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AN assembly of manufacturers in the
North, met, last month, for the purpose of
combining in what they are pleasant enough to call
a National Association for resistance to the
law, which requires accidents to be prevented
by the fencing of their dangerous machinery.
It so happened that just before their meeting
was held, attention had been called, in this
journal, to the subject of preventible accidents
in factories, and to the proper determination
now shown by the government (Heaven
knows it does little enough that is proper), to
enforce those clauses of the Factory Act which
aim at their prevention.

We could not, indeed, pass over without
mention, or mention with admiration, the
active resistance offered by a large body of
mill-owners to the order for the fencing of
shafts, which, being unfenced, destroy and
mutilate every year a large number of
workmen. At the same time, however, we did
by no means bring against mill-owners as a
class a sweeping accusation of barbarity, but,
on the contrary, gave, what we thought, just
prominence to several facts, showing how
benevolent and noble it was in their power
and not seldom in their willto be. Though
not very unreasonably, we hopeadverse
to that particular system of fencing with
humanity, of which we spoke, and which this
National Association of factory occupiers is
intended to maintain, we were, and still are,
disposed generally to agree with the opinion
expressed by one speaker, at the aggregate
meeting which produced such an association,
that "among the cotton manufacturers of this
country there is as much kindness, benevolence,
charity, and philanthropy, as amongst
any other class of her Majesty's subjects."

But, our agreement in any such opinion can
by no means be founded on the evidence
produced at the said meeting. It was held, as
we said before, very soon after we had called
attention to the present state of the dispute
over the lives and limbs of operatives ; and
we are indebted to this chance for getting
from those who disagree with us the best
specific answer they could give to the case, as
set forth by ourselves, chiefly in the shape
of a statement offered by the chairman of the
meeting, which it was hoped, by a speaker,
"would travel through the length and
breadth of the land, and prove an antidote to
the trash, the poison, published on Saturday
in Household Words." We have procured
the antidote, and by no means intend to
withhold it from our readers. It was
produced as a grievance, at this meeting, that
such offences as those which the National
Association undertook to justify should be
"poeticised in twopenny publications for the
benefit of pseudo-philanthropists." The real
philanthropists (who we suppose are the men
not squeamish about a few spots of spilt
brain, or a leg or an arm more or less upon a
poor man's body), shall plead in justification
all that they have to plead : poeticising for
themselves, not only in the Manchester Town
Hall, but also more immediately before our
pseudo-philanthropic readers.

The chairman of the National Association,
and of the aggregate meeting at which it was
formed, on the seventeenth of April last,
began his introductory address with a brief
account of the course taken by the Home
Office with respect to the clauses in the
Factory Act, relating to the fencing of machinery,
and of the "storm" in Manchester, produced
by the recent determination that this portion
of the Act shall be enforced more thoroughly
than heretofore. Thus far the chairman's
account tallied exactly with our own ; and he
went on to say that, as deputations had failed
at the Home Office, an aggregate meeting of
the trade had been summoned to meet on the
tenth of April, had been adjourned for a
week, and was the meeting then before him.
The chairman next dwelt on the prejudice
entertained against mill-owners as a class,
which he showed to be manifested by the
circulars of the Home Office, by the prosecutions
of unfenced machinery, by the almost
carrying through the House of Commons of a
bill which they opposedfor, as another
speaker put it, "in a pretty full house, they
were only in a majority of eight," (Pity the
sorrows of a persecuted interest !)—and by
an article in this journal, on unfenced
machinery, part of which he proceeded then to
read, out of a morning paper. The statements
derived by us, from the reports of the
factory inspectors, and the opinions founded
on them, he then proceeded to answer. The
main point of his answer was, Look not at the