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and 10s. 5 d. ($2.55) in Ireland. These figures represent the actual value of all food consumed, including articles produced at home or given as allowances in addition to money payments, the values in all cases being based on prevailing retail prices.
Some information is also given as to the expenditure for rent, clothing, fuel, tobacco, and alcohol. In purely rural districts in England and Wales the rents usually paid vary from 1s. ($0.24) to 2s. ($0.49) a week, Is. 6d. ($0.37) a week being the rate most frequently paid. In the neighborhood of towns or collieries, however, the rents are higher. In Ireland the most usual rent for laborers' cottages in rural districts is 1s. ($0.24) per week. In Scotland married farm servants ordinarily receive their cottages free of rent as part payment of their wages. Employers there usually value the rentals of such cottages at between £3 ($14.60) and £5 ($24.33) a year.
DECISIONS OF COURTS AFFECTING LABOR.
[Except in cases of special interest, the decisions here presented are restricted to those rendered by the Federal courts and the higher courts of the States and Territories. Only material portions of such decisions are reproduced, introductory and explanatory matter being given in the words of the editor. Decisions under statutory law are indexed under the proper headings in the cumulative index, page 403 et seq.)
DECISIONS UNDER STATUTORY LAW.
EIGHT-HOUR LAW_EXTRAORDINARY EMERGENCY_CONSTITUTIONALITY OF STATUTE.—Penn Bridge Company v. United States, Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, 35 Washington Law Reporter, page 287.—The Penn Bridge Company was convicted in the police court of the District of Columbia of a violation of the law forbidding the employment of laborers on public works in the District for more than eight hours in any one day, and appealed. The law makes exceptions in cases of extraordinary emergency, and the company plead that under this they were justified in working their men more than eight hours, even if the law was constitutional, which they denied. The court of appeals sustained the judgment of the police court, upholding the law and construing the words “extraordinary emergency" so as to exclude the conditions described from their operation. From the opinion of the court, as delivered by Judge McComas, the following is quoted:
In Atkin v. Kansas, 191 U. S., 207 [Bulletin No. 50, p. 177), where a similar statute of the State of Kansas was upheld, the Supreme Court has in effect decided that the District statute we here consider is constitutional. The service and employment of Shillingberg and his coworkers (carpenters employed by the company] by the plaintiff in error, a contractor with the District of Columbia, upon this public work of the District of Columbia, was by this statute limited and restricted to eight hours in any one calendar day, and it was unlawful for this contractor to require or permit Shillingberg to work more than eight hours in any one calendar day, except in case of extraordinary emergency, and if the plaintiff in error violated this provision, for each and every such offense he became liable to be punished by a fine or by imprisonment or both as provided by this statute. The government of the District of Columbia is simply an agency of the United States for conducting the affairs of its government in the Federal district and this work on the Piney Branch Creek bridge was of a public and not of a private character. As the Supreme Court has said, in effect, there is no possible ground to dispute the power of Congress to declare, that no one undertaking work for the District of Columbia should permit or require an employee on such work to labor more than eight hours in any one calendar day and to inflict punishment upon those coming within the law and disregarding it. To prohibit a contractor from doing public work for the District in his own way and in his own time without regard to the will of Congress does not infringe upon his liberty. Congress may lawfully prescribe the conditions upon which it will permit public work in this District to be done in its behalf and by this statute Congress appears to have determined that to restrict a day's work to eight hours tends to promote morality, to improve the physical and intellectual condition of workingmen and to enable them to better discharge their duties as citizens of the Republic. It is not in derogation of the liberty of either employee or employer, to make it a criminal offense for this contractor for this public work to permit or require his employees to work more than eight hours in one calendar day. No employee has an absolute right to perform labor for the State, and no contractor for a public work can excuse a violation of his agreement with the Government by doing anything which under the statute, made part of its contract, he is distinctly forbidden to do. The plaintiff in error is not by such a statute denied the equal protection of the law for this statute prescribes a rule of conduct which applies alike to all who contract to do work for the District and alike to all employed to perform labor on such a work and Congress has the right to prescribe the conditions under which it will permit work of this kind to be done for the District of Columbia. By this law it has done so and in so doing has not infringed the personal rights of either employers or employees upon such public work. The United States in this Federal District may dictate the terms and conditions of the contracts this District may make, and it may prescribe the hours of labor to be observed by its contractors and their employees on its public works. (See Atkin v. Kansas (supra); United States v. Martin, 94 U. S. 400; United States v. Driscoll, 96 U. S. 421, and United States v. San Francisco Bridge Co., 88 Fed. Rep. 891.)
Second. The court below committed no error in excluding from the consideration of the jury the testimony introduced and proffered by the defendant to show that in this case an “extraordinary emergency” had happened within the meaning of this statute. It was the duty of the court to determine, what jurors unguided could not settle for themselves, what would amount to an "extraordinary emergency.' This question was one of statutory construction for the court. It was for the court to say whether all the evidence admitted and proffered tended in this case to prove the existence of an “extraordinary emergency.” The court here rightly decided that such evidence did not tend to prove its existence. In this statute the term "extraordinary emergency” imports a sudden and unexpected happening, an unforeseen occurrence or condition calling for immediate action to avert imminent danger to health or life or property, an unusual peril, actual and not imaginary, suddenly creating a situation so different from the usual or ordinary course in the prosecution of public work, that the court may and must conclude that Congress contemplated excepting from the operation of this law such an occurrence so sudden, rare and unforeseen. In the case before us the District and the contractor should know that concrete in an arch may not harden in a given part of eight hours and since the contract permitted the District engineers to make changes in the plan, the contractor might have contemplated that the excavation would need greater depth to support the arch of the bridge than an earlier examination had shown likely to be required. The evidence relied upon by the defendant would not have justified the jury in concluding that either or both of these circumstances constituted an extraordinary emergency. The court could have so instructed the jury, and it therefore committed no reversible error in excluding all this evidence from the consideration of the jury, since it was offered only to prove an extraordinary emergency and it did not tend to prove it. (See United States v. Ellis, U. S. District Court (Massachusetts); United States v. Sheridan Kirk Contract Company, 149 Fed. Rep. 813 [Bulletin No. 70, p. 714]; and Sparf and Hansen v. United States, 156 U. S. 51, 103.)
The third assignment of error, namely, that the court erred in holding that what constituted an extraordinary emergency was not a question of fact for the jury, we have sufficiently discussed in what we have said.
The court below committed no reversible error and the judgment must be affirmed with costs, and it is so ordered.
EIGHT-HOUR LAW—PUBLIC WORKS OF THE UNITED STATESCONSTRUCTION AND CONSTITUTIONALITY OF STATUTE— Ellis v. United States, Supreme Court of the United States, 27 Supreme Court Reporter, page 600.—This case was before the Supreme Court on error from the district court of the United States for the district of Massachusetts to review a conviction for permitting mechanics to work at the construction of a pier at the Boston Navy-Yard for more than eight hours a day, in violation of the so-called "Eight-Hour Law” of August 1, 1892. Three other cases were before the court at the same time, involving the conviction of the Eastern Dredging Company for working men more than eight hours in dredging a channel in Boston Harbor, and three affecting the Bay State Dredging Company, which was dredging the channel of Chelsea Creek in Boston Harbor. The defendants in each case excepted to the ruling of the district court on the question of the constitutionality of the law, and the cases were all brought to the Supreme Court for adjudication. The statute in question was held to be constitutional, and to apply to the case of the construction of the pier. Five judges held that it applied to none of the work of dredging, while Judge McKenna held that it applied to the work in Chelsea Creek. Judges Moody, Harlan, and Day took the view that all the cases, except one involving the crew of a seagoing tug, were within the provisions of the act.
The majority opinion of the court was prepared by Judge Holmes, and is, except the introductory paragraphs, as follows:
The contention that the act is unconstitutional is not frivolous, since it may be argued that there are relevant distinctions between