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David in his circuit, as it is now our intention to sum up generally the results which he has come to.
In the first place, it is his opinion, that the adult cottonspinner is better circumstanced than any other class of operatives connected with the manufacture of wool, cotton, or flax; and as to the infant operatives, the comforts of the widowed mother, or indigent parents, are in direct proportion to the number of their children for whom they can procure factory employment.
He has also found that though the mill-workers may command more abundant food and clothing than their neighbours out of work, still these mill-workers are subject to a series of hostile influences which counterbalance the whole of these advantages.
The first and most influential of all, is the indispensable, undeviating necessity of forcing both their mental and bodily exertions to keep exact pace with the motions of machinery propelled by an unceasing, unvarying power. The second is, the continuance of an erect posture for periods unnaturally prolonged, and too quickly repeated. And the third, the privation of sleep.
Now, when we add to these sources of irregularity, those very common ones, to which the mill-workers are subject, such as low, crowded, dusty, and damp rooms, adulterated air, by heat or impurities, with the consequences of the latter, inordinate perspiration; when, we say, we add these to the first, we shall then, and only then, have an adequate notion of the comparative inferiority in point of health of these operatives; and hence is it, as Sir David Barry well points out, that male children particularly, after they have worked in mills, lose (with very few exceptions indeed) the rosy chubbiness of boyhood, and become paler and thinner than boys not so employed generally are. Even the draw-boy, who stands with his bare feet on the earthen floor of his master's shop as long as the shuttle is moving, preserves his appearance much better than the mill-boys, because the former go to play while the weaver dresses his web (three or four times a day), and smokes his pipe, and has always two or three holidays between the finishing of one web and the fitting up the tackle of another. But the mill-worker never has a moment's respite except at meals, and never gets into the open air except when he is going to look for them; yet his work is by no means so heavy as that of the draw-boy.
There is still another appendage to the causes which are calculated to destroy the health of the spinners. The persons who are spinners, males and females, must have been previously piecers, or working by the piece. Therefore, they must have begun early in the factory. In these circumstances, there is no smoking allowed them, and, for this loss, they are too often in the habit of chewing the tobacco. The male spinners, it is very curious, as we have already remarked, habitually manifest soonest, and most severely, the effects of these causes; their appetite is capricious, their
digestion disordered, and they prove, beyond all doubt, by their lank and pale countenances, that the lives which they lead are by no means favourable to the development of the manly powers. With respect to the female spinners, there is no part of his conclusions to which he more confidently adheres, than that these are much less deteriorated in their appearance by mill-work than the males. Amongst some thousand young women whom he carefully observed, both in and out of their factories, and after having examined upon oath those who had known them longest as to the existence of deformities amongst them, he did not meet with one distorted or narrow pelvis. If there be any difference between factory and other adult girls, relatively to that portion of the female form, he would say, that in the former, in this country, it is more fully developed. Of all the married women who had been mill girls from their childhood, whom he visited at their own dewllings, and inquired about from their husbands, there were but two unfruitful. The husbands of all were spinners. The children were numerous for the time the couples had been married, and as healthy-looking as those of any class of the community. Spinners almost always marry young, and select girlş from seventeen to twenty-two, who immediately quit the mill upon being married; sometimes before that event.
It is true that the women, who constantly stand, are more subject than the men, to an enlargement of the veins of the lower limbs, and the reporter tells us that he has seen this disease to a greater extent in the women of some factories, than he ever witnessed even in foot-soldiers. But it is a general rule in factories, that no married women, living with their
husbands, shall be employed or retained; so that Sir David does not know of any circumstance which unfits them from becoming prolific and healthy mothers, supposing them to be married at a suitable age. But to this impunity, which Sir David attributes to females in the business of the factory, there are some slight exceptions, such as relaxation and slight turning of one ancle inwards, and of bending inwards of the knees, in delicate, weakly girls. Some, also, of slight inclination to the right of the dorsal spine, with projection of the right scapula, which might have been produced by the particular employment in which the girl was engaged. Again, the adults who work in the preparing rooms of small mills, where there is much dust, are generally affected with cough, and a kind of mechanical asthma, or tightness of the chest; and, further, those who apply the dressing-paste to the yarn, the web-dressers who work in the highest temperature, are constantly perspiring, and look pale and exhausted.
Before leaving the subject of the female mill-workers, Sir David informs us that, from his experience, he has come to this very important conclusion, that young persons, but particularly young women, who have begun mill-work at from ten to twelve years of
their age, will have over those who wait until they are from thirteen to sixteen, those advantages, that they will be much more expert artists, will preserve their health better, and possess sounder feet and legs at twenty-five. The concluding observation of Sir David is well worthy of meditation.
Although all the sources of immediate and prospective suffering, to which I have alluded, may be so far remedied or mitigated by the liberal and benevolent management of large establishments, under enlightened men, as to render twelve hours of factory-work compatible with age, health, and longevity--although I have not ascertained any positive disease or deformity to which factory children are peculiarly liable- although I am sure that the adult male factory operatives and mechanics look forward to an increased demand for their time, from the necessity which, they think, must arise of erecting new machinery, to compensate for the diminished productiveness which a short-time bill would inflict upon the existing machinery-yet, I am of opinion, that less labour ought to be required from the infant workers, and that more time should be allowed them for sleep, recreation, and the improvement of their minds, than they at present enjoy. For the reason already stated, however, the minimum ofage for admission to factory-work ought not to be raised above the end of the tenth or eleventh year, obliging the employer to ascertain that the child can read before it be employed.'-p. 73. (A. 3.)
Having now dismissed the portion of this volume which concerns Scotland, we come to the more interesting considerations to which the medical reports of the north-eastern district give rise. Dr. Loudon has been entrusted with the duty of inspecting the physical condition of the manufacturing population in the north-eastern districts of England, and his report is far less favourable than that of Sir David Barry, of Scotland. This report includes the factories of Leicester, Nottingham, Leeds, and Bradford, and the following are the conclusions to which he comes on the most extensive evidence. He declares that this evidence has established to his conviction, that children have been worked a most unreasonable and cruel length of time daily, and that even adults have been expected to do a certain quantity of labour which scarcely any human being is able to endure. The result of this has been, that many have met with a premature death; many have been affected constitutionally for life; and the idea of posterity being injured from the shattered frames of the survivors is, physiologically speaking, but too well founded. Independently of the accidents which have arisen from machinery, it is unquestionable that the existence of the local diseases alluded to by the medical gentlemen examined before the House of Commons in 1832, and by himself during the period of their commission, as resulting from labour in the factories, is but too true, namely, the twisting of the ends of the long bones, relaxation of the ligaments of the knees, ancles, and the like, which he personally witnessed. Although no cases presented themselves of deformed pelvis, varicose veins,
ulcers in young people under twenty-five years of age, and some others of the diseases which have been described, yet their ailments are such as every medical man must expect to be the probable consequences of young people working, in some instances nearly forty consecutive hours twice a week, and besides, labour ing from twelve to fourteen hours on those days of the week wher night-work was not expected; and they are recorded by men of the highest professional and moral character.
Dr. Loudon deems it to be an important part of his duty to consider the best means of remedying the evils which his inquiries have exposed, and he concludes by laying down, in the way
of advice, some general statements which he recommends to the attention of the legislature. In the first place, he is of opinion that no child under fourteen years of age should work in a factory of any description for more than eight hours a day. From fourteen upwards, he would recommend that no individual should, under any circumstances, work more than twelve hours a day; although, if practicable, as a physician, he would prefer the limitation of ten hours for all persons who earn their bread by their industry. Ten working hours a day are in fact thirteen hours, allowing an hour for dinner, half an hour for breakfast, half an hour for tea-time, half an hour for going, and the same for returning from work. He would compel the occupier of every mill to appoint a medical officer to his or her factory, who would examine every child before admission, to see whether its constitution was such as to bear the work; and this medical practitioner should visit the mill at least once a week, or oftener, to ascertain the health of the operatives generally; to this person Dr. Loudon would consign the hygienic as well as the medical care of the factory. Besides attending to the sick of all classes in and out of the mill, it would be his business to see that the building was thoroughly washed with quick lime and water at certain periods of the year; that the windows were properly constructed to admit fresh air; the drains and water-closets in proper order; the floors kept properly clean, and the machinery carefully boxed off. Ma individuals, for instance, who are not fit to stand, would thus be allowed sitting; and those who are not able to bear certain kinds of work, or mill work at all, would be changed or disinissed from the occupation before their constitutions had began to suffer. Besides the regular medical attendant, he would propose the revival of district inspectors, as was formerly recommended in the bill for the preservation of the health and morals of those employed in factories, passed by the House of Commons in 1802. These inspectors, by periodical visits, would be a check to the local influences to which the resident medical officers would be exposed. By visiting numbers of factories, they would be enabled to point out the various improvements and other means which experience had sanctioned for the better preservation of the health of the factory population, such as the newly-invented dust flues, which we found in Mr. Marshall's mill; the Indian rubber aprons for wet spinning, and the close covers to prevent the steam and damp escaping from the hot water necessary for certain processes of the spinning:
From an intimate knowledge of the different branches of the medical profession, he can state, that professional men would be suitably paid, both for medicine and attendance, at 58. per annum for each operative, provided the journeys did not exceed two miles from the mill, which would be a rare occurrence. One-fifth of this sum might, without injury to the local medical attendant, most amply pay the inspector; and thus the public would be satisfied that every justice was done to the children, as well as to the adults, without any expense to the country. The payment of this sum, which would be less than 6d. a month, would be easily arranged between the master and those employed. To make the inspectors independent of the masters, they should be appointed by the government. The advantage of a plan such as this to the operatives themselves must be self-evident. For little more than ld. a week they would be guarded against every kind of sickness, and furnished with medicines, without even the risk of a medical bill, which, with them, as with all classes of operatives, is much more frequently the cause of pauperism and beggary than those who are unconnected with the profession to which he belongs are aware of.
Dr. Loudon considers it an important part of his duty to consider the best means of remedying the evils which his inquiries have exposed, and he concludes by laying down, in the way of advice, some general statements, which he recommends to the attention of the legislature.
Night-work, by the same set of hands who are included in the restrictive measure, ought to be rigorously and absolutely prohibited. It would be desirable to do away with night-work altogether; yet, considering that in cases where a mill, or part of it, is perchance burnt down, as referred to in the Act of Parliament dated 23d December 1819, and that there is almost always an idle portion of operatives, who are living on the scanty pittance of former earnings, or perhaps dependent on the meagre provision of trades' unions, or overseers' pitiful allowances, it might be a misplaced humanity, when trade is good, to keep them hanging on their relatives, who in most instances can but ill afford them assistance.
As a medical man, Dr. Loudon does not hesitate to affirm that such individuals would suffer more, in point of health, by being deprived of the necessaries and comforts of life, than they would even from night work.
Some portions of the materials of his report are drawn from communications received by him from medical men, and in one case in the north eastern district it is stated, that children of five years old were sent to work thirteen hours a day, and frequently children of nine, ten, and eleven years of age, were consigned to labour for