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MODERN FACTORY SYSTEM.
R. WHATELY COOKE TAYLOR, F.S.S., F.R. HIST.S.,
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRÜBNER & CO., LTD
Five years ago I published a book bearing the title “Introduction to a History of the Factory System.” It was received with a degree of favour I had scarcely ventured to anticipate, and was in particular the occasion of a large number of public criticisms, invariably friendly in tone. One dominant note seemed to characterise nearly all of these: the expression of a wish, namely, that the same hand which had furnished the Introduction would supply at some time the History also, and with special reference to the labour problems of the present day. The following pages are my response to this invitation.
No one can be more fully aware than the author how inadequate that response is, and to some extent it is so necessarily. My position as an official engaged in administering the Factory Acts, while it naturally affords me much practical familiarity with this branch of the subject, imposes on me also—as I conceive-a certain reticence in dealing with it, and great caution in availing myself of any information or experience which could be traceable to the opportunities thus given. I have accordingly in all that portion of the present work written under a strong feeling of reserve, making little, or no use at all, of the mass of valuable material available in the Reports of the Inspectors of Factories and other repertories of Departmental literature, which, nevertheless, in any thoroughly exhaustive treatment of the theme, could scarcely with propriety be neglected. It has seemed to me that whatever loss the reader suffered on that account might possibly be made up by the