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price of so much in the pound of the sum for which the ore is sold. These contracts are put up at certain regular periods, generally every two months, and taken by a voluntary partnership of men accustomed to the mine. This system has its disadvantages, in consequence of the uncertainty and irregularity of the earnings, and consequent necessity of living for long periods on credit; but it has advantages which more than counterbalance these drawbacks. It produces a degree of intelligence, independence, and moral elevation, which raise the condition and character of the Cornish miner far above that of the generality of the labouring class. We are told by Dr. Barham, that “they are not only, as a class, intelligent for labourers, but men of considerable knowledge.” Also, that “they have a character of independence, something American, the system by which the contracts are let giving the takers entire freedom to make arrangements among themselves; so that each man feels, as a partner in his little firm, that he meets his employers on nearly equal terms.' . . . With this basis of intelligence and independence in their character, we are not surprised when we hear that “a very great number of miners are now located on possessions of their own, leased for three lives or ninety-nine years, on which they have built houses; or that ‘281,541. are deposited in savings banks in Cornwall, of which two-thirds are estimated to, belong to miners.’ ”* Mr. Babbage, who also gives an account of this system, observes that the payment to the crews of whaling ships is governed by a similar principle; and that “the profits arising from fishing with nets on the south coast of England are thus divided : one-half the produce belongs to the owner of the boat and net; the other half is divided in equal portions between the persons using it, who are also bound to assist in repairing the net when required.” Mr. Babbage has the great merit of having pointed out the practicability, and the advantage, of extending the principle to manufacturing industry generally.” Some attention has been excited by an experiment of this nature, commenced about sixteen years ago by a Paris tradesman, a house-painter, M. Leclaire; and described by him in a pamphlet published in the year 1842. M. Leclaire, according to his statement, employs on an average two hundred workmen, whom he pays in the usual manner, by fixed wages or salaries. He assigns to himself, besides interest for his capital, a fixed allowance for his labour and responsibility as manager. At the end of the year, the surplus profits are divided among the body, himself included, in the proportion of their salaries. The reasons by which M. Leclaire was led to adopt this system are highly instructive. Finding the conduct of his workmen unsatisfactory, he first tried the effect of giving higher wages, and by this he managed to obtain a body of excellent workmen, who would not quit his service for any other. “Having thus succeeded” (I quote from an abstract of the pamphlet in Chambers’ Journal,S) “in producing some sort of stability in the arrangements of his establishment, M. Leclaire expected, he says, to enjoy greater peace of mind. In this, however, he was disappointed. So long as he was able to superintend everything himself, from the general concerns of his business down to its minutest details, he did enjoy a certain satisfaction; but from the moment that, owing to the increase of his business, he found that he could be nothing more than the centre from which orders were issued, and to which reports were brought in, his former anxiety and discomfort returned upon him.” He speaks lightly of the other sources of anxiety to which a tradesman is subject, but describes as an incessant cause of vexation the losses arising from the misconduct of workmen. An employer “will find workmen whose indifference to his interests is such that they do not perform two-thirds of the amount of work which they are capable of; hence the continual fretting of masters, who, seeing their interests neglected, believe themselves entitled to suppose that workmen are constantly conspiring to ruin those from whom they derive their livelihood. If the journeyman were sure of constant employment, his position would in some respects be more enviable than that of the master, because he is assured of a certain amount of day's wages, which he will get whether he works much or little. He runs no risk, and has no other motive to stimulate him to do his best than his own sense of duty. The master, on the other hand, depends greatly on chance for his returns: his position is one of continual irritation and anxiety. This would no longer be the case to the same extent, if the interests of the master and those of the workmen were bound up with each other, connected by some bond of mutual security, such as that which would be obtained by the plan of a yearly division of profits.” Even in the first year during which M. Leclaire's experiment was in complete operation, the success was remarkable. Not one of his journeymen who worked as many as three hundred days, earned in that year less than 1500 francs, and some considerably more. His highest rate of daily wages being four francs, or 1200 francs for 300 days, the remaining 300 francs, or 12l., must have been the smallest amount which any journeyman, who worked that number of days, obtained as his proportion of the surplus profit. M. Leclaire describes in strong terms the improvement which was already manifest in the habits and demeanour of his workmen, not merely when at work, and in their relations with their employer, but at other times and in other relations, showing increased respect both for others and for themselves. M. Chevalier, in a work published in 1848, stated on M. Leclaire's authority, that the increased zeal of the workpeople continued to be a full compensation to him, even in a pecuniary sense, for the share of profit which he renounced in their favour.* And M. Villiaumé, in 1857,+ observes :— * Quoiqu'il ait toujours banni la fraude, qui n'est que trop fréquente dans sa profession, il a toujours pu soutenir la concurrence et acquérir une belle aisance, malgré l'abandon. d'une si large part de ses profits. Assurément il n'y est parvenu que parce que l'activité inusitée de ses ouvriers, et la surveillance qu'ils exerçaient les uns sur les autres dans les nombreux chantiers, avaint compensé la diminution de ses profits personnels.'o The beneficent example set by M. Leclaire has been followed, with brilliant success, by other employers of labour on a large scale at Paris ; and I annex, from the work last referred to (one of the ablest of the many able treatises on political economy produced by the present generation of the political economists of France), some signal examples of the economical and moral benefit arising from this admirable arrangement.t
* This passage is from the Prize Essay on the Causes and Remedies of National Distress, by Mr. Samuel Laing. The extracts which it includes are from the Appendix to the Report of the Children's Employment Commission.
* Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, 3rd edition, chap. 26. + His establishment is (or was) 11, Rue Saint Georges. # It appears, however, that the workmen whom M. Leclaire had admitted to this participation of profits, were only a portion (rather less than half) of the whole number whom he employed. This is explained by another part of his sys. tem. M. Leclaire pays the full market rate of wages to all his workmen. The share of profit assigned to them is, therefore, a clear addition to the ordinary gains of their class, which he very laudably uses as an instrument of improvement, by making it the reward of desert, or the recompense for peculiar trust. § For September 27, 1845.
$ 6. The form of association, however, which if mankind continue to improve, must be expected in the end to
* Lettres sur l'Organisation du Travail, par Michel Chevalier, lettre xiv. + Nouveau Traite d'Economie Politique. t " En Mars 1847, M. Paul Dupont, gérant d'une imprimerie de Paris, eut l'idée d'associer ses ouvriers en leur promettant le dixième des bénéfices. Il en emploie habituellement trois cents, dont deux cents travaillent aux pièces et cent à la journée. Il emploie, en outre, cent auxiliaires, qui ne font pas partie de l'association. " La part de bénéfice avenant aux ouvriers ne leur vaut guère, en moyenne, qu'une quinzaine de jours de travail; mais ils reçoivent leur salaire ordinaire suivant le tarif établi dans toutes les grandes imprimeries de Paris; et, de plus, ils ont l'avantage d'être soignés dans leurs maladies aux frais de la communauté,
predominate, is not that which can exist between a capitalist as chief, and workpeople without a voice in the management, but the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital with which they carry on their operations, and working under managers
et de recevoir 1 fr. 50 cent. de salaire par jour d'incapacité de travail. Les ouvriers ne peuvent retirer leur part dans les bénéfices que quand ils sortent de l'association. Chaque année, cette part, qui est représentée tant en matériel qu'en rentes sur l'Etat, s'augmente par la capitalisation des intérêts, et crée ainsi une réserve à l'ouvrier. " M. Dupont et les capitalistes, ses commanditaires, trouvent dans cette association un profit bien supérieur à celui qu'ils auraient; les ouvriers, de leur côté, se félicitent chaque jour de l'heureuse idée de leur patron. Plusieurs d'entre eux, encouragés à la réussite de l'établissement, lui ont fait obtenir une médaille d'or en 1849, une médaille d'honneur à l'Exposition Universelle de 1855 ; et quelques uns même ont reçu personellement la recompense de leurs découvertes et de leurs travaux. Chez un patron ordinaire, ces braves gens n'auraient pas eu le loisir de poursuivre leurs inventions, à moins que d'en laisser tout l'honneur à celui qui n'en était pas l'auteur : tandis qu'étant associés, si le patron eût été injuste, deux cents hommes eussent fait redresser ses torts. " J'ai visité moi-même cet établissement, et j'ai pu m'assurer du perfectionnement que cette association apporte aux habitudes des ouvriers. " M. Gisquet, ancien préfet de police, est propriétaire depuis long-temps d'une fabrique d'huile à Saint-Denis, qui est la plus importante de France, après celle de M. Darblay, de Corbeil. Lorsqu'en 1848 il prit le parti de la diriger luimême, il rencontra des ouvriers habitués à s'enivrer plusieurs fois par semaine, et qui, pendant le travail, chantaient, fumaient, et quelquefois se disputaient. On avait maintes fois essayé sans succès de changer cet état de choses : il y parvint par la prohibition faite à tous ses ouvriers de s'enivrer les jours de travail, sous peine d'exclusion, et par la promesse de partager entre eux, à titre de gratification annuelle, 5 p. 100 de ses bénéfices nets, au pro rata des salaires, qui, du reste, sont fixés aux prix courants. Depuis ce moment, la réforme a été complète : il se voit entouré d'une centaine d'ouvriers pleins de zèle et de dévouement. Leur bien-être s'est accru de tout ce qu'ils ne dépensent pas en boissons, et de ce qu'ils gagnent par leur exactitude au travail. La gratification que M. Gisquet leur accorde, leur a valu, en moyenne, chaque année, l'équivalent de leur salaire pendant six semaines. . . . . " M. Beslay, ancien député de 1830 à 1839, et représentant du peuple à l'Assemblée Constituante, a fondé un atelier important de machines à vapeur à Paris, dans le Faubourg du Temple. Il eut l'idée d'associer dans ce dernier établissement ses ouvriers, dès le commencement de 1847. Je transcris ici cet acte d'association, que l'on peut regarder comme l'un des plus complets de tous ceux faits entre patrons et ouvriers." The practical sagacity of Chinese emigrants long ago suggested to them, ac