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at the Opening of the Session 1840
VII.-Notices of New Publications
The Young Communicants
The Widow's Son at Nain
Art. 1.-THE LOWELL OFFERING; a Repository of
Original Articles. Written by Females employed in the
of manufactures has for some time seemed inevitable, and with it a great change in the social structure and habits of our labouring classes. The congregating of large masses substituted for home employment, the consequent lessening of domestic ties and parental influence, the exposure to temptation,—the early independence,-all seemed fraught with danger. The increasing interest felt in the welfare of the poorer classes, and the greater knowledge of their sufferings and vices, made more apparent at least, if not increased, by their assemblage in large towns, filled the friends of humanity with fears, which could be allayed only by a firm trust that a just Providence could not have made the prosperity of one class of society dependant on the degradation of another; and that if to become a manufacturer be a breach of no moral law, it must also be beneficial to the masses that there should be operatives. Our Father has so connected the lot of his children together, that all apparent progress must be hollow and deceptive, which is made at the expense of our brethren. His Providence is one continued war with, and lesson against, selfishness, and he has made it impossible for a narrow selfish policy permanently to prosper.
We had long believed, we might almost say we had known,. that the operatives in a cotton manufactory in the country, under
VOL. IV. No. 15. —New Series.
masters feeling a natural interest in the welfare of their workpeople, were perhaps the most favourably circumstanced of our Tabouring population, both with respect to intellectual and moral improvement, and to physical comforts. But how far the population of our large manufacturing towns (and our manufactures are likely to gather more and more into large towns,) could be placed under sufficiently favourable circumstances to counteract the evils at present existing in them, was a subject of anxious though not hopeless thought.
The publication at the head of this article has been read by us with so much interest and so much pleasure, in relation to this subject, that we are tempted to enter into a somewhat full examination of it.
A periodical consisting entirely of contributions from females, is in itself a novelty, but one exclusively from female operatives, occupied in manual labour twelve hours each day, was indeed unlooked for, and was taken up by us at first, rather as a phenomenon to excite curiosity than from any stronger feeling
The light thrown by it on the situation, feelings and views of the American operatives, the extent of cultivation implied by the number of contributors, (about fifty,) and the variety of their subjects, the healthy tone of feeling throughout the work, the right views of labour, of happiness, and of wherein consist the advantages of knowledge,—all this interested us so strongly, as to make us inquire further respecting Lowell and its inhabitants, the result of which we will lay before our readers, and thus, as far as we can, enable those connected with our manufacturing population at home to judge how far any elements of good can be transplanted here.
We are aware of some grievous differences between the situation of English and American operatives. As our fathers sowed we must reap. Their jealousy of their neighbours led them into war; they anticipated our resources wars; and each class sought by monopolies to secure advantages to itself. While we suffer the varied evils arising from their enmity, injustice and selfishness, let us not lose the lesson, but remember, that under a moral government, national suffering is the necessary consequence of national sin, and that it is in the exercise of the opposite virtues we must seek the remedy.
Lowell, the principal seat of the American cotton manufacture, is a town of Massachusetts, of recent growth, the first mill commencing operations only in 1823. Prior to that date it consisted of three or four houses and an hotel, being a place
carry on those of resort from Boston, recommended by the beauty of the Merrimack river, and the excellence of the salmon which it afforded.
It now contains thirty-two cotton mills, besides other manufactories. The power for working these mills is entirely supplied by the river, and is now, we understand, fully occupied. The mills, as is generally the case in America, are carried on by chartered companies. The annexed table of statistics, the accuracy of which may be depended on, furnishes
interesting particulars to those desirous of comparing the English and American cotton manufacture.*
• We would recommend to those of our readers who may be interested in the subject, a book by James Montgomery, manager of the cotton manufactures at Saco, U. S. A., on the Cotton Manufacture of the United States and Great Britain. This book contains a great deal of valuable information.
The principal advantages possessed by the English over the Americans appear to be, 1st, The difference in the prime cost of a mill and machinery. Montgomery estimates that a mill which in the United States would cost €21,000, would cost in England only £9,000. This advantage must lessen daily; and if, as is expected, the restrictions on the export of machinery should be removed next year, the prices of machinery in America must be at once greatly reduced. 2nd, The greater abundance of capital in England. 3rd, Greater economy in the management of the mills, arising in part from hard times, and in part from the mills being owned by individuals, and managed by the owners, who feel the immediate benefit of any small saving effected. And, lastly, The somewhat lower rate of wages in England. The latter cause, however, has been, we believe, greatly over-estimated; for the difference between the average wages per head is not much less in our best factories than in the best factories in America.
In looking for the causes of the present prosperity of the American cotton manufacture, in comparison with ours, we shall find the principal one to be the lower price at which they obtain their cotton; and this cause, we fear, must be regarded as permanent, unless the East Indian cotton can be much improved. The cause which at present appears the next in importance, is one that will act only as long as the Americans are their own principal consumers; when they become exporters to any extent, they will probably feel the evil effects of a system of protective duties, which gives an unhealthy impetus to particular manufactures, and turns the attention of capitalists from trades which would be naturally profitable to others, the profit on which must be taken with heavy deductions from the pockets of the consumers. America, young and vigorous, has nothing to fear from free trade; her inexhaustible resources would be called out, not injured, by competition. But the Americans possess a more important and enduring advantage in the superior character of their workpeople, arising principally from their good education; and it is to this latter cause, aided by the hopefulness and enterprise engendered by free institutions, that we may, in great part, attribute the unexampled prosperity of America, in spite of a rotten banking system, and the fetters of short-sighted legislation.
The cotton manufacture of the United States has, for the last few years, been prosperous and profitable (paying on an average ten per cent.), while our own manufacturers have been working to a loss; and some of the advantages which we possess over the Americans, and which have proved insufficient to protect us, must be, from their nature, but transitory. On the other hand, if we would avoid the misery and ruin attendant upon decline, our manufacturers must exert all their energy to supply their place, and to raise the character of their work people.
STATISTICS OF LOWELL MANUFACTURES, JANUARY 1, 1840,
Yards dyed and printed ditto
195,000 70,000 Kind of Goods made . Machinery, Prints and Flannels, Sheetings and Carpets, Rugs,
Cars, and En-Sheetings, No. Prints, and Shirtings, and Negro
14 to No. 40.
Tons Anthracite Coal per ann. 200 Chaldrons 5,200
500 Smiths' Coal, 200 Tons hard
Coal. Cords of Wood per annum
500 Gallons of Oil, ditto .
3,440 Olive 4,000,
Sperm 4,000. Diameter of Water Wheels
13 Length of ditto for each Mill 14
1828 Commenced operations
1828 How warmed
Hot Air Fur-Steam and Hot Steam and Hot Hot Air Fur- Hot Air Fur-
REMARKS. Yards of cloth made per annum
58,263,400 Pounds of cotton consumed
19,255,600 Assuming half to be Upland, and half New Orleans and Alabama, the consumption in bales averaging 361 lbs. each, is
53,340 One hundred pounds of cotton will produce eighty-nine pounds of cloth.
As regards the health persons employed, great numbers have been interrogated, and the result shows, that six of the Females out of ten enjoy better health than before being employed in the mills; of Males, one half derive the same advantage.
As regards their moral condition and character, they are not inferior to any portion of the community. Average wages of Females, clear of board
Dol. 2,00 per week. Males, clear of board
80 cts. per day. Medium produce of a Loom on No. 14 yarn
44 to 55 yards per day. No. 30
30 Average per”splindle
, ” 1-10th yards per day.