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Coldly and silently Lewis resumed his office of guardian: the space intervening between St. Mark's Church and the Palazzo Grassini was passed iu safety, and they stood within the court-yard of Leicester's dwelling. Charley laid his hand on Lewis's shoulder,
"You will come in ?" he said, " you are hot and tired, and require refreshment—a glass of wine?"
Lewis shook his head.
"It is impossible," he replied coldly ; then adding, "I am happy to have been of use to — to Mrs. Leicester and yourself," he raised his hat slightly to Annie and turned to depart.: recollecting however that he still held in his haud the brooch which he had rescued from the ruffian's clutches, he paused with the intention of giving it to Laura; but Laura had caught sight of "Tarlcy's " curly head peeping out. at. her, and actuated by a sudden impulse of maternal affection, or for some other reason which we shall not attempt to fathom, she had tripped off in the direction of her self-willed offspring. Leicester was slowly following her, all his faculties apparently engrossed by a second attempt to reform his outraged hat. Lewis and Annie were left therefore virtually alone. Advancing towards her with an expression of countenance so cold and immovable that every feature might have been carved in marble, Lewis began,—
"1 beg pardon, I had forgotten to return your brooch."
It was the first time that morning he had personally addressed her, and his doing so appeared to break the spell which had kept her silent; she took the brooch from him, murmuring some indistinct words of thanks, then gaining courage as she proceeded, she glanced at him appealingly, saying,—
"Strange as this meeting is, I am sure I cannot be mistaken,—Mr. Arundel, have you quite forgotten me?"
As she uttered these words a kind of spasm passed across Lewis's face, and for a moment he appeared afraid to trust himself to speak; recovering, however, lie replied in the same cold measured tone which he had used throughout the adventure:
"No, Miss Grant, / (and he laid an emphasis on the pronoun so light, that a casual observer would not have detected it, and yet which shot a pang through Annie's heart, that caused her colour to come and go and her limbs to tremble,) do not forget so quickly."
Unable to meet his glance, which she felt was fixed upon her, and scarcely conscious, in her agitation, of what she was saying, Annie faltered out,—
"You will give my father an opportunity of thanking you, I hope; he will, I cannot doubt, that is, we shall all be glad to renew our intimacy with so old a friend."
Lewis paused ere he could trust himself to reply. Her evident emotion, the earnestness of her manner, half timid, half imploring, tended to soothe his wounded spirit and disarm his wrath; but the vis-ion of the morning, in which he had seen her clinging to Lord BL-Uefield's arm and smiling upon him, was
too fresh in his recollection, and the demon of pride and jealousy still retained full dominion over him.
"You must pardon me," he said, "I will reserve my visit to General Grant, till I can congratulate him on his daughter's wedding." Then raising his hat ceremoniously, he bowed to her, and was gone! (To be continued.)
SCENE ON THE COAST OF MALABAR.
Ov looking at this beautiful picture we realize all the vaunted luxuriance of Indian vegetation, which throws into the shade that of the colder north. The liltle shrine upon the sea-shore, overhung by lofty traiiin? foliaac—the graceful forms of the dusky daughters of India—and the white birds flitting across the gorgeous gloom of the verdure, compose a scene over which the eye wanders with something of that intoxication produced by the climate and scenery from which the subject is borrowed.
COMBINATIONS AND STRIKES. Previous to the year 1S24, the mere act on the part of workmen of combining to raise their wages was a punishable offence, and had repeatedly been made the subject of trial and punishment both in England and Scotland. A very strong feeling, however, began to pervade the minds of the community, that the attempt to enforce the provisions of the Combination Act did infinitely more harm than good, and that all such attempts, whether politic or not, were abortive, for experience had proved that it was beyond the power of legislation to prevent the open or covert union of workmen. The subject was brought before parliament in 1823, and in the following year Mr. Hume brought, iu a bill which swept at once about thirty statutes from the statute book, and legalized ample combination on the part both of masters and workmen, subject only to certain restraints in the event of violence or intimidation being proved against the members of the combination, or persons employed by them. On the repeal of the combination acts, I he operatives, as yet untaught by experience, rejoiced in the belief that the principal cause of low wages was at length removed, and that they were now able to secure to themselves what they conceived to be an adequate remuneration for their labour, and a justifiable control over the proceedings of their employers. Accordingly Trades Uuious were extensively formed throughout all the manufacturing districts in the country, and attempts were made to organize a National Association, for the protection of labour, composed of an aggregation of trades unions, and having for its sole object the prcveution of a reduction of wages. As might have been expected, these associations wholly failed to realize the expectations of their founders, and the numerous strikes to which they gave rise exercised the most disastrous influence on the welfare of the working classes. The ruinous
consequences of these strikes, especially in Manchester, Bradford, Preston, and Glasgow, broke up not a few of the trades unions, and for a time deterred tlieir members from a repetition of such unavailing attempts to improve their condition. But a new generation has arisen, who have bad no experience of these evils. The lessons which the past history of combinations teaches, appear to be in a great measure forgotten. Brisk trade, good wages, and cheap bread liave obliterated the recollection of the sufferings produced by former unavailing struggles to prevent the payment of labour from finding its natural level. Strikes and rumours of strikes once more furnish the themes of discussion among our operatives. The engine-drivers and firemcu on the North Western Railway have ou two occasions threatened a simultaneous abandonment of their work. The colliers ami miners have in various places struck for higher wages, and the newspapers are filled with accounts of strikes among the sailors, and of the riots caused by tlieir violent attempts to hinder others from occupying the situations which they have abandoned. In these circumstances it cannot be an unprofitable or unreasonable inquiry,—How far combinations and 6trikes are fitted to gain the ends which their promoters have in view, and what are the effects which they must produce on the ultimate welfare of the working classes themselves?
Combinations among workmen are formed merely for the purpose of raising or keeping up the price of labour. Are they fitted, then, to gain this object f Economical science and experience alike answer in the negative. The rate of wages depends on the proportion between capital and population, or in other words, on the extent of the fund for the maintenance of labour, compared with the number of labourers to be maintaiued. So long as the number of workmen pies hand in hand with the fund for their support, the condition of the working classes remains unchanged. If population should increase, while the capital which supports it is stationary, the workmen begin to experience more and more difficulty in getting employment, and when they do get work, are obliged to accept of a less remuneration for their services. If, on the contrary, circulating capital still remaining the same, the number of labourers were to diminish, or if capital should increase, while the number of labourers remained the same, it is clear the effect, will be reversed —employment will become more abundant, and wages will rise! The principle which regulates the remuneration of labour is thus graphically stated by one of tiie speakers in the popular tale called "The Manchester Strike."
"' When Adam was some hundred years old, he said to Eve, "Stay you here and spin with the women, while I go yonder and set my men to delve. Come, my good fellows, work hard and you shall have your shares." "And pray, sir," said the men, *' what are we to live upon while our fruit and vegetables are growing?" "Why," says Adam, "instead of my sharing the fruit with, you when it is grown, suppose you
take your portion in advance. It may be a convenience to you, and it is all the same thing to me." So the men looked at the ground, and calculated how much digging and other work there would be, and then named their demand, not a silver money with King George's head upou it, but food, clothing, and tools.'
'"Then at harvest,' observed Gibson, 'the whole produce belonged (o Adam.'
"' Of course the commodity was made up, like all commodities, of capital and labour. Adam's capital and the men's labour.* * * Well, Adam and his men expected to get as much by their crop as would pay for their subsistence and their toil, and this much the men asked, and Adam was willing to give, and a fair surplus remained over for himself. So they made their bargain, and he bought their share of the commodity, and had to himself all the flax and other things that his produce exchanged for in the market. And so that season passed off, and all were contented.'
"'And what happened next season, sir?'
"' Next season twice the number of men came to ask work in the same plot of ground. Adam told them that he had very little more wages to pay away than he had the year before; so that if they all wanted to work under him they must be content with little more than half what each had formerly earned. They agreed, and submitted to be rather pinched; but they hoped it would be only for a time, as it was a very fine harvest indeed, so much labour having been spent upou it, and there being a fine profit into Adam's pocket. But four times the number of labourers appeared next year; so that, notwithstanding the increase of capital, each had not so much as one-, third live original wages; and the men grew very cross, and tlieir wives very melancholy. But how could Adam help it?'
'"Why did not the men carry their labour elsewhere ?' asked Black, contemptuously.
"' Why do you go on spinning for Mortimer and Howe when Elliot pay6 higher wages?'
"'Because nobody is taking on new hands ; I can't get work.'
"' Well, nobody was taking on new hands in Adam's neighbourhood ; all the capital was already employed.'"
The price of labour is governed by the same law which regulates the price of all other commodities,— the proportion which the supply bears to the demand. There is a certain quantity of work to be done, and a certain number of hands to do it; if there be much work and comparatively few hands, wages will rise; if little work and an exoess of hands, wages will fall. It is self-evident that combinations and strikes cannot alter this law. They can neither increase capital, nor diminish population; and, therefore, it is utterly impossible, in the very nature of things, that tlicy ever can procure a permanent rise of wages. Not only so, as their tendency is to diminish nthcr than to increase the wealth or capital of the country, their effect must be to leave less—not more—for the maintenance of labour than previously existed. When a strike takes place, the capital of the master is for the lime locked up. All liis machinery and the raw material of ills goods, on which he has expended large sums of money, cease to bring him any return. His rent and taxes are still to pay, to say nothing of the injury which the delicate moving parts of metallic mechanisms sustain by inaction in our humid climate. There are some manufactories in which the interest on sunk capital amounts to from 5,000/. to 10,000/. per annum. If we add to this interest that of the profit fairly resulting to the masters from the employment of their capital, the loss to the workmen of their wages, and the injury inflicted on trade by the customers' resorting to other markets and never returning, we may form some estimate of the vast extent to which the wealth of the country is injured by strikes among operatives. These strikes cannot lessen the number of workmen, but they lesson the amount of capital to be divided among them, and, consequently, must diminish the share which falls to each. It has, accordingly, been found that at the close of a protracted strike the turn-out workmen have been obliged to accept of a lower rate of wages than they were offered at the commencement of the strike.
Experience has shown that strikes are rarely successful, but even if they were so, they would defeat their own ends. The first effect of an increase of wages by such means would of course be a rise in the price of the article which the workmen were engaged in manufacturing. Now it is well known, that a very slight increase in the price of an article causes a decided decrease in its consumption. Our manufacturers are now maintaining a keen competition with ■those of other countries, and it requires incessant diligence and the most cordial co-operation of employers and employed to enable them to maintain their ground against the increasing skill and activity of foreign competitors. A slight increase in the price of their goods would enable the manufacturers of other countries to meet them in markets of which they have now the exclusive possession, and would drive them altogether from markets of which they have at present a share. As a matter of course, the demand for our manufactures in the foreign market would diminish, and the warcrooms of our manufacturers would be glutted with goods for which no outlet could be found. If, therefore, the operatives could succeed in raisiug their wages by means of combinations, they would themselves be among the first to feel the disastrous effects in the stagnation of trade and the consequent diminution of wages.
Some of the Trades Unions appear to have discovered that the rate of wages depends on the proportion which the number of labourers bears to the fund for their support; but instead of leading them to see the futility of combinations for keeping up the price of labour, this has only induced them to proceed further in the wrong path, and to add injustice to impolicy. In not a few of these Unions it is a rule that no master shall be permitted to take more than a certain number of apprentices. In some trades in Dublin no master, whatever mav he the extent of his
trade, is permitted to take more than four apprentices. I' In the articles of the Association of Operative Coltcm } Spinners in Glasgow, there is the following reguia- j tion :—"This Association binds and obliges every one of its members to refrain from instructing any indi-' viduals in the art of spinning except such as are h sons or brothers of a spinner who may have been or is at present a member of this Association."
Respecting these rules, wc may slate, in the first i place, that they arc clearly illegal; and, secondly, that' they are in the highest degree unjust, both to the persons who are prohibited from learning the trade, and to the public at large. Every man has au undoubted right to follow whatever profession or trade he may think fit, and it is the grossest tyranny for any person to presume to say to his fellow-men, that' they shall not be permitted to learn his trade, lest by so doing they should lower the rate of his wages. If every trade were to follow this plan, (and one trade i| has as much right to do so as another,) the result would be that a very large number of persons would be prevented from learning any method of earning their bread, and would therefore be cither starved outright or compelled to depend for subsistence on the precarious bounty of others. But as it is im- | possible for every trade to carry this plan into operation, it is obvious that those who do inflict a grievous wrong on the workmen of other trades—that every youth who is prevented by these regulations from J learning the trade which he prefers, is robbed of bis! rights, and that an absolute, unmitigated wrong is inflicted on the public besides.
Another highly objectionable regulation of Trades Unions is that which fixes the minimum of wages, that is, a rate below which not only no member ot the Union, but no person whatever, shall work for an; master. Whatever may be the intention of this regulation, its obvious effect is to discourage everything like talent and industry, and to give a premium on indolence and stupidity. Suppose that there arc in a particular shop workmen of different degrees of skill and application, so that some are worth 30*. a-wcek, some 25s., some only 13s.; if the minimum of wages be fixed, say at 20s. a-wcek, is it not plain to the meanest capacity that the sum which the master is compelled to pay to the idle and unskilful workman above vclia! he deserves must necessarily be deducted from the wages of the intelligent and industrious workman? So far indeed is the system carried of depressing tlie expert and diligent operatives, that taskwork is condemned by some of the Unions in Ireiand, as mi unmitigated robbery of the rights of others, and the following most extraordinary rule is in some places one of their fundamental laws :—" Should any member of this society be known to boast of his superior ability, as to cither the quality or the quantity of the work he can do, either in public or private company, he shall pay a fine of 2s. 6rf. or be expelled the society." The necessary effect of these regulations is to keep down the able, industrious, and skilful among the operatives themselves, to the level of the lowest and