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1638.) "In what respect?" "In a physical respect." (n. 1639.) "Why should education be more valuable to them than to other classes of lads?" "I do not know that it is more valuable; but through the over-exertion in mines there is less chance for the boys that are employed there to get education, either at Sunday schools, or at day schools." (n. 1640.) "It is impossible to look at a question of this sort absolutely by itself?" (n. 1644.) "Is there a sufficiency of schools?" — "No"... (n. 1646). "If the State were to require that every child should be sent to school, would there be schools for the children to go to?" "No; but I think if the circumstances were to spring up, the schools would be forthcoming." (n. 1647.) "Some of them (the boys) cannot read and write at all, I suppose?" "The majority cannot.. The majority of the men themselves cannot." (ns. 705, 725.) III. Employment of women. — Since 1842 women are no more employed underground, but are occupied on the surface in loading the coal, &c., in drawing the tubs to the canals and railway waggons, in sorting, &c. Their numbers have considerably increased during the last three or four years. (n. 1727.) They are mostly the wives, daughters, and widows of the working miners, and their ages range from 12 to 50 or 60 years. (ns. 645, 1779.) "What is the feeling among the working miners as to the employment of women?" "I think they generally condemn it." (n.
to 10s. a week)?" "I cannot speak to that." (n. 709.) "You would still be prepared, would you," (flint-hearted fellow!) "to prevent their obtaining a livelihood by these means?" "I would." (n. 710.) "What is the general feeling in the district... as to the employment of women?" "The feeling is that it is degrading; and we wish as miners to have more respect to the fair sex than to see them placed on the pit bank... Some part of the work is very hard; some of these girls have raised as much as 10 tons of stuff a day." (ns. 1715,1717.) "Do you think that the women employed about the collieries are less moral than the women employed in the factories?" "...the percentage of bad ones may be a little more... than with the girls in the factories." (n. 1237.) "But you are not quite satisfied with the state of morality in the factories?" "No." (n. 1733.) "Would you prohibit the employment of women in factories also?" "No, I would not." (n. 1734.) "Why not?" "I think it a more honourable occupation for them in the mills." (n. 1735.) "Still it is injurious to their morality, you think?" "Not so much as working on the pit bank; but it is more on the social position I take it; I do not take it on its moral ground alone. The degradation, in its social bearing on the girls, is deplorable in the extreme. When these 400 or 500 girls become colliers' wives, the men suffer greatly from this degradation, and it causes them to leave their homes and drink." (n. 1736.) "You would be obliged to stop the employment of women in the ironworks as well, would you not, if you stopped it in the collieries?" "I cannot speak for any other trade."
(n. 1737.) "Can you see any difference in the circumstances of women employed in ironworks, and the circumstances of women employed above ground in collieries?" "I have not ascertained anything as to that." (n. 1740.) "Can you see anything that makes a distinction between one class and the other?" "I have not ascertained that, but I know from house to house visitation, that it is a deplorable state of things in our district...." (n. 1741.) "Would you interfere in every case with the employment of women where that employment was degrading?" "It would become injurious, I think, in this way: the best feelings of Englishmen have been gained from the instruction of a mother... (n. 1750.) "That equally applies to agricultural employments, does it not?" "Yes, but that is only for two seasons, and we have work all the four seasons." (n. 1751.) "They often work day and night, wet through to the skin, their constitution undermined and their health ruined." "You have not inquired into that subject perhaps?" "I have certainly taken note of it as I have gone along, and certainly I have seen nothing parallel to the effects of the employment of women on the pit bank.... It is the work of a man... a strong man." (ns. 1753, 1793, 1794.) "Your feeling upon the whole subject is that the better class of colliers who desire to raise themselves and humanise themselves, instead of deriving help from the women, are pulled down by them?" "Yes." (n. 1808.) After some further crooked questions from these bourgeois, the secret of their "sympathy" for widows, poor families, &c., comes out at last. "The coal proprietor appoints certain gentlemen to take the oversight of the workings, and it is their policy, in order to receive approbation, to place things on the most economical basis they can, and these girls are employed at from 1s. up to 1s. 6d. a day, where a man at the rate of 2s. 6d. a day would have to be employed." (n. 1816.) IV. Coroner's inquests. — "With regard to coroner's inquests in your district, have the workmen confidence in the proceedings at those inquests when accidents occur?" "No; they have not." (n. 360.) "Why not?" "Chiefly because the men who are generally chosen, are men who know nothing about mines and such like." "Are not workmen summoned at all upon the juries?" "Never but as witnesses to my knowledge." "Who are the people who are generally summoned upon these juries?" "Generally tradesmen in the neighbourhood... from their circumstances they are sometimes liable to be influenced by their employers... the owners of the works. They are generally men who have no knowledge, and can scarcely understand the witnesses who are called before them, and the terms which are used and such like." "Would you have the jury composed of persons who had been employed in mining?" "Yes, partly... they (the workmen) think that the verdict is not in accordance with the evidence given generally." (ns. 361, 364, 366, 368, 371, 375.) "One great object in summoning a jury is to have an impartial one, is it not?" "Yes, I should think so." "Do you think that the juries would be impartial if they were composed to a considerable extent of workmen?" "I cannot see any motive which the workmen would have to act partially... they necessarily have a better knowledge of the operations in connexion with the mine." "You do not think there would be a tendency on the part of the workmen to return unfairly severe verdicts?" "No, I think not." (ns. 378, 379, 380.) V. False weights and measures. — The workmen demand to be paid weekly instead of fortnightly, and by weight instead of by cubical contents of the tubs; they also demand protection against the use of false weights, &c. (n. 1071.) "If the tubs were fraudulently increased, a man. could discontinue working by giving 14 days' notice?" "But if he goes to another place, there is the same thing going on there."
(n. 1071.) "But he can leave that place where the wrong has been committed?" "It is general; wherever he goes, he has to submit to it."
(n. 1072.) "Could a man leave by giving 14 days' notice?" "Yes." (n. 1073.) And yet they are not satisfied!
VI. Inspection of mines. — Casualties from explosions are not the only things the workmen suffer from. (n. 234, sqq.) "Our men complained very much of the bad ventilation of the collieries... the ventilation is so bad in general that the men can scarcely breathe;
they are quite unfit for employment of any kind after they have been for a length of time in connexion with their work; indeed, just at the part of the mine where I am working, men have been obliged to leave their employment and come home in consequence of that... some of them have been out of work for weeks just in consequence of the bad state of the ventilation where there is not explosive gas... there is plenty of air generally in the main courses, yet pains are not taken to get air into the workings where men are working." "Why do you not apply to the inspector?" "To tell the truth there are many men who are timid on that point; there have been cases of men being sacrificed and losing their employment in consequence of applying to the inspector." "Why is he a marked man for having complained?" "Yes...... And he finds it difficult to get employment in another mine?" "Yes." "Do you think the mines in your neighbourhood are sufficiently inspected to insure a compliance with the provisions of the Act?" "No; they are not inspected at all... the inspector has been down just once in the pit, and it has been going seven years.... In the district to which I belong there are not a sufficient number of inspectors. We have one old man more than 70 years of age to inspect more than 130 collieries." "You wish to have a class of sub-inspectors?" "Yes." (ns. 234, 241, 251, 254, 274, 275, 554, 276, 293.) "But do you think it would be possible for Government to maintain such an army, of inspectors as would be necessary to do all that you want them to do, without information from the men?" "No, I should think it would be next to impossible...." "It would be desirable the inspectors should come oftener?" "Yes, and without being sent for." (n. 280, 277.) "Do you not think that the effect of having these inspectors examining the collieries so frequently would be to shift the responsibility (!) of supplying proper ventilation from the owners of the collieries to the Government officials?" "No, I do not think that, I think that they should make it their business to enforce the Acts which are already in existence." (n. 285.) "When you speak of sub-inspectors, do you mean men at a less salary, and of an inferior stamp to the present inspectors?" "I would not have them inferior, if you could get them otherwise." (n. 294.) "Do you merely want more inspectors, or do you want a lower class of men as an inspector?" "A man who would knock about, and see that things are kept right; a man who would not be afraid of himself." (n. 295.) "If you obtained your wish in getting an inferior class of inspectors appointed, do you think that there would be no danger from want of skill, &c?" "I think not, I think that the Government would see after that, and have proper men in that position." (n. 297.) This kind of examination becomes at last too much even for the chairman of the committee, and he interrupts with the observation: "You want a class of men who would look into all the details of the mine, and would go into all the holes and corners, and go into the real facts... they would report to the chief inspector, who would then bring his scientific knowledge to bear on the facts they have stated?" (ns. 298, 299.) "Would it not entail very great expense if all these old workings were kept ventilated?" "Yes, expense might be incurred, but life would be at the same time protected." (n. 53 1.) A working miner objects to the 17th section of the Act of 1860; he says, "At the present time, if the inspector of mines finds a part of the mine unfit to work in, he has to report it to the mine-owner and the Home Secretary. After doing that, there is given to the owner 20 days to look over the matter; at the end of 20 days he has the power to refuse making any alteration in the mine;
but, when he refuses, the mine-owner writes to the Home Secretary, at the same time nominating five engineers, and from those five engineers named by the mine-owner himself, the Home Secretary appoints one, I think, as arbitrator, or appoints arbitrators from them;
now we think in that case the mine-owner virtually appoints his own arbitrator." (n. 581.) Bourgeois examiner, himself a mine-owner:
"But... is this a 'Merely speculative objection?" (n. 586.) "Then you have a very poor opinion of the integrity of mining engineers?" "It is most certainly unjust and inequitable." (n. 588.) "Do not mining engineers possess a sort of public character, and do not you think that they are above making such a partial decision as you apprehend?" "I do not wish to answer such a question as that with respect to the personal character of those men. I believe that in many cases they would act very partially indeed, and that it ought not to be in their hands to do so, where men's lives are at stake." (n. 589.) This same bourgeois is not ashamed to put this question: "Do you not think that the mine-owner also suffers loss from an explosion?" Finally, "Are not you workmen in Lancashire able to take care of your own interests without calling in the Government to help you?" "No." (n. 1042.) In the year 1865 there were 3,217 coal mines in Great Britain, and 12 inspectors. A Yorkshire mine-owner himself calculates (Times, 26th January, 1867), that putting on one side their office work, which absorbs all their time, each mine can be visited but once in ten years by an inspector. No wonder that explosions have increased progressively, both in number and extent (sometimes with a loss of 200-300 men), during the last ten years. These are the beauties of "free" capitalist production! [This sentence has been added to the English text in conformity with the 4th German edition. — Ed.] The very defective Act, passed in 1872, is the first that regulates the hours of labour of the children employed in mines, and makes exploiters and owners, to a certain extent, responsible for so-called accidents.
The Royal Commission appointed in 1867 to inquire into the employment in agriculture of children, young persons, and women, has published some very important reports. Several attempts to apply the principles of the Factory Acts, but in a modified form, to agriculture have been made, but have so far resulted in complete failure. All that I wish to draw attention to here is the existence of an irresistible tendency towards the general application of those principles.