« ForrigeFortsæt »
In the cooper trade, the apprentice-entry is five shillings, aided by a contribution of one shilling from each workman ; and ten shillings at brothering, which is a foolish and barbarous ceremony, once very common, now given up in most occupations: it consists in being ducked in water, beat, and made the sport of the rest, in a rude manner.
Among sawyers, when a couple, both strangers, come to work in a timber-yard, the entry-money is six shillings; if one man comes to join a partner, three shillings; when a log of timber falls, by the carelessness of a workman, into the sawpit, a fine of whisky is inflicted—the other men are entitled to defer assistance in raising the log till the fine is paid ; two sawyers separating, pay one shilling and sixpence each. These sums are increased by the workmen ; and as this class is proverbial for drunkenness, and the rules are strictly enforced, the children unborn may rue them.
Foreigners regard the Scotch as a moral and prudent people; but there are strange anomalies in our national character. Thus, a wise and pious father trains up his son in sound nurture and admonition : he frequently recurs to counsel; gives line upon line, and precept upon precept. Perhaps, in no one point does he show such exquisite jealousy, as when on the subject of intemperance. When the boy is about to leave his father's roof-tree, the parent reiterates, redoubles, concentrates his instruction; above all, he obtests him to flee the tavern as he would a pest-house : with the same breath, he draws from his purse a sum, varying from ten shillings to seven pounds sterling, which he bestows for the express purpose of initiating his child into a course of dissipation that may ensure unhappiness in after life : and this he is bound and fettered to do; and the poor apprentice-slave must table the entry-money to his companions, or take the risk of such a course of maltreatment as, in some cases, it would be nearly as much as his life is worth to undergo. Perhaps, no greater case of inconsistency is to be found in the manners of any nation. In a town in the west country, although about twothirds of the trades have lately abandoned apprentice-entries, and where the doctrine of anti-usage is now somewhat known, yet still, such is the force of old prejudice, that the magistrates had to interfere in the case of a poor orphan apprenticed to the cooper trade, and punish his fellow-workmen, who had not long ago proceeded to blows and blood, in order to enforce the usage. How happy would anxious parents
whose sons are consigued to business, to college, or elsewhere, distant from
0 6 0
their father's control, could they be assured, that by the influence of temperance associations, they were saved the dread of even occasional drinking matches, and the long fearful train of guilt that intemperance retains, coiled up within its own plastic and never-failing energies.
With regard to the compulsory drinking usages in the cotton factories, I have received the following table, from a cotton spinner, who has been eighteen years in the trade :
£ 8. d. On getting the first wheels, entry-money for drink
1 1 0 All the other workmen who attend such entry, each
02 0 When changing from one mill to another
0 10 0 [In some places it is only 5s., but generally 108.] When changing from one pair of wheels to another, even in the same mill, from 2s.6d. to
0 5 All who attend such meeting, each
0 0 If changing from one flat or room to another
0 10 When a man is turned off, and taken back, although it were
the same day that the difference took place, he must there
0 10 At all marriages, the bridegroom
5 0 At all births.
50 If a young man spin a pair of wheels in the same shop for
one year, and be so unfortunate as not to get married, he
0 10 0
0 10 0 [This, however, is not insisted on in some shops.] At every shop-meeting—these being held every two months
from every spinner in the mill, whether present or not, ls. to At the pay-table, which is every regular pay-day
0 0 6 A country spinner coming to the town
1 1 0 “ All the above meetings end in debauchery, to a greater or less extent; indeed some individuals, after those meetings, keep drinking for eight days; so that they lose their work, and often ruin their families.
“The following is the practice of the hand-warpers :
£ s. d.
At obtaining a warping machine for the first time, entry
money for drink.
“ Power-loom dressers' drinking usages :
On getting the first machine, entry money for drink
All attending such footing
£ 8. d.
“ The rules and practice of power-loom tenters, are much the same as the dressers :
is presently employed in
£ s. d.
0 2 6
“ Those operatives who demur to acquiesce in these usages, are considered as entitled to the denomination of d-d low, mean, mangy souls; and are liable to every species of insult, refusal of assistance and cooperation, and bad treatment."
Stocking makers.—When a boy first enters into a stocking maker's shop, he must pay two shillings and sixpence in name of footing; to this each man is held bound to add sixpence. My informant states, that this is frequently only the commencement of a whole week's drinking, to a third part of the shop.
When the lad has been twelve months at the business, he is bound to pay another two shillings and sixpence for drink; sixpence each is again added by the men, and
the same consequences follow. When his time is out he pays five shillings for drink; to this each man adds one shilling. Drinking begins on this small commencement, and finishes on the Monday following, and the Sabbath is of course profaned in the drunkard's manner. Marriage is five shillings, with a backing of one shilling. The first son is two shillings and sixpence, and daughter two shillings, backed with sixpence. Profuse drinking follows for days. The refusal to concur in these abominations incurs outlawry, that is, being put out of protection; when every person is held to have full liberty to render the nonconformist's life as miserable as possible,
When a calico printer changes his colour, that is, leaves one department of work for another, he pays a fine in drink. Till very lately, from apprentice boys to the print-fields, there was extorted the enormous sum of seven pounds sterling each, which being put into a fund, when it amounted to about fifty pounds, was spent in a debauch; and a whole district, including
man, woman, and child, was for a fortnight overspread with drunkenness, sickness, riot, and crime. When the author was, for the first time, made acquainted with this usage, he did not believe it possible that such a monstrous abuse would be permitted by employers; but he was informed, that as the usage exaction operated as a check on the reception of apprentices, and kept up a monopoly of hands, they found it impossible to obtain its abolition. Some time ago, at a particular print-field, a temperance society having been formed, an entry-drink soon after occurred : at the meeting held to arrange its proceedings, the temperance members objected : much indignation and reproach ensued. The temperance men continued firm, and argued the point at length; and they were finally permitted to receive their own share of entry-money, to spend as they pleased : they disbursed it in temperance tracts. By the next occasion of the disposal of entries, the cause of temperance had improved: after a short debate, a majority carried the following resolution ——“No drink, but a mechanics' library !” And at the present date, it is believed that the former employment of entry-money is now almost universally abrogated in the Scottish print-fields, and a fund instituted for widows and unemployed workmen. Previous to this change, however, at some print-fields, to prevent drink being introduced at work-hours, a guard was placed on the gate.
A spectator once observed the following ingenious scheme, to lodge a small quantity of whisky within premises which were well garrisoned against it. Standing by the mill-lead, which was uncommonly deep and rapid, he saw at a short distance a little girl fasten a stone to the end of a string, and throw it across the stream to another girl, who disengaged the stone, and tied the cord round a bottle, which was thus drawn by the other safely through the water, and concealed beneath her garment: she then turned to the left, where might be seen a scout standing at the door of the women's apartment, holding up a stick with a white rag at the end of it. mained stock still for some time; but the instant the white rag was lowered, and a red one displayed in its place, the depositary bolted, and accomplished the lodgement of her cargo in the women's room, at the critical moment when the overseer had gone to another part of the work. At the same place, a spirit-dealer's account against some girls was found, amounting to about five pounds sterling.
SCOTTISH USAGES - continued.
Usages at Herring Fisheries-at Agricultural Auctions—Cattle Dealers and
Butchers-Drinking at Sales and Bargains in general-Rue-bargain-Commercial Orders-Case of direct Combination being successfully used against Drinking at Bargains—Case of Relapse from this Usage-Cast in a Cart~ Marriage Usages--Courtship.
The regulations of drinking in the herring fisheries are somewhat complicated. At importing salt, several glasses are given to each man; and at sailing for the Isles, the men are frequently put on board intoxicated : in hiring boats at the fishing-grounds, whisky flows profusely—those are esteemed the best employers who give the most spirits, and masters supplant one another by bribes of whisky. Each well-fitted boat, on arriving at the receiving vessel, gets a bottle of whisky, besides a couple of glasses each man. The women who clean the fish have three glasses a-day; at the first introduction of this practice, they could not be prevailed upon to take above half a glass. In a slack fishing, a vessel having three or four hundred barrels, requires about sixty gallons of spirits. Thus educated, the fishermen, not content with their morning's supply, frequently go ashore, and, drinking at their own cost, spend the day in rioting and wickedness.
With respect to the loch-fishing adjacent to the Frith of Clyde, in Lochfine, and elsewhere, the customs are very pernicious. The merchant boats, or coupers, are necessitated to be copiously supplied with spirits to meet the various usages among the fishers; and accordingly spirit dealers are frequently interested in these, and lend capital to the coupers to purchase herrings; their remuneration consisting in the consumption of their whisky in the drinking usages of the trade. If a couper has to deal with fifteen fishing boats, as those have generally three men a-piece, he is obliged to expend forty-five glasses of whisky in "earles," or earnest, the evening previous to the fishing. Another similar quantity is given on the fishing boats coming alongside in the morning ; the same during the bargain-making; and the same at paying and parting; in all, one hundred and eighty glasses for one trip-and various circumstances may increase the quantity to about double. The result is, that many of the men are par