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Mr. HINCHMAN. My objection to that is that it would establish a very bad precedent, and that it is contrary to the general spirit of our institutions.
Mr. RICE. You mean that the helping of people by the government is
Mr. HINCHMAN. I mean donating to individuals what cannot be made a general distribution. It is a species of unfairness which would produce a complaint of favoritism against the government. As a rule things done under government supervision are not as well done as things that are done by private enterprise.
The CHAIRMAN. Is not the best evidence that it cannot be well done by the government this: that the railroad companies with their large possessions of land which they desire to have settled, do not do it?
Mr. HINCHMAN. I should think so.
Mr. RICE. Is not their failure to do it at least very suggestive of the difficulties in the way?
Mr. HINCHMAN. It is.
Mr. RICE. I believe that some railroads do give emigrants free passes.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; on the line of their own road, but not beyond.
Mr. HINCHMAN. To return to what I was saying. In 1870 we had fallen in the matter of improved farms about 10,000,000 of acres; that is, 10,000,000 of acres less had been improved than the increase of manufactures required. I find by making a calenlation that the number of persons employed in agricultural pursuits in 1870 was 5,900,000. Every man takes care of about 32 acres of land. The ten million acres which were undeveloped and which should have been developed in a normal state of affairs, would have accommodated about 312,000 workers. Calculating a worker with a family, of say three persons, that would have provided for nearly a million of inhabitants-about the number that are now supposed to be out of work, or in bad circumstances. As compared with the advance made between 1850 and 1860, the falling off in improved acres was 20,000,000. These 20,000,000 of acres if used with the average occupancy would have accommodated about 625,000 workers, and provided for about two millions of people. And it appears very curious that the estimates which are made require about that number of people to be provided for in order to make a proper adjustment. This sheet (indicating) is filled with figures that are more or less sugges tive and that might be enlarged upon.
The CHAIRMAN. You will please to leave those tables, that they may go in as a part of your remarks.
Mr. HINCHMAN. With pleasure.
Mr. RICE. You think that the adjustment will take place by natural causes?
Mr. RICE. That men who can afford to get to the western lands will go there; that they are going there now; and that they will make room for those here who cannot afford to go, and who, perhaps, you think would not be worth much if they got there; and you think that, in that way, the remedy will be applied without governmental assistance.
Mr. HINCHMAN. Yes; I think so.
Mr. RICE. By the questions which I have put to you, I did not intend to say that I had any different opinion from yours; but I only put them in order to get your answers, which you have given very intelligently to the questions I put. It has been observed, I think, that where a government has offered to transport colonists to the public lands (the English Government for instance), and has offered to give them lands free, it could not get any colonists to go, and that when the government made it known that colonists could go and have the land for a priee, a sufficient number were found to go and take possession of the lands.
Mr. HINCHMAN, Yes. The probability is that it would occur in an attempted enterprise of this kind, as it has occurred in almost every other such attempt by a gov ernment-that the sharp, unscrupulous people would come along and avail themselves of the first profits. I have here a comparative statement taken from the United States census reports of certain occupations whose productions are ephemeral in character, and are generally applicable to personal enjoyment. The figures are taken for the years 1860 and 1870. This paper contains a tabulated statement of about forty occupations of that character, made in those two years. I will say in general terms that the result of it is entirely confirmatory of my theory and opinion as before expressed, that the labor of the country had been very largely diverted from the ordinary useful, necessary productions, into those that were light, ephemeral, and that ministered only to luxury. To show the character of the manufactures that I speak of, I will mention some of them. Billiard-tables; cigar-boxes; playing-cards; carpets and floor-cloths; carriage-trimmings; children's carriages; carriages and wagons; wheelwrighting, spokes, &c.; chromo-lithographs; confectionery; cork-cutting; fire-works; fire-arms; furniture; dressed furs; glass and glass ware; hair-works; saddlery and harness; ivory-work; jewelry and cases; liquors and cordials; looking-glasses and frames; malt; mineral and soda water apparatus; musical instruments; patent medi
cines and drugs; perfumery; photographs and apparatus; tobacco-pipes; plated ware; pocket books; regalia and banners; show-cases; silver ware; tobacco and cigars; toys and games; trunks, valises, and satchels; umbrellas; canes and whips; upholstery materials; matches and cases. Now there is scarcely an article enumerated there-all respectable and all more or less useful, perhaps-that is not outside of the list of articles of positive necessity.
Mr. RICE. Is it not just in the use of those articles that society shows that it is thriving and becoming refined? Society must first supply itself with the necessaries; and when it has supplied itself with the necessaries, then, if it has got a surplus, is it not rather an evidence of prosperity that the demand for such articles occurs, and that therefore the supply increases? Is not that a sign of improvement rather than otherwise? Mr. HINCHMAN. Certainly; it is the outgrowth and illustration of the times that we have had. Times of prosperity have produced an excess in the manufacture of articles appropriate to such times.
The CHAIRMAN. Is not that an evidence of the growth of civilization?
Mr. HINCHMAN. Yes.
Mr. RICE. A man cannot eat more than so much. He may eat things that cost him more than other things would cost; but he can only eat so much corn, so much potatoes, so much beef. When he has done that he may spend a good deal on horses, carriages, yachts, billiard-tables, playing-cards, jewelry, and all those things that you have been speaking of.
Mr. HINCHMAN. All right within the proper limits, I agree with you.
Mr. RICE. And the fact that there is an increased supply of such articles shows that there is an increased demand for them; and does not that show that the condition of society is improving rather than otherwise?
Mr. HINCHMAN. The fact that there is a glut of those things shows that there has been a demand for them which no longer exists.
Mr. RICE. Did I understand you to say that there is a glut of those articles? Mr. HINCHMAN. We hear of a glut in almost every article offered in the market. The CHAIRMAN. Now you define a glut differently. I told you that I had things that I could not sell, and you said that you would sell them for me.
Mr. HINCHMAN. A glut simply means a certain amount of goods that cannot be sold without loss, and where the owner does not want to make the loss. If I proclaim that I have a surplus I expect that the next man that I meet would be glad to relieve me of it.
The CHAIRMAN. The business in chromo-lithographs has increased very largely. Everybody who travels through the country sees these pictures everywhere. Where there were no pictures before you now see these chromo-lithographs. Prang & Co., of Boston, are the great manufacturers in this country of chromo-lithographs. It turned out that, in consequence of the demand for this article, that company was able to offer to the trustees of the Cooper Institute a chair for a teacher in industrial drawing, and has contributed $1,500 a year for that purpose for the last three years, and the class of pupils in industrial drawing has risen to over one hundred. The earnings of the pupils of the school for the last year were over $10,000, and as fast as they can get up to the point of becoming good teachers themselves, they are at once absorbed in the community and receive from $500 to $2,000 a year. There is one fruit of this demand for chromo-lithographs. Now, no human being can predict in what direction these things will work out, and give profitable and suitable employment to those who had no employment before.
Mr. HINCHMAN. I quite agree with you. There is no difference of opinion in that respect between us. What I mean to say is that many people who are now complaining of bare backs and empty stomachs have spent money within tl e last few years on this list of articles that I have read, which, if they had saved it, would have given them something to live upon.
The CHAIRMAN. Would not the moral of that be, never spend money for anything that you can get along without?"
Mr. HINCHMAN. Not at all.
The CHAIRMAN. If we were always to refrain from spending, fearing that a rainy day might come, what would be the effect on the community? That certainly is what you advise us to do-not to spend anything except for the necessaries of life; and would not that put society back where it was two hundred years ago?
Mr. HINCHMAN. You appear to assume (which is a mistake) that I am opposed to refinement, or to the purchase of the various articles which minister to it. I am not at all. I am simply trying to illustrate, by these various charts which I have, that there has been a disproportion in industrial pursuits which on being adjusted, our troubles will cease.
The CHAIRMAN. If we stop buying these articles, and if there be a certain number of people now employed in making them, would they not be thrown out of employment?
Mr. HINCHMAN. The illustration which Professor Sumner made the other day in
regard to the introduction of improved machinery answers that question very clearly. If we stop buying these articles there will be a temporary inconvenience to somebody; there is no doubt about that. I was going on to say in regard to the item of liquors and cordials, that the raw materials for them in 1860 cost $56,000,000, and in 1570 $101,000,000. The net result of this table is that the articles which I have enumerated cost in 1860 $238,000,000, and in 1870 (reducing the amount to a gold value) $452,000,000. Our population had increased within that time 224 per cent., but the production of those articles had increased (at gold value) 90 per cent. The labor which is bestowed upon part of that increase it would have been very well and profitable to dispose of in improving these twenty millions of acres of land that should have been improved. The CHAIRMAN. Would not the result of that have been that a great many people would not have had the things which they wanted to have, and that there would have been an increase in the quantity of food, which has already been sufficient during all that time, because there has been no famine?
Mr. HINCHMAN. I think that there has been no time within the last 15 years that we could not have found a foreign market at paying prices for all the food that we could raise. Undoubtedly we could at some prices.
The CHAIRMAN. But the world has been fed. There has been no famine in civilized countries. By this process you would have increased the stock of food, and the people who were willing to buy these unnecessary articles would not have had them. Nobody would have been engaged in making them. People would not have had employment in that direction. Would that not have been a diversion of labor from something that society wanted to something which society did not need?
Mr. HINCHMAN. Decidedly the contrary. During the years from 1865 to 1873 we borrowed in Europe about $1,000,000,000. That $1,000,000,000 did not come here in gold and silver, or in anything that we could recognize as money, but it came to us in commodities.
The CHAIRMAN. Mainly in commodities of that very class of luxuries-such as silks and satins.
Mr. HINCHMAN. The annual importation of silk amounted to about $12,000,000. The CHAIRMAN. It has been up as high as $20,000,000 a year since you have been in business.
Mr. HINCHMAN. Yes; from $12,000,000 to $20,000,000. It would have been far better for our people to have sent abroad the property which they now complain of as a surplus, and to have paid for those things, if necessary, rather than to have borro ved them.
The CHAIRMAN. But if we had not produced those very things at home, would we not have bought them abroad?
Mr. HINCHMAN. Probably, in the condition of affairs that then prevailed, our people would have been like an anxious and fretful child. What they wanted to have they would have had.
The CHAIRMAN. They did have it, and they did not ask whether it was made here or abroad. The only result of your theory, it seems to me, is that we would have bought these things abroad and not here, so that we would have been employing foreign labor instead of American labor.
Mr. HINCHMAN. Probably. I have a third paper which is an enumeration of occupations which supply clothing mainly. It takes in all the articles of clothing supplymaterial and manufacture. In round numbers in the year 1860 our supply of clothing cost us $429,000,000. In the year 1870 (reduced to a gold basis), it cost us $675,000,000, an advance of 57 per cent. against an increase of population of 224 per cent.
Mr. RICE. Was not that a good sign? Did it not show that the community was improving and was able to have better clothes? Is not that just what we are working for?
Mr. HINCHMAN. I am not endeavoring to discriminate between good and bad; I am simply endeavoring to show a state of facts. Let you or others decide, if you choose, as to whether they were good or bad. The simple point that I want to make is covered by the remark that there has been considerable diversion of labor from things useful and necessary to those things which minister to a higher style of life, and to luxury: and that (the demand for that class of articles having slackened and gone out), as a matter of necessity, the people who were making them have got to go to other employments. There is no escape from it.
Mr. RICE. Not if there is an ability to purchase these articles on the part of society. Mr. HINCHMAN. But there is not an ability. There is the very point.
Mr. RICE. If society was all at work as it was in the years when these articles were all sold; if there was no unemployed laboring people, and if people could buy as they then were able to buy, then the demand would be equal to what it was before, and might go beyond it.
Mr. HINCHMAN. In a state of industrial affairs in which there is no great excess produced in any one line of goods, there is a demand for about everything that is made.
We cannot make too much of desirable articles. The world never was, and never will be, satisfied with the amount of riches that it possesses.
Mr. RICE. It would be an unfortunate thing if it was, would it not?
Mr. HINCHMAN. That is a moral question. I do not know, Mr. Chairman, that I have anything more specially to submit.
The CHAIRMAN. I know the labor which that sort of work requires, and the committee wants to make its acknowledgments to you for the trouble you have taken. If witnesses generally would go through such preliminary preparation, it would save us a great deal of trouble.
Mr. HINCHMAN. I suggested in my first communication to you that I thought that a body of facts very useful might be prepared under the supervision of the committee, and I am still very strongly of that opinion. I think that in a mere matter of opinion, without a basis of facts, you will never come to a conclusion. Your opinions must be guided by, or based upon, something substantial; and it is, in my judgment, quite competent to make up, from accessible sources, such tabulated statement of existing affairs relating to business as will be very useful, not only to the committee, but to the public. ** 300991
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The CHAIRMAN. There is no doubt of it. The committee quite agree with you in that, and we hope to be able to accomplish that result. Mr. Walker, Superintendent of the Census, proposes to make in his next census report a very large series of comparative tables of that sort.
Mr. Hinchman left with the committee the following tables prepared by him: