The Voice of Industry (Vol. 1 No. 20 - 9 October 1845)

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The 9 October 1845 issue of the Voice of Industry (Vol. 1 No. 20).

Submitted by adri on April 10, 2024

The Pittsburgh Strike.1

The female operatives of Pittsburgh could not succeed in obtaining their desire. Their employers, in petty spite, have increased the hours of labor.—Boston Post.

Such is the respect paid to the just claims of the people from whose labors our wealthy and aristocratic manufacturers derive all their princely fortunes. When they ask for their rights, they oppress them, when they ask for bread, they give them a serpent, when they ask for milder terms, they are scourged with whips of scorpions. O, how hard it is to be insulted and tyrannized over, by the worthless and unworthy, who vent their spleen on honest operatives, over whom chance has given them power! What can be more just than the request of the girls of the Pittsburgh and other factories, that they should not be confined to those unwholesome prison houses but ten hours per day; the least they could have done was to have denied their request in kind language. But not only is their reasonable petition denied, but new burdens accompanied by insult have been imposed upon them. Surely, if any fires in the prison house of the damned burn with redoubled heat, they will be reserved for the especial punishment of such oppressors and enemies of their kind.2

We have much to say on the murderous practice of working operatives, especially females, an unreasonable number of hours in our factories.—Olive Branch.

Progress of Monopoly.

We copy the following item from the Lowell Journal.

Two hundred workmen from England arrived at the Iron Works at Danville Penn., where they are to be employed.

The above few lines contain an important lesson for every workingman and woman in America, they clearly exhibit to the unbiased, investigating and reflecting mind, the onward rapid strides of the great, deep-rooted inhuman monster system of capital against labor, which is fast devouring every tangible and valuable right that belongs to the working classes of this country, as moral, physical and intellectual beings, capable of filling the land with abundance, and generating peaceful industry, virtue and happiness.

Just as sure as there is a sun at noon-day, capital, under its present hostile and unnatural state, is fast reducing labor to utter dependence and slavish beggary. The above quotation is but one of the countless demonstrations of this sad reality, which daily manifest themselves among us, and though political demagogues for the sake of the emoluments of society, laud and eulogize the "freedom of equality of our people," though false philosophers theorize and glowingly set forth the "virtuous tendencies of our institutions," and blinded bigots or sectarian devotees, sanctimoniously reason of the "pious relations" existing between the employer and the employed, the master and the slave, capital and labor and the justice of morality of our organization; yet the true state and condition of the laboring people are fast being developed—truth cannot always be stifled, or light hid from those who sit in darkness.

This talk about the continued prosperity, happy condition and future independence of the producing class of this country, as a class, is all fiction, moon-shine. There is at this very moment a great strife between capital and labor, and capital is fast gaining the mastery—the gradual abasement of the workingmen and women of this country abundantly sustain this position—the various "strikes" among the operatives and workingmen in New England and other sections of the country, which have almost invariably proved abortive and ineffectual, evidently show that combined incorporated and protected capital can "starve out" and dismay the disorganized, competing and dependent laborers, whose daily toil provides the scanty portion to satisfy the pinching necessities of those dependent upon them.

The democratic republican capital of this country, which has been so amply fortified against foreign despotic capital by the suffrages of American workingmen ("all for their especial benefit") says there are not enough "free, independent and well-paid" workingmen and women in this country; consequently foreign operatives and workmen must be imported—no tariff on these; no, no, it won't do to protect the capital of American workingmen and women (their labor) against foreign competition! for this would be anti-republican. But "protect the rich capitalist and he will take care of the laborer."

Now the capitalists of the Danville Iron Works wish to protect themselves against these "disorderly strikes," by importing a surplus of help; the Lowell capitalists entertain the same republican idea of self-protection, the Pittsburgh and Allegheny City capitalists, whose sympathies (if they have any) have been recently appealed to, wish to secure themselves against "turn-outs" [strikes] by creating a numerous poor and dependent populace. Isolated capital everywhere and in all ages protects itself by the poverty, ignorance and servility of a surplus population, who will submit to its base requirements—hence the democratic or whig capital of the United States is striving to fill the country with foreign workmen—English workmen, whose abject condition in their own country has made them tame, submissive and "peaceable, orderly citizens"; that is, work fourteen and sixteen hours per day for what capital sees fit to give them, and it is not enough to provide them a comfortable house to shelter their wives and children and furnish them with decent food and clothes; why, they must live in cellars, go hungry and ragged!—and for this state of things, capitalists are not answerable. O! no—"they (the laborers) ain't obliged to take it—they are free to go when they please." How long will the working people of this country remain indifferent to these important considerations? How long will they continue blinded to the monopolizing tendencies of our system of capital against labor?—they are at war with each other, and art has taken sides, as an ally with capital against humanity and the defenseless laborer—they are all antagonistical, whereas they should be united and harmonious—even labor is at war with itself, wasting and consuming what strength and union capital has been unable to destroy. Let the American laborers recollect that the same grasping system which has driven thousands from the Old World in utter destitution to this country, for refuge, is here being nourished, and should they suffer it to go on, their children will look in vain for an asylum for their ills and oppressions, and perchance in their wild breathing after that rational freedom which God gave to all, and which brings peace, plenty and happiness, curse the day that gave them existence and the beautiful heavens and earth that mock and aggravate their misery.

A Strike.3

We see by the Pittsburgh papers that four thousand of the operatives in the factories of that city are upon "a strike" for the "ten-hour system."—Ex. paper [example paper?]

The above paragraph is going the rounds of the papers as an ordinary item of news. While "miraculous escapes," "horrid calamities," and "shocking accidents," are made the hinges upon which to turn very interesting homilies for the good of the public, an attempt of four thousand men, women and children to prolong their lives, to loosen the bonds of monopoly—cold calculating avarice, is placed before the public in a paragraph of half a dozen lines, without "note or comment." This fact shows a lamentable want of interest in the welfare of the laboring classes, the welfare of the country at large; for who is there that does not acknowledge the producers to be the heart, bone, sinew, of the body politic. Yet avarice dictates, and the welfare of this class is no more cared for—aye, not so much cared for as the welfare of classes of the lower orders of animal creation. This state of things should not exist, public policy, government policy should discountenance it. But it will exist, monopoly, avarice, will carry the high hand, prey upon the life blood of the masses, until the masses, the laboring classes move in this thing themselves. They should define their duties to community to them. They should demand their rights, and say to the proud, overbearing, oppressing monopoly—

"Thus far, no farther go,
Here let thy proud waves be stayed."—Manchester Democrat.

Note: spelling and punctuation have been slightly modified.

  • 1It seems the Voice reprinted this commentary from both the Boston Post and Olive Branch.
  • 2This passage could perhaps be a reference to the Great Fire of Pittsburgh that occurred earlier in April 1845.
  • 3The Voice reprinted this article from the Manchester Democrat.