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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 51

The Protected Classes

The Protected Classes.

Q. How many persons out of the whole population of the United States in 1880 (50,155,783) were, according to the census, engaged in gainful occupations?

A. 17,392,099.

Q. How many of these were engaged in agriculture?

A. 7,670,493; or about 44 per cent, of the entire population.

Q. What proportion of the number could be injuriously exposed to foreign competition, in the absence of productive duties?

A. We export in defiance of the competition of all the world nearly every variety of our agricultural products. Out of the whole number engaged in agriculture in the United States, not five persons in a hundred, and those mainly the growers of sugar, of rice and of wool to a very small extent, can be subject to any foreign competition in the sale of their products.

Q. How many persons in the United States were engaged in 1880 in manufacturing?

A. 2,739,907; or about 16 per cent, of the whole number—classified into 52,207 manufacturers and 2,587,700 workmen.

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Q. How many of these could under any circumstances be subjected to foreign competition?

A. A careful calculation indicates 837,112, or not more than one-third of the whole number, and on a great part of even this number the competition would be but partial.

Q. How many persons in the United States in 1880 were engaged in occupations other than agriculture and manufactures?

A. 6,983,000; including 4,074,238 engaged in professional and personal service—lawyers, doctors, teachers, ministers, domestics, etc., and 1,810,256 in trade and transportation; or about 40 per cent, of the whole number of workers.

Q. Can any of the persons in the class be protected by the tariff?

A. Not unless the sphere of the tariff be so extended as to prohibit the emigration of lawyers, doctors, teachers, ministers, railroad employe's, clerks, nurses, labourers, and the like.

Q. What are illustrations of the way that people of this latter class are injured by protection?

A. A female domestic servant cannot be protected against the competition of foreign paupers; but she is taxed on every yard of cloth which she buys for her dress, on every silk ribbon, on every pin, and in fact on almost everything she buys.

Q. How many of such persons were there in the United States in 1880?

A. Nearly a million (938,000).

Q. Give another illustration.

A. Women working for wages scarcely enough to maintain themselves in reasonable comfort—milliners, dressmakers, seamstresses, etc. None of the product of their work, save a few fashionable samples, could be imported; and yet this great class are taxed on every spool of thread they use, on every needle with which they sew, on every yard of cloth they make up.

Q. How many of these workers were there in 1880?

A. Over 280,000; outnumbering all the women and children who convert cotton and wool into cloth; and if to this 280,000 we add the manufacturers of clothing who work page 20 in the great factories, it will be found that those who work upon cloth, where cloth is the raw material, outnumber by two to one all those employed in the great factories working raw material into cloth.

Q. How many men are engaged in the railroad service of the country?

A. More than 600,000, or more than can be found in all the branches of manufacture that could be subjected to foreign competition, even if there were no custom houses; add to this the average number engaged in the construction of railways for the last ten years, and we have an aggregate of about one million of workers, or about one man in every ten engaged in earning their living in this country, exclusive of those engaged in agriculture, in a business which can be taxed but not protected.

Q. What, according to the census of 1880, were the average wages of the unprotected railway employes?

A. £90.

Q. What were the average wages of the much smaller number of protected iron-makers for the same year?

A. £62 8s.