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put in the tenement occupied by Kennedy when you notified Kennedy to leave?-A. I couldn't tell you.
Q. Had you any special family at the time hired, to be placed in that tenement 1-A, I could not say that I had.
Q. It was merely a general want that you spoke of ?-A. It was merely a general want.
Q. Can you not tell me who it was that you wanted to take on in the mills, at the time at which you notified Kennedy to leave the place !A. I cannot tell you. I hire but very few of the operatives; those who are hired by me are the overseers and different foremen.
Q. You have control of the tenements !-A. Yes, sir; I have control of everything.
Q. It was by your direction that Kennedy was notified to go, and that Chase was directed to give the notice !-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, can you not state who it was for whom you wanted to have the tenement?-A. No one in particular. It was a general want of tene. ments.
Q. Then you went to the overseer of Kennedy's son, discovered that the boy was a worthless fellow, and wanted to get him out ?-A. I wouldn't have turned Kennedy out of his house with his family if he had been of any benefit to us in the mill, and that was the reason why I went to the overseer.
Q. Two of Kennedy's nieces were working in the mill at that time? -A. I have been informed that they were not.
Q. You continued the process which you had begun until you got Kennedy out?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You kept it going until you did get him out ?-A. Yes, sir; we simply warned him out, and when he would not go we took legal measures.
Q. You pay taxes to the collector!-A. Yes, sir; and more than onethird of the taxes of the town.
Q. Who were the assessors of the taxes ?-A. Mr. Charles H. Chase, Mr. Batchelder, and Mr. Humes. Charles H. Chase is the chairman of the board.
Q. What was the assessment of the property of the corporation in 1878 !-A. I couldn't tell you.
Q. About how much I–A. Something over $100,000.
Q. There was some litigation on this subject, or in regard to the as. sessment, in 1874, wasn't there?-A. No, sir; not that I know of.
Q. Was there a reference of the matter to a special master in chan. ceryl-A. O, yes.
Q. Didn't he fix the value of the property? Look at that which I now band you and state whether it is not an accurate copy of the report of the master in chancery as to the value of the Manchaug corporation property.-A. (After an inspection of the paper here shown, which is appended to the testimony of witness.] I never saw it before.
Q. [Several circulars shown.] Did you ever see any of these docu. ments in circulation there?-A. No, sir; I have understood, though, that there were some such documents in circulation ; that Mr. Waters had taken an active part in having them circulated.
Q. This is the cause of the difficulty between you and Mr. Waters A. No, sir; I never saw any of those.
Q. The point of my question is that the cause of the difficulty be. tween you and Mr. Waters is that you thought he was assessing your property too low, and that he took the question into court to have it tested.-A. No, sir; that was not the cause.
Q. What was the cause ?-A. That's a part of the cause; he takes every opportunity he can to belittle and misrepresent the company. You must bear in mind that mill property was worth considerably more then than it is at the present day. I presume it would be safe to say that it might have been worth nearly double its present value.
Q. The statement in this report (master's report) is that “the aggregate value fixed by the witnesses for the plaintiff” was $1,321,945. The defendant's witnesses varied in their estimates from $750,000 to $800,000.” The report concludes : “I find and report that the value of the property described in said schedule January 5, 1874, was $1,109,837.70, being the sum of the several values affixed to each item of the schedule. To this sum I bave added the agreed value of the stock, &c., $368,315.97, and I find the total assets to be $1,477,873.67." Q. Upon that same property, you say to-day that Mr. Chase,
the assessor, and his assistants have assessed a value of $400,000 ?-A. I think about $450,000, more or less, on the same property.
By Mr. PLATT:
Q. The corporation, then, is taxed upon its property and its stock ?A. Yes, sir.
Q. That is not fair.-A. That is what we think.
Q. So that, if it is taxed upon the full value of its property, and also taxed upon the value of its capital stock, the corporation is doubly taxed I-A. I do not mean to say that; I mean the stock we have on hand for working.
Q. The capital stock here referred to in the report as $368,315.97 was not taxable to the corporation ?-A. No; it is not supposed to be. In regard to that statement, I will say tbat the lowest valuation there was made up by experts; the other is by those who are not supposed to know much about mill property.
Q. Tbat was in 1874}-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mill property has very much depreciated since then ?-A. I think it has; very much, indeed.
Q. Practically, is property generally, in the town of Sutton, taxed at its full valuation or at a reduction from its full valuation ?-A. I presume generally at a reduction from its full valuation.
Q. They establish something like a two-thirds rule, do they not?-A. Perhaps they do as to farms. They intend to be on the safe side and protect themselves in that way.
Q. In your judgment, is your property taxed as much in proportion to its value as the farming and other property in the town of Sutton ?A. We think it is taxed higher.
Q. One of the two papers here produced is signed “Many citizensN. R. L.” Do you know what “N. R. L.” means ?-A. I do not.
Q. I would inquire whether, to your mind, this circular bears the earmarks of having been prepared by Mr. Waters I–A. Mr. Waters is supposed by all the people in our town to be the author of it. I guess he would not deny that fact.
Q. Have you seen that document ?
Mr. PLATT. They give both sides of the controrersy, and we will ask to have both papers put in evidence.
[NOTE.-The papers are appended to the testimony of the witness.
Q. Have you any idea of what that “ N. R. L.” means ?-A. I have an idea, of course. Q. National Reform League; is that it ?-A. I believe so.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Is your corporation a member of that league?-A. I think not. Q. When did you come to the State ?-A. In 1873.
Q. You have been a resident of Massachusetts since 1873?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You came to take charge of these works, and came from New Jer. sey ?-A. Yes, sir. [The papers put in evidence are as follows:]
TO THE TAXPAYERS OF SUTTON. FELLOW-CITIZENS: The equalization of taxation or a just distribution of taxes upon all persons and property, not exempt from taxation, bas, through the enactment of just laws and the equitable administration of them, been the aim of republican governments since their establishment. Any marked departure from so just a principle can. not but be regarded with deep concern, as a violation of the principles upon which our State and national governments rest. That taxation has been unequally distributed in Sutton has long been suspected; and that there may be no louger any doubt upon the subject, the following record of the supreme court of Massachusetts is appended, to which your candid attention is invited :
Supreme judicial court, Worcester, ss. In equity.
BENJAMIN B. KNIGHT & Co.
Master's report. In pursuance of the order filed in said case, I have carefully examined the property to ascertain what assets, real and personal, belonged to the Manchaug Company, at a date agreed upon by the parties, to wit, January 5, 1874, and to ascertain the fair market value of the saine; and I bave, at various times, heard all the proofs and arguments offered by the several parties, and report as follows, viz:
The parties agreed that the value of their raw material goods, manufactured and in process of manufacture, constituting their stock in trade, together with sus due the company at the above date, was $368,315.97. I further find that on that date the said company were the owners of the real estate, machinery, and other personal property fully described in Schedule A bereto annexed, and that the above-described property constituted all the assets of the company at that time. The parties differed very widely as to the value of the property described in said schedule. Tbey both relied inainly upon the testimony of competent, intelligent, and disinterested experts. The witnesses on either side examined the property together, and mainly (the plaintiff's witnesses exactly) agreed in their estimates and opinions of value.
The aggregate value fixed by the witnesses for the plaintitf was $1,321,945.
These last however did not include certain property not ordinarily owned by similar companies, amounting to something less than $100,000.
The method adopted by the witnesses for the plaintitf and the defendants' witnesses was wholly different.
The former estimated in detail the value of the several items in Schedule A, situated and adapted as it was for the general purpose of manufacturing cotton goods where the mills were located.
The latter estimated the value of the property as a whole for manufacturing purposes, and this included in their estimate only what was deemed necessary for successfully carrying on their business.
In general terms they estimated the value of the real estate, machinery, &c., so much per spindle.
I was satistied that both methods were useful in arriving at the value, but the evidence, as it varied so widely, would have been far more satisfactory if the witnesses called by either side bad made the estimates both as a whole and in detail, so that a
comparison might have been made of their several judgments as applied to the same specific subjects.
But the plaintiff's witnesses made no estimate of the property as a whole, nor did the defendants' witnesses estimate the value of the several items.
I was satisfied that the plaintiff desired to appreciate and the defendants to depreciate the valne of the property, and that the opinions of the experts were somewhat affected and colored by the interest of either side. After careful consideration of all the evidence, and an examination of the property both before and after the evidence had been submitted, I find and report that the value of the property described in said schedule January 5, 1874, was $1,109,837.70, being the sum of the several values affixed to each item of the schedule.
To this sum I have added the agreed value of the stock, &c.—$368,315.97—and I find the total assets to be $1,477,873.67.
THOMAS G. KENT,
Special Master, The above is a verbatim copy of the report of the master pertaining to the valuation of the property of the Manchaug Manufacturing Company, as can be seen by any citizen, at the office of the clerk of the supreme court at Worcester. The master further reports that the indebtedness of the company at the time was of considerable amount, and the business of the company was made successful by the introduction of machinery for the manufacture of goods known in the market as “Fruit of the Loom,” for the production of which the proprietors, Messrs. Knight & Co., enjoyed in connection with their bleachery excellent facilities, &c.*
It is well known that on account of these advantages adverted to in the master's report, the business of the Manchang Manufacturing Company has been successful since the report was made, and therefore its property has not depreciated in value as has many kinds of property during this time; but on the contrary has been largely increased in value by the addition of machinery, the increase of manufacturing facilities, the building of a new dam, the construction of a new reservoir, and the enlargement and improvement of old ones. In view of these facts, and the valuation of the property by the special master of the supreme judicial court, which was based upon the opinions of two sets of men, who, because of their intimate knowledge of the true cash value of manufacturing property, were selected as experts to appraise the property of the Manchaug Manufacturing Company, and after hearing the opinions of each, and carefully inspecting the property himself, estimates its value to be $1,109,837, besides $:363,315 as the value of stock, is it not well to make the inquiry, why this same property, with valuable additions thereto, is taxed for less than five hundred thousand dollars ?
This is a pertinent and reasonable inquiry for the small property owners of Sutton to make, the valuation of whose property has not been materially reduced for the last four years; and its correct answer might lead to the solution of the mysterious rule of a ring that claims ownership of the politics of the town, and parcels ont offices as perquisites for favors to be received; that rudely thrusts from office the true and faithful officer, and retains in office those who best serve its interests; that stitles the investigation of public measures, prevents the examination of questions proposed for public action; that ignores the right of the people to discuss topics, compare views, criticise or examine the action of their public servants, or carefully consider the subjects brought up for their consideration; that packs cancuses with its hirelings and converts town meetings into howling mobs, where, amidst the fumes of foul tobacco smoke and the stench of bad whisky, parliamentary usage, statute law, and rules of common decency are set at defiance in order that the plots of the ring-masters may be consummated in the interests of the few to the detriment of the many.
Legal voters of Sutton, it is for you to decide whether these things shall cease or continue. It is for you to declare whether the gift of office belongs to you or to a selfappointed clique of place-seekers, who for seltish ends are rea ly to sacrifice the public interests, and seek to seduce men from their allegiance to principle, by offering bribes of political preferment, and to deter others from a faithful performance of official duties, by threats of dismissal from office as a penalty for daring to do right. It is for you to say whether you shall rule in the public affairs of the town or be ruled by unscrnpulous tricksters, who give out false ballots, wink at illegal voting, and manufacture voters to order, to overcome the bonest expression of a majority of the people. It is for you to prove your appreciation of free government, the rights and duties of free citizens and your determination to maintain and perform them by showing that you are not owned by any “ring,” thongh it may attempt to bestride the necks of both
The law does not permit any reduction of the valuation of an estate for the assessment of taxes on account of its indebtedness, however large such indebtedness may be; nor exempt from taxation property not in use. Carriages not in use and houses unrented are not exempt from taxation.
political parties, and that your ballot is too precions to be sold at any price, and too sacred to be bartered for the miserable mess of pottage contained in the promise of a petty office. It is for you to wipe out the humiliating disgrace that rests upon you, or be yourselves wiped out by it. It is for you to goveru like free men, or submit, like cringing menials, to the despotism which basely usurps authority and recognizes neither the public welfare nor the equal rights of man.
It is for you to approve or rebuke that spirit of intolerance and intimidation by which employés feel compelled to vote as their employers may indicate, regardless of their own convictions of duty, and which breathes forth treatenings of political revenge upon those who are too honorable and patriotic to rob of their dearest rights those who are employed in their services, by attempting to coerco their votes through fear of disfavor or threat of discharge from service.
The laws of Massachusetts guarantee to every citizen the free and untramweled right to vote for such measures and men as his own judgment may dictate ; and where tbis right is invaded by any tyrannical usurpation to control it, there can be no such thing as liberty. Shall the laws pertaining to the rights of the ballot and the purity of the ballot-box be obeyed and your politics purified from the corruption which now corrodes them, and thus enable the people to nobly live and justly rule as becomes the citizens of a country under a free government.
MANY CITIZENS. V. R. L.
To the author of the circular addressed to "The taxpayers of Sutton," without date, this communication
is most cordially dedicated.
"Yon shall digest the venom of your spleen,
Though it do split you; for, from this day forth,
It is not customary to notice an anonymous communication of the character of the one addressed to the taxpayers of Sutton. It would have been of greater importance, however, did it not bear the mark of such unmitigated imbecility. Yet we have no hesitation in affirming that it is a perfect masterpiece of its kind, and bad your mind not been so completely unbalanced by your schemes of social and political improvement and the unbiased welfare of your peers, the result, ere this, would have been different. But if the plainest lessons of reason and experience have been totally lost in your particular case, you alone are responsible. It has always been the practice of shrewd political managers to disguise their arbitrary measures under popular forms and names, but your method has been altogether at variance with this trite and obvious maxim, your selfish motives being plainly discernible through your thin guise of political reform, therefore, if any inconveniences arise from the liberty of political discussion, to those inconveniences you must sooner or later become reconciled. If the policy of a large majority of the liberal and intelligeni portions of this community have always been for an honest and never-failing fidelity in the administration of the respective duties enjoined upon its official boards, it is not surprising that you should exhibit so much restiveness under the exercise of that prerogative which it is the privilege of all persons who claim this glorious old commonwealth as their home to enjoy. We are not unmindful of the fact that we are daily reproached and taunted by an isolated few, champioved by one who has not even the confidence, support, or respect of either party, and it is from this fact that we expect to be subjected to the bitterest and most sarcastic reflections. The question resolves itself as to, not what you ought to do, but what we ought to do; not whether it is wise for you to complain, but whether it is wise in us to submit to the odium, unaccompanied by the smallest accession of security.
The responsibility of the continuance of this sterile and ignoble political ferment which, for some years, has caused such excessive annoyance to this community, was engendered by yourself, and you could not have failed to perceive by the signs, which are so familiar to veteran politicians, that your popularity was waning, and that, with tbat popularity, your power for good was fast disappearing when one election after another, in rapid succession, told the same story of general dissatisfaction and disgust.
It has always been our aim to maintain inviolable our fidelity to principles, which, though they may be borne down at times by senseless clamor, still remain strong, and which, however they may be misunderstood by contemporaries, will assuredly conimand that respect and esteem from the better portion of the community who simply look on and smile in derision at your simplicity. Such an interest as you assuine only provokes a smile from those who survey the field of politics with the serene complacency of critics.
Our admiration for a man's devotion to his friends, and bis steady pursuit of his own patriotic duty, which leads him to emulate and imitate, needs scarcely be recalled by.