Imatges de pÓgina

cotton fabrics account for thirty-two yards at 5d. per yard, for each family. While the call for boots over and above the normal demand will be five pairs for 6,500,000 families, or a grand total of 32,500,000 pairs.

It will now be interesting to extend these items, and present them in the form of a table.

[ocr errors]


Woollen goods at 78. Od. per yard 39,000,000 yards £13,650,000
48. Od.

18. 6d.



Boots, average price per pair 98. 32,500,000 pairs 14,625,000
Savings available for other purposes


[blocks in formation]

Thus, out of a total saving of 61,966,666l. per year, on the expenditure for this item of luxury alone, we have, after buying the large quantities of manufactured goods and boots shown, at a cost of 47,558,333l., still a capital of 14,408,3331. available for the purchase of furniture, carpets, curtains, and other articles for making the house cosy and beautiful. And, further, as we are entitled to presume that the denizens of the 6,500,000 dwellings dealt with would have had their needs supplied-in & sort of way-before, we may take it that the manufacturing of the additional quantity of textile goods and boots enumerated would be a clear gain to the community in increased employment.

This huge saving, which to all intents and purposes, and to the advantage of all concerned, could be wrested from the clutches of a trade that furnishes the lowest average rate of employment, and pays the least percentage in wages to its employees in accordance with the capital used in its business, would be sufficient to pay a living wage of 30s. per week, or 781. a year, to 794,444 workmen, and afford them constant work all the year round ; a number which is in excess of the highest total average state of unemployment, taking both unionist and non-unionist throughout the country.

With reference to other fruitful reasons for fluctuations in the demand for labour to be dealt with-strikes and lock-outs. We are frequently being confronted with examples of this character which must fill the minds of all thoughtful workmen with dismay. In some of these cases it is a pitiful illustration of the tail wagging the dog. At times, as we have seen, even of open mutiny against constituted authority set up by the men themselves, where the recusants, actuated by political zeal rather than the furtherance of their own best interests and the interests of their fellow-men, are determined to work out their own destiny on untried political lines in lieu of the established principles of supply and demand, which always have and always will in the long run rule the market for labour, as they do all other markets. But, although the question is a tempting one to handle, I will forbear at this time, as my object is to bring into a somewhat stronger light the fact that the effects of these industrial upheavals do not confine themselves to those actually engaged, but exercise a direful influence upon many innocent non-combatants; and are the source of much of the want of continuity of labour that we all deplore. For instance, the dislocation of employment in the industries immediately involved will lead very soon to the throwing out of gear of the subsidiary trades, which must depend in a large measure upon the prosperity of the more important industries for their own development and success. In these cases, the spending power of the special belligerents affected and other cognate trades being crippled, its effects will soon be seen in the textile, tailoring, boot, and other manufactures. The fact that many thousands of toilers are workless and wageless will result in a general disturbance of business. Goods, which in normal circum. stances would have gone into consumption, will be lying on the shelves of the retailer ; consequently the orders which under brighter auspices should, and would, have been forthcoming for goods to replace those which ought to have been sold, have to be withheld, and short time and discharges of working men and women become the order of the day. And before long there are cries of distress and poverty arising from a condition of unemployment brought about, too often, by the unwarranted action of a comparatively few irresponsible men, who in the majority of cases cover the whole of their family, or their family cares, under their own hats. But men will not think, or at least will not think wisely. It is a word and a blow, and too often the blow first. When employment in the industries throughout the country is declining, when employers are experiencing a difficulty in replacing orders as they are being worked out; when vacant berths in the shipbuilding yards, silent machines in the workshops, and discharges of workmen week after week tell the tale eloquently that trade has become depressed; this is no time for causing further trouble by strikes and lock-outs. Far more sensible would it be for all concerned to bow to the inevitable ; instead of flying in the face of fortune, in the front of a falling market, at a time when the employer could more profitably close down his works than try to keep them going. Workmen are perfectly justified in doing all they can to gain a fairer share of the proceeds of their labour in prosperous times. But the application of this principle cuts both ways. As they have a right to share in the good times, equity demands it is equally their duty to suffer depreciation with the employers in the bad times. Putting on one side for the moment the comparative relations of employer and employed : profit-sharing without loss-sharing does not imply a complete sense of duty or of justice such as should prevail, if not between master and workman, at least between man and man.

In conclusion, it hardly seems necessary to insist that the large wastage of industrial capital—the accumulated funds of the trade unions, and the moneys disbursed by the employers during a struggle of this character-would have been more sensibly used in the provision of work, instead of being thrown away in starving one side or the other into subjection. This capital, usefully employed, would not only have provided work in their own business, but through the ramifications of the commercial machine its benefits would have extended to the whole body of labour in the country. A change of this nature in our industrial strife is a consummation devoutly to be wished for; and one that will be near at hand when workmen recognise they owe a duty to their employers, and equally, employers to their workmen; and when both acknowledge they have duties which in common justice they should render to the whole community. Finally, the reforms here briefly sketched out are such as the working classes can accomplish for themselves. And, once achieved, they would result in such an expansion of our home trade as would prove a remedy for unemployment, and render unnecessary any alterations in our fiscal policy




In June 1889-nearly twenty years ago—an 'Appeal against Female Suffrage' was issued in this Review. It was signed by about 104 names, headed by the veteran Lady Stanley of Alderley, whose long social service, combined with her marked independence and originality, made of her, in this matter, a leader whom other women were proud to follow. Among the names are many, very many, of which the bearers have now passed away. The list was rich in the names of women remarkable for ability or high character, and of these many were also the wives of famous men—Mrs. Goschen, Mrs. Westcott, Mrs. Church, Mrs. T. H. Green, Mrs. Leslie Stephen, Mrs. Huxley, Mrs. Hort, Mrs. Spencer Walpole, Mrs. W. E. Forster, Mrs. Matthew Arnold, Mrs. Arnold Toynbee, Mrs. Max Müller, Mrs. Seeley, Mrs. Bagehot-whose names therefore conveyed a double protest against a national danger.

If we look at the appeal itself, and compare it with the arguments advanced to-day against woman suffrage, we see that the case put forward is substantially the same, but that the process of time has in some respects strengthened the older pleas, while in others it has made it necessary to add to them. The ' Appeal’ was written immediately after the passage of the Local Government Act creating County Councils as we now know them, and it expressed nearty sympathy with all the recent efforts which have been made to give women a more important part in those affairs of the community where their interests and those of men are equally concerned. . . . As voters for or members of School Boards, Boards of Guardians, and other important public bodies, women have now opportunities for public usefulness which must promote the growth of character, and at the same time strengthen among them the social sense and habit. . . . The care of the sick and the insane ; the treatment of the poor; the education of children; in all these matters and others besides, they have made good their claim to larger and more extended powers.

Since these words were written what may be called the Local Government powers of women-powers especially recognised and supported by this earlier manifesto—have been still further extended, and, finally, the right of women not only to vote for, but to become elected members of County and Borough Councils, has been conceded, thus bringing to a successful issue a movement covering some forty years of the national life.

' In furtherance of this Appeal a Protest against Female Suffrage was widely circulated amongst women readers, and a long list of signatures was published in the August No. of the same year-Editor, Nineteenth Century and After.

At the same time it will perhaps strike a thoughtful reader of the earlier document, as he or she looks back over the twenty years which separate us from it, that important as women's share in Local Government has become, female suffrage as such has had very little to do with it, or with the general progress of reform. Women have been placed on local bodies by the votes of men, or by co-option, rather than by the votes of women; probably just as good or even better results might have been achieved by the American system, which nominates women-through the Governor or the Mayor—to sit on State or Municipal boards. And outside the Local Government sphere altogether a large amount of both legislative and administrative reform has been secured by the efforts of women, official and nonofficial, whose wide experience of life, together with their trained ability, acting on the minds and appealing to the justice of men, have borne admirable fruit. The 'Remonstrants' of twenty years ago maintained that during the past half-century all the principal injustices of the law towards women have been amended by means of the existing constitutional machinery; and with regard to those that remain, we see no signs of any unwillingness on the part of Parliament to deal with them.' Parliament in truth has been dealing with them, in the slow but steady English fashion, ever since; and if much is still unachieved, it is because the reforms yet to be won depend upon the growth of public opinion and moral conviction among both average men and average women,-a growth which is still in many important respects—I refer especially to matters concerning the relation of the sexes-weak and ineffectual.

Thus, while the advancing education of women, and their greater social power and efficiency have given them an ever-increasing influence on both law-making and administration, the important suffrage let me repeat—which they possessed during the whole period has played an extremely insignificant part in the process. It has been very difficult to get them to vote in any numbers ; only the pressure of religious interests has achieved it; and with regard to the important powers in respect of women and children possessed by local bodies, the woman vote has notoriously meant little or nothing.

This is perhaps one of the most striking features of the twenty years

which lie between us and the manifesto of '89. It seems to show that women are not naturally voters, and that the instruments which suit and serve them best are of another kind.

But while the main case to be presented against the suffrage does not differ now materially from the main case as it was presented

« AnteriorContinua »