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of an eye ;-nevertheless, one Commis- , row ways meet, and where the coals are
transferred to the rolley,' or horse-carriage, The assemblage at dinner which is in a large to be ultimately delivered at the shaft by hall cut out in the coal, is the most lively, up- means of the quadruped, instead of the roarious, and jovial I have ever seen.'--p. 9. biped who had hitherto brought them from And another :
the hewer. Tlie child takes his place on • Certainly, the miners are a set of brave men. one of the barrow-ways, in a small hole As a class, the collier is exceedingly reckless scooped out for him of the size of a chim. and foolhardy.
ney-nook : his duty is to sit by the side of Let us now obtain a general idea of the the door or trap,' which closes the way, miner at his work, as represented by seve- and to open it the moment he hears the putral of the Sub-commissioners. The coal- ter running up his tub: for twelve hours he viewer is the chief man of the colliery: as squats down with the door-string in his his duties consist in planning and conduct- hand, without light, and without daring to ing the great operations of the mine, he is move from the spot. He sits solitary, and supposed to be a person great talents and has no one to talk to him, for in the pit the acquirements as an engineer; and there whole of the people, men and boys, are fore entitled to the distinguished position as busy as in a sea-fight.' His father may he holds in society. The under-viewer has have given him for the first week or two a to settle and superintend the accounts of candle, but the boy's daily wages of tenthe work-people.
pence is soon not thought enough to spare The oyermen and deputy-overmen may three-half-pence for light. He may take be said to be the mining police-watchers to his coffee-bottle and bread, but should be over the due discharge of the work and the fall asleep, a smart cut with the ‘yard-wand' safety of the mine. The overman has from a deputy-overman never fails to rouse risen from the lowest stations of his craft, him-a mild punishment as compared by talent and conduct, to his present situa- with that which the putter would have intion, yielding perhaps 1001. a year. His is flicted had he found the door closed, and the general superintendence of the pit, his tram stopped: 'I got my hammers while the deputy-overmen, his lieutenants, twice,' means, I was twice so beaten. (App. see that his orders are carried into effect; I., p. 583.) Thus the young creature soon the latter measure off the quantity of work learns practically that on him depend the to each hewer : to the “putter,' or lad who lives of the whole community; on the closremoves what has been hewed, they assign ing of the door the ventilation of the mine the number of tubs,' to be taken from this hinges. At four o'clock a cry of loose, or that hewer; they make out the accounts loose ! is shouted down the shaft, and of the work of men and boys, and pay on carried on by signal voices for • 'many miles' reckoning days; they are distributed over through the roads and passages to the very various parts of the mine during the work- extremity of the mine. The trapper hears ing hour for the purpose of ordering and it, but must wait until the last putter has controlling. It is their duty when the main passed with his tram, and then be pursues body of workmen have left the mine after his journey to the foot of the shaft, waits their day's work, to see that all is right in his turn for ascent, and returning to his the pit; to move the proppings and tim- father's cottage, finds a dinner of potatoes bers, so as to ensure safety from falling in and bacon, a large fire, and, it is hoped, a of the roof, &c., &c. At one o'clock in quiet home; he is then thoroughly washed the morning the overman himself goes down in hot water and put to bed. He avoids a to ascertain that the deputies have done game with his coevals, lest he should fall their duty, and that the state of the nox- asleep the next day at his trap. The Seis safe.
turday after pay-Friday' is a holiday at The trapper, a child of eight years of the pit, which is spent by him in sleep till age, awakened by his mother at half past nine, and then in picking up horse-manure two A. M, puts on his clothes by the ever on the high-ways for his father's garden. blazing fire of a collier's cottage, fills his Sunday is, in many places at least, devoted tin bottle with coffee, and starts with a to his school, and to his church, to his walk lump of bread for the pit :- he is let down with his playmates, and to his 'good dinthe shaft, and walking in the bowels of the ner,' and his bed ; and then comes Monday earth for more than a mile along the horse and the pit. After a few years he is proway, he reaches the barrow-way, used by moted honoris causâ, from the barrow to the young men and boys who push their the horse-way, where he now keeps the trams with the tubs on rails to the flats—a trap—but without additional pay. The debateable land, where the horse and bar. doors on the rolley-way being heavier, re
quire an increase of strength, supplied to, this to the flats,' or junction between the him by increase of years. He is now more horse and barrow ways; and this is accomout of the way of the ‘yard wand ;' instead plished by his pushing forward, flinging of which, any laxity or sleepiness is visited himself into an elongated and stooping posby a slash from the driver's thong-or, in ture—both for the sake of the purchase and the event of remonstrance or impertinence, power he thereby gains, and to get through a blow from his fist.
these galleries of three or four feet high In the course of time the trapper be- without scalping himself: sometimes he comes himself a driver. He now descends pushes with his head—which he first pads the shaft at four A. m., and finds his horse by stuffing his ‘loggers,' or footless stockready caparisoned for him by the horse-lings, into his cap. Every tub is marked keeper; so that he has only to hook him to down by the young man at the flats; and the carriage or rolley, and to attach two bis rank and his profit urge his exertions : similar machines to the first; rejoicing in he has no time to eat. The hewer has had his horse, his carriage, his whip, and, most two hours' start of him, and is away early, of all, in the candle by his side,' he starts leaving him alone to fill his own tub and do to the termination of the horseway, where his own work : in his absence he holds the he is to receive loaded tubs from the 'put- first rank among the workers in the mine. ter:' these he mounts on his rolleys,' and, | At last the signal is given, and · Loose, thus charged, he delivers them at the shaft: loose!' being heard, the putter walks to the should he meet an empty train the driver shaft, waits his turn, may have a word or must give way to him ; or should he find a two with the onsetter,' who loads the sleeping trapper, he luxuriates in his new-cage' or “basket' for ascent, and soon born power. (App. 1., p. 131.) So is his finds himself at home, washed to the waist, first journey made; but before the day's and seated before his plentiful meal of powork is over he will have thus traversed tatoes and bacon. The exertions he has about 30 miles of ground, sitting on the made secure speedy sleep, from which he limber of his rolley.
is roused only by the callman's' rap at bis The driver in time becomes a 'putter,' a window, to begin the duties of another day. signal promotion in every way-his posi- His wages depend on the distance he goes tion in honour and emolument being great- and the number of tubs he brings. If the ly enhanced-his salary depending on his tram be 90 yards-as ascertained by the exertions, and his rank next to that of the deputy-overman's 'yard wand '—to and fro hewer. He arrives with the drivers and is one journey. When he performs this trappers, at the same early hour in the twenty-one times he scores 16d., having morning, and takes his tram, or small four-traversed 2 miles and 260 yards. If the wheeled sledge, on which he places the putter is not equal to the tram he has an emply tub, and proceeds to the spot indicat- assistant or 'balf-marrow; if he needs less ed by the deputy-overman, where a ‘hew- aid he takes “a foal,' or small boy, as helper, er,' who has already been working two and the wages are proportionably divided. hours, has collected a heap of coal. By In some districts there is an abstract sort of his help the tub is soon filled with six cwt. a miner, who is portioned into eight parts, -the whole weight of carriage and all now (p. 157) thus ; being eight cwt., he has to 'hurry' or ' put'
A boy of 10 years is two eighths, and earns 10s. per month.
20s. A girl at 16 years is one-hall,
20s. A boy at 18 years is three-fourths,
The hewer or holer is generally twenty-one , the blow they strike with their “pick :' to years age or upwards. He goes to the pit bring down the harder mass they use gun. at two in the morning, having breakfasted, powder and a drill. When he has worked and learns from the deputy-overman what about two hours the 'putters' come to clear is to be done. He strips to the waist in away the coal: he must be careful that the some mines, but in others, even where wo- tub is full measure, or he forseits it; also men and girls are employed, he works quite that there is nothing but coal in it, or he is naked. Some 'undergo,' that is, begin ex- fined; finally, he appends an iron ticket to cavating, by squatting on their hams: while each tram, that his work may be put to his in other places they lie on their backs or credit. He has usually done his day's work sides, and fling in their whole weight into by eleven; and he has to find his powder his picks, and his candles, so that, with | with its matin or its even song, the miner these expenses and his fines, he earns as he emerges from or descends into bis about 501, a year (in the Durham Dis- perilous place of labour ; but our Protesttricts.)
ant system has ever been defective in its Besides these chief inhabitants of the machinery, as well as curtailed in its remines there are masons, and carpenters, sources; and, moreover, the upper classes and furnace-men; in a word, this subterra- of Englishmen, speaking generally, have neous world must be as complete in itself scarcely yet learnt to be the companions of the as a ship-of-war. A father with his three poorer orders of society, however meritosons can earn 21. 10s. a-week; his own la- rious their claims as distributors of charity. bour as hewer will average 23s. ; the put. These reports prove that the Wesleyan has ter will earn 20s.; the rolley driver 78., and followed them in every village, and gone t'e trapper 5s.: besides which he has a from cottage to cottage, to leave in person certain quantity of coals brought to his bis tracts and bis discipline. Hence the door, and the rent of his cottage is trifling. English colliers, where they have any reli
We have seen how rapidly a collier vil- gion at all, are Methodists. lage springs up, and, according to one com- The collier generally has a love for some missioner, how speedily the houses of the gaudy furniture, which is,' as Mr. Scriven neighbouring gentry become untenanted; remarks, ill-assorted to the rest of his but another (Dr. Mitchell) thinks the tall gear.' chimneys of the coal-works enhance the beauties of the plains of Warwickshire;
• In every house may be seen an eight-day and certainly no one who has once wit' clock, a chest of drawers with brass handles and nessed the glowing furnaces, as seen in the ing; a four-post bed with large coverlet, com
ornaments, reaching from the floor to the ceildepths of night, will easily forget the sight. posed of squares of printed calico; bright sauce. The village community consists of colliers, pans, and other tin-ware, displayed on the walls.' venders of beer, and small dealers exclu- -Dr. Mitchell, p. 137. sively. The cottages are whitewashed and plastered, and the roof slated. The degree
There are public ovens for common use of neatness within is of course dependent in the village. The collier is often fond of on the individual; but there are abundant his garden, which is an allotment in sume descriptions which bear testimony to the neighbouring field. It is said that the love virtue of cleanliness, towards which the of flowers may still be remarked in the large coal-fire and hot water are great helps. number of nosegays which are worn on These villages are of course run up at a Sundays even at Newcastle. The best minimum of expense by the landlord, and garment is denominated the posy jacket,' therefore are seldom picturesque. Even from the huge posy which used to be held in an agricultural district a collier's cottage indispensable on gala-days. may be readily known by a heap of rubbish and filth without, and a fierce bull
• At the village of South Hetton,' says Dr.
Mitchell, dog within doors.
a miner, with much pleasure, show In such a village Dr. Mitchell enume- lies of his flowers. Mr. Potter, the viewer,
ed his little garden, and expatiated on the beaurates a population of 5000 souls, with thirty stated that at the prize-shows the miner often beer-shops, but without a church or chapel, competed successfully with the gentlemen's save the meeting-house of the indefatigable gardeners.'-p. 137. Wesleyan, who, let it be noted, has hitherto been in many of these regions the only
This is a pleasing feature—but those of Protestant missionary.
a worse sort predominate in the portrait
drawn by the commissioners. According • The Methodists,' says Mr. Leifchild, “ have to these gentlemen, the colliers are, as a chiefly, and in several instances exclusively, un- class, rude, given to drunkenness and gamdertaken the charge of providing religious in. bling, turbulent, quite illiterate, and not struction in the collieries. Considerable moral seldom sunk in the depths of ignorance of amelioration has ensued through their agency, all save their mine. for which they merit, and have received from nearly all parties their meed of praise.'--Report on Northumberland and North Durham. App. Bedworth, in Warwickshire, the Temperance
• We want,' says Mr. Somers, surgeon of
society among us very much. They drink very Romanism in many, though not in all, few can read or write. It is much better among
much' here. The colliers are very ignorant; parts of its empire, has Aung its all-grasp: the ribbon-weavers. The colliers, who earn the ing discipline among such a race, dived most money, do not keep their families beiter with them into the earth, and intercepted, than the rest who earn less.'-App. i., p. 107.
' A good many go to public-houses on Satur- sends his people all round the country with musday night and get drunk. Some spend all their lins and shawls. When a collier has contracted money, and the next week clam for it; that is, a debt which he shows no inclination to disgo without victuals, or get what they can from charge, the dealer sends a formal sort of paper, their companions in the pit. Their wives and and gets it served on the collier as a writ. If families must do what they can, and are regu- this does not produce the money, by and by larly starved. We have always a good dinner comes another paper called a " writ of horning on Sundays.—We have teetotalers, but very and caption" '[a term of Scotch law,] and few ; none of them miners. We could not fol- giving notice of formidable consequences. The low the work up without beer. If one of that collier now becomes alarmed at such proceedsort were to attempt to come amongst us, we ings, and ceases to be a debtor.'-App. I., p, 64. should soon take him to the canal. -Charles Bleaden's Evidence-Ibid. p. 67.
His practice and belief in the art and
mystery of physic are very remarkable. Drunkenness is unfortunately fostered in One-half of the children die before they are every way, by the laxity in giving licences three years old, mostly poisoned, according to beer-shops. The wages are paid at a to the evidence of Mr. Cooper, of Bilston, public-house, or at a truck-shop, quite as and Mr. Webb, of Bankhouse, with the bad ; sick societies are carried on in simi- great collier nostrums of opium and gin, so lar places. The wages given in pound that the practitioner is rarely called except notes and gold at the end of the fortnight in extremis.'-App. I., p. 30. require to be converted into silver: many In one instance the surgeon happened a publican takes care to have on the occa- to take up a 'pick,' with which a comrade sion'two or three hundred pounds' worth,' had half killed his fellow. A grave collier and much is left behind in payment for had placed the weapon in the room with drink. The men, women and children, are the sick, in order to watch if the blood on all contaminated by this vice, with its dread the iron rusted, in which case, he avowed, ful consequences to health, economy, and the wound would canker. This trait will morals. In Lancashire, where the scale of recall to the reader the sympathetic cures 'humanity' is terribly low, Mr. Halliwell of the middle ages, when ointments were of Wigan says that the ale-houses are applied to the weapon to heal the wounds thronged on Saturday nights by quite young of the knight. Sir Kenelm Digby, at a boys, who return to them in crowds on period much nearer our own days, gives a Sunday morning as soon as the doors are similar recipe. open. 'I say that every collier gets drunk The mode of recovering a man suffocated on Saturday, if he can afford it.' Fighting with choke-danıp is to bury his neck and and breaches of the peace are, of course, shoulders in a recently-dug hole.
The the natural immediate consequences: the remedy is a little more rude, but perhaps results are, starvation and rags for the body; not less successful, than the application, and for the mind, brutal passions and their secundum artem, of cold water and air by baleful effects.-Vide App. II., p. 158.
the licensed practitioners. • What are their amusements ?' In an- Besides intemperance, the collier is a swer to this, Mr. Palmer, the surgeon, en- gambler, of that species which delights in tered into a statement of the number of cock and dog fighting, bowling, card-playbull-dogs kept by the miners, and the cruel ing, and chuck-penny. Instances are not sports in which they were employed; but wanting of a whole month's wages of a faas the magistrates within the last six years ther and his sons being staked on a cock, have suppressed such proceedings, they dog, or favourite bowler. There is much may be allowed to sink into oblivion. He expense incurred by the constant training next dwells on their singing and dancing of cocks. Drunkenness is said, however, the double-shuffle to the music of the fiddle not to be habitual, but a periodical vice; or hurdygurdy. The noise of the shoes is but these periods, besides hebdomadal, the source of delight; and the hobnail of include every occasion for joy or grief, the colliers affords great advantage. Some as at births, marriages, and deaths, where times in summer they will sit all round the the doctor concerned is 'always pressingly door of the public-house in a great circle, and considerately invited to partake of the all on their hams, every man his bull-dog good things purchased by the money which between his knees; and in this position should have gone in payment of his services.' they will drink and smoke.” (App. I., p. -App. I., p. 729, 63.) The same gentleman furnishes an
In the West Riding (Report, p. 163) anecdote which is very characteristic of the family breakfast is bread, milk, or porthis tribe :
ridge; the luncheon, huge lumps of bread,
and often bits of cheese or bacon, in the • There is a Scotch dealer in Birmingham, who' pit; a hot meal when they come home at five or six; and often porridge, or bread and, his well-starched shirt-collar and his “ rufmilk again, at supper.'
fles,' though in some districts his favourite A striking contrast with the above is the dress is black. The women are remarkastate of the East of Scotland miner. He ble for their smartness on holidays; and, has hard work in an ill-ventilated mine ; no conscious of having been quite disguised butcher's meat, but instead, oatmeal-por- when below, often, however profligate in ridge or oat-cake. •Even the hewer does fact, carry themselves aboreground like not enjoy the luxury of small beer; and the modest persons. children invariably drink the water in the The race is everywhere broadly distinpit. They are represented as dirty and guished from the rural population of the ragged, and exhibiting 'at a glance the at- district; but the distinguishing features are tributes of a population neglected and far from being the same everywhere. Dr. abandoned to a course of life which has Mitchell says that the artist would do well blunted the commonest perceptions of hu- to study in the pits of Shropshire for models man comfort.'-R. H. Franks's Report, not to be surpassed by the antique. In App. I., p. 396.
some other of our English counties, where In Ireland their appearance was very the seams are high, as in Warwickshire, healthy: they said they worked hard, and the miner is as big as a heavy dragoon. must live well; they used bread instead of In every place the torso' of the hewer is, potatoes ; had meat twice or thrice a week; from the nature of the work, wonderfully chauged their clothes once a week; and developed. But Mr. Wm. Morrison, the the commissioner • fancies' that they wash- medical attendant of the Lambton colliered once a week.— Report, p. 173.
ies, gives a description, of which the paIn our English and Welsh mines the la- rallel must be sought for in the Byzantine bour gives ample remuneration; and there historian's account of the Huns :is a very general concurrence as to the quantity and quality of food being sufficient • The outward man distinguishes a pitman and good. The exceptions are oftener to be from every other operative. His stature is ditraced to the improvident or intemperate minutive; his figure misshapen and disproporhabits of the family than to the pressure of tionate; his legs much bowed; his chest promunmerited want, or any other tangible overhanging, and the forehead retreats; the
inent, and greatly developed. His brows are source. On the whole, the English miner, cheek-bones are prominent, and the cheek holthough more severely worked, is better paid, low. I have seen agricultural labourers, blackthan any class of operatives but the highest- smiths, carpenters, and even the distressed stockgrade artisan, and is better off than the ag- ing-weaver to whom the term “jolly” might not ricultural labourer. With his large wages unaptly, be applied, but I never saw a “jolly and sensual appetite, he is often both a
collier.” '- App. I., p. 662. gross and a dainty feeder-'the first in the market for a dish of green peas and a All the colliers, however, have some points young goose or duck.'
in common. The intense muscular exerMr. Sub-commissioner Waring contrasts tion, and the constant perspiration in the the cases of two boys; the one cursed with heat of the mine, render obesity an im' a drunken father and an improvident possibility; and this discipline, it is agreed slattern of a mother,' the other cared for.' on all hands, makes them recover most asTbe former, Hervey, and the latter, aid tonishingly from the effects of accidents, each other as putters in dragging daily a wounds, and operations. Moreover, some corve with two cwt. of coal fifty or sixty features above described are common to times a distance of 160 yards. Hervey all classes of the population which are early earns for this 28. 6d., and the other 38. overworked, and may be seen in hideous a-wcek. 'Hervey, after his day's work, perfection among women who, in Italy, gets whatever he can catch at home; has France, Germany, and Greece, labour in gone without food for two or three days.' the fields. They become old and care-worn His appearance is stunted, starveling, and at a very young age. melancholy; 'has never in his life pos- With regard to the mental peculiarities sessed a pair of stockings.' The other of the colliers, it certainly appears that boy's careful parents' feed him well, and they are not a reading community; and keep whole garments on his back; and this gentleman (Mr. Morrison) adds quaintthough two years younger than Hervey, he ly enough, that much cannot be expected is a head taller.'—p. 172.
from men who are so long engaged in very With respect to clothing and external hard work daily, and possess but very in. appearance, the collier is described as different educations, if it be remembered being rather anxious about the stiffness of how many educated persons will not open