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You can see all the Movie Roundup Articles that we have here. What's HOT! Photo Gallery. Pilot Watch. Ratings News. Premiere Calendar. Episode Database. Cancellation Table. Full Ratings Tables. It is extremely dangerous to encourage mobs in a commercial state like ours, where, perhaps, seven parts out of eight of the whole, are people with little or no property. The cure will not be perfect, till our manufacturing poor are contented to labour six days for the same sum which they now earn in four days. Macaulay would shout with exultation! It is called the Factory.
And the ideal this time fades before the reality. After capital had taken centuries in extending the working-day to its normal maximum limit, and then beyond this to the limit of the natural day of 12 hours,  there followed on the birth of machinism and modern industry in the last third of the 18th century, a violent encroachment like that of an avalanche in its intensity and extent.
All bounds of morals and nature, age and sex, day and night, were broken down. As soon as the working-class, stunned at first by the noise and turmoil of the new system of production, recovered, in some measure, its senses, its resistance began, and first in the native land of machinism, in England. For 30 years, however, the concessions conquered by the workpeople were purely nominal. They remained a dead letter.
A normal working-day for modern industry only dates from the Factory Act of , which included cotton, wool, flax, and silk factories. Nothing is more characteristic of the spirit of capital than the history of the English Factory Acts from to The Act of declares the ordinary factory working-day to be from half-past five in the morning to half-past eight in the evening and within these limits, a period of 15 hours, it is lawful to employ young persons i. The 6th section of the Act provided. The only remedy for this evil, short of the limitation of the labour of adults which would, in our opinion, create an evil greater than that which is sought to be remedied, appears to be the plan of working double sets of children.
Parliament decreed that after March 1st, , no child under 11, after March 1st , no child under 12, and after March 1st, , no child under 13 was to work more than eight hours in a factory. Farre, Sir A. Carlisle, Sir B. Brodie, Sir C. Bell, Mr. Farre expressed himself still more coarsely. But in no wise conciliated, capital now began a noisy agitation that went on for several years. According to capitalistic anthropology, the age of childhood ended at 10, or at the outside, at The more nearly the time approached for the coming into full force of the Factory Act, the fatal year , the more wildly raged the mob of manufacturers.
They managed, in fact, to intimidate the government to such an extent that in it proposed to lower the limit of the age of childhood from 13 to In the meantime the pressure from without grew more threatening. Courage failed the House of Commons. It refused to throw children of 13 under the Juggernaut Car of capital for more than 8 hours a day, and the Act of came into full operation. It remained unaltered until June, In the ten years during which it regulated factory work, first in part, and then entirely, the official reports of the factory inspectors teem with complaints as to the impossibility of putting the Act into force.
As the law of left it optional with the lords of capital during the 15 hours, from 5. We do not pause longer on the beauty of this system, as we shall have to return to it later. But this much is clear at the first glance: that this system annulled the whole Factory Act, not only in the spirit, but in the letter. How could factory inspectors, with this complex bookkeeping in respect to each individual child or young person, enforce the legally determined work-time and the granting of the legal mealtimes? In a great many of the factories, the old brutalities soon blossomed out again unpunished.
In an interview with the Home Secretary , the factory inspectors demonstrated the impossibility of any control under the newly invented relay system. Some of the manufacturers, even, who had managed their factories in conformity with the Act of , overwhelmed Parliament with memorials on the immoral competition of their false brethren whom greater impudence, or more fortunate local circumstances, enabled to break the law.
Moreover, however much the individual manufacturer might give the rein to his old lust for gain, the spokesmen and political leaders of the manufacturing class ordered a change of front and of speech towards the workpeople. They had entered upon the contest for the repeal of the Corn Laws, and needed the workers to help them to victory. This was the origin of the additional Factory Act of June 7th, It came into effect on September 10th, It places under protection a new category of workers, viz.
For the first time, legislation saw itself compelled to control directly and officially the labour of adults. In the Factory Report of , it is said with irony:. So that if A, e. Children beginning work before 12 noon may not be again employed after I p. The afternoon shift must therefore consist of other children than those employed in the morning. Of the hour and a half for meal-times,. No child or young person shall be employed more than five hours before I p.
No child or young person [or female] shall be employed or allowed to remain in any room in which any manufacturing process is then [ i. It has been seen that these minutiae, which, with military uniformity, regulate by stroke of the clock the times, limits, pauses of the work were not at all the products of Parliamentary fancy. They developed gradually out of circumstances as natural laws of the modern mode of production.
Their formulation, official recognition, and proclamation by the State, were the result of a long struggle of classes. One of their first consequences was that in practice the working-day of the adult males in factories became subject to the same limitations, since in most processes of production the co-operation of the children. The years are epoch-making in the economic history of England. The Repeal of the Corn Laws, and of the duties on cotton and other raw material; Free-trade proclaimed as the guiding star of legislation; in a word, the arrival of the millennium.
They found allies in the Tories panting for revenge. In other respects, the Act only amended and completed the Acts of and Capital now entered upon a preliminary campaign in order to hinder the Act from coming into full force on May 1st, And the workers themselves, under the presence that they had been taught by experience, were to help in the destruction of their own work. The moment was cleverly chosen.
A considerable number of the operatives must therefore be in very narrow circumstances many, it is to be feared, in debt; so that it might fairly have been presumed that at the present time they would prefer working the longer time, in order to make up for past losses, perhaps to pay off debts, or get their furniture out of pawn, or replace that sold, or to get a new supply of clothes for themselves and their families. This was done so to say, to celebrate the inauguration of the new Free-trade era.
Neither lies, bribery, nor threats were spared in this attempt. But all was in vain. They denounced the Factory Inspectors as a kind of revolutionary commissioners like those of the French National Convention ruthlessly sacrificing the unhappy factory workers to their humanitarian crotchet. This manoeuvre also failed. Factory Inspector Leonard Horner conducted in his own person, and through his sub-inspectors, many examinations of witnesses in the factories of Lancashire.
But meanwhile the fiasco of the Chartist party whose leaders were imprisoned, and whose organisation was dismembered, had shaken the confidence of the English working-class in its own strength.
Soon after this the June insurrection in Paris and its bloody suppression united, in England as on the Continent, all fractions of the ruling classes, landlords and capitalists, stock-exchange wolves and shop-keepers, Protectionists and Freetraders, government and opposition, priests and freethinkers, young whores and old nuns, under the common cry for the salvation of Property, Religion, the Family and Society.
The working-class was everywhere proclaimed, placed under a ban, under a virtual law of suspects. The manufacturers had no need any longer to restrain themselves. To understand that which follows we must remember that the Factory Acts of , , and were all three in force so far as the one did not amend the other: that not one of these limited the working-day of the male worker over 18, and that since the 15 hours from 5. The manufacturers began by here and there discharging a part of, in many cases half of the young persons and women employed by them, and then, for the adult males, restoring the almost obsolete night-work.
In some cases they now allow an hour, or half an hour for dinner, insisting at the same time, that they are not bound to allow any part of the hour and a half in the course of the factory working-day. And why should not the workpeople eat their dinner before 9 in the morning? The crown lawyers, however, decided that the prescribed meal-times. After these pleasant demonstrations, Capital preluded its revolt by a step which agreed with the letter of the law of , and was therefore legal.
The Act of certainly prohibited the employment after 1 p. Children of 8 might, if they began work at noon, be employed from 12 to 1, 1 hour; from 2 to 4 in the afternoon, 2 hours; from 5 to 8. Or better still. In order to make their work coincide with that of the adult male labourers up to 8. I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond. Therefore, it claimed and obtained the enjoyment not only of making children of 8 drudge without intermission from 2 to 8.
So says the bond. Is the great manufacturing interest of this country to be treated as a secondary matter in order to save some little trouble to Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors of Factories? All these shifts naturally were of no avail. The Factory Inspectors appealed to the Law Courts. But soon such a cloud of dust in the way of petitions from the masters overwhelmed the Home Secretary, Sir George Grey, that in a circular of August 5th, , he recommends the inspectors not. Stuart allowed the so-called relay system during the 15 hours of the factory day throughout Scotland, where it soon flourished again as of old.
The English Factory Inspectors, on the other hand, declared that the Home Secretary had no power dictatorially to suspend the law, and continued their legal proceedings against the pro-slavery rebellion. In these tribunals, the masters sat in judgment on themselves An example. Receiving a refusal, he at first kept quiet. A few months later, an individual named Robinson, also a cotton-spinner, and if not his Man Friday, at all events related to Eskrigge, appeared before the borough magistrates of Stockport on a charge of introducing the identical plan of relays invented by Eskrigge.
Four Justices sat, among them three cottonspinners, at their head this same inevitable Eskrigge. Eskrigge acquitted Robinson, and now was of opinion that what was right for Robinson was fair for Eskrigge. Supported by his own legal decision, he introduced the system at once into his own factory.
I long for a stipendiary magistrate. But the Saviours of Society would not allow themselves to be turned from their purpose. Leonard Horner reports,. I considered it useless to prosecute more for this evasion of the law. That part of the Act of which was framed for securing uniformity in the hours of work, Neither have the sub-inspectors or myself any means of satisfying ourselves, when we inspect a mill working by shifts, that the young persons and women are not working more than 10 hours a-day In a return of the 30th April, Already, in December, , Leonard Horner had a list of 65 manufacturers and 29 overlookers who unanimously declared that no system of supervision could, under this relay system, prevent enormous over-work.
As on the stage, the same persons had to appear in turns in the different scenes of the different acts. But as an actor during the whole course of the play belongs to the stage, so the operatives, during 15 hours, belonged to the factory, without reckoning the time for going and coming. Thus the hours of rest were turned into hours of enforced idleness, which drove the youths to the pot-house, and the girls to the brothel.
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At every new trick that the capitalist, from day to day, hit upon for keeping his machinery going 12 or 15 hours without increasing the number of his hands, the worker had to swallow his meals now in this fragment of time, now in that. Now they reversed the medal. But on this apparently decisive victory of capital, followed at once a revulsion.
The workpeople had hitherto offered a passive, although inflexible and unremitting resistance. They now protested in Lancashire and Yorkshire in threatening meetings. The Factory Inspectors urgently warned the Government that the antagonism of classes had arrived at an incredible tension. Some of the masters themselves murmured:. One law holds in Yorkshire, another in Lancashire, one law in one parish of Lancashire, another in its immediate neighbourhood. And the first birthright of capital is equal exploitation of labour-power by all capitalists. Under these circumstances a compromise between masters and men was effected that received the seal of Parliament in the additional Factory Act of August 5th, The work was to go on between 6 a.
By this an end was put to the relay system once for all. One set of masters, this time as before, secured to itself special seigneurial rights over the children of the proletariat. These were the silk manufacturers. They extorted the privilege they desired. The pretext was shown on subsequent investigation to be a deliberate lie.
But it secured to them, on the other hand, the privilege of working children between 11 and 13, 10 hours a day, and of annulling in their case the education made compulsory for all other factory children. This time the pretext was. The children were slaughtered out-and-out for the sake of their delicate fingers, as in Southern Russia the horned cattle for the sake of their hide and tallow.
At length, in , the privilege granted in , was limited to the departments of silk-twisting and silk-winding. Despite the protests of the Factory Inspector, renewed every 6 months, the mischief continues to this hour. Whilst the bill was under discussion, the Factory Inspectors laid before Parliament statistics of the infamous abuses due to this anomaly. To no purpose. In the background lurked the intention of screwing up, during prosperous years, the working-day of adult males to 15 hours by the aid of the children. The experience of the three following years showed that such an attempt must come to grief against the resistance of the adult male operatives.
It limits the working-day for children from 8 to 13, and for women to 16 hours, between 6 a. It allows males over 13 to be worked at will day and night. However, the principle had triumphed with its victory in those great branches of industry which form the most characteristic creation of the modern mode of production.
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Their wonderful development from to , hand-in-hand with the physical and moral regeneration of the factory workers, struck the most purblind. Hence the comparatively rapid advance since The dye-works and bleach-works all came under the Factory Act of in ;  lace and stocking manufactures in The reader will bear in mind that the production of surplus-value, or the extraction of surplus-labour, is the specific end and aim, the sum and substance, of capitalist production, quite apart from any changes in the mode of production, which may arise from the subordination of labour to capital.
He will remember that as far as we have at present gone only the independent labourer, and therefore only the labourer legally qualified to act for himself, enters as a vendor of a commodity into a contract with the capitalist. If, therefore, in our historical sketch, on the one hand, modern industry, on the other, the labour of those who are physically and legally minors, play important parts, the former was to us only a special department, and the latter only a specially striking example of labour exploitation.
Without, however, anticipating the subsequent development of our inquiry, from the mere connexion of the historic facts before us it follows:. The passion of capital for an unlimited and reckless extension of the working-day, is first gratified in the industries earliest revolutionised by water-power, steam, and machinery, in those first creations of the modern mode of production, cotton, wool, flax, and silk spinning, and weaving. The changes in the material mode of production, and the corresponding changes in the social relations of the producers  gave rise first to an extravagance beyond all bounds, and then in opposition to this, called forth a control on the part of Society which legally limits, regulates, and makes uniform the working-day and its pauses.
This control appears, therefore, during the first half of the nineteenth century simply as exceptional legislation. Legislation was, therefore, compelled to gradually get rid of its exceptional character, or where, as in England, it proceeds after the manner of the Roman Casuists, to declare any house in which work was done to be a factory. The creation of a normal working-day is, therefore, the product of a protracted civil war, more or less dissembled, between the capitalist class and the working-class. As the contest takes place in the arena of modern industry, it first breaks out in the home of that industry — England.
France limps slowly behind England. For all that, the French revolutionary method has its special advantages. It once for all commands the same limit to the working-day in all shops and factories without distinction, whilst English legislation reluctantly yields to the pressure of circumstances, now on this point, now on that, and is getting lost in a hopelessly bewildering tangle of contradictory enactments. In the United States of North America, every independent movement of the workers was paralysed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic.
Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded. But out of the death of slavery a new life at once arose. The General Congress of labour at Baltimore August 16th, declared:. We are resolved to put forth all our strength until this glorious result is attained. Thus the movement of the working-class on both sides of the Atlantic, that had grown instinctively out of the conditions of production themselves, endorsed the words of the English Factory Inspector, R. It must be acknowledged that our labourer comes out of the process of production other than he entered.
The contract by which he sold to the capitalist his labour-power proved, so to say, in black and white that he disposed of himself freely. Footnotes 1. This question is far more important than the celebrated question of Sir Robert Peel to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce: What is a pound? Paris, , p. There is a very great consumption of luxuries among the labouring poor of this kingdom: particularly among the manufacturing populace, by which they also consume their time, the most fatal of consumptions.
During the great strike of the London builders, , for the reduction of the working-day to 9 hours, their Committee published a manifesto that contained, to some extent, the plea of our worker. The manifesto alludes, not without irony, to the fact, that the greatest profit-monger amongst the building masters, a certain Sir M.
Peto, was in the odour of sanctity This same Peto, after , came to an end a la Strousberg. All must, forced by blows, work on until death puts an end to their sufferings and their distress. That which follows refers to the situation in the Rumanian provinces before the change effected since the Crimean war. This holds likewise for Germany, and especially for Prussia east of the Elbe. In the 15th century the German peasant was nearly everywhere a man, who, whilst subject to certain rents paid in produce and labour was otherwise at least practically free.
The German colonists in Brandenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, and Eastern Prussia, were even legally acknowledged as free men. Not only were the conquered South German peasants again enslaved. From the middle of the 16th century the peasants of Eastern Prussia, Brandenburg, Pomerania, and Silesia, and soon after the free peasants of Schleswig-Holstein were degraded to the condition of serfs.
Further details are to be found in E. As to man, his bodily height lessens if his due growth is interfered with, either by physical or local conditions. In all European countries in which the conscription holds, since its introduction, the medium height of adult men, and generally their fitness for military service, has diminished.
Before the revolution , the minimum for the infantry in France was centimetres; in law of March 10th , ; by the law of March 21, , cm. The military standard in Saxony was in , cm. It is now In Prussia it is According to the statement of Dr. Meyer in the Bavarian Gazette, May 9th, , the result of an average of 9 years is, that in Prussia out of 1, conscripts were unfit for military service, because of deficiency in height, and because of bodily defects Berlin in could not provide its contingent of recruits, it was men short.
The history of the Factory Act of will be found in the course of this chapter. I only touch here and there on the period from the beginning of modern industry in England to These deal especially with the branches of industry in which the Factory Acts had not, up to , been introduced, in fact are not yet introduced. Here, then, little or no alteration had been enforced, by authority, in the conditions painted by Engels. I borrow my examples chiefly from the Free-trade period after , that age of paradise, of which the commercial travellers for the great firm of Free-trade, blatant as ignorant, tell such fabulous tales.
For the rest England figures here in the foreground because she is the classic representative of capitalist production, and she alone has a continuous set of official statistics of the things we are considering. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 9th August, , pp. Reports of the Inspector of Factories for the half year. October, , p. See Appendix No. The violations of the Acts became more numerous during the last half year With what fanaticism, according to the evidence of manufacturers given in courts of law, their hands set themselves against every interruption in factory labour, the following curious circumstance shows.
In the beginning of June, , information reached the magistrates of Dewsbury Yorkshire that the owners of 8 large mills in the neighbourhood of Batley had violated the Factory Acts. Some of these gentlemen were accused of having kept at work 5 boys between 12 and 15 years of age, from 6 a. The accused gentlemen affirm in lieu of taking an oath — as quakers they were too scrupulously religious to take an oath — that they had, in their great compassion for the unhappy children, allowed them four hours for sleep, but the obstinate children absolutely would not go to bed.
Report of the Insp. This is the official expression both in the factories and in the reports. London, , p. The theoretical part of this book, a kind of hand-book of Political Economy, is, considering the time of its publication, original in some parts, e. The historical part is, to a great extent, a shameless plagiarism of Sir F. Daily Telegraph, 17th January, First report. Public Health, 3rd report, etc. Report, p. This is not to be taken in the same sense as our surplus-labour time. It will be seen later that the labour expended during the so-called normal day is paid below its value, so that the overtime is simply a capitalist trick in order to extort more surplus-labour, which it would still be, even if the labour-power expended during the normal working-day were properly paid.
Soot is a well-known and very energetic form of carbon, and forms a manure that capitalistic chimney-sweeps sell to English farmers. He adds that he does not know all the methods and does not mention all that he knows. He gives 6 kinds of adulteration of sugar, 9 of olive oil, 10 of butter, 12 of salt, 19 of milk, 20 of bread, 23 of brandy, 24 of meal, 28 of chocolate, 30 of wine, 32 of coffee, etc.
Even God Almighty does not escape this fate. George Read, l. Report of Committee on the Baking Trade in Ireland for Public meeting of agricultural labourers at Lasswade, near Edinburgh, January 5th, In one of the most oppressed agricultural districts of England, Buckinghamshire, the labourers, in March, , made a great strike for the raising of their weekly wage from shillings to 12 shillings.
It will be seen from the preceding passage that the movement of the English agricultural proletariat, entirely crushed since the suppression of its violent manifestations after , and especially since the introduction of the new Poor Laws, begins again in the sixties, until it becomes finally epoch-making in I return to this in the 2nd volume, as well as to the Blue books that have appeared since on the position of the English land labourers.
Addendum to the 3rd ed. How can that be expected from a man who has been at such work for 29 or 30 hours, exposed to the weather, and without rest. The following is an example which is of very frequent occurrence: — One fireman commenced work on the Monday morning at a very early hour.
Before he had time to get his tea, he was again called on for duty The next time he finished he had been on duty 14 hours 25 minutes, making a total of 29 hours 15 minutes without intermission. Thinking it was a mistake, he applied to the time-keeper, He then asked for what he had made over and above the 78 hours per week, but was refused. However, he was at last told they would give him another quarter, i. Engels, l. Needlework, in the main, But the mischiefs of the trade, in the metropolis especially, are that it is monopolised by some twenty-six capitalists, who, under the advantages that spring from capital, can bring in capital to force economy out of labour.
This power tells throughout the whole class. If a dressmaker can get a little circle of customers, such is the competition that, in her home, she must work to the death to hold together, and this same over-work she must of necessity inflict on any who may assist her. If she fail, or do not try independently, she must join an establishment, where her labour is not less, but where her money is safe. Placed thus, she becomes a mere slave, tossed about with the variations of society. Now at home, in one room, starving, or near to it, then engaged 15, 16, aye, even 18 hours out of the 24, in an air that is scarcely tolerable, and on food which, even if it be good, cannot be digested in the absence of pure air.
On these victims, consumption, which is purely a disease of bad air, feeds. Morning Star , 23rd June, Ilias Americana in nuce. August, Thus, the bubble of Tory sympathy for the urban workers — by no means for the rural — has burst at last. The sum of all is — slavery! Richardson, l. Third Report. London, , pp. This practice has been often noticed in Reports presented to Parliament, as being attended with great and notorious evils.
These females employed with the men, hardly distinguished from them in their dress, and begrimed with dirt and smoke, are exposed to the deterioration of character, arising from the loss of self-respect, which can hardly fail to follow from their unfeminine occupation.
Fourth Report , 61, p. It is the same in glass-works. The muscles of animals, when they are deprived of a proper amount of light, become soft and inelastic, the nervous power loses its tone from defective stimulation, and the elaboration of all growth seems to be perverted In the case of children, constant access to plenty of light during the day, and to the direct rays of the sun for a part of it, is most essential to health.
Light assists in the elaboration of good plastic blood, and hardens the fibre after it has been laid down. It also acts as a stimulus upon the organs of sight, and by this means brings about more activity in the various cerebral functions. That such a question should furnish the material of serious controversy, shows plainly how capitalist production acts on the brain-functions of capitalists and their retainers. Fourth Report A king is him that has all the money and gold. We have a king told it is a Queen , they call her the Princess Alexandra. A Princess is a man.
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One name that they preached about was Jesus Christ, but I cannot say any others, and I cannot tell anything about him. He was not killed, but died like other people. Employment Comm. The same system obtains in the glass and paper works as in the metallurgical, already cited.
In the paper factories, where the paper is made by machinery, night-work is the rule for all processes, except rag-sorting. In some cases night-work, by relays, is carried on incessantly through the whole week, usually from Sunday night until midnight of the following Saturday. Those who are on day-work work 5 days of 12, and 1 day of 18 hours; those on night-work 5 nights of 12, and 1 of 6 hours in each week.
In other cases each set works 24 hours consecutively on alternate days, one set working 6 hours on Monday, and 18 on Saturday to make up the 24 hours. In other cases an intermediate system prevails, by which all employed on the paper-making machinery work 15 or 16 hours every day in the week. The evidence proves that boys and girls very often work overtime, which, not unfrequently, extends to 24 or even 36 hours of uninterrupted toil.
Report IV. In our reflecting and reasoning age a man is not worth much who cannot give a good reason for everything, no matter how bad or how crazy. Everything in the world that has been done wrong has been done wrong for the very best of reasons. Hegel, l. And this in the year of progress ! Without considering the expenditure of strength in lifting and carrying, such a child, in the sheds where bottle and flint glass are made, walks during the performance of his work miles in every 6 hours! And the work often lasts 14 or 15 hours!
Even the short sleep is obviously liable to be broken by a boy having to wake himself if it is night, or by the noise, if it is day. White gives cases where a boy worked 36 consecutive hours; others where boys of 12 drudged on until 2 in the morning, and then slept in the works till 5 a. Meanwhile, late by night, self-denying Mr. Glass-Capital, primed with port-wine, reels out of his club homeward droning out idiotically. In England even now occasionally in rural districts a labourer is condemned to imprisonment for desecrating the Sabbath, by working in his front garden.
The same labourer is punished for breach of contract if he remains away from his metal, paper, or glass works on the Sunday, even if it be from a religious whim. The orthodox Parliament will hear nothing of Sabbath-breaking if it occurs in the process of expanding capital. A memorial August , in which the London day-labourers in fish and poultry shops asked for the abolition of Sunday labour, states that their work lasts for the first 6 days of the week on an average 15 hours a-day, and on Sunday hours.
Obsequium ventris istis the labourers perniciosius est [Gluttony is more ruinous to their stomachs — paraphrase of Horace]. These gentlemen, however, attained their end through the obliging nature of the local poor law boards. He fed, clothed and lodged the children, and gave them a small allowance of money. A remark of Mr. Redgrave to be quoted directly seems strange, especially if we consider that even among the years of prosperity of the English cotton trade, the year stands unparalleled, and that, besides, wages were exceptionally high.
For this extraordinary demand for work had to contend with the depopulation of Ireland, with unexampled emigration from the English and Scotch agricultural districts to Australia and America, with an actual diminution of the population in some of the English agricultural districts, in consequence partly of an actual breakdown of the vital force of the labourers, partly of the already effected dispersion of the disposable population through the dealers in human flesh.
Despite all this Mr. The ordinary wages of a boy of 13 would be about 4s. Redgrave forgets to tell us how the labourer himself can do all this for his children out of their 4s. The English cotton operative is in every respect better off than his Continental companion in misery. Redgrave, the Factory Inspector mentioned above, after the Industrial Exhibition in , travelled on the Continent, especially in France and Germany, for the purpose of inquiring into the conditions of the factories.
This report deals especially with the agricultural labourers. In the healthiest situations, on hill sides fronting the sea, the faces of their famished children are as pale as they could be in the foul atmosphere of a London alley. The consideration of the health of the operatives was forced upon the mill-owners.
But a reaction set in. We, therefore, find, e. Taking all these points into consideration, we have come to the conviction that some legislative enactment is wanted. I, , p. Most recently a much more striking example offers. The rise in the price of cotton during a period of feverish activity, had induced the manufacturers in Blackburn to shorten, by mutual consent, the working-time in their mills during a certain fixed period. This period terminated about the end of November, Meanwhile, the wealthier manufacturers, who combined spinning with weaving, used the diminution of production resulting from this agreement, to extend their own business and thus to make great profits at the expense of the small employers.
The labour Statutes, the like of which were enacted at the same time in France, the Netherlands, and elsewhere, were first formally repealed in England in , long after the changes in methods of production had rendered them obsolete. The various Statutes were passed between and And be it enacted, that hereafter no minor engaged in any factory shall be holden or required to work more than 10 hours in any day,or 60 hours in any week; and that hereafter no minor shall be admitted as a worker under the age of 10 years in any factory within this State. Law of 18th March, Population grew.
These laws were then found, and really became, unnecessary and burdensome. In reference to this statute, J. At Norwich, the chief seat of the clothing trade, a little creature of six years old was thought fit for labour. Several writers of that time, and among them some who were considered as eminently benevolent, mention with exultation the fact that in that single city, boys and girls of very tender age create wealth exceeding what was necessary for their own subsistence by twelve thousand pounds a year. The more carefully we examine the history of the past, the more reason shall we find to dissent from those who imagine that our age has been fruitful of new social evils That which is new is the intelligence and the humanity which remedies them.
It is true that with the substitution of manufacture for handicrafts, traces of the exploitation of children begin to appear. This exploitation existed always to a certain extent among peasants, and was the more developed, the heavier the yoke pressing on the husbandman. The tendency of capital is there unmistakably; but the facts themselves are still as isolated as the phenomena of two-headed children. On the same side follows Polonius Arthur Young, the unutterable statistical prattler.
Nathaniel Forster, D. The facts themselves are confirmed by many other writers of the time, among others by Josiah Tucker.
Postlethwayt, l. He himself relates on p. Protestantism, by changing almost all the traditional holidays into workdays, plays an important part in the genesis of capital. Before this law the working-day in France was without definite limit. It lasted in the factories 14, 15, or more hours. Par M. Blanqui the economist, not the Revolutionist, had been entrusted by the Government with an inquiry into the condition of the working-class.
Belgium is the model bourgeois state in regard to the regulation of the working-day. Without entering into the question of health, no one will hesitate, I think, to admit that, in a moral point of view , so entire an absorption of the time of the working-classes, without intermission, from the early age of 13, and in trades not subject to restriction, much younger, must be extremely prejudicial, and is an evil greatly to be deplored For the sake, therefore, of public morals, of bringing up an orderly population, and of giving the great body of the people a reasonable enjoyment of life, it is much to be desired that in all trades some portion of every working-day should be reserved for rest and leisure.
Otway, Belfast. Hilary Sessions, County Antrim, It is very characteristic of the regime of Louis Philippe, the bourgeois king, that the one Factory Act passed during his reign, that of March 22nd, , was never put in force. And this law only dealt with child-labour. The supervision and enforcement of this law are, in a country where every mouse is under police administration, left to the good-will of the amis du commerce.
Only since , in one single department — the Departement du Nord — has a paid government inspector been appointed. The Act allows children to be employed for 10 hours if they do not work day after day, but only on alternate days. In the main, this clause remained inoperative. In Mr. Their evidence is to be found in the appendix to the Factory Reports for the half-year ending October These examinations furnish valuable material in other connexions also. See the evidence collected by Leonard Horner himself, Nos.
One manufacturer, too, tells the plain truth. See No. The nature of capital remains the same in its developed as in its undeveloped form. The money they had advanced to the plebeian debtor had been transformed via the means of subsistence into the flesh and blood of the debtor.
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Cf like examples ibid. Greg, Politisch-oekonomische Revue. April number, , p. In winter, from 7 a. On the whole the working population, subject to the Factory Act, has greatly improved physically. All medical testimony agrees on this point, and personal observation at different times has convinced me of it. Nevertheless, and exclusive of the terrible death-rate of children in the first years of their life, the official reports of Dr.
Instead of the protection against French importation, the absence of protection to English factory children now serves their turn. During and , the zenith years of the English cotton industry, some manufacturers tried, by the decoy bait of higher wages for over-time, to reconcile the adult male operatives to an extension of the working-day.
Thus, e. Potter in a letter to the Times of March 24th, Thus, among others, Mr. The Act passed in , determined that, in regard to dye and bleachworks, the working-day should be fixed on August 1st, , provisionally at 12 hours, and definitely on August 1st, , at 10 hours, i. Now, when the fatal year, , came, the old farce was repeated. Besides, the manufacturers petitioned Parliament to allow the employment of young persons and women for 12 hours during one year longer.
English jurisprudence, ever the faithful servant of capital, sanctioned in the Court of Common Pleas this piece of pettifogging. The lie was exposed by the Factory Inspectors, and at the same time Parliament was, by petitions from the operatives, bereft of its notions as to the cool meadow-fragrance, in which bleaching in the open-air was reported to take place.
Twelve girls ironing and doing-up in a small room about 10 feet square, in the centre of which is a close stove. The girls stand round the stove, which throws out a terrific heat, and dries the cambrics rapidly for the ironers. The hours of work for these hands are unlimited. If busy, they work till 9 or 12 at night for successive nights. My experience, which is considerable, in treating the diseases of stove workers, compels me to express the opinion that their sanitary condition is by no means so high as that of the operatives in a spinning factory and Capital, in its memorials to Parliament, had painted them as floridly healthy after the manner of Rubens.
The diseases most observable amongst them are phthisis, bronchitis, irregularity of uterine functions, hysteria in its most aggravated forms, and rheumatism. All of these, I believe, are either directly or indirectly induced by the impure, overheated air of the apartments in which the hands are employed and the want of sufficient comfortable clothing to protect them from the cold, damp atmosphere, in winter, when going to their homes. Note to the 2nd Ed. Since , when I wrote the above passages, a reaction has again set in. Belgium, the paradise of Continental Liberalism, shows no trace of this movement.
Add to this the low wages for the enormous exploitation of mature and immature labour-power. The average daily pay for a man is 2s. To-day, the first Utopia is a Factory Act, the second figures as an official phrase in all Factory Acts, the third is already being used as a cloak for reactionary humbug.