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ing in 1875 £281,000,000, showing an increase of £117,000,000. These were the exports. I read the imports first. The total volume of exports and imports was, for the fifteen years ending in 1860, £375,000,000, and for the fifteen years ending in 1875 £655,000,000, being an increase of £280,000,000. [See foot-note 2.]
The CHAIRMAN. Have you investigated the fact as to whether the trade of Great Britain with other countries did not increase in exactly the same proportion in the same time!
Mr. MARSHALL. Undoubtedly it did increase; but I think that there was a marked increase immediately after the establishment of that commercial treaty.
The CHAIRMAN. Mainly because French wines could be imported into England free of duty. Mr. MARSHALL. And silks also ?
The CHAIRMAN. And silks also. But I think that the increase of business between France and England was not greater than that between France and other countries at the same time. I agree with you, however, that the removal of restrictions tends very largely to the increase of business.
Mr. MARSHALL. I think that this country would be benefited by a similar treaty with France.
The CHAIRMAN. I suppose you know that the difficulty with France is that these commercial treaties are very disadvantageous to the United States. We have no prohibition as to France, but we are not on equal terms with France. They actually prohibit the importation of many of our products, while they let those of England in free, or at low rates.
Mr. MARSHALL. I know that. France deals with foreign nations on the principle of commercial treaties.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, and on the principle of taking care of France every time. You cannot cite France as an example of a nation that is progressing in the direction of free trade.
Mr. MARSHALL. I think I can. The average rate of duties under the French tariff is only 15 per cent., while the average rate of duties under our tariff is something like 40 per cent.
The CHAIRMAN. But the rates of labor are cheaper in France than they are in England. Therefore the French can compete as to every article (except where England has special advantages) on terms of equality, and therefore it is not necessary for France to have protective duties on those articles. Now, take the matter of iron. The duties on iron were not reduced by the Cobden treaty. Napoleon would not sacrifice the iron business in France; and the French iron business has steadily grown under the Cobden treaty, and the importations have not grown,
Mr. MARSHALL. I have not the figures of French importations, so that I cannot speak positively on that point. But now, to come to the question of the wages of workingmen. I am not an employer of labor directly, but I am indirectly. You are aware that all work on ships is done by a middle-man. That is, you make a contract for your work with a stevedore at a certain tariff of rates, and then he employs the men at the existing rates and pays them on the schedule of rates obtaining at the time. The wages of 'longshoremen in this city appear to have kept up very well. I believe that in the circular which you sent out you asked for some information of that kind.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, we want it very much. Mr. MARSHALL. Of course there are some questions in that circular to which I cannot reply, such as in regard to the rents of houses, the prices of commodities, &c. But I did ascertain the wages of 'longshore-men from 1860 to 1877. The wages of the laborers (as they call them) were forty cents an hour. 'Longshore-men are not paid by the day for any specified time, but are only paid for the actual time during which they are employed. They go to work, and when their work is finished, they knock off their work, and then they go to work again.
The CHAIRMAN. When were the wages 40 cents an hour ? Mr. MARSHALL. From 1860 to 1877. The CHAIRMAN. And they were never changed in that time Mr. MARSHALL. No, sir; they were never changed. They received 40 cents an hour for day-work, and for night-work their wages were just double.' Then, as to the riggers. They got 45 cents an hour by day, and for night-work they got 80 cents per hour. The foremen, the heads of gangs, got 50 cents an hour for day-work, and 80 cents an hour for pight-work. That scale of wages obtained from 1860 to 1877. From 1877 down to the present time laborers get 30 cents an hour by day, and only 45 cents an hour for night-work. Foremen get 45 cents an hour for night-work.
Mr. MARSHALL. There are certain classes of laborers among the longshoremen who are employed to stow cotton, tobacco, and oil, and who receive ten cents more, forty cents instead of thirty cents, because the labor is presumed to be more arduous. I asked my stevedore what a steady man of this class, employed regularly from 1860 to 1876, could gain, on an average, a week, and he told me about $16. That is, a man in pretty steady employment and sought for as a good man in this desultory sort of work (because it is not a regular occupation) would make about $16 a week from 1860 to 1876. It appears that now our best men average about $12 a week, a reduction of $4 a week on the best men. I then asked him what the best years were for remuneration and steady employment of that class of labor, and he mentioned the years 1871, 1073, and 1874. In those years the men found the most steady employment, and he ascribed it to the Franco-German war, which created great activity in shipments in the beginning of this period. What the causes were later, I do not know. He stated that at times during the period a good man would make as much as $20 a week.
point is that the removal of restriction tends to increase trade to the advantage of both countrier. A proof of this is the enormous general increase of exports and imports in England's trade after the traiff reform of Peel, and the establishment of the Cobden treaty; also, as shown in particular in tho growth of trade between England and France.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that a special business requiring unusual strength or skill! Because the wages seem out of proportion to the pay of common laborers.
Mr. MARSHALL. The business requires a good deal of strength and it also requires some skill, especially in the stowing of cotton; the bales have to be selected with care in order to get as many as possible into a given space.
The CHAIRMAN. Does your informant say that there is abundant employment now for these men ?
Mr. MARSHALL. I asked him whether there was any particular distress among them at present, and he said he thought not; that though they did not earn as much as they used to, still they are able to maintain themselves and their families, because the prices of commodities are much less than when their business was more active.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the volume of employment as great as usual ! Mr. MaRSHALL. There is not so steady employment as there was in the three years I have mentioned.
The CHAIRMAN. You say they are getting $12 a week now instead of $16, a reduction of one-quarter, but that that is because wages have fallen 25 per cent. That would indicate as much employment as usual.
Mr. MARSHALL. The reduction may be due to a combination of both causes. The probability is that the men are not getting so large wages, and also that they are not employed so constantly as they were. Probably the volume of work and the remu. neration are both less than they were in the period I have mentioned.
Now take the wages of carpenters and calkers, people employed in the constrnction and repair of vessels. That used to be a very large industry here, but there have been hardly any ships built in this city since 1862 or 1863. There may have been one or two built besides one that I built, but shipping, as an industry, las disappeared.
The CHAIRMAN. Did trades-unions have anything to do with driving away the business of ship-building and ship-repairing from New York !
Mr. MARSHALL. That I cannot say. I only know that all the great yards have been compelled to close up and are doing nothing. From 1855 to 1869–shall I go back as far as 1855?
The CHAIRMAN. Go back as far as you are prepared to go. The information will be very valuable to us.
Mr. MARSHALL. From 1850 to 1855 the wages of a carpenter were $2 to $2.25 a day. From 1855 to 1860 there was no change. From 1860 to 1862 the wages went up slightly to $2.25 and $2.50 a day. . Then in 1863 they went up to $2.50, $2.75, and $3 in many cases. In 1864 they went up to $3.75 and to $4, and even as high as $4.50). In 1865 and 1866 the wages were $1 and $4.50 a day-very high wages. In 1867 they came down, and were from $3.50 to $4, and sometimes $4.50 in exceptional cases. In 1868 they were $3, $3.50, and, in exceptional cases, $4, and in 1869 they were $3, $3.50, and sometimes $4. These were the wages of carpenters. The wages of calkers did not differ materially from these rates, though they were about twenty-five or fifty cents a day higher at times, as stated in this schedule. Calking is always well paid.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think wages have fallen in those branches of business as much as the necessaries of life?
Mr. MARSHALL. I think not.
The CHAIRMAN. You think, then, that the purchasing power of the pay of these men is greater to-day than it was in the years you have given!
Mr. MARSHALL. I think that in this particular class of labor the purchasing power of the wages is greater than it was at that time.
The CHAIRMAN. Greater than in 1860? Mr. MARSHALL. I don't know about 1860, but greater than when the wages reached their highest point.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course it is greater than it was at that time. Mr. MARSHALL, Carpenters and calkers got in 1877 $3.50 a day, and they get now $3. A blacksmith in 1877 and the early part of 1878 got $3 a day, now he gets $2.75. Ordinary laborers in 1877 got $2 a day, now they get $1.75.
The CHAIRMAN. With those rates of wages prevailing, wouldn't it be pretty hard for
an American shipping merchant to compete with a British merchant who repaired his ships in British ports at the rates that prevail there?
Mr. MARSHALL. Yes, sir. I had an instance of that not long ago myself. I had occasion to re-metal here a ship which bears the name of my father, Charles H. Marshall, and shortly afterwards I had to have another ship re-metaled in Liverpool, which bears the name of Hamilton Fish, lately Secretary of State. I took occasion to contrast the relative cost of repairing those two vessels. They were about the same size and tonnage, having about the same area to be covered in each case. I took the number of pounds in both cases and compared them, and the difference in favor of the Liverpool work was something like $1,000.
The CHAIRMAN, About what percentage ? Mr. MARSHALL. The total work in the case of the vessel repaired here cost about $2,800, the one repaired in Liverpool cost about $1,800. That is after giving credit for the return of old metal.
The CHAIRMAN. A difference of very nearly 50 per cent. ?
Mr. MARSHALL. Within a few weeks. I asked one of the ship-builders here, Mr. Poillon, who built the yacht Sappho, to tell me about how large a class the carpenters and calkers are at present, but he has not given me any answer yet. I also asked him whether there is much distress among that class, and he says that, in his opinion, there is very considerable distress among them, I asked him also wbether they were pretty fully employed, and his reply is that only about one-third of them have steady employment; I presume not the same one-third all the time, but that the employment is distributed among them, and that on an average one-third of them are employed. Of course, the only way I can get this information is by appealing to a number of persons interested practically in this sort of business.
The CHAIRMAN. We are very much obliged to you for taking the trouble, because it has been very difficult for us to get the information.
Mr. MARSHALL. In speaking of the difference in the cost of repairing these two vessels that I have mentioned, which is a very large difference, I must say that the work in Liverpool was done very cheaply indeed. We have very little money to spend on ships nowadays, you know. In fact, all the ships that I represent now are running pretty inuch for the benefit of the labor employed ; certainly not for the benefit of the capitalist.
The CHAIRMAN. I was going to ask you whether the capital employed in your business of running ships yields a profit, or whether the ships are run for the employment of the laborer?
Mr. MARSHALL. Entirely for the employment of the laborer. I will give all the profits that I make out of my shipping interest for one-half of 1 per cent. per annum.
The CHAIRMAN. So it appears that in the shipping business, as was testified the other day by Mr. Dodge in respect to his business, the laborer has the benefit of a large capital withont paying anything for it.
Mr. MARSHALL. Entirely so, so far as my experience goes; and I suppose that is the general experience. There is no return from the capital employed in running ships now, but of course that business gives large employment to labor, and the laborer benefits by it, while the capitalist gets nothing.
The CHAIRMAN. Still, the capitalist tries to keep it going in the hope of a change for the better.
Mr. MARSHALL. In the hope of a better time. A ship-owner is like the man who had hold of the tiger's tail : if he let go he would be sure to be killed, and it was death to hold on. If you lay up yonr ships they will deteriorate more than if you run them.
The CHAIRMAN. Therefore there is a profit in the business in the sense that the stips would deteriorate more if they were laid up than when they are kept running.
Mr. MARSHALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. MARSHALL. Yes. Now, of course, every man has his own opinion as to the remedy required to bring about a different condition of things. Representatives of the workingmen have come before you and testified that in their judgment unlimited issues of greenbacks, or transportation to the prairies at government expense and other such measures, are the true solution of the difficulty; but my opinion is that all those schemes wonld be utterly nugatory and would only react upon the very classes for whose benefit they are intended, and leave them in a worse condition than before. I do not say this on account of any want of sympathy with the workingman, because I have an intense sympathy with the laboring class in this community, but I deny that those measures which are advocated in the interests of that class of our people would be effectual, and I am firmly convinced that they would simply operate to the injury of workingmen. I think, in the first place, that a reformation in our currency is the vital thing to get it back to a sound basis, which will give stability to commercial transactions. Then let us bave the fiscal legislation which is required to raise the load of taxation and adjust it properly to the shoulders of the people. I do sincerely
believe that we must have a revision of our tariff and the ultimate reduction of it to a revenue basis before we can have anything like stable, tangible prosperity in this country. Then, in addition to these measures, giving us a revenue tariff and a sound currency, I would abrogate our navigation laws, which are of no use even for the protection of the very class that they pretend to protect. I say to those people who claim that ships can be built as cheaply in this country as on the other side, that if this is so, there is no harm in abrogating the navigation laws, because shipowners will be sure to go where they can get ships built cheapest and best; and, on the other hand, if ships cannot be built bere as cbeaply as on the other side, then the American ship-owner should be allowed to get his work done where he can get it cheapest, or else he is placed at a disadvantage. Then, in addition to these reforms, we require economy in the administration of our governments, both national and local, but especially local. Just think of it! the municipal debts alone of this country are a thousand millions of dollars. The chairman of this committee knows very well how largely municipal debt was increased in this country within the past few years and how enormously it has ontrun the growth of population and wealth.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, the growth of our debt has been much more rapid than the growth of our population.
Mr. MARSHALL. That, I think, is one of the greatest difficulties that we have to contend with in attempting to ameliorate the condition of the workingmen. We must have the reforms that I bave indicated, and I firmly believe that if the workingman will help to bring about these reforms, and will at the same time practice sobriets, patience, and honest industry, he will find in this direction the true solution of his difficulties, and he cannot find it in any other way. He cannot find it from public cbarity, which is the intervention of government, nor from private charity, which is the intervention of individuals. He must depend upon himself and upon leaders who will put him in the right path and help him to bring about legislation which will inure to his advantage as well as to the advantage of all classes. This committee have thrown open their doors and invited representatives of every class to come and express their views, and I cannot but think that much good will come of it. Of course, a vast amount of nonsense has been talked in this room, but I do not think it will do any barm. If what I have said or anybody else has said here has truth or substance in it, it will have its effect; if not, it will have no weight. I thank the committee for the patient hearing they have given me.
The accompanying table shows the amount of American tonnage engaged in the foreign and coasting trade, from 1820 to 1860, by periods of five years, and from 1860 to 1877, by single years, and which may be useful as illustrating the rise and progress and subsequent decay of our shipping interests.
539,080 587, 273 496, 240
746, 116 1, 144,664 1, 190,898 1, 755, 798 2, 491, 108 2,599,313 2, 657, 993 2,578, 546 2,918, 614 3, 204, 297 3, 353, 657 2,689, 152 2,627, 151 9. 658, 404 2, 470,999 9,729,372 9,893, 906 3, 116, 373 3, 243, 656 3, 169,687 2,547,490
*New measurement from 1865. The above includes steamships as well.
The registered steam tonnage was as follows:
ENGAGED IN FOREIGN TRADE. Years.
Tons. Years. 12.30...
1. 419 1871... 1840
4, 155 1872 1851).
44, 129 1873.. 1860....
97, 296 1874. 1894....
106, 519 1875.... 1868....
221, 939 1876..... 1870.
... 192, 544 | 1877.. From address of Charles H. Marsball, February 19, 1878.
Tons. 180, 914 177, 666 193, 424 195, 245 181, 6x9
198, 227 .. 190, 133
The following table, taken from a little book called “Our Merchant Marine," writ. ten by Mr. Charles S. Hill in the advocacy of subsidies, and in the interest of certain ship-building yards in this country, slows the comparative estimate of American and foreigu tonnage entered at ports in the United States from foreign countries since 1830:
American and foreign tonnage entered at ports of the United States from foreign countries
in the following years, viz :
(From official figures.)
American in ex. | Foreign in ex
excess of for. cess of Amer. eign tonnage. ican tonnage.
£25, 327 1840.
864, 523 1850.
2, 573, 016
797. 393 1860....
5, 921, 285 2, 353, 911
3, 567, 374 1861.
5, 023, 917
2, 806, 363 1862....
5.117, 665 2, 245, 278
2,872, 407 1863.
4, 614, 698 2, 640, 378
1,974, 320 1864. 3,066, 434 3.471, 219
404, 765 1865. 2, 943, 661 3, 216, 967
273, 306 1866. 3, 372, 060 4, 410, 424
1,038, 364 1867.... 3, 455, 052 4,318, 673
863, 621 1868. 3,550, 550 4, 495, 465
944, 915 1869.... 3, 402, 668 5,347, 694
1,945, 026 1876... 4,711, 949 12, 218, 365
*7, 506, 416 • This is a startling increase of foreign tonnage in the last seven years, viz, 128 per cent., and gives om. ployment to over 350,000 foreign sailors, consequently leaving that number of our own seamen unem. ployed,
On examination of the official report of the Chief of the Burean of Statistics on Commerce and Navigation, I find that the writer of “Our Merchant Marine" has erred in his figures for 1876. The amount of American tonnage entered at ports of the United States from foreign countries for that year was 3,611,436 tons; of foreign tonnage, 8,899,312 tons. The difference, therefore, in favor of the latter, is 5,287,876 tons. This, though not as startling as the figures given above, is sufficient evidence of the steady diminution of American tonnage engaged in foreign trade, as contrasted with that of other nations.-[Extract from address of Charles H. Marshall, February 19, 1878.
PROGRESS OF BRITISH SHIPPING.
In 1849 the protective navigation laws were in full force; they were repealed by an act passed June 26, 1849, which came into operation on the 1st of January, 1850. "The following is an account of the total number of British vessels engaged in the home and foreign trade (exclusive of river steamers), registered at the two periods and subsequently, with the number of men employed, exclusive of masters. The total number of vessels, including river steamers, registered as belonging to the United Kngdom and the Channel Islands in 1875, was 25,461, and the tonnage 6,152,467.