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well as of professional men themselves, finding in them, and in the service of government, the only means which the right of primogeniture has left them of obtaining a livelihood without forfeiting the social position to which they were born. It is the fixity of the other ranks in the kingdom, and the institutions which are designed to maintain that fixity, which indirectly operate to swell the number of applicants for admission to the learned professions and to offices under government. "If the wages of artisans," continues Mr. Mill, "remain so much higher than those of common laborers, it is because artisans are a more prudent class, and do not marry so early or so inconsiderately."
In England, and, to a small extent, in some of the States of this country, an obstacle to the free circulation of labor is created by the poor laws. A town or parish is bound to support those paupers only who were born in it, or who, in various ways specified by the laws, have obtained a "settlement" within its limits. Sometimes, forty days' undisturbed residence were made sufficient for obtaining a settlement; more stringent regulations required that the person should have been assessed to parish rates and paid them, or should have served an apprenticeship there, or have been hired into service there and remained in such service for a full year. Those who have not complied with these requisites may be warned off, or sent home to the parish where they belong. Through such regulations, it is evident that there may be a superfluity of labor in one place, and considerable deficiency of it in another, and that industry may be very unequally compensated in different districts. Frequent litigation arises under the law of settlement, as the facts in each case are often imperfectly known or difficult to be proved; and cases of extreme hardship sometimes happen, as when a family reduced by poverty and sickness are forcibly removed to a distance from the place which they have chosen for their home, or are sent travelling over the whole country in search of the parish, to which they rightfully belong. But as I have already intimated, the evil is not one of much moment here in America, where the wages of labor are high, and where there is but little pauperism among the native born, and that little can be supported at insignificant expense. No great pains, therefore, are taken to prevent a person from obtaining a settlement wherever he likes.
But the great influx of foreign immigrants, many of whom are extremely poor, while some were paupers at home, and have been sent over to this country by the parish authorities only to get rid of the expense of their maintenance, makes this subject one of considerable importance for the States on the Atlantic coast. The charge of foreign paupers is assumed by the individual States, as the matter does not come within the province of our restricted national government, and as no one town or district, more than another, is fairly chargeable with the support of this class of the poor. To require the shipmaster who brings them over to give bonds that they shall not become chargeable as paupers, or to levy a duty on all immigrants, so as to form a fund for the support of the poor among them, are measures which, though generally adopted, are of doubtful expediency and legality. Payment of the bonds is easily evaded when any length of time has intervened, or when the foreign poor have wandered into the inland States; and the fund collected in Massachusetts or New York, under a doubtful authority, as it belongs to Congress alone to regulate foreign commerce, cannot be made available for the expenses of pauperism in Connecticut or Pennsylvania. As the evil becomes greater with the now constantly increasing flood of immigration, some comprehensive measure will probably be devised to meet it, which will require the joint action of Congress and the State legislatures.
Mr. Senior justly remarks, that "the difficulty with which labor is transferred from one occupation to another is the principal evil of a high state of civilization. It exists in proportion to the division of labor. In a savage state, almost every man is equally fit to exercise, and in fact does exercise, almost every employment. But in the progress of improvement, two circumstances combine to render narrower and narrower the field within which a given individual can be profitably employed. hi the first place, the operations in which he is engaged become fewer and fewer; in a large manufactory, the man who is engaged in one of these operations has little experience in any of the others. And in the second place, the skill which the division of labor gives to each distinct class of artificers generally prevents whatever peculiar dexterity an individual may have from being of any value in a business to which he has not been brought up. A workman whose specific labor has ceased to be in demand, finds every other long-established employment filled by persons whose time has been devoted to it from the age at which their organs were still pliable and their attention fresh."
This subject is excellently illustrated by Mr. Laing, with reference to the qualifications of emigrants to perform the novel tasks imposed upon them by their change of residence. "Two hundred years ago," he s^ys, "when the peopling of the old American colonies was going on, the great mass of the population of the mother country was essentially agricultural; but every working man could turn his hand to various kinds of work, as well as to the plough. He was partly a smith, carpenter, wheelwright, stone-mason, shoemaker. The useful arts were not, as now, entirely in the hands of artisans bred to no other labor but their own trade or art; very expert, skilful, and cheap producers in that, but not used to, or acquainted with, any other kind of work. This inferior stage of civilization, in which men were not cooperative to the same extent as now, but every man did a little at everything, and made a shift with his own unaided workmanship and production, was a condition of society very favorable to emigration-enterprise and to colonization. It continues still in the United States, and is the main reason why their settlers in the backwoods are more handy, shift better for themselves, and thrive better, than the man from this country, who has been all his life engaged in one branch of industry, and in that has had the cooperation of many trades preparing his tools and the materials for his work.
"Another advantage for emigration in that state of society which we in Great Britain have entirely outgrown, was, that the female half of the population contributed almost as much as the male half to the subsistence of a family, especially an
emigrant family In the days of King James, and of
Charles I. and Charles II., and down even to the end of the last century, the emigrant could reckon upon the household work of the females of his family as more or less profitable, and at least saving, by the production of all clothing material. In genteel families at home, all the family linen and cloth for common wear, and often some-for sale in the country towns, was produced by household work. The progress of society to a higher state of material refinement has entirely superseded such family production. Cooperative labor in factories supplies the public with much better and finer goods; and the public taste is so much refined by the continual enjoyment of finer articles, that the old mode and quality of production would not satisfy it now; but that former state was more favorable to emigration than our present more advanced social condition. There seems to be a stage in the progress of nations at which they can throw off swarms with most success. A nation, like an individual, may become too refined for colonizing; its social state too cooperative; men too dependent on other men for the gratification of acquired tastes and habits, which have become part of their nature, and interwoven with the daily life even of the poorer classes." *
The case of household or home manufactures, here alluded to by Mr. Laing, is an interesting one, as it shows that, under certain circumstances, persons may be willing to work, and may find it profitable to work, for much less than the ordinary compensation of labor in their neighborhood. An agricultural family has considerable leisure time in the course of the year, the winter being a period of almost entire suspension of their customary tasks. This leisure they may profitably devote to any species of manufacture which can be pursued at home, at intervals, and without the aid of costly tools; for however poorly such labor may be compensated, its proceeds are all clear gain. The time would be entirely lost, if it were not thus employed. Thus, spinning and knitting may continue to be carried on by hand in many an humble family, long after the most perfect machinery for performing these processes has been invented, and the prices of the articles spun or knit have consequently been reduced to a very low rate. The family would not be enabled to subsist by devoting themselves entirely to these employments; but their subsistence being already secured by agriculture or some other adequately compensated labor, their leisure may be economized by such supplementary tasks, and a small addition be thus obtained to their slender income. The Swiss, a frugal and industrious people, are noted for having carried these home manufactures to a great extent, and for maintaining them against the formidable competition of British fuel, capital, and machinery.
* Laing's Observations on Europe in 1848 and 1849, pp. 69, 70.
A similar case is presented in the wages of female labor, which are usually much lower than those of males. The reason is, that comparatively few women are solely dependent upon what they can earn for themselves; most of them have a husband, father, or brother by whom they are supported. Being fed from other sources, they can afford to perform at a very low price the few tasks that are deemed appropriate for their sex. So many of them are willing to work upon these terms, in order to obtain, not a livelihood, but the means of copying a new fashion, or of purchasing a coveted article of furniture or a bit of finery, that wages in their whole department of industry are permanently depreciated; and the few women who are unfortunate enough to be thrown wholly upon the fruits of their own industry for subsistence, are reduced to great straits. Thus, sewing is a peculiarly feminine occupation, and is therefore more inadequately paid than any other species of manual labor. Hood attracted the attention and sympathy of all England for the hard fate of the needlewomen of London; and novelists have woven many pathetic fictions out of the sorrows of governesses. The menial services of females are better paid, in America at least, than any other species of woman's industry; a good cook sometimes earns more than an accomplished teacher, and certainly finds it easier to obtain employment. The meanness, or, as most women consider it, the degrading character, of the employment, must be compensated by high wages.