Page images
PDF
EPUB

supports an industrious and thrifty people, so far content that it sends fewer immigrants than any other great nation to these or other shores, on about fifteen cents per day for food.

The cost to people of this country is fully thirty cents per day. Our people are blest with more liberal supplies, but at lower cost. Certainly a third of the difference, or five cents per day for every inhabitant, is due to household waste and ignorance in cooking. When American girls are taught to cook as carefully and as intelligently as they are taught to spell and cipher, they can save the workingmen of the next generation, whose wives they are to be, and true helpmeets they ought to be, at least five cents a day for every person. For 60,000,000 people, that is $1,095,000,000 yearly. The industrial education of one sex alone in sewing and household arts and economies would return yearly, in profits to the people, the cost of ten years' training for both sexes, more than the entire surplus, which threatens, if unemployed, to bleed industry to death. Why does not the hard-worked mother teach her daughter ? Ask her. “What time or what means have I here to teach anything? How can I teach them what I do not know myself? Mother was the slave of the factory, as I am the slave of the kitchen. It may be true that half the food we buy, if cooked as it ought to be, would do more good; but who is to teach me what to buy or how to cook ? I would bless God if He would give my girl the chance I never had." Education there is, but it begins at the wrong end. Less of the nation's welfare depends upon good spelling than upon good cooking. An empty stomach is rarely near heaven, and good wages have a more civilizing influence than good grammar.

Every dollar of the surplus should be invested in providing industrial training, free to all children, in addition to the public school system. Whether the expenditure should be controlled 1 the General Government, or by State or local board here be discussed. If the working people of understand what this opportunity m dren, they will find a way to party which pretends to in the way. What are t ure would be worth m

aller organizations that ever fitted

eams of an or walking delega

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

would enhance the value of American labor, and would kill free trade agitation at the same time. Socialism, is it? The common school system is only a blinder and less profitable socialism. The water-works and public parks, the libraries and humane institutions, are works of pure socialism, and he who does not know it does not comprehend the meaning of words. Has this nation & genuine belief in Him who said, “Sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and follow thou me ?” Can the Christian of the nineteenth century give to the poor in any way more wisely than by educating and training them, so that, by honest industry, they may become less poor? Can the Christian of the nineteenth century vote to put certain millions into importers' pockets, or into the pipe, the coffee cup or the beer or whiskey glass, and not into the aplifting of the children of American fishermen and carpenters ?

W. M. GROSVENOR.

LABOR IN PENNSYLVANIA.

IV.

ECONOMICALLY, Pennsylvania is a most interesting State, and would well repay a comprehensive examination of the conditions of labor in its varied industries. For this, however, I cannot now spare time. In three preceding papers, I have given some idea of the conditions of labor in the largest of the industries for which Pennsylvania is noted that of coal mining. From this the conditions of labor generally may be inferred, and the futility of that policy of “protection to labor” for which Pennsylvania has been so clamorous may be readily seen. The condition of the coal miners in the much protected State of Pennsylvania is bad enough. Yet, bad as it is, it is evident that it would be worse, but for the miners' associations, backed by strikes or the fear of strikes. Whomsoever the tariff may protect, it does not protect the coal miners.

As for iron mining, another petted industry of Pennsylvania, the protection of which, directly and indirectly, imposes the most enormous burden upon the industries of the whole country, wages are in that even below those of coal mining, for the reason that there is less combination among the miners. In Lehigh, in Northampton, and in Berks, according to the reports made by employers to the Bureau of Industrial Statistics, iron miners are working for 70 cents a day, and engineers for 80 and 90 cents. In other counties the rate rises to 75 cents, 80 cents, 90 cents, and $1.00 per day for miners, and correspondingly for engineers. But these wages, it must always be remembered, do not secure steady work. Of the returns I have noted, the highest number of days worked in the year is 265—a case in which 70 cents per day was paid miners. In another case, in which miners' wages are placed at 70 cents, the number of days worked is 190. Carnegie Brothers & Co., who have been “protected”into enormous fortunes

[ocr errors]

out; but thirty

by the tariff, and who are really generous men, pay their miners $1.10 to $1.15 per day. But should “ Triumphant Democracy point to this with pride, it should add that, in the year for which these returns are given, the Carnegie miners had only 119 days work. The highest wages paid in iron mining appear to be in the Cornwall mine, in Lebanon County, where miners get $1.40 per day. These exceptional high wages seem to be attributable to the liberality of the managing owner.

This Cornwall iron mine is worth a passing notice. It is in Lebanon County, a few miles from the city of that name, and is the richest deposit of iron ore yet known in the world, with the possible exception of one in Mexico. It is not a mine in the common understanding of the word, but rather a quarry. Three great hills of very nearly pure magnetic iron rise from the plain, and all that has to be done is to dig it out and carry it away. Since 1740, and up to the 1st of January of this year, it is estimated that something like 7,500,000 tons have been taken

or forty million tons are estimated to yet remain above water-level, and below that borings have shown the deposit to reach to a depth of at least 300 feet.

This great store of the richest iron ore is believed by most of the people of those parts for old ideas yet prevail about Lebanonto have been made by God. But in some way that they do not readily explain, it seems to be held that the right to dispose of it for all future time inhered, about 1680, in one James Stuart, since dead, who was awhile King of England, and then retired into France. This James Stuart, from whom, although he is now nearly two centuries dead, all rights to the use of this part of the world are still supposed to come, made a grant of a considerable part of the planet he was so soon to leave to John, Thomas, and William Penn, their heirs or assigns, forever. Of this piece of the planet the Penns assigned some ten thousand acres of the surface, with all that lay below the surface, to one Joseph Turner, by whom it was in turn assigned, in 1732, to a William Alden. In 1737 this Alden, in consideration of £135 (probably depreciated currency), to him in hand paid, assigned the right to the exclusive and perpetual use and enjoyment of three hundred acres, containing the iron hills, to one Peter Grubb.

Between 1786 and 1789 one Robert Coleman bought various interests from the heirs of Grubb, until he had secured five-sixths,

leaving to one of the Grubbs a one-sixth interest. These interests have descended through the Grubb and Coleman families until, at the present time, there are four Colemans, two male and two female, who own fifteen ninety-sixths each, and a Coleman or two and several Grubbs who own the rest in smaller interests. The value of the deposit may be inferred from the fact that the reservation made by one of the original Grubbs, in his sale to the first Coleman, of the perpetual right to enough ore to keep one furnace going, and which now attaches to the Robesonia furnace, sold, some years since, for $700,000, being bought in by the Colemans. The ore is now taken out under one management, by the use of air-drills and dynamite, and the proceeds are divided between the various interests. One of the two male Colemans lives in Paris, where he prefers to enjoy the enormous income which comes to him, without work on his part, by virtue of the grant of James II. The other, Robert H. Coleman, a young man of enterprise and liberality, lives at Lebanon, and is the manager of the estate. In all but the title, he is an American nobleman of the best English type. . His interest in the iron deposit, rich as it is, is only a part of his estate. He has some 20,000 acres of the finest Pennsylvania limestone land, kept in the best cultivation, under competent superintendents, and stocked with the very finest of choice cattle; a railroad or two which connect with the Pennsylvania and Reading systems, a splendid mansion, and nobody knows what else besides. On the day of his majority, besides the real and other personal property, his guardian turned over to him $1,200,000. In the neighborhood of Lebanon, the Colemans are believed to be the richest family in the country, the Vanderbilts and Astors not excepted. Young Robert builds churches in Lebanon and Cornwall, makes good turnpikes of the slack out of his furnaces ; plants them with shade trees; has given largely to the college in which he was educated'; is kindly and liberal to his tenants and employés ; entertains societies when they visit Lebanon, and seems to be, in short, the kind of a young prince that would delight the heart of a Tennyson-a genial, upright, and free-handed lord of land and master of men, who takes the world as he finds it, but doubtless often wonders in his heart at the superstitious reverence for James II., which renders this wonderful iron quarry, and so much of the fair land about it, as fully the private property of the Colemans and Grubbs as though they made it.

« PreviousContinue »