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evidence proves, that not less than two ture; and as to laying by money, millions of persons have, in this way, the thing, of course, was not for a been transferred to the manufacturing moment thought of. Thus, this vast counties of the north of England addition to their incomes was spent within the last forty years, chiefly almost exclusively on eating and from the agricultural counties of the drinking. The extent to which gross south of that kingdom, or from Ire- sensual enjoyment was thus spread land. Not less than three hundred and among these first settlers in the fifty thousand persons have, during the regions of commercial opulence, is same period, migrated into the two incredible. It is an ascertained fact, manufacturing counties of Lanark and that above a million a-year is anRenfrew alone, in Scotland, chiefly nually spent in Glasgow on ardent from the Scotch Highlands, or north spirits ;* and it has recently been of Ireland. No such astonishing asserted by a respectable and intellimigration of the human species in gent operative in Manchester, that, so short a time, and to settle on so in that city, £750,000 more is annualsmall a space, is on record in the ly spent on beer and spirits, than on whole annals of the world. It is the purchase of provisions. Is it surunnecessary to say that the increase prising that a large part of the prois to be ascribed chietly, if not en- geny of a generation which has emtirely, to immigration ; for it is braced such habits, should be sunk in well known that such is the unheal- sensuality and profligacy, and afford thiness of manufacturing towns, espe- a never-failing supply for the prisons cially to young children, that, so far and transport ships? It is the counfrom being able to add to their num- terpart of the sudden corruption which bers, they are hardly ever able, with- invariably overtakes northern conout extraneous addition, to maintain querors, when they settle in the them.
regions of southern opulence. Various causes have combined to Another powerful cause which proproduce demoralization among the motes the corruption of men, when vast crowd, thus suddenly attracted, thus suddenly congregated together by the alluring prospect of high wages from different quarters in the manu and steady employment, from the facturing districts, is, that the restraints rural to the manufacturing districts. of character, relationship, and viciniIn the first place, they acquired ty are, in a great measure, lost in the wealth before they had learned how crowd. Everybody knows what to use it, and that is, perhaps, the powerful influence public opinion, or most general cause of the rapid dege- the opinion of their relations, friends, neracy of mankind. High wages and acquaintances, exercises on allmen flowed in upon them before they had in their native seats, or when living acquired the artificial wants in the for any length of time in one situation. gratification of which they could be It forms, in fact, next to religion, innocently spent. Thence the gen- the most powerful restraint on vice, eral recourse to the grosser and sen- and excitement to virtue, that exists sual enjoyments, which are powerful in the world. But when several hunalike on the savage and the sage. dred thousand of the working classes Men who, in the wilds of Ireland or are suddenly huddled together in the mountains of Scotland, were densely peopled localities, this inmaking three or four shillings a-week, valuable check is wholly lost. Nay, or in Sussex ten, suddenly found what is worse, it is rolled over to the themselves, as cotton-spinners, iron- other side, and forms an additional moulders, colliers, or mechanics, in incentive to licentiousness. The poor possession of from twenty to thirty in these situations have no neighbours shillings. Meanwhile, their habits who care for them, or even know their and inclinations had undergone scarce names ; but they are surrounded by any alteration ; they had no taste for multitudes who are willing to accomcomfort in dress, lodging, or furni- pany them in the career of sensuality,
* Alison on Population, ii. Appendix A.
They are unknown alike to each calculable is the demoralization thus other, and to any persons of respec- produced upon the great mass of the tability or property in their vicinity. working classes. We speak not of Philanthropy seeks in vain for virtue the actual increase of commitments amidst thousands and tens of thou- during the continuance of a great sands of unknown names; charity strike, though that increase is so conitself is repelled by the hopelessness siderable that it in general augments of all attempts to relieve the stupen- them in a single year from thirty to dous mass of destitution which fol- fifty per cent.* We allude to the far lows in the train of such enormous ac- more general and lasting causes of cumulation of numbers. Every indi- demoralization which arise from the vidual or voluntary effort is overlooked arraying of one portion of the comamidst the prodigious multitude, as it munity in fierce hostility against was in the Moscow campaign of Na- another, the wretchedness which is poleon. Thus the most powerful spread among multitudes by months restraints on human conduct-charac- of compulsory idleness, and the not ter, relations, neighbourhood—are lost less ruinous effect of depriving them upon mankind at the very time when of occupation during such protracted their salutary influence is most re- periods. When we recollect that such quired to enable them to withstand is the vehemence of party feeling prothe increasing temptations arising duced by these disastrous combinafrom density of numbers and a vast in- tions, that it so far obliterates all crease of wages. Multitudes remove sense of right and wrong as generally responsibility without weakening pas- to make their members countenance sion. Isolation ensures concealment contuinely and insult, sometimes even without adding to resolution. This is robbery, fire-raising, and murder, comthe true cause of the more rapid dete- mitted on innocent persons who are only rioration of the character of the poor striving to earn an honest livelihood than the rich, when placed in such for themselves by hard labour, but in dense localities. The latter have a opposition to the strike; and that it neighbourhood to watch them, because induces twenty and thirty thousand their station renders them conspicuous persons to yield implicit obedience to -the former have none. Witness the the commands of an unknown comrapid and general corruption of the mittee, who have power to force them higher ranks, when they get away from to do what the Sultan Mahmoud, such restraint, amidst the profligacy of or the Committee of Public Safety, New South Wales.
never ventured to attempt—to abstain In the foremost rank of the causes from labour, and endure want and which demoralize the urban and mi- starvation for months together, for an ning population, we must place the object of which they often in secret disfrequency of those strikes which un
approve—it may be conceived how happily have now become so common wide-spread and fatal is the confiias to be of more frequent occurrence sion of moral principle, and habits of than a wet season, even in our humid idleness and insubordination thus climate. During the last twenty produced. Their effects invariably years there have been six great appear for a course of years afterstrikes : viz. in 1826, 1828, 1834, wards, in the increased roll of crimi1837, 1842, and 1844. All of these nal commitments, and the number of have kept multitudes of the labouring young persons of both sexes, who, poor idle for months together. In- loosened by these protracted periods
* Commitments :
Lanarkshire. Lancashire. Staffordshire. Yorkshire.
1,895 18127 696 4,497 1,185
2,598 Porter's Parl. Tables, xi. 162.- Parl. Paper of Crime, 1813, p. 53.
of idleness, never afterwards regain These evils are real, general, and habits of regularity and industry. Nor of ruinous consequence. When chilis the evil lessened by the blind infa- dren—from the age of nine or ten in tuation with which it is uniformly some establishments, of thirteen or regarded by the other classes of the fourteen in all-are able to earn wages community, and the obstinate resist- varying from 3s. 6d. to 6s. a-week, ance they make to all measures cal- they soon become in practice indeculated to arrest the violence of these pendent of parental control. The combinations, in consequence of the strongest of all securities for filial espense with which they would pro- obedience—a sense of dependence—is bably be attended à supineness destroyed. The children assert the which, by leaving the coast constant- right of self-government, because they ly clear to the terrors of such asso- bear the burden of self-maintenance. ciations, and promising impunity to Nature, in the ordinary case, has their crimes, operates as a continual effectually guarded against this prebounty on their recurrence.
mature and fatal emancipation of the Infant labour, unhappily now so young, by the protracted period of frequent in all kinds of factories, and weakness during childhood and adothe great prevalence of female work- lescence, which precludes the possibiers, is another evil of a very serious lity of serious labour being undertaken kind in the manufacturing districts. before the age when a certain degree We do not propose to enter into the of mental firmness has been acquired. question, recently so fiercely agitated But the steam-engine, amidst its other in the legislature, as to the practica- marvels, has entirely destroyed, withbility of substituting a compulsory in the sphere of its influence, this ten-hours' bill for the twelve hours' happy and necessary exemption of at present in operation. Anxious to infancy from labour. Steam is the avoid all topics on which there is a moving power; it exerts the strength; difference of opinion among able and the human machine is required only patriotic men, we merely state this to lift a web periodically, or damp a prevalence and precocity of juvenile roller, or twirl a film round the finger, labour in the manufacturing and min- to which the hands of infancy are as ing districts as a fact which all must adequate as those of mature age. deplore, and which is attended with Hence the general employment of the most unhappy effects on the rising children, and especially girls, in such generation. The great majority, pro- employments. They are equally serbably nine-tenths, of all the workers viceable as men or women, and they in cotton-mills or printfields, are fe- are more docile, cheaper, and less males. We have heard much of the given to strikes. But as these chilprofligacy and licentiousness which dren earn their own subsistence, they pervade such establishments ; but soon become rebellious to parental though that may be too true in some authority, and exercise the freedom of cases, it is far from being universal, middle life as soon as they feel its or even general ; and there are nume- passions, and before they have acrous instances of female virtue being quired its self-control. as jealously guarded and effectually If the effect of such premature preserved in such establishments, as emancipation of the young is hurtful in the most secluded rural districts. to them, it is, if possible, still more The real evils--and they follow uni- pernicious to their parents. Labour versally from such employment of is generally irksome to man; it is juvenile females in great numbers in seldom persevered in after the period laborious but lucrative employment of its necessity has passed. When -are the emancipation of the young parents find that, by sending three or from parental control, the temptation four children out to the mills or into the held out to idleness in the parents mines, they can get eighteen or twenty from the possibility of living on their shillings a-week without doing any children, and the disqualifying the thing themselves, they soon come to girls for performing all the domestic abridge the duration and cost of eduduties of wives and mothers in after cation, in order to accelerate the arlife.
rival of the happy period when they may live on their offspring, not their thers. They can neither bake nor offspring on them. Thus the purest brew, wash nor iron, sew nor knit. and best affections of the heart are The finest London lady is not more obliterated on the very threshold of utterly inefficient than they are, for life. That best school of disinterest any other object but the one mechaniedness and virtue, the domestic hearth, cal occupation to which they have where generosity and self-control are been habituated. They can neither called forth in the parents, and grati- darn a stocking nor sew on a button. tude and affection in the children, As to making porridge or washing a from the very circumstance of the de- handkerchief, the thing is out of the pendence of the latter on the former, question. Their food is cooked out is destroyed. It is worse than de- of doors by persons who provide the stroyed, it is made the parent of lodging-houses in which they dwellwickedness: it exists, but it exists they are clothed from head to foot, only to nourish the selfish and de- like fine ladies, by milliners and dressbasing passions. Children come to makers. This is not the result of be looked on, not as objects of affec- fashion, caprice, or indolence, but of tion, but as instruments of gain; not the entire concentration of their faculas forming the first duty of life and ties, mental and corporeal, from their calling forth its highest energies, but earliest years, in one limited mechanias affording the first means of relaxing cal object. They are untit to be any from labour, and permitting a relapse man's wife--still more unfit to be any into indolence and sensuality. The child's mother. We hear little of this children are, practically speaking, from philanthropists or educationsold for slaves, and-oh! unutterable mongers; but it is, nevertheless, not horror !- the sellers are their own pa- the least, because the most generally rents! Unbounded is the demoraliza- diffused, evil connected with our tion produced by tliis monstrous per- manufacturing industry. version of the first principles of na- But by far the greatest cause of ture. Thence it is that it is generally the mass of crime of the manufacfound, that all the beneficent provi- turing and mining districts of the sions of the legislature for the protec- country, is to be found in the proclition of infant labour are so generally gious number of persons, especially evaded, as to render it doubtful whe- in infancy, who are reduced to a state ther any law, how stringent soever, of destitution, and precipitated into could protect them. The reason is the very lowest stations of life, in apparent. The parents of the chil- consequence of the numerous ills to dren are the chief violators of the law; which all flesh- but especially all for the sake of profit they send them flesh in manufacturing communities out, the instant they can work, to the is heir. Our limits preclude the mills or the mines. Those whom na- possibility of entering into all the ture has made their protectors, have branches of this immense subject; become their oppressors. The thirst we shall content ourselves, therefore, for idleness, intoxication, or sensu- with referring to one, which seems of ality, has turned the strongest of the itself perfectly sufficient to explain the generous, into the most malignant of increase of crime, which at first sight the selfish passions.
appears so alarming. This is the imThe habits acquired by such pre- mense proportion of destitute widows cocious employment of young women, with families, who in such circumare not less destructive of their ulti- stances find themselves immovably mate utility and respectability in life. fixed in places where they can neither Habituated from their earliest years bring up their children decently, nor to one undeviating mechanical em- get away to other and less peopled ployment, they acquire great skill in localities. it, but grow up utterly ignorant of From the admirable statistical reany thing else. We speak not of turns of the condition of the labouring ignorance of reading or writing, but poor in France, prepared for the Buof ignorance in still more momentous reau de l'Intérieure, it appears that the particulars, with reference to their number of widows in that country nisefulness in life as wives and mo- amounts to the enormous number of 1,738,000.* This, out of a population orphans are constantly there in a now of about 34,000,000, is as nearly state deserving of pity, and requiring as possible one in tuenty of the entire support, hardly any of whom receive population! Population is advancing more from the parish funds than a much more rapidly in Great Britain shilling a-week, even for the maintethan France; for in the former country nance of a whole family. it is doubling in about 60 years, in the The proportion of widows and orlatter in 106. It is certain, therefore, phans to the entire population, though that the proportion of widows must be without doubt in some degree aggragreater in this country than in France, vated by the early marriages and especially in the manufacturing dis- unhealthy employments incident to tricts, where early marriages, from the manufacturing districts, may be supready employment for young children, posed to be not materially different in are so frequent; and early deaths, one age, or part of the country, from from the unhealthiness of employ- another. The widow and the orphan, ment or contagious disorders, are so as well as the poor, will be always common. But call the proportion with us; but the peculiar circumthe same : let it be taken at a twenti- stance which renders their condition eth part of the existing population. so deplorable in the dense and sudAt this rate, the two millions of stran- denly peopled manufacturing districts gers who, during the last forty years, is, that the poor have been brought have been thrown into the four nor- together in such prodigious numbers, thern counties of Lancaster, York, that all the ordinary means of providStafford, and Warwick, must containing for the relief of such casualties at this moment a hundred thousand fails; while the causes of mortality widous. The usual average of a fa- among them are periodically so fearmily is two and a half children-call ful, as to produce a vast and sudden it two only. There will thus be increase of the most destitute classes, found to be 200,000 children belong- altogether outstripping all possible ing to these 100,000 widows. It is means of local or voluntary relief. hardly necessary to say, that the During the late typhus fever in Glasgreat majority, probably four-fifths of gow, in the years 1836 and 1837, this immense body, must be in a state above 30,000 of the poor took the of destitution. We know in what epidemic, of whom 3300 died. In state the fatherless and widows are in the first eight months of 1813 alone, their affliction, and who has com- 32,000 persons in Glasgow were manded us to visit them. On the seized with fever. I Out of 1000 most moderate calculation, 250,000, families, at a subsequent period, or an eighth of the whole population, visited by the police, in conjuncmust be in a state of poverty and tion with the visitors for the disprivation. And in Scotland, where, tribution of the great fund raised by during the same period of forty years, subscription in 1841, 680 were found 350,000 strangers have been suddenly to be widows, who, with their famihuddled together on the banks of the lies, amounted to above 2000 persons, Clyde, the proportion may be pre- all in the most abject state of wretchsumed to be the same; or, in other edness and want. On so vast a words, thirty thousand widows and scale do the causes of human destruc
* Statistique de la France, publiée par le Gouvernement, viij. 371-4. A most splendid work. † Fever patients, Glasgow, 1836, 37.
3367 -Cowan's Vital Statistics of Glasgow, 1388, p. 8, the work of a most able and meritorious medical gentleman now no more.
Dr Alison on the Epidemic of 1843, p. 67.