Factory Girls' Meeting
(From The Man, New York, February 22, 1834)
In consequence of the notice, given by the Agent to the Females, employed in the Manufacturing establishments in this town, that from and after the 15th instant, their wages would be reduced, to enable their employers to meet the "unusual pressure of the times,"the girls, to the number of between 600 and 700, assembled in the Court-House on Saturday afternoon, to devise ways and means to enable themselves to meet the "pressure of the times" anticipated from this threatened reduction.
The meeting was organized and a committee of three appointed to prepare resolutions and a report of the proceedings. The notice of the Agent, informing them, that when the mills were again started, it would be upon the "new prices," was then read and the following Resolutions unanimously passed:
1st. Resolved, That we will never consent to work for the Cochaco Manufacturing Company at their reduced "Tariff of Wages."
2d. Resolved, That we believe the "unusual pressure of the times," which is so much complained of, to have been caused by artful and designing men to subserve party purposes, or more wickedly still, to promote their own private ends.
3d. Resolved, That we view with feelings of indignation the attempt made to throw upon us, who are least able to bear it, the effect of this "pressure," by reducing our wages, while those of our overseers and Agent are continued to them at their former high rate. That we think our wages are already low enough when the peculiar circumstances of our situation are considered; that we are, many of us, far from our homes, parents and friends, and that it is only by strict economy and untiring industry that any of us have been able to lay up any thing. That we view, with feelings of scorn, the attempt made by those, who would be glad to see us bond slaves for life, to magnify the small amount of our earnings into fortunes, that their oppressive measures may wear the appearance of justice.
4th. Resolved, That we view this attempt to reduce our wages as part of a general plan of the proprietors of the different manufacturing establishments to reduce the Females in their employ to that state of dependence on them, in which they may openly, as they do now secretly, abuse and insult them, by calling them their "slaves." That while we feel our independence, we will neither be cajoled by flattery nor intimidated by threats, from using all the means in our power to prevent the accomplishment of a purpose so much to be deprecated.
5th Resolved, That we view both the ungenerous accusation of our effecting "riotous combination" and the poor compliment of our being "otherwise respectable" with like feelings of contempt: and consider them both as the last degree insulting to the daughters of freemen.
6th Resolved, That however freely the epithet of "Factory Slaves" may be bestowed upon us, we will never deserve it, by a base and cringing submission to proud wealth or haughty insolence.
7th Resolved, That it be considered base in anyone to depart from the determination expressed by our first resolution.
After the adoption of the above resolutions a communication from one of the members was read, exhorting them to persist in the endeavors to obtain the old prices for labor and not to work for the new, and to correspond with those of their Own sex similarly situated in other places, to encourage them to adopt a like course.
The communication was well received and after it had been read the following Votes were passed.
Voted, That a committee of twelve be chosen to communicate the proceedings of this meeting to the girls employed in the Factories at Great Falls, Newmarket, and Lowell.
Voted, That a fund be raised and appropriated to defray the expenses of those, in returning to their homes who may not have the means at their command.
Voted, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Dover Gazette and N. H, Globe, and in all other papers printed in this State whose editors are opposed to the system of slavery attempted to be established in our manufacturing establishments.