Unfortunately, the paper with the above title, read by Peter Ewart on February 7, 1817 to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, has been lost to posterity. Of the seven papers Ewart read before the Society, only his "On the Measure of Moving Force" was published. The latter paper -- presented November 18, 1808 -- is significant as a precursor (or 'bridge') to the discovery of the first law of thermodynamics.
Besides being a contributor of scientific and economic papers to the Literary and Philosophical Society, Peter Ewart was a talented millwright, manufacturer and employer of children. In 1816, his cotton mill employed 192 people, 120 of whom were between the ages of ten and eighteen and another 14 were under the age of ten.
In 1833, Mr. Ewart testified before a Royal Commission on the Employment of Children in Factories. His testimony has a crucial bearing on the fate of the unemployed in the U.S. 178 years later. One might say that the connection between Mr. Ewart's Royal Commission testimony, the law of the conservation of energy and the fate of the unemployed is somewhat "inelastic". Exactly what I mean by that cryptic comment will take a bit of explaining, a timeline and a digression or two. In the meanwhile, I have a few bibliographical recommendations, below the book clip, for anyone interested in reading along at home.
"Some Factors in the Early Development of the Concepts of Power, Work and Energy." D. S. L. Cardwell, The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 3. 1967. pp. 209-224.
"Liberty, Utility and Socialism: social ideals during the industrial revolution." chapter eight in Arnold Pacey, The Maze of Ingenuity, 1974. London: Allen Lane, pp. 235-261.
Capital and Wages: A Lakatosian History of the Wages Fund Doctrine. John Vint. 1994. Aldershot: Edward Elgar.
The Lancashire Cotton Industry: a Study in Economic Development. Sydney J. Chapman. 1904. Manchester: University Press.
The machinery question and the making of political economy 1815-1848. Maxine Berg. 1980. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Character, object and effects of trades' unions. E.C. Tufnell. 1834. London: James Ridgeway & Sons.
"Peter Ewart, Master Cotton-Spinner and Weaver, Examined by Mr. Tufnell. SECOND REPORT of the Central Board of His Majesty's Commissioners for inquiring into the Employment of Children in Factories; with Minutes of Evidence, and Reports by the Medical Commissioners." Reports from Commissioners vol. 5. 1833. London: House of Commons. pp. 36-38.
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