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to the industrial system of Wales. For it must be remembered that capital is very far from increasing with the same rapidity in Carnarvonshire and Merio nethshire as in, say, Lancashire and Staffordshire ; while, on the other hand, owing to the general ignorance of the English language which prevails in the former counties-a circumstance which cannot but operate in some degree as an impediment to emigration-the relief afforded by this safety-valve to the labour market there, is likely to be considerably less than in other portions of the United Kingdom. The external conditions affecting wages in the Welsh counties are therefore decidedly less favourable than they are in the more progressive districts of England ; and yet the labouring classes in the former localities are, it seems, comparing analogous modes of labour, equally well off. The explanation, as will be anticipated, is to be found in the slower movements of population in the Welsh districts. In Carnarvonshire population advanced in the decade, 1851 to 1861, at the rate of 9 per cent. ; in Merionethshire at the rate of 3 per cent. ; in both counties at an average rate of 6 per cent. ; while over the whole of England and Wales population during the same period went forward at the average rate of 12 per cent. and in the more prosperous parts of the country—say Lancashire and Staffordshire-at the rates respectively of 20 per cent. and 23 per cent.
The comparatively slow growth of capital in those counties of North Wales is thus, as regards its effect on the condition of the people, neutralized by a growth of population proportionately slow ; and the practical result is a rate of remuneration fully up to the English level. The defect in respect to material conditions is compensated by greater vigour in the moral. Now, I think it is impossible not to connect this satisfactory state of things with the régime of industry under which it has come to pass. Indeed, to what else can it be ascribed ? Religious influences, no doubt, are powerful in North Wales. Nothing apparently can exceed the activity and zeal of the dissenting bodies; and the good effect on the morals and general demeanour of the people is very observable. But, however compatible a strong sense of religion may be with worldly prudence in those matters on which the growth of population depends, the mundane virtue can yet scarcely be regarded as a specific reli. gious result: certainly it is not one which it is usual to hear inculcated from the pulpit. Nor can the fact be attributed to education in the ordinary sense of the word ; for, notwithstanding the strongly pronounced literary instincts of the Welsh people, literary education in North Wales seems to be in a decidedly backward state. Improvements, it is said, of an important kind have in recent years been effected in the primary schools ; but this has occurred since the mass of the present generation of Welshmen have entered upon active life. It is rare, out of the principal towns, to find working people over the age of thirty who can exchange more than a few words of English : hundreds of thousands cannot accomplish even this little; and even in the towns it is not uncommon to meet substantial shopkeepers who are unable to sign their names to their own bills. In one quarry I was told that some considerable number of the workmen were unadduced, as corroborative illustrations of tendencies which there are independent grounds for believing to exist.
1 I do not give these figures as accurate exponents of the relative growth (by way of natural increase) of population in the several districts. No doubt the results in all instances have been much modified both by emigration and by migration within the limits of Great Britain. So far as the former cause is concerned, the probability is, for the reason stated, that, could its effect be ascertained (unfortunately the emigration reports do not distinguish the patives of Wales), the result would be considerably to strengthen my case. And, as regards the latter, though there is no doubt a considerable Welsh movement towards the manufacturing centres of England, this proceeds in the main from the agricultural districts; while, to be get against this, there is an Irish immigration into Wales. On the whole, I think the figures I have given may be accepted for the purpose for which they are
able to read and write. It is therefore would be exceedingly small. Nor does not to the superiority of their school he find in the other branches of industry instruction that the industrial popula- flourishing around him those special tion of these Welsh counties are in opportunities which are wanting in his debted for the remarkable circumspec- own. Co-operative stores have indeed, tion and self-control which they display as I have been informed, been established in their most important social relations in one or two localities in North Wales, I can only regard this phenomenon, and with excellent results; but they do therefore, as the fruit of that practical not yet exist on such a scale that they training in habits of thrift and wise can be supposed to have sensibly affected foresight which is provided for them in the habits of the people. As regards the industrial system under which they the larger operations of slate quarrying,
they are, as it happens, peculiarly unIt thus appears that, in point of suited as a field for small investments. pecuniary returns, the position of the This will at once be understood if regard Welsh quarriers does not suffer by com- be had to what has been already stated parison with that of workmen in ana- that the amount of capital required logous occupations even in the most to start a slate quarry is very large, prosperous districts of England - dis while the risk of the speculation is very tricts far more favourably circumstanced, great. The former obstacle might indeed as regards the physical conditions affect- be overcome by recourse to the joint ing the remuneration of the labourer, stock expedient, were the joint stock than those of the slate quarries. But plan capable of being applied with admere pecuniary return affords after all vantage to this branch of production; but an inadequate criterion of the but this seems not to be the case : at labourer's condition. Fully as important least, so think the working quarriers, as the amount which he earns is the and their opinion seems to be borne out mode in which his earnings are spent; by facts. In the case of the population and it is here that the peculiar strength 1 Numerous joint-stock companies are at of the co-oporative principle comes into present working quarries in North Wales; but, play. Those who have watched the
as a rule, I understand they are not flourishing
concerns; all the most prosperous underworking of “ co-operative stores” have
takings being in the hands of individuals or been struck with their effect in awaken- privato co-partneries. The reasons for the suing and stimulating the saving spirit periority of the latter are apparent enough. among the working classes—a result There is no need that the business organizawhich has been attributed to the strong
tions of such an undertaking should be other
than extremely simple. In Penrhyn Quarry, temptations to frugality presented by for example, where the operations are on an those establishments in the opportunities immense scale, the entire business of keeping they afford for investing small sums at a
the accounts, &c. is performed by two clerks. fair rate of profit. In the particular form
This cannot but give a great advantage to
individuals and small co-partneries over the of co-operation, however, to which I have
necessarily more cumbrous organization af a in this paper called attention, this inci joint-stock company. Again, the special knowdent of the co-operative plan such as it ledge and singleness of design which are so exists elsewhere—the provision, that is
essential in this branch of industry are much
more likely to be realized by individuals, or to say, for small investments-does not
associations consisting of a few partners, than exist. As I have already intimated, to by a more numerous body. In addition to the qualify a man for taking part in a “bar reasons mentioned in the text, it is probable gain,” no capital is needed beyond the
that some distrust of the Saxon enters into
the Welsh workman's reluctance to commit moral capital of a good character. Even
his savings to undertakings wbich are carried should he be in a position to decline the on largely by Saxon capital : this seems to be credit which is readily extended to him expressed in his proverb :-“Os byth y gweli
expressed in his proverb the amount required for the purchase
sais ac engine yn dyfod ir gwaith pacia dy of such implements and tools as it falls
bethan." [When you see an Englishman
with his engine coming to the work, pack and to his share of the bargain to provide be off.]
of the slate quarries, therefore, there seems to be an entire absence of those special incentives to frugality and providence which have been incidents of the co-operative plan in its better known forms. Nevertheless frugality and providence are found to characterise this population in a remarkable degree. The mere fact that, according to the prevailing custom, wages are paid at so long an interval as once a month, implies of itself a considerable fund of accumulated savings existing among the body of the people. But this would give but an inadequate idea of their saving disposition. It is, I am assured, quite common to find in the ranks of the contractors men who have laid by from one to three and four hundred pounds. In one quarry which I visited, a man was pointed out to me-a manual labourer —who was known to be in receipt of between 801. and 1001. a year, independently altogether of his current earnings—the return on capital saved and invested. This, no doubt, was an extraordinary case, but not, I was assured, by any means without a parallel. Well, where is the field for the invest. ment of these considerable accumulations? A portion goes into agriculture; prosperous quarrymen turning farmers in their latter days, or sometimes combining with farming pursuits occasional adventures in their old line. Retail trade again absorbs some. But probably the largest part of the funds finds its way into the associations known as “ building societies." These “building societies” might with more propriety be called loan societies; their functions consisting in advancing money to be invested in building speculations, which, though for the most part undertaken by the members, are yet carried on on individual account, resembling in this respect the “ Verschussvereine" described by Professer Huber in his interesting paper on “Co-operation.”These societies are extremely popular with the workmen ; and as to the range of their operations the reader will be able to
1 Published in the “Social Science Transactions" for 1862.
form some notion when I state that several considerable towns in North Wales have been almost entirely built by the capital supplied through this agency. Thus the pretty town of Bethesda, within five miles of Bangor, is almost entirely the creation of the enterprise of working men deriving their funds from this source. Llandudno, Rhyll, and Upper Bangor owe their existence in large part to the same cause. As to the substantial comfort in which the people of the quarry districts live, no one who has visited these districts will, I think, feel any doubt. Nor is it comfort merely. The style and finish of the workmen's houses are very remarkable, more particularly in Bethesda and the neighbourhood of the Penrhyn quarries, where the elegant model furnished by Colonel Pennant in his own village has been turned to excellent account. A feature in the architecture is the variety of modes in which the staple material is brought into requisition. Roofing is but a small part of the purposes to which the slate is applied : there are slate door-posts, slate windowsettings; the ground story is generally flagged with slate, which makes its appearance besides in many places where one would little expect to find it. I know not whether the extreme cleanliness of the Welsh is to be attributed in any degree to the advantages of this material ; but they are certainly preeminent in this virtue. The exquisite neatness of some of the cottages in Bethesda and Trefriw is such as I imagine would not easily be matched out of Holland. The kitchen-parlour is quite a marvel of cleanliness, tidiness, and order—with its slate floor swept till it shines, its “varnished clock” clicking “behind the door," and its furniture, though mostly made of common wood, polished to such brightness that it does not pale even before the constellations of brass knobs which glitter all around. In the village where I was staying I have watched an old woman who lived on the opposite side of the street come out showery weather to scrub her door-slab clean as fast as it was soiled by the foot
steps of each careless passer-by. The apparition would follow on the clearing away of a shower almost with the regularity of the lady in the toy barometer. Nor should we omit to say that some attempt at a library is rarely absent from these quarriers' cottages. The selection may not contain the newest publications, and is not perhaps very choice; but at least it shows literary aspirations—a soul for something above the quarry. The Bible, generally in Welsh, I observed held a constant and honoured place in the literary store.
The simplicity of character and kindness of heart among the poorer classes of Welsh people are very striking and attractive. In illustration of these qualities I may mention an admirable trait, which may I think be fairly connected with their co-operative system.
The occupations of the slate quarry involve, as may readily be believed, no small amount of risk to the limbs and lives of those who engage in thein; the accidents from blasting, falling in of rocks, &c. being unfortunately very numerous, and frequently fatal ; and as might be expected, there is no lack of provision against such disastrous contingencies. Besides the ordinary friendly societies which flourish in immense numbers all over the country, no quarry of any importance is without its sick club. Numerous associations exist framed with a special view to compensate for the losses incident to mutilation and death. But such machinery does not satisfy the cravings of the fraternal feeling that subsists among the workmen. The assistance from this source (where the accidents are of a serious nature, involving calamitous consequences to the family of the injured man) is almost invariably supplemented by voluntary contributions raised among his fellow workmen. “As “a class," writes a correspondent, himself extensively engaged in this business, to whom I have already expressed my obligations, “ As a class, quarriers are “ very liberal. If by accident a father “ of a family is killed, the wife will go “ through the quarry and frequently
“gets (if her husband has been a man “of good character) from 101. to 201. “At other times collections are made in “ the chapels, and almost in every in“stance they show great liberality.” He adds that these occurrences are unfortunately very frequent; several such calls on the workman's pocket having quite recently occurred in a single quarry in the short space of a few months.
Such then is the “contract system " of the slate quarries, and such are its fruits. Divested as it is of certain extraneous advantages which accompany other forms of " co-operation," it sets, as it seems to me, in all the stronger light the inherent virtue of the principle itself—the principle of combining the exertions of labourers towards a common result in which they have a joint interest-an interest varying with the success of their common efforts. The results here obtained are obtained not so much through the increased force of the external inducements to prudent or righteous conduct, as by strengthening the character of the workman, calling into action qualities of mind which in the ordinary condition of the labourer's life lie dormant, enlarging his mental horizon, stimulating his reflective powers, widening his sympathies-in a word, developing those principles and habits which furnish the only solid basis for any permanent improvement of his state.
How far the particular arrangement which I have described admits of being extended to other departments of production is what actual experiment can alone determine. Prima facie, it would seem that one condition only was indispensable to its adoption-the possibility of splitting up the work to be done into a number of small and independent tasks. It is at all events certain that the success of the plan in the instances in which it has been tried has been remarkably great ; and this, considered with reference to commercial, no less than to social, results. As an expedient for the practical solution of the labour-problem, the weakness of the “contract system” seems to me to lie
in the fact that under it the labourer and the capitalist are still distinct persons; the two capacities do not coalesce in the same man. The difficulty which, under the ordinary relations of labour and capital, occurs in settling the rate of wages might equally occur under the “contract system " in settling the terms
of the contract. That it does not in practice arise is to be ascribed, I imagine, chiefly to the circumstance to which I have already adverted—the double capacity in which the contractor acts, as at once employer and employed ; and, for the rest, to the general intelligence which the system engenders.
IRISH LAWYERS AND STATESMEN OF A BYGONE GENERATION.
BY A MAN ON THE SHADY SIDE OF FIFTY.
As a school-boy of twelve years old, frequent opportunities of seeing him in I had been taken by my father to visit private, and I must say that never bethe great patriot and Irish orator, Grat- fore or since have I met with one whose tan. I well remember that the im- manner so captivated and charmed me. pression he produced, on a mind then It was eminently distinguished and wellso little competent to comprehend his bred. I was intimately acquainted with powers, was one of reverence, not un- the Right Hon. Robert Day, a retired mixed with awe. There was about him judge of the King's Bench in Ireland, a simple, gentle dignity, a courtesy and who had been Grattan's contemporary elaborate politeness, which reminded me in the University of Dublin and at the of what I had read of the vieille cour. Temple, and who lived a great deal He was dressed in a blue coat and buff with him in a house which they rented waistcoat, with knee-breeches and silk together at Windsor Forest; and Day stockings. He had not abandoned the old always spoke of his friend as being the pigtail, and the studied politeness and most fascinating man in private life, and elegant elaboration of his manner pro- more especially in female society, he had duced on me an impression which time ever known. They made a tour in cannot efface. He had the look and France together in 1768. Grattan, bearing of a thorough gentleman. His though not speaking the language enunciation in private life was slow, and fluently, read largely the French authors his pronunciation seemed, to my child- and dramatists. like ears, somewhat quaint and foreign. The first time I ever heard Grattan “James," he pronounced Jeems; "oblige," speak was at a dinner of about twenty obleege ; and he used the words, “a dish persons, given in his honour by an of tea,” and “a dish of coffee :” but attached friend and admirer, and at this was the fashion in his early day, which his health was proposed by the and to that fashion he adhered to the host. For the first minute or two he last. It has been written by the late faltered and hesitated; but this nervousCharles Phillips, in his “Curran and his ness soon disappeared, and, once fairly Contemporaries,” that Grattan was short started, he riveted and charmed attenin stature, and unprepossessing in ap- tion. I subsequently heard him at a pearance. He was rather over than public meeting, where he spoke for about under the middle height, being about ten or fifteen minutes. He was then five feet nine; and, so far from being seventy-two years of age, and his voice, unprepossessing in appearance, his fea- never in his best days powerful, was tures were regular and full of expression. thin and somewhat reedy. A critic
For three or four years after the time might have observed that the gesture when I first beheld him, as a boy, I had was somewhat theatrical, and that anti