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About The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-???? | View Entire Issue (Oct. 14, 1910)
CZAR OF HIS SHIP
The Captain of an Ocean Liner
Is a Real Autocrat.
HIS WORD IS ABSOLUTE LAW.
He May, if He Deems It Necessary,
Put a Passenger In Irons or Clap
Him In a Cell, and in Cases of Emer
gency Is Empowered to Take Life.
Imagine a mayor or a judge of a
circuit court or a county sheriff or a
town marshal of a village of 3,800 pop
ulation stepping out into the street
and on general and self imposed au
thority picking up a citizen, ordering
him to a cell and clapping irons on
him for safe keeping!
Wouldn't the bird of American lib
erty set up a scream? Wouldn't the
old and badly cracked Liberty bell
resonate in discord?
After one of the great transatlantic
passenger steamships leaves the three
mile limit of New York the passenger
is in foreign territory on the high seas.
English, French, German whatever
the flag at the masthead the ship is a
section of its fatherland, floating- in the
high seas, where only maritime laws
regarding its transit in times of peace
may hold check upon the czardom of
the ship's commander, on or off the
No czar has more power within his
territory than has the captain of the
great Atlantic liner on the high seas.
He is on an island of his country's
ownership a floating island, having a
population of 800 employees and look
ing after the welfare and safety of per
haps 3,000 passengers. He is prac
tically the administrative, executive
and judicial single individual, such us
exists rarely on the map of present
day civilization. Aside from his au
thority over mankind, he may have
$7,000,000 of vessel under him. to say
nothing of the international mails and
millions in gold in transshipment.
"There's the captain." is a whispered
bit of comment made a million times
a year in the beginning of the pas
sages of great ocean steamships. And
generally the captain looks, the part.
It is not so much bis uniform either
Ordinarily the captain is . not young.
There is gray in his hair, mustache
or beard. That young man in his
twenties, no matter what his school
ing for beginning the work, isn't called
at a moment's notice to the captain's
bridge. He must have his maximum
of training for six or seven numbers
below before he is called to the foot
of the ladder.
On the British passenger vessels
most of the beginners at navigating
an ocean vessel of the first class will
have bad a lieutenant's commission
from the navy. It is from the royal
navy reserves that the lowest officer's
vacancy is filled. Filling it, be has his
chance to' rise to the position of cap
tain. As to the captain's authority.: One
midnight, when in n fog the White
Star Baltic struck the German oil
steamship Standard, the Baltic needed
its captain, and he was there. His
ship carpenters were rushed to the
bow of the vessel and began the work
of patching up the hole in the Baltic's
Suppose that in a stampede of the
Baltic's crew its employees had rushed
up to fill its boats? It was within the
captain's power to have shot down the
leader to have brought about war to
the knife, revolver and rifle in the in
terests of bis vessel and its passen
gers. Or had some passenger or pas
sengers become panic stricken and
against orders menaced the welfare of
tbo majority on the ship death would
hayg been dealt with t&e same, rigid
diseTplihewhieu requires of the cap
tain that he be the autocrat at bis
There are no forms of writs or war
rants necessary. There Is no court at
which the passenger or the seaman
may give bond. In that instant of
sudden great emergency which arises
the captain's word is more than writ
ten law; it is the unwritten common
law of the high seas, in the spirit of
which the vigilance committee of the
wild west of the United States rose,
Today the captain of the great" liner
may step into the palatial cabin and
command order. He may go into the
smoking cabin and stop the game of
cards at which the sharper is playing
for bis stakes. In case of refusal that
ancient land right of "no deprivation
of liberty without due process of law"
becomes a farce. The cell room or
even the iron manacles of the cap
tain's authority may be used upon the
individual who has paid $500 or $1,000
for his suit of rooms and his passage.
On the high seas the captain's ship
becomes an autocratic democracy. The
individual in the first cabin and at the
captain's table must share with the
immigrant far below those equities
that are granted to each in his place.
"Don't buck the captain," said an
official in the offices of a great steam
ship line. "He is all there is of author
ity. He is the supreme entity of his
ship. He is dressed for it; but. more
than that, he is trained to it. He is
empowered to take life if he must, and
on land this Is the most serious of all
things in the statute books."
"Commodore of the fleet" is one of
the offices toward which the old sea
captain looks, not enviously, not with
disdain.. It is a naval number in the
passenger service which marks the
age of retirement. There is honor in
the title. It does not descend to his
children. He gives half his life to the
gaining of it. and it means that his
activities and powers ar at an end.
PLAN LABOR COURT.
New York Commission Thinks 8ueh a
Body Would Avert Strikes.
The congestion of population com
mission of New York city in its con
sideration of the varied topics over
which it is dividing its attention has
evolved a plan for the establishment
of a municipal commission for the ar
bitration of local labor troubles. The
author of the plan is John J. Flynn,
chairman of the commission's subcom
mittee on labor and wages. Mr. Flynn
outlines his plan as follows:
"If high enough wages are not paid
to enable workers to maintain a good
standard of living in New York city
the worker and his family are apt to
become charges upon public or pri
vate charity. The total estimated cost
of public and private charity in New
York city is now about $35,000,000 an
nually, of which the city spends about
$15,000,000. To provide enough hos
pitals and institutions and to furnish
proper relief to the poor the city
should spend $20,000,000 to $25,000,000
"Most of the poverty in the city is
caused by low wages, lack of employ
ment, lack of training on the part of
the workers and insanitary tenements
and work places. The city has to pay
the cost resulting from these condi
tions. "Only about one-fifth of the workers
in the city belong to unions, the great
majority of the clerks, employees in
department . stores, recent Immigrants
and casual laborers not being members
of any union. It is important from
the city's point of view-rthat is, " to
conserve the health and efficiency of
the workers of the city that all should
be protected in respect to their condi
tions of labor,, ; "
"The labor 'unions of the city have
accomplished great good in securing
better conditions for their members.
It has been proved throughout the civ
ilized world that the Individual work
man cannot secure these conditions by
himself and that unions or the princi
ple of collective bargaining is neces
sary to protect the workman from ex
ploitation. Most of the strikes in
New York city have had the object of
securing recognition of the union or
the closed, shop, a living wage, reason
able hours, proper sanitary conditions
in workshops and immunity from un
just discrimination and harassing
treatment of workers.
"To secure what government should
insure to the workers, whether organ
ized or unorganized, the workers have
gone on strikes, which have every year
been costly in the loss of human life,
bodily injury to hundreds, interruption
and dislocation of business and loss of
wages and business aggregating many
milions of dollars every year in the
city, besides engendering bitterness be
tween employers and workers.
"This has been inevitable with the
present lack of an authoritative body
to act as intermediary between the
workers and employers and to give
adequate publicity to the actual condi
tionsa publicity which would be a
great corrective of existing evils."
THE WHITE NILE.
Mr. Roosevelt's Description of Night on
the Great African River.
We had come down through the sec
ond of the great Nyanza lakes. As we
sailed northward its waters stretched
behind us beyond the ken of vision, to
where they were fed by streams from
the Mountains of the Moon. On our
left hand rose the frowning ranges on
the other side of which the Kongo
forest lies like a shroud over the land.
Oh our right we passed the mouth of
the Victorian Nile, alive with mon
strous crocodiles and its banks barren
of human life because of the swarms
of the fly whose bite brings the tor
ment which ends in death. As night
fell we entered the White Nile 'and
steamed and drifted down the mighty
stream. Its current swirled in long
curves between endless ranks of plum
ed papyrus. White and blue and red
.the floating water lilies covered the
lagoons and the still inlets among the
reeds, and here and there the lotus
lifted its leaves and flowers stifHy
above the surface. , The brilliant trop
ic stars made lanes of light on the lap
ping water as we ran on through the
night. The river horses roared from
the reed beds and snorted and plunged
beside the boat, and crocodiles slipped
sullenly into the river as we glided by.
Toward morning a mist arose and
through it the crescent of the dying
moon shone red and lurid. Then the
sun flamed aloft, and soon the African
landscape vast, lonely, mysterious,
stretched on every side in a shimmer
ing glare of heat and light, and ahead
of us the great, strange river went
twisting away into the distance.
Theodore Roosevelt in Scribner's.
A DUKE'S LOVES.
The Force of the Attacks Were Meas
ured by His Appetite.
In the late eighteenth century a Dr.
Moore was tutor to the young Duke
of Hamilton of those days, whom he
accompanied on the usual continental
tour. The duke was then eighteen and
was susceptible to feminine charms.
He had just fallen a victim to the
black eyes of a married lady when Dr.
Moore made this report to the youth
ful peer's mother:
t'This is the third passion the duke
has had since we crossed the sea. They
generally affect his appetite, and 1 can
make a pretty good guess at the height
of his love by the victuals he refuses
tQ eat, A slight touch of love puts
firm immediately from legumes and
all kinds of jardinage. If it arises a
degree higher he turns up his nose at
fricassees and ragouts. Another de
gree and he will rather go to bed sup
perless than taste plain roasted veal
or poulets of any sort. This is the ut
most length his passion has ever come
hitherto, for when he was at the court
with Mile. Marchenville, though she
put him entirely from greens, ragouts
and veal, yet she made no Impression
on his roast beef or mutton appetite.
He fed plentifully upon those In spite
of her charms. I intend to make a
thermometer for the duke's passion
with four degrees (1) greens, (2) fric
assees and ragouts, (3) roast veal and
fowls. (4) plain roast mutton or beef
and if ever the mercury mounts as
high as the last I shall think the case
Pawning Bank Bills.
"Pawnbrokers don't think much of
ten dollar bills as pledges," said the
city salesman. "I saw a man pawn
one the other day for $6.50. When
asked why he didn't spend his $10 in
stead of soaking it for a little more
than half the amount he explained that
he wanted to keep that particular bill.
Twice before he had tried to keep a
certain bill by giving It as security to
a friend who had so many bills that he
wouldn't need to spend that particular
one, but both times the friend got his
money mixed and the keepsake was
lost after all. This time he depended
upon the pawnbroker to tide him over.
To pawn money struck me as a very
curious proceeding, but the broker as
sured me that It is frequently done by
people who attach a sentimental value
to a particular bill or coin." New York
"Yes," said the specialist, as he stood
at the bedside of the miser millionaire,
'I can cure you."
"But what will it cost?" came feebly
from the lips of the sick man.
The specialist made a swift mental
calculation. - "Ninety-five dollars," was
his answer. . -
"Can't you shade your figure a lit
tle?" wailed the other. "The under
taker's bid is much less." Lippincbtt's.
Kept His Head.
"Miss Gidday." began Mr. Tlmmid,
"1 thought to propose"
"Really, Mr. Timmid!" interrupted
Miss Gidday. "I'm sorry, but"
"That we have some ice cream"
"Oh, I should be delighted to take"
"Some evening when the weather Is
Howard That's a bad cough you've
got. Do you do anything to cure it?
Coward Nope. It's this cough that
wakes our cook in the morning. Har
"Say, I'm a stranger, in this town.
Can you tell me a good place to stop
"Yes, sir. Stop Just before the 'at. "
Every man holds in his hand, a rock
to throw at us In our. adversity.
A Law of Life.
It Is a law of life that men of on
occupation or calling seldom improve
any calling but their own. This will
be found true of labor. College presi
dents and others have the weakness
of thinking that they know another
man's business better than he (the
other man) knows It himself, but the
trutb is that all advance that has bees
made for the working masses has beet
accomplished by labor unions.
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