Arguments on the Breckinridge Sunday Bill



Mr. Hobbs—I occupy, at the present time, the position of chief officer of the Knights of Labor in the District of Columbia. I want to deny that the Knights of Labor have authorized anybody to speak for them in this particular matter. ABSB 23.5

Mr. Crafts came before the Federation of Labor and argued this bill, and that body refused to indorse the bill. He came before the District Assembly of the Knights of Labor (which is made up of all the Knights of Labor of the Assemblies of the District of Columbia), and that body has refused to indorse it. There are parties in that body who believe in the bill as it is; others believe in a certain portion of it, and others are wholly opposed to it; and the Knights of Labor, as a whole, have thought best not to have anything to do with it. Every Knight of Labor is in favor of a day of rest—some of them believe they ought to have two days of rest. I believe they are as in favor of the rest feature of the bill, but, on account of what is called the religious feature of the bill, they are opposed to it. ABSB 23.6

Mr. Schulteis—I am a duly elected member of the legislative committee, but I deny that you are a member of that committee, or have any right to talk in this meeting, or have been authorized by any meeting— ABSB 24.1

Mr. Crafts—Of the Knights of Labor. Mr. Schulteis has a right to be heard here. 1 ABSB 24.2

Mr. Hobbs—Mr. Schulteis’ credentials merely show that he is a member of the District Committee on Labor Legislation, and Mr. Schulteis himself is in favor of the bill, and he is a member of that committee; but the balance of that committee have unanimously signed a petition against this bill. Now District Assembly 66 of the District of Columbia, has jurisdiction of all local assemblies in this community, and (with the exception of one local assembly) they have resolved not to do anything with this measure, claiming that they can best satisfy the members of the local assemblies in the District in this way. They do not believe in working on Sunday, but as for the other feature of the bill, they think it is best not to appear here in favor of it; and I believe there is quite a lot of the members of the Order who believe that if they want rest on Sunday—or any other day—they can get it through their labor organizations, and that it is best not to try to get it through Congress by a sort of a church movement. ABSB 24.3

There are over thirty unions of Knights of Labor, and there has been only one petition sent here. They have remained silent on this subject, and I think they want to remain silent upon it. ABSB 24.4

Mr. Schulteis denies my right to speak here; but anyone who belongs to the organization knows that I have a right to speak without credentials. ABSB 25.1

Mr. Campbell—Do you not believe it to be a fact, that some labor is necessary to be performed on Sunday? ABSB 25.2

Mr. Hobbs—Well, personally, I do—through custom. ABSB 25.3

Mr. Campbell—Without custom. ABSB 25.4

Mr. Hobbs—No. ABSB 25.5

Mr. Campbell—Don’t you know that sugar refineries (for instance) cannot be run successfully without running them every day of the week? ABSB 25.6

Mr. Hobbs—I believe those parties are not in favor of stopping work on Sunday, but they need physical rest. ABSB 25.7