I, Richard Arkwright, believe that child labor is not only an acceptable practice to allow, but also a necessary one. In many cities there are not enough local people to supply a factory owner, such as myself, with the workers needed to meet demand, and therefore the employment of child labor is needed.
I myself come from a poor family that could not afford to send me to school. Instead, I was taught my reading and writing by my dear cousin Ellen. Despite my lack of schooling, I went from being a barber’s apprentice worth £5 to being a factory owner worth £500,000! Having to work instead of going to school does not condemn one to poverty for life!
I would never employ a worker over the age of forty. My machines need to be managed by young workers who do not have a family or other obligations besides working at my factories. Therefore, without hiring children, there is a limited number of laborers to chose from. Here in Cromford, there are barely enough locals to supply me with the labor I need, so child labor is necessary.
Child labor supplies families with another paycheck that they rely on, which is money that would not be coming in if that child was not allowed to work. In hard times like these, everyone in the family must help to support each other. If not, I believe that poverty in this country would increase greatly.
I pay my workers up to five-pence and no more. I must keep this admittedly low wage because with all of my workers, even this adds up! If I want to make a profit, I have to keep this wage as it is, especially with the Water-Frame becoming more and more popular every day. The larger the demand on my product, the more labor I need to meet that demand. Two thirds of my 1,900 workers are children, and without them, my business would surely fail. The children who work in my factories get paid the money that helps to keep their families in their homes, and they give me the labor I need to keep my business going. Child labor is not only acceptable, but a necessary thing to allow.