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controls the Government. “With a uniform 501. suffrage," says

” Mr. Isaac Taylor, “the Church would be politically omnipo

With universal suffrage and electoral districts the power would be vastly greater than it is. The line is now drawn at that precise point which is most inimical to her interests. For it is with the class of the 101. householders that Dissent has struck its roots."* If the party now uppermost in the Church choose to act with a single eye to her interests, irrespective of her duties, they seem to be on the eve of strengthening her political position by a sacrifice of her moral and religious usefulness, to an extent which has not been achieved since the Restoration.


Lord Derby's Speech ; Times," Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1862. The authoress of Uncle Tom's Cabin, if we are not mistaken, ventured on one occasion in the presence of a Lancashire working-man to compassionate him and his fellow-operatives as “white slaves;” and was surprised to find her compassion civilly but decidedly disclaimed. Mrs. Stowe's ignorance might be forgiven; she only repeated the nonsense which had for years been current among English philanthropists and NewEngland declaimers. But it is not easy to forgive the wilful perversity of some of those English friends from whom she learned her absurd error; the gentlemen who, living where a peasant's family thought themselves lucky to earn ten shillings a week, undertook the championship of the imaginary claims of a class whose incomes were thrice as large, and who were able, if any body of working-men are able, to take good care of themselves. Lord Shaftesbury's labourers and Mr. Kingsley's parishioners would have been astonished indeed, if, two years ago, they could have had a glimpse of the real condition of the factory folk of South Lancashire, Cheshire, and the West Riding; and we are afraid that many men who ought to have known more of the state of the most prosperous, wealthy, and influential districts in England, were almost as ignorant on the subject as if they had depended for information on the orators of Exeter Hall and the pamphlets of the Christian Socialists. It is this ignorance which must be our apology for prefacing what we have to say about Lancashire in 1862 by a brief reference to the Lancashire of 1860,—the last year of the prosperity of the cotton manufacture.

* Liturgy and the Dissenters, p. 7.

The last grievance of the operatives was long ago removed by the enactment of that which is popularly known as the Ten Hours' Bill. They worked in the factory five days a week from six to six, with an interval of half an hour for breakfast and an hour for dinner; on Saturday work ceased at two o'clock. Their labour was not fatiguing; it involved no severe physical exertion, and its one great drawback was, that it was necessarily performed within doors, in an atmosphere somewhat overheated and generally close. But it was not an unhealthy occupation, and it would have been a healthful one for the vast majority of the employed, if that fear of fresh air which characterises the working-classes of most countries, and not least those of English towns, had not thwarted all the efforts of intelligent masters to insure a constant and adequate ventilation. The people were well paid ; better paid by far than any other large class of labourers in any old country are paid for any work requiring no greater skill and no severer exertion. Children could earn from 1s. to 2s. 6d. a week, and were obliged to spend half their day in school; boys and girls of thirteen and upwards could earn as much as 78. ; women, up to 15s. or 18s.; and men, not engaged as mechanics, from 11. to 11. 10s. ; while the wages of the higher class of mechanics sometimes exceeded 21. It is plain, therefore, that the income of a family of six, of whom there would be two, two and a half, or three labourers, could range from 751. a year to 1507., or even 2001. ; and that 2001. a year would be by no means a high average. Once in five or ten years came a period of depression, when for three or even six months only half this amount was to be earned; when the mills worked "short-time,” or “half-time;" and when, consequently, the people had idle days upon their hands, and were sometimes severely tried by privations which, to agricultural labourers in Dorsetshire or Somerset, are simply the condition of every-day life. But for the most part work was abundant; so abundant that a steady workman could never feel much anxiety about the prospect of finding employment, or providing for a growing family. Men who were not actually reckless were well off in ordinary times; prudent men might reasonably expect that, save by some unexpected visitation of Providence, they would always be able to keep themselves above want; men who were at once clever, prudent, and ambitious, might not unreasonably dream of attaining one day the position of masters. Even now, there are scores of manufacturers and merchants in Lancashire— among them some of the richest and best known—who rose from the ranks, and hundreds whose fathers did so. It is not so easy to rise now as it was once, when capitals were small and profits enormous; but it is


even now no unreasonable aspiration in a young and clever mechanic or overlooker, if he look forward to owning one day a mill of his own, and leaving a fortune to his children. No common talent is required to do this; but uncommon talent has a fair chance and an ample field.

Up to the end of 1860—indeed, up to June 1861—the operatives were therefore in a condition which the vast majority of their countrymen would have envied, with which they themselves had reason to be contented, and which seemed to sympathising observers full of hope and promise. Circumstances were favourable, and the people were fit to make the best of those circumstances. Education had spread rapidly among them. They were all aware of its value, they had many facilities for its acquirement. Even of the older generation many had at least learned to read and write; and having thus the key of knowledge in their hands, they were not without leisure to use it. In every considerable town excellent Mechanics’ Institutions opened their doors to adult students; and the numerous places for which a certain amount of education was an indispensable requisite afforded every inducement to self-instruction. For the younger men, the half-time system has made education compulsory. A factory child must spend

A half of each day, between nine and thirteen, in school; and the schools provided are for the most part very good. It is found, too, that children of that age learn nearly as much in half a day as in a whole day, and thus, while they are acquiring their trade, get on almost as fast as their companions whose whole time is given to their books. Consequently the Lancashire operatives are, for working-men, an educated class. Their intelligence, sobriety, and practical good sense, are far above the average ; and their independence of spirit, while it is sometimes carried to an excess, and becomes troublesome to their employers and offensive to strangers, has nevertheless done much to raise their character, and stimulate them to efforts which have resulted in successes of no small moment. The

progress of Coöperation is a striking proof of their capacity to take care of themselves, and their resolution to do so. The pattern Coöperative Society, the Equitable Pioneers of Rochdale, started with about thirty members, and a capital of 28l. ; it had, when we last saw its quarterly statement, about 30,0001. and nearly 4000 members. It began with a little shop for the sale of flour and groceries; it has established butcher's, provision, drapery, tailoring, and shoemaking concerns, and has created an excellent reading-room and library. It has been the parent of two other societies in the same town, whose joint capital in 1860 did not fall far short of 100,0001. Its achievements gave rise to the establishment of many scores of similar institutions throughout the manufacturing districts, several of which were doing a very flourishing business so long as there was in Lancashire any business to be done. All these societies were founded and managed exclusively by workingmen ; working-men were their sole shareholders, and alınost their only customers; and through them it seemed that the élite at least of the factory operatives were likely to emancipate themselves not only from debt, but from that absolute dependence on the week's wages which had hitherto been accepted as the normal condition of all working-men. The opportunity of making even small savings available gave a powerful impulse to thrift; and the business of the societies gave their members a lesson in political economy, a notion of the relations between capital and labour, and an insight into the nature of trade and manufactures, which was of the highest practical value. By giving five per cent on money at call, by making every shareholder participate in the control of their affairs, by saving for their members in the form of dividends, which were generally reinvested, ten or twelve per cent on each man's household expenditure, the Coöperative Stores rendered an amount of service, moral, educational, and material, which it would be difficult to estimate.

The homes of the workpeople were for the most part decent and comfortable—those of the more thoughtful and fortunate very comfortable indeed. For half-a-crown or three shillings in country places,-for rather more in the large towns,-a good cottage was to be had ; and if the master were also the landlord, and were alive to the advantage of promoting the health and happiness of his people, the cottage would have a bit of garden attached to it-a privilege which is highly valued by the operatives. These modest homes were neatly furnished, and as well kept as was possible when female labour was too valuable to be reserved for home consumption. The mechanic himself and his family were well and sufficiently clothed ; and the appearance of a factory village was proof to the most careless observer that the condition of the people was prosperous and improving

And they were worthy of their prosperity: how worthy, they have proved since adversity came upon them. But even before they were tried, those who knew them did not doubt that they would bear the trial well. The old times of violence and riot are passed away,-belong to the past so completely, that no amount of suffering could revive them. It is true that even of late years there have been senseless strikes, and that the men on strike have exercised much lawless tyranny over their fellows ; but strikes were becoming more rare and more respectably conducted every year; the workmen were learning to understand the conditions on which wages depend, and to appreciate the conduct of their employers more fairly than workmen generally do, to deal justly where they were justly dealt by, and to listen patiently when facts were fairly and frankly put before them. As they grew richer, they grew not less but more manageable. They used their prosperity to good purpose ; they became more thrifty, more solicitous to maintain their own independence and to improve the prospects of their children; and, contrary to the general rule with men in the receipt of high wages, they were among the most sober of the working-class. Let us add that, whether in good times or in bad, they were ever charitable towards one another; and that when they accept, reluctantly enough, the assistance which their wealthier neighbours and their distant countrymen now tender them, they only receive what they were ever willing to render to those less fortunate than themselves.

Owing to the character and condition of the operatives, the outward signs of distress were for a long time so slight as greatly to mislead distant or careless observers, and even those whose business it was to make themselves acquainted with the actual state of the suffering districts. The manufacturers of course knew what was passing, and had a sufficiently accurate prevision of that which has since come to pass. But the language of the Government, so lately as last July, showed that they altogether underrated both the actual and the prospec. tive extent of the evil. Mr. Villiers refused to believe that the provisions of his Rate-in-Aid Bill would be brought into operation; that is, he did not expect that by Christmas there would be many unions, or even many parishes, where the expenditure on the relief of the poor would exceed the rate of 5s. in the pound per annum, or 1s. 3d. per quarter, the limit fixed in his original measure as entitling parish or union to assistance from its neighbours. He relied, of course, on the information which reached him through the Poor-Law Office, and that information was necessarily deceptive. The people of Lancashire are not, like those of some counties, accustomed to pauperism. It is not their wont in time of need to look to the parish for aid, and they regard the receipt of parish pay as a degradation scarcely less dreadful than imprisonment. There are districts where the labouring classes, educated under the demoralising system of the old poor-law, have learned to consider the parish allowance almost as much their right as their wages; where most, perhaps, have at one time or another been paupers, and where old age looks to the workhouse as its na

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