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dent-elect ; a gentlemen who has not only been a great success as a street-railway operator, but a man who has a tremendous big heart, Mr. Kerper, of Cincinnati :
MR. KERPER: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Mr. Holmes has the advantage of me. Last year when he was elected, he was not present. I am now called upon to address an audience, and I cannot do it. I have been here this evening listening to the speeches of gentlemen who have been six months, and even twelve months preparing them. [Laughter.] I have been told that when we go to the far West, there will be nobody there, because we are going so far; and I am going to reserve my speech for that occasion. I have an elegant speech, but I will present it there. [Applause.]
• THE COMMONWEALTH." RESPONDED TO BY MR. CHARLES B. PRATT.
The President: We have now the pleasure of listening to the toast “ The Commonwealth," responded to by Mr. Charles B. Pratt, of Worcester, Mass.
MR. PRATT: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen - I did not come from Massachusetts to Washington to make a speech. I came here to meet with this Association, and to get some information, and I have been well paid for coming. I am glad to come to the city of Washington always; and I was glad to hear the gentleman speak so eloquently of his city, and of Washington, whom we all love. But I cannot help speaking of how I used to feel when I was a boy about that truthful Washington. It was said, you know, that he could not tell a lie. I used to think it was because there was not another boy within a hundred miles that he could lay any mischief to. This is the worst toast to speak to anywhere ; and in calling upon me to speak to it, it has brought to my mind a story, which most of you have doubtless heard. It is about a certain judge in one of our Western cities. It was said that the old judge was in the habit of getting drunk, and when he was drunk, he was religiously inclined and would go to church. He went to church one day in this condition, and the minister was preaching upon the evils of intemperance, and he said . “ A drunkard is the worst man on earth ; I would like to see a drunkard stand up before me.” The old judge immmediately stood up, and said: “Here I am;" and the minister was set back a little. The minister then said : “ The next worst man is the hypocrite ; next to the drunkard, he is the worst man. I would like to see a hypocrite stand up before me." The old judge reached over with his cane and punched the deacon in the back, and said : “Deacon, why in thunder don't you get up when you are called upon.” I confess I am a sort of deacon on this occasion. (Laughter.]
I will tell you another story that goes back in the history of Massachusetts. You will all recall the name of Governor Garey. In Lowell lived a minister, who was a friend of his. The Governor was fond of salmon, and the old minister was out fishing and caught a very nice salmon. He took it in to his wife, and said, “There is a fine salmon, and if you will put it up nicely, I will take it to Governor Garey.” There were no railroads in that day, and his wife put
up the salmon in fine shape, boxed it up, and the minister harnessed up his horse and started for Boston. He got half-way ; stopped for dinner, and told the people at the inn what he was going to do—that he had a fine salmon to take to Governor Garey. While he was eating dinner some of the boys unboxed the salmon and put a codfish in its place, and he went to Boston, and said to the Governor: “I know you are very fond of salmon, and I have brought one down for you.” They went out and unboxed the fish, and the Governor said: "You call that salmon ?" The minister said, “That was a salmon when I started." Well," said the Governor, “I call it a miserable cod fish.” The old man boxed up his codfish and started back; he stopped at the same house for his supper, and the boys replaced the salmon. The minister got home and said to his wife: “ That was no salmon ; the Governor called it a miserable codfish.” She said, “I tell you it is a salmon." They went out and unboxed the fish, and sure enough there was the salmon. * Well,” said the minister, “when you are up here you are pretty good salmon ; but when you get to Boston you are nothing but a miserable codfish.” When I am up at home I feel as if I was a salmon ; but when I get down here amongst all of these horse railroad men I feel as if I am only a miserable codfish. [Laughter). I came into this hall, and seated myself, and intended to be humble and enjoy all that was going on.
Mr. President, I live in Massachusetts, when I can. Massachusetts is a subject a man can talk upon ; its hills and its valleys, its cities ; its public buildings, and its institutions for education on every hill and in almost every valley : its people; these all speak in words more potent than any I can utter. It really is not necessary for me to say another word; you all know about Massa chusetts ; and down here in Washington you will hear from her quite often, I have no doubt. [Applause.]
“SAND ON THE TRACK." RESPONDED TO BY MR. WINFIELD SMITH.
The President: On all well-regulated street-railways, when a car gets under full motion, and it is necessary to come to a stop, some devices have to be adopted to accomplish that end. The closing toast of the evening is
" Sand on the Track.” It will be responded to by Hon. Winfield Smith. MR. SMITH: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to know if that was my name that was spoken just now. I have not seen my name to any such toast as that on this card ; and I have eaten my supper in peace because my name was not there. I really think it is not quite fair to call upon me to talk about something all the rest of you know just as much about as I do sand on the tracks. Well, sand on the tracks is, doubtless, at times a very good thing ; and, by the way, if a man is to be a street-railroad man, he wants sand, sure enough, not on the tracks, however-he needs it in his crop. Sand is just that kind of a thing that, if a man has not got it, he would better keep out of the street-railway business, sure. If a man cannot stand up and be abused by every class of people, by every man in every class of people, to be told what his duty is, to be told how to do it, to be told how to manage everything, how to run every part of his road, if he has not the sand to stand up and bear all that, he would better sell out what street-railroad stock he may have, and go into some other business. I suppose there are some lines of business where a man will really be suffered to manage his own affairs, and where it will be generally admitted that experience and diligent study of his profession or business would somewhat tend to qualify him for success in it; but it does seem to be, according to my observa. tion, the peculiarity of the business of street-railroading, that everybody else knows all about it ; and as a rule are ready to condemn the man who is so unlucky as to have the management of it. He is all the time in hot water, whatever he may do, whatever he may say. The more business, the more cars he has, the more trouble he has. If he wants to buy a horse—why! is there any end to the troubles that a man will have who buys horses ? I should think not. Why there are places where people make it a business to buy and sell horses, and they think they have enough to do without anything else. But in street-rail. roading, the buying and selling of horses is only one of your duties ; and what kind of horses do you get, and what price do you pay for them? You pay the top of the market, because you represent a rich corporation; and you get the poorest horses, because you are a mean corporation. Now about cars—it will not do to say too much about cars, because there are some of those fellows here who make cars, you know. But they all have excellent cars ; you cannot fail to buy them, if you believe all that is told you in advance ; but how many misfortunes happen to your cars after you buy them. And look at the track. Everybody knows all about a street-railroad track-except the men whose duty it is to lay it ; but how many troubles do we have with our track after it is laid ; how many troubles do we have with our drivers ; how many troubles do we have with our conductors ? Why, you street-railroad men seem to be in a state of perpetual war with your employees. Your track is nice, your horses are well, and everything is going along as nicely as can be, when all at once some fellow who calls himself a Knight of Labor, or something like that, comes into the barn and persuades the men that this soulless monoply has been abusing them and taking advantage of their condition and is paying them scanty wages, and that they should have more wages and less work. It takes but a short time to make the men believe all that, It is some pure, sweet-tempered and heroic man, like our President, who made such a happy speech to-night ; that is able to get along with his employees without any trouble, but many of us know that our men are ready to believe the worst things of the road. Our kind Chairman strives to make them feel that the corporations are not their mortal enemies, which they are taught to believe in these local assemblies, as they are called ; and which instruct the men in the doctrine that the street-railway corporations have done so well for them only because of the united efforts of the employees, who have overthrown the innate rascality of the employers.
Well, how about your passengers ? You carry them two, three, four, five, six miles, and sometimes more, for five cents, further than they ever rode in their lives in any other manner for that money ; and sometimes you are in a place where you have to sell them tickets for less than that. What is the consequence ? you are a little green in the street-railway business, you
think that these passengers must be really fond of you, for the way in which you carry them to their business and back to their homes. Why, it would cost Mr. Jones there a dollar and a half a day to get down and back, and it would cost somebody else three dollars a day to get out his coach and horses, and you are carrying him both ways for ten cents. You feel as though you
on friendly terms with all your passengers and that they were really indebted to you. It is needless to say that your passengers feel very differently about it. They feel that they are passing their mornings and nights for your benefit in riding in your cars, and that all their leisure time is occupied in this way; they think that the management should introduce numberless improvements for their comfort; they grumble because there is not a seat for everyone at all times of the day ; one says the car goes 100 fast and another howls because it goes too slow. They have an ingenuity, if I may so call it, for fault-finding that is almost infinite. They have an ingenuity that ought to qualify them for making the greatest development in electrical motion. You cannot satisfy them, except for a very short time. If you give them new cars and a good road they would expect chromos ; if they got a chromo they would want a carriage and two horses to go to their doors. As a matter of course you are not on good terms with the newspapers, to a greater or less extent. There are always a lot of reporters around, generally a lot of young fellows, and they put all kinds of squibs in the papers and tell all sorts of stories about these street.railroads; and it often happens there is not a word of truth in the stories, and this is all the better, because next day they have an item contradicting it, provided you write to them. con't contradict it, they don't. A man needs sand if he is going to carry on the street-railway business, if it is only to enable him to meet in a braver manner our neighbors the supply-men. What kind of a chance does a sympathetic, amiable-tempered man have with a lot of supply-men that get at him. Suppose they want to sell cars, or spikes or anything else, they will take the very hair off your head, of which I see quite an elderly instance near me. It was never so with any of us until we got into the street-railway business ; our hair has all gone since we got into it. [Laughter.] How can we tell which of these articles is the best ; which are the best horse shoes, the best cars, the best raiis ; how can we tell all these things? Why, just think what a state of doubt and indecision a man must be in who undertakes to decide all these things, and how unlucky many purchasers are, and how dearly they have to pay for their experience. We used to have the satisfaction of thinking that if we were in a corporation we would in time become rich people ; because we were told that corporations were greedy and heartless, and became enormously rich and depraved. Now we do not have that pleasure. A corporation now does not stand any more chance than an individual. If you want to get rich, you have dow got to get into a syndicate. The money getter must be in a syndicate, or he must be in a “trust." Street-railways have never got beyond corporations ; we have no syndicates ; we are only corporations. The old prejudices still remain ; but the old happiness is gone. Yes, all the old prejudices remain ; and with juries street-railroad corporations seem to be the object of special vindictiveness. It does not make any difference how free your driver is from
blame, how free your men are from blame, let a man, woman or child be injured within twenty-five feet of your track, and you may just as well send the superintendent around to settle, because you will have to pay if you do not.
There is no peace for a street-railroad man that I am aware of, except one. I want to say that within the last few years there has been a little peace now and then; there has been a sort of vacation, a little comfort in this life of a street-railroad man, and that is when a man joins the Association of street-railroad men and regularly attends all the meeeings and comes to the banquet. That is the only oasis in his desert of life. This is his elysium. But it does seem to me as we go on, as if a little more happiness has been imported into this short hour, now that they have brought to us not merely the presidents and managers and superintendents, but their wives, sisters and daughters. It is a pleasure, I must say, that in my own street-railway experience I never anticipated. I am sorry, Mr. President, I did not have the pleasure of standing up here earlier, when the others were here, those ladies who have gone. I am only glad that those who remain are among the nicest and prettiest ; and so, Mr. President, these are the reasons why sand should be used upon the tracks. [Applause.]
CLOSING REMARKS OF THE RETIRING PRESIDENT.. THE PRESIDENT : In bringing this happy occasion to a close, the Chair desires to tender to the people of Washington our sincere thanks as an Association for all the enjoyment we have had ; for all that they have done, and are doing and will do to make our stay pleasant and enjoyable. It has been a most happy occasion for us. We thank you, friends, for all that you have done; and now let us rise and sing Auld Lang Syne.
All joined in singing the familiar song, as requested.
PRESENTATION OF FLORAL HORSE CAR TO THE
MR. WINFIELD SMITH : Mr. President, I am requested to present to you this beautiful floral horse car as a memento of this most enjoyable occasion, to which you have contributed so largely. It gives me great pleasure to do this.
THE PRESIDENT : Ladies anii Gentlemen, I desire to return my sincere thanks to the gentleman who has given me this beautiful gift. For the first time in my life I find myself the owner of a fully equipped street-railway car, track, horses, the whole institution ; and it is by far the handsomest one that was ever built. I wish you could all take a ride in it with me. [Laughter.] Good night.