Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/229

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
223
THE HERCULES COTTON FACTORY

armed and drilled as soldiers. The motive power is furnished by two double oscillating engines of English manufacture and one hundred horse-power each, and the largest over-shot water-wheel in the world, sixty-five feet in diameter, and of iron, wholly. The factory employs at present eighteen hundred men, women and boys, directly, and has eighteen thousand spindles in operation. The buildings are erected, already, for five thousand spindles more, and the number of operatives will be increased to three thousand. This mill produces six thousand pieces of common cotton goods, each thirty-two varas—say thirty yards English—in length, weekly. The women and men who do the weaving, receive thirty-one and one-fourth cents per piece, or about one cent per yard for their work, and are paid weekly. They earn two and one-half to five dollars per week, and are furnished with comfortable quarters near the factory at a nominal rental. But they work from 6 a. m. to 9 1-2 p. m., with only an intermission of half an hour, for breakfast, and an hour for dinner. Among the employes are many small boys from seven to ten years of age.

The Government provides a day-school on Sunday for these poor, little unfortunates; but what can they be expected to learn, when they have worked fifteen hours out of the twenty-four during the entire week, and can only have, at best, one brief day of liberty and enjoyment of the sunlight in seven? The buildings are all well-lighted and ventilated, and were as well-calculated for the purpose as any I have ever seen, and the office and residence of the superintendent are on a scale of extent and magnificence to be found in no similar establishment, elsewhere. The factory was working