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on that neutral ground, will be found in the early pages of Mr Tufnell's first pamphlet. They have their courts of justice too. I have known an hundred pounds spent in six weeks,' says a writer in a Yorkshire newspaper, in deciding the disputes of in'dividuals.' Finally, if governments have their coronations, their regalia, their palaces, and household troops, the Unions, too, are of opinion that the splendour which surrounds authority is one of its chief recommendations in the eyes of the governed; and they show a noble disregard for economy in trifles, in the sums which they lavish on expenses for furniture in the hall, gas pipes, chandeliers, painting president's chair, new top and side 'curtains for president's chair,' for axes, emblematic devices, and robes of office. But for one of the articles most prominent in these financial estimates we confess we are at a loss to find an exact parallel in those of any exchequer except that of the King of Yvetot, of whom his poet sings,
'Il n'avait de goût onéreux
Qu'une soif un peu vive;
Mais en rendant son peuple heureux
Il faut bien qu'un Roi vive.
'We have before us,' says Mr Tufnell,* a statement of the half ' yearly expenses of all the lodges of the Union of Mechanics in England, Scotland, and Ireland; in all of them the charge for 'committee liquor is large, and in some the chief item in the accounts; so that we may apply to the Unionists literally the 'words of the prophet, "he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.""
These fooleries, however unimportant they may seem amongst the graver matters of the great question now agitated between capitalists and operatives throughout the country, are of too serious consequence, in reality, to be passed over so lightly as they may at first seem to deserve; because a full exposure of the wasteful extravagance on which the funds of the latter have been squandered, by the very men who have incited them to make such heavy sacrifices, will probably have more effect than any other argument in convincing readers of the working classes of the futile nature of these associations. In these intestine wars, the great body of mechanics fall under the influence of small côteries of artful or turbulent men; and the desire of such paltry distinctions and emoluments as a Trades' Union has to bestow, operates in raising up a succession of agents to direct to mischief the endeavours of the united body. Many, however, among the leaders
* Trades'-Unions and Strikes, p. 32.
have been of a very different character ;-men who have acquired influence over their comrades from a reputation of steadiness and honesty, and of extensive acquaintance with the economy of their trade. It is on such men that writers who compile treatises like those before us, for popular circulation, must hope to make an impression. Many too hastily conclude, that, because such treatises do not appear to acquire an extensive circulation among those to whom they are directed, they are therefore useless; and that no argument except that of the passions ever makes a strong appeal to the multitude. But the seed falls silently, and if in a vast majority of instances the ground refuses to receive it, in those few in which it penetrates, the means are thus afforded for the productin and extension of the plant. The small thinking class will ever exercise a decided influence over the multitude; more powerful, perhaps, in the long run, for good than for evil. These are the men on whom the education of circumstances, and the education of books, are not thrown away. That there are many thousands of such men among our working population in every department-men whose intelligence and activity of mind are of the highest order-no one who has paid any attention to the history of these recent agitations will venture to deny. When these are gained over, and a majority of the best informed mechanics, the reign of the Unions will soon be at an end. many of those who have exercised the greatest influence in recent Strikes, such a change has already taken place. Among the most remarkable of the leaders whom these events have called into authority, was one who almost wholly controlled and managed the great turn-out among the clothiers at Bradford in 1829. The account which this individual (John Tester by name) has sent forth of the unsuccessful combination which he commanded, has supplied Miss Martineau with great part of her materials for the little publication named at the head of this article. We believe it is only doing him justice to say, that under his direction it was carried on with better temper, better order, and less extravagant expenditure, than has been often exhibited in similar emergencies. Yet this man wrote at the end of the Strike, If I do 'not procure employment in a week or two, I shall be without 'the means of subsistence; but this will not induce me to ask employment of the Bradford manufacturers. Not that I owe them any ill-will, wish them any harm, or shall ever think ' of treating them disrespectfully. My only motive is, I have 'heard some of them say they should like to have the pleasure of refusing me work, and I am determined they shall never have ' that pleasure.' Well may the authoress add,* It is a matter
*Strikes and Sticks, p. 17.
of deep concern, not only to the people of Bradford, but to 'the whole of society, that such feelings should ever arise be'tween those who must go hand in hand if either are to prosper.' This person, whose intelligence and dexterity are evidently such as no education could give without great personal abilities, has now not only completely changed his views on the subject of Trades' Unions, but time and retirement have so operated on him, as to smooth away all the irritation of party feeling, which he had so long shared as well as directed; at least, if he is the author of two letters published in his name, which we find in the Leeds Mercury (for June 7 and 14). We have no other authority for their genuineness than the character of the journal in which they appear, and the tone of truth and soberness which pervades them; but believing them to be his productions, we do not hesitate to say, that such good as can be done in this crisis by the dissemination of pamphlets would be better furthered by a cheap reprint of these letters, than by the circulation of any tracts to which men belonging to other classes had set their hands. They possess all the advantage which clear and plain language can give, and the writer appears in the form which finds most favour in the eyes of all men ;-in that of an equal, who neither flatters nor threatens his readers, but who simply states the result of his own experience-an experience of which all must acknowledge the extent. If,' says he, any advantages ' are to be obtained-if any benefit can be secured if any improvement is to be effected-if any good may be achieved by the working classes of society, from strikes or combinations, or Trades' Unions, or any association of a similar description, some ' at least of these advantages must most assuredly have been visi'ble to me. On the other hand, should associations of this kind be injurious, and calculated to produce misery and suffering to those for whose benefit they profess to be intended, it is alike impossible the whole of the evil should have escaped my notice.' No one can have had more opportunities of remarking the profligate expenditure of the committees which govern the Unions. On this point, he gives the following details:
Of two hundred pounds paid as entrance-money into the Trades' Union nearly two years ago, I calculated that L.60 were spent in regalia; L.100 in eating, drinking, and wages for the Union's committees ; leaving only L.40 for the purposes originally contemplated by the members. Perhaps some one, wiser than myself, will explain to you in what way your condition in life can be improved by the joint possession of swords, death-scenes, gowns, banners, battle-axes, and large empty boxes, like military chests, with a number of devices, of which no one knows the meaning. The bare mention of committee expenses reminds me of various scenes of profuse expenditure and wanton waste, and worse than
beastly gluttony, which I have witnessed, and always with feelings of disgust. I am aware that professions are made by the advocates of the new system, which may be aptly called the nonsense system, that all these expensive feastings are abolished, and that every thing is conducted upon the least expensive scale. But notwithstanding these pretensions, the money is still wasted by committees as much as ever, only in such a way as to keep the great majority of members in the dark on the subject. The method generally adopted is this. The secretary, president, and other leading men, swill the committees and auditors with beer, and these in their turn pass the accounts with little or no examination. If peculation be discovered, it is connived at, and a favourable report issued to the members. . The instances of mal-appropriation of money, which I could enumerate, would surprise you; and the various sums, if added together, amount to many hundreds of pounds. Some few, by carefully preserving the money their wits enabled them to secrete from the general stock, have been able to commence business on their own account, and to take a part in that manufacturing tyranny which a short time before they had so loudly and vehemently denounced. The most rigid economy is professed. Your officers declare to you that they work for nothing, notwithstanding which, your money is thus shamefully and profusely wasted. A person from the west of England attended, a short time ago, a Grand Lodge Meeting in the North, and his expenses of attendance were little less than L.30. It was really amusing to read some of the items in his extraordinary bill. There was so much for the purchase of an umbrella, to replace one lost upon the road; so much per day during a number of days, during which, after his return, he was unable to work, from the great fatigue of his journey!'
We see, by the way, that a speaker, at one of the late Leeds Union meetings, charged John Tester himself with having left the Bradford Union with L.36 of its money in his pocket. The charge, we hope, has no foundation; but if it has, it only places the writer in the situation of a king's evidence revealing a conspiracy. We have only room to quote one of his anecdotes, which illustrates our former statement, as to the necessary deductions from the high wages obtained by a successful combination:
Six years since, the Combers of Leicester turned out for a considerable advance, and after expending nearly L.2000, they attained the object of their wishes. But mark what follows:-At the commencement of that strike, there were less than 600 combers in the town, and at the conclusion of it more than 700. At the beginning we had all full employment; at the termination, between one and two hundred must be supported without work, or they would go and turn in. Continual disputes took place between the employed and the unemployed; the latter accusing the former of selfishness, and the former accusing the others of idleness and unwillingness to work. Eight-and-twenty shillings per week were allowed me for the exercise of my powers of
suasion, to keep these two parties from an open rupture, and in this way to do the best I could for the interest of both. Alas! I saw most clearly that the wages could not be maintained, and voluntarily resigned my well-paid but unenviable situation, and left the town. Wages fell immediately, and men were soon working at a lower price than ever.'
Before dismissing the subject of the expenses entailed on workmen by their Unions, it may not be unimportant to notice the sums which they lavished last year in support of Lord Ashley's bill for the regulation of labour in factories. The principal part of the former evidence, before Mr Sadler's committee, had been furnished by parties in connexion with the leading body of the Clothiers' Union. This is not the place to discuss the important question which that measure involved the question, namely, whether the law can or cannot interfere, with advantage, to control the duration of labour, or the internal discipline of factories; whether the waste of health, and strength, and youthful happiness, which those factories undoubtedly occasion, can be diminished or no, without causing distress and suffering, far greater in amount, by the ruin of productive industry. No doubt can be entertained of the pure and humane motives which actuated most of its chief supporters. But while the philanthropists promoted it from principle, and conservative politicians, in hopes to break up the influence of the Whig party in the manufacturing districts, there is reason to suppose, that canny Yorkshire' saw in it the commencement of a hopeful scheme for obtaining equal pay with less labour. Its chief agents were, therefore, loudly cheered on by all that designing class among the operatives, who have undertaken the great experiment of forcibly raising wages. By them it was considered only as one mode of effecting what the Trades' Unions seek to obtain by other means,—the absolute destruction of the capitalists, or their complete subjection to the committees of their workmen.
Accordingly, the Unions which then existed were set in active motion to promote the bill of Lord Ashley. A penny for Time Bill,' (alluding to charges incurred in sending delegates to London, and other disbursements, in furtherance of this object,) con'stituted a regular item in the contributions to the Lancashire • Trades'-Union.' Mr Tufnell (himself a factory commissioner) has given, we believe, a tolerably correct representation of the rea sons which induced this body to take up the cause so heartily.
From the evidence relating to the cotton trade, taken before the Factory Commission, it appears that the spinners were invariably the strenuous, and in many cases the only supporters of the Ten Hour Limitation Bill. It is also shown, by the Report of the Commission, that the