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not the desire of wealth that needs to crease production and to economize be taught, but the use of wealth, and labour, needs not be specially detailed appreciation of the objects of desire in a work like the present: it will be which wealth cannot purchase, or for found explained and exemplified, in a attaining which it is not required. manner at once scientific and popular, Every real improvement in the cha- in Mr. Babbage's well-known Ecoracter of the English, whether it nomy of Machinery and Manufacconsist in giving them higher aspira- tures." An entire chapter of Mr. tions, or only a juster estimate of the Babbage's book is composed of invalue of their present objects of desire, stances of the efficacy of machinery in must necessarily moderate the ardour “ exerting forces too great for human of their devotion to tho pursuit of power, and executing operations too wealth. There is no need, however, delicate for human touch.” But to that it should diminish the strenuous find examples of work which could not and business-like application to the be performed at all by unassisted matter in hand, which is found in the labour, we need not go so far. Withbest English workmen, and is their out pumps, worked by steam-engines or most valuable quality.
otherwise, the water which collects in The desirable medium is one which mines could not in many situations be mankind have not often known how to | got rid of at all, and the mines, after hit: when they labour, to do it with all being worked to a little depth, must be their might, and especially with all abandoned : without ships or boats the their mind; but to devote to labour, sea could never have been crossed; for mere pecuniary gain, fewer hours without tools of some sort, trees could in the day, fewer days in the year, and not be cut down, nor rocks excavated; fewer years of life.
a plough, or at least a hoe, is necessary
to any tillage of the ground. Very § 4. The third element which de- simple and rude instruments, however, termines the productiveness of the are sufficient to render literally possible labour of a community, is the skill and most works hitherto executed by manknowledge therein existing; whether kind; and subsequent inventions have it be the skill and knowledge of the chiefly served to enable the work to be labourers themselves, or of those who performed in greater perfection, and, direct their labour. No illustration is above all, with a greatly diminished requisite to show how the efficacy of quantity of labour: the labour thus industry is promoted by the manual saved becoming disposable for other dexterity of those who perform mere employment. routine processes; by the intelligence The use of machinery is far from of those engaged in operations in being the only mode in which the which the mind has a considerable effects of knowledge in aiding producpart; and by the amount of knowledge tion are exemplified. In agriculture of natural powers and of the properties and horticulture, machinery is only of objects, which is turned to the pur. now beginning to show that it can do poses of industry. That the produc. anything of importance, beyond the tiveness of the labour of a people is , invention and progressive improvelimited by their knowledge of the arts ment of the plough and a few other of life, is self-evident; and that any simple instruments. The greatest agriprogress in those arts, any improved cultural inventions have consisted in application of the objects or powers of the direct application of more judicious nature to industrial uses, enables the processes to the land itself, and to the same quantity and intensity of labour plants growing on it: such as rotation to raise a greater produce.
of crops, to avoid the necessity of One principal department of these leaving the land uncultivated for one improvements consists in the invention season in every two or three; improved and use of tools and machinery. The manures, to renovate its fertility when manner in which these serve to in | exhausted by cropping; ploughing and
draining the subsoil as well as the labourer is anything but a hewer of surface; conversion of bogs and marshes wood and a drawer of water, he is into cultivable land; such modes of indebted for it to education, which in pruning, and of training and propping his case is almost always self-education. up plants and trees, as experience bas Mr. Escher, of Zurich, (an engineer shown to deserve the preference; in the and cotton manufacturer employing case of the more expensive cultures, nearly two thousand working men of planting the roots or seeds further many different nations,) in his evidence apart, and more completely pulverizing annexed to the Report of the Poor the soil in which they are placed, &c. Law Commissioners, in 1840, on the In manufactures and commerce, some training of pauper children, gives a of the most important improvements character of English as contrasted consist in economizing time; in making | with Continental workmen, which all the return follow more speedily upon persons of similar experience will, I the labour and outlay. There are believe, confirm. others of which the advantage consists “The Italians' quickness of percep in economy of material.
tion is shown in rapidly comprehending
any new descriptions of labour put into § 5. But the effects of the in their hands, in a power of quickly comcreased knowledge of a community in prehending the meaning of their emincreasing its wealth, need the less ployer, of adapting themselves to new illustration as they have become circumstances, much beyond what any familiar to the most uneducated, from other classes have. The French worksuch conspicuous instances as railways men have the like natural characterisand steam-ships. A thing not yet so tics, only in a somewhat lower degree. well understood and recognised, is the The English, Swiss, German, and economical value of the general diffu- Dutch workmen, we find, have all much sion of intelligence among the people. slower natural comprehension. As The number of persons fitted to direct workmen only, the preference is unand superintend any industrial enter-doubtedly due to the English; because, prise, or even to execute any process as we find them, they are all trained which cannot be reduced almost to an to special branches, on which they have affair of memory and routine, is always had comparatively superior training, far short of the demand; as is evident and have concentrated all their from the enormous difference between thoughts. As men of business or of the salaries paid to such persons, and general usefulness, and as men with the wages of ordinary labour. The whom an employer would best like to deficiency of practical good sense, be surrounded, I should, however, deciwhich renders the majority of the la- dedly prefer the Saxons and the Swiss, bouring class such bad calculators— but more especially the Saxons, bewhich makes, for instance, their do- cause they have had a very careful genmestic economy so improvident, lax, eral education, which has extended and irregular-must disqualify them their capacities beyond any special for any but a low grade of intelligent employment, and rendered them fit to labour, and render their industry far take up, after a short preparation, any less productive than with equal energy employment to which they may be it otherwise might be. The impor- called. If I have an English worktance, even in this limited aspect, of man engaged in the erection of a popular education, is well worthy of steam-engine, he will understand that, the attention of politicians, especially and nothing else ; and for other cir: in England; since competent observers, cumstances or other branches of me. accustomed to employ labourers of chanics, however closely allied, he will various nations, testify that in the be comparatively helpless to adapt himworkmen of other countries they often self to all the circumstances that may tind great intelligence wholly apart arise, to make arrangements for them, from instruction, but that if an English and give sound advice or write clear statements and letters on his work | borne out by experience in England in the various related branches of itself. As soon as any idea of equalmechanics."
ity enters the mind of an uneducated On the connexion between mental English working man, his head is. cultivation and moral trustworthiness turned by it. When he ceases to be in the labouring class, the same wit servile, he becomes insolent. ness says, “ The better educated work The moral qualities of the labourers men, we find, are distinguished by are fully as important to the efficiency superior moral habits in every respect. and worth of their labour, as the inIn the first place, they are entirely so tellectual. Independently of the effects ber; they are discreet in their enjoy of intemperance upon their bodily and ments, which are of a more rational mental faculties, and of flighty unand refined kind ; they have a taste steady habits upon the energy and confor much better society, which they | tinuity of their work (points so easily approach respectfully, and consequently understood as not to require being infind much readier admittance to it; sisted upon), it is well worthy of medithey cultivate music; they read; they tation, how much of the aggregate enjoy the pleasures of scenery, and effect of their labour depends on their make parties for excursions in the trustworthiness. All the labour now country; they are economical, and expended in watching that they fulfil their economy extends beyond their their engagement, or in verifying that own purse to the stock of their master; they have fulfilled it, is so much withthey are, consequently, honest and drawn from the real business of protrustworthy." And in answer to a duction, to be devoted to a subsidiary question respecting the English work function rendered needful not by the men, “ Whilst in respect to the work necessity of things, but by the disto which they have been specially honesty of men. Nor are the greatest trained they are the most skilful, they outward precautions more than very are in conduct the most disorderly, de- imperfectly efficacious, where, as is now bauched, and unruly, and least respect almost invariably the case with hired able and trustworthy of any nation labourers, the slightest relaxation of whatsoever whom we have employed ; | vigilance is an opportunity eagerly and in saying this, I express the expe- seized for eluding performance of their rience of every manufacturer on the contract. The advantage to mankind Continent to whom I have spoken, and of being able to trust one another, penespecially of the English manufactu etrates into every crevice and cranny rers, who make the loudest complaints. of human life : the economical is perThese characteristics of depravity do haps the smallest part of it, yet even not apply to the English workmen who this is incalculable. To consider only have received an education, but attach the most obvious part of the waste of to the others in the degree in which wealth occasioned to society by human they are in want of it. When the un improbity; there is in all rich commueducated English workmen are re nities a predatory population, who live leased from the bonds of iron discipline by pillaging or over-reaching other in which they have been restrained by people; their numbers cannot be their employers in England, and are authentically ascertained, but on the treated with the urbanity and friendly lowest estimate, in a country like feeling which the more educated work England, it is very large. The supmen on the Continent expect and re port of these persons is a direct burceive from their employers, they, the then on the national industry. The English workmen, completely lose their police, and the whole apparatus of punbalance: they do not understand their ishment, and of criminal and partly of position, and after a certain time be
and experienced employer of labour is de
serving of attention; as well as much testiless.'' * This result of observation is
mony on similar points by other witnesses, * The whole evidence of this intelligent contained in the same volume.
civil justice, are a second burthen ren- , the producers and dealers of such a dered necessary by the first. The ex- town from their own integrity. “The orbitantly-paid profession of lawyers, influence of established character in 80 far as their work is not created by producing confidence operated in a defects in the law of their own contri- very remarkable manner at the time of ving, are required and supported prin- | the exclusion of British manufactures cipally by the dishonesty of mankind. from the Continent during the last As the standard of integrity in a com war. One of our largest establishmunity rises higher, all these expenses ments had been in the habit of doing become less. But this positive saving extensive business with a house in the would be far outweighed by the im- centre of Germany: but on the closing mense increase in the produce of all of the Continental ports against our kinds of labour, and saving of time and manufactures, heavy penalties were expenditure, which would be obtained inflicted on all those who contravened if the labourers honestly performed the Berlin and Milan decrees. The what they undertake; and by the in- English manufacturer continued, nevercreased spirit, the feeling of power theless, to receive orders, with direcand confidence, with which works of tions how to consign them, and appointall sorts would be planned and carried ments for the time and mode of payon by those who felt that all whose aid ment, in letters, the handwriting of was required would do their part faith which was known to him, but which fully according to their contracts. Con- | were never signed except by the joint action is possible just in propor- Christian name of one of the firm, and tion as human beings can rely on each even in some instances they were other. There are countries in Europe, without any signature at all. These of first-rate industrial capabilities, orders were executed, and in no inwhere the most serious impediment to stance was there the least irregularity conducting business concerns on a in the payments."* large scale, is the rarity of persons who are supposed fit to be trusted with the
* Some minor instances noticed by Mr.
Babbage may be cited in further illustration receipt and expenditure of large sums
of the waste occasioned to society through of money. There are nations whose | the inability of its members to trust one commodities are looked shily upon by
another. merchants, because they cannot depend
“The cost to the purchaser is the price he
pays for any article, added to the cost of on finding the quality of the article verifying the fact of its having that degree
of goodness for which he contracts. In some Such short-sighted frauds are far from
cases, the goodness of the article is evident
on mere inspection; and in those cases there unexampled in English exports. Every
is not much difference of price at different one has heard of “devil's dust :' and shops. The goodness of loaf sugar, for inamong other instances given by Mr. stance, can be discerned almost at a glance; Babbage, is one in which a branch of
and the consequence is, that the price is so
uniform, and the profit upon it so small, that export trade was for a long time ac no grocer is at all anxious to sell it ; whilst tually stopped by the forgeries and on the other hand, tea, of which it is exceedfrauds which had occurred in it. On
ingly difficult to judge, and which can be
adulterated by mixture so as to deceive the the other hand the substantial advan
skill even of a practised eye, has a great tage derived in business transactions variety of different prices, and is that article from proved trustworthiness, is not less
which every grocer is most anxious to sell to
his customers. The difficulty and expense remarkably exemplified in the same
of verification are in some instances so great work. “At one of our largest towns, as to justify the deviation from well-estabsales and purchases on a very exten lished principles. Thus it is a general maxim sive scale are made daily in the course
that Government can purchase any article
at a cheaper rate than that at which they of business without any of the parties
can manufacture it themselves. But it has, ever exchanging a written document." nevertheless, been considered more econoSpread over a year's transactions, how
mical to build extensive flour-mills (such as
those at Deptford), and to grind their own great a return, in saving of time,
corn, than to verify each sack of purchased trouble, and expense, is brought in to flour, and to employ persons in devising me.
§ 6. Among the secondary causes parts of Europe, there are numerous which determine the productiveness of gradations. In many provinces of productive agents, the most important France, before the Revolution, a vicious is Security. By security I mean the system of taxation on the land, and completeness of the protection which still more the absence of redress against society affords to its members. This the arbitrary exactions which were consists of protection by the govern- made under colour of the taxes, renment, and protection against the go- dered it the interest of every cultivator vernment. The latter is the more to appear poor, and therefore to cultiimportant. Where a person known to vate badly. The only insecurity which possess anything worth taking away, is altogether paralyzing to the active can expect nothing but to have it torn energies of producers, is that arising from him, with every circumstance of from the government, or from persons tyrannical violence, by the agents of a invested with its authority. Against rapacious government, it is not likely | all other depredators there is a hope of that many will exert themselves to defending oneself. Greece and the produce much more than necessaries. Greek colonies in the ancient world, This is the acknowledged explanation Flanders and Italy in the Middle Ages, of the poverty of many fertile tracts of by no means enjoyed what any one Asia, which were once prosperous and with modern ideas would call security: populous. From this to the degree of the state of society was most unsettled security enjoyed in the best governed | and turbulent; person and property thods of detecting the new modes of adulte articles, and others were obliged to pay a ration which might be continually resorted higher price to those who had skill to distinto.” A similar want of confidence might guish the mixed seed, and who had integrity deprive a nation, such as the United States, of and character to prevent them from dealing a large export trade in flour.
in it." Again : “Some years since, a mode of pre The same writer states that Irish flax, paring old clover and trefoil seeds by a pro though in natural quality inferior to none, cess called doctoring became so prevalent as sells, or did lately sell, in the market at a to excite the attention of the House of Com- | penny to twopence per pound less than mons. It appeared in evidence before a foreign or British flax; part of the difference Committee, that the old seed of the white arising from negligence in its preparation, clover was doctored by first wetting it slightly, but part from the cause mentioned in the and then drying it by the fumes of burning evidence of Mr. Corry, many years Secretary sulphur; and that the red clover seed had its to the Irish Linen Board : " The owners of colour improved by shaking it in a sack with the flax, who are almost always people in the a small quantity of indigo ; but this being lower classes of life, believe that they can detected after a time, the doctors then used best advance their own interests by imposing a preparation of logwood, fined by a little on the buyers. Flax being sold by weight, copperas, and sometimes by verdigris; thus various expedients are used to increase it; at once improving the appearance of the old and every expedient is injurious, particularly seed, and diminishing, if not destroying, its the damping of it; a very common practice, vegetative power, already enfeebled by age. which makes the flax afterwards heat. The Supposing no injury had resulted to good inside of every bundle (and the bundles all seed so prepared, it was proved that, from vary in bulk) is often full of pebbles, or dirt the improved appearance, the market price of various kinds, to increase the weight. In would be enhanced by this process from five I this state it is purchased and exported to to twenty-five shillings a hundred-weight. Great Britain." But the greatest evil arose from the circum It was given in evidence before a Com. stance of these processes rendering old and mittee of the House of Commons that the worthless seed equal in appearance to the lace trade at Nottingham had greatly fallen best. One witness had tried some doctored off, from the making of fraudulent and bad seed, and found that not above one grain in articles : that " a kind of lace called singlea hundred grew, and that those which did press was manufactured," (I still quote Mr. vegetate died away afterwards; whilst about Babbage) “which, although good to the eye, eighty or ninety per cent of good seed usually became nearly spoiled in washing by the grows. The seed so treated was sold to slipping of the threads; that not one person retail dealers in the country, who of course | in a thousand could distinguish the difference endeavoured to purchase at the cheapest between single-press and double-press lace; rate, and from them it got into the hands of that even workmen and manufacturers were the farmers, neither of these classes being ca. obliged to employ a magnifying-glass for that pable of distinguishing the fraudulent from purpose; and that in another similar article, the genuine seed. Many cultivators in conse. I called warp-lace, such aid was essential." quence diminished their consumption of the