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'When Evening's distant hues
Their silent grace diffuse
In sleepy azure o'er the mountain's head;
Or dawn in purple faint,
As nearer cliffs they paint,
Then lead me 'mid thy slopes and woodland shade.
Nor would I wander far
When Twilight lends her star,
And on thy scenes her doubtful shades repose;
Steals on each bowery height,
Like the wing'd music on the folded rose.
Then on thy winding shore
Their sail, papilio's wing,
Then shipp'd, in chase of moonbeams gaily float.
But at the midnight hour
I woo thy thrilling power,
While silent moves the glow-worm's light along;
The gloomy red moon drops,
And in the grave of darkness leaves thee long.
Even then thy waves I hear,
And own a nameless fear,
As 'mid the stillness the night winds do swell,
To the lone watch-dog's bark,
O Nymph! fain would I trace
When Summer dawn first breaks upon thy stream;
And keep thee ever there,
Like thought recover'd from an antique dream.'
We must now bid adieu to these poems. They are little calculated certainly to increase the reputation of Mrs Radcliffe; and perhaps her friends would have acted more judiciously if they had allowed them to remain in that obscurity in which they were left by their amiable authoress. Yet we are glad of the opportunity they have afforded us of expressing our admiration of her powers as a writer of romance; and of reviving in some measure the
recollection of that fascination which her scenes of beauty and terror once exercised over our fancy. That a critical perusal of them at the present moment, with the cool eye of middle age, would probably point out to us many incongruities, and many weaknesses, is very probable. It is an experiment which we shall take care not to hazard. We prefer leaving them as they float at present in our memory, here and there freshly remembered in their better parts, the rest fading into distance and half forgotten; on the whole, a pleasing pageant of gloomy castles and caves,-moon-illumined streets and palaces,-dance and Provençal song, and vintage_mirth,—aërial music floating over fairyhaunted forests, or choral chant of monk or nun, borne to the ear over the still waters of the Adriatic.
ART. III.-1. On Wages and Combinations. By R. TORRENS, Esq., M.P. 8vo. London: 1834.
2. Character, Object, and Effects of Trades-Unions. 8vo. London: 1834.
3. Trades'-Unions and Strikes. 12mo. London : 1834. 4. The Tendency of Strikes and Sticks to produce low Wages. By HARRIET MARTINEAU. 12mo. Durham: 1834.
HE publications which we have enumerated at the head of this article are only a selection from amongst those which the present crisis in the history of our labouring population has called into existence. Not that the combinations at present subsisting among workmen in various branches of industry, and the Unions into which they are formed, appear to offer any new features of real danger, which should render them subjects of greater apprehension to the community than former associations of the same nature, which have long lasted, and frequently assumed for a time a threatening aspect and character. But they have acquired additional interest in the eyes of all, and in those of the timid great additional importance, from the turbulent state of so large a portion of the manufacturing population in France; from the new language held by their leaders; and, above all, from their approximation towards the co-operative doctrines which a few zealous speculators have so long preached, and with such little success. Until within the last few years, Unions among workmen had no other ostensible object than that which was the real one,--the establishment or mainte
nance of a fixed rate of wages in a particular employment. Now the writers and orators of these associations often assume a higher tone; they proclaim war against capitalists in general; and hold out the grand project of dividing profits among that class of producers which at present furnishes labour and receives wages, a project which of course implies a complete social as well as political revolution. For our parts, we believe these visionary schemes, and the applause they have met with, rather to betoken the failing hopes and desperate condition of many of the combinations, the supporters of which require to have their expectations kept alive by extravagant delusion. Those Unions which have been most successful in effecting their immediate object of raising wages, and have consequently been_most injurious to our manufactures, and most detrimental to the trade of the towns in which they were established, have always wrought in comparative silence, and confined their exertions to the accomplishment of their particular design, avoiding, above all things, political discussion. All schemes of a more extended character have hitherto signally failed; and when experience shall have accumulated more materials, it will no doubt be a service to the public, if some writer, as well qualified for the purpose as those we are now reviewing, will present us with a sketch of the circumstances and causes of their failure; of the decline of those various co-operative societies which have been established in London and elsewhere; and of the recent unsuccessful attempt, on the part of the Derby workmen, to establish mills of their own, and commence trading as capitalists. But the late overtures of alliance between the Lodges of the Unions and the zealots of the levelling school in politics, have, of course, given an apparent degree of importance to the former, and attracted more general notice to their proceedings. Above all, however, the recent great strike among the tailors, in London and its vicinity, which lasted more than two months, by bringing the inconvenience of the present differences between masters and men home to the feelings of every one who wears a coat, has had the effect of drawing public attention, in an unprecedented degree, to the subject before us.
The work of Colonel Torrens is chiefly valuable for its exposing, in a clear and forcible style, the fallacy of maintaining that combinations, whether among masters or men, can regulate wages,
* It is said that at a recent and famous Liverpool election, the members of a trade agreed to divide their suffrages equally between the candidates, and that the sum of L.1600 was in consequence received and paid into the common stock.
except for a very limited extent in time or space. His reasonings bear the same relation to those of more practical writers on the subject, which the deductions of pure mathematical science bear to their evidences in the operations of nature. It is both curious and instructive, first to trace the unerring principle, and then to examine the obscure and tortuous ways in which the problem is circumstantially worked out, and that same result produced in real life at which the philosopher had arrived by abstraction within the walls of his closet. But we have space only for a very brief analysis of the Colonel's arguments.
Suppose, to take the most favourable case of combination. among the masters, that in all trades a forced reduction took place, and in all trades an increase of profit followed. The necessary result--if that increase is to be maintained--must be, that all the additional income of the masters must be spent unproductively. The first who should employ part of his profit as additional capital, must bid for fresh hands, must consequently raise wages, and break up the combination. By working out the details of this principle, and tracing the phenomena which would appear in combinations limited to particular trades, the writer has shown convincingly, to use the words of his conclusion, that an effectual combination for the reduction of wages 'cannot by possibility exist.'
To pass to the effects of a combination to raise wages: The maximum of wages, in any given time or country, we must assume to be that point above which wages cannot rise, without reducing the lowest rate of profit at which the capitalist can continue the work of production. Suppose the actual rate of profit to be 10 per cent; the lowest possible rate of profit 7 per cent. The labourers, by combining, might reduce profits 3 per cent before production would cease. But the moment in which the number of competitors for employment increased, or the moment in which foreign competition lowered the cost of the article to the consumer, would see the ruin of the combination begun. In the first case, wages would fall and profits rise; in the second, wages would fall and profits remain stationary. And this is the only practical view in which the question affects the industry of England; for no Union among the workmen can check the pressure of their own numbers on the means of employment, or the pressure of foreign production on the markets for English commodities.
The last position requires a more detailed examination; as it has been argued, that high wages in England can never influence our foreign trade, as long as the rate of profits falls in proportion to the rise of wages, and prices consequently do not increase. Profits being by the supposition 10 per cent in the first instance,
the English master's profits fall to 7 per cent, the French master's remain at 10. The Frenchman cannot lower his prices without lowering his profit; he will not, therefore, lower his prices for the sake of an extended market, for the plain reason that he can make 10 per cent on his capital in any occupation. This reasoning is strictly and philosophically correct, upon the suppositions which it assumes. But the fact is, as Colonel Torrens has shown, that in the case of manufactured articles into the production of which fixed capital largely enters, the rate of the Frenchman's profits would rise, while his prices fell, if he could gain a more extended market. Suppose, as before, that 10 per cent is the rate of the Frenchman's profit, of which 5 per cent is the return to his fixed, 5 per cent to his floating capital. Suppose also, that his fixed capital, his mills, machinery, &c. are capable of being employed to produce a far greater quantity than they now do, without the cost of working them being materially increased. In this case, the Frenchman, in order to undersell the Englishman, consents to reduce his profit to 8 per cent on his first cargo of goods: he may now double the quantity produced, and obtain 8 per cent by expending his floating capital only in this second speculation; that is, 3 per cent more than his previous rate of profit. Thus the Colonel is correct in asserting, that it ad'mits of the strictest demonstration, that if additional quantities of raw material can be worked up without incurring an additional expense for buildings and machinery, the manufacturers of the country in which the rate of profit is comparatively high, will ⚫ have an interest in lowering their prices in the foreign market, 'so as to beat out the fabrics of the country in which the rate of profit is comparatively low.'
With combinations of masters we have little to do at present; inasmuch as all allow that the dangers which now threaten our industry, proceed from another quarter. It is remarkable that some of the greatest authors in the science of political economy, should have agreed in maintaining that such combinations are far more general and more permanent than those among the men. Having made their observations at a period when the laws against the latter were still in force, and conscious of the unjust principle and ineffective character of those enactments, they seem to have written rather as advocates of the labourers, than as impartial observers. The sentiments of Dr Adam Smith on this subject have often been repeated. M. Say, too, maintained that masters had far greater facilities than workmen for combining; not partially only, but so as to regulate wages generally by their monopoly. But more recent experience must moderate the respect which we pay to the authority of names, however deservedly dis