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we saw, the Coliseum not excepted, nor the temples at Pæstum. It is out of the regular road, and I had never heard of it before I saw it. I did not see the ruins at Arles. The walls of Avignon are the most beautiful I have met with, and the ancient palace of the Popes is an imposing pile, now degraded into a barrack and prison. We made a day's expedition to the fountain of Vaucluse, in a vile machine without springs, over a viler road, but were recompensed. The fountain is a basin of considerable extent, of clear, blue water, very deep, situated at the base of a very high overhanging rock, with one wild fig-tree shooting out just above the water. On one side stands aloft a ruined château, said to have been Petrarch's ; and on the other a rugged mountain, with here and there a tree. The rocks have more of a dreary, weather-worn appearance, than any I have seen. The water flows from the basin down a steepish bed of broken rocks; and conceive, in the middle of the stream, a gingerbread column painted and gilt, erected by the loyal prefect of the department to Louis XVIII.! In parts of Dauphiny the ground is covered entirely with flint, and looks as barren as the barrenest rock; yet you see growing the realmonds, peaches, olives, mulberries, figs, and walnuts. Whoever wants to have an idea of the resources of France, should visit the south; it is a fine country. I think they are wrong who call it uninteresting. It is on so much larger a scale than England, that the interesting parts are less conspicuous, but still they exist; and the climate heightens them considerably. The fishermen at Marseilles came originally from Spain, and they live by themselves. They have the darkest complexions and the most expressive countenances I have seen, not excepting the Neapolitan fishermen, who, in point of beauty of limbs, excel all other men I ever met with.
[The article on Diet, which I promised in my last number, I must beg indulgence for, till my next.]
Published monthly with the Periodicals, stitched in a wrapper.
IBOTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.
BY THOMAS WALKER, M. A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW, AND ONE OF THE POLICE MAGISTRATES OF THE METROPOLIS.
PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 12 O'CLOCK, BY H. RENSHAW, 356, STRAND, NEARLY OPPOSITE WELLINGTON STREET.
No. XII.] WEDNESDAY, AUG. 5, 1835. [PRICE 3d.
I GIVE the following extract from the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons on the state of Hand-loom Weaving, by way of illustration of many of my observations throughout my numbers, and for the purpose of instilling into the minds of my readers what I conceive to be right conclusions on a subject of deep importance--that is, the well-being of the labouring classes.
"Your Committee cannot help observing, that they found in this evidence the proof of the necessity for actual personal observation and inspection, in order to come at the truth of the condition of the working classes; for that, Mr. Makin, although living in the midst of these people, and himself engaged in the trade, expresses himself as one who had been in credulous as to the state of the hand-loom weavers, until he had looked narrowly into their affairs, and as one who was
startled at what he found to be the fact. Your Committee dwell upon this, because it shows, beyond a question, that the data on which assertions of prosperity are commonly founded, are erroneous, and that actual survey and inspection are necessary in establishing the truth. Further your Committee found, that as to clothing, the hand-loom weavers of Bolton are at the lowest ebb; in detailing which, Mr. Makin says, 'I cannot recollect any instance but one, where any weaver of mine has bought a new jacket for many years, and I am only sorry I did not bring one or two jackets to let the Committee see the average state in which they are clothed; that as to bedding, they have scarcely any, and of other furniture less; that they are generally withoutchairs, having nothing but two or three stools to sit on, and that sometimes they have nothing but a stool, or chair, or a tea-chest; that their rents are generally in arrear, and that they are obliged to borrow of their masters to pay them; that to such courses has this destitution driven them, that they are much in the habit of embezzling the materials given out to them to weave, so much so, indeed, that the dealing in embezzled warp and weft has become a trade exceeding all calculation, there being houses for receiving and paying for the goods so embezzled, and that there are manufacturers of considerable means, who deal with these receiving houses, and who manufacture and sell the goods so bought, to an extent which influences the market, causing a reduction, first, in the market price of goods, and next, in the weavers' wages.' Your Committee, shocked at hearing this detail of dishonest practices, involving the character of a large part of a large community, were still more shocked at the thought that the characters of others, beyond the temptations of want, were also involved. As a corollary to this, your Committee found that the due and usual attendance at divine worship is generally neglected; that this arose from shame, in the first instance, at appearing at church in rags; that the writings of Carlile and Taylor
have obtained a greater spread; and that the witness had seen companies of men applauding those who have argued against the existence of a God. But your Committee cannot in justice close their observations on these statements without the accompanying remark, that the witness attributes this awful state of things to no innate vices and infidelity of the people themselves, but solely to that recklessness which originates in want and despair."
With respect to the first remark in the extract as to the necessity for actual personal observation and inspection, in order to come at the truth of the condition of the working classes," and the circumstance of a person, living in the midst of a population, and himself engaged in their trade, being completely ignorant of their state, I have said in the article on Poor Laws in Ireland," in my eighth number, "the generality of the world has very little idea of the state of the lowest parts of it, even in its immediate vicinity, as I had proof in the ignorance of the respectable inhabitants of Whitechapel of what was existing around them; and this is one of the strongest arguments in my mind in favour of organized and vigilant parish government, because such evils as I have described have only to be brought frequently before men's eyes to be made to disappear." I will now add, that there is no other way of making them disappear. I dissent from the conclusion the Committee and Mr. Makin seem to come to, that the actual state of the people described is a state unavoidable on their parts. I believe it to be the consequence of want of prudence and want of energy, besides that, no doubt, it was made to appear by the people themselves much worse than it really was. When an end is to be gained by appearing poor, it is very easy to do so. The pride of appearing decent soon gives way to policy, and it by no means follows, that because jackets had ceased to be purchased, it was from universal inability. If weavers with families could not afford new jackets, those without could, but then it would
be unpopular to wear them. The same reasoning applies to the want of furniture; when it is expedient to lower the standard of comfort, articles of comfort are sacrificed, whether there is necessity or not. In the article on Poor Laws in Ireland, I have given a parallel description to Mr. Makin's of an absence of furniture, not from poverty, but from policy. Wherever an excuse can be found for not paying rents, rents will not be paid, especially where landlords join in upholding their tenants in asking for aid and protection; it is a species of collusion to help one another, at the expense of others. This course was pursued over and over again by the Spitalfields' weavers, and their abettors, till the truth having been found out, we hear no more complaints, though many of the causes formerly alleged, no doubt, still exist, and rivalry much more than ever. I am in possession of a few curious facts respecting the Spitalfields supposed distresses. As to the assumption that destitution from low wages has driven the weavers to a habit of embezzling the materials given out to them to weave. I have to remark that in the year 1817, when I commenced my inquiries into the habits of the weavers in one of the townships of the parish of Manchester, I learnt that embezzlement had there been a habit long before the invention of power looms, or the consequent fall of wages, and that sometimes it had increased to such a pitch as to make the masters resolve not to give out any materials at all in the place, whereby every loom was at a stand. By degrees employment was again given, and by degrees the same abuse recurred. During the want of work the poor's rates were the never-failing resource, and in this, as in many other instances, furnished a constant encouragement to moral debasement; though the truth might never come to the ears of those who lived in the midst of these malpractices. Embezzlement of silk by the Spitalfields' weavers was long since made the subject of an Act of Parliament, and is punishable summarily with great severity. The Committee speak of the