« ForrigeFortsæt »
sition. When a tailor changes his lodgings, he must pay ls. for drink, which the rest back with 3d. each.
The captain of a board is a workman who is constant, not occasional, and has a certain charge—for instance, to see that clothes are made for customers in due time : for this situation he pays 58. 6d. for drink money. Christmas-boxes are demanded from the woollen-draper. On all national saints' days, natives of each department of the Three Kingdoms pay for drink, according to a rule formerly laid down. On the occasion of the master being married, he gives 40s. to the men to drink, which they back with 2s. each. One who by inadvertence snuffs out a candle is fined 6d.; one who vomits in the shop, a gallon of ale. Coming on Monday unshaved, or with dirty shirt, 1s. backed with 6d. by each other man.
The names of those men who are out of work, are in some places marked in a register house, where the employer has no choice but to take the first on the list. There was at first only one general society of tailors in England; it is now split into two divisions. The men who are members of either are called “flints ;' those who are not, are called “dungs.” At the meetings on a club night at the house of call, there is 3d. for each member to pay for drink in lieu of room rent. The few who attend drink the whole. Tramps with tickets get either a bed at the house of call, or money.
The penalties for non-compliance with drinking usages are various. One is being "sent to Coventry,” sometimes called being “made a dog.” This is a most uncomfortable state for a tailor to be in. All manner of jeering and ill treatment is considered justifiable, nay a matter of duty to the trade, in
The culprit has broken a law of the business; he has aimed a blow at the social indulgences of all the tailors in the Queen's dominions. It is, therefore, obligatory on every man to resent this as an injury done to his individual self. No mal-treatment is too severe for such a case. In the language of the shop, " waste meat and bones are thrown to dogs." This is such a pitiable state of debasement and excommunication from every good office, that besides paying up all fines and footings, there is sometimes 58. imposed as a special amercement, before the convict can be reinstated into "pitcher law.” And, seriously speaking, it is perhaps difficult in modern times to point out a more grievous state of persecution than a man is hereby subjected to. The sleeve lining of a "dog" is twisted and sewed up; triangular holes are cut in
the rim of the hat; the man's clothes are sewed up in different forms, to look like a bundle of rags; candles are put out quickly at dismissal of the shop, and he cannot put himself to rights till he arrive at home. The seams of clothes and pockets are ripped open-an informant has known money, thus lost; clothes are secreted and “put up the spout, (pawned.) The master, in all these cases, can give no relief. The unfortunate non-conformist, wearied out with a series of insult, and injury, must, at length, yield to the influence of drinking usage; the young are led to consider drinking as a necessary business and duty of life; and are soon as inexorable as their neighbours, in exaction to support the system ; while the wretched men whom this wretched tyranny has compelled into habits of inebriation, find it impossible to retrieve their character, or alter their conduct, amid the unconquerable craving of a vitiated appetite, seconded by the invincible pressure of perpetual and systematic compulsion.
Block-makers in the sea-ports.—The apprentice footing is 20s., which is backed by the other men with 1s. each. At expiration and loosing, it is understood that he must give his first week's wages for the men to drink, otherwise he is considered as not a "legal man,” but a skulk.
Coachmakers.—The apprentice footing ranges from 10s. to 20s., which is backed by the other men with 6d. each. The son of a coachmaker pays only 10s. There is sometimes a gallon of ale given at the binding. When the apprentice does any new work, he must pay for drink, sums varying from 1s. to 10s., according to the particular operation and rule of the shop. Men sometimes magnify the value of any new attempt of the apprentice, so as to flatter his vanity, and thus procure more liquor from this usage.
The journeyman's footing,* in most of the departments of the work, is 58., with a general backing of 6d. each. The apprentices are allowed to be present to drink their equal shares of the apprentice footing; but at the journeyman's footing they are turned out when half the regulation amount is expended. A change from one bench in the workshop to another incurs 1s.; and the same sum is exacted when a man's wife comes into the shop for the first time. Upon a rise of wages, it is expected that the first week's extra sum shall go to drink. On marriage, 5s. is demanded ; and on a birth occur
* The cant phrase, in some trades, to denote that a man has not paid his journeyman's footing, is, that “his tail wants docking."
ring, the father “stands a pint" to each man who works in his own department.
In some works the wages are paid to each man his share distinct and separate ; in others, the men are clubbed together, and have the money divided at the rendezvous, or "straphouse;" paying up each individual's weekly score at the same time. My readers will readily perceive how intimate is the connexion that is produced with the public-house, by this method of paying wages; and how extremely desirable it would be, that public opinion should brand with a mark of reproach all those employers, who, by wanton carelessness, are accessory to driving their men to a constant attendance on the gin-shop, to a daily connexion of “tick and trust,” which is wound up in the most pernicious manner by the woful weekly revel of Saturday night.
The usual fines are incurred for a dirty shirt and beard unshaved on Monday, and for giving a challenge to fight. One informant has known of a drink fine of a pint imposed upon a party giving a challenge to fight, and of two pints upon the other not fighting. A new partner of an employer is“ kicked” in a supper to the men. On the marriage of a master, a treat is expected. The way-goose is 4s, to each man, and 2s. to each boy. The coachman of a purchaser of a carriage is “mugged" occasionally, as he comes to look at the work that is doing for his master; and finally, on delivery of the vehicle, he receives from 1l. to 31.
The journeyman who last comes into the shop is made constable; he receives a staff, the presenting of which is attended by a drinking ceremony. A man's birth-day being discovered, he must pay 1s. on that day, with a backing from the rest. Christmas-boxes are demanded from the iron, coal, timber, lace, and lamp manufacturer or merchant; it ranges from 2s. to 10s. from each of these.
There is a general society of the trade, throughout the kingdom; and although it is said that all fines go to stock, and not to drink, yet those who attend meetings for business receive each a pint, which of course leads to inore drinking, as the meetings are held in a public-house. New clothes are “ wetted” sometimes, but not regularly. On a birth, in some places there is 5s. charged, if a boy; and 2s. 6d. if a girl. In some works a purchaser of a carriage is expected to give a similar sum to the men for drink, as the coachmaker gives to his groom or coachman. I found that drink footings had been abolished in one establishment in a central part of England,
and the money put into the sick fund. The men who do stage-coach work receive a feast on May Day from their employer. If a man leave his shop, he gives notice to the rendezvous, and draws his card; on receiving his money, and "going on the tramp," he spends it at the tramp-house of the union, wherever that may be.
There are the usual penalties here for non-compliance with the drinking usages. Men are sent to “Coventry.” Their tools and clothes are hidden, and pawned for the regulation amount of the fine or footing. In the cant phrase of the trade, "Mother Shawney has gotten them.” Being " made an ass of" is the same as being sent to “Coventry: Sometimes a caricature of an ass is sketched, with a face like the non-conforming workman, as if on the road to Coventry. My informant had never seen any man make a final and successful stand; the usage money was always, at the last, “ wrought out of him."
Coach-spring Makers.—The drinking usages here are much the same as in the business of general coachmaking. On a man being promoted to superior work, he must pay for drink, less or more, 5s. being the minimum. A new apron must be stamped, after a drink, with the mark of a pot in the corner, otherwise it may be legally cut down through the middle. The last man who comes to the work must, as constable, exact the fines and footings. In some cases a youth has been known to incur a drink fine, on the first occasion of his beard being shaved. In some works there is a way-goose, in others a bean feast. An informant has seen enormous sums spent here, and known these to last several days. If any of the numerous usages be refused, or any offence be committed against regulation, a shop-meeting is called. If the accused is found guilty, he incurs a drink fine; if not, the accuser does
In addition to all the usual penalties for non-conformity, one informant has known the pockets filled with filth-tow dipped in oil fastened to clothes, and set fire to. He has also seen a person, who objected, violently slung up by a rope to a beam, and forcibly detained there for an hour.
Skinners.— When there is a number of skinners in a town, there is a society-house, at which the members of the trade's association hold meetings, and at which members of the trade, when “on tramp,” call, and lodge for a night. In one locality I received the following information on this case, in writing:
“ The number of members in society there had been twenty
five, who supported the trade; or, it may be more properly said, supported the tramping and drinking system. Each member paid 38. a month : 6d. of each member's money was spent in ale, that is, 12s. 6d. per month for members' ale. The relief given to every tramp was 3s. ; 2s.6d. each received in money, and 6d. each was obliged to be spent in ale. There have been as many as thirty tramps in one month—making 15s. for tramp ale. When a tramp gets work, or when a member receives or gives notice to leave his work, and does not leave it, he is obliged to pay 2s. 6d. for ale. There have been several such footings in one week. Every member who drinks of the foot ale pays 6d., which also goes in ale : there have been sixteen members sharers in both footings, so that for footings much has been spent in one week. When a boy is put apprentice he pays 5s. in ale; every member who partakes pays ls. in ale." At the expiration of his term of apprenticeship the boy pays the same sum, and the members the
When a member is married, he pays 5s. for himself, and 18. for his wife, in ale. All wbo partake of the marriage drink pay 1s. in ale. If in any dispute one member strike another, the stricken member « calls a garrison,” makes his complaint; and a jury is called, the complaint heard, and the offender fined 58. The person stricken pays ls. for making his complaint. The case is tried by the Strong Beer Act; and it is said that no member was ever tried by this act and not fined. If the fine be 58., all who are sharers in the ale pay ls.; if it be 2s. 6d., those who partake pay 6d. If a man gets a new tool, the first time he grinds it he pays ls. to his shopmates, and they pay 6d. each, and all is spent in ale. If one member find fault with another member's work, he is tried by the Strong Beer Act, and fined 58., to which all who partake of the ale add ls. in ale. If a member fall into a lime pit he pays 18., and his shopmates 6d. each, for ale. Whatever ale is due from marriages, fines, and footings, is had in the name of the society ; so that when any member is determined to "raise a fuddle,” though he has no money, he has only to put himself into a lime pit, and the ale is immediately had. Many gallons have been forced in this way. If the ale from the fines and footings is drunk in the yard, it is fetched thither by a member; who, if he allow any person to drink of it upon the road from the public-house to the yard, is fined 1s. If a fined member refuse to pay the fine or to partake of the ale, it is nevertheless sent for and drunk, and he is “cut out of the pitcher," that is, ceases to share in the fines and footings