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Average rates of monthly wages paid in the American merchant marine for fiscal year ended June 30, 1895-Continued.
ATLANTIC AND GULF COASTING TRADE
WAGES ON BRITISH VESSELS.
The following tables show the monthly wages paid on British vessels. For ready understanding and convenience of comparison these rates have been converted into dollars and cents, the British shilling, in which such wages are expressed, being reckoned at 24.3 cents.
The statistics are converted from the "tables showing the progress of British merchant shipping," a return made annually for a number of years to the House of Commons, compiled from records of shipping offices. While this Bureau has been reluctant to devote so much space to them, it has nevertheless regarded it as desirable to present a statement so comprehensive and exact that any American ship owner can ascertain on precisely what terms, so far as wages enter into cost of operation, the carrying trade is conducted by Great Britain, our natural commercial rival, in any kind or size of vessel, making any voyage that may be selected. The information is believed to be so complete that the owner of any American vessel can compute, at least approximately, the labor cost of operation of a corresponding British vessel in the same trade.
Table 1 shows the maximum, minimum, and ordinary rates of wages paid to able seamen, first mates, second mates, and boatswains, who are to be found on both sailing and steam vessels, noting separately the rates paid to each on sailing vessels, cargo steamers, or passenger steamers, and classifying these again, according to the voyage, whether it be across the Atlantic, to South America and the West Indies, to Australia, to Asia, to the Mediterranean, the Pacific coast of the United States. Table 2 relates wholly to steamships, and shows wages to first and second engineers, leading firemen, firemen, and trimmers, classified as in Table 1.
Table 3 shows the average monthly wages paid to able seamen on both steamships and sailing vessels at the five ports with which the great bulk of the carrying tradeexcluding express passenger trade to Southamptou-between the United States and Great Britain is carried on. The figures are given for 1870, 1880, and for 1892, 1893, and 1894, to show the fluctuations and tendencies of wages on the sea. The steady rise in wages up to 1892 and 1893 is in part to be explained by the greater efficiency of labor. In 1870 the average number of men employed per 100 tons on British sailing vessels in foreign trade was 2.79, and in 1894 it was 1.67. In other words, a sailing vessel of 1,000 tons manned by 28 men in 1870 can now be manned, through improved mechanical appliances, by 17 or 18 men; but as higher intelligence is required, higher wages follow, not inconsistent also with greater profit. On British steamships the average number of men per 100 tons in foreign trade in 1870 was 4.35, and in 1894 was 2.40, a reduction of over 40 per cent in the number, corresponding, presumably, to the more effective use of labor. It has, however, been alleged that this reduction in force is partly due to the undermanning of British vessels.
Table 4 shows the wages of first and second mates, boatswains, carpenters, and sailmakers and quartermasters, wherever these are carried, on steam vessels and sailing vessels. First, second, and third engineers, leading firemen and firemen, of course, ship only on steam vessels. As in Table 3, the figures collated for a period of years illustrate tendencies.
TABLE 1.-Maximum, minimum, and ordinary wages (expressed in dollars and cents) paid on British vessels in 1894.
$38.88 $29.16 $19.44
$21.87 to $24.30 $31.59 $14.58
$19.44 to $24.30 21.87