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. -529 PDF (6.3 MB)
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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