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PART IV. PRODUCTION OF RELATIVE SURPLUS-VALUE. - Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume I: The Process of Capitalist Production 
Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume I: The Process of Capitalist Production, by Karl Marx. Trans. from the 3rd German edition, by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, ed. Federick Engels. Revised and amplified according to the 4th German ed. by Ernest Untermann (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr and Co., 1909).
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|NUMBER OF FACTORIES.|
|England and Wales...||2,046||2,715||2,405|
|NUMBER OF POWER-LOOMS.|
|England and Wales...||275,590||368,125||344,719|
|NUMBER OF SPINDLES.|
|England and Wales...||25,818,576||28,352,152||30,478,228|
|NUMBER OF PERSONS EMPLOYED.|
|England and Wales...||341,170||407,598||357,052|
Hence, between 1861 and 1868, 338 cotton factories disappeared, in other words more productive machinery on a larger scale was concentrated in the hands of a smaller number of capitalists. The number of power-looms decreased by 20,663; but since their product increased in the same period, an improved loom must have yielded more than an old one. Lastly the number of spindles increased by 1,612,541, while the number of operatives decreased by 50,505. The "temporary" misery, inflicted on the workpeople by the cotton-crisis, was heightened, and from being temporary made permanent, by the rapid and persistent progress of machinery.
But machinery not only acts as a competitor who gets the better of the workman, and is constantly on the point of making him superfluous. It is also a power inimical to him, and as such capital proclaims it from the roof tops and as such makes use of it. It is the most powerful weapon for repressing strikes, those periodical revolts of the working class against the autocracy of capital.127 According to Gaskell, the steam engine was from the very first an antagonist of human power, an antagonist that enabled the capitalist to tread under foot the growing claims of the workmen, who threatened the newly born factory system with a crisis.128 It would be possible to write quite a history of the inventions, made since 1830, for the sole purpose of supplying capital with weapons against the revolts of the working class. At the head of these in importance, stands the self-acting mule, because it opened up a new epoch in the automatic system.129
Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam hammer, gives the following evidence before the Trades Union Commission, with regard to the improvements made by him in machinery and introduced in consequence of the wide-spread and long strikes of the engineers in 1851. "The characteristic feature of our modern mechanical improvements, is the introduction of self-acting tool machinery. What every mechanical workman has now to do, and what every boy can do, is not to work himself but to superintend the beautiful labour of the machine. The whole class of workmen that depend exclusively on their skill, is now done away with. Formerly, I employed four boys to every mechanic. Thanks to these new mechanical combinations, I have reduced the number of grown-up men from 1500 to 750. The result was a considerable increase in my profits."
Ure says of a machine used in calico printing: "At length capitalists sought deliverance from this intolerable bondage" [namely the, in their eyes, burdensome terms of their contracts with the workmen] "in the resources of science, and were speedily re-instated in their legitimate rule, that of the head over the inferior members." Speaking of an invention for dressing warps: "Then the combined malcontents, who fancied themselves impregnably intrenched behind the old lines of division of labour, found their flanks turned and their defences rendered useless by the new mechanical tactics, and were obliged to surrender at discretion." With regard to the invention of the self-acting mule, he says: "A creation destined to restore order among the industrious classes.... This invention confirms the great doctrine already propounded, that when capital enlists science into her service, the refractory hand of labour will always be taught docility."130 Although Ure's work appeared 30 years ago, at a time when the factory system was comparatively but little developed, it still perfectly expresses the spirit of the factory, not only by its undisguised cynicism, but also by the naïveté with which it blurts out the stupid contradictions of the capitalist brain. For instance, after propounding the "doctrine" stated above, that capital, with the aid of science taken into its pay, always reduces the refractory hand of labour to docility, he grows indignant because "it (physico-mechanical science) has been accused of lending itself to the rich capitalist as an instrument for harrassing the poor." After preaching a long sermon to show how advantageous the rapid development of machinery is to the working classes, he warns them, that by their obstinacy and their strikes they hasten that development. "Violent revulsions of this nature," he says, "display short-sighted man in the contemptible character of a self-tormentor." A few pages before he states the contrary. "Had it not been for the violent collisions and interruptions resulting from erroneous views among the factory operatives, the factory system would have been developed still more rapidly and beneficially for all concerned." Then he exclaims again: "Fortunately for the state of society in the cotton districts of Great Britain, the improvements in machinery are gradual." "It" (improvement in machinery) "is said to lower the rate of earnings of adults by displacing a portion of them, and thus rendering their number superabundant as compared with the demand for their labour. It certainly augments the demand for the labour of children and increases the rate of their wages." On the other hand, this same dispenser of consolation defends the lowness of the children's wages on the ground that it prevents parents from sending their children at too early an age into the factory. The whole of his book is a vindication of a working day of unrestricted length; that Parliament should forbid children of 13 years to be exhausted by working 12 hours a day, reminds his liberal soul of the darkest days of the middle ages. This does not prevent him from calling upon the factory operatives to thank Providence, who by means of machinery has given them the leisure to think of their "immortal interests."131
SECTION 6.—THE THEORY OF COMPENSATION AS REGARDS THE WORKPEOPLE DISPLACED BY MACHINERY.
James Mill, MacCulloch, Torrens, Senior, John Stuart Mill, and a whole series besides, of bourgeois political economists, insist that all machinery that displaces workmen, simultaneously and necessarily sets free an amount of capital adequate to employ the same identical workmen.132
Suppose a capitalist to employ 100 workmen, at £30 a year each, in a carpet factory. The variable capital annually laid out amounts, therefore, to £3000. Suppose, also, that he discharges 50 of his workmen, and employs the remaining 50 with machinery that costs him £1500. To simplify matters, we take no account of buildings, coal, 8c. Further suppose that the raw material annually consumed costs £3000, both before and after the change.133 Is any capital set free by this metamorphosis? Before the change, the total sum of £6000 consisted half of constant, and half of variable capital. After the change it consists of £4500 constant (£3000 raw material and £1500 machinery), and £1500 variable capital. The variable capital, instead of being one half, is only one quarter, of the total capital. Instead of being set free, a part of the capital is here locked up in such a way as to cease to be exchanged against labour-power: variable has been changed into constant capital. Other things remaining unchanged, the capital of £6000, can, in future, employ no more than 50 men. With each improvement in the machinery, it will employ fewer. If the newly introduced machinery had cost less than did the labour-power and implements displaced by it, if, for instance, instead of costing £1500, it had cost only £1000, a variable capital of £1000 would have been converted into constant capital, and locked up; and a capital of £500 would have been set free. The latter sum, supposing wages unchanged, would form a fund sufficient to employ about 16 out of the 50 men discharged; nay, less than 16, for, in order to be employed as capital, a part of this £500 must now become constant capital, thus leaving only the remainder to be laid out in labour-power.
But, suppose, besides, that the making of the new machinery affords employment to a greater number of mechanics, can that be called compensation to the carpet makers, thrown on the streets? At the best, its construction employs fewer men than its employment displaces. The sum of £1500 that formerly represented the wages of the discharged carpet-makers, now represents in the shape of machinery: (1) the value of the means of production used in the construction of that machinery, (2) the wages of the mechanics employed in its construction, and (3) the surplus-value falling to the share of their "master." Further, the machinery need not be renewed till it is worn out. Hence, in order to keep the increased number of mechanics in constant employment, one carpet manufacturer after another must displace workmen by machines.
As a matter of fact, the apologists do not mean this sort of setting free. They have in their minds the means of subsistence of the liberated workpeople. It cannot be denied, in the above instance, that the machinery not only liberates 50 men, thus placing them at others' disposal, but, at the same time, it withdraws from their consumption, and sets free, means of subsistence to the value of £1500. The simple fact, by no means a new one, that machinery cuts off the workmen from their means of subsistence is, therefore, in economical parlance tantamount to this, that machinery liberates means of subsistence for the workman, or converts those means into capital for his employment. The mode of expression, you see, is everything. Nominibus mollire licet mala.
This theory implies that the £1500 worth of means of subsistence was capital that was being expanded by the labour of the 50 men discharged. That, consequently, this capital falls out of employment so soon as they commence their forced holidays, and never rests till it has found a fresh investment, where it can again be productively consumed by these same 50 men. That sooner or later, therefore, the capital and the workmen must come together again, and that, then, the compensation is complete. That the sufferings of the workmen displaced by machinery are therefore as transient as are the riches of this world.
In relation to the discharged workmen, the £1500 worth of means of subsistence never was capital. What really confronted them as capital, was the sum of £1500, afterwards laid out in machinery. On looking closer it will be seen that this sum represented part of the carpets produced in a year by the 50 discharged men, which part they received as wages from their employer in money instead of in kind. With the carpets in the form of money, they bought means of subsistence to the value of £1500. These means, therefore, were to them, not capital, but commodities, and they, as regards these commodities, were not wage-labourers, but buyers. The circumstance that they were "freed" by the machinery, from the means of purchase, changed them from buyers into non-buyers. Hence a lessened demand for those commodities—voilà tout. If this diminution be not compensated by an increase from some other quarter, the market price of the commodities falls. If this state of things lasts for some time, and extends, there follows a discharge of workmen employed in the production of these commodities. Some of the capital that was previously devoted to production of necessary means of subsistence, has to become reproduced in another form. While prices fall, and capital is being displaced, the labourers employed in the production of necessary means of subsistence are in their turn "freed" from a part of their wages. Instead, therefore, of proving that, when machinery frees the workman from his means of subsistence, it simultaneously converts those means into capital for his further employment, our apologists, with their cut-and-dried law of supply and demand, prove, on the contrary, that machinery throws workmen on the streets not only in that branch of production in which it is introduced, but also in those branches in which it is not introduced.
The real facts, which are travestied by the optimism of economists, are as follows: The labourers, when driven out of the workshop by the machinery, are thrown upon the labour market, and there add to the number of workmen at the disposal of the capitalists. In Part VII. of this book it will be seen that this effect of machinery, which, as we have seen, is represented to be a compensation to the working class, is on the contrary a most frightful scourge. For the present I will only say this: The labourers that are thrown out of work in any branch of industry, can no doubt seek for employment in some other branch. If they find it, and thus renew the bond between them and the means of subsistence, this takes place only by the intermediary of a new and additional capital that is seeking investment; not at all by the intermediary of the capital that formerly employed them and was afterwards converted into machinery. And even should they find employment, what a poor look-out is theirs! Crippled as they are by division of labour, these poor devils are worth so little outside their old trade, that they cannot find admission into any industries, except a few of inferior kind, that are over-supplied with underpaid workmen.134 Further, every branch of industry attracts each year a new stream of men, who furnish a contingent from which to fill up vacancies, and to draw a supply for expansion. So soon as machinery sets free a part of the workmen employed in a given branch of industry, the reserve men are also diverted into new channels of employment, and become absorbed in other branches; meanwhile the original victims, during the period of transition, for the most part starve and perish.
It is an undoubted fact that machinery, as such, is not responsible for "setting free" the workman from the means of subsistence. It cheapens and increases production in that branch which it seizes on, and at first makes no change in the mass of the means of subsistence produced in other branches. Hence, after its introduction, the society possesses as much, if not more, of the necessaries of life than before, for the labourers thrown out of work; and that quite apart from the enormous share of the annual produce wasted by the non-workers. And this is the point relied on by our apologists! The contradictions and antagonisms inseparable from the capitalist employment of machinery, do not exist, they say, since they do not arise out of machinery, as such, but out of its capitalist employment! Since therefore machinery, considered alone, shortens the hours of labour, but, when in the service of capital, lengthens them; since in itself it lightens labour, but when employed by capital, heightens the intensity of labour; since in itself it is a victory of man over the forces of nature, but in the hands of capital, makes man the slave of those forces; since in itself it increases the wealth of the producers, but in the hands of capital, makes them paupers—for all these reasons and others besides, says the bourgeois economist without more ado, it is clear as noonday that all these contradictions are a mere semblance of the reality, and that, as a matter of fact, they have neither an actual nor a theoretical existence. Thus he saves himself from all further puzzling of the brain, and what is more, implicitly declares his opponent to be stupid enough to contend against, not the capitalistic employment of machinery, but machinery itself.
No doubt he is far from denying that temporary inconvenience may result from the capitalist use of machinery. But where is the medal without its reverse! Any employment of machinery, except by capital, is to him an impossibility. Exploitation of the workman by the machine is therefore, with him, identical with exploitation of the machine by the workman. Whoever, therefore, exposes the real state of things in the capitalistic employment of machinery, is against its employment in any way, and is an enemy of social progress!135 Exactly the reasoning of the celebrated Bill Sykes. "Gentlemen of the jury, no doubt the throat of this commercial traveller has been cut. But that is not my fault, it is the fault of the knife! Must we, for such a temporary inconvenience, abolish the use of the knife? Only consider! where would agriculture and trade be without the knife? Is it not as salutary in surgery, as it is knowing in anatomy? And in addition a willing help at the festive board? If you abolish the knife—you hurl us back into the depths of barbarism."136
Although machinery necessarily throws men out of work in those industries into which it is introduced, yet it may, notwithstanding this, bring about an increase of employment in other industries. This effect, however, has nothing in common with the so-called theory of compensation. Since every article produced by a machine is cheaper than a similar article produced by hand, we deduce the following infallible law: If the total quantity of the article produced by machinery, be equal to the total quantity of the article previously produced by a handicraft or by manufacture, and now made by machinery, then the total labour expended is diminished. The new labour spent on the instruments of labour, on the machinery, on the coal, and so on, must necessarily be less than the labour displaced by the use of the machinery; otherwise the product of the machine would be as dear, or dearer, than the product of the manual labour. But, as a matter of fact, the total quantity of the article produced by machinery with a diminished number of workmen, instead of remaining equal to, by far exceeds the total quantity of the hand-made article that has been displaced. Suppose that 400,000 yards of cloth have been produced on power-looms by fewer weavers than could weave 100,000 yards by hand. In the quadrupled product there lies four times as much raw material. Hence the production of raw material must be quadrupled. But as regards the instruments of labour, such as buildings, coal, machinery, and so on, it is different; the limit up to which the additional labour required for their production can increase, varies with the difference between the quantity of the machine-made article, and the quantity of the same article that the same number of workmen could make by hand.
Hence, as the use of machinery extends in a given industry, the immediate effect is to increase production in the other industries that furnish the first with means of production. How far employment is thereby found for an increased number of men, depends, given the length of the working-day and the intensity of labour, on the composition of the capital employed, i.e., on the ratio of its constant to its variable component. This ratio, in its turn, varies considerably with the extent to which machinery has already seized on, or is then seizing on, those trades. The number of the men condemned to work in coal and metal mines increased enormously owing to the progress of the English factory system; but during the last few decades this increase of number has been less rapid, owing to the use of new machinery in mining.137 A new type of workman springs into life along with the machine, namely, its maker. We have already learnt that machinery has possessed itself even of this branch of production on a scale that grows greater every day.138 As to raw material,139 there is not the least doubt that the rapid strides of cotton spinning, not only pushed on with tropical luxuriance the growth of cotton in the United States, and with it the African slave trade, but also made the breeding of slaves the chief business of the border slave-states. When, in 1790, the first census of slaves was taken in the United States, their number was 697,000; in 1861 it had nearly reached four millions. On the other hand, it is no less certain that the rise of the English woollen factories, together with the gradual conversion of arable land into sheep pasture, brought about the superfluity of agricultural labourers that led to their being driven in masses into the towns. Ireland, having during the last twenty years reduced its population by nearly one half, is at this moment undergoing the process of still further reducing the number of its inhabitants, so as exactly to suit the requirements of its landlords and of the English woollen manufacturers.
When machinery is applied to any of the preliminary or intermediate stages through which the subject of labour has to pass on its way to completion, there is an increased yield of material in those stages, and simultaneously an increased demand for labour in the handicrafts or manufactures supplied by the produce of the machines. Spinning by machinery, for example, supplied yarn so cheaply and so abundantly that the hand-loom weavers were, at first, about to work full time without increased outlay. Their earnings accordingly rose.140 Hence a flow of people into the cotton-weaving trade, till at length the 800,000 weavers, called into existence by the Jenny, the throstle and the mule, were overwhelmed by the power-loom. So also, owing to the abundance of clothing materials produced by machinery, the number of tailors, seamtresses and needle-women, went on increasing until the appearance of the sewing machine.
In proportion as machinery, with the aid of a relatively small number of workpeople, increases the mass of raw materials, intermediate products, instruments of labour, 8c., the working-up of these raw materials and intermediate products becomes split up into numberless branches; social production increases in diversity. The factory system carries the social division of labour immeasurably further than does manufacture, for it increases the productiveness of the industries it seizes upon, in a far higher degree.
The immediate result of machinery is to augment surplus-value and the mass of products in which surplus-value is embodied. And, as the substances consumed by the capitalists and their dependants become more plentiful, so too do these orders of society. Their growing wealth, and the relatively diminished number of workmen required to produce the necessaries of life beget, simultaneously with the rise of new and luxurious wants, the means of satisfying those wants. A larger portion of the produce of society is changed into surplus produce, and a larger part of the surplus produce is supplied for consumption in a multiplicity of refined shapes. In other words, the production of luxuries increases.141 The refined and varied forms of the products are also due to new relations with the markets of the world, relations that are created by Modern Industry. Not only are greater quantities of foreign articles of luxury exchanged for home products, but a greater mass of foreign raw materials, ingredients, and intermediate products, are used as means of production in the home industries. Owing to these relations with the markets of the world the demand for labour increases in the carrying trades, which split up into numerous varieties.142
The increase of the means of production and subsistence, accompanied by a relative diminution in the number of labourers, causes an increased demand for labour in making canals, docks, tunnels, bridges, and so on, works that can only bear fruit in the far future. Entirely new branches of production, creating new fields of labour, are also formed, as the direct result either of machinery or of the general industrial changes brought about by it. But the place occupied by these branches in the general production is, even in the most developed countries, far from important. The number of labourers that find employment in them is directly proportional to the demand, created by those industries, for the crudest form of manual labour. The chief industries of this kind are, at present, gas works, telegraphs, photography, steam navigation, and railways. According to the census of 1861 for England and Wales, we find in the gas industry (gasworks, production of mechanical apparatus, servants of the gas companies 8c.), 15,211 persons; in telegraphy, 2399; in photography, 2366; steam navigation, 3570; and in railways, 70,599, of whom the unskilled "navvies," more or less permanently employed, and the whole administrative and commercial staff, make up about 28,000. The total number of persons, therefore, employed in these five new industries amounts to 94,145.
Lastly, the extraordinary productiveness of modern industry, accompanied as it is by both a more extensive and a more intense exploitation of labour-power in all other spheres of production, allows of the unproductive employment of a larger and larger part of the working class, and the consequent reproduction, on a constantly extending scale, of the ancient domestic slaves under the name of a servant class, including men-servants, women-servants, lackeys, 8c. According to the census of 1861, the population of England and Wales was 20,066,244; of these, 9,776,259 males, and 10,289,965 female. If we deduct from this population all who are too old or too young for work, all unproductive women, young persons and children, the "ideological" classes, such as government officials, priests, lawyers, soldiers, 8c.; further, all who have no occupation but to consume the labour of others in the form of rent, interest, 8c.; and, lastly, paupers, vagabonds, and criminals, there remain in round numbers eight millions of the two sexes of every age, including in that number every capitalist who is in any way engaged in industry, commerce, or finance. Among these, 8 millions are:
|143 Of these only 177,596 are males above 13 years of age.|
|144 Of these, 30,501 are females.|
|145 Of these, 137,447 males. None are included in the 1,208,648 who do not serve in private houses. Between 1861 and 1870 the number of male servants nearly doubled itself. It increased to 267,671. In the year 1847 there were 2694 gamekeepers (for the landlords' preserves), in 1869 there were 4921. The young servant girls in the houses of the London lower middle class are in common parlance called "slaveys."|
|Agricultural labourers (including shepherds, farm servants, and maidservants living in the houses of farmers),||1,098,261|
|All who are employed in cotton, woollen, worsted, flax, hemp, silk, and jute factories, in stocking making and lace making by machinery,...||642,607143|
|All who are employed in coal mines and metal mines,...||565,835|
|All who are employed in metal works (blast-furnaces, rolling mills, 8c.), and metal manufactures of every kind,||396,998144|
|The servant class,...||1,208,648145|
All the persons employed in textile factories and in mines, taken together, number 1,208,442; those employed in textile factories and metal industries, taken together, number 1,039,605; in both cases less than the number of modern domestic slaves. What a splendid result of the capitalist exploitation of machinery!
SECTION 7.—REPULSION AND ATTRACTION OF WORKPEOPLE BY THE FACTORY SYSTEM. CRISIS IN THE COTTON TRADE.
All political economists of any standing admit that the introduction of new machinery has a baneful effect on the workmen in the old handicrafts and manufactures with which this machinery at first competes. Almost all of them bemoan the slavery of the factory operative. And what is the great trump-card that they play? That machinery, after the horrors of the period of introduction and development have subsided, instead of diminishing, in the long run increases the number of the slaves of labour! Yes, political economy revels in the hideous theory, hideous to every "philanthropist" who believes in the eternal nature-ordained necessity for capitalist production, that after a period of growth and transition, even its crowning success, the factory system based on machinery, grinds down more workpeople than on its first introduction it throws on the streets.146
It is true that in some cases, as we saw from instances of English worsted and silk factories, an extraordinary extension of the factory system may, at a certain stage of its development, be accompanied not only by a relative, but by an absolute decrease in the number of operatives employed. In the year 1860, when a special census of all the factories in the United Kingdom was taken by order of Parliament, the factories in those parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire, included in the district of Mr. Baker, the factory inspector, numbered 652; 570 of these contained 85,622 power-looms, 6,819,146 spindles (exclusive of doubling spindles), employed 27,439 horse-power (steam), and 1390 (water), and 94,119 persons. In the year 1865, the same factories contained, looms 95,163, spindles 7,025,031, had a steam-power of 28,925 horses, and a water-power of 1445 horses, and employed 88,913 persons. Between 1860 and 1865, therefore, the increase in looms was 11%, in spindles 3%, and in engine-power 3%, while the number of persons employed decreased 5½%.147 Between 1852 and 1862, considerable extension of the English woollen manufacture took place, while the number of hands employed in it remained almost stationary, showing how greatly the introduction of new machines had superseded the labour of preceding periods.148 In certain cases, the increase in the number of hands employed is only apparent; that is, it is not due to the extension of the factories already established, but to the gradual annexation of connected trades; for instance, the increase in power-looms, and in the hands employed by them between 1838 and 1856, was, in the cotton trade, simply owing to the extension of this branch of industry; but in the other trades to the application of steam-power to the carpet-loom, to the ribbon-loom, and to the linen-loom, which previously had been worked by the power of men.149 Hence the increase of the hands in these latter trades was merely a symptom of a diminution in the total number employed. Finally, we have considered this question entirely apart from the fact, that everywhere, except in the metal industries, young persons (under 18), and women and children form the preponderating element in the class of factory hands.
Nevertheless, in spite of the mass of hands actually displaced and virtually replaced by machinery, we can understand how the factory operatives, through the building of more mills and the extension of old ones in a given industry, may become more numerous than the manufacturing workmen and handicraftsmen that have been displaced. Suppose, for example, that in the old mode of production, a capital of £500 is employed weekly, two-fifths being constant and three-fifths variable capital, i.e., £200 being laid out in means of production, and £300, say £1 per man, in labour-power. On the introduction of machinery the composition of this capital becomes altered. We will suppose it to consist of four-fifths constant and one-fifth variable, which means that only £100 is now laid out in labour-power. Consequently, two-thirds of the workmen are discharged. If now the business extends, and the total capital employed grows to £1500 under unchanged conditions, the number of operatives employed will increase to 300, just as many as before the introduction of the machinery. If the capital further grows to £2000, 400 men will be employed, or one-third more than under the old system. Their numbers have, in point of fact, increased by 100, but relatively, i.e., in proportion to the total capital advanced, they have diminished by 800, for the £2000 capital would, in the old state of things, have employed 1200 instead of 400 men. Hence, a relative decrease in the number of hands is consistent with an actual increase. We assumed above that while the total capital increases, its composition remains the same, because the conditions of production remain constant. But we have already seen that, with every advance in the use of machinery, the constant component of capital, that part which consists of machinery, raw material, 8c., increases, while the variable component, the part laid out in labour-power, decreases. We also know that in no other system of production is improvement so continuous, and the composition of the capital employed so constantly changing as in the factory system. These changes are, however, continually interrupted by periods of rest, during which there is a mere quantitative extension of the factories on the existing technical basis. During such periods the operatives increase in number. Thus, in 1835, the total number of operatives in the cotton, woollen, worsted, flax, and silk factories in the United Kingdom was only 354,684; while in 1861 the number of the power-loom weavers alone (of both sexes and of all ages, from eight years upwards), amounted to 230,654. Certainly, this growth appears less important when we consider that in 1838 the hand-loom weavers with their families still numbered 800,000,150 not to mention those thrown out of work in Asia, and on the Continent of Europe.
In the few remarks I have still to make on this point, I shall refer to some actually existing relations, the existence of which our theoretical investigation has not yet disclosed.
So long as, in a given branch of industry, the factory system extends itself at the expense of the old handicrafts or of manufacture, the result is as sure as is the result of an encounter between any army furnished with breach-loaders, and one armed with bows and arrows. This first period, during which machinery conquers its field of action, is of decisive importance owing to the extraordinary profits that it helps to produce. These profits not only form a source of accelerated accumulation, but also attract into the favoured sphere of production a large part of the additional social capital that is being constantly created, and is ever on the look-out for new investments. The special advantages of this first period of fast and furious activity are felt in every branch of production that machinery invades. So soon, however, as the factory system has gained a certain breadth of footing and a definite degree of maturity, and, especially, so soon as its technical basis, machinery, is itself produced by machinery; so soon as coal mining and iron mining, the metal industries, and the means of transport have been revolutionised; so soon, in short, as the general conditions requisite for production by the modern industrial system have been established, this mode of production acquires an elasticity, a capacity for sudden extension by leaps and bounds that finds no hindrance except in the supply of raw material and in the disposal of the produce. On the one hand, the immediate effect of machinery is to increase the supply of raw material in the same way, for example, as the cotton gin augmented the production of cotton.151 On the other hand, the cheapness of the articles produced by machinery, and the improved means of transport and communication furnish the weapons for conquering foreign markets. By ruining handicraft production in other countries, machinery forcibly converts them into fields for the supply of its raw material. In this way East India was compelled to produce cotton, wool, hemp, jute, and indigo for Great Britain.152 By constantly making a part of the hands "super-numerary," modern industry, in all countries where it has taken root, gives a spur to emigration and to the colonization of foreign lands, which are thereby converted into settlements for growing the raw material of the mother country; just as Australia, for example, was converted into a colony for growing wool.153 A new and international division of labour, a division suited to the requirements of the chief centres of modern industry springs up, and converts one part of the globe into a chiefly agricultural field of production, for supplying the other part which remains a chiefly industrial field. This evolution hangs together with radical changes in agriculture which we need not here further inquire into.154
On the motion of Mr. Gladstone, the House of Commons ordered, on the 17th February, 1867, a return of the total quantities of grain, corn, and flour, of all sorts, imported into, and exported from, the United Kingdom, between the years 1831 and 1866. I give below a summary of the result. The flour is given in quarters of corn.
The enormous power, inherent in the factory system, of expanding by jumps, and the dependence of that system on the markets of the world, necessarily beget feverish production, followed by over-filling of the markets, whereupon contraction of the markets brings on crippling of production. The life of modern industry becomes a series of periods of moderate activity, prosperity, over-production, crisis and stagnation. The uncertainty and instability to which machinery subjects the employment, and consequently the conditions of existence, of the operatives become normal, owing to these periodic changes of the industrial cycle. Except in the periods of prosperity, there rages between the capitalists the most furious combat for the share of each in the markets. This share is directly proportional to the cheapness of the product. Besides the rivalry that this struggle begets in the application of improved machinery for replacing labour-power, and of new methods of production, there also comes a time in every industrial cycle, when a forcible reduction of wages beneath the value of labour-power, is attempted for the purpose of cheapening commodities.155
A necessary condition, therefore, to the growth of the number of factory hands, is a proportionally much more rapid growth of the amount of capital invested in mills. This growth, however, is conditioned by the ebb and flow of the industrial cycle. It is, besides, constantly interrupted by the technical progress that at one time virtually supplies the place of new workmen, at another, actually displaces old ones. This qualitative change in mechanical industry continually discharges hands from the factory, or shuts its doors against the fresh stream of recruits, while the purely quantitative extension of the factories absorbs not only the men thrown out of work, but also fresh contingents. The workpeople are thus continually both repelled and attracted, hustled from pillar to post, while, at the same time, constant changes take place in the sex, age, and skill of the levies.
The lot of the factory operatives will be best depicted by taking a rapid survey of the course of the English cotton industry.
From 1770 to 1815 this trade was depressed or stagnant for 5 years only. During this period of 45 years the English manufacturers had a monopoly of machinery and of the markets of the world. From 1815 to 1821 depression; 1822 and 1823 prosperity; 1824 abolition of the laws against Trades' Unions, great extension of factories everywhere; 1825 crisis; 1826 great misery and riots among the factory operatives; 1827 slight improvement; 1828 great increase in power-looms, and in exports; 1829 exports, especially to India, surpass all former years; 1830 glutted markets, great distress; 1831 to 1833 continued depression, the monopoly of the trade with India and China withdrawn from the East India Company; 1834 great increase of factories and machinery, shortness of hands. The new poor law furthers the migration of agricultural labourers into the factory districts. The country districts swept of children. White slave trade; 1835 great prosperity, contemporaneous starvation of the handloom weavers; 1836 great prosperity; 1837 and 1838 depression and crisis; 1839 revival; 1840 great depression, riots, calling out of the military; 1841 and 1842 frightful suffering among the factory operatives; 1842 the manufacturers lock the hands out of the factories in order to enforce the repeal of the Corn Laws. The operatives stream in thousands into the towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire, are driven back by the military, and their leaders brought to trial at Lancaster; 1843 great misery; 1844 revival; 1845 great prosperity; 1846 continued improvement at first, then reaction. Repeal of the Corn Laws; 1847 crisis, general reduction of wages by 10 and more per cent. in honour of the "big loaf;" 1848 continued depression; Manchester under military protection; 1849 revival; 1850 prosperity; 1851 falling prices, low wages, frequent strikes; 1852 improvement begins, strikes continue, the manufacturers threaten to import foreign hands; 1853 increasing exports. Strike for 8 months, and great misery at Preston; 1854 prosperity, glutted markets; 1855 news of failures stream in from the United States, Canada, and the Eastern markets; 1856 great prosperity; 1857 crisis; 1858 improvement; 1859 great prosperity, increase in factories; 1860 Zenith of the English cotton trade, the Indian, Australian, and other markets so glutted with goods that even in 1863 they had not absorbed the whole lot; the French Treaty of Commerce, enormous growth of factories and machinery; 1861 prosperity continues for a time, reaction, the American civil war, cotton famine; 1862 to 1863 complete collapse.
The history of the cotton famine is too characteristic to dispense with dwelling upon it for a moment. From the indications as to the condition of the markets of the world in 1860 and 1861, we see that the cotton famine came in the nick of time for the manufacturers, and was to some extent advantageous to them, a fact that was acknowledged in the reports of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, proclaimed in Parliament by Palmerston and Derby, and confirmed by events.156 No doubt, among the 2887 cotton mills in the United Kingdom in 1861, there were many of small size. According to the report of Mr. A. Redgrave, out of the 2109 mills included in his district, 392 or 19% employed less than ten horse-power each; 345, or 16% employed 10 H. P., and less than 20 H. P. while 1372 employed upwards of 20 H. P.157 The majority of the small mills were weaving sheds, built during the period of prosperity after 1858, for the most part by speculators, of whom one supplied the yarn, another the machinery, a third the buildings, and were worked by men who had been overlookers, or by other persons of small means. These small manufacturers mostly went to the wall. The same fate would have overtaken them in the commercial crisis that was staved off only by the cotton famine. Although they formed one-third of the total number of manufacturers, yet their mills absorbed a much smaller part of the capital invested in the cotton trade. As to the extent of the stoppage, it appears from authentic estimates, that in October 1862, 60.3% of the spindles, and 58% of the looms were standing. This refers to the cotton trade as a whole, and, of course, requires considerable modification for individual districts. Only very few mills worked full time (60 hours a week), the remainder worked at intervals. Even in those few cases where full time was worked, and at the customary rate of piece-wage, the weekly wages of the operatives necessarily shrank, owing to good cotton being replaced by bad, Sea Island by Egyptian (in fine spinning mills), American and Egyptian by Surat, and pure cotton by mixing of waste and Surat. The shorter fibre of the Surat cotton and its dirty condition, the greater fragility of the thread, the substitution of all sorts of heavy ingredients for flour in sizing the warps, all these lessened the speed of the machinery, or the number of looms that could be superintended by one weaver, increased the labour caused by defects in the machinery, and reduced the piece-wage by reducing the mass of the product turned off. Where Surat cotton was used the loss to the operatives when on full time, amounted to 20, 30, and more per cent. But besides this, the majority of the manufacturers reduced the rate of piece-wage by 5, 7½, and 10 per cent. We can therefore conceive the situation of those hands who were employed for only 3, 3½ or 4 days a week, of for only 6 hours a day. Even in 1863, after a comparative improvement had set in, the weekly wages of spinners and of weavers were 3s. 4d., 3s. 10d., 4s. 6d. and 5s. 1d.158 Even in this miserable state of things, however, the inventive spirit of the master never stood still, but was exercised in making deductions from wages. These were to some extent inflicted as a penalty for defects in the finished article that were really due to his bad cotton and to his unsuitable machinery. Moreover, where the manufacturer owned the cottages of the work-people, he paid himself his rents by deducting the amount from these miserable wages. Mr. Redgrave tells us of self-acting minders (operatives who manage a pair of self-acting mules) "earning at the end of a fortnight's full work 8s. 11d., and that from this sum was deduced the rent of the house, the manufacturer, however, returning half the rent as a gift. The minders took away the sum of 6s. 11d. In many places the self-acting minders ranged from 5s. to 9s. per week, and the weavers from 2s. to 6s. per week, during the latter part of 1862."159 Even when working short time the rent was frequently deducted from the wages of the operatives.160 No wonder that in some parts of Lancashire a kind of famine fever broke out. But more characteristic than all this, was the revolution that took place in the process of production at the expense of the workpeople. Experimenta in corpore vili, like those of anatomists on frogs, were formally made. "Although," says Mr. Redgrave, "I have given the actual earnings of the operatives in the several mills, it does not follow that they earn the same amount week by week. The operatives are subject to great fluctuation from the constant experimentalizing of the manufacturers.... the earnings of the operatives rise and fall with the quality of the cotton mixings; sometimes they have been within 15 per cent. of former earnings, and then, in a week or two, they have fallen off from 50 to 60 per cent."161 These experiments were not made solely at the expense of the workman's means of subsistence. His five senses also had to pay the penalty. "The people who are employed in making up Surat cotton complain very much. They inform me, on opening the bales of cotton there is an intolerable smell, which causes sickness.... In the mixing, scribbling and carding rooms, the dust and dirt which are disengaged, irritate the air passages, and give rise to cough and difficulty of breathing. A disease of the skin, no doubt from the irritation of the dirt contained in the Surat cotton, also prevails...The fibre being so short, a great amount of size, both animal and vegetable, is used.... Bronchitis is more prevalent owing to the dust. Inflammatory sore throat is common, from the same cause. Sickness and dyspepsia are produced by the frequent breaking of the weft, when the weaver sucks the weft through the eye of the shuttle." On the other hand, the substitutes for flour were a Fortunatus' purse to the manufacturers, by increasing the weight of the yarn. They caused "15 lbs. of raw material to weigh 26 lbs. after it was woven."162 In the Report of Inspectors of Factories for 30th April, 1864, we read as follows: "The trade is availing itself of this resource at present to an extent which is even discreditable. I have heard on good authority of a cloth weighing 8 lbs. which was made of 5½ lbs. cotton and 2¾ lbs. size; and of another cloth weighing 5¼ lbs., of which 2 lbs. was size. These were ordinary export shirtings. In cloths of other descriptions, as much as 50 per cent. size is sometimes added; so that a manufacturer may, and does truly boast, that he is getting rich by selling cloth for less money per pound than he paid for the mere yarn of which they are composed."163 But the workpeople had to suffer, not only from the experiments of the manufacturers inside the mills, and of the municipalities outside, not only from reduced wages and absence of work, from want and from charity, and from the eulogistic speeches of lords and commons. "Unfortunate females who, in consequence of the cotton famine, were at its commencement thrown out of employment, and have thereby become outcasts of society; and now though trade has revived, and work is plentiful, continue members of that unfortunate class, and are likely to continue so. There are also in the borough more youthful prostitutes than I have known for the last 25 years."164
We find then, in the first 45 years of the English cotton trade, from 1770 to 1815, only 5 years of crisis and stagnation; but this was the period of monopoly. The second period from 1815 to 1863 counts, during its 48 years, only 20 years of revival and prosperity against 28 of depression and stagnation. Between 1815 and 1830 the competition with the continent of Europe and with the United States sets in. After 1833, the extension of the Asiatic markets is enforced by "destruction of the human race" (the wholesale extinction of Indian handloom weavers). After the repeal of the Corn Laws, from 1846 to 1863, there are 8 years of moderate activity and prosperity against 9 years of depression and stagnation. The condition of the adult male operatives, even during the years of prosperity, may be judged from the note subjoined.165
SECTION 8.—REVOLUTION EFFECTED IN MANUFACTURE, HANDICRAFTS. AND DOMESTIC INDUSTRY BY MODERN INDUSTRY.
a. Overthrow of Co-operation based on Handicraft and on the Division of Labour.
We have seen how machinery does away with co-operation based on handicrafts, and with manufacture based on the division of handicraft labour. An example of the first sort is the mowing-machine; it replaces co-operation between mowers. A striking example of the second kind, is the needle-making machine. According to Adam Smith, 10 men, in his day, made in co-operation, over 48,000 needles a-day. On the other hand, a single needle-machine makes 145,000 in a working day of 11 hours. One woman or one girl superintends four such machines, and so produces near upon 600,000 needles in a day, and upwards of 3,000,000 in a week.166 A single machine, when it takes the place of co-operation or of manufacture, may itself serve as the basis of an industry of a handicraft character. Still, such a return to handicrafts is but a transition to the factory system, which, as a rule, makes its appearance so soon as the human muscles are replaced, for the purpose of driving the machines, by a mechanical motive power, such as steam or water. Here and there, but in any case only for a time, an industry may be carried on, on a small scale, by means of mechanical power. This is effected by hiring steam power, as is done in some of the Birmingham trades, or by the use of small calorie-engines, as in some branches of weaving.167 In the Coventry silk weaving industry the experiment of "cottage factories" was tried. In the centre of a square surrounded by rows of cottages, an engine-house was built and the engine connected by shafts with the looms in the cottages. In all cases the power was hired at so much per loom. The rent was payable weekly, whether the looms worked or not. Each cottage held from 2 to 6 looms; some belonged to the weaver, some were bought on credit, some were hired. The struggle between these cottage factories and the factory proper, lasted over 12 years. It ended with the complete ruin of the 300 cottage-factories.168 Wherever the nature of the process did not involve production on a large scale, the new industries that have sprung up in the last few decades, such as envelope making, steel-pen making, 8c., have, as a general rule, first passed through the handicraft stage, and then the manufacturing stage, as short phases of transition to the factory stage. The transition is very difficult in those cases where the production of the article by manufacture consists, not of a series of graduated processes, but of a great number of disconnected ones. This circumstance formed a great hindrance to 15 years ago, a machine was invented that automatically performed 6 separate operations at once. The first steel-pens were supplied by the handicraft system, in the year 1820, at £7 4s, the gross; in 1830 they were supplied by manufacture at 8s., and to-day the factory system supplies them to the trade at from 2s. to 6d. the gross.169
b. Re-action of the Factory System on Manufacture and Domestic Industries.
Along with the development of the factory system and of the revolution in agriculture that accompanies it, production in all the other branches of industry not only extends, but alters its character. The principle, carried out in the factory system, of analysing the process of production into its constituent phases, and of solving the problems thus proposed by the application of mechanics, of chemistry, and of the whole range of the natural sciences, becomes the determining principle everywhere. Hence, machinery squeezes itself into the manufacturing industries first for one detail process, then for another. Thus the solid crystal of their organisation, based on the old division of labour, becomes dissolved, and makes way for constant changes. Independently of this, a radical change takes place in the composition of the collective labourer, a change of the persons working in combination. In contrast with the manufacturing period, the division of labour is thenceforth based, wherever possible, on the employment of women, of children of all ages, and of unskilled labourers, in one word, on cheap labour, as it is characteristically called in England. This is the case not only with all production on a large scale, whether employing machinery or not, but also with the so-called domestic industry, whether carried on in the houses of the workpeople or in small workshops. This modern so-called domestic industry has nothing, except the name, in common with the old-fashioned domestic industry, the existence of which presupposes independent urban handicrafts, independent peasant farming, and above all, a dwelling-house for the labourer and his family. That old-fashioned industry has now been converted into an outside department of the factory, the manufactory, or the warehouse. Besides the factory operatives, the manufacturing workmen and the handicraftsmen, whom it concentrates in large masses at one spot, and directly commands, capital also sets in motion, by means of invisible threads, another army; that of the workers in the domestic industries, who dwell in the large towns and are also scattered over the face of the country. An example: The shirt factory of Messrs. Tille at Londonderry, which employs 1000 operatives in the factory itself, and 9000 people spread up and down the country and working in their own houses.170
The exploitation of cheap and immature labour-power is carried out in a more shameless manner in modern Manufacture than in the factory proper. This is because the technical foundation of the factory system, namely, the substitution of machines for muscular power, and the light character of the labour, is almost entirely absent in Manufacture, and at the same time women and over-young children are subjected, in a most unconscionable way, to the influence of poisonous or injurious substances. This exploitation is more shameless in the so-called domestic industry than in manufactures, and that because the power of resistance in the labourers decreases with their dissemination; because a whole series of plundering parasites insinuate themselves between the employer and the workman; because a domestic industry has always to compete, either with the factory system, or with manufacturing in the same branch of production; because poverty robs the workman of the conditions most essential to his labour, of space, light and ventilation; because employment becomes more and more irregular; and, finally, because in these the last resorts of the masses made "redundant" by Modern Industry and Agriculture, competition for work attains its maximum. Economy in the means of production, first systematically carried out in the factory system, and there, from the very beginning, coincident with the most reckless squandering of labour-power, and robbery of the conditions normally requisite for labour—this economy now shows its antagonistic and murderous side more and more in a given branch of industry, the less the social productive power of labour and the technical basis for a combination of processes are developed in that branch.
c. Modern Manufacture.
I now proceed, by a few examples, to illustrate the principles laid down above. As a matter of fact, the reader is already familiar with numerous instances given in the chapter on the working day. In the hardware manufactures of Birmingham and the neighborhood, there are employed, mostly in very heavy work, 30,000 children and young persons, besides 10,000 women. There they are to be seen in the unwholesome brass-foundries, button factories, enamelling, galvanizing, and lackering works.171 Owing to the excessive labour of their workpeople, both adult and non-adult, certain London houses where newspapers and books are printed have got the ill-omened name of "slaughter-houses."172 Similar excesses are practised in bookbinding, where the victims are chiefly women, girls, and children; young persons have to do heavy work in rope-walks and night-work in salt mines, candle manufactories, and chemical works; young people are worked to death at turning the looms in silk weaving, when it is not carried on by machinery.173 One of the most shameful, the most dirty, and the worst paid kinds of labour, and one on which women and young girls are by preference employed, is the sorting of rags. It is well known that Great Britain, apart from its own immense store of rags, is the emporium for the rag trade of the whole world. They flow in from Japan, from the most remote States of South America, and from the Canary Islands. But the chief sources of their supply are Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Belgium, and Holland. They are used for manure, for making bed-flocks, for shoddy, and they serve as the raw material of paper. The rag-sorters are the medium for the spread of small-pox and other infectious diseases, and they themselves are the first victims.174 A classical example of over-work, of hard and inappropriate labour, and of its brutalising effects on the workman from his childhood upwards, is afforded not only by coal-mining and miners generally, but also by tile and brick making, in which industry the recently invented machinery is, in England, used only here and there. Between May and September the work lasts from 5 in the morning till 8 in the evening, and where the drying is done in the open air, it often lasts from 4 in the morning till 9 in the evening. Work from 5 in the morning till 7 in the evening is considered "reduced" and "moderate." Both boys and girls of 6 and even of 4 years of age are employed. They work for the same number of hours, often longer, than the adults. The work is hard and the summer heat increases the exhaustion. In a certain tile field at Mosley, e.g., a young woman, 24 years of age, was in the habit of making 2000 tiles a day, with the assistance of 2 little girls, who carried the clay for her, and stacked the tiles. These girls carried daily 10 tons up the slippery sides of the clay pits, from a depth of 30 feet, and then for a distance of 210 feet. "It is impossible for a child to pass through the purgatory of a tile-field without great moral degradation...the low language, which they are accustomed to hear from their tenderest years, the filthy, indecent, and shameless habits, amidst which, unknowing, and half wild, they grow up, make them in after life lawless, abandoned, dissolute.... A frightful source of demoralization is the mode of living. Each moulder, who is always a skilled labourer, and the chief of a group, supplies his 7 subordinates with board and lodging in his cottage. Whether members of his family or not, the men, boys, and girls all sleep in the cottage, which contains generally two, exceptionally 3 rooms, all on the ground floor, and badly ventilated. These people are so exhausted after the day's work, that neither the rules of health, of cleanliness, nor of decency are in the least observed. Many of these cottages are models of untidiness, dirt, and dust.... The greatest evil of the system that employs young girls on this sort of work, consists in this, that, as a rule, it chains them fast from childhood for the whole of their after-life to the most abandoned rabble. They become rough, foul-mouthed boys, before Nature has taught them that they are women. Clothed in a few dirty rags, the legs naked far above the knees, hair and face besmeared with dirt, they learn to treat all feelings of decency and of shame with contempt. During meal-times they lie at full length in the fields, or watch the boys bathing in a neighboring canal. Their heavy day's work at length completed, they put on better clothes, and accompany the men to the public houses." That excessive insobriety is prevalent from childhood upwards among the whole of this class, is only natural. "The worst is that the brickmakers despair of themselves. You might as well, said one of the better kind to a chaplain of Southallfield, try to raise and improve the devil as a brickie, sir!"175
As to the manner in which capital effects an economy in the requisites of labour, in modern Manufacture (in which I include all workshops of larger size, except factories proper), official and most ample material bearing on it is to be found in the Public Health Reports IV. (1863) and VI. (1864). The description of the workshops, more especially those of the London printers and tailors, surpasses the most loathsome phantasies of our romance writers. The effect on the health of the workpeople is self-evident. Dr. Simon, the chief medical officer of the Privy Council and the official editor of the "Public Health Report," says: "In my fourth Report (1863) I showed, how it is practically impossible for the workpeople to insist upon that which is their first sanitary right, viz., the right that, no matter what the work for which their employer brings them together, the labour, so far as it depends upon him, should be freed from all avoidably unwholesome conditions. I pointed out, that while the workpeople are practically incapable of doing themselves this sanitary justice, they are unable to obtain any effective support from the paid adminstrations of the sanitary police.... The life of myriads of workmen and workwomen is now uselessly tortured and shortened by the never-ending physical suffering that their mere occupation begets."176 In illustration of the way in which the workrooms influence the state of health, Dr. Simon gives the following table of mortality.177
d. Modern Domestic Industry.
I now come to the so-called domestic industry. In order to get an idea of the horrors of this sphere, in which capital conducts its exploitation in the background of modern mechanical industry, one must go to the apparently quiet idyllic trade of nail-making,178 carried on in a few remote villages of England. In this place, however, it will be enough to give a few examples from those branches of the lace-making and straw-plaiting industries that are not yet carried on by the aid of machinery, and that as yet do not compete with branches carried on in factories or in manufactories.
Of the 150,000 persons employed in England in the production of lace, about 10,000 fall under the authority of the Factory Act, 1861. Almost the whole of the remaining 140,000 are women, young persons, and children of both sexes, the male sex, however, being weakly represented. The state of health of this cheap material for exploitation will be seen from the following table, computed by Dr. Trueman, physician to the Nottingham General Dispensary. Out of 686 female patients who were lace makers, most of them between the ages of 17 and 24, the number of consumptive ones were:
|179 Ch. Empl. Comm., II. Rep., p. xxii., n. 166.|
|1852.—1 in 45.||1855.—1 in 18.||1858.—1 in 15.|
|1853.—1 in 28.||1856.—1 in 15.||1859.—1 in 9.|
|1854.—1 in 17.||1857.—1 in 13.||1860.—1 in 8.|
|1861.—1 in 8.179|
This progress in the rate of consumption ought to suffice for the most optimist of progressists, and for the biggest hawker of lies among the Free Trade bagmen of Germany.
The Factory Act of 1861 regulates the actual making of the lace, so far as it is done by machinery, and this is the rule in England. The branches that we are now about to examine, solely with regard to those of the workpeople who work at home, and not those who work in manufactories or ware-houses, fall into two divisions, viz., (1), finishing; (2), mending. The former gives the finishing touches to the machine-made lace, and includes numerous sub-divisions.
The lace finishing is done either in what are called "Mistresses' Houses," or by women in their own houses, with or without the help of their children. The women who keep the "Mistresses' Houses" are themselves poor. The workroom is in a private house. The mistresses take orders from manufacturers, or from warehousemen, and employ as many women, girls, and young children as the size of their rooms and the fluctuating demand of the business will allow. The number of the workwomen employed in these workrooms varies from 20 to 40 in some and from 10 to 20 in others. The average age at which the children commence work is six years, but in many cases it is below five. The usual working hours are from 8 in the morning till eight in the evening, with 1½ hours for meals, which are taken at irregular intervals, and often in the foul workrooms. When business is brisk, the labour frequently lasts from 8 or even 6 o'clock in the morning till 10, 11, or 12 o'clock at night. In English barracks the regulation space allotted to each soldier is 500-600 cubic feet, and in the military hospitals 1200 cubic feet. But in those finishing styes there are but 67 to 100 cubic feet to each person. At the same time the oxygen of the air is consumed by gas-lights. In order to keep the lace clean, and although the floor is tiled or flagged, the children are often compelled, even in winter, to pull off their shoes. "It is not at all uncommon in Nottingham to find 14 to 20 children huddled together in a small room, of, perhaps, not more than 12 feet square, and employed for 15 hours out of the 24, at work that of itself is exhausting, from its weariness and monotony, and is besides carried on under every possible unwholesome condition.... Even the very youngest children work with a strained attention and a rapidity that is astonishing, hardly ever giving their fingers rest or slowering their motion. If a question be asked them, they never raise their eyes from their work for fear of losing a single moment." The "long stick" is used by the mistresses as a stimulant more and more as the working hours are prolonged. "The children gradually tire and becomes as restless as birds towards the end of their long detention at an occupation that is monotonous, eye-straining, and exhausting from the uniformity in the posture of the body. Their work is like slavery."180 When women and their children work at home, which now-a-days means in a hired room, often in a garret, the state of things is, if possible, still worse. This sort of work is giving out within a circle of 80 miles radius from Nottingham. On leaving the warehouses at 9 or 10 o'clock at night, the children are often given a bundle of lace to take home with them and finish. The Pharise of a capitalist represented by one of his servants, accomplices this action, of course, with the unctuous phrase: "That's for mother," yet he knows well enough that the poor children must sit up and help.181
Pillow lace making is chiefly carried on in England in two agricultural districts one, the Honiton lace district, extending from 20 to 30 miles along the south coast of Devonshire, and including a few places in North Devon; the other comprising a great part of the counties of Buckingham, Bedford, and Northampton, and also the adjoining portions of Oxfordshire and Huntingdonshire. The cottages of the agricultural labourers are the places where the work is usually carried on. Many manufacturers employ upwards of 3000 of these lace makers, who are chiefly children and young persons of the female sex exclusively. The state of things described as incidental to lace finishing is here repeated, save that instead of the "mistresses' houses," we find what are called "lace schools," kept by poor women in their cottages. From their fifth year and often earlier, until their twelfth or fifteenth year, the children work in these schools; during the first year the very young ones work from four to eight hours, and later on, from six in the morning till eight and ten o'clock at night. "The rooms are generally the ordinary living rooms of small cottages, the chimney stopped up to keep out draughts, the inmates kept warm by their own animal heat alone, and this frequently in winter. In other cases, these so-called schoolrooms are like small store-rooms without fire-places.... The overcrowding in these dens and the consequent vitiation of the air are often extreme. Added to this is the injurious effect of drains, privies, decomposing substances, and other filth usual in the purileus of the smaller cottages." With regard to space: "In one lace school 18 girls and a mistress, 35 cubic feet to each person; in another, where the smell was unbearable, 18 persons and 24½ cubic feet per head. In this industry are to be found employed children of 2 and 2½ years."182
Where lace-making ends in the counties of Buckingham and Bedford, straw-plaiting begins, and extends over a large part of Hertfordshire and the westerly and northerly parts of Essex. In 1861, there were 40,043 persons employed in straw-plaiting and straw-hat making; of these 3815 were males of all ages, the rest females, of whom 14,913, including about 7000 children, were under 20 years of age. In the place of the lace-schools we find here the "straw-plait schools." The children commence their instruction in straw-plaiting generally in their 4th, often between their 3rd and 4th year. Education, of course, they get none. The children themselves call the elementary schools, "natural schools," to distinguish them from these blood-sucking institutions, in which they are kept at work simply to get through the task, generally 30 yards daily, prescribed by their half-starved mothers. These same mothers often make them work at home, after school is over, till 10, 11, and 12 o'clock at night. The straw cuts their mouths, with which they constantly moisten it, and their fingers. Dr. Ballard gives it as the general opinion of the whole body of medical officers in London, that 300 cubic feet is the minimum space proper for each person in a bedroom or work-room. But in the straw-plait schools space is more sparingly allotted than in the lace-schools, "12 2/3, 17, 18½ and below 22 cubic feet for each person." The smaller of these numbers, says one of the commissioners, Mr. White, represents less space than the half of what a child would occupy if packed in a box measuring 3 feet in each direction. Thus do the children enjoy life till the age of 12 or 14. The wretched half-starved parents think of nothing but getting as much as possible out of their children. The latter, as soon as they are grown up, do not care a farthing, and naturally so, for their parents, and leave them. "It is no wonder that ignorance and vice abound in a population so brought up.... Their morality is at the lowest ebb,...a great number of the women have illegitimate children, and that at such an immature age that even those most conversant with criminal statistics are astounded."183 And the native land of these model families is the pattern Christian country of Europe so says at least Count Montalembert, certainly a competent authority on Christianity!
Wages in the above industries, miserable as they are (the maximum wages of a child in the straw-plait schools rising in rare cases to 3 shillings, are reduced far below their nominal amount by the prevalence of the truck system everywhere, but especially in the lace districts.184
e. Passage of modern Manufacture, and Domestic Industry into Modern Mechanical Industry. The hastening of this revolution by the application of the Factory Acts to those Industries.
The cheapening of labour-power, by sheer abuse of the labour of women and children, by sheer robbery of every normal condition requisite for working and living, and by the sheer brutality of over-work and night-work, meets at last with natural obstacles that cannot be overstepped. So also, when based on these methods, do the cheapening of commodities and capitalist exploitation in general. So soon as this point is at last reached—and it takes many years—the hour has struck for the introduction of machinery, and for the thenceforth rapid conversion of the scattered domestic industries and also of manufactures into factory industries.
An example, on the most colossal scale, of this movement is afforded by the production of wearing apparel. This industry, according to the classification of the Childrens' Employment Commission, comprises straw-hat makers, ladies'-hat makers, cap-makers, tailors, milliners and dressmakers, shirt-makers, corset-makers, glove-makers, shoemakers, besides many minor branches, such as the making of neck-ties, collars, 8c. In 1861, the number of females employed in these industries, in England and Wales, amounted to 586,299, of these 115,242 at the least were under 20, and 16,650 under 15 years of age. The number of these workwomen in the United Kingdom in 1861, was 750,334. The number of males employed in England and Wales, in hat-making, shoe-making, glove-making and tailoring was 437,969; of these 14,964 under 15 years, 89,285 between 15 and 20, and 333,117 over 20 years. Many of the smaller branches are not included in these figures. But take the figures as they stand; we then have for England and Wales alone, according to the census of 1861, a total of 1,024,277 persons, about as many as are absorbed by agriculture and cattle breeding. We begin to understand what becomes of the immense quantities of goods conjured up by the magic of machinery, and of the enormous masses of workpeople, which that machinery sets free.
The production of wearing apparel is carried on partly in manufactories in whose workrooms there is but a reproduction of that division of labour, the membra disjecta of which were found ready to hand; partly by small master-handicraftsmen; these, however, do not, as formerly, work for individual consumers, but for manufactories and warehouses, and to such an extent that often whole towns and stretches of country carry on certain branches, such as shoe-making, as a specialty; finally, on a very great scale by the so-called domestic workers, who form an external department of the manufactories, ware-houses, and even of the workshops of the smaller masters.185
The raw material, 8c., is supplied by mechanical industry, the mass of cheap human material (taillable à merci et miséricorde) is composed of the individuals "liberated" by mechanical industry and improved agriculture. The manufactures of this class owed their origin chiefly to the capitalist's need of having at hand an army ready equipped to meet any increase of demand.186 These manufactures, nevertheless, allowed the scattered handicrafts and domestic industries to continue to exist as a broad foundation. The great production of surplus-value in these branches of labour, and the progressive cheapening of their articles, were and are chiefly due to the minimum wages paid, no more than requisite for a miserable vegetation, and to the extension of working time up to the maximum endurable by the human organism. It was in fact by the cheapness of the human sweat and the human blood, which were converted into commodities, that the markets were constantly being extended, and continue daily to be extended; more especially was this the case with England's colonial markets, where, besides, English tastes and habits prevail. At last the critical point was reached. The basis of the old method, sheer brutality in the exploitation of the workpeople, accompanied more or less by a systematic division of labour, no longer sufficed for the extending markets and for the still more rapidly extending competition of the capitalists. The hour struck for the advent of machinery. The decisively revolutionary machine, the machine which attacks in an equal degree the whole of the numberless branches of this sphere of production, dressmaking, tailoring, shoemaking, sewing, hat-making, and many others, is the sewing-machine.
Its immediate effect on the workpeople is like that of all machinery, which, since the rise of modern industry, has seized upon new branches of trade. Children of too tender an age are sent adrift. The wage of the machine hands rises compared with that of the house-workers, many of whom belong to the poorest of the poor. That of the better situated handicraftsmen, with whom the machine competes, sinks. The new machine hands are exclusively girls and young women. With the help of mechanical force, they destroy the monopoly that male labour had of the heavier work, and they drive off from the lighter work numbers of old women and very young children. The overpowering competition crushes the weakest of the manual labourers. The fearful increase in death from starvation during the last 10 years in London runs parallel with the extension of machine sewing.187 The new workwomen turn the machine by hand and foot, or by hand alone, sometimes sitting, sometimes standing, according to the weight, size and special make of the machine, and expend a great deal of labour-power. Their occupation is unwholesome, owing to the long hours, although in most cases they are not so long as under the old system. Wherever the sewing machine locates itself in narrow and already over-crowded workrooms, it adds to the unwholesome influences. "The effect," says Mr. Lord, "on entering lowceiled workrooms in which 30 to 40 machine hands are working is unbearable.... The heat, partly due to the gas stoves used for warming the irons, is horrible....Even when moderate hours of work, i.e., from 8 in the morning till 6 in the evening, prevail in such places, yet 3 or 4 persons fall into a swoon regularly every day."188
The revolution in the industrial methods which is the necessary result of the revolution in the instruments of production, is effected by a medley of transition forms. These forms vary according to the extent to which the sewing machine has become prevalent in one branch of industry or the other, to the time during which it has been in operation, to the previous condition of the workpeople, to the preponderance of manufacture, of handicrafts or of domestic industry, to the rent of the workrooms, 8c.189 In dressmaking, for instance, where the labour for the most part was already organised, chiefly by simple co-operation, the sewing machine at first formed nearly a new factor in that manufacturing industry. In tailoring, shirtmaking, shoemaking, 8c., all the forms are intermingled. Here the factory system proper. There middlemen receive the raw material from the capitalist en chef, and group around their sewing machines, in "chambers" and "garrets," from 10 to 50 or more workwomen. Finally, as is always the case with machinery when not organised into a system, and when it can also be used in dwarfish proportions, handicraftsmen and domestic workers, along with their families, or with a little extra labour from without, makes use of their own sewing machines.190 The system actually prevalent in England is, that the capitalist concentrates a large number of machines on his premises, and then distributes the produce of those machines for further manipulation amongst the domestic workers.191 The variety of the transition forms, however, does not conceal the tendency to conversion into the factory system proper. This tendency is nurtured by the very nature of the sewing machine, the manifold uses of which push on the concentration, under one roof, and one management, of previously separated branches of a trade. It is also favoured by the circumstance that preparatory needlework, and certain other operations, are most conveniently done on the premises where the machine is at work; as well as by the inevitable expropriation of the hand sewers, and of the domestic workers who work with their own machines. This fate has already in part overtaken them. The constantly increasing amount of capital invested in sewing machines,192 gives the spur to the production of, and gluts the markets with, machine-made articles, thereby giving the signal to the domestic workers for the sale of their machines. The over-production of sewing machines themselves, causes their producers, in bad want of a sale, to let them out for so much a week, thus crushing by their deadly competition the small owners of machines.193 Constant changes in the construction of the machines, and their ever-increasing cheapness, depreciate day by day the older makes, and allow of their being sold in great numbers, at absurd prices, to large capitalists, who alone can thus employ them at a profit. Finally, the substitution of the steam-engine for man gives in this, as in all similar revolutions, the finishing blow. At first, the use of steam power meets with mere technical difficulties, such as unsteadiness in the machines, difficulty in controlling their speed, rapid wear and tear of the lighter machines, 8c., all of which are soon overcome by experience.194 If, on the one hand, the concentration of many machines in large manufactories leads to the use of steam power, on the other hand, the competition of steam with human muscles hastens on the concentration of workpeople and machines in large factories. Thus England is at present experiencing, not only in the colossal industry of making wearing apparel, but in most of the other trades mentioned above, the conversion of manufacture, of handicrafts, and of domestic work into the factory system, after each of those forms of production, totally changed and disorganized under the influence of modern industry, has long ago reproduced, and even overdone, all the horrors of the factory system, without participating in any of the elements of social progress it contains.195
This industrial revolution which takes place spontaneously, is artificially helped on by the extension of the Factory Acts to all industries in which women, young persons and children are employed. The compulsory regulation of the working day as regards its length, pauses, beginning and end, the system of relays of children, the exclusion of all children under a certain age, 8c., necessitates on the one hand more machinery196 and the substitution of steam as a motive power in the place of muscles.197 On the other hand, in order to make up for the loss of time, an expansion occurs of the means of production used in common, of the furnaces, buildings, 8c.; in one word, greater concentration of the means of production and a correspondingly greater concourse of workpeople. The chief objection, repeatedly and passionately urged on behalf of each manufacture threatened with the Factory Act, is in fact this, that in order to continue the business on the old scale a greater outlay of capital will be necessary. But as regards labour in the so-called domestic industries and the intermediate forms between them and Manufacture, so soon as limits are put to the working day and to the employment of children, those industries go to the wall. Unlimited exploitation of cheap labour-power is the sole foundation of their power to compete.
One of the essential conditions for the existence of the factory system, especially when the length of the working day is fixed, is certainty in the result, i.e., the production in a given time of a given quantity of commodities, or of a given useful effect. The statutory pauses in the working day, moreover, imply the assumption that periodical and sudden cessation of the work does no harm to the article undergoing the process of production. This certainty in the result, and this possibility of interrupting the work are, of course, easier to be attained in the purely mechanical industries than in those in which chemical and physical processes play a part; as, for instance, in the earthenware trade, in bleaching, dyeing, baking, and in most of the metal industries. Wherever there is a working day without restriction as to length, wherever there is night work and unrestricted waste of human life, there the slightest obstacle presented by the nature of the work to a change for the better is soon looked upon as an everlasting barrier erected by Nature. No poison kills vermin with more certainty than the Factory Act removes such everlasting barriers. No one made a greater outcry over "impossibilities" than our friends the earthenwares manufacturers. In 1864, however, they were brought under the Act, and within sixteen months every "impossibility" had vanished. "The improved method," called forth by the Act, "of making slip by pressure instead of by exaporation, the newly-constructed stoves for drying the ware in its green state, 8c., are each events of great importances in the pottery art, and mark an advance which the preceding century could not rival....It has even considerably reduced the temperature of the stoves themselves with a considerable saving of fuel, and with a readier effect on the ware."198 In spite of every prophecy, the cost price of earthenware did not rise, but the quantity produced did, and to such an extent that the export for the twelve months, ending December, 1865, exceeded in value by £138,628 the average of the preceding three years. In the manufacture of matches it was thought to be an indispensable requirement, that boys, even while bolting their dinner, should go on dipping the matches in melted phosphorus, the poisonous vapour from which rose into their faces. The Factory Act (1864) made the saving of time a necessity, and so forced into existence a dipping machine, the vapour from which could not come in contact with the workers.199 So, at the present time, in those branches of the lace manufacture not yet subject to the Factory Act, it is maintained that the meal times cannot be regular owing to the different periods required by the various kinds of lace for drying, which periods vary from three minutes up to an hour and more. To this the Children's Employment Commissioners answer: "The circumstances of this case are precisely analogous to that of the paper-stainers, dealt with in our first report. Some of the principal manufacturers in the trade urged that in consequence of the nature of the materials used, and their various processes, they would be unable, without serious loss, to stop for meal times at any given moment. But it was seen from the evidence that, by due care and previous arrangement, the apprehended difficulty would be got over; and accordingly, by clause 6 of section 6 of the Factory Acts Extension Act, passed during this Session of Parliament, an interval of eighteen months is given to them from the passing of the Act before they are required to conform to the meal hours, specified by the Factory Acts."200 Hardly had the Act been passed when our friends the manufacturers found out: "The inconveniences we expected to arise from the introduction of the Factory Acts into our branch of manufacture, I am happy to say, have not arisen. We do not find the production at all interfered with; in short, we produce more in the same time."201 It is evident that the English legislature, which certainly no one will venture to reproach with being overdosed with genius, has been led by experience to the conclusion that a simple compulsory law is sufficient to enact away all the so-called impediments, opposed by the nature of the process, to the restriction and regulation of the working day. Hence, on the introduction of the Factory Act into a given industry, a period varying from six to eighteen months is fixed within which it is incumbent on the manufacturers to remove all technical impediments to the working of the Act. Mirabeau's "Impossible! ne me dites jamaisce bête de mot!" is particularly applicable to modern technology. But though the Factory Acts thus artificially ripen the material elements necessary for the conversion of the manufacturing system into the factory system, yet at the same time, owing to the necessity they impose for greater outlay of capital, they hasten on the decline of the small masters, and the concentration of capital.202
Besides the purely technical impediments that are removable by technical means, the irregular habits of the workpeople people themselves obstruct the regulation of the hours of labour. This is especially the case where piece wage predominates, and where loss of time in one part of the day or week can be made good by subsequent overtime, or by night work, a process which brutalises the adult workman, and ruins his wife and children.203 Although this absence of regularity in the expenditure of labour-power is a natural and rude reaction against the tedium of monotonous drudgery, it originates, also, to a much greater degree from anarchy in production, anarchy that in its turn pre-supposes unbridled exploitation of labour-power by the capitalist. Besides the general periodic changes of the industrial cycle, and the special fluctuations in the markets to which each industry is subject, we may also reckon what is called "the season," dependent either on the periodicity of favourable seasons of the year for navigation; or on fashion, and the sudden placing of large orders that have to be executed in the shortest possible time. The habit of giving such orders becomes more frequent with the extension of railways and telegraphs. "The extension of the railway system throughout the country has tended very much to encourage giving short notice. Purchasers now come up from Glasgow, Manchester, and Edinburgh once every fortnight or so to the wholesale city warehouses which we supply, and give small orders requiring immediate execution, instead of buying from stock as they used to do. Years ago we were always able to work in the slack times, so as to meet the demand of the next season, but now no one can say beforehand what will be the demand then."204
In those factories and manufactories that are not yet subject to the Factory Acts, the most fearful overwork prevails periodically during what is called the season, in consequence of sudden orders. In the outside department of the factory, of the manufactory, and of the warehouse, the so-called domestic workers, whose employment is at the best irregular, are entirely dependent for their raw material and their orders on the caprice of the capitalist, who, in this industry, is not hampered by any regard for depreciation of his buildings and machinery, and risks nothing by a stoppage of work, but the skin of the worker himself. Here then he sets himself systematically to work to form an industrial reserve force that shall be ready at a moment's notice; during one part of the year he decimates this force by the most inhuman toil, during the other part, he lets it starve for want of work. "The employers avail themselves of the habitual irregularity in the home-work, when any extra work is wanted at a push, so that the work goes on till 11, and 12 p.m. or 2 a.m., or as the usual phrase is, "all hours," and that in localities where "the stench is enough to knock you down, you go to the door, perhaps, and open it, but shudder to go further."205 "They are curious men," said one of the witnesses, a shoemaker, speaking of the masters, "they think it does a boy no harm to work too hard for half the year, if he is nearly idle for the other half."206
In the same way as technical impediments, so too, those "usages which have grown with the growth of trade" were and still are proclaimed by interested capitalists as obstacles due to the nature of the work. This was a favorite cry of the cotton lords at the time they were first threatened with the Factory Acts. Although their industry more than any other depends on navigation, yet experience has given them the lie. Since then, every pretended obstruction to business has been treated by the Factory inspectors as a mere sham.207 The thoroughly conscientious investigations of the Children's Employment Commission prove that the effect of the regulation of the hours of work, in some industries, was to spread the mass of labour previously employed more evenly over the whole year;208 that this regulation was the first rational bridle on the murderous, meaningless caprices of fashion,209 caprices that consort so badly with the system of modern industry; that the development of ocean navigation and of the means of communication generally, has swept away the technical basis on which season-work was really supported,210 and that all other so-called unconquerable difficulties vanish before larger buildings, additional machinery, increase in the number of workpeople employed,211 and the alterations caused by all these in the mode of conducting the wholesale trade.212 But for all that, capital never becomes reconciled to such changes—and this is admitted over and over again by its own representatives—except "under the pressure of a General Act of Parliament"213 for the compulsory regulation of the hours of labour.
SECTION 9.—THE FACTORY ACTS. SANITARY AND EDUCATION CLAUSES OF THE SAME. THEIR GENERAL EXTENSION IN ENGLAND.
Factory legislation, that first conscious and methodical reaction of society against the spontaneously developed form of the process of production, is, as we have seen, just as much the necessary product of modern industry as cotton yarn, selfactors, and the electric telegraph. Before passing to the consideration of the extension of that legislation in England, we shall shortly notice certain clauses contained in the Factory Acts, and not relating to the hours of work.
Apart from their wording, which makes it easy for the capitalist to evade them, the sanitary clauses are extremely meagre, and, in fact, limited to provisions for whitewashing the walls, for insuring cleanliness in some other matters, for ventilation, and for protection against dangerous machinery. In the third book we shall return again to the fanatical opposition of the masters to those clauses which imposed upon them a slight expenditure on appliances for protecting the limbs of their workpeople, an opposition that throws a fresh and glaring light on the free trade dogma, according to which, in a society with conflicting interests, each individual necessarily furthers the common weal by seeking nothing but his own personal advantage! One example is enough. The reader knows that during the last 20 years, the flax industry has very much extended, and that, with that extension, the number of scutching mills in Ireland has increased. In 1864 there were in that country 1800 of these mills. Regularly in autumn and winter women and "young persons," the wives, sons, and daughters of the neighboring small farmers, a class of people totally unaccustomed to machinery, are taken from field labour to feed the rollers of the scutching mills with flax. The accidents, both as regards number and kind, are wholly unexampled in the history of machinery. In one scutching mill, at Kildinan, near Cork, there occurred between 1852 and 1856, six fatal accidents and sixty mutilations; every one of which might have been prevented by the simplest appliances, at the cost of a few shillings. Dr. W. White, the certifying surgeon for factories at Downpatrick, states in his official report, dated the 15th December, 1865; "The serious accidents at the scutching mills are of the most fearful nature. In many cases a quarter of the body is torn from the trunk, and either involves death, or a future of wretched incapacity and suffering. The increase of mills in the country will, of course, extend these dreadful results, and it will be a great boon if they are brought under the legislature. I am convinced that by proper supervision of scutching mills a vast sacrifice of life and limb would be averted."214
What could possibly show better the character of the capitalist mode of production, than the necessity that exists for forcing upon it, by Acts of Parliament, the simplest appliances for maintaining cleanliness and health? In the potteries the Factory Act of 1864 "has whitewashed and cleansed upwards of 200 workshops, after a period of abstinence from any such cleaning, in many cases of 20 years, and in some, entirely," (this is the "abstinence" of the capitalist!) "in which were employed 27,800 artisans, hitherto breathing through protracted days and often nights of labour, a mephitic atmosphere, and which rendered an otherwise comparatively innocuous occupation, pregnant with disease and death, The Act has improved the ventilation very much."215 At the same time, this portion of the Act strikingly shows that the capitalist mode of production, owing to its very nature, excludes all rational improvement beyond a certain point. It has been stated over and over again that the English doctors are unanimous in declaring that where the work is continuous, 500 cubic feet is the very least space that should be allowed for each person. Now, if the Factory Acts, owing to their compulsory provisions, indirectly hasten on the conversion of small workshops into factories, thus indirectly attacking the proprietary rights of the smaller capitalists, and assuring a monopoly to the great ones, so, if it were made obligatory to provide the proper space for each workman in every workshop, thousands of small employers would, at one full swoop, be expropriated directly! The very root of the capitalist mode of production, i.e., the self-expansion of all capital, large or small, by means of the "free" purchase and consumption of labour-power, would be attacked. Factory legislation is therefore brought to a dead-lock before these 500 cubic feet of breathing space. The sanitary officers, the industrial inquiry commissioners, the factory inspectors, all harp, over and over again, upon the necessity for those 500 cubic feet, and upon the impossibility of wringing them out of capital. They thus, in fact, declare that consumption and other lung diseases among the workpeople are necessary conditions to the existence of capital.216
Paltry as the education clauses of the Act appear on the whole, yet they proclaim elementary education to be an indispensable condition to the employment of children.217 The success of those clauses proved for the first time the possibility of combining education and gymnastics218 with manual labour, and, consequently, of combining manual labour with education and gymnastics. The factory inspectors soon found out by questioning the schoolmasters, that the factory children, although receiving only one half the education of the regular day scholars, yet learnt quite as much and often more. "This can be accounted for by the simple fact that, with only being at school for one half of the day, they are always fresh, and nearly always ready and willing to receive instruction. The system on which they work, half manual labour, and half school, renders each employment a rest and a relief to the other; consequently, both are far more congenial to the child, than would be the case were he kept constantly at one. It is quite clear that a boy who has been at school all the morning, cannot (in hot weather particularly) cope with one who comes fresh and bright from his work."219 Further information on this point will be found in Senior's speech at the Social Science Congress at Edinburgh in 1863. He there shows, amongst other things, how the monotonous and uselessly long school hours of the children of the upper and middle classes, uselessly add to the labour of the teacher, "while he not only fruitlessly, but absolutely injuriously, wastes the time, health, and energy of the children."220 From the Factory system budded, as Robert Owen has shown us in detail, the germ of the education of the future, an education that will, in the case of every child over a given age, combine productive labour with instruction and gymnastics, not only as one of the methods of adding to the efficiency of production, but as the only method of producing fully developed human beings.
Modern Industry, as we have seen, sweeps away by technical means the manufacturing division of labour, under which each man is bound hand and foot for life to a single detail-operation. At the same time, the capitalistic form of that industry reproduces this same division of labour in a still more monstrous shape; in the factory proper, by converting the workman into a living appendage of the machine; and everywhere outside the Factory, partly by the sporadic use of machinery and machine workers,221 partly by re-establishing the divisions of labour on a fresh basis by the general introduction of the labour of women and children, and of cheap unskilled labour.
The antagonism between the manufacturing division of labour and the methods of Modern Industry makes itself forcibly felt. It manifests itself, amongst other ways, in the frightful fact that a great part of the children employed in modern factories and manufactures, are from their earliest years riveted to the most simple manipulations, and exploited for years, without being taught a single sort of work that would afterwards make them of use, even in the same manufactory or factory. In the English letter press printing trade, for example, there existed formerly a system, corresponding to that in the old manufactures and handicrafts, of advancing the apprentices from easy to more and more difficult work. They went through a course of teaching till they were finished printers. To be able to read and write was for every one of them a requirement of their trade. All this was changed by the printing machine. It employs two sort of labourers, one grown up, tenters, the other, boys mostly from 11 to 17 years of age whose sole business is either to spread the sheets of paper under the machine, or to take from it the printed sheets. They perform this weary task, in London especially, for 14, 15, and 16 hours at a stretch, during several days in the week, and frequently for 36 hours, with only 2 hours' rest for meals and sleep!222 A great part of them cannot read, and they are, as a rule, utter savages and very extraordinary creatures. "To qualify them for the work which they have to do, they require no intellectual training; there is little room in it for skill, and less for judgment; their wages, though rather high for boys, do not increase proportionately as they grow up, and the majority of them cannot look for advancement to the better paid and more responsible post of machine minder, because while each machine has but one minder, it has at least two, and often four boys attached to it."223 As soon as they get too old for such child's work, that is about 17 at the latest, they are discharged from the printing establishments. They become recruits of crime. Several attempts to procure them employment elsewhere, were rendered of no avail by their ignorance and brutality, and by their mental and bodily degradation.
As with the division of labour in the interior of the manufacturing workshops, so it is with the division of labour in the interior of society. So long as handicraft and manufacture form the general groundwork of social production, the subjection of the producer to one branch exclusively, the breaking up of the multifariousness of his employment,224 is a necessary step in the development. On that ground-work each separate branch of production acquires empirically the form that is technically suited to it, slowly perfects it, and, so soon as a given degree of maturity has been reached, rapidly crystallizes that form. The only thing, that here and there causes a change, besides new raw material supplied by commerce, is the gradual alteration of the instruments of labour. But their form, too, once definitely settled by experience, petrifies, as is proved by their being in many cases handed down in the same form by one generation to another during thousands of years. A characteristic feature is, that, even down into the eighteenth century, the different trades were called "mysteries" (mystères)225 ; into their secrets none but those duly initiated could penetrate. Modern Industry rent the veil that concealed from men their own social process of production, and that turned the various, spontaneously divided branches of production into so many riddles, not only to outsiders, but even to the initiated. The principle which it pursued, of resolving each process into its constituent movements, without any regard to their possible execution by the hand of man, created the new modern science of technology. The varied, apparently unconnected, and petrified forms of the industrial processes now resolved themselves into so man conscious and systematic applications of natural science to the attainment of given useful effects. Technology also discovered the few main fundamental forms of motion, which, despite the diversity of the instruments used, are necessarily taken by every productive action of the human body; just as the science of mechanics sees in the most complicated machinery nothing but the continual repetition of the simple mechanical powers.
Modern Industry never looks upon and treats the existing form of a process as final. The technical basis of that industry is therefore revolutionary, while all earlier modes of production were essentially conservative.226 By means of machinery, chemical processes and other methods, it is continually causing changes not only in the technical basis of production, but also in the functions of the labourer, and in the social combinations of the labour-process. At the same time, it thereby also revolutionizes the division of labour within the society, and incessantly launches masses of capital and of workpeople from one branch of production to another. But if Modern Industry, by its very nature, therefore necessitates variation of labour, fluency of function, universal mobility of the labourer, on the other hand, in its capitalistic form, it reproduces the old division of labour with its ossified particularisations. We have seen how this absolute contradiction between the technical necessities of Modern Industry, and the social character inherent in its capitalistic form, dispels all fixity and security in the situation of the labourer; how it constantly threatens, by taking away the instruments of labour, to snatch from his hands his means of subsistence,227 and, by suppressing his detail-function, to make him superfluous. We have seen, too, how this antagonism vents its rage in the creation of that monstrosity, an industrial reserve army, kept in misery in order to be always at the disposal of capital; in the incessant human sacrifices from among the working class, in the most reckless squandering of labour-power, and in the devastation caused by a social anarchy which turns every economical progress into a social calamity. This is the negative side. But if, on the one hand, variation of work at present imposes itself after the manner of an overpowering natural law, and with the blindly destructive action of a natural law that meets with resistance,228 at all points, Modern Industry, on the other hand, through its catastrophes imposes the necessity of recognising, as a fundamental law of production, variation of work, consequently fitness of the labourer for varied work, consequently the greatest possible development of his varied aptitudes. It becomes a question of life and death for society to adapt the mode of production to the normal functioning of this law, Modern Industry, indeed, compels society, under penalty of death, to replace the detail-worker of to-day, crippled by life-long repetition of one and the same trivial operation, and thus reduced to the mere fragment of a man, by the fully developed individual, fit for a variety of labours, ready to face any change of production, and to whom the different social functions he performs, are but so many modes of giving free scope to his own natural and acquired powers.
One step already spontaneously taken towards effecting this revolution is the establishment of technical and agricultural schools, and of "écoles d'enseignement professionnel," in which the children of the working-men receive some little instruction in technology and in the practical handling of the various implements of labour. Though the Factory Act, that first and meagre concession wrung from capital, is limited to combining elementary education with work in the factory, there can be no doubt that when the working class comes into power, as inevitably it must, technical instruction, both theoretical and practical, will take its proper place in the working-class schools. There is also no doubt that such revolutionary ferments, the final result of which is the abolition of the old division of labour, are diametrically opposed to the capitalisti form of production, and to the economic status of the labourer corresponding to that form. But the historical development of the antagonisms, immanent in a given form of production, is the only way in which that form of production can be dissolved and a new form established. "Ne sutor ultra crepidam"—this nec plus ultra of handicraft wisdom became sheer nonsense, from the moment the watchmaker Watt invented the steam-engine, the barber Arkwright, the throstle, and the working-jeweller, Fulton, the steamship.229
So long as Factory legislation is confined to regulating the labour in factories, manufactories, 8c., it is regarded as a mere interference with the exploiting rights of capital. But when it comes to regulating the so-called "home-labour,"230 it is immediately viewed as a direct attack on the patria potestas, on parental authority. The tender-hearted English Parliament long affected to shrink from taking this step. The force of facts, however compelled it at last to acknowledge that modern industry, in overturning the economical foundation on which was based the traditional family, and the family labour corresponding to it, had also unloosened all traditional family ties. The rights of the children had to be proclaimed. The final report of the Ch. Empl. Comm. of 1866, states: "It is unhappily, to a painful degree, apparent throughout the whole of the evidence, that against no persons do the children of both sexes so much require protection as against their parents." The system of unlimited exploitation of children's labour in general and the so-called home-labour in particular is "maintained only because the parents are able, without check or control, to exercise this arbitrary and mischievous power over their young and tender offspring....Parents must not possess the absolute power of making their children mere 'machines to earn so much weekly wage.'...The children and young persons, therefore, in all such cases may justifiably claim from the legislature, as a natural right, that an exemption should be secured to them, from what destroys prematurely their physical strength, and lowers them in the scale of intellectual and moral beings."231 It was not, however, the misuse of parental authority that created the capitalistic exploitation, whether direct or indirect, of children's labour; but, on the contrary, it was the capitalistic mode of exploitation which, by sweeping away the economical basis of parental authority, made its exercise degenerate into a mischievous misuse of power. However terrible and disgusting the dissolution, under the capitalist system, of the old family ties may appear, nevertheless, modern industry, by assigning as it does an important part in the process of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women, to young persons, and to children of both sexes, creates a new economical foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes. It is, of course, just as absurd to hold the Teutonic-christian form of the family to be absolute and final as it would be to apply that character to the ancient Roman, the ancient Greek, or the Eastern forms which, moreover, taken together form a series in historic development. Moreover, it is obvious that the fact of the collective working group being composed of individuals of both sexes and all ages, must necessarily, under suitable conditions, become a source of humane development; although in its spontaneously developed, brutal, capitalistic form, where the labourer exists for the process of production, and not the process of production for the labourer, that fact is a pestiferous source of corruption and slavery.232
The necessity for a generalization of the Factory Acts, for transforming them from an exceptional law relating to mechanical spinning and weaving—those first creations of machinery—into a law affecting social production as a whole, arose, as we have seen, from the mode in which Modern Industry was historically developed. In the rear of that industry, the traditional form of manufacture, of handicraft, and of domestic industry, is entirely revolutionised; manufactures are constantly passing into the factory system, and handicrafts into manufactures; and lastly, the spheres of handicraft and of the domestic industries become, in a, comparatively speaking, wonderfully short time, dens of misery in which capitalistic exploitation obtains free play for the wildest excesses. There are two circumstances that finally turn the scale: first, the constantly recurring experience that capital, so soon as it finds itself subject to legal control at one point, compensates itself all the more recklessly at other points;233 secondly, the cry of the capitalists for equality in the conditions of competition, i.e., for equal restraint on all exploitation of labour.234 On this point let us listen to two heart-broken cries. Messrs. Cooksley of Bristol, nail and chain, 8c., manufacturers, spontaneously introduced the regulations of the Factory Act into their business. "As the old irregular system prevails in neighbouring works, the Messrs. Cooksley are subject to the disadvantage of having their boys enticed to continue their labour elsewhere after 6 p.m. 'This,' they naturally say, 'is an unjustice and loss to us, as it exhausts a portion of the boy's strength, of which we ought to have the full benefit.'"235 Mr. J. Simpson (paper box and bagmaker, London) states before the commissioners of the Ch. Empl. Comm.: "He would sign any petition for it" (legislative interference)..."As it was, he always felt restless at night, when he had closed his place, lest others should be working later than him and getting away his orders."236 Summarising, the Ch. Empl. Comm. says: "It would be unjust to the larger employers that their factories should be placed under regulation, while the hours of labour in the smaller places in their own branch of business were under no legislative restriction. And to the injustice arising from the unfair conditions of competition, in regard to hours, that would be created if the smaller places of work were exempt, would be added the disadvantage to the larger manufacturers, of finding their supply of juvenile and female labour drawn off to the places of work exempt from legislation. Further, a stimulus would be given to the multiplication of the smaller places of work, which are almost invariably the least favourable to the health, comfort, education, and general improvement of the people."237
In its final report the Commission proposes to subject to the Factory Act more than 1,400,000 children, young persons, and women, of which number about one half are exploited in small industries and by the so-called home-work.238 It says, "But if it should seem fit to Parliament to place the whole of that large number of children, young persons and females under the protective legislation above adverted to...it cannot be doubted that such legislation would have a most beneficent effect, not only upon the young and the feeble, who are its more immediate objects, but upon the still larger body of adult workers, who would in all these employments, both directly and indirectly, come immediately under its influence. It would enforce upon them regular and moderate hours; it would lead to their places of work being kept in a healthy and cleanly state; it would therefore husband and improve that store of physical strength on which their own well-being and that of the country so much depends; it would save the rising generation from that over-exertion at an early age which undermines their constitutions and leads to premature decay; finally, it would ensure them—at least up to the age of 13—the opportunity of receiving the elements of education, and would put an end to that utter ignorance....so faithfully exhibited in the Reports of our Assistant Commissioners, and which cannot be regarded without the deepest pain, and a profound sense of national degradation."239
The Tory Cabinet announced in the speech from the Throne, on February 5, 1867, that it had formulated the recommendations240 of the Industrial Commission of Inquiry in "Bills." A new experiment of 20 years' duration at the expense of the working class had been necessary to accomplish so much. As early as 1840, a Commission of Parliament had been appointed to inquire into the conditions of child labor. Its report, as Senior remarks, disclosed "the most frightful picture of avarice, selfishness and cruelty on the part of masters and of parents, and of juvenile and infantile misery, degradation and destruction ever presented....It may be supposed that it describes the horrors of a past age. But there is unhappily evidence that those horrors continue as intense as they were. A pamphlet published by Hardwicke about 2 years ago states that the abuses complained of in 1842, are in full bloom at the present day. It is a strange proof of the general neglect of the morals and health of the children of the working class, that this report lay unnoticed for 20 years, during which the children, 'bred up without the remotest sign of comprehension as to what is meant by the term morals, who had neither knowledge, nor religion, nor natural affection,' were allowed to become the parents of the present generation."241
The social conditions having undergone a change, Parliament could not venture to shelve the demands of the Commission of 1862, as it had done those of the Commission of 1840. Hence in 1864, when the Commission had not yet published more than a part of its reports, the earthenware industries (including the potteries, makers of paper-hangings, matches, cartridges, and caps, and fustian cutters were made subject to the Acts in force in the textile industries. In the speech from the Throne, on 5th February, 1867, the Tory Cabinet of the day announced the introduction of Bills, founded on the final recommendations of the Commission, which had completed its labours in 1866.
On the 15th August, 1867, the Factory Acts Extension Act, and on the 21st August, the Workshops' Regulation Act received the Royal Assent; the former Act having reference to large industries, the latter to small.
The former applies to blast-furnaces, iron and copper mills, foundries, machine shops, metal manufactories, gutta-percha works, paper mills, glass works, tobacco manufactories, letter-press printing (including newspapers) book-binding, in short to all industrial establishments of the above kind, in which 50 individuals or more are occupied simultaneously, and for not less than 100 days during the year.
To give an idea of the extent of the sphere embraced by the Workshops' Regulation Act in its application, we cite from its interpretation clause, the following passages:
"Handicraft shall mean any manual labour exercised by way of trade, or for purposes of gain, or incidental to, the making any article or part of an article, or in, or incidental to, the altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, or otherwise adapting for sale any article.
"Workshop shall mean any room or place whatever in the open air or under cover, in which any handicraft is carried on by any child, young person, or woman, and to which and over which the person by whom such child, young person, or woman is employed, has the right of access and control.
"Employed shall mean occupied in any handicraft, whether for wages or not, under a master or under a parent as herein defined.
"Parent shall mean parent, guardian, or person, having the custody of, or control over, any...child or young person."
Clause 7, which imposes a penalty for employment of children, young persons, and women, contrary to the provisions of the Act, subjects to fines, not only the occupier of the workshops, whether parent or not, but even "the parent of, or the person deriving any direct benefit from the labour of, or having the control over, the child, young person or woman."
The Factory Acts Extension Act, which affects the large establishments, derogates from the Factory Act by a crowd of vicious exceptions and cowardly compromises with the masters.
The Workshops' Regulation Act, wretched in all its details, remained a dead letter in the hands of the municipal and local authorities who were charged with its execution. When, in 1871, Parliament withdrew from them this power, in order to confer it on the Factory Inspectors, to whose province it thus added by a single stroke more than one hundred thousand workshops, and three hundred brickworks, care was taken at the same time not to add more than eight assistants to their already undermanned staff.242
What strikes us, then, in the English legislation of 1867, is, on the one hand, the necessity imposed on the parliament of the ruling classes, of adopting in principle measures so extraordinary, and on so great a scale, against the excesses of capitalistic exploitation; and on the other hand, the hesitation, the repugnance, and the bad faith, with which it lent itself to the task of carrying those measures into practice.
The Inquiry Commission of 1862 also proposed a new regulation of the mining industry, an industry distinguished from others by the exceptional characteristic that the interests of landlord and capitalist there join hands. The antagonism of these two interests had been favourable to Factory legislation, while on the other hand the absence of that antagonism is sufficient to explain the delays and chicanery of the legislation on mines.
The Inquiry Commission of 1840 had made revelations so terrible, so shocking, and creating such a scandal all over Europe, that to salve its conscience Parliament passed the Mining Act of 1842, in which it limited itself to forbidding the employment underground in mines of children under 10 years of age and females.
Then another Act, The Mines' Inspecting Act of 1860, provides that mines shall be inspected by public officers nominated specially for that purpose, and that boys between the ages of 10 and 12 years shall not be employed, unless they have a school certificate, or go to school for a certain number of hours. This Act was a complete dead letter owing to the ridiculously small number of inspectors, the meagreness of their powers, and other causes that will become apparent as we proceed.
One of the most recent blue books on mines is the "Report from the Select Committee on Mines, together with 8c. Evidence, 23rd July, 1866." This Report is the work of a Parliamentary Committee selected from members of the House of Commons, and authorised to summon and examine witnesses. It is a thick folio volume in which the Report itself occupies only five lines to this effect: that the committee has nothing to say, and that more witnesses must be examined!
The mode of examining the witnesses reminds one of the cross-examination of witnesses in English courts of justice, where the advocate tries, by means of impudent, unexpected, equivocal and involved questions, put without connection, to intimidate, surprise, and confound the witness, and to give a forced meaning to the answers extorted from him. In this inquiry the members of the committee themselves are the cross-examiners, and among them are to be found both mine owners and mine exploiters; the witnesses are mostly working coal-miners. The whole farce is too characteristic of the spirit of capital, not to call for a few extracts from this Report. For the sake of conciseness I have classified them. I may also add that every question and its answer are numbered in the English Blue Books.
I. EMPLOYMENT IN MINES OF BOYS OF 10 YEARS AND UPWARDS.—In the mines the work, inclusive of going and returning, usually lasts 14 or 15 hours, sometimes even from 3, 4, and 5 o'clock a.m., till 5 and 6 o'clock p.m., (n. 6., 452, 83). The adults work in two shifts, of eight hours each; but there is no alteration with the boys, on account of the expense (n. 80, 203, 204.) The younger boys are chiefly employed in opening and shutting the ventilating doors in the various parts of the mine; the older ones are employed on heavier work, in carrying coal, 8c. (n. 122, 739, 1747). They work these long hours underground until their 18th or 22nd year, when they are put to miners work proper. (n. 161.) Children and young persons are at present worse treated, and harder worked than at any previous period (n. 1663—1667). And now Hussey Vivian (himself an exploiter of mines) asks: "Would not the opinion of the workman depend upon the poverty of the workman's family?" Mr. Bruce: "Do you not think it would be a very hard case, where a parent had been injured, or where he was sickly, or where a father was dead, and there was only a mother, to prevent a child between 12 and 14 earning 1s. 7d. a day for the good of the family?...You must lay down a general rule?...Are you prepared to recommend legislation which would prevent the employment of children under 12 and 14, whatever the state of their parents might be?" "Yes." (ns. 107-110). Vivian: "Supposing that an enactment were passed preventing the employment of children under the age of 14, would it not be probable that...the parents of children would seek employment for their children in other directions, for instance, in manufacture?" "Not generally I think," (n. 174). Kinnaird: "Some of the boys are keepers of doors?" "Yes." "Is there not generally a very great draught every time you open a door or close it?" "Yes, generally there is." "It sounds a very easy thing, but it is in fact rather a painful one?" "He is imprisoned there just the same as if he was in a cell of a gaol." Bourgeois Vivian: "Whenever a boy is furnished with a lamp cannot he read?" "Yes, he can read, if he finds himself in candles...I suppose he would be found fault with if he were discovered reading; he is there to mind his business, he has a duty to perform, and he has to attend to it in the first place, and I do not think it would be allowed down the pit." (ns. 139, 141, 143, 158, 160.)
II. EDUCATION.—The working miners want a law for the compulsory education of their children, as in factories. They declare the clauses of the Act of 1860, which require a school certificate to be obtained before employing boys of 10 and 12 years of age, to be quite illusory. The examination of the witnesses on this subject is truly droll. "Is it (the Act) required more against the masters or against the parents?" "It is required against both I think." "You cannot say whether it is required against one more than against the other?" "No; I can hardly answer that question." (ns. 115, 116.) "Does there appear to be any desire on the part of the employers that the boys should have such hours as to enable them to go to school?" "No; the hours are never shortened for that purpose." (n. 137.) Mr. Kinnaird: "Should you say that the colliers generally improve their education; have you any instances of men who have, since they began to work, greatly improved their education, or do they not rather go back, and lose any advantage that they may have gained?" "They generally become worse: they do not improve; they acquire bad habits; they get on to drinking and gambling and such like, and they go completely to wreck," (n. 211). "Do they make any attempt of the kind (for providing instruction) by having schools at night?" "There are few collieries where night schools are held, and perhaps at those collieries a few boys do go to those schools; but they are so physically exhausted that it is to no purpose that they go there." (n. 454.) "You are then," concludes the bourgeois, "against education?" "Most certainly not; but," 8c. (n. 443.) "But are they (the employers) not compelled to demand them" (school certificates)? "By law they are; but I am not aware that they are demanded by the employers." "Then it is your opinion, that this provision of the Act as to requiring certificates, is not generally carried out in the collieries?" "It is not carried out." (ns. 443, 444.) "Do the men take a great interest in this question" (of education)? "The majority of them do." (n. 717.) "Are they very anxious to see the law enforced?" "The majority are." (n. 718.) "Do you think that in this country any law that you pass...can really be effectual unless the population themselves assist in putting it into operation?" "Many a man might wish to object to employing a boy, but he would perhaps become marked by it." (n. 720.) "Marked by whom?" "By his employers." (n. 721.) "Do you think that the employers would find any fault with a man who obeyed the law....?" "I believe they would." (n. 722.) "Have you ever heard of any workman objecting to employ a boy between 10 and 12, who could not write or read?" "It is not left to men's option." (n. 123.) "Would you call for the interference of Parliament?" "I think that if anything effectual is to be done in the education of the colliers' children, it will have to be made compulsory by Act of Parliament." (n. 1634.) "Would you lay that obligation upon the colliers only, of all the work people of Great Britain?" "I came to speak for the colliers." (n. 1636.) "Why should you distinguish them (colliery boys) from other boys?" "Because I think they are an exception to the rule." (n. 1638.) "In what respect?" "In a physical respect." (n. 1639.) "Why should education be more valuable to them than to other classes of lads?" "I do not know that it is more valuable; but through the over-exertion in mines there is less chance for the boys that are employed there to get education, either at Sunday schools, or at day schools." (n. 1640.) "It is impossible to look at a question of this sort absolutely by itself?" (n. 1644.) "Is there a sufficiency of schools?"—"No."...(n. 1646.) "If the state were to require that every child should be sent to school, would there be schools for the children to go to?" "No; but I think if the circumstances were to spring up, the schools would be forthcoming." (n. 1647.) "Some of them (the boys) cannot read and write at all, I suppose?" "The majority cannot.... The majority of the men themselves cannot." (ns. 705, 725.)
III. EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN.—Since 1842 women are no more employed underground, but are occupied on the surface in loading the coal, 8c., in drawing the tubs to the canals and railway waggons, in sorting, 8c. Their numbers have considerably increased during the last three or four years. (n. 1727.) They are mostly the wives, daughters, and widows of the working miners, and their ages range from 12 to 50 or 60 years. (ns. 645, 1779.) "What is the feeling among the working miners as to the employment of women?" "I think they generally condemn it." (n. 648.) "What objection do you see to it?" "I think it is degrading to the sex." (n. 649.) "There is a peculiarity of dress?" "Yes...it is rather a man's dress, and I believe in some cases, it drowns all sense of decency." "Do the women smoke?" "Some do." "And I suppose it is very dirty work?" "Very dirty." "They get black and grimy?" "As black as those who are down the mines...I believe that a woman having children, (and there are plenty on the banks that have) cannot do her duty to her children." (ns. 650-654, 701.) "Do you think that those widows could get employment anywhere else, which would bring them in as much wages as that (from 8s. to 10s. a week)?" "I cannot speak to that." (n. 709.) "You would still be prepared, would you," (flint-hearted fellow!) "to prevent their obtaining a livelihood by these means?" "I would." (n. 710.) "What is the general feeling in the district...as to the employment of women?" "The feeling is that it is degrading; and we wish as miners to have more respect to the fair sex than to see them placed on the pit bank....Some part of the work is very hard; some of these girls have raised as much as 10 tons of stuff a day." (ns. 1715, 1717.) "Do you think that the women employed about the collieries are less moral than the women employed in the factories?" "...the percentage of bad ones may be a little more...than with the girls in the factories." (n. 1237.) "But you are not quite satisfied with the state of morality in the factories?" "No." (n. 1733.) "Would you prohibit the employment of women in factories also?" "No, I would not." (n. 1734.) "Why not?" "I think it a more honourable occupation for them in the mills." (n. 1735.) "Still it is injurious to their morality, you think?" "Not so much as working on the pit bank; but it is more on the social position I take it; I do not take it on its moral ground alone. The degradation, in its social bearing on the girls, is deplorable in the extreme. When these 400 or 500 girls become colliers' wives, the men suffer greatly from this degradation, and it causes them to leave their homes and drink." (n. 1736.) "You would be obliged to stop the employment of women in the ironworks as well, would you not, if you stopped it in the collieries?" "I cannot speak for any other trade." (n. 1737.) "Can you see any difference in the circumstances of women employed in iron-works, and the circumstances of women employed above ground in collieries?" "I have not ascertained anything as to that." (n. 1740.) "Can you see anything that makes a distinction between one class and the other?" "I have not ascertained that, but I know from house to house visitation, that it is a deplorable state of things in our district...." (n. 1741.) "Would you interfere in every case with the employment of women where that employment was degrading?" "It would become injurious, I think, in this way: the best feelings of Englishmen have been gained from the instruction of a mother..." (n. 1750.) "That equally applies to agricultural employments, does it not?" "Yes, but that is only for two seasons, and we have work all the four seasons." (n. 1751.) "They often work day and night, wet through to the skin, their constitution undermined and their health ruined." "You have not inquired into that subject perhaps?" "I have certainly taken note of it as I have gone along, and certainly I have seen nothing parallel to the effects of the employment of women on the pit bank....It is the work of a man...a strong man." (ns. 1753, 1793, 1794.) "Your feeling upon the whole subject is that the better class of colliers who desire to raise themselves and humanise themselves, instead of deriving help from the women, are pulled down by them?" "Yes." (n. 1808.) After some further crooked questions from these bourgeois, the secret of their "sympathy" for widows, poor families, 8c., comes out at last. "The coal proprietor appoints certain gentlemen to take the oversight of the workings, and it is their policy, in order to receive approbation, to place things on the most economical basis they can, and these girls are employed at from 1s. up to 1s. 6d. a day, where a man at the rate of 2s. 6d. a day would have to be employed." (n. 1816.)
IV. CORONER'S INQUESTS.—"With regard to coroner's inquests in your district, have the workmen confidence in the proceedings at these inquests when accidents occur?" "No; they have not." (n. 306.) "Why not?" "Chiefly because the men who are generally chosen, are men who know nothing about mines and such like." "Are not workmen summoned at all upon the juries?" "Never but as witnesses to my knowledge." "Who are the people who are generally summoned upon these juries?" "Generally tradesmen in the neighborhood...from their circumstances they are sometimes liable to be influenced by their employers...the owners of the works. They are generally men who have no knowledge, and can scarcely understand the witnesses who are called before them, and the terms which are used and such like." "Would you have the jury composed of persons who had been employed in mining?" "Yes, partly...they (the workmen) think that the verdict is not in accordance with the evidence given generally. "(ns. 361, 364, 366, 368, 371, 375.) "One great object in summoning a jury is to have an impartial one, is it not?" "Yes, I should think so." "Do you think that the juries would be impartial if they were composed to a considerable extent of workmen?" "I cannot see any motive which the workmen would have to act partially...they necessarily have a better knowledge of the operations in connection with the mine." "You do not think there would be a tendency on the part of the workmen to return unfairly severe verdicts?" "No, I think not." (ns. 378, 379, 380.)
V. FALSE WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.—The workmen demand to be paid weekly instead of fortnightly, and by weight instead of by cubical contents of the tubs; they also demand protection against the use of false weights, 8c. (n. 1071.) "if the tubs were fraudulently increased, a man could discontinue working by giving 14 days' notice?" "But if he goes to another place, there is the same thing going on there." (n. 1071.) "But he can leave that place where the wrong has been committed?" "It is general; wherever he goes, he has to submit to it." (n. 1072.) "Could a man leave by giving 14 days' notice?" "Yes," (n. 1073.) And yet they are not satisfied!
VI. INSPECTION OF MINES.—Casualties from explosions are not the only things the workmen suffer from. (n. 234, sqq.) "Our men complained very much of the bad ventilation of the collieries...the ventilation is so bad in general that the men can scarcely breathe; they are quite unfit for employment of any kind after they have been for a length of time in connection with their work; indeed, just at the part of the mine where I am working, men have been obliged to leave their employment and come home in consequence of that...some of them have been out of work for weeks just in consequence of the bad state of the ventilation where there is not explosive gas...there is plenty of air generally in the main courses, yet pains are not taken to get air into the workings where men are working." "Why do you not apply to the inspector?" "To tell the truth there are many men who are timid on that point; there have been cases of men being sacrificed and losing their employment in consequence of applying to the inspector." "Why; is he a marked man for having complained?" "Yes." "And he finds it difficult to get employment in another mine?" "Yes." "Do you think the mines in your neighborhood are sufficiently inspected to insure a compliance with the provisions of the Act?" "No; they are not inspected at all...the inspector has been down just once in the pit, and it has been going seven years....In the district to which I belong there are not a sufficient number of inspectors. We have one old man more than 70 years of age to inspect more than 130 collieries." "You wish to have a class of sub-inspectors?" "Yes." (ns. 234, 241, 251, 254, 274, 275, 554, 276, 293.) But do you think it would be possible for government to maintain such an army of inspectors as would be necessary to do all that you want them to do, without information from the men?" "No, I should think it would be next to impossible."..."It would be desirable the inspectors should come oftener?" "Yes, and without being sent for." (n. 280, 277.) "Do you not think that the effect of having these inspectors examining the collieries so frequently would be to shift the responsibility (!) of supplying proper ventilation from the owners of the collieries to the Government officials?" "No, I do not think that, I think that they should make it their business to enforce the Acts which are already in existence." (n. 285.) "When you speak of sub-inspectors, do you mean men at a less salary, and of an inferior stamp to the present inspectors?" "I would not have them inferior, if you could get them otherwise." (n. 294.) "Do you merely want more inspectors, or do you want a lower class of men as an inspector?" "A man who would knock about, and see that things are kept right; a man who would not be afraid of himself." (n. 295.) "If you obtained your wish in getting an inferior class of inspectors appointed, do you think there would be no danger from want of skill, 8c.?" "I think not, I think that the Government would see after that, and have proper men in that position." (n. 297.) This kind of examination becomes at last too much even for the chairman of the committee, and he interrupts with the observation: "You want a class of men who would look into all the details of the mine, and would go into all the holes and corners, and go into the real facts...they would report to the chief inspector, who would then bring his scientific knowledge to bear on the facts they have stated?" (ns. 298, 299.) "Would it not entail very great expense if all these old workings were kept ventilated?" "Yes, expense might be incurred, but life would be at the same time protected." (n. 531.) A working miner objects to the 17th section of the Act of 1860; he says, "At the present time, if the inspector of mines finds a part of the mine unfit to work in, he has to report it to the mine owner and the Home Secretary. After doing that, there is given to the owner 20 days to look over the matter; at the end of 20 days he has the power to refuse making any alteration in the mine; but, when he refuses, the mine owner writes to the Home Secretary, at the same time nominating five engineers, and from those five engineers named by the mine owner himself, the Home Secretary appoints one, I think, as arbitrator, or appoints arbitrators from them; now we think in that case the mine owner virtually appoints his own arbitrator." (n. 581.) Bourgeois examiner, himself a mine owner: "But...is this a merely speculative objection?" (n. 586.) "Then you have a very poor opinion of the integrity of mining engineers?" "It is most certainly unjust and inequitable." (n. 588.) "Do not mining engineers possess a sort of public character, and do not you think that they are above making such a partial decision as you apprehend?" "I do not wish to answer such a question as that with respect to the personal character of those men. I believe that in many cases they would act very partially indeed, and that it ought not to be in their hands to do so, where men's lives are at stake." (n. 589.) This same bourgeois is not ashamed to put this question: "Do you not think that the mine owner also suffers loss from an explosion?" Finally, "Are not you workmen in Lancashire able to take care of your own interests without calling in the Government to help you?" "No." (n. 1042.)
In the year 1865 there were 3217 coal mines in Great Britain, and 12 inspectors. A Yorkshire mine owner himself calculates ("Times," 26th January, 1867), that putting on one side their office work, which absorbs all their time, each mine can be visited but once in ten years by an inspector. No wonder that explosions have increased progressively, both in number and extent (sometimes with a loss of 200-300 men), during the last ten years.
The very defective Act, passed in 1872, is the first that regulates the hours of labour of the children employed in mines, and makes exploiters and owners, to a certain extent, responsible for so-called accidents.
The Royal Commission appointed in 1867, to inquire into the employment in agriculture of children, young persons, and women, has published some very important reports. Several attempts to apply the principles of the Factory Acts, but in a modified form, to agriculture have been made, but have so far resulted in complete failure. All that I wish to draw attention to here is the existence of an irresistible tendency towards the general application of those principles.
If the general extension of factory legislation to all trades for the purpose of protecting the working class both in mind and body has become inevitable, on the other hand, as we have already pointed out, that extension hastens on the general conversion of numerous isolated small industries into a few combined industries carried on upon a large scale; it therefore accelerates the concentration of capital and the exclusive predominance of the factory system. It destroys both the ancient and the transitional forms, behind which the dominion of capital is still in part concealed, and replaces them by the direct and open sway of capital; but thereby it also generalises the direct opposition to this sway. While in each individual workshop it enforces uniformity, regularity, order, and economy, it increases by the immense spur which the limitation and regulation of the working day give to technical improvement, the anarchy and the catastrophes of capitalist production as a whole, the intensity of labour, and the competition of machinery with the labourer. By the destruction of petty and domestic industries it destroys the last resort of the "redundant population," and with it the sole remaining safety-valve of the whole social mechanism. By maturing the material conditions, and the combination on a social scale of the processes of production, it matures the contradictions and antagonisms of the capitalist form of production, and thereby provides, along with the elements for the formation of a new society, the forces for exploding the old one.243
SECTION 10.—MODERN INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE.
The revolution called forth by modern industry in agriculture, and in the social relations of agricultural producers, will be investigated later on. In this place we shall merely indicate a few results by way of anticipation. If the use of machinery in agriculture is for the most part free from the injurious physical effect it has on the factory operative,244 its action in superseding the labourers is more intense, and finds less resistance, as we shall see later in detail. In the counties of Cambridge and Suffolk, for example, the area of cultivated land has extended very much within the last 20 years (up to 1868), while in the same period the rural population has diminished, not only relatively, but absolutely. In the United States it is as yet only virtually that agricultural machines replace labourers; in other words, they allow of the cultivation by the farmer of a larger surface, but do not actually expel the labourers employed. In 1861 the number of persons occupied in England and Wales in the manufacture of agricultural machines was 1034, whilst the number of agricultural labourers employed in the use of agricultural machines and steam engines did not exceed 1205.
In the sphere of agriculture, modern industry has a more revolutionary effect than elsewhere, for this reason, that it annihilates the peasant, that bulwark of the old society, and replaces him by the wage labourer. Thus the desire for social changes, and the class antagonisms are brought to the same level in the country as in the towns. The irrational, old fashioned methods of agriculture are replaced by scientific ones. Capitalist production completely tears asunder the old bond of union which held together agriculture and manufacture in their infancy. But at the same time it creates the material conditions for a higher synthesis in the future, viz., the union of agriculture and industry on the basis of the more perfected forms they have each acquired during their temporary separation. Capitalist production, by collecting the population in great centres, and causing an ever increasing preponderance of town population, on the one hand concentrates the historical motive-power of society; on the other hand, it disturbs the circulation of matter between man and the soil, i.e., prevents the return to the soil of its elements consumed by man in the form of food and clothing; it therefore violates the conditions necessary to lasting fertility of the soil. By this action it destroys at the same time the health of the town labourer and the intellectual life of the rural labourer.245 But while upsetting the naturally grown conditions for the maintenance of that circulation of matter, it imperiously calls for its restoration as a system, as a regulating law of social production, and under a form appropriate to the full development of the human race. In agriculture as in manufacture, the transformation of production under the sway of capital, means, at the same time, the martyrdom of the producer; the instrument of labour becomes the means of enslaving, exploiting, and impoverishing the labourer; the social combination and organization of labour-processes is turned into an organised mode of crushing out the workman's individual vitality, freedom, and independence. The dispersion of the rural labourers over larger areas breaks their power of resistance while concentration increases that of the town operatives. In modern agriculture, as in the urban industries, the increased productiveness and quantity of the labour set in motion are bought at the cost of laying waste and consuming by disease labour-power itself. Moreover, all progress in capitalistic agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the labourer, but of robbing the soil; all progress in increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time, is a progress towards ruining the lasting sources of that fertility. The more a country starts its development on the foundation of modern industry, like the United States, for example, the more rapid is this process of destruction.246 Capitalist production, therefore, developes technology, and the combining together of various processes into a social whole, only by sapping the original sources of all wealth—the soil and the labourer.
[1.] The value of his average daily wages is determined by what the labourer requires "so as to live, labour, and generate." (Wm. Petty: "Political Anatomy of Ireland," 1672, p. 64.) "The price of Labour is always constituted of the price of necessaries...whenever...the labouring man's wages will not, suitably to his low rank and station, as a labouring man, support such a family as is often the lot of many of them to have," he does not receive proper wages. (J. Vanderlint, l. c. p. 15.) "Le simple ouvrier, qui n'a que ses bras et son industrie, n'a rien qu'autant qu'il parvient à vendre à d'autres sa peine.... En tout genre de travail il doit arriver, et il arrive en effet, que le salaire de l'ouvrier se borne à ce qui lui est nécessaire pour lui procurer sa substance." (Turgot, Réflexions, 8c., Oeuvres ed. Daire t. I. p. 10). "The price of the necessaries of life is, in fact, the cost of producing labour." (Malthus, Inquiry into, 8c., Rent, London, 1815, p. 48 note).
[2.] "Quando si perfezionano le arti, che non è altro che la scoperta di nuove vie, onde si possa compiere una manufattura con meno gente o (che è lo stesso) in minor tempo di prima." (Galiani l. c. p. 159.) "L'économie sur les frais de production ne peut done être autre chose que l'économie sur la quantité de travail employé pour produire." (Sismondi, Études t. I. p. 22.)
[3.] "Let us suppose...the products...of the manufacturer are doubled by improvement in machinery...he will be able to clothe his workmen by means of a smaller proportion of the entire return...and thus his profit will be raised. But in no other way will it be influenced." (Ramsay, l. c. p. 168, 169.)
[4.] "A man's profit does not depend upon his command of the produce of other men's labour, but upon his command of labour itself. If he can sell his goods at a higher price, while his workmen's wages remain unaltered, he is clearly benefited.... A smaller proportion of what he produces is sufficient to put that labour into motion, and a larger proportion consequently remains for himself." ("Outlines of Pol. Econ." London, 1832, pp. 49, 50.)
[5.] "If my neighbour by doing much with little labour, can sell cheap, I must contrive to sell as cheap as he. So that every art, trade, or engine, doing work with labour of fewer hands, and consequently cheaper, begets in others a kind of necessity and emulation, either of using the same art, trade, or engine, or of inventing something like it, that every man may be upon the square, that no man may be able to undersell his neighbour." ("The Advantages of the East India Trade to England." London, 1720, p. 67.)
[6.] "In whatever proportion the expenses of a labourer are diminished, in the same proportion will his wages be diminished, if the restraints upon industry are at the same time taken off." ("Considerations concerning taking off of the Bounty on Corn Exported," 8c., Lond., 1753, p. 7.) "The interest of trade requires, that corn and all provisions should be as cheap as possible; for whatever makes them dear, must make labour dear also...in all countries where industry is not restrained the price of provisions must affect the price of labour. This will always be diminished when the necessaries of life grow cheaper." (l. c. p. 3.) "Wages are decreased in the same proportion as the powers of production increase. Machinery, it is true, cheapens the necessaries of life, but it also cheapens the labourer." ("A Prize Essay on the Comparative Merits of Competition and Co-operation." London, 1884, p. 27.)
[7.] "Ils conviennent que plus on peut, sans préjudice, épargner de frais ou de travaux dispendieux dans la fabrication des ouvrages des artisans, plus cette épargne est profitable par la diminution des prix de ces ouvrages. Cependant ils croient que la production de richesse qui résulte des travaux des artisans consiste dans l'augmentation de la valeur vénale de leurs ouvrages." (Quesnay: "Dialogues sur le Commerce et sur les Travaux des artisans," pp. 188, 189.)
[8.] "Ces spéculateurs si économes du travail des ouvriers qu'il faudrait qu'ils payassent." (J. N. Bidaut: "Du Monopole qui s'établit dans les arts industriels et le commerce." Paris, 1828, p. 13.) "The employer will be always on the stretch to economise time and labour." (Dugald Stewart: Works ed. by Sir W. Hamilton. Edinburgh, v. viii., 1855. Lecture on Polit. Econ., p. 318.) "Their (the capitalists') interest is that the productive powers of the labourers they employ should be the greatest possible. On promoting that power their attention is fixed and almost exclusively fixed." (R. Jones: l. c. Lecture III.)
[9.] "Unquestionably, there is a good deal of difference between the value of one man's labour and that of another from strength, dexterity, and honest application. But I am quite sure, from my best observation, that any given five men will, in their total, afford a proportion of labour equal to any other five within the periods of life I have stated; that is, that among such five men there will be one possessing all the qualifications of a good workman, one bad, and the other three middling, and approximating to the first and the last. So that in so small a platoon as that of even five, you will find the full complement of all that five men can earn." (E. Burke, l. c. p. 15, 16). Compare Quételet on the average individual.
[10.] Professor Roscher claims to have discovered that one needlewoman employed by Mrs. Roscher during two days, does more work than two needlewomen employed together during one day. The learned professor should not study the capitalist process of production in the nursery, nor under circumstances where the principal personage, the capitalist, is wanting.
[11.] "Concours de forces." (Destutt de Tracy, l. c., p. 78.)
[12.] "There are numerous operations of so simple a kind as not to admit a division into parts, which cannot be performed without the co-operation of many pairs of hands. I would instance the lifting of a large tree on to a wain...everything, in short, which cannot be done unless a great many pairs of hands help each other in the same undivided employment and at the same time" (E.g. Wakefield: "A View of the Art of Colonisation." London: 1849, p. 168).
[13.] "As one man cannot, and ten men must strain to lift a tun of weight, yet 100 men can do it only by the strength of a finger of each of them." (John Bellers: "Proposals for raising a College of Industry." London, 1696, p. 21.)
[14.] "There is also" (when the same number of men are employed by one farmer on 300 acres, instead of by ten farmers with 30 acres a piece) "an advantage in the proportion of servants, which will not so easily be understood but by practical men; for it is natural to say, as 1 is to 4, so are 3: to 12; but this will not hold good in practice; for in harvest time and many other operations which require that kind of despatch by the throwing many hands together, the work is better and more expeditiously done; f. i. in harvest, 2 drivers, 2 loaders, 2 pitchers, 2 rakers, and the rest at the rick, or in the barn, will despatch double the work that the same number of hands would do if divided into different gangs on different farms." ("An Inquiry into the connection between the present Price of Provisions and the Size of Farms." By a Farmer. London, 1773, pp. 7, 8.)
[15.] Strictly, Aristotle's definition is that man is by nature a town-citizen. This is quite as characteristic of ancient classical society as Franklin's definition of man, as a tool-making animal, is characteristic of Yankeedom.
[16.] On doit encore remarquer que cette division partielle de travail peut se faire quand même les ouvriers sont occupés d'une même besogne. Des maçons par exemple, occupés à faire passer de mains en mains des briques à un échafaudage supérieur, font tous la même besogne, et pourtant il existe parmi eux une espèce de division de travail, qui consiste en ce que chacun d'eux fait passer la brique par un espace donné, et que tous ensemble la font parvenir beaucoup plus promptement à l'endroit marqué qu'ils ne le feraient si chacun d'eux portait sa brique séparément jusqu 'à l'échafaudage supérieur," (F. Skarbek: "Théorie des richesses sociales." Paris, 1829. t. I. pp. 97, 98.)
[17.] "Est-il question d'exécuter un travail compliqué, plusieurs choses doivent être faites simultanément. L'un en fait une pendant que l'autre en fait une autre, et tous contribuent à l'effet qu'un seul homme n'aurait pu produire. L'un rame pendant que l'autre tient le gouvernail, et qu'un troisième jette le filet ou harponne le poisson, et la pêche a un succès impossible sans ce concours." (Destutt de Tracy, l. c.)
[18.] "The doing of it (agricultural work) at the critical juncture is of so much the greater consequence." ("An Inquiry into the Connection between the Present Price," 8c., p. 9.) "In agriculture, there is no more important factor than that of time." (Liebig: "Ueber Theorie und Praxis in der Landwirthschaft." 1856. p. 23.)
[19.] "The next evil is one which one would scarcely expect to find in a country which exports more labour than any other in the world, with the exception, perhaps, of China and England—the impossibility of procuring a sufficient number of hands to clean the cotton. The consequence of this is that large quantities of the crop are left unpicked, while another portion is gathered from the ground when it has fallen, and is of course discoloured and partially rotted, so that for want of labour at the proper season the cultivator is actually forced to submit to the loss of a large part of that crop for which England is so anxiously looking." (Bengal Hurkaru. Bi-Monthly Overland Summary of News, 22nd July, 1861.)
[20.] In the progress of culture "all, and perhaps more than all, the capital and labour which once loosely occupied 500 acres, are now concentrated for the more complete tillage of 100." Although "relatively to the amount of capital and labour employed, space is concentrated, it is an enlarged sphere of production, as compared to the sphere of production formerly occupied or worked upon by one single independent agent of production." (R. Jones: "An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth," part I. On Rent. London, 1831, p. 191.)
[21.] "La forza di ciascuno uomo è minima, ma la riünione delle minime forze forma una forza totale maggiore anche della somma delle forze medesime fino a che le forze per essere riunite possono diminuere il tempo ed accrescere lo spazio della loro azione." (G. R. Carli, Note to P. Verri, l. c. t., xv. p. 196.)
[22.] "Profits...is the sole end of trade." (J. Vanderlint, l. c., p. 11.)
[23.] That Philistine paper, the Spectator, states that after the introduction of a sort of partnership between capitalist and workmen in the "Wirework Company of Manchester," "the first result was a sudden decrease in waste, the men not seeing why they should waste their own property any more than any other master's, and waste is, perhaps, next to bad debts, the greatest source of manufacturing loss." The same paper finds that the main defect in the Rochdale co-operative experiments is this: "They showed that associations of workmen could manage shops, mills, and almost all forms of industry with success, and they immediately improved the condition of the men; but then they did not leave a clear place for masters." Quelle horreur!
[24.] Professor Cairns, after stating that the superintendence of labour is a leading feature of production by slaves in the Southern States of North America, continues: "The peasant proprietor (of the North), appropriating the whole produce of his toil, needs no other stimulus to exertion. Superintendence is here completely dispensed with." (Cairnes, l. c., pp. 48, 49.)
[25.] Sir James Steuart, a writer altogether remarkable for his quick eye for the characteristic social distinctions between different modes of production, says: "Why do large undertakings in the manufacturing way ruin private industry, but by coming nearer to the simplicity of slaves?" ("Prin. of Pol. Econ.," London, 1767, v. I., p. 167, 168.)
[26.] Auguste Comte and his school might therefore have shown that feudal lords are an eternal necessity in the same way that they have done in the case of the lords of capital.
[27.] R. Jones. "Text-book of Lectures," 8c., pp. 77, 78. The ancient Assyrian, Egyptian, and other collections in London, and in other European capitals, make us eye-witnesses of the modes of carrying on that co-operative labour.
[28.] Linguet is probably right, when in his "Theorie des Lois Civiles," he declares hunting to be the first form of co-operation, and man-hunting (war) one of the earliest forms of hunting.
[29.] Peasant agriculture on a small scale, and the carrying on of independent handicrafts, which together form the basis of the feudal mode of production, and after the dissolution of that system, continue side by side with the capitalist mode, also form the economic foundation of the classical communities at their best, after the primitive form of ownership of land in common had disappeared, and before slavery had seized on production in earnest.
[30.] "Whether the united skill, industry, and emulation of many together on the same work be not the way to advance it? And whether it had been otherwise possible for England, to have carried on her Woollen Manufacture to so great a perfection?" (Berkeley. "The Querist." London, 1750, p. 56, par. 521.)
[31.] To give a more modern instance: The silk spinning and weaving of Lyons and Nimes "est toute patriarcale; elle emploie beaucoup de femmes et d'enfants, mais sans les épuiser ni les corrompre; elle les laisse dans leur belles vallées de la Dröme, du Var, de l'Isère, de Vaucluse, pour y élever des vers et dévider leurs cocons; jamais elle n'entre dans une véritable fabrique. Pour étre aussi bien observé...le principe de la division du travail s'y revêt d'un caractère spécial. Il y a bien des dévideuses, des moulineurs, des teinturiers, des encolleurs, puis des tisserands; mais ils ne sont pas réunis dans un même établissement, ne dépendent pas d'un même maitre; tous ils sont indépendants." (A. Blanqui: "Cours d'Econ. Industrielle." Recueilli par A. Blaise. Paris, 1838-39, pp. 79). Since Blanqui wrote this, the various independent labourers have, to some extent, been united in factories. [And since Marx wrote the above, the powerloom has invaded these factories, and is now—1886—rapidly superseding the handloom. ED.]
[32.] "The more any manufacture of much variety shall be distributed and assigned to different artists, the same must needs be better done and with greater expedition, with less loss of time and labour." ("The Advantages of the East India Trade," Lond., 1720. p. 71.)
[33.] "Easy labour is transmitted skill." (Th. Hodgskin, l. c. p. 125.)
[34.] "The arts also have...in Egypt reached the requisite degree of perfection. For it is the only country where artificers may not in any way meddle with the affairs of another class of citizens, but must follow that calling alone which by law is hereditary in their clan...In other countries it is found that tradesmen divide their attention between too many objects. At one time they try agriculture, at another they take to commerce, at another they busy themselves with two or three occupations at once. In free countries, they mostly frequent the assemblies of the people.... In Egypt, on the contrary, every artificer is severely punished if he meddles with affairs of State, or carries on several trades at once. Thus there is nothing to disturb their application to their calling.... Moreover, since they inherit from their forefathers numerous rules, they are eager to discover fresh advantages." (Diodorus Siculus: Bibl. Hist. l. 1. c. 74.)
[35.] Historical and descriptive account of Brit. India, 8c., by Hugh Murray and James Wilson, 8c., Edinburgh 1832. v. II. p. 449. The Indian loom is upright, i.e., the warp is stretched vertically.
[36.] Darwin in his epoch-making work on the origin of species, remarks, with reference to the natural organs of plants and animals, "So long as one and the same organ has different kinds of work to perform, a ground for its changeability may possibly be found in this, that natural selection preserves or suppresses each small variation of form less carefully than if that organ were destined for one special purpose alone. Thus, knives that are adapted to cut all sorts of things, may, on the whole, be of one shape; but an implement destined to be used exclusively in one way must have a different shape for every different use."
[37.] In the year 1854 Geneva produced 80,000 watches, which is not one-fifth of the production in the Canton of Neufchâtel. La Chaux-de-Fond alone, which we may look upon as a huge watch manufactory, produces yearly twice as many as Geneva. From 1850-61 Geneva produced 750,000 watches. See "Report from Geneva on the Watch Trade" in "Reports by H. M.'s Secretaries of Embassy and Legation on the Manufactures, Commerce, 8c., No. 6, 1863." The want of connexion alone, between the processes into which the production of articles that merely consist of parts fitted together is split up, makes it very difficult to convert such a manufacture into a branch of modern industry carried on by machinery; but in the case of a watch there are two other impediments in addition, the minuteness and delicacy of its parts, and its character as an article of luxury. Hence their variety, which is such, that in the best London houses scarcely a dozen watches are made alike in the course of a year. The watch manufactory of Messrs. Vacheron 8 Constantin, in which machinery has been employed with success, produces at the most three or four different varieties of size and form.
[38.] In watchmaking, that classical example of heterogeneous manufacture, we may study with great accuracy the above mentioned differentiation and specialisation of the instruments of labour caused by the sub-division of handicrafts.
[39.] "In so close a cohabitation of the people, the carriage must needs be less." ("The Advantager of the East India Trade," p. 106.)
[40.] "The isolation of the different stages of manufacture, consequent upon the employment of manual labour, adds immensely to the cost of production, the loss mainly arising from the mere removals from one process to another." ("The Industry of Nations." Lond., 1855. Part II., p. 200.)
[41.] "It (the division of labour) produces also an economy of time by separating the work into its different branches, all of which may be carried on into execution at the same moment.... By carrying on all the different processes at once, which an individual must have executed separately, it becomes possible to produce a multitude of pins completely finished in the same time as a single pin might have been either cut or pointed." (Dugald Stewart, l. c., p. 319.)
[42.] "The more variety of artists to every manufacture...the greater the order and regularity of every work, the same must needs be done in less time, the labour must be less." ("The Advantages," 8c., p. 68.)
[43.] Nevertheless, the manufacturing system, in many branches of industry, attains this result but very imperfectly, because it knows not how to control with certainty the general chemical and physical conditions of the process of production.
[44.] "When (from the peculiar nature of the produce of each manufactory), the number of processes into which it is most advantageous to divide it is ascertained, as well as the number of individuals to be employed, then all other manufactories which do not employ a direct multiple of this number will produce the article at a greater cost.... Hence arises one of the causes of the great size of manufacturing establishments." (C. Babbage. "On the Economy of Machinery," 1st ed. London, 1882. Ch. xxi., p. 172-173.)
[45.] In England, the melting-furnace is distinct from the glass-furnace in which the glass is manipulated. In Belgium, one and the same furnace serves for both processes.
[46.] This can be seen from W. Petty, John Bellers, Andrew Yarranton, "The Advantages of the East India Trade," and J. Vanderlint, not to mention others.
[47.] Towards the end of the 16th century, mortars and sieves were still used in France for pounding and washing ores.
[48.] The whole history of the development of machinery can be traced in the history of the corn mill. The factory in England is still a "mill." In German technological works of the first decade of this century, the term "Mühle" is still found in use, not only for all machinery driven by the forces of Nature, but also for all manufactures where apparatus in the nature of machinery is applied.
[49.] As will be seen more in detail in "Theories of Surplus-Value," Adam Smith has not established a single new proposition relating to division of labour. What, however, characterises him as the political economist par excellence of the period of Manufacture, is the stress he lays on division of labour. The subordinate part which he assigns to machinery gave occasion in the early days of modern mechanical industry to the polemic of Lauderdale, and, at a later period, to that of Ure. A. Smith also confounds differentiation of the instruments of labour, in which the detail labourers themselves took an active part, with the invention of machinery; in this latter, it is not the workmen in manufactories, but learned men, handicraftsmen, and even peasants (Brindley), who play a part.
[50.] "The master manufacturer, by dividing the work to be executed into different processes, each requiring different degrees of skill or of force, can purchase exactly that precise quantity of both which is necessary for each process; whereas, if the whole work were executed by one workman, that person must possess sufficient skill to perform the most difficult, and sufficient strength to execute the most laborious of the operations into which the article is divided." (Ch. Babbage. l. c., ch. xviii.)
[51.] For instance, abnormal development of some muscles, curvature of bones, 8c.
[52.] The question put by one of the Inquiry Commissioners, How the young persons are kept steadily to their work, is very correctly answered by Mr. Wm. Marshall, the general manager of a glass manufactory: "They cannot well neglect their work; when they once begin, they must go on; they are just the same as parts of a machine." ("Children's Empl. Comm.," 4th Rep., 1865, p. 247.)
[53.] Dr. Ure, in his apotheosis of Modern Mechanical Industry, brings out the peculiar character of manufacture more sharply than previous economists, who had not his polemical interest in the matters, and more sharply even than his contemporaries—Babbage, e.g., who, though much his superior as a mathematician and mechanician, treated mechanical industry from the standpoint of manufacture alone. Ure says, "This appropriation...to each, a workman of appropriate value and cost was naturally assigned, forms the very essence of division of labour." On the other hand, he describes this division as "adaptation of labour to the different talents of men," and lastly, characterises the whole manufacturing system as "a system for the division or gradation of labour," as "the division of labour into degrees of skill," 8c. (Ure, l. c. pp. 19-23 passim.)
[54.] "Each handicraftsman being...enabled to perfect himself by practice in one point, became...a cheaper workman." (Ure, l. c., p. 19.)
[55.] "Division of labour proceeds from the separation of professions the most widely different to that division, where several labourers divide between them the preparation of one and the same product, as in manufacture." (Storch: "Cours d'Econ. Pol. Paris Edn." t. I., p. 173.) "Nous rencontrons chez les peoples parvenus à un certain degré de civilisation trois genres de divisions d'industrie: la première, que nous nommerons générale, amène la distinction des producteurs en agriculteurs, manufacturiers et commerçans, elle se rapporte aux trois principales branches d'industrie nationale; la seconde, qu'on pourrait appeler spéciale, est la division de chaque genre d'industrie en espèces...la troisième division d'industrie, celle enfin qu'on devrait qualifier de division de la besogne ou de travail proprement dit, est celle qui s'établit dans les arts et les métiers séparés...qui s'établit dans la plupart des manufactures et des ateliers." (Skarbek. l. c. pp. 84, 85.)
[56.] Note to the third edition. Subsequent very searching study of the primitive condition of man, led the author to the conclusion, that it was not the family that originally developed into the tribe, but that, on the contrary, the tribe was the primitive and spontaneously developed form of human association, on the basis of blood relationship, and that out of the first incipient loosening of the tribal bonds, the many and various forms of the family were afterwards developed. (Ed. 3rd ed.)
[57.] Sir James Steuart is the economist who has handled this subject best. How little his book, which appeared ten years before the "Wealth of Nations," is known, even at the present time, may be judged from the fact that the admirers of Malthus do not even know that the first edition of the latter's work on population contains, except in the purely declamatory part, very little but extracts from Steuart, and in a less degree, from Wallace and Townsend.
[58.] "There is a certain density of population which is convenient, both for social intercourse, and for that combination of powers by which the produce of labour is increased." (James Mill, 1. c. p. 50.) "As the number of labourers increases, the productive power of society augments in the compound ratio of that increase, multiplied by the effects of the division of labour." (Th. Hodgskin, l. c. pp. 125, 126.)
[59.] In consequence of the great demand for cotton after 1861, the production of cotton, in some thickly populated districts of India, was extended at the expense of rice cultivation. In consequence there arose local famines, the defective means of communication not permitting the failure of rice in one district to be compensated by importation from another.
[60.] Thus, the fabrication of shuttles formed, as early as the 17th century, a special branch of industry in Holland.
[61.] "Whether the woollen manufacture of England is not divided into several parts or branches appropriated to particular places, where they are only or principally manufactured; fine cloths in Somersetshire coarse in Yorkshire, long ells at Exeter, soies at Sudbury, crapes at Norwich, linseys at Kendal, blankets at Whitney, and so forth." (Berkeley: "The Querist," 1750, p. 520.)
[62.] A. Ferguson: "History of Civil Society." Edinburgh, 1767; Part iv. sect. ii., p. 285.
[63.] In manufacture proper, he says, the division of labour appears to be greater, because "those employed in every different branch of the work can often be collected into the same workhouse, and placed at once under the view of the spectator. In those great manufactures, (1) on the contrary, which are destined to supply the great wants of the great body of the people, every different branch of the work employs so great a number of workmen, that it is impossible to collect them all into the same workhouse...the division is not near so obvious." (A. Smith: "Wealth of Nations," bk. i. ch. i.) The celebrated passage in the same chapter that begins with the words, "Observe the accommodation of the most common artificer or day labourer in a civilized and thriving country," 8c., and then proceeds to depict what an enormous number and variety of industries contribute to the satisfaction of the wants of an ordinary labourer, is copied almost word for word from B. de Mandeville's Remarks to his "Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Publick Benefits." (First ed., without the remarks, 1706; with the remarks, 1714.)
[64.] "There is no longer anything which we can call the natural reward of individual labour. Each labourer produces only some part of a whole, and each part, having no value or utility in itself, there is nothing on which the labourer can seize, and say: It is my product, this I will keep to myself." ("Labour Defended against the Claims of Capital." Lond., 1825, p. 25.) The author of this admirable work is the Th. Hodgskin I have already cited.
[65.] This distinction between division of labour in society and in manufacture, was practically illustrated to the Yankees. One of the new taxes devised at Washington during the civil war, was the duty of 6% "on all industrial products." Question: What is an industrial product? Answer of the legislature: A thing is produced "when it is made," and it is made when it is ready for sale. Now, for one example out of many. The New York and Philadelphia manufacturers had previously been in the habit of "making" umbrellas, with all their belongings. But since an umbrella is a mixtum compositum of very heterogèneous parts, by degrees these parts became the products of various separate industries, carried on independently in different places. They entered as separate commodities into the umbrella manufactory, where they were fitted together. The Yankees have given to articles thus fitted together, the name of "assembled articles," a name they deserve, for being an assemblage of taxes. Thus the umbrella "assembles," first, 6% on the price of each of its elements, and a further 6% on its own total price.
[66.] "On peut...établir en règle générale, que moins l'autorite préside à la division du travail dans l'intérieur de la société, plus la division du travail se développe dans l'intérieur de l'atelier, et plus elle y est soumise à l'autorité d'un seul. Ainsi l'autorité dans l'atelier et celle dans la société, par rapport à la division dutravail, sont en raison inverse l'une de l'autre." (Karl Marx, "Misère," 8c., pp. 130-131.)
[67.] Lieut.-Col. Mark Wilks: "Historical Sketches of the South of India." Lond., 1810-17, v. I., pp. 118-20. A good description of the various forms of the Indian communities is to be found in George Campbell's "Modern India." Lond., 1852.
[68.] "Under this simple form...the inhabitants of the country have lived from time immemorial. The boundaries of the villages have been but seldom altered; and though the villages themselves have been sometimes injured, and even desolated by war, famine, and disease, the same name, the same limits, the same interests, and even the same families, have continued for ages. The inhabitants give themselves no trouble about the breaking up and division of kingdoms; while the village remains entire, they care not to what power it is transferred, or to what sovereign it devolves; its internal economy remains unchanged." (Th. Stamford Raffles, late Lieut. Gov. of Java: "The History of Java." Lond., 1817, Vol. I., p. 285.)
[69.] "It is not sufficient that the capital" (the writer should have said the necessary means of subsistence and of production) "required for the sub-division of handicrafts should be in readiness in the society: it must also be accumulated in the hands of the employers in sufficiently large quantities to enable them to conduct their operations on a large scale.... The more the division increases, the more does the constant employment of a given number of labourers require greater outlay of capital in tools, raw material, 8c.," (Storch: Cours d'Econ. Polit. Paris Ed., t. I. pp. 250, 251.) "La concentration des instruments de production et la division du travail sent aussi inséparables l'une de l'autre que le sont, dans le régime politique, la concentration des pouvoirs publics et la division des intéréts privés." (Karl Marx. l. c., p. 134.)
[70.] Dugald Stewart calls manufacturing labourers "living automatons...employed in the details of the work." (l. c., p. 318.)
[71.] In corals, each individual is, in fact, the stomach of the whole group; but it supplies the group with nourishment, instead of, like the Roman patrician, withdrawing it.
[72.] "L'ouvrier qui porte dans ses bras tout un métier, peut aller partout exercer son industrie et trouver des moyens de subsister: l'autre (the manufacturing labourer) n'est qu'un accessoire qui, séparé de ses confrères, n'a plus ni capacitê, ni indépendance, et qui se trouve forcé d'accepter la loi qu'on juge à propos de lui imposer." (Storch. l. c. Petersb. edit., 1815, t. I., p. 204.)
[73.] A. Ferguson, l. c., p. 281: "The former may have gained what the other has lost."
[74.] "The man of knowledge and the productive labourer come to be widely divided from each other, and knowledge, instead of remaining the handmaid of labour in the hand of the labourer to increase his productive powers...has almost everywhere arrayed itself against labour...systematically deluding and leading them (the labourers) astray in order to render their muscular powers entirely mechanical and obedient." (W. Thompson: "An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth. London, 1824," p. 274.)
[75.] A. Ferguson, l. c., p. 280.
[76.] J. D. Tuckett: "A History of the Past and Present State of the Labouring Population." Lond., 1846.
[77.] A. Smith: Wealth of Nations, Bk. V., ch. I., art. II. Being a pupil of A. Ferguson who showed the disadvantageous effects of division of labour, Adam Smith was perfectly clear on this point. In the introduction to his work, where he ex professo praises division of labour, he indicates only in a cursory manner that it is the source of social inequalities. It is not till the 5th Book, on the Revenue of the State, that he reproduces Ferguson. In my "Misère de la Philosophie," I have sufficiently explained the historical connection between Ferguson, A. Smith, Lemontey, and Say, as regards their criticisms of Division of Labour, and have shown, for the first time, that Division of Labour as practised in manufactures, is a specific form of the capitalist mode of production.
[78.] Ferguson had already said, l. c. p. 281: "And thinking itself, in this age of separations, may become a peculiar craft."
[79.] G. Garnier, vol. V. of his translation of A. Smith, pp. 4-5.
[80.] Ramazzini, professor of practical medicine at Padua, published in 1713 his work "De morbis artificum," which was translated into French 1781, reprinted in 1841 in the "Encyclopédie des Sciences Médicales. 7me Dis. Auteurs Classiques." The period of Modern Mechanical Industry has, of course, very much enlarged his catalogue of labour's diseases. See "Hygiène physique et morale de l'ouvrier dans les grandes villes en général et dans la ville de Lyon en particulier. Par le Dr. A. L. Fonterel, Paris, 1858," and "Die Krankheiten, welche verschiednen Standen, Altern und Geschlechtern eigenthümlich sind. 6 Vols. Ulm, 1860," and others. In 1854 the Society of Arts appointed a Commission of Inquiry into industrial pathology. The list of documents collected by this commission is to be seen in the catalogue of the "Twickenham Economic Museum." Very important are the official "Reports on Public Health." See also Eduard Reich, M.D. "Ueber die Entartung des Menschen," Erlangen, 1868.
[81.] (D. Urquhart: Familiar Words. Lond., 1855, p. 119.) Hegel held very heretical views on division of labour. In his Rechtsphilosophie he says: "By well educated men we understand in the first instance, those who can do everything that others do."
[82.] The simple belief in the inventive genius exercised a priori by the individual capitalist in division of labour, exists now-a-days only among German professors, of the stamp of Herr Roscher, who, to recompense the capitalist from whose Jovian head division of labour sprang ready formed, dedicates to him "various wages" (diverse Arbeitslöhne). The more or less extensive application of division of labour depends on length of purse, not on greatness of genius.
[83.] The older writers, like Petty and the anonymous author of "Advantages of the East India Trade," bring out the capitalist character of division of labour as applied in manufacture more than A. Smith does.
[84.] Amongst the moderns may be excepted a few writers of the 18th century, like Beccaria and James Harris, who with regard to division of labour almost entirely follow the ancients. Thus, Beccaria: "Ciascuno prova coll' esperienza, che applicando la mano e l'ingegno sempre allo stesso genere di opere e di produtte, egli più facili, più abbondanti e migliori ne traca risultati, di quello che se ciascuno isolatamente le cose tutte a se necessarie soltanto facesse.... Dividendosi in tal maniera per la comune e privati utilità gli uomini in varie classic condizioni." (Cesare Beccaria: "Elementi di Econ. Pubblica," ed. Custodi, Parte Moderna, t. xi., p. 28.) James Harris, afterwards Earl of Malmesbury, celebrated for the "Diaries" of his embassy at St. Petersburg, says in a note to his "Dialogue Concerning Happiness," Lond., 1741, reprinted afterwards in "Three Treatises, 8c., 3 Ed., Lond., 1772:" "The whole argument to prove society natural (i.e., by division of employments)...is taken from the second book of Plato's Republic."
[85.] Thus, in the Odyssey xiv., 228, and Archilochus in Sextus Empiricus,
[86.] Every Athenian considered himself superior as a producer of commodities to a Spartan; for the latter in time of war had men enough at his disposal but could not command money, as Thucydides makes Pericles say in the speech inciting the Athenians to the Peloponnesian war: (Thuc: l.I.c. 41.) Nevertheless, even with regard to material production, as opposed to division of labour remained their ideal, It should be mentioned here that at the date of the fall of the 30 Tyrants there were still not 5000 Athenians without landed property.
[87.] With Plato, division of labour within the community is a development from the multifarious requirements, and the limited capacities of individuals. The main point with him is, that the labourer must adapt himself to the work, not the work to the labourer; which latter is unavoidable, if he carries on several trades at once, thus making one or the other of them subordinate. (Rep. 1. 2. Ed. Baiter, Orelli, 8c.). So in Thucydides l. c. c., 42: "Seafaring is an art like any other, and cannot, as circumstances require, be carried on as a subsidiary occupation; nay, other subsidiary occupations cannot be carried on alongside of this one." If the work, says Plato, has to wait for the labourer, the critical point in the process is missed and the article spoiled, The same Platonic idea is found recurring in the protest of the English bleachers against the cause in the Factory Act that provides fixed meal times for all operatives. Their business cannot wait the convenience of the workmen, for "in the various operations of singeing, washing, bleaching, mangling, calendering, and dyeing, none of them can be stopped at a given moment without risk of damage....to enforce the same dinner hour for all the work-people might occasionally subject valuable goods to the risk of danger by incomplete operations." Leplatonisme où va-t-il se nicher!
[88.] Xenophon says, it is not only an honour to receive food from the table of the King of Persia, but such food is much more tasty than other food. "And there is nothing wonderful in this, for as the other arts are brought to special perfection in the great towns, so the royal food is prepared in a special way. For in the small towns the same man makes bedsteads, doors, ploughs and tables: often, too, he builds houses into the bargain, and is quite content if he finds custom sufficient for his sustenance. It is altogether impossible for a man who does so many things to do them all well. But in the great towns, where each man can find many buyers, one trade is sufficient to maintain the man who carries it on. Nay, there is often not even need of one complete trade, but one man makes shoes for men, another for women. Here and there one man gets a living by sewing, another by cutting out shoes; one does nothing but cut out clothes, another nothing but sew the pieces together. It follows necessarily then, that he who does the simplest kind of work, undoubtedly does it better than any one else. So it is with the art of cooking." (Xen. Cyrop. 1. viii., c. 2.) Xenophon here lays stress exclusively upon the excellence to be attained in use-value, although he well knows that the gradations of the division of labour depend on the extent of the market.
[89.] He (Busiris) divided them all into special castes.... commanded that the same individuals should always carry on the same trade, for he knew that they who change their occupations become skilled in none; but that those who constantly stick to one occupation bring it to the highest perfection. In truth, we shall also find that in relation to the arts and handicrafts, they have outstripped their rivals more than a master does a bungler; and the contrivances for maintaining the monarchy and the other institutions, of their State are so admirable that the most celebrated philosophers who treat of this subject praise the constitution of the Egyptian State above all others. (Isocrates, Busiris, c. 8.)
[90.] Cf. Diodorus Siculus.
[91.] Ure, l. c., p. 20.
[92.] This is more the case in England than in France, and more in France than in Holland.
[1.] Mill should have said, "of any human being not fed by other people's labour," for, without doubt, machinery has greatly increased the number of well-to-do idlers.
[2.] See, for instance, Hutton: "Course of Mathematics."
[3.] "From this point of view we may draw a sharp line of distinction between a tool and a machine: spades, hammers, chisels, 8c., combinations of levers and of screws, in all of which, no matter how complicated they may be in other respects, man is the motive power,...all this falls under the idea of a tool; but the plough, which is drawn by animal power, and windmills, 8c., must be classed among machines." (Wilhelm Schulz: "Die Bewegung der Produktion. Zürich, 1843," p. 38.) In many respects a book to be recommended.
[4.] Before his time, spinning machines, although very imperfect ones, had already been used, and Italy was probably the country of their first appearance. A critical history of technology would show how little any of the inventions of the 18th century are the work of a single individual. Hitherto there is no such book. Darwin has interested us in the history of Nature's Technology, i.e., in the formation of the organs of plants and animals, which organs serve as instruments of production for sustaining life. Does not the history of the productive organs of man, of organs that are the material basis of all social organisation, deserve equal attention? And would not such a history be easier to compile since, as Vico says, human history differs from natural history in this, that we have made the former, but not the latter? Technology discloses man's mode of dealing with Nature, the process of production by which he sustains his life, and thereby also lays bare the mode of formation of his social relations, and of the mental conceptions that flow from them. Every history of religion even, that fails to take account of this material basis, is uncritical. It is, in reality, much easier to discover by analysis the earthly core of the misty creations of religion, than, conversely, it is, to develop from the actual relations of life the corresponding celestialised forms of those relations. The latter method is the only materialistic, and therefore the only scientific one. The weak points in the abstract materialism of natural science, a materialism that excludes history and its process, are at once evident from the abstract and ideological conceptions of its spokesmen, whenever they venture beyond the bounds of their own speciality.
[5.] Especially in the original form of the power-loom, we recognise, at the first glance, the ancient loom. In its modern form, the power-loom has undergone essential alterations.
[6.] It is only during the last 15 years (i.e., since about 1850), that a constantly increasing portion of these machine tools have been made in England by machinery, and that not by the same manufacturers who make the machines. Instances of machines for the fabrication of these mechanical tools are, the automatic bobbin-making engine, the card-setting engine, shuttle-making machines, and machines for forging mule and throstle spindles.
[7.] Moses says: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads the corn." The Christian philanthropists of Germany, on the contrary, fastened a wooden board round the necks of the serfs, whom they used as a motive power for grinding, in order to prevent them from putting flour into their mouths with their hands.
[8.] It was partly the want of streams with a good fall on them, and partly their battles with superabundance of water in other respects, that compelled the Dutch to resort to wind as a motive power. The windmill itself they got from Germany, where its invention was the origin of a pretty squabble between the nobles, the priests, and the emperor, as to which of those three the wind "belonged." The air makes bondage, was the cry in Germany, at the same time that the wind was making Holland free. What it reduced to bondage in this case, was not the Dutchman, but the land for the Dutchman. In 1836, 12,000 windmills of 6000 horse-power were still employed in Holland, to prevent two-thirds of the land from being reconverted into morasses.
[9.] It was, indeed, very much improved by Watt's first so-called single acting engine; but, in this form, it continued to be a mere machine for raising water, and the liquor from salt mines.
[10.] "The union of all these simple instruments, set in motion by a single motor, constitutes a machine." (Babbage, l. c.)
[11.] In January, 1861, John C. Morton read before the Society of Arts a paper on "The forces employed in agriculture." He there states: "Every improvement that furthers the uniformity of the land makes the steam-engine more and more applicable to the production of pure mechanical force.... Horse-power is requisite wherever crooked fences and other obstructions prevent uniform action. These obstructions are vanishing day by day. For operations that demand more exercise of will than actual force, the only power applicable is that controlled every instant by the human mind—in other words, man-power." Mr. Morton then reduces steam-power, horse-power, and man-power, to the unit in general use for steam-engines, namely, the force required to raise 33,000 lbs. one foot in one minute, and reckons the cost of one horse-power from a steam-engine to be 3d., and from a horse to be 5½d. per hour. Further, if a horse must fully maintain its health, it can work no more than 8 hours a day. Three at the least out of every seven horses used on tillage land during the year can be dispensed with, by using steam-power, at an expense not greater than that which, the horses dispensed with, would cost during the 3 or 4 months in which alone they can be used effectively. Lastly, steam-power, in those agricultural operations in which it can be employed, improves, in comparison with horse-power, the quality of the work. To do the work of a steam-engine would require 66 men, at a total cost of 15s. an hour, and to do the work of a horse, 32 men, at a total cost of 8s. an hour.
[12.] Faulhebr, 1625; De Cous, 1688.
[13.] The modern turbine frees the industrial exploitation of water-power from many of its former fetters.
[14.] "In the early days of textile manufactures, the locality of the factory depended upon the existence of a stream having a sufficient fall to turn a water-wheel; and, although the establishment of the water mills was the commencement of the breaking up of the domestic system of manufacture, yet the mills necessarily situated upon streams, and frequently at considerable distances the one from the other, formed part of a rural, rather than an urban system; and it was not until the introduction of the steam-power as a substitute for the stream that factories were congregated in towns, and localities where the coal and water required for the production of steam were found in sufficient quantities. The steam-engine is the parent of manufacturing towns." (A. Redgrave in "Reports of the Insp. of Fact. 30th April, 1866," p. 36.)
[15.] From the standpoint of division of labour in Manufacture, weaving was not simple, but on the contrary, complicated manual labour; and consequently the power-loom is a machine that does very complicated work. It is altogether erroneous to suppose that modern machinery originally appropriated these operations alone, which division of labour had simplified. Spinning and weaving were, during the manufacturing period, split up into new species, and the implements were modified and improved; but the labour itself was in no way divided, and it retained its handicraft character. It is not the labour, but the instrument of labour, that serves as the starting-point of the machine.
[16.] Before the epoch of Mechanical Industry, the wool manufacture was the predominating manufacture in England. Hence it was in this industry that, in the first half of the 18th century, the most experiments were made. Cotton, which required less careful preparation for its treatment by machinery, derived the benefit of the experience gained on wool, just as afterwards the manipulation of wool by machinery was developed on the lines of cotton-spinning and weaving by machinery. It was only during the 10 years immediately preceding 1866, that isolated details of the wool manufacture, such as wool-combing, were incorporated in the factory system. "The application of power to the process of combing wool....extensively in operation since the introduction of the combing machine, especially Lister's...undoubtedly had the effect of throwing a very large number of men out of work. Wool was formerly combed by hand, most frequently in the cottage of the comber. It is now very generally combed in the factory, and hand-labour is superseded, except in some particular kinds of work, in which hand-combed wool is still preferred. Many of the hand-combers found employment in the factories, but the produce of the hand-combers bears so small a proportion to that of the machine, that the employment of a very large number of combers has passed away." (Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1856, p. 16.)
[17.] "The principle of the factory system, then, is to substitute...the partition of a process into its essential constituents, for the division or graduation of labour among artisans." (Andrew Ure: "The Philosophy of Manufactures." Lond., 1835, p. 20.)
[18.] The powerloom was at first made chiefly of wood; in its improved modern form it is made of iron. To what an extent the old forms of the instruments of production influenced their new forms at first starting, is shown by, amongst other things, the most superficial comparison of the present powerloom with the old one, of the modern blowing apparatus of a blast-furnace with the first inefficient mechanical reproduction of the ordinary bellows, and perhaps more strikingly than in any other way, by the attempts before the invention of the present locomotive, to construct a locomotive that actually had two feet, which after the fashion of a horse, it raised alternately from the ground. It is only after considerable development of the science of mechanics, and accumulated practical experience, that the form of a machine becomes settled entirely in accordance with mechanical principles, and emancipated from the traditional form of the tool that gave rise to it.
[19.] Eli Whitney's cotton gin had until very recent times undergone less essential changes than any other machine of the 18th century. It is only during the last decade (i.e., since 1856) that another American, Mr. Emery, of Albany, New York, has rendered Whitney's gin antiquated by an improvement as simple as it is effective.
[20.] "The Industry of Nations, Lond., 1855," Part II., p. 239. This work also remarks: "Simple and outwardly unimportant as this appendage to lathes may appear, it is not, we believe, averring too much to state, that its influence in improving and extending the use of machinery has been as great as that produced by Watt's improvements of the steam-engine itself. Its introduction went at once to perfect all machinery, to cheapen it, and to stimulate invention and improvement."
[21.] One of these machines, used for forging paddle-wheel shafts in London, is called "Thor." It forges a shaft of 16½ tons with as much ease as a blacksmith forges a horse-shoe.
[22.] Wood working machines that are also capable of being employed on a small scale are mostly American inventions.
[23.] Science, generally speaking, costs the capitalist nothing, a fact that by no means hinders him from exploiting it. The science of others is as much annexed by capital as the labour of others. Capitalistic appropriation and personal appropriation, whether of science or of material wealth, are, however, totally different things. Dr. Ure himself deplores the gross ignorance of mechanical science existing among his dear machinery-exploiting manufacturers, and Liebig can a tale unfold about the astounding ignorance of chemistry displayed by English chemical manufacturers.
[24.] Ricardo lays such stress on this effect of machinery (of which, in other connexions, he takes no more notice than he does of the general distinction between the labour-process and the process of creating surplus-value), that he occasionally loses sight of the value given up by machines to the product, and puts machines on the same footing as natural forces. Thus "Adam Smith nowhere undervalues the services which the natural agents and machinery perform for us, but he very justly distinguishes the nature of the value which they add to commodities...as they perform their work gratuitously, the assistance which they afford us, adds nothing to value in exchange." (Ric. l. c., p. 336, 337.) This observation of Ricardo is of course correct in so far as it is directed against J. B. Say, who imagines that machines render the "service" of creating value which forms a part of "profits."
[25.] A horse-power is equal to a force of 33,000 foot-pounds per minute, i.e., to a force that raises 33,000 pounds one foot in a minute, or one pound 33,000 feet. This is the horse-power meant in the text. In ordinary language, and also here and there in quotations in this work, a distinction is drawn between the "nominal" and the "commercial" or "indicated" horse-power of the same engine. The old or nominal horse-power is calculated exclusively from the length of piston-stroke, and the diameter of the cylinder, and leaves pressure of steam and piston speed out of consideration. It expresses practically this: This engine would be one of 50 horse-power, if it were driven with the same low pressure of steam, and the same slow piston speed, as in the days of Boulton and Watt. But the two latter factors have increased enormously since those days. In order to measure the mechanical force exerted to-day by an engine, an indicator has been invented which shows the pressure of the steam in the cylinder. The piston speed is easily ascertained. Thus the "indicated" or "commercial" horse-power of an engine is expressed by a mathematical formula, involving diameter of cylinder, length of stroke, piston speed, and steam pressure, simultaneously, and showing what multiple of 33,000 pounds is really raised by the engine in a minute. Hence, one "nominal" horse-power may exert three, four, or even five "indicated" or "real" horse-powers. This observation is made for the purpose of explaining various citations in the subsequent pages.—(The editor.)
[26.] The reader who is imbued with capitalist notions will naturally miss here the "interest" that the machine, in proportion to its capital value, adds to the product. It is, however, easily seen that since a machine no more creates new value than any other part of constant capital, it cannot add any value under the name of "interest." It is also evident that here, where we are treating of the production of surplus value, we cannot assume a priori the existence of any part of that value under the name of interest. The capitalist mode of calculating, which appears, primâ facie, absurd, and repugnant to the laws of the creation of value, will be explained in the third book of this work.
[27.] This portion of value which is added by the machinery, decreases both absolutely and relatively, when the machinery does away with horses and other animals that are employed as mere moving forces, and not as machines for changing the form of matter. It may here be incidentally observed, that Descartes, in defining animals as mere machines, saw with eyes of the manufacturing period, while to eyes of the middle ages, animals were assistants to man, as they were later to Von Haller in his "Restauration der Staatswissenschaften." That Descartes, like Bacon, anticipated an alteration in the form of production, and the practical subjugation of Nature by Man, as a result of the altered methods of thought, is plain from his "Discours de la Méthode." He there says: "Il est possible (by the methods he introduced in philosophy) de parvenir à des connaissances fort utiles à la vie, et qu'au lieu de cette philosophie spéculative qu'on enseigne dans les écoles, on en peut trouver une pratique, par laquelle, connaissant la force et les actions du feu, de I'eau, de I'air, des astres, et de tous les autres corps qui nous environment, aussi distinctement que nous connaissons les divers métiers de nos artisans, nous les pourrious employer en même façon â tous les usages auxquels ils sont propres, et ainsi nous rendre comme maitres et possesseurs de la nature" and thus "contribuer au perfectionnement de la vie humaine." In the preface to Sir Dudley North's "Discourses upon Trade" (1691) it is stated, that Descartes' method had begun to free political economy from the old fables and superstitious notions of gold, trade, 8c. On the whole, however, the early English economists sided with Bacon and Hobbes as their philosophers; while, at a later period, the philosopher of political economy in England, France, and Italy, was Locke.
[28.] According to the annual report (1863) of the Essen chamber of commerce, there was produced in 1862, at the cast-steel works of Krupp, with its 161 furnaces, thirty-two steam-engines (in the year 1800 this was about the number of all the steam-engines working in Manchester), and fourteen steam-hammers (representing in all 1236 horse-power), forty-nine forges, 203 tool-machines, and about 2400 workmen—thirteen million pounds of cast steel. Here there are not two workmen to each horse-power.
[29.] Babbage estimates that in Java the spinning labour alone adds 117% to the value of the cotton. At the same period (1832) the total value added to the cotton by machinery and labour in the fine spinning-industry, amounted to about 33% of the value of the cotton. ("On the Economy of Machinery," p. 214.)
[30.] Machine printing also economises colour.
[31.] See paper read by Dr. Watson, Reporter on Products to the Government of India, before the Society of Arts, 17th April, 1860.
[32.] "These mute agents (machines) are always the produce of much less labour than that which they displace, even when they are of the same money value." (Ricardo, l. c., p. 40.)
[33.] Hence in a communistic society there would be a very different scope for the employment of machinery than there can be in a bourgeois society.
[34.] "Employers of labour would not unnecessarily retain two sets of children under thirteen.... In fact one class of manufacturers, the spinners of woollen yarn, now rarely employ children under thirteen years of age, i.e., half-timers. They have introduced improved and new machinery of various kinds, which altogether supersedes the employment of children (i.e., under 13 years); f.i., I will mention one process as an illustration of this diminution in the number of children, wherein by the addition of an apparatus, called a piecing machine, to existing machines, the work of six or four half-times, according to the peculiarity of each machine, can be performed by one young person (over 13 years)...the half-time system 'stimulated' the invention of the piecing machine." (Reports of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1858.)
[35.] "Wretch" is the recognized term in English political economy for the agricultural labourer.
[36.] "Machinery...can frequently not be employed until labour (he means wages) rises." (Ricardo, l. c., p. 579.)
[37.] See "Report of the Social Science Congress, at Edinburgh." Oct., 1863.
[38.] Dr. Edward Smith, during the cotton crisis caused by the American Civil War, was sent by the English Government to Lancashire, Cheshire, and other places, to report on the sanitary condition of the cotton operatives. He reported, that from a hygienic point of view, and apart from the banishment of the operatives from the factory atmosphere, the crisis had several advantages. The women now had sufficient leisure to give their infants the breast, instead of poisoning them with "Godfrey's cordial." They had time to learn to cook. Unfortunately the acquisition of this art occurred at a time when they had nothing to cook. But from this we see how capital, for the purposes of its self-expansion, has usurped the labour necessary in the home of the family. This crisis was also utilised to teach sewing to the daughters of the workmen in sewing schools. An American revolution and a universal crisis in order that the working girls, who spin for the whole world, might learn to sew!
[39.] "The numerical increase of labourers has been great, through the growing substitution of female for male, and above all, of childish for adult labour. Three girls of 13, at wages of from 6 shillings to 8 shillings a week, have replaced the one man of mature age, of wages varying from 18 shillings to 45 shillings." (Th. de Quincey: "The Logic of Political Econ., London, 1845." Note to p. 147.) Since certain family functions, such as nursing and suckling children, cannot be entirely suppressed, the mothers confiscated by capital, must try substitutes of some sort. Domestic work, such as sewing and mending, must be replaced by the purchase of ready-made articles. Hence, the diminished expenditure of labour in the house is accompanied by an increased expenditure of money. The cost of keeping the family increases, and balances the greater income. In addition to this, economy and judgment in the consumption and preparation of the means of subsistence becomes impossible. Abundant material relating to these facts, which are concealed by official political economy, is to be found in the Reports of the Inspectors of Factories, of the Children's Employment Commission, and more especially in the Reports on Public Health.
[40.] In striking contrast with the great fact, that the shortening of the hours of labour of women and children in English factories was exacted from capital by the male operatives, we find in the latest reports of the Children's Employment Commission traits of the operative parents in relation to the traffic in children, that are truly revolting and thoroughly like slave-dealing. But the Pharisee of a capitalist, as may be seen from the same reports, denounces this brutality which he himself creates, perpetuates, and exploits, and which he moreover baptizes "Freedom of labour." "Infant labour has been called into aid...even to work for their own daily bread. Without strength to endure such disproportionate toil, without instruction to guide their future life, they have been thrown into a situation physically and morally polluted. The Jewish historian has remarked upon the overthrow of Jerusalem by Titus that it was no wonder it should have been destroyed, with such a signal destruction, when an inhuman mother sacrificed her own offspring to satisfy the cravings of absolute hunger." ("Public Economy Concentrated." Carlisle, 1833, p. 56.)
[41.] A. Redgrave in "Reports of Insp. of Fact. for 31st October, 1858," pp. 40, 41.
[42.] Children's Employment Commission, Fifth Report, London, 1866, p. 81, n. 31. Note to the 4th edition: The silk industry of Bethnal Green is now almost ruined.—Ed.
[43.] Children's Employment Commission, Third Report, London, 1864, p. 53, n. 15.
[44.] l. c., Fifth Report, p. 22, n. 137.
[45.] Sixth Report on Public Health. Lond., 1864, p. 34.
[46.] "It (the inquiry of 1861)...showed, moreover, that while, with the described circumstances, infants perish under the neglect and mismanagement which their mothers' occupations imply, the mothers become to a grievous extent denaturalized towards their offspring—commonly not troubling themselves much at the death, and even sometimes...taking direct measures to insure it." (l. c.)
[47.] l. c., p. 454.
[48.] l. c., p. 454-463. "Report by Dr. Henry Julian Hunter on the excessive mortality of infants in some rural districts of England."
[49.] l. c., p. 35 and pp. 455, 456.
[50.] l. c., p. 456.
[51.] In the agricultural as well as in the factory districts the consumption of opium among the grown-up labourers, both male and female, is extending daily. "To push the sale of opiate...is the great aim of some enterprising wholesale merchants. By druggists it is considered the leading article." (l. c., p. 459.) Infants that take opiates "shrank up into little old men," or "wizzened like little monkeys," (l. c., p. 460.) We here see how India and China avenged themselves on England.
[52.] l. c., p. 37.
[53.] "Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1862," p. 59. Mr. Baker was formerly a doctor.
[54.] Leonard Horner in "Reports of Insp. of Fact. for 30th June, 1857," p. 17.
[55.] L. Horner in "Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1855," pp. 18, 19.
[56.] Sir John Kincaid in "Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1858," pp. 31, 32.
[57.] L. Horner in "Reports, 8c., for 31st Oct., 1857," pp. 17, 18.
[58.] Sir J. Kincaid in "Reports, 8c., 31st Oct., 1856," p. 66.
[59.] A. Redgrave in "Rep. of Insp. of Fact., 31st Oct., 1857," pp. 41-42. In those industries where the Factory Act proper (not the Print Works Act referred to in the text) has been in force for some time, the obstacles in the way of the education clauses have, in recent years, been overcome. In industries not under the Act, the views of Mr. J. Geddes, a glass manufacturer, still extensively prevail. He informed Mr. White, one of the Inquiry Commissioners: "As far as I can see, the greater amount of education which a part of the working class has enjoyed for some years past is an evil. It is dangerous, because it makes them independent." (Children's Empl. Comm., Fourth Report, Lond., 1865, p. 253.)
[60.] "Mr. E., a manufacturer...informed me that he employed females exclusively at his power-looms...gives a decided preference to married females, especially those who have families at home dependent on them for support; they are attentive, docile, more so than unmarried females, and are compelled to use their utmost exertions to procure the necessaries of life. Thus are the virtues, the peculiar virtues of the female character to be perverted to her injury—thus all that is most dutiful and tender in her nature is made a means of her bondage and suffering." (Ten Hours' Factory Bill. The Speech of Lord Ashley, March 15th, Lond., 1844, p. 20.)
[61.] "Since the general introduction of machinery, human nature has been forced far beyond its average strength." (Rob. Owen: "Observations on the effects of the manufacturing system, 2nd Ed., Lond., 1817.")
[62.] The English, who have a tendency to look upon the earliest form of appearance of a thing as the cause of its existence, are in the habit of attributing the long hours of work in factories to the extensive kidnapping of children, practised by capitalists in the infancy of the factory system, on workhouses and orphanages, by means of which robbery, unresisting material for exploitation was procured. Thus, for instance, Fielden, himself a manufacturer, says: "It is evident that the long hours of work were brought about by the circumstance of so great a number of destitute children being supplied from different parts of the country, that the masters were independent of the hands, and that having once established the custom by means of the miserable materials they had procured in this way, they could impose it on their neighbours with the greater facility." (J. Fielden: "The Curse of the Factory System. Lond., 1836," p. 11.) With reference to the labour of women, Saunders, the Factory inspector, says in his report of 1844: "Amongst the female operatives there are some women who, for many weeks in succession, except for a few days, are employed from 6 a. m. till midnight, with less than 2 hours for meals, so that on 5 days of the week they have only 6 hours left out of the 24, for going to and from their homes and resting in bed."
[63.] Occasion...injury to the delicate moving parts of metallic mechanism by inaction." (Ure, l. c., p. 23.)
[64.] The "Manchester Spinner" (Times, 26th Nov. 1862) before referred to says in relation to this subject: "It (namely, the "allowance for deterioration of machinery") is also intended to cover the loss which is constantly arising from the superseding of machines before they are worn out, by others of a new and better construction."
[65.] "It has been estimated, roughly, that the first individual of a newly-invented machine will cost about five times as much as the construction of the second." (Babbage, l. c., p. 211.)
[66.] "The improvements which took place not long ago in frames for making patent net was so great that a machine in good repair which had cost £1,200, sold a few years after for £60...improvements succeeded each other so rapidly, that machines which had never been finished were abandoned in the hands of their makers, because new improvements had superseded their utility." (Babbage, l. c., p. 233.) In these stormy, go-ahead times, therefore, the tulle manufacturers soon extended the working day, by means of double sets of hands, from the original 8 hours to 24.
[67.] "It is self-evident, that, amid the ebbings and flowings of the markets and the alternate expansions and contractions of demand, occasions will constantly recur, in which the manufacturer may employ additional floating capital without employing additional fixed capital...if additional quantities of raw material can be worked up without incurring an additional expense for buildings and machinery." (R. Torrens: "On Wages and Combinations. London, 1834," p. 63.)
[68.] This circumstance is mentioned only for the sake of completeness, for I shall not consider the rate of profit, i.e., the ratio of the surplus-value to the total capital advanced, until I come to the third book.
[69.] Senior, "Letters on the Factory Act. London, 1837," p. 13, 14.
[70.] "The great proportion of fixed to circulating capital...makes long hours of work desirable." With the increased use of machinery, 8c., "the motives to long hours of work will become greater, as the only means by which a large proportion of fixed capital can be made profitable." (l. c., pp. 11-13.) "There are certain expenses upon a mill which go on in the same proportion whether the mill be running short or full time, as, for instance, rent, rates, and taxes, insurance against fire, wages of several permanent servants, deterioration of machinery, with various other charges upon a manufacturing establishment, the proportion of which to profits increases as the production decreases. ("Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1862," p. 19.)
[71.] Why it is, that the capitalist, and also the political economists who are embued with his views, are unconscious of this immanent contradiction, will appear from the first part of the third volume.
[72.] It is one of the greatest merits of Ricardo to have seen in machinery not only the means of producing commodities, but of creating a "redundant population."
[73.] F. Biese. "Die Philosophie des Aristoteles," Vol. 2. Berlin, 1842, p. 408.
[74.] I give below the translation of this poem by Stolberg, because it brings into relief, quite in the spirit of former quotations referring to division of labour, the antithesis between the views of the ancients and the moderns. "Spare the hand that grinds the corn, Oh, miller girls, and softly sleep. Let Chanticleer announce the morn in vain! Deo has commanded the work of the girls to be done by the Nymphs, and now they skip lightly over the wheels, so that the shaken axles revolve with their spokes and pull round the load of the revolving stones. Let us live the life of our fathers, and let us rest from work and enjoy the gifts that the Goddess sends us"
"Schonet der mahlenden Hand, o Müllerinnen und schlafet Sanft! es verkünde der Hahn euch den Morgen umsonst! Däo hat die Arbeit der Mädchen den Nymphen befohlen, Und itzt hüpfen sie leicht über die Räder dahin, Dass die erschütterten Achsen mit ihren Speichen sich wälzen, Und im Kreise die Last drehen des wälzenden Steins. Lasst uns leben das Leben der Väter, und lasst uns der Gaben Arbeitslos uns freun, welche die Göttin uns schenkt."(Gedichte aus dem Griechischen übersetzt von Christian Graf zu Stolberg, Hamburg, 1782.)
[75.] There are, of course, always differences in the intensities of the labour in various industries. But these differences are, as Adam Smith has shown, compensated to a partial extent by minor circumstances, peculiar to each sort of labour. Labour-time, as a measure of value, is not, however, affected in this case, except in so far as the duration of labour, and the degree of its intensity, are two antithetical and mutually exclusive expressions for one and the same quantity of labour.
[76.] Especially by piece-work, a form we shall investigate in Part VI. of this book.
[77.] See "Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st October, 1865."
[78.] Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 1844 and the quarter ending 30th April 1845, pp. 20-21.
[79.] l. c., p. 19. Since the wages for piece-work were unaltered, the weekly wages depended on the quantity produced.
[80.] l. c., p. 22.
[81.] The moral element played an important part in the above experiments. The workpeople told the factory inspector: "We work with more spirit, we have the reward ever before us of getting away sooner at night, and one active and cheerful spirit pervades the whole mill, from the youngest piecer to the oldest hand, and we can greatly help each other" (l. c.)
[82.] John Fielden, l. c., p. 32.
[83.] Lord Ashley, l. c., p. 6-9, passim.
[84.] Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for Quarter ending 30th September, 1844, and from 1st October, 1844, to 30th April, 1845. p. 20.
[85.] l. c., p. 22.
[86.] "Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st October, 1862," p. 62.
[87.] This was altered in the "Parliamentary Return" of 1862. In it the actual horse-power of the modern steam-engines and water-wheels appears in place of the nominal. The doubling spindles, too, are no longer included in the spinning spindles (as was the case in the "Returns" of 1839, 1850, and 1856); further, in the case of woollen mills, the number of "gigs" is added, a distinction made between jute and hemp mills on the one hand and flax mills on the other, and finally stocking-weaving is for the first time inserted in the report.
[88.] "Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st October, 1856," pp. 13-14, 20 and 1852, p. 23.
[89.] l. c., p. 14-15.
[90.] l. c., p. 20.
[91.] Reports, 8c., for 31st October, 1858, p. 9-10. Compare Reports, 8c., for 30th April, 1860, p. 30, seqq.
[92.] "Report of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1862," pp. 100 and 130.
[93.] On 2 modern power-looms a weaver now makes in a week of 60 hours 26 pieces of certain quality, length, and breadth; while on the old power-looms he could make no more than 4 such pieces. The cost of weaving a piece of such cloth had already soon after 1850 fallen from 2s. 9d. to 5 1/3d.
"Thirty years ago (1841) one spinner with three piecers was not required to attend to more than one pair of mules with 300-324 spindles. At the present time (1871) he has to mind with the help of 5 piecers 2200 spindles, and produces not less than seven times as much yarn as in 1841." (Alex. Redgrave, Factory Inspector—in the Journal of Arts, 5th January, 1872.)
[94.] Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct. 1861, pp. 25, 26.
[95.] The agitation for a working day of 8 hours has now (1867) begun in Lancashire among the factory operatives.
[96.] The following few figures indicate the increase in the "factories" of the United Kingdom since 1848:
See the Bluebooks "Statistical Abstract of the United Kingdom, Nos. 8 and 13." Lond., 1861 and 1866. In Lancashire the number of mills increased only 4 per cent. between 1839 and 1850; 19 per cent, between 1850 and 1856; and 33 per cent. between 1856 and 1862; while the persons employed in them during each of the above periods of 11 years increased absolutely, but diminished relatively. (See "Rep. of Insp. of Fact., for 31st Oct., 1862," p. 63.) The cotton trade preponderates in Lancashire. We may form an idea of the stupendous nature of the cotton trade in that district, when we consider that, of the gross number of textile factories in the United Kingdom, it absorbs 45.2 per cent., of the spindles 83.3 per cent., of the power-looms 81.4 per cent., of the mechanical horse-power 72.6 per cent., and of the total number of persons employed 58.2 per cent. (l. c., p. 62-63.)
[97.] Ure, l. c., p. 18.
[98.] Ure, l. c., p. 31. See Karl Marx, Poverty of Philosophy, p. 122.
[99.] It looks very like intentional misleading by statistics (which misleading it would be possible to prove in detail in other cases too), when the English factory legislation excludes from its operation the class of labourers last mentioned in the text, while the parliamentary returns expressly include in the category of factory operatives, not only engineers, mechanics, 8c., but also managers, salesmen, messengers, warehouse-men, packers, 8c., in short everybody, except the owner of the factory himself.
[100.] Ure grants this. He says, "in case of need," the workmen can be moved at the will of the manager from one machine to another, and he triumphantly exclaims: "Such a change is in flat contradiction with the old routine, that divides the labour, and to one workman assigns the task of fashioning the head of a needle, to another the sharpening of the point." He had much better have asked himself, why this "old routine" is departed from in the automatic factory, only "in case of need."
[101.] When distress is very great, as, for instance, during the American civil war, the factory operative is now and then set by the Bourgeois to do the roughest of work, such as road-making, 8c. The English "ateliers nationaux" of 1862 and the following years, established for the benefit of the destitute cotton operatives, differ from the French of 1848 in this, that in the latter the workmen had to do unproductive work at the expense of the state, in the former they had to do productive municipal work to the advantage of the bourgeois, and that, too, cheaper than the regular workmen, with whom they were thus thrown into competition. "The physical appearance of the cotton operatives is unquestionably improved. This I attribute...as to the men, to outdoor labour on public works." ("Rep. of Insp. of Fact.," 31st Oct., 1865, p. 59.) The writer here alludes to the Preston factory operatives, who were employed on Preston Moor.
[102.] An example: The various mechanical apparatus introduced since the Act of 1844 into woollen mills, for replacing the labour of children. So soon as it shall happen that the children of the manufacturers themselves have to go through a course of schooling as helpers in the mill, this almost unexplored territory of mechanics will soon make remarkable progress. "Of machinery, perhaps self-acting mules are as dangerous as any other kind. Most of the accidents from them happen to little children, from their creeping under the mules to sweep the floor whilst the mules are in motion. Several 'minders' have been fined for this offence, but without much general benefit. If machine makers would only invent a self-sweeper, by whose use the necessity for these little children to creep under the machinery might be prevented, it would be a happy addition to our protective measures." ("Reports of Insp. of Fact." for 31st Oct., 1866, p. 63.)
[103.] So much then for Proudhon's wonderful idea: he "construes" machinery not as a synthesis of instruments of labour, but as a synthesis of detail operations for the benefit of the labourer himself.
[104.] F. Engels, l. c. p. 217. Even an ordinary and optimist freetrader, like Mr. Molinari, goes so far as to say "Un homme s'use plus vite en surveillant, quinze heures par jour, l'évolution uniforme d'un mécanisme, qu'en exerçant, dans le même espace de temps, sa force physique. Ce travail de surveillance qui servirait peutêtre d'utile gymnastique à l'intelligence, s'il n'était pas trop prolongé, détruit à la longue, par son excès, et l'intelligence, et le corps même." (G. de Molinari: Etudes Economiques." Paris 1846.)
[105.] F. Engels, l. c. p. 216.
[106.] "The Master Spinners' and Manufacturers' Defence Fund. Report of the Committee." Manchester, 1854, p. 17. We shall see hereafter that the "master" can sing quite another song, when he is threatened with the loss of his "living" automaton.
[107.] Ure, l. c. p. 15. Whoever knows the life history of Arkwright, will never dub this barber-genius "noble." Of all the great inventors of the 18th century, he was incontestably the greatest thiever of other people's inventions and the meanest fellow.
[108.] "The slavery in which the bourgeoisie has bound the proletariat, comes nowhere more plainly into daylight than in the factory system. In it all freedom comes to an end both at law and in fact. The workman must be in the factory at half past five. If he come a few minutes late, he is punished; if he come 10 minutes late, he is not allowed to enter until after breakfast, and thus loses a quarter of a day's wage. He must eat, drink and sleep at word of command.... The despotic bell calls him from his bed, calls him from breakfast and dinner. And how does he fare in the mill? There the master is the absolute law-giver. He makes what regulations he pleases; he alters and makes additions to his code at pleasure; and if he insert the veriest nonsense, the courts say to the workman: Since you have entered into this contract voluntarily, you must now carry it out.... These workmen are condemned to live, from their ninth year till their death, under this mental and bodily torture." (F. Engels l. c. p. 217, sq.) What, "the courts say," I will illustrate by two examples. One occurs at Sheffield at the end of 1866. In that town a workman had engaged himself for 2 years in a steelworks. In consequence of a quarrel with his employer he left the works, and declared that under no circumstances would he work for that master any more. He was prosecuted for breach of contract, and condemned to two months' imprisonment. (If the master break the contract, he can be proceeded against only in a civil action, and risks nothing but money damages). After the workman has served his two months, the master invites him to return to the works, pursuant to the contract. Workman says; no: he has already been punished for the breach. The master prosecutes again, the court condemns again, although one of the judges, Mr. Shee, publicly denounces this as a legal monstrosity, by which a man can periodically, as long as he lives, be punished over and over again for the same offence or crime. This judgment was given not by the "Great Unpaid," the provincial Dogberries, but by one of the highest courts of justice in London.
Note to the 4th German edition.—This has now been abolished. With the exception of a few cases, for instance in public gas works, the English laborer has been placed on an equity with the employers in cases of contract breaking, and can be proceeded against only by the civil courts. F. E.—.
The second case occurs in Wiltshire at the end of November 1863. About 30 power-loom weavers, in the employment of one Harrup, a cloth manufacturer at Leower's Mill, Westbury Leigh, struck work because master Harrup indulged in the agreeable habit of making deductions from their wages for being late in the morning; 6d. for 2 minutes; 1s. for 3 minutes, and 1s. 6d. for ten minutes. This is at the rate of 9s. per hour, and £4 10s. 0d. per diem; while the wages of the weavers on the average of a year, never exceed 10s. to 12s. weekly. Harrup also appointed a boy to announce the starting time by a whistle, which he often did before six o'clock in the morning: and if the hands were not all there at the moment the whistle ceased, the doors were closed, and those hands who were outside were fined: and as there was no clock on the premises, the unfortunate hands were at the mercy of the young Harrup-inspired time-keeper. The hands on strike, mothers of families as well as girls, offered to resume work if the time-keeper were replaced by a clock, and a more reasonable scale of fines were introduced. Harrup summoned 19 women and girls before the magistrates for breach of contract. To the utter indignation of all present, they were each mulcted in a fine of 6d. and 2s. 6d. for costs. Harrup was followed from the court by a crowd of people who hissed him.—A favourite operation with manufacturers is to punish the workpeople by deductions made from their wages on account of faults in the material worked on. This method gave rise in 1866 to a general strike in the English pottery districts. The reports of the Ch. Empl. Com. (1863-1866), give cases where the worker not only receives no wages, but becomes, by means of his labour, and of the penal regulations, the debtor to boot, of his worthy master. The late cotton crisis also furnished edifying examples of the sagacity shown by the factory autocrats in making deductions from wages. Mr. R. Baker, the Inspector of Factories, says, "I have myself had lately to direct prosecutions against one cotton mill occupier for having in those pinching and painful times deducted 10d. a piece from some of the young workers employed by him, for the surgeon's certificate (for which he himself had only paid 6d.), when only allowed by the law to deduct 3d., and by custom nothing at all.... And I have been informed of another, who, in order to keep without the law, but to attain the same object, charges the poor children who work for him a shilling each, as a fee for learning them the art and mystery of cotton spinning, so soon as they are declared by the surgeon fit and proper persons for that occupation. There may therefore be undercurrent causes for such extraordinary exhibitions as strikes, not only wherever they arise, but particularly at such times as the present, which without explanation, render them inexplicable to the public understanding." He alludes here to a strike of power-loom weavers at Darwin, June, 1863. ("Reports of Insp. of Fact. for 30 April, 1863," pp. 50-51.) The reports always go beyond their official dates.
[109.] The protection afforded by the Factory Acts against dangerous machinery has had a beneficial effect. "But...there are other sources of accident which did not exist twenty years since; one especially, viz., the increased speed on the machinery. Wheels, rollers, spindles and shuttles are now propelled at increased and increasing rates; fingers must be quicker and defter in their movements to take up the broken thread, for, if placed with hesitation or carelessness, they are sacrificed.... A large number of accidents are caused by the eagerness of the workpeople to get through their work expeditiously. It must be remembered that it is of the highest importance to manufacturers that their machinery should be in motion, i.e., producing yarns and goods. Every minute's stoppage is not only a loss of power, but of production, and the workpeople are urged by the overlookers, who are interested in the quantity of work turned off, to keep the machinery in motion; and it is no less important to those of the operatives who are paid by the weight or piece that the machines should be kept in motion. Consequently, although it is strictly forbidden in many, nay in most factories, that machinery should be cleaned while in motion, it is nevertheless the constant practice in most if not in all, that the workpeople do, unreproved, pick out waste, wipe rollers and wheels, 8c., while their frames are in motion. Thus from this cause only, 906 accidents have occurred during the six months.... Although a great deal of cleaning is constantly going on day by day, yet Saturday is generally the day set apart for the thorough cleaning of the machinery, and a great deal of this is done while the machinery is in motion." Since cleaning is not paid for, the workpeople seek to get done with it as speedily as possible. Hence "the number of accidents which occur on Fridays, and especially on Saturdays, is much larger than on any other day. On the former the excess is nearly 12 per cent. over the average number of the four first days of the week, and on the latter day the excess is 25 per cent. over the average of the preceding five days; or, if the number of working-hours on Saturday being taken into account—7½ hours on Saturday as compared with 10½ on other days—there is an excess of 65 per cent. on Saturdays over the average of the other five days." ("Rep. of Insp. of Fact., 31st Oct. 1866," p. 9, 15, 16, 17.)
[110.] In Part I. of Book III. I shall give an account of a recent campaign by the English manufacturers against the Clauses in the Factory Acts that protect the "hands" against dangerous machinery. For the present, let this one quotation from the official report of Leonard Horner suffice: "I have heard some millowners speak with inexcusable levity of some of the accidents; such, for instance, as the loss of a finger being a trifling matter. A working-man's living and prospects depend so much upon his fingers, that any loss of them is a very serious matter to him. When I have heard such inconsiderate remarks made, I have usually put this question: Suppose you were in want of an additional workman, and two were to apply, both equally well qualified in other respects, but one had lost a thumb or a forefinger, which would you engage? There never was a hesitation as to the answer.".... The manufacturers have "mistaken prejudices against what they have heard represented as a pseudo-philanthropic legislation." ("Rep. of Insp. of Fact., 31st Oct., 1855." These manufacturers are clever folk, and not without reason were they enthusiastic for the slave-holder's rebellion.
[111.] In those factories that have been longest subject to the Factory Acts, with their compulsory limitation of the hours of labour, and other regulations, many of the older abuses have vanished. The very improvement of the machinery demands to a certain extent "improved construction of the buildings," and this is an advantage to the workpeople. (See "Rep. of Insp. of Fact. for 31st Oct., 1863," p. 109.)
[112.] See amongst others, John Houghton: "Husbandry and Trade improved. London, 1727." "The Advantages of the East India Trade, 1720." John Bellers, l. c. The masters and their workmen are, unhappily, in a perpetual war with each other. The invariable object of the former is to get their work done as cheaply as possible; and they do not fail to employ every artifice to this purpose, whilst the latter are equally attentive to every occasion of distressing their masters into a compliance with higher demands." ("An Inquiry into the Causes of the Present High Prices of Provisions," p. 61-62. Author, the Rev. Nathaniel Forster, quite on the side of the workmen.)
[113.] In old-fashioned manufactures the revolts of the workpeople against machinery, even to this day, occasionally assume a savage character as in the case of the Sheffield file cutters in 1865.
[114.] Sir James Stewart also understands machinery quite in this sense. "Je considère done les machines comme des moyens d'augmenter (virtuellement) le nombre des gens industrieux qu'on n'est pas obligé de nourrir.... En quoi l'effet d'une machine diffère-t-il de celui de nouveaux habitants?" (French trans. t. I., 1. I., ch. XIX.) More naïve is Petty, who says, it replaces "Polygamy." The above point of view is, at the most, admissible only for some parts of the United States. On the other hand, "machinery can seldom be used with success to abridge the labour of an individual; more time would be lost in its construction than could be saved by its application. It is only useful when it acts on great masses, when a single machine can assist the work of thousands. It is accordingly in the most populous countries, where there are most idle men, that it is most abundant.... It is not called into use by a scarcity of men, but by the facility with which they can be brought to work in masses." (Piercy Ravenstone: "Thoughts on the Funding System and its Effects." London, 1824, p. 15.)
[115.] Note to the 4th German edition.—This applies also to Germany. Wherever agriculture on a large scale exists in Germany, that is, particularly in the East, it was made possible through the "trapping of peasants" in vogue since the 16th century, and more particularly since 1648. F. E.—
[116.] "Machinery and labour are in constant competition." Ricardo, l. c., p. 479.
[117.] The competition between hand-weaving and power-weaving in England, before the passing of the Poor Law of 1833, was prolonged by supplementing the wages, which had fallen considerably below the minimum, with parish relief. "The Rev. Mr. Turner was, in 1827, rector of Wilmslow, in Cheshire, a manufacturing district. The questions of the Committee of Emigration, and Mr. Turner's answers, show how the competition of human labour is maintained against machinery.' Question: Has not the use of the power-loom superseded the use of the hand-loom? Answer: Undoubtedly; it would have superseded them much more than it has done, if the hand-loom weavers were not enabled to submit to a reduction of wages. Question: 'But in submitting he has accepted wages which are insufficient to support him, and looks to parochial contribution as the remainder of his support? Answer: Yes, and in fact the competition between the hand-loom and the power-loom is maintained out of the poor-rates. Thus degrading pauperism or expatriation, is the benefit which the industrious receive from the introduction of machinery, to be reduced from the respectable and in some degree independent mechanic, to the cringing wretch who lives on the debasing bread of charity. This they call a tempory inconvenience." ("A Prize Essay on the comparative merits of Competition and Co-operation." Lond., 1834, p. 29.)
[118.] "The same cause which may increase the revenue of the country" (i.e., as Ricardo explains in the same passage, the revenues of landlords and capitalists, whose wealth, from the economical point of view, forms the Wealth of the Nation), "may at the same time render the population redundant and deteriorate the condition of the labourer." (Ricardo, l. c., p. 469.) "The constant aim and the tendency of every improvement in machinery is, in fact, to do away entirely with the labour of man, or to lessen its price by substituting the labour of women and children for that of grown up men, or of unskilled for that of skilled workmen." (Ure, l. c., t. I., p. 35).
[119.] "Rep. Insp. Fact. for 31st October, 1858," p. 43.
[120.] "Rep. Insp. Fact. for 31st October, 1856," p. 15.
[121.] Ure, l. c., p. 19. "The great advantage of the machinery employed in brickmaking consists in this, that the employer is made entirely independent of skilled labourers." ("Ch. Empl. Comm. V. Report," Lond., 1866, p. 180, n. 46.) Mr. A. Sturrock, superintendent of the machine department of the Great Northern Railway, says, with regard to the building of locomotives, 8c.: "Expensive English workmen are being less used every day. The production of the workshops of England is being increased by the use of improved tools and these tools are again served by a low class of labour...Formerly their skilled labour necessarily produced all the parts of engines. Now the parts of engines are produced by labour with less skill, but with good tools. By tools, I mean engineer's machinery, lathes, planing machines, drills, and so on. ("Royal Com. on Railways." Lond., 1867, Minutes of Evidence, n. 17,862 and 17,863.)
[122.] Ure, l. c., p. 20.
[123.] Ure, l. c., p. 321.
[124.] Ure, l. c. p. 23.
[125.] "Rep. Insp. Fact., 31st Oct., 1863," pp. 108, 109.
[126.] l. c., p. 109. The rapid improvement of machinery, during the crisis, allowed the English manufacturers, immediately after the termination of the American civil war, and almost in no time, to glut the markets of the world again. Cloth, during the last six months of 1866, was almost unsaleable. Thereupon began the consignment of goods to India and China, thus naturally making the glut more intense. At the beginning of 1867 the manufacturers resorted to their usual way out of the difficulty, viz., reducing wages 5 per cent. The workpeople resisted, and said that the only remedy was to work short time, 4 days a-week; and their theory was the correct one. After holding out for some time, the self-elected captains of industry had to make up their minds to short time, with reduced wages in some places, and in others without.
[127.] "The relation of master and man in the blown-flint bottle trades amounts to a chronic strike." Hence the impetus given to the manufacture of pressed glass, in which the chief operations are done by machinery. One firm in Newcastle, who formerly produced 350,000 lbs. of blown-flint glass, now produces in its place 3,000,500 lbs. of pressed glass. ("Ch. Empl. Comm., Fourth Rep.," 1865, pp. 262, 263.)
[128.] Gaskell. "The Manufacturing Population of England, London, 1833," pp. 3, 4.
[129.] W. Fairbairn discovered several very important applications of machinery to the construction of machines, in consequence of strikes in his own workshops.
[130.] Ure, l. c., pp. 368-370.
[131.] Ure, l. c. pp. 368, 7, 370, 280, 321, 281, 370, 475.
[132.] Ricardo originally was also of this opinion, but afterwards expressly disclaimed it, with the scientific impartiality and love of truth characteristic of him. See l. c. ch. xxxi. "On Machinery."
[133.] Nota bene. My illustration is entirely on the lines of those given by the above named economists.
[134.] A disciple of Ricardo, in answer to the insipidities of J. B. Say, remarks on this point: "Where division of labour is well developed, the skill of the labourer is available only in that particular branch in which it has been acquired; he himself is a sort of machine. It does not therefore help matters one jot, to repeat in parrot fashion, that things have a tendency to find their level. On looking around us we cannot but see, that they are unable to find their level for a long time; and that when they do find it, the level is always lower than at the commencement of the process." ("An Inquiry into those Principles respecting the Nature of Demand," 8c. Lond. 1821, p. 72.)
[135.] MacCulloch, amongst others, is a past master in this pretentious cretinism. "If," he says, with the affected naïveté of a child of 8 years, "if it be advantageous, to develope the skill of the workman more and more, so that he is capable of producing, with the same or with a less quantity of labour, a constantly increasing quantity of commodities, it must also be advantageous, that he should avail himself of the help of such machinery as will assist him most effectively in the attainment of this result." (MacCulloch: "Princ. of Pol. Econ.," Lond. 1830, p. 166.)
[136.] "The inventor of the spinning machine has ruined India, a fact, however, that touches us but little." A. Thiers: De la propriété.—M. Thiers here confounds the spinning machine with the power-loom, "a fact, however, that touches us but little."
[137.] According to the census of 1861 (Vol. II., Lond., 1863), the number of people employed in coal mines in England and Wales, amounted to 246,613, of which 73,545 were under, and 173,067 were over 20 years. Of those under 20, 835 were between 5 and 10 years. 30,701 between 10 and 15 years. 42,010 between 15 and 19 years. The number employed in iron, copper, lead, tin, and other mines of every description, was 319,222.
[138.] In England and Wales, in 1861, there were employed in making machinery, 60,807 persons, including the masters and their clerks, 8c., as also all agents and business people connected with this industry, but excluding the makers of small machines, such as sewing machines, 8c., as also the makers of the operative parts of machines, such as spindles. The total number of civil engineers amounted to 3329.
[139.] Since iron is one of the most important raw materials, let me here state that, in 1861, there were in England and Wales 125,771 operative iron founders, of whom 123,430 were males, 2341 females. Of the former 30,810 were under, and 92,620 over 20 years.
[140.] "A family of four grown up persons, with two children as winders, earned at the end of the last, and the beginning of the present century, by ten hours' daily labour, £4 a week. If the work was very pressing, they could earn more...Before that they had always suffered from a deficient supply of yarn." (Gaskell, l. c., pp. 25-27.)
[141.] F. Engels in "Lage, 8c.," points out the miserable condition of a large number of those who work on these very articles of luxury. See also numerous instances in the "Reports of the Children's Employment Commission."
[142.] In 1861, in England and Wales, there were 94,665 sailors in the merchant service.
[146.] Ganilh, on the contrary, considers the final result of the factory system to be an absolutely less number of operatives, at whose expense an increased number of "gens honnêtes" live and develop their well-known "perfectibilité perfectible." Little as he understands the movement of production, at least he feels, that machinery must needs be a very fatal institution, if its introduction converts busy workmen into paupers, and its development calls more slaves of labour into existence than it has suppressed. It is not possible to bring out the cretinism of his standpoint, except by his own words: "Les classes condamnées à produire et à consommer diminuent, et les classes qui dirigent le travail, qui soulagent, consolent, et éclairent toute la population, se multiplient...et s'approprient tous les bienfaits qui résultent de la diminution des frais du travail, de l'abondance des productions, et du bon marché des consommations. Dans cette direction, l'espèce humaine s'éléve aux plus hautes conceptions du génie, pénètre dans les profondeurs mystèrieuses de la religion, établit les principes salutaires de la morale (which consists in 's'approprier tous les bienfaits,' 8c.), les lois tutélaires de la liberté (liberty of 'les classes condamnées à produire?') et du pouvoir, de l'obéissance et de la justice, du devoir et de l'humanité." For this twaddle see "Des Systèmes d'Economie Politique, 8c., Par M. Ch. Ganilh." 2ème ed., Paris, 1821, t. II., p. 224, and see p. 212.
[147.] "Reports of Insp. of Fact., 31 Oct., 1865," p. 58, sq. At the same time, however, means of employment for an increased number of hands was ready in 110 new mills with 11,625 looms, 628,756 spindles and 2695 total horse-power of steam and water (l c.).
[148.] "Reports, 8c., for 31 Oct., 1862," p. 79. At the end of 1871, Mr. A. Redgrave, the factory inspector, in a lecture given at Bradford, in the New Mechanics' Institution, said: "What has struck me for some time past is the altered appearance of the woollen factories. Formerly they were filled with women and children, now machinery seems to do all the work. At my asking for an explanation of this from a manufacturer, he gave me the following: 'Under the old system I employed 63 persons; after the introduction of improved machinery I reduced my hands to 33, and lately, in consequence of new and extensive alterations, I have been in a position to reduce those 33 to 13.'"
[149.] See "Reports, 8c., 31 Oct., 1856," p. 16.
[150.] "The sufferings of the hand-loom weavers were the subject of an inquiry by a Royal Commission, but although their distress was acknowledged and lamented, the amelioration of their condition was left, and probably necessarily so, to the chances and changes of time, which it may now be hoped" [20 years later!] "have nearly obliterated those miseries, and not improbably by the present great extension of the power-loom." ("Rep. Insp. of Fct., 31 Oct., 1856," p. 15.)
[151.]Other ways in which machinery affects the production of raw material will be mentioned in the third book.
[152.]EXPORT OF COTTON FROM INDIA TO GREAT BRITAIN. 1846.—34,540,143 lbs. 1860.—204,141,168 lbs. 1865.—445,947,600 lbs.
[153.]EXPORT OF WOOL FROM INDIA TO GREAT BRITAIN. 1846.—4,570,581 lbs. 1860.—20,214,173 lbs. 1865.—20,679,111 lbs.
EXPORT OF WOOL FROM THE CAPE TO GREAT BRITAIN. —2,958,457 lbs. 1860.—16,574,345 lbs. 1865.—29,920,623 lbs.
EXPORT OF WOOL FROM AUSTRALIA TO GREAT BRITAIN. 1846.—21,789,346 lbs. 1860.—59,166,616 lbs. 1865.—109,734,261 lbs.
[154.]The economical development of the United States is itself a product of European, more especially of English modern industry. In their present form (1866) the States must still be considered a European colony. Note to the 4th German edition.—Since then the United States has developed into the second industrial country of the world, without thereby losing its colonial character entirely. F. E.—
EXPORT OF COTTON FROM THE UNITED STATES TO GREAT BRITAIN. 1846.—401,949,393 lbs. 1852.—765,630,543 lbs. 1859.—961,707,264 lbs. 1860.—1,115,890,608 lbs.
|EXPORT OF CORN, 8c., FROM THE UNITED STATES TO GREAT BRITAIN.|
|Bere or Bigg (a sort of Barley), cwts....||2039||7675|
[155.] In an appeal made in July, 1866, to the Trade Societies of England, by the shoemakers of Leicester, who had been thrown on the streets by a lock-out, it is stated: "Twenty years ago the Leicester shoe trade was revolutionised by the introduction of riveting in the place of stitching. At that time good wages could be earned. Great competition was shown between the different firms as to which could turn out the neatest article. Shortly afterwards, however, a worse kind of competition sprang up, namely, that of underselling one another in the market. The injurious consequences soon manifested themselves in reductions of wages, and so sweepingly quick was the fall in the price of labour, that many firms now pay only one half of the original wages. And yet, though wages sink lower and lower, profits appear, with each alteration in the scale of wages, to increase." Even bad times are utilized by the manufacturers, for making exceptional profits by excessive lowering of wages, i.e., by a direct robbery of the labourer's means of subsistence. One example (it has reference to the crisis in the Coventry silk weaving): "From information I have received from manufacturers as well as workmen, there seems to be no doubt that wages have been reduced to a greater extent than either the competition of the foreign producers, or other circumstances have rendered necessary...the majority of weavers are working at a reduction of 30 to 40 per cent. in their wages. A piece of ribbon for making which the weaver got 6s. or 7s. five years back, now only brings them 3s. 3d. or 3s. 6d.; other work is now priced at 2s. and 2s. 3d. which was formerly priced at 4s. and 4s. 3d. The reduction in wage seems to have been carried to a greater extent than is necessary for increasing demand. Indeed, the reduction in the cost of weaving, in the case of many descriptions of ribbons, has not been accompanied by any corresponding reduction in the selling price of the manufactured article." (Mr. F. D. Longe's Report. "Ch. Emp. Com., V. Rep., 1866," p. 114, 1.)
[156.] Conf. Reports of Insp. of Fact. 31st October, 1862, p. 30.
[157.] l. c., p. 19.
[158.] "Rep. Insp. of Fact., 31st October, 1865," pp. 41-45.
[159.] "Rep. Insp. of Fact., 31st October, 1863."
[160.] l. c., p. 51.
[161.] l. c., pp. 50-51.
[162.] l. c., pp. 62-63.
[163.] Rep. 8c. 30th April, 1864, p. 27.
[164.] From a letter of Mr. Harris, Chief Constable of Bolton, in Rep. of Insp. of Fact., 31st October, 1865, pp. 61-62.
[165.] In an appeal, dated 1863, of the factory operatives of Lancashire, 8c., for the purpose of forming a society for organised emigration, we find the following: "That a large emigration of factory workers is now absolutely essential to raise them from their present prostrate condition, few will deny; but to show that a continuous stream of emigration is at all times demanded, and, without which it is impossible for them to maintain their position in ordinary times, we beg to call attention to the subjoined facts:—In 1814 the official value of cotton goods exported was £17,665,378, whilst the real marketable value was £20,070,824. In 1858 the official value of cotton goods exported, was £182,221,681; but the real or marketable value was only £43,001,322, being a ten-fold quantity sold for little more than double the former price. To produce results so disadvantageous to the country generally, and to the factory workers in particular, several causes have co-operated, which, had circumstances permitted, we should have brought more prominently under your notice; suffice it for the present to say that the most obvious one is the constant redundancy of labour, without which a trade so ruinous in its effects never could have been carried on, and which requires a constantly extending market to save it from annihilation. Our cotton mills may be brought to a stand by the periodical stagnations of trade, which, under present arrangements, are as inevitable as death itself; but the human mind is constantly at work, and although we believe we are under the mark in stating that six millions of persons have left these shores during the last 25 years, yet, from the natural increase of population, and the displacement of labour to cheapen production, a large percentage of the male adults in the most prosperous times find it impossible to obtain work in factories on any conditions whatever." ("Reports of Insp. of Fact., 30th April, 1863," pp. 51-52. We shall, in a later chapter, see how our friends, the manufacturers, endeavored, during the catastrophe in the cotton trade, to prevent by every means, including State interference, the emigration of the operatives.
[166.] "Ch. Empl. Comm. IV. Report, 1864," p. 108, n. 447.
[167.] In the United States the restoration in this way, of handicrafts based on machinery is frequent; and therefore, when the inevitable transition to the factory system shall take place, the ensuing concentration will, compared with Europe and even with England, stride on in seven-league boots.
[168.] See "Rep. of Insp. of Fact., 31st Oct., 1865," p. 64.
[169.] Mr. Gillott erected in Birmingham the first steel-pen factory on a large scale. It produced, so early as 1851, over 180,000,000 of pens yearly, and consumed 120 tons of steel. Birmingham has the monopoly of this industry in the United Kingdom, and at present produces thousands of millions of steel pens. According to the Census of 1861, the number of persons employed was 1428, of whom 1268 were females from 5 years of age upwards.
[170.] Ch. Empl. Comm., II. Rep. 1864, p. LXVIII., n. 415.
[171.] And now forsooth children are employed at file-cutting in Sheffield.
[172.] Ch. Empl. Comm. V. Rep. 1866, p. 3, n. 24, p. 6, n. 55, 56, p. 7, n. 59, 60.
[173.] L. c. pp. 114, 115, n. 6, 7. The commissioner justly remarks that though as a rule machines take the place of men, here literally young persons replace machines.
[174.] See the Report on the rag trade, and numerous details in Public Health, VIII. Rep. Lond. 1866, app. pp. 196, 208.
[175.] Ch. Empl. Comm. V. Rep., 1866, xvi., n. 96, 97, and p. 130, n. 39, 61. See also III. Rep., 1864, p. 48, 56.
[176.] Public Health. Sixth Rep. Lond. 1864, p. 31.
[177.] l. c., p. 30. Dr. Simon remarks that the mortality among the London tailors and printers between the ages of 25 and 35 is in fact much greater, because the employers in London obtain from the country a great number of young people up to 30 years of age, as "apprentices" and "improvers," who come for the purpose of being perfected in their trade. These figure in the census as Londoners, they swell out the number of heads on which the London death-rate is calculated, without adding proportionally to the number of deaths in that place. The greater part of them in fact return to the country, and especially in cases of severe illness. (l. c.)
[178.] I allude here to hammered nails, as distinguished from nails cut out and made by machinery. See Child. Empl. Comm., Third Rep. p. xi, p. xix, n. 125-130, p. 53, n. 11, p. 114. n. 487. p. 137, n. 674.
[180.] Ch. Empl. Comm., II. Rep., 1864, pp. xix., xx., xxi.
[181.] l. c., pp. xxi., xxvi.
[182.] l. c., pp. xxix., xxx.
[183.] l. c. pp. xl, xli.
[184.] Child, Empl. Comm. I. Rep. 1863, p. 185.
[185.] In England millinery and dressmaking are for the most part carried on, on the premises of the employer, partly by workwomen who live there, partly by women who live off the premises.
[186.] Mr. White, a commissioner, visited a military clothing manufactory that employed 1000 to 1200 persons, almost all females, and a shoe manufactory with 1300 persons; of these nearly one half were children and young persons.
[187.] An instance. The weekly report of deaths by the Registrar General dated 26th Feb., 1864, contains 5 cases of death from starvation. On the same day the "Times" reports another case. Six victims of starvation in one week!
[188.] Child. Empl. Comm., Second Rep., 1864, p. lxvii. n. 406-9, p. 84, n. 124, p. lxxiii., n. 441, p. 66, n. 6, p. 84, n. 126, p. 78, n. 76, n. 69, p. lxxii., n. 483.
[189.] "The rental of premises required for workrooms seems the element which ultimately determines the point; and consequently it is in the metropolis, that the old system of giving work out to small employers and families has been longest retained, and earliest returned to." (l. c. p. 83, n. 123.) The concluding statement in this quotation refers exclusively to shoemaking.
[190.] In glove-making and other industries where the condition of the workpeople is hardly distinguishable from that of paupers, this does not occur.
[191.] l. c. p. 2, n. 122.
[192.] In the wholesale boot and shoe trade of Leicester alone, there were in 1864, 800 sewing machines already in use.
[193.] l. c. p. 84, n. 124.
[194.] Instances: The Army Clothing Depot at Pimlico, London, the Shirt factory of Tillie and Henderson at Londonderry, and the clothes factory of Messrs. Tait at Limerick which employs about 1200 hands.
[195.] "Tendency to factory system" (l. c. p. lxvii.). "The whole employment is at this time in a state of transition, and is undergoing the same change as that effected in the lace trade, weaving, 8c." (l. c. n. 405.) "A complete revolution" (l. c. p. xlvi. n. 318). At the date of the Child. Empl. Comm. of 1840, stocking making was still done by manual labour. Since 1846 various sorts of machines have been introduced, which are now driven by steam. The total number of persons of both sexes and of all ages from 3 years upwards, employed in stocking making in England, was in 1862 about 129,000. Of these only 4063 were, according to the Parliamentary Return of the 11th February, 1862, working under the Factory Acts.
[196.] Thus, e.g., in the earthenware trade, Messrs. Cochrane, of the Britain Pottery, Glasgow, report: "To keep up our quantity we have gone extensively into machines wrought by unskilled labour, and every day convinces us that we can produce a greater quantity than by the old method." ("Rep. of Insp. of Fact., 31st Oct., 1865," p. 18.) "The effect of the Fact. Acts is to force on the further introduction of machinery" (l. c., p. 13-14).
[197.] Thus, after the extension of the Factory Act to the potteries, great increase of power-jiggers in place of hand-moved jiggers.
[198.] "Report of Insp. of Fact., 31st Oct., 1865," pp. 96 and 127.
[199.] The introduction of this and other machinery into match-making caused in one department alone 230 young persons to be replaced by 32 boys and girls of 14 to 17 years of age. This saving in labour was carried still further in 1865, by the employment of steam power.
[200.] "Ch. Empl. Comm., II. Rep., 1864," p. ix., n. 50.
[201.] "Rep. of Insp. of Fact., 31st Oct. 1865," p. 22.
[202.] "But it must be borne in mind that those improvements, though carried out fully in some establishments, are by no means general, and are not capable of being brought into use in many of the old manufactories without an expenditure of capital beyond the means of many of the present occupiers." "I cannot but rejoice," writes Sub-Insp. May, "that notwithstanding the temporary disorganization which inevitably follows the introduction of such a measure (as the Factory Act Extension Act), and is, indeed, directly indicative of the evils which it was intended to remedy, 8c." (Rep. of Insp. of Fact, 31st Oct., 1865.)
[203.] With blast furnaces, for instance, "work towards the end of the week being generally much increased in duration in consequence of the habit of the men of idling on Monday and occasionally during a part or the whole of Tuesday also." (Child. Empl. Comm., III. Rep., p. vi.) "The little masters generally have very irregular hours. They lose two or three days, and then work all night to make it up.... They always employ their own children, if they have any." (l. c., p. vii.) "The want of regularity in coming to work, encouraged by the possibility and practice of making up for this by working longer hours." (l. c., p. xviii.) "In Birmingham...an enormous amount of time is lost...idling part of the time, slaving the rest." (l. c., p. xi.)
[204.] "Child Empl. Comm., IV. Rep. p. xxxii.," "The extension of the railway system is said to have contributed greatly to this custom of giving sudden orders, and the consequent hurry, neglect of meal times, and late hours of the workpeople." (l. c., p. xxxi.)
[205.] Ch. Empl. Comm. IV. Rep. p. xxxv. n. 235, 237.
[206.] Ch. Empl. Comm. IV. Rep. p. 127, n. 56.
[207.] "With respect to the loss of trade by non-completion of shipping orders in time, I remember that this was the pet argument of the factory masters in 1832 and 1833. Nothing that can be advanced now on this subject, could have the force that it had then, before steam had halved all distances and established new regulations for transit. It quite failed at that time of proof when put to the test, and again it will certainly fail should it have to be tried." (Reports of Insp. of Fact., 31 Oct., 1862, pp. 54, 55.
[208.] Ch. Empl. Comm. IV. Rep. p. xviii. n. 118.
[209.] John Bellers remarked as far back as 1699: "The uncertainty of fashions does increase necessitous poor. It has two great mischiefs in it. 1st, The journeymen are miserable in winter for want of work, the mercers and master weavers not daring to lay out their stocks to keep the journeymen employed before the spring comes, and they know what the fashion will then be: 2ndly, in the spring the journeymen are not sufficient, but the master-weavers must draw in many prentices, that they may supply the trade of the kingdom in a quarter or half a year, which robs the plough of hands, drains the country of labourers, and in a great part stocks the city with beggars, and starves some in winter that are ashamed to beg." (Essays about the Poor, Manufactures, 8c., p. 9.)
[210.] Ch. Empl. Comm. V. Rep. p. 171, n. 34.
[211.] The evidence of some Bradford export-houses is as follows: "Under these circumstances, it seems clear that no boys need be worked longer than from 8 a.m. to 7 or 7.30 p.m., in making up. It is merely a question of extra hands and extra outlay. If some masters were not so greedy, the boys would not work late; an extra machine costs only £16 or £18; much of such overtime as does occur is to be referred to an insufficiency of appliances, and a want of space." Ch. Empl. Comm. V. Rep. p. 171, n. 31, 36, 38.
[212.] l. c. A London manufacturer, who in other respects looks upon the compulsory regulation of the hours of labour as a protection for the workpeople against the manufacturers, and for the manufacturers themselves against the wholesale trade, states: "The pressure in our business is caused by the shippers, who want, e.g., to send the goods by sailing vessel so as to reach their destination at a given season, and at the same time want to pocket the difference in freight between a sailing vessel and a steamship, or who select the earlier of two steamships in order to be in the foreign market before their competitors."
[213.] "This could be obviated," says a manufacturer, "at the expense of an enlargement of the works under the pressure of a General Act of Parliament." l. c. p. x. n. 38.
[214.] l. c. p. xv. n. 72. sqq.
[215.] Rep. Insp. Fact., 31st October, 1865, p. 127.
[216.] It has been found out by experiment, that with each respiration of average intensity made by a healthy average individual, about 25 cubic inches of air are consumed, and that about 20 respirations are made in each minute. Hence the air inhaled in 24 hours by each individual is about 720,000 cubic inches, or 416 cubic feet. It is clear, however, that air which has been once breathed, can no longer serve for the same process until it has been purified in the great workshop of Nature. According to the experiments of Valentin and Brunner, it appears that a healthy man gives off about 1300 cubic inches of carbonic acid per hour; this would give about 8 ounces of solid carbon thrown off from the lungs in 24 hours. "Every man should have at least 800 cubic feet." (Huxley.)
[217.] According to the English Factory Act, parents cannot send their children under 14 years of age into Factories under the control of the Act, unless at the same time they allow them to receive elementary education. The manufacturer is responsible for compliance with the Act. "Factory education is compulsory, and it is a condition of labour." (Rep. Insp. Fact. 31st Oct., 1863, p. 111.
[218.] On the very advantageous results of combining gymnastics (and drilling in the case of boys) with compulsory education for factory children and pauper scholars, see the speech of N. W. Senior at the seventh annual congress of "The National Association for the Promotion of Social Science," in "Report of Proceedings, 8c., Lond. 1863," p. 63, 64, also the Rep. Insp. Fact., 31st Oct., 1865, p. 118, 119, 120, 126 sqq.
[219.] Rep. Insp. Fact. 31st Oct. 1865, p. 118. A silk manufacturer naïvely states to the Children's Employment Commissioners: "I am quite sure that the true secret of producing efficient workpeople is to be found in uniting education and labour from a period of childhood. Of course the occupation must not be too severe, nor irksome, or unhealthy. But of the advantage of the union I have no doubt. I wish my own children could have some work as well as play to give variety to their schooling." (Ch. Empl. Comm. V. Rep. p. 82. n. 36.)
[220.] Senior, l. c. p. 66. How Modern Industry, when it has attained to a certain pitch, is capable, by the revolution it effects in the mode of production and in the social conditions of production, of also revolutionizing people's minds, is strikingly shown by a comparison of Senior's speech in 1863, with his philippic against the Factory Act of 1833; or by a comparison, of the views of the congress above referred to, with the fact that in certain country districts of England poor parents are forbidden, on pain of death by starvation, to educate their children. Thus, e.g., Mr. Snell reports it to be a common occurrence in Somersetshire that, when a poor person claims parish relief, he is compelled to take his children from school. Mr. Wollarton, the clergyman at Feltham, also tells of cases where all relief was denied to certain families "because they were sending their children to school!"
[221.] Wherever handicraft-machines, driven by men, compete directly or indirectly with more developed machines driven by mechanical power, a great change takes place with regard to the labourer who drives the machine. At first the steam-engine replaces this labourer, afterwards he must replace the steam-engine. Consequently the tension and the amount of labour-power expended become monstrous, and especially so in the case of the children who are condemned to this torture. Thus Mr. Longe, one of the commissioners, found in Coventry and the neighbourhood boys of from 10 to 15 years employed in driving the ribbon looms, not to mention younger children who had to drive smaller machines. "It is extraordinarily fatiguing work. The boy is a mere substitute for steam-power." (Ch. Empl. Comm. V. Rep. 1866, p. 114, n. 6.) As to the fatal consequences of "this system of slavery," as the official report styles it, see l. c. p. 114 sqq.
[222.] l. c. p. 3, n. 24.
[223.] l. c. p. 7, n. 60.
[224.] "In some parts of the Highlands of Scotland, not many years ago, every peasant, according to the Statistical Account, made his own shoes of leather tanned by himself. Many a shepherd and cottar too, with his wife and children, appeared at Church in clothes which had been touched by no hands but their own, since they were shorn from the sheep and sown in the flaxfield. In the preparation of these, it is added, scarcely a single article had been purchased, except the awl, needle, thimble, and a very few parts of the iron-work employed in the weaving. The dyes, too, were chiefly extracted by the women from trees, shrubs and herbs." (Dugald Stewart's Works. Hamilton's Ed., Vol. viii., p. 327-328.)
[225.] In the celebrated "Livre des métiers" of Etienne Boileau, we find it prescribed that a journeyman on being admitted among the masters had to swear "to love his brethren with brotherly love, to support them in their respective trades, not wilfully to betray the secrets of the trade, and besides, in the interests of all, not to recommend his own wares by calling the attention of the buyer to defects in the articles made by others."
[226.] "The bourgeoisie cannot exist without continually revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production and all the social relations. Conservation, in an unaltered form, of the old modes of production was on the contrary the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolution in production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation, distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind. (F. Engels and Karl Marx: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei. Lond, 1848, p. 5.)
[227.]"You take my life When you do take the means whereby I live."
[228.] A French workman, on his return from San-Francisco, writes as follows: "I never could have believed, that I was capable of working at the various occupations I was employed on in California. I was firmly convinced that I was fit for nothing but letter-press printing.... Once in the midst of this world of adventurers, who change their occupation as often as they do their shirt, egad, I did as the others. As mining did not turn out remunerative enough, I left it for the town, where in succession I became typographer, slater, plumber, 8c. In consequence of thus finding out that I am fit for any sort of work, I feel less of a mollusk and more of a man." (A. Courbon. De l'enseignement professionnel, 2ème ed. p. 50.)
[229.] John Bellers, a very phenomenon in the history of political economy, saw most clearly at the end of the 17th century, the necessity for abolishing the present system of education and division of labour, which beget hypertrophy and atrophy at the two opposite extremities of society. Amongst other things he says this: "An idle learning being little better than the learning of idleness...Bodily labour, it's a primitive institution of God...Labour being as proper for the bodies' health as eating is for its living; for what pains a man saves by ease, he will find in disease.... Labour adds oyl to the lamp of life, when thinking inflames it...A childish silly employ" (a warning this, by presentiment, against the Basedows and their modern imitators) "leaves the children's minds silly." (Proposals for raising a college of industry of all useful trades and husbandry. Lond., 1696, p. 12, 14, 18.)
[230.] This sort of labour goes on mostly in small workshops, as we have seen in the lace-making and straw-plaiting trades, and as could be shown more in detail from the metal trades of Sheffield, Birmingham, 8c.
[231.] Ch. Empl. Comm., V. Rep., p. xxv., n. 162, and II. Rep., p. xxxviii., n. 285, 289, p. xxv., xxvi., n. 191.
[232.] "Factory labour may be as pure and as excellent as domestic labour, and perhaps more so." (Rep. Insp. Fact., 31st October, 1865, p. 127.)
[233.] Rep. Insp. of Fact., 31st October, 1865, p. 27-32.
[234.] Numerous instances will be found in Rep. of Insp. of Fact.
[235.] Ch. Empl. Comm., V. Rep., p. x., n. 35.
[236.] Ch. Empl. Comm., V. Rep., p. ix., n. 28.
[237.] l. c., p. xxv., n. 165-167. As to the advantages of large scale, compared with small scale, industries, see Ch. Empl. Comm., III. Rep., p. 13, n. 144, p. 25, n. 121, p. 26, n. 125, p. 27, n. 140, 8c.
[238.] The trades proposed to be brought under the Act were the following: Lace-making, stocking-weaving, straw-plaiting, the manufacture of wearing apparel with its numerous subdivisions, artificial flower-making, shoemaking, hat-making, glove-making, tailoring, all metal works, from blast furnaces down to needleworks, 8c., paper-mills, glass-works, tobacco factories, india-rubber works, braid-making (for weaving), hand-carpet-making, umbrella and parasol making, the manufacture of spindles and spools, letter-press printing, book-binding, manufacture of stationery (including paper bags, cards, coloured paper, 8c.,) rope-making, manufacture of jet ornaments, brick-making, silk manufacture by hand, Coventry weaving, salt works, tallow chandlers, cement works, sugar refineries, biscuit-making, various industries connected with timber, and other mixed trades.
[239.] l. c. p. xxv. n. 169.
[240.] The Factory Acts Extension Act was passed on August 12, 1867. It regulated all metal foundries, forges, and manufacturès, including machine shops, furthermore glass, paper, gutta-percha, caoutchouc, tobacco manufactures, printing shops, book binderies, and finally all workshops employing more than 50 persons.—The Hours of Labor Regulation Act was passed on August 17, 1867, and regulates the smaller workshops and the so-called house work.—I revert to these laws, and to the new Mining Act of 1872 in volume II.
[241.] Senior, Social Science Congress, pp. 55-58.
[242.] The "personnel" of this staff consisted of 2 inspectors, 2 assistant inspectors and 41 sub-inspectors. Eight additional sub-inspectors were appointed in 1871. The total cost of administering the Acts in England, Scotland, and Ireland amounted for the year 1871-72 to no more than £25,347, inclusive of the law expenses incurred by prosecutions of offending masters.
[243.] Robert Owen, the father of Co-operative Factories and Stores, but who, as before remarked, in no way shared the illusions of his followers with regard to the bearing of these isolated elements of transformation, not only practically made the factory system the sole foundation of his experiments, but also declared that system to be theoretically the starting point of the social revolution. Herr Vissering, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Leyden, appears to have a suspicion of this when, in his "Handboek van Praktische Staatsbuishoudkunde, 1860-62," which reproduces all the platitudes of vulgar economy, he strongly supports handicrafts against the factory system. Note to the 4th German edition.—The new juristic abortion created by English legislation in the mutually contradictory Factory Acts, Factory Extension Act, and Workshop Act, became finally unbearable, and in consequence, the Factory and Workshops Act of 1878 made this entire legislation into a new code. Of course, we cannot give an exhaustive critique of the present industrial code of England in this place. The following notes may suffice; The Act comprizes (1) Textile mills. Here everything remains about as it was. Working time allowed for children over 10 years, 5½ hours per day, or 6 hours per day and Saturday off. For young persons and women, 10 hours on 5 days, and no more than 6½ hours on Saturday. (2) Other than textile mills. Here the rules are more nearly approximated to those of class (1), but still many of them permit exceptions favoring the capitalist, which may even be extended in special cases by the permission of the Minister of the Interior. (3) Workshops, defined about the same as in the former act. So far as children, young persons, or women are employed in them, workshops are placed in about the same class with other than textile mills, but again with special favors. (4) Workshops, in which no children or young persons, but only persons of both sexes over 18 years are employed. This class enjoys still other favors. (5) Domestic Workshops, in which only members of the family are employed in the home of the family. Here the rules are still more elastic, with the additional restriction that the inspector must not enter rooms serving at the same time as homes without the permission of the Minister or the Judge. Finally, the unconditional surrender of straw plating, lace making, glove making to the family circle. Yet, with all its shortcomings, this law, and the factory laws of the Swiss Confederation passed March 23, 1877, are by far the best on this subject. A comparison of these two codes is particularly interesting, because it reveals the advantages and disadvantages of the two different methods of legislation, the English, "historical" method interfering from case to case, and the continental, more generalising method built upon the traditions of the French revolution. Unfortunately, the English code is still largely a dead letter on account of the lack of inspectors.—F. E.—
[244.] A detailed description of the machinery employed in English agriculture is found in "The Agricultural Implements and Machines of England," by Dr. W. Hamm. Second edition, 1856. In a sketch of the evolution of English agriculture Mr. Hamm follows too narrowly the ideas of Mr. Leonce de Lavergne.—(Note to the 4th German edition.)—This is now obsolete, of course.—F. E.—
[245.] "You divide the people into two hostile camps of clownish boors and emasculated dwarfs. Good heavens! a nation divided into agricultural and commercial interests, calling itself sane; nay, styling itself enlightened and civilized, not only in spite of, but in consequence of this monstrous and unnatural division." (David Urquhart, l. c., p. 119.) This passage shows, at one and the same time, the strength and the weakness of that kind of criticism which knows how to judge and condemn the present, but not how to comprehend it.
[246.] See Liebig: "Die Chemie in ihrer Anwendung auf Agricultur and Physiologie, 7. Auflage, 1862," and especially the "Einleitung in die Naturgesetze des Feldbaus," in the 1st Volume. To have developed from the point of view of natural science, the negative, i.e., destructive side of modern agriculture, is one of Liebig's immortal merits. His summary, too, of the history of agriculture, although not free from gross errors, contains flashes of light. It is, however, to be regretted that he ventures on such hap-hazard assertions as the following: "By greater pulverising and more frequent ploughing, the circulation of air in the interior of porous soil is aided, and the surface exposed to the action of the atmosphere is increased and renewed; but it is easily seen that the increased yield of the land cannot be proportional to the labour spent on that land, but increases in a much smaller proportion. This law," adds Liebig, "was first enunciated by John Stuart Mill in his 'Principles of Pol. Econ.', Vol I., p. 17, as follows: 'That the produce of land increases, cœteris paribus, in a diminishing ratio to the increase of the labourers employed" (Mill here introduces in an erroneous form the law enunciated by Ricardo's school, for since the 'decrease of the labourers employed,' kept even pace in England with the advance of agriculture, the law discovered in, and applied to, England, could have no application to that country, at all events), "is the universal law of agricultural industry.' This is very remarkable, since Mill was ignorant of the reason for this law." (Liebig, 1. c., Bd. I., p. 143 and Note.) Apart from Liebig's wrong interpretation of the word "labour," by which word he understands something quite different from what political economy does, it is, in any case, "very remarkable" that he should make Mr. John Stuart Mill the first propounder of a theory which was first published by James Anderson in A. Smith's days, and was repeated in various works down to the beginning of the 19th century; a theory which Malthus, that master in plagiarism (the whole of his population theory is a shameless plagiarism), appropriated to himself in 1815; which West developed at the same time as, and independently of, Anderson; which in the year 1817 was connected by Ricardo with the general theory of value, then made the round of the world as Ricardo's theory, and in 1820 was vulgarised by James Mill, the father of John Stuart Mill; and which, finally, was reproduced by John Stuart Mill and others, as a dogma already quite common-place, and known to every school-boy. It cannot be denied that John Stuart Mill owes his, at all events, "remarkable" authority almost entirely to such quid-pro-quos.