Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mr. Tufnell's Pamphlet Versus Mr. Ewart's Testimony

"What do you suppose to be the chief motive for the operatives here advocating the Ten-Hour Bill?"

The question posed by Edward Carleton Tufnell, examiner for the 1833 Royal Commission on Employment of Children in Factories; the reply to that question from Peter Ewart, master cotton-spinner and weaver of Manchester; and Tufnell's appropriation, revision and condensation of Ewart's reply constitute the fountainhead for the lump-of-labor fallacy claim. Tufnell's appropriation conveniently left out details that would enable the reader to critically assess the argument's validity, reliability and robustness. He also shifted the form of the proposition in question from supposition ("what do you suppose to be the chief motive...") to assertion ("The Union calculated...").