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ductiveness of industry; while, on the other, the effort to place this matter beyond controversy is ridiculed as raising questions already long since universally answered in the affirmative.*
Three thousand copies of these inquiries were prepared, intended to offer the opportunity of bearing testimony in regard to the points raised, which were sent to every class in every section of the country. Only an attempt to open the investigation is made in this report. An accompanying paper is presented upon the general subject of education and labor, written by one specially interested in the question.
The first question of the series related to the opportunity of the person interrogated to judge correctly, so as to be able to answer the remaining questions; being as to whether he had employed any number of laborers, how many, and in what kind of labor, and where; with appropriate variations when addressed to workingmen and observers.
The other questions were as follows: 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 :
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 ?
5. What increase of ability would a still higher degree of education—a knowledge
* An editorial in The State Journal, published at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, November 3, 1870, is of the latter character, in which, under the caption “An Official Dogberry," the writer says:
“The sagacious Dogberry observes, 'To be a well-favored man is the gift of fortune; but to read and write comes by nature.'” Applying this to the case in question, he says: “The Commissioner (of Education) questions the soundness of the observation, and is making elaborate efforts to disprove the propositions it suggests. Not disposed to trust the ordinary processes of reasoning, he has, with great care, prepared and sent out several series of questions to employers, to intelligent workingmen, and to impartial observers.?” Then, quoting the series of questions in terms of ridicule, and suggesting that others be added, such as “Which can man do without best, firo or water ?” “Which is the most useful animal, the horse or the ox ?” and that the whole be referred to the “Mackerelville Debating Society," he says that Pennsylvania and other States, acting on the conviction that education is good for the citizen and for the Commonwealth, have established and maintained schools during a full century," &c. terrible query is now raised as to whether this labor, the expenditure of money, public and private, has been for good or for evil? Christian societies, even churches, arc involved. Have they been doing the work of the evil one? Have they been pursuing a doubtful policy, not knowing whether men should be made better or worse, for time and for eternity, thereby ?”
On the other hand, many men display a decided opposition to the education of some forms of labor. For instance: W. R. Butler, esq., planter, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, would “prefer the uneducated, sprightly negro on the farm." R. J. Trumbull, esq., planter, of Skipwith's Landing, Mississippi, thinks that " among negroes thore seems to be no advantage in education, as, thus far, it has been generally used.” B. I. Harris, esq., planter, of Sparta, Georgia, observed that “ a limited education, in most cases, is hurtful.
of the arts and sciences that underlie his occupation, such as a good practical knowledge of arithmetic, bookkeeping, algebra, drawing, &c.-give the laborer in the power of producing wealth, and how much would it increase his wages ?
5. Does this and still further acquisition 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 his power of producing wealth
6. Would you generally prefer or not a person who has been trained in the common school for the ordinary uses for which labor might be employed over one who has not enjoyed that advantage ?
7. Whom would you, as an employer, 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, such as skill, strength, and fidelity, being equal ?
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, morality, and social influence among their fellows?
By Sinclair Tousey, esq., New York City, who had employed farm laborers, clerks, porters, and similar help for more than thirty years :
3. Difficult questions. The difference, in my opinion, would be from 20 to 40 per cent in favor of the rudiments.
4. This would depend upon the labor he had to perform. If merely muscular was all expected, these qualifications would add but a small extra value to his labor, but if they were required, a large per cent. of difference would be in favor of the man haviug the qualifications, though in any case the increase of wages would depend greatly on the laws of demand and supply for work and worker.
5. Yes; but the amount of increase depends entirely on the nature of the things produced, by the improvements and the extent of the want of such things. The more universal the want, the greater the per cent. of advantage in favor of intelligently educated laborers.
6. Yes, by all means. Untrained brains are but poor instruments in guiding untrained muscles. 8. Such men are always looked up to by their more uneducated fellows.
By General Samuel Thomas, Zanesville, Ohio, who has employed 500 common and skilled laborers, such as were needed to produce merchantable iron from the ore and the coal in the mines:
2. A marked difference, and easily observed by visitors.
3. None of our officers doubt the superiority of men who can read and write, for common labor, over those who can't. Men who have some education require less supervision. The saving to employers in this way alone amounts to fully 10 per cent. Employers suffer constantly from ignorant employés doing their work poorly, and doing less of it for the same wages. This amounts to fully 10 per cent. more.
4. A knowledge of chemistry, geology, working of mines, and, in fact, all the physical sciences, would add to the efficiency of all laborers in our employ. Not that I expect all to advance to the higher departments, but that, with their common school education, they shonld have some knowledge of the sciences I have named. In many ways men with such advantages could produce more in twenty-four hours with no more labor, and, as a consequence, command higher wages.
5. All the labor-saving improvements are the result of oducation awakening tho mind to struggle for something to save much and throw the labor upon machines of iron and wood, so far as I have observed in our works. The ignorant man imitates some one else, and, if he is watched, continues to do so day by day; and by these means earns his living, but he is a great tax upon capital. We pay 20 per cent. more wages to a skilled laborer in our employ, with an education that makes him worth it to us, over an uneducated man struggling to fill the same kind of place, but not worth so much.
6. I should much prefer a man with some education; the more the better.
7. I would not employ as a superintendent or foreman a man who could not read and write; all other things being equal, consider a man better and better qualified for supervision of labor as his education increases.
8. The man with some education or some mental training shows his superiority over the ignorant man at home, and by his social and moral influence, to a greater degree than in the shop or at labor. He is more moral, less disposed to be vicious, more industrious, and, as a class, live in better houses, have better surroundings, and seem to be happier men in every way.
By Mr. John W. Browning, bricklayer, president of his trades union and secretary of the National Labor Union, New York City; his general statement is intended to answer several of the questions:
I have not unfrequently worked with members of my trade who have labored years at the business, and yet they are ignorant of the simplest though very important materials in the building line. For instance, anchors are fastened to every fourth or fifth beam, and must be, or should be, well secured in the wall, by which means there is a bond between the two walls, or four walls, as the case may be; the walls are strengthened, the building is firmer, and less liable to settle. The men I allude to build around and over these anchors, wondering what they are there for and paying no regard to security. Such mechanics are half their time unemployed, and they attribute it to nard luck, or something of that kind; but they do not seem to take heed and get on, and they become discouraged. But it is not so with the mechanic who understands the theory of his business, or who has studied sufficient to discipline his mind. He understands or will understand that the anchor must be set snug in the wall. He knows why a fire-place is built on the outside of a gable; he knows what a keystone is for. In short, he knows the uses of the materials and the designs of the specifications, and he is able to earn bis wages, and in many cases superior wages, besides enjoying steady employment during the building season. The latter class of our trade are the students of our business; they lighten their labors and the labor of others by new inventions. A year ago 1,000 brick a day was considered a fair day's work. It is the basis of estimate at the present time, and yet an ordinary bricklayer can lay from 1,500 to 2,000, while I have known men to lay 3,000 a day on a twelve-inch wall. I think any one who has adapted any means to discipline the mind, either by studying at school or elsewhere, is preferred to one who never gave himself to reasoning.
7. It depends on the business to be transacted. In my business a foreman, superintendent, overseer, or journeyman cannot know too much, and those who are trusted with the plans are skilled and as intelligent as can be had.
8. I find men who are in the habit of reading the daily papers soon becomo well informed. They take an interest in passing events. This brings respect and then selfesteem, pride, and all that; they are more industrious ; they can account for change. By the experience of the past they judge the future; they are better providers, live as well as their means will allow; they are always trying to better their condition, and they have an influence among their associates. I am in favor of free day schools for children, free night schools for apprentices, free libraries and better rooms for all who wish to avail themselves of their benefits, believing that it will add to the industry of the nation, elevate society, and make us morally and religiously a better people and better citizens.
A. J. Mundella, esq., member of the British Parliament for Sheffield, England, who had employed a large number, as many as three or four thousand at a time, in the middle counties of England, as knitters, weavers, finishers, and machinists:
2. I would say that an educated man invariably acquires a knowledge of his work with greater facility, and executes it with less cost of supervision, than an uneducated
3. The mere rudiments I do not rank very high. If a man can barely read and write he has not attained to much. To read and write fluently is a great advantage in conducting the ordinary affairs of life. Evidence has been given before the British Par. liament from my own district showing that some grave mistakes in chemical processes, such as bleaching, dyeing, &c., are constantly occurring through the ignorance of the workmen not having the ability to read writing. I have often witnessed natural powers in a person entirely uneducated, which would have been turned to the benefit of himself and his employer if he had only received a thorough elementary education. I have recently seen in Massachusetts, Englishmen whose wages their employers would have doubled, by willingly appointing them overseers, if they had only been educated sufficiently to keep accounts.
I think it is impossible to estimate how much education would increase the value of their services. If the labor is merely mechanical, such as tending a machine that is making so many revolutions per minute, it requires little education to perform it; but if the labor is something where the whole manipulation depends upon the intelligenco of the workman, it is a very different thing. The division of labor in England is so minute that the artisan who begins and continues the same work for years becomes a mere machine himself.
The value of education, both to the workman and employer, is something that it is exceedingly difficult to estimate. The educated man will better understand the influence of those economical laws upon which his art depends than the uneducated; and my observation leads me to the conclusion that many of the strikes among workmen are the consequence of gross ignorance on their part, and that almost invariably tho outrages and intimidation resulting from strikes are the acts of ignorant men.
The more flagrant cases of violence and intimidation in England have been in connection with those trades unions where the education of the workman has been grossly neglected.
4. I believe that technical education is of great importance; that the success of Switzerland and Germany in manufactures, and their superiority over others for the last thirty years, has been owing to the excellent elementary education which they have given to their work-people, to which has been superadded, with great advantage, a large amount of scientific and technical education.
Art-training in England has had a marvelous effect in improving the designs for every description of manufacture where taste is required, and consequently in increasing the demand in foreign countries for such manufactures. For example, the result is seen in the better styles of carpets, laces, dress-goods, crockeryware, furniture, ornamental iron-work, and in every description where decorative art is of value. I think the great want in this country is such education. I have known instances where a youth who has received art-training has been able at twenty years of age to earn more than all the rest of the working force of his father's family. There is one case among my own workmen where such a lad is getting very high wages, and the effect is that the whole household is elevated.
5. The greater the improvements in machinery the more intelligence is required on the part of the workmen who manipulate them. It has been found in England that for working the improved agricultural machines a higher class of intelligence and skill is required to manage them than the old peasantry possess. An intelligent workman will always produce a larger amount of work from a clever machine than an ignorant man can, and will keep his machine in better working condition.
6. I would, certainly. In all classes of labor with which I am acquainted a person receiving the education which is open to him in the common schools of America would be infinitely preferablo, in all respects, to a workman whose early education had been entirely neglected.
7. Certainly, I should prefer those who have had the very best education for such situations. In my opinion, a yonth cannot be too highly educated for business purposes. I believe there can be no greater mistake than the old and common error that a boy may be made above his business by education.
8. My experience of workmen, on the average, is that the better a man is educated and the greater the intellectual resources he possesses, the less is he disposed to sensual indulgence and the less inclined to any kind of intemperance and excess. Those trades most characterized by intemperance in England are those wherein the workmen employed have the least education. I have employed in various departments of my own business intelligent workmen earning lower wages than ignorant men employed in coarser branches of the business; and the intelligent man educates his children, lives in a comfortable house, and has much refinement and many pleasant surroundings, whereas the ignorant man, with higher wages in some other departments of labor, is more addicted to intemperance, his wife and children are worse clad and worse cared for, and his home in all respects less comfortable. Perhaps the best illustration of this would be the contrast between a clerk earning £80 a year, who is a gentleman in education, tastes, and surroundings, and an ignorant laborer earning the same sum. England intelligent workmen are generally the men who are distinguished for economy and thrift. They take the lead in all useful associations; they are the managers of the mechanics' institutions, the teachers in the Sunday schools, and the founders of coöperative societies.
In my experience in courts of conciliation I have always found the intelligent workman more open to conviction, less trammeled by class prejudices, more independent, and possessing more individuality than his fellows. The ignorant workman, on tho contrary, is much less qualified to sit on the boards of arbitration.
Mr. W. J. McCarthy, working miner and engineer, of St. Clair, Pennsylvania, writes as follows:
I was born in this county. Ever since I came to years of understanding, I have taken notice of the foreign emigrants, of whom we have a goodly number here. I have found the ignorant and uneducated the poorest of them all. I have had occasion several times to travel through the coal region. I found the uneducated living with their families in mud-hovels and shanties, while the educated preferred living in towns, where their children would have all the advantages of civilization and education. Were it not that this mountainous country is so healthy, the mortality among tho former would be very great, for the manner in which the poor ignorant creatures manage to live without entailing disease is miraculous. Dissipation is also very great among the uneducated, more so than among those who are educated; and it would be still greater were they to have the means to purchase liquor. I have often heard poor, ignorant men say, "Were I as rich as so and so, wouldn't I sport it ?" Men sometimes get rich by chance, and, if they have not at least the rudiments of education, as a general thing becomo dissipated. I also observe more brutality among those who cannot read or write than those who can, and also more debauchery, crime, and tendency to evil.
Having in charge the machinery of a large coal-breaker at one time, I observed that the boys that never went to school, and could not read or write, were more mischievous and would oftener try to damage the machinery by putting spikes or pieces of iron in the cog-wheels than the boys who had been at school, and received even a slight education. These are my reasons for thinking that an educated working-man is so much superior to the uneducated. Education is noeded for the welfare of any nation, for without it we would become barbarous.