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Full text of "Economic conditions, 1815 and 1914"

ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



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ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 
1815 & 1914 



H. R. HODGES, B.Sc. (Econ.) 





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LONDON : GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD. 
RUSKIN HOUSE 40 MUSEUM STREET W.C. 



First publisJied in 1917 



{All rights reserved) 



PREFACE 

This essay was originally written under the title 
of " The Economic Condition of the People of 
England in 1815 in Comparison with the Present 
Day," and won the Paul Philip Reitlinger Prize in 
the University of London in 1915. The subject was 
set in the autumn of 1914, and the essay was written 
before the effects of the war (apart from the confusion 
at its outbreak) on the national welfare had begun to 
be felt, or their significance realized. In 1815 the 
country, with the rest of Europe, awoke from a 
nightmare of war. In 1914 Europe entered into a 
second and more terrible nightmare, in which Eng- 
land is more involved than in the previous case. 

At the present time when half the able-bodied male 
population is cheerfully submitting to a complete 
regimen of work, religion, diet, sleep, clothing, clean- 
liness, and rate and manner of movement; when the 
remainder of the population is grumblingly acquiesc- 
ing in the restrictions of lighting facilities, the regula- 
tion of food and drink supply and other annoyances; 
when economic England has become England at war, 
war being the negation of economics ; and when, to 
quote a true statement by the German Chancellor, 



6 PREFACE 

" the spiritual and material progress which were the 
pride of Europe at the beginning of the twentieth 
century are threatened with ruin ; " this survey of the 
effect of a century's progress on the economic condi- 
tions of the people of England, is pubHshed in the 
hope that, as the history of the past century has dis- 
played the abihty of the "people" to occupy fitly a 
position of ever-growing importance in the economy 
of the nation and to deal successfully with internal 
problems, so the development of that ability will, in 
the present century, extend with salutary results 
to the wider and more intricate field of international 
problems. 

H. R. HODGES. 
December 1916. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

FAOB 

LSTBODUCTION ...... 9 



CHAPTER n 
POPULATION ..... 22 

CHAPTER in 
FIXAKCE ...... 35 

CHAPTER IV 
OCCUPATIONS ..... 47 

CHAPTER V 
BEMX7MEBATI0N . . . . .70 

CHAPTER VI 
COKCLUSIOK ..... 89 



ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 

1815 AND 1914 

CHAPTEE I 

INTRODUCTION 

The importance of the date " 1815 " for the purpose 
of comparison with the present day is due to cir- 
cumstances which may well be described by the 
following quotations : "The history of the nineteenth 
century begins about 1780 when the cotton inventions 
of Arkwright and others were taking effect and when 
the Bridgewater canals and improved roads were 
making transport comparatively cheap and easy," ^ 
but "During the course of the [Napoleonic] War, 
England suspended almost all internal improvement." ^ 
" The year 1815, indeed, marks an epoch. . . . 
Twenty-five years before as it seemed Europe had 
fallen into a dream ; the dream had rapidly grown 
into a nightmare, and now the world, having by 
dint of desperate effort thrown off the incubus and 

• Lord Welby, Journal of tlie Statistical Society, January 1915. 
= C. A. Fyffe, " History of Modern Europe," popular edition, 
p. 367. 

9 



10 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

waked, looked forward to a life of sober reality, a 
period not of dreams but of facts." ^ 

The fact that the year 1815 so excellently marks the 
date of the " awakening " to a life of sober reahty 
renders it peculiarly difficult to estimate the condition 
of the people of the time. The economic stirrings 
prior to the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars were 
overshadowed by and subordinated to a state of affairs 
in which the economic machinery was deranged. On 
the other hand, the immensity of the development 
in all branches of human activity in the hundred 
years following 1815 invests the inquiry with great 
interest. 

" Few perhaps realize that the whole framework of 
modern life is economic . . . fewer still know how 
new a thing that framework really is — that it began 
with machinery and steam and has been built up 
within a century." = 

Although, in view of these statements, the warning 
of Maitland, that economic history is not catastrophic, 
may not be applicable to the nineteenth century, 
nevertheless, Mr. L. L. Price's remark that people 
are too prone to think that changes are not only 
catastrophic but simultaneous and uniform is only too 
true. In some places we find survivals, in others 
anticipations, for in economic matters inertia is 
great, and in the nineteenth century the forces 
to overcome that inertia have been partial in appli- 

' Alison Phillips, " Modern Europe," p. 1. 

" William Smart, "Economic Annals of the Nineteenth Century," 
vol. 1801-20. 



INTRODUCTION 11 

cation. The history of the first decades of the 
century is largely the history of the growth of that 
highly praised freedom to do those things which 
appeared to the practical men of the time to be 
beneficial — a freedom which took its origin in the 
revolutionary effects of the introduction of machinery 
and steam. 

One particular aspect of this laissez-faire move- 
ment needs special attention. Bagehot, in dealing 
with the "postulates" of political economy, treated 
transferability of labour and capital as the two 
most important assumptions underlying economic 
argument; and in comparing the economic condition 
of the people of England in 1815 with that of the 
people of 1914, the reduction of the "friction" which 
prevented mobility of labour in 1815 requires special 
notice. 

Mobility of labour may be analysed into two kinds 
— place-mobility and trade-mobility. AbiHty to move 
from place to place depends on legal restriction, and 
expense of moving; ability to move from trade to 
trade depends on Trade Union restriction, and the 
nature of the trades and the extent to which division 
of labour has been carried. The will to move from 
place to place or from trade to trade depends upon 
the spread of information which enables a com- 
parison of conditions to be made, and a state of 
general education which will enable people to take 
advantage of information available and give them 
confidence to trust themselves in new parts or other 
occupations. 



12 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

Locomotion. 

Private railways were first brought into use at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century in the New- 
castle collieries, but the first Act of Parliament for 
the construction of a public railway was passed in 
1801, and by 1815 only sixteen such Acts had been 
passed. The longest railway then contemplated was 
26 miles (including branch lines). As late as 1838, 
G. K. Porter spoke with pride of the existence of 
fifty-four four-horse and forty-nine pair-horse mail- 
coaches with an average speed of less than nine 
miles an hour. This rate of travelling was described 
by him as being " whirled along," the personal 
safety of the passengers not being so endangered as 
might have been expected on account of the improved 
construction of the coaches and roads and of the 
superior character of the drivers. This mode of 
conveyance was " costly." The country in 1815 
was, in fact, almost without passenger traffic. 

At the present time there are over 16,000 miles of 
double and single railway hne open in England 
and Wales, carrying passengers at the rate of Id. a 
mile to all parts of the country. There are in 
addition over 2,000 miles of tramways and light 
railways. Almost every large city has its own 
tramway system, which plays an important part in 
conveying workers to and from their work. No 
less than 2,500,000,000 passengers are now carried 
yearly on these 2,200 miles of tramway and light 
railway. 



INTRODUCTION 13 

Legal Restriction. 

" One instance will show the spirit of the Govern- 
ment in 1815. It was penal for a skilled artisan to 
seek a better market for his labour by going abroad. 
He might even be arrested if suspected of meaning 
to do so."^ The motives which prompted this 
restriction of the workman's freedom and the con- 
ditions which made its enforcement possible have 
long since disappeared. 

There was also the law of settlement, the founda- 
tion of which was a statute of 1662, the provisions 
of which were based on the fact that " by reason 
of some defects in the law, poor people are not 
restrained from going from one parish to another, 
and therefore do endeavour to settle themselves in 
those parishes where there is best stock" — a state of 
affairs which is in accordance with modern economics. 
Abundant evidence as to the extent to which this 
law was operative was furnished to a Committee 
appointed in 1815 to inquire into the state of men- 
dicity and vagrancy in the Metropolis and its 
neighbourhood. In the years 1812-15, when the 
average expenditure on the relief of the poor was 
just over six million pounds yearly, a further sum 
of £330,000 was spent yearly in " law, removals, 
etc." 

There is, unfortunately, no definite quantitative 
evidence of the immobility of the population in 1815 
compared with 1914. The following figures, relating 
to a quarter of a century later, emphasize the dif- 

• Lord Welby, Journal of tJie Statisiical Society, January 1915. 



14 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

ference. The census returns for 1841 show that per 
100 persons enumerated in that year 

159 in England, and 
13-9 in Wales, 

were residing out of the counties of their birth. 
The corresponding figures for England and Wales 
in 1911, per 100 males and females respectively, 
were 

32-9 males and 
35-1 females. 

Trade Unions. 

While in 1815 lack of education and information, 
legal restrictions and the expense of travelling 
hindered place-mobility, there was little restriction 
on trade-mobility, except indirectly owing to the 
localization of industries in some cases preventing 
change of trade without change of place. 

Prior to 1825 combinations of workmen were for- 
bidden. To-day the great industries of the country 
(excluding agriculture) are organized, and " there 
is . . . pretty general agreement that at present 
Trade Union ideas and regulations are very inimical, 
if not hostile, to trade-mobility — the many bitter 
and prolonged disputes being cited in proof. So 
long, for instance, as a bricklayer is prevented by 
his union from doing stone-mason work, or a pattern- 
maker from being a joiner, it is hopeless to speak 
of mobility. . . . Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, M.P., 
gives the reason quite frankly. ' The organization 



INTRODUCTION 15 

of labour is absolutely essential in view of the 
organization of capital, and it is practically im- 
possible to organize labour if there is much fluidity 
of labour between trade and trade.' " ^ 

Information and Education. 

Prior to 1833 not a penny of public money was 
spent on education. There existed in 1815 two 
societies for promoting education. They were the 
National Schools founded in 1811 by Dr. Andrew 
Bell, and the British Schools founded in 1814, con- 
tinuing the monitorial method of teaching favoured 
by Lancaster. Both classes of school were supported 
by voluntary efifort. Their work was partial and verj' 
ineflicient. The attitude of the governing class to- 
wards the question of popular education is described 
in a "recollection" of Brougham (who had been chair- 
man of a committee in 1816 appointed to consider 
the question of pubHc instruction) that he had been 
accused of aiming at "dictatorship" by "under- 
mining the foundations of all property." This fear 
of creating popular discontent was so great and 
persistent that even in 1847 G. R. Porter could say 
that the feeling "that an agricultural labourer was 
little above a brute, and that to educate him would 
merely have the effect of rendering him dissatisfied 
with his situation of life — is fast giving way to more 
enlightened and benevolent views." 

The state of education, in as far as ability to sign 
one's own name is a test, in 1815 is shown by an 

' Majority Report, Poor Law Commusion, 1905, Cd. 4499, p. 348. 



16 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS : 1815 & 19U 

examination of marriage registers for the years 
1839-44. Approximately one-third of the men and 
one-half of the women married in those years were 
unable to sign their own names. ^ The advance 
since that time has been enormous. Elementary 
education was made universally obtainable in 1870, 
compulsory by Acts of 1876 and 1880, and free in 
1891. Not only is elementary education universal, 
free, and compulsory everywhere until the age of 
12 years and in most places until the age of 14 years, 
but secondary and university education is becoming 
increasingly popular. Education, moreover, is re- 
garded not merely as beneficial but "as a matter 
of national importance," "a national investment."^ 

The benefit to the people themselves is referred 
to by Sir Kobert Giffen in the following terms : The 
expenditure on the old School Boards " may be 
regarded as an expenditure for the improvement of 
the whole people, by which their earning capacity 
is to be largely improved. "3 

The increased ability of the people of the country 
to take cognizance of matters other than the events 
occurring within the narrow circle of everyday life has 
called forth the large scale production of literature — 
newspapers and periodicals. It was not until 2nd 
November 1816 that the price of Cobbetfs Political 

• See G. R. Porter, " Progress of the Nation." Fifty per cent, of the 
people married were between 20 and 25 years of age, and 25 per cent, 
between 25 and 30 years of age in 1839-44. 

= Marshall, " Principles," 5th edition, p. 21G. 

3 " Statistics," edited by Henry Higgs, C.B. (1913). 



INTRODUCTION 17 

Begister was reduced from Is. O^d. to 2d. a copy, and 
it was then addressed, for the first time, "To the 
Journeymen and Labourers of England, Scotland, and 
Ireland." The power of Cobbett's writings helped to 
give the expression of discontent among the labouring 
classes a new direction, turning their energies from 
rioting and machine-breaking to pohtical agitation 
and other less violent methods of drawing attention 
to their condition. In addition to the function of 
popular instructor, the newspapers, by reason of their 
increased use and cheapness, became important means 
of directing all kinds of employers and workers to all 
sorts of workers and work respectively. 

In 1909 an immense advance on this method of 
"exchanging labour" was made by an Act establishing 
State Labour Exchanges, under the direction of the 
Board of Trade. The work of this new departure is 
shown by the tables on pages 18 and 19. 

It is seen that in 1914 over 2 million individuals 
effected 3^ million registrations for work ; that IJ 
million vacancies were notified to the Labour Ex- 
changes, of which over 1 million were filled, 800,000 
persons being provided with work at least once during 
the year. 

In each year since the Exchanges opened, the totals 
have shown an increase, but in all the tables the totals 
are formed roughly three-fifths of men, one-fifth of 
women, the remaining one-fifth being boys and girls, 
boys rather exceeding girls in number. 

From Tables II and III it is seen that about 
one-third of the registrations result in work being 

2 



18 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



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INTHODUCTION 



19 



found ; and that three-quarters of the vacancies 
notified are filled by the Exchanges. 



Table II. 

PERCENTAGES OF NU^IBERS REGISTERED FOR WHOM 
WORK WAS FOUND. 



Year. 


Hen. 


Women. 


Boys. 


Girls. 


ToUJ. 


1911 


27-5 


31-7 


46-7 


42-9 


310 


1912 


32-8 


32-9 


48-2 


43-4 


34-9 


1913 


30-8 


37-9 


54-1 


471 


34-9 


1914 


36-7 


33-6 


54-2 


41-3 


37-6 



Table III. 

PROPORTION PER CENT. OF VACANCIES FILLED TO 
VACANCIES NOTIFIED. 



Year. 


Men and Women. 


Boys and Girls. 


AU. 


1912 


800 


69-7 


77-9 


1913 


77-8 


66-6 


75-4 


1914 


76-9 


690 


75-5 



This work has not superseded that of the newspapers 
which continue to hnk up workers and employers. 

Casual labour is not included in the above tables. 
It is clearly a case for organization and regulation, 
and it receives special attention. In docks, for 



20 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

example, the amount of work is fluctuating, and, on 
account of harbour dues, demurrage, etc., it must be 
done quickly. The aim is to reduce to as small a 
number as possible the body of men doing odd jobs 
for which no skill is required and employment is 
intermittent. The work of the Labour Exchanges 
in this respect is shown in the following tables : — 



HOP AND FRUIT PICKING. 



Tear. 

1913 
1914 



Vacancies filled by 
Labour Exchanges. 

... 4,933 

... 8,031 



GENERAL POST OFFICE— CASUAL HELP.' 



Year. 


Applications. 


Vacancies filled. 


1911 


— 


33,264 


1912 


— 


39,700 


1913 


46,894 


42,343 


1914 


44,626 


35,553 



CASUAL REGISTER. 



Year. 


No. of Men 
(Individuals) 
given Casual 
Employ- 
ment. 


No. of 
Jobs Given. 


Dock. 


Cloth 
(Man- 
chester). 


Cotton 
(Liver- 
pool). 


1912 
1918 
1914 


5,510 
5,730 


224,036 
204,629 
154,967 


158,881 
133,658 
114,401 


62,047 
69,013 
38,914 


3,108 
1,958 
1,652 



' Included in tables previously given. 



INTRODUCTION 



21 



Other help is given to workers, in the form of 
the payment of fares for travelling to places where 
employment has been found through the Exchanges. 



Years. 


No. of Fares Paid. 


AmoTint Advanced 
(Bepayable). 


1913 
1914 
Total 1910-1914 


9.200 
20,300 
54,800 


£2,900 

£7,600 

£18,000 



CHAPTER II 

POPULATION 

In this chapter will be investigated some of the 
e£fects of the changes described in the last chapter 
by means of which the working population became 
able to understand its position and fitly to occupy 
a definite place in the economy- of the nation. 
Although the inquiry relates to the " people of 
England " the Welsh counties have been included 
within the definition of "England"; first, and chiefly, 
because so much statistical information relates to 
England and Wales as a whole, and because, in 
dealing with such data, the influence of Wales, on 
account of the smallness of its population, is not 
great ; secondly, because the counties are linked up 
industrially with the adjoining English counties. 

In spite of the modern practice of regarding the 
"people" of England as consisting of some large 
percentage of the population of England measured 
from the lower end of the social scale, it is in- 
expedient to attempt to draw a line at any par- 
ticular class of occupation or income. 

The " economic condition " of the people of 
England may be otherwise described as the state of 



POPULATION 23 

their material welfare, the investigation of which, 
for the purposes of comparison with 1815, covers 
much more than a statement of wages and prices 
which for a shorter period is frequently deemed 
sufficient. 

For the purpose of the inquiry the country has 
been divided into eight areas, in the composition of 
which attention has been paid to geographical 
proximity and industrial similarity. The latter con- 
sideration has not presented much difficulty in most 
cases, for the Industrial Revolution was in full 
progress at the time of the French wars, so that 
for the most part counties which had made headway 
in manufactures or mining or were still preponder- 
antly agricultural by 1815, are the leaders of their 
respective industries to-day. The differences of 
intensity (of agriculture or manufactures) have, 
however, become more marked. 

The growth of the population of England and 
Wales in the nineteenth century contrasts strikingly 
with that of the preceding century, when it is 
estimated (from parish registers and hearth and poll- 
tax returns) that the numbers increased only from 
5i millions to nearly 9 millions, two-thirds of the 
increment taking place after 1760 : — 



Tear. 

1700 
1710 
1720 
1730 



Population 
(thousand!). 


Increase per cent, 
in Preceding Decade 


5,475 


— 


5,240 


- 5 


5,565 


... -f 6 


5,796 ... 


... + 4 



24 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



Tear. 

1740 
1750 
1760 
1770 
1780 
1790 
1801 



Population 


Increase per cent. 


(thouBands). 


in Preceding Decade 


6,064 


... + 5 


6,467 


+ 7 


6,736 


... + 4 


7,428 


... + 10 


7,953 


... + 7 


8,675 


... + 9 


8,892 


4- 3 



Between 1811 and 1911 the population increased 
from 10,160,000 to 36,080,000, a 3|-fold increase. 
In the decade 1811-21 the rate of increase was 
18 per cent. This high percentage is described in 
Marshall's " Principles " as one of the results of 
" indiscriminate poor law allowances " and the 
removal of " the pressure of the great war and the 
high price of corn." 

In the succeeding nine decades the rate of increase 
has varied between 11 per cent, and 16 per cent. 



Decade. 


Per cent. Increase of 
Population.' 


1811-21 


181 


1821-31 


15-8 


1831-41 


145 


1841-61 


12-7 


1851-61 


11-9 


1861-71 


13-2 


1871-81 


14-4 


1881-91 


11-7 


1891-1901 


11-7 


1901-11 


10-9 



The changes in each of the eight areas into 
which the country has been divided are set out in 
the following table : — 

' Cd. 6399, p. 393, 



POPULATION 



25 



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lamorganBhir 

ire, Cheshir 
Westmorlan 
shire ... 
X, Essex, Hei 
, Hampshire, 
shire, Staffori 
kshire. Wo 

re, Wiitshir 
lire ... 
shire, Bedfor( 
ntingdonshir 

shire. Dorse 

arnarvonshir 
ire, Cardigai 
ishire, Shro; 


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hshire 
henshi 
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urham 
, Denh 
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sex, K 
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ptonsh 

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ouccsti 
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lesey, 

igomer 

Pembr 


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< 








South Wales — Monmout 
Breconshire, Carmart 

Northern — Cumberland, 
Northumberland, D 
Yorkshire, Flintshire, 

South - Ea htbrn— London, 
fordshire, Surrey, Bus 

Midland— Derbyshire, Nc 
shire, Leicestershire, 
cestershire, Northam] 

MiD-SouTii— Oxfordshire, 
Buckinghamshire, GL 

Eastern— Lincolnshire, C 
shire, Norfolk, Suil 
Rutlandshire 

South-Wehtkrn— Cornwa 
shire, Somersetshire 

Rest of Wales — Ang 
Merionethshire, Mont 
shire, Radnorshire, 
shiro, Herefordshire 


a 

■< 
o 

< 

a 

7. 








w 



































26 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

The statement above (page 23, lines 13-16) with 
reference to the workings of the Industrial Kevolution 
is confirmed by this table. Whether one considers 
columns (2) or (4), the order of districts is not much 
different from that in which they are placed by 
reference to column (5). Examination of the census 
returns shows that the same order holds good if 
the rates of increase in any decade of the century 
be substituted for either of the columns (2), (4), or (5). 
While, however, the order remains unchanged, it has 
been ascertained that the range of the increments per 
cent, has increased in almost every successive decade. 

If the individual county rates of increase of popula- 
tion be considered, the increase in the range is, of 
course, more marked than in the case of the groups. 
The change is illustrated in the following diagrams 
and table : — 





Counties showing the— 


Decade. 


Smallest Increase in 
Population. 


Greatest Increase in 
Population. 


1801-11 
1811-21 
1821-31 

1891-1901 
1901-11 


Per cent. 

Rutlandshire 

Radnorshire 5 

Yorkshire (N. Riding) 
and Merionethshire 3 

Westmorland ... - 3 
Merionethshire ... - 7 


Per cent. 
Merionethshire ... 34 
Lancashire 27 

Monmouthshire ... 3G 

Middlesex 46 

Middlesex 42 



The fact brought to light by the above figures, that 
those parts of the country (counties, one might say) 
which were developing manufactures, and in which 
the growth of population was very rapid in 1815, are 



POPULATION 



27 






DCCADL 
I8II-I8Z-I. 



3<Hmi MILC5. 
SOOTH- i/KTE»M 




I 



DECADL 
1901- 191 



niD-sovm 
eastekh 




liOWTH V/ALlS. 



tii^ 



-*r;- 



FERCE!rrAO£ cha:?gzs rs population of qbocps of cocntces 

OF ESGLAND Ajn) WAXES. 



28 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

the leaders to-day, has found its greatest exempHfi- 
cation in the case of towns. The manufacturing 
interests in the towns encouraged migration, so far 
preventing the rigid enforcement of the Settlement 
Law. According to Mr. Briggs : " Much of the move- 
ment was voluntary, and more, increased mobility must 
have come even if there had been no revolutions. The 
old Settlement Laws and the Statute of Apprentices, 
which regulated entry into trade, were still nominally 
in force, but were mere survivals and bound to become 
a dead letter should events turn against them." ^ As 
we have seen in Chapter I, events did turn against 
them, but the small headway made by the towns by 
the first decade of the century appears to afford proof 
of the efficiency of the physical and legal and intel- 
lectual hindrances to movement. 

" In 1801 the condition of things was that whilst a 
commencement had been made in the development of 
our manufactures and mines, things had not proceeded 
very far, and there was no town outside London which 
contained so many as 100,000 inhabitants. The num- 
ber of those which had at the least 4,000 inhabitants 
I make to have been 112 ; and there were smaller 
towns, ranging from a population of 1,000 upwards, 
to the number of 457. . . . Even of the smaller towns 
with 1,000 inhabitants and upwards, as many as 63 
were so mixed up with rural populations that I have 
found it better to merge them in the mass." ^ 

Mr. Welton's evidence is authentic. 

» " Economic History," p. 21G. 

* T. A. Welton, Journal of the Statistical Society, December 1900, 
p. 527 seq. 



POPULATION 



^ 



The table on pages 30 and 31 sets out the popu- 
lations of the largest of the towns (together with their 
10-yearly rates of increase) at the first four censuses. 
The figures are abstracted from "Accounts and Papers " 
of the 1831 enumeration (vol. 5). It purports to give 
all the towns in Great Britain having a population 
of 50,000 or more. Dundee with 45,000 and Hull 
with 48,000 are, however, included. 

Excluding the Scottish towns, there were then, in 
1811, seven towns with a population of at least 50,000. 
By 1821 the number had increased to eight. These 
eight towns contained, in 1821, 16 per cent, of the 
whole population of England and Wales. 

To compare with this we have, in 1911, no less 
than ninety-eight towns with a population of at least 
50,000. They contained 48 per cent, of the whole 
population of England and Wales. The distribution 
of these towns at the respective dates was as 
follows : — 



Districts 
(aa in Table on page 23). 


Number of Towns with Population 
of at leaat 50,000. 


1821. 


1911. 


South Wales 

Northern 

South-Eastern 

Midland 

Mid-South 

Eastern 

South-Western 

Rest of Wales 


2 
1 
1 
2 
1 
1 


4 

•4 


17 
8 


Total 


8 1 98 

! 



30 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 






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POPULATION 



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32 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



This again emphasizes the differences noted in 
dealing with county populations. 

Another aspect of the same question is given by the 
following figures : — 



Density of Population (England and Wales). 

Whole population (per 100 acres) 

Of population of districts whose characteristics 
were rural in 1911 (per 100 acres) 




The foregoing evidence of the urbanization of the 
population is emphasized by the table opposite. 

From the last column it is seen that after a certain 
point of size is attained, the rate of increase of 
population is checked — there is no more room in the 
town — a point of saturation is reached — the surplus 
population goes to spread the urban area outside the 
town boundary. If we deal with the rate of increase 
of all urban districts as compared with that of the whole 
country and of rural districts, we see evidence of the 
same thing. 

RATES OF INCREASE OF POPULATION.' 



Population of England and Wales 

(a) Population of 1,137 urban districts 

,, 98 largest towns 

,, G57 rural districts ... 

,, London 

,, 105 entirely rural registra 
tion districts 



1891-1901. 

Per cent. 

11-7 

15-2 

15-3 

2-9 

7-3 

1-8 



1901-11. 



Per cent. 

10-9 

111 

8-7 

10-2 

-0-3 

9-8 



' (6) and (d) are included in (a), (a) contained 78 per cent, of the 
population of England and Wales. 



POPtfLATiON 



3^ 



mt&AK DISTRICTS CLASSIFIED BY POPULATION. 



Populations 
(ttaoumndB). 


Number 

of 
Diatricte. 


Aggregate 
Population 

ml9U 
(thooa&nds). 


Aggregate 
Population 
(same Areas) 

in 1901 
(thouaands). 


Mean 

per cent. 

Increase or 

Decrease. 


Over 1,000 


1- 


4,523 


4,536 


-03 


500-1,000 


3 


1,987 


1,872 


+61 


250-500 


8 


2,640 


2,451 


7-7 


150-350 


10 


1,915 


1,677 


14-2 


100-150 


23 


2,632 


2,304 


14-2 


76-100 


17 


1,435 


1.236 


161 


50-75 


37 


2,172 


1,846 


17-7 


40-60 


25 


1.101 


976 


12-9 


30-40 


50 


1,717 


1,393 


23-3 


20-30 


72 


1,755 


1,529 


14-8 


15-20 


84 


1,434 


1,230 


16-6 


10-15 


147 


1,822 


1,658 


170 


5-10 


266 


1,833 


1,628 


12-6 


4-5 


107 


479 


434 


10-2 


3-4 


97 


337 


313 


7-6 


3-3 


100 


360 


236 


6-2 


Under 2 


102 


137 


132 


3-5 


Total ... 


1,137 


28,169 


25,351 


111 



Loudon (Administrative County) reckoned as one district. 



34 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

While the rate of increase of the total population 
in the two decades was practically the same, London, 
the largest urban area, has ceased to grow in numbers. 
In the 98 largest towns (containing one-half of the 
population of England and Wales) the rate of 
increase dropped from 15 per cent, to 9 per cent. 
In 1,137 urban districts the change was from 15 per 
cent, to 11 per cent., while in the 657 rural districts 
there was an increase from 3 per cent, to 10 per cent., 
and in 105 entirely rural registration districts from 
IJ per cent, to 10 per cent. 

To conclude, we may say: — 

(1) That while in 1801-11 the urban population 
was growing no faster than the rural population, in 
1811-21, and again in 1821-31, the town population 
began to gain on the rural population in point of 
numbers. 

(2) That during the century the process of urban- 
ization has proceeded at a great rate. 

(3) That, at the present day, " the proportion of 
persons in England and Wales living under urban 
conditions was 78 per cent, and under rural conditions 
22 per cent."^ 

(4) That the process of urbanization has in places 
(the most urban areas) reached "saturation point" — 
the point at which in the present state of sanitation, 
building, locomotion, etc., the people have ceased to 
find it in their interest to increase the density of 
population. 

■ Prelimiuary Report of the IJll Ceusus. 



CHAPTER 111 

FINANCE 

Before proceeding to deal with the economic con- 
dition of the people of England, in the narrowest 
sense, we must briefly refer to the important effect 
of the immobility of population at the beginning of 
the nineteenth century on the political position of 
the people, and thus indirectly on their economic 
condition, and how the changes described in Chapters I 
and II have aided the amelioration of that condition. 

The rural parts of the country in 1815 were in 
the hands of the justices, bodies of whom, kept 
select by a high property qualification, and chosen by 
the county gentry, had enormous powers. The local 
authority was the parish. It was not until 1834 that 
the authority of the parish began to be reduced. The 
control of the highways, paupers, sanitation, police, 
and the power of levying rates were all parochial. 
The greatest of these powers was the relief of the 
poor, a duty which was most inefficiently performed. 

In the way of public health administration, all that 
existed at the beginning of the centurj' was a law 
as to pubhc nuisances, damage for or restraint of 
nuisance. 

86 



36 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: I8l5 & 1914 

Prior to 1829 there was no professional police. 
Even then they were introduced into London only. 
The persons appointed, often unwilhngly, by the 
justices to perform police duties in most cases carried 
on another occupation. 

The care of roads, which had, since 1711, been 
given to commissions or trusts (of which there existed 
11,000 in 1820), in which the manufacturers' need for 
good communications found expression, was compara- 
tively efficiently performed. 

There was, in fact, what has been termed a parochial 
blight. 

In the case of the towns, while external freedom 
had been attained, internal government had become 
oligarchical. The proportion of freemen to the town 
populations is estimated to have decreased from one- 
third about the year 1680 to one-tenth in 1835. In 
other words, the governing bodies became " close." 

The Commission appointed to inquire into the state 
of affairs reported, in 1834, that " the corporations 
look upon themselves and are considered by the 
inhabitants as separate and exclusive bodies ... in 
most places all identity of interest between the 
corporation and the inhabitants had disappeared." 
The Commissioners also reported that there was in 
corporate towns ** a discontent under the burdens 
of local taxation, while revenues that ought to be 
applied for the public advantage are directed from 
their legitimate use." Among the uses to which the 
money was put were enumerated "wasteful benefit of 



FINANCE 37 

individuals," " feasting," and ** salaries of unimportant 
officers." 

In the words of Seignobos, "English society [circa 
1814] was based on the distinctions between rich and 
poor. . . . The whole nation, in the contemplation 
of the law, was swayed by two rival aristocracies : 
that of landed proprietors allied with the clergy, 
supreme in the country parts ; and that of capitalists 
and great manufacturers, supreme in the cities. These 
were the economic masters of the country." ^ 

It was this state of affairs which made Disraeli 
(referring to 1837-38) refer to the two Enghsh 
nations — "the rich and the poor" — "between 
whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy . . . 
ordered by different manners, and are not governed 
by the same laws." 

The state of finance alleged to have existed in the 
towns by the Commissioners has been noted. 

The result of the above-described division of society 
was that in the parishes " for the most part taxes 
levied for local purposes in England are voted in 
parochial assemblies by those who are to pay them or 
by their delegates."^ 

By far the largest part of the taxes consisted of an 
assessment for the support of the indigent poor. 
From 1812 to 1830 the money so spent scarcely ever 
fell below four-fifths of the total amount raised by 
parochial assemblies. 

• " Contemporary Europe,'' pp. 20 and 21. 
' G. R. Porter, " Progress of tbe Nation." 



38 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



PAROCHIAL FINANCE. 
(£ million.) 





1 

Total Sum , 

Assessed 
and Levied. 

i 


Expenditure. 




Year. 


Poor 
Relief. 


Law, Re- 
movals, etc. 


Other 
Matters. 


Total. 


Average of 
1783-85 


2-2 


1-9 


0-1 


0-2 


2-2 


1803 


5-3 


4-1 


0-2 


1-0 


5"3 


1812-13 


8-6 


6-7 


0-3 


1-9 


8-9 


1813-14 


8-4 


6-3 


0-3 


1-9 


8-5 


1814-15 


7-5 


5-4 


0-3 


1-8 


7-5 


1815-16 


6-9 


5-7 


— 


1-2 


G-9 


1816-17 


8'1 


6-9 


— 


1-2 


8-1 


1817-18 


9-3 


7-9 


— 


1-4 


9-8 


1818-19 


8-9 


7-5 





1-3 


8-8 


1819-20 


i 8-7 


7-3 





1-3 


8-7 


1820-21 


i 8-4 


7-0 


— 


1-4 


8'3 



In effect, one may say that in the matter of local 
finance the welfare of the lower nation .was not con- 
sidered. There was, indeed, slight further provision 
made by various statutes for defraying certain 
miscellaneous local public expenses by means of a 
*' county rate " imposed by the justices in their several 
counties. The principal objects for which provision 
was made were the repair of bridges, repair and 
building of gaols, houses of correction, shire-halls, 
and courts of justice ; the construction and support 
of lunatic asylums ; the expense of criminal prosecu- 
tions and other judicial expenditure ; the expenses of 
militia and of county elections. The yield of the 
county rate was, however, very small, averaging 
£320,000 per annum in 1801-5, £380,000 for 1806-10, 
i'530,000 for 1811-15, and £625,000 for 1815-20. 



FINANCE 



39 



It is indeed true to say that the only considerable 
aid or benefit conferred upon the lower nation was 
that of poor relief, and we shall see that to a great 
extent this fonn of relief was in reality an addition to 
wages paid. 

The state of national finance must also be noticed. 
In the first twenty years of the nineteenth century, 
national expenditure was, on the average, nine or ten 
times as great as local expenditure. 

In examining the details of the national expenditure, 
the outstanding feature is the " exceedingly great 
proportion appropriated to the upkeep of the naval 
and military forces which the circumstances of the 
time made it necessary to maintain." ^ 

The actual position is given in the following tables. 
It will be noted that in the finance of the central 
government figures cannot be given separately for 
England and Wales. 





\ 


rt'AR EXPENDITURE 










(£ 


millions.) 








1801 ... 


.. 37 


1808 




45 ' 


1815 ... 


... 55 


1802 ... 


.. 25 


1809 




48 


1816 ... 


... 27 


1803 ... 


.. 23 


1810 




48 


1817 ... 


... 17 


1804 ... 


.. 24 


1811 




62 


1818 ... 


... 16 


1805 ... 


.. 39 


1812 




57 


1819 ... 


... 17 


1806 ... 


.. 41 


1813 




71 


1820 ... 


... 16 


1807 ... 


.. 41 


1814 




72 







' G. R. Porter, p. 514.^ 



40 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



CENTRAL 


FINANCE (UNITED KINGDOM) 


. — (£ millions.) 


Year. 


Bevenue into 
■p Exchequer. 
-' Produce 
of Taxes. 


Beceived on 
^ a/c of Loans 
>' & Exchequer 
Bills. 


1 


13 

43 e 

g d 

a 


Is 

1 


Is 

5- 

5« 


13 

|h.9 

Eh 


1792 


19 


— 


19 


10 


2 


8 


20 


1801 


34 


27 


61 


20 


— 


41 


61 


1802 


36 


15 


51 


20 


— 


30 


60 


1803 


39 


9 


47 


21 


— 


28 


49 


1804 


46 


15 


61 


21 


— 


39 


59 


1805 


51 


17 


68 


22 


— 


45 


67 


1806 


56 


13 


69 


23 


— 


46 


69 


1807 


59 


10 


70 


23 


— 


44 


6B 


1808 


63 


12 


75 


23 


— 


50 


73 


1809 


64 


12 


76 


24 


— 


52 


76 


1810 


67 


8 


75 


24 


— 


53 


77 


1811 


65 


19 


84 


25 


— 


59 


84 


1812 


66 


25 


90 


26 


— 


63 


89 


1813 


69 


40 


108 


28 


— 


78 


100 


1814 


71 


35 


106 


30 


— 


77 


107 


1815 


72 


20 


92 


32 


— 


61 


92 


1816 


62 


1 


63 


33 


— - 


32 


65 


1817 


52 




52 


31 


2 


22 


55 


1818 


54 




54 


31 


2 


21 


53 


1819 


53 




63 


31 


3 


21 


55 


1820 


54 


— 


64 


31 


2 


21 


54 



FINA^'CE 41 

The position may best be summarized by an extract 
from Mr. S. Buxton's " Finance and Politics " : — 

" Twenty-two years later [1815] they emerged from 
the war — numbering some twenty millions of persons ; 
burdened with a debt of nine hundred millions ; with 
a revenue of nearly eighty, and with an expenditure 
of a hundred millions, of which the debt now 
absorbed thirty-two, and the Army and Navy over 
fifty-six millions. . . . Everything taxed, all industries 
' protected,' and wheat at famine prices." Above all 
— " The excitement and glory of war had vanished." 
" The rulers were totally out of sympathy with the 
ruled." 

Under taxes in column (1) opposite are included the 
yields of Customs and Excise, stamps, and the Post 
Office. Customs and Excise jielded £19 millions in 
1801, and the yield rose steadily to £42 millions 
in 181.5. This source of revenue yielded over one- 
half of the income for each year. In the same period 
the yield of stamp duties rose from ^£3 millions to 
£6 millions ; Post Office net receipts from £1 million 
to £1^ millions. 

The source of income which increased most rapidly 
was that of direct taxation, which mounted from 
je9 millions in 1801 to £22 millions in 1815. 

The position of national and local finance at the 
present day is vastly different from that existing at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century. The follow- 
ing table gives a summary of modem local expenditure. 
The contrast of the latter with the table and the 



42 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



particulars of county expenditure in 1815 on page 38 
cannot be emphasized by comment. 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES' (ENGLAND AND WALES) PAYMENTS, 

(£ millions.) 

Inchiding Loan Charges and out of Loans. 



Service. 



Education — Elementary 

Higher 

Poor Relief 

Lunatics and Aylums 
HoBFiTALB (not Poot Law) 

HlOHWAYS, BriDGEB, FeRRIES ... 

Harbours, Docks, C.a.nals, Piers 

Gasworks 

Electricity Lighting (not public) 
Tramways and Light Railways 
Waterworks (excluding M.W.B.) 

Police 

Public Libraries 

Public Lighting 

Parks and Open Spaces 

Sewerage, disposal of 

Other 



Total 



1909-10. 
25J 


1910-11. 


25J 


5 


6i 


12f 


12f 


4 


4 


2 


If 


IG 


16i 


30' 


9 


H 


n 


4i 


4| 


9i 


9i 


7| 


8 


6| 


7 


% 


f 


n 


H 


If 


If 


6J 


7 


23 


23 


166 


147 



1911-1-2. 



Including 22 accounted for by Port of London Authority. 



FINANCE 



43 



AUTHORITIES SPENDING ABOVE SUMS IN 1909-10. 

UsiONS AUD Pabishbs — In poor relief 15^ 

In other matters If 

Councils and meetings ... J 

Town akd McinciPAii — Police, Sanitary, etc 94J 

Rural Distkict Cockcils 4J 

County Acthoritiis 19J 

Hap.bocb Axtthobities 30 

Otheb 23 



The late Sir Robert Giffen, referring to the growth 
of local expenditure by 1900 as compared with the 
first half of the nineteenth century, wTote : " Down 
to the middle of the century the expenditure of local 
authorities apsLrt from the expenditure upon relief 
of the poor did not exceed a few millions sterling. . . . 
I believe that all this development implies great 
progress in civilization."* 

In 1815 the local authority (the parish) raised 
revenue by means of rates levied by those who were 
to pay them. The sources of modem local revenue 
may be summarized thus : — 

igos-ia 

{£ milliona.) 

Public rates 63 

Government aid 21 

Tolls, dues, and duties 7 

Municipal undertakings 32 

RepajTnents by private persons IJ 

Loans 40 

Miscellaneous : fees, penalties, sale of property, 
licences 



168^ 



" Stutistics," p. 255. 



44 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



A comparison of the attached summary of modern 
central government expenditure with the table on 
page 40 likewise shows great changes. 

IMPERIAL EXPENDITURE (UNITED KINGDOM). 
(£ millions.) 



National Debt services 

Payment to local taxation accounts 

Development and Road Improve- 
ment Fund 

Other consolidated fund services 
(civil list, pensions, salaries, 
courts of justices, etc.) 

Army 

Navy 

Civil Services — 
Public works and buildings 

Civil departments 

Law and justice 

Education, art, and science 

Foreign and colonial services ... 

Non-effective and charitable ... 

Miscellaneous ... 

Insurance and Labour Ex- 
changes (including Old Age 
Pensions) 

Customs, Excise, Inland Revenue, 
and Post Office 

Total 



1909-10. 


1910-11. 


1911-12. 


1912-13. 


21| 


24J 


24J 


24i 


9i 


9| 


H 


9i 


— 


H 


If 


IJ 


If 


IJ 


If 


If 


27i 


27i 


m 


28 


35| 


40^ 


42f 


44J 


3 


3 


H 


H 


3 


^ 


4 


H 


4 


H 


H 


H 


18 


181 


19 


19J 


2 


2 


2 


2i 


1 


a 

4 


f 


1 


h 


1 


f 


i 


8J 


91 


llf 


16| 


22 


24 


24^ 


27 


158 


172 


179 


189 



1913-14. 



FINANCE 



45 



The development of local expenditure which met 
with Sir Kobert Giffen's approval may be measmred 
by the ratio of local to Imperial expenditure in 
1815-10 and at the present day. 

The ratios^ are: — 



1814-15 



8 

106 



1908-9 



140 

152 



1815-16 



It 

92 



1909-10 



166 

158 



1910-11 



147 

172 



1911-12 — 



151 

179 



The story of the causes of the immense alterations 
effected during the century as noted in this chapter 
needs no long telling. The people have gradually 
(notably since 1867) acquired a political weight which 
has been of incalculable economic importance to them. 
Their economic freedom has been rapidly achieved 
and is now well within their own hands. "The 
state seems to be God-given to enable society to 
organize on a grand scale for the accomplishment 
of practical ends far beyond the reach of the indi- 
vidual—ends upon which the welfare of the individual 
depends." 2 

' Of English local expenditure to United Kingdom central ex> 
penditure. 
' Carl Plehn, "Public Finance," 2nd edition (1906), pp. 17 and 18. 



46 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & ISU 

The comparisons made in this chapter show clearly 
how, a century ago, the possibilities implied in the 
existence of " a state " were abused — or perhaps, to 
be less harsh — not realized, and how great have 
been the advances made in the nineteenth century 
towards the accomplishment of those great practical 
ends upon which the welfare of the individuals 
composing the State depends. 



CHAPTER IV 

OCCUPATIONS 

The preceding chapters have compared the numbers 
and distribution of the people of England in 1815 
with the present day ; and the change in the nature 
and extent of State care for the welfare of its people 
has been illustrated by reference to national and 
local finance. In the present chapter the occupa- 
tions of the people will be dealt with. In this 
connection a statement as to the proportion borne 
by the occupiable members of the population to the 
total population at the two dates under consideration, 
must be made. 

It will be recalled that in the first two decades 
of the nineteenth century there was a great increase 
in the rate of growth of the population as compared 
with the rate throughout the eighteenth century. 
There was accordingly, by 1821, a large proportion 
of young people. 

Since 1876 (or thereabouts) the birth-rate has 
declined rapidly, and there has a<jcordingly been a 
decline in the proportion of young people. ^ The 

■ The decline ia the infant death-rate is quite recent — since 1900. 
See Registrar-General's Annual Reports. 

iT 



48 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

death-rate did not improve much in the first three- 
quarters of the century, but since then the decline 
has been rapid in consequence of sanitary improve- 
ments and in spite of the rapid growth of urban 
areas. I 

The results of these changes are shown in the 
diagram opposite. They may be tabulated : — 



Age-group. 


Percentage of Population in each 
Age-group. 




1821. 


1841. 


1911. 


Under 15 years 

15-50 years 

Over 50 years 


39 

46 
15 


36 
49 
15 


30 
54 
16 


All 


100 


100 


100 


Under 20 years 

Over 20 years 


49 
51 


50 
50 


40 
60 


All 


100 


100 


100 



This comparison yields facts of great importance 
in describing the economic condition of the people. 
There is, unfortunately, no means of comparing the 
proportion of persons actually occupied in 1815 with 
that shown by the recent census returns; but the 

' The basis of these statements is the Begistrar'General's Annual 
Report. 



OCCUPATIONS 



49 



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11 



AGE DISTRIBUTION OP THE POPULATION OF ENGLAND AND WALES, 
1321-1911. 



50 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

great difference of the proportion of persons capable of 
occupation at the two dates should be borne in mind. 

Information as to occupations of the people at the 
beginning of the century is very scanty. The table 
opposite is described by G. B. Porter as " the best 
abstract that has hitherto been attainable upon this 
important branch of political arithmetic." 

There are no earlier figures comparable with these, 
for in the enumerations of 1811, 1821, and 1831, the 
information obtained relating to occupations was the 
number of families supported by — 

(1) Agriculture ; 

(2) Trade, manufacture, and handicraft ; or 

(3) All other occupations, with the addition in 

1831 of a return of the number of males 
over 20 years of age classified under nine 
heads. 

In 1801 the occupation census entirely failed from 
a want of uniformity in enumerating female children 
and servants. 

While a complete comparison of this table with the 
results of the 1911 Census cannot be made, and while, 
in view of the fact that the position in 1841 (twenty- 
five years after the date with which we are concerned) 
must have changed considerably since 1815, the table 
on pages 52 and 53 is useful. 

The first point of comparison lies in the proportion 
of occupied to unoccupied (including " retired," pen- 
sioners, and persons of independent means). The 



OCCUPATIONS 



51 



1841. 

NUMBERS EMPLOYED UNDER VARIOUS HEADS. 

ENGLAND AND WALES. 

(Thousands.) 





Hales. 


Females. 






90 

Tears 

and 

over. 


Under 

ao 

Tears. 


20 
Tears 
and 
over. 


Under 

ao 
Tears. 


Total. 


Commerce, trade, and manu- 












factures 


1,750 


318 


391 


159 


2,619 


Agriculture 


1,042 


162 


48 


9 


1,261 


Labour (not agricultural) 


483 


85 


99 


7 


674 


Army (including "on half-pay") 












and in service of East India 












Company — 












At home 


30 


6 


— 





.36 


Abroad 


89 


— 


— 





89 


Navy and Merchant Service, in- 












cluding Navy half-pay, Marines, 












fishermen, etc., watermen — 












At home 


88 


7 


— 





95 


Afloat 


80 


17 








97 


Professions — 












Clerical 


ao 


— 


— 





20 


Legal 


14 


— 


— 





14 


Medical 


18 


— 


1 





19 


Other pursuits requiring education 


81 


11 


30 


2 


124 


Government Civil Service 


13 


— 


i 





14 


Municipal and parochial 


20 


— 


2 


— 


22 


Domestic servants 


150 


84 


476 


289 


999 


Alms people, paupers, pensioners, 












lunatics, and prisoners 


66 


28 


60 


23 


176 


Independent means 


119 


5 


308 


14 


446 

1 


Total occupied 


4,062 


724 


1,416 


505 


1 6,707 


Remainder of population ... 


239 


; 2,936 


3,059 


3,157 


[ 9,391 


Total 


4,301 


3,660 

1 


4,475 


3,661 


16,098 



52 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



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« 



o4 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

proportion of occupied persons to unoccupied persons 
was in 1841 — gj^ 



and in 1911- 



100 
81 
100 



a 33 per cent, increase.^ 

On page 48 attention was drawn to the changes 
in the age constitution of the population. From the 
table on that page it will be seen that the proportions 
of the number of persons between the ages of 15 and 
50 years to the number of persons below and above 
those ages respectively were in 1841 — 

96 



and in 1911 — 



100 
117 

100 



an increase of 22 per cent. 

The proportions borne by the number of occupied 
persons to the numbers unoccupied, distinguishing 
males and females, were : — 



Year. 


Males. 


Females. 


1841 
1911 


135 
100 
186 
100 


23 
100 
34 
100 


Increase per cent. 


88 


48 



I.e. 16,300,000 occupied. 

12,200,000 unoccupied over 10 years of age. 
7,900,000 under 10 years of age. 



OCCUPATIONS 



55 



These figures emphasize the changes in the rela- 
tions of the numbers of earners to the numbers of 
dependents; but the following presentation of the 
same facts gives a more concise idea of the changes. 



Number occupied per 100 of population ... 

„ „ 100 males 

,, ,, 100 females 

Numbers aged 15-50 years per 100 of 
population 



18U. 

1 


19U. 


1 

1 38 


« 


! ^' 


65 


19 


26 


49 


5i 



Per Cent 
Increase. 



18 
14 
32 

10 



The conclusions are that the proportion of male 
persons occupied has increased not less than the 
proportion capable of being employed; and that the 
employment of women has increased at a much greater 
rate than the proportion of women between the ages 
of 15 and 50 years, in spite of the great decline in 
the numbers employed in agriculture.^ 

The number of women who, to-day, are engaged 
in duties other than the management of a household 
is, however, small. The family is still the economic 
centre to the support of which the earnings of the 
various occupied members, and the work of the 
"unoccupied," are directed; and some attention must 
be given to the changes in the means by which this 
support is obtained. A broad outline of the changes 
which have occurred is given by the diagram on the 

' See Journal of Oie Statistical Society, June 1907. Paper by Lord 
Eversley. 



56 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

next page, which is based (for the years 1841-81) 
on the results obtained by Mr, Booth from a study 
of the census returns ; ^ and (for the years 1891-1911) 
on the results obtained by Mr. J. W. Nixon, who has 
diligently pursued Mr. Booth's methods of classification. 
The portion of the diagram 1811 to 1841 is based 
upon the results of the censuses of those years : — 

ENGLAND AND WALES. 





Total Number 
of Families. 


Porcentage Supported by— 




Year. 


Agi-i- 
culture. 


Trade and 
Manu- 
factures. 


Other. 


Total. 


1811 
1821 
1831 


2,142,147 
2,493,423 
2,911,874 


36 
34 
29 


45 

47 
42 


19 
19 

29 


100 
100 

100 



In 1841 the classification by occupations referred 
to individuals and not to families. The continuance 
of the decline of agricultural families is, however, 
shown by the following table taken from the census: — 



PERCENTAGE OF MALES OVER 20 YEARS OF AGE 
ENGAGED IN— 



Year. 


Agriculture. MSa^ctu^r'es. 


other. 


All. 


1831 
1841 


32 
2G 


39 
43 


29 
31 


100 

100 



' See Journal of the Statistical Socicdj, Juno 1886. 



OCCUPATIONS 



57 



rA^HLlE■5■!H»»»^/funaEHS^f^p^)rtD•^^^A>^DDePE■NDt^^•oN. 




Itil i%xi i>*i t>W'»W '»n i«t< ir)i »«ii 'm ■»e« lyl. 
Pc^CtMTAqtS OF TMt Po'OtATION Or 

4 Enclano amo V/alcs 

5«fP0(»Tet> 8r Ce((.TAiN (i«Ov>0i OF OcCt^fATIONSi 

tail — 1911. 



58 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 19U 

If we assume that the number of males over 
20 years of age who were engaged in agriculture 
bore the same ratio to the number of agricultural 
famihes in 1841 as in 1831, it would appear that 
in 1841 the number of families supported by agri- 
culture^ was 23| per cent, of the total number of 
families, i.e. — 

II X 29 = 23i. 

This percentage is almost exactly the same as that 
arrived at by a different method (examination of the 
census returns) by Mr. Booth, as representing the 
percentage of the population supported by agri- 
culture in 1841, 24'3 per cent. 

The shaded area at the foot of the diagram may 
therefore be regarded as providing a satisfactory 
measure of the decline of agriculture as a means of 
supporting the population. 

The decline, moreover, was general. In all parts 
of the country there was, without exception, a dechne 
in the numbers engaged in and supported by agri- 
culture. The decline was also regular ; that is to 
say, the order in which the counties stood (relative 
to each other) when arranged in order of the pro- 
portion supported by agriculture was not much 
different in 1841 from that in 1811. ^ 

The percentages of the population of each of the 
groups of counties, on page 25 above, supported by 
agriculture in 1821 were : — 

» In the sense used by the enumerators of 1831. 
• VitZe Porter, "Progress ..." [1847], pp. 58, 69. 



OCCUPATIONS 



59 





Per cent. 




Per cent 


South Wales ... 


... (43)' 


Mid- South 


... 50 


Northern 


... 31 


Eastern 


... 59 


South-Eastem 


... 37 


South-West ... 


... 43 


Midland 


... 36 


Salop and Hereford 


... 63' 



These percentages were not very different from 
those obtaining in 1811, and may therefore be regarded 
as applying to 1815, when as we have seen no less 
than one-third of the families in England drew their 
chief support from agriculture. The position of 
this industry in 1911 as a wage provider is vastly 
different. The proportion of the population engaged 
in and dependent upon it has fallen to j\. For the 
purpose of comparing the distribution of the industry 
over the country with the distribution in 1821 as 
given above, we may refer to the 1911 census returns, 
on which the following table is based : — 

PROPORTION OF THE MALE POPULATION OF ADMINIS- 
TRATIVE COUNTIES OF ENGLAND AND WALES 
ENGAGED IN AGRICULTURE.3 





Per cent. 




Per cent 


South Wales *... 


... 10 


Mid-South 


... 21 


Northern 


... 15 


Eastern 


... 33 


South-Eastem 


... 11 


South- Western 


... 21 


Midland 


... 13 


Salop and Hereford 


... 31 



' Monmouth only; there being no data for the other counties of 
this group. 

" Salop and Hereford are the only two counties of the " Rest of 
Wales" group for which there are data. 

3 Details given in Census, 1911, vol. x, " Occupations." 

♦ Monmouth, 6 per cent. ; Glamorgan, 3 per cent. ; Brecknock, 
20 per cent. ; Camartheu, 18 per cent. In the other districts, the 
homogeneity of the groups in this respect is much greater. 



60 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

Particular note must be made of the fact that all 
the county boroughs are excluded from the above 
table. The county boroughs contain about 17 
million persons out of the total population of 36 
millions in England and Wales. In these boroughs 
the proportion of the males engaged in agriculture 
was, with three exceptions, less than 3 per cent.,^ 
so that the percentages given in the table relate to 
that half of the population which is living in the more 
rural parts of the country. Although this table is not 
numerically comparable with that given for the year 
1821, it shows that the variations between the dif- 
ferent parts of the country with regard to agricultural 
employment are much greater to-day than in 1815. 
If the county boroughs were included with their 
containing or adjoining counties the variations would 
be more marked, for in those groups of counties and 
county boroughs in which the proportion of agri- 
cultural workers in the non-county borough popula- 
tion is smallest, the proportion of the total population 
living in the county boroughs is greatest. 

In other words, the non-agricultural counties of 
to-day are more distinctly non- agricultural (in com- 
parison with the agricultural counties) than were 
those of 1815. There has also been localization and 
intensification of the manufacturing areas ; whole 
spaces of land have become entirely urban either for 
residential or manufacturing purposes ; and although 
these urban areas cover a small portion of the surface 

' Eastbourne, 3^ per cent. ; Hastiugs, 3| per cent. ; Canterbury, 
6 per cent. 



OCCUPATIONS 61 

of the country, their saturation is proceeding rapidly. 
Already 17 million people live in county boroughs, and 
78 per cent, of the whole population lives under urban 
conditions. 

If we turn to occupations other than agriculture, 
we find that although the classification of occupations 
in 1811-31 was : — 

1. Agriculture, 

2. Trade and manufactures, 

3. Other, 

we are warned, as might be expected in the light 
of experience of later enumerations, that owing to 
the uncertainty and inconsistency of the classification 
throughout the country, it is advisable to treat the 
two non-agricultural groups together. The persons 
collecting and tabulating the returns, however, could 
hardly fail to distinguish from all others those families 
who draw their support from agricultural occupation. 

The growth of these groups from 1811 to the present 
day is shown in the diagram on page 57, while since 
1841 we have the classification of Mr. Booth and 
Mr. Nixon. While Mr. Booth places reliance on the 
comparison as far back as 1851, and while he gives 
his results for 1841,^ the usefulness of the comparison 
for the purpose in hand should not be over-estimated. 

» "Our picture of what has happened would be much more com- 
plete if we could go back to 1801, but we can only do this by drawing 
largely upon the imagination." — Mr. Booth in Journal of the Statistical 
Society, June 188G, p. 328. 



62 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

In the case of agriculture, in which probably of 
all industries the least changes have occurred, the 
methods and nature of the work and the conditions 
under which the work is done do differ to such an 
extent from the methods and conditions of 1815 as 
to make a comparison of earnings subject to many 
qualifications. In other industries the differences are 
much greater, and the limitations are accordingly 
increased. These revolutions in industries have prac- 
tically amounted to the creation of new occupations, 
although old names are used. Instead of attempting 
what is likely to prove to be an immense and in- 
conclusive series of statements, it would appear to 
be sufficient, if not more fruitful, to consider the 
movement of wages as a whole, and to consider the 
effects of the forces which have been at work in all 
industries altering the nature of the work and the 
conditions under which it has been done. 

We may therefore proceed to contrast the nature 
of the occupations pursued in 1815 with those of the 
present day as shown in the diagram on page 57. 
The striking feature of the diagram is the change 
in the importance of agriculture. In the literature 
of the nineteenth century, the adjective "poor" has 
commonly been applied to a country in which the 
proportion of people engaged in agriculture has been 
large. This use of the term " poor " is justified 
historically by the development in the " progressive " 
countries of the world from agriculture to manu- 
facture; and in England by the fact that at the 



OCCUPATIONS 63 

beginning of the century agricultural workers were 
almost entirely pauperized, while to-day their earnings 
are lower, on the whole, than those of the workers in 
any other body of workers sufficiently homogeneous 
to form a measurable group. 

It is an economic fact of importance that there is 
a tendency for persons to enter those trades in which 
the rate of remuneration is relatively high, and to 
leave those in which it is relatively low. 

The average wages of the occupied population of 
a country may therefore rise without any change in 
the rate of wages paid in each occupation, solely 
on account of a change in the distribution of the 
population among the various industries. 

A few remarks on the changes in the nature of the 
occupations of the people and in the conditions of 
work will form a necessary prelude to the considera- 
tion of the change in remuneration. An outline 
based on the diagram on page 57 will suffice. 

Building. 

As far as one can judge, building has occupied much 
the same position as a branch of human activity in 
England throughout the century. The population 
has increased fairly regularly and houses have had 
to be built to accommodate it. The influence of 
machinery is probably felt least of all in the building 
trades. Bricks, putty, wood, the trowel, hod, saw, 
plane, hammer, and chisel, all worked or wielded by 
hand, are still used. Modern building with iron and 
concrete constructions have enabled larger buildings 



64 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

to be erected, but greater speed in construction has 
tended to counterbalance the addition of labour to 
be performed on them. 

The stability of this group of occupations is shown 
by the fact that the men employed in them form from 
7 per cent, to 10 per cent, of the occupied males in 
almost every county and county borough of England. 

The exceptions are a few of the newer progressing 
county boroughs, e.g. — 

Bournemouth, 12 per cent. ; Croydon, 13 per cent.; 
Eastbourne, 13 per cent. ; and Wales and East Anglia, 
where the population has increased very slowly through- 
out the century and is now stationary, the proportions 
being from 5 per cent, to 7 per cent. In the county 
boroughs of these districts the proportion is about 7 
per cent. 

Although the use of machinery has not affected the 
building industry, the building trades (unhke agri- 
culture) have developed considerable trade union 
organizations. The economic position of workers in 
the building trades has, for this reason (among others), 
improved more than that of agricultural workers. 
The trade unions have obtained standard rates of 
wages and the limitation of hours. 

" In the building trades — over eight hundred local 
agreements are in operation regulating wages and hours 
and other conditions of labour." The areas covered by 
those agreements are distributed all over England. "In 
addition there are many districts in which though there 
are no signed agreements, the same rates are operative."' 

' Cd. G054, 1912. 



OCCUPATIONS 65 

Mining. 

The figures for mining (see diagram) include all 
kinds of mining, the chief of which, however, is 
coal-mining, the growth of which has evoked much 
comment throughout the century. At the present 
time the production of coal is over twenty times the 
estimated production in 1800.' The value of the coal 
produced in the last fifteen years is estimated to be 
over two-thirds of the total value of all minerals 
produced in England. The only other considerable 
mining industry is that of iron-mining, which, how- 
ever, is very far behind coal-mining as an employer 
of labour. The outputs of copper, lead, tin, and zinc 
are now quite small. 

In 1815 the Xorth-Eastern coalfields were far and 
away more important than any other. The South 
Wales output was quite insignificant. The position 
to-day in the different groups of counties is as 
shown in the table at the foot of the next page. 

The localization is, of course, enforced and it is 
verj' intense. 

In this industry the workers are strongly organized 
and form at the present day a well-paid body of the 

' Estimated total production of coal : — 



Year. 


Million Tons 


1800 


10 


1850 


56 


1900 


.. 225 


1910 


.. 264 


1911 


.. 271 



See D. A. Thomas, Journal of tJullStatistical Society, September 1903. 

5 



66 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

community. Since about 1880 the sliding-scale 
method of adjusting remuneration has come into 
operation. The strong organizations have helped to 
build up the political power of " the miners," which is 
now very considerable, and has resulted in the passage 
of many measures by Parliament in their favour.' 
The importance of the improvement in the conditions 
in mines is increased by the fact that the proportion 
of the male population engaged in coal-mining is now 
much greater than in 1815.* 

Transport. 

The tremendous growth of the numbers employed 
in transport needs no further comment {vide 
Chapter I). The huge railway service has grown 

PERCENTAGE OP OCCUPIED MALE POPULATION ENGAGED 
IN COAL- AND SHALE-MINING IN COUNTIES (c.) AND 
COUNTY BOROUGHS (c.b.) OF ENGLAND AND WALES. 





South Wales. 






Northern . 






Midland. 


c. 


Monmouth 


42 


c. 


Northumberland 34 


c. 


Derby ... 29 


c. 


Glamorgan 


44 


c. 


Durham 


.39 


c. 


Notts ... 25 


0. 


Brecon 


25 


c. 


Yorkshire, W.R. 


21 


c. 


Staffs ... 15 


c. 


Carmarthen 


18 


c. 


Denbigh 


'Jl 


c. 


Leicester 14 








c. 


Flint 


14 


c. 


Warwick 10 


!.B. 


Merthyr ... 


48 


c. 


Lancashire ... 


11 












c. 


Cumberland ... 


16 


C.B. 


, Stoke ... • 15 








c. 


Yorkshire, N.R. 


8 


C.B. 


Dudley... 10 




Others. 










C.B. 


Walsall... 8 


C. 


Glou:-ester... 


7 


C.B. 


S. Shields ... 


16 






C. 


Somerset ... 


5 


C.B. 


Gateshead 


11 




Elsewhere 








C.B. 


Rotherham . . . 


20 




inconsiderable. 



The first act regulating conditions of work in mines was passed in 



1842. 



* The proportion has doubled since 1841, 



OCCUPATIOXS 67 

up entirely within the century. Great railway centres 
have sprung up (Swindon, Crewe, Rugby, Doncaster), 
and in London are situated the head offices, employing 
large clerical staffs. 

Motor transport has largely displaced horse 
transport. 

Canals have almost entirely lost their importance. 

Under the remaining heads — manufacture, dealing 
and industrial service — are accumulated the vast 
changing mass of activities in which are swallowed 
about half of the occupied male population. The 
outstanding trades are : textile, iron and steel manu- 
facture, and engineering — all highly organized trades, 
the developments of which have a considerable written 
history. The rest is a multitude of clerks, retail 
traders, and the vast mass of ungraded workers of 
all kinds. 

In the case of those trades in which there has been 
any semblance of organization, legislation and in- 
dustrial disputes have raised the workers from the 
intolerable conditions of toil which existed at the 
beginning of the century. All have, however, bene- 
fited by the continual interjection of the law into 
industrial matters. From the reign of the manu- 
facturers supported by the laissez-faire economists 
to the modern State regulation is a far cry. Three 
great extensions of the franchise and the realization 
of the dogma expressed by Jevons, that "if on a 
calculation of the factors which enable man to forecast 
the results of a given policy on the general welfare, 



68 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

the balance was against individual libert}', that liberty 
must make room for the intervention of the State," 
have brought about a revolution in the attitude of 
the leaders and the people towards the question 
of State regulation and control. Limitation of hours 
of labour, sanitation of factories, machine-fencing, 
and the innumerable miscellaneous requirements 
which it is the duty of the unique English " in- 
spectorate " (introduced in 1834) to see are fulfilled, 
are now customary and no longer odious. 

In 1909, a new departure of great significance was 
made. In that year the Trade Boards Act was passed, 
having for its object the abolition of sweating by the 
establishment of Trade Boards with power to fix 
minimum rates of wages in those trades in which 
" the rate of wages prevailing in any branch of the 
trade is exceptionally low as compared with other 
employments." Minimum rates of wages have been 
or are in course of being fixed for all workers in the 
chain, lace finishing, paper box, tailoring, sugar con- 
fectionery and food preserving, hollow-ware, and tin 
box and canister trades, and for female workers in 
the shirt-making trade. 

Without entering into detail, we may say that the 
minimum time rates for male workers are about 
6d. an hour, and for females 3|d. or 3Jd. an hour. 
If piece rates are paid, each piece rate must be 
sufi&cient to yield to an ordinary worker, in the 
circumstances of the case, at least the equivalent 
of the minimum time rate. The number of workers 
to whose employment these minimum rates are 



OCCUPATIONS 69 

applicable is not far short of one million — and that 
million may roughly be taken to be the workers in 
the seven lowest-paid definitelj' distinguishable trades. 

The condition of workers when not actually at 
work has also received the attention of the Legis- 
lature. The beneficent work of the National 
Insurance Act (Health and Employment), 1911, and 
the Workmen's Compensation Act have come further 
to shield the unfortunate from the cold blast of 
ruthless individualism which spelt in sickness the 
Poor Law Infirmary and in distress the Workhouse. 



CHAPTER V 

REMUNERATION 

Finally, we come to the remuneration of the workers 
under the above-described conditions. 

Agriculture. 

The great changes of the latter half of the 
eighteenth century had not left agriculture un- 
touched. The revolutions in the methods of farming, 
the enclosing of the land, and the disappearance of 
the small-holders who worked on the land and whose 
families partly supported themselves by home indus- 
tries, were by 1815 nearly completed. This statement 
with regard to enclosing is borne out by the statistics 
(estimates) on the opposite page. The enclosures that 
had taken place prior to 1780 are deemed, however, 
by one eminent authority to have consisted "largely 
of old enclosures or the lord's demesne land lying side 
by side with the open fields."^ He adds : " The truth 
is that the life of the common field system was still 
the normal village life of England." 

The effect of the great war, affording a great 
protection to English wheat-growers, was to expedite 
the enclosures. 

■ Hammond, " Village Labourer," p. 42. 
70 



REMUNERATION 



71 



Precise statistics of the extent of enclosure are not to be had, but 
there have been various careful estimates. 



L»vy :—" Large 


and Small Holdings," p. 24 


• 


Years. 


Number of Acts. 


Area Affected. 


1702-60 
1760-1810 


246 
2,438 

1 1 


400,000 acres 
6,000,000 „ (nearly) 



JoHiTBON : — " Disappearance of Small Holdings," p. 90, based on 
Dr. Slater's detailed estimate (" English Peasantry and En- 
closure . . . ," Appendix B). 



Common Field and some 
Waste. 



Waste only. 



Years. 





Acts. 

152 
1,479 
1,075 


Acreage. 


Acts. 


Acreage. 


170O-6O 
1761-1801 ' 
1802-44 1 


237,845 
2,428,721 
1,610,302 


56 

521 
808 


74,518 
752,150 
939,043 


Total ... 


2,706 


4.276.868 


1,385 


1,765,711 



Evidence of a Commons Committee (Select Committee, 1344) ; 



Before 1800 
1800-44 ... 



1,700 private Acts. 
2,000 



Porteb;—" Progress of the Nation" (1847), p. 154. From Com- 
mittee of Commons. 1797. and brought to date, 1844, by Porter. 



Years. 


Acres Enclosed 


1760-69 


704,550 


1770-79 


- 1,207,800 


1780-89 


450,180 


1790-99 


858,270 


1800-09 


1,550.100 


1810-19 


1,560,990 


1820-29 


375,150 


1830-39 


248,880 


1840-44 


120,780 



Total 



7,076,610 



?2 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 



The result of the sudden transition loas catastrophic, 
and the events of the enclosure period were not con- 
fined to any one part of the country. They mark 
a national revolution making sweeping and profound 
changes in the form and character of agricultural 
society in England.^ 

By 1815 the labouring classes had been rendered 
literally landless. Their relations with the ruling 
caste have been partly dealt with in Chapter III. 

It has been well said of the first three-quarters of 
the nineteenth century that the "history of agri- 
cultural distress is the history of agricultural 
abundance," and the history of the first fifteen 
years of this period forms no exception to this 
statement. 

In the speech of the Prince Regent on the occasion 
of the opening of Parliament in 1816, it was stated 
that " the manufactures, commerce, and revenue of 
the United Kingdom" were in a "flourishing 
condition." The omission of agriculture was 
significant. 

The prices of wheat before the harvest in the 
following years were : — 



1808 
1809 
1810 
1811 
1812 
1813 



Per Quarter. 

8. d. 

74 6 

100 

120 

104 

136 

136 



Cf. Hammond, p. 42. 



REMUNERATION 73 

That was the period of great enclosures — "an affair 
of grasping ignorance — a scramble for excessive gain.' ^ 

In 1814, with fear of peace and abundance, the 
prices fell to an average of 7os. ; in 181G the cry of 
"distress" was at its height. In this manner agri- 
cultural "distress" has been associated with cheap 
com, while " good " years have been years of high 
prices. The complete absence of sympathy between 
the landlords and the landless — the complete divorce 
of the ruling class from the labourers at this period 
is emphasized by the very comparison of this asso- 
ciation with the condition of the workers at this 
time. 

The parochial nature of life in 1815 was described 
in the chapters on the growth of population and 
finance, in which it was seen that the provision of 
poor relief was by far the most important local 
function. 

The extent of this poor relief as a means of support 
has been commented on by many writers, two of 
whom may be quoted. 

Miss Martineau said : " The squire, the clergyman, 
and the farmer constituted themselves a tribunal for 
the suppressioxi of vice and the encouragement of 
virtue, and they succeeded in producing either 
desperation or hypocrisy amongst the entire labouHng 
popiilation. . . . Parish functionaries were led away 
into the belief that they were the great patrons of 
the whole labouring population. . . . They almost 
forced pauperism upon the entire working community." 
' Hiss H. Martineau, "History of the Thirty Yearb" Peace."' 



U ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

Seignobos wrote : "Now as nearly all the lands of 
England belonged to the gentry, the English peasants 
had ordinarily no means of self-support, so the greater 
number of them fell into the class of assisted poor." ' 

These statements, however, appear to be too 
sweeping. 

The nature of the pauperization is far better 
expressed by Porter, ^ who, after an examination of 
the statistics of Poor Law expenditure, made the 
following statement : — 

" One of the greatest evils which had grown up 
under the administration of the old Poor Law was the 
practice of paying the wages of labour partly out of 
rates levied for the relief of the indigent poor. . . . 
Under such a system the labourer in an agricultural 
district was inevitably rendered a pauper." 

Porter draws a distinction between the agricultural 
labourer and the town worker, a distinction most 
properly drawn ; and to this extent he modifies the 
bold assertion of Miss Martineau, who, however, in 
view of the overwhelmingly rural nature of life in 
1815 may be partly forgiven. 

An effect of this state of affairs in agricultural 
districts in 1815 is to make it impossible to make 
use of such agricultural wage statistics as exist. The 
conclusion of Dr. Bowley 3 as to the condition of 
agricultural labourers from 1795 to 1821 is : "Some- 
times by adjustment of wages, sometimes by adapta- 

' "Contemporary Europe, " p. 21. 
; "Progress ..." [1817], p. 90. 
3 " Wages iu the United Kingdom in the Nineteenth Century," p. 31. 



REMtNERAtlON 75 

tion of relief, the receipts of the labourer were made 
just sufficient to support him and his family what- 
ever the price of wheat." 

This conclusion is supported by the fact that 
although the fluctuations of the prices of wheat from 
1801 onwards were very great, the quantity of wheat 
purchasable at those prices by the sums expended on 
the rehef of the poor fluctuated very little. 

The loss of the cottage industry contributed to this 
degradation, but in view of the facts as to the actual 
condition of the agricultural labourers, investigation 
is superfluous. 

Such was the condition of at least one-third of the 
population of England in 1815. 

Other Indastries. 

" In a commercial country hke England, every half- 
century develops some new and vast source of public 
wealth, which brings into national notice a new and 
powerful class. A couple of centuries ago, a Turkey 
Merchant was the great creator of wealth ; the West 
Indian Planter followed him. In the middle of the 
last century appeared the Nabob. . . . The expendi- 
ture of the revolutionary war produced the Loan- 
monger, who succeeded the Nabob ; and the apphcation 
of science to industry developed the Manufacturer."' 

" Manufactures and commerce," said the Prince 
Regent, " are in a flourishing condition." During 
the time that war was devastating the Continent, 

■ Disraeli, "Sybil," published in 1845. 



76 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

the woollen, cotton, coal, and iron industries had 
made great progress ; but in manufacturing industry, 
as in agriculture, the progress of the employers was 
not a guide to the condition of the workers. Their 
discontent found expression in rioting, machine- 
breaking, and incendiarism. Already, in 1812, the 
Commons had, in alarm at the outbreaks, passed an 
Act "for the more exemplary punishment of persons 
destroying or injuring any stocking or lace frames or 
other machines or engines used in the framework 
knitting manufactory or any articles or goods in such 
frames or machines." The workers' attitude towards 
machinery was a result, first of their actual dis- 
comfort, but chiefly of the fact that they had no 
other means of redress. The cessation of rioting is 
attributed by Miss Martineau not to the repressive 
effect of the criminal law of the time, but to the re- 
duction of the price of CobbeU's Register from Is. OJd. 
to 2d. a copy (in November 1816), which enabled it 
to be read " on nearly every cottage hearth in the 
manufacturing districts of South Lancashire, Leicester, 
Derby, and Nottingham." Cobbett directed his readers 
to the true cause of their suffering — misgovernment. 
In 1815, however, the happy event had not occurred. 

In the midst of the turmoil of war and rioting, 
money wages in industry other than agriculture had 
been rising. The following figures ^ show that by the 

' Mr. G. H. Wood, Ecommlc Journal, 1899, pp. 588-92. Mr. Wood 
states that most of the authorities mentioned by Miss Hopkinson and 
Dr. Bowley in a complete bibliography of wage statistics (Economic 
Review, October 1898) have boexi consulted. 



REMUNERATION 



years 1810-16, money wages generally were near the 

culminating point of a great rise. This conclusion is 
based on figures for many different industries and 
districts. 

mDEX NUMBERS OF WAGES BETWEEN 1790 AND 1860. 



Year. 
1790 
1795 
1800 
1805 
1310 
1816 
1820 



Index Namber. 

72 

82 

93 
104 
122 
115 
109 



Year. 


[□dex Number. 


1824 


112 


1831 


103 


1840 


100 


1845 


99 


1850 


102 


1855 


116 


1860 


116 



I 



[1840 = 100] 

The details on which the above index numbers 
are based cover '2'ii districts and nearly 50 different 
occupations, and show a maximum in 1810 in all 
the districts except Leeds, where the highest point 
was in 1816, 129 as compared with 115 in 1810 ; and 
in Macclesfield, where the number for 1816 was 114, 
and for 1810, 107. 

" The high figure for 1810 seems inflated at first 
sight, but it rests on better evidence than any other 
except those for 1840, 1850, and 1860. The figure 
for 1790 also rests on good evidence."' 

For the purpose of comparison with the present 
day, Mr. Wood's excellent index number for the years 
1810-40 may be supplemented by figures from Dr. 
Bowley's "Wages in the United Kingdom in the 
Nineteenth Century," and another index number by 
Mr. W^ood for the years 1860-1906. The evidence 
of the last two since 1880 is supported by a Board 
of Trade index number. 

• Economic Journal, 1899, p. 592. 



78 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 19U 

The series are combined in the following table, 
the figures in parentheses being those previously 
published : — 





Wood. 


Bowley. 


Wood. 




Year. 




Weighted, 
allowing for 


Board of 
Trade.' 










Un\reighted. 


Change in 
Numbers 














employed. 




1810 
1816 


(122) 
(115) 


103 
99 


— 




— 


— 


1620 


(109) 


94 


— 


— 


— 





1824 


(112) 


98 


— 


— 


— 





1831 


(89) 


89 


— 


— 


— 





1840 


(100) 


86 


(89) 85 


— 


— 





1846 


(99) 


84 


— 


— 


— 





1850 


(102) 


88 


(90) 86 


(65) 90 


(56) 88 


— 


1855 


(116) 


100 


— 


(73) 101 


(65) 102 


— 


1860 


(116) 


100 


(105) 100 


(72) 100 


(64) 100 


— 


1866 






(117) 112 


(79) 110 


(74) 116 


— 


1870 


— 




(119) 113 


— 


— 


— 


1871 


— 




— 


(82) 114 


(77) 120 


— 


1874 


— 




(142) 135 


(92) 128 


(87) 136 


— 


1877 


— 




(135) 119 


(89) 124 


(85) 133 


— 


1880 


— 




(129) 123 


(86) 119 


(82) 128 


(81) 123 


188S 


— 




(132) 126 


(87) 121 


(84) 131 


(84) 128 


1886 


— 




(130) 124 


(85) 118 


(83) 130 


(81) 123 


1890 


— 







— 


— 


(90) 137 


1891 


— 




(144) 137 


(92) 128 


(91) 142 


(91) 1.38 


1896 


— 




— 


(92) 128 


(91) 142 


— 


1900 


— 




— 


(100) 1.39 


(100) 156 


(100) 152 


1906 


— 




— 


(100) 139 


(101) 158 


(98) 149 


1912 






i 






(100) 152 



' For Building, Coal-mining, Engineering, and Textiles only. 



These figures are given in the diagram opposite. 

The footnotes to the diagram are taken from an 
article on " Wages " by Dr. Bowley in the " Dictionary 
of Political Economy," except for the years since 1904. 















































ON 

1 

o 

oo 

I 

2r 
o 

o 

UJ 

V- 

:2 
U 

<c 

> 

u 

z 
o 


"^ •.' 


! 


1 i 






1 
















l4.|iv.s 


"^'S 




V 






























5! 5 W* 


^ 




— 


\ 


\ 
































1?^ 


1 


























"kiii-iiTi 


K 












t 














» 


ivl^r 


4-S 








\ 


























n 


f 

Q 










h 


k^ 


























1 



. r 














1 


























a 


> .5 
































S 




1 


r 

« 










^ 




► 






















~ 






r^ 










^ 






















1 r^^-i 


1^ 


k 
















. 


















4 


5 . 

3 




K 
K 


















V 


















k 


















\\ 
















i 


6 

1 ^ 


-4K 
3 






















1 
















i 

< 


































i 


































< 


1 

! - 

u. 

> 


4< 
• 

r 
5 


3 
















/ 




















^5 




<• 


S Ui 

11 







so ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 Sc 1914 

which are given by Mr. W. T. Layton in "Capital 
and Labour." 



The conclusion with regard to money wages is that 
on the average the wages of the non-agricultural 
classes of the population were in 1913-14 between 
50 per cent, and 60 per cent, above the level of 1815. 

The general movement of agricultural wages since 
1840 (when the evil effects of the " old " Poor Law 
had disappeared and agricultural wages were measur- 
able) has been similar to that of wages in general, and 
the index of the level of wages in general is only 
affected to the extent of 1 or 2 per cent, by the 
exclusion of agriculture.' 

That the movement of wages is general, that the 
wages in all trades tend to move in the same direction 
and to the same extent, has been shown to be true 
of the years 1790-1860 by Mr. Wood's collection 
of data. 

The same is shown to be true for the years 1840-91 
by a diagram given by Dr. Bowley in " Wages in the 
United Kingdom in the Nineteenth Century," and 
since 1891 by Index numbers published by Mr. Wood 
and by the Board of Trade. 

The fluctuations in individual trades are, of course, 
wider than in the average for all trades, but the 
general progress is the same. 

So far, then, the comparison with 1815 is favourable, 

• For confirmation see " Wages in the Nineteenth Century," p. 132, 
and Cd. 7131/13, p. 82. 



REMUNERATION 



81 



but the "things that matter" are not the money 
receipts but the commodities obtainable with the 
money. Ever since the study of working-class con- 
ditions has existed, the difficulty of discovering 
exactly how the people fare has been encountered. 
In the present century the difficulty is almost 
resolved into the discovery of reliable statistics of 
retail prices. To attempt to deal with retail prices 
of a century ago is a hopeless task. 

In the way of general price movements, it must 
suffice to say that according to the calculations of 
Jevons and Sauerbeck, the average of wholesale 
prices of general commodities in England for the 
years 1912-14 was between one-half and two-thirds 
of the average for 1810-20. The relations of retail 
prices of the commodities purchased by the people to 
the wholesale prices at the two dates are mysterious 
and indefinite. 

We are, however, very fortunate in possessing 
reliable statistics of the changes in the prices of 
wheat and bread. 

PRICE OP WHEAT PER QUARTER. 





(Gazette averages.) 






1. d. 




1. d. 


ISOS ... 


74 6 


1908 


... 32 


1809 ... 


.. 100 


1909 . 


... 36 11 


1810 ... 


.. 120 


1910 . 


... 31 8 


1811 ... 


.. 104 


1911 . 


... 31 8 


1812 ... 


.. 136 


1912 


... 34 9 


1813 ... 


.. 136 


191.3 


... 31 8 


1814 ... 


.. 75 Q 


1914 . 


... 34 11 



82 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

The price of the quartern loaf and the price of 
wheat in the two periods were : — 



Years. 


Average Price of 
Quartern Loaf. 


Gazette Average of 


Wheat per Quarter. 




d. 


B. 


d. 


1800-9 


12 


85 





1810-19 


13 


91 





1900-4 


6-3 


28 





1906-9 


5-7 


31 





1910 


5-9 


31 


8 


1911 


5-6 


31 


8 


1912 


5-8 


34 


9 


1913 


5-8 


31 


8 


1914 


5-8 


34 


11 



Besides noting the change in the level of the 
prices of wheat and bread, it must be observed that 
in the earlier period the prices were subject to very 
great fluctuations, while in the modern period the 
changes have been, on the whole, very slow and very 
small. 

The importance of bread as a food at the present 
day is very great, as will be seen from the table 
opposite. 

The amount spent on bread and flour is seen to be 
exceeded only by that spent on meat. The fact that 
"urban population" may be considered to cover 
about three-quarters of the population at the present 
day must be remembered. Sir Robert Giffen drew 
attention in the Statistical Society's Journal to the 
accompaniment of urbanization or industrialization 
of the population by the change from a wheat to a 



fl 



REMUNERATION 83 

WEEKLY BUDGET OF URBAN WORKMEN'S FAMILIES 
IN 1904 (Cd. 3864/08). 

Averages of Budgets Collected. 



Number of family budgets 
Range of incomes of families 

Average income 

Average number of children at home 



289 

25s. to SOs. 

371. 

3-3 



416 

SOs. to 35b. 

32b. 

3-2 



Expenditure on j 
Bread and fioar 


Food. 

Cost. 
6. d. 
3 4 


Cost. 
8. d. 
3 3} 


Meat (by weight) 


3 


5 


4 3i 


Other meat (including fish) 





9 


10 


Bacon 





9 


10 


Eggs 





Si 


11 


Fresh milk 


1 





1 3 


Cheese 





5i 


6 


Butter 


1 


7 


1 10 


Potatoes 





10 


10 


Vegetables and fruit 





7 


10 


Currants and raisins 





2 


2 


Bice, etc 





5 


6 


Tea 





11 


1 1 


Coffe*, cocoa 





3 


3^ 


Sugar 





10 


11 


Jam, etc 





5 


6 


Pickles 





2 


3 


Other 


1 


4 


1 6i 


Total 


17 


10 


20 9 



84 iBCONOMlC CONDITIONS: i8i5 & 1914 

meat diet; and he published evidence to show that 
prior to 1840 meat was hardly ever eaten by the 
working classes.^ 

The change in the price of bread has therefore 
permitted considerable improvement in the standard 
of living of the working classes. Even to-day, when 
wheat is very cheap, the price of bread is of great 
importance, and a consideration of the high prices of 
1800-20, in the light of the evidence of the greater 
importance of bread as an article of diet in those 
years as compared with to-day, indicates one of the 
chief causes of working-class discontent in 1815 and 
the preceding years. 

In view of the fact that prior to 1860 only small 
improvement in the condition of the people could 
have been made (see page 79, footnotes to diagram), ^ 
the diagram opposite, although it refers only to the 
years subsequent to 1860, is valuable evidence. It 
presents pictorially the results of Mr. G. H. Wood's 
manipulation of statistics of consumption, which 
resulted in his obtaining an "index number of 
consumption — a unique measure based on the per- 
centage changes in the consumption per head of the 
enumerated commodities." Mr. Wood's figures relate 

' " Progress of the Working Classes." Attention has already been 
drawn to the predominantly rural nature of life in 1815. 

• Mr. Sidney Webb is responsible for the assertion that " there 
seems to be reason to believe that in 1837 some large sections of the 
dim inarticulate multitude were struggling in the trough of a century's 
decline in all that makes life worth living for." 



REMUNERATION 




■ My, .%7».^ ,ft7f., ^ -t. |,yf-» ,3^^ ,ty^ .^^ .^^ ^^ 



8d ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

to the years 1860-99, since which date I have con- 
tinued his method. Ignoring the immense increase 
in the consumption of cocoa (which appears in the 
diagram out of all proportion to its importance), it 
is seen that since 1860 the consumption per head 
of the commodities inchided in the calculation has 
increased by 42 per cent. This is the increase shown 
by arithmetically averaging the individual rates of 
increase ; but Mr. Wood, in his paper, showed con- 
clusively that the difference between the arithmetic 
average and the average obtained when each com- 
modity is assigned a " weight " proportional to its 
importance in consumption is inconsiderable. 

To the great changes for the better which have 
been made in these fifty years must be added the 
improvement of 1850-60, when " real wages " were 
" rising considerably," and the improvement of 1815-50, 
when real wages were rising slowly. 

The general result of an inquiry into "real wages 
and standard of comfort " by Mr. G. H. Wood in 
1909 was that "the standard of comfort of the 
British wage-earner is now, on the average, not 
less than 50 per cent, and probably nearer 80 per 
cent, higher than that of his predecessor in 1850." 

The conclusion is, roughly, that nine-tenths of 
the working population (and dependents) at the 
present day are individually nearly twice " as well 
off" as two-thirds of the population in 1815. 

The remaining one-tenth in 1915 and one-third in 
1815 consists of the agricultural workers and dependents. 
Their position in 1815 has been dealt with at length, 



REMUNERATION 87 

At the present day they form the lowest paid body of 
labourers pursuing a definite industry. Since 1840 we 
have seen that their earnings have increased relatively 
as much as those of the non-agricultural classes. 

An attempt to compare the improvement since the 
beginning of the century was made by Thorold Rogers 
(quoted by Cunningham), who calculated the quantity 
of wheat which agricultural earnings would have 
purchased at the various dates given below. 

The comparison has been brought up to date : — 





Quarters. 




Quarters 


1789 


8 


1874 ... 


16 


1807 


11 


1891 ... 


22 


1810 


6S 


1895 ... 


32 


1823-55 


10 


1908 ... 


28 


1859 


15 


1912 ... 


24 


1867 


11 







The features of the table are (1) the fluctuation in 
the war period (when wages were supplemented by 
poor relief) ; (2) a stationary period from the close 
of the war until 18-50. Since 1850 the position has 
improved at least two-fold. 

Women. 

The position of women in industry has an important 
bearing on the economic position of the family. With 
regard to the latter there are no data as to the compo- 
sition of working-class families prior to those published 
in " Livelihood and Poverty," ^ as the result of 
investigations made in four English towns.^ By 

' By Dr. Bowleyand A. R. Bumett-Hurst (G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., 
1916). 
' Reading, Northampton, Warrington, and Stanley. 



88 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

reverting to the figures in a previous chapter, however, 
we see that whereas in 1821 in every 100 of population 
there were 39 below the age of 15 years, in 1911 there 
were only 30 (the numbers below the age of 20 years 
being 49 and 40 respectively). In other words, for 
every 100 people over 15 years of age, in 1821 there 
were 64 under that age, and in 1911 43 under that age. 
If the age limit be placed at 10 years the proportions 
would be 100:37 in 1821 and 100:27 in 1911. 

There was then, evidently, a considerably heavier 
burden on the family earnings in 1815 as compared 
with 1915. In spite of the absence of statistics, in 
view of the magnitude of this change, it is safe to say 
that all classes of workers must have been affected. 

With regard to women's wages, the , available 
evidence (most of which is summarized by Mr. 
G. H. Wood in Appendix A to "A History of 
Factory Legislation," Hutchins and Harrison) shows 
that their wages have increased at almost the same 
rate as men's. 

The lack of legislative regulation in 1815, which 
permitted women and children to work in mines and 
factories for very long hours, has been remedied. 
The employment of women in agriculture has 
practically ceased, while there have come into 
existence occupations which can be carried on by 
women, in which regulations as to hours, sanitation 
of work-place, and, in a number of cases, wages, 
are enforced by Government departments under Acts 
of Parliament, 



CHAPTER YI 

CONCLUSION 

To turn from this review of the great improvements 
of the century in the economic condition of the 
people — one of the results of vast material progress 
achieved by overcoming natural physical hindrances 
and economic inertia — to a consideration of the 
actual achievements creates at first a hopeless 
feeling — so much progress and so little satisfaction. 

The struggle for existence appears not to have 
abated ; all the works of science and art have not 
produced happiness. 

The reasons appear to be that " Men do not desire 
to be rich, but to be richer than other men." ^ " We 
are dissatisfied because we compare our progress with 
that of our neighbours instead of with that of our 
forbears. "2 

These reasons, however, give only part of the 
answer. The complete answer is — that men com- 
pare their condition not only with that of their 
forbears, not only with that of their neighbours, but 
with what might be. 

' J. S. Mill, ' ' Posthumous Es<»ay on Social Freedom, ' ' 
? liartle^ Withers, ■• Poverty and Waate," 
89 



90 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: 1815 & 1914 

The meaning of "what might be " has been recently 
brought home to many by the publication of the 
results of an honest inquiry into the conditions of 
the working classes in four English towns, under 
the title of " Livelihood and Poverty." 

Among the fair and reasonable statements contained 
in the book are : — 

1. In Stanley "one-half of all the working-class 
houses in that town are overcrowded." 

2. " Twenty-seven per cent, [of the children living 
in the four towns investigated] are living in families 
which fail to reach the low standard taken as 
necessary for healthy existence." 

3. "Of households living in poverty, the cause is 
to be found in the fact that the chief wage-earner's 
income is insufficient for his family of three children 
or less in 26 per cent, of the cases, and his inability 
to support his family of four children or more 
in 45 per cent.," the other cases being caused 
by accidents (sickness, death, unemployment, or 
irregularity of work). 

As Mr. B. S. Eowntree remarked in reviewing this 
work, no country is worthy of the name of " gi-eat " 
which permits such things to exist. The realization 
of these facts and the desire to alter the state of 
affairs has already found expression in many Acts 
of Parhament. 

The past has been devoted to the accumula- 
tion of wealth, the future is to its more equal 
distribution. 



CONCLUSION 91 

Viewed in this way, the non-material progress of 
the people of England assumes great importance. 
The consideration of the rise from the state of servility 
which existed in 1815, to the present state in which 
the " people " is becoming identified with the 
"nation," indicates how the improving condition of 
the people gradually fitted them to play increasingly 
important and difficult r6les in the national delibera- 
tions and decisions whereby their material welfare 
has been improved, and shows also the strength of 
the people to improve still further their own con- 
ditions. For further progress in the latter no prayer 
for revolutionary changes will avail or is needed ; the 
true greatness of the English nation will be achieved 
in the "English" way. 



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Towards a Lasting Settlement 

By G. LOWES DICKINSON, H. N. BRAILSFORD, J. A. HOB- 
SON, VERNON LEE, PHILIP SNOWDEN, M.P., A. MAUD 
ROYDEN, H. SIDEBOTHAM, and others. Edited by CHARLES 
RODEN BUXTON. 
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Towards International Government Byj. a.hobson. 

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"Always lucid, cogent, and unflinching in his argument, and . . . 
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solution is safest and simplest." — Manchester Guardian. 

The Future of Democracy By h. m. hyndman. 

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"Well worth reading." — Manchester Courier. 

"Written with all his old force and lucidity." — Yorkshire Post. 

The Healing of Nations By edward carpenter. 

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" Profoundly interesting. Well worth most careful attention." — Observer. 
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Above the Battle 

By ROMAIN ROLLAND. TRANSLATED BY C. K. OGDEN, M.A. 
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The War and the Balkans 

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The European Anarchy 

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The Deeper Causes of the War 

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WALTER RALEIGH. 

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War and Civilization By the rt. hox. j. m. Robertson, 

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Our Ultimate Aim in the War By george g. 

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The Coming Scrap of Paper By edward w. 

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Perpetual Peace By immanuel kant. 

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Via Pacis 

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War is still going on. 

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