that interference is just as undesirable and pernicious in the latter case as in the former. Given the most efficient production, that is to say, articles produced in the cheapest, swiftest, and most skillful manner by the free competition of invention, capital, intelligence, and industry, and it is true, as a necessary condition of production so sustained, that the wealth created by and arising from it is distributed step by step, as the process goes on, in the most equitable manner among all the parties engaged in the enterprise.
This is a proposition to be tested by facts, carefully put together, not by ingenious argumentation on hypothetical cases; and it fortunately happens that a paper of great ability on "The Sewing-Machine and its Results," contributed by Mr. John Plummer (well known as a high authority on industrial topics) to the "Companion to the Almanac" for the present year (1877), furnishes the precise sort of evidence required.
The sewing-machine first appeared as a practical invention about thirty years ago. Thimonnier, the real originator of the idea, was a Frenchman, and, like too many great inventors, he did not live to enjoy any part of the fruits of his genius. Elias Howe, who followed Thimonnier, was an American working artisan, and found his first real support in England about 1847. At the present time, that is, about thirty years after the establishment of the invention, there are upward of 4,000,000 sewing-machines in use in various parts of the world; and the annual number of new machines produced in this country is estimated at 80,000, employing about 100,000 persons. In France, Germany, and Belgium, the production of machines is very large, and in the United States the annual out-turn of machines is perhaps greater than in the whole of Europe. In 1862 it was estimated that in the United States each machine saved to its owner 50s. a week, or say ₤130 per annum, in wages alone; or an aggregate saving in wages, for the whole country, of about ₤30,000,000. In 1875, that aggregate saving had risen to ₤100,000,000.
The facts, therefore, to be considered are imposing by their magnitude, and of high value, by reason of the diversity of the countries and populations by which they are supplied.
Mr. Plummer says: "In England the sewing-machine was first employed in the manufacture of common stays and corsets, of which several million pairs are annually produced. In earlier days the materials were sewed together by needlewomen of the poorest class, principally the wives of seamen and dock-laborers, whose earnings seldom averaged more than 3s. or 4s. a week. . . . From the stay-trade the sewing-machine found its way into the trades connected with the production of shirts, mantles, dresses, trousers, coats, and other articles of male and female clothing. In some of these trades the needlewomen could not, even by working very long hours, obtain more than 3s. or 4s. a week, and the public were continually shocked by painful rev-