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that of the materials employed $193,208,218. There were em-
ployed in the manufacture 137,545 workmen, who received
$73,027,976 in wages. The industry was distributed between
3726 establishments, which had in operation 3086 steam-en-
gines and 80S water-wheels. The amount of ore mined that
year was 3,395,718 tons; its value $13,204,138; the miners
numbered 15,022 persons, and received $0.82S.022 in wages.

That American methods of iron production have been greatly
improved to the cheapening of the article, is admitted even by
the English trade. Their Colliery Guardian says that " there
can be no doubt that the development of native metallurgical
industry has had the effect of edging English iron to some ex-
tent out of markets in which it formerly had a controlling influ-
ence So far from the American demand showing a ten-
dency to revive since the panic, " it seems to be falling off even
more and more." The record made by furnaces in Western
Pennsylvania shows that in securing a maximum of production
at a minimum of cost in this, as in nearly all departments of
iron manufacture, the American producer is far ahead.

§ 321. The invention of processes of making steel cheaply
and in large quantities, especially of the Bessemer process, has
in our own days given that variety of iron a great importance.
In 1864, the agents of some of our great railways went to Eng-
land to see at what rate they could procure rails of Bessemer
steel, and were told that they could not be furnished at less than
8150 in gold, delivered in England, or $390 in currency, put
down in Philadelphia and duties paid. By a combination nf
railroad men, an establishment for their production was built
(the Liberty Works at Harrisburg), and at once English agents
were canvassing the market, offering them at $130 (gold) a ton.
Tlie manufacture maybe said to have fairly started by l v ii7
when the price was $160 a ton in currency, and by the time of
the pnnic were one-fourth cheaper, and had sold as low as
$102 50 in 1871. The manufacture showed with every year a
steady increase in the control of the home market.

The census of 1870 reports the value of our annual product


of steel at $9,609,986 (against $1,879,840 in 1860), the materi-
als used as worth $5,166,003 ; the wages paid $1,651,132.

The application of the Bessemer process in America has been
very decidedly improved even during the few years of its adop-
tion. After hearing the reading and discussion of a paper de-
scribing the American methods, the President of the British
Iron and Steel Institute declared that " America is going
ahead I" It was then shown that Americans get very much more
work out of the Bessemer apparatus than has been found possi-
ble in England. In 1869 the best " cupola" that could be had
would melt fourteen tons a day, but by American improvements
made in three years, the meltiug of one hundred and five tons per
half day was reached in 1872. Instead of the European average
of twelve " blows" a day, Johnstown has reached a huudred and
eighty blows a week. Such has been the history of an industry,
which has owed its very existence to protection. Yet it is said
that " in the most highly protected industries American talent
has done least."

An effort is making to reduce the duties on foreign steel used in making
cutlery and edge tools, on the ground that American steel is not good
enough. Some urge that in the absence of Swedish ores to mix with
native, it is impossible to produce steel of sufficiently good quality in
America. If that plea were true, then such steel ought not to be subjected
to any duty, it being an article that cannot be produced at home. But in
fact, as good steel is made in America as anywhere, and if the quality
produced in any locality is not good enough, it is the fault of its producers.
The Ironmonger (London) says, " We are running a great risk in Eugland
of being beaten by America in the manufacture of axes, shovels, hoes and
other implements of the kind. The Pittsburgh steel, both cast and rolled,
is fully up to the mark of the best English : in fact to such a degree that
it is not only supplanting our products, but in every shape of tool it is
largely exported to the European continent. American bolts and hinges
excel ours, and their medium cutlery of all kinds is cheaper and better
than any manufactured here." At home American steel has been sup-
planting the foreign in one branch of manufacture after another, and im-
porters have found increasing difficulties in getting orders. Our axes and
saws, the best in the world, were once made of foreign steel, because only
the best would do. They are now made of the native steel, which has
also been subjected to the severest comparative tests in drilling rocks at
the Bergen Tunnel, the Hell (!ate excavations and elsewhere with thu
same results in its favor.


§ 322. Tn manufactures from steel — cutlery, locks, bolts, hinges,
saws, axes, spades, shovels, agricultural machinery and the like —
Americans have, by the application of labor-saving machinery,
outstripped competition. In the finest varieties of cutlery, which
as yet can only be annealed by hand, America cannot compete
with P]ngland as yet, anymore than Sheffield can rival the sword-
blades of Damascus, or Manchester can equal the hue muslins
of Decca. Labor is too dear. But in lower grades of cutlery,
and in saws and axes, Sheffield itself has had to go to school to
its western rivals. American patterns are imported and imitated,
and American machinery is introduced so far as the preju-
dices of the English workmen will permit. A report to Parlia-
ment, made in 1868, gives a confessedly imperfect list of Bir-
mingham wares in which other countries were competing and
largely replacing English goods in the marked of the world. In
regard to twenty-seven classes the United States are named as
competitors, — in many of these as the only competitors, and in
not a few instances as having secured a monopoly of production.
American makers are supplying Canada and other British
colonies with hardware, Germany with reapers and farming in-
struments, and even England itself with a large number of
articles, especially with machine-shop tools. A dealer in these,
visiting an English store in 18G9, and asking to see their latest
novelties, was shown article after article of American manu-
facture. He said he had seen all those. " Where do you keep
shop ?" " In New York." " Then we have nothing new to
show you."

Our manufactures from steel in 1870 were worth in the aggre-
gate $183,959,596. The materials used were worth §77,576,974.
The wages paid to 112.280 workmen were $62,299,746.

This includes some articles that are partly composed of iron or of
brass, such as machinery, safes, scales and professional instruments.

§ 323. There is but a limited demand for cupper and copper-
wares throughout the world. We have large mines of this
mineral, but till 1869 we were large importers of it. Then •• the
House of Representatives, by a vote of 110 to 55. passi-d the


bill to make copper dear, and prevent its introduction from
abroad. . . They thought only of the handful of persons who
own the mines ; they paid no regard to the interests of millions
of consumers" (JV. Y. Evening Post). Protection did at once
what it always does in the long run at least; the price of copper
fell from 22 to 20& cents per pound, and its production rose to
25,000,000 pounds. Indeed, the copper producers repeated the
mistake of our farmers. They had to export their surplus yield
of copper, and became dependent upon the foreign market.

The annual value of the copper, the copper-wares, and the
coppersmithing in 1870 was $22,720,229 (against $13,093,612
in 1860) ; the materials, $1-4, 676,437 ; wages, paid to 7238 per-
sons, $4,192,376.

The effect of the legislation of 1869 has been gravely alleged, both in
Congress and elsewhere, as a reason against protective legislation, because
" it is impossible to foresee its effects."

§ 324. Our manufactures of textile goods have experienced the'
same effects of the protective policy, — the improvement of
methods, the improvement of quality, the development of native
skill, and the reduction of prices. In a report upon this branch
of manufacture made in 1873 to Her Majesty's government by one
of the secretaries of the British Legation, it is said : " In every
important branch of industry the American manufacturers seem
to be ever gaining on their competitors of the Old World, by
availing themselves to the utmost of every advantage of im-
proved process of labor-saving machinery which American or
other invention may offer. There can be little doubt that the
celerity with which all such advantages are thought out and
then introduced into general use is owing to the constant pressure
of high rates of wages and the comparatively certain protection
of capital invested in inventions. The great industries of
America would probably compare favorably with the best organ-
ized of the competing industries of Europe. The past history
and present development of the textile industries is an earnest of
a prolific future. Whether or not a reduced cost of living shall
ever be attained, one cannot doubt that under sound conditions


of production, American industry will not only supply its home
market, but will also become a formidable competitor in foreign
markets in many articles."

The annual value of our textile manufactures — cottons, wool-
lens, linens, carpets and worsted goods — was $o80,913,815
(against $199,228,256 in 1860) j the materials were worth
$238,393,905. The wages of 243,731 persons, the majority
women, were $75,628,743.

The decade that closed in 1870 was a time of trial and de-
pression for the cotton trade throughout the world. Our war
cut off the chief source of supply of raw cotton for several years,
and permanently raised the price. Linen goods were thus brought
into competition with cotton in every market. The development
of the manufacture and the investment of new capital were largely
checked. Before the opening of the war the American cotton
manufacture had already attained a large development, aud had
made good its footing against foreign competition. The gain of
1842-7 had never been lost, because of the development of skill
and capital invested in the manufacture in New England, and
the natural protection furnished by vicinity to the cotton -fields.

Our annual manufacture of cotton goods (including twists,
yarns, &c.) was worth $177,503,687 in 1870 (against $117,872,-
441 in I860). The materials cost $111,976,726 (instead of
$57,969,231 in 1860). In wages there were paid $39,003,383
to 135,703 workmen. For the reasons given, especially through
the transfer of the slave to his rightful owner, himself to wit,
and the consequent rise in price of the product of his labor, and
because of the already great development of this industry, it has
not grown as fast as some others. But the advance in the quality
of manufactures, the improvement of methods, aud the increase
in the production of higher grades have been very marked.
And it is noteworthy that no country in the world consumes so
large an amount of cotton goods in proportion to its population,
our amount being nearly half the whole quantity woven by ling-
land for herself and the rest of the world.

§ 325. Our woollen manufactures, and the production of native


wools, did not receive proper protection till well on in the decade,
just as the wool-tariff of 1828 was enacted years after the adequate
protection of our other great staples. The tariff of 1867 was
designed to promote both the home production of wool and its
improvement in quality, and also the manufacture of woollen
goods. Under its operation the growth of wool has vastly in-
creased and the farmer's market for its sale greatly improved.
The number of our woollen manufactories and of the persons em-
ployed in them were doubled during the decade ; the wages paid
increased from 89,610,25-1 to 826.877,575 ; the wool consumed
from 83,608,468 pounds to 172,078,919 pounds (of which
only 17, oil, 824 was imported); the value of their products
from 861,894,986 to $155,405,358.

"All this," it may be said, " is at the expense of the con-
sumer. He pays more for every article of wear, because the
country is ambitious to manufacture more." " Woollens," says
the A r . Y. Evening Post, "are now [1869] cheaper in gold than they
were in 1860. There has been an average decline in prices of
about thirteen per cent." It bases this conclusion upon a com-
parative list of prices furnished by the two largest New York
houses to Mr. D. A. Wells. Another free trade organ in Xew
York, The Economist, says : " Such continued improvements in
the manufacturing of woollen goods will soon place us beyond
the reach of rivals, and cause our products to be imitated the
world over, as our best and most saleable patterns are the result
of American ingenuity both in coloring and style."

A peculiarly excellent feature of the great growth of this in-
dustry is its wide diffusion throughout all parts of the country.
There are nearly five hundred woollen factories south of Mason
and Dixon's line; over a thousand west of the Alleghenies, and
twenty beyond the Rocky mountains. Minneapolis makes blan-
kets for New York houses at seventy-five dollars a pair, and Cali-
fornia boasts that she produces the finest in the world.

§ 326. The silk manufacture was one of the first attempted in
America. The coronation robe of Charles II. was 'furnished
from the colonies, and Queen Charlotte, in 1770, received and


wore an American silk dress. Great hopes were inspired by the
ononis multicaulis in 1828-37, but the panic, with which the
period of these experiments closed, put an end to that at-
tempt to produce native silk in large quantities. Under the
protective duties imposed during the last decade, the manufac-
ture has been doubled in value, and bids fair to become a lead-
ing industry. The annual product for 1873 was worth $16,157.-
500 (against 86,607,771 in 1860), and gave employment to 10,-
651 persons (7208 of them women and girls), who received
83.722,988 in wages. The industry is chiefly located around
New York city, and in the two adjacent states, and the raw ma-
terial is all of it imported. But good silks and threads are made
from the refuse of the Chinese manufactories, after it has been
passed through a Yankee machine that disentangles and straight-
ens it.

The manufacture of broad silks began under the protection of
the new tariff, — as there was but one establishment so employed
in 1860, — and as their production requires skill and experience,
the first that were made were of inferior quality, because of their
defective finish. American silks seemed likely to become a by-
word ; they were too gummy, and therefore cut into strips even
while they hung unworn ; dust gathered on them aud stuck to
them. But in the last few years the improvement in these
fabrics has been so great, that should it continue, they will soon
rival those of Lyons in quality, while their cheapness will briug
them within the reach of all classes, and make silks as demo-
cratic as cottons. In one case silks made in Philadelphia were
seized in New York by custom-house experts as being certainly

§ 321. The manufacture of stone and earthenware has been
nearly tripled since 1860. The annual value of its products was
86,045,536 in 1870 (against less than two and a half million in
1860 ; in wages 82.247,173 were divided among 6116 workmen.
Here also labor-saving machinery has been substituted in Ameri-
can manufactories for the traditional methods depicted on the
palaces of the Pharaohs and still universally employed in Eu-


rope; and we have had visitors from England "taking notes"
as to the methods of applying steam-power to this manufacture.

§ 328. We have given but specimens of the progress of our
manufactures under protection. We might say ten times as
much of the same sort, out of the third volume of the Ninth

" Sooner or later," says our free trade friend, The Spectator,
" we have no doubt at all that America, with her vast natural
resources, both in fuel and land, will far outrun us in the race
of commercial and manufacturing enterprise. That is a mere
question of time, though there is apparently no such reason for
apprehending any very formidable rivalry in Europe."

§ 329. We are soon to provoke a comparison of these results
with the industries of the Old World, and a very eminent
British statesman, recently a visitor among us, proposes that it
shall be made the occasion of such a display of qualities and
prices as shall convince " the American consumer " of the su-
perior advantages of free trade. The poor success of England
in previous international displays of this sort was supposed to
have made her somewhat chary of courting such comparisons
(§343), but it seems that the present case is so circumstanced as
to furnish sufficient motives for another attempt. Of course the
comparison will be. between the products of each country and
those of the rest of the world, and — for reasons given in the
next chapter — we fear that neither England nor America will
stand as high as they ought. But had this exhibition of results
come before instead of since the war, we should have had com-
paratively very little to offer in comparison. But if it is re-
membered under what difficulties our producers have labored,
and within how short a period many of our industries have at-
tained a respectable magnitude, no American will have need to
blush for his country, in view of the evidence given of her in-
dustrial vitality and vastnes's of resource.


The Science and Economy of Intelligence and


§ 330. In presenting what have been found to be wise methods
of national economy, and in attempting the solution of economic
problems, it has agaiu and again been pointed out in the fore-
going chapters, that the education and the consequent high in-
telligence of the people is essential to the prosperity of a nation.

We have seen that an agriculture that is not directed by scien-
tific knowledge is wasteful in itself, and will at last be unable to
meet — much less to outrun — the ever-increasing demand of tbe
people upon its productiveness. Experience also shows that, so
long as farming is conducted in an unintelligent way, it will
never be anything but a distasteful drudgery, which will drive
the best young men of the agricultural class into the cities, and
to occupations that employ mind as well as muscle.

"We have seen that the notion that labor will always leave an ill-
rewarded employment for one that is better paid, is disproved by
facts. The uneducated farm-hand of Dorsetshire, with his
mental horizon no larger than the visible one, shrinks from
pushing out into an unknown and untried world to seek his for-
tune, and puts up with ten shillings a week, when a few shires
farther north he might earn a competence. The Flemish bocr
works for a half or a third what he might get a dozen miles to
the south, because he has never had the chance to pick up the
small amount of French that would fit him to labor in Brabant
or Brussels.

We have also seen that improvements in methods and in
machinery, by discontinuing the employment of some class of
workmen, inflicts great injury upon that class if its average of
intelligence be low, aud its power of adapting itself to a new set
of conditions be slight. And wc have also seen that all these


improvements make a larger demand upon the workman's intel-
lectual gifts, and can only be carried out to the best advantage
where these receive a fair measure of cultivation.

It has also been seen that the condition of the working classes
is capable of very great improvement, through the adoption of
certain methods of economy — labor-banks, cooperative societies,
building societies, and the like — which demand the diffusion of
a considerable measure of knowledge if they are to be well sup-
ported and wisely managed.

We have seen that the sanatory condition of a community is
capable of very great improvement only when the conditions
of life and health are understood by the people. And upon this,
as has been said, depends in large measure the industrial capa-
city and efficiency of the people. English statists estimate that
every death represents one hundred and sixty-six days' illness,
during which the sufferer, if a working man, is thrown upon the
charity of his friends or of society for his support. The conse-
quent total to be subtracted from the productive and accumula-
lative powers of the people is immense.

We have seen that the protective policy is vindicated by its
friends and conceded by its enemies to be a measure of national
education, whereby special advantages are given to the home
producer until he has learnt the habit of manufacture and
acquired skill in its methods. A natural accompaniment of such
a policy is an active national effort for the technical training of
those who are competent to receive it.

§ 331. These and other considerations like them lead us to see
the importance of education as a part of a wise national economy.
The small outlay of the national resources that is necessary to
train every citizen to the highest rank in industrial efficiency
that is possible to him, is well expended in the purchase of a
larger gain to all classes. It is one of those wise sacrifices of
present for future advantage, which distinguish progressive
societies from those that are stagnant.

But a national education can never be a merely industrial
education, — can never be even first and chiefly industrial. The


industrial state is but one aspect of the national life, and an edu-
cation that could contemplate only its ends would come l'ar short
of the training required to fit the citizen for his place in the
body politic. It would also defeat its own ends by leaving the man
undisciplined in many duties and in right methods of thought,
that very greatly influence his industrial worth. On the other
hand, there is especial need to call attention to this part of
national education, since the conception of the nation as an indus-
trial state is quite a modern one. Napoleon among the men of
practice and Fichte among the thinkers — closely followed by
Saint Simon — were the first to recognise its truth. And as in
earlier theories of national life, so in earlier methods of educa-
tion, other things were regarded and this neglected.

§ 332. A National Education, limited in its range indeed, but
broad enough to embrace the whole scope of the nation's voca-
tion, was enjoined upon the Jews by the Mosaic legislation.
Especially of the moral law it is said : These words which I
command thee this day, shall be in thine heart [i. e., thine un-
derstanding, thy thoughts;] and thou shalt press them upon thy
children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou best down,
and when thou risest up." The later Jews, at a time when the
industrial life of their nation had attained a larger development,
required that every father, however wealthy, should teach his
son a trade, so as to provide against all contingencies of fortune
and enable him to avoid becoming either a pauper or a thief.

In Greece we have two great methods of national education
standing in very sharp contrast. The Spartan was a system of
military discipline, of stern and unnatural restraint. It was the
drill of an armed garrison who gave up their individual tastes,
ideas and impulses, and submitted to an all-constraining lav.-.
The death of the three hundred at Thermopylae, " in obedience
to the laws," was the crown and the flower of the life of the
city, which produced no great men of letters, and indeed few
great men of any sort. The Athenian method was a full and
free development of human nature, especially on its intellectual


and aesthetic sides. In Athens, more than in any other land or

Online LibraryRobert Ellis ThompsonSocial science and national economy → online text (page 35 of 38)