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SPEECH
OF

HON. JAMES G. MAGUIRE,
OF CALIFORNIA,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Saturday,

August

96,1893.

The House having under consideration the bill (H. R. 1) to repeal the part of
an act approved July 14,1890, entitled 44 An act directing the purchase or silver
bullion and the Issue of Treasury notes thereon, and for other purposes"—
Mr. M A G U I B E s a i d :
Mr. SPEAKER: I do not wish at this late hour, and in the closing moments of this great debate, to make another speech on the
silver question. But, sir, since addressing this H o u s e on W e d nesday last, m y attention has been called to some very important facts, coming to us from the far-off colony of N e w Zealand,
which tend very materially to confirm the views which I then
expressed concerning the real cause of, and the true remedy for,
industrial depressions.
I then took the position that the constant upward tendency
and pressure of ground rent, as a factor in the distribution of
wealth, periodically made production unprofitable to the active
factors—capital and labor—and thus unnaturally checked production when all natural conditions were conducive to prosperity.
I also suggested, merely suggested, because its discussion in
detail was not in order, that the true remedy for this primary
and universal cause of industrial depressions was the appropriation of the unearned increment, or rental value, of all land to
public use b y means of a single tax on land values.
About five years ago, sir, the government of N e w Zealand took
the same view of the cause of our periodical depressions and
amended its taxation laws on the lines of the remedy which I
have suggested! T h e amendments were crude, but they were on
the right lines. A l l reports show that those amendments to her
taxation laws have been of wonderful advantage to that colony.
Our consul at Aukland, Mr. J* D. Connolly, stated in a recent
interview that there had been no industrial depression and no
financial crisis there.




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Mr. Thomas Brown, a leading citizen of that colony now in
this country, in a recently published statement says that work
is plentiful at good wages, that the colony has not, during the
past five years, suffered any disturbance of either credit or industry and that the future promises increased prosperity.
Mr.
T. Farrell, of New South Wales, has just published a
letter in the St. Louis Courier commenting on the marvelous escape of the colony of New Zealand from the depression and
crisis which have desolated all of the other English colonies in
that section of the world.
From that letter, sir, I desire to read the following extracts:
Under the. rule of the new political element which came into action
there at the last general election, the prosperity of the colony has beeti
amazing. Today it is incomparably the best colony of the group for a
majority of wage-earners, and its ad vantage increases. The latest returns
show a great increase of imports and exports, a heavy surplus of current
revenue over current expenses, made up of advances in the returns from
every department of public service, great expansion of national wealth
as shown by large deposits in the savings and other banks, and an almost
total disappearance of the local unemployed.
A wholesale exodus of workers from all the colonies to New Zealand
has been going on for months. The lands are being settled and used, and
every indication points to a future of even greater prosperity. Good government and the taxation of monopoly have caused this result. It was
predicted that the land and labor legislation would result in continual
deficits in the revenue, but as a matter of fact last year they paid $1,000,000 of their national debt, besides carrying $500,000 into the public
works fund, and the treasurer estimates the surplus this year at $1,650,000.
Landowners see that further taxation of land values is sure to come.
These values are steadily falling and land speculation is dead. Therefore
access to land for use is easier than ever before, and production goes on
apace.
W h y is New Zealand the only oasis in the industrial desert to
which the civilized world has been reduced ?
Is it because her reformed taxation laws have timely checked
the monopoly of her natural resources? That is my conclusion.
I cannot personally vouch for the correctness of the statements,
but I believe them to be true.
If they be true, the reformed taxation system of New Zealand
deserves a prompt and thorough investigation by this Government. If New Zealand has discovered an effectual method of
averting industrial depressions, as I believe she has, the people
of this country-must be saved from any further recurrence of
such awful calamities.
While upon this subject I will read the following extract from
a recent number of the Sydney (N. S. W . ) Register:
Mr. Henry Matthews, late home secretary of England, says of New Zealand : " Altogether it seems to me a most desirable place to go to. They




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have the labor difficulty there, of course, as elsewhere. There seems to
be B much scope for individual enterprise that it is well nigh impossible
O
to obtain labor for ordinary purposes at reasonable rates. But this difficulty will, I suppose, be overcome in time."
# You will notice, sir, that Mr. Matthews speaks deprecatingly
of " the labor difficulty " existing in New Zealand.
But the context of his statement shows that it is not a labor
difficulty which laborers have any cause to fear.
The labor difficulty which they fear is the difficulty of obtaining employment, not the difficulty of obtaining laborers to perform the work which offers.
The secret of the matter is that under the taxation laws, which
have broken up land monopoly in that colony, by making
it unprofitable, the surplus labor of the colony has been readily
distributed upon the land.
This has made it impossible to maintain an army of unemployed laborers in New Zealand to menace employed laborers at
the centers of industry.
This sets labor free and enables it to control the situation and
to secure to itself a larger share of the wealth which it produces,
while rent, the toll-gatherer's portion, is correspondingly reduced.
Every man at all familiar with our industrial system knows
how the army of unemployed laborers maintained in every industrial center of this country and of Europe enslaves the laborers who are employed.
The unemployed laborers, driven by the fear of want, and too
often by actual present hunger, bid at every point for the places
of those who are employed.
As their necessities become more pressing, their struggle to secure the places of their employed brethren becomes more intense.
They offer to work for lower and lower wages, regardless of
the value of their labor, because a bare living is better than starving, or, as the homely adage expresses it, " Half a loaf is better
than no bread."
This unnatural competition with hungry and helpless men,
even in our land of " inexhaustible natural resources," forces all
wages down to the starvation point (the bare living point), except in so far as labor unions have been able, by infinite toil and
infinite waste of means, to resist the tendency.
This surplus labor should be distributed upon the unused land
of our country. God made it for use, not for speculation, not for
monopoly.
I do not say that all, or even a quarter, of the actually idle and
destitute laborers who crowd our labor markets would, or could,
go out upon the land if it were made free to them. But I do say




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that a large proportion of the laborers in the great centers, em*
ployed as well as unemployed, are better fitted for rural pursuits,
and that rural pursuits would be more congenial to them than
the intense struggles and privations of the city laborer's life.
These would go out upon the land if it were reasonably free,
as they have done in New Zealand.
^ Their going would relieve the unnatural pressure of competition in the labor markets, and their new industries would create
a new demand for labor.
T h e wages of labor would then be fixed b y the value of the
labor, as they should always be, and not b y the competition o f
starving men.
" Back to the land," in the language of the distinguished Irish
prelate (Bishop Nulty),is the only way to industrial freedom.
The gentleman from New Y o r k [Mr. COCKRAN} in his eloquent
speech today dwelt most pathetically upon the cruel calvary
which labor has been obliged to suffer in its struggle for justice;
I n this he was spontaneously and most warmly applauded b y
the representatives of all interests upon this floor.
This is a hopeful sign and shows, I trust, that you are in favor
of doing prompt and complete justice to labor as soon as y o u
shall discover what justice to labor requires*
Justice to labor, sir, involves the constant right to labor upon
the land which God hath given for the use and sustenance of all
H i s children, and the right to retain, for the satisfaction of his
own wants, all the wealth which his labor produces.
This is the labor question: constant employment with the right
to all that it produces.
Free the land—the source of all wealth—from monopoly, and
these rights will be secured to labor; but they will never come
until the land is free.
I t is important that we should establish the best possible system of finance in this country, but so long as our land system
causes industrial depressions and financial crises, you cannot
cure them by amendments to our money system.
This sudden frenzy against the silver-purchase-act is a delusion,,
such &3, in the morning twilight of our civilization, saw witchcraft behind all public and private calamities.
That act has enough of sins to answer for without being charged
with the evils that flow from land monopoly.
I t is wrong in principle, but it is better than the panic legislation which you propose to substitute for it.
Let us legislate deliberately upon the money question, and let
us profit by the experience of New Zealand and cure our industrial depressions as she has cured hers.