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be had for the asking (or without it), and the means of immediate livelihood thus to some extent secured. Occasionally native operatives would migrate thither from the large towns as well, as Bristol and Norwich, under the influence of like motives, or of the equally comprehensible one of finding freer scope for their exertions, hampered beyond endurance by local privileges and monopolies. But besides the above there were some who sought those fertile dales and breezy uplands primarily for farming purposes-as yeomen cultivators,-whether the cultivation of the land or the care of stock was their immediate object, and these would be well inclined in the absence of any law or custom to the contrary to add a little manufacturing to their other work, especially when the latter was not remunerative and the former was continually more How better could they spend the long winter days and nights? How else provide indeed for their own immediate wants in those unfrequented parts? And in time this mode of business became a very lucrative one, resting as it did on the two great departments of productive industry, whilst exclusively dependent on neither, and developing, as it did, in comparative freedom from the cramping regulations whether superimposed or self-imposed which still clung about populous places more than others. During the time and at the places that the most favourable conditions prevailed in it, it even ran the factory system that flourished alongside a close race for precedence, and it had many advantages over industries conducted by the exclusively individual or corporate methods, still Our great cotton manuprincipally confined to towns. facture first rose to eminence during this condition of


things; and passed most rapidly out of it; and it is from these circumstances (united indeed with some others) that the story of the modern factory system is often considered to be studied best in that connection. This manufacture, it may be remarked, was still always of the hybrid kind: the warp being invariably of linen yarn, imported chiefly from Ireland and Germany (for flax was scarcely grown in England): and it settled principally in Lancashire. Samuel Bamford, a practical workman of the time, has described a typical domestic manufacturer's household of this period just previous to the establishment of the new industrial system. "Farms," he says, "were then mostly cultivated for the production of milk, butter, and cheese. Oats also, for the family's consumption of meal in the form of porridge and oaten cakes, would be looked after; and a small patch of potatoes, when they had come into general use, would probably be found on some favourable bank attached to each farm. The farming was generally of that kind which was soonest and most easily performed, and it was done by the husband and other males of the family, whilst the wife and daughters and maid-servants, if there were any of the latter, attended to the churning, cheese-making, and carding, slubbing, and spinning of wool or cotton, as well as forming it into warps for the loom. The husband and sons would next, at times when farm labour did not call them abroad, size the warp, dry it, and beam it in the loom, and either they or the females, whichever happened to be least otherwise employed, would weave the warp down. A farmer would generally have three or four looms in his house, and then, what with the farming, easily and leisurely though it was performed, what with

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the house work, and what with the carding, spinning, and weaving, there was ample employment for the family. If the rent was raised from the farm, so much the better; if not, the deficiency was made

up from the manufacturing profits."1 "In the year

1770," says Mr. Radcliffe, 2 "the land in our township was occupied by between fifty to sixty farmers; rents, to the best of my recollection, did not exceed ten shillings per statute acre, and out of these fifty or sixty farmers there were only six or seven who raised their rents directly from the produce of their farms; all the rest got their rents partly in some branch of trade, such as spinning and weaving woollen, linen, or cotton. The cottagers were employed entirely in this manner, except for a few weeks in the harvest. Being one of those cottagers, and intimately acquainted with all the rest, as well as every farmer, I am better able to relate particularly how the change from the old system of hand labour to the new one of machinery operated in raising the price of land. Cottage-rents at that time, with convenient loom-shop and a small garden attached, were from one-and-a-half to two guineas per annum. The father of a family would earn from eight shillings to half-a-guinea at his loom, and his sons, if he had one, two, or three alongside of him, six or eight shillings per week; but the great sheet-anchor of all cottages and small farms was the labour attached to the hand wheel; and when it is considered that it required six or eight hands to prepare and spin yarn of any of the three materials I have mentioned, sufficient for the

1 64

2 44

"Dialect of South Lancashire," Introduction, p. 4.

Origin of the System of Manufacture commonly called Power-Loom Weaving," by William Radcliffe ; pp. 59-66 (Stockport, 1828)

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consumption of one weaver-this shows clearly the in-
exhaustible source there was for labour for every person
from the age of seven to eighty years (who retained
their sight and could move their hands) to earn their
and of the worsted manufacture about
the same period Mr. James gives the following very inte-
resting particulars: 1 "The work was entirely domestic,
and its different branches widely scattered over the
country. First, the manufacturer had to travel on horse-
back to purchase his raw material amongst the farmers,
or at the great fairs held in those old towns that had
formerly been the exclusive markets, or, as they were
called, staples,' of wool. The wool safely received was
handed over to the sorters, who rigorously applied their
gauge of required length of staple, and mercilessly
chopped off by shears or hatchet what did not reach
their standard as wool fit only for the clothing trade.
The long wool then passed into the hands of the
combers, and, having been brought back by them into
the combed state, was again carefully packed and
strapped on the back of the sturdy horse to be taken
into the country to be spun.
Here, at each

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village, he had his agents, who received the wool, distributed it amongst the peasantry, and received it back as yarn. The machine employed was still the old one-thread wheel, and in summer weather on many a village green might be seen the housewives plying their busy trade, and furnishing to the poet the vision of contentment spinning at the cottage door.2 Returning, in safety with his yarn, the manufacturer had now to

1 64

History of the Worsted Manufacture,” p. 323.

2 Compare Wordsworth's fine sonnet commencing, "Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room."

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seek out his weavers, who ultimately delivered to him his camblets, or russels, or serges, or tammies, or calimancoes (such were then the leading names of the fabrics), ready for sale to the merchant, or delivery to the dyer."


The real employer of labour under such a system as the above was practically the merchant, the act of producing the finished commodity being split up into a number of independent parts, and the producers having no conscious connection with one another. But the merchant of those days led a very different life from the merchant of to-day. Thomas Walker has described in The Original1 the life of a Manchester merchant, born at the beginning and probably in full career about the middle of the eighteenth century, that is just before the transitional time; and this description will supplement in a very useful manner those gone before. "He sent the manufactures of the place into Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and the intervening counties, and principally took in exchange feathers from Lincolnshire, and malt from Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire. All his commodities were conveyed on pack-horses, and he was from home the greater part of every year, performing his journeys leisurely on horseback. His balances were received in guineas, and were carried with him in his saddle bags. He was exposed to the vicissitudes of the weather, to great labour and fatigue, and to constant danger." It was an advance on this method of doing business, he says, when the merchant, instead of going

"The Original," by Thomas Walker, M.A., p. 121; Morley's Universal Library (Routledge, 1887).

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