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of calico, at 1s. 41d. per yard ; 3 yards , sentation of all the manufacturing towns of linen, at 2s. 6d. per yard; half piece of the kingdom where the Truck-system preribbon ; 4 yards broad cloth, at 268. vailed. In all such towns the retail per yard ; 2 do. at 25s. ; 1 dozen of tradesmen were going to decay, gradually calico fronts ; 55 yards of cord, at retreating from between the all-engrossing 9s. 6d. per yard; a hat, at 18s. 6d.; an capitalist and the dissatisfied populace, umbrella, at 1l. 10s.; 7 yards print, at both of whom they had hitherto kept from 2s. 3d. per yard; 22 yards of dimity; half coming into unpleasant contact with each a yard of cambric; 10 silk handkerchiefs; other. The hon. Member for Aberdeen 3 scarfs; a scarf; a parasol; 2 metal might, perhaps, ask of what consequence foreign watches; a tea-chest; 25 yards it was that the wealth of one class was of linen; 2 bushels of Dutch onions ; 7 gradually transferred to another, provided yards of broad cloth ; 21 do.; 8 yards of the whole amount was not diminished, he cord; a broach ; 15 bags. An old rotten would answer, that it was better, in a moral mourning pall, consisting of 10 yards of and political point of view, to have three velveteen, and valued at 15s.
or four thousand independent men of the When such articles were given as wages, middle class, in every town, rather than it was plain that the man who had to sell allow it to be divided between a few enthem, to provide for the daily wants of his grossing capitalists, and a multitude of family, must be a great sufferer. He was dependent and starving workmen. Either liable, too, he believed, to the penalties of the Government must join with him in the Hawker's Act. But if the system were putting an end to the Truck-system, or it suffered to continue, the law must be must look forward to that system becoming altered in many respects. For example, universal. The masters who now paid in there is a prohibition to sell damaged meat money informed the legislature, by their or four, but no prohibition to give either petitions, that they could not possibly to workmen for wages, and therefore, the stand out against this system ; that, law suffered the iniquitous master to do though they had not embarked in it, from that which it would not allow the iniqui- honourable motives, expecting that Partous shopkeeper to do. Another case to liament would put an end to it, yet, in which he would allude, was this :- A man consequence of the reduction of the price had received no wages for several weeks, of their commodities, partly caused by the but he had been paid in flour, bacon, and Truck-masters obtaining them out of the beef. The flour he sold to purchase shoes, goods they forced their workmen to take, losing by it 4d. per stone. He was in they found that it would be necessary for debt for his lodgings, and having no them to act on the same plan, or submit money to pay for them, was obliged to to bankruptcy and ruin. "If the Truckgive bacon and beef at a heavy loss. He master gained fifteen per cent on the did not mean to say that every case was goods he forced his workmen to take, that as bad as this, but the plan had, in all was equivalent to a reduction of fifteen cases, similar features of oppression, and per cent on the cost, and he could afford in all the documents he had seen on the to sell so much cheaper than the master subject, similar instances of fraud were who paid in money. The Truck-master mentioned. The persons principally af- was therefore enabled to undersell the fected by the system were the workmen, master who paid in money, whose only whose hardship he had, perhaps, suffi- remedy was, to lower the wages of his ciently described, the retail dealers, and men fifteen per cent.
The Truck-master, the master manufacturers. The case of the however, did the same, and thus there retail tradesman, though deserving of con- was, owing to this system, a continued sideration, was not so urgent as that of and forced reduction of prices, which all the other two. In the Bolton resolutions, fell ultimately on the poor labourer, and however, it was stated that, in that town, starved him out of existence. Necessity there were 500 shops and public-houses, on the one hand, and avarice on the other, at an annual rental of 201. each, and up- urged them both on in this cruel race, till wards, and that the owners of these the poor overloaded animals who carried houses could not possibly pay either rent them sunk exhausted by the fatigue. The or taxes, unless the wages of the workmen hon. Member for Aberdeen would, perwere paid in money. The case of Bolton haps, say, let the workman leave the was, he apprehended, an accurate repre- | Truck-master; but that was not so easy. The Truck master did not begin his ex- , tive, for it shewed that of one hunactions till his victim was in his debt, and dred and sixteen iron-masters not above then it was impossible for him to escape. three had opened shops since 1825. It Besides, the Truck-master was the man also shewed, that of the furnaces out of who, from underselling the money-paying blast, the greater number belonged to the master, received the most orders; he could money-paying masters, who were unequal employ more hands on his own terms; to sustain a competition with those who while the other was obliged to dismiss his paid wages in goods. The Truck System workmen, because his low priced-rival would had not arisen, therefore, from the change beat him in the market. The continuance in the currency, but from the spirit of of the system would bear down all classes overreaching avarice and competition, to one grasping, revolutionary equality, which was unfortunately at all times too and when the spirit of discontent under prevalent in this country. He knew, also, unjust sufferings was spread through our that at no time were gold and silver more dense population, it was to be appre- abundant than at present, and any man of hended, that neither property nor life good credit had no occasion to want either would be safe. The system destroyed, too, kind of currency. He had been informed all means of determining the value of com- by a respectable constituent of his, who modities, by removing the wages of labour, turned over 1,0001. in cash weekly, that the great element of the calculation. at present, though that district was forOne man paid his labourers in ready cash, merly the head-quarters of false coiners, but another paid them in goods, on which that he never thought of examining a he obtained a large profit, and for which single shilling or sovereign. One effect he did not pay till at the end of three or of the Truck System, it allowed to consix months. The hon. Member for Aber- tinue, would be to displace the coin of the deen had stated, that the distress of the realm, and substitute for it the truck country was the cause of the Truck System, notes. At present Truck-masters supply but that system existed during the war, their shops with small bills, at three or when there was no distress, and when the four months date, which form no small part markets were rising. Those who thought of the circulating medium of some disit was owing to the change in our currency tricts. To any person who should regard were equally mistaken, as was proved by the Truck System favourably, as tending the same fact. The Truck System had to enable us to enter into competition originated, and was fourishing, before our with foreigners, he would remark, that return to a metallic currency. Though the price of our manufactures must always that might have aggravated its evils, and be regulated by the price of similar manuextended its operation, he must deny that factures made in the foreign country, and the change in the currency was the cause. to that price, be it what it may, our He held in his hand an account of the manufacturers must at all times accomnumber of iron-masters who had embarked modate themselves. Our Truck System in the Truck System within a certain was not at all necessary as an engine in district, and by that it appeared, that reducing prices to an equality in all parts there were only three who had begun since of the world. The Bill he proposed to 1825. In this district there were one introduce would re-enact the law of 1820; hundred and sixteen blast furnaces, sixty- the first clause would prohibit all paysix of which belonged to money-paying ments in goods, either directly or indimasters, and fifty to Truck. masters; seven- rectly; the second would empower magisty-one are in blast, and of these thirty- trates to compel the production, by persons seven belong to the former, and thirty-four accused, of their books and papers as to the latter description of masters; there evidence; and the third clause would are forty-five, therefore, out of blast, of make a very serious addition to the penal which thirty belong to money-paying, and ties for offences. It was chiefly by supfifteen to Truck-masters. The truck men, plying the extraordinary omission of all however, it was added, are beginning to be former Acts, in not giving magistrates the afraid, and draw back; they begin to pay power to summon evidences before them, in money, and most probably will decry that he looked for the success of his meatheir old practices when they can
He hoped something, too, from longer carry them on with safety. This augmenting the penalties, and it was his account was, he thought, very instruc- opinion, that the second offence should be
made a misdemeanor. Magistrates who fere and stigmatize and punish the ofhad had the greatest opportunity of ob- fender. If the competition of business serving the workings of the Truck System required the master to reduce his men's were of opinion, that these principal clauses wages to one shilling, let it be so, but let would answer the end he proposed; but the workman have that shilling in his he had other means of providing against pocket. He called on the Gentlemen who the continuance of the evils he had men- heard him, to make the case of the worktioned. It would be just, he thought, to men their own. In the name of the sufgive a workman the power of voiding a fering and starving mechanics he implored contract with any master who should the interposition of Parliament. As the attempt to force bim to receive goods in law stood there was no standard of
wages payment of his wages. He would also but the conscience of the Truck-master, take from the owner of a Truck-shop the and he must protest against so fearful a power of recovering any debts due from license. The law incited men to commit their workmen, and he would give to work- evil, and the hon. Member for Aberdeen's men a power to recover their wages in remedy would only leave them a choice of money though they had been paid in truck. evils. The law could not remain in its It was only by subjecting the master to present state. It allowed plunder and great inconveniences, and to considerable oppression--it sacrificed the honest master danger, that he would be compelled to and the industrious workman, and it proabandon a practice of which he had reaped i tected the dishonest manufacturer in the profit. One great advantage which making both of them his victims. The would result from allowing the workman workman's strength and his skill were his to bring his action for his wages would only property, and in the quiet possession be, he thought, to interest juries and the of them the law ought to secure him. The public in the cause; and if that were the number and the intelligence of our artizans case, he could have no doubt that persons were the main springs of the national interested would willingly contribute, and wealth--the sources of our pre-eminence form a fund to enable workmen to prose- among the people of the earth-and if cute their claims and defend their rights. the House desired to preserve the national He had been asked, would he compel a glory untarnished, the national wealth
workmen, merchant, who might sell it with a profit foreign countries. The House would conto a retail dealer, to be sold by him, after sult the best interests of the nation by renmaking something by it, to the manufac- dering the mechanic and the manufacturturer's workmen, instead of allowing the ing artizan isfied with the laws under manufacturer to sell it to them himself? which he lived. He cordially concurred He had been asked if he meant to deprive with his right hon. friend the Member for a manufacturer of benefitting himself and Liverpool, who said, on the first night of his workmen by selling them provisions. the Session, “ that it was by studying to To both questions he answered in the benefit to the utmost the industrious clasnegative. He meant to take from the ses, that we could alone lay any solid manufacturer no right he now possessed. basis of happiness, or revive the national He meant to propose, in this respect, no property;" and thinking that the measure restrictions not already established by the he proposed would tend to benefit the law. If a master paid his men in money, industrious classes, he should move for and they chose, willingly and freely, to lay leave to bring in a Bill to render more it out at his shop, the law did not prevent effectual the laws requiring Payment of them from doing so. He meant to inter- Wages in Money. fere with the free agency of neither, but to Sir Christopher Cole seconded the maintain the independence of both. But Motion. He thought, he said, that it was if the master, holding his workman in their duty to put an end to the truck, thraldom, refused to pay him his wages in and he entirely concurred in all the remoney, if he should draw him into his marks made by his hon. friend. He debt, and formally or evasively refuse to spoke, he said, the sentiments of the pay him for his work, or compel the man county which he represented, and which to expend his wages in one particular shop, stood high and justly as a manufacturing then the law ought, he thought, to inter- county. He had already presented a pe.
tition on the subject from 3,000 workmen, 1 to be measured by any other standard who did not complain themselves of suf-than that generally adopted by the comfering under the Truck System, but who munity as the measure of value. But he were apprehensive that it might be ex- must stop, only repeating, th t he trusted tended to them, and for their own sake, as the House would not then be pressed well as for the sake of those who were into a discussion of the question. suffering under it, they with great pro- Mr. Herries concurred with his right priety petitioned against it. The work-hon. friend, both as to the importance of men thought truly, that if the system the subject, and the impropriety of then were generally to prevail, that their con- discussing it; he would recommend that dition would be as bad as that of the the Bill should be brought in, and the West Indian Negroes, and that they would amendment which the hon. Member for have no wages, and no subsistence, but Aberdeen meant to propose, might be what their employer doled out to them. brought forward on the second reading, He trusted that the legislature would which would be a better time for discussing never permit the poor man to be driven to it than this evening. The House had heard that extremity, and as far as his power from the hon. Gentleman what his object went, he would aid such an object. He was--that he did not mean to prevent a never would permit, if he could prevent it, bona fide sale of articles between master the extension of that genuine English and man, but only that system of forced spirit of independence which was one of barter of which the workmen complained. the best features in our national cha- Mr. Littleton, Mr. Hume, and Colonel racter. The manufacturers of Merthyr Davies, each made a few observations on Tydvill wished, he believed, to the course of proceeding, when it was their people happy, and he knew that one agreed that the debate should stand adof them had established schools for the journed to the next day. children of his workmen, as well as built Mr. Davies Gilbert said, he agreed with houses for their accommodation. He would Mr. Hume in his opposition to the Bill, say no more than that it was his determina- which he thought instead of being an adtion to give his hon. friend all the sup- vantage would be sure to operate to the port in his power in carrying the measure prejudice of the workmen. Wishing as to a successful termination.
well to them as any Gentleman of that Mr. Huskisson complimented the hon. House, he should, on that account, feel Member for Staffordshire on the good it his duty to oppose the Bill, because he feeling which prevailed in every part of thought it would militate against the his speech. With him he agreed, that object the hon. Member had in view. the House ought to legislate on this sub- The further debate on the subject was ject, but he was not quite prepared to say then adjourned till the next day. that the Bill of his hon. friend fully up to his views. He admitted that
II OUSE OF LORDS, the Truck System was a great evil, which ought to be abated, but the interference
Thursday, March 18. involved other principles and other con- MINUTES.] Retums presented. Accounts of the Profit or siderations which his hon, friend had not Loss on the Trade of the East India Company between
Europe and India, &c. during the last ten years :--Of the taken sufficiently into the account. He
Sales of the East India Company from the year 1822, dewould not then argue the question, as his scribing the Quantities and Qualities of the Teas: --Of the hon, friend, to his regret, had selected a
Rate of Freight per Ton paid by the Company from
China, on the average, since 1822 :-Of the Quantity of day for introducing the subject which was
Tea exported by the Company from Canton since 1822:--generally understood not to be a day for and of the Expense of the Company's Establishment at
Canton since 1822:- or the Quantities of Wheat entered debating any question ; he would recom
for Home Consumption under the Act Geo. IV. c. 60, mend that some more convenient oppor- with the amount of Duty. tunity should be taken to discuss the Petitions were presented— By the Earl of SHAFT ESBURY, from
the Counties of Chester and Lancaster, against the East India measure. It involved the contentment
Monopoly :--By Earl FitzwILLIAM, from the Borough of and well-being of a portion of the com- Malton, Yorkshire, praying for a revision of the Criminal munity well entitled to the consideration
Code:-By the Earl of FALMOUTH, from Truro, against
inflicting the punishment of Death for Forgery :- By of the House. He knew that the suffer
Lord King, from Kingston-upon-Hull, against the inflic. ing of those who already endured a great tion of Capital Punishment for offences against Property : deal would be much aggravated, were the
-By Lord WHARNCLIPFe, from Selby, Yorkshire, against
the East India Monopoly:--By the Earl of MORLEY from House to allow the value of their labour
Plymouth, praying for a revision of the Criminal Code :-
By the Marquis of Buta, from Glasgow, against the East amount of the duties exceeded the price India Monopoly.
of the commodities. The duties on The Mutiny Bills, and the Pensions' Duties, &c. Bill, went through a Committee.
tobacco and sugar, for instance, might be
reduced, and that, too, without much, if NATIONAL Distress.] The Duke of any loss to the revenue; for the increased Richmond presented Petitions from Barnes, consumption would probably keep the reand two other places in Surrey, praying venue as high as before. for the repeal of the Malt Tax; from three circumstance connected with this Petition hundreds of Newport, Bucks, complaining to which he was desirous particularly to of Distress, and praying for relief ; and call the attention of the House, and that from Spilsby, Lincolnshire, complaining was, that it did not contain a word of of Agricultural Distress, and particularly of angry complaint and invective, nor did it the Wool Laws.
recommend unions of men for purposes The Marquis of Lansdown presented a which had a tendency to produce revoluPetition from Dursley, Gloucestershire, tions and the subversion of the laws. This complaining of Distress, and praying for was a remarkable feature in the petition, relief. Also a similar Petition from Frome, considering that it came from such a popuSomersetshire, pointing out the opening of lous place and at a time of such general the trade with India as one of the means distress; and it certainly recommended of relief.
the case of the petitioners to the favourable The Earl of Caernarvon presented a attention of the House.--Petition read. Petition to the same effect from the merchants and manufacturers of Manchester, STATE OF THE LABOURING CLASSES.) assembled at a public meeting. This The Duke of Richmond said, that he Petition was signed by 10,000 persons; rose for the purpose of calling the ato and the reason the number of signatures tention of their Lordships to a Motion of was so limited was, that the petitioners which he had given notice. In doing so, were anxious to send it up in time to be he must confess that he could not avoid presented before the Noble Duke (Rich- looking with great apprehension at the task mond) made the Motion, the notice of he had undertaken,- not because he enterwhich stood on their Lordships' Table tained any doubt of the propriety, nay, of for disc!ission this night. It was placed the absolute necessity of the inquiry he in his hands the day before the first notice meant to propose, but because he was of this Motion was given. The petitioners fully sensible of his own want of ability, set forth what they conceived to be the of his own want of experience, and of his causes of the present distresses of the own want of information, to cope with a country, and also suggested what appeared question of so much importance, and of so to them to be the most appropriate reme- great extent,-- question worthy to endies. Two remedies had been suggested gage the splendid talents and the great --one was the opening of the trade to acquirements of many of the noble Lords China, and another was the reduction of whom he saw around him, and whose taxation to that state in which it stood in assistance and support he trusted he should the year 1791. They complained of the receive on the present occasion. 'The keeping up an enormous standing army, Motion he should have the honour to subwhich swallowed up so much of the reve- nit to their Lordships was, “that a Select nue of the country, and prayed for a reduc- Committee be appointed to inquire into tion of the taxes in that respect, and also the internal state of the country, so far as for a reduction in the salaries and allow- it related to the condition of the working ances of public officers, and generally in classes, and to the effect of taxation on the amount of expenditure of every de productive industry." In order to entitle scription. The great, enormous, and unne- himself to call upon their Lordships to cessary load of taxation they represent- give their support to this Motion, it would ed as the main cause of their grievances, be necessary that he should prove that and they contended, that after all the there was something peculiar,--something reductions which had been made, there which, while it was productive of present were many articles in which a great re- mischief, was pregnant also with future duction of duties might still be made, and calamity, in the condition of that portion great relief given ; and they instanced of his Majesty's subjects to which his Moparticularly those cases in which the I tion related. Many cases of severe dis