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would be a great national sin to withhold it from them any longer--(cheers). It appears to me that the correction of the evil of which we so properly complain, the keeping young men hard at work from early in the morning down to the latest possible hour at night -an evil so hurtful to their bodily frame that it brings them to the grave, and so ruinous to their bodily interests that it draws off their thoughts altogether from things eternal, and absorbs them in things temporal,-it appears to me that the correction of this giant evil- for giant it is, but, great as it is, it must be overcome-(cheers), and it shall be overcome-loud applause) -is in the hands of ourselves, the public—(hear, bear). If we will not buy, our tradesmen clearly cannot sell-(hear, hear). There, my Lord, you have an easy and a most effectual remedy. And what I want to know is this—it is a question well worth putting, and one which reasonable men ought to answer)-I want to know why we, for the sake of our own convenience and our own gratification,-a convenience, too, and a gratification at most but very small-should so largely interfere with the comfort, the happiness, and the well-being of others?-(hear, hear). I say so, my Lord, when I see our Sunday traders selling only because people will purchase (hear, hear); and I say so when I see our Sunday trains running so extensively, to the prevention of that rest which servants, as well as masters, have a right, by God's law, to enjoy on God's holy Sabbath-day, just because men, who wish to tike journeys in a general way, will not exercise a little good management and a little self-denial-(cheers). I say, therefore, my Lord, that if the public, who feel so strongly to-night, if I may judge from their cheers, will only act as energetically out of doors, and carry into operation the principle which they approve so applaudingly with their hands, the work is done-(hear, hear, and cheers). The thing must soon be brought to a termination; it cannot remain where it is; it will force itself on the public mind, that it must go on(cheers). We have no wish to interfere between the employer and the employed; we have no wish to introduce a collision between them : both will be benefited by the measure which we now propose-(cheers). And I think, my Lord, that if further information is diffused through the land, very many employers, who have hitherto done nothing, will be amongst the foremost to get rid of the evil. You must come into Southwark, and you must extend your operations there and in other parts, and I will do my best to help you if you do-(great cheering). We claim freedom, my Lord, bodily, mental, and spiritual freedom, for our fellow-creatures-(loud cheers). We ought to keep no man in bondage, My Lord Ashley-and you, my Lord, have nobly seconded his efforts-my Lord Ashley contended for a similar principle in the British House of Commons; he contended for it manfully, and at last he carried his point, and shortened the hours of factorylabour. My Lord, we must pers vere, and we shall be successful. The work is God's, and because it is for his glory, it must be triumphant-loud cheers). I have great pleasure in supporting the resolution which has been proposed to the meeting-(applause).
The resolution was then put from the Chair and carried unanimously.
The CHAIRMAN said, -1 am requested to mention that there is another minister of religion present besides Mr. Curling, in order that it may not be supposed that the contrary is the fact. (A voice on the platform, “Two.") There are, I hear, two present. I mention this lest the meeting should imagine there is any apathy in that quarter-(hear, hear.)
THOMAS WAKLEY, Esq., M.P. for Finsbury, then came forward to move the next resolution, and was received with deafening and long-continued applause. After the cheering had subsided, the Hon. Member said,-My Lord, Ladies, and Gentlemen, permit me, in the first place, to thank you for the very cordial reception which you have bestowed upon me, and, in the next place, allow me to express to you my very deep regret that I am labouring under so severe a cold that I shall speak with great pain to myself, and, I fear, with greater pain to you—(cries of “no, no,"). But having had conferred upon me the distinguished honour of being invited to this meeting, and knowing that it was my duty to be here, I have come, I assure you, at no inconsiderable inconvenience to myself-(applause). I owe to you, as well as to my constituents in Finsbury, many apologies for not having been one of the first to present myself to your notice; because this is a cause in which I have ever felt the most ardent interest, and it is one which I have supported in parliament from the first hour that I had the honour of a seat in it-(cheers). And permit me, with reference to that subject, to congratulate you on having in your chair the distinguished Nobleman who is now before you--(applause), who is equally esteemed for his virtues and admired for his abilities and consistency. With such a name, and with such a leader, triumph, complete and unequivocal, must soon be yours-(cheers). Such a cause, with such support, and having such objects in view, cannot by any possibility fail. My Lord, the object of the motion has been treated in a variety of ways, anatomically and physically, by my distinguished friend, Mr. Graun
ger, of St. Thomas's Hospital. I ought to tell you that he speaks to you from authority. He is a man of great attainments in his profession; he is one of the most distinguished anatomists and physiologists that, not only the metropolis, but even Europe, can boast of
-(cheers). You have heard from him what must be the physical evils arising from over-exertion. The laws he has laid down, the principles he has enumerated, are known to be true by all who have studied the subject. But it does not appear to me that there is any question in relation to that matter. I believe the evils are universally admitted: the question which we now have to determine is, “ Shall the corrective be applied ?" The question has been discussed morally, it has also been discussed religiously. The themes which it embraces are, in fact, of universal interest and application; and any one of them would be sufficient to exhaust your patience if it were fully entered into. But the evils arising from the present system are so obvious, so fully developed and made manifest to the senses, that all must see them who are not wilfully blind; and I am rejoiced that many, who might have believed that they had an interest in upholding a system which is productive of such physical and moral calamities, have themselves had the patriotism, the manliness, and the nobleness of spirit to step forward and say, "We will be the first to emancipate the slaves from thraldom"_(cheers). The manner in which this Association has been conducted is calculated to produce support of that description. There has been nothing of vindictiveness--no acrimony of spirit--no casting of severe and foul aspersions upon those who have not agreed in the object; but, like rational and intelligent men, who were prepared by study, and enlightened with knowledge, the conductors of this Association have proclaimed to the world, “ The only instrument that we will use is reason : our cause is a just one; and if we fail, at least we will not be accused of injustice"-(cheers). I say, therefore, that, next to those who were instrumental in originating this great social movement, the greatest which I recollect to have witnessed in a long course of public life, and one the effects of which will extend down to future ages, and grasp the entire habitable globe—I say that, next to them, we are indebted to those employers who have nobly and generously stepped forward to rescue those under their roofs from the degradation and misery in which they were involved (cheers). If this had been a mere movement confined to the linendrapers of London, I would not have been here-(cheers). But the benevolent, noble-hearted, and enterprising young spirits who first agitated the question said, “ Let us make known the evils which we ourselves suffer, and let us see if we cannot succeed in relieving thousands who are similarly situated to ourselves." What! shall it be said that other trades, with such an example before them- these able young men having also enlisted in their cause the ladies, whom I now see before me-(cheers), shall it be said that other trades will not follow in the wake?-(hear, hear). I will not believe it. This question has been long agitated amongst the suffering labouring classes. They have succeeded partially, through the aid of able and benevolent leaders, in rescuing themselves from the difficulties under which they were placed. That subject having still to undergo further discussion, still to undergo further inquiry, you come in now to aid them, you the powerful middle class ; and with your intelligence, your wealth, your influence, with such a combination, and having also the support of religion, failure, I say, is impossible-cheers). Why it is the cause of every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth. Industry is a thing which is often applauded. The most industrious of people, we hear, are the English people. But it is a very curious thing that they who are so extremely lavish in their praise of industry take deuced good care never to be industrious themselves—(laughter). If it be such a good thing, I wish they would practise it a little; but the cry always is, “What an industrious, persevering people are the English! A surprising people! Look at their energies ! see to what extent they carry their powers ! how unlimited are their resources !” To be sure: nobody doubts it. But, then, I wish those who are so lavish in their praise would remember what that industry produces for them. Look at the man who labours through the week to add to our stores of wealth, and who on the Saturday night receives six shillings for his toil; to live upon which he has before him an industrious anxious wife, and three, four, or five helpless and almost infant-children. Well, I say, that they who commend the industry of that man should ask themselves these questions: “ Is it not possible to improve his condition? Shall we be unmindful of his cares, of his sorrows, of his privations ?" The fact is that labour is not always agreeable. It is very often painful, as is quite clear from the fact that those persons very seldom labour who can afford to do without it-(laughter and cheers). I say, then, that the great question which has been mooted by this magnificent Association is one which intimately concerns the whole social system of this country; and if I mistake not, it will prove the greatest social movement that has ever been made or instituted in the United Kingdom-(cheers). I hear it said, by some parties out of doors, that there is no possibility of carrying on business at a profit, if the hours of labour in the shops are shortened. Well, I must say that I am not very desirous that much profit should be made, if it is to be obtained at the expense of human life-(hear, hear). But I deny the truthfof the statement. I do not believe that the allegation is made from a bad motive. I believe that that view of the question originates in an imperfect knowledge of the facts of the case-(hear, bear). Not having attended the meetings which have been held here on former occasions, I do not know whether the remarks which I am about to address to you have been previously made; if they have, I must apologize to you. But it appears to me that the whole question can, in a great measure, be determined by a very short reference to what we see every day before us--by a reference to circumstances and transactions which occur under our very noses, and in which we ourselves are concerned. Now, it is stated, in effect, that calico, and stockings, and gloves, and bonnets cannot be purchased except at the sacrifice of human happiness and human life; in other words, that they cannot be sold at a profit unless the shops are kept open till a late hour of the night ; that, in fact, the arrangement is made by the shopkeepers for the convenience of the public -- that is the allegation -- for the convenience of the public, and with a view to their own emolument, and that the two would be sacrificed if this arrangement were not permitted to exist. Now, I should like very much to know how all the transactions of this empire are conducted, and between what hours. This, I think, is a question of the utmost importance; because if we can show that all our colonial affairs are transacted at the Colonial Office between the hours of ten and fire if we can show that the Bank of England, where so many millions are turned in the year, opens at nine and closes at five--if we can show, with respect to all the offices of Somerset House, that the public can only be accommodated there, even if they want to pay taxes (great laughter), between the hours of nine and five-(a voice, “ Between ten and four") — some gentleman states that the time is between ten and four: I believe I have understated the case. If, again, we can show, that, as regards the affairs of India, where so many millions require to be governed, any individual who wishes to make an application to the India House must be there between the hours of ten and five; if, further, we can show the same fact with respect to any of the great public bodies, or any of the public offices; if it be the fact that, if you wish to have an interview with the primeminister, he will not see you except between ten and five--that if you have to deal with a matter concerning the marine, and go to the Admiralty, you cannot be received except between ten and five; or, that if you go to the Horse Guards after five o'clock, you are accosted by some Cerberus at the door in language like this, “ No business here now;" if, I say, all this be true, why, what a monstrous mockery is it, wbat a gross and inconceivable absurdity is it, to pretend that a little bit of calico- immense laughter and applause), or a pair of socks for an infant, or any other trifling commodity which that little creature may require --(renewed laughter), cannot be conveniently purchased except from exhausted, worn-down, tortured young men at the hour of eleven at night- great and long-continued cheering). Then, I say, the gentlemen who have instituted this Association have laid a foundation for victory, because they have appealed in the most legitimate and influential way to public opinion; and public opinion will at last find its way into a very queer place where I have sometimes the pleasure of seeing the noble Lord who is now in the chair-(laughter). The light which you are kindling here will by and by extend there; and there, after a great deal of stubbornness, a great deal of foolish talk, and I am sure very little weighty argument, against it, the cause will triumph, if it cannot triumph directly through the influence of public opinion-cheers). I say that if avarice shall rear its hideous head against the principles of humanity, the legislature must step in; but, in the first instance, you are acting rightly by appealing to the good, the kindly, and the benevolent feelings of the British public-- (cheers). Now, then what are the instruments of success in appealing to public opinion? It is said that knowledge is power; but there is an instrument in England which is now greater in that respect even than knowledge. There is one material that has become everything here -I mean money-(hear, hear). Money is everything--(hear, hear). You may succeed with knowledge; but I shall not live to see the day when you will triumph, if you have not money to aid the knowledge-(hear, hear, and laughter). In everything we do, money is employed as an instrument. Even the clergy are not without a knowledge of its value; even in the holiest of causes it is a stimulus to exertion. Well, then, I am sure we shall be aided by the clergy in attempting to get money. I wish to impress this matter most lastingly upon your minds. The cheers, laughter, cries of “ hear, hear," "hurras," and “ huzzas," all will not avail, if you do not spend money. It is not the amount, the great amount, which is wanted. I am sure that the gentlemen who are advocating this virtuous cause are not nnmindful of the widow's mite - (hear, hear).
No undue pressure will be placed on any one here: the quiet, gentle, and generous manner in which they have carried out their plans convinces me that they would be the last to produce, or to attempt to produce, a painful feeling in the mind of any one human being---(hear, hear). I ask you, therefore, to aid them in the cause with such contributions, however smallpas you can conveniently bestow, both here and out of doors. A little exertion, too, on the part of each in attempting to procure subscriptions, however small in amount, will at last make up a fund which will add to knowledge that instrument of power combined with which it must issue in success. You know that the carth itself is composed of atoms. Millions of pounds may be contributed in pence. The managers of the Association want only the trifling sum--for trifling it certainly is compared with the magnitude of the cause-(hear, hear)—the trifling sum of £5000, in order to push on in their pursuit to a glorious triumph. Now, what is the sum of £5000 amongst so many hundreds of thousands who are interested in the question ? Nothing. It is a beggarly amount; it ought hardly to excite a moment's attention: one would expect it to be contributed in the course of a single week. Look at our wealth! This is the richest country in the world. Why, in the city they are groaning under the pressure of it-(laughter). Even the stags in Capel Court, they say, have been butting their antlers against blocks of gold—(great laughter). See what you contribute as a national revenue. Upwards of fifty millions a year is paid chiefly by the middle and working classes. What, then, is £5000? See what you are contributing for the maintenance of your army and navy. All these institutions are necessary. But see what blessings would result if you could but succeed in the peaceful and noble object which the managers of this institution have in view. The object is not to destroy human beings, but to promote their happiness in every possible way; to give them pure morals, and to place them on the high road to a happy future state, the final object being immortality. What, I ask, can be more noble than such a purpose? But all the benevolent institutions that have ever been set afloat in this country would have failed if money had not been supplied. We are now talking of the slavery of a portion of our white population. How long was there a talk, how long an appeal to public opinion, with respect to the slavery of the black population ? Ilow were they emancipated at last ? Until your millions were provided, your inonsters wonld not loosen their prey. In the present case, you are not dealing with monsters, but with employers, many of whom are aiding your exertions. It appears to me that the greater portion of blame, if there be any cause for blame, is attributable to those young men who are suffering from the present system, and do not come forward to aid you in your efforts-(hear, hear.) I say, then, seeing the advantages which must result in every possible way from this movement, and perceiving the blessedness that it must confer, it is the duty of all of us to give it our support. I know the evils which the system entails. I also speak medically, as my friend who preceded me has done ; and I say with him that it is a system fraught with misery, disease, and death. He knows that seeds of death are constantly sown by over-exertion, which do not bear their fruits for years afterwards. In a young man coming from the country, who is placed for two or three years behind a counter, and is made to maintain an erect position, by which his system suffers fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen hourg out of the twenty-four--in this young man the foundation of disease is laid which afterwards bears its fruit-(hear, henr). You are absolutely creating a diseased society by such a state of things. In truth, with regard to labour, with regard to the toil which the millions undergo, our social system has a canker at its heart. Here is an effort being made to pluck it out. Without the aid of a liberal contribution from a liberal public, it is impossible that our effort can be successful; with that aid, it is impossible that it can fail. One of the reports informs us that 20,000 young men are occupied in the drapers' establishments of this metropolis alone, from seven in the morning until ten or eleven at night; and, in another part of the report, I find that in all the different trades there are nearly 200,000 who are so occupied. I believe that the real number is much understated. Now, with reference to the social effects which must result from such a system, when we know the pleasure and advantages of which these parties are deprived through not entering into those recreations, enjoyments, and pursuits which are to be found in the social circle and elsewhere - I say, with the knowledge of these facts, we should be most criminally indifferent with regard to our own duty, if we did not make the most strenuous exertions to relieve them from such perils, such dangers, and such sufferings as those to which they are now exposed. I have received since I came here a letter with respect to the same trade as that referred to in the letter read by the noble Chairman-I mean that of the fishmongers. The writer does not wish to have his name mentioned; but he states that it is usual for a poor fellow who is doomed to be a fishmonger's man to rise at half-past four or five in the morning, to turn out badly clad in all weathers, to commence with putting the horse to, and to be at Billingsgate in time for the market. Then he has to wait for the cart and put in the fish (the first step, I suppose, to drunkenness); then to go home and stand at the block the whole of the day. Gentlemen's servants come and purchase a sixpenny sole, which they require to be sent home a mile (laughter),—the servant, he says, occupy. inz, in reality, the position which masters used to occupy, for sometimes gentlemen would not hesitate to carry home a sole (laughter). I believe that nearly all trades are in a similar position. If there were profitable vigorous exertion, my Lord, I really don't believe the young men would care half so much about it; but it is the tediousness, the miserable tediousness of waiting behind a counter for hours, and hours, and hours, for a chance-customer, and probably, after all, not a very good-tempered one, making her or his appearance, requiring fifty things to be tumbled over, and buying nothing at lastit is this which wears them down. My Lord, I believe I should say, " Sir," or " Ma'am," " I never wish to see you any more." 0, it is monstrous, teazing and tormenting the poor fellows, who are standing so wearied and perplexed in the hope of having something to do, and waiting day after day until almost midnight, and having accomplished nothing at last! It is, I repeat, monstrous. Such a system would, I am certain, teaze me out of my life in a fortnight. I am sorry that I have left at home a note which bears upon this question ; but there is some difficulty, I fear, arising from the female servants. I was informed yesterday that a servant who applied to a lady wrote to her after this fashion. I must explain that the lady had engaged her ; but she had at the same time expressly stated that she would not allow her to go out shopping in the evening. That was the beginning of the affair. Now the girl writes to the lady, I think, thus:-“Mem, I declines your situvation, as sunce I was with you yesterday I been thinking on it over, and if I can't go out shopping of evenings I shud wery much like to know when I cud get out evenings at all; and I can tell you this mem, its the plesentest time for us in the under stories to go a shopping when the masters is at tea, coz then the young gentlemen are partikler civil and don't object to show us enything we want." (The hon. Gentleman's citation of this letter elicited hearty and repeated bursts of laughter.) Now, leaving the committee to deal with that class of society, I conclude, Sir, by expressing a hope that there is no inaster or mistress in London who will be found to be so unkind, so ungenerous, so brutal, as to deny to do so servants the opportunity of going to shops at proper hours, whenever they may require-(hear, hear). The resolution which I have to propose is as follows:
- That this meeting, believing the mainstay of the Late Hour System to be the habit, on the part of the public, of evening shopping, and that it is above all things necessary to point out to the public the nature of the evil they are thus unconsciously upholding, cordially approves of the plan of the Metropolitan Drapers' Association to send a prize-address to every house in London, and hereby records its willingness to assist, by such contributions as each can afford, to raise the fund requisite for so important a step."-(The honourable Gentleman resumed his seat amid loud applause).
Mr. BENNOCH of Wood-street, on rising to second the resolution, said, -My Lord, Ladies, and Gentlemen, I feel that it is a great honour and a great favour conferred upon me to have been invited to attend this meeting ; and, at considerable inconvenience to myself, having been absent several hundred miles yesterday at five or six o'clock in the evening, I travelled the greater portion of the night in order to be at my post on this platform. I say at my post, because, although I have never been one of the retail trade now agitating this great question, yet I have the privilege and the pleasure of belonging to that other branch of the trade, the wholesale ; and it was also my privilege, last year, to be very active in carrying out the object which you are now advocating among the members of that branch of the trade to which I belong. By prompt exertion, by unwearying labour, we accomplished, in the course of a few weeks, what you have been striving after for years. It is only by work, incessant work, that you can overcome this great difficulty. It is upon yourselves alone that you must depend-(hear, hear). If you are in earnest, you must succeed; if your heart be in the cause, you cannot fail; if, with unwearying perseverance, peacefully, quietly, reasonably, you advocate your cause, and propose and pursue your measures, there is a spirit in you, there is a spirit that will come out of you, which must in the end prevail against all class-interest, against all prejudice, against all mammonworkers and mammon-worshippers—(cheers). I have to congratulate you on having in the chair to-night a Nobleman who is distinguished by every private virtue, distinguished less by his hereditary title than by his private worth—(cheers). Where there is human misery, wher, there is wretchedness, there he delights to come, and, by his example and influence, to purify the pestiferous atmosphere. I congratulate you upon the speeches which you have heard, because they have gone to the root of this important question.
You have had the question debated physically, you have had it debated morally, you have had it debate theologically. What remains then for me is very little I confess. I