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1s. 7d. a-day, of additional wages. Now, this principle holds universally—and Mr Cowell was, therefore, justified in affirming, that ' a spinner earns a shilling, a pound, or a hundred pounds, ‘in less time at present, than he could have done ten years ago, and with the same or less labour; that this enhancement of his earnings has been owing to improvements of machinery ; that
the progress of improvements will progressively advance his earn‘ings still higher, and at the same time enable a greater number
of individuals to profit by the enhanced rate, than actually profit by the present rate. I assert that every improvement of cotton * machinery, in every department of cotton working, has hitherto ' had the effect of enabling “ an operative” (speaking generally of ' every one, in every department whatever) to earn a greater nett 'amount of money, in any given time, than he would have done had the improvement not taken place.'
Mr Cowell successfully employs this important principle to explain the extraordinary discrepancies that occur in the average rate of earnings in different mills in Manchester and its vicinity. It is obvious, indeed, that without knowing the quantity of work done, or of yarn turned off in different mills, the earnings of those engaged in them cannot be compared—in mills, too, where the finest and best machinery is employed, the proportion of nonadults, or of unskilled labour, is the largest.
In the same way, Mr Cowell has shown the nugatory nature of the statements laid before the Factory Commissioners, as to the cheapness of foreign compared with English labour. It may be true that a workman earns 30s. or 40s. in a given time, in a mill in Manchester, and only 15s. or 20s. in the same time in a mill in France or Prussia. But what has this to do with the cost of labour ? Arthur Young said that a labourer in Essex was cheaper at 2s. 6d. a-day, than a labourer in Tipperary at 5d. Without knowing the quantity of work done in the mills of which we know the earnings of the workmen, we have no ground whatever for affirming that the labour performed by the one who gets the least money is really the cheapest.
But, if we knew this, we have not the slightest doubt that the stories about the greater cheapness of labour on the Continent would be found to be about as authentic as fairy tales. Mr Edwin Rose, who had been practically employed as an operative engineer in different factories in France and Germany, on being examined by Mr Cowell, stated distinctly, that it took twice the number of hands to perform most kinds of factory work in France, Switzerland, &c. that it did in England; and that wages there, if estimated by the only standard good for any thing, —that is, by the work done,—were higher than in England! We have no doubt that this is the truth, and nothing more.
As few of the circumstances to which we are indebted for our superiority in manufactures seem as yet to be enjoyed in any thing like an equal extent, by any other nation, it may be fairly presumed, that we shall long preserve our ascendency in them. The rapid progress of population and civilisation in the New World, and the free access now afforded to the various markets of Asia and of the eastern islands, warrant the belief, that the demand for manufactured goods is destined to be, in the course of a few years, very greatly augmented; and that it will go on increasing for an indefinite period. Provided, therefore, that nothing occur to interrupt the public tranquillity at home, to impair the feeling of security, or to interfere with that Credit System so essential to our prosperity, it is difficult to see, having so decidedly the start of other nations, why we should not preserve our vantage ground, or shoot still farther a-head. The combinations, and, in several instances, the dictatorial and violent proceedings of the workmen, have been the most serious evil with which the manufacturers have had recently to contend. Happily, however, the ingenuity of our machine-makers has done much to obviate this inconvenience; many important processes that could not, a few years ago, be carried on, except by the agency of skilled workmen, being now performed by machines, that may be waited on by non-adults and unskilled persons. Combinations act, in fact, one of the most powerful incentives to invention. The self-acting mule of Messrs Sharpe and Roberts, of Manchester,– one of the most ingenious and useful pieces of mechanism ever contrived-may be said to owe its existence wholly to the turn
outs' and combinations of the spinners. It may, indeed, be safely affirmed, that all combinations, without so much as a single exception, have terminated unfavourably for those engaged in them ; though they have frequently been beneficial to others. It is in fact hardly possible that it should be otherwise. Even if the workmen engaged in a combination succeeded, in the first instance, in carrying their point, their success, owing to the sense of insecurity, and the consequent indisposition to vest fresh capital in the business, it would be sure to generate, would be most destructive of their real interests. It is folly to suppose that these can be advanced separately from the interests of the masters. The prosperity of the workmen must, it is obvious, always depend upon, and be identified with the prosperity of those by whom they are employed. Experience, we believe, has already done a good deal to satisfy the workmen of the correctness of what has now been stated; and as they become better aware of their real interests, the pernicious influence of combinations may be expected to decline.
Mr Baines' work discovers much laborious research, and is both interesting and valuable. With the exception of Smith's • Memoirs of Wool,' published so far back as 1747, it is the only work that gives a clear and copious account of the rise, progress, and aetual condition of any of the great branches of industry carried on in the kingdom. Besides being of much interest in an economical point of view, the history of the British cotton manufacture exhibits a combination of invention, sagacity, and enterprise, unequalled in the history of industry: Owing to the difficulty of acquiring accurate information, it is possible that Mr Baines may be mistaken on some points, and imperfectly informed as to others; but, speaking generally, the work appears to be worthy of the subject.
We bave on different occasions (No. 91, Art. Ist; No. 117, Art. 3d, &c.), given our readers a sketch of the more important steps in the progress of the British cotton manufacture. We were not, however, aware, till the publication by Mr Baines, of a sketch of the present work in the History of Lancashire, that spinning by rollers revolving with different degrees of velocity, had been attempted previously to the period when the discovery was promulgated by Sir Richard Arkwright, in 1769. But in the sketch referred to, and in the present work, Mr Baines has shown that the merit of this great invention is incontestibly due to Mr John Wyatt, who took out, in the name of Mr Lewis Paul, a patent, in which the process of spinning by rollers is distinctly described ; so early as 1738, or thirty-one years before Arkwright's patent. It appears from the reference in the Case printed by Sir Richard Arkwright, in 1782, that he was aware that attempts had been made in the reign of George II. to spin by machinery ; but it is uncertain whether he was acquainted with their nature, or had seen the patent in question. Undoubtedly, however, the presumption is, that he had seen it; and if so, he cannot be regarded as the inventor of the spinning-frame. But, notwithstanding this deduction from his extraordinary merits, enough will stilī remain to justify the claims of Arkwright to the respect and gratitude of mankind. In the hands of Wyatt the invention, how ingenious soever, was of no use, and all traces of it seem to have been lost. If Arkwright did not invent it a second time, he did what was equally important,—he made it available in practice, and showed how it might be rendered the most prolific source of individual and public wealth.
We subjoin from Mr Baines' work an estimate of the 'extent and value of the British cotton manfacture in 1833. Cotton Wool imported,
lbs. 303,656,837 Consumed in the Manufacture,
lbs. 282,675,200 Yarn spun (deducting 14 oz. per lb. for loss), lbs. 256,174,400 Number of hanks spun (averaging 40 to the lb.,) hanks, 10,246,976.000 Length of yarn spun (840 yards to the hank), miles, 4,890,602,182 Value of the cotton-wool consumed, at 7d. per lb.
L.8,244,693 Value of the cotton exports—Goods, L.13,754,992
L.18,459,000 Value of cotton manufactures consumed at home,
12,879,693 Total value of the manufacture,
31,338,693 Capital employed in the manufacture,
34,000,000 Quantity of cotton goods
exported (in 1832) White or plain Cottons, yards, 259,493,096 Printed or dyed cottons,
yds.461,045,503 Number of persons supported by the manufacture,
1,500,000 Number of operatives in the spinning and weaving factories, In England, 200,000
In Scotland, 32,000
237,000 Wages earned by the factory operatives,
L. 6,044,000 Power moving the factories, Steam, 33,000 horses
Horse pr. 44,000 Number of spindles,
9,333,000 Number of power-looms,
100,000 Number of hand-loom weavers,
250,000 Wages earned by do.
L.4,375,000 We believe this statement is nearly accurate ; but though it should be a little exaggerated in some points, it will soon be the other way, as the manufacture is at present increasing, with an almost unexampled rapidity. Altogether, it is an all but miraculous creation; and, as Mr Baines has justly remarked, what enhances our astonishment is, that so vast a manufacture should owe its rise to the transcendent genius and sagacity of a few obscure mechanics, and have attained its present perfection and extension in little more than half a century.
ART. IX.-A Poet's Portfolio; or Minor Poems. In Three
Books. By James MONTGOMERY, 12mo. London : 1835.
IT t is now about twenty-eight years since we noticed in this
Journal, Mr Montgomery's • Wanderer of Switzerland ;' and looking back to what we then wrote, we fairly confess, that were the task now to be performed for the first time, our criticism would probably be characterised by a milder spirit. Not that in reference to the particular subject of the article alluded to, our opinions have undergone any material change: we still think that while the poem was characterised by much that was offensive to good taste —much that would now be offensive to the taste of the author himself—it showed little of those higher qualities which Mr Montgomery has since displayed, and which have secured to him a not undistinguished place in modern poetry. On this point we scarcely think that even the warmest admirers of his genius will be materially at issue with us. But the experience of the additional lustres which have since rolled over his head and ours, has convinced us, that as in many cases the anticipations we had been led to form from a brilliant first appearance, have been by no means justified by the future, so on the other, the unfavourable anguries arising from an ill-omened beginning have sometimes been not unpleasantly disappointed by subsequent displays of genius, energy, or good taste. Not unpleasantly, we say ; for we can venture to add, that in this latter case, few have been better pleased than ourselves at the failure of our own anticipations; and on the whole the conviction has been growing upon us of the danger of all literary predictions, and of the propriety of leaning to the side of hope and encouragement, rather than that of despondency and censure.
But if there has been some change in this respect in our views, the change in Mr Montgomery has been indeed remarkable. In his earliest production little was discernible beyond a vague admiration of nature, exhibited in language certainly more pompous than picturesque and discriminating ; - a sensibility running into wasteful and ridiculous excess, too lively and too incessant to be natural, and a style, in many parts, sicklied over with the pale cast of affectation. The fertility of the soil, in short, was chiefly indicated by the luxuriance of the weeds. Gradually, however, with every successive production, these excrescences have been pruned away. Earnestness has succeeded to affectation ; a manly simplicity of thought and reYOL. LXI, NO. CXXIV,