Page images

are going to have upset conditions for some time in the future, and I also believe that this country is going to go on in the same path that it has followed in the past, and when a president has been elected and these matters have been straightened out and we have had a chance to get our bearings we are going to be as successful in the future as we ever have been in the past. [Applause.] There is no question about that in my mind. And I want to say further that I believe in manufacturing cotton that this section of the country is going to have just as great a place in the future in the manufacture of that great staple as it has in the past. Circumstances in the last few years have established that conclusively in my mind.

I have said a great deal more than I intended to say when I came here. It is always pleasant to get into association with. old friends and you say more under those circumstances than you intend. My duty today was to welcome you to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I do not think you gentlemen need any welcome here. You are known here; most of you are part and parcel of us. You know that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes the value of a great industry, that she is interested in the great captains of industry who are doing so much to build up our towns and cities and the Commonwealth. And as her official representative today it is a great pleasure for me to extend the right hand of fellowship and to say that we are glad to see you here, we hope your stay in Boston will be pleasant and that your meeting will result in great benefit to all your members. I thank you for your kind attention. [Applause.]



Fellow Members: ·

At our Washington meeting I had the honor of presenting for your consideration the question of the effect of so-called industrial education on our industry. It was there conceded that all educational advantage was desirable, and would necessarily benefit in some measure our industry, ff we took proper advantage of its effect; but the question which seemed to me most to concern us was how to get good help into our mills, rather than how the industrial commissions were going to get them out, and into other occupations. There has been a great deal of discussion, and some effort at realization of plans for industrial trade schools, and there is evidence that the fact is somewhat appreciated that the textile industry may need a different training from that which is necessary and desirable for special trades in general; the primary difficulty being that where children are employed it is for purposes where grown persons are seldom available as learners. A report of the Massachusetts Commission on Industrial Education shows its recognition of this difficulty, at least in part, by recommending that a parttime system be provided for the textile schools, by which a boy. might work in the mill for one week and his school-fellow the following. That is, alternately, week about: one in the mill and one in the school. This no doubt would have its advantages if it should prove practicable. Such children, however, as are generally available for work in the mill could not be accommodated in the textile schools proper, though they might be

receiving some industrial education elsewhere. Would it not be well, therefore, for their educational benefit, that our regular day school children, whose compulsory education has not yet been completed, should share in the opportunity for part-time work in some form, in order to learn not only what to do but how to work.

It should be further noted that this report takes into consideration the placing of all the State textile schools under the authority of the Industrial Commission, and efforts have been in progress, through bills before the Legislature, to re-organize the Industrial Commission, and to extend further the scope of its authority. The placing of the textile schools under this Commission, assuming it properly constituted, might perhaps give more effective results than we now have, through greater system in methods of teaching, and methods of co-operation with the manufacturer. But this step is one which should be considered with the greatest care, and it should not be forgotten that the local needs of textile schools in Fall River or New Bedford do not necessarily cover the same ground as those for a textile school in Lowell, or vice versa. The great variety of our industries both in cotton and worsted is such as to place cutand-dried methods for the whole state, however effective they seem on paper, at some disadvantage for the locality, just as cut-and-dried methods in general educational work are not for the best advantage of every individual pupil. Such work, however, could be on co-ordinate or parallel lines, if not identical, and union of purpose is certainly desirable.

So far as the textile mill situation extends only to the ordinary operative, the fundamental requirement is an attitude of mind. which is amenable to instruction and conscientious obedience. For some reason not well explained our public schools, excellent as they are, are not fully meeting this condition, and the parents of the children are not aiding the public schools as they should. to bring this about. The home is perhaps the most at fault in the matter. Even the present scarcity of employment has not rendered either the younger portion of the community, or many

of their elders, amenable to systematic measures such as are necessary for the best success, and which our foreign competitors have acquired the ability to maintain. Such lack of educational success might have admitted of reasonable explanation when business was so pushing that every operative felt that it was only necessary to throw up his job to obtain another immediately. That present conditions have had some sobering effect, however, is clearly manifest, and this may eventually be represented in improved quality of production. The difficulty, however, is a fundamental one which seems to be prevalent throughout this country, and needs the most careful attention of our educational systems. With proper material to work with, and a willingness to co-operate, the training of operatives to take up more advanced positions would not only be possible, but ought to be of mutual benefit to both the operative and the mauufacturer. Such educational advancement must, however, require training both in the art and in the science of the occupation, and may well have the co-operation of textile schools, or industrial schools of some class.

One of the most important events in the past six months which our panic conditions unduly overshadowed was the Atlanta Conference. It was earnestly felt by those who took part in this Conference that it was an epoch-making event. The meeting together face to face of rival interests, and the formulating of resolutions covering so many details in regard to the cotton growing industry and the trade relations governing the same, where it was necessary for absolute unanimity to carry any resolution, was a noteworthy achievement. (These resolutions as passed may be found printed in the last number of the Transactions.) Manufacturers from the United States, many from across the water and representatives from the cotton exchanges met the planter upon his own ground and it is to the credit. of the planter that he acknowledged without cavil the handicap which faulty methods had placed upon the cotton growing industry and which was reflected back against him by the serious results to the cotton spinner. Some of the methods of the

cotton exchanges received the strongest condemnation of both spinner and planter, but against efforts to legislate exchanges out of existence, wiser counsel prevailed.

It is to be regretted that the matter of permanent organizations has so far hung fire, only a few of the associations represented having appointed delegates. The first set-back came from the British Master Cotton Spinners' Association, a branch of the International Federation, who claimed that to multiply organizations would not be of benefit to the industry, their efforts being confined to endeavors to unite our manufacturing industries on this side of the water with the International Federation. This would seem practically impossible of attainment, even in a very limited way. Not all the interests of our manufacturers are by any means identical with those of our European friends, and it would seem that the only kind of unity of interest would be such as could be represented in periodical conferences, which it was the object of the permanent organization to foster and maintain. Possibly this matter may be taken up more advisedly at the European Conference at Paris which meets June next, and to which our Association has appointed five delegates, whom we trust will be able to return to us with valuable information there acquired.

One of the natural questions arising from the participation of the various Associations in this Conference at Atlanta is, how far our Association can unite its efforts with others in taking official action upon other matters than those simply technical? The Board of Government has been approached several times. upon numerous subjects relating to legislative matters, but in which it seemed to them it was not within our province to take part. It must be remembered that we are an association of individuals and not of corporations or firms, and it has been our policy to avoid any entangling alliances which would in any way affect, either for good or ill, the financial policies of our several corporations. That it is possible, however, for us to make our influence felt, where it is proper to do so is evident in the efforts which have lately been made, under the sanction of the Board

« PreviousContinue »