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company the money for it; but they require you to pay ar exorbitant price for them to return your money, or they will refuse to give you your package. It is simply a “hold-up," and you should not allow it.
FLAT TWO-CENTS PASSENGER RATE.
I respectfully recommend, as I have done in my messages heretofore, and as I advocated on the floor of the House of Representatives when a member of that body, and on the floor of the Senate when a member of the Senate, and on the public rostrum as a candidate, that you pass an Act making a flat rate of two cents per mile for passengers on all railroads in this State. No doubt some who have not heretofore favored this position, who now think that it is popular, will be very vigorous in their support of it-possibly wanting to be elected to some other office, or re-elected to what they have, and, having reached the conclusion that it is a popular platform, they are now ready to jump on it and say they did it, when, as a matter of fact, many of us have been working on it for years, and it has simply come to the point now where it is thought that it will win. Whether the credit for it, however, be properly placed or not, the main consideration is what is best for the people of the State. The railroads are making money; they are prospering. Of that I am glad. I would not, under any circumstances or conditions, wish to injure a railroad. Many of the engineers, conductors, flagmen, and other employees of the railroads are my best friends, and I fully realize that if you cripple the railroads financially it will injure these men; but such an Act would not cripple the railroads. I fully realize also that it will be urged that the railroads will say to these men, "Oh, yes, your Legislature did thus and so, Mr. Engineer; we have to reduce your salary; Mr. Conductor, Mr. Flagman, we have to reduce your salary." We do not want to do anything that will injure these people. But they are protected by their labor unions. and, unlike us, they can make the railroads come to their terms, because the railroads have got to have them.
Now, gentlemen, this is no unfair proposition. If the railroads can sell me a mileage book for twenty dollars because I have the money to pay for it, there is absolutely no reason on earth why they should not sell any citizen a ticket for two cents per mile. I do not believe in your mileage books; I do not believe they ought to be torn on trains; I do not believe they ought to be accepted for
tickets ;'I do not believe you ought to have any; and I hope you will not pass any law relating to that abominable and foolish system. But reach all the people. Say to the poorest man, who is only going a mile, "You can go for two cents;" or, if he has to go fifty miles, "You can go for a dollar;" and say to the rich man, “You can't have any privileges that the poor man can't have." That is democracy, and we claim to be Democrats. The railroads say, "Oh, we have to put on ticket collectors.” For what? Gentlemen, it is the merest subterfuge. Here is a railroad company that says to you, "Here is our conductor; put your wife on this train with your children; or, if you please, put your sixteen or eighteen-year-old daughter on this train; she is safe in the hands of our conductor; he will take care of her; he will protect her;" and yet, in the same breath, that railroad company says to you, “Pay your fare or give your ticket to a collector; we can't trust our conductor.” Mind you, gentlemen-can't trust the conductor with their money, and yet saying to you, "Trust your wife and your children, or your daughter or your sister, with him ; trust that which is dearer than all things else on this earth to you with this man"-when the railroad can't trust him with its money. If the railroad can't trust him with their money, what right have they to ask you to trust him with the safety of your family?
I hold in my hand a book costing five dollars, good for two hundred and fifty miles over the Piedmont Traction Company, in the upper part of this State. This mileage is taken up on the train; upon it baggage is checked, and it can be used by any member of the holder's family, or by any person who has it when he gets on the train. Now, if we are going to have mileage books, which I do not favor, then let us have a mileage book such as the one I have referred you to. If the interurban can have it, there is surely no reason why the railroads can not have it.
But, gentlemen, give your people a flat two-cents rate, and those of you who favor it, when the Bill is called up, if the author of the Bill, who has it in charge, gets up and says, “Pass it over," you get up and ask why. It is usually considered courtesy to allow the author of the Bill to handle it, and when he rises in his seat and says, "Mr. President," or "Mr. Speaker, pass this Bill over," it is customary for others to say nothing. But I warn you to watch and see that when these Bills are reached in their regular places on the calendars, no matter who requests it, they are not put off until the last days of the session and then crowded out.
some of your number favorable to them get up and force the fight; for not always are authors of Bills their best friends.
CAPITAL AND LABOR.
Labor and capital have been working most harmoniously and pleasantly together.
I was called upon to take action with regard to a strike that was going on in Augusta, Georgia, which some people thought would be brought into this State because the corporation was operating cars in the county of Aiken. I took the matter up with some close and valued personal friends in the “Horse Creek Valley," who kept me in close touch with the situation. I was asked to order out the militia. This I flatly declined to do, and advised the railway men to put their cars in their sheds, and not run them from Georgia into South Carolina. The situation became tense. Letters and telegrams, and sometimes personal conferences, were brought to bear; but I stood firm in my position, did not order out the militia, and pleaded with my friends—and I am glad to say that I have many true ones in the "Horse Creek Valley"-not to violate any of the laws of the State, but to stand, in an orderly manner, to what they believed were their rights. Arbitration was had; peace was restored; all is well. I would not have had a repetition in South Carolina of the Augusta soldiers shooting down innocent men for all the railroads in the American Union.
Another strike in the city of Columbia came on. I asked the newspaper reporters to say to the head of the corporation that I had heard the corporation was going to bring strike-breakers into the city, and politely but firmly requested that such course be not taken. I am glad to say it was not done. I had a conference with some of my friends——the conductors and motormen who work for the company, to the number of 112 out of 114, were my political friends; not one thing would I have done to injure them or to injure their chances of receiving better pay; and if strike-breakers had been put upon the cars, I would have had every one of em arrested and put in the county jail or State penitentiary, under that section of the Constitution which says that such forces shall not be brought into our State. However, it was not done. The employees stood firm; went to church; went around attending to their matters of pleasure, laughing and talking and keeping in good humor; and they brought the wealthy corporation to terms. Once again arbitration came in; peace was restored; all is well.
Again, a strike threatened in the city of Charleston caused some parties there to get very much worried and uneasy. I was called on for advice and assistance. I sent one of your members, the Hon. John T. Miller-a manly man, a true friend to the laboring man, and an honest Carolinian—as my special representative, to the city of Charleston. He visited and conferred with the officials of the street railway company and the officials of the labor unions, and, by his cool judgment, brought about an understanding; an amicable agreement was reached, and the sound of the gong was not stilled. Again, with cool heads, good judgment, and the spirit of "live and let live,” prevailing, peace was restored, and all is well.
I do not wish to be egotistical, and you will pardon me for saying that in all three of these instances I believe that the confidence the laboring men had in me as their friend had very much to do with averting trouble and bringing about adjustments fair and reasonable to all parties. I am proud that the laboring men feel that I am their friend. I am their friend, and I prize their freindship and their confidence.
TORRENS LAND SYSTEM.
I have not had the opportunity to give this question that serious and careful consideration which it deserves, and, therefore, I am not in position to give you any information in regard to it or to make a recommendation as to it. During the campaign the past summer, when my opponent was loudly proclaiming from stump to stump that he favored the Torrens Land System, I kept quiet upon the subject. I was elected.
But there is a matter which I desire to call to your attention; and that is the ownership of land. The fearfully high price that is now being paid for farming lands can not, in my opinion, last, but if it should, it is going absolutely to deprive the poor man of owning land, and in a few years will create in this country a system of landlordship akin to feudalism, and which will be oppressive to the great masses of the people, putting the poor man at great disadvantage.
Another matter which our white people ought to give their serious consideration to is that of selling so much of our real estate to the negro race.
This is a menace which can now be easily averted; but I fear, if the practice is kept up, that in a few years we are going to find ourselves facing a very serious situation in dealing with the negro landowner. What remedy should be applied is a
matter which I can not discuss too freely, for fear the timid-hearted will say, "He is stirring up strife and race prejudice.” But I call it to your attention, and ask you to give it your very earnest consideration.
RELIEF OF STORM SUFFERERS.
I respectfully recommend that you exempt from taxation all the personal property and real estate of the citizens of that part of York county who suffered from a terrible storm which visited that community during the past summer. These people were left almost destitute; their crops were completely destroyed, and their condition was very grave. I think it would be but fair to give them this small relief, and I most respectfully and earnestly ask that you
ENFORCEMENT OF LAW.
I have been very much hampered in my efforts in enforcement of law and order by some of those who, instead of being a hindrance, should have joined hands with me and been a strong legal and moral force in helping me. The County Supervisors and County Commissioners of the various counties are directed, under Section 840, Vol. II, of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, to pay for the services of constables when appointed to enforce the whiskey laws in their counties. But, by the obstinacy of these officials in some of the counties, and their absolute refusal to obey the law, I have been unable to appoint men to serve as constables in those counties in order to assist the Sheriffs in keeping down the illicit sale of liquor. As a consequence, I am free to say to you that I do not believe there is a county in the State which has no blind tigers in itwhite men selling whiskey, negroes selling whiskey, and, in many instances, white men backing the negroes and having the negroes acting as retailers for them. I have been helpless because county officials would not pay constables appointed by me to do this work. My hands have been tied, to a large extent.
But I have had, if possible, an even greater hindrance. Under the law appropriating $5,000 for the enforcement of law, I appointed as detectives the Rev. C. W. Creighton and Col. Leon M. Green, two men who would never have been suspected of doing detective work. They were doing a great deal of good, giving me quietly information which I conveyed to the proper officials, and in this way doing much to stop the illicit sale of whiskey in many places. The Comptroller General, however, stepped in between me and the