Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

From Once a Week. opulent in their own rank in life. They JOIN HANDS-LEAVE NOBODY OUT. could lay by considerable amounts of money; No nation can, at any time, be secure from and amny of them did. Of those who did that cold qualm of social fear which is one not, and perhaps of some who did, it was of the most peculiar of human sensations. understood that they were better customers We English know nothing, personally, of the to tradesmen than the gentry. The earliest terror of looking and listening for an invad- and chiefest delicacies in the market were ing army, actually marching on our soil. We bought up by the operatives ; the gayest know only the milder forms of national fear; silks and shawls, and head-trimmings, were but their effect, once felt, is never effaced. worn by the factory-women; the most expenThe sensation, on being overtaken by the sive picnics in the country were those organcrash of 1825-6, by the Cholera of 1832 and ized by the operatives. Better than this, 1849, by the Potato-rot of 1846, and the they have been buyers of books, students of financial panics of 1847 and 1857, is as dis- music and drawing, supporters of institutes, tinct in each case as the cases themselves; and not a few of them members of co-operaand yet the experience is unlike that of any tive societies which have won the respect of other kind of dread. The same peculiar thousands of persons prejudiced against the qualm has been sickening our hearts now, very name. These are the people who are for some time past. If any hearts are not now, all at once and all together, deprived yet sick at the doom of Lancashire and of employment and of income. By a stroke Cheshire, they have to become so; and it cer- which they could not avert they are now retainly seems to me that those are happiest duced to absolute want. Instead of their who were the earliest to perceive the truth. dainty dinners and suppers, they have actuOurs is a country blessed beyond every other, ally not enough of dry bread. Their expenin regard to the blessings which we prize sive clothes are all gone, and they can hardly most. It is impossible to overrate the priv- dress themselves so as to appear outside their ilege of living in England: but even here we own doors. Their furniture is gone, and are not safe from national afflictions, taking they are sleeping on the bare floor. Their the form of rebuke for our follies and sins. books are gone, with the names of each of We have the sensation now of being under the family in some or other of them ; the rebuke, and of having to suffer for some time treasure of music-books is gone, and the violin to come, after many years of welfare which and the flute; the collections of plants and seemed to have grown into a confirmed habit insects, and geological specimens, have been of prosperity. The sensation is very painful. sold for what they would fetch. Not only is It is not to be shirked on that account, but there nothing left; there is nothing to look rather treated with reverence, that it may to. Week after week, and month after impress upon us what it is that we ought to month, must wear on, and there, or in a do.

worse place, they must sit, still waiting for The worst part of the whole misfortune is work and pay, and kept from starving only that the greatest sufferers are those who are by charity,~-outside the workhouse now, but in no way to blame for the calamity. We perhaps within it by and by. The good who are outside of the manufacturing interest steady girls pine and waste : the bright boys may fine ourselves, punish ourselves, fatigue - the pride of father and mother ourselves to any extent; but we cannot suf- stopped in their progress. All alike are fer anything like the anguish of the opera- without work and without prospect. It is tives in their decline into destitution. Those this spectacle, with its long-drawn misery to of us who have known them see but too well come, which sends the qualm of dread what that anguish must be. That class of rough us; as well it may. operatives are a proud people, hitherto filled We get no comfort by looking beyond the with comfort and complacency, and holding class. That class are the natural patrons of a social rank which appeared high to them, the tradesmen. The tradesmen can get in however little might be known in aristocratic no bills: they are selling nothing, unless on regions of the depth of gradation between credit ; and they are paying high rates. the cotton-spinner and the town Arab or They cannot stand long, they say. The Union pauper. The mill-people have been 'small gentry who live by their house prop

a

are

a

erty are in much the same situation. They will suffer by our retrenchment of expendican get in no rents; and yet they have to ture, the plain answer is “ Very true : and pay water-rates, poor-rates,-all their ten- this is the tradesman's share of the national ant's dues : so that they have less than noth- calamity. It will not be a ruinous occasion ing to live on. I will go no further in this to tradesmen outside of the manufacturing direction. I do not write this to make oth- districts; and they must bear their share. ers and myself miserable, but to discuss what The failure of cotton has caused an actual we ought to do. In regard to the extent of loss of several millions already; and all just the evil, then, I will add only that the pop- principle and [feeling requires that the loss ulation immediately concerned is from four should be spread as widely as possible over to five millions, without reckoning the shop- society. Let our mercers and music-sellers, keepers and small gentry who are involved then, our confectioners and cabinet-makers with them.

go without our fancy custom this year; and Now, if I am to say what I think, as it is you and I will go without new dress, new my custom to do, I must declare that, in my music, our dessert, our autumn journey, or opinion, every one of us who enjoys food, any indulgence which interferes with our givshelter and clothing, is bound to help these ing a substantial part of our income to the sufferers. In my opinion, all ordinary alms- Lancashire people.” giving, all commonplace subscription of But there are other people in Lancashire crowns or sovereigns, is a mere sign of igno- than those who are poor, the world is saying. rance, or worse. There are persons who give This is abundantly true; and once more, if away a great deal in the course of the year, I am to speak out what I think, I must say varying their donations from five shillings to that the thought of that particular class is five pounds, who never once conceived of scarcely less painful than the contemplation

to part with any con- of their poor .

siderable part of their substance. Such pers When some of them, or their friends, ery

sons gave £1 to the Patriotic Fund, just as “Let bygones be bygones,” the answer is, they do every year to the nearest Dispensary: that that is not possible. The past (as insuch persons would subscribe their sovereign cluding the last hundred years) of Lancashire to a national loan if all the navies of the world is too remarkable, and on the whole, too were in our seas, and half a dozen hostile illustrious and honorable, to be ever forgotarmies were pouring out upon our shores : ten or dropped out of history. To go no and such persons will no doubt offer their further back than the distress of 1842, it can sovereign or five-pound note now to the never be forgotten how nobly and how wisely Lancashire fund,-never dreaming that they many of the mill-owners sustained their workappear to others like men walking in their people through months and years of adversleep. Some means must be found to make sity ; nor can it ever be forgotten that that them understand that the task before us all was the occasion which disclosed the prodig. is nothing less than this ;—to support, with ious advance made by the operatives in health and mind unbroken, for half a year, a knowledge, reason, and self-command. For year, or perhaps two years, four millions or the same causes which render these facts in-' more of respectable people, who must in no effaceable in our history, the subsequent sense be trifled with, or degraded, or unfitted characteristics and conduct of the employers for resuming their industry, whenever the will be also remembered. We need not dwell opportunity arises. A vast sum of money on them; but we cannot pass them over in will be required for this purpose : and, till an hour of meditation on what we ought each we see how much, it seems to me that those and all to do. of us who cannot at once contribute a tenth Our cotton manufacturers have been openly or such other proportion of our income as regarded, for many years, in America as the we think right, should deny ourselves mere main supporters of negro slavery. This is no pleasures, and give up or defer any expendi- concern of ours, now and here, except that ture which can be put off, till we see what it tends to explain the apathy first, and the the winter will be like to the people of Lan- pedantry of political economy afterwards, by cashire and Cheshire. If the old and con- which they have rendered themselves, in the stant objection is urged,--that thus trade world's eyes, answerable for all the really

afflictive part of the present distress. They in the case of the Irish peasant, it has been knew that their countrymen understood slave- madness when the parties concerned were labor to be a most precarious element in the the remote Hindoo as against the enslaved work of production; they were warned, negro. The event has rebuked the pedanthrough a period of thirty years, that a day try of the Lancashire talk of demand and must come when slave-labor in the Cotton supply; and now, after having applied their States would be suddenly annihilated; they wealth to every enterprise under Heaven were shown incessantly for ten years past but the one which was urgent, they find that the time for that catastrophe was ap- themselves without the raw material of their proaching; they were conjured to appropri- own manufacture. ate some of their new wealth to ensuring a So much for the past. What are they dodue cultivation of cotton in other and vari- ing now? They are acting very variously, ous countries, and especially to sustain the according to the intelligence and temper of experiments carefully instituted by Govern- each. The remark is universal, howerer, ment in India. Some three or four of their that there is as yet no approach towards any own number devoted time, trouble, money, manifestation of power and will at all befitand other precious things to this duty; and ting the occasion, Some few have contribthese have never ceased appealing to the rest uted £1,000 apiece. Perhaps they may to prepare while it was yet time to avert the mean to do more as the months pass on; very calamity which is now upon us. and there is no saying what calls they may

It was in vain. The constant answer was be responding to in the form of rates and that it was not their business, in the first private charity: but the common, and I place; and that, in the next, the world think the upright feeling is that, on this would use none but American cotton. special occasion, it would be no great mar

This last allegation seems to be already vel if the mill-owner who has made £50,000 withdrawn. Indeed, it could not stand. a in a few years were ready to give £20,000 moment after the disclosure was made that or more for those whose industry built up not only Switzerland and France, but the his fortunes. There are employers who are New England States themselves, prefer In- worth one hundred,—two hundred,—three, dian to American cotton, because it takes four hundred thousand pounds, and up to a the dye better, and wears better. There is million: it is to be hoped that they are not evidence enough in the Exhibition of the going to set themselves down for £1,000. suitableness of Indian cotton for our pur- If this sort of comment has an invidious poses, to silerce that insolence which till look, let us remember, on behalf of the wide now has rebuked our petition for it. I need world which is discussing it, that the people say no more of this, nor point out the wide we have, as a nation, to carry through this range of soil and climate in which cotton calamity are above four millions, and that it equal to the American can be grown. is their industry which has enriched a whole

As to its not being their business,-whose class of manufacturers in the shortest space business was it, if not theirs ? Where of time ever known. The world has expecwould the linen manufacture of Ireland have tations from the capitalists; and they ought been now, if the manufacturers had not to know what those expectations are. looked to the flax supply?. They invested At this very time, however, when parliasome of their capital in enabling the flax- ment and the people generally have willgrowers to learn their business, to improve ingly indulged the moneyed men of Lancatheir methods, to use costly machinery; and shire and Cheshire in their wishes as to the their manufacture stands, though the pros- fitting of the Poor-law to their case, there is pect of a due supply of flax was as desperate, no little indignation afloat when these men a dozen years ago, as that of cotton is now. are met on their travels, or enjoying themThe Irish peasant and farmer might more selves in sight-seeing and other amusements, reasonably have been referred to the rules while all is so dark at home. I own my inof political economy, than the Indian ryot ability to conceive how clergymen's families on the one hand and the American slave on can go pleasure seeking, when they leave a the other. If it would have been absurd to whole population of starving weavers behind stand preaching about demand and supply at home. I cannot imagine how mill-owners

:

a

can shut up their mills, and turn their backs, have shipped off cargo upon cargo of coton the misery, to travel till affairs come round ton; and there might have been enough again. This kind of thing is the puzzle in sown to justify us in calculating on the disLondon and elsewhere, and so is the fact that tress as a difficulty of six months' duration. a large number of wealthy employers have as As it is, the sowing season is past, the monyet made no sign of intending to give with soon has arrived, and nothing in the way of any liberality; and so is, again, the shock- combined effort is done. Men go on investing certainty that there have been sales of ing their wealth in all sorts of foreign cotton in Liverpool for exportation, when schemes, under all manner of risks, while a there were thousands hungering for want of Cotton Importing Association, which can it within fifty miles. There have been em- honestly hold out a profit of from twenty to ployers who have refused such profits, and forty per cent, has to go a-begging for suphave worked up their cotton at a loss, for port. And Manchester talks pedantically their people's sake; but these good men are about demand and supply, and division of ill-neighbored; and if they save their own labor, unshaken by the very convincing facts peace of mind and fair repute, they will still before her eyes ; and some would throw the have something to bear through the dead work of getting cotton on government, and ness and lowness of neighbors to whom some would leave it to chance, while the wealth has come before they were fitted to last thing that occurs to the general comreceive or to use it well.

pany of enriched employers is to invest All the while, the months are rolling on, their own money and pains in the work. and nothing effectual is done by the Lanca- The sooner tbey see their duty as others shire capitalists towards getting hold of the see it, the better. What others see is, first, existing stock of cotton in India, or ensur- that we are all under a stringent obligation ing a larger produce next year. Mr. Villiers to carry the four millions of sufferers through talked in the House of 400,000 bales com- their adversity, in health, and with spirits ing from India after October; and in the unbroken. This obligation presses everyHouse of Lords there was mention of where; in London and in Launceston, as in 6,000,000 bales actually existing in India, Lancaster. Next, there is for the mill-ownwhile the whole consumption of Europe and ers the further duty of trying every rational America is only 5,000,000. These state- method of obtaining supplies of the raw ments are loose and unsupported, and we material, to set their manufacture going need not rely on them; but how is it that, again. Proposals are before them for this at the end of many months of alarm and object. Their country requires of these forsuffering, we have no special agencies at tunate citizens that they shall adopt such work in the cotton countries to ascertain proposals or frame others. The one thing how much may be had this year, and how which will never be forgiven or forgotten much more next? Why have not the Lan- will be their persisting in doing nothing, cashire capitalists combined to send out waiting while their stocks are increasing in agents, and to supply whatever is needed, value every day on their shelves, from the in the way of advances, seed, and "plant" very scarcity of raw material which is starvfor dressing and carrying the produce ? ing their work-people. The time has long This is not a growing cotton," of which they been past for any pretence of expecting a have such a horror : is buying it ;--buy- supply from America: the question now ing it in the way which the Indian market asked, more and more loudly, is what the requires. There are Indian officers and set- manufacturers are about, not to carry their tlers by the score who would serve admira- demand up to the sources of supply, in the bly for agents, being familiar with the coun- remote recesses of native life in India. try and the people, and the experiments If the duty of the manufacturers is twoalready made, both successful and unsuc- fold, the rest of us have a single duty so cessful. Under Sir C. Wood's peculiar plain and urgent that we must look to ourmanagement, there are now adrift many In- selves that we do it. The plain duty of susdian officers who are the very men to do taining our cotton-operatives may, however, what is wanted, to set Lancashire to work have many forms. The easiest is giving again. Long before this time they might I money. It should be largely, and may be

a

best perhaps in instalments, when the sum of middle-class housekeepers whose estabis considerable. There are several agencies lishments are compact and economical : but through which it may be dispensed, either we hear of success where it has been tried. in aid of the parish payment, or to keep There are probably more farms and warefamilies off the parish, or to sustain them houses where an extra youth can be taken by loans, or otherwise in their position of on for training and service. There may be respectability till the mills open again. other ways, and not a few. The one certain Again, there is emigration going forward. thing is that every one of us can do someThere will be plenty of workers left for any thing. Assuming this, I will only further work likely to accrue for years to come, ask my readers to try to represent to them. however many of the youžió people make selves what four millions of persons of all their escape now to a land of plenty. Let ages are like. Let them then think of that the lads and lasses be assisted to Queens- multitude as active, high-spirited, hitherto land and British Columbia, to send us cot- bebolden to nobody, but now hungry, restton, or make comfortable homes in the colo- less in idleness, fretting about their rent, nies; and their parents and brothers at ashamed to appear in the streets, wistfully home will suffice for the manufacture when inquiring about the chances of better times, it revives. Then, there are the sewing-hating to borrow, and hating worse to take rooms, where the young women earn some- parish pay,--and, in the midst of all this, thing, and learn what they most need to be steadily refusing to ask the government to taught. Then, there are swarms of children interfere in America, so as to cut off the wanting to be fed and taught:-how can we negro slave's chance of freedom ;-let our open our schools to the greatest number of countrymen and countrywomen look on this them? Then, not a few of our kindly Eng- noble company of suffering fellow-citizens, lish matrons have contrived to take a Lanca- and say whether they shall endure one pang shire girl into their houses, to train for ser- that we can prevent. vice, or in domestic arts which will be useful

FROM THE MOUNTAIN. to her for life. This can hardly be expected

The LAP OF LUXURY.--We notice that in the Dutch Government.

His inquiries may the Western Annexe of the Great Exhibition benefit, not the knowledge of history alone : that there is “a machine for milking the four teats they may also throw some new light on the of a cow at the same time.” It is said in “point Indian language and culture, of which curious of time, labor, and cleanliness, to far surpass remnants have been preserved in the islands of milking by hand.”. Its lightness of touch, too, Java and Balé. Herr Friederich is to come to is wonderful, combining, we are informed, the London first, to prepare himself for his task, by suaviter in modo with the four-teat-er in re in inspecting the Sanscrit inscriptions in the Brita style that is sure to cast every dairymaid in ish Museum. the kingdom out of the milk-pail of society. We are only thinking if a few of these milkingmachines could be introduced into the milkyway what a lactcal deluge there would be, what

At a recent sale of choice violins in London, a cat's millennium would ensue, to the great a Cremona of 1715 sold for £100, one of 1701 horror and bankruptcy of the dairymen, who, for £135, and one of 1697 for £210. The total in their overflowing despair, would probably amount of the day's sale was £1,717, and the seek a watery grave by drowning themselves in number of violins disposed of was only seventheir own milk-pails.-Punch.

The average price realized was therefore over five hundred dollars a fiddle.

teen.

SANSCRIT INSCRIPTIONS.--Herr Friederich has received an order from the Prussian Gov. ernment to collect the inscriptions in the San- Messrs. HERZLEN AND OGAREFF, editors scrit language, dating from the Indian reign, of the Kolokol, in London, publicly offer to which are still found in many places in Java. publish, free of charge, all the Russian reviews Herr Friederich, the German savant, has lived and journals which have recently been supfor sixteen years in the island, in the service of Ipressed by order of the Czar.

« ElőzőTovább »