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laboring classes rightly and the reins of government may be held on one's little finger.
In Missouri our statutes are silent on this subject. In this respect we are far behind most of the other States whose manufacturing and mining industries bear comparison with ours. It should therefore be one of the first duties of the present General Assembly to consider this matter, and bring forward and enact such a law as will place Missouri abreast of the times in the general movement, everywhere apparent, for the elevation of labor and the improvement of the condition of the daboring classes.
MINE INSPECTORS' REPORTS.
The law requires county mine inspectors to report to this department as to the condition of their mines on or before December 31st. The law also requires us to make our report January 1st, of each year. Thus it will be seen that it is impossible for us to get the annual reports from the county mine inspectors in time to include them in our annual report. This year we have received reports from but three of them and publish them in full, together with the tabulated statement of last year, which was very full and will be of more benefit to those interested in the mining industry, than one we could compile froin the meagre returns we have received this year, consequently it is reprinted.
The law should be changed so that, instead of local inspectors, there should be one mine inspector for the State, appointed by the Commissioner of Labor. His fees should be $5.00 for each mine inspected; there should be two inspections a year, which would be $10.00 per year. These fees should be paid by the county courts. In the end it would be a matter of economy to the counties.
The inspector should be a practical miner, and be examined by the Commissioner as to his qualifications, etc. The mining laws are deficient in many respects, and changes will be suggested by both operators and minors during this session of the legislature, and no doubt changes will be of benefit to both, so that operators and miners will both yield a ready obedience to a just and wise law, that, while it will give good ventilation and safety to the miner, will at the same time suffer the operator to run his mine without annoyance or conflict.
The bureau publishes in this connection a statement from ten miners as to earnings and expenses the past year, also the same marked "A" from the report of this bureau in the year 1881; from that statement it will be seen that this great industry is going back instead of for: ward in the earnings of miners.