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to increase exertion, either actual diminution of wages is advo-


argued that their profit was all made in the last
hour, and that to shorten the working day would
involve letting the machines stand idle. They
contended that it would not only reduce the pro-
fits, but destroy them, and would make it impos-
sible to compete with foreign manufactures. It
was said, too, that shorter hours of labor would
demoralize the workingmen, who would spend
the leisure thus granted to them in idleness and
in drinking. John Bright, the famous philanthro-
pist, but also famous representative of the Man-
chester school, an advocate of free competition
as the cure of all industrial evils, used all his in-
fluence and his eloquence, happily in vain, against
the Ten Hours Bill. In his speech against it he
declared his belief that the proposition was most
injurious, even destructive, to the best interests of
the country ; that it was contrary to all princi-
ples of sound legislation ; that it was a delusion
practiced upon the working classes; that it was

cated, or, -what comes to the same thing, a raising- of the taxes
and of the cost of living-. It is accepted as an axiom that the
hetter off people are, the less they work. About the middle of
the eighteenth century a reaction begins to set in. In the first
place, the opposite doctrine first shows itself in the polemics of
Vanderlint, Postlethwait, Forster, and Tucker, and then we find
it fully developed and supported in the work of Adam Smith.
He maintains just the contrary, that high wages are equivalent
to great production, and he bases this view not only on psycholo-
gical and physiological grounds, but also on experience." — L. J.
Brentano, Hours and Wages in Relation to Production, p. 2 ; see,
also, the eighth chapter of the first book of Adam Smith's Wealth
of Nations.


advocated by those who had no knowledge of the
economy of manufactures ; that it was one of
the worst measures ever passed in the shape of
an act of the legislature ; and that, if it were
now made law, the necessities of trade, and the
demands alike of the workmen and of the masters,
would compel them to retrace the steps they had

The first man to introduce the experiment of
shorter hours appears to have been Robert Owen,
who in 1816-1828 reduced the hours in his cotton
mills at New Lanark, first from twelve and a half
to eleven and a half, and finally to ten and a half
hours a day. The theories of the political econo-
mists were contradicted by the result of this ex-
periment. The production did not sensibly fall
off as a result of the shortened hours, because they
were accompanied with greater personal exertions,
a livelier energy, and a more cheerful spirit in the
operatives. Despite the pro^Dhecies of practical
men, during those twelve years Owen successfully
competed with his rivals, whose factories were
working two, three, or even four hours more a
day. At length, in 1847, the famous Ten Hours
Bill was passed, reducing by law the hours of labor
in the English textile trades to this number. The
gloomy prophecies of John Bright were not ful-

1 L. J. Brentano, Hours and Wages in Relation to Production,
p. 23. See, also, the statement of William Allan, M. P., that no
employers would introduce the eight-hour day of their own ac-
cord, and that nothing but legislation would make it general. —
John Rae, Eight Hours for Work, p. 316.


filled. The step has never been retraced, and
England has not lost her supremacy in the manu-
facturing world. On the contrary, subsequent re-
ductions have confirmed the doctrine that those
hours of labor which conduce to the best character
in the operatives are those hours which conduce to
the best product in the works. The conclusive
answer to the current sneer, " So you expect ten
hours' wages for nine hours' work," is that nine
hours' work produces more and better results than
ten hours, and the indications at this writing are
that eight hours will produce more and better re-
sults than nine. With the shortened hours the
men, coming after breakfast instead of before it,
have more energy for work, lose less time in errors
and breaks due to over-fatigue, work with more
physical energy and less physical exhaustion, put
a higher degree of brain efiiciency into the work,
and, most important of all, a spontaneity of energy
and an enthusiasm of exertion due to contentment
and alacrity of spirit, impossible under the old
system. John Rae, in his monograph, '' Eight
Hours for Work," gives abundant illustrations of
the general principle that shortened hours do not
necessarily involve lessened product. To that vol-
ume the reader must be referred for details, only a
few of which can be given here : —

" Messrs. S. H. Johnson & Co., of Stratford,
London, reduced the hours at their works some
five years ago from fifty-four to forty-eight a week,
paying their hands the same day wages as before,


and they get more work out now than they got
then, without any increase whatever in the cost of

Mr. J. Toyn says the Cleveland iron-miners
work much harder since they have had their hours
reduced to eight, but they feel the effects of their
work much less. Speaking for himself, he used
to be often in former times so exhausted that he
had to give u]3 work for days together in order to
recover ; but that never happens now, although he
is an older man.

" The Salford Iron Works are a large establish-
ment, employing 1,200 hands, and employers who
said Mr. Allan's experiment proved nothing, be-
cause it was made in a small establishment, cannot
raise the same objection against the experiment of
Mr. Mather's firm." "After a year's trial Mr.
Mather has had the results carefully . . . com-
pared with the average of the six preceding years,
and has found, exactly as Messrs. Allan, Messrs.
Johnson, and Messrs. Short found, . . . that the
men have produced more in the shorter hours than
they used to do in the longer. The work done
was of the same kind. ' The production during
the two periods,' he says, ' has been similar in char-
acter ; ' and, ' as regards quantity of production,
there was actually a larger output in the trial year.'
'The actual quantity produced was considerably
larger than in the six preceding years.' ' Then he
has found a marked economy in gas and electric
lighting, wear and tear of machinery, engines, gear-


ing, etc., fire and lubricants, and miscellaneous
stores ; ' and, what is not a little curious, even in
the matter of ' the increased fixed charges due to
interest of plant and machinery, rent and taxes,
permanent staff on fixed salaries, being employed
five hours less a week, the balance of debtor and
creditor accounts on these expenses is unmistak-
ably in favor of the trial year.' " ^

The results in England are confirmed by the
experiences in other countries. Says the Massa-
chusetts Board of Labor Statistics in its Eej^ort for
1881 : " It is clearly proved that Massachusetts,
with ten hours, produces as much per man, or per
loom, or i3er spindle, equal grades being consid-
ered, as other States with eleven hours or more;
and also that wages here rule as higli if not higher
than in other States where the mills run long-er
time." This last fact is significant ; its testimony
is confirmed elsewhere. Increase of wages, in-
crease in quantity of output, improvement in qual-
ity of output, decrease in hours of labor, have gone
along together, simply because the industrial sys-
tem which makes the best man makes also the
greatest wealth. The testimony of England and
the United States is confirmed on a large scale by
that of Australia, where the eight-hour day has
been by law established. The habits of working-
men have improved, not deteriorated : annexed to
the cottages are little gardens, owned and culti-

^ John Rae, Eight Hours for Work, pp. 55, 50, and Preface,
p. viii.


vatecl in leisure hours by the workingmen ; cost of
superintendence is reduced, because the men work
as energetically without supervision as before they
did with it ; there is less drunkenness, less crime,
more intelligence, a higher grade of virtue.

IV. An essential condition of human well-being
is a pure, good home. It is half a century since
Charles Dickens made, in *' The Old Curiosity
Shop," his eloquent appeal to legislators to remem-
ber this fundamental fact : —

'^ Oh, if those who rule the destinies of nations would
but remember this ; if they would but think how hard
it is for the very poor to have engendered in their
hearts that love of home from which all domestic
virtues spring, when they live in dense and squalid
masses where social decency is lost, or rather never
found; if they would but turn aside from the wide
thoroughfares and great houses, and strive to improve
the wretched dwellings in byways where only poverty
may walk, — many low roofs would point more truly to
the sky than the loftiest steeple that now rears proudly
up from the midst of guilt and crime and horrible dis-
ease, to mock them by its contrast. In hollow voices,
from workhouse, hospital, and jail, this truth is preached
from day to day and has been proclaimed for years. It
is no light matter, — no outcry from the working vul-
gar, — no mere question of the people's health and com-
fort, that may be whistled down on Wednesday nights.
In love of home the love of country has its rise ; and
who are the truer patriots or the better in time of
need, — those who venerate the land, owning its wood
and stream and earth and all that they produce? or


those who love their country, boasting not a foot of
ground in all its wide domain ? " -^

To maintain a home under the conditions in
which many people are housed, not only in the
slums of our great cities but in the tenements of
many of our factory towns, is quite impossible. ^

Experience has demonstrated, both in England
and in America, that the housing of the poor
cannot be left to be determined by free competi-
tion. Parliament has been compelled to interfere
in England, and the legislatures in this country,
to coerce reluctant landlords to furnish their ten-
ants with air, light, water, and adequate sewerage.
Philanthropic capitalists have proved that it is
possible to build and maintain model tenements
for self-respecting tenants, under conditions which
will pay a fair interest on the money invested, and
will make some measure of home life possible even
in the heart of a great city. The Improved Dwell-
ings Company of Brooklyn, organized by Mr. A.
T. White, lias paid eight per cent, net on the
investment ; and the Improved Dwellings Asso-
ciation of New York, in spite of a blunder which
added to the cost of the building, have paid five
per cent, on the investment. I believe that both
the Peabody and the Waterlow improved buildings

^ The Old Curiosity Shop, cli. xxxviii.

2 For description of tenement houses see Report of the Tene-
ment House Committee, transmitted to the Legislature of New
York, January 17, 1895; Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives ;
Robert A. Woods and others ; The Poor in Great Cities, eh. ii.


of London make a reasonable return for the cap-
ital invested.

Cheap and rapid transit is making it possible
for workingmen to live in the suburbs of the great
cities, in homes of their own, each with its plot of
ground about it. The loan and building associa-
tions, when honorably conducted, as has been nota-
bly the case in Philadelphia, have enabled the
thrifty workingman to construct his own home out
of his wages, and so become his own landlord.
Thus, gradually, though far too gradually, legis-
lation, curbing criminal greed ; philanthropy, con-
tent with moderate return for capital invested ;
municipal ownership of railroads, reducing railroad
fares to actual cost of transportation ; a spirit of
thrift, encouraged by fair wages ; moderate hours
and a hope of "getting on," — are combining to
destroy the slum and make possible homes for the
poor, such as Charles Dickens sighed for fifty
years ago. It is in this direction, not in tem-
l^erance saloons, coffee-houses and clubs, which
call the husband and father away from the sorry
substitute for a home and leave the wife and
children to endure it, that the civilizing influences
are to be found without which greater wages will
bring but little advantage.

The result of the experiments of the j^ast half
century is to demonstrate that the processes which
destroy men do not produce wealth ; that methods
which are ethically unjust are not economically
wise ; that the transference of drudgery to ma-


chinery increases the demand for human labor ;
and that adequate wages, reasonable hours, and
pure and educative influences in the life, promoting
the welfare of the laborer and of the community,
promote also the prosperity of the capitalist and
employer. The precepts of Jesus Christ and the
principles of a sound political economy coincide.


Christ's law for the settlement of con-

Those who have walked on one of the great
giaciers of the Alps will remember that the glacier
is pierced by great crevasses. Some of them are
thousands of feet in depth, some of them shallow ;
some of them are so narrow that one can easily
step across, some so wide that one must go around
to continue one's journey, or must cross the chasm
by an artificial bridge. So human society is divided
by crevasses, — some broad, some narrow, some
deep, some shallow. Sometimes these separations
are caused by personal enmity ; sometimes by a
real or apparent conflict of interests ; sometimes
by deliberate, purposeful wrong-doing ; sometimes
by mere uncongeniality ; sometimes by religious
antipathies. These chasms in society Christ bids
his followers do what they can to close, that
humanity may be truly one. There are certain
great vital truths which underlie the teachings
of every great instructor. They are the postu-
lates on which he builds. The fatherhood of God
and the brotherhood of man are the postulates of
Christ's instruction, and the realization in human


life of these ideals is the end of his ministry.
Therefore all these separations which divide men
into cliques and classes, and set them into antag-
onism to one another, are against the spirit of
Christ; they are hindrances to the coming and
the perfecting of his kingdom. To repair these
fractures, to bring together those who were before
separated, is to promote Christ's kingdom. The
time is coming when all mankind will recognize
that such peace-makers are God's children, and
are doing God's work. They shall be called the
children of God.

Christ not only tells his followers that they
are to be peace-makers, but he gives very ex-
plicit directions how they can make peace. In
this and the two following chapters I shall at-
tempt to interpret these directions, applying them,
first, to personal controversies, then more fully to
industrial and international controversies.

One is conscious that one has wronged a neigh-
bor, or is thought by a neighbor to have wronged
him. Christ lays it down as a principle that it
is the first and more imperative duty of the per-
son thus suspected by others or himself to seek
reconciliation. "If thou bring thy gift to the
altar, and there rememberest that thy brother
hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift
before the altar and go thy way; first be recon-
ciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy
gift." 1 '* If thy brother hath aught against thee;"
1 Matt. V. 23, 24.


if, from his point of view, you have done him a
wrong ; if he entertains any complaint, reasonable
or unreasonable, — " leave there thy gift before
the altar." To seek reconciliation with an of-
fended brother is the first duty ; it takes prece-
dence even of the sacred obligations of divine

It is the first duty of the person suspected, it
is equally the first duty of the person suspecting,
the first duty of the person who has wronged,
equally the first duty of the person who has suf-
fered the wrong, to seek reconciliation. Each is
to be the peace-maker ; each is to take the first
step toward peace. Neither may wait for the
other. " Moreover, if thy brother shall tresj^ass
against thee, go and tell him his fault between
thee and him alone ; if he shall hear thee, thou
hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear
thee, then take with thee one or two more, that
in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word
may be established. And if he shall neglect to
hear them, tell it unto the church ; but if he neg-
lect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as
an heathen man and a publican." ^ I shall, in a
subsequent chapter, interpret and apply this teach-
ing a little more fully. Here it must suffice to
notice the three successive steps which Christ pre-
scribes before one of his followers may regard
the breach between himself and his neighbor irre-
parable. First, he is to go alone to his neighbor
1 Matt, xviii. 15-17.


and tell him his fault in private speech with hira.
There is to be no false pretense, no hypocrisy, no
dissimulation of love, no crying Peace ! peace !
when there is no peace, no playing at words wdth
double meanings ; no saying, It is of no conse-
quence, if it is of consequence ; no saying, I do not
care, if we do care. There is to be absolute can-
dor, a speaking of the truth in love, and this as
part of a sincere effort at reconciliation. But if
this fails, the Christian follower is not to despair.
He is to take with him one or two whom both
trust, love, believe in, that their more impartial
spirit may repair the breach which he has failed
to repair. If this fail, then he is to report his dif-
ficulty to his brethren in the fellowship of the gos-
pel, not to appease his wrath, not to satisfy pride
by putting himself in the right and his neighbor
in the wrong, but to gain by pacific measures his
brother again, to reestablish fraternal relations
between the two. If that fails, then what ? " Let
him be unto thee as an heathen man and a pub-
lican." The Jew would have nothing to do with
the heathen and the publican. Many Christians
seem to think that they forgive their enemy when
they treat him as an heathen man and a publican.
" I do not wish him any evil ; I would not injure
him ; I even wish him well : but I want nothing
more to do with him." This is a common utter-
ance of what men imagine to be a forgiving
spirit. What Christ inflicts as the penalty for
wrong-doing, his followers proffer as their for-


giveness. But even yet we have not reached the
full meaning of this pregnant passage. Social
excommunication was the Jewish method of treat-
ing the heathen and the publicans, but it was
not Christ's method. He pitied them, loved them,
sought them, received them, by patient love en-
deavored to heal the breach between himself and
them. If we are to treat the irreconcilable enemy
as Christ treated the heathen man and the pub-
lican, we shall ever pity and love, and always be
ready for reconciliation, if ever reconciliation be
possible. Irreconcilable enmity is unknown to

Perhaps we have tried this plan, and it did not
succeed. We tried it once, and the wrong was
repeated ; a second time, and it was again repeated.
Finally we say. It does no good ; I have tried it
half a dozen times, and I am tired. But Christ
does not permit his disciples to become tired of
forgiving. " Then came Peter unto him and said,
Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me,
and I forgive him? until seven times? Jesus
saith unto him, I say not unto thee. Until seven
times ; but. Until seventy times seven." i Even
this is not to be taken mathematically ; even four
hundred and ninety times is not to exhaust for-
giving kindness. The love, the patience, the for-
giveness, the readiness for reconciliation, — these
are to be inexhaustible.

1 Matt, xviii. 21, 22; Luke xvii. 3, 4. Seven is a symbolic
number : 70 X 7 = continuous and unending forgiveness.


But perhaps the case is not one of personal
enmity, but of incompatibility. The one neighbor
has done no wrong to the other, but the two do not
like each other. They do not quarrel, but they
live apart, because they do not get on well together.
Such a separation is also a breach in human
brotherhood. In the parable of the good Samari-
tan, Christ suggests his remedy for such a breach.
For such a breach existed between the Jews and
the Samaritans. They were not at war, but they
were uncongenial, prejudiced the one against the
other. The Jews had no dealings with the Samari-
tans.-^ To men thus prejudiced against and es-
tranged from their neighbors Christ told the story
of a certain man ^ who went down to Jericho and
fell among thieves and was robbed ; and a priest
came that way and saw him, and passed by on the
other side ; and a Levite came that way and saw
him, and passed by on the other side ; and then a
Samaritan came and bound up his wounds and
provided for him. The point of this parable is in
the application. Christ says : " Go thou and do
likewise." What does that mean ? It means that
to render a service to any one is the best remedy
for prejudice against him. To cure hostility to
the Chinese, teach in a Chinese Sunday-school.

Perhaps the difficulty which separates neighbor
from neighbor is more than a personal quarrel,
more than personal prejudice ; it is a case of con-
science. The minister believes in a new theology,
1 John iv. 9. 2 Luke x. 25-37.


his ecclesiastical superiors in an old theology, and
they forbid his teaching according to his convic-
tions. The minister believes in the new criticism
and his ecclesiastical superiors in an infallible
Book, and they will not consent that he should
teach according to his understanding of the Bible.
They begin to declare war against him. What
shall one do who thus finds himself intellectually
separated from his church? Shall he withdraw
from his church? No! Shall he fight for the
right to remain in his church ? No ! Christ's
teaching and his example both show with clear-
ness the path. The divisions which separate the
church of Christ into sects, and the wars which
set it in hostile camps, each arrayed against the
other, have been of incalculable injury to the cause
of Christ. He who separates himself from the
church of his youth because he does not believe
some part of its creed, and he who remains in it
to fight against his brethren, even in a defensive
warfare, contributes to this evil. He helps to
divide the body of Christ. The believer in new
theology is not intellectually and spiritually more
at variance from the believer in old theology, nor
the believer in the new criticism more at variance
with the believer in the infallible Book, than Christ
was with the teachers of Judaism in the syna-
gogues. But Christ remained a Jew, teaching in
the synagogues and in the Temple, until the Jews
excommunicated him. He did not say, I will not
fellowship you ; I withdraw from you. He did not


say, I do not believe you wish to fellowship me ;
therefore I withdraw from you. He did not say,
I cannot teach what you teach nor as you teach,
therefore I cannot loyally remain in your church.
He taught revolutionary doctrine in the synagogues
imtil the ecclesiastical authorities determined to
disfellowship him. But then he did not resist.
He quietly transferred his platform from the desk
in the synagogue to the prow of a fishing-boat on
the lake, a hillock in the fields, or a rock on the
mountain side. What he did himself he told his
disciples to do. " When they persecute you in
this city, flee ye into another." ^ Go on with your
work where you are — this is the meaning of his
direction — as long as you can. Antagonize no
one. Do not look for antagonism in any one.
But if ever the antagonism becomes so great that
you can no longer do Christ's work where you are,
go quietly elsewhere and continue your work. The

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Online LibraryLyman AbbottChristianaity and social problems → online text (page 15 of 25)