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from so many sources that our only difficulty is that of selection. The comparison of the English with the Irish laborer, whether as a cottar tenant at home or working for hire in the northern counties of England, used to be a favorite one with economists before the famine and the emigration. Of late this disparagement of Irish labor has become infrequent. In the last century Arthur Young, the eminent traveller, who spent two years near Cork as the manager of a large estate, declared an Essex laborer at 2 shillings 6 pence a day to be cheaper than a Tipperary laborer at 5 pence. The improvement in the condition of the Irish peasant and in the methods of industry in Ireland was very marked in the seventy years which next followed; but in 1845 Dr. Kane, in his work on the Industrial Resources of that country, placed the number of native laborers requisite for a given production at two or more where one English laborer would suffice (pp. 397–9). In the iron manufacture he gives the ratio as three to one.
In the same manner the Russian serf was, up to the time of the Emancipation, often adduced as illustrating the low efficiency of brutalized and underfed labor. Thus Prof. Jones says: “In spite of the dearness of provisions in England and their cheapness in Russia, the mowing a quantity of hay which would cost an English farmer half a copeck, will cost a Russian farmer three or four copecks."
But it is not only in comparison with the oppressed laborers of Ireland and with the serfs of Russia that the superiority of English labor has been asserted on high authority. Mr. Edwin Rose, long employed as an operative engineer in France and Germany, testified before the Factory Commission, forty years and more ago, that it required fully twice as many hands to perform most kinds of factory work in France and Switzerland as in England ; and the statistics of per capita product and of the ratio between hands and machines amply bore out Mr. Rose's statement, The estimate of Mr. Briavoinne, founded on the total pro duction of Belgium, gave 116 pieces of cloth printed for
each workman per annum. The production of certain establishments, however, was estimated as high as 300 pieces. At the same time the workmen of the great establishment of Ainsworth & Co., in England, were turning out 1000 pieces per head. In cotton-spinning, again, we find from the best international statistics available that the number of spindles attended by a single operative to-day in England ranges from two to four times the corresponding number on the Continent.' The statistics of the iron industry of France show that on the average 42 men are employed to do the same work in smelting pig iron, as is done by 25 men at the Clarence Factories on the Tees. And so it comes about that, while wages are higher in England than in any other country of Europe, English manufactures have to be excluded by heavy duties from competition with the so-called cheaper labor of the Continent.
I« In the weaving-mills a Russian rarely has the care of more than two looms, while in England a weaver will frequently look after six.” (Report of H. B. M. Consul Egerton on the Factory System of Russia, 1873, p. 111.) Mr. Batbie states that the English farmers on the shores of the Hellespont prefer to give 10 pounds sterling a year for Greek laborers to giving 3 pounds for Turkish laborers. (Nouveau Cours de l'Economie, i. 73.) Even with the best Continental labor there is a decided inferiority to English rates of production. In Switzerland the number of hands employed per 1000 spindles does not average less than 8 to 81, against 7 in England. (Report of Mr. Gould on the Factory System of Switzerland, 1873, p. 129.)
In England, moreover, it should be noted, the machinery is almost uniformly run at a speed not known on the Continent.
? Whereas female labor in the cotton manufacture is paid at from 128. to 158. a week in Great Britain ; at from 78. 3d, to 98. 7d. in France, Belgium, and Germany; at from 28. 4d. to 28. 11d. in Russia, the one thing which is most dreaded by the Continental manufacturers everywhere is British competition. The demand for protection is loudest in France, Austria, and Russia, where the average wages reach their minimum. ...
The average price of labor per day for puddlers is 78. 6d, to 78. 10d. in Staffordshire ; 68. 4d. in France; and from 48. 7d. to 58. in
But by far the most important body of evidence on the varying efficiency of labor is contained in the treatise of Mr. Thomas Brassey, M.P., entitled “ Work and Wages," published in 1872. Mr. Brassey's father was perhaps the greatest “captain of industry” the world has ever seen, having been engaged, between 1834 and 1870, in the construction of railways in England, France, Saxony, Austria, Hungary, Moldavia, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia, the Argentine Republic, Syria, Persia, and India. “ There were periods in his career,” says Sir Arthur Helps,' “ during which he and his partners were giving employment to 80,000, upon works requiring seventeen millions (sterling) of capital for their completion.” The aggregate length of the railways thus constructed appears to have exceeded six thousand five hundred miles. The chief value of Mr. Brassey, Jr.'s work is derived from his possession of the full and authentic labor-accounts of his father's transactions. “Frenchmen, Belgians, Germans, Italians, Russians, Spaniards, and Danes came under the close inspection of Mr. Brassey and his agents; and we are told how the men of these various nationalities acquitted themselves in their respective employments.” Some of the results of this vast experiment of labor are given by Mr. Brassey, Jr., in his chapter on the Cost of Labor.
On the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada the FrenchCanadian laborers received 38. 6d. a day, while the Englishmen received from 5s. to 68. a day ; “but it was found that the English did the greatest amount of work for the money."
Contrasting the wages paid on an English railway, 38. to 38. 6d. a day, with those paid on an Irish road, 1s. 6d.
Belgium. Yet the average price of merchant bar-iron was £6 108. in England, £7 in Belgium, £8 in France. Mr. D. A. Wells' reports, as Special Commissioner U. S. Revenue.
* Brassey's Life and Labors, p. 160. ? Ibid., Preface, xvi. 3 Work and Wages, p. 87.
to 18. 8d., Mr. Brassey remarks, “ Yet with this immense difference in the rate of wages, sub-contracts on the Irish railway were let at the same prices which had been pre viously paid in South Staffordshire.”
“In India, although the cost of daily labor ranges from 41 to 6d. a day, mile for mile the cost of railway work is about the same as in England.” “In Italy, masonry and other work requiring skilled labor is rather dearer than in England.”
“Great pains were taken to ascertain the relative industrial capacity of the Englishman and the Frenchman on the Paris and Rouen line; and on comparison of half a dozen pays, it was found that the capacity of the Englishman was to that of the Frenchman as five to three.” “ Mining is perhaps the most exhausting and laborious of all occupations. It has been found that in this description of work the English miner surpasses the foreigner all over the world. On the Continent, long after earth-work and all the other operations involved in the construction of railways had been committed to the native workmen, English miners were still employed in the tunnels.”
“In the quarry at Bonnières, in which Frenchmen, Irishmen, and Englishmen were employed side by side, the Frenchman received three, the Irishman four, and the Englishman six francs a day. At those different rates, the Englishman was found to be the most advantageous workman of the three."
Such differences in industrial efficiency as have been indicated may exist not only between nations, but between geographical sections of the same people. The very mi
'Work and Wages, p. 69.
? Ibid., p. 90. • Four thousand Englishmen were sent over to work on this road. -Ibid., p. 79.
Two thousand English and Scotch were sent to Australia to work on the Queensland line. • Ibid., p. 115.
Ibid., p. 82.
nute and careful researches of M. Dupin in the early part of this century seemed to establish a decided superiority in productive power of the artisans of northern over those of southern France. In England the superiority of the agricultural population of the northern counties is unmistakably very great. “Any one,” says Mr. Mundella, M.P., “ who has witnessed agricultural operations in the west of England, will agree that the ill-paid and ill-fed laborer of those parts is dearer at 98. or 10s. per week than the Nottinghamshire man at 168.” “It would be a great mistake,” says Mr. Walter Bagehot, in the Economist,“ “ to put down as equal the day's hire of a Dorsetshire laborer and that of a Lincolnshire laborer. It would be like having a general price for steam-engines not specifying the horsepower. The Lincolnshire man is far the more efficient man of the two."
From a single page of the Report for 1869 of the Commission on the Employment of Children, Women and Young Persons in Agriculture, I extract the following testimony respecting the inefficiency of the laborers of Berkshire: “I would rather pay a Northumbrian hind 16 shillings a week than a Berks carter 12 shillings," testifies one farm bailiff. “Our men here," says another, “ are very inferior to Scotch laborers ;' two men there do as much as three here.” Another bailiff testifies that “he was obliged to employ as many men in Berkshire, at certain kinds of work, as he had been accustomed to employ of women in Perthshire.”
: Social Sc. Trans., 1868, p. 524.
2 January 24th, 1874. 3“ I protest," so writes a farmer, “ that one of the Scotchmen whom I formerly employed would do as much work as two or even three Suffolk laborers. It makes one's flesh creep' to see some of the latter at work.”—Clifford, Agricultural Lock-out of 1874, p. 25, note.
• Second Report, p. 105. “I have myself in Northumberland heard a Northumbrian farmer declare that one of the strong big-boned women who worked in his fields was worth much more than any average southern laborer."-Clifford, Agric. Lock-out of 1874, p. 25.