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rochial relief, which ultimately brings a heavy burden upon the landholder.
Manufactural wages have always been much higher than agricultural, and depend in some degree upon the flourishing state of trade. If the demands slacken, the manufacturer gets his work done at a lower rate rather than the hands should be out of employ, or obliged to seek other situations. The mechanic (earning considerably more wages) can bear a mode* rate advance upon the prime necessaries of life, either by the sacrifice of some superfluities, or by the extension of his hours of work. Neither of these are in the power of the labourer; he has no resources; his con-, fined means admit not of further retrenchment, nor is there any vacant time at his own disposal.
The manufacturer too has a free option whether or no he will continue his trade; if he cannot do it to advantage, he may withdraw his capital, and leave his men to be supported by the landed interest, who are bound to share the last farthing with them: they are jn the situation of the mariner—they cannot quit the vessel, but must abide its fate!
Feeling, as I am conscious I do, a strong predilection in favour of agriculture, 1 am persuaded I do not view the question between that pursuit ar.d agriculture without" a powerful prejudice. It may, in ecme degree, have given a bias to my sentiments: but putting the policy of the measure for a moment out of the question, let us try it upon other grounds, and see if manufactories have contributed to the happiness and comfort of the great body who are engaged in them. What "" - '. have have been the effects of high wages? Have they promoted the real interest of those who receive them? Does the manufacturer, with double his earnings, enjoy a greater proportion of the necessaries of life? Are his family better provided for, his children more attended to, and a greater degree of attention bestowed upon their morals and education? I answer decidedly the reverse; and the labourer who earns from thirty to forty pounds' is in all respects (I mean generally speaking) better off than the manufacturer who gains from sixty to seventy. The drunkenness and debauchery of the great body of manufacturers justifies every predilection for a profession that produces a greater share of human felicity. In the town before alluded to, there is little thoroughfare, with a population of eight thousand souls. It contains sixty-four public-houses. Now supposing each house to take daily no more than eight shillings, it would be upwards of 11,000/. per annum: this would afford, granting a fourth profit, about thirty-six pounds to each house; but what would this be towards their support, when the license, and additional rent on a public-house were deducted. I think a third may be added, and we may estimate the cost of the liquid poi* Son that is swallowed at 150CJ/. Calculating there to be a thousand manufacturers, &c., each man's expenditure 'would amount to fifteen pounds per man, or nearly six shillings per week. But unfortunately their debauches are not restrained, and too frequently they continue whilst a shilling remains to spend. Domestic Strife and misery ensue; the children are neglected}
and the example set, operates upon them. I think I am justified in stating, there is more misery to be found in this class of men than any other. I refrain from pursuing the detail, which exhibits what every feeling mind must deplore. Much and deeply as I lament to witness the unproductive labour that I see in the place of my own residence, yet .1 should hesitate before I sanctioned the introduction of any extensive manufactory. I am sensible that the wealth of individuals in the town would be augmented, and that the town itself would be embellished and improved in appearance; \ but the morals and character of the mass of the people, 1 'am persuaded, would be still more contaminated. I know no instance where this has not been the case; and if this be correct, a price beyond theiK worth is paid for the improvements that manufactories bring with them.
.1 'trust that, by the prudential and wise measures which have been, and may still be adopted, the interests of agriculture will be promoted, and those of the manufacturer secured upon a more solid basis, than whilst they were suffered to depend on circumstances over which the nation could exercise no controul.
'•* I trust the ardent interest I feel on this subject does not so far mislead my judgment, as to induce me to conceive that practicable, which in fact is only visionary. On the contrary, I flatter myself, that my ideas of the advantages that would result from an extended system of agriculture, and feed, ing of horses and cattle upon green food and other
crops both summer and winter, in order to lessen the necessity of employing so large a portion of our most productive lands in pasture, will have the sanction of those whose coincidence of opinion will give weight to the plan I have adopted. Allowing it were to fall short of the whole advantage I conceive it capable of producing, it may, nevertheless, be attended with much general as well as partial benefit. At all events, I hope to be pardoned for having entered thus largely mto the discussion of this subject.
The rapid succession of events which have taken place in the short period since the above was written, has tended to confirm and strengthen the opinions I then entertained, and to place agriculture, and its importance to the country, in a higher point of view than what I had contended for.