Page images
PDF
EPUB

there is some danger of neglecting educational advantages, at least so far as chil. dren employed in the cotton and woolen mills are concerned. Recent invostigations show some surprising facts in this regard, evincing disregard of the law on the part of employés and parents, which justifies the demand for a compulsory system now being made.

Hon. Henry K. Oliver, in charge of the Massachusetts State Bureau of Labor Statistics, argues in the report for 1869 for such a law, especially with reference to factory children. He recommends that no child under thirteen be allowed to work in these mills, and no child but eight hours per day, and only then if possessed of a good eleinentary education. With great force Mr. Oliver says: "There is no remedy for the wrong of depriving children of a proper education, and for the greater evils that will ensue if an ignorant class of persons is permitted to grow up, to increase and perpetuate a debased class crowded upon us, threatening danger, nay, already weakening the very foundations of the republic."

In response to a suggestion made by Mr. Oliver, there was established in 1868, at Salem, a school designed directly for children, the hours, &c., being regulated to suit their needs. John Kilburn, esq., superintendent of the Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company, writes of the effect of this school that "it has proved an eminently successful institution and source of comfort to the mills of this company." Mr. Charles J. Goodwin, agent of Indian Orchard Mills, says, as one result of a similar school, that "a marked change for the better is seen in the deportment and personal appearance of the children." Similar facts and statements might be multiplied almost indefinitely. In a report to the legislature, made in 1867, by a committee appointed on the “hours of labor," of which the Hon. Amasa Walker was chairman, the majority urgently advocates a higher education for the industrial classes. They pertinently point to the fact that there has been for years a growing disinclination on the part of American workmen to enter on, or continue in, the mechanic arts and trades. The reason is apparent: intellectual ambition and activity find but few opportunities. The report already referred to says, in reference to the proper use to be made of shorter hours of labor, that

we must educate our children to fit them for even the mere drudgery of labor. With the increased skill and intelligence of the laborer, the improvement of machinery, and the increase of wealth, the desire and capacity to enjoy leisure will surely come, and the desire will be gratified.” “ It is not enough,” the minority report by Mr. Rogers, of the same committee, argue, " that the laborer have education in childhood; he must have the means of constant improvement and progress in manhood.” The economio use and aggregation of capital caused by the application of science to manufacturing purposes have necessarily changed the condition of vast masses of persons, rendering concentration in large numbers necessary. Yet the conditions of education have remained unchanged. Well arranged as was our public school system for the state of society existing even a generation ago in New England, it has not yet enlarged itself to meet the wants of the changes now being effected, and the evils of illiteracy, or, what is perhaps as dangerous, those arising from mistaking the rudiments or mere implements of education for education itself, are becoming too apparent. In a recent petition to the Massachusetts legislature, calling for a strict apprenticeship system, the evils flowing from the want of special industrial training are referred to in strong terms. The petitioners say that "human labor is so connected with exalted mental and moral capacities that it of right ought to have higher consideration than merchandise.” Massachusetts is moving in the matter of special instruction, as well also as in that more fundamental one, of seeing that the constantly increasing class of children employed in its mills and factories shall not, either from cupidity and carelessness of parents or corporations, or both, be allowed to grow up in ignorance.

CONCLUSION.

The questions and answers with which this paper closes are of a character to need no introduction beyond that given by the facts presented. But a small number of answers have been received up to the date of closing the report for the printer; a fact which is to be regretted, as they show great interest on the part of the gentlemen from whom replies have been, and are now being, received. In themselves they afford proofs of the need and value of a bigh degree of scientific and technical education as a wealth-producing and social-politico instrumentality, and, with the facts adduced ir. regard to European efforts in this direction, present striking reasons for an increascd and continued endeavor to secure and facilitate a more thorough training in the industrial arts and sciences, as well as general knowledge for the working people of tho United States.

In this connection the remarks of Dr. Lyon Playfair, at the recent meeting of the British Social Science Association, upon the questions under consideration are weighty and opportune. The English savant advocates the training which shall best fit a man for his place in life. After referring to certain English schools, and to ancient law requiring compulsory education for certain classes, he says: “This main idea of fitting a inan for his work was vigorously supported by our old reformers. John Kuox held firmly by it, especially in his scheme for secondary education, which, unfortunately for Scotland, was never adopted, though his plan for primary education was. In the former he announced that no boys should leave school till they had devoted a proper time to

that study which they intend chiefly to pursue for the profit of the commonwealth.' This is the old conception of the object of education, and reappears at the present day under the modern garb of technical education. All the reformers urged its necessity, especially Luther and Melancthon. Most European states have held fast to the idea with more or less of developnient, but it has vanished utterly from our English schools.

“Our primary schools, on the whole, do not teach higher instruction than a child of eight years of age may learn. In our class of life, our children acquire such knowledge as a beginning; with the working classes they get it as an end. What an equipment for the battle of life! No armor-plate of knowledge is given to our future artisan, but a mere thin veneer of the three R's, so thin as to rub off completely in three or four years' wear and tear of life. Under our present system of elementary teaching, no knowledge whatever bearing on the life-work of the people reaches them by our system of State education. The air they breathe, the water they drink, the tools they use, the plants they grow, the mines they excavate, might all be made subjects of surpassing interest and importance to them during their whole life; and yet of these they learn not one fact. Yet we are surprised at the consequences of their ignorance. A thousand men perish yearly in our coal mines, but no schoolmaster tells the poor miner the nature of the explosive gas which scorches him, or of the after-damp which chokes him. Boilers of steamengines blow up so continually that a committee of the House of Commons is now engaged in trying to dinrinish their alarming frequency, but the poor stokers who are scalded to death or blown to pieces were never instructed in the nature and properties of steam. In Great Britain alone more than 100,000 people perish annually, and at least five times as many sicken grievously, out of pure ignorance of the laws of health, which are never imparted to them at school; they have no chance of learning them afterward, as they possess no secondary schools. The mere tools of education are put into the hands of children during their school time without any effort being made to teach them how to use the tools for any profitable purpose whatever; so they get rusty, or are thrown aside altogether. And we fancy that we have educated the people! Our pauperism, our crime, and the misery which hovers on the brink of both, increase, terribly, and our panacea for their cure is teaching the three R's. The age of miracles has passed by, and our large faith in our little doings will not remove mountains. It is best to be frank. Our low quality of education is impoverishing the land. It is disgracefully behind the age in which we live and of the civilization of which we boast, and, until we are convinced of that, we cannot be roused to the exertions required for its amendment. This is no new complaint, and has been long ago made by far higher authorities than myself.”

Though Dr. Playfair speaks directly to an English audience, and aims, therefore, to illustrate English necessities, there is no one who has examined the relations of labor and education in the United States, however superficially, but what will acknowledge the applicability of his criticisms to our own circumstances. The answers received, especially those from workmen, forcibly illustrate this.

RICHARD J. HINTON.

INQUIRIES AND REPLIES RELATING TO FOREGOING PAPER.

CIRCULAR OF INQUIRY.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BUREAU OF EDUCATION,

Washington, D. C., October, 1870. SIR: The object of this Bureau in making the annexed inquiries is to ascertain your views with regard to the effect of education on industry, all other things—as natural ability and length of time employed in a giveu pursuit-being equal.

It has been claimed that the mere ability to read and write, by even an unskilled laborer, adds one-fourth to his value as a member of the community. This claim, if true, must be capable of demonstration through the observation of intelligent persons.

The following inquiries will be sent to employers or superintendents, to workmen, and to those observers who, as far as may be, are not embraced in either the first or second class. It is the desire of the Commissioner to combine the testimony from these three sources. You will confer a favor by returning to this office such answers to these questions as you are able to give from experience and observation, adding also such other information as may seem to you pertinent to the subject. Very respectfully, &c.,

JOHN EATON, JR.,

Commissioner.

QUESTIONS TO EMPLOYERS.

Answers have been received from the following gentlemen : (a) American Standard Tool Company, manager of, Newark, New Jersey. (6) Anderson, A., superintendent Kansas Pacific Railroad, Lawrence, Kansas. (c) Anthony, Hon. J. B., tool works, Providence, Rhode Island. (d) Baird & Co., Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (e) Bay State Company, manager of, Worcester, Massachusetts. ) Blodgett, Hon. Foster, railroad superintendent, Atlanta, Georgia. (9) Cooke, George L., American Horse Nail Company, Providence, Rhode Island. (h) Faey, J. A. & Co., car builders, Cincinnati, Ohio.

i) Franklin, General W. B., manager Colt's Rifle Works, Hartford, Connecticut. 6) Gibbon, William G., machinist and iron ship builder, Wilmington, Delaware. (k) Greenwood, Miles, machinist, Cincinnati, Ohio. (1) Guild, Chester & Sons, tanners, Boston, Massachusetts.

(m) Harlan & Hollingsworth Company, iron ship, engine, and car builders, Wilmington, Delaware.

(n) Ingersoll, George L., superintendent Cleveland Iron and Nail Works, Cleveland, Ohio.

(0) James, G. W., planter, Gainesville, Florida.
(P) Lyon, James & Co., glass works, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
(9) Mead, C. V. & Co., rubber works, Trenton, New Jersey.

Mundelía, Hon. A. J., manufacturer, Nottingham, England. (r) Prang, Louis, art publisher and lithographer, Boston, Massachusetts. (8) Smith, Hon. J. G., manufacturer, Providence, Rhode Island. Thomas, General Samuel, iron foundery, Zanesville, Ohio. NOTE.—The answers of the gentlemen whose names are indicated with an asterisk (*) will be found embodied in the Commissioner's report.

Question 1. Have you employed a number of persons as laborers? What town! State: Character of the labor?

Answers. (a) Skilled and unskilled, manufacturing fire-arms, tools, and similar articles. (b) Clerks, agents, machinists, carpenters, joiners, painters, and common laborers. (c) Machinists, blacksmiths, and laborers. (d) Building locomotives, mainly skilled. (e) Shoemaking. (f) Machinists, carpenters, blacksmiths, and all branches of railroad work. (9) Nail-makers, machinists, general work. (h) Construction of machinery for working in wood. (i) Manufacture of arms, machinery, and the operations connectod therewith. (j) Machinists and iron boat builders, boiler-makers, and laborers. (k) Molders, machinists, blacksmiths, laborers, clerks, draughtsmen, &c. (1) One hundred and twenty-five skilled and unskilled, tanning and carrying, care of machinery, some quite intricate. (m) In construction of iron ships, engines and boilers, passenger and freight cars. (*) In the manufacture of hosiery. (n) Skilled and unskilled in iron and nail

works. (o) Planter, negro labor. (p) Glass works, skilled and unskilled. (9) Manufacture of India-rubber goods. (r) Lithographic printing and processes connected therewith. (8) In manufacturing, mechanics, farming and day laborers; for forty-fivo years. (*) In all manipulations of iron ore from the mine to the foundery, skilled and unskilled.

Question 2. Have you observed a difference in skill, aptitude, or amount of work executed by persons you have employed, arising from a 'difference in their education, and independent of their natural abilities?

Answers. (a) Yes. Though it is a rare occurrence that there is a person in this community who is totally destitute of some education. The best educated,

as a general rule, excel. (b) I have. (c) This I believe to be a well-settled fact. (d) Yes. (e) We have observed a vast difference. (f) Such persons have more skill and fidelity, because of their general information and consequent freedom from prejudice, incident to ignorant persons. An educated intelligent artisan is worth 50 per cent. more than an ignorant one. (9) Unquestionably. (h) Yes. (i) Yes. (j) Very marked. (k) Yes. (1) This question, like some of those which follow, is so simple, and the reply so obvious, that it is a matter of some surprise that it should be a matter of question at all. We answer yes. (m) The difference is most marked. Those having some education invariably advance to leading positions, while the opposite seldom rise above laborers. (n) We are at serious loss by the ignorance of laborers, and find great odds in favor of Germans and other "educated” labor. (o) Yes. I have observed that the negro who was making an attempt to educate himself, and who was partially educated, was mostly preferable to an uneducated negro. (p) Yes. (9) We think those who are educated excel. (r) Cannot answer these questions definitely, my observations have not been extensive enough. (8) Education is and has always been a very important recommendation for all classes of labor.

Question 3. Do those who can read and write, and who merely possess these rudiments of an education, other things being equal, show any greater skill and fidelity as laborers, skilled or unskilled, or as artisans, than do those who are not able to read and write; and if so, how much would such additional skill, &c., tend to increase the productiveness of their services, and, consequently, their wages !

Answers. (a) They do, as a large share of information is derived from publications, and enlarges the comprehension of the mind, and enables it to receive instructions from thoso who hold superior positions more understandingly, and, consequently, enables them to become efficient workmen in executing the instructions imparted to them; the additional skill would increase their productiveness 10 to 50 per cent., being dependent on positions they may have opportunity to fill. (b) They do; the higher the grade of labor, the more valuable education becomes; mechanics are more improved by it than common laborers; I judge the man possessing the rudiments of an education to be, on au average, 15 or 20 per cent. more valuable than the ignorant; this is, however, rather a

guess” than a judgment; it is impossible to form anything like a correct judgment. (c) They do show greater skill, but the percentage of additional skill varies very much. (d) It is difficult to say definitely, but their productiveness and value are largely increased. (e) We think they do, and should say it would increase their wages at least one-fifth; for instance, a man earning $2 50 would be better worth $3. (9) Decidedly; very materially. (h) Yes. (i) Those who can read and write show more skill and fidelity as laborers than those who cannot; the increased fidelity proceeds from the fact that these men are more anxious to rise than more ignorant men are, and, therefore, more faithful to their employers, with a view to better positions in the future. (j) As a rule, no increase of fidelity, but always a marked difference in their aptitude in applying their skill to its best advantage; and educated men require much less attention from their foremen than uneducated ones; the difference ranges froin 10 to 15 per centum. (k) They do show themselves more reliable, but could not say as to the com, parative productiveness of the two classes named. (1) Even a rudimentary education adds value to a laborer, as there are but few situations but that a knowledge to read or an ability to keep a simple account could be used to advantage, and one possessing these only, would, among a gang of laborers who might be ignorant, assume a position of leadership, oversight, or control, and obtain an increase of compensation, but to, what extent it is not easy to reply. (m) They do, and it will increase their value from 20 to 25 per cent. (n) Men of common education are worth 25 per cent. more than those who are not able to read and writo, even in the coarse work at which we employ a large portion of our labor. (0) In answer to the first question, I say that they show a far greater skill and fidelity when they have received the rudiments of an education; they certainly are far more satisfactory laborers to deal with, becanse education imparts to them a certain self-respect-a desire not to place themselves in a position of antagonism to the employer when the settling day comes, but a desire rather to place themselves in equality with him, an eqnality dictated solely by pecuniary relations. (P) Wo can see no difference in those who cannot read and those who can but do not ; it is rare, however, to find a man who can read that does not at least read a paper. (r) We have found that in a few cases the uneducated are very skillful, and think, in such instances, the advantages of education would increase their value 100 per cent.; others it would increase but little. (8) Education has a great advantage, the iņcrease vary: ing, in different degrees of labor, from 10 to 60 per cent.

Question 4. What increase of ability would a still higher degree of education—– knowledge of the arts and sciences that underlie his occupation, such as a good practical knowledge of arithmetic, book-keeping, algebra, drawing, &c.-give the laborer in the power of prodncing wealth, and how much would it increase his wages ?

Answers. (a) The above knowledge being imparted to the workman, would place him in a position to become a leading man in any department of a manufactory, to fill the position of instructor or director of those destitute of this knowledge, and would impart to them the power of increasing the production or wealth 50 per cent.; it would increase the workman's wages 50 per cent. over the person that could barely read and write. (6) Would increase the ability generally somewhat in proportion to the enlargement of bis capacity by the training-mental; I think the increase of wages would be slight-uot in proportion to increase in capacity (0), Such persons are not contented to earn regular day wages, though the wages may be large; they either seek the place of overseer or superintendent, or more often contract to do certain work and employ their own men; they trust to their own skill to improve their tools or method of using them; look ont to save labor in every possible way, and to get the largest possible product; many of these men make a snug fortune in a few years; they observe, they read and study, and are greatly advantaged by it. (d) A still higher degree of education would give a still higher ability, productiveness, and, consequently, enhanced value to the services of the educated laborer. (e) Shonld say at least one-half, after his character for lionesty had been establishedand this we view as a part of his early education and surronndings. (f) As the world, goes, taking into consideration the fact that but a small percentage would acquire such a degree of education, the increase of ability would be, and in such cases is, wonderful-in fact, taking the possessor out of the laboring walks of life into those of high science and government of inforios

men ; should all be thus educated, I presume the relative positions of men would be the same as at present-ability and opportunity governing position and wealth. (9) His opportunities for ready employment at high wages would be much enhanced, and he would be eagerly and readıly sought after, in preference to those who lacked these acquirements, in those establishments requiring a reasonable amount of intelligent labor; there are certain kinds of labor which do not require the employment of those who can even read or write; but a knowledge of these would give the possessor the preference, at same wages. (h) Cannot say just how much; it would add very materially to his ability as a mechanic and producer: (i) In general, it would cause a material increase in the man's power of producing wealth; the amount of increase hard to determine; it would, I think, increase this power one-half, and donble his wages. (j) From 25 to 100 per centuin. (k) Would think the advantage of a good education to be equal to from 10 to 20 per cent. producing power, and would command that advantage or increase of wages. (1) Perhaps the study of algebra is not so very important to the laborer and the mechanic; but those of natural philosophy, chemistry, and geometry are, as the principles of those sciences are intimately blended with even the simplest mechanical operations and the most menial duties. (m) Would increase their wages from 200 to 300 per cent. (n) It is difficult to estimate with any accuracy ; I have tried some experiments in this line, with much satisfactory results. (0) It would increase his productiveness by over one-half; it would increase his wages by over one-third. (p) We cannot answer this from our own experience. (1) Wages, as a laborer, would increase but little; in producing wealth, we think, 100 per cent, (r) I can only answer, in a general way, that a man without any education will only be fit for the menial work in our business; whereas the higher his education, tho higher the place he will be fitted to occupy, and his value may be doubled or tripled. (8) Those possessing the common school education are generally most productive.

Question 5. Does this and still further acquisitions of knowledge increase the capacity of the workingman to meet the exigency of his labors by new methods, or in improvements in implements or machinery? And if so, how much does this inventivo skill add to his power of producing wealth?

Answers. (a) It does, providing it is coupled with the proper natural abilities that will enable the workman to discriminate correctly what would really be improvements before incurring the expense of construction; in that case it would add 10 to 100 per cent. to his powers of producing wealth ; otherwise it would prove a detriment, which is the case four times out of five, by diverting his attention from regular pursuits. (b) Capacity is increased directly in proportion as the mind is expanded or enlarged, not in proportion, at all, to what the man knows. Cannot answer last question. (c) I hardly dare say how much educated men excel the uneducated. I have observed this: where an uneducated man makes a discovery, or conceives of an improvement, he is rarely able to put it into intelligible form without calling an educated inan to his assistance. I have known instances where persons have had ambition to do this thing, and to equal their neighbors, but who failed from lack of edncation, particularly from inability to closely calculate. (d) Yes; very considerably, (c) This depends upon his practicability. (9) Undoubtedly; in proportion to his ability; the more skillful he is the greater pay be receives. (h) Very materially; cannot say how much. (i) The higher the technical and other education of a workingman, the more readily will he fall in with new methods and improvements in machinery, and the more apt he will be, other things being equal, to invent labor-saving machines; the iucrease of his power of producing wealth, in consequence, may be incalculable; in general, he would increase wealth twice as fast as he would withont it. (i) It certainly does, in general, though certain sanguine temperaments are apt to run after abstractions in mnechanics to a degree that damages their usefulnesss; of course, this class produces no wealth. (k) Am of the opinion it does, but have not had sufficient experience with such a class to be able to give a reliable estimate of the advantage. (1) It is quite observable how many useless strokes and movements even the common laborer will take, which might be avoided and the work better accomplished, with a knowledge of mechanical forces; and in manafacturing branches of industry, as also in agriculture, many expensive mistakes and blunders might be avoided, better goods and wares might be manufactured and larger profits secured, by a more general diffusion of scientific knowledge. (m) It does, and his value is increased always in proportion to his skill and inventive ability. (n) Very much; it cannot be estimated. (0) Yes; and by over half. (p) We cannot answer from our own experience. (r) I should prefer the persoa trained in the common school.

Question 6. Would you generally prefer, or not, a person who had been trained in the common school for the ordinary uses for which labor might be employed, over one who had not enjoyed that advantage ?

Answers. (a) We would prefer the one that bad been trained in the common school, on the principle that the more knowledge a person possesses the more valuable he can make himself to his employer. (6) Would depend upon the duty required. Generally, the educated man is to be preferred. But in these days the capacity to do mischief by strikes, combinations, &c., increases in proportion to training. (c) Very much; a man

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »