United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

. (page 60 of 92)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 60 of 92)
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tries where they prevail. A short time ago, letters were received
from Professor Koch, of Berlin, heartily indorsing the undertaking,
and stating that Germany was about to found a similar institution.
The matter has been officially brought before the foreign consuls in
Liverpool, and they, after several conferences, expressed their ap-
preciation of the great value of the movement, and the suggestion
was made that each consul should, in such manner as might be
deemed best, bring it to the attention of his government and of the
medical profession and others in his own country.



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502 STUDY OF TROt^ICAL DISEASES IN GkEAT BRITAIN.

Pecuniary aid from foreign governments will not be solicited, but
would be gratefully received. The Liverpool school would be pleased
to exchange information and the results of scientific observation
upon all phases of the subject with any foreign government, or any
foreign medical society or hospital, or with any individual traveler
or professional man, and foreign students would be cordially wel-
comed. Those interested are invited to communicate with Professor
Boyce, University College, Liverpool. The international feature of
the Liverpool School of Tropical Diseases has already received
recognition from America. Several months ago, Bishop Hartzell,
of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States, passed
through Liverpool en route to his field of labor, which embraces the
whole of Africa. While here, he became greatly interested in the
Liverpool School of Tropical Diseases, and arranged that one of his
medical missionaries who was shortly to follow him should study for
three months at the school. Several consuls representing maritime
nations say that they will advise either direct support to the Liver-
pool school or cooperative action, for the reason that many victims
of tropical diseases that have come under their observation at Liver-
pool have been sailors of their own nationality.

It is the expectation that the Liverpool institution will become the
recognized school for the training of Government medical officers
proceeding to the West Coast of Africa. A special sphere of activity
will be the organization of expeditions to Africa to study tropical
diseases, and I am officially advised that students from American med-
ical colleges are invited to accompany these expeditions. Professor
Christophers is now conducting an expedition in Africa with this
object. He is working under the auspices of the British Govern-
ment, and was specially selected for that purpose by the Royal
Society on request of Mr. Chamberlain. He is operating in co-
operation with both the Liverpool and London schools.

It is suggested here that in view of the new responsibilities and
opportunities in the West Indies and the East, this enterprise should
meet with sympathetic interest in the United States.

James Bovle,

Liverpool, April 25, iSgg. ' Consul,



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LABOR CONDITIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN. 503



LABOR CONDITIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN.

It might be well to understand that ** free-trade" Great Britain,
owing to a commendable feeling of loyalty to British interests and
the almost universal recognition of an obligation to purchase, when-
ever possible, articles of British manufacture only, is in a degree a
very well protected country. One can pick up almost any publica-
tion — a daily, a weekly, or a monthly — and see that the advertising
line regarded as most catchy is ** Support home industries; give em-
ployment to British labor." There is real value in that line, as there
is in it the spirit of the people, very few of whom will buy know-
ingly an article of foreign manufacture if the same article is manu-
factured in Great Britain, even though this be higher in price; and
from the mouths of store or shop keepers the word ** imported" has
not, to the ears of Britishers, the dulcet sound it has with us. This
form of patriotism, it seems to me, is worthy of our partial imitation.
The determination to support home industries is the first obstacle
the American salesman encounters in this country, and the second
is the length of time it takes to introduce a new article. I could give
instances without number where manufacturers here have declined
advantageous offers of component parts of the articles they make,
or have even refused to allow such offers to be made, when they
knew that the components were of foreign manufacture. They
simply would not permit themselves to be tempted by price or
quality. Press and public both feel at liberty to take to task any-
one buying manufactured articles abroad, and a good excuse must
be given.

The builders of the new electric underground railroad in Lon-
don were some months ago arraigned in the press for purchasing in
America the big elevators which are to be*used to lower the passen-
gers to the railroad level ; and there were discussions as to whether
these elevators could or could not be made here, the railway people
claiming, in the defense which was forced from them, that in elec-
trical matters America had had so much more experience, it was
perhaps best to have the elevators built there. They added that it
was necessary in this case, as British engineering works were so over-
crowded with work; and promised, if my recollection is correct, to
give some later orders here if possible.

Some months ago, also, it was made known that the Midland
Railway Company had ordered twenty locomotives, ten each from
two manufacturing firms in the United States, and the newspaper
comments were many and reproachful; and at the annual meeting



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504 LABOR CONDITIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN.

of the Midland shareholders, the chairman explained that the com-
pany's business had increased so greatly that engines for immediate
use were absolutely necessary. He said the company had g^ven
orders for two hundred locomotives to British manufacturers, and
would have been glad to have given the rest of the orders at home,
but all the engineering works of Great Britain were so far behind
with work, owing to the great engineering strike, that no British
firm could be found to accept orders beyond what had been given
them; so, as a last resort, the company had to look to America, and
they found that not only could they have engines built very cheaply
there, but that the American engines would be delivered long before
the British engines were ready. Yesterday, the London Daily Mail
printed a special cablegram from Philadelphia stating that one of
the directors of the Great Northern Railway of England had visited
that city within a few days, and the result was an order had been
given to the Baldwin Locomotive Works for twenty engines for use
on the Great Northern lines. The concluding line read ** Baldwin's
recently received an order for thirty locomotives for the Midland
Railway," and the explanation is, I believe, that the Midland has
recently increased its American order, though originally only ten
locomotives were ordered from Baldwin and ten from Schenectady.
This cablegram naturally stirred things up, and the Daily Mail,
energetic as usual, demanded an explanation, and in this morning's
issue prints the following:

OrR IMPORTED ENGINES. — WHY THE GREAT NORTHERN SENT TO AMERICA.
[Daily Mail Special.]

The exclusive information cabled by our Philadelphia correspondent that the
Great Northern Railway Company has placed an order for a number of engines
with the Baldwin Locomotive Works in that city was, on inquiry yesterday at
Kings Cross, confirmed by Mr. C. Steel, the general manager.

As that gentleman explained to a Daily Mail representative, it was a matter of
great regret to the directors that they had been compelled to take this course; but
there was no alternative. It was impossible to obtain the engines in this country
by the time required, and therefore it was necessary to go elsewhere for them.

Mr. Steel gave striking proof of the truth of what was stated in our leading arti-
cle yesterday as to the inability of British engineering firms to promise prompt
delivery. Apart from the engines which have been ordered from America, the
general manager said the company already had engines on order in this country.
For months it had been wanting them, but could not get them.

** We have every wish to be loyal," he said, "and have no desire to send trade
out of the country; but all the engineering firms are full, and the orders we have
given are months behind time in being fulfilled."

And this is the outcome of the dispute in the engineering trade.

It is stated from New York that the Baldwin Locomotive Works has received
orders to construct ten large passenger engines for the French State railways.

The first batch of locomotives for the Sudan Railway, says the press associa-
tion, will come from America, no English firm having been able to deliver them in
the time required by the Egyptian authorities.



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LABOR CONDITIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN. 505

In yesterday's issue, the Daily Mail commented editorially on
this order of American engines by the Great Northern Railway.
The editorial dealt with the conditions which caused this foreign
order, and as I think it has a direct relation to labor unions, and
that it will serve well to post our labor leaders and warn them against
some of the mistakes which British unions have made, I* consider
it important enough to present in full. Under the caption **The
results of a mistake," the Mail said:

The news that the Great Northern Railway Company is following the example
of the Midland Company and ordering locomotives in America may well inspire in
us some uneasy reflections. The original mischief was caused by the most insane
and disastrous labor struggle of recent years — the dispute in the engineering trade.
Asa consequence, all work in our British establishments was thrown back, and the
foreigner was given a great opening, of which he took the fullest advantage.
Owing to the arrears of work, our British firms were unable, even at the close of
the struggle, to promise prompt delivery. And thus the hold which the foreigner
has gained is being strengthened, for those who want their orders quickly com-
pleted are going to the United States.

As an example, we may quote from Bradstreet this instance: A SheflSeid firm
required six planing machines — all to be speedily delivered. Two were ordered in
America, two in Glasgow, and two in Leeds. The New York Trade Journal states
that the only firm which delivered its goods on time was the American. Its plan-
ing machines were shipped and actually erected in part before either of the home
firms had done more than cast the bedplates.

No doubt, it was stress of work due to the strike which hampered the two Brit-
ish .firms. But let the community consider the net result. The foreigner has
scored a success and won an opening where the Britisher formerly had things all
to himself. The home engineering firms shrink from laying down fresh plant and
adding to their capital to meet a rush which is due, as they consider, to the arrears
that have accumulated, and which, when it passes, will leave their extra mactinery
and capital unemployed.

There is, too, a further moral for the workman. From the Clyde shipbuilding
yards the story comes that the men, who are drawing high pay and can earn all
that they want by putting in three or four days in the week, can not be persuaded
to labor continuously for the six days. It is certain that the Clyde yards are so
busy that they are turning orders away, with the result that these go to foreigners.
Here, then, the men are shortsightedly acting against their own larger interests,
and are giving to the alien half the loaf, when, with energy, they might keep the
whole loaf to themselves. At present, this is all very well; but when the slack
times come, how will the men like the foreign competition which they have en-
couraged?

That the great engineering strike was a quarrel disastrous alike
to the interests both of British labor and capital is well known, and
such facts and comments as these only accentuate how far-reaching
its effects were. Some time ago, when reading in American papers
the accounts of the annual meeting of one of our national labor or-
ganizations, and noticing the friendly way in which visiting British
labor leaders were received, I hoped, yet did not at the time feel that
I dared to express the hope — it is so easy to be misunderstood —



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5o6 LABOR CONDITIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN.

that all the views of these British labor leaders would not be ac-
cepted by American workmen, and that their influence would not
have as pernicious an effect upon our industries as my observation
here leads me to believe they have had on their own British indus-
tries. Now that our export trade has become so important a factor
in our prosperity, American labor unions will find it, I believe, to
their own advantage to consider very carefully the effect any union
act may have on that trade. It is. a tribute to the faithfulness and
energy of American workmen that American manufacturers can
compete in the world's market while paying for the highest priced
labor in the world ; but this is, at the same time, the cheapest, for
American workmen work and give good value for the money they
receive, taking few holidays, and do not shirk during hours.

The day after to-morrow will be Good Friday. It will also be
bank holiday, which is a legal holiday, and Monday will be another
bank holiday. Last year, at a similar period, there were blue skies
in manufacturing Birmingham for nearly ten days, and it was eight
days before I saw the smoke from the first factory chimney ; and
the owner of that factory, perhaps overwhelmed with orders, was
probably making a vain effort to coax some of his people back to
work. A manufacturer will say:

I would be happy if I could even get my men back in a week after a bank holi-
day; but it is hopeless to try to get fairly started again inside of ten days, and cine
can not, you know, afford to burn fuel for the half dozen who will go to work.
My clerks will take stock, and, as an encouragement and with a hope of improve-
ment in the future, I pay extra wages to any of the factory hands who do turn up;
but, as the machinery is not going, they are put at the stock taking.

If the weather is clear, there will be over a week of blue skies
again in the Midlands this year. Will the facts that British en-
gineering firms are so busy that orders for locomotives must go
abroad, and machinery and many other things must be purchased,
whether from home or not, make any difference? Not a bit of it;
and there are six holidays during the year. At Easter and at
Christmas, they come in pairs; so that there are really four periods
during the year with from a week to ten days of national idleness;
and during the fifty-two weeks of the year, there is on every Satur-
day a half holiday, which is so universally observed that even the
repair hands in the smallest bicycle shops lay off, and on this great
bicycle-riding day it is almost impossible after i o'clock to have the
slightest repair made to a bicycle, to replace a lost nut, or buy a
monkey wrench, a bottle of oil, a pump, or to get a puncture stopped ;
and with a percentage of workingmen, Monday is another holiday,
a sort of Saint Recovery day.

The introduction of American machinery had perhaps something



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LaHOK CONtHtlONS IN GREAT BRITAIN. 507

10 do with the engineering strike. It at any rate brought mat-
ters to a crisis, for the workmen were opposed to any kind of new
machinery, believed in the one-man-to-one-machine practice, made it
difficult for a willing workingman to do more than a minimum of
labor, and wasted from ten to twenty minutes after the bell rang at
the end of the breakfast, the noon time, and the tea recesses. Now,
there are hundreds of American time clocks in British factories; but-
a good salesman of American machinery is still very careful about
guaranteeing an output of over two-thirds of what his figures might
be at home.

The Daily Mail editorial and special cablegram give a good idea
of what advantage the engineering strike has proved to be to ** for-
eign " competitors. The slate strike introduced well-machined, well-
colored American slate; and I believe some of it is sold here now.
The Welsh coal strike of last summer made American coal a compet-
itor of British in Mediterranean and South American ports. Strikes
here are not based so much on wages as on factory friction. I
know of a factory with eight hundred hands, a large proportion of
them highly skilled, and their average wages hardly equal 70 cents
a day; the foreman's 2 guineas (J5io. 20) a week is considered ample
conpensation and he has worked faithfully for the same employer
for a quarter of a century. This concern, by the way, ships its
product to the United States, there being no duty of importance in
the way.

In closing, I attach the following condensations of some clippings,
most of them from the Daily Mail. I have saved them from time
to time, to show how important a bearing labor willingness or un-
willingness has upon a country's foreign trade:

RESPONSIBILITY OF TRADE UNIONISM.

The dispute between the master builders and the plasterers' union suggests
some serious reflections on the uses and abuses of trade unionism. The present
case is so obviously an instance of its abuse that even so ardent an advocate of the
claims of labor as Mr. John Burns finds it needful to offer a strenuous word of ad-
vice. There is, unfortunately, reason to apprehend that the spirit which dictated
the tyrannous conduct of the plasterers* union exists — though not always in so
exaggerated a degree — in many another organization. It is noteworthy, too, that
recent movements for the better organization and federation of capitalists were
provoked more by the growing tendency of trades unions to infringe upon the
management of industry than by any desire to resist legitimate combination for
the improvement of wages and conditions of employment.

The plasterers* union are face to face with an ultimatum from the employers,
and, in view of the advice of their organizing secretary and Mr. Burns, they may
be expected to recede from the indefensible position they have taken up. But the
moment is opportune for all trade unionists carefully to consider the position into
which certain of their leaders are forcing the unions. The fact which needs to be
brought home to the organized worker of to-day is this, that labor has responsibilities



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5o8 LABOR CONDITIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN.

as well as rights; that it can not play havoc with industry without doing permanent
damage to the national interests and eventual hurt to their own.

A remarkable instance of the free-and-easy way of the workers comes from
Glasgow.

Trade is particularly brisk on the Clyde, and it is a common thing for riveters
and platers to earn a pound a day. Instead, however, of making the most for
himself and. for his industry, the worker prefers to go on holiday while his resources
last. Thus it comes about that half the time the shipyards are short handed, while
orders have to be refused and are sent abroad for execution. This undisciplined
tendency of the British workman seriously threatens the dominance of our great
industries. In this connection, it is interesting to note the remarks of Dr. Inglis
to the Institute of Marine Engineers, who suggests that the discipline of the Ger-
man army produces in its industrial army habits of order and respect which stand
the worker in good stead in industrial life. Equally significant is the report of the
iron and steel trades' delegates a few years ago, who refer to the ''superior dis-
cipline" of German workmen as making for efficiency. It is obvious that no such
method of producing discipline is possible, even if it were desirable, in this coun-
try. But the trade union might be more of a disciplinary organization than it is.
It ought to insist upon a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, and if it pretends to
a share in the control of industry, it should be prepared to weigh the effects of its
own policy on the development of national resources.

BRITISH TRADE GOING. — MR. RITCHIE EXPLAINS WHY WE ARE LOSING IT.

Mr. C. T. Ritchie, president of the Board of Trade, in the course of a reply yes-
terday to a trades union congress deputation, who waited upon him with respect lo
certain grievances of railway servants, and to the subject of workmen's trains, took
occasion to make some statements of very grave importance as affecting the com-
mercial position of the country.

In short, on the authority of the one man in the country who ought to know
best, America and all the European countries of importance have for some time
been increasing their export trade. Our export trade has, during the same period,
been going back. The question of our commerce, said Mr. Ritchie, was one of su-
preme importance to all interested in our prosperity. Workmen were as much
interested as any capitalist could be. He had great faith in the capabilities of his
country and his countrymen, and he was not going to speak in accents of despair
as to the future. He believed that, with the knowledge, determination, and good
will of Englishmen, we should be able to meet the competition of our rivals in the
future as successfully as we had in the past. But it could not but be a source of
anxiety to him to know that every European country of *any importance, and also
America for the past few years, had been increasing its export trade, some lo a
very large extent, while we had been going back.

Our foreign rivals were successful (i) owing to the very great adaptability shown
by the foreign manufacturers, and (2) by reason of their great commercial, techni-
cal, and general education.

The advantages enjoyed by our competitors would, he hoped, be speedily dimin-
ished by the action which might be taken in this country. They, however, must
not disguise from themselves that there was another reason. He referred to the
unhappy disputes between capital and labor. In connection with the coal and
engineering disputes, large sums of money had been lost and accumulations ex-
pended. There had been suffering endured with unexampled patience, and. he
asked, who had been the gainers? Not the workmen. Neither had the masters.
Their losses, like the men's, had been extremely heavy. The people who had



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LABOR CONDITIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN. 5O9

gained were our foreign rivals, to whom orders had gone in large quantities.
And orders once having gone, did not quickly return.

The population of the country was increasing, and employment must be found
for it. It was to be found by the embarkation of capital in industrial enterprise.
One of the great evils of these unhappy strifes was that they frightened capital
away, and large sums of money had been embarked in industrial enterprise abroad
which we should have liked to have seeq spent in a similar way here.

He did not wish to apportion blame for those wars; he wished to impress upon
all the imperative duty which rested with those who wished to put an end to strikes.

The Czar was making a supreme effort to bring about international peace, and
everybody must admire the motives which prompted him to summon the conference.
The present was a time of peace and good will. Could they, then, not follow in
their way the example of the Czar and endeavor to bring about, if possible, a con-
ference, in order to achieve industrial peace?

He did not think the difficulties insurmountable, and, at any rate, they could be
considered.

THE RESULT OF WORKMEN'S EXACTIONS.

Only recently, a huge order for steel rails has gone to America which should
have been placed here. The London agents of the American firms were on the alert,
with the result that this fat little order — paid for with the money of British capital-
ists for a railway in a British colony — has gone to the famous firm of Carnegie, of
Pittsburg, United States of America.

The lowest irreducible quotation of the Middlesbrough firms was 15s. ($3. 64) a
ton higher than Carnegie's. The buyers thus save some 20 per cent — and who can
blame them? — ^and the American people receive an addition to their spending power
of some ;f200,ooo, showing their wisdom.

In addition to the order for rails, the same firm is supplying all the accessories
required, such as fish plates, spikes, nuts, and bolts, their prices for these being



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 60 of 92)