APPEAL TO THE WEALTHY.
It is highly probable that these were generally heads of families; but say that only two-thirds were of that description, and that each of them averaged two in family besides himself, it would make an aggregate of about 2,150,000 souls of the labouring population, who do not look to the poor rates in times of sickness or want of employment. The population of England was at that time about 10,000,000; of course, the above number constituted a fifth of the whole. What a triumphant fact in favour of the providence of the labouring classes in England and Wales, notwithstanding the various circumstances connected with their situation, tending to degrade and render them reckless! How complete a refutation of the unceasing vituperation under which they labour! The importance of this fact is greatly enhanced by the consideration of the paltry wages the mass of the labouring classes receive; and how ill they can spare any part of them to make such provident provision for future distress.
A feature in the connexion between the manufacturers and the operatives in England, which has a tendency to degrade and pauperize the latter, and, of course, to increase the poor rates, deserves to be noticed. When work is slack, the former combine to lower wages: this they can effect without any difficulty, their numbers being small; of course they can readily co-operate in any plans they may form: and the necessities of the operatives, who depend on their weekly wages for their weekly support, oblige them to submit. But when the demand for goods is brisk, the rise of wages must be either voluntary on the part of the employers, which rarely takes place, or by an association among the operatives, which, considering their numbers, is not easily effected; and which, moreover, if attempted to be enforced upon those who cannot or will not voluntarily acquiesce in the arrangement, is, by law, a criminal offence, subjecting the parties to fine and imprisonment. It is obvious, therefore, that the war is carried on between the manufacturers and their journeymen upon very unequal terms, to the great disadvantage of the latter.
Philadelphia, July 19, 1833.
It is frequently asked—what remedy can be found for the enormous and cruel oppression experienced by females employed as seamstresses on coarse work, spoolers, &c.? While these classes are so much more numerous than the demand for their services requires, a complete remedy for the evil is, I am afraid, impracticable. I venture to suggest a few palliatives.
1. Public opinion, a powerful instrument, ought to be brought to bear on this subject. All honourable members of society, male and female, ought to unite in denouncing those who 'grind the faces of the poor,' by taking female labour widthout a compensation at least adequate for the support of human existence. The pulpit ought to unite in this crusade against a crying injustice, productive of such distressing consequences.
2. Let the employments of females be multiplied as much as possible. They are admirably calculated for various occupations from which they are at present in a great degree excluded, more especially shop-keeping in retail stores.
3. The poorer class ought to have exclusively the business of white-washing and other low employments, now in a great degree monopolized by men.
4. Let the Provident Societies, intended to furnish employment for women in winter, be munificently supported; and let those Societies give fair and