Shortly to recapitulate all that has been advanced, I have endeavored to show:
1st. That a great change has occurred in the social condition of labor in the United States during the last forty years, and that, spite of all the existing agencies of improvement, it is doubtful whether the working classes of America are not, at the present moment, falling still further from those high ideals of operative life which once so brilliantly distinguished the United States from European countries.
2d. That, although wages are probably some 60 per cent. higher in the chief manufacturing districts of America than in Great Britain, yet an English artisan would find himself little richer there than at home, after paying the enhanced prices for subsistence, and conforming to the higher standard of life which prevails in the States. At the same time, his whole social position and opportunities of advancement would be immensely improved.
3d. I have tried to demonstrate that the tariff, to which the higher wages of America are so confidently attributed, has really no influence whatever upon them, and that it is not therefore an engine, such as it is glowingly represented to the American artisan, constructed for the purpose of raising his lot above that of the so-called "pauper labor of Europe." Any inquiry into the character of the work really accomplished by the engine in question would lead me into regions of controversy forbidden in this room.
Finally, if I am asked why, in a review of American labor and wages, I have said nothing of trade unionism on the one hand, and of co-operative production on the other, I can only answer that to have introduced these among so many other interesting, but subsidiary, subjects which crowd around questions of labor and wages, would have doubled the volume of this address, and more than halved the patience with which you have kindly listened to it.A paper recently read before the Society of Arts, London.