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SECTION 9 THE FACTORY ACTS. SANITARY AND EDUCATIONAL CLAUSES OF THE SAME. THEIR GENERAL EXTENSION IN ENGLAND

Factory legislation, that first conscious and methodical reaction of society against the spontaneously developed form of the process of

production, is, as we have seen, just as much the necessary product of modern industry as cotton yam, self-actors, and the electric

telegraph. Before passing to the consideration of the extension of that legislation in England, we shall shortly notice certain clauses

contained in the Factory Acts, and not relating to the hours of work.

Apart from their wording, which makes it easy for the capitalist to evade them, the sanitary clauses are extremely meagre, and, in

fact, limited to provisions for whitewashing the walls, for insuring cleanliness in some other matters, for ventilation, and for protection

against dangerous machinery. In the third book we shall return again to the fanatical opposition of the masters to those clauses which

imposed upon them a slight expenditure on appliances for protecting the limbs of their workpeople, an opposition that throws a fresh and

glaring light on the Free-trade dogma, according to which, in a society with conflicting interests, each individual necessarily furthers the

common weal by seeking nothing but his own personal advantage! One example is enough. The reader knows that during the last 20

years, the flax industry has very much extended, and that, with that extension, the number of scutching mills in Ireland has increased. In

1864 there were in that country 1,800 of these mills. Regularly in autumn and winter women and "young persons," the wives, sons, and

daughters of the neighbouring small farmers, a class of people totally unaccustomed to machinery, are taken from field labour to feed the

rollers of the scotching mills with flax. The accidents, both as regards number and kind, are wholly unexampled in the history of

machinery. In one scotching mill, at Kildinan, near Cork, there occurred between 1852 and 1856, six fatal accidents and sixty

mutilations; every one of which might have been prevented by the simplest appliances, at the cost of a few shillings. Dr. W. White, the

certifying surgeon for factories at Downpatrick, states in his official report, dated the 15th December, 1865: "The serious accidents at the

scotching mills are of the most fearful nature. In many cases a quarter of the body is tom from the trunk, and either involves death, or a

future of wretched incapacity and suffering. The increase of mills in the country will, of course, extend these dreadful results, and it will

be a great boon if they are brought under the legislature. I am convinced that by proper supervision of scutching mills a vast sacrifice of

life and limb would be averted." [213]

What could possibly show better the character of the capitalist mode of production, than the necessity that exists for forcing upon it, by

Acts of Parliament, the simplest appliances for maintaining cleanliness and health? In the potteries the Factory Act of 1864 "has

whitewashed and cleansed upwards of 200 workshops, after a period of abstinence from any such cleaning, in many cases of 20 years,

and in some, entirely," (this is the "abstinence" of the capitalist!) "in which were employed 27,800 artisans, hitherto breathing through

protracted days and often nights of labour, a mephitic atmosphere, and which rendered an otherwise comparatively innocuous

occupation, pregnant with disease and death. The Act has improved the ventilation very much." [214] At the same time, this portion of

the Act strikingly shows that the capitalist mode of production, owing to its very nature, excludes all rational improvement beyond a

certain point. It has been stated over and over again that the English doctors are unanimous in declaring that where the work is

continuous, 500 cubic feet is the very least space that should be allowed for each person. Now, if the Factory Acts, owing to their

compulsory provisions, indirectly hasten on the conversion of small workshops into factories, thus indirectly attacking the proprietary

rights of the smaller capitalists, and assuring a monopoly to the great ones, so, if it were made obligatory to provide the proper space for

each workman in every workshop, thousands of small employers would, at one full swoop, be expropriated directly! The very root of the

capitalist mode of production, i.e., the self-expansion of all capital, large or small, by means of the "free" purchase and consumption of

labour-power, would be attacked. Factory legislation is therefore brought to a deadlock before these 500 cubic feet of breathing space.

The sanitary officers, the industrial inquiry commissioners, the factory inspectors, all harp, over and over again, upon the necessity for

those 500 cubic feet, and upon the impossibility of wringing them out of capital. They thus, in fact, declare that consumption and other

lung diseases among the workpeople are necessary conditions to the existence of capital. [215]

Paltry as the education clauses of the Act appear on the whole, yet they proclaim elementary education to be an indispensable condition

to the employment of children. [216] The success of those clauses proved for the first time the possibility of combining education and

gymnastics [217] with manual labour, and, consequently, of combining manual labour with education and gymnastics. The factory

inspectors soon found out by questioning the schoolmasters, that the factory children, although receiving only one half the education of

the regular day scholars, yet learnt quite as much and often more. "This can be accounted for by the simple fact that, with only being at

school for one half of the day, they are always fresh, and nearly always ready and willing to receive instruction. The system on which

they work, half manual labour, and half school, renders each employment a rest and a relief to the other; consequently, both are far more

congenial to the child, than would be the case were he kept constantly at one. It is quite clear that a boy who has been at school all the

morning, cannot (in hot weather particularly) cope with one who comes fresh and bright from his work." [218] Further information on

this point will be found in Senior's speech at the Social Science Congress at Edinburgh in 1863. He there shows, amongst other things,

how the monotonous and uselessly long school hours of the children of the upper and middle classes, uselessly add to the labour of the

teacher, "while he not only fruitlessly but absolutely injuriously, wastes the time, health, and energy of the children." [219] From the

Factory system budded, as Robert Owen has shown us in detail, the germ of the education of the future, an education that will, in the

case of every child over a given age, combine productive labour with instruction and gymnastics, not only as one of the methods of

adding to the efficiency of production, but as the only method of producing fully developed human beings.

Modern Industry, as we have seen, sweeps away by technical means the manufacturing division of labour, under which each man is

bound hand and foot for life to a single detail-operation. At the same time, the capitalistic form of that industry reproduces this same

division of labour in a still more monstrous shape; in the factory proper, by converting the workman into a living appendage of the

machine; and everywhere outside the Factory, partly by the sporadic use of machinery and machine workers, [220] partly by

re-establishing the division of labour on a fresh basis by the general introduction of the labour of women and children, and of cheap

unskilled labour.

The antagonism between the manufacturing division of labour and the methods of Modern Industry makes itself forcibly felt. It manifests

itself, amongst other ways, in the frightful fact that a great part of the children employed in modern factories and manufactures, are from

their earliest years riveted to the most simple manipulations, and exploited for years, without being taught a single sort of work that

would afterwards make them of use, even in the same manufactory or factory. In the English letter-press printing trade, for example,

there existed formerly a system, corresponding to that in the old manufactures and handicrafts, of advancing the apprentices from easy to

more and more difficult work. They went through a course of teaching till they were finished printers. To be able to read and write was

for every one of them a requirement of their trade. All this was changed by the printing machine. It employs two sorts of labourers, one

grown up, renters, the other, boys mostly from 11 to 17 years of age whose sole business is either to spread the sheets of paper under the

machine, or to take from it the printed sheets. They perform this weary task, in London especially, for 14, 15, and 16 hours at a stretch,

during several days in the week, and frequently for 36 hours, with only 2 hours' rest for meals and sleep. [221] A great part of them

cannot read, and they are, as a rule, utter savages and very extraordinary creatures. "To qualify them for the work which they have to do,

they require no intellectual training; there is little room in it for skill, and less for judgment; their wages, though rather high for boys, do

not increase proportionately as they grow up, and the majority of them cannot look for advancement to the better paid and more

responsible post of machine minder, because while each machine has but one minder, it has at least two, and often four boys attached to

it." [222] As soon as they get too old for such child's work, that is about 17 at the latest, they are discharged from the printing

establishments. They become recruits of crime. Several attempts to procure them employment elsewhere, were rendered of no avail by

their ignorance and brutality, and by their mental and bodily degradation.

As with the division of labour in the interior of the manufacturing workshops, so it is with the division of labour in the interior of society.

So long as handicraft and manufacture form the general groundwork of social production, the subjection of the producer to one branch

exclusively, the breaking up of the multifariousness of his employment, [223] is a necessary step in the development. On that

groundwork each separate branch of production acquires empirically the form that is technically suited to it, slowly perfects it, and, so

soon as a given degree of maturity has been reached, rapidly crystallises that form. The only thing, that here and there causes a change,

besides new raw material supplied by commerce, is the gradual alteration of the instruments of labour. But their form, too, once

definitely settled by experience, petrifies, as is proved by their being in many cases handed down in the same form by one generation to

another during thousands of years. A characteristic feature is, that, even down into the eighteenth century, the different trades were called

"mysteries" (mystères); [224] into their secrets none but those duly initiated could penetrate. Modern Industry rent the veil that concealed

from men their own social process of production, and that turned the various, spontaneously divided branches of production into so many

riddles, not only to outsiders, but even to the. initiated. The principle which it pursued, of resolving each process into its constituent

movements, without any regard to their possible execution by the hand of man, created the new modern science of technology. The

varied, apparently unconnected, and petrified forms of the industrial processes now resolved themselves into so many conscious and

systematic applications of natural science to the attainment of given useful effects. Technology also discovered the few main

fundamental forms of motion, which, despite the diversity of the instruments used, are necessarily taken by every productive action of

the human body; just as the science of mechanics sees in the most complicated machinery nothing but the continual repetition of the

simple mechanical powers.

Modern Industry never looks upon and treats the existing form of a process as final. The technical basis of that industry is therefore

revolutionary, while all earlier modes of production were essentially conservative. [225] By means of machinery, chemical processes and

other methods, it is continually causing changes not only in the technical basis of production, but also in the functions of the labourer,

and in the social combinations of the labour-process. At the same time, it thereby also revolutionises the division of labour within the

society, and incessantly launches masses of capital and of workpeople from one branch of production to another. But if Modern Industry,

by its very nature, therefore necessitates variation of labour, fluency of function, universal mobility of the labourer, on the other hand, in

its capitalistic form, it reproduces the old division of labour with its ossified particularisations. We have seen how this absolute

contradiction between the technical necessities of Modern Industry, and the social character inherent in its capitalistic form, dispels all

fixity and security in the situation of the labourer; how it constantly threatens, by taking away the instruments of labour, to snatch from

his hands his means of subsistence, [226] and, by suppressing his detail-function, to make him superfluous, We have seen, too, how this

antagonism vents its rage in the creation of that monstrosity, an industrial reserve army, kept in misery in order to be always at the

disposal of capital; in the incessant human sacrifices from among the working-class, in the most reckless squandering of labour-power

and in the devastation caused by a social anarchy which turns every economic progress into a social calamity. This is the negative side.

But if, on the one hand, variation of work at present imposes itself after the manner of an overpowering natural law, and with the blindly

destructive action of a natural law that meets with resistance [227] at all points, Modern Industry, on the other hand, through its

catastrophes imposes the necessity of recognising, as a fundamental law of production, variation of work, consequently fitness of the

labourer for varied work, consequently the greatest possible development of his varied aptitudes. It becomes a question of life and death

for society to adapt the mode of production to the normal functioning of this law. Modern Industry, indeed, compels society, under

penalty of death, to replace the detail-worker of to-day, grappled by life-long repetition of one and the same trivial operation, and thus

reduced to the mere fragment of a man, by the fully developed individual, fit for a variety of labours, ready to face any change of

production, and to whom the different social functions he performs, are but so many modes of giving free scope to his own natural and

acquired powers.

One step already spontaneously taken towards effecting this revolution is the establishment of technical and agricultural schools, and of

"écoles d'enseignement professionnel," in which the children of the working-men receive some little instruction in technology and in the

practical handling of the various implements of labour. Though the Factory Act, that first and meagre concession wrung from capital, is

limited to combining elementary education with work in the factory, there can be no doubt that when the working-class comes into

power, as inevitably it must, technical instruction, both theoretical and practical, will take its proper place in the working-class schools.

There is also no doubt that such revolutionary regents, the final result of which is the abolition of the old division of labour, are

diametrically opposed to the capitalistic form of production, and to the economic status of the labourer corresponding to that form. But

the historical development of the antagonisms, immanent in a given form of production, is the only way in which that form of production

can be dissolved and a new form established. "Ne sutor ultra crepidam" — this nec plus ultra of handicraft wisdom became sheer

nonsense, from the moment the watchmaker Watt invented the steam-engine, the barber Arkwright, the throstle, and the

working-jeweller, Fulton, the steamship. [228]

So long as Factory legislation is confined to regulating the labour in factories, manufactories, &c., it is regarded as a mere interference

with the exploiting rights of capital. But when it comes to regulating the so-called "home-labour," [229] it is immediately viewed as a

direct attack on the patria potestas, on parental authority. The tender-hearted English Parliament long affected to shrink from taking this

step. The force of facts, however, compelled it at last to acknowledge that modern industry, in overturning the economic foundation on

which was based the traditional family, and the family labour corresponding to it, had also unloosened all traditional family ties. The

rights of the children had to be proclaimed. The final report of the Ch. Empl. Comm. of 1866, states: "It is unhappily, to a painful degree,

apparent throughout the whole of the evidence, that against no persons do the children of both sexes so much require protection as

against their parents." The system of unlimited exploitation of children's labour in general and the so-called home-labour in particular is

"maintained only because the parents are able, without check or control, to exercise this arbitrary and mischievous power over their

young and tender offspring.... Parents must not possess the absolute power of making their children mere 'machines to earn so much

weekly wage....' The children and young persons, therefore, in all such cases may justifiably claim from the legislature, as a natural right,

that an exemption should be secured to them, from what destroys prematurely their physical strength, and lowers them in the scale of

intellectual and moral beings." [230] It was not, however, the misuse of parental authority that created the capitalistic exploitation,

whether direct or indirect, of children's labour; but, on the contrary, it was the capitalistic mode of exploitation which, by sweeping

away the economic basis of parental authority, made its exercise degenerate into a mischievous misuse of power. However terrible and

disgusting the dissolution, under the capitalist system, of the old family ties may appear, nevertheless, modern industry, by assigning as it

does an important part in the process of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women, to young persons, and to children of both

sexes, creates a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes. It is, of course, just as

absurd to hold the Teutonic-Christian form of the family to be absolute and final as it would be to apply that character to the ancient

Roman, the ancient Greek, or the Eastern forms which, moreover, taken together form a series in historical development. Moreover, it is

obvious that the fact of the collective working group being composed of individuals of both sexes and all ages, must necessarily, under

suitable conditions, become a source of humane development; although in its spontaneously developed, brutal, capitalistic form, where

the labourer exists for the process of production, and not the process of production for the labourer, that fact is a pestiferous source of

corruption and slavery. [231]

The necessity for a generalisation of the Factory Acts, for transforming them from an exceptional law relating to mechanical spinning

and weaving — those first creations of machinery — into a law affecting social production as a whole, arose, as we have seen, from the

mode in which Modern Industry was historically developed. In the rear of that industry, the traditional form of manufacture, of

handicraft, and of domestic industry, is entirely revolutionised; manufactures are constantly passing into the factory system, and

handicrafts into manufactures; and lastly, the spheres of handicraft and of the domestic industries become, in a, comparatively speaking,

wonderfully short time, dens of misery in which capitalistic exploitation obtains free play for the wildest excesses. There are two

circumstances that finally turn the scale: first, the constantly recurring experience that capital, so soon as it finds itself subject to legal

control at one point, compensates itself all the more recklessly at other points; [232] secondly, the cry of the capitalists for equality in the

conditions of competition, i.e., for equal restrain on all exploitation of labour. [233] On this point let us listen to two heart-broken cries.

Messrs. Cooksley of Bristol, nail and chain, &c., manufacturers, spontaneously introduced the regulations of the Factory Act into their

business. "As the old irregular system prevails in neighbouring works, the Messrs. Cooksley are subject to the disadvantage of having

their boys enticed to continue their labour elsewhere after 6 p.m. ' This,' they naturally say, 'is an unjustice and loss to us, as it exhausts a

portion of the boy's strength, of which we ought to have the full benefit." [234] Mr. J. Simpson (paper box and bagmaker, London) states

before the commissioners of the Ch. Empl. Comm.: "He would sign any petition for it" (legislative interference).... "As it was, he always

felt restless at night, when he had closed his place, lest others should be working later than him and getting away his orders." [235]

Summarising, the Ch. Empl. Comm. says: "It would be unjust to the larger employers that their factories should be placed under

regulation, while the hours of labour in the smaller places in their own branch of business were under no legislative restriction. And to

the injustice arising from the unfair conditions of competition, in regard to hours, that would be created if the smaller places of work

were exempt, would be added the disadvantage to the larger manufacturers, of finding their supply of juvenile and female labour drawn

off to the places of work exempt from legislation. Further, a stimulus would be given to the multiplication of the smaller places of work,

which are almost invariably the least favourable to the health, comfort, education, and general improvement of the people." [236]

In its final report the Commission proposes to subject to the Factory Act more than 1,400,000 children, young persons, and women, of

which number about one half are exploited in small industries and by the so-called home-work. [237] It says, "But if it should seem fit to

Parliament to place the whole of that large number of children, young persons and females under the protective legislation above

adverted to ... it cannot be doubted that such legislation would have a most beneficent effect, not only upon the young and the feeble,

who are its more immediate objects, but upon the still larger body of adult workers, who would in all these employments, both directly

and indirectly, come immediately under its influence. It would enforce upon them regular and moderate hours; it would lead to their

places of work being kept in a healthy and cleanly state; it would therefore husband and improve that store of physical strength on which

their own well-being and that of the country so much depends; it would save the rising generation from that overexertion at an early age

which undermines their constitutions and leads to premature decay; finally, it would ensure them — at least up to the age of 13 — the

opportunity of receiving the elements of education, and would put an end to that utter ignorance ... go faithfully exhibited in the Reports

of our Assistant Commissioners, and which cannot be regarded without the deepest pain, and a profound sense of national degradation.

[238]

The Tory Cabinet [239] announced in the Speech from the Throne, on February 5, 1867, that it had framed the proposals of the Industrial

Commission of Inquiry [240] into Bills. To get that far, another twenty years of experimentum in corpore vili had been required. Already

in 1840 a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on the labour of children had been appointed. Its Report, in 1842, unfolded, in the words

of Nassau W. Senior, "the most frightful picture of avarice, selfishness and cruelty on the part of masters and of parents, and of juvenile

and infantile misery, degradation and destruction ever presented.... It may be supposed that it describes the horrors of a past age. But

there is unhappily evidence that those horrors continue as intense as they were. A pamphlet published by Hardwicke about 2 years ago

states that the abuses complained of in 1842, are in full bloom at the present day. It is a strange proof of the general neglect of the morals

and health of the children of the working-class, that this report lay unnoticed for 20 years, during which the children, 'bred up without the

remotest sign of comprehension as to what is meant by the term morals, who had neither knowledge, nor religion, nor natural affection,'

were allowed to become the parents of the present generation." [241]

The social conditions having undergone a change, Parliament could not venture to shelve the demands of the Commission of 1862, as

it had done those of the Commission of 1840. Hence in 1864, when the Commission had not yet published more than a part of its reports,

the earthenware industries (including the potteries), makers of paperhangings, matches, cartridges, and caps, and fustian cutters were

made subject to the Acts in force in the textile industries. In the Speech from the Throne, on 5th February, 1867, the Tory Cabinet of the

day announced the introduction of Bills, founded on the final recommendations of the Commission, which had completed its labours in

1866.

On the 15th August, 1867, the Factory Acts Extension Act, and on the 21st August, the Workshops' Regulation Act received the Royal

Assent; the former Act having reference to large industries, the latter to small.

The former applies to blast-furnaces, iron' and copper mills, foundries, machine shops, metal manufactories, gutta-percha works, paper

mills, glass-works, tobacco manufactories, letter-press printing (including newspapers), book-binding, in short to all industrial

establishments of the above kind, in which 50 individuals or more are occupied simultaneously, and for not less than 100 days during the

year.

To give an idea of the extent of the sphere embraced by the Workshops' Regulation Act in its application, we cite from its interpretation

clause, the following passages:

"Handicraft shall mean any manual labour exercised by way of trade, or for purposes of gain in, or incidental to, the making any article

or part of an article, or in, or incidental to, the altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, or otherwise adapting for sale any article."

"Workshop shall mean any room or place whatever in the open air or undercover, in which any handicraft is carried on by any child,

young person, or woman, and to which and over which the person by whom such child, young person, or woman is employed, has the

right of access and control."

"Employed shall mean occupied in any handicraft, whether for wages or not, under a master or under a parent as herein defined."

"Parent shall mean parent, guardian, or person, having the custody of, or control over, any... child or young person."

Clause 7, which imposes a penalty for employment of children, young persons, and women, contrary to the provisions of the Act,

subjects to fines, not only the occupier of the workshop, whether parent or not, but even "the parent of, or the person deriving any direct

benefit from the labour of, or having the control over, the child, young person or woman. "

The Factory Acts Extension Act, which affects the large establishments, derogates from the Factory Act by a crowd of vicious exceptions

and cowardly compromises with the masters.

The Workshops' Regulation Act, wretched in all its details, remained a dead letter in the hands of the municipal and local authorities who

were charged with its execution. When, in 1871, Parliament withdrew from them this power, in order to confer it on the Factory

Inspectors, to whose province it thus added by a single stroke more than one hundred thousand workshops, and three hundred

brickworks, care was taken at the same time not to add more than eight assistants to their already undermanned staff. [242]

What strikes us, then, in the English legislation of 1867, is, on the one hand, the necessity imposed on the parliament of the ruling

classes, of adopting in principle measures so extraordinary, and on so great a scale, against the excesses of capitalistic exploitation; and

on the other hand, the hesitation, the repugnance, and the bad faith, with which it lent itself to the task of carrying those measures into

practice.

The Inquiry Commission of 1862 also proposed a new regulation of the mining industry, an industry distinguished from others by the

exceptional characteristic that the interests of landlord and capitalist there join hands. The antagonism of these two interests had been

favourable to Factory legislation, while on the other hand the absence of that antagonism is sufficient to explain the delays and chicanery

of the legislation on mines.

The Inquiry Commission of 1840 had made revelations so terrible, so shocking, and creating such a scandal all over Europe, that to salve

its conscience Parliament passed the Mining Act of 1842, in which it limited itself to forbidding the employment underground in mines

of children under 10 years of age and females.

Then another Act, The Mines' Inspecting Act of 1860, provides that mines shall be inspected by public officers nominated specially for

that purpose, and that boys between the ages of 10 and 12 years shall not be employed, unless they have a school certificate, or go to

school for a certain number of hours. This Act was a complete dead letter owing to the ridiculously small number of inspectors, the

meagreness of their powers, and other causes that will become apparent as we proceed.

One of the most recent Blue books on mines is the "Report from the Select Committee on Mines, together with &c. Evidence, 23rd July,

1866." This Report is the work of a Parliamentary Committee selected from members of the House of Commons, and authorised to

summon and examine witnesses. It is a thick folio volume in which the Report itself occupies only five lines to this effect; that the

committee has nothing to say, and that more witnesses must be examined!

The mode of examining the witnesses reminds one of the crossexamination of witnesses in English courts of justice, where the advocate

tries, by means of impudent, unexpected, equivocal and involved questions, put without connexion, to intimidate, surprise, and confound

the witness, and to give a forced meaning to the answers extorted from him. In this inquiry the members of the committee themselves are

the cross-examiners, and among them are to be found both mine-owners and mine exploiters; the witnesses are mostly working coal

miners. The whole farce is too characteristic of the spirit of capital, not to call for a few extracts from this Report. For the sake of

conciseness I have classified them. I may also add that every question and its answer are numbered in the English Blue books.

1. Employment in mines of boys of 10 years and upwards. — In the mines the work, inclusive of going and returning, usually lasts 14

or 15 hours, sometimes even from 3, 4 and 5 o'clock a.m., till 5 and 6 o'clock p.m. (n. 6, 452, 83). The adults work in two shifts, of eight

hours each; but there is no alternation with the boys, on account of the expense (n. 80, 203, 204). The younger boys are chiefly employed

in opening and shutting the ventilating doors in the various parts of the mine; the older ones are employed on heavier work. in carrying

coal, &c. (n. 122, 739, 1747). They work these long hours underground until their 18th or 22nd year, when they are put to miner's work

proper (n. 161). Children and young persons are at present worse treated, and harder worked than at any previous period (n. 1663-1667).

The miners demand almost unanimously an act of Parliament prohibiting the employment in mines of children under 14. And now

Hussey Vivian (himself an exploiter of mines) asks: "Would not the opinion of the workman depend upon the poverty of the workman's

family?" Mr. Bruce: "Do you not think it would be a very hard case, where a parent had been injured, or where he was sickly, or where a

father was dead, and there was only a mother, to prevent a child between 12 and 14 earning 1s. 7d. a day for the good of the family? ...

You must lay down a general rule? ... Are you prepared to recommend legislation which would prevent the employment of children

under 12 and 14, whatever the state of their parents might be?" "Yes." (ns. 107-110). Vivian: "Supposing that an enactment were passed

preventing the employment of children under the age of 14, would it not be probable that ... the parents of children would seek

employment for their children in other directions, for instance, in manufacture?" "Not generally I think" (n. 174). Kinnaird: "Some of the

boys are keepers of doors?" "Yes." "Is there not generally a very great draught every time you open a door or close it?" "Yes, generally

there is." "It sounds a very easy thing, but it is in fact rather a painful one?" "He is imprisoned there just the same as if he was in a cell of

a gaol." Bourgeois Vivian: "Whenever a boy is furnished with a lamp cannot he read?" "Yes, he can read, if he finds himself in

candles.... I suppose he would be found fault with if he were discovered reading; he is there to mind his business, he has a duty to

perform, and he has to attend to it in the first place, and I do not think it would be allowed down the pit." (ns. 139, 141, 143, 158, 160).

II. Education. — The working miners want a law for the compulsory education of their children, as in factories. They declare the

clauses of the Act of 1860, which require a school certificate to be obtained before employing boys of 10 and 12 years of age, to be quite

illusory. The examination of the witnesses on this subject is truly droll. "Is it (the Act) required more against the masters or against the

parents?" "It is required against both I think." "You cannot say whether it is required against one more than against the other?" "No; I can

hardly answer that question." (ns. 115, 116). "Does there appear to be any desire on the part of the employers that the boys should have

such hours as to enable them to go to school?" "No; the hours are never shortened for that purpose." (n. 137) Mr. Kinnaird: "Should you

say that the colliers generally improve their education; have you any instances of men who have, since they began to work, greatly

improved their education, or do they not rather go back, and lose any advantage that they may have gained?" "They generally become

worse: they do not improve; they acquire bad habits; they get on to drinking and gambling and such like,, and they go completely to

wreck." (n. 21 1.) "Do they make any attempt of the kind (for providing instruction) by having schools at night?" "There are few

collieries where night schools are held, and perhaps at those collieries a few boys do go to those schools; but they are so physically

exhausted that it is to no purpose that they go there." (n. 454.) "You are then," concludes the bourgeois, "against education?" "Most

certainly not; but," &c. (n. 443.) "But are they (the employers) not compelled to demand them (school certificates)?" "By law they are;

but I am not aware that they are demanded by the employers." "Then it is your opinion, that this provision of the Act as to requiring

certificates, is not generally carried out in the collieries?" "It is not carried out." (ns. 443, 444.) "Do the men take a great interest in this

question (of education)?" "The majority of them do." (n. 717.) "Are they very anxious to see the law enforced?" "The majority are." (n.

718.) "Do you think that in this country any law that you pass ... can really be effectual unless the population themselves assist in putting

it into operation?" "Many a man might wish to object to employing a boy, but he would perhaps become marked by it." (n. 720.)

"Marked by whom?" "By his employers." (n. 721.) "Do you think that the employers would find any fault with a man who obeyed the

law. . . ?" "I believe they would." (n. 722.) "Have you ever heard of any workman objecting to employ a boy between 10 and 12, who

could not write or read?" "It is not left to men's option." (n. 123.) "Would you call for the interference of Parliament?" "I think that if

anything effectual is to be done in the education of the colliers' 'children, it will have to be made compulsory by Act of Parliament." (n.

1634.) "Would you lay that obligation upon the colliers only, or all the workpeople of Great Britain?" "I came to speak for the colliers."

(n. 1636.) "Why should you distinguish them (colliery boys) from other boys?" "Because I think they are an exception to the rule." (n.

1638.) "In what respect?" "In a physical respect." (n. 1639.) "Why should education be more valuable to them than to other classes of

lads?" "I do not know that it is more valuable; but through the over-exertion in mines there is less chance for the boys that are employed

there to get education, either at Sunday schools, or at day schools." (n. 1640.) "It is impossible to look at a question of this sort absolutely

by itself?" (n. 1644.) "Is there a sufficiency of schools?" — "No"... (n. 1646). "If the State were to require that every child should be sent

to school, would there be schools for the children to go to?" "No; but I think if the circumstances were to spring up, the schools would be

forthcoming." (n. 1647.) "Some of them (the boys) cannot read and write at all, I suppose?" "The majority cannot. . The majority of the

men themselves cannot." (ns. 705, 725.)

III. Employment of women. — Since 1842 women are no more employed underground, but are occupied on the surface in loading the

coal, &c., in drawing the tubs to the canals and railway waggons, in sorting, &c. Their numbers have considerably increased during the

last three or four years. (n. 1727.) They are mostly the wives, daughters, and widows of the working miners, and their ages range from 12

to 50 or 60 years. (ns. 645, 1779.) "What is the feeling among the working miners as to the employment of women?" "I think they

generally condemn it." (n. 648.) "What objection do you see to it?" "I think it is degrading to the sex." (n. 649.) "There is a peculiarity of

dress?" "Yes ... it is rather a man's dress, and I believe in some cases, it drowns all sense of decency." "Do the women smoke?" "Some

do." "And I suppose it is very dirty work?" "Very dirty." "They get black and grimy?" "As black as those who are down the mines ... I

believe that a woman having children (and there are plenty on the banks that have) cannot do her duty to her children." (ns. 650-654,

701.) "Do you think that those widows could get employment anywhere else, which would bring them in as much wages as that (from 8s.

to 10s. a week)?" "I cannot speak to that." (n. 709.) "You would still be prepared, would you," (flint-hearted fellow!) "to prevent their

obtaining a livelihood by these means?" "I would." (n. 710.) "What is the general feeling in the district ... as to the employment of

women?" "The feeling is that it is degrading; and we wish as miners to have more respect to the fair sex than to see them placed on the

pit bank... Some part of the work is very hard; some of these girls have raised as much as 10 tons of stuff a day." (ns. 1715,1717.) "Do

you think that the women employed about the collieries are less moral than the women employed in the factories?" ". ..the percentage of

bad ones may be a little more ... than with the girls in the factories." (n. 1237.) "But you are not quite satisfied with the state of morality

in the factories?" "No." (n. 1733.) "Would you prohibit the employment of women in factories also?" "No, I would not." (n. 1734.) "Why

not?" "I think it a more honourable occupation for them in the mills." (n. 1735.) "Still it is injurious to their morality, you think?" "Not so

much as working on the pit bank; but it is more on the social position I take it; I do not take it on its moral ground alone. The

degradation, in its social bearing on the girls, is deplorable in the extreme. When these 400 or 500 girls become colliers' wives, the men

suffer greatly from this degradation, and it causes them to leave their homes and drink." (n. 1736.) "You would be obliged to stop the

employment of women in the ironworks as well, would you not, if you stopped it in the collieries?" "I cannot speak for any other trade."

(n. 1737.) "Can you see any difference in the circumstances of women employed in ironworks, and the circumstances of women

employed above ground in collieries?" "I have not ascertained anything as to that." (n. 1740.) "Can you see anything that makes a

distinction between one class and the other?" "I have not ascertained that, but I know from house to house visitation, that it is a

deplorable state of things in our district...." (n. 1741.) "Would you interfere in every case with the employment of women where that

employment was degrading?" "It would become injurious, I think, in this way: the best feelings of Englishmen have been gained from

the instruction of a mother. . . (n. 1750.) "That equally applies to agricultural employments, does it not?" "Yes, but that is only for two

seasons, and we have work all the four seasons." (n. 1751.) "They often work day and night, wet through to the skin, their constitution

undermined and their health ruined." "You have not inquired into that subject perhaps?" "I have certainly taken note of it as I have gone

along, and certainly I have seen nothing parallel to the effects of the employment of women on the pit bank.... It is the work of a man... a

strong man." (ns. 1753, 1793, 1794.) "Your feeling upon the whole subject is that the better class of colliers who desire to raise

themselves and humanise themselves, instead of deriving help from the women, are pulled down by them?" "Yes." (n. 1808.) After some

further crooked questions from these bourgeois, the secret of their "sympathy" for widows, poor families, &c., comes out at last. "The

coal proprietor appoints certain gentlemen to take the oversight of the workings, and it is their policy, in order to receive approbation, to

place things on the most economical basis they can, and these girls are employed at from 1s. up to 1s. 6d. a day, where a man at the rate

of 2s. 6d. a day would have to be employed." (n. 1816.)

IV. Coroner's inquests. — "With regard to coroner's inquests in your district, have the workmen confidence in the proceedings at those

inquests when accidents occur?" "No; they have not." (n. 360.) "Why not?" "Chiefly because the men who are generally chosen, are men

who know nothing about mines and such like." "Are not workmen summoned at all upon the juries?" "Never but as witnesses to my

knowledge." "Who are the people who are generally summoned upon these juries?" "Generally tradesmen in the neighbourhood ... from

their circumstances they are sometimes liable to be influenced by their employers ... the owners of the works. They are generally men

who have no knowledge, and can scarcely understand the witnesses who are called before them, and the terms which are used and such

like." "Would you have the jury composed of persons who had been employed in mining?" "Yes, partly... they (the workmen) think that

the verdict is not in accordance with the evidence given generally." (ns. 361, 364, 366, 368, 371, 375.) "One great object in summoning a

jury is to have an impartial one, is it not?" "Yes, I should think so." "Do you think that the juries would be impartial if they were

composed to a considerable extent of workmen?" "I cannot see any motive which the workmen would have to act partially ... they

necessarily have a better knowledge of the operations in connexion with the mine." "You do not think there would be a tendency on the

part of the workmen to return unfairly severe verdicts?" "No, I think not." (ns. 378, 379, 380.)

V. False weights and measures. — The workmen demand to be paid weekly instead of fortnightly, and by weight instead of by cubical

contents of the tubs; they also demand protection against the use of false weights, &c. (n. 1071.) "If the tubs were fraudulently increased,

a man. could discontinue working by giving 14 days' notice?" "But if he goes to another place, there is the same thing going on there."

(n. 1071.) "But he can leave that place where the wrong has been committed?" "It is general; wherever he goes, he has to submit to it."

(n. 1072.) "Could a man leave by giving 14 days' notice?" "Yes." (n. 1073.) And yet they are not satisfied!

VI. Inspection of mines. — Casualties from explosions are not the only things the workmen suffer from. (n. 234, sqq.) "Our men

complained very much of the bad ventilation of the collieries ... the ventilation is so bad in general that the men can scarcely breathe;

they are quite unfit for employment of any kind after they have been for a length of time in connexion with their work; indeed, just at the

part of the mine where I am working, men have been obliged to leave their employment and come home in consequence of that ... some

of them have been out of work for weeks just in consequence of the bad state of the ventilation where there is not explosive gas ... there

is plenty of air generally in the main courses, yet pains are not taken to get air into the workings where men are working." "Why do you

not apply to the inspector?" "To tell the truth there are many men who are timid on that point; there have been cases of men being

sacrificed and losing their employment in consequence of applying to the inspector." "Why is he a marked man for having complained?"

"Yes...... And he finds it difficult to get employment in another mine?" "Yes." "Do you think the mines in your neighbourhood are

sufficiently inspected to insure a compliance with the provisions of the Act?" "No; they are not inspected at all ... the inspector has been

down just once in the pit, and it has been going seven years.... In the district to which I belong there are not a sufficient number of

inspectors. We have one old man more than 70 years of age to inspect more than 130 collieries." "You wish to have a class of

sub-inspectors?" "Yes." (ns. 234, 241, 251, 254, 274, 275, 554, 276, 293.) "But do you think it would be possible for Government to

maintain such an army, of inspectors as would be necessary to do all that you want them to do, without information from the men?" "No,

I should think it would be next to impossible...." "It would be desirable the inspectors should come oftener?" "Yes, and without being

sent for." (n. 280, 277.) "Do you not think that the effect of having these inspectors examining the collieries so frequently would be to

shift the responsibility (!) of supplying proper ventilation from the owners of the collieries to the Government officials?" "No, I do not

think that, I think that they should make it their business to enforce the Acts which are already in existence." (n. 285.) "When you speak

of sub-inspectors, do you mean men at a less salary, and of an inferior stamp to the present inspectors?" "I would not have them inferior,

if you could get them otherwise." (n. 294.) "Do you merely want more inspectors, or do you want a lower class of men as an inspector?"

"A man who would knock about, and see that things are kept right; a man who would not be afraid of himself." (n. 295.) "If you obtained

your wish in getting an inferior class of inspectors appointed, do you think that there would be no danger from want of skill, &c?" "I

think not, I think that the Government would see after that, and have proper men in that position." (n. 297.) This kind of examination

becomes at last too much even for the chairman of the committee, and he interrupts with the observation: "You want a class of men who

would look into all the details of the mine, and would go into all the holes and corners, and go into the real facts ... they would report to

the chief inspector, who would then bring his scientific knowledge to bear on the facts they have stated?" (ns. 298, 299.) "Would it not

entail very great expense if all these old workings were kept ventilated?" "Yes, expense might be incurred, but life would be at the same

time protected." (n. 53 1.) A working miner objects to the 17th section of the Act of 1860; he says, "At the present time, if the inspector

of mines finds a part of the mine unfit to work in, he has to report it to the mine-owner and the Home Secretary. After doing that, there is

given to the owner 20 days to look over the matter; at the end of 20 days he has the power to refuse making any alteration in the mine;

but, when he refuses, the mine-owner writes to the Home Secretary, at the same time nominating five engineers, and from those five

engineers named by the mine-owner himself, the Home Secretary appoints one, I think, as arbitrator, or appoints arbitrators from them;

now we think in that case the mine-owner virtually appoints his own arbitrator." (n. 581.) Bourgeois examiner, himself a mine-owner:

"But ... is this a 'Merely speculative objection?" (n. 586.) "Then you have a very poor opinion of the integrity of mining engineers?" "It is

most certainly unjust and inequitable." (n. 588.) "Do not mining engineers possess a sort of public character, and do not you think that

they are above making such a partial decision as you apprehend?" "I do not wish to answer such a question as that with respect to the

personal character of those men. I believe that in many cases they would act very partially indeed, and that it ought not to be in their

hands to do so, where men's lives are at stake." (n. 589.) This same bourgeois is not ashamed to put this question: "Do you not think that

the mine-owner also suffers loss from an explosion?" Finally, "Are not you workmen in Lancashire able to take care of your own

interests without calling in the Government to help you?" "No." (n. 1042.)

In the year 1865 there were 3,217 coal mines in Great Britain, and 12 inspectors. A Yorkshire mine-owner himself calculates (Times,

26th January, 1867), that putting on one side their office work, which absorbs all their time, each mine can be visited but once in ten

years by an inspector. No wonder that explosions have increased progressively, both in number and extent (sometimes with a loss of

200-300 men), during the last ten years. These are the beauties of "free" capitalist production! [This sentence has been added to the

English text in conformity with the 4th German edition. — Ed.]

The very defective Act, passed in 1872, is the first that regulates the hours of labour of the children employed in mines, and makes

exploiters and owners, to a certain extent, responsible for so-called accidents.

The Royal Commission appointed in 1867 to inquire into the employment in agriculture of children, young persons, and women, has

published some very important reports. Several attempts to apply the principles of the Factory Acts, but in a modified form, to

agriculture have been made, but have so far resulted in complete failure. All that I wish to draw attention to here is the existence of an

irresistible tendency towards the general application of those principles.

If the general extension of factory legislation to all trades for the purpose of protecting the working-class both in mind and body has

become inevitable, on the other hand, as we have already pointed out, that extension hastens on the general conversion of numerous

isolated small industries into a few combined industries carried on upon a large scale; it therefore accelerates the concentration of capital

and the exclusive predominance of the factory system. It destroys both the ancient and the transitional forms, behind which the dominion

of capital is still in part concealed, and replaces them by the direct and open sway of capital; but thereby it also generalises the direct

opposition to this sway. While in each individual workshop it enforces uniformity, regularity, order, and economy, it increases by the

immense spur which the limitation and regulation of the working-day give to technical improvement, the anarchy and the catastrophes of

capitalist production as a whole, the intensity of labour, and the competition of machinery with the labourer. By the destruction of petty

and domestic industries it destroys the last resort of the "redundant population," and with it the sole remaining safety-valve of the whole

social mechanism. By maturing the material conditions, and the combination on a social scale of the processes of production, it matures

the contradictions and antagonisms of the capitalist form of production, and thereby provides, along with the elements for the formation

of a new society, the forces for exploding the old one. [243]