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each, with landlord (supposing landlord sionate man can fix a limit beyond which and employer to be two), baker, grocer, trade combinations of workmen are not &c. Taking all these into account, I justified in defence of their class interest. think it will be seen that, as a general I do not pretend for a moment to say rule, the combination power of the work- that, by means of such combinations, men of a given establishment represents the class interest of the worker may not -in “the haggling of the labour-market” preponderate. However it may suit some -a power greatly inferior to that of employers to gloss over the fact that trade the employer; that those workmen are societies often have the better of them, fully justified, for the defence of their the number of successful strikes which own class interest, in extending their take place is surprising, when the quescombinations to much greater numbers tion is looked into; the number of conof their fellows.
cessions to the fear of a strike may be No doubt the scale weighs often the surmised, but cannot be reckoned. other way. There may be peculiarities in Sometimes the inferiority of the emthe manufacture, which render the labour ployers is patent and avowed ; as may required a practical monopoly. The em- be seen in the history of the Padiham ployer, instead of having money saved, strike, from the circular of the “Commay be trading upon borrowed capital, mittee of the Lancashire Master Spinners in mortgaged mills, with mortgaged and Manufacturers Defence Society” (see machinery; or he may be simply young pp. 447-8), which declares that the and inexperienced in the face of an old “ Padiham masters could not have made and well-disciplined trade society. But, head” against the men's union without beyond himself, the employer-unless the support of the masters of other quite exceptionally unpopular—is sure towns; or, again, in the history of Shipto find support in that “tacit but con- wrights' Trade Combinations in Liverstant and uniform combination” of pool, which shows us the Liverpool masters, spoken of by Adam Smith, shipwrights practically masters, not only which, indeed, full often now-a-days of their own employers, but of the town takes the form of an organized society. itself for a series of years. But these The inexperience or imprudence of one instances- most of which indeed are employer is therefore made up for by explainable by peculiarity of circumthe experience and shrewdness of others, stances—do not in the least impair the and it may safely be said that seldom worker's plea for combination, as his can the workmen of a single employer main safeguard against the overweight engage in a contest with him one day, of capital in the bargain of labour. without having to face the chance of Newspaper political economists, inseeing the whole employer-class (in their deed, never tire of teaching the working department) of the town or district array- man that wages depend on demand ed against them on the morrow. I forbear and supply, and, therefore, that trade to push the hypothesis any further ; but societies cannot affect them. Why, it any one who studies the history of the is precisely because they depend upon late London building strike, for instance, demand and supply—the demand of will see that the indirect assistance from living men's capital, the supply of living without the trade afforded to the master men's labour—that trade societies can builders, in the shape of forbearance to affect them. A leading defect in the enforce contracts, can scarcely have science of political economy, as taught been less, if at all, than the direct by the plutonomic school, is its frequent assistance supplied in money sub- -not indeed constant-forgetfulness of scriptions from without to the building the human will, as an economic force. operatives.
It generally strives to drag man and As a mere question, therefore, of the his actions from the sphere of sponponderation of forces in the bargain of taneousness down into that of fatality; labout, I do not see how any dispas- to treat him as a blind creature led by
fixed instincts, and not as one endowed he cannot much operate, but he can with fret-will
, capable of all degradation, operate upon its supply. capable of all self-devotion. Now in the It is extremely well put by Mr. Dunbargain and sale of labour, the will of ning, in his pamphlet on “ Trades man plays on either side a part which it Unions and Strikes," that although, suits the plutonomist to overlook, but when the supply of labour “permawhich is most real; and it is precisely “nently much exceeds its demand, that play of human wills which limits "nothing can prevent the reduction of the realm within which all trade organi wages
S; and conversely when the de zations of masters and men have their "mand for it permanently ntuch exceeds appointed work. The cases are, indeed, “its supply, nothing can prevent their comparatively rare in which will does “ rise,” I so that “at these two extreme not form an element of price. The “ points all contention is hopeless;" it is well-to-do classes in any country always “the intermediate states that admit the could pay much higher for the neces " operation of trade societies.” For the saries of life than in ordinary times they so-called “ artificial,” but more properly do; but they do not choose to do so ; spontaneous scarcity of labour which their will limits the price they pay to they tend to produce is, in fact, as real the standard fixed by others, though, whilst it lasts, as the fatal one arising perhaps, oftener than they think, a little from the non-existence of workers. A enhanced for them. Conversely, our best man who will not work, whilst he will plutonomists themselves, such as Mr. not, is as complete a zero in the labour Mill, recognize the enhancing effect of supply as if he were dead, or had never the will upon price in the case of domestic come into the world. It is simply their servants; since, as he truly says,"most trust in the fragility of the human will 66
persons who can afford it, pay to their which inspires employers ever to resist “ domestic servants higher wages than a strike, otherwise than by the mere “would purchase in the market the importation of labour from without. “ labour of persons fully as competent they in turn had to deal with cast-iron "to the work required.” To this influ men, men whom they knew ready for ence of the will must be traced in great actual suicidal starvation in preference measure the differences in price between to concession, they would feel at once one part of a town and another, be that the scarcity of labour was as much tween one shop and another, and even an absolute one, as if the earth had between town and town. In the daily ex swallowed the working men who resist perience of life, we know perfectly that them. The real grievance of such emwe can get a given article at a lower price ployers against trade societies is, that in one place than we can in another, by disciplining the will of the working the difference in locality being sometimes man, they tend to harden the spontanot more than the width of a street, neous scarcity of labour which they the breadth of a bazaar. We know per produce or regulate into a rigidity more fectly that the reason of such difference and more approaching to the absoluteis simply, that the one man chooses to ness of a fatal scarcity. sell lower than another; it is only when Do you blame the working man for one comes to speak of wages that "the this ? Erase then first from your volunies "inexorable laws of supply and demand" of plutonomic oracles, all those pages and are treated as some almighty power whose fiats alone rule the world of
1 There is something quite childish in the labour. Now, the working man in com
way in which would-be instructors of the
working classes incessantly point them to the bining does not mean in the least to rise of wages, among classes in which no trade deny that there are such laws; he simply societies exist, in proof that such societies are claims to master and use them, just as
superfluous. Of course Mr. Dunning, and all we master and use the laws of heat and
other society men not wholly idiotic, as fully
recognize the fact as they distinctly deny the electricity. On the demand for labour
pages which inculcate upon the labour- go on unrestrained at the hands of ing classes the necessity of the “pru- the one class, why not the other too? dential" check upon population. What! But, above all, if the capitalist is to be you bid the working man, by disciplin- allowed, forthe sake of increasing his own ing his will
, by the severest self-restraint, profit, and contracting his demand for hufor the sake of rendering his labour man labour, to flood the market with iron scarce, and, therefore, of gaining a men in the shape of material machinery, higher price for it; you bid him, I say, why is not the labourer, for the sake of bind down those family instincts which increasing his own earnings, and conare, in one view, the very safety-valves tracting the supply of human labour, to of society; and you would fain dis- narrow the labour-market by any moral courage him from endeavouring, by every machinery which combination can afford means which the like discipline and to him ?-I need hardly observe that I self-restraint can afford, to wring by am not speaking here of the ultimate combination the highest price for his effects of machinery, which I believe to labour without stifling those instincts! be beneficial, but simply of its immeYou insist upon the action of the will diate effects, which, with Ricardo and as the last and supreme resort in dimin- Mill, I believe to be often seriously ishing the supply of labour; yet, when it detrimental to the working classes. comes to a question of immediate demand, It is often objected, that whilst the. you afford him scarcely a glimpse of that endeavour to narrow the labour
market action! Nay, you go further than this, by combination may be successful in a -you make it almost a crime for him given trade, yet it does not benefit the to bring into the world other men made working-classes at large; that the limitin God's image, lest they should com- ing the number of competitors in one pete for the price of labour with himself trade only tends to cause an overflow in and his fellows,—but when do you ever others; that the high wages of the few let fall a word of blame upon those who only cause the low wages of the many; bring into the world to compete with him and writers and speakers on the subject, -fatally, inexorably to elbow him out who deal in moralities, thereupon promen of iron, and steel, and brass-cheap ceed to lecture trade societies on their feeders upon water, and grease, and oil? selfishness. The trade society may well They are no brethren of his, and yet retort: Address your lecturing to your you expect him to treat them tenderly own class, first of all. Bid the merwhen they are dashing the bread from chant, the manufacturer, be content his children's mouths; you punish him with the most moderate profits, lest by if he dare molest them; you lift up taking too much, he should depress the eyes and hands in scientific horror be- money demand for his neighbours' cause he does not appreciate “the goods and wares; bid him abstain blessings of machinery." Of all hypo- from enlarging his own establishment, crisies which this century has seen go lest by driving weaker men out of his forth under high heaven, I know none own trade he should only be increasing more insolent than that of modern plu- the number of competitors in another. tonomy, inculcating “the prudential In your 'let-alone political economy, “check” upon the working man, and in your gospel of buy-cheap-and-selladvocating the unlimited, unregulated, dear,--there is no room for such moraliintroduction of machinery. Evidently, ties as you attempt to foist upon us, the will of the capitalist has at least whilst you never recollect to quote as much to do with the begetting of them to our employers. the one class of competitors, as the But apart from such tu quoque arguwill of the labourer with that of the mentation, I venture to say that, even if other. If there is a morality of the it were true that trade combinations, to one action, there is also of the other; use Mr. Mill's words, are to be “looked if the one current of production is to “upon as simply intrenching round a
“particular spot against the inroads of gineers, as machine-makers, is prima “over-population,” they would yet be facie antagonistic to that of most at least beneficial. For it is not the same thing of their fellow craftsmen, and it is to the country that the same sum of logically absurd for the Amalgamated 151. should be received in wages by ten Society to make grants, as it has done, well-to-do workmen at thirty shillings, for the support of a strike against or by thirty starvelings, at ten shillings. machinery. But the working men have The higher wants of the former give a a full right to say that the question is stronger impulse to the circulation of one that regards themselves, and to capital, secure its healthier and more claim to meet it simply by a further beneficial employment, than the abject application of their own machinery of necessities of the latter, which throw combination. The “National Associathem upon inferior and often unwhole- tion of United Trades"-a body now some food, inferior and insufficient very much dwindled from the imporclothing, and such shelter as can be tance it once possessed, but which still but a nursery of disease and infirm- numbers some 6,000 affiliated members ity. So strongly am I convinced of in various trades—represented an imthis fact that, much as I loathe slavery, portant step in this direction; other I consider that there is a worse social local ones are indicated by the Trades state even than that robbery of the Committees of Glasgow and Liverpool, many by the few which slavery repre- formed of delegates from the various sents, a state of absolute universal trade-societies of their respective towns, wretchedness, in which self-sacrifice it- from both of which the Committee of self becomes impossible. But indeed the Social Science Association received it is obvious on a little reflection that hearty and intelligent assistance. the position, that trade combinations The sticks, in short, claim the right merely shift locally the rate of wages to be bundled together as they please, without being able to raise it generally, without limitas to number, as to the shape is a mere petition of principle. For it of the bundles, or as to the tightness of assumes that the circulating capital em- the ligature. The working man claims ployed in the purchase of home labour is to fix for himself by combination, from all that can be so employed; that the trade to trade or in any number of rate of profit has reached its minimum. trades, the conditions which he shall Our enormous investments of capital in demand, and, if he can do so, obtain for foreign funds, railways, &c. are as suffi- the sale of his labour. He does so at cient a practical answer to such an the bidding of that political economy, assumption, as the speculations of econo- which teaches him to look upon wealth mists “on the tendency of profits to a as the ground and subject matter of a minimum"-evidently not supposed to nation's OLKO-Voula or house-law; to look have been reached, are a sufficient upon the relation of employer and emtheoretical one. So long as there is ployed as the mere result of a struggle accumulated capital to spend upon any
between hostile interests; to recognize, thing beyond labour, so long as there is in his employer's “rate of profit," the profit realized in any trade beyond the rival force which is always endeavourminimum out of which to renew such ing to outweigh that of the “cost” of accumulations,—the trade society of that his own "production ;" to recognize trade have the right to repel any accusa- the dependence of "price" on the relation of selfishness towards their class at tion of demand and supply ; to study large, for seeking to raise their wages, the effects of a scarcity of labour in their condition generally, at the expense raising its price; and in the effects of a of the profit-maker. No doubt the combination of labour to note the means interest of one particular trade may of increasing its productiveness. In often be opposed to that of another; other words, that political economy thus, the interest of the working en- teaches him that his class-life is a battle: he accepts that battle, and seeks to common enemy-not capital,—but prodiscipline his forces, so that there shall fit. To tell him that he will fight with be no cross-firing between man and more success by breaking up his ranks, man, or between corps and corps, so forgetting his discipline, and dismissing that every shot shall tell against that his commissariat, is pure mockery. which your science teaches him is the
To be continued.
Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? Yes, to the very end.
Those who have gone before. Will the day's journey take the whole Then must I knock, or call, when just in long day?
sight? From morn to night, my friend. They will not keep you standing at
that door. But is there for the night a resting-place? Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and A bed for when the slow dark hours
weak ? begin.
Of labour you shall find the sum. May not the darkness hide it from my Will there be beds for me and all who face?
seek? You cannot miss that inn.
Yea, beds for all who come.
CHRISTINA G. ROSSETTI.
THE GHOST HE DIDN'T SEE.
I was rather disappointed, if the truth But what we wanted were particulars must be told—so indeed we all were at of what had personally befallen him; home—at his scanty flow of words, when for we knew that, though it was hard, he returned to us from that grim Cri- indeed, to be preeminent in discharge of mean campaign.
duty or daring of danger amidst that As for the general story of the war, flower of the world's soldierhood, he had we did not want that from him, as they been noted as noteworthy, even among might have done whose kinsman should such, by those who had the best means have returned to them from so distant a of appreciating his courage and his inscene of warfare in the old days when dustry. In explanation of the latter electric telegraph and express trains and word, I may remark that his arm of the steamers were not, and when the Times service was one of those which our then had not invented its “ Own Correspon- allies designate as “ Armes savantes," or dent.” We used to send him that general “ Scientific Arms." story, in comprehensive chapters on that I have found this modest manly sijournal's broad sheet, and with the pic- lence, touching personal exposure and torial panoramas of the London IŪus- achievement, an almost invariable chatrated News. He and his comrades racteristic of our noble fighting men. read it thus, so I have heard him say, My reader will, therefore, kindly bear it with curious, eager, and intense delight in mind that the detailed and continuous I think his heart must have beat quick narrative I put under his eyes here is of one day upon reading, in one of its very my writing rather than of his telling, noblest chapters, his own name, scored short as it is. But I have interwoven in under by my pen as I had read it it, so far as I know, nothing but au