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The Washington Mills pays from $1
to $2 a day. Stoneham--Gives them $1.50 per week. Waltham--Reports the
wages of the watch factory as very _remunerative_. In 1860 I reported
this factory as paying from $2.50 to $4 a week. Here, also, we should
prefer figures to a general statement. Boston--Has now many
manufactories of paper collars. Each girl is expected to turn out
1,800 daily. The wages are $7 a week. In the paper-box factory, more
than 200 girls are employed, but I can not ascertain their wages, and
therefore suppose them to be low. I know individuals who earn here $6
a week, but that must be _above_ the average.

The best looking body of factory operatives that I have ever seen are
those employed in the silk and ribbon mills on Boston Neck, lately
under the charge of Mr. J. H. Stephenson, and those at the Florence
Silk Mills in Northampton, owned by Mr. S. L. Hill. The classes,
libraries, and privileges appertaining to these mills, make them the
best examples I know, and this is shown in the faces and bearing of
the women. We are always referred to political economy, when we speak
of the low wages of women, but a little investigation will show that
other causes co-operate with those, which can be but gradually
reached, to determine their rates.

1. The willfulness of women themselves, which when I see them in
positions I have helped to open to them, fills me with shame and
indignation.

2. The unfair competition proceeding from the voluntary labor, in
mechanical ways, of women well to do.

For the first, we can not greatly blame the women whom employers
chiefly choose for their _good looks_, for expecting to earn their
wages through them, rather than by the proper discharge of their
duties. Their conduct is not the less shameful on that account, but I
seem to see that only time and death and ruin will educate them.

For the second, we must strive to develop a public sentiment which,
while it continues to hold labor honorable, will stamp with ignominy
any women who, in comfortable country homes, compete with the
workwomen of great cities. There are thousands of wealthy farmers'
wives to-day, who just as much drive other women to sin and death, as
if they led them with their own hands to the houses in which they are
ultimately compelled to take refuge. Still further it has come to be
known to me that in Boston, and I am told in New York also, wealthy
women who do not even do their own sewing, have the control of the
finer kinds of fancy-work, dealing with the stores which sell such
work under various disguises. I can not prove these words, but they
will strike conviction to the hearts of the women themselves, and I
wish them to have some significance for men, for if these women had
the pocket-money which their taste and position require, they would
never dream of such competition. One thing these men should know, that
such women are generally known to their employers, and their domestic
relations are judged accordingly.

The recent investigations into factory labor in England concern rather
the condition than the wages of women. At flower-making, 11,000 girls
are employed from fourteen to eighteen hours daily. In hardware shops
and factories, they work, from six years of age, fourteen hours daily.
In glass factories, 5,000 women are employed from nine years of age
and upwards, eighteen hours daily. In tobacco factories, 7,000 women
are employed under conditions of great physical suffering. As
knitters, from six years old, they work fourteen hours daily for 1s.
3d. a week! This terrible state of things is partly owing to
competition with the labor of French machinery. A great deal of
ignorant prejudice against machines is one of its results. In
Sheffield files are still made by _hand_, while here in America we
make watches by _machinery_. The disposition of the whole community,
both here and in Great Britain, towards this labor question is kindly.
It has become a momentous social problem. During the fifteen years
that my attention has been riveted to this subject, I have seen a
great change in public feeling.

I have received the Sixth Annual Report of the Society for the
Employment of Women, of which the Earl of Shaftesbury is President,
and Mr. Gladstone a Vice-President. This Society has trained some
hair-dressers, clerks, glass engravers, book-keepers, and telegraph
operators, but its greatest service consists in the constant issue of
tracts, to bias developing public opinion. Such an association should
be started in New York. I should have been glad to inaugurate in
Boston, during the last six years, several important industrial
movements. The war checked the enthusiasm I had succeeded in rousing,
and I have not been able to pause in my special work of collecting and
observing facts, to stimulate it afresh or to solicit personally the
necessary means. How easy it would be for a few wealthy women to test
these experiments. I would first establish a Mending-School, and
having taught women how to darn and patch in a proper manner, I would
scatter them through the country to open shops of their own. As it is,
I do not know a city in which a place exists to which a housekeeper
could send a week's wash, sure that it would be returned with every
button-hole, button, hem, gusset and stay in proper condition. These
mending-shops should take on apprentices, who should be sent to the
house to do every sort of repairing with a needle. I would open
another school to train women to every kind of trivial service, now
clumsily or inadequately performed by men. If, for instance, you now
send to an upholsterer to have an old window-blind or blind fixture
repaired, his apprentice will replace the entire thing, at a
proportionate cost, leaving the old screw-holes to gape at the gazer.
I would train women to wash, repair, and replace in part, and to carry
in their pockets little vials of white or red lead to fill the gaping
holes. Full employment could be found for such apprentices.


LAW.

The number of laws passed the last six years affecting the condition
of women has been very small. The New York Assembly in February, 1865,
passed a law putting the legal evidence of a married woman on the same
basis as if she were a "femme sole." The Massachusetts Legislature
have legalized marriage ceremonies performed by an ordained woman, and
in January, 1866, Mr. Peckham, of Worcester, moved for a joint Special
Committee "to consider in what way a more just and equal compensation
shall be awarded to female labor." On the 4th of April just passed
Samuel E. Sewall and others petitioned for leave to appoint women on
School Committees. It is difficult to conceive on what ground such
petitioners had leave to withdraw. These things are only valuable as
indicating that public attention is still alive. Some remarkable
illustrations of the absurdity of old laws might be recorded. One of
these is to be found in the family history of Mad. de Bedout, recently
dead at Paris.

A very important convention came together at Leipsic, in September,
1865. One hundred and fifty women assembled, pledged to assert the
right to labor, and to bridge the gulf between the compensations of
the two sexes. Madame Louise Otto Peters opened the conference in an
able speech. She stated that there were five millions of women in
Germany who could each earn, if allowed, three thalers a week. A
thousand women might find employment as chemists, on salaries of one
hundred and fifty thalers a year, exclusive of board and lodging.
Another thousand might be employed as boot-closers. The foundation of
industrial and commercial schools was urged. The weak point of the
speech as reported, appeared to be, that it took no cognizance of the
fact that an influx of five millions of laborers must necessarily
lower the current rate of wages she proposed. I mention this
convention in a legal connection, believing that it was intended to
remove some local legal barriers.


SUFFRAGE.

Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, Sarah E. Wall, and a few other women, have
continued their annual protests without intermission. In somewhat the
same way have petitions recently been sent to Congress in behalf of
Universal Suffrage. We had no expectation that any favorable reception
would await such petitions, but it was a duty to put them on record.
What fate they met in Congress, you have so recently heard that I have
no occasion to record it. Minnesota, New York, and other States, have
petitioned their Legislatures to the same effect.


PROGRESS.

The real gain of a reform, starting from the heart of the family, must
necessarily be very slow. I remember that some years ago, when I
printed my book on labor, one of my kindest critics congratulated the
public that of my nine lectures, I had published only these. He
thought it was useless to contend for more book-learning for women,
and the subject of Civil Rights still disgusted his sensitive ear. The
common sense of the book on labor ought to have shown him how I should
treat the subject of education. He could not understand how the woman
who gets an education which does not make her a "bread-winner," is
essentially defrauded, nor how a woman well paid for her labor is
essentially wronged, when she is denied the privilege of protecting it
by her vote. There is, however, a surely growing sense of this shown
in the substantial advance of her civil rights.

In the early part of 1865, the people of Victoria, in Australia,
assembled to elect a member of Parliament, were surprised to find the
whole female population voting. Some quick-sighted woman had
discovered that the letter of the new law permitted it, and their
votes were accepted and wisely given. _The London Times_, in the month
of May, says that, in a _country like Australia_, it can easily
believe that such an extension of the franchise will be a _marked
improvement_, and thinks that the precedent will stand! The Government
of Moravia has also, within the past year, granted the municipal
franchise to widows who pay taxes. In January, 1864, the Court of
Queen's Bench in Dublin, Ireland, restored to woman the _old right_ of
voting for Town Commissioners.



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