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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 134.djvu/196

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dependence of the laborers, but especially of the female portion of them.

But such a result is neither more nor less than distribution of the proceeds of production of the most exact and equitable kind. On a large scale the increased quantity of wealth arising from the invention of the sewing-machine has been divided precisely as — on grounds of equity — it is most fit and beneficial that it should be divided; and this equitable and wholesome division has taken place as a necessary consequence of the most efficient methods of production being left at perfect liberty, as regards both workmen and masters, to arrive at the cheapest means of commanding and stimulating consumption. If at an early or later stage of the establishment of the sewing-machine, it had been possible for the male to exclude the female workers; or for the two combined to prevent the use of the machine in the houses of male or female workers; or for any trades' union to enforce a minimum wage, or to impose restraints on individual skill and invention devoted to increase the gross profits — that is to say, the fund alone available for division between labor and capital — it is easy to see that the whole march of the improvement would have been retarded and thwarted. It is clear also that the two circumstances which have very materially assisted the success of the machine, both as regards producers and consumers, have been, first, the small cost of the machine itself, which admitted its effective use in the homes of the workers, and in this way has cheapened production by rendering of value the intermittent labor of whole families as it could be spared, and when it could be easiest applied. In this respect the sewing machine has been the reverse of the former handloom. The machine workers have prospered because they could take the new invention into their houses without diminishing its force. The handloomers were superseded because the steam shuttle could not be made a domestic implement. Second, the eminent suitability of female labor to the sewing-machine has secured a class of workers who have had the strongest motives to apply whatever skill and industry they possessed to increase their piece-work wages by the extent and efficiency of production. It may be added, indeed, that the great results which have been obtained are amongst the most cogent illustrations which can be found of the magical influence of payment by results, that is to say, of payment by the piece; for happily no other mode of payment has been possible for sewing-machine labor.

The lesson of the whole of this gratifying and hopeful history is, as we said at the outset, that the methods of most efficient production are those which necessarily contain within themselves the methods of most effectual and beneficial distribution: in other words, if we understand and apply thoroughly and truly the conditions which most cheaply, rapidly, and constantly produce wealth, we also, and as a necessary, and pari passu consequence, understand and apply the conditions which ensure the distribution of that wealth among all the parties concerned in the most just and beneficial manner. So far philosophers and philanthropists have spent their energies in the wrong direction. They have sought for artificial means of what they considered more equal distribution of the products of industry, failing to see that in the circumstances and conditions which render industry on the largest scale most productive, there are native and inherent forces which link together production and distribution at every step.

From The Leisure Hour.


From a French correspondent we have the following: — We had for several years a fine dog, named Tarquin. Since his death he was always called Tarquin l'Ancien, to distinguish him from his successor, who, from his great beauty, we had named Tarquin le Superb. The first Tarquin was born and brought up in an artillery barrack. He was caressed, played with, teased, amused by all the soldiers, his daily companions, who, as all know, in their amusements are like big children. His master, a sergeant-major, having completed his term of military service, returned to his home at Nancy, and there sold the young dog to my father. Tarquin led a happy life with us, was caressed, and certainly was better fed than he had been in the barrack. Still, he had a clinging fondness for the companions of his youth, the artillerymen; and although there were then no artillery in garrison at Nancy, every time that by chance an artillery soldier passed through the town, down our street, the poor dog rushed forth and affectionately caressed him, to the soldier's great astonishment, who, at first, did not know what to make of his rude gratula-