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THERE died lately a cotton manufacturer,
known as a patriarch among those of his calling,
whose first spinning was by handwho
then used a machine, worked in the beginning
by a donkeyin the end by a horse;—
who then used, like his neighbours, a Newcomen's
engine; and, at last, a Watt of five
hundred horse-power. This gentleman had
been part of the cotton-trade during all the
vicissitudes attendant on its growth, and it
was a natural law of the trade, in his opinion,
that, after the first steps forward had been
taken, no improvement was made in the
manufacture, except under the pinch of
thread-bare profits. It is when prices fall
when master and men suffer lossthat the
master casts about for ways of reducing
the cost of production and obtaining his old
profit out of the new market price. It is
often supposed that he does this at the
expense of his workpeople, and this seems
clearly to be the case when he discovers,
under such a pressure, that the two looms
worked by two men at eleven shillings a-week
each, may be worked by one man at
sixteen shillings. Such discoveries by masters
lead not unfrequently to strikes among the

It is our purpose in this article to show
that all or the greater part of such apparent
cancelling of labour, works for good to the
labourer; that it is better for the whole community
of workmen that two looms should
employ one man at sixteen shillings to himself,
than two men at twenty-two shillings
between them; that the labourers who
thought their occupation taken from them
by the introduction of machinery to supersede
their handiwork, and who, in the first
burst of alarm, broke out into riot and
destroyed machines, were, in fact, quarrelling
with a power that was to do infinitely more
than any other mere invention has
accomplished for the elevation of their class. The
case as we now state it, is founded upon
information furnished by Mr. Edwin Chadwick,
to the recent Philanthropic Congress at
Brussels, and reported in the Journal of the
Society of Arts on the fourteenth of last
November and the twenty-sixth of last

The general argument starts from the fact
that depressed markets force the manufacturer,
if possible, to cheapen the cost of
production. He may do so by placing two
spindles instead of one under the care of a
workman; but, when he does that, he must
needs exercise double care in the choice of
an able and trustworthy workman, and must
make a considerable addition to his wages.
This charge involves a temporary lessening
of the number of hands employed at the
lowest rate of wages, but it establishes a
permanent demand for improved labour at
an improved price. Again, production may
be cheapened by increasing the speed of
machinery. Thus, in weaving, there is now
more cloth turned off in a week's work of
sixty hours, than was manufactured formerly
in seventy-six hours.

Production having been cheapened, the
price of the article produced continues to
be low, and, by the lowering of price,
there is obtained an increase of demand
which very soon brings up to (or, more
commonly, raises beyond) the old scale
the number of men occupied in the business of
producing. Thus, there is still work for the
old number of hands, and usually for some
new hands, too: while there remains the fact
that an improved class of workmen has been
instituted, that so many men, who might
otherwise have remained near the bottom,
have gone up a step or two higher in the
social scale. This is as certainly the case
when cheapness has been obtained by
improvement of machinery, as when it has been
obtained by a direct call for improved labour.
The more valuable the machine is made, the
more delicate is the trust reposed in the person
by whom it is worked, the more carefully
must he be selected, and the better
must he be paid.

But that is not the whole benefit to the
working man, resulting from increase of
cheapness. Not only has there been established
an increase of sale, but its extension
has been among persons of the middle and
lower class. While articles are by their
costliness especially confined to the use of the
rich, the market for them is uncertain,
because it is affected by the freaks of fashion.
When the demand for them passes from a
higher to a lower class of consumers, the use