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afford. His machinery and mills, which constitute a large part of his capital, are in the hands of persons, who, by their skill, are enabled to use them to their utmost capacity, and to prevent any unnecessary depreciation.
“Each operative in a cotton mill may be supposed to represent from one thousand to twelve hundred dollars of the capital invested in the mill and its machinery. It is only from the most diligent and economical use of this capital that the proprietor can expect a profit. A fraction less than one half of the cost of manufacturing common cotton goods, when a mill is in full operation, is made up of charges which are permanent. If the product is reduced in the ratio of the capacity of the two classes of operatives mentioned in this statement, it will be seen that the cost will be increased in a compound ratio.
My belief is, that the best cotton mill in New England, with such operatives only as the forty-five mentioned above, who are unable to write their names, would never yield the proprietor a profit ; that the machinery would soon be worn out, and he would be left, in a short time, with a population no better than that which is represented, as I suppose, very fairly, by the importation from England."
pp. 90–92. To the same effect writes Mr. Clark, Superintendent of the Merrimack Mills, at Lowell.
“During the last eight years, I have had under my superintendence upon an average about fifteen hundred persons of both sexes. I have found, with very few exceptions, the best educated among my hands to be the most capable, intelligent, energetic, industrious, economical, and moral ; that they produce the best work, and the most of it, with the least injury to the machinery. They are, in all respects, the most useful, profitable, and the safest of our operatives; and, as a class, they are more thrifty and more apt to accumulate property for themselves.
“I have recently instituted some inquiries into the comparative wages of our different classes of operatives ; and among other results, I find the following applicable to our present purpose. On our Pay-Roll for the last month, are borne the names of twelve thousand and twenty-nine female operatives, forty of whom receipted for their pay by 'making their mark.' Twenty-six of these have been employed in job-work, that is, they were paid according to the quantity of work turned off from their machines. The average pay of these twenty-six falls 18) per cent. below the general average of those engaged in the same departments.
· Again, we have in our mills about one hundred and fifty
- pp. 98, 99.
females who have, at some time, been engaged in teaching schools. Many of them teach during the summer months, and work in the mills in winter. The average wages of these exteachers I find to be 173 per cent. above the general average of our mills, and about 40 per cent. above the wages of the twentysix who cannot write their names. It may be said, that they are generally employed in the higher departments, where the pay is better. This is true, but this again may be, in most cases, fairly attributed to their better education, which brings us to the same result. If I had included in my calculations, the remaining fourteen of the forty, who are mostly sweepers and scrubbers, and who are paid by the day, the contrasts would have been still more striking ; but having no well-educated females engaged in this department with whom to compare them, I have omitted them altogether. In arriving at the above results I have considered the net wages merely, — the price of board being in all cases the same. I do not consider these results as either extraordinary, or surprising, but as a part only of the legitimate and proper fruits of a better cultivation and fuller developement of the intellectual and moral powers.
We limit ourselves to one more extract, and we will take it from Mr. Mann's admirable observations on this class of facts.
“Why is it that, so far as this Union is concerned, fourfifths of all the improvements, inventions, and discoveries, in regard to machinery, to agricultural implements, to superior models in ship-building, and to the manufacture of those refined instruments on which accuracy in scientific observations depends, have originated in New England. I believe no adequate reason can be assigned, but the early awakening and training of the power of thought in our children. The suggestion is not made invidiously, but in this connexion it has too important a bearing to be omitted, — but let any one, who has resided or travelled in those States where there are no common schools, compare the condition of the people at large, as to thrift, order, neatness, and all the external signs of comfort and competence, with the same characteristics of civilization in the farm-houses and villages of New England. These contrasts exist, notwithstanding the fertility of the soil and the abundance of mineral resources, in the former States, as compared with the sterile surface and granite substratum of the latter. Never was a problern more clearly demonstrated, than that even a moderate degree of intelligence, diffused through the mass of the people, is more than an equivalent for all the prodigality of nature. It is said, indeed, in regard to those States where there are no provisions for general education, that the want of energy and forecast, the absence of laborsaving contrivances and an obtuseness in adapting means to ends, are the consequences of a system of involuntary servitude ; but what is this, so far as productiveness is concerned, but a want of knowledge, what is it but the existence of that mental imbecility and torpor, which arise from personal and hereditary neglect ? In conversing with a gentleman, who had possessed most extensive opportunities for acquaintance with men of different countries and of all degrees of intellectual developement, he observed that he could employ a common immigrant or a slave, and, if he chose, could direct him to shovel a heap of sand from one spot to another, and then back into its former place, and so to and fro, through the day ; and that, with the same food or the same pay, the laborer would perform this tread-mill operation without inquiry or complaint ; but, added he, neither love nor money would prevail on a NewEnglander to prosecute a piece of work of which he did not see the utility. There is scarcely any kind of labor, however simple or automatic, which can be so well performed without knowledge in the workman, as with it. It is impossible for an overseer or employer, at all times to supply mind to the labor
In giving directions for the shortest series or train of operations, something will be omitted or misunderstood ; and, without intelligence in the workman, the omission or the mistake will be repeated in the execution.*
6* It once happened to me, while travelling in one of the southwestern States, to visit an edifice of a public character, then almost completed. The building had a great number of apartments, which were to be warmed by means of a furnace placed in the cellar, after the manner in which most of our hospitals and large public edifices are warmed. Accordingly, one set of Aues had been constructed for conveying the heated and pure air into all the apartments, and another set for conveying the foul air upward into the attic. So far it was well. But unfortunately for the transmission of the air in an upward current and for its escape from the attic when it should arrive there, the roof was completely closed in, neither window, sky-light, nor aperture of any kind being left, through which it could find egress. The edifice had been built from a plan, and without a knowledge of principles. I regret to add, that it was a State institution, and had been erected under a Board of Commissioners appointed by the Executive ; and much delay and probably great suffering was endured before the building could be fiited for the reception and occupancy of any class of beings, dependent on breathing for existence. This was a very striking case, but every unintelligent man will make mistakes every day of his life, which are as important to him, and perhaps as ludicrous in the sight of others, as was this attempt of a Commonwealth, to ventilate a building, where sixty or seventy persons were constantly to reside, by packing all the impure air
" It is a fact of universal notoriety, that the manufacturing population of England, as a class, work for half, or less than half, the wages of our own. The cost of machinery there, also, is but about half as much as the cost of the same articles with us ; while our capital, when loaned, produces nearly double the rate of English interest. Yet, against these grand adverse circumstances, our manufacturers, with a small percentage of tariff, successfully compete with English capitalists, in many branches of manufacturing business. No explanation can be given of this extraordinary fact, which does not take into the account the difference of education between the operatives in the two countries. Yet where, in all our Congressional debates upon this subject, or in the discussions and addresses of National Conve ns, has this fundamental principle been brought out, — and one, at least, of its most important and legitimate inferences displayed, viz. that it is our wisest policy, as citizens,- if indeed it be not a duty of self-preservation as men, to improve the education of our whole people, both in its quantity and quality. I have been told by one of our most careful and successful manufacturers, that, on substituting, in one of his cotton mills, a better for a poorer educated class of operatives, he was enabled to add twelve or fifteen per cent. to the speed of his machinery, without any increase of damage or danger from the acceleration. How direct and demonstrative the bearing, which facts like this have upon the wisdom of our law respecting the education of children in manufacturing establishments! What prominency and cogency do they give to the argument for obeying it, if not from motives of humanity, at least from those of policy and self-interest! I am sorry to say, that this benignant and parental law is still, in some cases, openly disregarded ; and that there are employers amongst us, who say, that if their hands come punctually to their work, and continue at it during the regular hours, it is immaterial to them what private character they sustain, and whether they attend the evening school or the lyceum lecture on the week day, or go to church on the Sabbath.
- The number of females in this State, engaged in the various manufactures of cotton, straw-platting, &c., has been estimated at forty thousand ; and the annual value of their labor, at one hundred dollars each, on an average, or four millions of dollars for the whole. From the facts stated in the letters of Messrs. Mills and Clark, above cited, it appears that there is a differsnugly away in the garret! Nature will not abate one tittle of her laws, even to the mightiest earthly sovereign; but when the humblest individual obtains a knowledge of their exact and immutable operations, she protects him with her ægis, and enriches him with all her bounties.”
Normal Schools and District Libraries.
ence of not less than fifty per cent. between the earnings of the least educated and of the best educated operatives, between those who make their marks, instead of writing their names, and those who have been acceptably employed in school-kee ing. Now suppose the whole forty thousand females engaged in the various kinds of manufactures in this Commonwealth to be degraded to the level of the lowest class, it would follow that their aggregate earnings would fall at once to two millions of dollars. But, on the other hand, suppose them all to be elevated by mental cultivation to the rank of the highest, and their earnings would rise to the sum of six millions of dollars annually.
“I institute no comparison in regard to the company imported from England, who, though accustomed to work in the mills of Manchester, could not earn their living here.
“These remarks, in regard to other States or countries, emanate from no boastful or vain-glorious spirit. They come from a very different mood of mind, for I have the profoundest conviction, - and could fill much space with facts that would justify it, -that other communities do not fall short of our own, so much as we fall short of what we might easily be
- pp. 108 – 112.
We congratulate the friends of this cause upon two important measures of the last General Court of Massachusetts ; the provisions made for the support of Normal Schools, and for the establishment of School District Libraries. Three years ago, Mr. Edmund Dwight, of Boston, offered ten thousand dollars to the Commonwealth, on the condition that an equal sum should be furnished from the Treasury, for the maintenance, for three years, of three Normal Schools, for the instruction of common-school teachers. The plan went prosperously into effect, and, the original means being now exhausted, the Legislature, at its last session, appropriated six thousand dollars a year, for continuing these schools three years longer. This gives opportunity for the experiment to justify itself by a full trial, and accordingly, in our opinion, amounts to an establishment of them in perpetuity. The other scheme, that of the establishment of School District Libraries, Massachusetts has not the praise of originating ; but, next to the merit of setting a good example, is that of following it promptly. New York established its common schools only thirty years ago, and already there is a small library in each of the ten or eleven thousand school dis