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State who never have any employment. If the gentleman has taken that column as his basis, then he took an entirely false basis for his conclusions.
The CHAIRMAN. Did your figures take into account in both cases the number of persons in the almshouses who were receiving public relief? Mr. WRIGHT. No, sir: they did not. The CHAIRMAN. In both cases you excluded them! Mr. WRIGHT. In both cases I excluded them.
The CHAIRMAX. May there not be at present a large number of persons who, if employment was more abundant, would be out of the poor-house and would be in the walks of industry?
Mr. WRIGHT. That would increase the number reported by our bureau, but not very much-very slightly. It would not add 4,000 to the number.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, do I understand you as saying that the number of persons receiving parochial relief in Massachusetts is only 4,000 greater than in 1875?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; that figure would include every person receiving parochial assistance in both years.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say that there are not over 4,000 persons in the State of Massachusetts receiving parochial relief?
Mr. WRIGHT. There are not inore than that receiving permanent aid in the entire State; but perhaps I might as well be accurate about that.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; for that is a very remarkable statement contrasted with other countries.
Mr. WRIGHT. That does not include those receiving temporary aid from day to day, but permanent aid (after referring to a book). The whole number of indoor paupers in Massachusetts in 1875 was 4,340.
The CHAIRMAN, How many were receiving relief outside ?
Mr. WRIGHT. That cannot be determined and never has been determined accurately in any State or country.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean receiving relief from public sources. In England it is determined every month.
Mr. WRIGHT. Every year differs with the next year, and every writer on the subject differs with every other writer.
The CHAIRMAN. The statistical statement published every month in England gives the returns for every parish in England, is summed up into the four great divisions of England, and is then averaged for the year. That report is supposed to be perfectly accurate,
Mr. WRIGHT. I am familiar with that report; but the trouble with it is that it takes the paupers who are relieved temporarily every year, and does not take the number on any one day, so that it is never an accurate statement of the actual number relieved throughout the year. That is the tronble in our own country. We never get at it. An attempt is being made this year to take the censns of those receiving temporary relief on special days at four different periods of the year. That will give an approximation of the actual number receiving assistance. At present it is like the tramp question, where one active tramp counts for 365 tramps throughout the year.
The CHAIRMAN. But that is not the case in the English system. There the names are taken down and the persons receiving relief are only cunted once in the month, and the return is made for every month, so that you can actually get the names of the paupers relieved in any given month in the year. They are only accounted for once. This English return is made for the express purpose of accomplishing what you say they are at present trying to do in Massachusetts-arriving at the number of individual persons relieved.
Mr. WRIGHT. I understand that they have brought it to greater perfection there than we have here, and that is one reason why gentlemen come and say that pauperism is decreasing in England and is increasing in this country. When they get at the real facts they will find that the reverse is true.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say that pauperism is on the increase in England ? Mr. WRIGHT. I do not mean to say that it is on the increase, but I mean to say that it is not decreasing there and increasing here in the proportions alleged. It is decreasing there and it is decreasing here.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean that, since the panic of 1873, there has been a decreaso in the number of paupers in the United States ?
Mr. WRIGHT. Temporarily, after the panic of 1873, there was an increase in the number of individuals relieved at the public expense. That number is now decreasing, and the overseers of the poor everywhere in Massachusetts (in cities as well as in towns) report a decrease in the number of those demanding aid from the public. The expense of pauperism in Massachusetts for the year ending March, 1878, will, when the report is made, show a decrease as compared with former years.
The CHAIRMAN. May not that decrease be due to the diminished price of commodities supplied to the paupers ?
Mr. WRIGHT. It might, if it were not for the fact that it will show a decrease in the numbers also.
The CHAIRMAX. Have you looked at the statistics for the city of New York to see if that is also true here? Mr. WRIGHT. I have not.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that they will show that the number of applicants for relief last winter was greater than at any previous period in the city of New York. Mr. WRIGHT. That may have been so at some particular time.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you gone outside of the State of Massachusetts to see whether the same conclusion is true in other States ?
Mr. WRIGHT. I have made very extensive inquiry in regard to the condition of labor in the United States, and I have not found a single locality yet that reports any such state of affairs as we have been led to believe existed.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you investigated the condition of labor in the coal-mining regions of Pennsylvania?
Mr. Wright. Notathoroughly. The coal-mining work is subject to so many variations that it is difficult to judge of its condition at any time.
The CHAIRMAN. You have seen, of course, a statement, made during the spring of the year, of the condition of miners at Scranton and in the neighborhood of Scranton? Mr. WRIGHT. Yes,
The CHAIRMAN. Showing the absolute destitution which was said to prevail in that region 7
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; I have no doubt it did prevail, but I believe that it is better now.
The CHAIRMAN. How does it get better?
The CHAIRMAN. You might, still, from observation, tell how an apple grows, and so about pauperism. It may be that there is more employment now, or that some portion of the unemployed labor there has been forced away into other fields of occupa
Mr. WRIGHT. When a large quantity of coal is sold on the market for the sake of influencing the market, it affects the condition of the miners. I find as much difficulty in getting at the causes of prosperity as I have in getting at the causes of depression.
The CHAIRMAN. I am speaking now of the fact whether, under your observation, any portion of the labor that was uneniployed and suffering has been compelled to quit the regions where there was too much of it and to go to other regions-driven to the West, for instance,
Mr. WRIGHT. Not to any great extent, although emigration is constantly going forward to the West from all the Eastern States.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that Massachusetts has been relieved of any portion of her pauperism in that way?
Mr. WRIGHT. I think so. I do not believe that the populatiou of Massachusetts has very much increased during the last three years. I do not think that that has relieved the State of Massachusetts, for I do not believe that you can create a condition of prosperity by depopulating a State.
The CHAIRMAN. No; but you can relieve the suffering in a State where people are out of employment by getting rid of the surplus population for the time being. Mr. WRIGHT. Certainly; through the natural redistribution of population.
The CHAIRMAX. May it not be done by artificial means! Cannot the State say that there are more people in the State than can be employed; and can it not take the money which would have to be expended in feeding the unemployed and use it in putting them somewhere else?
Mr. WRIGHT. That might work very well for a little time; but it would soon become a disaster to the nation. I do not think that you can force a redistribution of population any more than you can force a readjustment of values. Certainly a government cannot force prosperity.
The CHAIRMAN. But suppose there is here a deficiency of employment, and suppose that a thousand miles to the west of us there is a demand for labor, cannot the State intervene and transfer the unemployed labor from here to the region where there is employment for it! It is not a matter of forcing prosperity, but a mere matter of putting the labor where it is wanted. Cannot the same money which would be used to feed these people be used to transport them to some other place where their labor will be remunerative ? Mr. Wright. Yes; if you had an opportunity to select the right men. The CHAIRMAN. Then the difficulty would be in the selection? Mr. WRIGHT. I think the trouble would be this (it is the same in all Northern States as in the Southern States-only with different kinds of population): There is in every large city a class of men who, if you should give them a farm in the West, stock
it, and put it in first-rate running order, on the condition that they should live on it and till the soil, would not go there. Such men prefer what they call society. They will have it. It is certainly impossible to get these men out of a city under any inducement whatever. It is just the same with colored people in some of the Southern States. The colored man likes society; his society to him is important. A watermelon on the sunny side of the house is worth more to him than any labor remuneration for his family. And it is just the same with a certain class of men North. For many years we have been trying in Boston to get population out of the city into country homes; and I am not aware yet that any of those endeavors have met with success.
The CHAIRMAN. You think, then, that any interference with the natural law which leads people where their inclination requires them to live would be unwise on the part of the government?
Mr. WRIGHT. Not only unwise, but it would lead to absolute disaster.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that, if we were to appropriate the proceeds of the sale of the public lands to the work of moving population from the cities to the Western lands, it would result in failure ?
Mr. WRIGHT. I think so. I should judge that a better way would be to give them the land.
The CHAIRMAN. That we do now under the homestead law. But the complaint is (it has been brought before the committee and has been very much discussed) that there is not money available to transport the idle people out there, and that there are a number of people who would like to live on farms who cannot get there. Mr. WRIGHT. Why not offer some of them money to go out
The CHAIRMAN. That is exactly the question I put to you-whether it is expedient for Congress to pay for the transportation of any portions of this unemployed population that is willing to go to the West.
Mr. WRIGHT. I do not think that the government has any right to do that, and I do not think that it would be a wise measure.
The CHAIRMAN. As to the question of right, you recognize the obligation of every civilized community to take care of its poor, do you not!
Mr. WRIGHT. I do.
The CHAIRMAN. If it can feed them in a workhouse and take care of them there, and if the same money that that would cost would put them where they could take care of themselves, would there be any violation of principle in that?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; if you call these people paupers.
The CHAIRMAN. They come in the attitude of paupers-in forma pauperis-and say, "We cannot get to these lands; pay our fares for us and we will go there."
Mr. WRIGHT. Exactly, and the government has a perfect right to pay their fares there and to settle them there and to keep them there as paupers.
The CHAIRMAN. If you put a man in the poorhouse and keep him there as a pauper, would you not let him go some time ? Mr. WRIGHT. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. One of the richest families of the United States has sprung from such a beginning. It is said that the founder of that family came over to America under a contract by which he had to refund the cost of transportation; and certainly there is nothing inconsistent in paying a man's passage to the West and enabling him to settle on a farm.
Mr. Wright. No, sir; if you only do it under natural laws; but I doubt if you will get men to go there as paupers.
The CHAIRMAN. That is to say, they will not accept money to pay their fare ?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Rice says that he was secretary of the Kansas Emigrant Aid
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say that they went out on some other idea besides settling in the West? Mr. WRIGHT. Exactly. It is a mere question of ideas.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any idea more powerful than the desire of a man to secure a home for himself and family? Mr. WRIGHT. Not generally.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you conceive of a man going out there on a political idea and refusing to go on that other idea?
Mr. WRIGHT. I think he would go, but I do not think he would turn out a good citizen. The people whom Mr. Rice speaks of were men who wanted to go, and whom the society wanted to go; but the idea which you advance is that these people shall go at the expense of the government.
The CHAIRMAN. No; my idea is this. I have a letter written to me from Elizabeth, N. J., saying that a body of twelve young men, heretofore employed in various avocations, are now without employment, and have made up their mind to go West; and that, if they cannot get there in any other way, they are going to walk there. But the suggestion is made that, if transportation were provided by the government, it would be a very great help to them, and would relieve them of much of the difticulties in their way. That is the sort of case I want to put to you. Mr. WRIGHT. I should hope that somebody would pay their fare there.
The CHAIRMAN. But the question is whether the government should undertake to do it out of the proceeds of the sale of public lands, the government being trustee of the public lands for the whole community. Mr. WRIGHT. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Would there be anything wrong, objectionable, or unjust in doing it! Mr. WRIGHT. It would be an experiment. It might be well worth trying. So far as legality is concerned, I do not know that there is any question about it any more than about giving aid to other enterprises.
The CHAIRMAN. Assuming it to be legal, would it be a wise measure of public policy? Mr. WRIGHT. I do not think it would be, but I should like to see it tried.
The CHAIRMAN. In regard to the progress of employment in Massachusetts since 1873, are you satisfied now that the labor of Massachusetts is in any better state of employment now than it has been at any time during the last three years ? Mr. WRIGHT. I am thoroughly satisfied about that.
The CHAIRMAN. Things are on the mend there!
The CHAIRMAN. Have you examined to find whether in other places there was a different state of things in that respect from that which there is in Massachusetts ! Mr. WRIGHT. I have. The CHAIRMAN. And you have not found it to be so. Mr. Wright. I do not find but that there is a decided improvement in all branches of industry, with the exception, perhaps, of the iron trade. That is particularly an exception just now, perhaps. I am not familiar with that business.
The CHAIRMAN. I ain very familiar with it, and I know that the difficulties in the iron trade seem to be increasing. Although the demand for iron last year was greater in tons than in any year since 1873, yet the fall in prices has been so great that I know of no concern in that business that can be run at a profit. Most of them must be running at a loss, and I think that every owner of a blast furnace must be considering the question whether he can keep it on any longer or not.
Mr. WRIGHT. That is true, I imagine, of the iron trade; but I find that in the cotton business and in the shoe business (the two leading industries of our State) there is not only a decided improvement, but there are many efforts being made to increase the capacity of works.
The Chairman. Do you think that that results from our having secured a foreign market for any of those products! Has that had any material influence
Mr. WRIGHT. It has had a slight influence, but not to any great extent. Of course there has been a swing of the pendulum of industry and it must go back. The overproduction of which we hear so much must have taken place since the depression. Overproduction is rather the result of depression than depression the result of overproduction. There has been an attempt on the part of everybody to consume as little as possible; and the result of that attempt is being felt now by the industry of the country. Manufacturers report to me that in many instances they are unable to fill their orders. I know it as a fact that many mills and works in Massachusetts are starting up, I know, furthermore, that the number of those which close is growing less and less. And if that is true, and if manufacturers are building additions to their mills (as they are at Manchester, N. H., where the Amoskeag works are adding 900 Crompton looms to their machinery), that is a sign of great prosperity. The Amoskeag works are a successful corporation, and the managers would not add to their means of production if they did not find use for it.
The CHAIRMAN. May they not be adding 900 looms of an improved style and displacing 1,800 looms of an inferior kind? Mr. WRIGHT. It might be so, but it is not.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, when improved machinery comes into use, it is generally substituted for less effective machinery. Mr. WRIGHT. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. And one corporation may be increasing its machinery when another corporation is closing up its works.
Mr. Wright. That is very true. That brings us to the whole subject of machinery. Mr. Rice. Do you know anything as to the business of the manufacturer of Crompton
ooms at this time; whether he has not all that he can do in manufacturing them ? Has he not more business now than he has had for many years ?
Mr. WRIGHT. I have been so informed.
The CHAIRMAX. I should like you to look at this statement (handing a copy of the Graphic to the witness) of Mr. Moody's figures and say what you think about it.
Mr. WRIGHT (after examining the paper). I had not seen this before.
The CHAIRMAN. You observe that his figures seem to be made up on a selection of industries. He selects a certain number, and on the basis of that certain number he deduces conclusions which he says are at variance with the conclusions in your report of 1878.
Mr. WRIGHT. He selects certain figures that are correct, and on these correct figures he makes a false assumption and builds up his conclusions.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the false assumption ? Mr. Wright. The false assumption is that the increase in these industries has been exactly in the same ratio as the increase in population; and from that he builds up the whole statement. I have noticed his statements in other matters, and, if carried to their logical conclusion, they would show that 100 per cent. of all classes of laboring people have been displaced. Therefore, if we had ten millions employed in this country in protective industries, according to Mr. Moody's assumption they have been all displaced.
The CHAIRMAN. That is to say, that machinery is doing the whole work ? Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; that is the logical conclusion which we come to on Mr. Moody's figures.
The CHAIRMAN. His figures would bring us to that happy condition of things when the laboring population would be ablo to have the products of machinery for nothing. Mr. WRIGHT. I do not see why they would not. The CHAIRMAN. Do we progress sensibly towards that state of things? Mr. WRIGHT. We do. Anticipating that very question, I yesterday caused some figures to be made in regard to the working time in various industries, the actual working time on a basis of 308 days per year, and I find that in the boot and shoe trade in Massachusetts in 1875 the operatives did not work over eight hours a day on the basis of extending their whole labor over 308 days in the year. They worked from 240 to 250 days out of the whole 308 working days, and were idle the rest of the time. If that labor could have been extended over the 308 days, then they did not work on an average more than eight hours a day. And it was so with the whole industries of the State. The yearly working time in 1875 was 243, which is about eight hours a day, if extended over the whole year. In the cotton trade in the city of Lowell, out of 308 days the operatives worked 306 days. That was 90 hours on the average. But in Fall River they worked only 272 days, making an average of nine hours a day. In Lawrence they worked 291 days, or an average of 9 10 hours per day. But in Adams, in the western part of the State, they worked only 2804 days out of the whole year, or an average of nine hours per day. In the trade of carpentry and joinery the operatives in the State worked 272 days out of 308 days, or an average of about nine hours a day. In the manufacture of agricultural implements the operatives worked nine hours per day. So that actually, so far as real working time during the year is concerned, the operatives of Massachusetts, if their whole work was extended over the year, worked but a little over eight hours per day. I furnish a table of the figures: