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By SYLVANUS URBAN, GENT.
QUEstiones VENUsix AE, No. IV. concluding the Windication of Lollius, in our next Number. The offer of J. H. C. is declined, with thanks. We have received, with thanks, the communication from T. M. The measurement of the Cedar will be inserted in a note which we are soon going to dedicate to that subject. We are not aware that we have deserved the complaint made by J. W.; but should be happy to receive any communication (post paid) from him, or others, when we are deficient in our records of provincial deaths. Our anonymous Correspondent at Newcastle, in support of the asserted truth of his information, should have favoured us with his name. Mr. H. PHILLIPs, (of Weymouth) writes: “As a supplement to the memoir of the Cosby family, by a Genealogical Inquirer, may be stated their connection with that of the late Lord Milford. Lieut.General Philipps, Governor of Nova Scotia, in 1707, married one of the daughters of Col. Wm. Cosby, some time Governor of New York, a younger son of Alexander Cosby, esq. of Stradbally, in Ireland. The issue of this marriage was Capt. Cosby Philipps, my great-grandfather. Another daughter of Colonel Cosby married Lord Augustus Fitzroy, father of Augustus-Henry third Duke of Grafton.” T. S. requests to know, to what “Abbott Pedigree” a Genealogical Inquirer refers in p. 181. In return, he can throw some light on one or two points which the Genealogical Inquirer considers questionable. “Wm. Sidney, gent. married Mrs. Alice Painter, widow, at Sevenoaks, Nov. 27, 1563. Francis, their son, was baptized there, Jan. 30, 1566-7. I have presumed this Francis to be the Proctor of 1599, &c. of whom the same Correspondent makes a question in the Gent. Mag. of March, 1832, page 215. 'Tis true, the notice of his matriculation, communicated to me by Dr. Bliss, gives his age at that date, (2d July, 1584), as 28, and I should not assume such to be a clerical error for 18, without further inquiry, though I can have little doubt of its being such.-The date of the marriage of . William Sidney and Mrs. Alice Painter, however, answers another question. It is manifest that Alice cannot have been the mother of Dorcas, who was herself a mother, 1st January, 1571; but that she must have been a second wife, and Dorcas the
issue of a first, as likely as not the Elizabeth of page 181. I am not very jealous of the character of the lady, but Dorcas is thus acquitted of keeping her mother shabbily. Further permit me to point out, what is perhaps only an error of the press, that the husband of Thomasine Sydney, (Mar. 1232, page 214), was Nicholas Gavel, not Gamel.” Mr. SAMUEl GREGoRY of the Lord Mayor's Court Office, inquires when the following Recorders of the City of London were buried, and also when those died whose names are marked with an asterisk:*Sir Robert Heath, Recorder 1612 :— Sol.-general, 1620; M.P. for London, 1621 ; Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, 1631.-*Sir Salathiel Lorell, Recorder 1692; Sergeant at Law, and in 708 appointed one of the Barons of the Exchequer.—Sir William Thomson, Recorder 1714; died at Bath, 27th Oct. 1739; at the period of his decease he was also one of the Barons of the Exchequer.— Sir Simon Urlin, Recorder 1742; Sergeant at Law; died May 3, 1746.- Sir Richard Adams, Recorder 1749; one of the Barons of the Exchequer, 1753.- Sir William Moreton, Recorder 1753; M.P. for Brackley Moreton 1755; died March 14, 1763.−John Glynn, esq. Recorder, 1772; Sergeant at Law, M.P. for Middlesex 1768 and 1774: Recorder of Exeter; died Sep. 16, 1779. T. W. F. offers the following notes on Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual, just now completed.—P. 50. “Anti-Jacobin Review.” The note, “Gifford Frere.” &c., applies not to this but to the preceding article, “Anti-Jacobin or Weekly Examiner.”—P. 77. “Asiatic Annual Register.” No continuation of this work has appeared since the 12th volume, published in 1813.— P. 111. “Barnardiston's Reports.” What had Lord Mansfield to do with the Court of Chancery 3– P. 191. “Isaac Bickerstaff " is not always “Sir Richard. Steele.” Witness the author of “Love in a Village,” &c. a writer of considerable literary but small moral fame. He had been page to a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and died a Half-pay Lieutenant of Marines.—P. 1985-6. “The World.” Bell's newspaper is here strangely confounded with the labours of Adam Fitz-Adam. Merry, Greathead, Parsons, &c. formed the “knot of fantastic coxcombs” satirized by Gifford ; not More, Chesterfield, Cambridge, and their coadjutors.
FRESH from the recollection of the thirty thousand united Mechanics, whose gaunt and fearful shadows darkened the gates of the abode of Royalty, and hung like a thunder-cloud over the dwellings of the peaceful and affrighted inhabitants of the metropolis, we enter on the subject with no little interest. It is of such fearful import, and involved in so much obscurity to most persons, that we shall do no disservice to the community by entering largely into detail; while for the information which we embody in our pages, we are chiefly indebted to a pamphlet recently published, the author of which appears to be perfectly conversant with the nature and tendency of these extensive, mischievous, and misguided coalitions.
The most powerful, most extensive, and most organized UNIoN in the kingdom, is that of the Working Cotton Spinners. These have united for above thirty years; but now a general Union of all in England, Scotland, and Ireland is formed. They have held Parliaments, levied taxes, passed laws, printed their proceedings and speeches, and performed all the functions of a Legislative body, with as much formality as the House of Commons. The Sessions when the Representatives meet take place twice a-year, and last from four to five days. The members are called by the title of the place they represent. The Spinners, it must be remarked, do not form more than one-tenth of those employed in a cotton-mill; yet, as their labour is necessary to the working of the establishment, they rule all the rest. However unwilling nine-tenths of the work-people in a factory are to strike, they have no power of refusal, but are subject to the uncontrolled and despotic sway of the remaining tenth, who can order them to cease working whenever it suits their will and pleasure. The most extensive strike took place in 1810, when 30,000 persons were at once thrown out of employ, from Manchester to Preston. The government of this strike was carried on by a congress at Manchester, which was formed of delegates sent from all the principal mills. The chief leader was a man named Joseph Shipley, a perfect Masaniello. The men who struck were supported by the contributions of those who worked, and the sums collected amounted to nearly 1,500l. weekly, of which Manchester alone paid 600l. The object of this strike was to raise the wages in country districts to a level with those in Manchester. The attempt met with the most signal failure, and drew down the most severe and yet merited punishments on those engaged in it. The contributions failed. The savings of a life were confiscated. Furniture, beds, clothes were sold, and the greatest misery endured, before those deluded people returned to their work; and then at far, lower wages than they had previously received; or as the writer says, “they submitted to a reduction of 30 per cent, on those wages, to raise which every thing but existence had been staked.” The Luddite riots originated in a great measure in this strike.
* Character, Object, and Effects of Trades' Unions, &c. 8vo. 1834, a pamphlet which we strongly advise all persons, who wish to understand the nature of these Unions, to peruse.
Improvements in machinery are the general and common cause of strikes, and especially the enlargement of mules, by means of which, the number of spindles which a spinner is capable of superintending, has been increasing; but improvements in machinery never injure a workman, for though a less price is given per piece, yet through the improvements and power of the new machine, he can take home more earnings at the end of the week, than when working on the old. The proprietor is also enabled to undersell his competitors, or if he sells at the same price, to make more gain. Hence many of the masters have been guilty of the disgraceful behaviour of instigating their workmen to turn out against those manufacturers who used improved machines. In 1824 the Hyde spinners turned out against their own wishes, but at the dictation of the Union. The result was, that the men, after enduring the greatest hardships, and costing the combination between 3000l. and 4000l. came back to work at the same prices. In 1829 another serious turn-out took place, caused by the introduction of improved machinery. Ten thousand persons were thrown idle for six months, and evils were entailed on them which it will be long before they recover. Many are suffering to this day the consequences of their folly in 1829. Many were brought to the verge of starvation, and returned to their work, at last, under a reduction of wages. This turn-out was more opprobious than any of the former, for it was sullied with the crime of assassination; and the yet unpunished murder of Mr. Ashton, attests the guilty excess to which the workmen are capable of proceeding, when compelled by these wicked combinations. The last great strike occurred in 1830, when, owing to a combination of the spinners, 52 mills and 30,000 persons were thrown out of work for ten weeks. The military were obliged to act, and the men at length returned to the work at the same price which they had previously refused. In Scotland the strikes of the Spinners have been as frequent as in England. Between 1820 and 1823, the Union perpetrated numerous assaults, and attacked the lives of those who refused to join them. There were at least four instances of deliberate attempts at assassination, and two to burn cotton mills. Those who opposed the wishes of the Union, were fired at during the night, and several lost their eye-sight by vitriol being thrown in at the windows. One man confessed he had been employed to assassinate four of the masters, and he was to receive for his criminal undertaking 100l. In consequence, some manufacturers have emigrated with their capital to America, and some to Essex. At present, the Spinners' Union in Glasgow is in full vigour, and the employers are held in complete control. The following are the latest accounts of the outrages perpetrated by the strikes.
“Two most diabolical scenes of outrage were perpetrated at Glasgow, on Monday, Dec. 16, 1833. A woman named Mary Macshaffrey, cotton stretcher, while entering the close leading to her residence in Charles-street, Calton, was met by some men, one of whom threw on her face and on her person a quantity of vitriol, by which her face was injured, one of her eyes destroyed, and she has since been confined under medical treatment. On the same day, about six in the morning, while Mr. Robert Miller, foreman of the Lacefield Spinning Company, was on his way home, he was suddenly attacked, and cruelly and severely struck with a heavy and sharp weapon, which cut through the crown of his hat, wounded him on the head, and felled him to the ground; it is supposed that murder was the intent of these ruffians.”—Scotsman, Dec. 21, 1833.
The Committee of the Spinners' Union in Manchester, is invested with almost absolute power, and in the true spirit of tyranny exercise heir authority in ordinary strikes without the smallest regard for their fellow-workmen who suffer by them. Their funds are liable to variations. Some years since they boasted of having spent 20,000l. The weekly subscriptions are always going on, and one of the delegates frequently collected 300l. on Saturday night. The sums raised vary from 4d. and 6d. to 4s. and 6s. The following is a copy of a ticket circulated last June :
GENTLEMEN,+At a meeting held at the Prince's Tavern, on Thursday evening, it was unanimously agreed that the contribution should be 7d. a-week, for a few weeks; viz. 4d. for men out of work; la, for time bill (i.e. sending delegates to London, &c.), and 2d. for the Grand Lodge expenses. All things to be paid at the Saint Peter's Tavern, as usual. (Signed by a Committee of Eighteen.)
“Surely (says the author of this excellent pamphlet, who deserves the greatest praise for the manner in which he has brought an account of these dangerous combinations before the public) if any combination could answer the expectation of the working classes, this would be one. It has brought the most extensive manufactories in the world under its authority, it has embraced in its power three kingdoms; it exercises control over ten times its own number of workmen; it has shown the reality of these pretensions by keeping thousands out of employ for half a year at a time; every favourable circumstance has united to establish its efficiency, and it has kept up the rate of wages; yet the members fail to draw from this result one iota of benefit.” It is curious and instructive to remark how this consequence has been brought about, and how the laws of nature are vindicated in spite of the ablest devices of man to elude them. “The wages of the spinners have been kept up to 30s. a-week; but this amount attracting others who would have followed other employments, the operatives are obliged to allow them a weekly support, to prevent the supernumeraries' beating down the work. Thus their earnings are only nominally high, and really not above the common level. They cannot limit the number of those admitted into their business, because every strike introduces fresh workmen, and thus their end is defeated by the very means taken to gain it. More than 300 persons were instructed in spinning, owing to the turn-out at Ashton in 1825, and every general turn-out, without exception, has ended in a reduction of wages immediately after, on account of the influx of fresh hands causing a superabundance of labour. John Pilkington, a Manchester workman, in evidence before the Factory Commissioners, owns that “there has been a great many turn-outs, and that they have never succeeded.” The effect produced by the Spinners' Union, affords an explanation of the reason why they supported the Ten-hours' limitation Bill. It has been stated, that the high wages given in this business, causes a greater number of persons to enter it, than the trade can employ, and that those superfluous labourers receive a weekly stipend from those who are at work, to prevent them from engaging themselves under the combination rices. The Union calculated that, had the Ten-hour Bill passed, and all the present factories worked one-sixth less time, one-sixth more mills would have been built to supply the deficient production. The effect of this, as they fancied, would have been to cause a fresh demand for workmen; and hence those out of employ, would have been prevented from draining the pockets of those who were in work, which would render their wages really as well as nominally high. Here we have the secret source of 9-10ths of