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wrote me, in answer to my request asking the co-operation of your Department, that th State Department intended to cover the same ground. I secured a large amount of data, which is at your service, if you think the same of value, as I have no time to put the figures in shape. Trusting the inclosed will be satisfactory, I am yours, truly,

GEO. BLAIR, Chairman Workingmen's Assembly of the State of Nero York.



NEW YORK, July 10, 1883. DEAR SIR: The inclosed circular has been sent to some of our leading consuls in Europe with the view of securing reliable information upon questions with which American workmen need to be familiar. I have just received an answer from our consul-general at Vienna, Hon. James Riley Weaver, in which he states that no such information can be given unless authorized by the State Department, and suggests that I call your attention to same, believing that you would not hesitate to lend your official aid in collecting the facts indicated in my circular, as I am collecting these facts at my own expense and for use at our national convention. Its importance you no doubt comprehend at this time to American interests. Yours truly,



Seorelary of State.


New YORK, June 4, 1883. Hon.

United States Consul, DEAR SIR: Being anxious to secure reliable information with reference to the average earnings of skilled and unskilled labor in the locality under your jurisdiction, you will confer a favor to the cause of American labor in whose interests I am collecting these facts, hy answering the following questions :

Average earnings of unskilled labor.
Average earnings of miners.
Average earnings of cotton operatives.
Average earnings of iron workers.
Average earnings of building trades.
Average earnings of bakers, and hours of labor.
Average earnings of shoemakers.
Average weekly hours employed.
Average days employed during year.
Cost of ordinary rooms for workingman's family.
Percentage of workmen who own their own houses.
Cost of maintaining the average workman's family.
Cost of clothing in your locality.
You will perceive my intention is to compare the cost of living, &c., with our own
labor, and thus contribute to the question of free trade and protection some very val.
uable facts.
Yours truly,

Chairman Executive Committee Workingman's Assembly State of New York,

13 York Street, New York City. At the date of Mr. Blair's communication the consuls were engaged in preparing statistics on various other subjects, in answer to Department circulars, hence the delay in sending out the labor circular to which the reports in these volumes are replies.




Washington, February 15, 1884. Consul of the United States at Sır: At the solicitation of representatives of some of the leading trade and industrial organizations of the United States, the Secretary of State has directed the preparation of this circular with the view of securing, through the consular officers, the fullest attainable information concerning the condition of labor throughout the world; especially in Europe.


1. The rate of wages paid to laborers of every class-mechanical, mining, factory, public works and railways, domestic, agricultural, &c.

2. The cost of living to the laboring classes, viz: the prices paid for the necessaries of life, clothing, rent, &c. In this connection, not only should the prices of the nec. essaries of life from an American stand-point be given-as per accompanying formsbut the prices of the articles, and their nature, which are actually consumed by the work people and their families, should also be given.

3. Comparison between the present rates of wages and those which prevailed in 1878 (and since that time), when the last labor circular was issued from the Department, and betv een the conditions which then prevailed and which now prevail.

4. The habits of the working classes-whether steady and trustworthy, or otherwise ; saving, or otherwise-and the causes which principally affect their habits for good or evil.

5. The feeling which prevails between employé and employer, and the effects of this feeling on the general and particular prosperity of the community.

6. The organized condition of labor: the nature of organization and its effect on the advancement and welfare of the laborers. In this connection it would be well to refer to counter organizations of capital, and on the local or general laws bearing on such organizations.

7. The prevalency of strikes, and how far arbitration enters into the settlement of disagreements between the employers and employés, and the manner and nature of such arbitration. The effects of strikes on the advancement, or otherwise, of labor, and the general effect thereof on the industrial interests atfected thereby.

8. Are the working people free to purchase the necessaries of life wherever they choose, or do the employers impose any conditions iu this regard? How often and in what kind of currency is the laborer paid !

9. Co-operative societies : give full information concerning their formation and practical working; whether they are prosperous, or otherwise; to what extent they have fulfilled the promises held out at their formation of enabling the work-people to purchase the necessaries of life at less cost than throngh the regular and usual business channels; whether the establishment of co-operative societies has had any appreciable effect on general trade, &c.

10. The general condition of the working people: how they live; their homes ; their food; their clothes; their chances for bettering their condition; their ability to lay up something for old age or sickness; their moral aud physical condition, and the influences for good or evil by which they are surrounded. In this connection consuls are requested to select representative workmen and their families and secure the information direct, somewhat after the manner of the following questions and answers (reducing the money to dollars and cents), taken from the Department publication “Showing the State of Labor in Europe in 1878.”

“Question. How old are you l-Answer. I am thirty-six years old. “Q. What is your business ?-A. I am a house-carpenter.

Q. Have you a family?-A. I have a wife and three children; the oldest is 11 and the youngest 3 years old.

"Q. What wages do you receive per day!-A. I receive 3 marks and 30 pfennige. The average wages paid to house-carpenters is from 2 marks 80 pfennige to 3 inarks per day (68 to 73 cents).

Q. How many hours per day are you required to work for such wages -A. During the entire year we begin work at 6 o'clock in the morning and quit at 7 o'clock in the evening. In the winter season we begin our work with gas or candle light.

“Q. How much time are you allowed for your meals !--A. We have half an hour for breakfast, at 9 o'clock in the morning; one hour for dinner, at noon; and half an hour at 4 o'clock vespers. We take our supper after the day's work is done.

“Q. Can you support your family upon such wayes 1-A. What I must do I must

do. Part of the time my wife earns 60 pferdige (15 cents) a day, and with our joint earnings we manage to live.

"Q. What do the united earnings of yourself and wife amount to in a year!-A. With general good health we earn about 1,050 marks ($252) per year.

"Q. Will you explain in detail the uses you make of this money!-A. Oh, yes. I pay per annumFor rent of two rooms in fourth story, 206 marks.

$49 44 For clothing for self and family, 160 marks .

33 40 For food and fuel per day, 1.75 marks (434 cents), or per year, 638 marks .... 153 12

This makes an average for each member of my family per day of 35 pfen-
nige (84 cents).
For residence tax, 4 marks

96 For school tax, three children, 13.50 marks..

3 94 For dues to mechanics' aid society, 7.20 marks.

1 73 For tax on earnings of self, 5 marks

1 20 Leaving for school-books, doctor's bills, and incidentals, 16.30 marks

3 91

Per annum, 1,050 marks......

252 00

"Q. Of what kind of food do your daily meals consist !-A. For breakfast, bread and coffee; for dinner, soup and the meat of which the soup is made, and one kind of vegetables ; at 4 o'clock, beer and bread; and for supper, white bread and potatoes.

*Q. Are you able to save any portion of your earnings for days of sickness or old age 1-A. Saving is only possible to a man who has no family. In case I am myself sick, I receive one mark per day from the mechanics' aid association of which I am a member. I do not think of old age, for I expect to work until I die."

11. What are the means furnished for the safety of employés in factories, mines, mills, on railroads, &c., and what are the provisions made for the work-people in case of accident? What are the general considerations given by the employers to the moral and physical well-being of the employés ? What are the general relations which prevail between the employer and the employed ?

12. What are the political rights enjoyed by workingmen, and what are their influences, through such rights, on legislation? What is the share, comparatively, borne by the working people in local and general taxation? What is the tendency of legislation in regard to labor and the working people ?

13. What are the causes which lead to the emigration of the working people, and which influence their selection of their new homes? What are the principal occupations of the emigrants, &c. 9


1. State the number of women and children, or the closest possible approximation thereto, employed in your district in industrial pursuits, not including ordinary household duties or domestic servants, classifying the same somewhat as follows: (a) Manufacturing and mechanical ; (b) Commercial, including transportation; (c) Professional and personal, including government officials and clerks, teachers, artists, chemists, hotel and boarding-house keepers, journalists, laundresses, musicians, inventors, bankers, brokers, lecturers, public speakers, &c. ; (d) Agriculture; (e) Mining; All other pursuits.

2. What are the minimum, maximum, and average wages paid to female adults! 3. Their hours of labor. 4. What is the moral and physical condition of such employés ? 5. What are the means provided, and by whom, for the improvement of these employés ? 6. What are the means provided, in case of fire or other dangers, for their safety!

7. What are the provisions made by the employers in regard to sanitary measures, and for the care of the sick and disabled !

8. Has there been any increase during the past five years in the wages paid women, and in the price of the necessaries of life, or otherwise? What are the effects of the employment of women on the wages of med, and on general social and industrial cobditions:

9. What is the state of education among the women employed, and among their children; and what are the general effects of employment (in factories, mills, stores, &c.) on the family circles, especially as concerns the children of such employés, and on their moral and physical condition, and on their children?

The interrogatories in relation to female labor were inserted in the circular at the request of Mrs. Charlotte Smith, president of the Woman's Industrial League.

Consuls are not arbitrarily bonnd by the foregoing interrogatories, nor by the accompanying schedules. On the contrary, these are offered merely as suggestions, and the reports in answer hereto will, it is expected, embrace every phase of the labor qnestion which may be calculated to give a comprehensive view of the conditions which surround and affect foreign labor, and give material to compare such conditions with those which prevail in the United States.

While this circular applies more directly to Europe than to the other continents, it will be mailed to consular officers elsewhere, and replies, modified to suit the different conditions which prevail in Africa, America, Asia, and Australasia, are expected for the purpose of securing as complete a history of the present condition of labor throughout the world as is possible with the limited means at the command of this Department and the officers abroad. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Assistant Secretary.



1. The rates of wages and all other values must be given in dollars and cents, and the weights in pounds, the cousuls stating in foot-uotes what the original staudards of currency and weights were and their equivalents in American money and weights, being most careful in taking into consideration the fractional valnes or equivalents. For instance: Consuls sometimes estimate the pound sterling at $5 and the franc at 20 cents, while the Treasury valuations, which are the standard for all reductions into American money, estimates the pound sterling at $4.86 and the franc at 19.3 cents.

2. Ar to averages. -- In the “Reporis on the State of Labor in Europe in 1878" (and in nearly all labor computations since that time the same rule has prevailed) consuls prepared their tabulated statements, showing the rates of wages, as follows: Minimum, Average, Maximum; the average being represented by the mean of the minimum and the maximum, a most erroneous and misleading rule of computation. For instance : Let as suppose 100 men, say bricklayers, engaged in the building of a house ; 33 of these are paid at the rate of $3.50 per man per week; 15 others are paid at the rate of $6 per man per week; and the remainder at the rate of $3.90 per man per week; adding the highest and the lowest, $6 and $3.50=$9.50-one-half of the dividend, $4.75, would not be an average. The true average would be as follows:

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33 men, at $3.50 per man per week... 15 men, at $6.00 per man per week... 52 men, at $3.90 per man per week..

$115 50

90 00 202 80


408 30

Or $4.08,3% per man per week.

Where such arbitrary computation is impracticable, consuls will take the wages paid to the great majority-what may be called the general run of wages—as an approximate average.

While the fornis herewith are arranged for minimum, maximum, and average rates, the Department will regard the average column as the standard of wages prevailing in each district, while the minimum and maximum columns will be regarded as having exceptional rates—the extremes as distinct from the general or average wages.

3. In order that the reports may be confined to such reasonable compass as the magnitude of the subject will periit, and to reduce their treatment to the most comprehensive and sequential order, it is suggested that the statistics for each consular district be embraced in one report, wherever this can be done with advantage. The circular and forms intended for consular agents will, therefore, be mailed to the consuls, wlo will forward the same to the agents in their respective districts, together with such directions as they may consider necessary for the statistical canvass of the agencies. The agency reports will be forwarded to the consuls, who will then make up a general report for their districts. This suggestion is offered in its most discretionary sense, consuls being the best judges as to the practicability of complying therewith, or forwarding their own and agents' reports in severalty.

In the several countries in Europe in which there are consulates-general, consula will, in their turn, forward thereto the reports for their districts. Consuls-generalin addition to the preparation of reports for tbeir own districts, viz: London, Vienna, Paris, Bremen, Frankfort, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Berpe, Lisbon-will prepare statements from the reports of the several consols within their jurisdiction, which will show, as in the forms forwarded herewith, the rates of wages, prices of food, &c., for each country, as is shown for each district in consular reports, to enable the Secretary of State to prepare his letter transmitting the whole to Congress.

It is the desire of the Department to bave these reports completed as speedily as possible, so that the results may be given to the public before the statistics lose their value for comparative purposes, and it is expected that the consular corps will respond cheerfully to the desire of the Department in this regard.

Full credit should be given to every person, firm, or institution who or which aids in or facilitates the preparation of these reports.

The accompanying tabular fornis, numbered 1 to 15 inclusive, are prepared with the view of facilitating the labors of the consuls, and also with a view to uniformity. It is thought that these forms are varied and plastic enough to accommodate all trades and callings, provision being made for as many additions thereto as may be called for. Consnls are requested, as far as possible, to so prepare their statistics that the printer will not be obliged to divide the “running heads” of their tables or insert "pasters" (folded sheets).

Instead of referring to interogatories by numbers, consuls will quote the interrogatory, making a beading thereof, and then answer the same.

The expenses actually necessary for the preparation of these reports will be allowed on the presentation of the regular vouchers therefor.

The foregoing circular was accompanied by sixteen prepared forms, viz: 1, general trades; 2, factories and mills; 3, foundries, machine-shops, and iron works; 4, glass and pottery works; 5, mines and mining; 6, rail. way employés ; 7, ship-yards and ship-building; 8, seamen's wages; 9, shop wages; 10, household wages in towns and cities; 11, agricultural wages; 12, corporation employés; 13, government departments and offices; 14, trades and labor in government employ; 15, printers and printing offices.

It was intended that the foregoing circular should embrace every phase and condition of labor in foreign countries, and it is confidently asserted that the answers thereto embrace more information concerning the wage workers of the world than has heretofore been compiled or published, and that they will remain a basis and a standard for all future investigations into the question of foreign labor from an American stand-point.


Retail prices of the necessaries of life in Nero York, August 1, 1884.

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