entirely dependent upon the demand. Just now there is not
a very great demand. Then again I have seen the time in this State when
there was a very great demand for laborers in the country and none there
to fill the demand, and an excess in the city.
Q. That is, you mean there were none there that parties could get at
their own particular terms? A. None there that they could get at any
terms. There are different parts of the State in certain seasons of the year
when they could not get laborers at anything like what the same labor
could be obtained in the city. The laborers seemed to have nocked to the
Q. Have you any idea why the eight-hour law was passed in this State?
A. No, sir, I have not. I do not remember when it was passed. I do not
remember the circumstances connected with its passage.
Q. Have you ever known a country in the world where there were not a
great many more laborers than could procure employment? A. My expe-
rience has been confined entirely to America, having never been out of it
in my life; but I have seen places where men wanted work and could not
Mr. Enos — In this contract I find the following clause: " In case of any
difference as to the intent or meaning of the plans and specifications, or as
to the character of the material or work, or as to the estimates and meas-
urement, etc., it shall be decided by the Engineer of the Board, and his
decision shall be final." According to that, you are the sole arbiter as to
the material and character of the work done ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And don't you think, under that clause, you have a right to see that
this other clause shall be enforced: " And it is expressly stipulated that
eight hours shall constitute" a legal day's work under this agreement, and
all provisions of Chapter X, Title VI, of the Political Code, applicable
thereto, shall be determined as incorporated herein?" A. My interpreta-
tion of that would be this, sir: in reference to their work, that has reference
to the mode of performing the work in order to get good results, so far as
the structure was concerned, and not with reference to the labor performed
in getting it in that shape.
Q. Have they complied with your instructions? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Your directions have been obeyed? A. Yes, sir. So far as the
reference to the eight-hour work there, I probably could have made a sug-
Q. You never have? A. No, sir; nor do I think it would have amounted
Q. Each bidder must state in his proposal the quarry or exact locality
from which he will obtain his rock, and exhibit specimens of the rock.
Was that done? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did they tell you where they were going to get this rock ? A. Yes,
Q. Where? A. Telegraph Hill.
Q. Did they specify any streets? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know whether any of this rock or dirt was taken from any
private property? A. I know some was taken from private property.
Q. Did you go upon the property specified before they commenced,
according to this contract, to see where they were to take it from? A.
Q. Where did they take this rock and dirt from? A. The east face of
Q. That was from private lots? A. Portions of it.
Q. Did it injure or destroy any private property, to your knowledge? A.
Q. Did you daily witness the excavations that were made by the blasts,
etc.? A. I cannot say daily; from time to time.
Q. Do you know of any difficulty arising between the contractors and
the owners of property in relation to this excavation? A. Yes, sir; I was
cognizant of the fact that there were different methods taken to stop cer-
tain methods of excavating.
Q. Did you make any suggestions thereto in relation to the excavation of
that private property? A. None, except with regard to statements con-
cerning the action of some of the property holders.
Q. Was that statement brought to the attention of the Harbor Commis-
sioners? A. No, sir; there was no necessity for that at all. I had nothing
to do with enforcing the police regulation, or the modes or methods which
the contractor employed.
Q. Do you know whether you had any conference with the Board of
Harbor Commissioners in jelation to any difficulties arising between the
contractors and the persons who had lots there? A. None that I recollect.
Q. You speak about obtaining labor here; suppose the State saw fit to
construct three, four, five, or six sections of seawall, length one thousand
feet, do you think there would be any trouble to obtain laborers in this
city and State to carry on that work, even if you should commence to-mor-
row ? Do you not think there would be plenty of laborers willing to work
for $2 a day? A. Yes, sir; I think laborers could be obtained.
Q. Don't you think, as an engineer, if the State could expend $1,000,000,
or $500,000, it would be desirable for the State to do this work, if they had
the power, by the day ? Would it not be a greater benefit to the people at
large to have it paid out directly to the laborers through the State's agents;
say, through the Board of Harbor Commissioners? A. That is apparently
a very simple question, but it is a very broad one, and its answer calls for
more experience in political economy than an engineer is naturally sup-
posed to have.
Q. What is your opinion? A. If you want my individual opinion, I
would want a very rigid civil service reform enforced before undertaking
Q. That is rather indefinite. Suppose the power was delegated to you,
with power to employ, and discharge, and organize your forces, with your
experience as an engineer, don't you think it would be desirable for the
State to have it done by days' work? [No answer.]
Mr. Days — You were present when the contract was signed? A. I do
not recollect being present. I remember hearing a portion of it, and the
matter talked of between Mr. English and the Board. But knowing that
it was part of all our contracts, it would have to come in anyhow, and being
very busily engaged at the time, I did not pay much attention to it.
Q. Have you seen any of the previous contracts for seawalls? A. Yes,
Q. Did they contain the eight-hour contract? A. I think so, sir; I am
not certain; I do not recollect it; I think they did.
Q. You do not know whether they lived up to that or not? A. No, sir.
Mr. Roney, one of the audience, then asked the witness the following
questions: Mr. Manson, is there any uniform fixed wages for the laboring
men employed under the Harbor Commissioners? A. I think not; we are
paying $2 50 or $3 a day.
Q. Are those the regular rates paid? A. Yes, sir; $2 50 and $3 a day.
Q. Now, supposing, according to the contract, Chinese had been em-
ployed on the seawall, do not you think it would have been your duty, in
V r our capacity as Supervising Engineer, to report to the Harbor Commis-
sioners that fact? A. I do not think it would fall under my duty, as pre-
scribed by law, any more than it would any citizen of the State. That is
not a duty of the Engineer prescribed by law; but I am pretty certain that
I would have called their attention to it.
Q. You do not think it would be your duty? A. Not as prescribed by
the law. It might, as a citizen, in order to be loyal, to see the proper mode
of procedure carried out by the contractor, where there was a penalty fixed ;
but in the case of this eight-hour matter, it would not have amounted to
anything if I had called the attention of the Board to it, because there was
no penalty attached to it. I asked several lawyers in regard to the matter,
and talked the matter over with my brother, who is a lawyer here.
Q. You have the immediate supervision of these men employed under
the Harbor Commissioners, have you not; that is, you see that they do
their work properly? A. Yes, sir; go over their work and call the fore-
men's attention to the character of it, and recommend the execution of
such and such things, and see that it is properly carried out.
Q. Do you think those men employed by the Harbor Board do their
work as faithfully as for a private employer? A. All do not; it depends
very largely upon the man. Some of the men I employ in my own private
work do their work a great deal better than others. In all classes of work
you get better work out of some men than out of others. Some men give
us very satisfactory results, and we get as good labor as any contractor,
and some I get better work out of. I can name one man, I believe, I get
better work out of than most any contractor gets out of his employes.
Q. This is the man at the Folsom Street Wharf? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — You say that if the State employs a man who has good work
in him, he will do good work; and a poor man will do poor work? A. It
depends upon the man you employ.
Mr. Roney — You think, then, the State could perform a large quantity
of work, such as constructing the seawall, just as well as a private con-
tractor under those conditions, do you not? A. If they could get the right
Mr. Days — Suppose you had the power, as stated before, you could get
the right men? A. With the absolute power of discharging.
Mr. Enos — The contractors themselves had difficulty in getting men to
stay with them ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You would have the same trouble? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the State would have the same, and no more? A. Probably
more. Another trouble would be that where they are working for a con-
tractor — there is a very general opinion, and I do not attribute the fault of
it to our republican form of institutions entirely, but there is a great deal
of trouble in controlling some of the men. All over the world there are
Mr. Roney — Are these political situations, Mr. Manson; does it require
political influence to secure a. job under the Harbor Commissioners? A.
Not always, sir.
Q. Do you think that among men working for such people as the Harbor
Commissioners — that is, gentlemen holding political positions — that there
is more shirking of work, or sojering, under such employment, than under
private employment? A. It depends upon the man entirely. If a man is
inclined to sojer, he will do it.
Q. Do you not think it would be an encouragement to a man to do his
work well if he was properly compensated for it? A. I do, sir.
Q. He would be less liable to shirk in consequence? A. Yes, sir.
Mrs. Fannie McGregor Baber.
Mr. Enos — Mrs. McGregor, where do you live? Answer — 215 Green
Q. In the vicinity of this seawall? A. Yes, sir; right at the precipice.
Q. How long have you lived there? A. I have owned propertv there
Q. What street, and what lot? A. The southeast corner of Sansome
and Vallejo; 63 feet on Green Street by 137-i in the rear.
Q. What improvements were there on the property? A. I had three
houses that brought me in an income, not always, but occasionally, of $100,
sometimes $75, a month, and I have not had any income since these con-
tractors commenced their work. They have destroyed my property.
Q. Has that property been damaged or interfered with in the construc-
tion of this seawall. Section No. 5? A. Yes, sir.
Q. To what extent? A. The house I now live in. It occupies 31-J feet,
and they have destroyed 31-J feet of my property ; that is, half of 63 ; they
have entirely destroyed it.
Q. Have they interfered with the other two buildings ? A. Yes, sir; one
of the buildings next to the quarry is shattered, mashed, and 'shook up,
and no one would live there. I do not sleep there, but my son slept there.
Q. Have they blasted into your lot? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you prepared to say they have put a blast in your land there ?
A. I am not prepared to say that they have gone on the land. Here is the
line of the property [showing], and they pretend to put a blast in on the
line, and instead of drilling a hole perpendicular they drill it slanting.
Q. Did that enter on your land? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Beyond the line of the street? A. Yes, sir, and destroyed my whole
Q. To what extent have they damaged your property? A. I am not
capable of judging of that. I have lived there thirty years. I value my
property. It is my home.
Q. To what extent do you think it is damaged? A. I think $10,000
would not replace me as I have been.
Q. Do you think that material that was taken from your property was
taken into this seawall ? A. The better part was carried on a barge ; was
put in those little carts, and was carried and deposited on a barge, and
taken over to Alameda, and the refuse and clay was deposited into the
seawall. There is none of my rock ever went into the seawall.
Q. Who did that? A. English, Hackett, Wagner, and Schuyler. I
have a suit against them.
Q. Can you give me the names of the parties whose property has been
damaged in the construction of this seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who are they? A. Mrs. Overand, McEwen and Mr. Brummel, Mrs.
Burdette, Mr. Murphy, and several others that I am not acquainted with.
They have driven poor people — poor working people — right from their
Q. Has there any private property been paid for? A. I never heard
Q. Have they ever made any offer of settlement with you? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever attempted to secure compensation? A. Hackett, Mr.
Schuyler, and another person, came to me one day, and said, " How much
will you take, Mrs. Baber?" but they came to nothing definite. They did
this in order to keep me in suspense. I took the hint and sought the pro-
tection of the law.
Q. Did you restrain them? A. I have an injunction on them now.
Q. And since that time they have ceased ? A. They have ceased at my
side. They commenced on Union Street, on poor people's property, who
had not the means to defend themselves, and then, when they thought they
could not get any more rock there, they came around on McGregor's side,
but there was no rock there.
Mr. Days — Did the majority of property owners on Sansome Street peti-
tion the Board of Supervisors to allow Mr. English to grade the street ? A.
Not that I know.
Mr. Enos — You did not? A. No, sir; nor anybody I am acquainted
Q. They claim that they have an order from the Board of Supervisors to
grade certain streets, and therefore they shelter themselves under that?
A. We also had a petition before the Board of Harbor Commissioners and
Board of Supervisors, and we defeated them on both cases. Mr. Hackett's
lawyers put up a record that they bought a lot there, and they wanted a
petition from the Supervisors to grade through the lot. They leased that
lot there of a man for three years. This was the excuse that they could
injure poor people.
Q. You, for one, did not propose to be injured? A. No, sir. They de-
stroyed the property of poor people, and the poor people left their houses
and came to me. I offered them my house to come into, and they said,
" we are in as much danger in your house as we are at home." My ten-
ants left, and I have not had one dollar out of my three houses since then.
Mr. Roney — You have no idea how many houses have been destroyed,
have you? A. I know two ladies that had their houses destroyed; and
there is another person, Mrs. Ogan, and Brome, and McArevy, and several
others that I don't know their names.
Miss E. J. McArevy.
Mr. Enos — Where do you live? Answer — 1305 Montgomery Street.
Q. Were you in ownership of any property there? A. It was my home.
Q. What is the size ? A. Twenty-five feet front and one hundred and
Q. And you had a house upon it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. That was your home, and you resided there for how long ? A. Twenty-
Q. You were living with your mother then? A. Mother and father.
Q. What effect has the blasting of this rock had upon it, if any? A. It
has damaged our home and taken it down.
Q. Is the building gone? A. Yes, sir. It went down on the fifteenth of
Q. Was the dirt and rock that was taken from the lot put into this sea-
wall ? A. I think a portion of it.
Q. Was there any blasting done in your lot? A. I think not.
Q. What was the value of your property at the time they commenced
this excavation? A. As a home I should consider it worth about $2,500
Q. You think that would be a fair value? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you ever received any compensation for it? A. Not five cents.
Q. Has any offer been made for restitution in grading your lot? A. Not
to me, but to an attorney, but he would not accept it.
Q. Has legal steps been taken to restrain them? A. It has been in the
hands of an attorney for some time, but they have put him off and I don't
know what is going to be done about it.
Q. Can you give me the names of any other persons except what Mrs.
McGregor gave that have been injured? A. James Hartford, Mr. Murphy,
Michael O'Neil, Mrs. Burdette, on my side of the hill. It is not necessary
for me to mention the names that Mrs. McGregor has mentioned.
Q. You have been compelled to leave your lot? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you sign a paper for grading the streets? A. No, sir.
Q. Were you ever requested to do it? A. No, sir.
Q. Did they ever make an offer to grade your street? A. Mr. Hackett
called once on me and made a proposition to me, and I told him I did not
wish the place to be graded, and he said if he should damage our home
what would I do. I told him I supposed if he would not settle satisfactorily
with me I would have to settle with the Court. He said he was going to
grade that street, and if he damaged that property we could do the best we
Q. Has the street been graded ? A. It has been left in a miserable con-
dition, not passable.
Q. What condition was the street in; was there any cut there before he
commenced the excavation? A. No, sir.
Q. And they cut down to about 125 feet? A. I think so as near as I can
Q. You say your lot was 25 feet by 120? A. Yes, sir. All that is left
is about 25 feet fronting on Union Street, and about 40 feet deep. That is
all that is left.
Q. It is all gone except that? A. Yes, sir.
Q. That is all that is left of the original surface as it was at the time
they commenced ? A. That is all that is left.
Q. The house is entirely gone ? A. Yes, sir; it went down on the. fif-
teenth of last October; fell down itself, through their blasting.
Q. It tumbled down? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You moved out the furniture and everything ? A. About five months
before we had moved out, through their blasting; there had been a great
many things damaged in the house; pictures and windows and various
Q. During the time you lived there, occasioned by the blasts? A. Yes,
Mr. Days — That really compelled you to move? A. We were com-
pelled to move. When they would have a blast they would notify us to go
out of the house, and sent a special policeman to us, and we would state to
him it was impossible for us to go out, as my father was an invalid and
bed-ridden, and there was no person to carry him out; he was confined to
his bed then for about eight months; he had been an invalid for years, and
it was utterly impossible for my mother and I to carry him out.
Mr. Roney — After hearing your reply would they continue to blast?
A. Certainly; when the doctor called to see him he was very low, and he
said he would give me a certificate to go the Board of Supervisors to pre-
vent them from blasting. I thought Mr. Hackett would come and make
things satisfactory, but he never made his appearance. I never spoke to
Mr. Hackett but once during that time.
Q. They did not make any proposition to purchase the house, did they?
A. They made a proposition once there, but it was not satisfactory and we
would not accept it; I was willing, if they had come to any satisfactory
terms, to move the house, but it was impossible before the bank went down.
Mr. Enos — You have received no compensation at all for your property?
A. Never received five cents from them.
Q. They did not forget to tax you for it? A. No.
Mr. Enos — Mr. Murphy, where do you live ? Answer — 206 Union Street.
Q. Is that in the vicinity of where this seawall was constructed? A.
Q. Did you own a lot there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you live there? A. Yes, sir; I had two houses there.
Q. On what streets were they located ? A. Union Street, 69 feet through
to Sansome; 60 feet deep; two houses.
Q. There was a house on each end of the lot? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was your property injured? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How was it injured ? A. Heavy blasts shook the house and fright-
ened our tenants; the property was injured very much.
Q. What value do you place upon your injury? A. One house cost me
$800 about three years ago.
Q. What damage has been done to your property; how much less is your
property worth to-day than it was before they commenced the blasting ?
A. I conclude $2,000 less; no one would live in the houses.
Q. Have they blasted into your lot? A. No, sir; they blasted away from
me, but it shook all the property, the whole buildings.
Q. Is any of the surface of your lot gone? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How deep did they blast by your lot? A. About 120 feet.
Q. How can you get in from Union Street to your house ? A. Go around
Q. How did you get in there before? A. There were steps going up
Union ; we can not get in that way at all now.
Q. Have you ever received any compensation for the damage done to
your property ? A. No, sir.
Q. Was the material that was blasted there taken and put into this sea-
wall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was it done by Hackett, English & Co.? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was any dirt or rock taken from your lot? A. Yes, sir; a lot.
Q. Do you know what became of that which was taken from your lot?
A. It went about 120 feet down the hill.
Q. You could not very well get it back ? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you sign any petition for the grading of the street? A. No, sir.
Q. Were you asked to sign any petition ? A. No, sir.
Q. You have not been compensated in any way for this damage ? A.
Q. Did you protest against it? A. Certainly I did.
Mr. Enos — Where do you reside? Answer — Alta Street.
Q. In the vicinity of Section 5 of the seawall ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you have any property there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much? A. 25 by 60 feet, sir, adjoining Mr. Murphy.
Q. Was that your building upon it? A. Yes, sir; a house.
Q. Any other house? A. No, sir; house and fence.
Q. Has your lot been affected by these blasts? A. Yes, sir; there is
about ten feet standing now, and the rest has all gone down the Alta Street
Q. What was it worth at the time of the excavation? A. $1,000.
Q. What is it worth now? A. I could not say how much it is worth now.
Q. Is the building there still? A. No, sir; it was knocked down.
Q. The building has gone down? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where? A. Into the quarry.
Q. How deep have they excavated around you? A. About 125 feet.
Q. Has the building gone right down there? A. Clear down through.
Q. You had to. move out and vacate your lot? A. Yes, sir.
Q. It is unoccupied ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What do you consider your damage ? A. About $700.
Q. What became of the stone and dirt that went from your lot? A. It
was put into the seawall.
Q. You know that to be a fact? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know whether any blasts were put into your lot? A. No, sir;
I watched that.
Mr. Roney — Was it by the blasting that this portion of your lot tumbled
down? A. Yes, sir.
Q. It was by the action of the blasts? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you enter a protest against their grading that street? A. Yes,
sir; to the Board of Supervisors.
Q. What action did they take in the matter? A. I could not say what
action they did take in it; we sent a petition to them.
Q. Yourself and all the other property owners combined and presented
their protest to this action? A. Yes, sir; and the Board of Supervisors
took no action whatever.
Q. What Board was that? A. The old Board, sir.
Q. Not the present Board — the last Board? A. The last Board, sir.
Q. Mr. Hackett or Mr. English, or any of their agents, never made any
compensation to you? A. No, sir.
Q. They did fire off blasts and scatter the rock around in all directions,
did they? A. Yes, sir. I showed a piece of rock to Mr. Hackett out of
my yard. I said, "This is a queer way of doing business." It came from
the bottom of the quarry.
Mrs. Ellen Burdette.
Q. Where do you live? Answer — 222 Chestnut Street.
Q. Where the seawall was being built? A. No, sir; but my property
Q. Did you own property in that vicinity? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much? A. 43 feet fronting on Alta Street, running 120 feet back
into Union Street; I own from one street to the other.
Q. Is it improved ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is on it? A. Four houses on it; one house was injured that
brought me $24 a month.
Q. To what extent has your property been injured? A. I can not really
say; the house used to bring me $24 a month.
Q. That is destroyed ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. It is untenantable now? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Owing to the blasts that have been made ? A. Yes, sir. The family
that was in there said the blasts shook the house so that it broke some of
the panes of glass and they moved out.
Q. Has there any other damage been done to your property? A. Yes,
sir; I have a small piece on Sansome Street; the house that was on that
fell down. It was tumbled over and I took the house down.
Q. What was the size of that lot? A. It was only 10 feet by 125 feet
deep; that is injured; all gone down; the lot is all gone; it is no more use.
Q. What damage has been done to that? A. I suppose five or six hun-
Q. What became of the rock and dirt that was taken from your property ?
A. I dare say Mr. Hackett took it for the seawall.
Q. Was it thrown down by the blasts for the seawall ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was your house occupied? A. Yes, sir.
Q. One house brought you in $24 a month, and you have been deprived
of that, and that is worthless? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you been out of the use of that? A. About eight or
Q. Has the lot independent of that also been injured? A. It is not
injured, but of course it has decreased in value.
Q. Has it injured the property generally from this excavation that has
been made? A. It has injured it so it will never bring the same rent to
Q. Have you signed any petition? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever given your consent for any of this excavation ? A. No,
sir. Mr. Hackett came up one time and I told him the windows were
broken and the pictures were all shook off the walls, and he says, " How
much will you take for your property? " I says, " I don't know how much
my property is worth." The property is worth a great deal more to me.
Q. You never received any compensation? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever received any offer? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever demanded any compensation? A. No, sir.
Mr. Enos — Where do you live? Answer — ]So. 713 Front Street.
Q. Do you own any property in the vicinity of where this seawall was
built? A. Yes, sir; owned two houses and two lots, 205 and 207 Union
Q. What size lots? A. My lots are 45 feet 10 inches front, and 68 feet
9 inches deep.
Q. What was the value of your property before anything was done to it?
A. I would not take $4,000 for it.
Q. What has been done, if anything? A. It is all damaged; my two
houses thrown down, my lots and everything gone.
Q. Did you ever sign any petition? A. No, sir.
Q. Nor give any consent? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever received any offer for your property? A. Mr. Schuyler
made me an offer when the first house went down. He says: "Is that
other house out there rented?" I said, "No; why?" "Because it would
not be safe for anybody to live in it." He said, "Go up and live in it
yourself, and you will get killed, and you won't'want any damages."
Q. Did you live in that neighborhood ? A. I lived on Front Street.
Q. Do you know whether the rock and dirt that was taken from your lot
went into this seawall ? A. I was there every day, and I took particular
notice where my stuff went; it went into the seawall; I followed the carts
to make sure what they did with it.
Q. There is no mistake? A. No, sir.
Q. You protested against their damaging your property? A. I did, sir.
Q. Who did you say made that proposition to you? A. Mr. Schuyler, sir.
Q. You did not accept his proposition? A. No, sir.
Q. The house fell down? A. Yes, sir; and the two houses fell down.
Q. You are pretty positive that the dirt and rock that went from your
lot went into the seawall? A. I followed the carts and saw where it went.
Q. Do you pretend to say that the entire surface of your lot is gone? A.
Q. How much is left? A. I would not say particularly; I think maybe
one quarter of the lot stands.
Mr. Enos — Where do you live ? Answer — 209 Union Street.
Q. How large a lot do you own there? A. 22 feet 11 inches front by 69
Q. Was that your home? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you live there in the house? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Has your lot been damaged by construction of this seawall? A. The
house is all shook and the ground broke under it, and the windows are
broken. I complained to Mr. Schuyler about it and he never come near
Q. Quite a portion of your lot is gone ? A. No, sir.
Q. Your property has been injured? A. The property has been injured.
Q. To what extent has it been injured? A. $1,500.
Q. Did you sign any petition to grade any streets ? A. No, sir.
Q. You protested against the grading of the street? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you tell the contractors that they were damaging your property ?
A. I told Mr. Schuyler so.
Q. What satisfaction did he give you? A. He wanted to know my name
and I gave it, but he never paid me anything or never offered to pay me.
Mr. Roney — What were the grounds of your protest against grading the
street? A. My property would slide down the hill.
Q. Did you state that to the Board of Supervisors ? A. No, sir, I did
not; I supposed they knew what it meant.
Mr. Enos — Where do you live? Answer — 209 Union Street.
Q. In the vicinity of the seawall ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you own a lot there ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What size? A. 25 feet by 69.
Q. Any improvements upon it? A. Yes, sir. I have been living there
for 26 years; that house there cost me $1,300; the lot cost me $700, 27
Q. What did you consider the property was worth before any injury was
done to it? I consider the property ought to be worth $1,700, at the very
Q. And has that property been injured? A. I have not lived in the
place for the last seven months. I was afraid the whole place would go
Q. Have you been compelled to vacate? A. Not compelled.
Q. You thought it not safe? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And moved away? A. Yes, sir; right in the rear of where we lived,
25 feet has gone.
Q. You consider your property has been damaged? A. I consider it
damaged when I do not think it is safe to live there.
Q. Does it remain idle? A. No; some of those parties that had to move
from those other places, came and moved into my house. About a week
after, they came and said it was not safe to live there, and would not pay
the rent. They did not think it was worth while to pay rent.
Q. Did you sign any petition? A. No, sir; all the petition I signed was
to tell the Supervisors to stop.
Q. There has been a great deal of damage done to private property ? A.
Q. And it has been taken to fill up the seawall ? A. Clear from Green
Street, right across to Filbert Street, right within two blocks. Any rock
that was any good they sent across the bay; they put it aboard a barge,
and took it across the bay.
Q. To the Oakland side? A. Yes, sir; all the rock that was any good.
Q. A good deal of rock has been sent over there? A. Yes, sir; any
amount of it. I believe they contracted there for eighty thousand tons, if
I understand things right, and I believe I am about right there.
Q. You say you think about eighty thousand tons was taken from those
two blocks and sent over on the Oakland side? A. Yes, sir; I believe that
was the contract. I do not know whether it was all taken from those two
blocks. I saw it taken on board the scow myself.
Q. Who took it from there — what party? A. I could not tell you. I
believe Hackett had something to do with it; I am not certain, but I be-
lieve he had.
Q. A large amount of rock was taken from these blocks you speak of and
taken over to the Oakland side, as well as for building this seawall, Sec-
tion 5? A. Yes, sir; I seen some of the rock going across there.
Mr. Roney — Have your neighbors taken any steps at all to be, either
individually or collectively, compensated for the damage done to you? A.
Not that I am aware of. I am not aware that anybody made any motion
to get any compensation, more than they wanted to stop the grading in the
Q. You are aware that these contractors have remaining in the hands of
the Harbor Commissioners, still twenty-five per cent of the amount of their
contract? A. No, sir; I am not aware of anything of the kind.
Q. Why do you not take some steps to get some of that twenty-five per
cent, any way? A. I suppose we would if we knew the way to do it, but I
don't suppose there is any of us smart enough to do it.
Q. There are plenty of lawyers in the town to aid you? A. I suppose
Mr. Enos (to Mr. Manson) — Mr. Manson, how long is it before the three
months expires after the completion of that contract; can you tell me?
Mr. Manson — It expires about the middle of this month.
Q. It will not expire, will it, until all the dirt and everything has settled,
and no holes to be filled up? Is there not some provision here in relation
to that? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Roxey — Do you know of any one who signed that petition?
Mr. Ward — Nobody signed any petition, not that I know of.
[One of the witnesses previously examined here remarked that the peti-
tion was signed by Mr. Fitch and Mr. Johnson, who live on Sansome Street,
east of Union Street.]
Mr. Exos — Mr. Manson, was anything said in your presence by the con-
tractors in regard to signing this contract when that eight-hour clause was
Mr. Manson — Yes, sir; an objection was made.
Q. Who was present besides yourself? A. I think all the members of
the Board were present, and the Secretary.
Q. What was said when the contractors refused to sign this clause that
was in the agreement? A. They did not refuse to sign it; they simply
objected to it, for the reason that it had not been stated in the specification.
The President of the Board spoke to me, and I told him I did not think it
was at all necessary to put that in the specification.
Q. Was there an agreement by the contracting parties to this agreement
that that eight-hour law was not to be enforced? A. No, sir; it was put in
Q. They objected to signing the contract. Did the Harbor Commission-
ers make any agreement that that would not be enforced ? A. None that I
know of, sir.
Q. You have no knowledge of it? A. No, sir.
Q. So far as you are concerned as Engineer, having, under that contract,
super vision of that work, there has been no effort, to your knowledge, to
enforce that provision? A. No, sir.
At this point the further investigation was adjourned to Wednesday,
June 10, 1885, at 7:30 o'clock p. m.
June 10, 1885, 7:30 p. m.
T. C. Coogan.
Mr. Days — You are the attorney for the State Board of Harbor Com-
missioners, are you not? Answer — Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you held that position? A. Since May, 1883.
Q. What are your duties in relation thereto; what I mean by that is,
you do more really than ordinary attorneys; draw contracts, do you not?
A. I attend to all actions brought by the Board, and all actions brought
against the Board, and give advice generally in relation to the business of
Q. Did you draw the contract for building Section 5 of the seawall, if
not, who did? A. The last one?
Q. The one let to English a year or more ago; this is a copy of the con-
tract and specifications [handing witness a paper]. A. I do not remem-
ber whether I drew that contract or not.
Mr. Enos — I think the testimony is that he did not draw the contract.
The Witness — I do not remember.
Q. Were you present when it was signed, Mr. Coogan? A. I do not recol-
lect that; I draw very few of these contracts; they are all in printed forms,
but when there is anything difficult the clerk in the office sends for me; I
have drawn but very few.
Q. Governor Irwin testified it was let to English alone, but English and
Hackett testified here that it was let to several of them.
Mr. Enos — They testified there were four in the contract, Mr. English,
Mr. Hackett, Mr. Wagner, and Mr. Schuyler. A. The contract will explain
that; it speaks for itself.
Mr. Days — The contract only shows one? A. Then, I suppose, the bid
must have been by one.
Q. Do you know whether there were any other bids than that made by
Mr. English ? A. My recollection is there were quite a number.
Q. How do you arrive at the fact as to who is the lowest bidder when
two or more persons, companies, or corporations bid for the work? A. I
have nothing to do with that; that is attended to by the Commissioners; I
am seldom there when bids are received.
Q. Then you have nothing at all to do with the letting of bids? A.
Q. Your advice is not asked? A. No, sir; unless there is something
unusual about it; occasionally there is a protest filed by the bidder, then
they telephone for me, and I go down and advise in reference to it, so far
as I am able.
Q. If two or more persons, companies, or corporations, were to bid for
work, and the lowest bidder had the reputation of slighting work and doing
it in a flimsy manner, while the next lowest bidder had the reputation of
doing work well, which would be considered the lowest bidder? The idea
of that question is, whether if John Jones bids for a contract $2 less to do
the work than William Smith, and you knew that Smith was a more
reliable workman and would do the same more than $2 better, would the
law compel the contract to be let to John Jones? A. No, sir; as the law is
framed, the Commissioners have power to reject all bids.
Mr. Enos — They have discretion? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Days — I know they have the right to refuse all bids; but will they,
in this case? A. I could not tell ; but under the law, I think the Commis-
sioners have the power to reject both.
Q. Suppose they did not reject both, but took one of them ; they would be
likely to take the one that would do the best work for the money ? A. I
should think so.
Q. Was any other person than Mr. English recognized by the Board as
parties to the contract in building Section 5 of the seawall? The law
provides, I believe, that after the contract is let that he can not take any
person in with him unless by written request. Do you know whether that
was done in this case or not? A. I think not.
Q. If any person, company, or corporation, takes a contract from the
Board of Harbor Commissioners and fails to carry out the provisions of
the contract, what course would you pursue as Attorney of the Board?
A. I would do as the Board instructed me ; I am subject to the Board.
The State is abundantly secured in those cases by bonds. If the contractor
is pecuniarily responsible, I should proceed against the contractor, if it was
left to me to pursue my own course. If the contractor was not responsible,
I should proceed against the sureties on his bonds.
Q. Why are persons, making bids for a contract with the Board of Har-
bor Commissioners, compelled to inclose a check or bond; that is, for the
bid? A. As a guarantee of good faith, and so as to protect the State from
loss. The State incurs some expense by way of advertising, which is con-
Q. How much did Mr. English place in the hands of the Board as a
guarantee for the faithful performance of the contract? A. I do not know;
I suppose only what the law calls for.
Q. Do you "know whether it has been returned or not?
Mr. Enos — What is the amount? A. Ten per cent; I have nothing at
all to do with the contract.
Mr. Days — Whose duty is it to decide when a contract has been faith-
fully performed ? A. The Board's.
Q. Has it been decided that the contractor faithfully performed all the
conditions of the contract in building Section 5 of the seawall? A. I do
Q. If he has failed in fulfilling any material provision of the contract,
does he not forfeit his bond? A. Forfeit is a pretty broad word. Do you
mean, is he liable upon his bond?
Q. Of course he would be liable at a suit at law; but I mean could not
the bond be forfeited without going to law? A. No, sir.
Q. When the law provides for certain things being placed in the con-
tract, are not those things material, and is it not the duty of the contract-
ing parties to see that they are faithfully performed ? A. Are you asking
me my opinion as a lawyer, or as a man?
Q. I am asking for your opinion as the lawyer of the Board ? A. I do
not have anything to do with the Board's duties. I have nothing to do
with them except to obey their orders.
Q. You are their legal adviser? A. Yes, sir, whenever I am asked.
Q. When anything occurs that they do not understand they would nat-
urally ask your advice? A. Yes, sir; and I would advise about anything
they asked me.
Q. This seems to me a very simple question for a lawyer. When the
law specifies for certain things being placed in the contract, are not those
things material, and is it not the duty of the contracting parties to see that
they are faithfully performed ? Contracts are generally between two par-
ties, but there are contracts that affect three parties. Now, this investiga-
tion is really in the interest of a third party; that is, in the interest of a
party that is not one of the contracting parties, neither the contractors nor
the State Board; I mean the people, the workingmen and others. Don't
you think that a very plain question to put to a lawyer ? A. You are ask-
ing me a legal conundrum. You and I know that a lawyer does not want
to express an opinion unless he has given the question some thought; I do
not, especially in my dealings with the Board. I try to examine every
question that is submitted to me with a great deal of care, and before giv-
ing any legal opinion I should want to examine the question.
Q. I should think the law would not specially provide for the insertion
of any clause in the contract between the State and the contractor, unless
the law considered it material. Now, I should consider it material? A.
You have had more experience than I have had, Mr. Days, and why not
be satisfied with your own judgment upon that question?
Mr. Enos — Here is a clause in this contract: " It is expressly stipulated
that eight hours' of labor shall be a legal day's work under this agreement,
and all the provisions of Chapter X, Title VI, of the Political Code appli-
cable thereto, are to be determined as incorporated herein." Now, that is a
part of that contract; that is the law of the State and Constitution; that is
put in there, and under the law of the State you are the legal adviser of
that Board, not only to prosecute and defend, but render them such legal
services as may be required. Mr. English takes that contract with this
provision in it; he goes on and does the work, executes that portion of the
contract. I suppose that is what Mr. Days wants to get your opinion in
relation to. Now, suppose that is not lived up to, is there any power to
make anybody live up to it? How does that affect the contract if the
Board of Harbor Commissioners should see fit to act upon that as a forfeit-
ure, or non-performance, or violation of that contract? A. You are aware
of what the Supreme Court of the State and the United States have said
in relation to that question. There is a decision here in the California
Reports in relation to some municipal work.
Mr. Days — It is my opinion that it does not touch us at all. I did not
know of it until Governor Irwin testified about it, and in my opinion it does
not strike this question at all. That would be my opinion as a lawyer. I
am satisfied that the Boards of Harbor Commissioners have been consider-
ing that under that decision this clause was not binding. Of course I do
not know whether you understand the object of this investigation. As far
as I am concerned, the object of the investigation is to get at why we have
certain laws upon the statute books and those laws not enforced. That is
one of the objects. Another object is to inquire into our system of labor.
Of course it is not to cinch anybody, or to get the means of cinching any-
body, nothing of the kind as far as I am individually concerned, and I do
not suppose it is as far as anybody else is concerned.
The Witness — The question is, why this provision of the contract has
not been enforced. With that I have nothing to do. That is a question of
the Board's. I have nothing to do with enforcing the contracts any more
than the humblest laborer.
Mr. Enos — Has your opinion as attorney of the Board been solicited by
the Board? A. I think they were in relation to this contract or some con-
tract the Board asked me in relation to that question; and I remember at
that time, I believe, we had occasion to examine the same question, and I
read the decision of our own Court in 38 California, Drew and Carroll vs.
Smith, and a decision in 94 United States Reports, and also a decision of
Judge Lawler of the Superior Court here, and there was some dictum of
Judge Sharpstein's in the Coster case, 60 California. In fact, I read every-
thing in my reach bearing upon the question, and I thought then that the
case in 38 California did apply. That is the case you refer to?
Mr. Days — That is the case; Drew and Carroll vs. Smith.
Mr. Enos — What year was that rendered ?
Mr. Days— In 1869.
The Witness — The ten-hour law was passed in 1853, and the tenor of
the law remained until 1868, when the eight-hour law was passed. The
first or second section, which is the section adopted in the Code, had no
provision in it, or no penalty for its non-performance, but section four of the
same Act in relation to the employment of minors had a penalty, and when
the Code was adopted they engrafted into it the substance of the law of
1867 and 1868. Drew and Carroll vs. Smith was decided in 1869 or 1870,
and it was in relation to this provision which was subsequently adopted in
Mr. Days — Mr. Smith, the Street Superintendent of this city, in draft-
ing a contract which the Supervisors had let to some individual, Drew and
Carroll I suppose, put into that provision of the law a penalty, a forfeiture
of all his rights to any pay. That was the question that went before the
Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court decided that when the Legislature
had not put in the statute a penalty for the violation of a law that an
executive officer could not do it, and that really is the decision. Judge
Sanderson stated that parties working under these contracts can sue for all
the time over eight hours a day. Three of the Judges put that statement
in, and my opinion is that decision does not really affect the eight-hour law.
The Witness — During General Grant's administration Congress passed
an eight-hour law, and shortly after he issued a proclamation concerning
it. Shortly after that the question concerning the legal effect of that pro-
vision of the Act of Congress came before the Court of Claims, and an
appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the
Supreme Court of the United States has laid down the same ruling as
Drew and Smith.
Mr. Days — That there was no penalty? A. Yes, sir; if you remember,
that the fourth section regarding the employment of minors had a penalty;
this ought to have
Mr. Enos — Your opinion is that it requires legislation to make this effect-
ive? A. Yes, sir, and some penalty attached to it; that is my judgment
Q. Where you employed Mongolians it says under penalty of forfeiture
of the contract? A. Yes, sir; there was a penalty attached in that case.
Mr. Days — Did Mr. English object to sign the contract on account of
certain provisions; and if so, how were his scruples overcome. He states
that you were present? A. If he states so it must be so and probably was
so. He would remember it better than I would.
Q. Did you as attorney for the Board tell Mr. English that the provis-
ions in relation to the eight-hour law were only inserted to carry out the
mandate of the statute, and need not be enforced? A. I do not remember
telling him so.
Mr. Days — He testified to that.
Mr. Enos — He says it was not in the specification; but when inserted in
the agreement his attention was called to it and he protested against sign-
ing the contract, as it was not in the specification? A. If I said anything
in relation to it, I said it in the light of the decision of the Supreme Court
of the State. Of course these things are not fresh in my mind. When I
reflect, I think there was something said in relation to that matter; and, if
I remember correctly, I got the decision of the Supreme Court and read it
at the time. It was there in my office.
Mr. Days — That is, to show there was no penalty for the violation of it?
A. I do not know for what purpose it was read. It was read because of
some question that came up there. I think in the specification there was
no such provision, if I remember correctly that is the way; in the printed
specification that provision was omitted.
Mr. Enos — That is, the specifications which were advertised? A. Yes,
sir. But it is inserted now. When the contract came to be prepared, this
provision was inserted in the contract, and Mr. English demurred to the
execution of the contract because this was something he had no reference
to when he made his bid. My opinion was then asked in relation to the
legal effect of it, and I got the decision of the Supreme Court of the State
and read the decision there which determined the legal effect in such a
Mr. Days — Mr. Coogan, I ask you as an attorney in the employment of
the State, what do you consider State or public work? Do you consider all
work performed by the State public work — I mean, whether by contract or
otherwise? A. The Supreme Court in that Alameda County case the other
day said something about that. I think the Supreme Court has' deter-
mined the meaning of those words, Mr. Days. If I was in my office I
could give you the case, but I do not recollect it at this moment.
Q. Suppose the State employs persons to do certain work; for one half
of the work it agrees to pay by the lump or contract, for the other it pays
by the month, week, or day: is > one part State or public work, and the
other not — or is there any difference ? I suppose that would come under
the same provision that the Supreme Court decided? A. Yes, sir.
Q. If A makes a pair of boots for B, and B refuses to pay for them, A
can keep them, or otherwise dispose of them, can he not? A. I should think
so; yes, sir.
Q. Then if C builds a section of the seawall two thousand feet long, and
the Board of Harbor Commissioners refuses to pay for the same, can C
keep the section and collect tolls, or sell the section to private parties ?
That is a very plain proposition and can be easily answered. Of course
the contractor could not do it. A. I do not think he could.
Mr. Enos — Certainly he could not sue the State.
Mr. Days — What remedy would C have in the premises — that is what I
wish to get at? A. Off-hand, I should say he would be obliged to apply
to the Legislature.
Q. Now, Mr. Coogan, I ask you as an attorney in the employ of the
State, if in your opinion the law which provides that eight hours shall be a
legal day's work is not intended to cover all persons, whether engaged to
do a day's work, a week's work, or a month's work? This covers another
point. What I mean by that is, the law says eight hours shall be a day's
work ; now, if the State employs me to work for it, would it make any dif-
ference whether I was engaged by the day, engaged by the month, or
engaged by the year; would not that eight-hour provision cover my case?
A. I think so.
Q. Then, in your opinion, if A is employed by the State at a monthly
salary, and his chief compels him to work ten or twelve hours a day, it is
a violation of the provisions of the eight-hour law ? Simply because he is
supposed to be employed by the week or by the month, if he works twelve
hours he violates the provisions of the eight-hour law; is that your opinion?
A. I refer you to the Supreme Court of the United States on that question,
94 U. S.; that is the question decided there. I may be wrong, but that is
Q. If A, a servant of the State, to obviate the eight-hour law, engages B
at so much per hour, and works him ten hours per day, would not that be
a violation of the eight-hour law, or does that come under the same decision ?
A. That is Drew vs. Smith again. Judge Sanderson discussed that very
Mr. Enos — Judge Sanderson says they can sue and recover? A. Drew
vs. Smith, 38 Cal. Judge Sanderson discusses that question. Judges Saw-
yer, Rhodes, Sanderson, Crockett and Sprague are in that case.
Mr. Days — Are you acquainted with the history of the eight-hour move-
ment in this State? A. In a general way; yes, sir.
Q. Mr. English testified that the men working under him on the seawall
contract worked ten hours per day; was not that a violation of an express
provision of the contract, and if so, whose duty was it to see the law enforced
in that respect? A. That is exactly what the Supreme Court decided.
Q. No; I am asking whose duty it is to see the law enforced? A. That
is what the Supreme Court has determined, whose duty it was to enforce it,
and what it means, in Drew vs. Smith.
Q. Then, of course, it is neither the duty of the Board nor its attorney to
attend to that? A. I have nothing to do with anything except what I am
instructed to do by those gentlemen, by the Board. I do not know whether
Mr. English worked his men eight or ten hours, or how many men he
employed. I have nothing to do with that. My duties, I assure you, are
Q. You know what the law of contracts is, Mr. Coogan; what I mean by
that is, how contracts are enforced ? A. I know something about it.
Q. If A contracts with B to do a certain piece of work in a certain way,
and within a certain time, and fails, what recourse has B; has he any other
recourse than the Courts, that is the point? A. I think that is the only
Q. Mr. English contracted with the State Board of Harbor Commission-
ers to build Section 5 of the seawall, and work his men only eight hours a
day; he failed to live up to his contract in this respect, whose duty is it to
vindicate the offended majesty of the law? A. It is not the duty of the
Attorney of the Board.
Q. It is not his duty? A. No, sir.
Q. Would.it be the duty of the Board? A. You put me in a delicate
position to ask me to express an opinion as to the duties of my superiors.
Q. Mr. Coogan, if Mr. English had put stone in the front of the seawall
that the Engineer would not accept, whose duty would it be to see that
that stone was taken out and proper stone put in? A. I do not know.
Q. Certainly you know? A. I do not know anything about the duties of
the Board, or the duties of the Engineer or the clerks, any more than you
do; any more than what the statute says in relation thereto. I know that.
Mr. Enos — Does not the statute give full authority to the Harbor Com-
missioners to enforce all contracts ? Are not all contracts under their super-
vision and control? A. Contracts made by them?
Mr. Enos — Yes. A. I suppose so.
Q. As their legal adviser, suppose they called upon you for your opinion
in relation to their power to enforce a contract and its provisions. We will
take this case. What would be your advice to the Board under those cir-
cumstances? A. I should take the matter to my office and examine it with
care. Then I would put my advice in writing and file it in the office of
the Board, where it is open to the whole world to view at all times. I do
not put my views in writing unless the Board gives me abundant time to
examine the matter. Sometimes I do not have time to mature my views,
but I generally put them in writing and file them there.
Mr. Days — Do you know of any difficulty between the contractors and
the residents of Telegraph Hill; or that part of the hill where he procured
his material to build the seawall? A. I know nothing about it.
Q. If the property of any of the said residents was used without their
consent, and put into the seawall, would not the State be morally liable in
damages; supposing, of course, they could not collect from the contractors?
A. I am inclined to think, under the decision of the United States vs. Lee,
that the State would. That case you are familiar with, are you not?
Mr. Days — No, sir; I am not.
The Witness — That was a case occurring out of the taking by the
United States Government of a cemetery at Georgetown, and the descend-
ants of General Lee brought an action against the United States Govern-
ment; and the Supreme Court of the United States took a great step in
advance of the prior decisions upon the question of how far the State could
shelter itself under its sovereignty, and the principle laid down seems to
be that, although on general principles the State can not be sued, where the
State has property in its possession belonging to a third person, that the
State is amenable. When the question came up about the United States
Mint here, the same principle seems to be followed there. Under the prin-
ciple followed in that case, and the Lee case, it seems that the State would
be liable where it has property belonging to individuals.
Mr. Enos — I do not know as I understand your proposition.
The Witness — That the State cannot be sued in its own Courts. It is a
sovereignty, but where the State has property in its possession, belonging
to a third person, then the State can not protect itself, or can not shelter
itself under the claim that it is a sovereignty.
Mr. Enos — One of the questions here which interests a great many people
that have had their property damaged — of course, it is not a question for
me to decide, but I think this investigation will necessarily bring it out
very prominently, as stated by Senator Days here — is whether this eight-
hour law needs any amendment or penalty attached to it; and a second
question is in regard to contracts on all public works, whether it would not
be for the interest of the State to do it by day's work rather than by con-
The Witness — I would be glad to cooperate with you and aid you in any
way in my power.
Mr. Enos — Of course, we have nothing to do with this matter but to
report the testimony, and whatever report I see fit to make upon the testi-
mony, and my conclusions; but as we are in this investigation, and there
is no use disguising the fact, there is a widespread interest in relation to
these two great questions, especially among all the laboring people of this
country. This eight-hour law has never been enforced that I know of, and
they want to know the reason why, and if there is any defect in it they
want to know it and amend it. And this is the object of this investigation;
and the position you have occupied has called upon you to make a thor-
ough investigation of all these questions.
Mr. Days — If the work had been done by day's labor, instead of by the
job or contract, would not the State be responsible for the laches of its em-
ployes just the same as an individual? A. I suppose so.
Q. One lady testified that her propert}^ was stolen and she followed it
day after day, and saw it dumped into the seawall; that she could get no
satisfaction from the contractor; is not the State the gainer by her loss and
morally bound to see her paid? A. I should think so. *
Mr. Days — Please give your name in full, and occupation? Answer —
Robert Geer. I generally work on dredging work. My business has been
Q. How long have you worked at mining ? A. I have followed it since
the Spring of 1862.
Q. Did you work for Mr. English in building Section 5 of the seawall,
and if so, in what capacity, and how long? A. I cannot exactly say how
long. I worked for him drilling. I commenced about the time they com-
menced, or little afterwards — a few days afterwards.
Q. You do not remember how long you worked ? A. It must have been
in the nighborhood of two months — something in that neighborhood.
Q. What wages were you paid, and how many hours did you work each
day? A. I was paid $1 75 a day, and I worked ten hours.
Mr. Enos — Are you an experienced mechanic at that business ? A. Yes,
Mr. Days — Who hired you, who set you to work ? A. Mr. English hired
me, and sent me down, and I was put to work by Mr. Gray.
Q. Mr. English hired you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you board at any of the boarding houses near the work? A. No.
I board at home with my family.
Q. Are you sufficiently acquainted with excavating to know the different
methods used, and which are the safest? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you consider the work of excavating Telegraph Hill, during your
employment, dangerous; if so, give some instances of the danger? A. I
considered it dangerous in the extreme, owing to the carelessness of Mr.
Gray. I consider him very incompetent, and a very careless man. After
a blast would go off, he would not allow the bank to be trimmed off, which,
in all cases, is very essential, in order for the safety of the men who are
Mr. Enos — What do you mean by trimming? A. A man would be
lowered down, with a rope tied around his body; he would be lowered
down, and would have a crowbar and face off the bank, and with the crow-
bar break off all the loose rock, and those that might be likely to fall down;
trim it off.
Q. That was not done ? A. It was done once when I insisted on having
it done, or else I would quit. That was the only time I remember it was
Mr. Days — What, if any, safeguards were used by the contractors, or
their foremen, or any one in their employ, to prevent accidents? A. I
could not say as to that. Once in a great while they would have a watch-
man for a little while, but it was only temporary.
Q. Where were the watchmen placed? A. Right in front of the bank.;
a little ways from it, so they could see the firing.
Q. Did any accidents occur during your employment; if so, tell what
they were? A. There was no accident of any importance. I got hurt
there once from a rock falling from the face of the bank when I was drill-
ing, owing to the bank not being trimmed off; but it did not hurt me a
great deal, but hurt me for some time.
Q. It might have killed you? A. If it had struck me on the head I
firmly believe it would have killed me.
Q. And that could have been obviated by properly trimming? A. In a
Q. Did any one in charge of the work show any scientific knowledge of
excavating so as to protect life and property? A. Not any one, to my
knowledge; or, to put it in other words, they seemed to be unwilling to do
anything that would increase the safety. They seemed unwilling; whether
they knew it or not I can not say.
Mr. Enos — Why do you say, seemed unwilling? A. Mr. Gray would
, not allow the bank to be trimmed off, therefore it endangered the lives of
the men working there.
Mr. Roney — Had there been proper precautions taken to guard against
accidents, would you have known of these precautions? A. Yes, sir; cer-
tainly; decidedly so.
Mr. Days — Will you describe the methods of work, and tell the Com-
missioner what, in your opinion, should have been done to provide absolute
security? A. To guard as much as possible against accident, the banks
should have been trimmed off, as I have described, and that is about the
most that could have been done; properly trimmed Off and kept so after
every blast; it was necessary to take all the loose rock from the face of the
bank wherever it was shook up.
Q. What, in your opinion, would be the difference in cost of labor to
excavate a hill, such as the one you worked on, properly, with a view to
the security of life and property, or do it in the way it was done ? A. I
could not exactly say, but it would not have cost a great deal more; all it
would have required would have been a man lowered down; two men
could have done it.
Q. Would not it have been the most secure to have commenced at the
top and come down by terraces? A. Yes, sir; that is the proper way,
according to my judgment of blasting.
Q. In your opinion, then, what would be the difference in the cost of
labor? A. I could not exactly say, sir; it would cost a good deal more to
do it by terraces.
Q. Do you know anything about any percentage being paid to any of the
foremen by any of the men employed, or by any boarding house keeper?
A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. Did you know that all work performed by the State, or any munici-
pality therein, must be done working the men only eight hours per day,
whether the work is let by contract or not? A. I was not aware of it.
Q. Would 3^ou have taken any steps if you had been? A. Not alone; I
would have been willing to have went in with the other men.
Q. Have you any idea how many hours per day would perform all the
necessary labor required in the world ; of course taking into consideration
our present advanced system of labor-saving machinery? Did you ever
give any thought to the subject? A. I have not given it sufficient thought
to say anything about it.
Q. Have you any idea of the number of men that must be out of employ-
ment as long as Ave are compelled to labor ten hours a day? A. I do not
know; but I think there must be a great many.
Q. You think, then, that the sooner we get down to the eight-hour plan,
or less than that, the better? A. I certainly think so.
Mr. Enos — You say that the safest way to blast and break down that
hill would have been by terraces ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What effect, if any, would it have upon the lots and buildings that
were there? A. I can not say as they would.
Q. Can you tell us how many kegs of powder they would put into a blast?
A. Sometimes they would put in 12; they never put in a very heavy load,
for fear of danger to those warehouses; 12 and 15 sometimes.
Q. Have they not put in as high as 35? A. They might have, but I
never loaded any of the holes; they did not allow us to load any of the
Q. Who was the man who had charge of that? A. I forget his name
Q. You think 12 kegs have been put in? A. 12 or 15.
Q. What weight? A. I should judge they might be 25 pounds ; I could
not exactly say, because I never took particular notice.
Q. What effect would 15-keg blasts have? A. Not very much, except
from a very good position; if it was in a point it would have greater effect
than on the straight bank ; the deeper the hole the more the effect. I
remember one hole that I put in myself, right on the point of the hill. I
do not remember how many kegs were in it, because I did not look, and it
blasted the whole front of the hill and upset their buildings, and liked to
fill up the whole thing; but how much powder there was, I do not know.
Q. Do you know what precautions were taken to protect outsiders when
blasts were going off? A. They seemed to take necessary precautions in
giving all due warning as long as I was in there.
Q. They would have some one to keep people from passing near the place ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know whether any blasts were put into private property ? A.I
do not know.
Q. You do not know anything about the lines ? A. No, sir.
Q. You did not know whether you were in the street or out of it, but put
the blast wherever told? A. I was satisfied in regard to the street, but in
regard to the property I could not say.
Q. You say you received $1 75 for ten hours' work? A. Yes, sir.
Q. .Do you consider that pretty good pay? A. I do not.
Q. You are a man of family? A. I am.
Q. Is that adequate for your support? A. No; that was one of the rea-
sons I quit, but not the only reason. I quit, also, on account of the great
Q. Did you protest against the manner of their leaving their rocky em-
bankments? A. I did tell Mr. Gray.
Q. What reply did you receive? A. He would walk off and not say a
word, and on one occasion, when I was putting the powder in this same hole
that did so good execution, I told him that when the noon hour came to send
up a couple of men to trim the bank off and make it safe for me ; he did so
at noontime. That was the only time I remember that he ever tried to do
anything; I regard Mr. Gray as a very careless man.
Q. Was he the man who had charge of it? A. He was the head fore-
man on the work.
Q. You say you followed this business as miner, for how long? A.
Since the Spring of 1862.
Q. What has been your usual number of hours per day, and your wages?
A. $3 a day, and then came down to $2 50, for ten hours' labor.
Q. Have you ever worked at this business of blasting until you worked
on the State works here, for less than $2? A. Never for less than $2 50.
Mr. Days — What contract did they make with you in regard to pay ?
A. When I went there to go to work, I asked Mr. Gray what the wages
would be; he said $2, and I told him that was very little for that kind of
work. He says, "We do not expect you to handle powder." Says I, "I
am competent for all that sort of thing, and would like to get pay for
it," but I went to work at $2.
Q. Was anything said about the number of hours? A. There was
nothing said about hours. The third day after I went to work, Mr. Gray
came around in the forenoon and notified all the men that were drilling
that at noontime of that day the wages would be reduced to $1 75, and all
those who did not wish to work of course could quit. We worked on, a
good many of us, and they never paid us $2 for those two days and a half
that we had worked previous to the notification.
Q. They really owe you that on the contract? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — Have you ever demanded it? A. Never did, because I did
not think it was worth while.
Q. You say that it was not agreed how many hours you should work?
A. No agreement, because it was understood; at least I understood without
asking anything about it.
Q. You did not know at that time that there was a law in relation to it?
A. I heard of it, but at the same time I did not give it a thought.
Mr. Days — You know there is a decision of the Supreme Court that you
can compel the payment for all over eight hours a day ? A. I was not
aware of that.
Mr. Enos — Mr. Days means that if you work 60 days, and you work
during that time 10 hours a day, you would do 600 hours work; now 8
hours would be a legal day's work, and 8 times 60 would be 480, and the
difference between 480 and 600 is in your favor ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. In other words you work a quarter of a day at the rate of $1 75 a
day; that would be 120 hours in your favor? A. I did not give it a thought,
because I did not think it applied to anything but mechanics; therefore I
did not give it a thought.
Mr. Days — The same difficulty has been met with in nearly all laws
made in favor of the workingman; there has been no one to see them
Mr. Roney — [To the witness.] You stated that Mr. Gray was, in your
opinion, a very incompetent person? A. A very careless man; incom-
petent owing to his carelessness.
Q. Would you explain to the Commissioner in what way Mr. Gray dis-
played his incompetency? A. From his carelessness towards the safety of
Q. Give some instance of his carelessness, if you recollect? A. I "have
given one, in which he refused to get the banks trimmed off, which was
very essential in order to the safety of the men. Another instance, in
which he and I fell out about it, in cleaning out an old hole where it was
loaded with giant powder, with a fuse and percussion cap in it. I cleaned
it out as low as I deemed it safe, and would not go down and touch the
percussion cap, because that would endanger my life. He demanded that
I should do so, and I told him no; and he told me he did not think much
of a man's knowledge of blasting that would not do it. And I told him I
thought far less of a man's knowledge that would do it and endanger his
Mr. Enos — Do I understand from this testimony you are giving now,
that there was a blast put in and it did not go off, and had to be cleaned
out? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You claim that the powder and percussion cap was there une'xploded ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were you asked to go in there and clean it out ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. It was from your experience, in your judgment, dangerous? A. Yes,
sir; I would not do it for myself, nor for any one else.
Q. Nor would not ask anybody to do it for you? A. No, sir.
Mr. Roney — Was there an understanding where a number of drillers
were at work when another hole was charged with a large quantity of pow-
der and a fuse, and was there imminent danger of such blasting, through
carelessness, of the powder igniting and so exploding, while you were at
work? A. Yes, sir; there was one case in which there was a hole put in
and Mr. Gray seemed to think it was too far up, therefore, he thought he
would put a row of holes down the foot of the hill and take off the foot of
the hill; five or seven, five any way, holes were put in; three men to each
drill; I was one of the gang of three. I was not aware that the hole above
was loaded until I was almost through, when I discovered that in that hole
were 12 kegs of powder all ready to be touched off. I considered that was a
very dangerous and careless thing. If he had told us that such was the
case, we could have used precaution against any one touching them, but I,
for one, was unaware of it, and I did not hear anybody else speak of it until
the whole thing was over. I consider that Mr. Gray acted very careless
with regard to the lives of the workmen.
Q. You might have let a spark fall from a pipe? A. The least thing;
everybody was around and there it was left with 12 kegs of powder in it;
the least touch would have blowed us all into eternity; no power could have
Q. When that kind of work was being done was it customary for them
to have a steady watch on the embankment? A. Sometimes they would,
and more times they would not. As a general rule, they would not; they
might, but as a general rule, they would not.
Q. In case of a cave, or in case of an indication of a cave, would it be-
come apparent to the watcher if he was a competent man? A. Oh, yes.
Q. What indications would it give? A. It would give an indication
similar to a brick wall cracking; throw out a little dust; then after that
little dust was thrown out it might come any moment; that is the warn-
Mr. Enos — Where do you live ? Answer — Corner of Green and Battery
Q. Did you work on section of the seawall No. 5? A. I did, sir.
Q. How long did you work there? A. From the time they commenced
till they quit.
Q. How long is that? A. About a year.
Q. What was your business? A. I was at a cart.
Q. How many hours a day did you work? A. Ten hours.
Q. Was there anything said when you went to work there about how
many hours you were to work? A. No, sir.
Q. Nothing was said to you? A. No, sir.
Q. What wages did you get per day? A. $1 75.
Q. All the way through? A. Yes, sir, all the way through.
Q. From the time you commenced to the time you quit? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Your general business was filling carts? A. Yes, sir.
Q. During all the time you worked there was nothing said about work-
ing ten hours a day? A. No, sir.
Q. Whenever you worked a day you worked ten hours? A. Yes, sir.
Q. All the pay you received was for ten hours work? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Days — Did you board at one of the boarding houses? A. At the
corner of Green and Battery; boarded at one house since the job com-
menced, and am there yet.
Q. Does the same person keep the house now? A. His brother is keep-
ing it; he is not there himself.
Mr. Enos — How many men worked on this section of the seawall who
boarded there? A. I could not tell you that; a good many; the house
Q. How many do you think? A. I suppose forty or fifty.
Q. How came you to board there ? A. I went there myself.
Q. Did anybody suggest to you to go there? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you go there because there were some there who worked on the
seawall ? A. Some of the men I knew were there.
Q. That was the reason you went there? A. That is the reason.
Q. What did you pay per week for your board ? A. $4 50.
Q. Did you ever pay anybody any commissions? A. No, sir.
Q. Were you ever asked for any? A. No, sir.
Q. When the contractors that hired you to work and paid you $1 75 a
day, did they always pay it in money to you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Pay it directly to you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did they take your board out and pay it to the boarding house man ?'
A. They deducted the boarding house man's money out of it and paid me
what was coming to me.
Q. They always deducted the amount of your board out of your week's
pay every week ? A. Every month.
Q. You were paid every month? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When they come to pay you every month they took out your month's
board for the month — $17 or $18 a month? A. Yes, sir.
Q. They never paid that to you? A. They kept that back.
Q. They settled with the boarding house keepers ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was that the agreement? A. There was no agreement.
Q. Did you authorize them to do it, or did they do it on their own
responsibility? A. Their own responsibility.
Mr. Days — Did they ever keep anything more than the board out? A.
Q. I mean, did you ever owe for drinks or tobacco, or anything else; or
if you got any, you simply paid for them out of your pocket? A. If I got
a drink myself, I paid for it.
Q. The idea is this: did the contractor keep out of your pay any amount
of money for anything else than board? A. .They did not; not a cent.
Q. Mr. English testified in Sacramento, and also here, that they some-
times paid the entire amount over to the boarding house keeper? A. They
paid the boarding house master one month.
Q. Did the boarding house keeper pay anything to you? A. He paid
us the balance ; kept his own money out.
Q. Did you know of any parties paying a percentage to the boarding
house keeper, or the boarding house keeper paying a percentage to any of
the foremen? A. I do not know anything of that.
Mr. Roney — What was the regular pay day, Mr. Ryan ? A. The fifteenth.
Q. You were paid regularly on the fifteenth? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You did work pretty regularly? A. Pretty regularly.
Q. Some months you would have broken time ? A. Sometimes; I would
not feel well sometimes.
Q. Your board went on, of course? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, you worked for a year, did you not? A. Yes, sir; I worked
there ever since they started until they quit there.
Q. t Can you recollect, during that time, the highest amount you received
from'the paymaster after all your expenses were deducted and paid to the
boarding house boss; the highest amount? A. I can not tell.
Q. Did you get as high as $10? A. I got $10.
Q. Did you ever get $10? A. No, I have not.
Q. Whether you had broken time or not? A. I always got more than
$10 for a month I worked there.
Mr. Days — Over and above your board? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Roney — Was there not during that time there a continuous feeling
of dissatisfaction among the workmen as to the wages, and hours, and the
general conditions prevailing at that work; did you not hear a great deal of
growling? A. Men growling among themselves.
Q. I mean about the work; the manner in which they were required to
work? A. Some little growling among them; I did not take notice of it.
Q. Why did you not take notice of it? A. It did not bother me much.
Mr. Days — You were satisfied with the amount of pay you received, and
did not expect any more ?
Mr. Roney — Do you think $1 75 was pretty good pay? A. I reckon it
was not, but what could I do; I was not getting any more.
Q. Don't you think you were. entitled to more for the work you did? A.
I think I ought to be, sir.
Q. You worked honestly for them, did you not? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Don't you think you were entitled to more compensation, more pay,
for your work ? A. I ought to be, sir.
Q. Did you never growl about that? A. No, sir; I did not growl. No
use to growl; if I had growled I would have walked away.
Q. Growled to yourself, I mean? A. I may have growled to myself.
Mr. Days — Mr. Ryan, were you a member of what was known as the
Seawall Brigade that took part in the processions ? You remember the
Seawall Brigade that took part in two or three election processions ? A. I .do.
Q. Were you a member of the club? A. I was with them that night.
Q. What I want to get at in asking you that question is, was there any
inducement held out to the men forming this brigade ? A. Not that I know.
Q. Or did they do it of their own free will? A. Mr. Cummings was there,
and he was the head.
Q. Who was he? A. A foreman down there for awhile.
Q. Mr. Cummings organized the brigade? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And he made all the workmen on the seawall at the time become
members of the club, or brigade, did he? A. Anybody who chose; he did
not compel them.
Q. They were not compelled ? A. No, sir.
Q. Nothing said about their being turned out of work? A. No, sir; there
were plenty there that did not join the club; any man that chose could
go, all right, and if he did not, it was not compulsory.
Mr. Roney — Was there any promise made that night, in case Mr.
Cleveland became President, that your wages would be raised to $2 a day;
was not that made? A. No, not that I know.
Q. You never heard that? A. No, sir.
Q. Was not the wages reduced about that time ? A. I believe the wages
were reduced after that.
Q. Your wages were continued? A. My wages were never reduced.
Mr. Days — Was there any reason assigned for reducing the wages at
that time? A. I do not know what was the cause of it, I am sure; there
were men there that were getting $1 75, and went away for a month, prob-
ably, and came back again and had to work for $1 50.
Q. Mr. English and Mr. Hackett both testified that several men left
during harvest time, and when they came back from harvest they were
reduced. But the question to you, Mr. Ryan, was: after the election of
Mr. Cleveland was there not a reduction in the pay ? A. It may have
been some time after election.
Q. It could not be very long after, because it was not many months after
the contract was finished? A. I know the men that were getting $1 75 a
day got it, unless they left and wanted to come back again; if they came
back they would not get $1 75, but $1 50.
Mr. Roney — If you thought that this investigation was likely to be of
benefit to yourself and those engaged in that kind of work, could you not
give far fuller testimony? A. I am just giving as I see how things are
going on. My pay was never reduced; no one ever said anything to me; I
got along there very well.
Q. You think you were paid fully what you ought to be paid ? A. I
would like to get more if I could; but where is the use; I could not
Mr. Enos — I understand the witness to say he was paid all he could
get, but he thinks he ought to have more.
Witness — Yes, sir.
Mr. Days — You did not grumble because you were not dissatisfied, but
because it was no use? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — You did not think it was much use to grumble? A. I have
been in California long enough not to kick at what they offer you.
Q. You went to work there and worked from the commencement until
near the close of the work ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And received uniform wages of $1 75 a day for ten hours work? A.
Q. Nothing was said to you about how many hours you were to work?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did you know there was a clause in the Constitution of this State
making eight hours a legal day's work on public work? A. I heard of it,
but I saw it was not to be enforced.
Q. Did you know that when you went to work there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You joined what was called the Seawall Brigade, a political organ-
ization; do you know of anybody who worked upon the seawall that was
made any promise to join that organization? A. None.
Q. Of any promise of future award or future increase of pay? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know of anybody being influenced in relation to any board-
ing house, or any commissions being paid to any of these foremen if they
got men to board at certain places; that the boarding house keeper would
give them a commission? A. I do not.
Q. Did you hear of anybody engaged in that kind of business? A. I
heard growling among the men.
Q. What did you hear? A. Some little inducement that way.
Q. Tell us what you know about it? A. I was never induced.
Q. Did you hear anything among the men that were boarding at your
house, or any other place, that they were charging them certain commis-
sions, and take it out of their pay; you say you heard some grumbling,
what did you hear? A. I saw them growling.
Q. What did they say? A. I forget what they said.
Q. You said you heard them growling about it, that they were charged
a certain commission? A. I could not be certain.
Q. Did you hear them say they were charged a certain commission
because they were boarding at a certain place? A. I could not tell about
anybody but myself; it was not charged to me.
Mr. Days — Mr. English and Mr. Hackett both testified that they did
find out afterwards that some of the foremen had received a commission,
but they would not give the names of the foremen.
Mr. Enos — He heard about one man who was paid as a foreman $150 a
month, who made commissions out of their men; and you say you heard
some of the men talking about it; what did they say? A. I quite forget
what they said.
Q. Did they say they were charged a commission by the foreman? A.
I do not know.
Q. You say there was growling about it. You say there were 40 or 50
men boarding at a certain place, and you heard some men grumbling
because they were charged something to go to a certain boarding house?
A. They growled about the bosses.
Q. The workmen were growling about the bosses. I understood you to
say you heard something about their paying commissions ?
Mr. Roney — You worked there at least a year*, did you not? A. Yes,
Q. Your pay was $1 75 a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Your board was $4 50 a week ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you lost very little time during that year? A. Not a great deal.
Q. Now, how much money did you save during that year? A. I did
not save much, sir.
Q. Did you have $10 at the end of the year? A. Oh, yes; more than
Mr. Roney — The idea I have, Mr. Commissioner, in putting that question,
is to demonstrate that a man can work for an entire year, be ordinarily
abstemious, and at the expiration of that year has simply got his living
to show for his work.
Mr. Enos — Did you ever figure up how much time you lost? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much did you lose? A. Perhaps I might have lost .three months
Q. You worked nine months steady? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You say you did not have much money left? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you spend it for? A. Oh, there are many ways of spend-
Q. Did you spend it for clothes? A. Bought clothes, and bought some-
Q. Did you spend it for tobacco? A. Yes, sir.
Q. For whisky? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What pro rata of that money did you spend for whisky? A. That
can not be helped, sir.
Mr. Days — He could not spend much, according to his testimony. He
worked about nine months; three months he did not work. During those
three months he would have to pay for his board, $18 a month, and it
really would not leave very much after the man had got some whisky and
a little tobacco.
Mr. Roney — He was depending upon this place for his employment,
and sought work nowhere else.
Mr. Days — He was satisfied that was as good as he could do.
Mr. Roney — At the expiration of the year he has nothing to show for
his year's labor but his living, so that the man's condition, I want to
demonstrate, is little worse than the condition of the black man's during
Q. Are you at work now ?
Witness — Yes, sir.
Mr. Days — Did you work for Mr. English on Section 5 of the seawall?
Answer — I did.
Q. How long did you work? A. I can not exactly tell you; about five
Q. Were you one of the first employed, or one of the las1>? A. As near as
I can think, I went to work in August; some time in July or August.
Q. What did they pay you? A. $1 75 a day.
Q. What did you do? A. I loaded cars and carts with rock and dirt.
Q. Where did you board? A. At the corner of Green and Battery.
Q. The same place that Mr. Ryan boarded? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were you ordered to board there, or went there of your own accord?
A. I boarded there before I went to work.
Q. Did Mr. Gercke procure work for you? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you ask Mr. English yourself? A. No, sir; I asked one of the
Q. Did he stay at the same house you did? A. Yes, sir; he was there
once in awhile ; I think he lived out in the Western Addition.
Q. Was there a foreman over the men employed in filling carts? A.
There were several foremen there; every foreman had a gang of his own.
I worked for a Mr. Titus.
Q. In filling your carts, were you at any time in danger from caving of
the banks, or anything of that kind? A. Yes, sir; there is always more
or less danger in working at a quarry. There was danger sometimes of
Q. Do yoi> know of any accidents that occurred at the time you were
there ? A. Yes, sir ; there was somebody hurt nearly every day.
Q. Any that you know of that were disabled from working? A. Not
that I know of at the time I worked.
Q. Just merely received some little accident? A. A little hurt, that did
not amount to much.
Q. Did any of them receive accident serious enough, while you were
there, to have to quit work for a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. For any longer time? A. Well, yes.
Q. Were they taken back to work when they got better? A. Yes, sir ;
some came back to work.
Q. Have you any idea what was the cause of the accidents, such as you
know of yourself? A. Well; some rock, or something of the kind, falling,
that a man was in danger of most of the time.
Q. It was the caving down of the bank? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you make any arrangements with the parties when they hired
you with regard to how you would draw your pay, whether you were to
draw it yourself and pay the boarding house keeper, or not? A. No, sir ;
I made no agreement about that.
Q. Did you draw your own money, or did the boarding house keeper?
A. I believe he drew the first month ; the whole of it.
Q. That is, Mr. Gercke did? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did he pay you any of it? A. He paid me what was coming to me,
and took his board out of it.
Q. If you had gone in debt to him for any drinks or tobacco, or anything
of that kind, would he take that out? A. I do not know about that ; I was
not in debt to him while I was working.
Q. You just merely allowed him to draw for your board? A. That
Q. Was any contract made with you as to the number of hours you were
to work? A. No, sir.
Q. Did the contractor, or rather, the foreman, Mr. Titus, ever hint to
you that he ought to get anything for getting you employment? A. No,
sir; I think he was a very decent man; I never heard him complained of.
Q. The contractors stated here they knew or had heard of some cases,
but would not tell us who they were? A. I would almost swear it was not
Titus, for he was a very decent man ; I am well aware it was not him, if it
was any one.
Q. Do you know anything about the organization of the Seawall Brigade ?
A. Yes, sir; I was there the night they organized.
Q. Were you one of the members? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was any inducement offered to any of the men to your knowledge ?
A. Not that I know of.
Q. You were merely asked to join a political club? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Roney — Do you know that this investigation is intended for the pur-
pose of securing legislation to benefit men engaged in work as you have
been? A. I heard so.
Q. That is the object of it. Now, you are aware that there were some
accidents at that place ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were any of these accidents very serious? I am not speaking of the
gang you were working in; but was there any person seriously hurt during
your employment there ? A. Well, yes, sir; there were one or two.
Q. Was there anybody killed? A. Not that I know.
Q. Did you hear of anybody being killed there? A. I heard one day
there was a man killed, but I heard the next day he was not.
Q. When anybody was hurt, do you know if any provisions were made
for his care? A. Yes, sir; as soon as a man was hurt a doctor was sent
for, and if badly hurt he was sent to the hospital.
Q. And that is all? A. That is all I know.
Q. Were there any men maimed so that they could not return to work
there? A. I believe there were.
Q. Do you know what became of them ? A. No.
Q. Did you ever hear whether the contractors had provided for them in
any way? A. I do not know anything about that; 1 did not hear.
Q. Did you think $1 75 a day, for ten hours work, good pay? A. I did
not think it good pay; I never worked for so low, but I could not help it;
I wanted work, and was glad to get it.
Q. Do you know the reason why the contractors only offered $1 75 to
men there ? A. I do not.
Q. Was it in consequence of a surplus of workmen? A. I am rather of
the opinion it was, for there were a good many men that could not get work
Q. Do you think that if the number of hours had been reduced there
would not have been more men employed there ? A. Sometimes I believe
they could not work any more men there, but I believe they worked every
man they could.
Q. The job would have been protracted? A. I believe they could not
work more men than what they had, because they did not have room.
Q. Are you a miner by occupation? A. No, sir.
Q. You have no experience then in excavations of this kind ? A. I have
seen considerable of it done, but never did any there; I have done it in
other places some.
Q. You have some experience then in that line of business ? A. Very
Q. From your experience, do you think that every safeguard was taken
to protect people from injury? A. From what I saw there, I believe there
was. The foreman I worked for was very particular about watching to
save any men from being hurt, that he could.
Mr. Enos — You worked there about five months, did you? A. Well,
about five months; I can not say exactly.
Q. What, time did you commence work? A. It was either July or
Q. You continued work up to what time? A. I continued till the rain
Q. You were paid $1 75 a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Right through ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of anybody whose wages commenced at your time, that
were lowered? A. A good many were lowered; I could not tell you how
many, because there were men laid off work and came back again, and
when they came back, they worked for $1 50.
Q. Was anybody else lowered besides the men who went off? A. I
believe several men were hired for $1 50 a day.
Q. When they first commenced work? A. That was in the Fall.
Q. In the Fall what men they hired they paid $1 50 a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the men they did hire for $1 75, and went off and came back,
got $1 50? A. Yes, sir.
Q. There was never any contract made with you as to how many hours
you should work ? A. No, sir.
Q. You worked ten hours for $1 75, and eight hours was a legal day's
work; don't you think you ought to have pay for that quarter of a day's
work which you did for five months extra ? A. I suppose I would like to
Q. Would you be willing to take any chance to get it? A. Perhaps I
might; I don't know.
Q. Think the matter over; I make that suggestion to you.
Mr. Enos — This resolution calls for me to ascertain if there was any
influence in any way in regard to politics; do you know of any? A. I do
not know of any.
Q. Was anything said to you in relation to joining any politicul clubs?
A. Nothing more than it was announced there was a meeting to be called
to organize a club.
Q. Did you join, or do you know of anybody that joined the club that
was induced by promises? A. Never heard of any promises whatsoever.
Q. Do you know anything about the truck system being in existence
there ; that is, the men not being paid coin for their work ? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know of any foreman or contractor receiving any pay from
any of the men, or make any. commissions out of their men? A. Not that
Q. You never heard a word about it? A. No, sir.
Q. There was never any such proposition made to you? A. No, sir.
Q. How did the boarding house keeper come to take out your whole
salary; with your knowledge ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you tell him to do it ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When he paid you that month did he take out anything except for
your meals and lodging? A. No, sir.
Q. Did he ever charge you for cigars or drinks? A. No, sir.
Q. Does the man who keeps the boarding house also keep the bar? A.
He does, sir.
Q. Whenever anybody that boards there gets drinks or cigars they pay
for them independently, they do not wait till their month is up ? A. Some
do; but I always paid for a drink and cigar when I got it.
Q. I want to know if it is not customary for a man to do so? A. Yes, sir.
Q. They marked it down? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And when the end of the month comes they bring in the bill for all
this? A. It has not been done with me.
Q. Do you know that to be the fact? A. I can not know as long as I do
Q. There were 40 or 50 men boarding there ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Some waited until the end of the month before paying when they got
a drink or cigar? A. I suppose so.
Q. Is it not a fact ? A. Very likely.
Q. Is it not true? A. I suppose it is true; it must be true.
Q. And then when the month was up they figured up how many drinks
and cigars each one had, and took that out with the board bill, and paid
the men the balance? A. Very likely; the same thing is done.
Q. Do you know how many men worked there ; how many in all worked
on the seawall while you Avere there ? A. I never could know that.
Q. You can form a rough estimate; did two or three hundred work
there? A. I do not know; about one hundred and fifty I think was the
most of what worked around the quarry, I think, to the best of my opinion.
Q. How many of those men out of one hundred and fifty worked for
$1 50 a day, should you think; what proportion? A. Well, now, I cannot
Q. Can you give any estimate at all? A. I do not know anything
Q. You are a single man, are you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you worked in this city? A. I have worked off and
on in the city since 1870.
Q. You have made your home in this city? A. I have gone out in the
country a part of the time.
Q. Do you think $1 50 a day for a man and his family, or $1 75, was a
fair day's pay ? A. I do not think it is.
Q. Did you ever work for the State a day before for that? A. No, sir.
Q. Is this your first time? A. This is the first time.
Q. Have you ever worked for the State before ? A. No.
Q. Is it the usual price for a day's labor and board yourself? A. $2
was the lowest. I usually worked by the month.
Q. On farms? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You never worked before when you worked by the day except you
received $2 a day? A. That is the lowest I ever received since coming
into this State.
Mr. Roney — How many men lived in Mr. Gercke's house who worked
there ? A. That I could not tell you.
Q. Do you know how many roomers he had? A. I do not.
Q. Or about how many? A. Well, I suppose thirty. That is about as
many as he could accommodate, I think. I think he could not get much
Q. In addition to the boarders? A. A great many boarded there who
did not room there.
Q. Was there not a great many men there who boarded and roomed
there who were not working continuously there ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was Mr. Gercke not in the habit of getting these men jobs occasion-
ally? A. I do not know anj'thing about it.
Q. Was it not supposed to be through the influence of Mr. Gercke with
the foremen that some of these men were employed? A. I do not know
anything about that.
Q. Don't you think that if Mr. Gercke went to Mr. Gray, or Mr. Titus,
that he could get a man a job? A. I should think he might; he is
acquainted with them; more likely he could succeed than another one.
Q. Don't you think he could get a man a job a little sooner than Mr.
Enos could ? A. Might be. I could not say anything about it.
At this point an adjournment was taken.
Question — What is your name, and where do you reside? Answer —
Manuel Joseph. I reside at 1012 Battery Street.
Q. Do you know M. J. Mertens, one of the contractors of Section 6 of the
seawall? A. Yes, sir; he is my boss.
Q. Did he ever have any conversation with you in relation to the con-
struction of Section 6 of the seawall? A. He told me to do the work. I
was foreman for awhile.
Q. How were you hired, by the day, or hour? A. I was hired by the
hour, at 30 cents per hour.
Q. Did Mr. Mertens ever have any conversation with you in relation to
Laving men board at any hotel? A. Yes, sir. He came to me one day,
and told me to send whatever men I employed to Kerwin.
Q. Did he say you must do so? A. No, sir, he did not say I must.
Q. Did he say they must board at Kerwin's, or quit work? A. No, sir;
he simply said to have them board there.
Q. Did you discharge any men for refusal to board at Kerwin's? A.
Yes, sir, I did.
Q. Did you discharge them from orders from Mertens? A. No, sir, I
did not. I told them if they could not board at Kerwin's, they must be
Bridget F. Houston.
Mr. Enos — What is your name, and where do you reside? Answer —
Bridget F. Houston; am at present living at 230 Green Street, in the City
and County of San Francisco.
Q. Did you have any property in the neighborhood of Telegraph Hill?
A. Yes, sir; I owned some property 22-i feet front by 90 feet deep, with a
three-story house, at No. 4 Calhoun Street, in which I resided for 20 years
and 6 months; it was my home; am a widow, with five children.
Q. How much did you value your property at? A. It was worth about
Q. Has your property, or any part of it, been injured? A. Yes, sir; it
has all been injured, and in order to save my house I had it removed from
the lot. The lot has all caved in and been destroyed.
Q. What was the cause? A. The injury has been done in the building
of Section 5 of the seawall ; my lot is entirely worthless on said account.
Question — Please give your name and place of residence? Answer —
Elizabeth Overon; No. 10 Calhoun Street.
Q. Did you own property and what did it consist of? A. Yes, sir; the
size of lot was 23 feet front by 91 feet deep. I had a dwelling house of six
rooms, garden, outhouses, etc.
Q. What was the value of said property? A. I valued it at $3,000; it
was my homestead.
Q. How long did you live there? A. I lived there 31 years, until driven
out by the blasting and destroying of property.
Q. In what manner did the blasting effect your property? A. It shook
the hill and cracked it, and the chimney in my house cracked, and the
front part of the house commenced to sink ; the stone foundation and
ground has sunk 15 feet in the front part of the house, and the back surface
is entirely gone.
Q. Was any compromise offered for said damage? A. No, sir; they
never paid for it, or offered to do so; all is damaged to the amount of
San Francisco, August 25, 1885.
Investigation in regard to the construction of Section 6 of the seawall,
under and bv virtue of a resolution passed by the State Senate March 3,
Mr. Enos — Where do you live? Answer — In Oakland, California.
Q. What is your business? A. Superintendent of Section 6 of the sea-
wall — head foreman.
Q. What are your duties? A. My duties are to supervise the work;
putting in the sand, seeing that the rock is placed properly, and everything
of that kind.
Q. What is the length of Section 6? A. 800 feet; I am not positive —
either 800 or 500.
Q. Who has the contract? A. The San Francisco Bridge Company.
Q. Who compose that firm? McMullen & Mertens, as far as I know.
Q. How many men have you employed on that seawall? A. About 55.
Q. Does that include all the men under your charge? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What are they paid per day? A. Different wages; some are paid
■$4, some $3, and some $3 50; and some men are receiving $1 75— all
Q. Are the men hired by the day? A. No, sir.
Q. How are they hired ? A. By the hour.
Q. What are they paid per hour? A. 17^ cents per hour.
Q. What class are paid that? A. Common laboring men shoveling sand
and keeping the track in repair.
Q. How many hours are they worked? A. If they work ten hours they
receive $1 75, and if they work less they receive less.
Q. They are paid in proportion to the number of hours? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is there any stated number of hours they are considered to work?
A. They generally work ten hours — sometimes more.
Q. What class of men do you pay $4? A. Engineers.
Q. What class do you pay $3? A. Blacksmiths and carpenters.
Q. Then all the men except what you may call skilled mechanics, such
as blacksmiths and carpenters and engineers, get 17-J cents an hour? A.
Q. Do you know anything in regard to any truck system in connection
with the construction of Section 6 of the seawall — that is, the men being
compelled to trade out a certain amount of their wages at certain places?
A. No, sir; I do not.
Q. Is there anything of that kind going on that you know of? A. Not
that I am aware of.
Q. Then you testify that the men are not hired by the day at the rate of
eight hours a day? A. No, sir. They are hired by the hour.
Q. Who does that hiring? A. I do.
Q. Under authority of the contractors? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know anything in relation to any of the persons employed on
the seawall being interfered with in their political or elective franchise?
A. No, sir, they never have been.
Q. Do you know anything in relation to any one connected there, as
either contractor or sub-contractor, or persons employed as Superintendents,
occupying the position you do, intimidating their employes in any way?
A. No, sir, I do not.
Q. Or compelling them to patronize boarding houses in which said con-
tractors are interested? A. No, sir; if a man is broke we go security for
Q. Do you know of anybody being compelled to patronize certain board-
ing houses in which said contractors are interested ? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know of any boarding house in which the' contractors are
interested? A. No, sir; they go security at one house for the men's board.
Q. Do you know of any one being compelled to patronize any particular
boarding house in which the contractors are interested? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you have any difficulty in obtaining laborers at 17^ cents an hour?
A. No, sir; there are thousands of them there every day.
Q. What is the condition of laborers as employed there, in respect to
their receiving their pay, and the amount of pay they receive, as to whether
you consider it living pay? A. I believe it is the best that is going in San
Francisco, from what I can understand. Other contractors do not pay
Q. What is their sanitary condition? A. We generally have healthy
Q. Do you consider that the wages paid there are living wages for a
man? A. As good wages as are going in the country.
Q. Do you consider it fair wages; enough wages? A. Fair wages at the
present time. As times are, it is fair wages.
Q. You testify there has been no intimidation, as far as your knowledge
is concerned? A. No, sir.
Q. No one has been compelled to patronize a particular boarding house,
in which the contractors are interested? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know the amount which the contractors are receiving for the
construction of Section 6 of the seawall? A. I do not remember, at pres-
Q. Do you know why the men are not worked eight hours a day? A.
Well, in the first place, they have not got time to complete their contract
in working eight hours a day. The men are willing to work ten hours a
day. They have a right to work ten hours a day; and if they wish to,
there is no law that would compel him to work eight hours.
Q. Did you ever see the specifications on which this contract was let by
the Harbor Commissioners? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know whether that calls for eight hours a day? A. I do not.
M. J. Mertens.
Mr. Enos — Where do you reside? Answer — Alameda.
Q. Are you connected with the construction of Section 6 of the seawall ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. In what way? A. I am one of the company who has the contract.
Q. Who comprise that company? A. James McMullen, Thos. Carter,
John Ballard, Percy Wright, and myself.
Q. You took that contract from the Harbor Commissioners? A. We did.
Q. Have you the contract and specifications here? A. I have not.
Q. You were the lowest bidder? A. We were the lowest bidder.
Q. Can you state whether the specifications contained the two clauses —
the eight-hour clause and the Mongolian clause? A. It did. I know the
contents of the specifications and contract.
Q. These two specifications were in the contract according to the law, to
work the men eight hours a day, and no Mongolians should be employed,
were they? A. I do not understand so as to the first clause.
Q. You say you understand the contents of the contract. Do you say
that the clause in regard to working the men eight hours a day was not in
the specifications? A. For a general understanding I recite from the clause
in the specifications relating to the eight-hour law, in the Political Code of
California, that eight hours constituted a day's work. That is all it says.
It does not say we can only work eight hours, nor does it say that unless
we do our contract would be void or forfeited. In other words, it is not
binding on the contractor to work his men eight hours a day.
Q. Where did you get that information? A. That is my personal under-
Q. Where did you receive that information, from the Commissioners?
A. No, sir.
Q. Who from? A. I say it is my personal understanding of it.
Q. Did you have any conversation or talk with the contracting parties
when you got this contract? A. With the Harbor Commissioners? No, sir.
Q. Nothing said about it one way or the other? A. Nothing whatsoever.
Q. You do not work your men in accordance with the eight-hour law ?
A. We work our men by the hour.
Q. You do not pay any attention to the eight-hour law? A. I do not, for
the simple reason that I consider it inoperative and not binding on the
Q. Have you ever been requested by the State authorities, the Harbor
Commissioners, or anybody representing them, to work your men eight
hours a day? A. Never.
Q. And the reason that you do not obey the law is, you think it is inop-
erative? A. In the first place, I do not consider the law made for us; that
is to say, for us contractors. In the second place, I consider the whole law
inoperative ; that is to say, a dead letter.
Q. You say you understand the specifications; you read the specifica-
tions before you made your bid? A. We did; yes, sir.
Q. If the specifications contained the clause that you were to employ no
Mongolians, you consider that operative? A. Yes, sir.
Q. If the specifications contained the clause that you were to work the
men eight hours a day, you did not consider that operative? A. If you
will allow me to correct you, the specification did not contain the clause
that the contractors are to work their men only eight hours; it is a clause
which, if you will read, you will see is in no way binding on the contractor.
Q. Section 6 does contain that provision, the specification under which
you made your bid. Section 5 did not until after this investigation. Sec-
tion 5 did not contain that provision, but Section 6, I am told, does con-
tain that provision. If it is in your specification you, of course, do not
consider it operative at all? A. I have to go back to what I said before;
the clause relating to the eight-hour law is so waived in its meaning, in this-
specification, that it does not express or mean anything.
Q. The law says that all contracts for work done by the State shall con-
tain that provision, and the specifications for Section 6 of the seawall,,
under which you bid, contains that provision; you do not consider it opera-
tive, and therefore do not work your men under it? A. If the specifica-
tions would contain the clause, or condition, that whoever takes this
contract is to work their men only eight hours, we would, and we would
have to, most naturally, fulfill that condition; but it does not. It does not
impose anything of the kind on the contractors.
Q. How do you know? A. Because I have read the specifications.
Q. If the specifications include the clause, the same as the Mongolian
clause, would you consider yourself bound by that specification ? A. If it
did contain it, yes, sir. The difference between the two clauses, if you will
allow me to explain, is this: that the first clause, relating to the eight-hour
law, is so ambiguous that it leaves it entirely to the contractor whether he
purposes or wishes to work his men eight hours a day or not; but the sec-
ond clause, relating to the Mongolian laborers, says: " No Chinese or Mon-
golian labor shall be employed on this contract under forfeiture of the
contract." That is the difference between the two clauses.
Q. Are there any Chinamen employed on the work, or in any way con-
nected with the work ? A. No, sir.
Q. How many men have you employed in the construction of Section 6
of the seawall? A. Approximately, about seventy.
Q. What wages do you pay them? A. We pay them 17-g cents an hour,
all laboring men.
Q. Was anything understood in relation to employing them by the hour
to avoid the eight-hour law? A. No, sir.
Q. How many hours a day do you work your men? A. Ten hours.
Q. This work is done by the State? A. It is let by the State.
Q. Is it done for the State? A. It is done for the State if you consider
the State Board of Harbor Commissioners the State.
Q. Is it done for the benefit of the State; who pays for it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who pays for it? A. The State Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Q. Where do they get the money? A. From the tolls.
Q. Is it State money? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is it not public work done by the State, paid for by the State, and
belonging to the State? A. My views are, the State of course lets the con-
tract, but the contractors are not the State.
Q. I am not talking about you; I am asking you is this work public
work for the State? A. I consider it so; yes, sir.
Q. It belongs to the State? A. It is done for the State.
Q. It belongs to the State after it is done? A. Yes, sir; it is State
Q. And paid by the State? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of any intimidation of the employes for political pur-
poses? A. No, sir; we do not mix in politics.
Q. Do you know of anybody that is connected as contractor with any of
the boarding houses in which they intimidate or compel the men to board?
A. I do not.
Q. Do you know of any one connected with the construction of Section &
of the seawall being compelled to trade out a certain amount of his wages,,
a system known as the truck system? A. No, sir.
Q. You pay your men money ? A. We do.
Q. What is your custom in relation to paying them? A. We pay them
Q. You give them the money for their wages? A. Yes, sir.
M b . Enos — If any one present wishes to ask the witness any questions he
is at liberty to do so.
A Boarding House Keeper — You testified just now you had no China-
men on the work. Have you not Chinese cooks ? A. No, sir.
Q. Do the men get the full amount of pay? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos — If you do not pay the men directly all their wages you settle
with the men where they owe for their hoard, at their request and with the
knowledge and consent of all parties? A. Most assuredly.
Q. Is it perfectly satisfactory? A. Perfectly.
Q. Where did you get the material to build this seawall? A. Part from
Sheep Island, Bay of San Francisco.
Q. Where did you get the balance? A. We got it from the sand dunes
west of Van Ness Avenue.
Q. You are not blasting, or interfering with private property? A. W T e
Mr. Enos — What is your age? Answer — 27.
Q. Where do you live? A. San Francisco.
Q. How long have you lived here? A. Three years.
Q. You are a native of what country? A. Germany.
Q. How long have you been in the United States? A. Five years.
Q. What is your business ? A. Laboring man.
Q. Do you work on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you worked there? A. Three weeks, off and on. I
work when it is low tide, leveling off the rocks; when it is high tide I can
Q. How much of the time have you worked — half the time? A. Hardly
enough to make my board.
Q. Are you at work there now? A. Yes, sir; I am working for the
Q. Who is he? A. Mr. Joseph.
Q. On Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What wages do you get? A. 20 cents per hour.
Q. How many hours do you generally work? A. Some days four hours
and some five hours.
Q. You work according to the tide? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When the tide is out you work, and when it is in you can not work;
that is the branch of your business? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know anything about any charges being made here against
the construction of Section 6 of the seawall, such as intimidating anybody?
A. Mr. Joseph, the foreman, told me, "By order of Mr. Mertens, you will
either have to board in Kerwin's house, or consider yourself discharged."
Q. Who is this Joseph? A. He was foreman for Mr. Mertens, for the
Q. Did Mr. Mertens, or any of these contractors, ever tell you anything
about it? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know whether they know anything about what Mr. Joseph
told you? A. I do not know.
Q. Have you been discharged? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When were you discharged? A. A couple of weeks ago.
Q. Who discharged you? A. The foreman.
Q. Mr. Joseph? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why did he discharge you? A. By order of Mr. Mertens, he said.
I am working for the same man now.
Q. You say you work for Joseph now? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who is Mr. Joseph working for? A. The bridge company, before,
when he was foreman. He has a contract now.
Q. Who is the bridge company? A. McMullen and Mertens.
Q. Did you go to Kerwin's house? A. No, sir.
Q. Never been there ? A. No, sir.
Q. You worked there three weeks, did you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you would not go to Kerwin's house at all? A. No, sir.
Q. Were you discharged because you would not board at Kerwin's house ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And -then Mr. Joseph got a job from the same man and hired you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You are still working for him? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is this all you know about it? A. Yes, sir. Since I done my work
I asked Mr. Gray for a job three or four times, and he says, " I am full, at
present," and he hired the same day three or four men from Kerwin's
house. We done the hardest work, working in the water, and we could
not get a job because we were not stopping at the house.
Q. Did Gray say he would not employ you because you would not board
at Kerwin's? A. No.
Q. Who paid you, when you were at work, 20 cents an hour? A. I got
paid from Mr. Mertens' office.
Q. Who paid you? A. The bridge company — a clerk.
Q. Where do you board ? A. At Mr. Kneese's.
Q. He keeps a boarding house ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. In the same neighborhood? A. Yes, sir.
A Boarding House Keeper [to Mr. Mertens] — Did you not tell Mr.
Joseph not to employ any one unless hired from Kerwin's house?
Mr. Mertens — I did not.
Mr. Enos — When you get this material you do not interfere with private
property? A. No, sir.
A Laborer — I want to ask Mr. Mertens a question: If he is not getting
some of the material from Telegraph Hill through a sub-contractor?
Mr Mertens — We are. We have let a sub-contract to a party, about
three weeks ago, to top out our wall. It was not specified that he was to
take it from Telegraph Hill, but he thinks it most convenient to take it
from there. Now as to the injury of private property, I wish to state that
that contractor takes it from Sansome Street; and we have obtained per-
mission from the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco to grade Sansome
Street, and remove the rock there.
Mr. Enos — Do you know of any rock being taken from any of those
streets that has injured private property?
Mr. Mertens — I do not.
Q. To what extent has any rock been taken from there by this sub-
Mr. Mertens — To the extent of three thousand tons; the contract
requires about fifty to sixty thousand tons.
Q. You have no personal knowledge of any property being injured, so
far? A. None whatever.
A Laborer — I want to ask Mr. Mertens if I did not go and ask him for
a job, and he told me to go to Gray, that Gray had all to do with the hiring
of the men ?
Mr. Mertens — I do not know this man from Adam. If this man asked
me for work I undoubtedly sent him to Gray, who has the power of hiring
Mr. Enos — Gray is your superintendent?
Mr. Mertens — Yes, sir; for the seawall.
A Laborer [to Mr. Gray] — I want to ask if I did not go to you, and you
told me that Mr. Kerwin had all to do with the men working there?
Mr. Gray — You never asked me that question.
A Laborer [to Mr. Gray] — I want to ask Mr. Gray if he did not tell me
that he did not want any more men, but in a few minutes afterwards if he
did not put some of Kerwin's men there?
Mr. Gray — I know the man; he worked for me before. I told him I
was full handed. I did not want the man, and that is the reason I refused.
Kerwin was a friend of mine, and he had three or four friends that he
wanted a job for, and I put them to work.
Mr. Enos — Were you induced to refuse his application simply because
you were a particular friend of Mr. Kerwin? A. No, sir; because I did not
want the man.
Q. I understand you, Mr. Gray, to testify that in employing the men you
have acted purely and simply for the interest of your contractors, and have
not been governed by any undue influence or pecuniary inducements ? A.
None, sir; none whatever.
A Laborer — Mr. Gray states that he works the men ten hours; I want
to know if it is not nearer eleven hours than ten hours ? A. I work them
with regard to the circumstances; sometimes twelve hours. When I work
them twelve hours, I pay them for twelve hours' work.
Mr. Enos — When you work a man twelve hours you give him 17-g cents
an hour every hour he works ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. If you work a man nine hours you pay him for nine hours' work ? A.
Q. The pay is in proportion to the number of hours? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Enos [to Mr. Mertens] — Is that the condition under which your men
are paid? A. Yes, sir.
John T. Sullivan.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — What do you know about Section 6 of the seawall? An-
swer — I will say, that while I was a member of the Board of Supervisors the
property owners petitioned to open Sansome Street from Union to Filbert,
and I staved it off for considerable time, to have the property owners satis-
fied. Mr. Wagoner, the Engineer, I believe, brought a survey, or diagram of
the ground, that would be cut down, and said that it would not injure any
private property, and any property that was injured they were satisfied to
pay for it. On those conditions I consented to it, after probably delaying
the work several weeks. They worked there, but delayed the passage of
the resolution, and when they got permission to open Sansome Street from
Union to Green I was off East. When they petitioned for the opening of
Green Street from Union to Montgomery Streets, I opposed it and it was
defeated, and about the last of October Mr. Barry, one of the foremen for
the contractors, came to me with some other gentlemen, and stated that if
I did not consent to it they would use all their influence to have me defeated
at the coming election ; and I told them that I could stand defeat as good
as any other candidate, and I would not consent to it; and they told me in
case I changed my mind before Monday morning to go to Hackett's office
and they would support me. Previous to that, Mr. Barry and Mr. McDevitt
and Mr. Farren, who was a clerk in one of the Police Courts, came one day
and they asked me if I would not be silent when the matter came up. To
get rid of them I said I would ; but when the matter came up I opposed it.
Q. Are you speaking of Section 6? A. I do not know anything about
Q. It was the section for which Messrs. English, Hacket, Schuyler, and
Wagner had the contract? A. Yes, sir; and they did destroy private
Q. Who is Mr. Bany? A. One of the foremen.
Q. Under Mr. Hackett and Mr. English? A. I presume so.
Q. And they approached you for the purpose of getting you to aid them
in passing that measure through the Board of Supervisors to grade certain
streets? A. They promised their influence if I would help them.
Q. Do you know whether they did oppose you? A. I suppose so; I have
no personal proof of it.
Q. That inducement was held out to you to control your action as a mem-
ber of the Board of Supervisors for the grading of those streets ? A. Yes,
sir; and, furthermore, Mr. Hackett and Major Conlin, or some such name,
came to my house on Montgomery Street, one day, and stated that they
would pay for any property they injured, but would not consent to pay for
the damages that were set upon the property by the parties owning them,,
but would submit to arbitration and pay what was fair and reasonable.
Q. Who came before your Board of Supervisors for the purpose of getting
this through? A. Mr. Schuyler. I believe Mr. Wagoner and Mr. English
and Mr. Hackett have been up there; those four men. I do not know
whether Mr. Gray was up there or not.
Q. You are simply speaking of the property that was damaged, and the
mode and manner in which they sought to get the Board of Supervisors to
give them the right to blast through certain streets? A. Yes, sir.
John D. Young.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — What is your name? Answer — John D. Young.
Q. Where do you live? A. Battery Street.
Q. What is your business? A. Mostly farm laborer.
Q. How long have you lived in San Francisco? A. Three months and
Q. Are you working on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who hired you? A. Mr. Joseph.
Q. What did you do? A. Level rocks.
Q. Where? A. On the wharf.
Q. Did you work by the hour? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you get per hour? A. Twenty cents an hour.
Q. How long have you worked there? A. Four or five days.
Q. I mean, how long have you worked there in all? A. In all, about
three or four weeks.
Q. Do you know anybody being compelled to board at any particular
place? A. I once got discharged because I did not want to board at a
certain boarding house.
Q. Who discharged you? A. Mr. Joseph came one night to the place
where I boarded, and said that if I did not want to board at Kerwin's he
would discharge me. He had orders of Mr. Mertens to discharge any-
body who did not.
Q. Joseph told you, if you did not board at Mr. Kerwin's, that he had
orders from Mr. Mertens to discharge you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you do? A. I did not want to go over there, so I got dis-
Q. Who discharged you? A. Joseph.
Q. Have you talked with any of the contractors? A. No, sir.
Q. Are you working for Mr. Joseph now? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who is he working for? A. Ship contractor.
Q. Did you ever board at Kerwin's? A. I never did.
Q. How long were you discharged? A. About a couple of weeks.
Q. Then Joseph set you to work again? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of anybody else that was discharged by Joseph? A.
Yes, sir; this gentleman [pointing to a man present].
Q. Anybody else? A. No.
Q. You worked by the hour? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who hired you? A. Joseph.
Q. And Joseph discharged you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Joseph hired you over again ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And Joseph is working for the same men? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When he hired you to work, did Joseph tell you you must board at
Kerwin's, or was it afterwards? A. He hired me first, but did not say
anything about that; it came afterwards.
Q. How long afterwards? A. I only worked for about two days, I guess.
Q. All that you said about being discharged, and about boarding at
Kerwin's, is what Mr. Joseph told you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know whether Mr. Mertens ever told Mr. Joseph anything
about it? A. No, sir.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — What is your name? Answer — Charles Wilson.
Q. Where do you live? A. 1012 Battery.
Q. What is your business ? A. Laborer.
Q. Do you know anything about building Section 6 of the seawall? A.
I have been working there since the tenth of June.
Q. Who hired you? A. Mr. Mertens; I was leveling rocks.
Q. You have been working there since? A. Yes, sir; off and on.
Q. You are still at work there? A. Yes, sir; working for a different
man; the same company, but they let out the contract to another man.
Q. How long did you work on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Two
Q. What did you receive a day? A. They paid me $1 75 a day.
Q. Did they hire you by the day or hour? A. Day.
Q. Who paid you? A. The company.
Q. Who hired you? A. First I worked for Mertens, and then I worked
Q. It was all done through the bridge company ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of anybody's being intimidated ? A. No, sir.
Q. Or compelled, as a condition to get work there, that they would trade
out any part of their wages or board at any particular place? A. Yes, sir;
Gray asked me where I boarded. I board at Battery Street. He says,
"You must board over to Kerwin's." I did not like to go there. I am a
married man; I have my family in Sacramento, and am going to bring
them down here. Payday they wanted to-get me to board at Kerwin's.
Q. Did you go there? A. No, sir; I quit the job.
Q. You were not discharged? A. No, sir; I was told to go there, and I
did not want to go there.
Q. Did you quit because you were compelled to go there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is that the condition on which you quit? A. Yes, sir; every man
working there — about 59 men; he asked every man to go to Kerwin's to
Q. Did he compel them to go there? A. He told them to go there.
Q. Were the men that were employed principally men with families or
single men? A. Some single, and some were married.
Q. Did they all go there to board? A. Most of them; about three or
four did not go there.
Q. Was you told to go there when you hired out? A. No sir; they got
up that racket after about three days.
Mr. Enos — What is your name? Answer — James Kerwin.
Q. Where do you live? A. Corner of Kearny and Bay.
Q. How long have you lived in this State? A. Twenty-three years and
Q. What is your business ? A. I keep a boarding house.
Q. Whereabouts? A. Corner of Kearny and Bay.
Q. Do you know anything about Section 6 of the seawall? A. No, sir.
Q. Do not you know there is such a section being built? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know the men who are building it? A. I know two of them,
McMullen and Mertens.
Q. That is all you know? A. That is all.
Q. Did you ever have any arrangement, directly or indirectly, with any
of the contractors upon the seawall, as a condition of employing men, that
they should board at your boarding house ? A. No, sir.
Q. Do many of the men that work on that seawall board at your house ?
A. Fifty or sixty.
Q. Has there been any inducements held out, by which you were to pay
any commissions to anybody to induce them to board at your place? A.
Not a dollar, never, to anybody. McMullen wanted me, six months ago,
to go to the Island and board fifty or sixty men for them.
Q. What island? A. Sheep Island. I says, "I am doing well enough
Q. Do you know of any political influence being exercised, or anything
being brought to bear upon the men working on the seawall to interfere
with their political freedom? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know of a system known as the truck system, by which the
men are compelled to pay or trade out a certain amount of their wages at
any particular place? A. I know nothing about that, sir.
Q. Do you know anything about the wages paid to these men ? A. I
heard that they were paid 17^ cents an hour; that is what I heard. I
could not state what it is.
A Laborer — Do you know of any men stopping in your house who did
not get a job by asking Gray for it? A. That is more than I know.
A Laborer — Did you not tell the men to get their pick and shovel and
go to work? A. Yes, sir.
A Laborer — That seems as if you were doing the work. A. I put fifteen
men to-day in the same work — another contract, opposite my door.
Mr. Enos — If it is not interfering with your private business, I want to
know what laboring men that are getting 17-J cents an hour pay for their
board ? A. $4 50 a week.
Q. Board and lodging? A. Yes, sir.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — What is your name, and where do you reside? Answer —
Manuel Joseph; I reside at 1012 Battery Street.
Q. Do you know M. J. Mertens, one of the contractors of Section 6 of
the seawall? A. Yes, sir; he is my boss.
Q. Did he ever have any conversation with you in relation to the con-
struction of Section 6 of the seawall? A. He told me to do the work; I
was foreman for awhile.
Q. How were you hired, by the day or hour? A. I was hired by the
hour, at 30 cents an hour.
Q. Did Mr. Mertens ever have any conversation with you in relation to
having men board at any hotel? A. Yes, sir. He came to me one day
and told me to send whatever men I employed to Kerwin's.
Q. Did he say you must do so? A. No, sir; he did not say I must.
Q. Did he say they must board at Kerwin's or quit work? A. No, sir;
he simply said to have them board there.
Q. Did you discharge any men for refusal to board at Kerwin's? A.
Yes, sir; I did.
Q. Did you discharge them from orders from Mertens? A. No, sir; I
did not; I told them if they could not board at Kerwin's they must be
San Francisco, September 1, 1885.
M. J. Mertens.
Recalled and sworn.
Mr. Enos — Senator Days is the gentleman who introduced this resolu-
tion into the Senate, and at my request he comes here, as he is interested
in this matter, and he desires to ask you some questions.
Mr. Days — One of the principal reasons for introducing that resolution
into the Senate was to get at the reason why the eight-hour law was vio-
lated, or whether it was violated — whether it was a dead letter or not; and
if so, why it is a dead letter. I would like to ask if you did not sign a con-
tract, or rather your company, with the eight-hour law clause in it for the
employment of men? Answer — We did.
Q. The eight-hour law was also in the specification, was it not? A. Yes,
Q. How did you employ your men? A. We employed and paid our
men by the hour.
Q. How many hours did they work a day ? A. On an average ten hours
Q. Did any one inform you or your company that by employing the men
by the hour that would get around the law? A. No, sir.
Q. Your company has an attorney, has it not? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you ever discuss that matter with your attorney? A. Never.
Q. The question was never broached? A. No, sir.
Q. Was there any discussion of the matter with the Board of Harbor
Commissioners? A. Never.
Q. If you simply took the contract for that, and if you employed the
men by the hour, would that obviate the difficulty of the eight-hour law?
A. No, I do not look at it in that way. It has always been our custom to
employ all our men by the hour, laborers or mechanics; and we have also
used that system on the seawall, but not with a view of evading any law-
We did not consider, when you come right down to a consideration of the
law that you now speak of, we did not consider it operative on our work.
Q. That is, on contract work ? A. On contract work.
Q. You believe that, having a contract with the Harbor Commissioners
to do work for the State, that it is not State work; that is the opinion you
take about it? A. Yes, sir; that is the opinion we took.
Q. And, consequently, it not being State work, you can work your men
any number of hours that you like ; that is, that you agree upon ? A. That
we agree upon.
Q. You make a special agreement with them that they will have so
much per hour? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You do not make any agreement as to the number of hours? A. No;
but we employ men as many hours as will make a fair day's work and
Q. That is, a regular day's work? A. An ordinary day's work.
Q. You say that you did not have any conference whatever with the
Harbor Commissioners in relation to the eight-hour proposition ? A. None
Mr. Enos — Mr. Mertens, you testified the other day that you were one of
the contractors, one of four men that took this contract to build Section 6
of the seawall ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You gave the names of the firm, did you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you testify that if the specifications upon which you made your
bid for the construction of Section 6 of the seawall had contained a clause
providing that the men should not be worked more than eight hours, you
would consider yourself bound by it? A. I would.
Q. Did you also testify that you thought that your specifications upon
which you made your bid did not contain such a provision ? A. I say so.
Q. Now, I call your attention — I have examined the contracts and the
specifications upon which Section 6 of the seawall was advertised, and on
which you made your bid, and it contains the following section: " In pur-
suance of Section 3245 of the Political Code, the contract will contain a
stipulation that eight hours' work constitutes a day's work in all labor done
thereunder." Now, the specification upon which you made your bid and
the contract which was finally awarded by the Harbor Commissioners con-
tains that clause? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You testified that if such a thing did exist, and you were aware of it,
you would live up to it? A. I did.
Q. Now, it does contain such a clause, and why is it you do not live up
to it? A. Because the clause that you now refer to does not bind under
forfeiture of the contract to employ men only eight hours a day.
Q. Who says so? A. The very clause itself.
Q. I understood you, also, to testify the other day that the reason why
you did not work your men under the eight-hour law was, that you had
received instructions from the Harbor Commissioners, as well as from their
Attorney, that that clause of the Political Code was inoperative; null and
void? A. You are entirely mistaken. I have not said so, to the best of
Q. You now have no recollection of making such statement? A. I am
positive of it. I never said that I conferred with the Harbor Commission-
ers or their Attorney one single moment as to the force of that clause. I
venture to say as my individual opinion that I consider that clause inop-
erative, and could not bind us as contractors for this work.
Q. You did not consider you were bound by it; that it is null and void ?
A. I did not consider that the law referred to applied to contractors, or to
this particular case.
Q. Didn't you testify that this was work done for the State? A. I said
that our contract is with the Board of State Harbor Commissioners. In
other words, to be brief on this point, it is my individual opinion that this
law refers to employes of the State.
Q. You are doing this work for the State? A. If you may call the
Board of Harbor Commissioners the State, we do.
Q. Who pays you? A. The State Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Q. They deliver to you the money; they pay you? A. They do.
Q. Where do they get the money from? A. From the Harbor Improve-
Q. It is State money, and belongs to the State? A. It is money col-
lected by the Wharfingers.
Q. I understand that. But this money, whose is it? It is not Mr.
Irwin's, or Mr. Wise's, or Mr. Paulsell's? A. No, sir.
Q. It is State money? A. It is paid into the Improvement Fund.
Q. It is State money, and belongs to the State? A. I would not venture
to say so — no.
Q. What is your idea of it; does that belong to the Commissioners, or
•does it belong to the State? A. The State has control of it.
Q. Don't you know that this is public money? A. It is public money.
Q. Do you not know that after the work is performed, completed, and
finished, it belongs to the State as public property? A. It is under the
■control of the State Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Q. Is it not public property, belonging to the State ? A. It may; yes, sir.
Q. I ask you, as a contracting party, and as a business man, whether
you will not swear that it is public property and belongs to the State and
nobody else ? A. I can not express myself any better than by saying that
the State Board of Harbor Commissioners is one of the contracting parties
and we are the other. Now, if you say the State Board of Harbor Com-
missioners is the State, we are doing the work for the State; they are the
representatives of the State. Our contract does not read, nor is it in the
name of the State of California; it is with the State Board of Harbor Com-
missioners. Now, why should we get the opinion from that that this work
is done for the State. I say, no; the very evidence of the contract shows it.
If we were building a State Capitol, possibly the contract would be with
the State of California.
Q. The Legislature passed a law appointing Commissioners to build the
Capitol, and the Legislature appointed a Commission to build the State
University at Berkeley. When they built the Capitol or the University
at Berkeley did the contractors build it simply for the Commissioners, or
did they build it for the State and directly for the benefit of the State, and
with the State moneys ? You do certain work under a contract which is
public work for the State, and you do it with men appointed by the State
to see the work done. Now does it make any difference whether you do it
directly with the State or with the Commissioners?
Mr. Days — I think you said that the eight-hour law is inoperative, from
the fact that there is no penal clause in it? A. Yes, sir; I stated somewhat
to that effect.
Q. Now supposing that you and I had a transaction, and I loaned you
say $200, for which I take your note to be paid at the end of three months,
would you have to pay me or not? A. I would, unless you chose to extend
Q. I will suppose now that I want my money immediately and you have
the money and you do not want to pay me. I can collect that money by
law. There is no clause in the agreement, is there', that I can collect it ?
A. No, but there is a provision in the Political Code that you can collect it.
Q. Yes, sir, there is a provision in the Code that all contracts must be
lived up to, and if they are not lived up to then the Courts can interfere.
Now the provision in the eight-hour law simply has no penal clause. Now
what is the difference between the provision of the eight-hour law in your
contract and the provision that would be in the note that I speak of that
you would owe me ? Neither of them have any penal clause. You would
expect, in other words, that without a penal clause in the contract to pay
me in three months time. You would expect to pay it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now what I want to get at is, what is the difference in the two con-
tracts in that respect in your mind ? A. In my mind the difference would
be this, that for the nonpayment of the note there is a clause in the law
which provides for its enforcement; that is to say, for the enforcement of
the payment. In the eight-hour law, as I understand it, although I really
never read it, but have seen it, there is to my knowledge no penal clause
Mr. Enos — You refer to this contract. I have looked at the contract and
the contract does not justify you in coming to any conclusion that this is
private work because it is signed only by the Harbor Commissioners. " This
agreement entered into the twentieth day of February between you and the
State Board of Harbor Commissioners, and the Governor of the State of
California, and the Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, by
authority given by the Legislature," they are made the contracting parties
for the State? A. I never considered it not public work or private work,
but I say it is work for the State Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Q. Is it any more work for the Harbor Commissioners than it is for
Governor Stoneman and Mayor Bartlett? A. Well, I wish to call your
attention to the fact that the Governor of the State and the Mayor of San
Francisco are ex officio Harbor Commissioners.
Q. But they have got to be parties to the letting of the contract? You
can not let the contract without them ? A. I say that they are spoken of
there as Harbor Commissioners.
Q. The law is that they must sign, must be parties. What is that for if
it is simply private work? A. I do not consider it as private work; it is
Q. You say you have never read this law? A. No, sir. ■
Q. It reads: "Eight hours' labor constitutes a legal day's work in all
cases where the same is performed under the authority of any law of this
State." Don't you consider that this work is done under authority of the
law of this State? A. Yes, sir.
Q. "Or under direction of, or control, or by authority of any officer of this
State acting in his official capacity." Don't you think this work is done
under that, section; "or under direction, control, or by authority of any
municipal corporation within the State, or by any officer thereof, acting as
such, and a stipulation that that effect must be made a part of all contracts
to which the State or any municipal corporation therein is a party." I call
your attention to that. That was put in the stipulation on which you made
your bid. You received the contract because you were the lowest bidder?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. With that clause in the specification, and that clause made in the
contract, now you say of your own volition, without consulting the State
authorities, you have gone on hiring your men by the hour and working
them ten hours a day; is not that it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You did not hire your men according to the clause in the contract,
which says that you shall not work them but eight hours a day ? A. No, sir.
Q. You did not pay them for eight hours a day? A. No, sir.
Q. You hired them by the hour? A. We did.
Q. And paid them by the hour? A. Yes, sir.
Q. I asked you the other day if you employed any Mongolians on this
labor of constructing Section 6 of the seawall? A. No, sir; we do not.
Q. Have you employed any Chinese as cooks? A. We have employed
Chinamen as cooks for our laborers on Sheep Island.
Q. You have employed Chinamen as cooks for your men whom you have
employed in the construction of Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many? A. Two or three.
Q. When, and where? A. On Sheep Island.
Q. Is that where you get the material out for the construction ? A. Part
of the material ; yes, sir.
Q. When did you commence this contract ? A. The contract was entered
into on the sixth day of January, 1885.
Q. Did you commence work then ? A. We commenced work in February.
Q. What time in February. A. The beginning of February.
Q. Have you had Chinamen employed as cooks from the commencement
of this contract up to the present time? A. No, sir.
Q. What portion of the time have you had Chinamen employed? A.
We have employed from two to three Chinamen from the commencement
of this work until about four weeks ago — at Sheep Island.
Q. As cooks? A. As cooks.
Q. Have you ever employed any as laborers in or about getting out that
material, or anything of that kind? A. No, sir.
Q. Now are there any in your employ? A. No, sir.
Q. Up to what time did you keep those men as cooks? A. Approxi-
mately till about the end of July. Will you let me make just one correc-
tion in a statement I made to an interrogator? It was stated here that I
was questioned at the last investigation as to whether we ever had any
Chinamen in or about the work. I would say this question was never put
to me, but the question put to me was: "Are you employing Chinamen in
or about this work?"
Q. What is the amount of the contract to build Section 6 of the seawall?
A. Our bid is $122,000, in round figures.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — Where do you live ? Answer — I live on Battery Street.
Q. In San Francisco? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is your age ? A. Twenty-nine.
Q. What is your business ? A. Foreman.
Q. Foreman of what? A. Foreman for myself, at present.
Q. What are you doing? A. I have a sub-contract from the San Fran-
cisco Bridge Company.
Q. What doing? A. Laying down the facing on the seawall.
Q. On what work? A. Section 6 of the seawall.
Q. You have a sub-contract to do certain work on Section 6 of the sea-
wall, being constructed now by Mr. Mertens & Co.? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you had that contract? A. I think I commenced last
Q. You testified the other day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were you ever foreman for this bridge company? A. Yes, sir.
Q. On Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What were your duties as foreman? A.' I worked for them on Second
Street, filling up Second Street.
Q. Your duty as foreman was to hire and employ men and oversee them ?
A. To oversee them, and employ and discharge them.
Q. Did Mr. Mertens, one of the contractors, ever tell you not to employ
any men without they boarded at certain places? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you tell that man so [pointing to Leon Gruen]? A. I told him so.
Q. Did you tell him a lie? A. I did at the time. I did not want to hurt
the man's feelings.
Q. What induced you to lie? A. I don't know.
Q. You went deliberately down and stated to this man, who was in your
employ on Section 6 of the seawall, that he had to board at a certain
place; that Mr. Mertens, one of the contractors, told you that you must
discharge him without he boarded at a certain place? A. I did not exactly
say that Mr. Mertens told me. I said he had to go down there and board,
or I would let him go. I did not bring Mr. Mertens' name in at all.
Q. You say that Mr. Mertens never gave you such instructions? A. He
never gave me such instructions, as I said before; but whatever men I
employed, to send down to Mr. Kerwin's.
Q. What else did he say? A. That is all he said to me.
Q. You never were told by Mertens not to employ men without they
would board there? A. No, sir.
Q. And Mertens never told you to discharge men without they boarded
there? A. No, sir.
Q. You said you lied? A. I did not say that Mertens told me anything
Q. I asked you the question directly. A. I discharged him. I told
him I could not keep a man unless he boarded at Kerwin's. That is the
words I told him.
Q. Now, what did Mr. Mertens tell you about the men boarding at Mr.
Kerwin's? A. That is what he told me.
Q. What did he tell you? A. He told me whatever men I would hire,
if I would hire any men, to send them down to Mr. Kerwin's.
Q. Did you discharge that man [Gruen]? A. I did.
Q. Why did you hire him over again? A. I thought he was big and
strong, and could handle the rock better than any one else; I did not want
too small a man.
Q. Why did you discharge him before? A. It is different work. A
small man can do more work in different things than a man that has no
experience on the work. He can't do it.
Q. Did you tell this man after you got your sub-contract that your men
could board where they please? A. When I got the sub-contract I told
them to board where they wish.
Q. You still retain your position under Mertens' company? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, sir, when you came into this office to make complaint against
the bridge company A. [interrupting] — I did not make complaint
against the bridge company.
Q. You came in with this man Gruen ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. To make a complaint to me, as Commissioner, of the manner in which
they were constructing Section 6 of the seawall ? A. I did not make any
complaint against the company.
Q. What did you come into my office for? A. I came in with that man,
as he can state now, about boarding all the men at one house. That I
know nothing about, how it is done or how it is not done.
Q. Did not you give me a list of witnesses? A. I gave you no list of
Q. Did not you ask me to commence this investigation in relation to Sec-
tion 6 of the seawall? A. In one matter — the boarding of all the men at
Q. Are you not one of the men that instituted this inquiry? A. No; I
don't see that I had anything to do with it.
Q. Did not you come into my office under an assumed name, and I was
introduced to you as a man by the name of Howard? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why did you do that? A. I don't know. I did not want to, but he
asked me to come up here as a friend [meaning Gruen]. I did not want
to let any one know that I was up here.
Q. Why did you wish to conceal your true name? A. I did not want to
have it known that I was in any transaction at all; I was not against the
bridge company; I was against boarding all the men at one house.
Q. Didn't you come in here to consult in relation to whether the Attor-
ney-General's opinion would not give us authority to go on in relation to
Section 6, to continue our investigation as to Section 6 of the seawall? A.
I spoke of finding out the reason why the men all boarded at one house.
Q. You have relinquished your interest to make an investigation in rela-
tion to this seawall matter? A. Not that I know of.
Q. Have you talked with the contracting parties since this investigation
commenced? A. Not about the matter; I have spoke to them.
Q. Who did you get your contract of? A. I got it from Mr. Mertens.
Q. Directly? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When did you get that? A. About three weeks ago.
Q. Since this investigation started? A. No, sir; long before that; six
days before that.
Q. You say that Mr. Mertens has not conversed with you in relation to
your testimony about this investigation ? A. No, sir.
Q. Never has spoken a word to you? A. No, sir.
Q. Has anybody else? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you talked with anybody else about this investigation? A.
Q. Not a word ? A. No, sir.
Q. You never told anybody that if you did not back out of this thing
you would lose your position? A. I did not say, back out of it.
Q. That you would lose your position? A. Yes, sir; I was afraid I
would lose my position coming up here.
Q. And is that the reason why you have backed out of this proceeding ?
A. No, sir; I have not backed out of it.
Q. The day after you had your last examination, did you have any con-
versation with this man (Gruen) about being discharged? A. I believe I
told him the next day, or that morning, he would be discharged. I have
been telling the boys all along in their work that they would have to be
Q. Did he tell you that he would be discharged ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you tell him, no, to go to work? A. I said to go to work.
Q. Did he go to work? A. He went to work.
Q. Did Mr. Mertens go down there that day, between five and six o'clock
that afternoon? A. He was down there.
Q. Did he have a private conversation with you? A. He took me on
one side as soon as he always has done to talk to me.
Q. Did you tell the boys about six o'clock, "Come, let's go home? " A. I
Q. Did you, after you got your supper, tell this man (Gruen) that "You
are discharged ; I do not want you any longer ? " A. I told them they could
not do my work and I had discharged them.
Q. You told him in the morning to go to work? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And he worked all that day? A. Not a full day.
Q. Well, he worked? A. Certainly.
Q. Mr. Mertens came down? A. I saw him down there.
Q. He took you on one side ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And had a private talk with you? A. He always has when he wants
to tell me anything on business.
Q. He did that day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you tell the boys at six o'clock to go home? A. Yes, sir; to go
Q. After supper did you tell these men not to work any more ? A. They #
could not do my work and I told them I had to discharge them.
Q. Between what hours of that memorable day did you discover they
could not do your work ? A. I found it out the day before and the day
Q. If you found out he (Gruen) was not your man, why did you set him
to work that morning? A. I always give a man a trial.
Q. Had you changed your work? A. It was not going fast enough.
Q. How many men did you discharge ? A. Two.
Q. These two that are here, Gruen and De Young? A. I think so.
Q. Did you discharge these men because they could not do your work ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You had not changed your manner of doing work ? A.I wanted my
work done faster.
Q. How long had this young man been at work for you? A. I think
about three weeks. The work he was doing is different work, and needs
Q. They were sober men? A. Yes, sir. I never saw anything the mat-
ter with them.
Q. Good, quiet, peaceable young men? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you hire anybody in their places? A. I hired three men.
Q. Where did these men board when you discharged them ? A. With
Q. Where did the men go to board whom you hired? A. I don't know;
they were married men.
Q. Did you say to this man (Gruen) : "I am sorry, but I will have to
discharge you; you are a handy man, and if I can do anything for you, as
I have considerable influence, I will do it." A. I told him he was a good
worker, but he was not able to do my work; that is what I stated; and
anything else I could do for him anywhere else, I would do it, the same as
I would do for any other man.
Q. Did you tell him that you had a family and two children, and your
living depended upon it? A. I do not suppose I told him I had a family
and two children, but they all know it in the house, that I have.
Q. Did you tell this man Gruen that you knew more about the racket
than anybody else, and you expected to lose your place, but you did not
care anything about it; but you were coming up here to testify? A. No,
Q. Did you ask this man to come up here and testify? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you give the names of these two men who were in here that day?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did you give me names to subpoena and I subpoenaed them on the
first examination of Section 6 of the seawall ? A. I came up, but I did not
Q. What did you do? A. I kind of forget now.
Q. What did you come up here for? A. I came up with George.
Q. What did you come up for? A. I came up about the men all stop-
ping at one house. I came up with him, George.
Q. Didn't you tell me that if I would go on with this investigation, and
to issue certain subpoenas for the purpose of proving that it was a condi-
tion for men to work on the seawall that they must board at Mr. Kerwin's
house, and didn't you give me a list of names in connection with this mat-
ter to prove that? A. I told you that all the men that were employed there
were boarding at Kerwin's.
Q. Why don't you answer my question? Didn't you tell me that you
oame here for that purpose ? A.I spoke of all the men boarding at one
house; yes, sir.
Q. And that you would bring me more names? A. Yes, sir, in regard
to their stopping at that house.
Q. What interest had you that the men should not board at one place?
A. I had nothing against Kerwin.
Q. What interest had you, then, against their boarding at - Kerwin's
house? A. I had a reason in it; the men there were always drunk and
one thing and another, and never saving a cent, and another thing, a man
should go and board wherever he likes.
Q. That is what brought you up here? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You told me that was the reason why you came to my office, that no
man could get work without agreeing to board at Kerwin's? A. Yes, sir, I
believe that is it.
Q. Did you tell me the truth? A. Yes, sir; just as I am speaking now.
Q. Well, sir, will you testify now that no man can go to work on the sea-
wall without he boards at Kerwin's house ? A. I do not know about getting
Q. Didn't you tell me that? A. I believe I did.
Q. Will you swear to it now? A. No, sir.
Q. Why then did you make such a representation? A. Because I
thought that was the reason.
Q. Do you think so now? A. I do not.
Q. You have changed your mind? A. I kind of changed my mind, but
the men were all boarding there as I stated.
Q. Do you think now the men are not obliged to board there? A. I do,
Q. That they are not obliged to board there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that they can board anywhere else? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You did not think so when you made the complaint? A. I did not.
Q. Why this radical change? A. There is no change at all.
Q. Did you see Mr. Galland when he came down to subpoena? A. I did
Q. Did not you go in under the seawall ? A.I did go under the seawall.
Q. Do you testify that you did not see Mr. Galland when he was try-
ing to find you? A. I did not notice him; I went down there to measure-
off my wall.
Q. And didn't you tell this man Gruen, that if Mr. Galland did come
around, to say you were gone into the country ? A. Yes, sir, I did for a joke.
They were talking and laughing in the house, and I said, " I will go in
the country," just for a joke.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — Where do you reside ? Answer — 550 Mission Street.
Q. What is your business? A. Laborer.
Q. Have you been employed on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who employed you ? A. Mr. Gray.
Q. As a laborer? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mr. Gray is foreman, who employed the men in the construction of
Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What arrangement did you make with Mr. Gray to work on Section
6 of the seawall? A. I worked ten hours a day for $1 75.
Q. He hired you by the day? A. Yes, sir; I understood it by the day.
Q. How long did you work for him ? A. Three weeks.
Q. What was said to you about your going to work? A. When I was
working there I was to go and board at Kerwin's.
Q. When you were hired what was said ? A. Nothing was said.
Q. When you went to work where did you board? A. I boarded at home
with my family.
Q. Are you a married man? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you been working there? A. I was working three-
weeks when I was told to go and board at Kerwin's or quit.
Q. Who told you to go and board at Kerwin's? A. Mr. Gray. He asked
me where I was boarding, and I told him with my family; and he said,
"You must go and board at Kerwin's or quit the job." I worked three
days after that, and sooner than go and board at Kerwin's I quit.
Q. Did you ever have any talk with the contractors? A. No, sir.
Q. Is that all you know about it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You were not present when Mr. Gray testified? A. No, sir.
Q. How were you paid? A. I got my time; it was cashed in the office.
He said he would make an exception in my case and pay me off; gener-
ally they would not pay until the fifteenth of the month.
Mr. Days — Are you certain that Mr. Gray said nothing about being
employed by the hour? A. I could not say anything about that.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — Where do you live? Answer — No. 28 Alta Street.
Q. What is your business ? A. Laborer.
Q. Have you been employed on Section 6 of the seawall as a laborer?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long? A. Twenty-one and a half days.
Q. Who employed you? A. Mr. Gray; I would not get the job only
through influence for me.
Q. What was the bargain that Mr. Gray made with you? A. To work
ten hours a day for $1 75.
Q. Are you married ? A. Married man.
Q. Where did you board ? A. At home.
Q. Was there anything said about board? A. Gray went along the line
and told all the hands that if they did not go to board at Kerwin's they
could not work. One young man refused to go to board at Kerwin's, and
he gave him his time right away.
Q. Do you know anything else? A. My health was not good, and that
put me back for a few days, and when I got better I spoke to Mr. Gray,
and I said, " I am all right; I am a man of family; " and he said, " I can't
give you any work; I am full-handed; " but he said to another man, when
I took my time, that I would never work a day for that firm again.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — Where do you reside ? Answer — Sansome Street.
Q. What is your business ? A. Laborer.
Q. Have you worked on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When did you work? A. From the first beginning of it up to last
Q. How long have you worked there? A. From the seventh of June
until the twenty-eighth of August.
Q. Have you been discharged ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who discharged you? A. Mr. Gray.
Q. Do you know why he discharged you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why? A. I neglected my duty.
Q. Then you were discharged for a good cause? A. In the first place,
the way I got discharged, I went into the bay to save a man's horse. The
man's horse was drowning; it got scared at the cars, and I was on the car
with Mr. Gray. I got wet, so the man I saved the horse for took me into a
place up on Battery Street, and we got a few drinks of whisky, and when I
went to work the whisky affected me, and of course I did not do my work.
Q. Who hired you to work? A. Mr. Gray.
Q. What was the bargain? A. To work for $1 75 a day.
Q. He hired you by the day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Anything said about the hours? A. No, sir.
Q. And you received from that time $1 75? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You were working ten hours a day? A. Yes, sir; we commenced to
work at seven o'clock in the morning and worked until six at night.
Q. He told you that would be the time? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you work there now? A. No, sir; I was discharged on Saturday
Q. Have you gone back to work? A. No, sir.
Q. Were you not working there yesterday? A. No, sir; I am working
for another firm.
Q. You are working on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir; but for
Q. A sub-contractor? A. Yes, sir; Mr. Cummings.
Q. Was anything said where you should board, when he hired you? A.
When I was first set to work, no; he never asked me where I was boarding.
Q. Anything said at any time about where you should board? A. He
came along and told me, and all the rest of them, that we would have to
go and board at Kerwin's, along with the rest of the men, and he said he
had got orders to that effect.
Q. Mr. Gray said he had orders to that effect, that the men that worked
there should do what? A. Board at Kerwin's.
Q. Did you go? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you work? A. Yes, sir; I did not have to go. I went and spoke
to Mr. Mertens, and asked him if he would allow me to stay where I was.
He told me if he would grant me that favor they would all be after him, so
he said he would not have anything to do with it. He told me I must go
and see Mr. Gray.
Q. How long ago that Mr. Gra3^ told you that you must go to Kerwin's to
board? A. On the fourteenth of June.
Q. And you did not go? A. No, sir.
Q. And you kept at work? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And have you been discharged? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And are now working for a sub-contractor? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you hear Gray, or any one in connection with the construction of
the seawall, tell any of the men where to go to board? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you hear? A. Mr. Mertens told me himself. I told him a
lie at that time. I told him I was living with my aunt; that I was board-
ing in my aunt's house.
Q. What did you tell him that lie for? A. I thought he might favor me,
and let me stay where I was by saying that.
Q. Do I understand that Mr. Mertens came to you and told you that he
would not grant any favors, and that you would have to board at a certain
place? A. He told me that I would have to go and see Mr. Gray.
Q. And then you told him a lie, and said you were boarding with your
aunt? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You thought that would mollify Mr. Gray's determination? A. Yes,
Q. And finally he said he would not interfere with you? Did he specify
any particular place where he wanted you to board? A. No; he did not.
Q. Did he say all the men that worked on that Section 6 of the seawall
would have to board at a certain place? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mr. Mertens told you? A. Yes, sir; at that time.
Q. When was that? A. I could not exactly tell the date. It was some
day after Mr. Gray told us; I believe it was on the twelfth or the fourteenth
Q. The question is, did Mr. Mertens ever tell you? A. Yes, sir; I was
the only man that spoke to Mr. Mertens.
Q. And Mr. Mertens told you that all the men that worked on Section 6
of the seawall must board at a certain place? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did he mention the place? A. Yes, sir.
Q. State what he said? A. I said that Mr. Gray told us we would have
to go there on Monday morning, and I asked permission of Mr. Mertens.
Q. In the first place Mr. Gray told you that you would have to board at
a certain place on Monday morning ? A. Certainly.
Q. Where was that place ? A. Mr. Kerwin's.
Q. And you went to see Mr. Mertens? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did Mr. Mertens say? A. At first he said he did not want to
talk with me, and to talk to Mr. Gray, and I went away, and I worked
that day. I put up the tools, and Mr. Mertens was on the wharf that after-
noon, and he came up to me and said: "Ain't you the man that spoke to
me about this boarding?" And I said: "Yes, sir." . "Well," he said,
" what do you want?" " Well," I said, " I am boarding with my aunt and
I would like to stay there; she is a poor woman;" and I said " I didn't see
why I should be compelled to go to another house, and rather than do that
I would just as leave get my time." He said: "If I grant you this favor
I would have to do it to all the rest." " Well," I said, " I don't want any
favor; I would just as soon get my time, anyway."
Q. And he said that you go and see Mr. Gray? A. He told me to go
and see Mr. Gray about it.
John D. Young.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — Where do you live? Answer — In this city.
Q. How long have you lived here? A. Three or four months.
Q. A single man? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is your age? A. Twenty-one.
Q. Did you work on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. When? A. I was working there last week.
Q. When did you commence to work? A. I commenced to work about
five or six weeks ago.
Q. How long did you work? A. I worked off and on about three weeks.
Q. Who did you make the contract with? A. I worked for Mr. Joseph.
Q. Who hired you to work there? A. Mr. Joseph.
Q. What were the conditions on which you went to work? A. 20 cents
Q. How many hours did you work a day? A. Sometimes five and
Q. What was the branch of business you were employed in? A. Level-
ing rocks at low tide.
Q. Was there anything said in relation to your boarding at any place ?
A. I got discharged on account I did not want to go to board at Kerwin's.
Q. Who discharged you? A. Mr. Joseph.
Q. What did he tell you? A. He said Mr. Mertens told him he had
to discharge us unless we would board at Kerwin's.
Q. Did you refuse to board at Kerwin's? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you were discharged on that account? A. Yes, sir.
Q. By Mr. Joseph? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And Mr. Joseph is a sub-contractor? A. Under Mr. Mertens.
Q. Any relation to the contracts? A. He was foreman at that time.
Q. I thought Mr. Gray was foreman? A. No, he was foreman leveling
off the rocks.
Q. Joseph was foreman of that branch of the work, leveling off the rocks?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. At that time, he told you that if you did not board at Kerwin's you
could not work there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you refused to board there? A. Yes, sir; and I got discharged.
Q. When were you discharged? A. Three or four weeks ago.
Q. Have you been to work there since? A. Yes, sir, when he got the
sub-contract he hired me over again and I got discharged just a week ago.
Q. How long did you work for him after he hired you on the sub-con-
tract? A. I worked about four or five days.
Q. Under those last arrangements ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You were testifying here last week? A. Yes, sir. We went to work-
ing in the morning, and about one o'clock I came up here, and in the after-
noon we went to work again until six in the afternoon. Mr. Mertens was
around there and called Joe on one side, and after that we quit work and
went to supper, and he told us we were discharged because we could not do
Q. That was last week? A. Just a week ago on the twenty-fifth.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — What is your age? Answer — Twenty-seven.
Q. Single man? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Live in this city? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long? A. About three years.
Q. Did you work on Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. As a day laborer? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who hired you? A. Mr. Joseph.
Q. The first time? A. Yes, sir.
Q. I examined you the other day. Have you any additional testimony
to offer before me? A. No, sir. That is all I know; I swear to everything
Q. Were you discharged at that time? A. Yes, sir, just after that exami-
Q. After you came up here you were discharged? A. I worked until
Q. Was anything said to you why you were discharged? A. I asked
him in the afternoon before I went to work; when I came back, I said,
" Joe, I don't think there is any need for me to go to work down there any
more; you will let us out, anyhow." I said, "I bet you anything you
will let us out by night." He said, " You can go to work," and I said, " All
right;" and I went to work, and about six o'clock, or a little after, Mr.
Mertens came around, and I saw him talking to Mr. Gray for a little
while, and then he came and called Joe. He called him out from
the wharf, and they went about twenty-five yards from the place, and
when he came back he said, "Well, boys, let's go home;" and we took
our barrows and went out and sat at the supper table, and he said, " Well,
boys, I have got no more work for you." I said, " Why ? " Then he laughed
and he said, " You fellows can't do my work." He could not tell us he was
compelled to discharge us. He said afterwards, " Leo, I am sorry I have
to discharge you; you are a handy man;" and he said, " You know how it
is; I have two children and a wife, but I have a lot of influence down town,
and if I can do anything for you, I will try and do it. If you only knew
how to boil acids, I could get you a job in the powder factory."
Q. Did he ever find fault with you for not doing his work? A. No, sir;
I am certain I can do any kind of work; before that he used to pass my
house every day and get me out to work. Now, he is living in the house,
and there are a lot of idle men, and he can go around to Kerwin's looking
for men, and he can come up to the house and get them every day, so I
must be able to do his work.
Q. Have you received your pay? A. Between that time and I got dis-
charged the first, there was; Joe came to us and wanted more men, he
says " I have the other job now," and he went down to Second Street
Wharf, and Mr. Mertens took this job off Joe, and gave it to a sub-contractor;
the sub-contractor works for the company, but he did not tell me where we
were going to get paid, or anything.
Q. They paid you by the middle of the month? A. So I heard; so the
men told me in the office here.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — You have heard the testimony here to-day by the witnesses,
in relation to the men employed on the seawall being compelled to board
at your house ? Answer — Yes, sir.
Q. Have you any knowledge of any such thing being done by anybody
connected with construction of Section 6 of the seawall? A. No, sir.
Q. Or construction of Section 5 of the seawall, as well as the construc-
tion of Section 6; whether you have any knowledge of anybody being
compelled to go to your house as a condition for obtaining work on that
section of the seawall ? A. No, sir.
Q. There was no such arrangement that you ever knew of being entered
into? A. No, sir.
Mr. Days — Did Mr. Hackett, or any of the gentlemen under him, make
any arrangement with you to go security for the board of men working
there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of any firm, or anybody connected with them, making
any commissions on the men that boarded there, by getting men to board
at your house? A. No, sir; not so much as a cigar. There was a man by
the name of Barry who said he did, but I do not know anything about it.
Further hearing adjourned.
September 11, 1885.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — What is your name ? Answer — John Brown.
Q. Where do you live? A. 36 Clay Street, San Francisco.
Q. How long have you lived here? A. I came here the tenth of Decem-
Q. You have lived here since the tenth of December, 1884? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you a citizen of the United States? A. No. I have my first
papers; I am three years and four months in the United States.
Q. What is your occupation ? A. Laborer.
Q. Were you employed on Section 6 of the seawall? A. I don't know
whether it is Section 6; I know I was employed on Sheep Island by
Q. For work on the seawall ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What kind of work did you do on the seawall? A. I was laboring,
pick and shoveling, using wheelbarrow and rolling rocks down, and some-
times putting it in the skips to carry it to the scows.
Q. Where is Sheep Island? A. About six or seven miles from here.
Q. Across the bay? A. Yes, sir; the left side from Goat Island.
Q. What kind of material do they get on Sheep Island ? A. Sometimes
they get rock and sometimes dirt, and sometimes rock below the weight
demanded. The pieces should not weigh less than five pounds, but they
put smaller. That is what all the boys can tell.
Q. You put in all sizes of rock? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know what size of rock they were to put in? A. Yes, sir;
everybody knows, not less than five pounds.
Q. A piece of rock should not weigh less than five pounds? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do they put in smaller pieces than that? A. Yes, sir; even smaller
than a pound; or even smaller than an ounce; put it in with a shovel.
Q. Tell what kind of rock they put in? A. Poor rock and dirt.
Q. You say they put in poor rock? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did they put in dirt, besides ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where they should put in stone? A. Yes, sir.
Q. They put in dirt and light rock? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was there not objection made to putting in that material? A. There
was a time when an objection could be made, and when it could not be
made. They worked us about fourteen hours a day.
Q. How long did you work on Section 6 of the seawall? A. I worked
from the eleventh of April about two weeks, and afterwards I got hurt and
I was sick ten days; and was working, again seven weeks; in all, nine
Q. Who hired you? A. I got it from the employment office, Ewer &
Co., on Clay Street.
Q. Did you work by the day, or hour? A. 17^ cents an hour.
Q. How many hours a day did you work? A. First ten, and then
twelve. They now work them twelve hours.
Q. When they put in this poor rock and small stone, did anybody object
to it or protest against it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who was it? A. The inspector, Mr. Creighton.
Q. Was Mr. Creighton employed as an inspector? A. So we were told.
Q. What did Mr. Creighton say? A. Sometimes he explained that we
ought not to do it, and sometimes quarreled; and once there was a fight
Q. Did Mr. Creighton fight about it? A. Mr. Creighton went up to the
scow and found the dirt that was in that morning, and he told the second
boss — Gus, we called him — he told him to put it out. Well, he quarreled
with him, and he stood up against him in a position to fight him, and Mr.
Creighton would not fight. But he still called him names, and then Mr.
Creighton knocked him down.
Q. Creighton knocked down this man that was putting in the bad mate-
rial? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did he knock him down with? A. His fist.
Q. Did the dirt and poor stone go in? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, was there a good deal of the poor material put in ? A. That is
a matter of estimate. In my opinion it was about 20 to. 25 per cent, but I
did not stand at the scow.
Q. In your estimation, there was while you were there about 20 to 25 per
cent of the material, dirt and small stone, put in that should not have been
put in? A. Yes, sir; it was poor rock and small stone and dirt.
Q. Do you know anything about any Chinamen being employed on Sheep
Island? A. There were three Chinamen; a cook and two waiters, that is
Q. They were employed to cook for the men who were working on the
seawall, by the contractors ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You boarded over there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many men were employed there? A. In the beginning, when
we started, I think there were forty, and afterwards there was more than
seventy, most of the time more than seventy.
Q. Do you know of any accident happening to the men that were work-
ing there? A. There was a great many. I know two men got hurt while
I was there. I was there when they sent a witness from Sheep Island to
testify it was his own fault.
Q. Did you get hurt there ? A. I got hurt.
Q. How did you get hurt? A. They rolled down a rock at that time
and a piece of the rock struck me on the head ; I felt very bad but we were
sent to go to work.
Q. Was that through the carelessness of the men? A. I am sure it was
Q. Was there anybody else hurt through carelessness in working over
there? A. At the time I got hurt there was a man got hurt every day.
Q. Through carelessness? A. Through carelessness I was hurt.
Q. Did you have any of your limbs broken? A. My finger is now stiff.
I do not know whether it was broken — the third finger on the right hand.
Q. Was that brought about by the carelessness of the men? A. Yes, sir;
for I think they ought to have a man to warn us when the rock rolls down.
Q. How many accidents do you think took place, through the careless-
ness of the contractors, over on Sheep Island ? A. I know a man who lost
the whole right arm; he is in town now, I think.
Q. Was that through carelessness? A. Yes, sir; the beam of the der-
rick broke down and sent a skip over, and the skip struck him on the head,
but did not hurt him much, but hurt his arm; it has paralyzed it, and he
has it now in a sling. There was one man got hurt who had his legs
Q. How did he get hurt? A. I did not know at that time. I heard it
among the workmen. Everybody knows it in town that he got hurt, as
they say, by the carelessness of the company. He was taken to the County
Hospital, and died there.
Q. How many people do you think got hurt through the carelessness of
the company? A. One time I think as many men got hurt as there were
Q. You worked nine weeks. That would be over fifty men? A. No; not
the first time; two weeks the first time, and I think it was about fourteen
to sixteen men.
Q. Some of them with fingers broken, and some with shoulders broken,
and others with legs broken? A. Yes, sir; and I call them hurt when they
are compelled to leave work. I know a great many that got hurt and got
well afterwards, but they were compelled to give up work.
Q. What did you have to pay for your board? A. $4 50 a week, or 21-£
cents a meal.
Q. What kind of food did you have? A. Very bad, in general; mostly
very bad; four days there was not any bread, so I was told; but I was not
there at that time, and when I was there it was very often rotten meat.
Q. Did it stink? A. Yes, sir; and stinking butter.
Q. You had miserable food, did you? A. Yes, sir; and often there was
not enough to satisfy the men.
Q. Did you work there when they had not any bread? A. No; but it
is a fact, and everybody can testify to that.
Q. You had stinking meat? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And stinking butter? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was the matter with the butter? A. It was not good.
Q. You had poor food? A. Yes, sir; very poor, and often not sufficient.
Q. The quality was poor and the quantity was very light. Did you have
food enough and good enough for a workingman? A. Sometimes only.
Q. Did you make complaints? A. Once, but it was no use for the white
men always stood apart; but once in the beginning there was about 25 to
30, and they were complaining over the bad food over there, and one day
they came in the morning and there was no breakfast at all, and they left
Q. You say that the men left because they did not get enough to eat?
A. Yes, sir. At that time I was working there.
Q. You paid $4 50 a week? A. Yes, sir; and I told the boys once in a
joke that we could get, for $4 50, better board than we were getting there.
It did not please me.
Q. Did you work there until you were discharged? A. I was discharged
with six other men. They discharged the parties as the work got slack.
I belonged to the third party that was discharged. There were ten dis-
charged, and then fifteen, and the third party was seven altogether. Now
they have started again.
Q. All the time you were at work on this seawall, did you ever work over
on Sheep Island? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long did they have these Chinamen there? A. There was one
Chinaman when I went to work there.
Q. Was the Chinaman there when you left? A. No; the week before I
left they put a white man on.
Q. When did you leave? A. It was about the twentieth or twenty-first
Q. And when you left they had no Chinamen? A. No, sir.
Q. When did you go there? A. I went on the tenth and started to work
on the eleventh of April.
Q. And they had this Chinaman there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And they stayed there to the twentieth of August? A. They stayed
until about the tenth of August, and I left on the twentieth.
Q. The Chinamen did the cooking? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were they good cooks? A. The first time when I stopped there there
was a good cook, but he got discharged, I don't know what for, and after-
ward they were bad cooks and very insolent to us.
Q. Did you hear the inspector protest more than once against the mate-
rial for putting into the seawall? A. Several times a day, and several
times an hour.
Q. They kept right on putting it in? A. We worked fourteen hours,
and he thought that we ought not to work fourteen hours, and he went
away every day about eight o'clock, and we were working there at five
o'clock in the morning; they had two parties to work, one worked from
five o'clock to four, and the other from eight to seven.
Q. Did the contractors make you work all the time? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did they work you fourteen hours? A. We worked ten hours, but
fourteen hours work was done on the place.
Q. Did you work more than ten hours a day? A. No, sir.
Q. Then a fresh lot came on and worked another? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many hours a day did you work? A. Ten hours a day.
Q. Did anybody work more than ten hours a day? A. Yes, sir; after-
Q. How many hours did you have to work ? A. Twelve hours.
Q. Did you work fourteen hours a day? A. I say fourteen they kept at
work in the quarry.
Q. Did one single man work more than' twelve hours a day? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you work twelve hours? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were you asked and compelled to work 12 hours a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many men were working 12 hours a day? A. Everybody.
Q. How long did they work 12 hours a day? A. Since the white cook
came they were working 12 hours a day, about five weeks back.
Q. Did the men that worked 12 hours a day want to work 12 hours a
; day? A. No, sir.
Q. The contractors made them work? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know a man by the name of Joseph? A. It seems to me that
is Gus, as we call him.
Q. Was Gus foreman? A. I say that is him, that is the man that
Creighton knocked down.
Q. Why did he knock him down? A. Because he told them to put dirt
into the scow.
Q. Joseph then was cheating the State? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did Gus or Joseph say or do? A. He said: "For God's sake
put in anything you can." .
Q. Did he tell you that? A. He told everybody.
Q. He said: " For God's sake, put in anything you can get?" A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did he say anything about its being for the State and it did not
make any difference? A. I was personally told once by the other boss
when I wanted to throw out bad pieces of rock, he says: " It makes no dif-
ference to you, put it in; they want dirt to fill up the holes between the
Q. Was this dirt and stuff put in where nothing but rocks should be put
in? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And Joseph said, to put it all in? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the other boss said to put it in ? A. Everybody. Young was
Superintendent, and Gus and the second boss Charley.
Q. Have you seen Joseph lately? A. When I left only.
Q. Did Joseph tell you that it did not make any difference ? A. The
working bosses told us.
Q. Did he work on Sheep Island? A. Yes, sir; he is head boss on Sheep
Island. We call him Gus, but I remember he was working when I started
to work there.
Q. Mr. Joseph is one of those working for Mr. Mertens' company? A. I
think there is among them a name like "Mertens." I was given a card
once, and I saw a name McMullen.
Q. Do you know anything about the measurement of dirt or weighing of
stone? A. No, sir; I don't know anything about that.
Q. When they worked you twelve hours a day did they pay you by the
hour? A. Yes, sir; the workmen did not know about the time; but I knew
about it afterwards, and I saw it was by the hour.
Q. But when you hired out, was it by the day or hour? A. When I got
work from the employment office they told me it was $1 75 a day, but
after some days they explained it on the island that we were working by
the hour; for one day they worked us eleven hours, and they told us we
would get paid by the hour.
Q. They paid you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You had poor food? A. Yes, sir; very poor.
Timothy F. Jenkins.
Called and sworn.
Mr. Enos — Are you a resident of San Francisco? Answer — Of Oakland.
Q. Are you employed in the construction of Section 6 of the seawall?
A. I am employed by the State Harbor Commissioners.
Q. In what capacity on this section ? A. I have been supervisor of con-
struction and for the measurement of the stone barges as they come in.
Q. How long have you been employed by the Harbor Commissioners ?
A. Since the second of April, 1884.
Q. Occupied that position in the construction of Sections 6 and 5? A."
I was weigher on Section«5 most of the time, until the latter part.
Q. Will you please tell us your duties as supervisor, etc.? A. My duties
are to build the work according to the plan of the chief engineer, and also
I measure the barges as they come in, as provided, both light and loaded.
They have ceased bringing rock just now with barges, and I am attending
to my other duties — seeing the wall properly constructed.
Q. Do you attend to the weighing of the stone now? A. No, sir; Mr.
Crowley does that.
Q. Or measuring of the dirt ? A. No, sir.
Q. Are you a mechanic ? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you any experience in relation to the construction of seawalls ?
A. I have experience in building railroads and handling rock.
Q. Do you understand the measurement and weight of rock and dirt in
the construction of public works of that character? A. I do.
Q. You weigh your rock? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You supervise the weighing of the rock? A. I did.
Q. If you were supervisor of construction you know the plans and speci-
fications and what it calls for? A. Yes, sir.
Q. The specification calls for eighty-nine thousand tons of rock, for eight
hundred feet of Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. It was your duty to see that rock was properly placed in the seawall ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. It was your duty also to see that the quality of rock was brought
there? A. Not particularly so. The Harbor Commissioners had two rock
inspectors at the island. They were instructed to be very particular not to
allow any rock to go through but was of good quality. However, on most
occasions I examined the rock; that is, walked over the barge.
Q. That was not your particular province? A. No; although if I saw a
bad load of rock I should condemn it; all the rock was especially fine
from that island, all of it; there were two or three barge loads that came
there of red rock. That is a hard character of rock but it was shaley and
broke to pieces, so much so that the engineer condemned the rock at once
and would not receive any more of that quality. There were only two or
three barge loads.
Q. What came from there was put in the wall? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of any dirt being put in there or any small material.
such as small rock, that did not conform to the specifications? A. There
was some small rock, but the specification limits the smallest rock to five
pounds. The rock that was broken finer by handling of course went in as
reserved by the specification. I could not tell whether there was any
smaller than that went in.
Q. You heard the last witness testify that they shoveled the small
material; do you know whether that is so or not? A. I do not. I have
never been to the island: I have heard it spoken of.
Q. You say it was your duty to see that the dirt was brought there? A.
Q. Didn't they bring the dirt from there? A. No, sir; the rock.
Q. What did the contract call for per ton for rock? A. 63^ cents a ton
for rock of 2,240 pounds.
Q. Do you know anything about the measurement of the dirt? A. I
know of it; T witnessed it coming there all the time.
Q. Did you keep account of it? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know whether they measured the dirt, or took the size of the
car? A. I know they did.
Q. The}' measured the dirt on the car? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What does a car contain? A. When they are well loaded they hold
five yards. The tallymen of that material have side-boards to put on the
side of the cars and level it off to water level, so as to take just the proper
measurement, and when it does not come up to full measurement they are
docked the amount not delivered.
Q. What was the size of these cars when they are full to water level?
A. I could not tell from memory. I have seen figures, but I don't recollect.
Q. If they are only two thirds full there is some discount? A. They are
not allowed for it ; they are not allowed for any fraction of a yard more
than they bring.
Q. That is your knowledge? A. Yes, sir; and I watch them all the
time; I see the carloads coming in.
Q. In addition to your other duties? A. I may not have seen every car
Q. Did you see every car of dirt? A. I do when I am there.
Q. But did you see them all? A. I did.
Q. Are you prepared to swear you have seen every carload of dirt deliv-
ered and put in Section 6 of the seawall? A. No, sir.
Q. Can you tell how many? A. No, sir.
Q. Then what you have seen or observed justifies you in making the
remark that the State's interest has been well guarded in relation to the
measurement of the dirt? A. That is what I mean to say.
Q. Who is the man that has charge of that? A. M. J. Crowley.
Q. , As far as you know, they have got sixty thousand tons of stone from
Sheep Island ? A . Near to that.
Q. Do you know what the contract calls for in relation to yards of dirt,
and how much per yard? A. 33| cents.
Q. Have they quit bringing material from Sheep Island? A. They
have, sir, at the present time, and whether they will resume work there
and bring any more rock to this section I can't say. Mr. Mertens told me
that he was getting a lot from Second Street.
Q. Where are they getting their material from now? A. Sansome Street
and Telegraph Hill.
Q. Blasting in there ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where do they get the dirt from ? A. In the vicinity of the woolen
mills at North Beach.
Q. You heard Mr. Brown testify in relation to protests that were made
by Mr. Creighton, who represented the State in the delivery of this rock ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know anything about protests being made? A. I know that
the men told me that they protested and guarded the State's interest to
that extent that there is nothing of that kind done, and I could swear pos-
itively that there was nothing of that kind delivered, for if there was any
considerable percentage of dirt I should see it run out.
Q. You were aware that Mr. Creighton had a fight and knock-down on
that question? A. I heard so; I heard Mr. Creighton speak of it.
Q. Did Mr. Creighton tell you that the reason of the difficulty was they
were putting in material that the contract and specification did not call
for? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did Mr. Creighton tell you that was the reason he protested against
it, and why he knocked down the man that was putting in the material?
A. Mr. Creighton told me that this man was drunk all the time and talked
to him in a very abusive way, and when he told the men not to put in cer-
tain material, he interfered and called Creighton some bad names and he
knocked him down.
Q. The difficulty arose out of a protest that Mr. Creighton, the represen-
tative of the State, made against putting in this material that was not
called for in the specifications? A. So I understand.
Q. Did you hear Mr. Brown, the last witness, testify that he was told to
put it in? A. I did.
Q. Are you prepared to say that the material described was not put in?
A. There was nothing of the kind brought there.
Q. As far as your observation went? A. There is no barge load that
comes there that I don't examine.
Q.' Do you say that there was not material smaller than five pounds and
stones and dirt mixed in with it? A. There is undoubtedly smaller than
five pounds, for it is in handling they may have put in less.
Q. You heard Mr. Brown testify that they shoveled it in with shovels,
and when protest was made, their boss, Mr. Joseph, told them to put it in?
A. I heard him swear to that.
Q. Do you swear that did not take place? A. I was not an eye witness,
but I could swear that there was little if any dirt dumped out of the barges.
Q. You were employed by the State in connection with Sections 5 and 6?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many hours a day did you work? A. As long as there is any
work to do.
Q. How many hours did you work ? A. Usually ten hours.
Q. What compensation do you receive ? A. $125 a month.
Q. And all the employes of the State in construction of this seawall were
employed ten hours a day? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did Mr. Creighton receive $125 a month? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of anybody employed by the Harbor Commissioners on
this work who work less than ten hours a day? A. I don't know.
Q. How many barge loads have come from the island? A. I have not
got a memorandum with me; I have a book that contains everything.
Q. You have a book showing the number of loads of stone that have
been put in Section 6 of the seawall? A. Yes, sir; and also their weight.
Q. And the date of their arrival ? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Can you give us that information? A. I could by getting my book.
Q. Will you be kind enough to furnish us the information? A. It
would be quite a job, but I will do it.
Q. How many tons do they take on a barge ? A. About 275 or 300.
Q. Then about five loads would average a thousand tons; that would
only be three hundred barges; that would not take long for you to get at?
A. I could do so. All these official reports of mine are in the Engineer's
office, in a book; any person can go there and get the data. In discharg-
ing the buckets the side gates go out, and you can tell whether there is any
amount of dirt sliding through. It would make the water muddy, and
you could see it, also, when there is any quantity of dirt. There is a little
dirt facing to the stone, which would be trifling, however.
Q. You do not say that you were in a position, or was it your duty — as
they had inspectors over on the island — to see as to the quality of rock.
Your duty was to see as to the quantity? A. Yes, sir; and place the rock
in proper place.
Q. Had you any means of ascertaining the quality of the rock, except
what is on the top? A. I had not.
Q. How many yards of dirt did they estimate it would require? A.
150,000 yards of sand. I think, in my judgment, it will take 23,000 or
24,000 tons of rock to do it; but they have only lately fairly got started on
this sand. The earth, or sand-filling, I do not know how much they have
Q. How often do you have to make a report to the Harbor Commission-
ers? A. Every two or three days, the number of loads received.
Q. Do you know anything about the number of cars to each train? A.
They run 18 and 15 part of the time. At the present time they have got
Q. That would be 60 to 90 yards to the load ? A. There is an account
kept of the number of yards and the number of cars; when they do not
bring five yards they do not get credit for it. The State is well guarded.
If there ever was any honest work done, it is under this Board of Harbor
Commissioners. They won't have anybody but who are honest and they
know to be reliable, and we have a very efficient Engineer. On the arrival
of every train, Mr. Crowley steps to the door and counts the cars of the
Q. And they are level full ? A. The cars can't be heaped up now, for
they are drawing sand and they can't put on a full load ; but when they
are drawing damp sand they can stack them up on each side.
Q. I thought they brought them level full? A. No; they stack them
up on each side, and then the tallyman, to ascertain their true measure-
ment, puts on side-boards, and if they measure five yards, they are level
Q. You conclude that the seawall, if it is built of the material as they
are building it, will be durable? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is there any reason why it should not be lasting? A. I think it
would last for centuries.
Q. Do you board the scow every trip? A. No, sir.
Q. As I understand, the scow is loaded at Sheep Island, and comes up
to the wharf and then there is a trap door and the stuff slides off? A. Yes,
sir; on an incline.
Q. Is that material, as it passes down into the water from this boat,
exposed to your view? A. You can see it as it slides off.
Q. Is it exposed to your view ; can you see all the material as it goes off?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would it be difficult for you to tell then if there was any large amount
of dirt in the cargo? A. You can tell whether there is any large quantity.
Q. You measure it by the draft of water? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are there certain watermarks on the vessel? A. Yes, sir; it has six
gauges. One fore and aft, and one on each side, and one in the center, so
many feet and inches to the draft.
Q. So if there is two hundred tons it goes down to a single mark? A.
Q. Suppose the water is rough? A. It is not very rough in there.
Q. Suppose there is a strong wind and surging Waves, would it not be very
difficult to tell? A. If it was very rough, but if there was a gentle wave I
would watch it and take the mean difference between the rise and fall, but
as a general thing there is very little trouble about that.
Q. Have you ever been approached by the contractors in relation to the
weight of that rock? A. Never, sir.
Q. Your weight has been accepted both by the contractors and the State
authorities; they are governed and controlled by it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Has there been any dispute between you and the contractors? A.
No, sir. Mr. Mertens has generally been around the boat with me, and
we had a difference about one tenth of a foot.
Q. Then every barge that comes the contractors have a representative
there, and you have to see that your weights agree? A. Mr. Mertens is
generally down there himself.
Q. The contractors are either there themselves or have somebody else
there? A. Not every time, but mostly.
Q. Then they take your weight? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where do you stand at the time they are discharging the barge ? A.
I stand at the end of the barge, on the wharf, one end or the other, after
getting the barge in line.
Q. Is the barge so placed that you can see these marks on the barge, on
the sides or ends? A. When the barge arrives, and is placed in proper
position, they send a small boat to me by one of the bargemen, and I go
around, so I can look close at it and make no mistake.
JOHN. S. ENOS,