Page images
PDF
EPUB

to-day works as hard and as many hours as the laborer forty years ago. The "labor saving" being money only in the hands of those who labor not. (P) Knowledge in creases the capacity of the working man. It brings into active operation his inventivo skill. It enables him to invent and make improvements on implements of machinery of all descriptions, and in particular thoso natural powers propelled by steam, and it adds to the power of producing wealth not less than 50 per cent. This has been my observation among tlie working men. () Yes; how much, I cannot state.

Question 6. Would a person who had been trained in the common school be generally preferred for the ordinary uses for which labor might be employed, over one who had not enjoyed that advantage ?--Answers. (a) He certainly would. (b) By all means; I am sure they would. (c) I have noticed it, I could say, hundreds of times. (e) Yes, he may be preferred, as he will be better able to receive instructions from an employer and carry them out intelligently. (f) Certainly (9) Yes, by all means, for the fact is demonstrated, and a fool observes it. (h) By all means. (i) Yes; certainly it costs an einployer less to superintend educated mechanics than it does illiterate ones. (*) An edncated workingman would bave the preference, for his employer could reason more with him in regard to wages and duty than he could with the uneducated. (k) I don't know if it would make any particular difference whether he was educated in a common school or a select school. (1) Yes; in almost every case, although some employers will employ uneducated men for the sake of saving money, but they are but few. (m) He undonbtedly would in most cases. (n) As a general thing Le would. (0) Employers with souls, generally want men of education, but thousands of enployers want men without edncation, simply because they can still further degrade them without danger of resistance. (P) They certainly would. (1) Such persons, to do ordinary labor, rould not be preferred over one not enjoying that advantage; this I have seen verified in many instances.

Question 7. From observations you have made, whom do you consider best fitted for positions of trust, such as foremen or superintendents, persons unable to read and write, or those having the rudiments of education, or those possessing a superior edncation, all other things, such as skill, strength, and fidelity, being equal ?-Answers. (a) An employer would choose for positions of trust, such as foreman or superintendent, an educated person. I know of no business that an uneducated person would be conipetent to take charge of in the capacity of foreman or superintendent. (b) Those enjoying an education preferred. (C) A man with practice, and a superior education, must be, or have an assistant, who is superiorly educated; but for foremen they are apt to pick some man with more animal blood coursing in his veins than Christian refinement, in order that he may bully men and trample npon them; this causes men to retaliato when they can, (natural for Americans.) Education would be a benefit in such instances. (a) An employer will always prefer an educated man for foreman or superintendent, as an uneducated inau is almost worthless in that capacity. (e) He would certainly choose a person of superior education, if all other qualities were equal. (j) An employer would not choose a person for positions of trust who could not read or write. I have yet to live to see one in such a place who does not possess a common-school education. A man in my tradle would be considered insane who would choose such a person as foreman. (9) That would all be owing to circumstances. Some men possessed with only a limited education can discharge the duties which they are selected for, to better satisfaction than others superior to them, better posted in the higher branches. Aptness ofttimes its men to a business that books cannot. Honesty and fidelity cannot be acquired from but one book. (h) An employer generally chooses an educated man for his superintendent, for they are usually the best in our country. I find that the best superintendents and mechanics are well educated. I know some men that were asked to be superintendents, but when their answer was given that they could not read or write, they were told they would not suit; that alone unfitted them for the position. (i) My experience is that those of the highest education are preferred for all places of trust. (j) I am of the opinion that the employer would prefer a person with a pretty fair education ; I don't think it would require a superior education to till either positions of foreman or superintendent if the person was any way smart. (k) Those employers who understand their business always employ superintendents or foremen out of the ranks of the educated. (1) He would choose one for his superior odlucation to fill the position of foreman. A person who is unable to read or write could not till that position; he must not only be able to read and write, bnt must have a knowledge of figures to enable him to take a plan and lay of a building for others to work. (m) I think those having received the rudiments of education (and improved them) would be preferable to those having receivel a superior education. Mechanics unable to read or write would not, except in exceptional cases, be chosen for positions of trust, foremen, or superintendents. (n) An employer, with a thorough knowledge of his business, desiring a superintendent, would want a man, the best educated ho conld get. As the schoolmaster should be able to teach his scholars, so with the superintendent-he should be thoroughly educated; I have seen cases to the contrary, where the great desideratum in a superintendent was his ability to tyrannize over his supposed inferiors. (0) Those having a superior education. (p) Those possessing a superior edncation would have the preference over the others, for various reasons. The educated person could estimate for work to be done by contract, and produce a correct drawing of the same; and also in executing a job, each person working has a drawing of his particular part, therefore; in my opinion, the superior educated has the advantage, and his employer the benefit of his education as superintendent of his business. (9) Qualifications being equal, the better educated would be selected.

Question 8. What do you regard the effect of mental culture upon the personal and social habits of persons who have been in your employ? Do they, as a class, live in better houses, or with better surroundings ? Are they more or less idle and dissipated than the untaught classes ? How will they compare for character, for economy, inorality, and social influence among their fellows? - Answer. (a) The educated workingman is by far the best citizen; he is not so dissipated; is no more idle or lazy than the uneducated; as a class they live in better houses; their homes are more comfortable, and their children, as they grow up, are better members of society. It is my firm belief that the largest share of the criininals in this country are the children of uneducated parents. (b) There is no rule to cover the last questions. Should incline to think that good houses are generally inhabited by persons of more or less education, but in the course of my experience I have met with comparatively well-educated fools, drunkards, and worthless characters. (c) The social habits of educated workingmen are by far better; they live in better houses, eat better food, and it does not cost them so much as it would others for inferior food by mismanagement and not buying in the proper season; they have better surroundings, and are not as idle, or dissipated; as for character, public opinion has whipped it out from among coal miners, and judges the whole class by the actions of a few uneducated rascals. An educated man, being a miner, is very great among his fellow-miners; they will believe him before any one else. We need education. I am president of the Miners' Benevolent Association in my valley. Most of our people being of foreign birth, are more or less uneducated. I am Welsh, but coming here at eleven years of age, am more fortunate then my fellows. (d) My experience is altogether confined to German working people, who have, as a rule, some mental culture; they are, as a class, respectable, and quite a number are fond of reading, studying, thinking, and improving their minds generally; there always has been a goodly proportion of inventive talent among them; they find it, however, harder from year to year to tind a livelihood, wages tending downward in comparison with prices of tirst necessities; their social standing and their earnings are, on an average, in proportion to their mental culture. (e) I look on education as the lever by which man is raised from mere beasts of burden or machines, to be rational thinking men, good, patriotic citizens, good husbands and fathers, while ignorance is brutalizing, has no character, little morality, and no influence among its fellows. In trade organizations intelligence always takes the leader's part. () They always live in better houses, handsomer surroundings; I think as a general thing they are just as dissipated, avd are not as econonical as the untaught classes, por so moral; at least such is my experience wherever I bave been. (9) I regard the mental culture of the mechanic and laborer as of vast importance. The better educated, that is, practical education, the more refined the workmen; they do live in better honses, with better surroundings; are not dissipated or idle ; for it is a fact that in the State of New York, only one in ten confined in our State prisons, penitentiaries and jails, come from the mechanic and laboring class. As to individual character, morals, and social influence, it depends upon their daily walk and talk; their skill; their education is not looked to. It is men of truth and interest that lead in all branches of trade; these are the men that are employed first; and if a scarcity of labor is felt, then coines in the balance. Another point I wish to call your attention to is this: the less hours a man labors the more he becomes refined, lives better, the more iuventive becomes his mind, and the result is, more labor-saving machinery coines into use, and therefore more wealth is added to our country. Look back for the last half century and realize the giant strides that have placed the producing classes upon the high plane of moral and social refinement that they now occupy; we work less hours now than then, are paid better wages, enjoy moro luxuries, and intemperance is fast leaving the ranks of the producing classes. Not until the producing class can still have their hours of labor reduced to the shortest possible space can the nation look for that refinement in that class that all Christian nations aspire to. (h) If workingmen are treated as equals, they will nover abuse that equality. As a general thing they are not idle, because circumstances will not, perinit it. The better education a man possesses, the more avenues for labor are opened for him; and if, in addition to this, he possesses a good name, and natural common sense, a good living, if not prosperity, will be his. Having been a laboring inan for twenty-five years, I still do not complain; yet, there are others that do, and have a cause. (i) I regard mental culture in the most favorable light, and as far as my experience goes it improves the habits of our workingmen. If a man cannot read he wili in times of excitement go to the corner grocery or saloon for his information, and there is exposed to intemperanco, more than the inan that stays at home and reads his paper. You might, we think, very appropriately have added another question to the foregoing, as follows: “How, in your opinion, would a reduction of the hours of labor affect the workingmen, and the commercial and mechanical interests of the country ?" I have seventeen men working for me, and I consider this one of the most important questions of the nineteenth century; I will not venture an opinion at this time, but suggest that in future inquiries it would be highly proper to put such a question. (j) The educated live in better houses, their morals and character are better, their economy is greater; and also their sociability and influence are, to a large extent, greater, and dissipation less. (k) To this I would say that seven-tenths of those receiving a common-school education are less addicted to dissipation than those who did not get such an education, and if they do become dissipated they are easier reformed than an uneducated person, because they can see their folly clearer and quicker. I know it to be a fact that workingmen who received a common-school education livo in better houses, and, as a general thing, are more tasty and economical than thoso not so fortunate. I consider that the more intelligence is infused into the minds of the masses, the better it would be for the community at large, and if I could have my way I would have a law, that every child should be compelled to attend school until he or she was sixteen years old-a portion of each year at least. (1) I think education and mental culture has a great effect on the habits of workingmen; they, (the educateil,) as a general thing, occupy better houses; their liomes are surrounded by all the comfort that lies in their power; they are more industrious than the other class, and have more influence among their fellow-men, as they generally respect themselves, and are respected by all others. (m) It makes them more ambitious to excel as workmen; they, as a class, do live in better houses, and they strive to procure a home of their own ; they are not idle; they will compare very favorably; they possess greater influence with their fellow-workmen. (n) I consider that mental culture has a tendency to make him, not only a better Christian, but a better man ; such also live in better houses, with better surroundings; they in general are temperate, and economical, moral if not religious, and they are in general looked upon by their fellows as superior to themselves, and are generally appointed to places of trust and honor. (0) Mental culture creates the desire for better bomes, better surroundings, and a willingness to labor to accomplish it; our prison statistics will show their dispositions as compared with the ignorant; their characters will compare with the highest in the land, and a reference to trade-upions will show their influence. But all is lost in the knowledge that a corrupt government legislates entirely for capital, and nothing for honest labor. (p) The effect of mental culture upon the workingmen is a benefit; they have formed libraries, reading-rooms, and societies of useful knowledge; they, as a class, live very respectably; their surroundings are plain, neat and comfortable; they are in general of industrious habits; their characters will compare with any class of citizens. There is of course a portion of dissipation among the workingmen, but not to any more extent than any other class of persons. (9) That they are more sociable and make better citizens ; that they live in better style, that they have more regard for the rights of others, and are not as idle and dissipated as the untaught ; and that their morals are much better, and they are more economical, and their influence is very beneficial on those around them, is certainly true. (r) The effect is highly beneficial;. I am confident they do. They are not quite the contrary; they will compare well.

OBSERVERS' ANSWERS.

(a) Baird, Henry Carey, industrial publisher, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

b) Cutter, Stephen, New York Prison Association, and as ship-builder, 228 East Twelfth street, New York.

(c) Douai, Dr. Adolf, printer, editor, and teacher, 1397 Broadway, New York.

(d) Lewis, J. R., (for Governor Bullock,) State commissioner of education, Atlanta, Georgia. (e) Stone, Elisha, in the coal mines, Mahoney Plains, Pennsylvania.

Tousey, Sinclair, publisher and news agent, New York. Question 1. Have you observed a difference in the skill, aptitude, or the amount of work executed by persons, arising from a difference in their education, and independent of their natural abilities ? - Answers. (a) Yes; I have. (b) I have; and I have consulted other mechanics who have employed workmen and they bear the same testimony. (d) Have observed a difference. (e) Yes.

Question 2. Where were your observations made Town? State? In what occnpation were the laborers engaged ?-Answors. (a) At Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and indeed throughout my experience of many years, and especially in impressions I have received from contact with mechanics coming to my establishment-industrial publishing. (b) In the city of New York; as ship-joiners. I carried on the business of a shipjoiner from 1831 to 1860, in the firm of Youngs & Cutter, employing at times nearly

* NOTE.--An asterisk denotes that the reply is incorporated in Commissioner's report,

two hundred men. (c) In Georgia; in almost every department of labor. (e) In Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania; in the coal mines and men working about a colliery.

Question 3. Do those who can read and write, and who merely possess these rudiments of 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 tend to increase the productiveness of their services, and conseqnently their wages - Answers. (a) As regards the first question, I should say yes, (except, perhaps, as laborers ;) but tbe second, it seems to me, it is quite impossible to answer with any degree of accuracy: (b) I answer yes unhesitatingly as to artisans, and, so far as I have been able to judge, of laborers also; and possessing the above qualifications would make them worth from one-qnarter tó one-half more. I know many who possess a natural mechanical ability, but education gives power to such in greater proportion. I have never known it to fail, where persons whoso education had been neglected and their native genins had placed them in position, but mourned over this deficiency and felt that it crippled them. (d) Yes; even so much education is worth 25 per cent. increase in wages to the possessor, and much more to the employer and community. (e) About 25 per cent.

Question 4. What increase of ability would a still bigher degree of education-a 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 producing wealth, and how much would it increase his wages !-Answers. (a) Perfect accuracy or even an approximation to it I consider impossible to give in an answer. (b) I think it would increase the ability very much; how much, would depend upon the kind of business. (d) It would increase his ability fourfold, and his wages (average) more than 100 per cent. (e) About 40 per cent.

Question 5. Does this and still further acquisitions of knowledge increase the capacity of the workingman to meet the exigency of his labor by new methods or in improvements in implements or machinery; and if so, how much does this inventive skill add to the power of producing wealth ?-Answers. (a) Here is a point, in my opinion, for a full, and even hot, controversy. Too much education of a certain sort, such as Greek, Latin, French, German, and especially book-keeping, to a person of humble antecedents, is utterly demoralizing in nine cases out of ten, and is productivo of an army of mean-spirited “gentlemen," who are above what is called "a trade," and who are only content to follow some such occupation as that of standing behind a counter, and selling silks, gloves, bobbins, or laces, or to "keep books.” After a good deal of observation, and more especially during thirteen years past that I have been a pretty close student of social science, I have arrived at the conclusion that our system of education, as furnished by law, when it goes beyond what in Pennsylvania is called a grammar school, is vicious in the extreme-productive of more evil than good. Were the power lodged with me, no boy or girl should be educated at the public expense beyond what he or she could obtain at a grammar school, except for some useful occupation. " The high school" of to-day must, as I believe, under an enlightened system, be supplanted by the technical school, with possibly “shops" connected with it. A boy who graduates at the Philadelphia High School is not provided with the means of earning a living at any occupation in which he is likely to engage, except book-keeping, teaching, or shop-keeping, or tending, and possibly law, or theology. We are manufacturing too many “gentlemen” and “ladies," so called, and demoralization is the result. What good do Greek, Latin, French, German, &c., do to a counter-skipper in a retail dry goods shop? Advertise to-morrow in “ The Public Ledger” for a book-keeper, and 100 or more answers would come in 24 hours. I did so tivo or three years since, and at 2 p. m. of the first day I had received 55 replies, and abandoned the search, or rather the Ledger letter-box. The brightest boy who has graduated at the high school for years, was at the head of his classes from his entry into the preliminary schools, throughout his course in the high school, and up to the final hour, is now a clerk in a printing office in this city. Such a boy-this boy, and I know him well—has the capacity to work himself up to the head of the largest mining operation, the greatest iron works, or the grandest consolidated railroad monopoly in the country, had he ever been put upon the track, but, thanks to our barbarous system of public education, he will probably finish his career as a clerk, or at best as a successful buyer and seller of merchandise. Were I in the position of General Eaton, I would commence a crusado against the ignorance of our educators, and I would bring the people to a proper recognition of " what knowledge is most worth," as Horbert Spencer has so well and truly sung, or these ignoramuses should have the satisfaction of lopping off iny official head. (b) I would answer this in the affirmative, but how much is a difficult question to answer. (c) There can be no doubt that even a slight degree of education is of some pecuniary value to the laborer, a higher one even more so. But the reason or cause why it is so, is by far less that employers prefer to deal with educated laborers, or that they can afford to pay higher wages to such than to illiterate ones, or that the laborers themselves are, by education, enabled to perform their work more advantageously, cleverly, or faithfully. All these considerations and causes hold good to some extent, and yet they do not, as a rule, fix the rate of wages or earnings. Exceptions to the rulo are too frequent. One class of exceptions is that of highly educated persons, whom want of capital and dearth of independent stations in life doom to the slavery of wages. Their wages are, on an average, lower than those of less educated men and women engaged in mechanical, or even unskilled, labor. Especially in New York, there are thousands of well-educated men and women, who seek and find a most precarious and scanty livelihood with their pen, or their address and wits in literary, theatrical, teaching, and agency pursuits; because they are either unable or unwilling to engage in better paid mechanical and unskilled labor. This is the case, not in the United States only, but also, now-a-days, in many countries of Europe, owing to the rapid development of capitalistic production,” and an unjust state of things in society: Thence it appears, that the chief benefit of education to the laborer is not to be sought and found in one or all of the above-named causes, but in his unwillingness to submit to all the behests and lumiliations of capital, and the upper classes of society, in his yearning for independence, in bis shunning, as much as possible, dependent positions, and service to others. It is because education tends toward diminishing the number of persons competing for wages at any kind, even the worst paid, of labor, and thus checks the constant downward tendency of wages, that education is chiefly beneficial. Diminishing the number of slaves, or of persons willing to enter servile conditions, means diminishing slavery and servitude. Take away subjects, and there are no kiugs; abolish stupidity, drunkenness, and coarser vices of all kinds, and there is no class who can thrive on taxing, “exploiting,” profiting from these vices. And it is exactly for this reason that European governments, now-a-days, discourage a higher degree of general popular education; they are well aware of the growing tendency of the wages-class toward a social and political revolution. This is the secret reason why they have so long fawned on Bonaparte's rule in France, which has so visibly succeeded in demoralizing the nation of the French and other nations. Aye, education, not only in the alphabet, catechism, and the multiplication table, but a general popular education in the full meaning of the word, is tie panacea for all the social evils and injustices; because it renders men less submissive to evils of human creation, which may be remedied by human efforts. It is not the ability of all working men to read, write, and cipber, which improves the social and political condition of the human race to any considerable extent-or else the Chinese, who can read, write, and cipher, to a man, would be the happiest of mortals in their socio-political relations. It is the progress of science and art, with their paramount intluences on technics, civilization, and the habit of independent thinking of every individual, which render the socio-political condition of white working men infinitely more humane and progressive than that of the Chinese. And it is tho progress of technics and invention, which, by centralizing, on the one hand, capital in the hands of fewer and fewer persons, and thus sowing the seeds of intolerable social and political mischief and injustice, must, on the other hand, act as its own antidote, by clashing with the growing spirit of independence of the working classes. (d) Yes; immeasurably. (e) About 75 per cent.

Question 6. Would a person who had been trained in the common school be generally preferred for the ordinary uses for which labor might be employed, over one who had not enjoyed that advantage ?--Answers. (a) Yes, generally. (6) Without exception. (d) Always. (e) Yes.

Question 7. Whom would an employer generally choose for positions of trust, such as foremen or superintendents, persons unable to read and write, or those having the rudiments of education, or those possessing a superior education, all other things, snch as skill, strength, and fidelity, being equal ?-Answers. (a) Most assuredly those having the most thorough education, if they will accept any such position. (6) I cannot understand how a person unable to read and write could fill the position of foreman or superintendent—he must possess wonderful native qualifications to induce me to select him; the rudiments at least being indispensablo, I consider the better the education the more he is worth, giving due consideration to the responsibility assumed or delegated. (d) The best educated mau, (e) The most etlucated.

Question 8. What do you regard the effect of mental culture upon the personal and social habits of workingmen? Do they, as a class, live in better houses, or with better surroundings? Are they more idle and dissipated than tho untanght classes? How will they compare for character, for economy, morality, and social influence among their fellows? - Answers. (a) Mental culture is certainly elevating in its tendencies, unless it clerates a man above a proper calling; it tends also to give pride and energy, and leads to good social influences among their follows; but as for economy, much is to be said on both sides. (b.) 1st. To elevate them and give them self-respect. 2d. They will seek to live in better houses and generally command a better helpmate, and then seek better surroundngs. 3d. As a general thing they have a stimulus to improve their minds, and therefore do not have the idle time that leads the untaught classes into that kind of company that begets dissipation; and this places them, iu the 4th place, far above the others in all the social qualities as a citizon. (d) Edncation retines and eluvates every man morally and mentally, and ought to physically; he not only has

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »