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try; and few in this had more resources at his age than he. Moses Brown's plain manner of speaking of the partner of his son-in-law, led, in some measure, to this mistake; and Mr. Slater, if he knew it, would never take the pains to explain his condition, or do any thing to disabuse public opinion with regard to his personal affairs; for he was never known to boast of any thing relating to himself, whether of property or abilities, being ever acknowledged a modest, unassuming man. Capital alone is not worthy of credit, unless associated with moral qualities in the tradesman; for a prudent man of great industry, integrity, and knowledge in his business, is more worthy of credit without capital, than a rich man, ignorant of his business. Persons who begin with large capitals do not succeed, generally speaking, so well as those who begin with small ones cautiously administered. It is proper, perhaps, to close this chapter with an extract from a “Short Sketch of the Life of Slater,” in the Providence Journal: “Such are the outlines of the business life of a man, whose skill and knowledge of detail, in a business which, up to the time of his appearance among us, was unknown to this community, were unrivaled, whose commercial views were of the most liberal and enlightened character, whose energy, perseverance, and untiring diligence, aided in his early efforts by the money and countenance of those who justly appreciated his merits and confidently anticipated his eminence, have triumphed over obstacles which would have discouraged others; have given a new direction to the industry of his adopted country, and opened a new and boundless field to its enterprise. It has rarely fallen to the lot of any single individual to be made an instrument, under Providence, of so much and such widely diffused benefit to his fellow-men, as this man has conferred upon them, without any pretension to high-wrought philanthropy, in the ordinary, unostentatious pursuit of that profession to which he had been educated, as a means of honest and creditable living. Yet, unpretending as he was, and noiseless in that sublimated charity, which is now so fashionable and predominant, his sympathy for the distressed, and his kindness and good will for all, were ever warm, active, practical, and efficient sentiments; based upon steadfast principles, and aiming at the greatest attainable measure of good. In the relief of immediate and pressing want he was prompt and liberal. In the measures which he adopted for its prevention in future, he evinced paternal feeling and judicious forecast. Employment and liberal pay to the able-bodied promoted regularity and cheerfulness in the house, and drove the wolf from its door. “Direct charity,” he has been heard to say, ‘places its recipient under a sense of obligation which trenches upon that independent spirit that all should maintain. It breaks his pride, and he soon learns to beg and eat the bread of idleness without a blush. But employ and pay him, and he receives and enjoys, with honest pride, that which he knows he has earned, and could have received for the same amount of labour from any other employer.' It would be well for all communities if such views, on the subject of pauperism, were generally adopted and carried into practice. It is hardly necessary to state, concerning one who has done so much business, and with so great success, that his business habits and morals were of the highest character. The punctual performance of every engagement, in its true spirit and meaning, was, with him, a point of honour, from which no consideration of temporary or prospective advantage would induce him to depart; from which no sacrifice of money or feeling were sufficient to deter him. There was a method and arrangement in his transactions by which every thing was duly, and at the proper time attended to. Nothing was hurried from its proper place, nothing was postponed beyond its proper time. It was thus that transactions the most varied, intricate, and extensive, deeply affecting, and affected by, the general business of three adjoining states, and extending their influence to thousands of individuals, proceeded from their first inception to their final consummation, with an order, a regularity and certainty, truly admirable and instructive. The master's mind was equally present and apparent in every thing; from the imposing mass of the total to the most minute particular of its component parts.”
MORAL INFLUENCE OF MANUFACTURING ESTABLISHMENTS.
“There is no artist, or man of industry, who mixeth judgment with his practice, but findeth in the travail of his labour, better and nearer courses to make perfect the beauty of his work, than were at first presented to the eye of his knowledge.”
We have already seen that manufacturing establishments exert a powerful and permanent influence in their immediate neighbourhoods, and time, if not already, will teach the lesson, that they will stamp indelible traits upon our moral and national character. Evidences abound, wherever man exists, that his character is modified by localities, by a diversity of pursuits, by a facility of acquiring a living, by the quality and fashion of the living itself, by a restrained or free exercise of his rational powers, and by restraint on the enjoyment of liberty. Different climates and different countries produce indelible peculiarities. In the same climate and in the same country similar changes appear, from the effects of immoral habits, and from what may be termed artificial or mechanical causes. The effects of immoral habits are well known to all observers of human nature.
Those pursuing different occupations are aware that these exert an influence upon character, producing moral, no less than physical, varieties. For example, butchers become hard-hearted and cruel, and in England are excluded from the jury-box; those who are confined to a particular routine against their will, peevish and discontented; those who are always ordered or driven, and expect to be so, exercise little control or discernment for themselves.
Manufacturing establishments become a blessing or a curse according to the facilities which they create for acquiring a living, to the necessary articles which they provide, and the general character which they produce. To set up and encourage the manufacturing of such articles, the use and demand of which produces no immoral tendency, is one of the best and most moral uses which can be made of capital. The moral manufacturer, without the power or disposition to overreach, is in reality a benefactor. The acquisition of wealth in this way, is the most laudable. In point of benevolence and real worth of character, it claims a decided advantage over the cent per cent. process of accumulation.
Some have not the requisite ability to carry on manufacturing establishments; capital, then, with great propriety is loaned to those who have. The moral influence of a community is not promoted by creating or submitting to a manufacturing, or any other aristocracy, solely in the pursuit of interest, in which selfishness is wont to predominate. The manufacturing interest, in a flourishing state, naturally creates power and wealth. The value of labour and the value of money are then at his disposal; but, in this free country, there is a sufficient counteracting influence to keep up the price of labour and to equalise the prices of their commodities with the value of the products of the earth. Without such a resisting power, a few would abound in wealth and influence, while the multitude would be in poverty and reduced to servitude. But there always exists a counteracting influence in the rival establishments, and the general spirit of enterprise. On the supposition that the manufacturing interest was strictly benevolent and moral, dispensing its favours according to merit and precisely as they are needed, the community might not be losers by such a state of things. This must be always the case where a people are left free to use and purchase according to their free choice. With the common experience of mankind, it could not be expected so. Only a few look beyond their own interest; when that is provided for, the employed who have assisted in the provision, are left to shift for themselves. Benevolence is not so general among mankind as to expect it uniformly. But in the progress of manufactures among us, every department becomes interested in its prosperity, the operatives receive a greater emolument for their services than in any other part of the world, whilst capital receives but a small interest, compared with other branches of industry. With such a power established merely by selfishness, morality is promoted so far and no further, than interest; but the promotion of morals becomes their interest. And if religion appears something in name or in sectarianism, more than in reality, still its promotion is for the interest of the whole community. It is said, on the presumption that the capitalists are aiming at their personal wealth, the facility for acquiring a fair compensation becomes less and less at every pressure. A rise of wages is then adapted to convenience or pleasure. But it must be remembered, that the pressure bears as heavy on the employer as the employed, and renders him liable to lose all the earnings of many years of labour, and the savings of much self denial, and render him poor and dependent. There are two sides to this question, and the operatives in good times ought to lay up for time of need. Then they would not be obliged to bring their labour into market the best way they can, to obtain their daily bread. To take advantage of such a position, is one of the greatest immoralities. The liability of its consequences are as bad in creating discord and producing civil commotions. But the owners of factories are not known to stop their mills till obliged by dire necessity: they generally run them till they become bankrupt. The real power belongs to the labouring class; no one ought to expect to employ this without paying for it, and no one does expect it. It is power when rightly used, and most often ceases to be so when abused. Those who are so thoughtless, negligent, or squandering, as to trust wholly to the present occasion for a bare subsistence, can hardly be thought powerful compared with what they would be did not necessity compel them to take what they can get for the present occasion. It is a mistaken notion to suppose the manufacturing interest promoted by creating poverty, or, in the end, by heavy reduction of wages. The articles manufactured very soon sink in like proportion, and the profits are swallowed up in the payment of the operative. Besides these consequences, the ability to purchase does not exist, a consideration which more or less affects the value of every article brought into market. Our day has witnessed the surprising effects of the ingenuity of Inan, in calling into existence and putting in operation laboursaving machinery. If it would be, in reality, promoting human existence and human happiness in our present character and condition, that our food should come to us ready made, our habitations ready built, our conveyances already in motion, and our understandings already improved—the nearer we approach such a state of things the better. But if not—if the desires and pursuits of objects be no less blessings than their possessions—if human nature be bettered, and the grand object of existence benefited by employment—there must be a point beyond which to obtain food and clothing and other things, without application, would be objectionable. To be moral and desirable, labour-saving machinery must bring along with it some particular benefit to the community, as well as to individuals. This may be such as more than compensates for the many losses which are sustained in some countries, in consequence of the improvement. When it was proposed to introduce printing into the Prussian dominions, the king objected by saying, it would throw forty thousand amanuenses out of employment. After printing went into operation, to ameliorate the condition of those