Testimony of Mr. George F. Lumb:
Chairman WALSH: State your name, please.
Mr. LUMB: George F. Lumb.
Chairman WALSH: What is your business?
Mr. LUMB: I am the deputy superintendent of the department
of State police of Pennsylvania. . . .
Chairman WALSH: How long have you been connected with the
Pennsylvania State Constabulary?
Mr. LUMB: It is the State police. Since its
organizationif you will permit me, I would like to make a correction as to the use
of the word constabulary. That word has been used throughout the examination
of the witnesses, but its proper name under the statues of the State of Pennsylvania is
the State Police.. . . .
Chairman WALSH: Now, I would like you to make just one
statement. You stated, going back to 1906, where waitresses and others refused to serve
the men, and coming down to the situation where they had to go to the steel companys
property, how do you account for the prejudice or the lack of sympathy that seems to exist
in these towns toward your force? What is the cause of that?
Mr. LUMB: Now, my answer to that, Mr. Chairman, would be
more in the nature of a personal opinion than an official statement.
Chairman WALSH: Well, I thought perhaps you had inquired
into it and discussed it?
Mr. LUMB: Yes; I will be glad to give you my opinion on the
subject, but I would want to state before doing so that this department, in time of
disorder, does not take any notice of the fact that a strike exists from that standpoint.
It is with us purely a question of the man that throws the brick or fires the gun or burns
the tipple; and we do not ask if he is a Republican or a Democrat or a union or nonunion
man. It is a question of law or lawlessness on the public highways and the destruction of
Now, having cleared the air, so that you will not think
this is an official expression of views of the department, I want to say this:
That my knowledge of the old English guilds and various
earlier labor unions is that they were for the purpose of protecting the men and raising a
boycott, if necessary. They did not at that time seem to recognize the powerful importance
of violence toward others who wanted to work. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the
populations were not as dense at that time. Now, it has been held in Pennsylvania that if
a man wants to go on a strike he has a perfect right to do so; but that he must not
obstruct the highways to prevent other men who wish to work from going on to their work.
The Supreme Court, in 1860 or 1861, held that there were no innocent bystanders in time of
riot; that it was the duty of every law-abiding citizen, as soon as he hears or learns
that there is any disorder on the public thoroughfare, to retire to his home. Those facts
being true, and it also being true that the labor unions deny any responsibility for
violencethey ordinarily, I believe, claim that most of the violence comes from the
class of men who just enjoy such excitement, and that it is not officially recognized by
the union as a proper thing. I think they are all agreed now that that is the attitude
they generally takethat it is not done by one of our men; he is a
fellow that came here from Baltimore. They dynamited street cars in Chester, and
cars were blown up, and the unions denied any responsibility for it, and perhaps justly
so. I have personal knowledge of the fact that men did come there from Baltimore, and even
Philadelphia, and some of them even wearing their conductors' caps, and performed these
very acts. If this is true, I can not understand why the labor union, as such, should
object to the presence of men who are sent there by the proper authority of the
Commonwealth to enforce law and order. But I am greatly afraid, particularly from what I
have heard from Mr. Maurer and Mr. Pierce and Mr. Williams, that there is creeping into
our labor unions a sort of spirit abroad of anarchy, and I dont believe they voiced
the sentiments of labor unions at large. I dont believe they voice the general
opinion; and their zeal against our institution is so far-reaching as to be sanctioned by
the opinion of the majority of the labor unions of Pennsylvania. That is about as well as
I can express it from my personal standpoint.
Chairman WALSH: Then you think this lack of sympathy which
you discovered is through the influence of those persons which you have mentioned?
Mr. LUMB: Well, I thinknoevery member of the
commission must know that there has recently been injected into our country some people
from Europesome people who call themselves Industrial Workers of the World. About
three or four years ago there was a strike on the B. & S. Railway, up in Potter
Countythe Buffalo & Susquehanna. And their attorney, Mr. Robinson, came down to
Harrisburg and said, Capt. Lumb, we have got to have some men. He said,
The sheriff up there, because of the scarcity of the population, except those who
are on the strike, is such that he can not get enough deputies to protect us. And the men
are putting sand in the journal boxes of the engines and putting soap in the boilers, and
are doing everything possible to destroy the property and imperil life and our rolling
stock, and the State must send some State police up there. I said, Mr.
Robinson (or Roberts, whichever it was) it is impossible to send men under those
conditions. "Why? he says, the Industrial Workers of the World are
up there, and they are preaching treason and anarchy, and there is a reign of terror among
us people, and we dont dare to go out after dark. I said, that is a bad
state of affairs in Pennsylvania, but you have got to go to your sheriff, and your sheriff
can go to the governor or the superintendent of Pennsylvania and certify in writing that
the situation is beyond his control before our men can go on the scene."
He stated that the sheriff was a high-strung man who had so
much pride in his office that he would not concede that the situation was beyond his
control, and that the only question was not being able to get enough men to serve as
deputies. Now, as a matter of fact, we did not send any men up there, because the request
came from the corporation and not from the proper authorities.
That, I think, is the menace to the labor unions themselves
that this wrongful spirit is creeping in and undermining their proper attitude of mind
toward law and order. But understand, Mr. Chairman, this is purely a personal opinion,
based on purely personal observation.
The department of the State police keep no data of labor
unions. We have no information about their workings. We never try to attend their
meetings. We do not recognize in our official capacity that there is such a thing as a
labor union. When we go into a place at the request of a sheriff we are under his
directions. He says at this particular point there was bloodshed last night, or at this
place they are going to dynamite property, or here is a mob; and under his directions
alone we go in and under his directions alone we go out, and the sheriff is the high peace
officer of the county in Pennsylvania.
Commissioner LENNON: Is it not a fact that nearly all the
criticism against the State police originates from their work in strikes, labor troubles?
I have not heard a bit of criticism of your course in all of the other duties you perform
for anything else.
Mr. LUMB: Yes, sir; that is quite true; and perhaps I can
throw a little light on that situation by this statement: Before the organization of the
State police force the National Guards were under the fire that we are under now, and if
you abolish the State police force you will see the attention of these same people
directed toward the National Guards again.
Commissioner LENNON: I am not a citizen of the State of
Pennsylvania and will not take any part in an attempt to abolish the force. Is it not
possible that if the men in charge of the police force, when they go to a strike zone,
will start giving the same attention to the representatives of the strikers as to the
representatives of the employing companycertainly if that is done at all, in so far
as conferring with them as to the necessary means of maintaining peace and good order, and
not be on the property of one less you divide your men and put half on the property of the
otherwould not merely the doing of those things be self-evident and beyond question
that the police have no favoritism of any kind, shape, or description to either side in a
labor controversy; wouldnt that eliminate a good deal of this?
Mr. LUMB: I would like to say in answer to your question,
in the first place when the State police go into a community under those conditions they
go in under the direct orders of the sheriff, and you heard the report of Capt. Thomas,
which was brought down here as a specimen, and there are hundreds of others on file along
with it. In that particular instance Capt. Adams reports that he had a conference with a
committee of the strikers, and they came to an agreement as to that bridge, and they were
to have 20 pickets. A good deal depends upon the situation where the strike exists. For
instance, if there is a strike in a soft-coal region, and if you will examine the census
report of 1910 as to the per cent of foreign population of Pennsylvania, particularly with
references to that region, you will find that perhaps two-thirds of the men on strike are
actually foreign-born men, either Italians or from south Europe. The minute our men arrive
on the scene in their uniforms they are hissed at and jeered at and usually meet with a
shower of stones. To reason with them is an absolute impossibility. With reference to
distributing our men, as to the assignment of property, some going on the companys
Commissioner LENNON: I dont think they should go on
Mr. LUMB: I will try to cover that in my limited way. The
men in arriving at a town go to every place providing for public accommodation in hotels
and livery stables; and they find that they have been preceded by organizers, who have
notified those men that if they gave the State officers their accommodations they would be
boycotted forevermore and they might as well go out of business, and the condition depends
upon their attitude when we arrive. We would be glad to put up in places where the
accommodation is better than on barn floors, and make them eat off of tin plates and drink
out of tin cups. These men are men that first had to satisfy the Army recruiting officer
that they were citizens of the United States and of good moral character. I speak from 12
years' experience in the Regular Army in peace and in war.
There are two classes of menthe Army makes or breaks
a man. The man that is broke is what they call bobtailed or discharged without
honor; and if the temptations of the new life are too great and he becomes in the habit of
getting intoxicated, etc., and disgraces his uniform, after five or six summary offenses
he is discharged without honor and can not be re-enlisted. The other class are made. They
learn self-restraint and self-control and patriotism and learn love of country in the post
schools, one of which I had the honor to teach in Fort McHenry, Md. The American soldier
of to-day, gentlemen, is no thug; he is a pretty well-trained young man, with a good head,
or he wont get through with his enlistment. If he dont come up to the
grammar-school education the troop commander finds it out and details him to attend
school, which is during the summer months. They may, after they first establish the fact
that they are men of employment and moral character, make application to attend that
school. Look at the saving in economy to take such men in preference to citizens that we
have to look up through various private sources, and then have to depend upon limited
observation. A man comes in with an excellent discharge as a sergeant of the Fifteenth
Cavalry, and that means that he is not only learned to command himself, but others, and
that he is an American citizen above all, and knows the laws to a certain extent, and
knows the Constitution of the United States. He is detailed for four months of special
duty as policeman. He is taught the fish, game, and forestry laws, and we have had cases
where they have deceived us; that the man didnt seem to take any particular interest
in the study; that he thought it was going to be an easy life, and he didnt want to
study any more like he had had to in the Army, so he dropped at the end of his probation
period; and on the other hand, if they satisfy us of their good moral conduct they remain
on the force.
Commissioner GARRETSON: Is there not one qualification that
you have not mentioned that is of greater importance for your purpose than anything; that
the man who served as a regular soldier learned one further lesson, and that was when he
received a command to fire he would obey, regardless of who stood in front, which is one
of the things that the citizen soldier has not learned?
Mr. LUMB: That is true, and it is true also that the
soldier has learned to shoot accurately and not to shoot the innocent man.
Source: Testimony, May 6, 1915.
U.S. Congress, Senate, Final Report and Testimony Submitted to Congress by the
Commission on Industrial Relations, 64th Cong., 1st sess., S. Doc. 415, vol. 11
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1916), 10932ff.