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ant Commissioner, 1865, will perhaps help the American reader to appreciate the scope and force of the cause we are adducing. A boy, now 11, who went at 9 years old to hardening and tempering crinoline steel, worked there from 7 A.M. till 93 P.M. four nights a week " for many and many a month,” “ many a time till 12 at night,” and once or twice worked from 7 in the morning all through the next night and day, and on till 12 the following night. Another, at 9 years old, sometimes made three 12-hour shifts running, and, when 10, has made two days and two nights running. Another, now 13, at a former place worked from 6 P.M. till noon next day for a week together, and sometimes for three shifts together, e.g., from Monday morning till Tuesday night.
Nor is it only in mines or factories, in a stifling atmosphere and amid poisonous exhalations, that children are, even yet, in happy England, exposed to the influences which stunt, distort, and weaken them, and lower the average vitality of the population, and with this its industrial efficiency. The driving of children six, eight, and ten years' afield to work for 12 and 14 hours, whether under a hot sun or against chilling, cutting winds, must tend to disorganize the cartilages of the joints, to produce curvature of the spine, to dwarf the growth, and to prepare the way for an early breaking down from rheumatism and scrofula.
I repeat I have not adduced these facts and incidents for charity's sake, or in any sentimental vein, but wholly for their economical significance, and I propose to use them in strict subordination to recognized economical principles.
II. A further reason for the greater industrial efficiency of one laborer than of another, and of one class or nation of laborers than of another, is a most vulgar one, namely, better
* See the reports of the Commission of 1862 on the Employment of Children, and of the Commission of 1867 on the Employment of Wo men and Children.
feeding. The human stomach is to the animal frame what the furnace is to the steam-engine. It is there the force is generated which is to drive the machine. The power with which an engine will work will, up to a certain point, increase with every addition made to the fuel in the furnace; and, within the limits of thorough digestion and assimilation, it is equally true that the power which the laborer will carry into his work will depend on the character and amount of his food. What the employer will get out of his workman will depend, therefore, very much on what he first gets into him. Not only are bone and muscle to be built up and kept up by food, but every stroke of the arm involves an expenditure of nervous energy, which is to be supplied only through the aliinentary canal. What a man can do in 24 hours will depend very much on what he can have to eat in those 24 hours; or perhaps it would be more correct to say, what he has had to eat the 24 hours previous. If his diet be liberal, his work may be mighty. If he be underfed, he inust underwork. So far away as the Hundred Years' War, Englishmen were accustomed to assign a more generous diet as the reason why their “ beeffed knaves” so easily vanquished their traditional enemies, and even into this century the island writers were accustomed to speak as if still for the same reason, in work at least if not in war,
"Upon one pair of English legs did march three Frenchmen.” Of course in this, as in every other department of expenditure, there is an economical maximum, where the greatest proportional return is received. Beyond this, though an increase of food may yield an increase of force, it does not yield a proportional increase, just as in a furnace with a given height of chimney, the combustion of a given number of pounds of coal to the square foot of grate-surface yields the economical maximum of power. More fuel burned will evaporate more water, but not proportionally more. With the laborer the economical maxiinum of expenditure on food is reached far short of the point at which “gorging and guzzling" begin ; it shuts off every thing that partakes of luxury or ministers to delicacy ; yet till that maximum be reached every addition to food brings a proportional, or more than proportional, addition of working strength. To stop far short of that limit and starve the laboring man is as bad economy as to rob the engine of its fuel. Thus with a furnace of a given height, having for its economical maximum 12 lbs. of coal to the square foot of grate-surface, the consumption of 6 lbs. might yield far less than one half the power, while 3 lbs. might scarcely serve to keep the furnace warm under the constant loss by radiation and the cooling influence of the water in the boilers. In much the same way a laborer may be kept on so low an allowance of food that it will all go to keeping the man alive, and nothing be left to generate working power.' From this low point, where the bad economy of starving the laborer is manifest even to the most selfish or stupid overseer, up to a point where it requires a great deal of good sense and more magnanimity of character on the part of the employer to make him feel sure of a return for added expenditure, there is a steady
1 " Each Frenchman consumes on an average 16 oz. of wheaten bread a day; each Englishman, 32 oz. ; the former, 1} oz. of meat; the latter, 6 oz."-Alison, Europe, 1815-51, ch, xvii., sec. 126.
" Des expériences ont démontré que l'ouvrier français, lorsqu'il est aussi bien nourri qu'un ouvrier anglais rend à peu près autant de tra. vail.”—Batbie, Nouvean Cours de l'Économie politique, i. 71.
I should be disposed to believe that a somewhat greater difference would remain, notwithstanding equivalent subsistence, than M. Batbie's patriotism will allow him to confess. The causes adduced un. der the previous head must count for much.
? Mr. R. R. Torrens, M.P., stated, at the meeting of the Social Science Association in 1867, that when he was employed in sending out emigrants from Ireland in 1840, he found that “a large portion of the Irish people were living on a kind of potato called 'lumpers,' which were so inferior in quality that even pigs could not fatten on them."Transactions, p. 670.
progression in working power as the diet becomes more ample and nutritious.
Now this principle, if I have correctly stated it, as to the economical relation between food and laboring force, becomes of validity not only to explain in part the great differences in industrial efficiency which we have seen to exist among bodies of laborers, but also to show how, in cases where the subsistence of the laborer is below the economical maximum, a rise of wages may take place without a loss to profits.
That a large portion of the wage-laboring class are kept below the economical limit of subsistence there can be no doubt. “Today, in the west of England,” says Prof. Fawcett, “it is impossible for an agricultural laborer to eat meat more than once a week." Of the Deron peasant Canon Ginilestone writes: “ The laborer breakfasts on terkertle broth-hot water poured on bread and flavored vrith onions;- ines on bread and hand cheese at 21. a pound, with citer rerr mashy and sour; and suns on potafete's or cablage grased with a tiny bit of fat bacon. He
m mere than sus or smerts butcher's meat." Little r der is it that the Derea laer is different sort of
al from the Lnola er L an livrer. No Deren Tarner
w a s that it was sl eucar to keep us ce r , amantrins de Jo rrutat de Merca
farmer would reason that, as he was but just able now to make a living profit, he would be ruined, for good and for all, were he to give his horses enough to keep them in good condition for work. And if one were found so niggardly and so foolish as to act and talk thus, his neighbors at least would tell him that the very reason why he made such bare profits now was that he starved his stock, and that with better feeding they would better earn their keep. Yet the farmers of the west of England, almost as a body, when they had to meet the demands of their laborers for increase of wages in 1873 and in 1874, under the instigation of the Agricultural Union, declared that they would be ruined if they paid higher wages; and there are not wanting economists of reputation to corroborate them, and assert that it is “physically impossible” that wages should be advanced without impairing profits. If there is any physical impossibility in the case, it is that the wretched peasants could be better fed without adding to the value of their labor to their employers.
The revelations of the Poor-Law Commission of 1833 respecting the comparative subsistence of the soldier, the agricultural laborer, and the pauper were very striking. The soldier, who had active duties and needed to be kept in at least tolerable physical condition, received a ration of 768 oz., the able-bodied pauper received 151 oz., while the independent laborer, sole surviving representative of the yeomanry of Crecy and Agincourt, received 122 oz. per week. Now it goes without saying that when the day laborer, toiling from morning till night in the fields, receives a smaller amount of nourishment than the sense of public decency will allow to be given to paupers, that
Sir Joseph Whitworth is reported to have said that he could not afford to work a horse in his establishment which ate less than 18 lbs. of oats a day.
3" It is physically impossible that any permanent rise in wages should tuke place without corresponding diminution of profits."-H. Fawcett, Pol. Econ., p. 264.