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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XII, Part II (1899)

Jones, Edward D.
Chartism -- a chapter in English industrial history,   pp. [509]-529 PDF (6.3 MB)


Page 510


Jones-Chartism.
developed the power of masses of capital before labor learned
to mass itself wisely for resistance. The ethical and social as-
pects of the new method of production, as it built itself upon
the ruins of the old order, were anything but encouraging.
  The gathering of workmen together in factory towns, made
up of one class of population, took them away from the villages
and country districts where there had been some sort of friendly
social intercourse between themselves and the middle classes
and the local landlords. In the "Deserted Village," which
Goldsmith mourned, they had known and respected the personal
life of the village parson, and they had themselves been consid-
ered as friends and neighbors and not merely as one of the costs
of production. When the wage-earners passed into the factories
their dwellings were huddled together in separate quarters of
large cities. Lord John Russell said in a speech in Parliament,
describing the great manufacturing and mining districts of
England: " The mass of the people there were constituted of
one great working class and of the few individuals by whom
they were employed, and who had but little connection with
them of the sort calculated to produce that species of subordi-
nation which prevailed in other communities. In those districts
of the country there were not those means of religious and
moral instruction which were required for knitting men together
in society."  There was great promiscuity both as to living and
sleeping rooms. The overpopulation of certain city districts
resulted in dirty streets and imperfect sewerage. There was a
lack of parks and playgrounds for children. There was little
opportunity for recreation of any sort except such as could be
made to support vicious institutions. Prices of edibles rose so
high that huxters were known to have done a thriving business
in selling putrid meats and decayed vegetables. Such articles
even found their way into city markets, for the inspection was
not as rigid as it is at present. Cheap clothing of rotten shoddy
fibre took the place of the warm and durable homespuns.' The
   1 Carlyle described the clothing of the poorer classes thus: "
They
wear
 a suit of tatters, the getting on or off which is said to be a difficult
opera-
 tion, transacted only at festivals and the high tides of the calendar."
510


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