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mence or to extend their proceedings; others have borrowed capital from private individuals, and some have started with the accumulated capital of the members themselves. The following list, prepared a few months ago in Paris by the correspondent of the New York Tribune,' will shew to what an extent these associations have been formed, and what a strong hold the principle on which they are established has acquired over the minds of the working-classes of Paris :
tions, bers. Bakers,
6 111 Brickmakers,
1 116 Bronzemakers,
1 48 Brushmakers,
1 256 Butchers,
2 56 Bookbinders,
1 74 Colliers,
1 27 Compass-makers,
47 1772 Corset-makers,
39 Daguerreotype Apparatusinakers,
14 Dyers and Scourers,
34 2583 Hatters,
6 182 Hosiers,
1 47 House-Painters,
12 Iron-Bedstead-makers, 1
tions. bers. Lacemakers, Lantern-makers,
1 12 Laundresses,
5 125 Lemonade and Beer-Sellers, 3 182 Lithographers,
1 30 Marble-Cutters,
3 84 Masons,
1 165 Musical Instrument-makers, 1
1 6 Pastrycooks,
2 186 Paviers,
1 - 15 Piano-makers,
1 58 Pocketbook-makers,
1 35 Potters,
1 49 Printers,
1 32 Saddlers,
303 Silk-Dyers, Spectacle-makers,
4 100 Tanners,
1 21 Tinners,
1 70 Upholsterers,
1 7 Vintners,
5 118 Whip and Canemakers, 1
Besides the above there are two bath-associations, two grocery-stores, two milk, and seven medical associations.
Of the proceedings of all of these it is impossible, in the limited space of this Paper, to give an account, but we will briefly sketch the history of a few.
One of the first associations formed after the Revolution of 1848 was that of the tailors, in the Rue de Clichy, in a building which had formerly been used as a debtors' prison. It soon numbered about 2000 workmen, paid at two francs, or 1s. 8d., a day, with a share in the profits. It was
highly favoured by the Provisional Government, from whom it received an order for 40,000 uniforms; and though this order was executed at a very low price, yet the profits on it and the contributions of the members raised the capital of the association in three months to about £3000. The disastrous days of June 1848 broke up this association, but many of the members soon after formed another in the Rue du Faubourg St Denis. This association during the past year transacted business to the extent of about £4000, on which a profit of 6 per cent. had been realised; occasionally as many as sixty hands would be employed, and there were also several hundreds ready to work whenever there was a demand for their labour.
In March 1849, a few pianoforte-makers commenced business with a capital of less than £100. Their workshop was in a wretched garret in an ill-paved yard in an unfrequented street. To procure materials with which to commence operations, their prudence, economy, and self-denial were taxed to the utmost. First they made one piano : it was sold in May; and then for the first time they received any remuneration for their labour, and that was only at the rate of about 5s. for each man. They went on gradually extending their business until they became favourably known, and according to the last account they numbered thirty-five; had work and sale-shops rented at £80 per year; had property to the extent of nearly £2000; and they have now in the Great Exhibition two pianos that reflect on them the highest credit as skilful workmen.
In August 1848 fourteen workmen, with a stock in trade of £91, 4s. and £20 in cash, formed the 'Fraternal Association of Working Filemakers.' Their shop was opened in December 1848, and during the first fortnight the produce of their work was 16s. to each man. In 1849 they received an advance of £400 from the government, and since that time they have prospered to such an extent, that in December last they were forty-two in number, had two sale-shops, and paid £89 per annum in rent and taxes. Their business is said to be worth £2400 a year, on which a net profit of from 14 to 15 per cent. is realised. They have purchased “a patent for improvements in file-making, which, without any increased expenditure, enables them to sell their files from 25 to 30 per cent. cheaper than the best French files hitherto manufactured, and to supplant even the English. For the working of this patent they have borrowed £2000 at 5 per cent., together with a share in profits.' The wages paid are about one-fifth more than the average of the trade.
The experience, however, of these associations can never be a safe guide to British workmen. They exist under an entirely different law, amid a totally dissimilar class of social arrangements, and among an excitable people eager in their attempts to realise impracticable theories. A brief outline of the history of some of those established in our own country will be more useful than any more extended account of those in Paris.
The statements that appeared in the 'Morning Chronicle about two years ago regarding the condition of the labouring poor in London excited general interest and sympathy. The distressed state of the tailors and needlewomen in particular was brought conspicuously into notice, and the attention of the benevolent was roused to the adoption of some means by which their state might be improved. It was easy to foresee that any temporary means of relief would be of little value, and that something very different from the establishment of charitable institutions must be done. The problem to be solved was briefly this : given a certain number of workers to find employment for them at good wages. The circumstances under which this problem had to be solved were, that the demand for the labour of these workers was less than the supply, and that the competition that necessarily followed reduced the rate of wages. But few of those who directed their attention to the subject considered it in this naked aspect. It became complicated with questions arising out of the selfish conduct of some of the large employers, and that conduct was in too many instances regarded as the cause of the evils complained of. Those who considered it a question of supply and demand,' and proposed to reduce the supply of labour by encouraging it to take a different direction, either through emigration or otherwise, were stigmatised as cold, heartless economists. The workers themselves held several meetings at which the subject was discussed; but these meetings were little else than time thrown away; and all that they did was to give expression to a vague belief tha the evil arose from competition, and that co-operation was the remedy.
In these circumstances a number of gentlemen in London, anxious to see something of a practical nature done, and desirous of testing the idea of industrial associations, offered to lend money and to give other assistance to a few bodies of work-people, to enable them to commence business. The first association created by this encouragement was one of tailors, who opened a shop in Castle Street, London, in the beginning of 1850. Other associations were speedily formed, and up to 30th June last there had been advanced the following sums :Tailors' Association,
£378 9 Shoemakers'
279 8 0 Strong Shoemakers’ Association,
129 12 0 Printers'
284 1 Bakers'
57 18 0 Bootmakers'
44 12 6 For the use of this money the associations were to pay interest at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum, and each was to appoint a manager, approved of by the lenders, in whom the property of the association was to be vested, and who was to give to the lenders a bill of sale, thus giving them complete control over the property purchased by their advances. A code of laws was also prepared for the government of each association.
The working-tailors have been the most successful. In sixteen months after commencing business they had repaid out of the profits £142, 10s. of capital; and their wages averaged, including their share in the profits, about 35s. per week to each. The prices which the association charged were from 30 to 40 per cent. below the first West-end houses, but no decidedly inferior articles were made, as the association never pretended to compete with the excessively cheap houses. It is, however, a curious fact, that the association gave in an estimate at their usual prices for the livery of a marquis, and obtained the work, even though among their competitors was
a firm which the “Morning Chronicle' letters brought very prominently before the public. The number of workmen who started the association was twelve; of these nine are still connected with it. Some of these had employment when the association commenced, and they were for the most part fair average workmen, some of whom would have little difficulty in procuring employment elsewhere. The greatest number associated at one time has been thirty-five, and the applications for employment that have been rejected have been innumerable. The affairs have not been conducted with constant unanimity and good-feeling. Quarrels have arisen between the manager and the workmen that required to be settled by arbitration, and which resulted in the expulsion of some of the men. In a recent communication to the Christian Socialist' on this subject, the manager wrote, speaking of the commencement of the association: We called each other brothers, sung songs about “labour's social chivalry;" we did wonders in the way of work and profit, and for four or five months all went smoothly enough. But the slack season came for which we had not provided, and brought with it those terrible evils of jealousy and disunion. However painful it was at that time, I for one do not regret passing through “ the fiery ordeal”—for association is a furnace in which men are tried--so I do not regret, although jealousy and disunion have destroyed one flourishing association of builders
, and caused much that was unpleasant and painful among almost all the other associations ; although at one time they threatened to destroy us altogether.' All the work of the association is done on the premises ; the workrooms have been made airy and healthful; a small library has been collected, and a bath-room fitted up.
The associations of shoemakers have not succeeded so well. Three were at first started—one in Holborn, one in Castle Street, and one in Tottenham Court Road. The first and last have amalgamated, and the second has been given up. The shoemakers of London are in a much less distressed condition than the tailors, and the rule of the associations requiring all work to be done on the premises is strongly objected to by many of the workmen, who have so long been accustomed to work at home.
The builders' association was established in May 1850 by twelve workmen. No association could have been more prosperous or fortunate. They were assisted at the outset by loans and advances on their work; they were kept in constant employment, and fulfilled all their contracts in a good and workmanlike manner. On 7th February 1851 they had repaid loans and advances, and had made altogether, after expending £713 in "allowances '—that is, wages—a clear profit of £235. In the same month (February) the association was broken up. Why? Because,' to use the words of the manager, we suspected each other, opposed each other -ay, hated each other; and fellowship at last was not to be found
Among the numerous provincial associations we have space to speak in detail of two only—the Whit Lane Weaving Company' at Pendleton, near Manchester, and "The People's Flour-Mill' at Leeds. In the course of last year strike for wages took place at the works of Sir E. Armitage and Son at Pendleton. Various meetings were held, at which the men spoke very freely of the conduct of their masters, and complained bitterly of the low rate of wages they received. In reply, Messrs Armitage published in a Manchester newspaper their wages' list for the three weeks immediately preceding, specifying the amount paid to every man, woman, and child in their employment. From this it appeared that the average sum per week paid to each person, young and old, male and female, in the mills, was 12s. This set the dispute right with the public; but the men were 'out,' and as they were supported to some extent by a union-fund, they continued out. In these circumstances a clergyman in the neighbourhood (the Rev. T. G. Lee), who has great faith in the co-operative principle, recommended the men, instead of lying idle and prolonging a useless contest, to commence work on their own account, and thus ó substitute a practical, self-reliant spirit for a pauper-like dependence on union support.' In a short time shares to the extent of nearly £1500 were taken up, and ultimately a capital of £2000 was subscribed. A building was erected, machinery purchased and fitted up, and it was said that the late employers of the men offered to purchase all they could produce at the fair market-price. The number of looms in the building is 66, of which 60 are ready for and most of them are really at work. The number of persons employed is at present about 48. The net profits on the first half-year's work, after paying allowances, were about £100. This company supplies the working-tailors' association in London with pocket-lining and other similar material used in making clothes. The great difficulties against which it has had to contend have been a poverty of capital and a surplus of labour; jealousy, ignorance, and disunion. In addition to the original cost of the machinery, each of the looms should have for its supply alone a floating capital of about £6—that is, £3 worth of material always in it, and as much in the warehouse ready to take the place of the former as soon as it has been woven. In addition to this there must be money for wages and other expenses, and the produce of the mill must be quickly sold, otherwise the capital will soon be exhaustedin perhaps about ten days. This is a difficulty, the practical knowledge of which has hitherto been confined chiefly to the employers; and when working-men thus find it out through the medium of that true but most severe of all teachers, experience, they will look with very different feelings on the actions of employers. Again, the number of shareholders, chiefly working-men, was much greater than the means of employing them; and as each considered he had a right to employment in a mill in part at least his own, a constant series of quarrels was the result, which it required the utmost prudence and self-denial to suppress. It is said, however, that the company is getting over these difficulties, that confidence is rising, and that everything indicates future prosperity.
• The Leeds District Flour - Mill Society' was formed in 1847, having for its objects to purchase corn as cheap and as good as possible, and
. manufacture flour for the members only, which shall be delivered to them at as near prime cost as possible. The amount of each share was fixed at one pound or upwards, payable in sums of not less than one shilling per week. The shares were declared to be not transferable, but the investment of each member shall be employed for the sole benefit of the member investing, or the husband, wife, child, or kindred of such member investing.'