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posed to bring forward in the House of Commons; and a CONTENTS.
select committee of that House was appointed to take the
subject into consideration. That committee made its report Scotch Burgh Reform. Portugal-Don Pedro and Don
in 1793; but here the matter dropt. The war with France Factories Inquiry
Miguel. Amendment of the Apothecaries'
drew off attention from all questions of domestic policy ; Abstracts of Parliamentary
and the alarm excited by the progress of the Revolution in Warwick Borough Election
that country made the very name of reform or change unOfficial Tables of Revenue, &c.
popular in this. The agitation of the subject was not re
sumed till some time after the termination of the war; nor SCOTCH BURGH REFORM.
was it till the year 1819 that it was again formally brought
before parliament. On the 6th of May that year the late Two bills, brought in by the Lord Advocate, have just passed Lord Archibald Hamilton moved in the House of Commons the House of Commons, which, when they shall become for a select committee to examine the allegations of the nuthe law of the land, will effect, in some respects, a greater merous petitions which had been previously presented, comchange in the political state of that division of the empire plaining of the existing system of government in the burghs; to which they apply than has been effected even by the and although he was opposed by Mr. Canning and the miReform Act itself. We allude to the bills respecting the nisters, he carried his motion by a majority of 149 to 144. election of Magistrates and Councils in the Royal Burghs The committee produced a voluminous report the same of Scotland, and in the other burghs and towns of that part session ; and, having been permitted to resume their labours of the island, which now return, or contribute to return, in 1820, followed iť by another that year,—both strongly members to parliament.
confirmatory of the statements and views of the petitioners. Before the passing of the act for the reform of parlia- In 1821 a new committee was appointed, by whom a third ment, Scotland could hardly be said to have a constitution at report was produced; and on the 20th of February in the all. The people generally had no political rights whatever, following year Lord Archibald Hamilton moved that the no share in the election of their legislators and governors, subject should be taken into consideration in a committee no power of intluencing the conduct of public affairs, any of the whole House. The motion, however, was negatived more than the cattle that grazed, or the trees that grew, in on the division by a majority of 35 in a very thin House, the fields. The elective franchise was wholly in the pos- only 46 voting for it and 81 against it. Soon after, in the session of a mere handful of individuals, not amounting to course of the same session, the Lord Advocate brought in a much more than one five hundredth part of the population. bill, which passed both Houses, restricting to a certain exIf this was a constitution, it was one in which the democratic tent the powers hitherto exercised by the magistrates in the element was altogether wanting. Still, there were circum- expenditure of the burgh funds,—but not touching the exstances which, even under this vicious arrangement, pre- isting system in any other respect. And this is all that has served to public opinion some controul over the conduct of been done in the matter up to the introduction of the present the parliamentary representatives of the country. First, bills. there was the usual protection arising from the division of In one most material respect, however, the act for 'the reparties in the state. Secondly, there was the publicity of form of the representation has anticipated the object of burgh parliamentary proceedings. And lastly, and principally, reform. Till that act was passed, the election of the memthere was the nearly complete identification of the interests bers for the burghs was wholly in the hands of the magisof the country, and of its government and public concerns, trates and councils, the general body of the inhabitants with those of another country enjoying so comparatively free having nowhere anything whatever to say in the matter. a constitution as England.
That is now altered; and one consequence is, that burgh On these accounts the Reform Bill, although it may be reform becomes a question to be considered by itself, and said to have given for the first time a free constitution to not, as before, chiefly in reference to another and a more Scotland, and could not therefore fail to change the whole important question. The grand argument against the reaspect of things almost as if a new sun had appeared in the form of the burghs used to be, that it would be in effect a heavens, nevertheless did not bring with it that feeling of reform of parliament. Mr. Canning employed no other) in entire regeneration which, in different circumstances, might opposing Lord Archibald Hamilton's motion in 1819. have been expected to attend the sudden endowment of a Those, therefore, by whom the proposition was brought forwhole people with the gift of a political existence. The restor- ward, were always wont to be vehement in their protestations ation of a free constitution to the burghs, although apparently that they had really no such ultimate object as was thus a far lower as well as more limited reform, will probably oc- imputed to them ; but, with all their pains, they could not casion a greater immediate stir and renovation. This will disprove or dispute the fact, that the tendency and effect of be to let in the light where all has hitherto been impene- the measure would be what was asserted. From all this trable darkness,—to bring under the popular control what difficulty and embarrassment they are now relieved, and the has, up to this time, been almost as independent of public question comes to be, simply, whether or no the right goopinion as the movements of the planets. The details which vernment of the burghs themselves requires that a new conwe are about to present will sufficiently prove that we do not stitution should be given to them. exaggerate in thus expressing ourselves.
Originally the magistrates and councils in the Scotch The Royal Burghs of Scotland are sixty-six in number, royal burghs appear to have been elected annually by the all having charters older at least than the year 1707, when votes of the burgesses, or of the whole community. But in the Act of Union was passed, which declared that their the year 1469, an act was passed by the parliament, which number should never be either increased or diminished. The entirely abrogated this free constitution, by declaring that antiquity of some of them reaches, we believe, to the eleventh for the future the votes of the burgesses or community century.
should not be taken at all, but that at the end of every year The reform of the constitution of these corporations has the old council should elect the new. By another act passed been loudly demanded by the public voice for nearly half a in 1474, it was further ordered, that four of the persons comcentury. The subject was taken up about the year 1787, by posing the new council should be always selected from the the burgesses, or freemen, who appointed delegates to pro- old one. Upon these two acts is founded the practice of ceed to London, and to manage an application to parliament election which now universally prevails. in their behalf. A bill was even prepared which it was pro- The particular mode, however, in which the principle of VOL. I. (WILLIAN CLOWES, Printer, Duke Street, Lambeth.]
self election is carried into execution, varies a good deal in of the office-bearers of the corporation were possessed, as the different burghs. The committee of 1793 state, that in trustees, of lands destined for charitable purposes, almost thirteen burghs the majority of the council either may or all of which appear to have been sold by order of the magismust be continued without change or re-election; that in trates and council, not from any want of money on the part one, half the council are continued without election, and of these charities, but that the price might be lent to the there is no restriction against re-electing the majority of the treasurer, to supply the expensive speculations of the magisremainder ; that in two, one less than the half of the council trates. All these office-bearers are now creditors of the is continued, and that with that number a majority of the town, to the amount of 68,1341. 178., for such charities as council may be re-elected; that in thirty-four the council, are under the sole control and management of the magisor a part of the council, elect the majority of the new coun- trates and council, and to the amount of 12,3671. 78. 8d. for cil, without there being any restrictions in the sett, (or con- those of which they are only joint trustees. Mr. Hardie, stitution,) against their re-electing a majority of themselves; the chamberlain, states, that there is not one charitable inand that in four, the old council elect the new, but a majority stitution under the management of the town council, whose of the counsellors for the ensuing year must be different funds have not been lent to the treasurer, and involved in persons. The setts, it is remarked, appear in several cases the town's insolvency; and these charities now receive only to have been framed by the Town Councils themselves, 4 per cent. interest, with but a distant prospect of being rewhile, in other places, the modes of election rest on no other paid the principal." authority than usage.
The disgraceful transactions which were thus brought to The new mode of election introduced in 1469, although light, excited throughout the country a feeling of no small designed, as expressed in the act, to get rid of the great con- alarm as well as of indignation ; for, according to the law tention yearly occasioned “through multitude and clamour as it then stood, it was generally held, that in case of of commons, simple persons," was not attended with the the magistrates being unable to fulfil their engagements tranquillity and contentment which it had been expected to from the property of the burgh, the burgesses, although secure. On the contrary, it not only led to multiplied abuses without a voice in the management which had produced in the government of the burghs, but produced, as their na- such a result, were liable to be called on to make good the tural consequence, a dissatisfaction in the community gene- deficiency. It has since, indeed, been declared by the act rally, which repeatedly vented itself in attempts to bring passed in 1822, that that liability shall no longer exist,about a restoration of the old order of things. Complaints although it is certain that the creditors of the burghs had very were constantly made both to the parliament and to the con- generally lent their money in the confidence of possessing vention, or meeting of delegates from the several town- such an ultimate security. The announcement of the incouncils, held every year at Edinburgh. The committee of solvency of Aberdeen awakened the citizens of Edinburgh, 1793 sum up the result of their inquiries, by stating that, in particular, to extreme apprehension respecting the from a very early period after the year 1469, “ the adminis- financial concerns of that burgh, which had been for some tration of the affairs of the royal burghs appears to have been time suspected to be not in the best condition. They were matter of great and frequent complaint in several of the royal indeed in a state sufficiently awkward and alarming. In burghs, as repeatedly declared by the parliament and by the 1817, it appeared, according to accounts submitted to the executive government of Scotland, by the Claim of Rights, by committee of 1819 by the magistrates themselves, that the supplications of individual burghs to the general convention, deficiency of the revenue, as compared with the expenditure, and by the acts of the general convention itself; that the had been above 16,000. In 1818, the deficiency had been principle of election introduced by that statute still continues 18,2421. In 1819, the amount of debt owing by the burgh to act universally, or almost universally, in the royal burghs, was 497,1011.; the total value of the then available proalthough with respect to the particular modifications of that perty belonging to it, being, by the magistrates' own estiprinciple, and the various ways in which it has been carried mate, only 158,7651. Adding what might in course of time into effect, the modes of election in the burghs appear to be become available, but which could not be counted upon with widely different, to depend on no certain or uniform autho- any certainty, the total amount would only be 181,7721. rity, and to be maintained in direct contradiction to the On the whole, after disposing of whatever could be sold to clauses of election in a great majority of the charters; that pay off so much of the debt, and paying interest for the retaxes have been imposed without the authority of parliament, mainder, it appeared that, by the most favourable calculation, and greater sums levied in the name of, or together with there would remain to the city a net revenue of only about the land-tax, than what is paid to government, and the ex- 11,0001., while the absolutely necessary expenditure amounted pense of collecting taken together; and that the powers annually to above 14,0001. exercised by the town-councils, before the Union, of con- “No book," says the committee, “ exhibiting an account tracting debts, disposing of the common revenues, and alien- of the debts of the city, or of its property, or of its net reating the common property and common lands of the burghs venue, or of the necessary annual charges on the revenue, at their pleasure, remain unaltered and undiminished.” or of the comparative amount of annual expenditure and re
An order was made in 1789 for an account of the revenue venue, has ever been kept; nor has there ever been any of each burgh for the preceding year. No returns to this attempt to make up an account of the state of the city's order were made by two of the burghs, Pittenween and West affairs, till, in December, 1817, the present Lord Provost Anstruther; but of the remaining sixty-four the gross re- thought fit to direct the statements which have been laid venue appeared to be somewhat above 47,0001. No more before your committee to be prepared by the accomptant, as recent account has fallen under our notice; but, notwith-it appears, for his private information.
Neverstanding much waste and alienation which have since taken theless, the Lord Provost being asked by your committee place, there can be little doubt that the increased value of what he considered the state of the city of Edinburgh's property, bas now considerably augmented this amount of affairs ? answered, ' Decidedly favourable;' and it is certain annual income. In 1817 the net revenue of dinburgh that he took no measures to diminish the expenditure ; and alone had risen to 39,2001.; and that of Glasgow and of most that he never communicated that document to the town of the other large towns must also have greatly increased. council, or called their attention to the result. On the con
While their resources have thus been improving, however, trary, when a motion was made by Deacon Paterson, in the so wretched has been the mismanagement resulting from the council, soon after Michaelmas, 1818, that a statement of close and irresponsible system on which the government of the funds of the city should be laid before the council, the these burghs has been hitherto conducted, that several of Lord Provost joined in opposing it, and the motion was lost them are now in a state of insolvency. The debt of the town by a majority of 21 or 22 to 3. It appears from the Lord of Aberdeen did not, in 1789, amount to 12,0001. In 1817 Provost's evidence that during the last eighteen months a the annual interest alone had risen nearly to that sum—the series of motions in succession, and protests in succession, debt itself being somewhat above 230,0001. In the month were made by Deacon Paterson and others; but no stateof February of that year the treasurer found himself obliged ment of the city's affairs was laid before the council; for to make a public declaration that the town was bankrupt. which the Lord Provost has in his evidence assigned as 'a
This event, and the investigations with which it was ne- reason, that he did not consider it his duty merely to cessarily followed, led to some disclosures curiously illus- gratify Deacon Paterson.'" trative of the conduct of self-elected town councils. As a To this curious exposition it only remains to be added, specimen we quote the following statement from the report that notwithstanding the “ decidedly favourable" state in of the committee of the House of Commons, which sat in which, according to the Lord Provost, the city's affairs were 1819. " Previous to the insolvency of the burgh, several in 1817, the magistrates, we understand, have within these
few months been deliberating whether they should not fol- allow him value at the end of the lease. When they relow the example of Aberdeen, and make a declaration of duced the rent 25 per cent., did they make any deduction insolvency.
from the allowance they made to him for planting ?- None; Now where has all this money gone? Here is a sum they only draw from that land, now, thirty shillings an acre, amounting to within a few pounds of half a million sterling, while they continue to give him 4l. an acre for the barren which has been borrowed, all probably in the course of the parts which have been planted. Are there any other inlast fifty or sixty years by this single burgh, and expended stances ?-There is another very strong instance which I in addition to its large ordinary revenue. Who have chiefly have also here; Baillie Scotland is tenant of a considerable received the benefit of all this extravagance? A glance at part of the town's lands; he subset them very soon after he the mode in which the successive town councils and office took them, and in the year 1816, while he was deriving a conbearers of the corporation have been elected answers the siderable surplus revenue from the lands, on the very day that question. The magistracy of one year has been regularly Baillie Beveridge applied for a reduction, Baillie Scotland and unvaryingly the mere representative and locum-tenens made a verbal application for a reduction of his rent also ; and of that of the preceding. The burgh has thus been all the town-council, without any more consideration of the matalong in the hands of the same little knot of individuals or ter, granted him an abatement of 25 per cent.; at that time, of families, who accordingly could hardly have been expected by his own admission, he was deriving a considerable surplus to look upon it in any other light than as a sort of private from subsets. He was a member of council ?—Yes. Was ostate. Indeed they have exercised over its funds and re- he likewise related to the Provost ?—He is married to the venues nearly all the rights which they could have exercised Provost's niece." over their own property, and with fully as little responsi- Any thing of the kind richer than this is not to be desired. bility. They have not only loaded the estate with an im- We have, however, to bring forward an instance of dexterity mense amount of debt, but they have sold and alienated in the application of the principle of self-election which prosuch portions of it as they chose. And as to the expendi- bably outdoes anything that has been attempted either by ture of the income, they have merely applied it to any ob- the Dunfermline town-council or by any other. Indeed it ject they thought fit, without considering themselves ac- deserves rather to be described as an improvement of the countable to any body.
machinery which has more than doubled its efficacy. Its conThe following extract from the evidence appended to the ception is due to the inventive genius of the rulers of another report of the committee of 1819, affords an exemplification, burgh in Fife, a county which, although only one of thirtytoo good to be omitted, of the way in which the individuals three, and but of moderate dimensions, contains no fewer who have been fortunate enough to be connected with this than thirteen, or about a fifth of the whole number of burghs, system have been wont to secure to themselves a share in and may therefore claim to be designated the Cornwall of the good things accruing from it. The witness is speaking Scotland. The burgh in question is Cupar; and we will of the burgh of Dunfermline in Fife :-"From what sources give from the evidence appended to the report of the Comis the income of the town derived ?- From the rents of land, mittee of 1820, the description of the very curious mode in coal, and the common good of the burgh. Have those pro- which the annual election of the magistrates and council perties been let by public or by private sale, and the utmost was then wont to be conducted :income derived from them by competition ?-I believe all “ The old council, consisting of thirteen, meet on the the properties have been let by public sale; but many in- Wednesday after Michaelmas, to elect the new council of a stances have occurred where persons in the council have like number. If one or more of the thirteen are absent, taken these at public sale, who have afterwards induced the those who appear proceed to fill up the vacancy by open town council to depart from the conditions of the sale, much vote, the magistrate last in office, or the councillor who has to the disadvantage of the town. Can you state any parti- been longest in the council, being in the chair, and having cular instances where, by such interference of the council
, a vote and the casting vote. The thirteen old council the funds of the burgh have been injured or lost ?–I can being thus full, they proceed to elect the new council thus, state one very strong instance: the farm of Bellycomur and -not by vote, but by beginning at the person whose name Preylands was let by public roup to Baillie David Beveridge, stands first on the roll of the thirteen old councillors, and at a rent of 2611. in 1808. By the articles of roup the asking him to nominate a councillor to succeed him for tenant was allowed to expend to the extent of 630l. in erect- the ensuing year. This he does by naming whom he ing a new steading, and that steading he was bound to chooses. The town clerk then opens the town-house winerect within three years; he was allowed to retain one-half dow, and calls the person's name so elected over the window, of his rent yearly, until that sum should be repaid to him; and desires him to come up to the council-room and take Baillie David Beveridge persuaded the council to depart his seat. This he does ; and in the same manner it profrom the articles of the roup; got the town-council to build ceeds, until the whole thirteen have each named one." The the steading themselves; and instead of building one to the two individuals, one of whom thus nominates the other as amount of 6301., they built him a steading which cost nearly his successor, go by the name of joint or neighbour coun17001. For how many years was that lease granted ?- cillors; and A electing B one year, B in turn elects A the Nineteen years. Was Baillie Beveridge a member of the next. council at the time ?-He was a member of council, and the For some time the committee could not be made exactly leader of the party. He also prevailed upon the council to to comprehend this singular process, by which the council lower his rent for the year 1815, and during the currency of was in fact divided into thirteen parts, each entirely indethe lease, to 2!. per acre (the former rent being 21. 188.), pendent of the rest. It appeared to them that although it and to grant him a temporary abatement, for the last three might be customary to allow each individual in this manner years, of 25 per cent. ; these two abatements amount an- to nominate or rather to suggest the person who was to sucnually to 1191. 138. 4d. They have also planted seven ceed him, the thing could only be managed by an underacres, one rood, thirty-one falls and seven ells of the farm, standing upon the part of the majority, that when it came for which they allow him at the rate of 41. per acre, which to the vote, they were to support each other's choice. The amounts to 291.168. Counting the interest on the cost of the town-clerk accordingly was asked what happened in case of steading at 7} per cent., which amounts to 1261. 178. 10d., the council not ratifying any individual member's nominaand the insurance of the steading 11. 58., the town lose by tion of his successor ? The old man, who had spent the this lease 161. 2s. 2d., annually, besides deriving no rent greater part of a long life in intimate connection with the whatever from that farm. By the statement which I have system, and to whom its workings must have been all as made, the town will lose by the end of the lease, in conse- familiar as any of the most ordinary processes of nature, quence of having departed from the original agreement seems to have been struck with no little surprise at the with Baillie Beveridge, 41901. 168. 7d.; and if the abate question. The notion of any member's choice being in the ment of 25 per cent., which is only temporarily given, be slightest degree interfered with by the rest, he scouted as a continued to the end of the lease, and which is by no means mere folly and absurdity,-as something inconsistent with unlikely, a further sum of 4191. 68. 8d. will be lost, besides the very constitution of things ; They do not ratify it at the interest of the latter sum. Is Baillie Beveridge a re- all;" he replied with contemptuous asperity; " they have lative of the present chief magistrate ?-He is. What pro- no business with it." fession is he?-He is a farmer. Will you deliver that The pertinacity with which these compacts seem to have statement in to the committee ?-Yes; the town council been adhered to is very remarkable, and may be taken as have also allowed the Baillie to build a farm servants another illustration of Milton's assertion as to the " firm house upon the property, for whieh they have agreed to concord” of persons engaged in common pursuits which are
not of the most creditable description. One witness states and that he never knew the council to gain a suit except that he knows only of two instances within the last hundred once. years in which the practice of joint councillors has been de- Now, is not all this as bad as can be, and do not the facts parted from. According to the Cupar code of honour no we have stated make out a perfectly irresistible argument baseness seems to have been accounted comparable to that for the total abolition of a system of which such have been of breaking through this arrangement on any pretence, or the results It is impossible to conceive grosser misgofor any reason whatever. If two individuals, who had been vernment than that which these burghs have almost unithus leagued, became personal enemies, they still continued versally exhibited. Generally speaking, there is no part of united as neighbour councillors. It not unfrequently hap- their trust which the magistrates have not abused—no power pened that they were even the leaders or followers of the they have been permitted to exercise which they have not, two opposite parties in the council; but still each usually as far as possible, turned to their own advantage, without considered himself bound to call up his opponent to be his any regard whatever to that of the community. But there successor when he was himself obliged to resign his seat. is nothing in all this at which we are entitled to be surprised. One instance in particular is mentioned, which occurred a When has power, exercised without responsibility, been few years ago, of a member, at a critical moment, when the exercised otherwise than selfishly and mischievously? This contínuance of the ascendency of himself and his party, of is the root of the whole evil, and must be put an end to which he was the head, depended upon a single vote, never before any minor or more partial corrective can be usefully theless holding by the established usage, and nominating to applied. the new council a man who was not only one of the most The bill brought in by the Lord Advocate to alter and zealous (partisans of the adverse faction, but his personal amend the laws for the election of the magistrates and enemy besides, to whom he had not spoken for ten years. councils of the Scotch royal burghs, restores to those burghs In another case, also of recent occurrence, a challenge which the full amount of that'ancient free constitution of which would have led to a duel between the parties if the peace the act of 1469 deprived them. After declaring, by way of officers had not taken them into custody on the field, is preamble, that the right of election“ appears to have been stated to have been the immediate result of a breach of the originally in certain large classes of the inhabitants of such family compact on the part of one of them. For, so far was burghs; by the abrogation of which ancient and wholesome the thing wont to be carried, that when either party died, it usage, much loss, inconvenience, and discontent have been was considered that his son stept, as a matter of course, into occasioned," it goes on to enact that in future the electors his place in the confederacy, and inherited all his rights and of the town councils in all such burghs shall be all who are obligations. When there was no son, the dead man's repre- entitled to vote at the election of the member of parliament sentative was found in any more distant relation, whom it for the burgh ; or, in other words, all the householders within was agreed upon to put forward. Nothing evidently could the limits of the burgh who occupy houses rented as high as go beyond this system in its tendency to secure a perpetuity ten pounds a year. This is the governing provision of the of office to one set of people and their descendants. One of measure ; but the bill of course contains many other enactthe witnesses examined by the committee, states that his ments, regulating the particular manner in which the new own ancestors or those of his wife had, he believed, sat in principle of election is to be applied. Into a detail of these, the town-council for two hundred years.
however, we cannot at present attempt to enter. The second The effects of the system were such as might have been of the two bills brought in by the learned Lord is intended expected—a thick growth of abuses of all descriptions. The to meet the case of those burghs and towns of Scotland which, funds of the burgh, in the first place, appear to have been since the passing of the Reform Act, return, or contribute managed in the usual way. One witness, who had been to return, members to parliament, and are not royal burghs. for a short time a member of the council, says-“ I moved In regard to them, the same principle is adopted as in the that an abstract of the income and expenditure of the funds case of the others; in all of them the ten pound householders of the burgh should be made out for ten or twelve years; are to elect the town-council. We may give a summary of that motion I carried unanimously, and was empowered to the other provisions of these two acts when they shall have employ a clerk to make out the statement; and I also moved been passed into laws. that it should be printed and circulated to the inhabitants. I employed a clerk for the purpose, and gave him all the
FACTORIES INQUIRY. necessary documents for that purpose; but one way or The Central Board of his Majesty's Commissioners “ apanother he was kept back from doing so; one councillor pointed to collect information in the manufacturing districts, came and took away one book; another councillor came and as to the employment of children in factories, and as to the took away another book, and I fought for the whole of the propriety and means of curtailing the hours of their labour," two years I was in council to get that accomplished, but till have published two Reports, with Minutes of Evidence. The this day it never was done." No; they were not such fools first was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, as to permit anything of the kind. Print and circulate an 28th June, and the second, on the 15th July. They are account of the income and expenditure of the burgh! They most voluminous documents. The evidence, in particular, would have thought it as reasonable and proper to submit will offer most abundant materials for a more complete view to the public an account of their yearly gains in their several of the general condition of the manufacturing population private capacities.
than we have yet been able to obtain ; and as this Inquiry Places so snug as these were accounted of some value, naturally involves the consideration of many highly imand bore their price in the market. From evidence which portant points in our social economy, we propose, for the was laid before the committee, it appears that a seat in the present, only to offer an abstract, and that principally in the Town Council of Cupar sold for from thirty to a hundred words of the Commissioners themselves, of the Report before guineas. Various instances of the completion of the bargain us, without comment. Our readers will, in this way, be are given, with the names of the parties, and all other par- better prepared for that general view of the subject of the ticulars. We content ourselves with quoting the judgment proposed interference between the capitalist and the labourer, of the committee :-“A specific allegation," they say, which we shall feel it our duty to lay before them, at no dishaving been made, that seats in the council of that burgh tant period. had frequently been bought and sold, your committee la- The Central Board first states the mode in which the ment to report, that the evidence has fully confirmed this inquiry was conducted :allegation; that these proceedings, so gross and iniquitous « Four districts were traced out, comprehending the seats in their nature, and so injurious in their effects, have been of each of the principal branches of manufacture in which fully established ; nay, even admitted to be true, by the very any large proportion of infant labour is employed.
Two persons themselves who took part in them, and who were in civil commissioners and one medical commissioner were fact the principal delinquents."
appointed to each district." As a sample of the benefits which the town has been ac- The abstract of the evidence first refers to the duration of customed to derive from being ruled in this way, we may labour :refer to the evidence of one of the witnesses who had been “In relation to the regular hours of labour, it appears an inhabitant of Cupar for twenty-two years. He states, from the evidence, that in Scotland there are two or three that for many years past the town has been engaged in law- factories in which the regular hours of labour do not exceed suits, both before the inferior, and also before the superior from ten to eleven daily, but that in general they are from courts-that these lawsuits have generally been occasioned twelve to twelve hours and a half, while in several districts by differences that took place with the people in the town, they are not less than thirteen,
" It is customary to leave off work on the Saturdays, in only without grudging, but with thankfulness, looking some places one and in others two hours earlier than on upon the permission to do so as a privilege and a boon." the other days; but the time thus lost on Saturday is The ages at which children are employed is thus stated : sometimes made up by working a quarter of an hour later It appears in evidence, that in some rare instances on the other days.
children begin to work in factories at five years old; it is not “In England, in the north-eastern district, in a few fac- uncommon to find them there at six, many are under seven, tories, the regular hours of labour do not exceed eleven still more under eight, but the greater number are ninc; In general, both at Leicester and Nottingham, they are not while some, but comparatively few, branches of manufacless than twelve. Eleven hours is called a day at Leeds;" ture do not admit of the employment of children under ten but it is seldom that in this district the hours are really less years of age." than twelve, while occasionally they are thirteen. In Man- The general state of the factories, as connected with the chester the regular hours of work are twelve. There are well-being of the work-people, is thus noticed :many places in the western district, as at Coventry and “The present inquiry has led to a very complete exposition Birmingham, in which the regular hours of labour do not of the nature of the labour in which children are employed in exceed ten; while it appears that some of the work-people the different factories of the kingdom.
The labour upon an average not more than nine hours daily. present inquiry has likewise brought together a large body In these towns, indeed, there is no factory labour, properly of evidence relative to those various circumstances conso called ; for the operatives, with few exceptions, work at nected with the state of factories, which concur with the their own houses. But in some of the factories in the great nature of the employment in exerting an important influclothing district the hours of labour are the same, seldom if ence on the health of the work-people, whether children or ever exceeding ten. In general, however, they are some- adults, but which more especially affect the health of the what longer; both in the carpet and in the clothing factories former. Such concurrent circumstances are, the situation they are seldom less than eleven, and scarcely ever more of the factory, the state of the drainage about the building, than twelve.
the size and height of the work-rooms, the perfect or imper" In some factories, in the several districts, there is no fect ventilation, the degree of temperature, the nature and intermission of the work, day or night. In such cases, two quantity of the effluvia evolved, whether necessarily or not sets of work-people are employed, each set commonly work. necessarily in the different processes of manufacture, the ing twelve hours; occasionally there are three sets, and conveniences afforded to the work-people for washing and then each set works eight hours.
changing their clothes on leaving the factory, and the “ It appears that the time allowed for meals differs con- habitual state both of the factory and of the operatives as siderably in different districts, and in the same district in to cleanliness. Details, which place in a striking point of different factories. In one or two factories in Scotland, the view, on the one hand, the conservative influence of careful meal hours are one hour for breakfast, and one hour and a and judicious attention to such concurrent causes in the half for dinner. In a few others, three quarters of an hour general arrangements of the establishment, and on the other, is allowed for each of these meals; but in the great majo- the pernicious consequences that result from inattention to rity of cases the time allowed is half an hour for breakfast them, will be found in the account given of the state of inand half an hour for dinner, with no stoppage for tea, or dividual factories in most of the reports.
the practice in some factories, as at Leicester and Nottingham, beneficent care exercised over the work-people, yet it must is to stop half an hour for breakfast, one hour for dinner, and be admitted that there are too many instances in which an half an hour for tea ; but in others only a quarter of an hour utter disregard is shown, not only to their convenience and is allowed for breakfast, and half an hour for dinner; some comfort, but even to circumstances which must influence, times there is no stoppage either for breakfast or tea, but in no inconsiderable degree, their moral feelings and habits." only for dinner-in some factories for an hour, in others The treatment of the children by those to whose authority and this is the more general rule, for half an hour. At they are committed the most important branch of the inLeeds they sometimes stop half an hour for breakfast, one quiry—is detailed as follows:-. hour for dinner, and half an hour for drinking, but this is " It will appear from the evidence annexed to this report, very unusual. It is seldom that they stop more than forty that the commissioners have everywhere investigated, with minutes for dinner, and often not at all either for breakfast the utmost care, the treatment to which children are subor drinking. There is, however, much difference in this jected while engaged in the labour of the factory. These respect in different factories; and in some it is pretty evi- inquiries have been obtained from the children themselves, dent that practices have been resorted to, to cheat the from their parents, from operatives, overlookers, proprietors, work-people of a portion of their meal hours, which cannot medical practitioners, and magistrates be too strongly reprobated.
“ It appears in evidence that in Scotland, and in the "In many factories it is not an unusual practice for the eastern district of England, where the harshest treatment of work people to stop during a part of the dinner-hour to clean children has taken place, the greatest number of bad cases the machinery ; this sometimes occupies them half their occur in the small obscure mills belonging to the smallest dinner-hour, at other times not more than ten minutes. The proprietors, and that the bad treatment is inflicted by violent children commonly stop to clean their own work. In some and dissipated workmen, often the very men who raise the factories care is taken on the part of the proprietors to secure loudest outcry about the cruelties to which children are subto the work-people the whole of the time allotted to meals ; lject in factories. while in others this time is encroached upon without scruple. “ In considering the statements of the severe and cruel Occasionally, but not often, the work continues without treatment of children, it would be injustice not to bear in intermission during the whole of the meal-hours ; the en- mind that it is established by the most abundant evidence, gine never stopping excepting about ten minutes to be oiled, that in Scotland, at least, the small mill is the only factory and the work-people eating how they can.'
in which such treatment ever takes place in the present day, “ In order to regain the time lost by stoppages, whether and that there are many, even of the smallest mills in that from the breakage of machinery, from the want of a due country, honourably distinguished for a kinder treatment of supply of water, or from holydays, it is the custom for the their workers; but the greater mass of the people employed people to work sometimes half an hour, at other times an in factories, and especially the young, are in establishments hour, and occasionally even as much as two hours daily, of which such descriptions as the following are given :until the whole of the lost time be made up. When the We reached Catrine, the great manufacturing establishchildren do not clean the machinery out of the hours ment of Messrs. James Finlay and Company, yesterday allotted for their meals, they clean it at extra hours. * morning. I had great pleasure in walking through the
“ For additional labour to make up lost time from stop- eighteen apartments of the spinning-mills and power-loom pages, with scarcely a single exception, no additional weaving establishment, and witnessing the admirable order wages are paid, and the work-people, young and old, per- of the works, and the apparent happiness of the people emform this labour with reluctance.
ployed, which is quite as remarkable and as obvious as at “On the other hand, when from any cause there is a any of the other great factories situated in country districts. press of work requiring extra hours of labour, for which The windows open from the top; the rooms are thoroughly extra wages are paid, there seems to be no limit to the ventilated; there is a clock and a thermometer in every period for which the people will continue at their employ- room ; no unpleasant smell in any part of the work; the ment; sometimes, indeed, reluctantly, but more often, not utmost cleanness and neatness prevail throughout; the