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own hours for work or recreation, can rise early or late, and be free from any external control. This freedom of action is paid for by a diminution of wages. The brakeman employed on a railway must receive higher wages than the laborer employed in grading the road, as his occupation is a dangerous one; he must be paid for the not improbable event of breaking a leg or an arm, or losing his life. The laborers employed in constructing a railroad across the Isthmus of Panama received very high pay; they were compelled to go far from home into a climate so pestilential, that probably one half of their number perished while the work was in progress.
"Secondly," says Adam Smith, "the wages of labor vary with the easiness and cheapness, or the difficulty and expense, of learning the business. When any expensive machine is erected, the extraordinary work to be performed by it before it is worn out, it must be expected, will replace the capital laid out on it, with at least the ordinary profits. A man educated at the expense of much labor and time, may be compared to one of these expensive machines. The work which he learns to perform, it must be expected, over and above the usual wages of common labor, will replace to him the whole expense of his education, with at least the ordinary profits of an equally valuable capital. It must do this in a reasonable time, regard being had to the very uncertain duration of human life, in the same manner as to the more certain duration of the machine. The difference between the wages of skilled labor and those of common labor is founded on this principle."
It should be added, that all persons are not capable of learning the more difficult employments, for which a quick eye, a dexterous hand, and some natural taste or ingenuity, are often requisite. Not all common laborers, after any expense of time and training, would make good blacksmiths; nor are all blacksmiths capable of becoming first-rate machinists. The competition for employment in the more difficult trades is therefore first limited by Nature, through the various capacities which she bestows upon men; and secondly, by the necessity of education, which not all, even of those who are naturally gifted, have time, money, or opportunity to obtain. Engraving has risen to be one of the fine arts, as the talent for practising it with the highest success is as rare as that of a great painter or sculptor. An ordinary engraver may not earn more than a watchmaker; but a single copy of one of the works of Raphael Morghen, Sir Robert Strange, Bartolozzi, or Piranesi, now commands a high price in the market. In engineering, the construction of machinery, and ship-building, great natural ability, improved by education and practice, may obtain remuneration so liberal as to appear extravagant. The services of Paul Moody in superintending the erection of the machinery for the manufactories at Waltham and Lowell, and of Telford, Stephenson, and Brunei in the great works of internal improvement which they constructed in Great Britain, were paid for at rates proportioned to the magnitude of the enterprises which they directed. "In some manual employments," says Mr. Mill, "requiring a nicety of hand which can only be acquired by long practice, it is difficult to obtain, at any cost, workmen in sufficient numbers, who are capable of the most delicate kind of work; and the wages paid to them are only limited by the price which purchasers are willing to give for the commodity they produce. This is the case with some working watchmakers, and with the makers of astronomical and optical instruments. If workmen competent to such employments were ten times as numerous as they are, there would be purchasers for all which they could make, not indeed at the present prices, but at those lower prices which would be the natural consequence of lower wages."
In what are called the liberal professions, however, though a protracted and expensive education is required for admission to them, the rates of compensation, on an average, are very low, — sometimes actually lower than in the mechanic trades. In the State of Ohio, for instance, and, it may be presumed, in most of the other Western States, the salaries of the clergymen are not equal to the wages of good journeymen blacksmiths; the former do not receive an average of more than $ 500 a year; the latter readily obtain two dollars a day, or over $ 600 a year. True, some of the clergymen, especially in the Baptist and Methodist denominations, are not liberally educated men; but the great majority have completed their training both at college and in the professional schools. At the bar, also, though a few eminent practitioners make great gains, the aggregate earnings of the whole body of lawyers, if equally distributed among them, would hardly equal the average wages of the mechanics. The cause of the discrepancy in this particular case, however, will be explained hereafter. Physicians may be somewhat better paid on an average, though the aggregate earnings of their craft are capriciously distributed, an ignorant and impudent quack often obtaining more than a competent and thoroughly instructed practitioner. This is because there is no certain criterion of the physician's skill; whether the patient lives or dies, it is generally doubtful whether the result is to be attributed to nature or the doctor.
Adam Smith justly attributes the inadequate compensation of labor in the liberal professions, first, to the superior dignity or honorableness of such labor, which is an offset for the infe. rior pecuniary reward; secondly, to the natural confidence which every man has in, his own abilities and his own good fortune, whereby he persuades himself that he shall draw one of the few great prizes in the law or the church, instead of one out of the many blanks; and thirdly, so far as literature and the sacred ministry are concerned, to the number of persons who are educated for those occupations at the public expense. The first point is too obvious to require any farther illustration than it has already received; and the second was considered (see page 45), when we were commenting upon what may be called "the lottery principle" in human nature, whereby sanguine visions, and the pleasurable excitement of a pursuit in which success is wholly uncertain, must be made our consolation for frequent failure. In respect to the last, I borrow the language of Adam Smith. "It has been considered as of so much importance, that a proper number of young people should be educated for certain professions, that sometimes the public, and sometimes the piety of private founders, have established many pensions, scholarships, exhibitions, bursaries, &c, for this purpose, which draw many more people into those trades than could otherwise pretend to follow them. In all Christian countries, I believe, the education of the greater part of churchmen is paid for in this manner. Very few of them are educated altogether at their own expense. The long, tedious, and expensive education, therefore, of those who are, will not always procure them a suitable reward, the church being crowded with people who, in order to get employment, are willing to accept of a much smaller recompense than what such an education would otherwise have entitled them to; and in this mariner the competition of the poor takes away the reward of the rich."
In the United States, generally, it may be said, that, through the efforts of Education Societies and the founders and benefactors of colleges, the clergy are educated gratuitously, — a policy very well designed to prevent pulpits from becoming vacant, but not so likely to insure the respectability, the adequate compensation, or even the sincerity, of those who fill them. It is to be feared that many are bribed, through the offer of a liberal education without charge, to enter the ministry, though they have no peculiar fitness, and not even any strong desire, for the sacred calling. Nay, it may sometimes happen, that the parents of a child who is unfitted for almost any other pursuit, because weak in body and not very strong in mind, may be tempted, by this liberal proffer, to make a minister of him, being encouraged to believe, like the mother of Dominie Sampson, that "he may wag his pow in a pulpit yet," though he cannot wag it to good purpose anywhere else.
"Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum,
In respect to the education, in part gratuitous, which is offered by the colleges as a general preparation for the other professions, though the effect is certainly to lessen the emoluments of practitioners by increasing the number of competitors, sound policy, or a regard for the best interests of the people, requires that it should be continued. Adam Smith, with his usual bias towards the principles of free trade, would have the whole matter regulated by the natural operation of supply and demand, assuming that, if more lawyers, physicians, and literary or scientific men are needed, their rates of compensation would be raised, and thus more persons would be tempted to enter these professions, even at the cost of educating themselves. But the immediate earnings of literary and scientific men, as already explained, are inferior to their merits, and altogether insufficient for their wants; while it is of the utmost importance for the interests of the public, that a numerous class of highly educated men should exist in the community, capable of appreciating each other's efforts, and of aiding the progress of letters, science, and invention. Besides, many must receive the benefits of a liberal culture, in order that the few who are able to profit by it in the highest degree may be sure not to miss the requisite preparatory training, without which even their eminent abilities may not produce their proper fruits. Many thousands must graduate at Oxford and Cambridge, in order that a possible Milton, Newton, or Bentley may not be hindered from benefiting the world by his genius. It is a commonplace remark, that "mute, inglorious Miltons" probably rest in every village churchyard. That is a short-sighted policy, which would weigh the cost of institutions of learning against only the average result upon all those who are trained at them; the value to the community at large of the services of such men as have been named is literally inestimable; it would outweigh the expense of founding and maintaining universities enough to educate the whole people. This consideration is even strong enough to justify the policy of educating most clergymen at the public charge; without it, the world might have lost the preaching of Jeremy Taylor, Jonathan Edwards, and Thomas Chalmers.
Thirdly, says Adam Smith, "the wages of labor in different occupations vary with the constancy or inconstancy of employment. In the greater part of manufactures, a journeyman may be pretty sure of employment almost every day in the year that he is willing to work. A mason or bricklayer, on the contrary, can work neither in hard frost nor in foul weather, and his employment at all other times depends upon the occasional calls of his customers. He is liable, in consequence, to be frequently without any. What he earns, therefore, while he is employed, must not only maintain him while he is idle, but make him some compensation for those anxious and desponding moments which the thought of so precarious a situation must sometimes occasion." It is easy to see that the person who can be employed only a part of the time ought to receive higher wages than one who has regular work and constant pay; and for evident reasons, his compensation must be larger. On account of the irregularity and uncertainty of his occupation, fewer persons will be disposed to engage in it; thus the competition will be less, and he will be able to raise