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Cyrus Mendenhall, president of the Kenton Iron Company, Newport, Kentucky, says:
I rejoice that the official attention of the General Government is being turned to the subject of your inquiries, and cannot but hope that sooner or later it will result in some practical benefit to the country. The want of a higher grade of instruction in science of their business, for the managers of the different departments of the manufacture of iron, say in mensuration, geometry, the mechanical powers, hydraulics, hydrostatics, chemistry, &c., has been severely felt by proprietors. The want of competent men in such positions often, I believe, makes the difference to owners between success and failure.
In illustration or justification of my replies to your Nos. 3, 4, and 5, I will take the liberty of giving you an instance or two coming under my own observation. An engineer at our blast furnace near Wheeling-a man who had previously been intrusted with important machinery, and run an engine successfully when all was right, a temperate and well-meaning man, but without education, except to read and write and make the simplest arithmetical calculations-was directed to place a hand force-pump at the river and have water driven up to the tanks located 60 feet above the river level; a half day, with two assistants, was spent fixing the pump on the river bank 40 feet above the water, with a soft hose from the pump to the water, and another from the pump to the tanks. He did not know why he was unsuccessful in getting the water into the tanks. It was difficult at that time (owing to the war) to replace him with a better man, and he was left in charge of the machinery when the furnace went into blast. The machinery was vertical, the steam standing above the blast cylinder, the whole extending in a line some 27 feet above the foundation. Considerable vibration at the top was found to result from the movements of the machine when put to the necessary speed. Instead of remedying this by guys from the top to the strong surrounding walls, during a fortnight's absence of the superintendent, the engineer applied one timber brace, setting the top over the whole, or littlo more than the whole, amount of the vibration, thus forcing it out of line and causing such injury to the inside of the cylinders, from cutting of the metallic piston heads, that the blast cylinder (and I think the steam cylinder also) required to be taken out and sent to the manufacturer, a hundred miles distant, and the whole put in repair, at a cost of $2,000. This, with the damage arising from stoppage, was more than sufficient to have paid tho wages of a first-class man, instructed in the "science" of his business, for two years. That man is still employed in the same position at a blast furnace on the Ohio River above us.
Now for another kind of a man. In a part of the country, when the service of a railroad engineer was very difficult to procure as well as very expensive, it was necessary to construct two or three curves to a definite radius in a short railroad extending from the coal mine to the main line of railroad, an employé, who knew nothing of engineering, but had mastered the first six books of Euclid, by an evening's study and application of the geometrical principles involved, discovered the very rule and method used by the best engineers, and next day, with the aid of a transit, located the curves with correctness and dispatch. How much was such a man worth above an ordinary hand ?
Mr. S. P. Cummings, of Boston, Massachusetts, secretary of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of the Order of St. Crispin, chairman of the executive committee of the International Labor Union, and of the State labor party, says:
2. The difference is very marked, indeed. Educated labor is by far the most skillful and faithful. Value of skilled labor over unskilled, both as to productiveness and compensation, fully 20 per cent.
3. A knowledge of the subjects would increase production and wages fully 20 per
cent. over the present, inasmuch as the effect would be to stimulate laborers to produce better articles, and consequently increase their means of enjoyment.
4. It does. It is difficult to determine. I should say 20 per cent. as the result of my observations in fifty cities and towns in this State.
5. Most certainly he would, by intelligent employers.
6. I have a large personal acquaintance among manufacturers, and they uniformly agree that their foremen's money value depends largely on the education they possess. To this rule there are some exceptions, of course.
7. Inventive culture, as a rule, increases the self-respect and improves vastly the social habits of workingmen.
Educated workingmen live in better houses, have better surroundings, and in all respects superior to those whose education is limited and defective. They are less idle and dissipated than the untaught classes. As regards economy, morality, and social influence, educated laborers are preëminent among their fellows. I may add one general observation, that while I was foreman of a shoe factory, employing forty hands, I always got better work, had less trouble, and, as a general rule, paid better wages to the more intelligent workmen. The more ignorant hands were continually giving me trouble, either by slighting their work, or failing to appear in a fit condition to work after pay-day. They were, many of them, coarse, vulgar, drank liquor, grumbled, and were in all respects disagreeable.
I am so well satisfied of the inestimable value of education to the laborer that I would make it compulsory. No man should be allowed to go into the arena of life until he has at least a decent English education. A class of uneducated laborers in a community or State is an ever-present element of danger and injury, not only to labor but to the State itself; therefore, sir, I am much pleased to see that you are collecting statistics for the information of the Government and people on the subject.
My observation has been, and my opinion is, that educated labor is the best paid; that the several habits, style of living, general character for thrift and enterprise of our educated laborers, are so clear as to admit of no question. I cannot particularize on the subject; I can only give general results. Had I more time now, I would like to add some observations on what I regard as defective in our present system of education. Visiting, as I do, the different parts of the State, I observe from necessity the habits of workingmen, and will at some future time, if you desire, give my experience more in full.
Mr. A. E. Johnson, workingman in shoe shop, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, says:
There are many instances in this city of first-class workmen who can neither read nor write, but they are exceptions to the general rule. They may be good at their particular part, but not so quick to learn any new part.
Miss Martha Walbridge, of Stoneham, Massachusetts, head of the Daughters of St. Crispin, (trades union,) says:
2. I unhesitatingly reply in the affirmative to the first question. As to how much such additional skill would increase the productiveness of their service, &c., I would state it certainly as much as 20 per cent.
3. The ratio is certainly great, and I am so sanguine on this subject that I would state the increase of ability would give the laborer double the power. As to what knowledge would be most practicablo, I would offer, as a substitute for bookkeeping and algebra, natural and intellectual philosophy, and my observation teaches me these sciences are absolutely essential to the welfare and progress of the laborer.
4. Most emphatically it does. For who so stupid that will not exercise the little wit he may have to economize his physical strength. How much this inventive skill adds I feel incompetent to judge.
5. Certainly, unless the employer be a thief or rascal.
6. Rarely have I known an illiterate person employed as foreman, and when such cases have come under my observation, the persons thus employed have never been able to retain such position, on account of their incompetency.
7. Mental culture has a salutary effect on the habits of working people. It has a direct tendency to morality and refinement. It assuredly develops itself in a desire and healthy effort to secure for themselves and families better homes and intellectual enjoyments. A sense once attained of the true dignity of mar and woman hood is seldom, if ever, lost sight of, but retained aud fostered as the poor man's one only priceless jewel, and this sense and noble desire make him an honest and respected citizen.
Respecting modifications of the common school system, which have been suggested as corollaries to the answers to these questions, I may add a few words.
First, as respects the ordinary whole-day system, Mr. Edward Atkinson, of the firm of Loring & Atkinson, of Boston, Massachusetts, gires an account of the very great success of a half-time school for the children of the Indian Orchard Mills, established by, and connected with the school system of, Springfield, Massachusetts. In this school half the children work six hours in the morning, and attend school three hours in the afternoon, and the other half go to school three hours in the morning, and work six hours, partly in the morning and partly in the afternoon. Under this arrangement Mr. Atkinson is of opinion that the children work better and learn more in each hour than those who work or attend school full time,” and says that the opportunity attracts the best families to the mill, so that the proprietors have “philanthropy without alms-giving or charity, combined with better profits.” Some very remarkable specimens of chirography by children, originally of very small acquirements, who have attended this half-time school for six and twelve months, accompany Mr. Atkinson's letter.
Edward Winslow, of Boston, Massachusetts, the general agent of the Industrial Aid Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, suggests, in reference to practical education in this country pari passu with theore. tical, that we are greatly deficient in this respect as compared with all other civilized nations, for we have but few technical or trade schools, and those few are designed for a higher class than that which our society hopes to reach. The school at Kensington, established by Prince Albert, has been of infinite value to England not only in cultivating the taste and skill of her artisans; for the export of manufactured articles traceable to that school amounts to £70,000,” (or $350,000.) “A few years ago (1863) only 3,000 students were instructed in the art and technical schools of Paris; in 1867 there were 12,000; and in 1869 there were 350 schools." After some observations on the superiority of the educated workmen in the ease with which he learns his trade, the improvements in machinery and manipulation that he can make, and the rapidity and perfection of his work, Mr. Winslow goes on to say:
The greatest benefit to be conferred upon our country is to make mechanical and industrial pursuits more respectable, and to educate and train the young for these pursuits. Our systems of instruction are now altogether intellectual, and even this only goes far enough to give the pupils a distaste for manual occupations.
He also suggests the importance of retaining, as part of the system of public education, "moral culture and religious instruction,” which “need not be sectarian;" and he closes his letter by saying that “the greatest obstacles to prosperity are found,” by the society he represents, “to be want of both moral and mental training in the individuals that come under their care."
Professor J. W. Burns, secretary of the American Artisans' College of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, writes respecting “the practicability and utility of mechanical and artistic instruction in common schools." He believes that “to make work of the hands and the mind combined a leading feature is absolutely necessary to render education an efficient means of mental development and culture. As a vast part of the community depend upon productive occupations for means of subsistence, instruction of children should have for its chief object the devel. opment of the faculties which most facilitate mechanical effort.” In all the schools he has been connected with he finds that the most intractable boys may be induced to work, and, when the labor is not continued long enough to fatigue, will go to it with pleasure." "Setting type is one of the best exercises in orthography in which a learner can engage.” By the "pantagraphic system of instruction, children from five to ten will learn the rudiments of language and sciences pleasantly and rapidly; and if a fair portion of their time from ten to twenty be given to useful work they may be taught mechanic arts thoroughly," &c. “Much of the expense of education may be paid by the work of the pupils."
In support of these opinions he mentions various interesting items respecting the attendants of the American Artisans' College. He be. lieves both intellectual and moral culture may be stimulated by awards of honors, decorations, degrees, &c., for proficiency, good conduct, &c., to all students in school who seriously endeavor to improve.
In the article upon “The relations of education and labor," which I have had prepared as an introduction to the responses from employers, work. ing-men, and observers to the series of questions sent out from this Bureau, bearing upon this subject, will be found a condensed summary of the special schools established and supported by the different European governments for the training of their citizens in the arts, sciences, and industries of life. A glance at what is done in this direction by the little kingdom of Würtemberg, with its population of less than two millions, or by the republic of Switzerland, with its twenty industrial schools for girls, is sufficiently suggestive of our own deficiencies.
The extracts from the report of the British workmen who were sent by the London Society of Arts to the Paris Exposition of 1867 are full of interest, more especially in view of the great effect that was produced by them upon the English manufacturers, who were then made first aware of the danger they were in of losing their boasted supremacy, from their lack of trained laborers, and who have gone to work with their usual energy to remedy the fault, by establishing training schools in the arts and industries, the good effects of which are already visible.
In the extracts from a report to the Massachusetts legislature, the statement that "there is no remedy for the wrong of depriving children of a proper education," and the assertion that the public-school system of New England, so well adapted to a former state of society, fails to meet the demands of our modern civilization, contain both the rationale of free public education by the State, and the indictment of the thinkers of to-day against the present system.
The remarks of Dr. Lyon Playfair, at a recent meeting of the British Social Science Association, with which this introductory article closes, would seem to sustain this indictment, and at least challenge attention.
In the answers returned by the employers, workingmen, and observers to the circular questions sent out by the Bureau in reference to the effect of education upon industry, as to its giving increase of compensation, and in its general effect upon the condition and value of the laborer as a citizen, from the mere rudiments of knowledge up to the higher technical culture, many interesting facts were elicited, some curious discrepances and differences of opinion appear, and now and then the underlying problems of political economy, the complex relations between capital and labor are here suggested and there thrown into sharp antagonism.
These answers come from every section of the country and from those engaged in various industries, and in the kind of industry there is found a reason for the difference in the estimate of the value of book-learning, the builder of complex machines seeing far more worth in the higher education of the laborer than the superintendent of the Kansas Railroad, who finds the possession of a certain innate power over men, by his foreman, of higher value than the best education. In the replies of employers, from those requiring great mechanical skill to those dealing with plantation hands, save a few who exclude the colored laborer from the application of the rule, the common testimony is, that ability to read and write adds to the value of the workman and to his pay; the more ready comprehension of directions, the less supervision required, and bition of the educated man to rise to do better, being the chief reasons adduced. The rate of increase of wages runs from 10 to 100 per cent., averaging in ordinary cases from 20 to 25 per cent.
In replying to the question as to whether increased knowledge, such as practical knowledge of the sciences underlying his occupation, would add to his wealth-producing power and to his wages, there is a remarkable unanimity, though the replies of the employers show inferentially how rarely such knowledge is found among their employés. The effect would be to lift the man at once up into another and far better paid class; the increase of wages being doubled and trebled over that of the untaught laborer.
In replying to the question as to the increase of knowledge creating inventive ability in the laborer, the problem becomes more complex, as is evident from the limitations expressed by the answers; but the fact re