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"mistaken policy has entailed upon our empire, may, in time, be utterly swept away.
There is another, and certainly a better, way of meeting this distress. Instead of supplying the deficient wages of the operatives in their employment, take so many of them away from their employment. Provide other work for them, where they may have a somewhat better remuneration than they have at their own work. In this way you will disengage so many, for a season, from a line of industry that is already overdone, and perhaps may transfer a number of weavers permanently to other employments. Thus may the supply of goods be reduced beneath the consumption, and the market, relieved of its superabundant stock, return to natural prices, and a fair remuneration for the operative. This, certainly, is a far more legitimate object for a public subscription, than the former; and the only hazard is, that after it is once started, and is obtruded on the view of the workmen as a likely expedient for their deliverance, it may not be supported with enough of vigour and liberality on the part of the benevolent. For, to pay the difference between bad wages and better, is not nearly so expensive as to pay the better wages altogether :-And it is this which tempts the charitable to the first method of supplying, rather than to the second method of withdrawing; and, even when the second method is entered upon by any public or combined movement, it is scarcely ever done in such a style of magnitude as to work any sensible effect. There will, no doubt, be a certain fraction withdrawn; but probably a very small proportion of the number that would need to be withdrawn, or of the number that would withdraw themselves, if left to prosecute their own expedients, without any delusive influence being set up to deceive and to detain them in their present situation, Government, for example, has held out the resource of emigration. But this they ought not to have done, unless they were in a condition to prosecute the enterprise on so great a scale as to work a national effect. Otherwise, they have only diverted individuals from their own measures for emigration, and in fact have lessened the relief of this expedient to the whole country-for many have trusted in this way to facilities which have not been realized. The city of Glasgow, in like manner, employs a few hundred operative weavers at a public work, the expense of which is in part defrayed by a public subscription, But, by this very measure, she has detained within her territory many more operatives than she employs. She has held put a prospect of employment at home which she has not been able to realize; and has so slackened the emigration to Ireland and other parts of the country, that we have at this moment more occupied looms in consequence of the public work thus provided, than we would have had without it. When the transference was left to itself, we find that there was an abandonment of looms to the extent of three thousand and upwards.* The whole public work takes up scarcely as many hundreds. But the name and the expectation of it detained a great many more; of whom, a few were admitted to the privilege of this extra employment, and the rest were obliged to hang on under the chance either of an enlargement or a vacancy. So that all which has been publicly done in this way, is rather an apology for a good thing, than the good thing itself. It was great, perhaps, in reference to the suns contributed by several individuals; but quite of Lilliputian dimensions in reference to the evil to be combated. And it were well that all corporations, and more especially Government, the greatest corporation in our land, were more aware of the insignificance of all that they have done, and, perhaps, of all that they can do, to moderate the evils of a deranged and distempered commerce.
But the same powerlessness of effort cannot be charged on the benevolence of wealthy and enlightened individuals. Government is one, and city corporations are few; but rich individuals are many: and, were a wise direction given to their charity, there is no doubt of a great and valuable result coming out of it. The efforts of landholders and country gentlemen to procure extra work for our weavers, have created a most important and salutary diversion in our present emergencies. A list of all the individuals who have thus signalized themselves, would furnish a most gratifying record of the kind sympathy that is to be found, in our day, under the guidance of wisdom and just discernment. The names of the Duke of Hamilton, and Lords Belhaven and Douglas, in Lanarkshire, and of Mr Maxwell in the county of Renfrew, have a foremost place in this history of pure and honourable patriotism.
But there is yet another and a far more excellent waynot to be attained, certainly, but by a change of habit among the workmen themselves--yet such a change as may be greatly promoted by those whose condition or character gives them influence in society. We have always been of opinion, that the main use of a Savings Bank was, not to elevate labourers into the class of capitalists, but to equalize and improve their condition as labourers. We should like them to have cach a small capital,
* It should be remarked here, that though upwards of 5000 looms were found unoccupied, yet nearly 2000 out of the whole 18,000 would, upon an average, be unoccupied even in ordinary times.
not wherewith to become manufacturers, but wherewith to control manufacturers. It is in this way (and we can see no other) that they will be enabled to weather all the fluctuations to which trade is liable. It is the cruel necessity of overworking which feeds the mischief of superabundant stock, and which renders so very large a transference of hands necessary ere the market can be relieved of the load under which it groans and languishes. Now, this is a necessity that can only be felt by men on the brink of starvation, who live from hand to mouth, and have scarcely more than the day's earnings for the subsistence of the day. Let these men only be enabled, on the produce of former accumulations, to live through a season of depression while they work moderately, or, if any of them should so choose it, while they do not work at all,--and they would not only lighten such a period of its wretchedness, but they would inconceivably shorten its duration. The overplus of manufactured goods, which is the cause of miserable wages, would soon clear away under that restriction of work which would naturally follow on the part of men who did not choose, because they did not need, to work for miserable wages. What is now a protracted season of suffering and discontent to the lower orders, would, in these circumstances, become to them a short but brilliant career of holiday enjoyment. The report of a heavy downfal of wages, instead of sounding like a knell of despair in their ears, would be their signal for rising up to play. We have heard, that there does not exist in our empire a more intellectual and accomplished order of workmen than the weavers of Paisley. It was their habit, we understand, to abandon their looms throughout the half or nearly the whole of cach Saturday, and to spend this time in gardening, or in the enjoyment of a country walk. It is true, that such time might sometimes be viciously spent; but still we should rejoice in such a degree of sufficiency among our operatives, as that they could afford a lawful day of every week for their amusement, and still more, that they could afford whole months of relaxed and diminished industry, when industry was underpaid. This is the dignified posture which they might attain ; but only after the return of better times, and through the medium of their own sober and determined economy. Every shilling laid up in store, and kept in reserve for the evil day, would strengthen the barrier against such a visitation of distress and difficulty as that from which we are yet scarcely emerging. The very habits too, which helped them to accumulate in the season of well paid work, would form our best guarantee against the vicious or immoral abuse of this accumulation, in the season either of entire or comparative inactivity. We would expect an increase. of reading, and the growth of literary cultivation, and the steady advancement of virtuous and religious habits,-and, altogether, a greater weight of character and influence among the labouring classes, as the permanent results of such a system. Instead of being the victims of every adverse movement in trade, they would become its most effective regulators.
This is the eminence that the labourers of our nation are fully capable both of reaching and of maintaining. But it is neither the Poor-rate of England, nor the Law of Parochial Aid in Scotland, that will help them on to it. These have only deceived them away from the path which leads to independence; and, amid all the complaints which have been raised against the system of a compulsory provision for the poor, nothing is more certain than that our poor, because underpaid operatives, are the principal sufferers by it. Every other class in society has its compensation. It is paid back again to the manufacturer in the shape of a reduction in the wages of his workmen, and to the landholder by a reduction in the price of all manufactured articles. It is only the operative himself, who appears to be pensioned by it, that is really impoverished. It has deadened all those incitements to accumulation which would have raised him and his fellow-labourers to a footing of permanent security in the State--And, not till their eyes have been opened to the whole mischief and cruelty of this delusion--not till they see where it is that their most powerful and malignant enemy is lying in ambush-- not till they have learned that, under the guise of charity, there has been an influence at work for many years, which has arrested the march of the lower orders to the elevation that naturally and rightfully belongs to them, and till they come to understand that it is by their own exertion and self-denial alone that they can win their way to it-not, in short, till the popular cry is for the abolition, rather than the extension of pauperism, will our labouring classes have attained their full share of comfort and importance in the commonwealth.
think, an unjust attack on the principles of this Journal, Yet we take part, on the whole, with the author :--and heartily
wish him success in the great object of vindicating his country from unmerited aspersions, and trying to make us, in England, ashamed of the vices and defects which he has taken the trouble to point out in our national character and institutions. In this part of his design we cordially concur-and shall at all times be glad to cooperate. But there is another part of it, and we are sorry to say a principal and avowed part, of which we cannot speak in terms of too strong regret and reprobation—and that is, a design to excite and propagate among his countrymen, a general animosity to the British name, by way of counteracting, or rather revenging, the animosity which he very erroneously supposes to be generally entertained by the English against them.
That this is, in itself, and under any circumstances, an unworthy, an unwise, and ever a criminal object, we think we could demonstrate to the satisfaction of Mr W. himself, and all his reasonable adherents; but it is better, perhaps, to endeavour, in the first place, to correct the misapprehensions, and dispel the delusions in which this disposition has its foundation, and, at all events, to set them the example of perfect good humour and fairness, in a discussion where the parties perhaps will never be entirely agreed; and where those who are now to be heard have the strongest conviction of being injuriously misrepresented. If we felt any soreness, indeed, on the score of this author's imputations, or had any desire to lessen the just effect of his representations, it would have been enough for us, we believe, to have let them alone. For, without some such help as ours, the work really does not seem calculated to make any great impression in this quarter of the world. It is not only, as the author has candidly observed of it, a very clumsy book,' heavily written and abominably printed, ---but the only material part of it -the only part about which any body can now be supposed to care very much, either here or in America-is overlaid and buried under a huge mass of historical compilation, which would have little chance of attracting readers at the present moment, even if much better digested than it is in the volume before us.
The substantial question is, what has been the true character and condition of the United States since they became an independent nation,--and what is likely to be their condition in future? And to elucidate this question, the learned author has thought fit to premise about 200 very close printed pages, upon their merits as colonies, and the harsh treatment they then received from the mother country! Of this large historical sketch, we cannot say either that it is very correctly drawn, or very faithfully coloured. It presents us with no connected narrative, or interesting deduction of events—but is, in truth, a mere