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But this sort of doctrine is stigmatised | them one by one, and force them to adopt by some as Political Economy; and a their terms in detail. The strike ordered unionist is said to have boldly declared, in the Messrs. Trollope's shop was but a in Hyde Park, 'If political economy is beginning; and if the other builders had against us, then we are against political consented to keep their works open, and economy. 'Where reason is against a to provide the men in their employment man,' says Hobbes, he will be against with the funds by means of which the sereason. To declare against the law of ceders were to have been maintained, it is gravitation were indeed quite as futile as perfectly clear that, one by one, the masto declare against the law of supply and ters must have succumbed. They felt demand. Neither physical nor moral con- tbat it was time for them to imitate the ditions will accommodate themselves to example of their workmen; and when the restrictive regulations of trades' unions. masters are forced into union for self-deEven they themselves have sometimes ad- fence, strikes have no longer a chance of mitted the fact. The cotton-spinners of success. They are as futile as the assault Glasgow and the potters of Staffordshire of an unarmed and unprovisioned multinot long since formed themselves into as- tude upon an impregnable and provisioned sociations for the purpose of enabling the fortress. However barsh the step of the spare hands in their respective trades to builders may have appeared, its policy emigrate, and thus relieve the market. was afterwards clearly established by the The London builders, however, conceiving statements of the unionists themselves; labour to be a fixed quantity, and that it for one of their number, Mr. Mark Noble, might be so divided amongst them as to made, at the Surrey Gardens meeting, this allow of an equal price being paid to each, valuable, though probably unconscious, no matter how large the number of work admission :- If the masters had not shut men, struck to obtain a reduction in the their shops and locked the men out, we hours of labour, in order, as they alleged, should have had ample money to carry out to provide for the employment of the sur- the nine hours' movement; but, as the plus hands in their trade. But as they did masters have locked out many thousands not offer to give up the pay for the hour of men, how do you suppose that we can which they proposed to deduct, the ques- guarantee you anything like a tangible tion for the masters to consider was simply support ?'. When the subject of strikes was whether they were prepared to add ten discussed before the Society of Arts a few per cent. to their workmen's wages ? It years ago, the question parrowed itself to has been alleged, indeed, that the builders' this-Does a partial strike on the part of hours of labour are too long; but the men the workmen justity a general lock-out on have been accustomed to remedy this evil the part of the masters ? In cases where the by taking out not less than one-tenth of partial strike forms part of a combined the established working time in holidays. scheme of operations, we think Mr. Mark Only, for those holidays they have not here- Noble has effectually supplied an answer. tofore been paid; whereas, by the new And whenever it is known that the masregulation proposed by the union, the idle ters are prepared to resist the attempts of days would really be paid for by the public. trades' combinations to enforce their con
The conduct of the master builders in ditions upon them one by one, strikes will adopting a general lock-out, upon a strike be rendered more and more difficult, if taking place in one particular workshop, not altogether impossible. Nevertheless has been severely censured. To lookers. it miglit possibly have savoured less of an on it had an appearance of hardship, appearance of oppression, if, instead of punishing the innocent for the acts of the adopting the severe measure of a general guilty, and depriving them of bread. The lock-out, the master builders had sent demasters' reply was, that their shops are tachments of their men into the Messrs. open to such as choose to work for them, Trollope's shop, on the strike taking place provided they renounce all connexion with there, leaving with the men themselves the * any society which directly or indirectly responsibility of refusing to remain on the interferes with the arrangements of their terms on which employment was offered. establishments or the hours or terms of Hugh Miller, when working as a stonelabour,' and recognise the right of em- mason near Edinburgh in 1824, was drawn ployers and employed individually to make into one of the strikes which were so comany trade engagements on which they may mon in that city during the prevalence of choose to agree. But the masters have a the building mania. He found that the further answer to give. They were aware agitation was, as usual, got up and kept up of the intention of the unionists to take by those who were better speech-makers
• I saw
than workers. Three-fourths of those however, did not give up his clerkship, and I who turned out had not the wherewithal dare say the sort of treatment which I had reto keep the wolf from the door’ for a ceived at the hands of my fellow-workmen made fortuigbt; the builders were not desirous one express myself rather strongly on the subof pressing on their jobs during the winter, strikes and combinations which have taken place
ject; but the actual bistory of the numerous and the consequence was that the majo- during the quarter of a century and more which rity, after a good deal of talk about 'nail- has since intervened, is of a kind not in the ing their colours to the mast,' and a week's least suited to modify my views. There is a idleness, drinking, and oratory, went back want of judicious leadership among our workto work on their masters' terms.
ing men, and such of the autobiographies of the enough at the time,' Miller sensibly ob-class as are able and interesting enough to observes, “to convince me that, though the clined to think, how this has taken place. Com
tain a hearing for their authors, show, I am inright of combination, abstractedly con- bination is first brought to bear among them sidered, is just and proper, the strikes against the men, their fellows, who have vigour which would result from it as consequences enough of intellect to think and act for themwould be productive of much evil and selves; and such always is the character of the little good. Speaking to one of his asso
born leader: their true leaders are almost alciates, who acted as a clerk to the opera- ways forced into the opposition, and thus sepative house-painters, he observed :
rating between themselves and the men fitted by
nature to render them formidable, they fall under "" There is a want of true leadership among the direction of mere chatterers and stump-oraour operatives in these combinations. It is the tors, which is in reality no direction at all. The wildler spirits that dictate the conditions; and author of the “Working Man's Way in the pitching their demands high, they begin usually
World” "-evidently a very superior man--had, by enforcing acquiescence in them on the quieter he tells us, to quit at one time his employment, and more moderate among their companions. overborne by the senseless ridicule of his brotherThey are tyrants to their fellows ere they come
workmen. Somerville states in his autobio. into collision with their masters, and have thus graphy, that, both as a labouring man and a solan enemy in the camp, not unwilling to take advier, it was from the hands of comrades that, vantage of their seasons of weakness, and pre- save in one memorable instance, he had expepared to rejoice, though secretly mayhap, in rienced all the tyranny and oppression of which their defents and reverses; and further, their he had been the victim. Nay, Benjamin Frankdiscomfiture will be always quite certain enough lin himself was deemed a much more ordinary when seasons of depression come, from the cir- man in the printing-house in Bartholomew Close, cumstance that, fixing their terms in prosperous where he was teased and laughed at as the Watimes, they will fix them with reference rather ter-American, than in the House of Represento their present power of enforcing them, than tatives, the Royal Society, or the Court of to that medium line of fair and equal adjust- France. The great Printer, though recognised ment on which a conscientious man could plant by accomplished politicians as a profound stateshis foot and make a firm stand. Men such as
mail, and by men of solid science as "the most you, able and ready to work in behalf of these rational of the philosophers," was regardled by combinations, will of course get the work to do, his poor brother-compositors as merely an odů but you will bave little or no power given you in fellow, who did not conform to their drinking their direction: the direction will be apparently usages, and whom it was therefore fair to tease in the hands of a few fluent gabbers ; and yet and annoy, as a contemner of the sacrament of even they will not be the actual directors—they
the chapel.' will be but the exponents and voices of the gene. ral mediocre sentiment and inferior sense of the
The fallacy which seems to prevail mass as a whole, and acceptable only so long as amongst working men is, that, by diminishthey give utterance to that, and so ultimately ing production, the remuneration of the exceedingly little will be won in this way for workman inay be increased. With this working men. It is well tbat they should be view, bricklayers must not put the trowel allowed to combine, seeing that combination is out of their hand to do
other labour, permitted to those who employ them; but until and hodmen must carry only a certain the majority of our working men of the south weight defined by edict or by usage. Men become very different from what they now are -greatly wiser and greatly better-there will are virtually forbidden to do their best, be more lost than gained by their combinations. and the wages of the most skilled artificers According to the circumstances of the time and are kept down to the level of the worst, season, the current will be at one period running all that the superior hands gain being in their favour against the masters, and at an- merely the earliest chance of obtaining other in favour of the masters against them; employment. But it is a most dangerous there will be a continual ebb and flow, like that of the sea, but no general advance, and the sooner
thing for workmen to proclaim that the that the like of you and I get out of the rough idle and unskilled shall be as well paid as conflict and jostle of the tideway, and set our
the industrious and the skilled. This is to selves to labour apart on our own internal re- place the energetic and the indolent, the sources, it will be all the better for us.” William, competent and the incompetent, on the same level, and remove the principal sti-bers speedily brought back wages to their mulus to the cultivation of individual ex natural level. Strikes, too, as we have cellence. A large engineering firm at seen, oblige the masters to introduce fresh Leeds had a serious struggle with their workmen, so that the old hands have a workmen in 1851-2 in consequence of the difficulty in again finding employment. determination of the employers to pay During the Ashton turn-out in 1825, some their men according to their merit and the 300 new men were instructed in cottonquality of their work. The first difference spinning, and the result was a reduction in arose respecting the remuneration of a the rate of wages after the strike had few persons employed in riveting boilers. ceased, on account of the superabundance Their number was only 8, out of about of operatives in the trade. The ship600 workmen, and they received different wrights at Liverpool struck for an advance, wages according to their ability--some and after standing idle 21 weeks they 278. a week, some 258. and 268., and one turned in again at 5 per cent. reduction on 24s. The other men insisted they should their previous wages. The hatters of all be paid a uniform rate, although ad- London struck for an advance of a shilling mitting that the labour of some was not per dozen hats, but eventually went back equal in value to that of their fellows. to work at a shilling decrease, instead of The firm resisted, and the eight men struck. the shilling additional which they had forFresh persons were employed in their feited nearly a third of a year's earnings to place; on which all the factory turned out, gain. The journeymen tailors of London many of them most unwillingly. The struck in 1834 for an advance of wages works were kept going, and other hands and a reduction in the hours of labour. were employed, who were subjected to Thirteen thousand men remained out of great annoyances for a time. The acting work for several months; they sacrificed foreman in one department was even fired about 100,000l. in wages alone, and, after upon by some Unionist. Still the concern enduring great privations and being rewent on, though it was eighteen months duced to utter destitution, went back to before the firm became efficiently manned. work at the masters' terms, and subscribed It was now made a condition of employ- a declaration by which they renounced all ment that those taken on should not be further support of unions. During the members of trades' unions, and the conse- strike many women had been introduced quence was that a more orderly and inde into the trade, and the system of wholesale pendent corps of workmen was got to- slopwork was then adopted, which eventugether, from which the firm eventually ally led to a serious depreciation in tailors' derived some equivalent for the loss which wages. they had sustained during the strike. We Mr. Jackson, a Sheffield manufacturer, may add, that many regulations exist in when examined before a Committee of the this establishment which would be difficult, House of Commons, in 1833, gave the folif not impossible, under the interference of lowing reasons why strikes are never caltrades' unions. For instance, the employers culated to benefit the workmen employed have instituted a sick and funeral fund, to in the cutlery trade. The workman,' which each man contributes by an addi- said he, does not benefit, strictly speaktional ten minutes labour every day when ing, by combination: though he gets high necessary, the proceeds being under the wages, he bas sometimes to pay twenty control of a committee of workmen ap- per cent. out of his wages for keeping up pointed by themselves, and administered the combination, besides an occasional levy to their general satisfaction.
of 1l.; and besides, to obtain this advanWe have shown that wages have not tage, it often happens that the men are out been raised by means of strikes; but nume- of employment for several months; so rous instances might be cited to show that that I have frequently said to the workin many cases they had a contrary effect. men, that I defy them to prove that any Even when followed by apparent success, steady, industrious man ever benefited by they have inflicted eventual injury. An itthat is to say, that the cost of obtainadvance may have been conceded on occa- ing the advance is greater than the advansions, in order to complete existing con- tage ultimately realised by it. My opinion tracts, but no sooner have these been ful is, that combinations have a tendency ultifilled than a reduction takes place, and mately to reduce wages. Say an augmenwages fall back to their former standard, tation of wages has taken place : if trade if not below it. In other cases, increased has been remarkably brisk, and the dewages have induced new hands to enter mand made by the workmen has mostly the trade, until the competition of num- been for an exorbitant price, this price has generally been maintained for a very short | unionists, were rigidly excluded; and if time—for a month, perhaps—to execnte any unprivileged man ventured to work at the orders on hand; but the price of goods any union trade, it was at the peril of his was in consequence so far augmented as life. Indeed several poor wretches were to stop the demand in our foreign markets; assassinated at the expense of the unions, and a subsequent reaction taking place, it and the murderers remained undiscovered. has been ascertained that after a turn-out No organization could have been more perof workmen, and a consequent augmenta- fect; and its result was ruin. The shiption in the price of goods, every third wrights and sawyers carried every point season, or every third half-year (as the with their masters; and in the course of a American orders came usually twice a-year), few years there was not a single master the price has fallen much below the previ. shipwright in Dublin. If vesseis frequentons level; and when the workmen have ing the port required repairs, they were attempted to gain exorbitant wages for merely cobbled up so as to insure their their labour, it ended in the sequel by safety across the channel to Belfast or bringing the rate of the labour to a less Liverpool. The Dublin iron manufactnre standard than that from which they previ- was destroyed in the same way. Mr. Roously started.'
binson, an iron-master, was prohibited by It'strikes and combinations could elevate his men from using a machine which he the condition of labour, Dublin must now had invented to meet the competition of have been the paradise of working-men. English-made nails; and the trade in The operatives there, with true Celtic consequence left Dublin never to return. vehemence, have thrown themselves heart Another manufacturer, anxious to execute and soul into the unions, and have fought. some metal works in Dublin, in order that their battles with a devotion worthy of a Irish industry might have the benefit, better cause. Moreover, they have been found to his dismay that he was precluded almost uniformly successful; but their vic- from competing with England, not by any tories have been even more disastrous than local disadvantages, or want of coal or defeats. Dublin was formerly the seat of iron, but solely by the regulations enforced numerous extensive and highly prosperous by his own workmen. ”It was thus that manufactures and trades. One after an- the iron-trade went down. O'Connell esti. other these various branches of industry mated that at least half a million a-year were ruined by strikes. Flannel, silk, lace, had been lost to the Irish capital in wages gloves, almost ceased to be manufactured, alone, through the combinations of the and the best Irish workmen migrated to unions. Almost the only branch of trade England and Scotland. The wretched and in Dublin against which strikes failed has poverty-stricken “Liberties' of Dublin-been that of coach-building; and it has, untroubled by machinery and capital, but accordingly, been preserved. The Messrs. infested with pauperism in its most revolt- Hutton held their ground with heroic pering forms-still testify to the ruin inflicted severance. The unionists battered their on the trade of Ireland by the combina- carriages, cut the silks and laces, beat tions of her operatives. O'Connell himself their foremen, and compelled the masters admitted that Trades' Unions had wrought to ride home armed and guarded ; nevermore evil to Ireland than even absentee theless, they persisted in carrying on their ism and Saxon mal-administration. The business in their own way, and by this monopoly and restrictions enforced by the means kept up their splendid coach manuDublin unionists were most rigid ; but as facture, which would doubtless otherwise usual their heaviest pressure was upon the have been driven out of the island. working people outside their combinations, The strike infatuation ruined the trade who were sacrificed without mercy. Un- of other districts in Ireland. An Irish skilled labour was paid as low as 6d. a-day capitalist erected a costly manufactory at in the very shops in which the unionists Bandon, and succeeded in obtaining a large were striving to keep up their own wages contract. He bought machinery, the at an unnatural rate. They prescribed a workmen worked till it had been erected, minimum rate of wages for themselves, so and then struck for increased pay. “We that the worst workman should receive know,' they said, that you have got a the same as the best. They left little or contract in Spain and Portugal, and you no choice to the employers in the selection must, therefore, give us higher wages.? of their men; and the master in want of The proprietor gave the increase demandan additional hand had to go to the trades' ed, worked out bis contract, and then abanunion and take the person who stood first doned the manufactory. The consequence on their register. Knobsticks, or non- was a loss to the Bandon work-people in
wages of about 12,0001. a year. Dr. Doyle | tages in his favour, which he does not usualstated before the Irish Committee of 1830, ly take into account. It is true he suffers if that the almost total extinction of the trade is bad, but he earns high wages blanket trade of Kilkenny was attributable be good; and he can then save money if to the combinations of the weavers. No he pleases. He may be said to partici. sooner was it known that any manufac- pate in the adversity or prosperity of his turer bad taken a contract than the weav- firm, but without incurring any of the liaers immediately insisted on an advance. bilities of partnership: The consequence was, that manufacturers It has been urged that great good would would not enter into contracts; they with be derived from workmen becoming acdrew their capital, the blanket trade was tual partners with their masters, or enterruined, the weavers became paupers, and i ing into partnerships amongst themselves, had to be maintained at the public ex- for the purpose of manufacturing and sellpense. Such are only a few illustrations ing their own goods. It is, indeed, most of the triumphs of strikes in Ireland. desirable that every enconragement should
Capital flies turbulence and strife, and be given to work-people to save money thrives only in security and freedom. and invest it in productive industry. Nor Though senselessly denounced for the does any obstacle exist to enterprises of tyranny it exercises over labour, it is really the kind. On the contrary the Limited its motive power.
It is also the result of Liability Act has been framed mainly with labour, and represents the self-denial, the the view of enabling partnerships to be providence, and the enterprise of the past. formed on this principle whether amongst The most successful accumulators of capi. working men or others. The history of tal have in all times risen from the ranks the Rochdale Pioneers proves that such of labour itself; they are working men who associations can be successfully conducted ; have shot ahead of their fellows. and give and we are gratified to learn that the laemployment instead of receiving it. These bouring classes of the same town have repersons, who are not the less working men cently accumulated a sum of about 12,0001., because they have ceased to be manual la- which is beivg invested in a mill and ma bourers, by creating and extending the chinery, to be worked for the benefit of sphere of productive industry, must be re- the members. The movement commenced garded as amongst the most effective be- . in 1844 with a capital of 281., which in nefactors of the lower orders, as they un- 1857 amounted to 15,1421., whilst the anquestionably are among the principal nual profits divided among the members sources of our power and wealth as a na- increased from 321. in the former year to tion. Withont the capital accumulated 5,4701. in the latter. The institntion apby their thrift during many generations, propriates a portion of its profits to educathe lot of the artisan would be most pre- tional purposes, and, better still, is training carious. There is not a mechanic but has the members to habits of thritt, tingality, the use of the money of the master who and economy, with the object of improving employs him. When the unskilled labour- their social condition, and building up er lays down his spade, he leaves idle a their individual independence. capital worth eighteen pence; but when a We must not, however, expect too much skilled artisan or mechanic leaves his mill from this proceeding. There will always or his workshop, he leaves idle a capital remain a large number of persons dependof trom 801. to 150l. per man. Nor does | ent upon weekly wages; and whether the skilled workman run any risk what these may be disposed to enter into co-opeever as regards the sams invested, though rative associations or not, it is within he virtually shares the profits in the shape their power, as it is their duty, to practise of the wages paid for his labour. The the virtue of individual economy. When profit which remains is the master's return it was proposed, during the Preston strike, for his management and his risks. It is to solve the difficult problem of the relawell known, however, that the risks are tion between capital and labour, by pronot always covered, as the Gazette in bad viding that workmen should be partners times abundantly demonstrates. But the with their masters in the operations of workman in good employment is not liable trade, Mr. Ashworth took the trouble to to losses by bad debts ; he has no obsolete ascertain what would be the dividend of machinery from time to time left useless each, and he found that it would amount on his hands: and he has no anxiety about to only sevenpence-halfpenny a week! finding a market for his goods, por fears Whether it would be worth the artisan's respecting fluctuations in the price of the while to share the risk which the manuraw material. These are important advan- facturer runs in bad times for this tritling v0L, CVỊ.